They’re the best Anime that 2015 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor – Exodus, Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo, Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX, and more!
10: Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor – Exodus
Japanese: 蒼穹のファフナー Dead Aggressor EXODUS
MAL Score: 7.38
2150 AD. The battle against the silicon-based Festums from outer space reaches a new phase. Fragments of the North Pole Mir were scattered throughout the world. Eventually, they began to act on their own as independent Mirs. Most hated humanity and attacked them, but some chose to coexist with mankind. Some with the same way of thinking existed within the human race, as well: those who were both human and Festum. They added to the chaos of the battle and brought about even more hatred.
For newbies do watch the old prequels before watching this or you’ll have a hard time Google-ing for details.
*the EXTENDED episode 1 is a must watch,further explanation makes everything in the first half more reasonable.
Basically it’s about mecha fighting. The plot is a continuation of last season(the old sequel and the movie) , sacrifice and peace.
In the new season more people of the D Island have joined the pilot squad. They become stronger and gain new abilities to make them stand against the now-stronger silicon-liked monsters: Festum.
The duo are back on their Fafners to join the fight. And the old squad.
The main point of the plot is still the interaction with the outside world-the remnants of humanity. And all the tragedies happen during the interaction.
Just good-ol Fafner, if that’s all you ask.
The start-up of the show is kind of slow. Too much introduction is spent on the new guys. But the new guys are bland, compare to the still awesome and kicking-ass old squad.
Little reference is made towards the prequels. Which is kind of good as it won’t further stretch the thin and boring first half.
But the magnificent ending of the first half overturns everything. The awesomeness of Kazuki and Soushi/Mark Sein and Mark Nicht overwhelmingly saves the series.
The new Fafners are quite interesting on their own too. But what’s more interesting is the price the new crew need to pay to pilot their uber-powerful Fafners to protect their Island.
Honestly the graphics looks dated. When compare to the old prequel, the HD-remake-feeling is real, but below than average when compare to the new series. The character design is kind of ugly when something in Aldnoah.Zero comes into mind.
The Fafners are still rocking well, it’s just feeling old.
Guess that what you will get when try to continue something from ten years ago, or budget?
The soundtracks are awesome. Angela give their best again.
Is it better than the epic Shangri-La and Separation? Never.
Exist,the OP is typical Angela scream-Rock-and roll. Works everytime when the main guys are in action to kick some silicon arses. Just pure aweesomeness.
The ED is average. Sad and emotional.
Exodus is meant for fans of the original prequels.
I see no point in making a sequel after so long but Xebec made it. And it’s brilliant when Kazuki uses Mark Sein again. So kudos to them.
And I don’t think one should watch this before watching the old season 1 and Heaven and Earth movie. It’s pointless as Exodus doesn’t spend much time to explain the terminology and stuffs. Have fun Google-ing if you want to.
Anyway it is an enjoyful season. Hope for more awesomeness on the second part of Exodus.
Here we pick up with our protagonists of the original series, Kazuki, Minashiro and the rest of their generation are now a few years older and we get introduced to the next generation of pilots – these new characters pale in comparison, but are still pretty good.
Intermittently narrated in a past tense by Minashiro’s intelligent and honest voice, you’ll get the ominous sense of rising dread. “Something bad is gonna happen and humankind will be dragged kicking and screaming to their doom.” Was a thought which never floated far from the surface all throughout and more so into the next series.
Regardless for its mediocre art style, the sound track was ever more magnificent. Whenever I felt like pulling the plug and never coming back, the music continued to draw me in – it was the intro which made me wade through the original Fafner in the first place.
In many ways, I believe this is better than the prequels, however, you’ll need to watch them in order to make any sense. It still suffers from the unexplained, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s an enjoyable, comprehensible, emotional experience.
The characters are great. The music is great. The art isn’t dislikable. The story is pretty good and it manages to maintain the same foreboding nature all throughout. If you’ve got enough time, patience, an appreciation of the abstract and a somewhat sadistic nature which doesn’t mind seeing your favourite characters dragged through a painfully slow hellish experience, I recommend it.
I just found this anime on HS and decided to give it a go, and it actually worthed it.
The Anime seems too good and inspiring, I really liked how it starts being narrated by someone who says he doesn’t exist in the world already, when I was watching the episode I got the feeling that this anime is kinda combination of ” Wings Of Gundam ” and ” Attack On Titans ”
Story : I dunno anything about the story yet, so I can’t judge it atm
Art : 9 / 10
It seemed very descent to me, the art is almost perfect, I didn’t see any defects so far, and just so u know, I’ve been watching the episode on my 3D TV, and I liked how it actually seemed in 3D
Sound : I didn’t really see the opening nor the ending so I can’t judge this atm
Character : Well the characters seemed good for me, but I can’t judge this atm
Enjoyment : Well, despite of not being really able to judge the anime, I really enjoyed the 1st episode
Overall : Well, I can’t judge the anime overall, but I’m sure I’m gonna give this anime more than 7 / 10 in the end
The Review isn’t completed yet, it’s kinda seed, so It’s gonna be updated as the Anime progresses, sorry for my English, it kinda sucks, and this is one of my first reviews so I’m a bit confused, I can’t really judge animes well, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy this episode if u like animes that contain machines like Gundam or Giants like Attack On Titans
9: Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo
English: Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon
Japanese: クロスアンジュ 天使と竜の輪舞〈ロンド〉
MAL Score: 7.40
Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi is the first princess of the noble Misurugi Empire. The kingdom has seen great power and prosperity due to the advancement of the revolutionary technology known as “Mana,” an abstract bending of light that has reduced the world’s problems of war and pollution to a timeless peace.
However, not all are blessed with the ability to wield Mana. Those who cannot are labeled “Norma,” outcasts of society who are considered a threat to civilization and live under constant persecution, and Angelise herself is one of many who want the Norma exterminated. But as Angelise’s sixteenth birthday commences, it is discovered in a shocking revelation that she is actually a Norma. Chaos ensues, the public is outraged, and the once adored princess is exiled to Arzenal: a remote military base where Normas are forced into conscription.
Now, the former royal must adapt to a harsh and vastly different lifestyle; piloting mechanical robots known as “Paramail” to fend off large, devastating beasts referred to as DRAGONs. However, a sinister truth about these savage creatures threatens to change everything.
“Ha, I bet those glass-eyed imbeciles are getting bored, let’s put in another lesbian threesome.”
“No, not yet. Only after we show the loli whipping someone again.”
That said, it’s one of the best things I’ve seen out of this studio in years. With a big “Fuck you, Sunrise.”, let’s go into this.
Cross Ange is a lot of different things. Cross Ange is a magical princess show about knights and dragons. Cross Ange is a prison drama. Cross Ange is Mean Girls. Cross Ange is borderline yuri hentai. Cross Ange is Gundam Seed. Cross Ange is a catharsis for the type of person who has a Fetlife account. Cross Ange is what would happen if you made a Princess Peach anime starring Ronda Rousey. Cross Ange is proof that not only will Mizuki Nana play any role, but that she is also good at it. Cross Ange is anime madlibs where your only word choices are “lesbians”, “dragons” and “kill”.
The actual premise of the story is that a pampered princess named Angelise, a thoroughly awful person, is thrown out of her castle and put in an all-ladies jail when it’s found out that she’s a fraud. She’s then forced to pilot a Gundam and fight dragons, because. And then she’s bullied, molested or beaten up a lot, until she finally becomes “Ange”, the greatest main character to ever appear in a Sunrise mecha show. Then the story becomes about rebellion, alternate timelines and dimensions, fighting god, virtual realities, and uhhhhh… Yeah. The story progresses through a flurry of ridiculous plot twists, comically evil villainous acts, and lesbian sex scenes. It’s certainly not boring, but you will hate yourself for watching it. One of my favorite things about this series is what they do with the episode previews, where the characters break the 4th wall and banter about how ridiculous all this shit is.
My other favorite thing is that there are dragons in this show. But they’re not dragons, they’re DRAGONs, and they’re called that because they’re DRAGONs and not because they’re dragons.
But really, the legitimate thing you’re watching this for is Ange. Ange is amazing. She’s logical, pessimistic, she cheats, she’ll insult you and everything you stand for, disarm you and then shoot you through the face, twice. She’s so out of the norm for an anime protagonist I can barely deal. She doesn’t want harmony, she wants destruction. She wants to demolish everything that’s wronged her. She’s not a victim. The show is called “Cross Ange” because she’s cross about 90% of the time. She is the one who knocks.
The rest of the cast is surprisingly good too. Cross Ange does a competent job at giving you multifaceted, developing characters to feel things about, even if those feelings are mostly hatred and/or pity. The other central females are almost all emotionally damaged in some way or another, and are in contrast to Ange, very fragile people. I thought this was very interesting, because not only is Ange a strong, domineering, unbreakable character on her own, but those qualities shine even more when you slowly see the deep-seated problems with everyone around her.
This series only has like two male characters. One of them is Kira Yamato from Gundam Seed, except that he’s completely useless and a stooge 90% of the time. If you’re ever worried about Ange being overshadowed or saved by her boyfriend, don’t worry, he’s the bottom in the relationship. This was also refreshing. Except for near the end where he actually starts doing things, that was lame and subverted a lot of the good things about his character and the show as a whole.
The other major male character is the central villain, Fetus-kun, who is also the most self-aware jab at otaku I’ve ever seen. The whole premise of his character is that he’s his own OC, and is looking for the perfect waifu. It’s insulting and hilarious at the same time, just like the rest of the series.
Animation-wise, Ange looks pretty okay at its best, and pretty bad at its worst. Gundam Unicorn this is not. The character and mech designs are also pretty bland, making the series not seem like anything relevant when looked at out-of-context.
The audio’s good. Nothing to write home about. You get a bunch of Mizuki Nana and stuff. I can’t recall much of the BGM at all even though I watch this series week by week. The recurring insert song sung by Ange is pretty memorable.
Cross Ange is a big damn spectacle with one of the best female leads in any anime. It’s ridiculous and stupid, and even Sunrise probably hates you for watching it, so that means you should.
Story – 9, The story of this anime centers around a girl, Ange a royal princess, who at her coming of age ceremony is shown to be a Norma, a person not considered human in a society where everyone is using mana to control everything around them, thus making life easier. Everything falls into chaos, many sad things happen around her and after that she is sent to Arsenal, no, not the team, but a place where all Norma are disposed of, or so was believed. A lot of whining, hundreds of screams, enough to make you wish she was killed right on the spot. After a few episodes no one would wish the same thing. Not only because her character became a lot more interesting, but because the purpose of Arsenal is becoming clearer.The story becomes more and more complex as time passes so it should be impossible for someone to try to present the story in only a few words. There are betrayals, there is love, there is friendship, sadness,quite a lot of yuri, and we have an awesome antagonist who appears at the right moment. Still, its not like everything was perfect. There are a few blanks in the story, blanks that not only were not explained but it felt like a railway was missing some parts. For better or worse, we were made to forget about this and move on. I don’t know if that part is to be explained in a movie, ova or maybe a second season, but it certainly needs one to explain a few missing parts without going back to the plot of the first season. Its the best ending for this anime and I really do not wish for everything to repeat in the same world as before.
Now, after the story comes the art.
Art – 9, Sometimes I wonder, how should we describe art? Some anime have such an ugly art that it would not be a surprise of everyone to hate that anime, but instead there are fans saying it receives a ten just because they feel like it fits. Sadly, I do not have the same opinion. Art is about beauty, about fluidity, about complexity, about impact. This anime excels at most, but some may say they could be even better just because .. . Anyway, every characters, robot, dragon looked awesome. Especially the dragons which didn’t try to fit in the same criteria we were used to. Each battle was like a movie. They can make you forget to blink or breath. The only problem was its too fast pace. They moved to fast from one place to another and because of this it became tiresome to try to take in everything and instead were are left with the decision to only concentrate only on a few things forgetting about the rest.
Sound – 10, extremely enjoyable. The bgm is very important, but its true role is to make you feel attracted to the story, which this one did. If a bgm attracts to much attention, be it good or bad, then it failed in its purpose. Some forget about this and rate it poorly or better only based on this. The ost, op, ed and especially the seyuu’s are the most important. And all of them are doing their job perfectly.
Characters – 10, Vivid, strong, beautifully. Each and everyone of them had what you could call charm. Their personalities, feelings, point of view were attractive mostly because there are so many that its impossible to not see at least one that shared your emotions and state of mind. I can say that in my opinion this anime strongest point were the characters.
Enjoyment – 9, there is not much to say about this. It was a gem found in the garbage. If you can watch it with an open mind you will not only not regret doing it but you are also going to remember it as one of the most surprising anime in the entire history.
Overall – 9, The story was not perfect, this is clear. A story that is short but also complex can hardly manage what Cross Ange did. Its divergent points were not only large in numbers, but also had its own characters which had to do their job in a way that wouldn’t hinder the progress of the story. I’m going to re-watch it later this year for sure. Until then I can only recommend it to anyone who loves anime.
You can read my overall + my final thoughts/notes at the very bottom of the review if you’re feeling lazy and just want some quick feedback on the anime.
I can’t lie the first 5 episodes was extremely hard to get through for many which lead to the anime being dropped early on, and also given a poor rating due to its evaluation being solely based off of these first 5 episodes. It is now one of the animes I look forward to watching every week, almost as much as “Your Lie in April”.
Anyways, on with the review!
The setting of the anime is that of a dystopia, it follows a Princess (Ange) who is stripped of all her rights after being revealed that she is a norma (which are like unwanted humans due to their inability to use “mana”). This is one of the weaker points of the anime, although the story isn’t bad, it wasn’t done correctly for to be anything too special. Don’t get me wrong, the story isn’t boring in anyway and is fairly interesting, just not above and beyond (hence the 7).
A plus for the anime would be the unexpected twist and turns they have which sometimes really caught me by surprise, they often leave you wondering what may happen in the future. Overall its a decent story, but nothing too amazing.
Honestly the art is pretty good the characters, background, “ragna-mail”, and pretty much everything looks like it was done quite well. The animation is quite fluid and well done, and I honestly have nothing to complain about in this section. The art isn’t exceptionally beautiful but it’s pretty good, although you can notice the budget slipping in some scenes, but overall the art for all the characters + most of the animation is very crisp.
One of the reasons why you SHOULD watch this anime. The sound track that they have is amazing in my opinion, both their OST and their opening/ending songs. Their use of music is on point for most of the anime, although there were a couple of times I felt that the music could have been used more effectively. I read one of the other reviews saying how the anime’s OST + openings/endings were bad, please don’t listen to them and give it a chance BECAUSE THE OST IS AMAZING!
Yeah so Ange is possibly one of the most BAD ASS female leads I’ve seen in a while. She is extremely strong willed and self-righteous and that is the part I love about her. I REALLY like characters that can look strong enough to take on the entire world yet can look really weak and docile the next. The character developments and the revealing of a characters true nature/past is really well done in the anime, although some of the characters story could have had some improvements (cough Embryo).
I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching this anime, some parts could of had some minor tweeks, but it was a great anime to watch. To those who are able to watch all 25 episodes of this anime at once, I’m really jealous because you won’t feel the pain I had to wait for this every week. :'(
I’ll repeat this again, I love a strong female lead that can take on the entire world, but in the next second can be really docile, weak and in need of protection and support. Cross Ange is a mecha anime that is really well made, if you look over a few of the poor things that they have done. I promise all you mecha fans that you will thoroughly enjoy the animes OST, great animation, interesting characters and their unique background story (PREPARE A TISSUE BOX WHEN THEY’RE REVEALING SOME OF THE CHARACTERS BACKGROUND). They do quite a few plot twist and a bit of romance in the anime, however little that romance may be. But with respect to the lifestyle transition Ange has been forced to live in, the romance does feels really ‘cute’.
-Please understand that this anime DOES contain mature content.
-This anime is definitely one you should give a chance to (please at least give it until episode 6).
-Review may be slightly biased due to my love for mecha animes.
+Has an amazing OST. Really love their opening and endings + their music choice.
+Ange is possibly one of the best female leads I’ve seen in a while.
+Highly recommended for those who enjoy the following genres: Dystopia ,Ecchi, Mecha
+The anime has enough plot twist to constantly surprise you & keep you interested.
-Personally I really dislike it when something isn’t suppose to happens, not going to say who but when someone is suppose to die, they really should die.
-You may sometimes notice in the animation where the anime was being “efficient” with their budget.
-Although their OST is really good, their timing for their background music could use a little work.
-The pacing of the anime is quite good for most of the anime, but some parts could have been slowed down.
8: Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX
English: Symphogear GX
MAL Score: 7.43
Following the events of Senki Zesshou Symphogear G, Hibiki Tachibana, Tsubasa Kazanari, and Chris Yukine continue to operate under the command of Genjuurou Kazanari. Meanwhile, Maria Cadenzavna Eve, Kirika Akatsuki, and Shirabe Tsukuyomi are taken into protective custody. With peace restored, everyone returns to their daily lives; however, the appearance of the alchemist Carol Malus Dienheim and her subordinates—the “Autoscorers”—threatens to draw everyone back into a conflict.
Armed with a strange and magical power, Carol wishes to initiate the apocalypse and bring destruction to the world… and she is willing to sacrifice everything to do so. Against this mysterious new foe, the six Symphogear wielders must rise to the challenge in order to protect what they hold dear. However, will Carol and her Autoscorers prove to be too much to handle in this fight to protect the fate of the world?
Hibiki and her friends are now much more experienced in using their technology while gaining respect for one another with as new friends. If you remember the events of the second season (Symphogear G), they came in conflict with the mysterious Symphogear users composed of Maria, Shirabe, and Kirika. Now that their conflict has resolved, there seems to be a peace in their world. Or is it? Unfortunately, the third season introduces a new threat.
The third season establishes a story where the new enemies are no pushovers. Led by a mysterious girl coming from the world of alchemy named Carol, she wishes to bring the world into despair. This also introduces the Autoscorers, mysterious fighting warriors named after holy archangels who support her ambition. The story turns deadly as their first encounter with Hibiki’s friends show the testimony of their power. For what’s worth, the third season makes it clear that the new antagonists are capable of destroying the world. As the story progresses though, startling revelations are discovered when we learn more about their goals. As generic as it sounds, Symphogear GX does able to entertain the audience with its sheer ability to craft conflict.
Similarly, the conflict extends more than just the fighting between the two sides. There is an abundant amount of interpersonal issues as well such as with Maria’s background, Hibiki’s relationship with her father, Tsubasa’s tragic past, or Chris’ own self-doubt. Symphogear GX makes connections with the previous seasons as it hopes to remind viewers the purpose of what the characters are doing. By doing so, I think the show has a firm grasp at characterizing the characters. Unfortunately, the story itself is quite predictable with each progressing episode. Some resolutions are swift while the buildup can be a mixed bag. And like the previous season, there’s comedy in it as well although most of it has some ill-timing.
The show still maintains a nice amount of visual artwork. From a visual standpoint, it actually improved especially compared to the first season. Character designs looks steady and is resourcefully decorated. The transformation scenes are focused with a good amount of highlight. Fan service on most parts is light while replaced by full throttle action, most of which features well-coordinated cinematics. It’s also noticeable that some of the new enemies are almost unlike anything the first two seasons. Their designs bring a colorful yet malevolent intention with their presence. Finally, some of the newer battle gear that the Symphogear users looks quite stunning.
At the core of Symphogear is the music. It’s one of the strongest points of the show as main characters each has their own signature song. And on most parts, I think it’s attentive enough to keep the momentum of a fight going. Even Carol gets her own character song as well because she is the Big Bad. Likewise, the OST is performed with a lot of tense moments that dictates what Symphogear GX is – a show that combines music and action into a battle extravaganza.
Symphogear GX may have ended but it’s made some memorable moments. Its storytelling isn’t exactly the best but sticks to the point throughout each episode while getting the fans to anticipate for more. Anyone who is also interested in the music will find that GX will be a nice treat to the ears. By the time you finish watching this show, it might bring somewhat of a nostalgic feeling to know that it’s all over. It’s just a nice little present to give back to the fans.
I loved the first season, disliked most of the second season, and LOVED about 70% of the third season. The remaining 30% was either meh, or too absurd and poorly done to even be able to turn your brain off enough to enjoy it. Episode 6 of GX was by far the best episode in any anime this season, for what it is; it rivals even the best of the year. You know the feeling when the side-crew are getting stomped, not even Piccolo can help them and Goku is in recovery? He comes back and unleashed a flurry of badassity that causes your blood to pump and your hairs to stand on edge.
That was Hibiki in episode 6, it was such a great episode and despite the first episode being the best opener, and the episodes 2-5 being decent in their own right, episode 6 destroyed any of my thoughts that suggested GX wouldn’t be prime Symphogear.
Then, sadly some amusing characters died, a character is brought back from S2 as more or less a plot-shield to keep the show going, and oh my god was I ever wrong with episode 6. The final episode of this show was absolutely abysmal.
It literally felt like the writers were fed up with the show and just wanted it to be over with, the tense build up in the previous episodes, killing off the two new characters with decent character designs, all culminated into a “With our powers combined… GIANT FIST ATTACK!” which would be cool if there were a legit explanation for it, which there wasn’t.
Then you have a weird lead-in to a possible fourth season…
I was expecting to be really bummed that Symphogear was ending, after finishing it, I felt totally cool with it.
Not to mention that last scene…. that was really awkward.
However, for the amount of fun I had through the show, if this does get a fourth season I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, but if this were the finale of Symphogear as a series, then I don’t recommend Symphogear to anyone, period. That was one of the worst final episodes I have ever seen, and this is coming from someone who loves this show despite it’s many, many flaws.
GX left off from G introducing us to some new villains, by the name of Carol voiced by ”Inori Minase” and her four “dolls”.
In terms of characters, LA will say that for the main cast up to G, the main cast do get their own episodes to develop them (as well as their interactions between them), with special regards going to Hibiki’s and Tsubasa’s parental problems being dealt with. Shirabe and Kirika relational development goes full out yuri undertones as well as their misunderstandings from that gets addressed further, while Maria goes through her hangups of her sins (like Chris did in G) she did in G and finally Chris’ development as trying to protect Shirabe and Kirika, overall for the hero side things, it feels like many of the character developments gets swapped around with other characters (besides Hibiki’s and Tsubasa’s anyways).
The villains however there are only one to really focus on that being Carol and her motivations, it’s explained however it “nearly” went into a mess, if not it could have been handled a bit better, the four dolls LA mentioned before however are nothing but plot devices to move the plot forward. Overall in terms of characters, interactions and development, if you wanted more growth from the main Symphogear cast then GX delivers.
In terms of animation, once again helmed by Satelight, LA will say for the most part, the battle pieces were even higher detail than G (and all the more bombastically batshit insane at times), LA however did some rare facial derps/body anatomy quality dips here and there but LA can ignore it as it’s still “rare”.
The music once can get HUGE props for this season, from all the singer/voice actors of the Symphogears did an outrageously great job for their character portrayals and battle OST singing (those once again being Aoi Yuuki, Nana Mizuki, Ayahi Takagaki, Yoshino Nanjo, Ai Kayano, Yoko Hisaka and the newly added Inori Minase) where to the point LA saw the battle OST of this season being the best of the entire series, the new OP ”Exterminate” sung by Nana Mizuki is a personal favourite in terms of musical score, however LA will say that G’s ”Vitalization” has a special spot for LA still, Exterminate is at best at 2nd in terms for openings, the battle OST’s overall considering which character you like or the style of music, the OST is stellar and expected of this series.
Now onto the technical features of this season, in terms of plot twists, considering how much faster pace this season brings forth much more than G did, the plot twists just comes outta nowhere including an old villain coming back and just ruining LA’s day, LA “gets” the the plot twist and these kind of twists are something of a staple in the Symphogear series, but it really does goes from either “too convenient” to outright “batshit crazy YOU just HAVE to accept it”.
Because of the fast pacing however LA will note that although LA really likes the further development of the main cast, some of the characters’ development gets done pretty quickly not even giving LA time to breathe from certain character developments, those being Tsubasa’s and Hibiki’s issues getting resolved just like that. Chris however gets some pretty jumpy character development and a lack of focus at times. The other new character that got introduced to GX Elfnein voiced by ”Misaki Kuno”, however gets good character development and somewhat predictable plot twists involving her but she becomes her own character nonetheless.
LA will point out that the newer “gimmick” to this season that being the Ignite Module did bring us a new transformation that is oddly reminiscent of Maria, Shirabe and Kirkia’s previous Symphogear color palette just more sharper and the “use” for the Ignite Module becomes rather predictable as to what Carol is planning, but nonetheless it brings up lore that was mentioned back in the first season and LA will praise this little feature for actually having a purpose other than moving the plot (and instead giving us something of character evolution for the Symphogear main cast).
Now the fanservice is even more rampant more than G, with just more full body nudity to boob bounces, it however is nothing to rage about as although the fanservice is as rampant as ever it’s still rare and isn’t the primary focus.
The battle scenes however LA will be completely honest, that almost all the battle set pieces are UP TO AN ELEVEN from G, perfect example is the first episode of this season and the final battle set piece.
The ending by all means blew LA away with an even more bombastic final battle than G’s and did a nice epilogue of every character, in which they resolved EVERY plotline of this season, LA was once again satisfied with this ending although the little plot twist with Elfnein did surprise LA.
So LA posed a question at the start of this review, is this season gonna surpass G’s or be like the inconsistent mess of the first season, well…with all the nitpicking and praising LA had with this season. LA enjoyed this season more than the first season but only misses out of the best season of this series to G with some of the negatives LA pointed out, however if it not for this season’s ending it could have gotten to be like the first season’s or worse. GX is an enjoyable bombastic, musically charged season bringing in both the flaws and strengths of the previous two seasons and ultimately succeeding in giving us another welcoming installment to the Symphogear series.
LA can’t wait the fourth and fifth season~!!!
7: To LOVE-Ru Darkness 2nd
English: To LOVE Ru Darkness 2
Japanese: To LOVEる -とらぶる- ダークネス2nd
MAL Score: 7.47
The dispassionate, transforming assassin Golden Darkness returns to peer deeper into the mysteries surrounding her new life, while a sinister Nemesis manipulates her younger sister Mea from the shadows. Along with their newly discovered mother, Tearju, this previously estranged family quickly becomes the center of everyone’s attention. On the other hand, Princess Momo’s Harem Plan stands on shaky ground amidst Rito’s inability to confess to his longtime crush Haruna, who has grown feelings of her own.
But things aren’t as peaceful as they seem; an evil force looms amidst the innocuous commotion, threatening to eclipse the love, happiness, and friendship of Rito and his harem. Only the light of love can hope to banish the shadow.
“To Love-Ru Darkness 2nd” is just as entertaining as its prequels (To Love-Ru, Motto To Love-Ru, and the first season of To Love-Ru Darkness); in fact, the disparity between this and its prequels are, in my opinion, little to none. Unfortunately, this implies that many of its infamous flaws are also present in this second season. In this review, I will explore this season’s strengths and weaknesses.
To Love-Ru, as a series, has a weak story. After 70+ episodes, there is little character and plot development; for example, much of the content in each episode (addressing the entire series) is Rito stumbling or slipping while female characters are conveniently nearby which results in a perverted scene. He is then chased or lectured, but ultimately forgiven. This exact scene repeats many times throughout this season. I, however, personally enjoy them and laugh occasionally because the show is self-aware that these scenes would only occur so frequently in a fictitious world.
As for character development, if you’re here to watch Rito and Lala grow romantically closer, you’ll likely be disappointed; there is one scene, but they simply end up reaffirming those same feelings that they had at the conclusion of Motto To Love-Ru. Additionally, more girls are added to the Harem Plan; furthermore, the characters who, originally, never knew about the plan provide their views on the subject. It’s interesting to see different perspectives because some conflict with Momo’s beliefs, although I had hoped that they would further elaborate on their reasoning. Still, it’s exciting to see that the Harem Plan may not be as perfect as Momo makes it out to be. Interestingly, in this season, there is an antagonist (and I don’t mean random fodder alien assassins) with a goal (not minor transgressions like kidnapping). I was also pleased that the show didn’t feel episodic; there was continuity unlike To Love-Ru and Motto To Love-Ru.
And although it may appear that I dislike the story, I think the lack of progression is justified in some ways. For example, in To Love-Ru’s universe, only two years or so (maybe less) have passed since the first episode. I don’t know if two years is enough for someone like Rito to suddenly devote himself to over fifteen girls. He’s sixteen; marriage, falling in love, and managing the entire universe are things that most teenagers would never think too deeply about at that age. Moreover, Rito is portrayed as an average male student; his only unqiue trait (that is emphasized) is his kindness and reliability when you really need him. So in many ways, I understand why he feels unsure about these things, especially the Harem Plan. The plot makes this clear several times that polygamy is not allowed on Earth; this implies that, for about 14 years, he has been raised with the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman. Maybe he hasn’t thought about it until he was 7 or 8, but to ask someone to suddenly change their life values and beliefs in just two years seems improbable. As for character development, I think it’s rather realistic that Rito’s personality hasn’t radically changed. I never expected him to suddenly become a whole new person in merely two years. And yes, several times, Mikan does mention that Rito has changed ever since the arrival of Lala and friends, but it’s likely nothing serious as he is still shown to have those same mixed feelings (from the very first season) about marriage, love, politics, and the Harem Plan.
This is simply my opinion, and I just thought some of these things were worth thinking about.
My final note: If you don’t like the theme of friendship, you may not like this season.
Compared to the very first season of To Love-Ru, the art has significantly improved (I’m sure many of you reading this know that already). Nevertheless, I don’t know much about art; however, to me, the art looks colorful, vivid, and vibrant. I do prefer season 1’s art (Darkness Season 1), but Rito’s, Yami’s, Momo’s, Lala’s, and Mea’s faces are drawn really well this season. (I am in love with everyone’s eyes!) Also it’s interesting to note that the art is so stunning that when you see even a slight drop in quality, it’s rather noticeable. Usually, I have to look for these, but I saw quite a few here — especially when you’re viewing the characters from a far distance (which is understandable). Nevertheless, I was bothered by how bright everyone looked as well.
Another example of good art, I think, is the ending. The planets, Yami, and the flowers are all quite artistic.
I know I compare a lot, and unfortunately, I’m doing it here again. I only give the sound a 9 because I really enjoyed listening to Rakuen Project by Ray. Secret Arms is fine; I never skipped the opening if that means anything. Conversely, the ending, in this season, is far better. Kawada’s Garden is amazing; if you have some extra time, I recommend listening to the full version as well. The background music, however, wasn’t memorable.
Rito: As I mentioned before, in the story section, I think Rito is growing/maturing, but it appears to be a subtle growth. That said, if you watch the specials (episode 13 and 14 which conclude the season), Rito does something quite surprising and out of character (not because he’s drunk or anything like that; it’s intentional). I wouldn’t call it a serious change, but I like the pace of his growth; it might appear too slow for some, but I think it’s fine. One of my biggest issues with the character, however, is his passive personality.
Lala: Learns something new from Momo, and there is one other minor thing with Rito, but saying anything more will ruin it. That’s about it.
Haruna, Kotegawa, : Both characters remain static throughout this season, unfortunately.
Yami, Nana, and Mea: These three characters are the highlights of this season. If you like any one of them, you’re in luck. The theme is friendship. That’s all I’ll say. And if you didn’t like any of these characters before, you might like them now. You learn quite a bit about each of these characters, and I ultimately felt that they were no longer just one-dimensional characters.
Murasame Shizu: Even she sort of gets her own episode. Again, the theme is friendship.
Rin: There is more revealed about her character as well.
Mikan: Keep on eye out for her. She has some great moments this season.
Momo: I believe Momo is a character that does not need to change (personality wise). Her presence in the story is what drives a lot of these character actions in the second season. If you liked Momo in Darkness season 1, I think you’ll appreciate her role here as well. Her alluring mischievous personality is always fun to watch.
Overall, I think it’s fine that a lot of these characters are still the same after all these years; at least they’re consistent. But until something a little more significant happens to Rito, Lala, and friends, all I can say is that the characters, this season, were good.
As I’ve said before, I’m a huge fan (Momo and Yami fan) of the series, so much that I ended up watching the first four uncensored episodes and finished the rest of it (along with the specials) in one sitting. Originally, I had planned on waiting until all 14 episodes were available uncensored, but I simply couldn’t wait; in fact, I plan on re-watching those 10 episodes again once it’s released on Blu-Ray.
To Love-Ru is an anime that truly tests the limits of the ecchi genre; it is the epitome of a borderline hentai. For this reason, you really have to love the characters to continue loving this show. I know I didn’t say much, but if you’ve seen the first season (which I assumed you have) you already know exactly how these characters are. In lieu of a summary, I thought it might be best to tell you what season two has to offer. Honestly, had I not enjoyed the show as much as I did, I’d give this season a 6.5/10.
Anyways, I suggest giving at least the first uncensored episode a try!
Thanks for reading.
The story is not about the wedding Rito and Lala (protagonists) as in the first season, but it shows more about the other girls. The girls won at least two episodes prominent with Rito, showing why they like him and each showing a different way of acting.
It is impossible not to like the girls, they do not have the same mode of operation as in “certain anime” that all girls like the protagonist and are rubbing it, they show that like the Rito of different and indirectly.
Despite being a ecchi he can have a good story without disturbing anything, showing the history and how each girl feel about Rito. Many people criticized for not having the same story of the first season, talking about marriage, but the story of Darkness has its purpose and is essential to the history of marriage continue to succeed .If you watched the first two seasons do not waste time and watch this that has the design better and best voices for sure you will see the anime otherwise and you will love it (or else love Momo as all hahaha.)
The show retains its overall feel from Darkness, though a fair amount of detail has been given to backgrounds and water scenes. The plethora of characters from previous To Love Ru seasons return with the addition of even more characters; I’ve honestly forgotten some of the more minor characters, and don’t expect the show to remind you who they are. As in previous iterations, expect a lot of blushing and skin. I will say though that I have no idea how Nana tucks all that long hair into her tiny twin tails, it must be a gravitational anomaly or something.
The show still has a decent amount of action thanks to former assassins Mea and Yami. I have no idea how the school pays for it but expect tremendous collateral damage repeatedly. As for ecchi, expect it literally everywhere. By now, Rito is the king of accidents and always ends up touching or smelling things that require almost constant god rays. To add to this, Momo literally visits Rito to be groped while he sleeps. It’s not just Rito as apparently many of the girls enjoy fondling each other. Indeed, this is among the most shameless shows of the season.
The show opens with a relatively light OP with a fair main melody. The ED feels somewhat nostalgic as Mami Kawada’s nice piece reminds me of her previous work on Index and Shakugan no Shana. As in previous seasons, the BGM is supportive but not particularly memorable.
The strong VA cast returns for yet another performance heavy in aroused, elated groans. Aki Toyosaki still gives a great performance as Momo though sister Kanae Itou as Nana gives her a run for her money with an emotional performance. Misato Fukuen also does a great job as Yami; her embarrassed voice is particularly good.
To Love Ru’s revival as a somewhat plot-based show continues, and actually improves in this second season. The early episodes are generally mainly episodic, emphasizing either one of Lala’s inventions gone wrong or focusing on a particular girl. Surprisingly, a fair amount of minor characters gets center stage including Yui Kotegawa and Rin Kujou. Nana also gets a bit more love to balance out with Momo. The most humorous aspect of it all was that an episode is dedicated to Lala, who finally realizes that she’s no longer the center of the world. Despite the episodic feel, the story slowly introduces antagonists and foreshadows events that eventually link the show together. Once you hit the three quarter mark, the show finally decides to get serious and we learn what Darkness really is. To be honest, the first part of the final arc was a bit new but everything after was a tad too predictable. This climax is followed by a likewise predictable and open conclusion. All in all, not too shabby of a run with decent entertainment value throughout, and I don’t just mean the ecchi parts.
I think Momo and Nana’s characters are finally starting to sink in and feel more like real heroines rather than fill-ins for Lala and Haruna. They, along with Mea and Yami get a fair amount of development. Momo’s harem plan seems to be going well as more and more girls seem to be falling for Rito’s “nice” comments, despite him matching every nice comment with a not-so-nice grope. I still don’t like the fact that the cast is so spread out but it does mean that whatever fetish you have is guaranteed to be covered to some extent by the show, yes including tentacles. The interactions between the girls are still fun as they fight over the idea of winning over Rito vs. submitting to a harem.
I feel like this second season of Darkness fixes many of the sour notes that I had from the end of the last season. This revival of sorts of To Love Ru is turning out to be fairly good, albeit ecchi heavy. If you can deal with the massive amount of blurred frames or are able to patiently wait for the blu-rays, this is an entertaining addition to the franchise. Enjoy the Darkness and may it brighten your day.
6: Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor – Exodus 2nd Season
Japanese: 蒼穹のファフナー Dead Aggressor EXODUS
MAL Score: 7.62
Continuation of Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor – Exodus.
Ok, so I should probably be giving this an 8 or a 9… but my bias won’t allow me to give anything about this series lower than a 10 :’D The plot is definitely really complex, and you need to know very well what’s happened in the previous season + movie (I watched the original series + movie again back in the spring and still had some trouble following along). Oh, and as an added bonus you should watch Right & Left as well, it definitely will help you understand certain dimensions of this show (although it’s not necessary for the main plot). The story follows the pilots of Tatsumiyajima Island as they pull themselves out of isolation and join the larger scale war/peace negotiations with the Festum. There are definitely multiple storylines going on at once, mainly the Island arc and the “world” arc, and I really enjoyed the way they split up the time and episodes devoted to each arc. I only wish they had more episodes to develop what the outside world was: with 26 previous episodes and a movie devoted to the island, I really had a good sense of what it was but in terms of world-building I had to take a lot of what they presented at face value when concerned with the world outside of the island (there were points where things felt flimsy and on the verge of collapsing, but I put my trust in the creators). They do pull some lame stuff during the second half of the second season (as well as some really cool stuff though), but since it’s Fafner I forgive it…. Towards the end thought it really returns to its roots and is reminiscent of the first series of Fafner, and it’s amazing because you not only see how the characters have changed/matured over time, but how you yourself have changed/matured as well throughout the years, or throughout your time with this series. This series uses the power of “variation on a theme” to great effect, and I feel so full of appreciation just thinking about it.
With the time they had for the story they needed to tell, though, I thought it was well organized and structured and logically presented, to great emotional effect. So good story, but it would have been even better with a lot more episodes.
I for one love the art style of the original Fafner, and it is only enhanced here. The characters look great, but I think the art definitely shines with the mechs and the scenery, especially the island scenery and ocean waves. The integration of 3D and 2D is brilliant and seamless (the mechs and the island look amazing!!!!) Cinematography and storyboarding was absolutely stunning at times, and there were many instances, especially towards the middle of the series, where I was watching episodes while making an ((:O face the entire time. One thing I really love is how they utilize time of day to their advantage, with battles often taking place during sunset on the island, it really gives an eerie and foreboding atmosphere as if an apocalypse was coming (The orange of the sun, reflected on the ocean and the sky. as well as complementing the golden festum colors…) Basically, the art is original Fafner on steroids, and major majorly improved. You still feel like you’re in the same world, but it just looks so much more beautiful now.
In terms of character design, I actually really like the new Festums (they look creepier and crazier than ever haha). Some human characters can get a bit hard to tell apart, and I always was really confused with what they did with Nishio Rina’s character (it’s like she did a full 180 between the first season and the movie, and then her haircut makes her look like a totally different person). The mech design are really cool though, and they look amazing doing all their fancy tricks and shot from all kinds of angles in Exodus.
The soundtrack is absolutely brilliant and really helps to sweep you away with your feelings. We have classical music (I heard Chopin’s Winter Wind Etude at one point, and some Baroque sounding pieces), and we have the addition of choral music at some points as well 😀 The opening and ending songs for both seasons are absolutely amazing and very fitting. Especially the second season, it’s definitely on full throttle as we have some chanting/choral-esque music mixed in with the rock qualities of angela’s songs, which makes for very epic sounding OP and ED indeed (which is somewhat reminiscent of Shingeki no Kyojin’s OP hehe) On an aside, I just wish the series could have delivered on some of the epicness they showed in the last ending song (you never do get to see them wearing those coats :/)
The characters and character relationships are definitely the driving point of this series and they continue to deliver in Exodus. Unfortunately due to the complex plot there were times where there wasn’t as much character development as I would’ve liked (not as much as in the previous series unfortunately), but everything there was was absolutely precious. The character development is where this series really shines so it’s unfortunate that they weren’t able to incorporate more. A lot of new characters were introduced, and while the new Island characters were introduced and developed magnificently (they seem to know just the right things you need to know about the characters in order to feel connected with them), I definitely would’ve loved to see more development with the Neo UN, Human Army, etc characters (Mitsuhiro Bartland especially). However, the series really continues to develop some of the old cast, endearing yourself to them (Canon, Seri, and Akira are notable mentions, and in terms of new characters I have to say I absolutely love Orihime and her precocious tsundere-ness!!) Unfortunately, Kazuki and Soushi don’t get much development (I would even venture to say they don’t get much air time), but given how much the series has focused on them for the past 26 episodes + movie I’d say that it’s understandable haha…
I think what I really love about this series and find very progressive about it is the cast with pretty much an equal amount of female and male characters and the development of same-sex relationships between both female and male casts (I find them open to interpretation: platonic, romantic, or otherwise, whatever floats your boat!). Both females and males are presented as complex, multi-dimensional characters with their own strengths and weaknesses. Females can fight just as well as the males, and males have just as many emotional struggles as the females. We really get to see all characters as human beings (and some perhaps partial humans as human lol) (perhaps the non-islanders get less development and are a little less multi-dimensional, but the islanders are definitely very well fleshed out), and no one is one-dimensional or just there as a piece of meat fanservice. As for the relationships: wow. I can’t comment enough about how endearing what they’ve presented is to me. The continued development of the somewhat circular relationship between Soushi-Kazuki-Maya, Seri-Orihime, Akira-Hiroto, Kaburagi and his family, Mimika-Reo, and Canon’s inner conflict are what comes to mind at the moment. I think each one presented at least one tearful moment to me, or a moment where I really felt touched. I really love what they’ve done with Maya’s character as well and only wish I could’ve seen more (I definitely think she could’ve used a lot more character development, but they seem to have chosen to focus more on others instead, probably since she’s already received quite a bit as well, being third to Soushi and Kazuki in terms of importance). I think the creators have definitely improved a lot in terms of character development (or understanding of human inner conflicts?) and their ability to portray very relatable emotions to viewers. I should probably stop now since I can go on forever about this haha.
This series isn’t just for entertainment, it’s really a work of art which I feel extremely grateful to have encountered and experienced (thank you brother for introducing it to me!). It’s something that, if you take it seriously, pay attention (they make every second count, so pay attention closely), and think about it, can change you for the better. Watching it I just feel so many feelings which a lot I don’t understand and I feel will take me a long time to understand. I think most of all what comes through to me is the creators’ love for what they’ve created, their love for the characters, story, and world of Fafner, and their message of love for the world. It makes me feel really appreciative of what I’ve experienced and what I have and inspires me to continuing spreading the love as well. And this love is what makes me able to forgive any flaws in story/character development, and certain parts they had to rush through and find all the good this series has to provide and gives me no choice but to give it a 10.
Fafner is a sophisticated series with serious themes that any mature person can appreciate. Buckle up and let yourself be swept away by the tide.
well first of all Soukyou of fafner is a mecha serie that is at the second part of season 2 exodus with 2 other movies so its quite a long serie. you don’t want to start this show on this season though because you really need to see all of it to really understand it.
for people who didnt watch any fafner, the background of the story is alien attaced earth, humans were defeated but are still resisting. the good guys of this show are on an island that moves, its really cool how it is a bit simillar to evangelion s fortress like every single part of the island becomes weapons and all when aliens come. One of the plus of this mecha show is that it has its own robot and dont try to copy other series at all. the pilots of the robots are only the young kids because they are born on the island and the adult came from japan that was anihilated. So the aliens are an existence between void and normal world and their attacks make void so victims dont have any corpse left for the family to mourn. when piloting the robots they kind of fuse together like they feel what the robot feels, it hurts when the robots are hurt and they can’t pilot for too long or they will get assimilated, basically they will disappear so each generation of pilots don’t pilot for very long. WARNING if you watch this show be ready to see a lot of death, even if they didnt retire very fast they don’t last very long。 i won’t say what happened in the previous shows because maybe there are readers who didnt watch.
well there are still 8 episodes left so if i gave too high a score it would be inappropriate but i think that it would have around 9 because fafner is awesome xD. as of now the pace is good we really have a progress on the two fronts. i cant really say the details because it might reveal too much for people who didnt watch the previous series but anyway it really have some twists that come nicely, i mean it striked me when it happened at the first episode of the second season. I was really disgusted and it leads to a change of the course the characters must take but it comes with the right number of flags and not too much.
one of the best thing in this show is how the characters are consistent. its great how they don’t go for the easy romance like many anime tend to do. like an anime isn’t good if we don’t have romance. in this anime the two main characters are soushi and kazuki are both man so romance isnt the main theme (and do not worry it isn’t a yaoi ) but we have kanon who has some feelings for kazuki but she doesnt really show them because i guess she realises unlike many anime fmc that its not because we are in a pinch that couples must be formed. well good news is that she finally assume her love like she says that she loves kazuki but i won’t say the details because it was just great and sad. I also have to say that supporting characters in this show are all well worked. even if a lot of them die they are not rushed and we feel sad every time sometimes dies and dont feel like some failed tragedy sad the first episode and get used to it when someone dies every episode.
for example we have two parents of one of the pilot of new generation that have always been having a problem with mourning their eldest daughter, refusing to believe that she is really dead, which is something that isnt taken into account in most of mecha anime. I am not saying that other mechas are bad they are also great but as sydonia no kishi was praised on how it put into light a lot of litlle problems we dont see in gundam like how we get water in space, what happens when we change of direction for an emergency dodge and all. in fafner all the characters are not perfect, and supporting characters are not blank. it s just that they take some time to become interesting because we have 3 pilots from the first generation (i mean first tv season and not the first movie who are the real first generation) and sou and kazuki shines too much so its normal that new supporting characters take some time to share the spotlight.
well its the same character design as gundam seed and destiny but this time they felt that their character looked really alike (unlike heroic age or majestic prince they even have same hairstyle) so they made some kind of blush on everyone s face. well it doesnt really hurt the art. the robots are still all unique and cool, animation is good and so is the landscape.
bgm is great op has a touch of epicness and the ed is slow and sad but thats not a minus. on the contrary, in this show that really have sad moments it would be strange if the music wasn’t sad. war isn’t only the epicness we show on the front (op) but also the sadness the survivor have at the end of each fight because they have to mourn their deads (ed).
well i know that this review is far from perfect and i think ill redo one when i finish this season, I am not really inspired right now. I hope that other people who like fafner can be a bit more active on myanimelist because i was really shocked when i saw that there was only one review for exodus and non for exodus second season. I see there are a lot of reviews for the first season but almost none for exodus so i was a bit sad. T*T fafner really deserves to be at least in top 500 not top 1616 so lets try our best to make it go up in ranks!!
#2: Must watch for those who have watched season 1 of Exodus.
#3: Good for fans of mecha and tragedy.
The show picks up after the 1st season of Exodus, where Kazuki and Soushi lead the Human Army side to the Promised Land, while the Island D’s staffs try to fend off Festums and the increasingly potent assimilation effect.
While the last season seems to be interesting after the second half, the second season dropped this flaw and let the death train rolls.
It starts of by showing the betrayal of the ally, Neo-UN and death of one of the pilot.
And one major character is assimilated to move the plot.
Another major character is half dead.
And the betrayal game is strong. Neo-UN is getting betrayed by their Mir.
The major strong point of 2nd season is the momentum. No drag. No stopping. The plot just develops and plot twists strike at any moment at will.
The scriptwriters have done a great job for not making loose ends.
Animation wise, Fafner is not a hand-drawn marvel from Sunrise, yet the CG is a level below the peak of CG mecha animation-Knights of Sidonia.
All the mecha and fight animations are animated decently, god knows where the budget comes from.
Fafner still keeps some of the artstyles from it’s 00’s TV series, characters aren’t as good looking as modern animes as they still have those 90’s-00’s moe-huge-eyes. And characters look very similar to each other.
The Festums are still as ungodly disgusting as one could imagine. Can’t help with it.
Character development is another spot 2nd season benefited from the 1st season. New characters need not to be introduced, old characters are developed.
And we see one of the old guy from the 00’s TV series makes a comeback. Marvelous.
Other than that it’s business as usual, you just sit back and pray your favourite character won’t get killed.
The new OSTs are stellar. Angela’s “DEAD OR ALIVE” is one of the best opening of the season and is getting people into the series. The ending, Horizon is creepy, but well suits the “everyone will die before arrival at the promised land” vibe.
The mecha battle tracks are marvelous too. Should be the same as 1st season where they use Angela’s その時、蒼穹へ (Sono Toki, Soukyuu e).
Overall it’s an exciting and unexpected season of Fafner. The 2nd season outperforms the 1st season and the 00’s TV series by a big margin. The “plot seeds” that are planted in 1st season has given countless intense mecha fight and emotional trainwrecks in season 2.
Given how the plot is going, we’re very likely to see a 3rd season, or 3rd coup for Exodus.
May the guys from Island D survive the attack of new Festums.
5: Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki
English: Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine
Japanese: シドニアの騎士 第九惑星戦役
MAL Score: 7.75
Having narrowly avoided the collision with the asteroid, the Sidonia sets a course for the Lem system in order to wipe out the Gauna nest.
(Source: Polygon Pictures)
–Story & Characters–
Continuing from where the first season left off, we once again delve into Sidonia’s epic struggle for survival against the ever so frightening and mysterious Gauna. The theme and overall plot progression is generally just more of the same as the first season, but there are some differences.
For one, we have a new main character in the form of Shiraui Tsumugi, a human/Gauna hybrid called a Chimaera who joins Sidonia’s side as their new trump card. She’s basically a child put inside an infinitely powerful body, and the interaction between her and the other characters is very interesting to watch. Most of the people of Sidonia are afraid of her and fears that she’ll turn on them, whereas Nagate and Izana try their best to make friends with her and teach her about the world.
The scale is also ramped up even more. Some of the battles of this anime, be it in space or inside a planet’s atmosphere are simply epic. The guns and mechs are bigger but so are the Gauna. You can really feel the power behind every strike and just how dangerous everything truly is. As a result, Sidonia no Kishi provides the viewer with an incredible sense of urgency and sometimes also makes you feel like you’re actually there yourself. There is also a lot more going on behind the scenes in this season as the Gauna have successfully infiltrated Sidonia in secrecy and are causing all sorts of havoc on the inside while the fighting is going on outside.
In contrast though, there are also a lot more slice of life-esque elements in this season in-between its momentary peaks of hyperactivity. This is partially because of the addition of Tsumugi of course since quite a lot of the time is spent on her character development, but also this season has a lot more romantic progression between Nagate and Izana. There are even some stereotypical romcom clichés used a few times over the course of the anime (just a little bit though) which arguably felt somewhat out of place but I didn’t particularly mind too much.
–Animation & Sound–
Like I said before, I almost never see anyone say anything negative about Sidonia, but if there is one complaint I do in fact see every so often, it’s about the CGI. Case in point, Sidonia’s animation uses lots and lots of CGI. That much is a fact. Many people don’t like this at all, and in fact I generally don’t like CGI either but in this particular case… I don’t really mind at all. First of all, the CGI is *way* better in this season than in the first one, and it honestly feels like it just keeps getting better and better the longer the season goes on. And in terms of the fight scenes, it looks simply amazing. Truly. It just feels like it fits the tone of the series like a glove.
And then… there’s the audio. Oh boy…
I’m not even sure how to best put this, but I want to give sound director Iwanami Yoshikazu some sort of award for his contribution to this anime. Simply put, Sidonia’s second season has without a doubt the absolute best sound directing I have ever heard in my anime career. It sounds *amazing*. I have gone back and rewatched certain scenes from this anime for the sole reason of listening to some of the battles’ sound effects one more time. I have *never* done that before for any other show. Every punch, every blast, every crash into a solid object makes me feel like I’m having an eargasm. The amount of intensity and just pure power is enough to give you goosebumps. Ironic given that space is supposed be the one location where sound doesn’t exist to begin with, but let’s ignore that part.
And as the cherry on top, believe it or not but the soundtrack itself is just as epic. The opening theme alone is by far the best OP of 2015 thus far in my opinion, but also the usage of music throughout the anime is close to perfect. When the show wants to appear creepy, then the music is incredibly creepy. When the show wants to appear epic, then the music is incredibly epic. It always compliments the atmosphere of the visuals more or less perfectly, and thus it enriches the overall impression and experience tremendously. The timing of the music is also spot on, and as a result it makes every scene transition feel so much more intense, energizing and dramatic.
–Enjoyment & Overall–
Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki is without a doubt one of the best anime of the year thus far, and one I find almost impossible to dislike unless you have some serious issues with the excessive CGI usage. I find it very reminiscent of Shingeki no Kyojin except that it’s sci-fi instead of fantasy, which only makes it even stranger to me that so few people have tried watching Sidonia given how popular Shingeki no Kyojin is. Anyway, the point is that Sidonia is one of the most captivating and just plain impressive series I’ve seen in a long time and I have almost nothing negative to say about it at all. Yes, the pacing is a bit uneven and yes, the CGI will turn off a lot of people but other than that… it’s truly an excellent anime from start to finish. Especially episode 11 is probably the best episode of the year thus far.
Sidonia is a true space opera with an epic scale and outstanding directing. It draws you in, captivates you and never ceases to impress you with what it can do. The only problem is that now we have to impatiently roll our thumbs while we’re waiting for the fateful day when season three finally comes around…
While I’m not inquiring into this audience disconnect as a reason to rush out to view this series, since I can’t justify most of its content as anything noteworthy, I still do think that it registers high on the pulpy side of “turn your brain off” entertainment for those with a mild interest in checking it out. Well, that would have been my response had we been discussing the first season, as for this follow-up installment, there are a few shortcomings that it falls victim to that lessens its viewing experience. Where the first season played up the suspense of imposing figures lurking out in the vast vacuum of space, season two temporarily abandons that, and for what you may ask? Well, a gender-fluid harem… IN SPACE!
Picking up from where we left off, we follow our pussy-magnet Tanikaze as he continues the uphill battle against the threatening amalgamation of creatures known as the Gauna. And when he isn’t fighting for the future survival of mankind, Tanikaze is winning women over with his autistic boyish charms. Thankfully, there’s more going on this season than just that, as we’re introduced to a new character that disrupts the status quo of Sidonia’s community. The character in question is a chimera named Tsumugi; a Gauna/human hybrid made for the sole purpose of aiding humanity in the fight against the Gauna threat.
Similar in appearance and anatomy to the malevolent Red Gauna of last season, what separates Tsumugi from that anomaly (or any other Gauna previously introduced) is her humanistic tendencies. Having the behavioral pattern and intellect of a prepubescent teen and a sense of empathy equal to that of a human, she’s essentially a girl stuck in a Gauna’s body. Half of the intrigue of this season comes from the implications of including a species that, up until this point, were humanity’s greatest threat towards continuous survival. A not-so-ironic twist on the matter that’s immediately shown when the onboard crew is introduced to her, responding with abject horror at the partnership proposal announced by their superiors. Unfortunately, the ramifications of such a dynamic team-up were quickly glossed over. And as you’ve probably guessed by now, this was where the gender-fluid harem came into play.
This is perhaps the show’s biggest downfall. Instead of the promised “Battle for Planet Nine” that the namesake alluded to, no such thing ever happens. What we got in its place was rom-com shenanigans and a small-scale skirmish towards the latter half of the season. No “battle,” no epic full-on assault, just a damsel in distress mission and an excuse for Tanikaze to build up his harem. While there were a few cliffhanger moments and general “spookiness” revolving around the Gauna threat, the meat of this season ended up being unneeded slice-of-life pulp. A majority of the episodes were dedicated to introducing new future concubines-to-be that fawned over our lead, even when he exudes the behavioral shortcomings of a socially inept beta-male. This would be fine if it had led to something, but that never happens. It just became a series of cock-tease vignettes, all the while placing the actual Gauna intrigue as a mere backdrop.
Thankfully, the last handful of episodes brought the focus back to the core conflict. We may not have gotten the promised “Battle for Planet Nine,” but at very least, the focus shifted away from the harem that hijacked the show up to this point. It was still an enjoyable viewing experience, but nothing ever quite hit the same “edge-of-your-seat” moments found in the first installment.
For anyone that followed this past season one, the mixture of CGI and cell-shaded animation shouldn’t need much elaboration. At this point, it’s become the trademark style that Sidonia is known for. For the most part, the animation output was relatively the same, although it should be noted that the frame-rate for the character movements themselves were improved upon. It didn’t stop the uncanny valley effect from being any less distracting, but it certainly made the viewing experience far more palatable than what was previously offered. It’s still not on par with any other series, but for the show’s in-house standards, it was a step up.
Where Sidonia truly shines is with the CGI fights themselves. By not being bound to the limitations usually presented with 2D animation, the CGI artists were given the liberty to play with the character and mechanical models with far fewer restrictions. Since these battles are carried out by mechs and the Gauna creatures—two things with very otherworldly appearances—the computer-generated imagery complemented the fight sequences. There was weight behind every fight. A sense of tangibility that 2D animation often has difficulty emulating.
As previously mentioned, all the character suffered from uncanny valley, so naturally, they were far from appealing-looking. Just a bunch of creepy mannequins dressed up as “people.” Coincidentally, this very issue ended up working out particularly well towards the Gauna’s benefit. Being rendered entirely in CGI meant that the creators could make them as grotesque as possible. With a flaky yet malleable cartilage-like substance being used as their exoskeleton, these ungodly monsters had a dilapidated look about them that the likes of H.P. Lovecraft would take delight in. It’s not that often that we get monsters with such fantastic screen presence. They’re definitely some of the best that the 2010s has to offer.
Another area where Sidonia strutted its stuff was in the sound department, more specifically, the sound effects.
Everything, from the haunting choir wails of the background vocals to rumbling gargle of the rocket-thrusters, had volume behind it. Whether it was the deafening roar of explosions on impact, or the granular screech of laser weaponry cutting through metal and monster flesh alike; every sound in this anime was amplified, bringing the environment to life and placing you in the middle of the action. Whatever shortcomings the show may have had visually, it more than compensated in the audio department.
And like last season, the voice actors all turned in a suitable performance, with the biggest standout this time around being Aya Suzaki’s voice acting work for Tsumugi, as she added a certain bubbly-childlike charm to the role. Her interaction with the other characters also meshed quite well despite being new to the ensemble.
And speaking of the characters, the second season carries over the same problems that plagued show from day 1.
There’s only truly one character in the entire lineup, and that’s Tanikaze. Everyone else is just reactionary NPCs. For any female character in the support role, that means being treated as mere love-interest variants awaiting the moment that our innocent Gary Stu woos them over. The only real difference in the lineup is the addition of the chimera, Tsumugi, but even she is reduced to being another love-drunk female infatuated with our protagonist. You read that right, even the Gauna/human hybrid want some of dat Tanikaze D!
Tanikaze’s harem game is strong as fuck! If Kirito is the king of harems, then Tanikaze is the undisputed God! Nothing with a vagina can resist his awkward autistic charms. From chimeras to full-fledged Gaunas, if it’s sentient, the urge to drop their coochie on him is too strong to withstand. He even made asexual people change their gender to female just for a chance to be with him. He’s HaremGOD-sama, and he’s coming fo yo bitch!
But despite potential love-interests crawling out the woodwork to greet HaremGOD-sama at every turn, the creators at least had the common decency to keep its focus on that of the appointed centerfold Izuna and her growing relationship with our primary lead. Of course, there wasn’t any actual advancement between the two, but choosing to hone in on the initial sparks that started in season one at least showed that the creators understood that its audience had an invested interest in where their relationship status was heading next. And who knows, maybe with a third season, this too will come to fruition. Not that I’m holding my breath for that to happen. This show’s character handling is far from anything I would even deem “riveting.” But that’s neither here nor there and what we got was one Gary Stu surrounded by a stockpiled harem brochure dressed up as “characters.”
With a healthy dose of violence, harem misadventures, and occasional monster encounters, season two never had a dull moment, if only falling victim to multiple brain-cell reducing plotting along the way.
While not up to snuff with the first installment, season two of Sidonia still had its moments of effectiveness. It may not have been as consistent or nail-biting as anything season one had to offer but it’s still a nice attachment to the franchise and one I recommend to those that were followers of the first.
Picking up where the last season ended it seemed to focus more on Nagate’s personal life and his personal Heram, which brings up something I consider to be a flaw. For me, to have the full female cast fall for Nagate pulls away from the series plot, which is a shame since we only get 12 episodes with the possibility of not getting another season. We get it, he’s a bad ass. 7/10
This is a major strong suit for the series, as it is very beautiful to look at. It may confuse some and it seems like the CGI is alienating and unattractive. Ignore this! It is done this way for a reason, and flows perfectly. The battle scenes was art by itself, and I was on the edge of my seat trying to take in as much as possible. 9/10
Wow. This should be the standard for all anime! Everything sounded realistic, explosions, metal on metal contact, footsteps(Occasionally had to look over my shoulder to see if someone was there haha), etc.. 10/10
We need more anime like this! I’ve made it a habit to not binge watch a series as I want to get every ounce of enjoyment, but with this anime I had no self control. Each episode ended with a cliff hanger almost forcing you to the watch episode after episode. Was it perfect? No, but its flaws were apart of the show and was thoroughly enjoyable and addicting. 9/10
This series is entirely underrated, even I am guilty of thinking it was MEH(My Eyes Hurt) and dropped it after the first couple episodes when it came out last year. This was a mistake, and I’m glad I gave it a second chance it deserved.
4: Plastic Memories
English: Plastic Memories
Japanese: プラスティック メモリーズ
MAL Score: 7.92
Eighteen-year-old Tsukasa Mizugaki has failed his college entrance exams, but after pulling some strings, he manages to land a job at the Sion Artificial Intelligence Corporation. SAI Corp is responsible for the creation of “Giftias”—highly advanced androids which are almost indiscernible from normal humans. However, unlike humans, Giftias have a maximum lifespan of 81,920 hours, or around nine years and four months. Terminal Service One, the station Tsukasa was assigned to, is responsible for collecting Giftias that have met their expiration date, before they lose their memories and become hostile.
Promptly after joining Terminal Service One, Tsukasa is partnered with a beautiful Giftia named Isla. She is a Terminal Service veteran and considered the best in Giftia retrievals, contrary to her petite figure and placid nature. Time is fleeting though, and Tsukasa must come to terms with his feelings for Isla before her time is up. No matter how much someone desires it, nothing lasts forever.
As it turned out however, Plastic Memories instead ended up being one of the most misleading anime I’ve seen in quite some time. Unlike what the opening seemed to imply, in reality the show is mostly a cute and light-hearted slice of life comedy with quite a lot of romance in it. Now this doesn’t mean the anime turned out poorly in the end, quite the opposite in fact, but it never reached the level that I thought it would have reached in the beginning.
The story takes place in a future world where humanoid androids are a common part of human society. The androids, named “Giftias”, are fully equipped with human emotions, and help their respective human owners however possible. But the Giftias have very limited lifespans, and thus they need to be taken out of commission before too long. Enter Tsukasa, an 18-year-old boy whom is offered a position at the SAI Corporation; a group responsible for retrieving Giftias who are approaching the ends of their lifespans, and eventually scrap them. Right next to him, we have his fellow co-worker: the incredibly cute and loveable Isla, who is actually a Giftia herself despite her position. The two of them form a team by order of their boss, and they consequently start working together, socializing together, and of course fall in love with each other.
This is how Plastic Memories suddenly becomes something totally different from what it originally promised to be. Despite the premise, the anime is in fact not about the retrieval of various Giftias, nor is it about the SAI Corporation itself or any of the other people working there. Plastic Memories is about Tsukasa, and it is about Isla. That is all. And honestly, that’s totally fine in and of itself because they make up one of the cutest couples I’ve seen in ages, and watching their awkward romance is surprisingly enjoyable no matter how much you see of it. But for a lot of people, this was nothing more than wasted potential because the cool and interesting premise of the story itself is heavily neglected in the process. For everyone who wanted to see a melancholic story about the tragedy of having to say goodbye to your loved ones and how they deal with it… you’re probably going to be left disappointed, because Plastic Memories doesn’t actually focus very much on that at all other than right at the very beginning. The only character the show ever really emphasizes this point for is Isla herself as her lifespan is of course also very limited due to being a Giftia, but for everyone else… not very much.
However if you can get past the fact that the show is more or less in disguise and try to see it for what it actually is (in other words a romantic slice of life story), then suddenly Plastic Memories is a very enjoyable anime again. Why? Because it actually has *proper romantic development*. Quite a lot of it in fact. This is not the kind of show which ends with a confession in the final episode and nothing more; no, there are actually things happening from very early on in a romantic sense, which is something that is unfortunately very rare in today’s anime. Especially seeing Plastic Memories airing in the same season as Nisekoi was pretty amusing to me; they’re like night and day in comparison as far romantic progression goes.
Overall, Plastic Memories is an anime which you will probably be given a very different impression of depending on your expectations on it. Is it a good anime? Yes, but it’s a completely different anime from what you’re most likely anticipating when you start watching it. That doesn’t make it a bad show per se, but it feels a bit like false marketing. It’s up to each and every viewer to do their best at adapting to what the anime has to offer.
If you’re looking for a deeply touching and emotional melodrama like Clannad: After Story or Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, then sorry to say but you’re looking in the wrong place. But for a cute yet beautiful story about young love, it’s hard to find a better example than Plastic Memories.
Can such a nebulous idea of “true love” be found with a man-made being? Where do we draw the line between augmented reality and primal attraction? Many different forms of media have tried to tackle this intriguing concept; from movies like 2013’s “Her” and 2015’s “Ex Machina,” to novels like Jonathan Lethem’s “As She Climbed Across the Table.” There are even a few anime titles that tackled this subject as well, such as Eve No Jikan, Armitage III, Chobits and many others. When this topic is done right, it can be a highly rewarding experience, leaving the viewer with something to wrap their heads around.
So when I sat down to watch Plastic Memories, a show that had the right ingredients to make something truly thought provoking, just flush this potential down the toilet, for what essentially was forced melodrama… let’s just say I wasn’t a happy camper when everything was said and done. Under normal circumstances, I would categorize shows with Plastic Memories’s setup as a bait-and-switch, but from the way it was presented, it never seemed to care about, or even acknowledge the ideas it could have implemented. What we have here instead was a cookie cutter rom-com that was oblivious to its own potential.
So no, I didn’t get what I wanted, but does that render the rom-com that took its place bad?… Unfortunately yes, it does. It’s a show that forces a catch-22 on the audience with an inevitable conclusion spurred on by contrived logistics. It suffered from heavy-handed manipulation at the cost of proper buildup and engagement, which was made all the more noticeable when you take into consideration the setting the show presents everything in.
In the future, sentient androids known as “Giftias” has become incorporated into everyday society. However, like everything else that has a beginning, so too does the Giftias have a limited lifespan as well, with about a decade or so of functionality before they are decommissioned, resulting in their memories being erased (which is the android’s equivalency of death). This, of course, becomes the core focus of the show, as we’re introduced to our protagonist Tsukasa, a human, who finds himself involved with one of these Giftias named Isla. And from there onward, the show chronicles their daily interaction and growing relationship. And as you would guess, it becomes a tale of a fleeting would-be romance with only one possible outcome.
When trying to present a romance, there must be proper interaction between the main love interests in order to sell their position as lovers. We as viewers need to see this bond slowly form, see the chemistry that they share, and the mannerisms that they portray when expressing themselves to each other. To get down to brass tacks, we as viewers need to be convinced of their validity as a couple for it to feel organic. If this isn’t handled properly, it can cause the relationship and development to feel forced or manipulated. This is Plastic Memories 1st noticeable blunder. It tries to build this chemistry on a premise that just screams victimizing; with a character predestined to be terminated from an expiration date, a protagonist that makes no visible effort in repealing the outcome, and a romance bound to go nowhere because of it. It isn’t bittersweet nor is it heart-wrenching since the reason these androids expire is contrived and contradictory to the world setting presented. How may you ask? Well, let’s explore the ill-defined logic the show tries to spoon feed us.
We’re made to believe that this show takes place in a future where the creation and distribution of androids are a fairly commonplace occurrence. In other words, it’s an advance society that’s leagues ahead of us in terms of technological breakthrough and scientific advancement. But at the same time, the show wants us to believe that they have no methods of storing or switching memory from one device to another. And I shouldn’t have to spell it out but do you see how this nonsensical explanation doesn’t work? A society advance enough to have androids with empathy, but not advance enough to store memory or transfer it? So if you own a USB flash drive, then congrats, you’ve officially surpassed this society’s current intellect. And that is just the tip of the iceberg when talking about this show’s implausible setting. Later on, we find out that after an android passes its expiration date and isn’t decommissioned, they take on a savage state, becoming dangerously violent against humans, escalating to the point of murder (in other words, they go ape-shit). Which begs the question, why in the hell would anyone endorse a machine that can go “Terminator” on citizens when they lose their memory? It’s unfathomable to think any governing body with a modicum of common sense would allow such a hazardous time bomb to be integrated into society. There was even an episode dedicated to showing how such a terrible downside could reek havoc, or even worse, be exploited as a weapon, but like the setting it’s a part of, it was never explored beyond that. It was simply brought up and never mentioned again by the next episode just so they could allow for more rom-com moments to continue undisturbed. Just look out for the ‘Psycho-Pass’ episode, you’ll know it when you see it.
Tsukasa and Isla both work at the same job, and it’s also the place they 1st make contact with each other. From what you can easily read in the synopsis, they both work for the Terminal Service Department: a subdivision of the larger company responsible for the distribution and recall of androids. They’re tasked with retrieving androids that are approaching their expected expiration date from their owners. This, of course, brings up yet another question; why is the task of retrieving androids so primitive and counterproductive? Like I’ve stated, these androids are like ticking time bombs with the added bonus of being empathetic. You would think something as important as this would be tasked to a more organized unit, but what we’re introduced to instead is a motley crew of quirky characters that only share one personality trait and act so outlandish that entrusting them with such a task is almost ludicrous. It’s like handing police duty over to the circus. It’s like the creators were dead-set on an end goal and didn’t care how little sense it made getting there. On a whole, the sci-fi elements of this show were never explored or utilized. It was simply used for flavoring, and it quickly became apparent that they didn’t care about common sense when they duct-taped the narrative and setting together.
The relationship was also diminished by the fact that 3/4ths of the show’s run-time were dedicated to slapstick comedy and silly misunderstandings. Half of it was wasted away where it could have been used to develop the relationship between the characters, which was made even worse given the short episode count the show was already working with. While I’m not the biggest fan of shows like Clannad or Toradora, I at least acknowledge that it did this aspect correctly. It utilized its run-time by building the relationship between the characters, either by their direct contact with each other or the indirect result of their influence on each other. It allowed us as an audience to grow attached to their interaction and relationship.
Most of the characters, like I’ve already stated, are just a range of archetypes. From your tsunderes to your beta-male, they all follow one-note traits and won’t be remembered for anything else. This also applies to our two main characters. Tsukasa is as generic as a protagonist can get, ripped right out of the pages of cliché-land. You’ve seen his type many times before, and to be quite frank about it, he’s indistinguishable from the lot of them. Isla is yet another Rei Ayanami clone, completely packaged with the silver hair, red eyes, and the signature porcelain complexion. Dull, monotone and devoid of personality, the only good thing I can say about her is that she truly acts like an android. Outside of the main cast, we’re occasionally introduced to androids and their masters that the team has to retrieve. But they’re introduction is done more so for forced “feels” than for actual world building. Just toss in a sappy backstory and an unavoidable conclusion and it really becomes more annoying than anything.
And really, that’s the main problem with this show in a nutshell: it’s constantly trying to get the audience to care but doesn’t seem to have any idea how to do so without coming across as fake. It’s a show that forcefully tugs at your heart strings while thinking that people will easily be duped into falling for it. It thinks that simply playing melancholic music and animating tear ducts is more than enough to fool viewers, while forgetting that genuine character investment is what allows the audience to sympathize with hardships. And who knows, maybe this falsehood would fool some into buying the creator’s snake oil. There are certainly viewers out there willing to suspend their disbelief, regardless of the amount of mental gymnastics required to do so. But for those well-versed enough to see past the smoke and mirrors, it’s a detracting quality that causes the show and its conflict to implode on itself.
The art and animation for Plastic Memories were above average and made the whole experience better than it would have been without it. It was bright, vivid and used a broad range of color palettes to convey whatever mood or tone they were going for. While it felt overdone at times, there were moments where it truly shined and help to sell the scene at hand; most notably the show’s finale episodes and epilog. While the art and animation served their purpose, the character designs were a hit or miss. On one hand, a few had distinct features about them, but a lot were also cookie-cutter in a bad way as well. It helps to better personify their characteristics, but when they lack dimension and personality, it made them feel like carbon copies of other characters in the same vein as them. There was also moments where the show paid direct homage to Evangelion with certain scenes and shot compositions, which, while being a fun little tribute, didn’t serve any purpose whatsoever. At best, they were Easter eggs for those that caught on to them.
The soundtrack was a mixture of pop and electronica flavoring. It was “fluffy” during the comedic bits and took on a more somber tone during the show’s more “emotional” moments. While there weren’t any noteworthy tracks, it was fine and served its purpose. Average but effective. The opening and ending themes were both fine and easy listens. Nothing that might stick with you but catchy and worked in unison with the show.
Like most titles of this nature, my problem doesn’t stem from what it’s trying to do, my problem comes from how poorly it goes about attempting it. If a show is aiming to get me as a viewer, emotionally invested, I expect it to do so in a manner that doesn’t distract from its target intent. If I’m duped and fall for it, despite my better knowledge of its intent, I will credit it for its efforts. However, if I’m viewing the show and have to signal the “bullshit” flag every other minute, then as far as I’m concerned, that anime failed at its job.
My enjoyment of Plastic Memories was intermittent at best, but for the most part, the show was a face-palming experience. Because of the sloppy portrayal of its themes and forced melodrama, there was no engagement to speak of. The ending was decent, but the journey to said ending was buffoonish at best and can’t be overlooked.
Plastic Memories was an uninspired and underwhelming experience. It had the opportunity to craft a decent romance, or even better, a good sci-fi tale, but it did neither and ended up falling short of the mark. While some might find it touching, I simply couldn’t buy into the dilemma for the reasons I’ve stated. If you decide to watch this show, do so with low expectations, for whatever it tried to do, have been done to a much higher and better degree somewhere else.
While Plastic Memories had the potential to be a unique and intelligent show, it instead managed to encompass all of the things that ruin dramas and cause them to fail every time. Forced plot devices that make no sense? Check. Inopportune comedy that ruins the show’s tone? Check. Shallow characters defined entirely by their archetypes or tragic backstories? Check. While this anime showed flashes of good ideas and has its moments, its poor execution dooms it to be lost among the sea of poorly written, mediocre emotion porn.
Synopsis: In the near future, technology has allowed for the invention humanoid-like robots known as “giftias”, who look, talk, feel, and emote exactly like actual humans do. The catch is that they can only operate for a little over a decade before they must be shut down, resulting in the loss of all their memories. The story follows Tsukasa, a human, and his relationship with Isla, a giftia.
The biggest and most obvious problems with this anime stem from its forced and melodramatic plot devices that range from just plain stupid to cringeworthy. For example, when Tsukasa and Isla first become partners at work, we are suddenly told that this means they have no choice but to live together! Because that makes total sense and is definitely not a lazy plot device to provide a setup for bonding and slice of life shenanigans! The other one that sticks out is the big “reveal” they make about what happens to giftias if they aren’t properly retrieved, which defies all notions of common sense and even basic science. That’s especially bad given that this show has a science-fiction setting for some reason. In fact… was there ANY reason for there to be robots in the first place? Literally the only difference between a human and a giftia is that giftias lose their memories after a certain period of time, so now that I think about it, that makes the entire sci-fi setting and concept of giftias in general completely pointless and nothing more than yet another contrived plot device for drama’s sake. They certainly didn’t explore any sort of difference between the two life forms; it’s very much an accepted fact that giftias are equal to humans, so why was everyone not just regular people to begin with? Was there no other scenario they could come with that incorporated death-like elements, like, y’know, DEATH? It’s this kind of thing that makes the show very difficult to take seriously.
There are other major issues with the show’s plot, namely how laughably predictable it is. You can LITERALLY guess every major plot point of the entire show by the end of the first episode, and I’m not exaggerating, because I literally did. I just kept waiting and waiting for something that I didn’t see coming a mile away to happen, and with the exception of a single contrived plot device which I already mentioned (a plot device that doesn’t even lead to anything…), it simply never does. Now, one thing that I will give the show credit for is that is has some genuinely sweet moments. The final stretch of the show made me feel something, at least. However, then it just sort of… ends. And it ends, like, EXACTLY how you would expect it to. I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that it left me with a feeling of “So what?” I mean, you told one of the most obvious and straightforward stories I’ve ever seen, so much so that I could have stopped watching after a single episode and gotten the gist of it, so what did you put into your show that justified the time it took to watch another 12 episodes? Were there any meaningful themes? No. Did the characters learn anything or change in any meaningful way? No. So why would anyone EVER want to watch the entirety of this show? *Sigh, I don’t know if this is making sense. Let’s just move on:
The last aspect of the plot that really bothered me was the random comedy that completely ruined the show’s tone by being interspersed throughout parts that are supposed to be serious. To give an example, the first episode of this show really hooked me. At the very end of the episode, there was a well-executed and genuinely emotional scene that was actually getting to me. I’m the kind of person who almost never gets legitimately emotional when watching a TV show, but this one scene was just hitting all the right notes for me. By the time it was over, I thought we had an extremely promising show on our hands. Now, guess what this beautiful, emotional scenario was immediately followed by: …A BATHROOM JOKE. That’s right. No relevance, no context. They just decided to throw in a random bathroom joke and ended the episode on a ridiculous note instead of a serious and powerful one. That, to me, is a decent microcosm of the entire show. Every time you might be about to get invested in a serious scene, WHAM! Random, generic, slice-of-life comedy comes out of nowhere and blindsides the plot. It’s just a disastrous display of a lack of tonal understanding and, ergo, bad writing.
I think the real thing that would have saved Plastic Memories for me was if the characters were given any form of depth whatsoever. Tsukasa, our protagonist, is a cardboard cutout straight from the generic, beta, male protagonists factory. My god, there was, nothing, NOTHING unique about him. I don’t think I’m alone in the sediment that I don’t care about other people’s relationships if I don’t know them, and I certainly didn’t feel like I knew Tsukasa, so how am I supposed to give a damn about him and Isla’s relationship? Speaking of Isla, talk about yet another shallow character. I put her squarely in the mary-sue category, given that she is an idealization of a pure, innocent, kawaii waifu with no real flaws whatsoever. Can she be funny at times? Sure. Does that mean I at all cared about her? No. As for the side characters? Boring. Bland. Generic. They are all basic stereotypes with nothing to distinguish them. I know they attempt to give a few of the side characters a backstory, but the backstories don’t actually accomplish anything other than just being sad. They do absolutely nothing to add a dimension to the character they are attached to and none of them are given any form of a story arc. I’ve seen casts like this a million times. The characters, to me, might be the biggest reason the show failed. I might have been able to overlook all the previously mentioned problems with the plot if this show actually gave me a reason to care about the couple of Tsukasa and Isla, but they simply don’t.
Pretty much the only thing I can definitively say I liked about Plastic Memories was the animation. It’s pretty fluid, but what really got me was the cinematography and shot composition. Besides the number of Evangelion references they threw in, there were a lot of well thought out and extremely well directed scenes that actually succeeded in conveying information and emotion without words. That’s VERY difficult for a show to do, so kudos for that. The settings were always detailed and full of bright colors as well. The world looked really cool, which is part of the reason I wanted them to actually tell me something about it. Like, literally anything would have been nice. Instead, the writing is so barebones that it could have taken place pretty much anywhere else, and that brings us full circle, doesn’t it?
I wanted to like Plastic Memories. Really, I did. It didn’t have to be some complex, philosophical inquiry into the definition of humanity and how it differs from artificial intelligence (which is the kind of show that many expected it to be); I would have been totally content with it just being a drama if they actually gave me a reason to care about its characters. If they didn’t ruin every moment they ever created with inopportune comedy. If they didn’t make the plot so damn predictable. If their plot devices weren’t so incredibly contrived. There were simply too many major problems to overlook, and that forces me to make the sad conclusion that Plastic Memories is a massive missed opportunity for what could have been a really enjoyable original anime. It lacked direction and coherent writing on all fronts, and I cannot recommend it to anybody.
3: Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
English: Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム 鉄血のオルフェンズ
MAL Score: 8.03
Over three hundred years have passed since the Calamity War, the great conflict between Earth and its outer space colonies. Now Earth is ruled over by four economic blocs, and the military organization Gjallarhorn is responsible for keeping the peace. Mars, on the other hand, depends heavily on Earth’s economy.
Horrified by the appalling living conditions that Mars’ inhabitants have to bear, Kudelia Aina Bernstein, a young aristocrat from the Chryse Autonomous Region, gets involved in the Red Planet’s independence movement. She hires the services of a local company, Chryse Guard Security (CGS), to escort her on the journey to Earth to negotiate economic conditions with the earthly bloc that controls the region. The Third Army Division—consisting of Mikazuki Augus, Orga Itsuka, and many other child soldiers—are chosen to protect her.
When Gjallarhorn attacks the CGS facilities to assassinate the young revolutionary threatening their interests, Orga and his comrades must not let the attackers accomplish their goal—in fact, Gjallarhorn’s actions might turn out to be the unintentional catalyst that leads the children to be the forgers of their own destiny.
For timeline purposes, the show takes place after the Calamity War, a war between Earth and Outer colonies. Actually, make that 300+ years. A major conflict involves Mars and its city Chryse. The people there seek independence from the government and make their own lives into something better. A young Martian woman named Kudelia Aina Bernstein hopes to secure independence. Her role in the story becomes more complicated as she gets involved with a group known as the Tekkadan, whom is entrusted to protect her life. So begins this story that leads politics, warfare, and a world of internal conflicts. As the show’s catch phrase, this is “the sustenance of life is on the battlefield.”
In context, the show is a war story but also deals with a variety of real life issues. From poverty to child soldiers and imperialism, the show really offers a lot of insightful concepts. There’s even themes of experimentation as certain characters are fit with the Alaya-Vijnana System (Whiskers) to enhance their fighting abilities. Still, the show constructs a story that expands beyond just fighting a war for independence but also takes a look at the interpersonal conflicts of people in its universe. At the heart of it, we have members of the Tekkadan. Led by Orga Itsuka, the show capitalizes on their role to protect Aina. Their ace pilot, Mikazuki Augus (also known as Mika) pilots the mysterious mobile suit known as Barbartos. Throughout the show, we see his piloting and combat skills including his role to fight off Gjallarhorn, an Earth Military organization set up to capture Aina. Tekkadan also consists of other members including Biscuit Griffin (a strategist), Eugene Stark (former leader of the third army’s division), Norba Shino, Akihiro Atland, Atra Mixta, among others. What’s interesting about this group is that although they all come from different backgrounds, they are all united with similar purposes and treats each other like family. The family theme extends to not just the group but also Aina as she gets to know more of its core members. With such a colorful cast of characters, the show really can be appreciated for its characterization.
A good part of the story involves the journey Aina and Tekkadan takes in order to reach their goals. Part of it feels like a cat-and-mouse story while other parts are calmer with even has a feel of slice of life. In addition, the show also introduces others factions, some who later become valuable ally of Tekkadan while others are against them. Now I have to admit though, the story itself may feel like it has some pacing problems. A few of the episodes are non-combat related and some lacks development with the overall presentation of the story. However, it also emphasizes on the characters because they really are something special. The director and producers are aiming high for with this TV show so everything constructed has a purpose. The main characters has an iron will with their goals so a few of the episodes examines at their personal lives. Throughout their on-screen roles and background storytelling, we learn more about them especially Mika. He is an orphan with poor social skills but learns throughout the show with help from Aina. There’s a change about his character through his acquaintance with her as he becomes more casual and more interested in his own future. Their relationship even has a taste of romance in it as time goes on and this doesn’t seem like a surprise. Aina’s a kind woman who cares about others’ well-being above her own. She is also a good role model for the children through her ways of teaching them how to write, in particular Mika. This opens up his interest to forging his own future someday. Similarly, Mika’s relationship with Orga is strong. Their friendship has already been established during their childhood and it’s evident that the two would risk their lives to protect each other and their goals. Now I don’t expect everyone to like Aina’s role in the story. Despite her aristocratic status and selfless nature, she is still a bit naïve at times. And furthermore, her insecurity to provide help during crucial moments of fighting can be a bit irritating. Because of the nature of the show, expect other characters to relive moments from the past that resurfaces in the present storyline. A prime example is Akihiro as he deals with a blast from the past. On the other hand, there are also lighthearted relationships such as Mika and Atra. Some may see her involvement with him to almost be part of a love triangle. However, don’t expect this show to be a love story. It’s still an iron-blooded war tale. In retrospect, the show really has an iron blood with its story and characters.
When looking at the themes of the show, it’s easy to notice how much it has relations with the past, present, and future. The poverty of the past influences people to try and find a better future for themselves. The present has an emphasis on neo-colonism as we see advanced civilizations expand through funding and technology. For the future, Aina’s ambition to seek independence is a hopeful vision for her people. This is a bit contrast with Gjallarhorn. In essence, they are a military organization who seeks peace but pursuits them with violence means. Some of its core members such as McGillis Fareed, Gaelio Bauduin, Ein Dalton, and among others has their own ideologies. But one thing they seem to all share is strengthening their nation’s own relations and wealth. On the other hand, there’s also Teiwaz, a business conglomerate. Their relationship with Tekkadan also a similarity about family as their representative member forges a pact with Orga. The amount of relationships in this show is really special and something to take by heart. Whether you agree with their goals or ambitions, it’s important to understand why they fight. And this show is pretty damn good at making its point about that.
Produced by Sunrise, the show’s visual quality is a unique piece of work. Michinori Chiba is in charge of the character designs but visually looks a bit different compared to some of Gundam’s previous predecessors. I guess it feels like a fusion of Gundam 00 and Gundam AGE as the characters looks both childish and mature the same time. This is especially true with characters like Mika and Biscuit. Orga on the other hand has the look of a mature commander. Aina has more of the look of an aristocrat but can also look like a simple lady when she needs to be. Character visuals aren’t the only thing interesting about the artwork though. The universe of the show has colonies that shows wealth with its rich technology and weapons of war As such, it brings legitimacy to their statuses. From the mysterious Barbados to Teiwaz’s Saisei, everything looks crisp and establishes the studio’s effort to craft them as technological innovations. This is further enhanced by the solid action with a great amount of effort during fight scenes. Be amazed. This is a show that can be will leave strong memories even with its action.
At first, I wasn’t much of a fan of the music or soundtrack. But after watching a good amount of the show, it’s definitely something to take in by heart. Masaru Yokoyama clearly invested a good amount of effort into producing the music for various scenarios in the show. From melancholic moments to intense combat oriented moments waged in space, it has everything that a mecha fan can wish for. The OP song “Raise Your Flag” is also a way that symbolizes the fight for independence especially with its catchy tone and choreography. And finally, voice mannerism is impressive. Characters such as Orga shows their commanding presence while Mika is known for his cold personality.
Iron-Blooded Orphans is definitely a show to invest time in. Whether you’re a veteran or a causal viewer, the experience after watching this show will be memorable for its story, characters, themes, world-building, and powerful action. Characters’ actions all have purpose and the show offers a balanced way to showcase their motivations. I don’t expect everyone to like all the characters as some may find them less likeable than others. Still, this show is not to be underestimated and is a triumphant one at that. Watch it with an open mind and you’ll see why.
I just finished season 1 of Iron Blooded Orphans and I can safely say that if this didn’t have the Gundam branding on it, it wouldn’t have a season 2, and would likely be rated somewhere on MAL within the 5-6 range.
This is a terrible mecha show, and it’s quite clear how this was an original anime with no manga, light novel, game or even previous anime to base this off – it never would have been published. To say that the story is, uhhhh, confusing, is putting it mildly.
I won’t be using the characters’ names unless I can remember them. This is my first review on MAL, and I’m writing this because, well, this show sucks. Star Driver is better, and hoo boy, that show ain’t great. This makes Code Geass look like FMAB – that’s how low the bar for writing is.
Dialogue – I honestly had a hard time telling whether main character’s lines were poorly translated or just written strangely, but you find out that he’s a mid level functioning autist with almost certainly missing brain tissue/it’s not connected in the same way. However, the show doesn’t tell you this until episode 20, where main character says to leader guy “Who do we kill? How many do we kill?”, when leader guy should’ve been getting laid by the blonde short haired advisor lady at the time, but was instead sulking.
In typical Gundam fashion, whenever there’s a flashback or an old man talking or a new character being introduced, you get about 2-5 minutes of clumsy exposition, except unlike in Gundam Seed or 00, you just get told about “corruption” or “influence” or “politics”, which I will call “white people bullshit” from here on out.
Forgettable at best, nobody gets laid, apparently the creator hates women so you spend most of the time watching women get beat up/killed in battle, preparing food, fretting over things, hating other women, used as prostitutes, or wearing tank tops. Also you’re going to see kids get beat to the point where blood comes out of their mouths. A lot. Happens to malnourished main character crushing girl (who gets written into literally being in the kitchen) during a pointless filler sideplot, main leader guy, main character guy, every slave kid, etc.
I like quiet tomboys, and so when short white haired girl gets killed in episode 25 by bullshit big bad mech literally 1 shot bonking her mech on the head (when everyone else gets at least 4 hits+a stab wound), apparently someone else on the writers room must’ve revolted because it turns out she only fake died, and she was resting on a pillow later that episode and gets flirted with offscreen during episode 24ish..
I literally do not know the names of any of the Earth related people, and it didn’t matter. I didn’t realize there was Gjjalarhonk Mars and Gagdererureirhonkhonk Earth until episode 4, because nobody tells you anything about there being a political difference, the uniforms are just different but EVERYONE’S uniforms are different, so clearly the character designers had _no_ idea what people should look like for the first 5 episodes.
To everyone else’s reviews mentioning character development, I don’t know what they’re smoking. Examples include, in no particular order:
1) Blonde earth dude that had an arc, and then disappears, comes back looking like the long haired ZAFT guy from Gundam Seed Destiny, and then once he kills some purple dude that turns out to be his half brother (episode 24ish, it’s clumsily exposited) because his red eye makeup half sister was killed (that had a crush on him or something – the stair exposition blushing scene around ep 23 is weird).
Note – crazy lady with red eye makeup and wing short hair should’ve died on the island after Biscuit dies, she doesn’t because the writers forgot to have the “Save me, [name]” thing make sense (he’s not there on the island because they forgot to put him there).
2) Blonde dude has a purple haired bodyguard(?), half brother(?, I forget) that main character straight up nearly chokes to death (and should’ve) in the Gundam “chance encounter between enemies” bingo card meme that Gundam Seed, Destiny and 00 all have. And then purple guy has a lackey that gets magically revived into a Gundam WH40k dreadnought thing and becomes the series ending big baddie, and main character essentially forces himself to have a LITERAL stroke to beat.
3) Blonde guy from #1 has a purple haired 9 year old fiance, and her age, along with her appearance as a small 9 year old girl, is brought up MULTIPLE times, complete with about 20 minutes total of screentime for her. There is a scene where she _literally_ says to him “the other women want to dance with you, and they have things that I don’t” – she’s referring to boobs and ass, and the anime literally shows you the bodies of the women that want to dance with him, in tight dresses. Why was this scene in there? I’m gonna guess the creator has some kind of pedophilia grooming fetish. It’s like 5 minutes of “content”. It’s disgusting.
4) Creators/character designers/somebody clearly noted that having a show full of dudes wasn’t ideal, so to pad out the female soldiers, there’s a dude with a literal harem of women that he’s effectively adopted, if he likes them enough or they find him. Note: all of the women on this guy’s ship are stereotypical anime pinup girls. No flat chests, no short girls, no fat girls, no glasses.
I mention the fat part because Biscuit is _clearly_ fat (his brother even calls him “big”), even though the show beats you over the head (like many of the children get visibly and repeatedly beaten in this show) that these orphans don’t have enough to eat. Apparently Biscuit’s magical power was large fat cells.
5) First and second episode feature a hamfisted attempt at exposition to explain that the main characters are slaves owned by a corporation. Around episode 3, there’s a rebellion that is caused to make the main characters have agency (which conveniently happens as the events of the show happen, and apparently have never happened before), and they end up killing only like 2 of the 20+ guys that beat the shit out of them for years as they get their freedom because otherwise it’d be 25 episodes of seeing children die in mobile suits and getting beaten when they’re not dying.
6) An asshole with a literal Hitler mustache is part of the opening slavery group (that runs away and leaves the kids to die in eps 1+2) that lives after the rebellion and becomes blonde guy’s “right hand man”. No, I’m not making that up. Main character literally has the 20 or so slave masters in a room, with a loaded gun, only kills two of them.
7) Show has a _nasty_ tendency of making characters do 180 degree changes in their personality. Examples include the blonde with the ridiculous ankle length hair (no, she never cuts it, silly viewer, helmets have a hair compartment),
her maid (who I swear was from Gundam 00 as that show’s princess’ attendant),
the blonde advisor lady grows a conscious about children fighting in wars (after 20+ years of seeing and LITERALLY being around them),
Biscuit after his brother dies (until the writers realized he was the smartest person, and the main characters are so stupid that they couldn’t deal with the island ambush around episode 23 without him),
Biscuit’s brother finally grows a spine and kills himself after he sees that Gadgerhernia kills people in the street through a smoke screen. When other reviewers are talking about “character development”, they’re either including this or forgetting completely about it.
Pink hair in front of his eyes leader guy gets somewhat developed (he feels loss over Biscuit), nobody else “develops”, they just change abruptly.
8) Show has another nasty tendency – there are at least three examples of people with Stockholm Syndrome/Uncle Tom tropes that hurt the main characters – Biscuit’s brother, the slave kids that panic during their freeing and shoot their liberators, and some random guy’s brother that was also a part of that gets smashed by a comically large hammer into an asteroid.
9) Considering the design of the slave boys and their abuser, who has probably the best designed suit in the show, with a Blastoise/underwater Gundam Seed mobile armor like design, the abuser blonde guy has piercings and all of the slave boys are malnourished, although there was NOT a scene where the blonde leader guy is raping the boys, but there are no women on board that ship, and the blonde guy’s boss has a literal pig face straight out of Spirited Away’s buffet scene.
I dunno who they hired as the art director, but he probably got work at Queen Bee after doing this, because this is probably right up there with Mobile Suit Gundam in terms of animation. When GoGoGargleHurk shoots people through the smoke screen on the colony during the uprising, there look to be at least 70 people in the crowd. After the shooting, maybe 15, and of course, main blonde character survives without a scratch.
Show has no CG. It should’ve had at least Gundam 00’s ship animations, and it certainly doesn’t have Unicorn’s fluidity or polish on the BD release.
Unlike Gundam Seed’s explanations of sand particle size and water combat and space, physics goes out the window. Thrusters have the same effect in space as they do in atmosphere, whether it’s Mars’ created air (never explained), or Earths’ normal air. When the people that are _literally_ born in space or on Mars go to Earth, they have no trouble walking on Earth’s higher gravity, and there’s no ill effects like imbalance, muscle distrophy or spinal collapse.
Main character literally uses another mech to do the Gundam dangerous reentry meme, except the other mech is fine.
Ahab generators make about as much sense as Mobile Suit Gundam’s magnitoskiski particles. Apparently they stop LCD screens from working, along with all radio signals, which is explained why big bad mech rampages through downtown Edmonton. No radiation, though. Somehow. Also the mobile armors and Gundams are unaffected and people can literally stand around and watch them fight with no ill effects. Somehow.
The gundam pilots have literally superhuman reaction speeds, but even for the show, and assuming that the show is done in real time, the main character is routinely reacting with maybe like 1-10 frames of delay. When big bad shows up, there’s literally no lag, so main character causes himself to have a seizure and slashes an arm off with a random samurai sword that was left on the island 3 episodes before. No, I’m not kidding. Note that main character was previously using basically a large bat/hammer thing on said island fight from three episodes previously. Where Biscuit dies and main character lets red eye makeup lady get away.
When main character is going against the blonde pierced slavedriver guy and his tough mech, he shoots a cannon straight at him, and then says “that armor is tough”. Note: we’ve seen these cannons shoot through ship hulls and cause explosions, this doesn’t even leave a scratch, and apparently the animators and sound designers didn’t animate it to be a glancing shot or even a ricochet. It’s a 300mm smoothbore gun, BTW, according to the wiki. That’s like a battleship cannon, twice the diameter as the standard 155mm field artillery used today.
Also blonde pierced slavedriver guy spins around with his comically large hammer and uses his thrusters, and somehow does a perfect ice skating spin, despite that _not_ being how physics works in space.
Why does Mars matter? Apparently because you can make money from farming. And exploiting labor. And half-metal. What labor? How many people are on Mars? What farming exports are there? You want answers? Like from episode 6 of Gundam Unicorn? Silly viewer, you can’t read, like most of the characters in this show, so you don’t get answers. Or something like that. But biofuel exists. That’s what the corn’s for. The martian corn. Also, apparently the writers had never heard of seaweed, anaerobic digestion, growing mushrooms or natural gas or wood engines.
Oh, and half-metal? Who knows what that stuff is.
Why don’t they use robots for stuff? Oh, because 300 years after the unexplained and unflashbacked “Calamity War”, robots or surgical implants were evil or something. Oh, and the Gundams work just fine after 300 years. And they have spare parts. A _lot_ of spare parts. And all of the Gundam parts from 300 years ago were interchangeable with each other.
Oh, but they have John Deere combines from 2010. And those don’t count as robots, apparently. Don’t look at me, I didn’t write this crap.
Surgery with putting in a nodule into the brain stem at the base of the neck and then 1-3 modules into the spine around the shoulder blades? Apparently that can be done by some illiterate people. With no knowledge of surgery, and no antiseptic mentioned.. And a needle, even though the spinal implants are like the size of a Bic lighter, each. And they’re implanted under the skin. Somehow.
The show ends with them moving an old man into Edmonton Canada from Anchorage Alaska (kinda wish the Cyclops system fried everyone), so that he can be voted on as prime minister. Apparently voting must be done in person, with all possible leaders in physical attendance in a particular room. To say that the plot point is white people bullshit is putting it mildly. Oh, and there’s a battle of the Volga river kinda thing going on literally 2 miles away, but they don’t cancel the vote. No, they’re in a normal judicial court building, not a bunker, in an active war zone, why do you ask?
3/10, the terrible writing, dialogue and characters reminds me of the later seasons of RWBY.
Story (7/10) Good
More Specifically (7.75/10) Good+
The story for Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans like majority of the gundam plots attempts to juggle two main plots at the same time. One being about the characters and their goals they want to achieve and the second being the political side of things and they intertwine with each other. One would say if you want to follow the Gundam story plot formula both of these story plots need to be present and as synced with each other as you can possibly get. Like majority of Gundam alternate universes this universe does indeed have a just a little bit more focused on the character side of things (which there’s nothing wrong with that). The political side of things (kind of like Gundam Wing’s and Gundam 00) can be a little be hard to follow if one is not paying full attention during the political scenes. I personally think it wasn’t too hard to follow but I can’t say I understand majority of what was going down during the political scenes and that’s kind of the thing that may turn off a lot of people because it did with previous Gundam series. Luckily in my personal opinion even with it’s political influence side of things Tekketsu no Orphans’ character is something that should keep most people a bay because the are good ones.
Art and Animation (8.75/10) Very Good
The art and animation in Tekketsu no Orphans was for the most part very good. I couldn’t give this second a 9 because there were obviously some art style derps here and there when it came to characters only slightly in the background and the actually mech fights some Mech designs looked a teensy bit whanky at times but the scenes they were focused on and polished out are what is keeping it at a high 8 for me. Another thing I appreciate is that it is hand drawn, not a lot of mech anime comes out these days and when they do most of the time it is all CG. And I don’t mind CG mechs trust I’m not one of those people to complain about CG mech (I love CG in Gundam Unicorn and The Origin). And I think CG on Mechs is the only thing that looks acceptable to an extent when it comes to putting anything CG in an anime. BUT I do appreciate to a well hand drawn mech anime because that’s how it all started and what I’m used to. And I’m sure all the scenes that I felt could have looked better WILL look better in the retail blu-ray release… one would assume and hope.
Sound (10/10) Masterpiece
The sound does not disappoint in any category and that’s usually the case when it comes to Gundam. Voice acting (JP), BGM, both openings and endings are all outstanding.
Characters (8/10) Very Good
The characters like I said in the story category are very good and what will keep newcomers to Gundam staying and watching. Although there are not a TON of characters that this applies to the ones that it does like our MC Mikazuki Augus is definitely a character that I’ve heard nothing but positive things from. He’s not like your typical whiny pilot that we’ve seen in the past. He’s more in the category of Heero Yuy and Setsuna F. Seiei but calling him a clone of either of the two is definitely not what I’m saying either. Because honestly I think from a character standpoint Mikazuki is a better and more interesting character than both Heero and Setsuna combine. Yes he has traits from both of them but he also has his own flair of insanity which comes out in the heat of battle. I haven’t seen a main gundam pilot with such a personality trait yet the closest I can think of is Haptism Allelujah but he’s not an MC. They are either on the whiny, calm or dull for the most part so to see this definitely sparks things up. Majority of the other characters are very good and like Gundam tradition we have character deaths we didn’t want but expect. I knew a hand full of people where going to die not because of the countless death flags we’ve been given throughout the anime but because it’s basically tradition at this point.
Enjoyment (8/10) Very Good
I’m a Gundam fan if you couldn’t tell I love majority of the series and I’m not your average anime fan that despises all mech anime expect Code Geass and Gurren Laggan. Some might say I give Gundam a little bit too much credit but that’s all opinions and a discussion for another time. Going into Tekketsu no Orphans sadly I was already ready to like it because like I said it’s Gundam. You have to really fuck up on some Reconguista type shit for me not to like you and it’s definitely no where near as bad as that trash. Tekketsu no Orphans brings us a nice 8th MS Team vibe to the series. And I doubt a lot of people realize this but there was absolutely no beam sabers or laser guns in the series (as far as season 1 is concerned). Impressive because a lot of Gundam anime and other mech anime kind of have that as the requirement in their anime and it cool to see a series were as of season 1 is concern does not exist, it was enjoyable to watch the mech fights, characterization with the combination of outstanding BGM this series brought to the table.
Overall (8/10) Very Good
More Specifically (8.50/10) Very Good+
Tekketsu no Orphans in my opinion delivered what it was suppose to which was a good spin off adaptation to the Gundam series and can be recommended proudly when the franchise Gundam is brought up in conversation. Tekketsu no Orphans had people worried not only because the series before it Reconguista was trash but because the Main Director Episode Director, and Storyboard creator Nagai Tatsuyuki had his hands on it and people were extremely worried that this was going to flop because of his past works. It even had me a bit worried when I heard that. But that wasn’t the case as Tekketsu no Orphans in my opinion is a successful and very good alternate universe to the Gundam franchise. And with the announcement of the english dub a couple of months ago I hope Toonami grabs it and airs it on there so that the western toonami viewers can possibly get into the Gundam series like what happened back int the good ole Gundam Wing days.
2: Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu
English: Parasyte -the maxim-
Japanese: 寄生獣 セイの格率
MAL Score: 8.37
All of a sudden, they arrived: parasitic aliens that descended upon Earth and quickly infiltrated humanity by burrowing into the brains of vulnerable targets. These insatiable beings acquire full control of their host and are able to morph into a variety of forms in order to feed on unsuspecting prey.
Sixteen-year-old high school student Shinichi Izumi falls victim to one of these parasites, but it fails to take over his brain, ending up in his right hand instead. Unable to relocate, the parasite, now named Migi, has no choice but to rely on Shinichi in order to stay alive. Thus, the pair is forced into an uneasy coexistence and must defend themselves from hostile parasites that hope to eradicate this new threat to their species.
The truth is… this show is overrated. Overrated does not mean bad, it simply means overrated. “Oh you’re just not intelligent enough to grasp all the deep concepts hidden within the philosophical plot!” No. It’s just not as deep as you might want to believe it is. The series definitely doesn’t stay true to the “meant-to-be” dark-premise of the manga, especially towards the end.
The story starts off with what everyone believed was going to be a philosophical story between the meaning of life and death, and humanity vs reality with the introduction of a species higher up in the food pyramid than humans, called Parasytes. Sure everyone wants to believe that what they’re watching is deep, but truth be told it’s really not. The story can’t seem to decide what direction they want to go. Parasytes basically infect human beings, usually take over their brains and control them. And as you can guess, Parasytes eat humans making them the one species above human beings in the food chain. Shinichi, the protagonist only gets infected in his right hand, therefore he still has conscious control over his body (except for his right hand obviously). Where does it go from there? A psychological show? An action show? A horror? A romance? All of the above, while almost failing to reach it’s potential in every aspect. The plot doesn’t go in linear way, it cuts corners and adds in random interferences whilst not being able to intertwine and contain them all. One moment there’s a fight then there’s awkward school life-romance, then there’s running away and talking pretentiously, then there’s another fight randomly. A lot of things were taken too slowly, then rushed in the latter creating an unbalanced flow in the plot. It’s almost like although the show wanted to be philosophical, it was just about one boy running away from a herd of parasytes trying to kill him for no rational reason other than him being the main character. Furthermore, in order to promote themes, the show portrayed a lot of things incorrectly, especially human beings (The police). Human beings are evil and corrupt. Okay… Now you have to contrast that in order to create a theme or idea, but the show doesn’t succeed in showing two sides of a concept, although they try. The writers did everything in their power to somehow elevate Shinichi to a god-level in one moment then degrade him to a useless hippo the next moment in order to fit whatever they were farting out of their butts. The beginning was potential-filled, middle didn’t live up to it’s expectations although was decent, and the ending just made no sense what-so-ever. If you’re going to be philosophical, you need to back it up with your story. Kiseijuu failed to do just that and instead just had a lot of childish bloodshed. Yes, the fighting was childish because honestly, it wasn’t justified. Now with all that negative things said, the story really was pretty enjoyable to watch-listen to so don’t think that the show sucks. On the positive side of the show, there were moments that though they may be pretentious, some comments reached deep into my heart and my mind. Tamura Reiko’s “For what purpose was I born in this world?”. People think about that all the time. Why are we actually born? Do we have a certain purpose to fulfill that’s destined by fate? Then there was the mayor’s entire speech on human evolution. I found those to be really intriguing topics to think about and half the fun in watching an anime is for it to make you think and grasp upon a new conception/philosophy. But overall, yeah story was disappointing.
The character develop was really underwhelming in the show as well. I’ll start with popular main characters, Migi and Shinichi. What the story started off doing was uniting two characters into one to intertwine the nature of humanity and other creatures. The show tries to connect the audience to the humanity side and the “monster” side and show the differing perspectives. Shinichi seemed to turning more into a monster while Migi was becoming more human. But the starting potential was all there was to that development. There are too many unresolved questions and everything that Migi does for Shinichi is beyond unrealistic. I mean I understand Parasytes existing is unrealistic in itself, but they’re supposed to be a opposing metaphor for the concept of humanity, but there are some bullcrap moments that the writers seem to fart out of their butts to save Shinichi. Towards the last two episodes, Shinichi is beyond useless without Migi and he keeps saying more pretentious crap about his emotions, when there’s nothing more to say but “The writers wrote me so that I’m a human being that’s marching straight towards the strongest parasyte in the midst of night because I feel like something good will happen”. And… of course something good does happen. Oh man how genius and clever of the writers right?! The other characters had their appearances, then two episodes later their exits. Development of any sort? I don’t think so. Shinichi really could have developed more. His losses in life changes him to embrace his half-parasyte side, while his love for human life clings to his humanity. Okay, that’s a great base start but where does it all go from there? Shinichi sure had a lot of emotions tied into his characters to the point where it was like, who is this person? Shinichi is this person one moment, then another the next. The only character that developed at all is Tamura Reiko and yes she is like the only character I actually liked. Her development into trying to understand human emotions, laboring her human child, trying to unite both humanity and parasytes together. The writers succeeded in creating her character as a symbol of hope and despair. The hope that humans and other creatures will one day understand each other. The despair that there will be bloodshed and corruption within the social hierarchy of species. Her one quote of “arigato” was probably the most powerful one word in the anime that pierced through my heavens. A bright light in in the anime for sure. As for the two girls, Murano and Kana… they happen to be in love with Shinichi but there’s abolutely no chemistry between the characters. All Murano does for 90% of the story is “Are you really Shinichi?” and Kana just constantly throws herself at Shinichi whilst being aware of the dangers around her just because… the writers made her. I mean even in a fictional story there should be some human-emotion-realism right? Kana could have been a character like Tamura Reiko, a way of hope and despair in connection of the two species, but no. She became a nobody without really ever being a somebody. Also so many small characters that seemingly were going to play a role in the story just had one event then disappeared from the show entirely: Uda, Makiko, and his father? Like, what even happened to them by the end?
The very ending of Parasyte makes no sense, there is almost no connection to the rest of the story. It’s almost as if the series just cut off everything that the story built up to, to just end the show. Yet because Migi has a pretentious exchange with Shinichi, people who don’t even grasp what they’re even saying believe it to be a genius ending. All Migi basically says is Shinichi should wake up from his dreams (which is his reality) and forget everything that’s happened to him and live a normal human life. Then Shinichi realizes that humanity is corrupt and that in human nature there is natural evil. But despite all the negative sides of human nature, human beings are beautiful creatures and they include the love of Earth into the whole pretentious mix. Migi then just disappears without anything being explained. I mean Migi just randomly leaves within his dreams which then translates to Migi disappearing from the show entirely. What the hell? Did he leave himself to Shinichi (for him to have an arm) and then kill his life-force so that he doesn’t actually exist? in the end when Shinichi saves Murano, it’s implied that Migi saves her. So, what the hell actually happened to Migi? Makes no sense to me, maybe someone else can make sense of the whole ending for me. This last episode sort of reminded me of Evangelion’s ending where it doesn’t connect all that well to the rest of the plot and doesn’t explain a lot of things while including randomness to sound smart.
As for the art in Parasyte, I’d say it was decent? I mean, the portrayal of the Parasytes was mediocre to me in comparison to the kagune of Ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul. The characters all looked like they had unusually long faces (though I don’t bash them for that, just something I noticed). The actions scenes were mediocre as well, as all they portrayed were a bunch of arms moving around at a speed so fast the audience just sees lines dashing across the screen. I suppose the portrayal of weather (such as the snow when Tamura Reiko …) was beautifully done. the music in Parasyte was good but there wasn’t all that much variety in music. It was basically, opening-one other random Ost-Next to you-Ending every episode. “Next to you” is a really good piece though, I loved listening to it every time it played. Solid in the music category overall. Okay actually, listening to it’s full soundtrack, Parasyte had some really nice music.
At the very end of the show the only thing left is my head is: What was the point of the show? Was it to show that humanity is corrupt and that we’re the reason other species can’t move forward? That humanity should embrace other species and try harder to understand? Or that reality is a cruel place? What do other people see in this show that makes them think it’s so genius? And of course, if you enjoyed the show then I respect that as well because despite my criticism I too enjoyed the show … to an extent.
With all that said, Parasyte is a show that’s worth watching if you like psychological shows.
When speaking with others online about Parasyte, the most common piece of criticism I hear that strays away those who don’t want to watch is that it’s “not my genre,” it’s “overrated” or “it makes my stomach turn while watching some scenes.” Although I agree with most of these statements, it’s because of these points that people should try watching – simply because it’s a genre/ story that’s not seen often in this generation.
Putting that aside, the anime begins with a mini snake-like organism emerging from it’s shell that fails to attempt to target a high schooler by the name of Izumi Shinichi, unable to attack Shinichi’s brain to completely take over his body. However the organism develops it’s own intellect in Shinichi’s right arm and is named Migi (which is Japanese for right). The story is about magnitudes of these snake-like organisms taking over humans in Japan. If the brain has been successfully taken over, a parasyte is then born which then has the ability to morph body parts into blades and lengthen the human anatomy. To survive, these parastyes thrive on devouring the anterior portion of humans, killing with no second judgement. The main character Shinichi learns about this through his counter-part Migi and goes on a mission to kill any parasyte that poses a threat to society.
After watching this and reflecting on it, it’s clear that the anime was trying to illustrate the question of: “can someone who does not display human-like qualities, be humanized?” The answer to this question is, yes and it’s heavily drawn out through the characters. We see that as the story progresses it’s clear that parasytes are depicted as blood thirty creatures. However some of the parasytes like Tamiya Ryouko, who seemingly is out to kill, becomes more human as her storyline progresses. We also see this with Migi, Migi starts off as having no empathy for humans, Shinichi included, but gradually gains affection towards them as the episodes unfold. However when looking at Shinichi, the reverse occurs to him as he loses his some emotions and becomes less humanized.
The art and animation is quite solid, and the sound stands out as one of my favourites. Although this anime is an adaptation from a manga in the 90s, I enjoyed that the art is drawn in a way that’s up-to-date with the anime that’s out now but yet still has that air from the art during the 90s as well. The animation is fluid but not that fluid in some regards as I hoped. For example, when we see the one-to-one combat between parastyes; the lightning speed combat with using lengthened limbs and blades are not that fluid. The OST is a stand out, one of the better ones out there against the others during the time this aired; which actually made me download the entire album. I presume everyone’s favourite is probably “next to you.” If you haven’t heard it, youtube it, download it, listen, and enjoy.
Overall Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu was a great anime to watch. If you’re looking for something that’s out of your comfort zone or just looking for something new to watch, I would recommend this. I promise you that after the first episode, the cliffhangers will reel you in and possibly cause you to watch episode after episode until your done. If you made it this far reading my review.. thanks ! Feel free to shoot me a message if you have any comments about my review or want to discuss anything anime.
With such an engaging premise, Kiseijuu really sets the par high not just by its first episodes but also by some other technical aspects from behind the scenes. First we have the powerhouse studio Madhouse who are well renowned for their reputation. Then, there’s the source material. This adaptation is based on the manga that came out over two decades ago but has earned praise. With just the forefront of these elements, the series has high expectations. Thankfully, it lives up to its hype.
The show doesn’t take a break even from the start by showing the grim reality of the show’s horror. If you don’t believe me, then the first few seconds may convince you. Needless to say, a series like this is not easy to the stomach. But given that fact, it makes itself look real by showing us the brutality of the parasites. The first few episodes establishes the fact that most parasites are heartless monsters who care only about themselves and their prey. The parasite that failed to take over Shinichi’s body display similar traits by threatening to kill him and others if their secret is revealed. Migi (the name that Shinichi gives to it) often thinks strategically to survive while discarding all morality. For instance, he tries to kill any witnesses who see the symbiotic relationship between him and Shinchi. Then, there’s the actual combat where Migi fights indiscriminately at times in order to survive. Outside of combat, the show becomes a bit of personal drama. This is because Shinchi has to constantly deal with keeping this secret and not revealing it to others for the fear that they may be killed. It’s more than just responsibility but also creates the sensation of fear. For the both of them, it’s about survival in a world run by atrocity.
What makes this series’ story stand out quite a bit is the ability to convey human nature and focus on more than just outlandish battles for survival. It shows the best and worst of what humans can do while also balancing out how parasites can behave. Sometimes, there’s almost a similarity while others stands in sharp contrast. For Shinchi, he undergoes big changes as the story progresses with certain events that create tragic scars in his life. These changes are reflected both physically and mentally. Even his classmates like Murano notices this and is constantly worrying about his well-being. In the beginning, we can see him as a normal guy who just wants to be normal. Until he accepts the reality later on, Shinchi is just someone who wants friends, get an education, and perhaps even fall in love. The certain events of the parasites changes all of that as he can never go back to his normal life. His relationships with Murano often has shifting drifts because of the dangers he realizes she may be in if she gets too close to him. Then, there’s the relationship between him and his parents. In particular, his mother represents as someone who sets by example of what a good parent should be. And case taken, the series doesn’t neglect to show other relationships even among the parasites. Motherhood plays a role as well as one particular parasite becomes a guardian for her child. And although she shows little feelings towards it, there’s a drastic change to her behavior later on as she begins to develop human traits. On the other hand, we can also see the worst of human nature. For instance, there’s a serial criminal in the series whose behavior isn’t far different from the parasites themselves.
In contrast, there’s also Shinchi who develops quite a bit throughout this show. Remember, a big part of this series relies is crafted by the way things change and how they work. Shinchi’s experience of fighting alongside Migi turns him into a warrior beyond someone who just wishes to protect others. This is in particular true because of the tragic events in his life. His change is reflected physically and also at an interpersonal level as Shinchi becomes less and less human himself. From an ordinary kid with a timid personality in the beginning, Shinchi becomes a changed man who is serious, humorless, and pessimistic. It’s also shown in the case where Shinchi begins to develop fighting skills of his own when he can’t always rely on Migi. And furthermore, the show takes advantage of the choices he makes to further develop his character. It doesn’t take a genius to see how much the show can focus on its premise and understanding it. The show takes its turns with each episode to present thrillerish scenarios and events that connects with the characters. Its narrative also remains a strong aspect of the show by focusing on Shinchi’s role and what his decisions are no matter how risky they may seem to be.
Also, be aware that the show has tragedy. More than just death, Shinchi’s losses in life expands beyond just losing important people around him. It shows that he can’t save everyone and when that happens, Shinchi feels regret because of his own lack of confidence. It’s interesting at the same time to see how much Migi changes. From the irrational display of inhumanity he shows in the beginning, we can see some of his softer sides. It seems as the story goes on, there’s attachment he feels about the human race and their behavior. While most of this is obstructed in the beginning, the development of his character reaches a point where Migi behaves like a human. On a lighter side, the show also adds some elements of comedy involving Migi and Shinchi’s relationship. Migi’s particular curiosity leads him to “research” on human sexuality which creates hilariously memorable moments. Kana’s repetitive “White Knight wet dreams” are also something of a very peculiar comedy that adds more into the show. Similarly, we can also see different sides of other parasites ranging Reiko’s care for her child to the political ways that some parasites tries to initiate into society. By presenting such events, it also shows that not all parasites are simply absent-minded for their lust to consume and kill. We even have a character that Shinchi can relate because of their own personal life circumstances. But for all its worth, the show can become a bit predictable at times. The death flags are inevitable not to mention the spoilerish opening song. While the transition of each episodes remain mainly strong, there are some minor changes between the manga and this adaptation. Furthermore, both the manga and anime has plot holes that are seemingly never answered. None of them really destroys the content of the story but some of it seems a bit odd such as the technology and Shinchi’s original appearance prior to become Mr. Badass.
As a fan of the manga, I have to say that my initial impressions of the artwork wasn’t very great. The artwork has a more generic style rather than the mature atmosphere the manga delivered. After taking more careful glances though, there’s also a feel of attachment anyone can make from the art. Starting with gruesome, the designs of the parasites are both horrific and fascinating. All of them show monstrous traits with their murderous-like intent. The eyes, blades, and disfigured faces are what makes them fearful. Certain parasites also develops more powerful traits that really makes them stand out above others physically by their body structure. In this case, the designs got the job done. Migi in particular has a very fascinating appearance with his unique case of being stuck in Shinchi’s hand. For the human characters though, most of them are categorized by character design to fit with their personalities. From Shinchi’s normal parents to the various delinquents, each of them gives off an impression of humanity. But the most fascinating part about the show is Shinchi’s physical change. His tragic experiences transforms him into a more daring man and this is even reflected by his image. The sharp-edge hair, removal of his glasses, and firm body structure are just a few examples of this. And finally, the show is infamous for its graphic violence. Expect pouring blood, severed limbs, and gore that really entitles this show as horror. The action scenes are also, fast, crisp, and decorated with high production values thanks to Madhouse. Oh and that absence of censorship is a great please to the fans like myself.
Soundtrack and music plays a rather interesting role. In particular, the dubstep becomes a controversial addition added to the series. Sometimes, the usage feels right while other times really feel out of place. The first episode wastes no time with the usage of dubstep so viewers will have to get used to it. It took me a couple of episodes to adapt with the OST and in retrospect, it does work out once you feel attached to it. In other respects, the characters’ voices show a good deal of focus especially with Shinichi and his change. This is reflected in his more calm and confident voice later on in the story in contrast to his quiet and timid personality in the beginning. Kana Hanazawa also plays the role of Shinchi’s love interest with a sense of innocence in her voice. But most interestingly, we have the voices of the parasites. All of them has a disturbing and distorted voice compared to their former human hosts when transformed. I give credit for this sci-fi style of portrayal to bring out the realism of their presence. But when in human form, there’s some a lack of empathy in the voice mannerisms of the parasites. Other times, there are parasitic characters who shows more of a human tone such as with Reiko and Uda. Then, there’s also the character Migi. Voice actress Aya Hirano effectively brings this character into life with her voice. Finally, there’s also the OP and ED songs. Unlike most 2 cour series, there are no changes the whole time with the hardcore OP song or the gentler atmosphere of the ED.
If you’re a fan of sci-fi horror, then this series should no doubt be something of a must-see. This remarkable work is reflected not just in the story but by the characterization of its cast – both human and parasitic. The show’s focus on its various themes crafts great amounts of moments that are memorable for its nature. Shinchi’s development over the course of the series along with Migi are like experimental journeys that really makes their point. And with all this going on, we can also see how far the show can make for itself when it can make you feel attached to its premise. There will be some predictable plot elements in regards to the romance sub-plots or tragedy. However, this shouldn’t be a set-back especially when its main story is thought provoking. Hell, even the action scenes tells a story each episode. Kiseijuu is a wonder that is sometimes fun, sometimes horrific, sometimes mysterious but always entertaining.
English: Gintama Season 4
MAL Score: 9.09
Gintoki, Shinpachi, and Kagura return as the fun-loving but broke members of the Yorozuya team! Living in an alternate-reality Edo, where swords are prohibited and alien overlords have conquered Japan, they try to thrive on doing whatever work they can get their hands on. However, Shinpachi and Kagura still haven’t been paid… Does Gin-chan really spend all that cash playing pachinko?
Meanwhile, when Gintoki drunkenly staggers home one night, an alien spaceship crashes nearby. A fatally injured crew member emerges from the ship and gives Gintoki a strange, clock-shaped device, warning him that it is incredibly powerful and must be safeguarded. Mistaking it for his alarm clock, Gintoki proceeds to smash the device the next morning and suddenly discovers that the world outside his apartment has come to a standstill. With Kagura and Shinpachi at his side, he sets off to get the device fixed; though, as usual, nothing is ever that simple for the Yorozuya team.
Filled with tongue-in-cheek humor and moments of heartfelt emotion, Gintama’s fourth season finds Gintoki and his friends facing both their most hilarious misadventures and most dangerous crises yet.
Besides starting out with heavy action, comedy is one of the best ways to make people continue watching a show. To hook the viewers into the first few episodes is what the producers try to do each season. If you don’t start off with something funny in a show that is so well-known for its way of doing parodies and comedy, then there’s no way the viewers are going to continue watching. I mean, who doesn’t like a good ol’ DBZ parody to start itself off? I know I do.
If there’s one thing I didn’t like about how the season went is the skipping of some of the smaller arcs. Gintama has always been faithful at adapting all its arcs, but this season was quite different. This may be due to pushing it for OVAs to sell, or maybe they just didn’t have the time slots available. That or something came up within the studio to make them adapt the bigger arcs earlier.
With that, I guess we should talk about the highly anticipated arcs that a lot of people have been waiting for since the announcement of the season. Without trying to spoil, these arcs provide a lot to the watchers as to what’s happening to some of the most known groups/people in the Gintama franchise. The first arc is the Shogun arc which obviously focuses on the Shogun himself but also his enemies. Compared to the other big arcs, I’d say this was a pretty good arc and rivaled some of the other ones from the past seasons. If you thought that was all for the big arcs, then think again! Not only do we get one major roller coaster arc this season, but two. The other being the Shinsengumi arc which focuses on the Police force of Edo and two other “prominent” groups—the Joui rebels and the Mimawarigumi. Unlike the previous arc, this arc is more about emotion than it is about action. While this arc does have action, I wouldn’t put it ahead of the arc before it in that sense. I still enjoyed this arc though because it shows us some backstory of some of the Shinsengumi, the Mimawarigumi, and even Gintoki. These two arcs go hand-in-hand as the former leads into the latter. Just what is in store for our beloved characters?
Visually speaking, it has been up and down here and there. Mostly a hit though. Like most shows, or at least ones that want to stand out in scenes, the visuals will go above and beyond then the usual to look when it needs to. The comedy arcs were also pretty good in terms of its animation, but there were times when the animation took a turn down and looked pretty bad. Expect the animation budget to be really good during the action arcs, especially for the final two arcs. Thankfully it wasn’t bad when it needed to be so there’s nothing major I would note down.
As for the soundtrack, it has been really good. The OST was done pretty well and matches the overall mood of what the scene is trying to portray to the viewer—whether its during comedy or action. The OP/ED songs I have mixed feelings for because I’m mainly a fan of catchy songs, but they sounded good and is no different from past season. I’ve been mainly a fan of Gintama’s OP, but this season there was a few EDs I quite enjoyed more so than its OP counterpart, so props to the singers for that.
And just like that another season of Gintama ends. The waiting once again begins as per regular tradition. If you haven’t enjoyed this season, then the season to come, which will most likely be the finale, is definitely not for you.
Gintama hasn’t changed one bit; it will continue being its same old self until it finally brings a closure to all the characters we love and find so hilarious.
Now to the review of this season!
Well, Gintama had never been an anime with high budget so please don’t expect ufotable’s godlike level of animation. For a long-running anime though, I think Gintama has the better animation out there, and especially during the last arc, the animation was pretty top notch. The characters design and the setting has always been distinct (I’ve always been a fan of their portrayal of ‘modern’ Edo) and I always thought that Gintama has good art anyway so in this season it still deserves a high score.
This is one of my personal favourite aspects of Gintama. I like how they could make a recurring theme to give off different feelings according to the scene they’re accompanying. The new OSTs for this season are very good too, especially for the last two arcs (there is one theme song for a new character that I really like in this season, it gives me literal chill everytime I hear it haha).
This season started with a very controversial comedic episode which reminded us that Gintama won’t ever be afraid to make jokes on pretty much everything. The episodes which followed are great too (the lottery one is still my fav though) and the comedic arcs in this season are among my favorites (soul switch arc, dekoboko arc, afro arc, feigned illness arc, confessional arc…). They are very well written and always left us with an afterthought in a classic Gintama way.
The serious arcs, particularly the last two, are among the best in the entire series. The strength of the serious arcs in Gintama is that the pacing of the story is quite fast that our hype was always being kept at high. Also, as an anime-only watcher, a lot of the twist really caught me off-guard, and all I can say is despite some of the twists being typical shounen tropes, the way Gintama handled them are very tasteful. I guess it’s because Gintama isn’t your typical shounen with teenagers as MCs, which bring us to its endearing characters.
Characters : 10/10
The characters are the reason why I finished all the previous seasons in only two months. If you asked me when I started to love a particular character I would never be able to answer that; they were all slowly creeping on me.
Gintama’s character are well-rounded. Nobody is perfect; in fact some of the characters are really gross that it may seemed impossible to love them at first, but given the time, they are all endearing in their own ways. I mean, I can sympathize with a gorilla stalker that sometimes walk around naked and a gross homeless old man who seemed to have no ambition in life. My other favourites includes the clumsy leader of a rebellious faction nicknamed “nobleman of fury” who keeps an alien (duck?) as a pet, an inhumanely strong little girl with a weird accent who always eats like there’s no tomorrow, and a police officer who should have been arrested for exposing everyone with secondhand smoke and for ruining all the good foods in this world with his disgusting mayonnaise addiction.
The new characters this season are also memorable, but what hits me the most is the development of all the supporting characters. We’ve known them for 250+ episodes and we’re very much already knew their personality traits. However, Sorachi gradually exposed bits by bits of those characters so what I feel that watching Gintama is not about the characters growing, but me knowing them better. I don’t know if this makes sense or not, but watching Gintama feels like knowing your friends better in life instead of rooting for a celebrity you’ve only seen on TVs. So when they’re hurt or something bad happened to them, the feels hit me as if something happened to someone I hold dear (okay this is getting out of hand because my inner otaku coming out but whatever).
So yeah, the supporting characters in Gintama are too good that they can probably lead their own series. That being said, the MC is by no means being overshadowed by them. Gintoki is deservedly the leader of the bunch, and this season just cemented the fact. There are many instances where Gintoki shines as the best shounen MC I’ve ever seen, both because his persona and how he deals with his relationship with other characters. He handled all the cliche shounen tropes in a surprising manner that keeps me rooting for him (there’s one moment in this season when it’s shown that he’s really emotionally strong and mature and that was something I rarely saw in shounen jump’s heroes).
Gintoki though, has always been a contradiction; he had always been annoyingly talkative but actually he rarely said anything important, he always seemed greedy but when we think about it, he is actually very selfless. In this season, I feel that Gintoki had opened up and showing his true self more (he’s talking about his past more, and he’s also openly expressing his wishes). All in all, his relationship with all the characters, especially with his Yorozuya family and the Shinsengumi, is the highlight for me in this season.
Hell yeah the fast pacing keeps the enjoyment and the hype real and high. If you still don’t get it from my ramblings above I really enjoy this season. Wednesday had been the day I waited the most for these past year (even more than the weekends!)
Oh, and the seiyuus is another highlight (especially Sugita and Nakai!) because without them masterfully voicing these weird characters, it won’t feel the same. I believe I will listen if Gintama was made into radio series, their voices are already the heart of Gintama.
Watching Gintama actually makes me very picky in watching other anime. It has a complete package that is hard to beat; I bet you it’s not easy to make a series where you can laugh a little in between tears because they decided to put a slight comedy in an otherwise very emotional scene. Or makes you laugh like a madman because sometimes it’s too funny that you need to stop watching to collect yourself first. And this season just has that perfect mix of comedy and action (and drama too) that I cemented it as one of the best series ever made.
Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes upon the most overhyped anime of all time! Watch as our main protagonist uses his wooden sword of sentimentality, cutting into the bleeding hearts of all you emotional thinkers, corrupting your rotten brains with the stench of intellectual destitution!
In this particular season of Gintama, the author’s masterplan finally takes shape. Every episode of comedy filler, every laugh, and every smile it has pulled from your innocent lips, it was all a ploy to steal your souls. He can now freely attach your emotions to these characters of absurd fiction. With emotional manipulation the anime makes you care for a bunch of clowns, and then takes a darker turn as you become complacent.
With superior animation it uses thrilling action-scenes and atmospheric direction, blinding you with pretty colors. The show’s visuals are fast-food for the soul, delicious upon tasting it, but ultimately detrimental to your IQ, making you more creative and in touch with your emotions rather than with your cold and logical side.
Allow me to wreak havoc on your lowly opinions, by pointing out Gintama’s greatest flaw of all, the horrendous writing and characters. The show has a tendency to make characters relatable and fascinating, only to retcon events so that you can retain those emotional connections, while the story just goes wherever it wants. It is one thing to play with expectations, but another to betray them by doing plot-twists that don’t live up to my personal golden standard. Some characters will receive tragic backstories, only for it to be revealed that none of it mattered, because some current event undid it all or it was all a lie to begin with. Worst of all, on several occasions we see death-flags get raised, only to be ignored in the name of dramatic convenience, just so the few who DO die have more impactful farewells.
I would call the author spineless, but that’d be an insult to invertebrates. I would ask you all to make a drinking-game out of every time you notice plot-armor at play, or a character making an inspirational speech. When you all die of alcohol-poisoning I’ll be left in a more agreeable world, one where only I rule over the anime-hegemony.
To summarize, Gintama has reached a level of worship among anime-fans like no other. To think that the social nature of humanity would override their ability to think logically, it makes me want to give up on everything.
Oh and happy April Fools. This show is awesome.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
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