Re:Zero Starting Life In Another World [First Impressions]

So tell me if you’ve heard this: “Boy gets summoned to a different world. Boy gains a special power. Boy goes on a journey to save the world.” It’s a premise that’s used as much as there are stars in the skies and it doesn’t seem that it’ll start getting old anytime soon. The question that I really have to ask in this article is that is Re:Zero any different than its past predecessors? Well you’ll be in for a treat once you realize that it’s more than it seems.

Re:Zero’s story starts off with its protagonist stuck in a life or death situation choosing which brand of cup ramen he should have for dinner. After making the final decision he would ever make in that world, Subaru Natsuki is then summoned by a mysterious force into a world of fantasy. While having a hard time adjusting to the change in location, Subaru is assisted by a mesmerizing girl with silver hair. In return for her actions, Subaru insists on helping her find an object she lost, an endeavor which eventually leads them to an untimely ending. From there, the story begins yet again.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Shingeki no Kabaneri (Review)

*Review contains slight spoilers*

In the age of Japan’s industrial revolution its citizens lie in fear of an ever-growing population of man-eating monsters called Kabane. The threats held by the Kabane not only lie in their ferocity and fearsome strength, but once bitten by them humans will turn into Kabanes themselves. Living with this fear, mankind has holed themselves into fortresses, living each day in fear of the monsters out their walls. The only thing that can get people from one fortress to another is the steam locomotive.

Continue reading

Fate Stay Night: UBW Ep. 24 Impressions [Spoilers]

I haven’t done many anime impressions/reviews as of late, but I thought I’d write about this one episode in particular before all the hype in me dies down.

In the previous episode, Saber finished her long-awaited duel with Assassin, Rin pulled Shinji out of the Grail’s thick meaty grasp, and Shirou got blown away by an Ea blast that wasn’t even aimed at him. Sure, our main character got swatted away like a puny fly, but this is the climax! The episode where our “Hero of Justice” shines! The title of the episode is called “Unlimited Blade Works” for God’s sake! Unlimited Blade works in our Unlimited Blade Works episode in our Unlimited Blade Works anime adaptation of the Unlimited Blade Works route of the visual novel!

1434821002353
To get straight to the point, I really enjoyed the episode. I’ve been a longtime fan of Type-Moon, and I loved what Ufotable did with the series. They brought in splendid animation that really breathed life to its visual novel predecessor, along with original content that fit right into the story. Albeit, I would have enjoyed seeing them animate the Fate route, but Unlimited Blade Works route is truly where Shirou’s true worth as a character shines. We’ve seen him go up against enemies he could never dream of defeating, facing the impossibility and hypocrisy of his dreams and ideals, and even fighting a buff, tanned, sexier version of himself. Even against all those odds, he still persists and grows to greater heights. Although this climax lived up to many people’s expectations, I feel like it fell a bit short to mine.

The Animation Was…Dodgy?

Ufotable is known for their high quality animation, and their adaptation of this series even earned the nickname of “Unlimited Budget Works”. While the name certainly fits for this beauty of a show, the same can’t be entirely said of season 2. Animation quality dropped down occasionally during certain episodes (mostly during the Caster hostage episodes), and it may be because most of the budget went to the first season. My main issues with the animation in this episode essentially arose from the Shirou vs Gilgamesh battle.

Ufotable prides themselves in their style of animation by using CGI and special effects to add a certain feel of realism to their shows. However, this works against Ufotable, because having shoddy-looking people fighting in a super-detailed field of swords makes for a really weird contrast. I also understand that in order to have a greater sense of motion in animation a portion of detail will have to be sacrificed, but the battle seemed 80% motion and 20% detail.

shoooom

“FWOOSH! Gudda gu f@st, Imma Sanic!”

But let’s not forget the laser-light show. Instead of shooting swords at each other, half the fight seemed like they were shooting laser beams. One of the reasons I liked the Ufotable adaptation is that they actually showed swords being shot, unlike Studio DEEN’s red laser beams.

swords spamHow did we go from this?

 To this?

Shirou Was a Badass

Aside from the fact that he brought out Unlimited Blade Works, the way he worked off of his strengths and weaknesses is what really made him cool in my eyes. Sure, his ability to create a world of swords seems cool and unstoppable at first, but it’s useless against almost any Servant. Thank God, Gilgamesh isn’t almost any Servant.

kinda not real
It takes a very small interval of time for Gilgamesh to launch his weapons, but it takes Shirou no time at all to launch his, since his weapons are already there. If Shirou so much as sees a weapon from the Gate of Babylon, he’ll cut them down immediately before they’re even fired. With this, Shirou doesn’t even give Gilgamesh the time to counter-attack. By realizing his strengths, Shirou wields them to the limit and defeats the King of Heroes.

"Fuck! That's the hand I masturbate with!"

“Looks like you’re getting wrecked, Boss.” “Shut the fuck up, Lion.”

I Wanted More Shirou vs Gilgamesh

This is the climax episode. It’s called Unlimited Blade Works. This is one of the most important episode in the series, yet we have the biggest fight interrupted by scenes with Rin and Saber. I’m not saying that those scenes weren’t important, but they really lessen the overall impact of the episode. I know this was how it exactly played out in the visual novel, but the fight felt very short because of it. It’s like someone taking away your lunch while you’re eating it, only for it to be given back 10 minutes later. I did like the scene with Saber fading away though. Goodbye waifu.

sorry

“Sorry, Shirou. I can’t let you have this episode all to yourself.”

Goodnight Sweet Prince

1434817510463

“Don’t worry, Tohsaka. I’ll try my best from now on too.”

The scene where Rin says goodbye to Archer was beautiful. What really captures the beauty of the scene were Archer’s reactions. The way he reacted towards Rin lamenting over his cruel fate, how he ruffled his hair up to get his old look back, and the way he smiled and gave Rin a very Shirou-like response. The track “New Dawn” gave the nostalgic feeling many fans of the visual novel adore. I give Ufotable an A+ for this scene’s adaptation. It literally brought me to tears (again).

Conclusion:

I loved the episode. Easily my favorite out of all the episodes. My only qualm is that the animation quality could’ve been a lot better. Other than that, it had everything I wanted. “EMIYA” playing in the background, a high-paced fight with swords on swords, Gilgamesh being beaten like a boy beating his meat for the first time, and the heartfelt goodbye we were all waiting for. This series will be very missed. Let’s all look forward to the epilogue, shall we?

 

First Impression Reviews: Mekakucity Actors

Spring has come! Flowers are blooming, the weather is getting warmer, and new anime series have arrived! This season I’ll be trying out a few First Impression Reviews, and I’ll be starting this off with my most anticipated series of the season: Mekakucity Actors.

MCA

Before I start this review, I must inform you, the readers, that I will be reviewing this series unbiasedly. I’m as much of a fan of Kagerou Project as the next. Believe me, I’ve even imported some stuff directly from Comiket in Japan for this series. However, you may find me saying some things that would sound very unlike a fan of this series.

What is Mekakucity Actors?

Mekakucity Actors is the anime adaptation of one of the hottest trending series in Japan known as Kagerou Project. Kagerou Project is a Vocaloid song series created by a multimedia artist by the name of Shizen no Teki P, also known as Jin. Look back on my past 2 articles to find out a bit more about the series:

The series follows the story of children who traveled through the phenomenon known as the Kagerou Days, and came into possession of eyes with special powers. Among these children is a girl who can erase her own presence/existence, a boy who can deceive others with his appearance, an indestructible cyborg, a mischievous AI, and a hikkikomori-NEET (who doesn’t have powers, but is essential to the story overall). Each character possesses a dark past, and the series follows their struggles in the present.

Shaft, the animation studio that animated Madoka Magica and Bakemonogatari, took up this series and announced it back in 2012. The series is directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, the person who directed the two aforementioned Shaft series. Jin himself wrote the script for the series and even composed the opening theme song. Jin’s partner and illustrator for Kagerou Project, Shidu, also took part in creating the visuals for the opening and ending themes.

What I Expected Before Watching: Super Special Awsome

So like I said before, I’m a huge fan of the series. When I heard that Kagerou Project was finally going to get an anime, I flipped out. I had high expectations for this series since I saw that Shaft would be animating it and the original creators would be taking part in making it as well. I adored Shaft’s series like Monogatari , Madoka Magica, and Nisekoi. I thought that they’d be the perfect people for the job and do this series justice. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

First Impression: It Could’ve Been Better

ene

No, really. This series could have been a LOT better. When I first saw the episode, I was too caught up in my initial fangirl mode to notice the faults. However, after watching it for a second time with a friend, I noticed the faults I neglected to see before.

What the Hell?! This is a Monogatari Rehash!

This is most definitely not a good thing. Akiyuki Shinbo tends to inject his own personal style and elements into almost all the series he directs. You’ll see his style be really prevalent in the Monogatari series, Madoka Magica, Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, and Nisekoi. I’d forgive Shinbo for doing this a little bit, but no. What the ACTUAL Hell. You can’t go and literally  turn this into another Bakemonogatari.

The way the backgrounds stood out more than the characters really irked me. In almost all of Shinbo’s series, the backgrounds are a lot more detailed than the characters themselves. Mekekucity Actors is no exception. For example:

booty roompier

How dare they re-use a scene from Bakemonogatari and use it in this anime?! I’m actually pretty livid about this. A lot of people mistook Shintaro as Araragi from Monogatari and I can’t blame them after seeing this scene.

arararagi

The head tilts. The freaking head tilts. You just couldn’t leave the head tilts out of this magnificent series could you?! Was that too much to ask for Shinbo?! Stop doing that! It’s bad for their necks!

It was fine the first two times, but now it’s getting old. What was interesting before is now just something really unoriginal. Well aside from this being exactly like Monogatari, there were still a couple of other stuff that bothered me as well.

Much “Quality”. Such Detail. Not Wow

Some of you may not be familiar with the way the term “Quality” is used in some parts of Otaku Fandom. It refers to those moments in animation where the detail is bad, and I don’t mean bad. I mean “crayon-colored bodies with a couple of lines that barely make out a face” bad. I’m obviously over exaggerating things, but the first episode was filled with lots of “quality” scenes. Like these:

qualityquality 2

Luckily, animation studios tend to fix scenes like these for the Bluray releases. It should be expected of Shaft to clear up the messes they made in the first episode.

Horrible Pacing

I’m not sure if I should blame this on Shaft or the original source material. I’ll admit that the KagePro series has a slow start, and Jinzou Enemy is clearly one of the reasons why. For almost half of the episode, you literally just see a NEET talking to his AI. For people unfamiliar with the KagePro series, I can bet that they found themselves bored to death because of this. The only redeeming quality that may have saved them from becoming too disinterested was the energetic and adorable Ene.

How can you ignore this cute face?

How can you ignore this cute face?

It should also be noted that Seto was in the hostage situation, while in the light novel and manga he was not. It goes to show how Shaft will be compressing the story as much as possible due to this being an eleven episode series. I’m not even sure if the series will end with Route 1’s ending or Route XX’s ending.

The Opening Was Nice

As said before, Jin composed the opening theme song himself. Maria from Garnidelia (who sang the 2nd Kill la Kill opening) also sang the vocals. I did find the detail of the visuals for the opening theme to be a little lacking, and some of it looked like a poor imitation of Shidu’s art style. Despite that, I did think that the opening may interest some viewers as to what may happen later on in the series. Maybe it’ll convince them that the rest of the episodes won’t be like the first. It was also a treat to hear another song by Jin though. I can’t wait to hear a Vocaloid version that’ll be sung by IA.

Final Verdict:

I really expected more out of this adaptation to be honest. I was really hyped because I love Kagerou Project. I love the characters and I love the story, but I feel like Shaft just shat all over them. It is only the first episode, so there’s not much I can say about the series as a whole so far. However, since I am a KagePro fan, this isn’t going to diminish my love for the series any less. I’m definitely going to enjoy Mekakucity Actors, but not as much as I initially hoped. If you feel a little disappointed as well from the hype, I recommend that you go listen to the songs. Maybe listening to Kagerou Days or Children Record might brighten your opinion of the series.

 

 

Dangan Ronpa: A High-Speed Trainwreck (Ep. 1 Review)

Dangan Ronpa Episode 1 Review: A High-Speed Train Wreck

(I’ve recently started working at Word of the Nerd Online. This article is my first anime review article which can also be read here at Word of the Nerd Online.)

We’re on our way into the Summer 2013 anime season! Many series have made their debuts, going on their way to the fast track to the top. On the other hand, you also have those series flopping out right at the beginning, and Dangan Ronpa: The Animation seems to be one of those series.

danganronpaDangan Ronpa: The Animation is an anime adaptation of the PSP video game, Dangan Ronpa: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair. The game is based on the story of 15 high schoolers who made their way into the elite high school known as, Hope’s Peak Academy. The school is known for selecting the elite of the elite among the children of society. Each student gains a status known as the Super High School Level status. The Super High School Level status relates to the special skill of the student. You’ll have statuses like the Super High School Level Idol, Baseball Star, Delinquent, Martial Artist, Otaku, and Luckster. It’s said that whoever graduates from Hope’s Peak Academy will be guaranteed a successful future. However, what people don’t know is that the only way to graduate is to commit the perfect murder.

Dangan Ronpa: The Animation is directed by Seiji Kishi, the director of works like Persona 4: The Animation and Devil Survivor 2: The Animation. You would think that Kishi here would’ve gained some experience from adapting quite a few video games by now, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with Dangan Ronpa.

So much is crammed into the first episode that it actually falls short of itself. The episode starts off with a gruesome death sequence from the video game itself, showing us what to expect in the future. Afterwards, our protagonist, Naegi Makoto, proceeds to explain the basic setting of the series. We learn about Hope’s Peak Academy, the elite students chosen for its program, and etc. A lot of info from the game that took almost an hour to learn, took 2 minutes to learn in the anime. The series tries to rush itself in trying to present the despair from the situation in which the students find themselves in. The beginning just flies by the character intros, so it’s hard to keep track of who’s who and what they’re in for.

danganronpafish

monokuma

There’s the perpetrator officer! A talking teddy bear…

Though the anime is already on its way to a bad start, it doesn’t mean it’s without its merits. You have a wide variety of colorful characters. A super Otaku, a macho fighter chick, a super cute idol, a badass delinquent, and much more. Also, let’s not forget the principal and sole mastermind of the horrifying series of events: Monokuma (a talking, black and white teddy bear).

The concept in itself provides some flare to the series as well. Only one student can graduate. Commit a murder and make sure no one finds out. If the murderer succeeds, he can graduate while the rest of the students are executed. However, if the murderer is found, he/she is executed in a way relating to his/her Super High School Level status, like at the beginning of the episode.

Pros:

  • Flashy game of death concept
  • Unique variety of characters

Cons:

  • High-speed pacing in the first episode

I’m hoping that Dangan Ronpa: The Animation can pick itself up from its messy start. The series itself definitely has a lot of potential, but with a total of 13 episodes, it may be hard to succeed. Luckily, if you’re not satisfied with the anime, you could always wait for the Playstation Vita port that was recently licensed by NIS America.

Dangan Ronpa: The Animation is licensed by FUNimation Entertainment in North America. The series is available to watch online at their website: http://www.funimation.com/danganronpa-the-animation

Devil Survivor 2: The Animation Season Finale

ds2

(THIS ARTICLE MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. PLEASE WATCH EPISODE 13 BEFORE WATCHING)

This week, many of the great series of the Spring 2013 will be ending, and Devil Survivor 2: The Animation is one of them.

Previously on Devil Survivor 2:The final Septentrion was defeated, but the Void continues its expansion on swallowing all of mankind into nothing. Wills clash and friends die (as usual). Eventually Hibiki and Yamato are the only ones left. Both men are on the brink of having their wishes granted, but only one of them will get that opportunity. Who will win in the next episode of DEVIL SURVIVOR 2!?!?!?!?!?

~Review Time~

Devil Survivor 2: The Animation was one of those series that didn’t do so great, BUUUUT it didn’t do so bad either. The ending was rather reminiscent of a few other series itself, and one could call it cliche. However, the series does deserve the merit of keeping up it’s quality throughout the whole season, and being that show you could always watch in your spare time every now and then.

The series has been leading up to this final, predictable battle. Hibiki vs Yamato. Mano a Mano. Main character vs the big villain.

The fight between Hibiki and Yamato pulls out all the stops. Each one of them goes out with the first Demon they ever summoned, then it leads up to a suicide bombing stalemate, a bit of friendship magic working it’s way here and there, and Persona fusi- I mean, Demonic Fusion.
Great animation was used in the final episode, worthy of being one of the most well animated this season.

ds4(Satan. The devil whose udders could feed an entire country.)

The fight may also be a powerhouse duel to the death, but it’s also a clash of ideals. Yamato, as you may know wants to the rule the world under a totalitarian policy, with the elites running the show. Humanity must follow the orders of these elites, no questions asked.
Hibiki on the other hand wants to create a world where everyone is subject to their own opinions and choices (pretty much the world as it was before). Yamato may seem like the bad guy here, but he has every intention on keeping Humanity from slowly destroying itself. It’s all a matter of perspective.

When negotiations break down, both sides bring out their strongest creations and go for the final clash.

ds5(Lucifer vs Satan. Two sides of the very literal same coin)

When the smoke clears up, Hibiki is the only one left standing. Finally fulfilling the promise he made to Yamato back at the end of episode 9.

Once Hibiki makes his wish, life is back to normal.

Finishing a big test, hanging out with your best friend, on your way home going to the subway, and you see a cute girl waiting for the train to come by. Pretty much the beginning of episode 1. The Nicaea app is still going strong, however it turned into just a little joke site, instead of a summoning app of demons and monsters

ds6(I really preferred the previous version).

So is that the end? Not quite.

One of my favorite moments in the episode is when the train is coming through the subway. When you start hearing the train approaching, you start to think: “Oh my god. Is the train gonna crash again? Are they all gonna die?! GANTZ EPISODE 1?!?!”Luckily nothing happened. Except for Hibiki getting his memories back from the past 7 days. ds7Hibiki finally remembers and starts making a dash for it. While he’s running you get to see what happened to the rest of the cast that died earlier in the series.
When Hibiki arrives at the Diet Building(?), the guards are confused to who this Hotsuin person is that Hibiki is asking about. Is Yamato gone? Nah, he’s just trollin’ down the street in his fancy car. The end 🙂

ds8

That’s finally it for Devil Survivor 2: The Animation. Feel a little disappointed from the anime ending? Don’t be. There’s always a chance to play the Devil Survivor 2 video game if you haven’t gotten the chance. The game comes with multiple endings different from the anime.

Also Atlus plans on releasing a reboot of the Devil Survivor 2 video game, known as Devil Survivor 2: Break Record. The game includes new characters and a new scenario, which is said to be the length of a game itself. One of the new characters will Hotsuin Miyako, Yamato’s twin sister. Didn’t know about her did you? Well neither did Yamato.

Miyako_Hotsuin

That’s the end of this series, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Thanks for reading, and look forward to my next article on the other series ending this spring.