They’re the best Anime that 2016 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Macross Δ, Nijiiro Days, Sousei no Onmyouji, and more!
10: Macross Δ
English: Macross Delta
MAL Score: 7.27
Eight years after the events of Macross F, a mysterious phenomenon known as the Var Syndrome is gradually consuming the galaxy. It’s up to a new generation of highly capable Valkyrie pilots to deal with this universal menace. And if they didn’t have enough on their plate already, the Aerial Knights Valkyrie fighter team from the Kingdom of Wind have come to challenge the Delta Squadron.
As someone who got genuinely hooked by the original Macross TV show and have watched all of its successors, this is the stance I would take as I write this review.
1. Story: 4.5/10
The best way to describe the story of Delta is fictional ISIS vs fictional UN. On the drawing board, it certainly looks like an enticing concept where great stories can unfold, right and wrong muddle together in the gray area, emotions are faced with hard cold reality. Unfortunately, in Delta, the staff tried to chew more than they can. What resulted of this was an unfocused show, many subplots unresolved, characters remained to their shell-like personalities until the end, opportunities to explore the lore of Macross in a deeper level have been squandered due to mismanaged storyboards and screen time, pacing issues,some main characters are even pushed to the side to give even more time to the under delivered couple that this anime features and finally, characters are killed for the sake of creating drama and not steering the cast into a resolve. Added to this is the many recalls to older series’ moments and songs which makes some of the old fans laugh in sadness and contemplate what show this has become to use this move to keep their attention. The laid back and comedic atmosphere of the beginning didn’t help for the latter since it couldn’t bring the viewer to realize how dreadful the situation have become at the end of the show. The ending was rushed with the only closure being the result of the love triangle. All of this complies into a boring and unpolished show which at the end of a 8 years long wait, is not the masterpiece that many fans of the series have hoped for.
We always had a colorful cast in a Macross series and Delta is no exception. Hayate, the blue hair human protagonist, has a nonchalant attitude towards most things but have a unyielding desire to fly. Freyja, the energetic Winderemere girl who loves to sing and wants to be in the ranks of Walkure. For the Delta squadron, we have the captain Arad, second-in-command Messer, the joyful Chuck and at last, Mirage, who’s from a family of legendary ace pilots. For the idol group Walkure, we have the mysterious lead singer, Mikumo, the caring group leader Kaname, the friendly Makina and the cool but expert hacker, Reina. We also have the fleet captain, Ernest, in the mix.
For the Windermere side, we got Heinz, the prince and his father, the king Gramia, the Aerial Knights which ace pilot is named Keith or White Knight. There’s also Roid who help the king and the prince with battle tactics and politics.
With all this said, the characters remained much to their cliché-like personalities until the end. There’s little to no development on their part. They are like blank sheet of paper and as the story progresses, only few of them get some gribble on it while some of them get thrown in a fire pit while they are potential platform to create meaningful relationships between them or get their back story explored. For the lack of better words, the staffs wasted the materials on their hands. As for the viewers, there’s little to relate to these characters due to their bland, unrealistic and uninteresting personalities.
3.Love Triangle 5/10
As for the love triangle we come to expect from this series, it is very much a linear line with a firmly marked line between Hayate and Freyja and a line composed little uncanny dots between Mirage and Hayate, closed with sometimes tense and loose line between Mirage and Freyja. Yet, the reason for weak link for Mirage to the two other characters is not because her character ,itself, is unable to express her feelings until the end. It is the consequence of her badly written and little-to-none development that everyone of them suffers but out of all of them, she’s the one who suffer the most because all she ever gets is one-liners and barely enough screen time to prove her relevance compared to the other two mains.
4.Character Art 7/10
I won’t spend much time on this since it is not my area of expertise but the characters do have a lot of popping colors. You’re kinda looking at a candy show to be honest. Sometimes, it even detracts the viewer and break the show immersion when they bring in the serious moments since the characters looks so funky. Costume designs are ok. The main gripe I have and that is personal ,is the doodling on their nails when they are in some of their costumes aka nailpolish. Since those colors are meant to pop and to catch your attention. Closeface shot of their hand with their face on camera inevitably draws your attention to their nails instead of their intended focus of their faces. This may cause you to wonder if the artists have too much freetime on their hands and doodle them on the characters.
5.Mecha design 3/10
For this series, we got the VF-31 Siegfield, which is, the mass production model of the experimental YF-30 Chronos from the PS3 Macross 30 video game. The VF-31 is essentialy it’s predecessor, with a forward swept wing design, the ability to deploy drones for Walkure use, a beam cannon and a wireless recharger for the drones on its foldable backpack system instead of the missile pods in the backpack(called multipurpose container), a pin point barrier system for shielding, a combat knife in the forearm and a fresh coat of paint. It has only one pack, the super pack, which give it additional missile pods. It also incorporate the fold crystals which where present since the YF-29 Durandal. Fairly disappointed for the lack of innovation in this domain and the lack of packs since we were so spoiled by Frontier with its multiple packs.
For the Windermere side, we have the Sv-262 Draken III which is a new design, with a delta wing design, have 2 drones on each wing tips that acts as secondary boosters and can be deployed for combat. It is also equipped with a gunpod and 2 small gunpods located in the nose of the plane.
Then we have Macross Elysion… Just imagine Macross quarter and twice its size. That’s it. Move along….
6. 3D animation + battle choreography: 3/10
The 3D animation + models we’ve gotten have not been improved since Frontier. In some ways, it is even a step back. In all the battles, it seems like the animators have too much fun with the shading and made all the colors too dull and lifeless + a white filter that tries to bring the dull colors back to life and the result is a unattractive product that has uneven blend of gray and dull colors that make you question the effort put into it. The 3D models do not mesh with its surrounding. Beam effects and explosions are underwhelming at best and terrible at worst. There’s no sense power or magnitude coming from them. It seems dumb down. No soul. No spirit in these works. Well, at least the particle effects after the VF-31 look ok. That is the only effect that I deemed original.
As for the battle choreography, there’s none of that fluid 3 mode Valkyrie battles we come to expect. In Delta, what you have the majority of time is a watered down version of the dogfights from Top Gun. Gerwalk mode and Battleroid mode are barely featured in the entirety of the series. When there are of it, the sequences are incredibly short. Valkyrie battle choreography is one of the fundamentals of the Macross franchise. In this case, it is not taken seriously and the end result shows it.
7.Sound and songs: 6.5/10
For the sound effects in this series, it is perhaps the most forgettable thing of them all. Why you may ask? They reused the sfx from Frontier or slightly modify it it and call it a day. To make it worse, they even forget to add sfx for the moving Valkyries. Normally, when mechanical parts move, you have piston sfx for the hydraulics. When you go into boost mode in your plane, you should hear the engine roaring. If you break the sound barrier, there should be a sonic boom. Yet, in Delta, they completely forgo the use of that because the songs played in the background are way more important than adding realism. The sound balancing was an issue during the first court of the anime. It was either too quiet or too loud or inconsistent at all.
This finally leads me to the songs. They are based on the popular idol group trend. Therefore, they are going for those catchy lyrics. As music is based on personal taste and experience, this will be my opinion. Due to the fact that previous Macross series had legendary songwriters/composers ( The recent one being Yoko Kanno who composed for Macross Frontier), Delta music feels underwhelming in comparison to its predecessors , though few of its songs are quite ok like “Hametsu no Junjou”, “Giraffes Blues” and “Ore no Senjou”. Yet, you gotta ask yourself: “Is it alright to ruin a song because you want it to follow a certain trend?” Because, Delta songs have a bad habit of doing this. The prime example is “Ichido dake no Koi nara” which started with a beautiful transition of voices, building up to the refrain with a dramatic fashion and it gonna be ecstatic to listen but the listener is greeted with some generic cute idol trick that ruins the momentum of the song and that’s repeated throughout it. “Ikenai Borderline” suffers greatly as a whole for the cute idol group singing style. How disappointing for the few decent songs the series have to offer, they get covered up by more of the mediocre idol group trend songs. Plus, a lot of these songs cannot convey the emotions they carried since the singers themselves are young, ranging from twenties-something to the youngest, 15. They do not have the the singing experience nor the life experience to pass the emotions in these soulful songs. But, I would say they do a decent job for an Idol group and considering the numerous blank music time have to be fill in with dances and stage choreography. As for the song that the prince sings, it is quite impressive, compared to Walkure songs, but it gets spammed to non stop and gets quite annoying by the end of the series.
Unfortunately, after 8 years of waiting, this may be the worst entry of this franchise but it is by no mean an awful anime in and out of itself. The show was planned to be a 13 episode anime + a movie but they decided to be a 2 court anime by the middle of it. Therefore, it is why I presented my thesis quote in the beginning of this review : << A show that had promise but was ruined by bad planning.>> They simply didn’t have enough time to plan the second court and it was kinda made on the fly, At the end, if not for its “ok” music and the few good moments it has, it would landed itself in the very bad category. But, with the flaws it present and the lack of novelty it brings to the franchise as a whole, I give it a 5 out of 10. It will be awhile again for the next Macross series… *sigh*
Suggestion for those who wants to watch more Macross:
If you want story, I would suggest the original Macross TV show. It has, overall, better story, character developments and what establish the reasons older fans have fell in love with the franchise. When you finish it, take a look at the movie “Do you remember love”. It has some of the best tracks of the franchise.
For laidback and some fun like Delta, try the sorta sequel to the original, Macross 7. It has its quirks + rock and roll music in contrast of the more pop music. It should be a fun ride.
For dogfights and epic airplane maneuvers, Macross Zero and Plus are what it’s all about. Ace vs ace aerial combat.
If you’re more into recent pop music or wants some breathtaking 3 mode fluid Valkyrie battles, I would suggest Macross Frontier and its movies.
That’s it for me. Hope y’all got a good read. If you want to discuss about Delta, you can find folks in the forum. Who knows, I might even join in.
Macross Delta is representative of the ‘Macross formula’ in the late stages of its existence, by that I mean that the Macross formula, if one continues to comply to it to a T as it has so done since its inception, only makes the formula age badly. Why? Because unfortunately at this moment in time, Macross as a whole has inexplicably entered into a dire situation of Catch-22. To change or not to change? IF we change, then HOW MUCH SHOULD we change? Do we leave Macross as it is and END it RIGHT NOW, or PERHAPS LATER? The extent of the questions that had ultimately left the Macross formula in this state ultimately consummates into what can simply be deemed as “If we change Macross then we’ll end up upsetting the fans, but if we don’t change then Macross will start to become stale.”
This raises several questions. For one, just what about Macross ESSENTIALLY defines it as Macross? And for that matter, if we experiment around and create variations of the ESSENTIALS of Macross, will that in turn result in Macross no longer being ‘Macross’ too, or will Macross continue to remain as ‘Macross’ regardless of how many or what Macross series are produced? With all of this in mind, we can thus say that the first Macross series introduced to the audience the general outline of an archetypical Macross plot -which is itself somewhat of a Jungian archetype- as well as the themes and concepts it wishes to tackle. From there, it can be observed that all Macross series are variations of those ESSENTIALS, with Macross 7 being the zaniest Macross, Macross Plus showcasing Macross in its simplest form, Macross Zero being Macross at its most somber and poignant, Macross Frontier highlighting Macross at its zenith with the successful revitalization of the classic formula that propelled Macross into the world stage, and… Macros Delta with Macross retreading the same old formula in hopes of replicating the success of Frontier but ultimately fails due to the various components that the creators have used in an attempt to differentiate Delta from the rest- hence the formula showing its age REALLY BADLY. That, and well every aspect of Delta’s concepts -from plot to characters- are simplistically understood and implemented.
Although it may seem that Macross 7 was unfortunately conceived with and steeped in such mistakes, rather what led to Macross 7’s incredibly divisive response and resultant overall identity in relation to the other Macross series was its identity being rooted in an experimental lighthearted absurdism that is implemented in extreme fashions at certain moments within its narrative in comparison to Macross Delta, where as previously mentioned, the roots of its identity and narrative are built upon an attempted resurrection of the cultural impact of Macross Frontier, but that the comprehension and resulting implementation of the elements that constitute the core elements that made Macross and Macross Frontier so culturally impactful and resonant were disappointingly oversimplified, hasty and even outright incorrect.
In any case, to further expand upon the reasons as to why the formula has clearly shown signs of its age with Macross Delta, it can be said that there is just simply not much to expand FROM, without resorting to the constant homages and the mere repetition and toying around with motifs, plot points and the various structures in place, in addition to having to maintain a linear timeline of events, unlike Gundam- but even then, Gundam too is stuck in this stage and both will forever continue to remain in their current states so long as there is no CHANGE.
I’d personally rather not discuss about Delta’s plot considering the above reasons, but I believe that nonetheless, whatever plot points that were introduced to us in Macross Delta were adequately developed with straightforwardness in mind, thus allowing viewers to be able to understand it well, even though the scripting of and the actual creative value of events is as textbook Macross as it can get, simply uninspired. In addition, Macross Delta in contrast to Macross 7 left us hanging with quite a few plot points that were simply left unresolved, which makes us question as to why in the Milky Way did the creators designed the plot in such a way so as to add them into it to begin with. There were several heartfelt moments emanating genuine sentiment but with the way the plot’s designed, there’s just simply not enough of that to bring the plot out of uninspired hell.
When it comes to the overall tone of Delta, it is generally much, much more lighthearted, carefree, optimistic (especially optimistic and carefree) and poppy which likens it to Macross 7, but considering the narrative structure and the various events scripted into it, results in a different product in the end because if there ever was one thing about Macross which gave it its distinctive identity is that as the plot nears its end, the situation becomes SIGNIFICANTLY DIRE thus giving the necessary emotionality to the bleak end game situations, whereas in Delta due to its very nature and uninspired and stock plot design results in the emotional charge of the plateau deflating before the plot had even begun to enter its climactic stage. In short, just about every single aspect of the narrative in Delta simply does not lend itself to the sense of sheer dread and desperation that previous Macross series had, hence the emotional blandness of the show.
The overall dialogue is frankly serviceable as it is simply not creative enough and once again, uninspired throughout to warrant much of viewers’ attention, not to mention that due to the tone of Delta, comes off as quite cartoony. I just roll my eyes most of the time, hah.
Indeed, despite the inherent potentialities that lies within a much more carefree approach to Macross, it is regrettable to say that all of that is wasted in an unresolved Catch-22 problem resulting in a trite work which adds little towards fanning the infernos of nostalgia to Macross’s past or even towards igniting the embers of Macross’s future on fire. Absolutely disappointing- hhmph!
But hey, there’s at least some of the songs and all so yeah, let’s just move on and talk about that down below. Junbi wa ii ka nen?
Narrative, Thematic, Scripting & Character Design/Direction (Rating: 4)
Okay, so before we get down to the music and sound, let’s just talk about the visuals for a bit. For one thing, this show actually has very consistent visuals throughout, in the form of consistent animation both hand-drawn and computer-generated, consistent drawings, backgrounds consistently full of features, and constant inclusion of plenty of well-done visual effects. Once again, I’d like to reiterate that I’m simply no expert or even that deeply knowledgeable about these technical aspects, but simply put, Macross Delta is competently produced. It’s just that, while it is indeed competently produced, it doesn’t have many standout and highly creative visual features either, barring the straight-to-TV Macross shows of the pre-2000 years.
But wait, if there was anything about Delta that I could consider to be very creative, it would have to be the first ED sequence. It’s basically a very well-made sequence featuring one of the main characters Freyja Wion going about locations in real life, in which all of that is animated via a technique that I’m frankly not knowledgeable about but can be described as utilizing captured video footage to set up as the visual basis for the sequence, then after animating and inserting Freyja into that footage, having the footage go through intensive post-processing with image filters and such which ultimately gives the sequence its highly distinct look. Very interesting and quite impressive I’d say.
Visual & Animation Design/Direction (Rating: 7)
The overall sound design in this show is once again, just like the visuals competently produced- voice acting included. As for the music, wherein due to the tone of Delta, it is essentially designed to be as contemporaneous and poppy as possible- what with electronic and brass based music timbres, dance pop based song structures, generally faster time signatures, group based synchronized vocal performances in the style of so-called idol groups and whatnot. Not all of Delta’s music consists of such style of pop music however, as there’re some slower, more soulful songs as well, in particular the general vocal track sung by the opposing faction featured in Delta, as well as one Walkure song which is composed as more of a ballad than the more electronic dance pop based fare.
As for me, I generally really liked a fair bit of Walkure’s songs, particularly Ikenai Borderline as well as the first OP song, and both main ED songs.
Sound Design/Direction (Rating: 8)
The drive to constantly recapture the success of the original Macross in the post-2000s straight-to-TV Macross shows has resulted in the Macross formula becoming increasingly stale and trite, unless it changes or utilizes the formula to tell more different narratives like Plus and Zero did. In fact, one could even say that Macross Delta is ironically the antithesis of what was sooooooo extremely archetypal -in the Jungian sense- of the original Macross; Frontier came close to replicating this, but it was ultimately created in such a fashion so that it may stand on its own, i.e., with its own sense of identity, so as to become a fine addition to the over-arching narrative of the setting of Macross.
Speaking of which, you know what all of this “formula aging badly and getting stale” reminds me of? The entire post-1990s career of the rock band U2 and -in a different way but still quite the Catch-22- the Resident Evil series of games as a whole, go figure. That and well, there’s just waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy less combat-based action in this show compared to previous ones.
Personal Enjoyment/Appreciation (Rating: 4)
And with that, I shall bid all of you farewell and thank you for reading. Till next time then!
(Personal Rating: 5)
(Critical Rating: 5)
9: Nijiiro Days
English: Rainbow Days
MAL Score: 7.30
Nijiiro Days follows the colorful lives and romantic relationships of four high school boys—Natsuki Hashiba, a dreamer with delusions of love; Tomoya Matsunaga, a narcissistic playboy who has multiple girlfriends; Keiichi Katakura, a kinky sadist who always carries a whip; and Tsuyoshi Naoe, an otaku who has a cosplaying girlfriend.
When his girlfriend unceremoniously dumps him on Christmas Eve, Natsuki breaks down in tears in the middle of the street and is offered tissues by a girl in a Santa Claus suit. He instantly falls in love with this girl, Anna Kobayakawa, who fortunately attends the same school as him. Natsuki’s pursuit of Anna should have been simple and uneventful; however, much to his dismay, his nosy friends constantly meddle in his relationship, as they strive to succeed in their own endeavors of love.
Story-wise, there is nothing specific as it is their everyday life, but the overall feel is focused on the romance part; 4 friends who tease each other and their romantic interests. We see everyone’s view (not just the main quartet) and how they interact and the silly problems they have that seem huge at the time and the silly adventures they take part in and various small parts of their personality. Is it that great? No, it is not, but that does not mean it is not enjoyable. It provides sufficient pleasure and comfort when watching, since it is doing a good job at keeping it simple and not overdoing it most of the time. It is a slice of life work through and through and it does not have enough time to get tiring, thankfully. Comedy is of course also present, but it blends in with romance pretty well, without trying too hard as everything seem realistic enough for an ideal high school life!
Everyone has pretty distinct personalities and most of them are so adorable, but most of all at least half of them are relatable to a good degree if we just minimize their dominant trait a bit. There is the sadistic friend (but who does not have one, really?), the naïve and so transparent friend, the playboy and the silent, aloof guy whose traits do not stop him from having a great time. The girls have their own distinct traits too, but one specific girl, the violent one, sticks out for being the worst. While everyone seems to have their own pretty much normal circumstances, she is just very obsessed and screaming all the time without any sufficient character background or development, unlike the rest who may not be developing all that much either, but they do not really need to as they fit in the story just fine.
The art is nothing too complicated; very simple drawings, but with many many colors and although generally it can be considered generic, the characters were easily recognizable. The hair aspect is the one true point that makes this so unrealistic, considering one could have purple or fuchsia hair, but there is nothing too extreme on hairstyles to put off someone. Animation is pretty decent, since there are not many scenes demanding of special attention. The sound is also good enough with catchy soundtracks and the voice actors did a decent enough job (that good that I wanted to hit the violent girl with so much screaming), but nothing memorable. It is just one of these series you will watch and like for their art and sound, but forget the next day.
All in all, if you are looking for an easy watch, this is a great choice and although there is no definite ending which can make you want more right then, it still manages to fulfill its goal. I liked it enough and it may not be an original story, but it is one of those that do not tire you out at all and could continue for a good while, as long as it does not start repeating itself.
Ladies and gentlemen, here is my review of “Nijiiro Days”.
Nijiiro Days follows four high school boys, Natsuki Hashiba, Tomoya Matsunaga, Keiichi Katakura, and Tsuyoshi Naoe, as they go through their high school lives. One Christmas Eve, Natsuki gets dumped by his girlfriend, and as he is crying about it, he is handed some tissues by a girl wearing a Santa outfit; at that moment, he falls for that girl. He later runs into the girl, Anna Kobayakawa, at school, and he tries to get closer to her while his friends try to meddle in their relationship. Every once in a while, the focus shifts from Natsuki to one of the other three boys as they deal with their own love-related problems; Mari Tsutsui is Anna’s man-hating best friend who Tomoya ends up liking, Nozomi Matsunaga is Tomoya’s younger sister who has feelings for Keiichi (while Tomoya does not approve), and Yukiko Asai is Tsuyoshi’s cosplaying girlfriend.
It’s a rather easygoing story with comedic moments sprinkled in here and there. It’s really a breath of fresh air, though; after all, all of the main characters are male, but since all of their love interests are female, there is no way one can consider this a “borderline-yaoi” anime at all. Luckily, these heterosexual relationships are, for the most part, believable. The one exception may be the one between Tomoya and Mari; I honestly felt more “hate” than “love” in their relationship, but at the very least, it was given a bit of development. I really liked Natsuki and Anna’s relationship, though; it was fun to watch as their relationship grew. However, I really would have liked some more development on the relationships between Keiichi and Nozomi and Tsuyoshi and Yukirin; however, I guess what we get is what we have. (Hopefully, there is more development to those two relationships in the manga….)
The animation, done by Production Reed, wasn’t anything too ground-breaking, but for an anime as simple as this one, it’s more than acceptable. It definitely had bright colors, and with a title that translates to “Rainbow Days”, I think that fits quite well. As for the voice acting, the voice actors did a great job with their respective characters. The music was also great, too; I liked every single one of the opening and ending themes. The best one, however, was the third ending theme, “‘I Wanna Be Your Knight” by Takuya Eguchi, Tomoya’s voice actor; it just sounds so cool with an amazing singer to boot!
Overall, Nijiiro Days was a good anime. If you’re in the mood for an easygoing slice-of-life anime with romance sprinkled in, this is the anime for you. These rainbow-colored days cannot be forgotten about!
I really enjoyed this show at the start, and had it ended after one cour I’d probably have given it an 8. To begin with the characters are fun and there was no major drama. Sure it played on typical relationships and character types, but in a light-hearted and happy-go-lucky manner. What was also great was how the story looked into the side characters almost as much as the main… The art is cute, sound is appropriate but nothing inspiring, characters are fun and fairly simple. It was a great de-stress anime. Unfortunately, the anime seriously flat lined towards the end. The last few episodes were over-dramatic, uncalled for, and seriously boring as the heroine struggles to find her own emotions in an unrealistically lengthy manner. Side characters lose their screen time and it ends up being lengthy, repetitive monologues with a tag line of ‘I don’t know what to do’ ‘I am so confused’. The ending lacks climax and denounment, I’ve heard this is getting a second season but honestly if they’d just put some work into the last 3 or 4 episodes it could have been a perfect stand-alone anime.
8: Sousei no Onmyouji
English: Twin Star Exorcists
MAL Score: 7.31
Magano, a parallel realm filled with monsters known as “Kegare,” is a place where exorcists deal with all impurities. Benio Adashino is a prodigy exorcist who is recognized for her strength and is summoned to Tokyo by the Exorcist Union. On her way, she plummets into the arms of Rokuro Enmadou, a young exorcist with a troubled past.
But the impurities of Magano do not rest. When these two exorcists witness a couple of children stolen by a Kegare, Benio rushes to save them, dragging Rokuro along with her into Magano. Engaged in a fight she is on the verge of being defeated in, Benio is saved by Rokuro, revealing himself capable of being her rival in talent.
Sousei no Onmyouji tells the story of two talented exorcists who are destined to become the “Twin Star Exorcists” and the prophesised parents of the Miko—the reincarnation of Abe no Seimei—who will cleanse the world of all impurities.
“Cliche Archetype-filled Exorcist Shounen With Many Crappy Plot Twists”
I have very mixed feelings about this show…
– Sometimes I thought, “Oh, this is such a cool kiddy shounen!”
– Sometimes I became angry at how stupid and immature the characters were.
– I often skipped through some of the many slow scenes and flashbacks.
– Sometimes I even said, “Whoa! Didn’t see that coming! Is this really a kids show? wtf?” when some pretty dark things happened
– However, most importantly, by the end I thought to myself “Wow, this is pretty fucking bad.”
I honestly thought this show was going to be pretty average at first (5 out of 10). Then I thought, “Oh wow! This is actually pretty good!” from 9 to 37-ish (7/10). However, towards the end the show started pulling both random and shitty plot twists out of its ass, and then shooting them at us like it’s a “shit machine-gun” (2/10)…
TL;DR at the end
The story mainly follows two cliche and initially overpowered main protagonists named “Rokuro” and “Benio” as they overcome many hard trials thereby growing stronger and closer together displaying mild romance. They’re prophesized to be the “twin stars” or two chosen exorcists that will get married, have a baby, and the baby will be the most powerful exorcist called the “miko” (basically something like a baby Jesus that will save the world from all of the evil kegare monsters). The evil kegare monsters are sealed in an alternate dimension called “megano”, where the exorcists must go to fight them. Almost all of the characters are slowly introduced with background stories that are supposed to be tragic, but their backgrounds came across as overly done to the point where it was kind of just stupid-silly after a while. The story emphasizes that Rokuro and Benio both want to get stronger… and they do… At a snail’s rate anyways, but no worries because they often get sudden power ups out of nowhere. Mm~ sudden power ups. My favorite… (sarcasm)
The story really doesn’t have any depth, and it certainly isn’t realistic. For example, one of the main antagonists is basically just some psychotic kid with attachment issues. One thing that really pissed me off is that all of the villains kept saying phrases like:
“I am all powerful! and you are weak!”
“It is no use for you to try to win!”
“Oh, but it was all part of my master plan!”
“THIS TOO IS PART OF MY MASTER PLAN!”
and then the shitty plot twist that I mentioned earlier would be another antagonist saying,
“But your master plan was part of my SUPER master plan ALL ALONG! I have been using you, lesser antagonist, this whole time!”
I often just sat in my chair, apathetic to all of the bullshit that the characters kept pulling out of their asses.
I feel the story’s pace was much too slow, often dwelling much too long on the characterization and development of the twin stars. It wasn’t really exciting, so I didn’t feel like waiting to watch each new episode once a week. I actually ended up binge-watching once every four months. It had its ups and downs. It’s a pretty a pretty bad story overall. Towards the end, we randomly got hit with some pedophile plot twist shit, and I honestly don’t know what the hell to make of this anime anymore. It had its moments, but the story was actually pretty bad overall.
The art in the fight scenes sometimes looks like it’s from a game where they pause and call out the name of their attack with an epic pose before actually doing it. Everything freezes when this happens, so it adds a certain “style” to the art.
The art’s okay overall, but I feel that the series would be more appealing if the characters weren’t so… bright and cute…? Except there’s one thing that gets to me every time… It’s Rokuro… There are scenes when his art turns into something out of a horror movie. The animation is not the best with many still-frames and lack of dramatic camera angles. The art’s fine overall.
What can I say? They did a pretty good job on the sound. The OST is mainly dubstep, which threw me off at first, but I kind of like it now. The fighting works well, background music fits completely and enhances the setting. Openings and endings are also very fitting. It’s actually relatively unique, but it’s not special or powerful like something like something Yuki Kajiura or Sawano Hiroyuki would make. Only one OST was memorable for me until episode 27’s opening theme. But now that I finished the anime, I actually occasionally catch myself thinking about their OSTs! (I guess 50 episodes of an anime will do that to you).
The characters were okay, at best. However, towards the end, they ended up having little to no real depth at all. In general, they’re pretty much just average characters with nothing much special about them except for Rokuro’s shark teeth (main male character). I initially hated both Rokuro and Benio, but, I actually started liking the main characters around episode 14/15 after they unnecessarily spent all of that time developing the twin stars. However, they’re basically just kids with sad background stories tasked with saving the world from Kegare. Honestly, they probably could have made this series into about 24 episodes if they skipped the unnecessary development episodes.
There are a lot of side characters with the potential to be interesting, but they all got little to no development. The dynamic between Benio and Rokuro is pretty nice to watch, but there’s nothing too special here. Rokuro’s starts off as kind of annoying, fiery, not that smart, and overpowered, but the enemies do get much stronger and Rokuro matures quite a bit and actually becomes a pretty cool character. Benio is the typical smart, cool, amazingly strong, but lonely character. She too grows as the series progresses.
This show… is hard to describe in terms of enjoyment… At first, it was fun because it reminded me of a cool game (7/10). As it progressed, the initial excitement died down (5/10). It was very predictable up until a certain point, but things started becoming less predictable as it progressed (7/10). Some of the plot twists were cool, but the plot twists towards the end were just plain stupid (2/10). In fact, I was legitimately shocked by how ridiculous and incoherent it started getting. It’s definitely more suited to a younger less mature audience, but there are some aspects of the anime that are unexpectedly dark for a kids show. An older audience may still enjoy it because it’s somewhat entertaining (maybe), although you probably won’t be able to relate to it much as an older individual.
The story progressed too slowly, they took too long to develop the MCs, the characters were too cliche, but the anime wasn’t all that bad and actually had a decent amount of good moments. The show is bearable, but I wouldn’t recommend this anime to you unless you’ve already seen a bunch of the other top shounen out there. So basically, it was pretty bad and I think your time would be better spent elsewhere.
“Do I recommend this to you personally?”
Personally? Absolutely not. I could never wholeheartedly recommend this anime to anyone. It’s just something I watched to kill time.
However, if you like exorcists and shounen anime, are younger than 16, and like slow stories, then maybe you should give it a shot someday.
If you want realistic and mature characters, then no you should look elsewhere.
In fact, you probably should just look elsewhere unless you’re out of anime to watch.
I strongly recommend that you check out these other similar, but better exorcist/demon-related shounen anime first if you haven’t already:
1. D. Gray Man 9/10 (103 eps) The second season 8/10 (13 eps) came 10 years later
2. Bleach 9/10 (366 eps)
3. Ao no Exorcist 9/10 (37 eps between 2 seasons)
4. Nurarihyon no Mago 9/10 (50 eps between 2 seasons)
5. Shakugan no Shana 8/10 (76 eps between 3 seasons)
(if you agree or enjoyed reading, let me and others know by clicking helpful or commenting on my page~ If you disagree let me know why you disagree so I can do better next time! thanks~)
Story: The world we live in is a place that exists parallel to its antithesis, a place known as Magano. In it, the negative thoughts of humans merge together and form creatures of corruption and sin known as ‘Kegare’. Kegare feed off of the spirtual power of humans and are destructive creatures that threaten the world we know. In order to combat this, there are people known as Omnyouji with high spiritual power and battle the Kegare in a never-ending war to save humanity from their power. To save humanity, the power of the Miko, a being born from the twinstar exorcists must be brought into the world. Who are the twinstar exorcists? Some shithead named Rokuro and an equally prissy girl named Benio. Oh boy…
Omnyouji’s story is in short, arduous. Spanning 50 episodes of content, what we’re given as a plot is, in simple terms, a slew of shonen tropes that span from the power of friendship, all the way to wanting to save everybody, and sudden bursts of power because, plot convenience. Despite being an adaptation of a relatively popular series, Omnyouji doesn’t have much to offer. It becomes painfully easy to see what comes our way, and a lot of what it is boils down to ham-handed philosophies of two opponents fighting each other with fists clenched while shouting each other’s names. Rinse and repeat that process over twenty times over, and you have what roughly equates to the entire show’s runtime in a flash.
The main attributer as to why the show is so devoid of any originality or interesting developments is because, rather than following what the manga had already mapped out for Perriot to adapt, the studio decided to take a different turn and by Episode 20, change the show’s path down an anime original path that has no connection to its original source material at all. This proved to be a very big contributor as to why the show has such big flaws with its story, as the saga we’re introduced to turns the show into a display of power as our protagonists “get stronger” as more and more opponents get introduced for no other reason than to make the penultimate plot of “The end of the world is coming” a reality for the end so that the show would have some form of grand finale.
Another problem comes with how I feel as though the show had too much time. Most often than not, the case of screentime boils down to not having enough time for a series in order to tell the story that was intended. Many episodes felt like throwaway episodes, as the show would squander its screentime with flashbacks that have already been shown many times over, recaps of what happened in the last ten or so episodes, or would have episodes solely devoted to talking just to fill up the twenty-four minutes that were allotted for the episode. As such, episodes like this added to the weariness of how Omnyouji displayed itself, making the what was already tedious, even more tedious to watch.
Omnyouji’s problems arose when trying to milk what had already been drained dry. The show doesn’t try anything new in the realm of shonen anime, as the roughly twenty five hours it takes to watch this series can be described with just a tropes that almost every shonen anime uses in its plotline. That, combined with how slow some of the episodes feel, and how predictable everything is, ultimately creates a tiring experience that isn’t worth the time or effort to have.
– All the shonen tropes
– Predictable story
– Many pointless episodes
– Deviation from the source material did not work
Characters: Likewise, characters have the similar problem with being your run of the mill shonen tropes without what seems like little to no thought with how to make them interesting beyond what they’re given.
Both of our main characters, Enmado Rokuro and Adashino Benio start off the series hating each other’s guts. With the series intentionally pairing them up in order to bring the Miko into the world, it’s no surprise by what the end result of the series becomes. The pair of Omnyouji are as expected. You have the reckless, brash boy who listens to no one and wants to get stronger with his own strength and his own merits, and you have the girl who doesn’t like the boy (at the beginning) who also wants to get stronger and basically has the exact same goals that the boy does. The character progression for the relationship between these two is noticeable and gradual, which is something that I believe that the show does well on. However, as far as everything else is concerned, that’s about where the positives end. Their goals are nothing special, their progression is somewhat minimal, and the show makes it very hard for them to lose. They may struggle, but everything turns out extremely ok at the end. They’re boring. They’re boring because the show doesn’t even attempt to make their pains and struggles seem minimal when everything just comes to them so easily, and it becomes very hard to care for characters who despite everything, have plot armor so thick that not even someone who is virtually god can’t break through it.
As far as villains go, most if not all can be described as characters who have a single goal that serves as an obstacle that can easily be overcome once given enough episodes. Become the best, take over the world, destroy humanity; all of these goals have been done over and over again in more interesting ways that have been displayed here. It doesn’t help that the villains spend more time talking than executing their evil plan, or hell, let the protagonist live when they could easily kill them, so they become minor hurdles that the characters have to jump over to continue on with the story.
Side characters are a wide bunch that, like most long-running shonen series, are either the friends that the main protagonists are fighting for, and are the less than stellar characters of the same kind who will never amount to anything when compared to the feats that the main protagonists have achieved. They’re your standard group of side characters in a shonen series, and there’re very few if any noteworthy characters to talk about since they’re largely tropes like; the third wheel, the mentor, the annoying mascot, and rivals.
+ Character development for the protagonists
– Entire cast feels like a giant soup of tropes
Art: Perriot’s art shines as an example of inconsistency and quality issues. While normally the show has a lot of blunt and bright colors that are less than stellar in quality, the main problem with Omnyouji’s art is how consistent the company is with making their scenes.
When the show wants to, the lighting and the shadows can make the scene look good enough to actually look good. However, when the show doesn’t want to, the art looks like a mess of colors combined with clear flaws in the details when it comes to characters’ appearance. Fight scenes in a supposedly action heavy series are mostly characters standing and talking about each of their side and philosophies while not mercilessly beating the crap out of each other. A one-two punch, a lot of talking, some more punching, a lot more talking, and end the fight. The fight scenes hardly have any ‘fight’ in them, so they feel very disengaging and unexciting to watch.
+ Can look good
– Largely inconsistent
– Minimalistic fight scenes
Sound: Omnyouji’s soundtracks are not memorable. Being roughly 4 cours long, the show has 4 pairs of OPs and EDs that help run the show’s opening and ending bits to section off each of the four parts that the show’s in. Despite having watched all of the songs in full, none of the tracks stick out to me in my head as something that was both enjoyable or memorable. So if you ask me, the tracks are not worth your time.
Personal Enjoyment: It’s been about a year since I started watching the first episode, and I honestly can’t remember the reason why I even started it in the first place. Coming out of it though, Omnyouji stands as a show that ultimately was a huge waste of time. Nothing about it made me excited about watching the next episode, and slogging through episode after episode felt like a tiring excavation to find any glint of originality to make me interested in the series. The shift from the source material certainly didn’t help its case, as the random encounters with new anime-original villains didn’t do anything but make the series even more difficult to like.
Did I like this series?
For me, there’s nothing to like. You can find better examples of everything this show did elsewhere.
What didn’t I like about this series?
Though I’m tempted to say ‘everything’, the biggest problem I had was with Benio’s shikigami, Kinako. Kinako’s high screechy voice shouting at the top of his lungs was like nails on a chalkboard. He wasn’t cute, was extremely annoying, and became a huge hindrance to the series because his constant shouting and attempts at ‘helping’ had me in a tizzy on whether or not I should finish the show, or quit halfway.
Would I recommend this anime?
To me, Omnyouji is not worth it. Reusing almost every shonen trope that exists, Omnyouji’s adaptation has almost nothing original about it as its largely anime-original plot turns its 50 episode runtime into a bingo game to see if you can get a bingo from all of the tropes that they shove into the series. Its lack of originality makes it a tiring experience to have, and I for one am thankful that it’s over. Because there is no way I’m ever going to watch a 50 episode on-going series ever again.
~ If I had one dollar for every time someone said “I want to get stronger” during the anime, I would have been rich!~
Characters: I liked the affectionate involvement of the main characters, Benio and Rokuro. They grow and mature throughout the series, they support and motive each other in order to achieve their goal.
Story: The plot unfolds slowly and personally I got bored. It got a bit tedious and monotonous as we watch the protagonists “getting stronger” while more and more opponents appear. Unnecessary scenes and characters.
The comedy was funny. Maybe it was one of they best aspects of the series.
Art: The style and quality of the art change during the series. The characters design was really poor in some episodes, their faces looked like they were drawn by a child. However, other scenes were detailed designed with beautiful colours.
Sound: The music caught my attention! The #3 opening song is my favorite:)
The background music was fitting the atmosphere, very good work!
Overall, it’s 7/10. I suggest you give it a try!
7: Honobono Log
MAL Score: 7.36
Some of us are fortunate enough to have a partner to confide in on our bad days. In even the most devastating times, we can depend on our comrades for support. Others are incredibly lucky to have a special someone that they can just randomly embrace. No matter the situation, there always tends to be a close ally to help us get by.
Honobono Log showcases the best and worst of couples and families, enticing romantic-comedy lovers with various relatable situations.
What would you expect from a 2 minute anime?It’s exactly as it sounds.Boyfriend and girlfriend interactions(at the aquarium,at home,while studying and boring stuff that I won’t get to do myself anyway.And families interactions with a mother,father and daughter(Daddy stole his kids’ favorite candy and another child tells his papa that she loves him).Simple enough of a stab to my decaying soul.
Art is nothing out of ordinary,pretty much like standard shoujo manga(Bokura ga Ita maybe?).Some of the time I couldn’t differentiate between the character.Most of the time there isn’t a background either.
The only music in this is the opening ”Ame no Parade” and the couples that are in it don’t even show up in the anime.It also fits the first better the first episode’s theme.Makes me wonder why there’s even an opening in such a short anime.
Are couples always this peaceful,sweet,lovely and compassionate together?I feel jelly for their happiness.
Bittersweet.What can I say?
Do you single otakus want to feel pain and happiness simultanously?Or just want to something heartwarming?Then go on my friend,the path is clear.You will only need to contribute 20 minutes of your life
There is nothing special about this anime, no plot, no character, the art is fine, no fanservice and basically no bullshit, it literally is just some animated flicks of couples goofing around and going about their daily lives and their little “cute conflicts”. I find it really really heartwarming for some reason, along the lines of “I am so happy for them”.
This is an anime you’ll definitely waste your time to, unless you’re someone like me who enjoys romance and happy endings. And yes, if you’re that kind of person who wants to be in a relationship so badly or want to have this kind of relationship with their loved ones, then watching this anime somehow will make you feel jealous because people in a relationship knows that this isn’t what happens all the time.
I do enjoy these short animated skits of couples, they make me feel all good inside. And I think it’d be best to just watch them one by one, rushing them altogether will give you a bad experience since you won’t be given any plot, and thus will make you feel like you just wasted your time after all.
In more words or less, Honobono Log is a short animated series about couples goofing around.
Need to waste a minute or two? Watch an episode!
Need to feel good inside or bittersweet perhaps? Watch an episode!
Need an anime without any plot and just good stuff for the characters? Watch an Episode!
Need a real anime to watch where there’s a real story about couples? DONT WASTE YOUR TIME WATCHING AN EPISODE.
MAL Score: 7.41
Katsuhira Agata is a quiet and reserved teenage boy whose sense of pain has all but vanished. His friend, Chidori Takashiro, can only faintly remember the days before Katsuhira had undergone this profound change. Now, his muffled and complacent demeanor make Katsuhira a constant target for bullies, who exploit him for egregious sums of money. But their fists only just manage to make him blink, as even emotions are far from his grasp.
However, one day Katsuhira, Chidori, and four other teenagers are abducted and forced to join the Kizuna System as official “Kiznaivers.” Those taking part are connected through pain: if one member is injured, the others will feel an equal amount of agony. These individuals must become the lab rats and scapegoats of an incomplete system designed with world peace in mind. With their fates literally intertwined, the Kiznaivers must expose their true selves to each other, or risk failing much more than just the Kizuna System.
This should not be taken as an insinuation that all Kiznaiver has to offer is style without substance. There is value here, and Trigger has evidently tried to capitalise upon some of Kill la Kill’s prior successes, particularly with regards to its characters. Kiznaiver tries– it tries ever so hard– but in the end crumbles under its own ambition. It is an excellent premise that unfortunately never really finds its footing. Were it a full two-cours of content rather than the mere twelve episodes it actually is, the result might have been different.
Kiznaiver’s characters are likely the first thing to catch one’s attention. They are rich with personality, visually distinct from other characters in anime. There is no one that feels particularly bland (aside from maybe Sonozaki), but a number of them never go much beyond simply looking cool or being weird. Nico is a cute airhead suffering from a variety of mental illnesses (and quite possibly low IQ), while Yoshihara is an extreme masochist who orgasms at the very idea of pain, and exists largely as fuel for shounen-ai fanfiction and doujinshi. The protagonist, Katsuhira, is also a mopey emo kid who lets people beat him up without a care. This is about all that characterises them for the entire show. They are as one-dimensional as can be. It is bit of a waste, given how unique their character designs are. (And I do not only say that because I like twintailed girls named Nico.)
Some characters are more compelling than others. Tenga’s dialogue in the original Japanese, for example, is fairly natural and feels like something that could come from an actual teenager’s mouth. Chidori, as annoying as her scream-fests tend to be, is also pretty representative of how the average teenage girl handles their emotions. The writers of Kiznaiver know what they are doing and are capable of doing it well, but the problem is that the short episode count prevents these characters from ever realising their full potential. It throws a lot at the viewer, but never gives them time to digest it or room for the characters to breathe and relax. It is, almost invariably, the quiet moments that stand out the most in a story. There are no quiet moments in Kiznaiver.
I suppose it makes sense for something like Kiznaiver to be as short as it is, as Trigger puts a great deal of work and effort into each episode. It obviously shows. But that still does not excuse them creating a story and a cast of characters bigger than they could handle within the allotted time. For something like this, a more briskly-paced movie, perhaps a duology, would have been a better way to compress the story without sacrificing visual quality. But I suppose a movie or two doesn’t make quite as much money as five or six over-priced BluRays would. Anime is expensive to make, and Trigger needs to pay its animators so they can eat and have a roof over their head. I get it, but it is still a bit disappointing to see business prioritised over artistic quality in this case. If Trigger saved up extra money for a year or two through smaller projects, and used that to fund an extra cour of Kiznaiver, we would undoubtedly have had a much more exciting product.
Some aspects of Kiznaiver, however, are less the result of its short episode count, and more related to lacklustre writing. Most of Kiznaiver’s drama involves angsty, spoiled teenagers overreacting. Being rejected by someone you like is a sucky thing, there is no doubt about that, but it is not the end of the world like Kiznaiver tries to paint it. There are things far worse going on out there, and yet they’re traumatised because someone they had a crush on couldn’t reciprocate those feelings? Big deal. Give it a couple months and it will barely even cross their mind again. It would be one thing if these feelings were long-term, but for everyone excluding Chidori, they have had these crushes for a few weeks, tops.
Kiznaiver tries to create an absurdly complex set of romances. Every character is attracted to someone else, and often the one they love is interested in someone else entirely. With eight main characters and only twelve episodes, you can have a pretty good guess of how well these romances are handled. They get angry, scream and beat each other up when they find out the one they love is being treated poorly by one of the other Kiznaivers, only for another person to get upset in return, and another and another, it raining and dramatic music blasting all the while like the world is on fire and ready to explode. It is extremely difficult to care about their feelings for one another when most of these feelings (particularly surrounding Tenga) have been seldom explored and revealed only one episode beforehand, without so much as an explanation– or heck, even a hint– for why they like each other in the first place. Considering the experiment within the show is also manipulating these characters’ feelings, the romance doesn’t just feel lacklustre– it feels artificial. Chidori and Katsuhira are about the only couple that make any sense. Everything else is just a big mess that the show could and should have done without.
It is also quite silly and cloying how emotional ‘pain’ is shared and hurts them all as well. One of the Kiznaivers is heart-broken, so, hey, that means everyone else must succumb to the feels and suffer from heart-break, too, because emotion is equivalent to physical pain and not at all psychological, or something. There are other scenes, like Chidori confessing to Katsuhira in the middle of a storm (weather in anime being the convenient device that it is), or Yuta and the rest screaming at the top of their lungs and jumping into the river (because that’s how you deal with your anger?), that make it quite clear that Kiznaiver is not all too interested in appealing to adults. I can totally understand why someone who is around fourteen-years-old may enjoy and empathise with that sort of thing, but being twenty-three myself, it doesn’t warrant much more than a sigh and some head-shaking. For how believable Tenga’s and Chidori’s characterisation can be, it is a bit disappointing to see the show stray so heavily into melodrama territory. At least Kill la Kill was aware of how blatantly over-the-top it was; Kiznaiver takes itself seriously all the time, and it wants you to take it seriously, too. It forgets how to have fun with itself, and that is perhaps the most disappointing thing of all.
I’ll still give Kiznaiver credit for trying. Most of these issues could be resolved simply by the show having more episodes to develop its characters and their feelings in a more meaningful way. It would still not be an anime without significant flaws, as the copious amounts of melodrama make clear, but there certainly was the potential to, if not match Kill la Kill, at least come close to its quality. Kiznaiver looks and sounds so nice that it is easy to forgive some of its issues and enjoy the ride regardless, but, in reflection, there just is not much else to praise aside from that. I really, truly wanted to give Trigger’s big new project a glowing review, but I just can’t do it. It’s not there, and it never gets there.
At the same time, not everyone is looking for the next greatest thing. Having charm and style alone can please most people, and merely being a standout title within its respective season is enough to warrant a viewing. And, you know, that’s perfectly fine. I wouldn’t hesitate to give Kiznaiver a recommendation if all the person wants is a few hours of fun and something a little bit different. Because, make no mistake, Kiznaiver is not a bad anime.
It’s just an immensely disappointing one.
What makes an original?
Is an original a piece that spawns copies, or something that comes from within a creator; something that no one else has ever before thought? Have you ever had an original thought? What if, despite your thought that your idea was original, someone across the globe, someone with whom you have never and will never have contact with had your same idea and yet, weren’t able to act on it. Is it still original?
No matter your definition of original- Trigger continues to pump out quality writing and both new, heretofore unseen content, and new ways of presenting old ideas. This season, they pulled the trigger on a double barrel shotgun of new for the anime viewing populace with the zany Space Patrol Luluco, and the much more subdued Kiznaiver- and what a season it’s been.
Kiznaiver is what I would describe as a new twist on an old classic. One of the interwoven themes is referenced in both my opening and ending quotes- the power of friendship. Had Trigger just stopped there, they would have produced a trite, unimaginative, and unfulfilling series much like those that crop up each season. Kiznaiver is not content to merely focus on the power that friends hold over you, but also delve into deeper concepts of pain and loss, the stages of grievance, and the ties that bind.
Much like the multifaceted Kill La Kill before it, Kiznaiver tackles these themes with depth and sophistication. Conversations that outwardly appear to be simple exchanges between friends often reveal much more about the characters and their mentalities. The characters themselves also outwardly seem to represent the kind of one note stereotype- Katsuhira the unfeeling, dull, mophaired main character. Chidori the tsun tsun. Nico the genki girl, etc. However simply the characters are presented in the beginning, throughout the course of the show, we watch them grow as people, friends, and characters. In the early episodes, we see the group forced together as part of some sick social experiement- a disparate group of persons from different cliques, if you will, thrown together and told to “become friends” (whether through traumatic shared experiences, which has been proven to form bonds between people who might not otherwise associate- such as in fraternity hazing, gang initiation, etc. or the typical socialization process that people go through.)
We get to know the person of the characters, what drives them, their insecurities, wishes, and failures. Each has their turn in the spotlight, and as the viewer, I felt like most of these characters, even though many had larger than life personalities, could have been real people. They don’t have superpowers. They aren’t infallible, neither are they perfect. They don’t win every time, and the certainly don’t all get along perfectly, kiss and make up after every little thing. Like real friends with disparate interests, they get on each other’s nerves, hurt each other (in more ways than one) fall in love, fall out, make each other cry, and experience life together. Trigger, in all their savviness, also recognized the potential for relationships in the show, and makes moves for different character romances to happen, fall apart, and change. It’s not your typical ensemble where the bland, self insert protagonist has color coded dereotype ladies throwing themselves at him for no reason. No, Kiznaiver takes a more nuanced approach, and the characters have viable, believable reasons (some are not pretty, just like life) for being interested in each other like mutual interests, pure pity, opposites attracting, and finding kinship.
The plot of the show takes a backseat to characterization in what’s known as a “character driven story”, which is also something of a rarity in anime these days. It’s not all about some grand scheme or hero’s journey, but about the interaction of the characters themselves that matter. As mentioned above, I think that the characters experience the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) throughout the show, as a theme. As part of the Kizna experiment (linking people through sharing pain), these kids in the story, through their own relationships and getting to know themselves and the people around them, experience these stages as part of their characterization. Each is in denial over some reason or another, whether it’s “how could my friend have died?” or “this person loves me, they just don’t know it”, etc. This progresses as the story heats up- they’re angry over their inner demons, and it spills out onto each other- until the voices of reason, Hisomu and Nico bring them all to their senses (bargaining). After the climax of the show, they all decidedly experience a strong depressive episode, where the characters decide what they’re going to do with themselves, and about each other- having made themselves vulnerable and revealing their secrets to each other. Eventually they come to accept each other, and the story takes its final twist, which would be criminal of me to reveal. Suffice to say, it’s certainly worth watching to find out.
The art of Kiznaiver is also excellent, with the flair Trigger has for small details, and making their characters look fresh and interesting. There are a lot of stylings of Little Witch Academia, especially the hair, but still very within the modern style. It’s crisp, clean, and flows well, but the lighting is really something. Reflections, eyes, and anything lit look really great, drawing attention to details and adding depth to the shot composition. I applaud the casting director at Trigger, whoever they are- for they have done it again. Similarly to Kill La Kill, Kiznaiver is impeccably cast. The nuance and emotion (or required lack thereof) that was put into the performances really sells the drama and characters. The larger than life Tenga, fragile Maki, zany Nico, wacky Hisomu, hot and cold Chidori, stiff Katsuhira, and mysterious Noriko (and some nice performances from the supporting cast as well) all add up to a very well produced product.
tl;dr for my lazy folk
+ great characterization
+ fantastic art
+ a human drama, one that you can get behind, that doesn’t descend in to pointless melodrama
+/- your favorite characters might not get together
Friends are soy sauce! The omnipotent seasoning! – Nico
So which is it for Kiznaiver? Is it truly trying to craft something memorable? Is it seeking poignancy in the anguish of others? Is it studio Trigger trying to branch out into unfamiliar territory; a leap of faith, hoping their dedicated followers would comfort them when they fall on their faces? And really, should I care, even if they did attempt something out of a place of honest effort? Well, short answer, fuck no.
I don’t need to babysit a half-baked effort. I don’t need to try to empathize with a failed project that slipped out of the creators’ hands. As harsh as that mentality may be, it’s the honest truth. I’m the consumer. The only thing required of me is to be entertained and engrossed by the project they put forward. And guess what? I wasn’t. In fact, I was mentally drained by this synthetic try-hard and its relentless efforts to pull at my heartstrings; operating with as much subtlety as a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade trying to sneak down Central Park West. A good concept doesn’t make a good anime and Kiznaiver embodies that very notion. The message it chose to convey was fine, but the way it went about delivering it was the problem.
In a sickeningly idealistic attempt to bring forth “world peace” and a greater level of understanding among humanity, the Kiznaiver project was created to combine the shared pain of its placeholders by linking their sensory output together. The more these placeholders are made to open up to each other, the deeper their connection becomes; experiencing everything from the surface-level physical pain, to more emotional-based pain, as the walls that separate them dissipates.
If the premise wasn’t made explicit enough already, it’s essentially one big character study and self-examination of human relationships. And it should go without saying, but whenever topics like these are made your primary focus, there are some prerequisites expected of it in order for it to function with any semblance of validity. You can’t go swimming without a pool of water, and in the same light, you can’t have a character study without characters. Notice I wrote “characters” NOT “caricatures,” a distinction that Kiznaiver can’t seem to make.
If Kiznaiver had an extended title, it would go something along the lines of:
“Kiznaiver: Forcing Archetypes to have Da Feels”
These color-coordinated caricatures are so cookie-cutter by storytelling standards that you could sum them all up with one-liners. They’re basically human smurfs, each feeding into pre-assigned roles with little in the way of diversifying their default archetypes. Instead of swimming in a pool of water, Kiznaiver attempts to achieve the same feat with a pit full of dirt. A task that’s not only nigh impossible but also painful to watch play out as well. Archetypes are meant to serve as default personalities to further build upon. To simply present them as is without building on who they are as characters is not only conceited, it’s borderline delusional when taking into consideration the importance that the characters hold in the confines of this material. This isn’t an action adventure where the world being trekked is the star attraction, it’s a character study, a CHARACTER study. If there’s one aspect of your screenplay that you want to shine the most, it’s in this department. And yet, redhead tsunderes are pre-packaged in this anime in the same way every live-action movie and TV drama depiction of high school has the popular blonde cheerleader and varsity-jacket-wearing jock.
So when these non-entities are placed in a situation where they’re forced to open up to each other, there’s very little that could be done to divert the audience’s attention from the obvious truth. That truth being that there’s nothing to truly pull from these “characters” since there was nothing there from the beginning. The show desperately attempts to squeeze a modicum of emotion from this dirt pit, and when that plan fails, we’re brought back to my original inquiry. This anime is strong-armed into producing something it never had to begin with; genuine emotion.
To be fair, there are transient glimpses of decent writing in this dirt pit of a cast, that coming in the form of one character, Honoka Maki. If there was ever a character in this show that Kiznaiver didn’t butcher with its ineptitude, Honoka was it. With the introduction of her backstory, as well as the time dedicated to exploring her psyche, she stands out like a sore thumb, especially when placed in her vapid surroundings. Had the show handled its cast with the same amount of effort and care as it did with her, I would have been singing a different tune. But this sadly isn’t the case, and just as quickly as Honoka’s character focus brought hope to the show, it’s immediately snuffed out as the artificial angst surrounding every other facet of the screenplay further plunges the material back to the subpar levels that it was constructed out of.
If I had to offer any other appraisal outside of this temporary moment of decent writing, it would be that of the art and animation department. Unlike the rest of the show, this area demonstrated the talent found at Trigger that they accumulated from their time spent at Gainax. The color palette used was radiant and immediately draws the viewer’s attention. With storyboarding that kept a sense of flow in mind and a decent amount of consideration made in its use of color theory, there was clearly more effort here than what’s usually expected out of typical studio projects. The same could be said (for the most part) about the character designs. While some were painfully by-the-numbers, others were quite expressive and easily identifiable. At the end of the day, these designs are wasted on cookie-cutter archetypes, but they’re still appealing nonetheless.
One a side-note, for readers who’ve already seen Kizanaiver, the designs of the gomorin outfits take clear inspiration from the Maromi doll in Paranoia Agent. Perhaps this was done so as a tribute to Satoshi Kon, given his extensive work in the field that the show is trying to dive into. Whatever the case may be, it was a nice touch.
Another detail that, while not innovative, still deserves mentioning was the color of the characters’ hair. Katsuhira’s hair—which was supposed to show someone close to complete apathy—was represented with pure white hair overlapped with some brown, with the white representing an absence of emotion and the brown being the faint presence of it still left within him. The same could be said about Niko’s hair, which obviously denotes to the flamboyancy of her personality given the diverse, bright colors. Again, pretty simple in how the hair color denotes their traits, but still worth noting.
As for the soundtrack, there isn’t much to say. The only thing that sticks out is the opening theme “LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME” by BOOM BOOM SATELLITES, and rightfully so, given the infectious nature of it in accompaniment with the visuals presented. This could be attributed to the fact that sonically it has much in common with one of pop’s more recognizable tunes “Take on Me” by a-ha. At the time of this writing, a quick youtube search of “Kiznaiver take on me” would bring you to a video that exploits this, merging the song with Kiznaiver’s opening, demonstrating just how interchangeable it really is. That being said, BOOM BOO SATELLITES certainly delivered. Everything else in the sound department is forgettable by comparison. The only other thing worth taking note of is the sound effects used at times; like the glitchy noise made whenever the Kiznaiver device was activated, or the added sound effects given for objects when motioned. It was minor inclusions but still did something for the show than had it been excluded.
Now, what should have been excluded but ultimately made the final cut was a love heptagon. Not a regular one-way love, not a love triangle, but a full-blown love heptagon! And what happens when you involve a bunch of dimensionless smurfs in an ouroboros-like relationship? You get an embarrassing display of cardboard cutouts inserts pleading to each other. A potpourri of ill-advised confessionals that transformed itself into a deformed, blubbering mess. There’s very little in the way of actual characterization for these mouthpieces with legs, so expecting them to divulge genuine feelings for each other just comes across as half-assed. Some characters don’t even have much in the way of one-on-one interaction prior to these events either, and those that do get that time barely share any semblance of chemistry. This made what was suppose to be emotional climaxes in the story, into an over-bloated cringe-filled sob-fest. This was midday soap opera levels of awful.
The show steamrolls through all of this melodrama and artificial angst in order to deliver a message that no one needed help figuring out in the first place; getting closer to others runs the risk of eventually being hurt by them. This isn’t exactly an eye-opening revelation, this is just common sense. But what’s possibly worse than off of this is the fact that what Kiznaiver struggles to deliver in 12 episodes, is easily understood with just 1. This 1 episode I speak of is the TV pilot of Kino’s Journey. Watch those 20 minutes and save yourself hours of seeing a show drown in the kiddie pool section.
I told myself, as well as a few colleagues, that I wasn’t going to review this, due in large part to the fact that just talking about it made me feel mentally exhausted. But then I thought about what it would mean for those people that share my stance but can’t quite articulate the reason for why they feel the way they do. I thought about our perspective going unheard in the frenzy of hype and unchecked evaluations. Letting Kiznaiver get off scot-free to gain unwarranted appraisal became far bigger of a burden than simply ignoring it to comfortably go about my way. And so, here I am, writing this review for all those, who like me, are tired of these empty vessels being filled with accolades it doesn’t deserve. The only emotional response that Kiznaiver got right was that of frustration, as that’s precisely what I felt while watching it.
Kiznaiver is fine until it gets into the character drama, and seeing that the whole show revolves around character drama, you could see how that leaves very little in the way of value. Had the characters been handled better, had the concept not been bare-bones, had the writers tried a bit harder, then maybe, just maybe, there would have been something here worth talking about. But that wasn’t the case, and Trigger, once again, “saves anime!”
“The show wasn’t that good, but the opening was so nice though!” How many more times do we have to make this statement before we let insufferable titles like these crash and burn? How many more times would we equate trying with being good enough? The only good that Kiznaiver can offer is serving as a future example of what forced melodrama looks like. With that being said, ignore this one if you haven’t already, it’s a practice in tolerance-control that would only serve as a distraction from watching something else that’s truly worth your invested time.
MAL Score: 7.62
Naho Takamiya’s first day of her sophomore year of high school is off to an uneasy start. After waking up late, she receives a strange letter addressed to her. However, the letter is from herself—10 years in the future! At first, Naho is skeptical of the note; yet, after witnessing several events described to take place, she realizes the letter really is from her 26-year-old self.
The note details that Naho’s future life is filled with regrets, and she hopes that her younger self can correct the mistakes that were made in the past. The letter also warns her to keep a close eye on the new transfer student, Kakeru Naruse. Naho must be especially careful in making decisions involving him, as Kakeru is not around in the future. With the letter as her guide, Naho now has the power to protect Kakeru before she comes to regret it once more.
It’s a well known fact that shoujo anime have never been the most original pieces of work. They follow a very basic and straightforward structure, and more often than not end up feeling way too dramatized and overly-melodramatic for no apparent reason. Once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, right? Some people would beg to differ, and as to disprove my claim the adaptation of Orange reared its ugly head out of the deepest depths of shoujo hell itself to quickly rise to the top of this season’s charts, smirking all the while it does it. Watch as the magnificent story of Orange unfolds, giving us deep insight into taboo topics like depression and suicide, viewed in distasteful shoujo fashion.
The story of Orange revolves around Naho, a carefree girl in her second year of highschool. One day, she stumbles upon a magical letter that is able to foresee her near future. The letter was sent from Naho to Naho 10 years in the past in hopes of her younger self being able to correct the mistakes she once made in highschool. How did the letter get there? Err.. A black hole in the Pacific ocean.. n’ stuff.. I couldn’t make this shit up even if I tried, could I? Anyhow, it’s up to Naho to correct her past mistakes by saving the new transfer student, Kakeru Naruse, from taking his own life. As convoluted as the plot may seem, it’s not bad straight off the bat for lacking a sense of realism. Instead, Orange’s problem is that even that which is supposed to be grounded in reality feels like it isn’t. What I’m referring to is the lousy presentation the series decided to resort to when tackling both the internal and external conflicts of the characters, like Kakeru being depressed for the sake of it and Naho being the weakest and most helpless creature on planet earth, thus making it unbearable to watch her interactions with Kakeru as she hopelessly tries to undo the regrets that the letter spoke of.
Adding on to that, to say that Naho is not a very outgoing girl would be an understatement. At certain times she appears to be completely and utterly socially inept, despite seemingly being a part of and having a decently-sized group of friends. Such a protagonist works great for Orange though, as having anyone other be the lead instead of such an indecisive girl would bring about a rather quick and uneventful resolution to things as no mind-mindbogglingly unnecessary conflict would ever arise. The fact that Naho prioritizes the most trivial of things over changing the future is also a huge problem. She finds out that there’s a way to undo one of her regrets simply by writing “No” on a piece of paper. And what does she do? She messes it up by postponing it to go and clean the classroom. And even when she isn’t caught up in anything and has a clear resolution of what she’s supposed to do, she doesn’t do it simply due to reluctance. I understand that she’s a refined girl and all but that doesn’t mean that she should constantly refrain from going out of her comfort zone every once in a while due to her shy demeanor when her actions will literally dictate whether a person lives or dies.
Following the cursed traditions of the shoujo genre, it is a given that emotion beats out logic in 99% of cases. And as such, logic and rationality completely cease to exist within the relationships between the main cast. Fuck magical letters that bend the space time continuum, Suwa’s attitude towards Naho and Kakeru’s relationship is where the real supernatural stuff kicks in. I don’t care if he’s the nicest guy on the face of the planet, no person has the ability to undermine their own feelings like that solely for someone else’s sake, especially seeing as he knows Kakeru for like, what, a month? I’d have a difficult time believing it even if the two knew each other since birth, but at the start of the series they’re not even buddy-buddy entry level yet. The relationship between Naho and Kakeru itself often tends to fall into unbelievable territory as well. How unrealistically oblivious these characters are to each other’s feelings for a handful of episodes is what makes the series feel so stretched out at times since instead of going from A to B, their relationship has a bad habit of going on detours and wandering off to C,D and F. The “Oblivious teenagers” trope in romance anime has been oversatured beyond repair and it doesn’t help when the anime at hand has a set premise that it can’t seem to get to the point of because it’s too busy playing a game of ring around the rosy with its’ romance. Nevermind that they saw the fireworks together or held hands, that’s just what friends of the opposite sex enjoy doing. No implications what so ever.
Most of the characters in Orange aren’t good or bad, but rather painfully average as they tend to play into various cookie cutter tropes due to the genre at hand. Starting from the bottom in a literal sense, we’ve got Naho. She’s weak, inattentive to an unhealthy degree, lacks the confidence to say a single sentence without stuttering, crying or running away and has no defying personality what so ever. All of these things when combined essentially just make her an all-around terrible character, with her only redeeming quality being the fact that she’s relatively cute. You remember that one time you were at the shopping mall and walked by that small child that was very clearly lost? That’s Naho in a nutshell. She’s got absolutely no clue how to act or even think on her own and while her constant blunders keep the story moving forward, her lack of resolve ultimately makes her an extremely unlikable character.
I know it may seem like I’m nagging on her simply because she is a flawed human being, something that’s supposed to make her more realistic and/or relatable. Brief rundown: A character is (not) complex when he or she is not a perfect human being or close relative of Jesus-kun. Whether a character is complex or not is simply the aftermath of good writing, something that Orange lacks entirely. Comparing her to Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion would be good practice of that. Shinji, at the end of the day, is a well-written, multilayered and sympathetic character. Granted, he is not a likable character, but his personality is entirely justified during the course of the series and the anime makes the viewer very well aware of that. Naho, on the other hand is also unlikable, but her personality is not justified in the slightest, nor is she the least bit sympathetic. She is presented as a mentally-handicapped schoolgirl that can’t be bothered stepping out of her comfort zone when her actions literally dictate whether the person she loves lives or dies, and that just makes her a cunt.
Angsty Teenager-kun (Angst-kun for short) first enrolls into the story appearing as a mystery figure, as for a good duration of the story we don’t know much of anything about him. This is totally acceptable though, because by the time the nature of his character comes to light, you’ll be wishing he had just remained angsty for no apparent reason. After many not-so-subtle hints throughout the anime, it is then revealed that Angst-kun suffers from clinical depression. I liked you Kakeru, I really did. Due to Naho’s over-incompetence in every situation, I had come to view you as the hero who takes the initiative, thus making this story move if but a single inch further. Unfortunately, Orange seems to have a very falsified perception of depression and suicide and for that, Angst-kun had to be the scapegoat and embodiment of the writer’s complete and utter lack of knowledge on this subject. There’s also no real way to feel sympathy for him either, seeing as his other attributes consist of being heavily controlling and having severe anger-management issues. I can see why him and Naho get along so well. Here’s how Kakeru’s cycle of depression tends to play out:
Step 1: In case everything is going well, make sure to bring up your dead mother for no apparent reason other than to kill the mood
Step 2: Get pissed off about friends trying to cheer you up and unnecessarily lash out at them (preferably Naho)
Step 3: Quick, make a run for it!
Step 4: Regret doing so & turn suicidal :'(
Step 5: Rinse and repeat
If that wasn’t enough, they top it all off by demonizing the relationship between his mother in order to victimize him further, until pulling a Shigatsu where it actually turns out his mother was a living saint the whole time! You know, they were just taking her bad deeds out of context, when in actuality she really cared about him.. Fuck off. Moving on, Suwa is easily the most likeable and respectable character in the entire story. However, while you can tell that unlike Kakeru, he genuinely cares about his friends’ wellbeing, his stance on Naho and Kakeru’s relationship is far too idealistic to be real. While his goody-two-shoes persona does make him prevail over the likes of Kakeru, it also makes his character all too stale and predictable. His best moments are easily the ones in which he feels conflicted whether or not to act upon his intuition and snatch Naho for himself instead of undermining his feelings. Unfortunately, they are very few and far in between, as for the overwhelming majority of the show he simply acts as Kakeru’s wingman without bothering to intervene. No one else in their group stands out.
Setting aside their heavy resemblance to puddle-toads, the character designs are somewhat visually-pleasing and even help the aesthetic in a sense. The animation doesn’t really have any opportunities to shine as the most intense it ever gets is just the characters running away from each other (I just made myself giggle).The opening looks decent for what it is and the ending is mostly just a slideshow of still images, but the directing is really where the technical department of Orange shines. I was skeptical to see the poor guy behind Steins;Gate and Texhnolyze be reduced to directing Orange, but alas, he once again successfully utilizes many different editing tricks in order to enhance the atmosphere and the various emotions displayed throughout, shrugging aside any previous doubts of mine. If anything, it just proves his talent is being entirely wasted on a project like this, as a few directing tricks ain’t nearly enough to pull it back on its’ feet.
Yuck. The happy-go-lucky J-pop feel of the opening and ending made me nauseous. OST and voice acting aren’t anything too impressive but get the job done. KanaHana going “Eh?” 20 times per episode made me want to nom on a handgun.
It’s been made very evident to me that I’m not the target demographic for this show. Orange is like my antithesis in every sense of the word, from the obnoxious cast and generic plot, to the subpar theme exploration and lacklustre pacing. Trying to complete this series was excruciating in every sense of the word. There was no light at the end of this dark, desolate tunnel. After finishing it, my psyche feels like it’s been violently flushed down the toilet, head-first and everything. What was it all for? For the credibility of this review? Definitely not worth it. Apart from the directing choice, there was not a single enjoyable element in Orange to be found. Even the driving force of the show – The drama which all fans of the show (fujoshi, mainly just fujoshi) gush over felt surreal and managed to miss its mark entirely. Muh depression :< At its core Orange is an extremely character-driven show and as such, a weak cast is the biggest detriment it can possibly have. Poor characterization accompanied by constant, God-awful melodrama and a false perception on serious subjects like depression and suicide drag the series through the dirt, when it could have been much, much more. While the themes themselves are fairly intriguing as they are rarely ever brought up within the medium, the lack of proper execution doesn't give them much of anything to stand on, and as such, they tend to violently tumble over and fall into the realm of boring impracticality, where they'll soon after be forgotten. It prioritizes constant melodrama over everything else, and suffers heavily because of it. Every weaker aspect is subsequently amplified as the show progresses, and the only way it can be fully appreciated is if the doctor's prescription of sleeping pills is currently at a standstill. [/collapse] [collapse title=“Reviews2:”][CONTAIN SPOILERS] _INTRO_ School life is so fascinating and a typical shojo romance without a setting in high school isn't common, "orange" is no different but there's a lot more to it than just being your every day's anime. __PLOT___ The plot is quite open from the first episode itself,nothing much of suspense.we're being introduced to Naho a 16-year-old girl,about to attend her second year of high school abruptly receives letters while on her way to school,the letters are from Naho herself, but ten years into future, who ask her youngest self to prevent her "biggest regret" from happening and that is to save Kakeru from dying. Though initially skeptical, Naho eventually begins to read the letters as they predict some of the events that would happen in her time, the foremost being the enrollment of Kakeru (the main character), a transfer student from Tokyo, to her class. Kakeru is quickly befriended by Naho and her friends. Through the letters, Naho also learns that something bad will happen to Kakeru. She decides to do the opposite of the events detailed in the letters in hopes of averting it. At the same time, in future,Naho is now married and has a baby with Suwa, visits Kakeru's former home together with her friends, where it is revealed that they are attending a memorial for the long-dead Kakeru. What surprises them, however, is the revelation that Kakeru died not because of an accident, but suicide. Now it's up to Naho and her friends to save Kakeru of this timeline where the future of their selves failed. Mostly,we've been talking about how greatly the show touches our heart and I'm no different, but nothing is flawless and at some point,we've to be practical while judging a work as wholly and can't let our emotions get the better of us,the biggest mystery remains in this show is the execution of time travel mechanism. It's not like Doraemon use the time machine and deliver the letter to their respectively past selves from the future. Although we're told that they used the theory of black hole to interact with their past selves but we would never know how they did it,this part is so mess up and I wouldn't have complained if it was just a regular romance shoujo but it's a sci-fiction as well,we got all the rights to know and all other aspects can't overshadow it,Something things are better left untouched rather than bringing up unrealistic logics. ___CHARACTERS___ The story mainly revolves around these three Kakeru, Naho and Suwa,although we can't deny the fact the others characters are less important,but they didn't get much spotlight. Kakeru-I considers him the most realistic character of the show,it's not often that an issue like depression is highlighted in the story these days, but over here it's done precisely in the form of Kakeru. He's the type of guy who would never show the pain in front of others and will bear it all alone from inside. Naho- she's like any other girl of her age who believe in first-time love,she was deeply committed to saving Kakeru. Suwa-The most cheerful guy in the crew,despite his feelings toward Naho he tried his best to keep her happy and help Kakeru. Hagita- A creepy character but he did something good at the end. Azusa-The official bread girl. Takako-A friend,I really don't know what else to say. Who doesn't like a love triangle?Probably many but still I would like to bring up. In the future timeline, Naho fell in love with Kakeru but things didn't work out right and had much lesser interaction,meanwhile, Suwa couldn't control his feelings anymore,confessed to her,Kakeru died and they end up together but a feeling of regret always remained in Naho which hurt Suwa seeing her like this In the parallel timeline, Naho fell in love with Kakeru as usual and was able to understand him better and spend more time,while Suwa deeply in love with Naho knew the outcome if he was to confess his feelings,so he didn't let himself become a bother to their relation and ended up acting as the selfless good guy but no one is certain of the future. I don't know why so much hatred towards Kakeru,everyone got their fair chance in both the timelines. ______ART_______ Another breakthrough point for an anime besides the plot is the animation and over here,it's pretty mediocre. Although the background seems to be quite up to the mark but the characters design,movements are so sluggish and imperfect,it's really disappointing to see. _____SOUND____ The opening 'Hikari no Hahen" by Yu Takahashi is really splendid and set the mood for the next 20 minutes of the show while the ending "Mirai" by Kobukuro act as a catalyst to all those feelings we go through. And it's a anime with deep emotion and with the right tone,it did justice to the show. _____ENJOYMENT________ I did enjoy it and each episode was an emotionally roller coastal ride for me, but I somehow felt that the manga was better in depicting each aspect to the fullest. ___________OVERALL________ Emotion is something that fuels us,as everything we do is fueled by love,hate,passion,sadness;thus opening up an infinite number of paths which will inevitably change the way we see thing forever as every second goes by,Positive or negative there will be changes and that gamble of nature is thrilling.So get ready to ride on the feel train. It may not be the best adaptation right now but as a whole, it was worth watching and one of the best, the summer has to offer. [/collapse] [collapse title=“Reviews3:”]Adorned with lush textures of green and wrapped up in the endless blue horizon of the summer sky, Orange rests softly on the lips like a faint drop of nostalgia just waiting to be recollected. Approaching the quiet slice of countryside that remained dormant over many winters, we're flung back ten years to where it all began. The place where two paths collided but only one was allowed to move forward. A place tucked away behind walls of foliage, cradled in a valley older than time itself. There it resides, a small town that carries with it a sense of cultural simplicity that only the exclusion of the outside world could allow. Under cover of low hanging branches, the sun pierces its way through, lighting the path where a group of friends walks side by side to a future that lays bare before them. And in this huddle of jovial faces, we find Naho; a soft-spoken girl that has within her grasp a letter. A letter that will forever alter the course she takes and the fate of the ones huddled around her. And with the arrival of a new student named Kakeru from Tokyo, this quiet little town perks up, and so does the latent curiosity residing within Naho. A spark ignites as these two worlds collide, their fates forever becoming intertwined in the process. And so begins the tale that unravels before us. A tale of bittersweet consequence, regret, and seeking solace in the embrace of others. Breathing new life into what many would consider being a worn out formula, Orange proves that any set-piece could be spun into something wholly immersive under the right care. By only giving events a gentle push when needed, this anime found a way to offer freedom too noticeably absent in other works. A way to let things run their course. To give characters chances to emote in ways that feel at home with who they are and not what the screenplay strongarm them into being. To let what must be, be. With acclaimed director, Hiroshi Hamasaki, the man behind such works as Steins;Gate and Texhnolyze, taking the helm, this is immediately expressed with the first soft brushstroke that gives the world of Orange life, as things come into focus and we're formally introduced to the story it wishes to convey. After opening a letter addressed to her, Naho is rendered speechless by the contents written inside: "I'm writing this letter ten years in your future." Was it a practical joke? Her friends leading her on for harmless fun? Or perhaps it was something more profound... and maybe, just maybe, the words addressed to herself, from herself, was real? And as the day transpired the unlikely answer became truth and any doubt that might have lingered faded away with the realization of what she held in her hand. This letter was no mere trick; this was real. "This is the one day I don't want you to invite Kakeru," she didn't listen before, but now she heeds those words. Now she knows that this far-fetched truth isn't something to disregard. Whether it be something as grand as divine prophecy or merely an elaborate setup she's incapable of figuring out, what is for certain is that the letter wasn't wrong—a window into the future was given. A truth beyond comprehension. But what she does understand is her friends. The clique that always welcomes her with open arms. Free to look on at their antics in silent bliss: Hitaga's larger than life persona, as he fends off comments, being playfully antagonized constantly by the quick-witted Azu, taking pleasure in seeing him fluster behind his thick-framed glasses, while Suwa towers over them amused by the "married couple" squabble taking place. Takako hanging back instigating with Azu complying gleefully, as they all crack a smile enjoying each others company. Trailing behind them with a small gesture of content, Naho doesn't ask for anything more than this. These are the moments that she lives for. The moments that Naho feel at home. And with Kakeru being brought into the mix, it's these moments she never wants to let go of. Despite being indoctrinated into the group with ease, Kakeru remains the anomaly. He flashes a reserved smile, accepts their gestures of friendship, humors them when they tease each other, and even participate on occasion. But just behind his gentle expression, there's a feeling of distance. A wall that keeps them outside from the truth that's eating away within. A mind that's off somewhere else, a lonely place that only his thoughts are allowed to occupy. And staring back at him is Naho, fixated on the truth behind the smoke and mirrors. The truth she now possesses. Kakeru isn't going to be around for long if he follows this path, an idea that saddens her to the core. The pain of carrying that burden alone. A life resting in her hands. A life she cares for immensely, yet can't express without the fear of rejection, or perhaps even more unnerving, the fear of being loved in return. Determined to save him, she's forced to open up. A girl who's not confident in her self-worth having to muster up enough courage for both of them. And though she may fumble over her words, go about nervously even to make eye contact, afraid of being adored by another, scared to death at the thought of being yearned for, she still presses on. Whether she manages to surpass the regret of her future-self at one minute only to fail by the next, every fiber of her being wants to keep Kakeru alive. A love that's equal parts selfish and unquestionable; a love she feels guilty for, ashamed at the thought of pressing for answers that she knows will hurt him to express. A pain of caring too much to see him go but being too bashful to say what's needed to make him stay. Regret. Suicidal tendencies. Adolescence. Young love. Life-altering decisions. Self-acceptance. Self-awareness. Selfish desire. Deceit. Earning trust. Learning to let go. Accepting defeat. Perseverance. A whirlwind of dilemmas heaped onto her lap the moment she decided to take action to stop the inevitable. But is it alright to change the future, to listen to herself ten years ahead? A 26-year-old Naho, willing to change the decision of her reserved younger self for a future that would rob her of the life of a newborn child, nestled in the bosom of a loving mother's arms and a man who's in his own right the right match for her? This decision becomes about much more than saving someone, it becomes about weighed sacrifices. Nothing could be gained without the loss of something else. Is it right to gamble the happiness of others, and possible life of another, just to fulfill a want to preserve someone else's? Even the most trivial of occurrences could tip the scales in one side's favor. Fate doesn't choose favorites. The slightest swing of the pendulum determining the outcome and love of those involved. A fragile web that's only held in place by the desire to mend wounds not yet made and save a life that's not yet lost. The summer breeze caressing her cheek, sunburnt hair fluttering ever so gently, with eyes of emerald looking outward to the unforeseen outcome of her actions. Was it right for her to challenge destiny? Was it her call to make? Pensive feelings only interrupted by the presence of a partner. Resting his steady hand on her shoulder, a caring look of reassurance offered, Suwa eases the burden; don't worry, I'm on your side, no matter the decision—A silent exchange that says everything. These are the moments that are brought to life by the talented team staffed with seeing the vision through. With vibrant earth tones protruding through brushstrokes of greenery, a rustic, yet polish look that's acid washed in Hiroshi's unique stylistic choices; everything displays a delicate touch, fine-tuned by people who care about the projects they're working on. With character design credit given to Nobuteru Yuuki, the same man that lent his talent to Kids on the Slope and Paradise Kiss, it all comes together into one cohesive piece. Carrying this off is a soundtrack that gently chimes in, with the soft stroke of an acoustic guitar, the gentle thumping rhythm of drums, and doled out piano keys that occasionally makes its presence known when the time calls for it; everything here has its place. It's a soundtrack that doesn't drown out the actions on screen but instead works in synchronicity with it. Choosing to be a supporting actor than the main attraction. This aspect was also true with the opening and ending themes, with "Hikari no Hahen" by Yu Takahashi capturing the essence of what's seen when you visit the world of Orange, and "Mirai" by Kobukuro capping it off with a bittersweet performance that embodies the underlying emotions that makes itself more apparent the further you venture in. The two—art and audio—found a space that they both occupy with complete acceptance of the other, creating a true sense of symbiosis. This wasn't to say that the presentation was always consistent, there were certainly moments that faltered, but when it counted the most, it found a way to drive things home. Orange takes school rom-com setups and elevates it beyond the stereotypical trappings and downright formulaic reactionary content it's usually infamous for. Where most school-orientated anime see fit to typecast characters with a small stock selection of personalities to choose from, often being identified by garishly colorful hairstyles and borderline caricature appearances; Orange broke away from this cast-iron mold, going against typing and the very notion of limited range for what's supposed to be considered as "relatable" characters. Instead, we're given teenagers that look and act as teenagers should. There's no token tsundere or mullet-sporting high-school delinquents, only different people with their mannerisms and personalities being brought together under one roof. This unit all compliment each other, in a manner that's done without so much as outright stating it. We simply see it in their daily interactions. The socially inept know-it-all Hitaga's stubborn outward gestures against Azu's teasing, the two practically joined at the hip, refusing to address the source of their partnership. Takako's level-headed outlook on her friends, eons ahead of them all in maturity but won't hesitate to join in on "girl talk" if the chance presents itself. Naho's reserved nature, a person too kind to say no, satisfied with just being able to see others happy. And then there's Suwa's adopted role as big brother, putting aside his happiness to aid the happiness of others. He willingly becomes the anchor and bearer of unrequited love, harboring his feelings to allow another to blossom, all while doing it with a smile on his face. Each of these friends existing independently of each other but choosing to pool together where they have others that complete whatever they lack. Good on their own but better when there's a shoulder to lean on, someone to share their happiness, troubles, and existence with. The very idea that frightens the outsider being accepted within their circle. Kakeru admires but fears the very idea of their friendship. A lingering thought that he carries with him, afraid to open up to let others in: "I don't deserve it. I haven't earned it. I'm not good enough. No one understands me. If I get too close, I will only hurt them in the end. How could anyone care for me after what I've done? I shouldn't be allowed happiness." He sits there, eating away, wanting to reach out but pulling away out of fear. Out of guilt. But whenever he's had enough, ready to end it all, there's always a voice ringing out in the distance. His name being called out by the short-statured girl with sunburnt hair. A girl that tugs at him to stay. A girl he wants nothing but the best for. Orange isn't filled with characters spouting out summations of themselves, nor does it bother to hammer home points not expressed explicitly through dialogue. It lets the actions, the expressions, the mannerisms, the scenes, the camera, the color, the music, the very nature of the show itself, to do all the talking in its place. And while I've expressed nothing but the utmost praise for Orange, there's still a lot of issues that plague it. For one, details about the conflict itself. Admittedly, the romance aspect can get clumsy at times. There are occasions where it's awkward, and that doesn't count scenes when it was done so on purpose. With the density of some characters pushing it, especially when considering their giant progressive leaps forward in the latter half of the show, it does wane on you a bit, if only temporarily. A big confessional scene could be truncated for awkward teenage crushing by the next episode. A kind of regression that felt like it served just to pad out the schedule running time than it did to service the material at hand. While some of these issues could have been credited with the fact that they're teenagers and are not fully capable of expressing themselves to the best of their capabilities, it still doesn't magically make the feeling disappear. But of course, that's an excuse I'm sure many have grown tired of hearing, despite the fact that it inherently holds a great deal of truth about any youth in the middle of their teenage years. It's not always an answer we like, but it's still one that's acceptable for the sake of immersion. And then some viewers would address the issue regarding time-travel. Let it be known that there wasn't any need to try to explain the mechanics of the time-travel used since time-travel was nothing but a narrative tool to set in motion what mattered: the characters. But even with that being said, it doesn't negate the fact that that element of the show was never adequately explained in a meaningful way. Given the fact that this aspect of the show came in the form of a letter required some suspension of disbelief as to why more wasn't done to take full advantage of it. However, I believe downplaying the time-travel aspect as something that's not needed to drive its narrative or be used as a means to reset mistakes if they fail to follow through on the words written the first time, was the best decision to make. Had they been able to repeat critical events constantly, it would have diminished the regret and success of their efforts throughout the course of the show. The letter was merely a timeline for them to follow, but the actual legwork, struggle, pain, happiness, lessons learned, and obstacle conquered, was done of their own accord. And when their efforts, or lack thereof, diverge from what's written on the letter, it disproves any omniscience to control the course of time or predict it flawlessly, which makes this an example of a plot device not being readily abused. And when accounted for how often that isn't the case for anime that include time-travel, or other forms of media for that matter, that's a great accomplishment. And in a nutshell, that's Orange's greatest strength; taking things that are quickly disregarded, such as school rom-coms and time-travel setups, and turning them into something that could be engaging and level-headed. If time-travel is readily abused in most stories, don't make it a central focus of your narrative, use it as a guideline instead. If school rom-coms are infamous for having color-coordinated dimensionless personas, take a subdued approach that pulls from the same core values yet brought to life with personalities that feel far more believable. Orange takes the basics and proves that with enough care it could be reacknowledged as a viable means of storytelling. With the right amount of passion interjected, what would usually stop as just characters on-screen, backdrops for 23 minutes of entertainment, and a quick conversation of some piece of media, can now be transformed into a lasting impression that people could carry with them. One that could offer fond experiences for moments you've wished for, and passing instances of nostalgia you've never had. And as we depart, leaving the world of Orange behind us, zooming past the aged walkways, green linen jackets worn by adolescence; back through the cracks of the skyline hidden behind a wall of leaves hanging above, we know that we're leaving a place with a memory to take away from it. And as we become less aware of its existence, going about our routines, the world of Orange and its inhabitants continues on, living their day to day lives, making memories of their own and looking up in bewilderment at the endless blue, pondering as to what their future may hold. [/collapse]
4: Fune wo Amu
English: The Great Passage
MAL Score: 7.63
Kouhei Araki, a veteran editor of the dictionary editorial division at Genbu Publishing, plans to retire in order to better care for his ailing wife. However, before retiring, he must find a replacement to complete his latest project: a new dictionary called “The Great Passage.” But no matter where he looks, he cannot find anyone suitable, as making a dictionary requires a wealth of patience, time, and dedication.
Mitsuya Majime works in Genbu Publishing’s sales division, yet he has poor social skills and an inability to read the mood in most situations. In spite of this, he excels at having an enthusiasm for words thanks to his love of reading and careful personality. It is these skills that draw Araki to him and prompt him to offer Majime a position in the dictionary editorial department. As Majime accepts his new position, he finds himself unsure of his abilities and questioning whether he will fit in with his new co-workers. Yet amid the vast sea of words, The Great Passage will bring them together.
[collapse title=“Reviews1:”]As a reviewer, there have been numerous occasions when I struggle to find the right words to convey my thoughts. This isn’t to say that I didn’t know what I wanted to express to others, but rather, I wanted my message to be as clear and concise as possible. The right words can often make all the difference in how a reader interprets what you have to say. Words are capable of setting the mood, giving off tone, and in some cases, changing the very temperament of those on the receiving end. They’re vehicles used to communicate feelings, painting a picture for the reader, and naturally, when the right word, the right expression, is used, a connection between the writer and the reader can be formed.
Having constantly tested my hand at writing think-pieces and reviews, I’ve slowly developed a knack for conveying my thoughts to others. Of course, there are still ideas that are hard to make tangible, but through constant diction retooling and communication with others, I’ve made strides in closing that gap. And for many, the dictionary has been an asset in aiding in this process. Well, that’s what I would have said 15-years ago. Today, the dictionary—and by extension, a great deal of printed media—has almost been made obsolete by the internet and advancements in technology. Every possible definition, both contemporary and antiquated, is just a click away. But like anything that had a home in humanity’s cultural development and upbringing, there are still those that cherish the ways of yesteryear.
As convenient as it is to have hundreds of books stored on a tablet, nothing beats the feeling of pages between your fingers as you flip through a good book. Any MP3 nowadays can house thousands of songs on the go, but there are still those that champion the personal touch of vinyl. Saving a moment is only one phone pic away, yet the Polaroid camera still has millions of hipsters and enthusiasts alike shaking images to life. But those are just the popular examples, ones that most outsiders looking in could still comprehend the sentimentality behind it. But what about content that doesn’t register with most? Appeals, that, at first glance, feels very obtuse?
Fune wo Amu, The Great Passage, basically explores one facet of that kind of unique appeal, but instead of limiting it to the object of affection alone, in this case, the dictionary, it instead dials back to the core reason for why someone might cherish it, in the first place. An understandable position once you peer into the headspace of the main character Mitsuya Majime; a man who can barely mutter his thoughts out loud without clamming up, despite his devoted fascination for semantics.
A bashful man with an obsession for wording and their meaning, yet unable to utilize this talent verbally. A unique passion that runs contradictory to his very closed-off nature. I know what you’re thinking, awesome setup for a story, right? Well, almost. You see, as fascinating of an idea that this may have been, when it boils down to it, the subject matter was about as exciting as the subject itself. There’s a passion for dictionaries that are clearly there, but like the actual object itself, this passion was sterile and lacking in emotional range. And for a story about words and the various expressions it can convey, that’s a crying shame.
But before we go any further, let’s make this clear, Fune wo Amu is by no means a “bad” show, it’s just a very lackluster one. In fact, it contained some of the more realistic character depictions in 2016’s anime lineup, deciding to leave behind erratic personalities and commonplace archetypes for a more grounded performance in a world that’s pretty much aligned with our own. Where portrayal of emotions in anime are usually capped off with exaggerated interpretations, this title instead chooses to substitute that with nuances in both their mannerism and body language, effectively defining the individuals on screen without degrading who they are. Even the changes in vocal inflections are accounted for, a detail that most shows neglect altogether. And as if that wasn’t enough, to further sell these characters as proper representations of adults, the show adopted body models that are more anatomically accurate than what’s usually given by the medium, recruiting the talented Haruko Kumota, the artist responsible for the look of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu’s cast, as the original character designer.
For all intents and purposes, given this dedication to craft Fune as an adult-orientated slice-of-life drama, the final product should have been something I adore. It checks off all the boxes for things I seek out in works of this nature. Shouwa Rakugo was one of my favorite anime entries of 2016 for that very reason. So when I give Fune the cold shoulder, know that I’m doing so out of genuine concern for its lack of vision. For everything that Fune could have aspired for, it ultimately veers off into ho-hum territory.
Following the footsteps of an unimpressive, mild-mannered klutz named Mitsuya Majime, Fune gives us an insider perspective, as Majime makes his way through a crowd of disinterested faces. Each one of these people in the ever-shifting collective makes up the busy prefecture that hosts as the stomping grounds for Majime’s unsuccessful business venture as a salesman under Genbu Shobo’s publishing firm; a job he seems to be all at once perfect for, given his skill-set, but terrible at due to his personality. Passive to a fault and cumbersome in every verbal exchange he has with others, Majime is far from the ideal image of Japan’s working class. With nothing to draw back on but his love for words, there are very few applicable situations where he’s needed. What good is it to be a word-smith when trying to hold a conversation results in awkward jibber-jabber? Trapped with a burning desire to express himself but not gifted with enough gusto or social tact to do so, Majime makes no reservations about his limited usefulness, as he willingly keeps his head down to avoid any further degradation. So when he’s approached by Kouhei Araki to fulfill a soon-to-be-vacant editorial job for constructing a new dictionary, the stars couldn’t have been more aligned.
With a task that’s tailor-made for his dilemma, Majime was finally given an outlet to unload his passion constructively. And in the process of doing so, was also given a chance to warm up to people in a manner he thought was previously impossible for the likes of him.
With a setup that could carry with it the same potency as 2010s The King’s Speech, while allowing for a more grounded backdrop due to its quaint, smaller-scale setting, Fune had all the makings of a humbling journey with promises of catharsis scattered along the way. It’s the kind of screenplay that would go on to become Oscar-bait material in the hands of any veteran director, and for anime, another testament to its strength in crafting maturely handled stories. And in some ways, Fune does count as another entry in that category, just one that wouldn’t register high on my list of exceptional examples.
The story of this dictionary taking form was ultimately just a container to help examine the cast of characters in various stages of growth in their lives. Because of the daunting 10-year production cycle needed to create a dictionary, this time allowed the viewers the opportunity to pick apart the things that made the individual characters tick, as well as a chance to examine the small pockets of interactions that occurred among themselves, including how they all chose to deal with certain situations along the way. So in essence, Fune wo Amu, The Great Passage, was quite literally “the great passage” of these regular peoples’ lives.
Instead of following the accomplishments of someone destined for a space in the annals of history, Fune shifts its focus to an industry that gets no standing ovation from anyone. The unsung “heroes” in their publishing field. But despite that angle, it’s never really about applauding their efforts, as it’s more about showing unison of the ways of old with the changing times of new. And with a dictionary used as the vehicle to express that idea—with a young, soft-spoken protagonist who’s out of touch with the rest of the world being used as a conduit to deliver it—the initial message became far more significant than any single person involved by the time we reached the final resting stop.
Now, if the show had translated this idea as well as it sounded on paper, I would have been here today singing its praises, but as I’ve expressed before, that’s not how it worked out.
If I wanted a maturely handled cast of adult characters who expressed various emotions and understood their situation with sobering clarity, while at the same time being genuinely engaged with what was being displayed on screen, there are animated movies like Only Yesterday or TV series like the aforementioned Shouwa Rakugo around to fulfill that need. Both of which operated within a familiar playing field like Fune but done so in a way that any person of intended age could take seriously. Fune doesn’t share in that quality in the way that you’d expect it to, coming off more milk-toast in a miscalculated attempt to be adult in quality. So despite its ability to demonstrate restraint to allow for natural human behavior in its cast, the actual content itself felt unrealistically lopsided—an issue that’s easily identifiable once you key in on the kind of agenda it’s trying to push forward.
Fune wants its content to remain within a limited operating capacity of expression, as if it’s afraid of being too playful as to lose the audience’s respect. There are attempts to alleviate this problem, with characters such as Masashi Nishioka, who’s the “life of the party,” constantly prattling to entertain the group while also using it as a defense mechanism to keep from having to express his concerns truly. Or even with the tack-on middle sequences in every episode, that saw the seris use chibi dictionary caricatures as cut-scenes to help alleviate the monotony of the constant unassertive tone. Personally, I found it distracting but the intent behind it was still understandable. When the show was at danger of being too dull, this became its defense tactic, but when it came time to demonstrate any other kinds of real emotion, it diverted from having to do so in ways too apparent to truly ignore.
For example, when our main character found himself infatuated with a woman, instead of using it to explore facets of himself—as what usually occurs when we find ourselves attracted to others—it chose to take the easy route by having a romance predicated on one word of cluttered dialogue exchange and a letter chalk-full of convoluted word passages. This robbed the chances for any genuine relationship to blossom over a period of time. Yes, he took the initiative to get to that point, but for a show dealing with adults in a somewhat realistic setting, the conclusion was only viable in something pumped out by a sappy Disney/Pixar production. The show has the humanistic aspect nailed down but skittishly avoids the endeavors that truly make us humans, human. The essence was missing. The struggle was removed by diverting the content away from it or by skipping any natural rough-stage altogether. Would The King’s Speech win the Oscar for Best Picture by avoiding the uphill endeavor of the main character to express himself out loud? Probably not. Where other titles would display the gradual growth that molds the main character, in Fune, that struggle, that humanity, was quite literally time-skipped away.
And as a result, we get content that’s more suited to pacify the audience than something that you could fully take seriously. The investment was gone. All emotional range removed. A bad mixture of realistic characters given escapist solutions, making all conflict rendered pointless, no matter how much it tried to dissuade the audience from taking notice. It being so maturely handled wasn’t to its benefit, it became the problem, because, at the end of the day, it wasn’t realistically portrayed in all facets of adult growth. Instead of presenting the full-color spectrum of life, it chose broad monochromatic brushstrokes of melancholy and tender passages of satisfaction to box all of its content within.
The only time the show doesn’t suppress itself was at the very end, where it had scenes that loosen the vice grip on the characters’ feelings to freely exhaust that pent-up emotion that should have been there all along. And even then, these moments of cathartic release are still registered with halfhearted resolve since the momentum to them was practically nonexistent.
And again, Fune is not a bad show. It’s all of its strengths that makes the weaknesses too hard to look away from. You really want the best for it. You really want to put it on the pedestal as the exception to the rule. But with content that only half commits, it’s frustrating to have to give it a back-handed compliment instead.
From using the Ferris wheel as a motif to express the connectivity of life in a slow cyclical motion, to the very earnest appeal of its cast, Fune was a show that I wanted to fully get behind. Clocking in at 11-episodes, it’s something you could finish in just one sitting. With Amazon Prime’s abysmal marketing of this series, it has mostly gone unnoticed by many. And despite all of my qualms, I would still like it to receive a far bigger viewer base than it currently has. It didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted it to, but the show was still able to muster up all of its efforts in the end. This all culminated towards an uplifting conclusion that sees life going on with words bringing connection from one generation to the next. This may not be much of an endorsement given how much I’ve put the title down, but I still think Fune has something that shouldn’t be so quickly discarded. And if only for that reason alone, Fune wo Amu gets a light pass from me.
First of all, there aren’t any anime similar to this one, at least not that I know off and according to what I hear about it from other people. The greatest thing about the whole show is the reality behind it. The whole story and plot makes sense and so does the characters. You can find in Fune wo Amu the environment you would find in a small group working for the same department.
The characters all have their qualities and flaws which, once again, relates to the real life. The group working for ‘The Great Passage is full of amazing co-workers and people who you slowly start to love and get attached to them, and of course you eventually relate to one of them. The only problem I found was that some characters didn’t get the deserved time and development, but if we think about it, making a dictionary takes a long time and the focus of the anime was how to make one.
I like animes that inspire me to do something or animes that have a deep meaning behind it and Fune wo Amu is exactly it. While watching this amazing show I felt their passion about their job and made me curious about it. We don’t see people that love what they are doing everyday, but to see Majime and his team to be so passionate about their jobs, makes you want to have the same passion about what you will do in your future.
It’s truly an inspiring anime. Normal people, working together to make their best and have good results; people who don’t give up no matter how hard the job gets and how long it will take to get it done; people that can combine their private lives, like we saw with Majime and Nishioka, with their jobs and still be happy and not stressed… A show that represents what everyone wants for their future life, without anything extraordinary, but passion and dedication.
It’s such a delight that a show like Fune wo Amu tries to show an enthusiasm for dictionaries and words in general that most people usually take for granted. I like how it presents a metaphor of a sea of words with a dictionary that symbolizes as the ship that sails across it which really fits in the narrative well. Several obstacles are encountered along the way in making a dictionary. It looks mundane and time-consuming, not to mention it takes years for a dictionary to make, but it’s really rewarding for people who have the passion for it. The stakes are not that high and intense as everyone can just quit when they had enough but that’s not a concerning issue because the story tries to focus more on how the cast maintains that glowing light of dedication, not to succumb to the external pressures dumped on them.
The characters in the show are mostly simple but not to the point that they feel unnecessary and bland. All of them have roles in the story and they carry it out well. The only character that gets enough development is Majime who’s the main character. There is Nishioka as well, he gains considerable character development after he works with Majime for a while, but he ends up static after a few episodes later. Depth is not of immediate importance character-wise as it has become evident later that the show attempts to be more plot-oriented more than anything else. Even Majime’s romance subplot was only breezed by to make way for the story’s main objective, the completion of The Great Passage, in which his involvement is of the greatest. I like to see the cast as a part of something bigger, giving less emphasis on their individuality but remaining interesting and relevant.
On the more technical aspects, I love the character designs. I looked up the person behind the character designs and found out that it’s the same person behind Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu which is another fantastic show. The animation can get derpy at times but overall, it’s not very distracting. The soundtrack matches the atmospheric mood the show it tries to emulate. Imagery of scenes are wonderful especially at presenting metaphors and symbolisms.
Overall, Fune wo Amu is a show recommended to those who are interested with words, meaning, context, the overall semantics. It’s also a show recommended to those who likes seeing stories revolving around passion and dedication for something great and noble and seeing it get fulfilled in the end. It’s a shame that some viewers overlooked this hidden gem at the season’s lineup as I personally think it’s one of the best shows to have come out this year. Just remember the next time you pick up a dictionary that it’s the fruit of hard work and dedication, a culmination of human’s curiosity for meaning.
3: Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows
Japanese: 彼女と彼女の猫 -Everything Flows-
MAL Score: 7.68
For the longest time, it’s just been the two of them. “Kanojo” and her cat Daru are inseparable, having grown up together. Now a junior in college, Tomoka—her roommate of a year and a half—moves out of their shared apartment, and in order to keep her living space, Kanojo must find a job. Day by day, Daru watches her continued efforts from a cat’s-eye view, eagerly awaiting his owner’s return. When she gets back, once again, it’s just she and her cat.
Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows is a charming short series about the bond between a pet and his owner.
I loved Daru. His narrative voice was perfect. Even though we’ll really never know what cats think, he felt very real to me. And his relationship with Kanojo was portrayed with such nuance and care that I truly believed that his words were truly his own.
I can only say that, in the final episode, you must watch to the very end. Something very special happens, something magical, something perfect.
I started crying during the first episode. By the end of episode 4 tears were flowing from my eyes, unbidden and unplanned. I’m still crying now, just thinking of this beautiful and utterly perfect gem of animated art. It’s rare to encounter any work that’s able to convey so much meaning with just the smallest and most intimate of gestures. I felt like I lived an entire life in less than half an hour. And when it was all over, I believed I was genuinely reborn. And I believe that rebirth and reincarnation, if such things could exist, would be more desirable than any other fate. Just to know that connection…that summer day…that familiar face and scent once again…
Kanojo (or Miyu), the main character of Everything Flows, is a college student who is just beginning to face the real world. As with many other independent college students, she is facing some tough times, but what makes her situation all the more interesting is how she is being bombarded with incessant change. She just recently moved out of her childhood home, her friend/roommate recently left the apartment that the two of them split the rent for, and she’s had her applications rejected in her endless search to get a job. Needless to say, things are not looking too bright for Kanojo.
The only one thing that has remained steady and consistent in Kanojo’s life is her cat, Daru. Kanojo’s mother found Daru when Kanojo was still a young child, and, although initially rejecting Daru, she learns to tolerate him. Over time, they grow together and form a deep relationship with each other. Their relationship has now developed up to a point now where Daru recognizes the hardship that Kanojo has to endure. Although there is not much that Daru can physically do, it is clear that he empathizes with her deeply.
It should be noted that the entire storyline is told from Daru’s point of view, but it isn’t isolated to just that. By incorporating a number of flashbacks and cleverly integrated metaphors throughout the story, the screenwriters of this 4 episode series have created something that has just enough impact to leave an impression yet still not sound overly sappy. It’s truly just right: a masterfully crafted balance, as I would say.
As for the art and sound, they are both well done. An easy, breezy OP & ED and well-timed music to leave an emotional impact – what’s there not to like? The animation and art are very consistent and does the trick for this show.
Overall, it’s a great watch. 28 minutes in total may not seem like much, but it does the trick for the context of this show. The simplicity of this show is its strongest selling point, and after watching this I’m sure that it’ll leave you thinking about your own life too.
Overall Grade: A-
Author’s Disclaimer: Please remember, this is my own personal opinion. I critique anime primarily on how the story is executed and how well-rounded the characters are. This review is not meant to target any other review but was intended to provide a more holistic analysis.
It should be noted that this is a full-fledged review of the entire season.
Like i said before, the story is definitely the best part about this anime, its fast paced since the anime is very short, but wont fail to make sure you understand everything very clearly, the cat narrates most of it, showing us flash backs from the life of Kanojo when she was a child and her problems as she was growing up.
Not exactly what you can call the best but it was awesome, the animation wa smooth and the emotion behind every action were portrayed well in every scene. That is about as much as I can say about the art.
Im the kinda person who would stop watching a movie or anime just because they messed up the sound tracks for a certain scene, This anime absolutely matched the soundtrack with that heavy tone of watching someone fight responsibilities, I never really notice any anything if the character’s voice acting is messed up but am sure you will find that the sound is OK.
The anime doesn’t really use a lot of characters considering that the anime is from a domesticated cat’s POV, but as far as am concerned the character’s were very realistic, the way they talk and act is what you would see in real humans, absolutely down to earth characters.
Without a doubt this part takes a 10 because of the awesome story, a very short anime but for just the 7 minutes that you will watch, it will totally reel you in slowly, I like stories that are fast paced because i easily get bored listening to too much detail, this anime packed every up in short scenes that make you understand fast.
Well this review my not be of help but am pretty sure you will enjoy the anime just as much as I did, its one of those anime that doesn’t give you much room for hating it so am sure no matter the type of anime you like, this one is definitely a watch for any anime fan.
2: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season
English: Snow White with the Red Hair 2
MAL Score: 7.98
Shirayuki and Zen Wistalia have finally confirmed their romantic feelings for each other, and everyone has resumed their daily lives. Shirayuki remains an apprentice court herbalist at the royal palace of Clarines, and Zen continues his duties alongside his aides.
However, their daily routines are disrupted when Crown Prince Izana, Zen’s older brother, receives an invitation from Raji Shenazard, the prince of Tanbarun. The herbalist finds herself ordered to go to Tanbarun for seven days, to build a new friendship with the formerly selfish and haughty ruler who once ordered Shirayuki to become his concubine. Along the way, Shirayuki is bound to run into trouble once again, as she is sought by a mysterious boy named Kazuki, someone she has never met.
As a girl I really enjoy this Shoujo romance anime. It’s sweet,innocent, motivating ,love story between a prince(Zen) and a commoner girl(Shirayuki). Zen also has loyal friends who aid him in tough times and have fun.
Story wise is nothing too extraordinary, but is relaxing, the slice of life part is good and funny. I love how the other male characters have good feelings towards Shirayuki, but as a friend or maybe not?
but I was hoping there will be some quarrel because things is just too good to be true, is a fairytale like story after all.
The simplicity remains, same for the cuteness, the comedy, the slice of life feeling and the sweet romance. What differs in this season is the events, which are more interesting and intriguing. There is a hint of amusing action now as well. Everything about the plot was really great IMO.
Nothing changed from the previous season, everything and everyone is a pure beauty still.
Nothing really changed here as well, the score remains really good and a perfect fit for the anime’s nature.
The great characters remained, and became even better. This time we got an even better characterization for some supporting characters and the main cast shone more through the energetic events they faced and due to having some backstories revealed about them. These backstories actually explained some things about their current way of living and behaving. Due to that, I was able to love them, because each one got a unique emotional pallet and a trademark, and the result was excellent.
All the features that made me enjoy the previous season weren’t absent from this one at all. But some extra suspence and the flawless characterization added something more, something more capturing and addictive. I can now say that if there’s gonna be a third season (I SO HOPE FOR THAT *-*) I won’t treat this show as a way to spend my spare time, because now we have a great basis for a great evolution in a really entertaining story and it has become a must for me. Since the manga is still coming out and since there are still questions to be answered, I can only wait and hope that Studio Bones will announce a third season.
Beautiful, relaxing, light, simple but solid, interesting, funny, intriguing, upcatching and all the other adjectives I used in order to describe the second season but the whole Akagami no Shirayuki-hime franchise as well, make this season, and the whole anime in the end, deserve such a high score and a place in my heart.
In case you are not familiar with this series, Snow White with the Red Hair follows a girl named Shirayuki, who is an herbalist known for her unusual, apple-colored hair. When the prince of her country of Tanbarun, Raj, tries to make her his concubine, she cuts her red hair and escapes to the neighboring country of Clarines. On the way there, she meets Prince Zen and his two aides, Mitsuhide and Kiki, who help her when she’s in a real pinch involving Prince Raj. Upon arrival to the castle in Clarines, Shirayuki aims to become a court herbalist, working diligently toward her goal. Oh, and should I mention the blossoming romance between Shirayuki and Zen?
The art in this anime is as beautiful as ever; Bones really does a great job in this department. The ending theme, “Page ~Kimi to Tsuzuru Monogatari” by eyelis, is also quite a beautiful song, and I honestly liked it more than the ending theme for the first season. As for the opening theme, “Sono Koe ga Chizu ni Naru” by Saori Hayami….. well, it can never be better than the opening theme for the first season, but it’s still a very nice song! Unlike the first season, which I watched the English dub of, I watched the Japanese version of the second season. I must say, these seiyuus really nailed their roles, especially Saori Hayami as Shirayuki! (Maybe I’m just being a Saori Hayami fangirl when I say that, but still!)
The story is still kind of easygoing, but there is one arc in particular that may really leave you on the edge of your seats. As for the characters, along with the great character development for the characters already in this anime, there are even more likable characters introduced in this season, especially Raj’s younger siblings; they just put a smile on my face! Speaking of Raj, I never thought I’d come to like him, but believe it or not, I did; his character developed into one that was less….selfish, to say the least. The romance between Shirayuki and Zen was as sweet as ever, too, and it never failed to bring a smile to my face in this season.
Overall, season two of Snow White with the Red Hair is as great as season one. If you watched season one of Snow White with the Red Hair and liked it, I recommend for you to watch season two. Now that I’ve finished the anime, I’ve either got to read the manga or wait for a third season of this anime about a romance between a girl with hair the color of apples and a prince of the country she arrived in!
MAL Score: 8.01
Dismissed as a hopeless loser by those around him, 27-year-old Arata Kaizaki bounces around from one job to another after quitting his first company. His unremarkable existence takes a sharp turn when he meets Ryou Yoake, a member of the ReLife Research Institute, who offers Arata the opportunity to change his life for the better with the help of a mysterious pill. Taking it without a second thought, Arata awakens the next day to find that his appearance has reverted to that of a 17-year-old.
Arata soon learns that he is now the subject of a unique experiment and must attend high school as a transfer student for one year. Though he initially believes it will be a cinch due to his superior life experience, Arata is proven horribly wrong on his first day: he flunks all his tests, is completely out of shape, and can’t keep up with the new school policies that have cropped up in the last 10 years. Furthermore, Ryou has been assigned to observe him, bringing Arata endless annoyance. ReLIFE follows Arata’s struggle to adjust to his hectic new lifestyle and avoid repeating his past mistakes, all while slowly discovering more about his fellow classmates.
All episodes are well connected with each other and made me wanting to just watch it in one go as soon as I had the chance watching it. This proves the concept of the story and how well I could follow it. There were no gaps or plot holes for me to recognize. The art was fitting and the comedy elements were well placed breather moments making the whole show not too dense and after a bit of drama acceptable.
The big question is why or when should you watch it? Have you ever had moments in life when you thought: “Damn, what if I didn’t do this or what if I would had done that.” Ever felt regret about something in the past? This show will unwind those questions in a really good way for you to relate to.
To wrap this good and well written story and the animation fits perfectly. Best part is wanting more of the story to watch/read.
Story, wasn’t anything special. The duration of the series follows Kaizaki Arata, a 27-year-old neet or shut in. He gets offered a pill from some odd fellow, Ryou Yoake, because you know, when you meet a stranger on the streets you accept pills from them. Anyway, as you may already know he’s able to start his life over, from high-school again. Now it’s not one of those, starting over again from a different world, more so, main character Kaizaki is goes back in time, kinda sort of. He’s still the same age mentally, it’s only his appearance that has changed. Nothing special is worth mentioning or pointing out in this story. The whole neet trying to redo his life gimmick seems overused and uninteresting at first however, the plot for each episode would have some interesting developments that were actually worth watching. The biggest issue I had was that sometimes intrusive sub-plots began taking over what was really important in the beginning which was the MC getting the opportunity to redo his life. It wasn’t all that bad though, although the story-telling isn’t consistent, the characters introduced later in the story, Arata’s friends, their backstories and situations add for a very amusing, dramatic and emotional experience. From a comedic standpoint, the show is very light on jokes. Often times there were scenes that appeared to be made for laughs however, a majority of it felt forced and just didn’t work out. I
Pacing in the story is really slow, if you want to have a good experience watching for the interesting narrative, along with other features this series has to offer, then I highly recommend that viewers watch it at their own pace. Furthermore, please make sure that you don’t take users, myself included (obviously.) opinions and reviews and let them ruin or change your perspective of how you perceived the show. Towards the ending of the series, around episode 10 I noticed that there was a good amount of dramatic build up. There was a lot of potential opportunities for an amazing dramatic conclusion, however… NOPE! this potential was thrown out. I thought it would have made for great entertainment if the last few episodes focused more on drama however, this simply was not the case. Instead the last few episodes seemed like they should’ve been aired around episodes 7 or 9 or at the very least should’ve been released as an OVA or OAD. If any improvements to the story could’ve been made I would have liked to seen it focus less on branching out. Often times the story was all over the place. One episode the plot follows this character, doing this that and the other, next episode focuses on another character doing this that or the other. For me it came off as unbalanced, the story hardly focuses on the “Why?” and just keeps going forward. All and all, I wasn’t impressed with everything that the story had to offer. Perhaps if there was a season 2 in the works then it would more than likely help me come to terms with the conclusion. Although predictable romances were made clear in the story, I still want to see the final outcome without reading the manga. The story earned a nice 7/10 from me mates.
Art, animation and other related things were pretty bad. Character designs along with the animation quality for settings looked outdated. I thought I was watching something from 2007 or 2008. This would not have been such a bad thing if only the show wasn’t released in 2016… you know, the year we are currently in. In addition to that, the reaction faces and backgrounds used for the characters looked like they belonged in the late 2000’s period too. Over the top reaction faces with settings that matched them. Speaking of backgrounds, the settings for a majority of the locations, school, parks, festivals, all looked like hand painted cels from before you and I were born. Traditional cel animation… I hope to see the Blu-Ray release improve the quality of the settings and character designs. If this was rushed then I would totally understand. overall it’s just unacceptable.
I hope you like pianos…
The soundtrack was pretty bad. It was like they were on a budget or something. I didn’t really care for the opening and ending songs. In addition to that the background songs were not, in any way, special. Now ordinarily, I love pianos, if you’ve ever read any of my past reviews then you already know I’m a sucker for pianos, being a pianist and keyboardist and all.I’ll be honest though, there is hardly any songs playing at all for the majority of the time. I kid you not, there are like 3 or 5 songs played in the background, all of them don’t seem to match with whatever situations going on in the series. Often times it was as if the background music was added to prevent a scene for feeling bland or boring. It was too late for that though…. The voice actors were alright, I suppose. There isn’t too much to say about them other than they did a pretty good job delivering their character’s lines. What caught my attention in the sound department was how quiet the series is. Background characters don’t say anything. No talking from background characters at the fireworks festival, school, it felt a little too strange to me. I mean, it’s ordinary in lots of shows, however because the show was going for more of an authentic type setting, focusing on realistic settings, I think that background noise is necessary, especially since the show is very quiet in terms of sound.
The characters felt so one-sided. Each had one distinct trait about themselves that made the individual stand out, barely. Developing romantic relationships between the males and females were predictable and very, very, cliche. I mean, to the point where it wasn’t cute, or sweet, nor emotional. You can easily tell whose going to end up with who based upon their actions with one another. The character development in the show is somewhat minuscule. Chizuru is like the only character in the show that has any major character development and growth. I found this to be somewhat disappointing because I thought that if anything Arata would have been shown to have the most beneficial developments in the series.
Entertaining isn’t a word I would use for the “enjoyment” part of ReLIFE. If anything, any sense of enjoyment was rather weak due the inconsistent and often times “strange” way story telling… or presentation. Not to mention that somewhat inconclusive ending. While watching ReLIFE it felt more like I was just in it for the ride. Nothing for me to think about other than how predictable the events will turn out and what characters will form a romantic relationship. Overall I wasn’t too impressed with everything that ReLIFE had to offer in the Story, sound, art, and characters department. It felt rushed in those departments. Perhaps the producers were worried about time constraints and not finishing things in time, either way the final product just didn’t live up to my expectations. The series just barley earned the 6/10 I gave it.
To start off, ReLife is an anime that you can learn from. There was always some sort of tactic to get you interested, whether it was character development, conflict, or the entertainment. All-in-all, it was a very good anime.
The characters were so loveable and memorable, I even remember their names, plus got emotionally attached to each one of them. Their experiences really pull at your heart strings and make you love them even more. Even the tsundere character was loveable in this one.
There is conflict around every corner, but you understand where the problem is coming from and want to know how it gets solved. Most conflicts such as the ones in the story are not portrayed as commonly in other animes airing as of late. With this, I am going to have to say that it takes you back and gives you the feeling of nostalgia, especially with the music- mostly piano and jazz-, art – simple with cell-shading and cute editing used from older animes-, and of course the pacing.
With this anime, I kept on laughing or on the edge of my seat. Every episode either had me in tears of joy or sadness. This anime is a slife of life done RIGHT. The simple highschooler, middle schooler, or even those with full-time jobs will love this anime, relating to the characters often. The anime is very light, however touch on inner conflicts that many people face, including jealousy between friends and the “real world”.
I have to say that this was a fairly well-made anime. The creators were not afraid to take risks and produced a wonderful anime- and based off a japanese webtoon from comico at that! There were some minor issues, such as the sudden change in music. The modern animes made today have orchestral music or even the computer-made songs in the original soundtrack, but this anime continuously plays rather simple piano pieces to help portray mood. Another this was when in one episode, SOMEONE TYPES ON THE KEYBOARD WHERE THE WORDS ARE AND ON THE NUMBER PAD (usually on the right of the keyboard). (And yes I just had to notice that.)
I REALLY RECOMMEND THIS ANIME.
I have to admit that I was not expecting much when I jumped in to this – A slice of life anime based on a webtoon AND a completed tag when it first airs did not sound promising- HOWEVER, it exceeded my expectations and I ended up finishing the anime in one sitting.
PLEASE, GIVE IT A CHANCE.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
2. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season
3. Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows
4. Fune wo Amu
7. Honobono Log
8. Sousei no Onmyouji
9. Nijiiro Days
10. Macross Δ