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Archive for March, 2012

Guilty Crown

Oh my, Guilty Crown.

Announced to be airing as a 2-cour series in the noitaminA timeslot, directed by Death Note director Tetsurō Araki and with the screenwriters for Code Geass, Hiroyuki Yoshino and Ichirō Ōkouchi, all of this being handled by the studio Production I.G. – a studio with a track record for excellent series – Guilty Crown was understandably being hyped to hell and back. The general description for it included talk of a mysterious virus, strange powers, and an anti-government resistance group. Aside from the virus stuff, it sounded awfully lot like the good part of Code Geass, and with the staff to back that up. Exciting stuff! Everybody was eager, anxious in their anticipation, predicting it would be the best show of the fall season. What could go wrong?

Well, it all started when it began airing…

WARNING: Better be using a better device than he is because this is looong and image heavy. Also spoilers I guess.

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Another

Psychological horror is one area in which Japan excels. Ringu is the most notable, but examples are too numerous to list. Anime has its fair share of representatives of the genre as to be expected] with Higurashi being the most famous such series, at least when it isn’t being gratuitous and creepy fanservice. The hallmarks of the genre as done by the Japanese are often the creation of a tense, unsettling and foreboding atmosphere, and letting the audience breathe that in before ramping up the dread and terror, and the presence of the hate-filled and vengeful supernatural.

Another is the latest anime series in this genre, setting itself up for paranoia from the get-go – a 9th grade class is cursed due to a class some 20 years ago refusing to acknowledge the death of a classmate, meaning at least one person from the class (or a direct relative like a sibling or parent) will die as a direct result. How does it hold up? Is it another horror classic, or just another silly farce?

The eyepatch is there to hide SPOILERS!

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The ordinary, everyday, normal lives of a bunch of ordinary, everyday, normal high school boys, Daily Lives of High School Boys was seemingly billing itself as male K-On!

But it received the nickname of Nichibros.

Why?

Why do you think?

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What my scores mean

Reviewing is basically entirely subjective. I think the only thing that isn’t is technical animation quality, but even then what constitutes ‘bad’ animation varies from person to person. So naturally, an individual’s review scores are going to have a different meaning from someone else’s. How people calculate their scores, what’s important and what’s not, it depends on each and every individual.

As such, I figure I might as well clear up and explain what exactly, if anything, my scores mean and imply. Also this gives me something to point to if anyone disputes my scores. Disagree, sure, but you can’t say I’m wrong because a) opinions and b) my opinions > your opinions.

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Black Rock Shooter was noitaminA’s other winter 2012 season series, paired up with the latter half of Guilty Crown. Unsurprisingly, people started calling this the death of noitaminA as a respectable timeslot – Guilty Crown had been sealing a reputation for not being all that great and Black Rock Shooter… well, Black Rock Shooter was hardly promising. This TV series was essentially an expansion of an hour-long OVA. Which in itself was an expansion of a ryo/Hatsune Miku music video. Which in itself was just an expansion on some concept art!

To say Black Rock Shooter had an auspicious origin would be something of an understatement. On top of all that, it was only going to be 8 episodes long! Rather worrying, that’s for sure – why so few episodes on an adaption of a property that was actually rather popular? Was this worrying justified, or was it baseless? Did the lack of any solid material to base the adaption off of give it lots of room for creative control, or did it hinder it by not providing a decent working core?

Spoiler warning and stuff

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With the winter season anime nearing the end or finishing entirely, and some spring anime already starting, I figure I’d give my plans for the season, as well as some preliminary thoughts.

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Bakemonogatari was overrated. Not bad, far from bad! But rather, quite simply, not deserving of the level of acclaim it received. Seriously, the amount of love for it is pretty crazy. I can see where it comes from though: it was ridiculously stylish, rich with visual imagery and metaphor even if it all meant fuck all; the conversations were endlessly entertaining, moving at a furious pace and taking many unexpected twists and turns; the characters were memorable and unique, constantly playing with the archetypes thrust upon them and basically carrying the entire show even if it was just a glorified harem – would it have been anywhere near as enjoyable had Senjougahara not been the immensely self-aware, ultraviolent, impossibly deadpan tsundere we all know and love to varying degrees? All these points certainly make it stand out, but unfortunately are unable to make it outstanding.

No, my issues with Bakemonogatari are rather minor, and very subjective. The plot was not bad, many interesting events that made the most of the characters within them, and the more I think back on it the more I’m reminded that its quality was higher than I’m giving it credit for here. However, each event was somewhat nebulously connected to the others – not an intrinsically bad thing in an arc based show such as it was, but with more focus it could have left a much greater impression on me, become something truly special. And that’s the issue here – it simply didn’t have the impact I was expecting it would, given the hype. Not disappointment, just a certain feeling of “was that it?”

So how does this affect its sequel, Nisemonogatari? I watched Bakemonogatari after Nise was announced to be airing in the winter 2012 season – I figure that failing to watch what would be the biggest, most notable show that season would be a bit rubbish of me as an anime fan. So I watched Bake and then the hype balloon was somewhat deflated. I was still looking forward to it, no doubt about that, but I wasn’t deliriously excited or anything. I expected more of the same – in some ways this expectation was met and even exceeded, in others… not so much.

Here is my totally amateurish review. Read on? o yeah spoiler warning and stuff

Go on, you know you want to

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