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Youjo Senki

January 16, 2017

Also known as “Saga of Tanya the Evil”, was intrigued by this anime based on the “幼女戦記” light novels by Carlo Zen. Set in an alternate earth where magic still exists and countries violently clash in a bloody conflict reminiscent of the first World War, similar to last season’s “Shuumatsu no Izetta” that was inspired by the second World War, “Youjo Senki” adds another twist to its core premise.

Besides being a feisty young girl whose innocent look and great magical powers are offset by her disturbing behaviour and ruthlessness, Tanya is in fact the reincarnation of a cold, calculating businessman who is being punished for his demeanour throughout life by being reborn as helpless orphan girl into a world filled with strife.

Although Tanya might have just as interesting a character without this added plot gimmick and background, it does give an extra dimension to her character when it becomes clear that even after being reincarnated, she still is every bit the merciless, scheming sociopath who is unemphatic to those around her and will stop at nothing to achieve her skewed goals of maximised efficiency and prioritising one’s career above all else.

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Did appreciate how the first episode of “Saga of Tanya the Evil” throws you right into the action of war raging throughout the world, all while showing us what a twisted character Tanya is, much to the shock of the other soldiers who are unable to reconcile her behaviour with her appearance.
The second episode is a prologue that highlights who Tanya was in her previous life as a salaryman in modern day Japan and then elaborates on the struggle that followed once reborn as a helpless orphan girl.

It’s apparent that Tanya is still very much the despicable person she was in her previous life, making her an interesting character. Am very curious to discover more about Tanya’s mental machinations, sincerely hope the anime will peel away more layers of her character or show how she may evolve throughout this atrocious war.

Instead of some sort of positive reversal and feel-good plot, actually wish they keep Tanya as the despicable, cold-hearted person she seems to be and give us an anime series focused not on the typical unrealistic hero, but on a flawed, villainous anti-hero. Will keep my fingers crossed that they keep on portraying her so well.

You can watch “Youjo Senki” as “Saga of Tanya the Evil” on Crunchyroll.

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2

January 13, 2017

Guess who’s back? The very best worst fantasy world adventurer party ever! Seriously, this lot of oddballs is the best at being the worst.

Was looking forward to the second season of “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!”, the anime based on the “この素晴らしい世界に祝福を!” light novel series by Akatsuki Natsume. An excellent parody of the popular isekai genre where a typical otaku finds himself transported to a mysterious fantasy world and embarks on exciting adventures flanked by cute girls, KonoSuba offers a cynical look at anime and its overused tropes.

The main cast of “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!” is a breath of fresh air thanks to being the polar opposite of the typical hero cast seen in most other anime. Far from being built solely on these deviant character traits, Satou, Aqua, Megumin and Darkness each showcase fallible, foul but very human traits that make them clash wonderfully against the usual unrealistic heroes and heroines, turning KonoSuba into comedy bliss.

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Am somewhat concerned though that the studio might overdo it in this sequel, exaggerating with elements that helped make the first season such a success, like the occasional haphazard looking animation, and the purposely skewed facial animation styling or character expressions.

In this first episode such distorted and purposely distorted faces were prevalent, even though it fit the tone of the episode, I hope “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!”will not succumb to the trap of relying too much on such trickery that they cross the fine line between clever parody and simply sloppy animation.

If you like good comedy anime, then give in to the madness and watch KonoSuba.
You can watch the first season and this new second season of “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!” on Crunchyroll. エクスプロージョン!

Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu

January 9, 2017

Last season, was enthusiastic about “Long Riders!”, the anime about a young girl who discovers the joy of cycling and forms a team with her college friends, it had the potential of being a lovely, heart-warming slice-of-life series. Unfortunately, it was plagued with severe production issues, its animation quality visibly deteriorated, some episodes were delayed and the show ultimately could not become a memorable, truly enjoyable slice-of-life anime.

Hence, am wholeheartedly hoping that this season’s “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” will manage to achieve what “Long Riders!” could not. Based on the “南鎌倉高校女子自転車部” manga by Matsumoto Noriyuki, the story revolves around new high school student Hiromi who after moving to Kamakura, decides to bicycle to school even though she has not ridden for years.
She soon befriends another girl on that fateful first commute to school and everything begins to move for the girls.

Loved the first episode of “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu”, this series might very well turn out to be the type of slice-of-life show that I adore, like “Non Non Biyori”, “Flying Witch” or “Barakamon”. If its opening episode is a trendsetter, this anime might become one of my favourites this season.

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What surprised me the most was how this opening episode reminded me of “Amanchu!”. Although Hiromi and Tomoe do not seem that alike to Futaba and Hikari, the classroom scene and inspiring speech by the girls’ teacher, as well as the foreshadowing of Hiromi discovering a new passion all felt quite familiar to scenes in the opening episode of “Amanchu!”.

The fact that this first episode featured elaborate and truly enchanting backgrounds, making the town where the story takes place a key element in the story, reinforced that impression of likeness to “Amanchu!” and other leisurely slice-of-life shows like “Tamayura” or “Flying Witch” that focus on the Japanese sea- or countryside. With such a first episode “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” firmly set itself apart from “Long Riders!”.

Compared to the typical character design styles used in similar slice-of-life anime and the soft backgrounds seen throughout the episode, the character designs felt a bit angular and harsh, even though they seem quite faithful to the designs by Matsumoto Noriyuki from the original manga. The use of 3D CGI by studio JC Staff and ACGT here is much better compared to what we saw in “Long Riders!” and near seamlessly integrated with the classic animation.

If you are looking for a lovely slice-of-life series of cute girls doing cute things, with idyllic views of a Japanese coastal town, then definitely give “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” a try!
You can watch “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” on Crunchyroll.

Kantoku C91 doujin ‘Confession of Love Picture Book′

January 3, 2017

During last weekend’s Comiket 91 event, one my favourite artists, Kantoku released the ‘Confession of Love Picture Book’ doujin.

A departure from the more typical doujin publications of Kantoku’s circle ‘Afterschool of the 5th Year’, this publication is not a ‘Check’ styled book or a ‘Tachiyoumi’ type volume but an illustration book similar to the C87 release ‘Colors‘.

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Even though it has the usual 24 page count and contains a few pages of black & white line art at the end, the large illustrations composed in landscape orientation focusing on the image’s subject accompanied by a rich, detailed background and exquisite lighting do set it apart from Kantoku’s usual doujin books.
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Happy New Year!

January 1, 2017

明けましておめでとうございます。2017が来たー Happy New Year! 2017 is here!
Hope you all have a terrific year in 2017 full of fun and happiness.

Kicking off 2017 with a cute illustration of the irresistibly moe Chino from heartwarming slice-of-life series “Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?” by Re-ViVi.

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You can see more of Re-ViVi’s art on Pixiv.

Come to think of it, did not invest time to make resolutions for 2017 or ponder about my plans for this new year. Feels like the previous year did not really achieve much in the way of accomplishing milestone goals or events, wonder if I should aim higher this year considering my age.

As long as I can have a balanced life and enjoy hobbies like anime, Dollfie Dream photography, gaming,… that in itself is an accomplishment for too many other people walk around living grey lives without any such fun.

Anime winter season 2016-2017

December 28, 2016

The new anime season will soon start, here are my picks from the winter line up of shows to watch.

There’s two sequels I plan to follow, am looking forward the most to the second season of “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!”, the absolutely hilarious isekai anime parody full of oddball, quirky characters that form what is no doubt the funniest dysfunctional adventure party ever to set foot in a fantasy world. While I was not initially keen on this show when it first began to air, quickly came to appreciate it after watching it with the correct mindset.

Another sequel I definitely will not miss is the second season of “Tales of Zestiria the X”, the first season of this anime based on the “Tales of Zestiria” rpg game that even focused a few episodes on “Tales of Berseria” too was a fun adventure show, albeit all fairly run-of-the-mill and not terribly original.

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From the few slice-of-life shows scheduled to air this season, am keen on watching “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-Bu”, the promotional video of this anime about a group of high school girls and their bicycle club looked promising. After last season’s “Long Riders!” was sorely lacking due to poor production values, am hoping this anime will be better and live up to its potential.

Even though it has its share of flaws, always enjoyed the “Amagami SS” anime, especially its omnibus format where each set of three to four episodes focused on a different heroine, allowing better storytelling compared to typical ren’ai adaptations. Hence, am looking forward to “Seiren”, the new original anime by the character designer who also worked on Kimikiss and Amagami. “Seiren” is announced to have three arcs, with each story focusing on a separate heroine.
Read more…

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2016

メリークリスマス! Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Wish you all the very best!

ごめんエミリア、私はレムが好きです。 Sorry Emilia, but I love Rem. Because Rem is ♥

Glad I picked up “Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu” midway during its initial broadcast run, it was an excellent anime and a surprisingly good rendition of a typical isekai genre story.

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A cute Christmas themed illustration of Rem from “Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu” by 77gl (Pixiv).

For more illustrations of Rem and other characters from “Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu”, as well as images of the µ’s girls from “Love Live!” or creations from “Touhou”, you can check out 77gl’s Pixiv profile.