Archive for July, 2016

ReLIFE

Friday, July 29th, 2016

It was over in a flash, I did not even have a moment to post the “begins” bracket. And now I’m posting before I had another to pull my thoughts together. But perhaps it’s better that way, or else I’d be like Mr. Wonderduck, who I’m sure watched all it, but never blogged it. And nobody else either among top animebloggers, or among geriatric animebloggers, bothered to do so.

I suspect I know why. Like the hideous balloon boobs of Divergence Eve, the dubious premise of ReLIFE spooked them away. They never gave it a chance. And indeed, if you ever let yourself to stop and think about the premise, you are going to end greatly dissatisfied. If ReLIFE were a high character drama, the author could’ve done the same of better job by isolating characters temporarily in a more realistic setting. Consider that, since there are no age changes or time travel, the ReLIFE experiment is largely isomorphic to any other kind of plot device that rips the characters out from their mundane lives and throws them together for a while. A military service, for example. Or being stuck on an island. These situations are really conductive to romance, too.

But I know why it had to be this way. Just as the majority of buyers of Divergence Eve DVDs came in for the boobs, the viewers of ReLIFE are ensnared by the wish-fulfilment premise at fist. It does not work on jaded animebloggers, but it’s their loss, and in any case they do not determine if BDs sell.

With that in mind, what is there for us to be ensnared?

If you ask me, I have to name the voicework Ai Kayano in the role of Chizuru Hishiro. I am not commonly astonished by seiyuu, but this was something else. Not only the casting was perfect, but it was a tremendous surprise because I was poisoned by manga and expected a more pedestrian, deadpan delivery. In addition, I did not even realize who it was. But when I looked it up, none other role of Mrs. Kayano sounded like this (among those I saw and heard, anyway).

Speaking of being poisoned, normally I’d wax poetic about characters first, and about voices later, or never, but in this case I’m quite familiar with the characters from the manga, so all I can say is that the adaptation was solid. I think I can like these people again (except An :-)).

Technicalities were in place, too. They would not win any animation awards, but it was competent and the accents were well placed. For example, the dude headdesks at one point, and the things laying at the table jump. The only thing I’m not sure about is the piano BGM. It is unusual and sounds awesome at times, but I think that by ep.10 it started to overstay its welcome.

<Author> It has some interesting twists wrt production. Like one time one girl steps on a ball by accident and twists her ankle. Naturally, it was off screen, because animating the unnatural movements is difficult and time consuming, so you just get everyone’s shoked faces and SEMPAI DAIJOUBU DESUKA?!!!
<Author> Or so you though
<Author> +t. But actually, they did animate it! They re-post a flashback for her and the whole sequence is in with her stepping wrong and falling. Maybe they failed to complete it for the previous episode time, or the director thought it would be more impactful to leave it off-screen.
<Cakes> lol
<Author> In addition, the anime is cut short and leaves the most interesting parts of manga out.

Actually, I was wrong about the ending of the anime. Instead of ending as I expected, at a natural arc break, it reaches into the manga a little deeper, just enough to end on a massive cliffhanger. I don’t even know what to think about this move. It’s most likely that we’ll never get a sequel. I don’t think ReLIFE was topping ratings, or even the animeblogging haters would feel compelled to blog, if only seethe.

This reminds me, I was just informed today that the Ranka and Sheril thing was resolved in the movie.

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Why the heck not… and buying a BD might move the needle on the 2nd season, so…

P.S. Oh yeah, I forgot! They use a different track for ED in each episode, which I only noticed in 05, where it dawned on me that I know the melody… It was Puffy AmiYumi! Singing about… school friendship?! I can’t believe these trolls. They licensed 10-year-old hits as a joke on multiply levels. Get it? Going back 10 years, like the characters. Moreover, since the male lead listens to music on MD, it’s presented that he is listening to these songs.

P.P.S. Come of think of it, the lead is a familiar stereotype — a staple of anime that nonetheless you will not find on TVtropes.

P.P.P.S. Just for the record, the inverse recall scene in the final episode was expertly staged and directed — and it had no equivalent in manga. Talk about using the anime adaptation to its strengths. It works even on rewatch, when everything is known ahead of the time. If I were to compare it with something, it would be the telephone conversation on timer in ef, and frankly this is better. The beeping was rather annoying. Although obviously Shinbo did it on purpose, I think it was a miscalculation. A victory for Toshi Kosaka’s full-on director debut.

Regalia is cancelled

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

According to the notice posted to regalia-anime.jp, it’s cancelled after 4 episodes (h/t sage). Or at least that’s how I read "第4話をもって、放送をいったん終了とさせて頂きます。" I don’t recall a debacle like that recently. Even when Yamakan was booted from directing Lucky*Star after the same 4 episodes, the series continued.

UPDATE: Mr. Robert Gross pointed out that

[Regalia is] temporarily cancelled and they’ll be reairing it from the start soon (next season?). Scheduling issue not allowing for sufficient quality, so it’s more Garupan than Yamakan kind of deal.

Planetarian begins

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Aren’t we supposed to hate tragedies here? Only if they suck. Overwrought, artificial, meaningless tragedies are no good. But I heard good things about Planetarian VN and who knows, maybe we’ll see a good adaptation. Available for streaming on DAISUKI.

Love Live Sunshine begins

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

This wasn’t blogged in the category, but I ragequit the original LL in the finale of Season 1, hard. Never seen S2. And now this. Why? I don’t know, and I don’t care. Perhaps I want to meet someone like Nico again. And if I have to put up with another Nozomi, so be it.

Actually, I think it should be clear by now that the core of LL success is in its characters, love them or hate them. These fake idols are much too real.

One other thing, some folks were belly-aching about LLS repeating LL almost screencap by screencap. Indeed, there’s some of it. But isn’t it how great things are often times? They evolve and improve with every iteration. Look no further than Mazda MX-5.

Dia is the best girl, although I haven’t seen all of them in just 3 episodes.

P.S. I don’t know if it was intentional, but it’s as if the creators meant to underline how dumb Chika was when they showed her demonstrating a video on her cellphone and holding it in portrait format.

P.P.S. Production values are superb all around. It is especially noticeable in the handling of reflections. The 3D is another step forward.

Flying Witch suspended

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

This failure wasn’t entirely unexpected. If the anime industry can screw up Non-Non Biyori, they can screw up any slice-of-life. Poor Flying Witch did not even receive an imaginative screw-up. It simply was poorly drawn and animated, with cringeworthy scripting and acting. Especially the dude drove me up the wall every time he spoke. Inukai was a tremendous disappointment, too. I think it was terrible all around, but bloggers lapped it up (in particular, CKS and SDS). Seen 8.

UPDATE: Evirus liked it too, quotes "idyllic, laid back atmosphere and pace".

UPDATE 2016/12/26: CKS eventually admitted that he although he enjoyed the series, he “can’t tell you why in any coherent way”. He still claims that it “executed well”. But baby steps. Well, I can meet him halfway by agreeing that it had “a great sense of place and of imagination”. Sadly most of the rest was garbage, especially in the execution. I’m sure all the characters were brilliant in the script, but they didn’t translate at all. That is precisely what a failure to execute looks like.

Bakuon suspended

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

This one was officially credited to Chizumatic’s post “boobs and bikes”. And how is it possible to screw up this formula? Yet Bakuon only lasted 3 episodes. The impossibly stilted writing did it in, as well as lack of a compelling narrative, or actually anything interesting. Not even boobs were presented well. The penciled note was “feels like a poor retelling”.

UPDATE: Steven rolls out a comparison with Azumanga Daioh. It is quite offensive, frankly. The difference in quality is enormous. One is bad and other is good, what is to compare? But if we take his argument seriously, it boils down to the a structural similarity of having a bunch of girls there, and a bunch here, and they engage into their CGDCT activities in both cases. But this similarity is far too general. Even things like Hidamari and Yuuki Yuuna fall into the same category, and Steven wasn’t a big fan of either. BTW, for some reason he forgot that I’ve read all of the manga, and thus I’m aware of Jesus and Raimu-sempai, er, Lime.

GATE suspended

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

GATE started well and continued well for 10 episodes, but when the middle dragged in, I lost interest. The way Pinya was managed was super irritating, and in general it was just a bad patch. Not sure who the best girl really is. I suppose, it has to be Rory, but she’s not my type — too twisted due to the specific divinity.

Sweetness and Lightning begins

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Thank Jason for this one. He never made any promises about accuracy of thin slicing, except statistically. And S&L is toying with suspension right out of the gate.

Reasons are… not very strong. The art of the dad is irritatingly substandard, for example. It is as if they focused on the runt so much that they burned out by the time they had to drow the dad.

Also, I looked at the parent manga, and it’s not KnJ. I suppose that’s both good and bad, depending.

Do you want to ReLIFE?

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

Sagematt (last heard coblogging for Nova), asked me the question. The clever dude noticed that I was very much into the manga as well as the anime, and that the proper way to enjoy the ReLIFE is to enjoy the time with the characters, which leads to the assumption of the question: if you like ReLIFE, what could be better than ReLIFE for real? Granted, I feel the attraction. But I have to answer “no”.

The defining feature of ReLIFE is that the subject remains at his or her age. They are just transported into ReLIFE temporarily. The problem is, I’m not 27. It’s not as useful for those pushing 5th decade. Once back, I don’t have the time to apply the XP one gains in ReLIFE. The subjects are supposed to use the experience to turn their life around before 30, but it’s much too late for me.

And it’s not like my life is bad, so there’s no upside. The subjects are selected from people who need help, but I don’t need an intervention of this magnitude. But disruption is considerable. For one thing, what’s going to happen to my wife while I’m frolicking in ReLIFE? She has health issues and my need my help.

Okay, you can romance jailbaits for a year, essentially free of any aprobirum as long as you don’t knock them up. Could be a prize for someone at the age of the characters, but my libido is not where it used ot be. Nope, still no sale.

Finally, although not as much of an issue if one is prepared, is that the health problems that the lead has are pretty funny, while mine are already serious. I’m not sure I would be able to study properly. At least I don’t have dietic restrictions.

If it were on the conditions of life extension or an unconditional reboot, that would be something to consider. ReLIFE though… Too much trouble for too little benefit.

Saiki Flash

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

I watched an episode of Saiki at Crunchy and thought I’d have a look a little ahead… Went to YouTube, and…. Why was I not informed?!

Apparently, Saiki was animated in “flash anime” before. It’s basically like the original manga of One Punch Man. Upload dates are somewhere in 2013. And it’s hilarious as all get out. I can’t get enough of it!

I have to say though, the voicework is top notch. The so-called “flash” videos are supposed to be made by fans, but it’s nothing like Little Karibou (with all due respect to the master). Sounds like they hired professional seiyuu.