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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Angry Jedi » Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:30 pm

Let's talk anime! I've been watching a fun one recently: Golden Time.

I forget exactly why I added this to my Crunchyroll queue. It may just have been the combination of the pretty girl on the cover art and the intriguing-sounding description, but it had been festering there for a while so, following the conclusion of Silver Spoon I decided to jump in and give it a shot.

Golden Time.jpg


Here's the elevator pitch from Crunchyroll:

Banri Tada is a newly admitted student at a private law school in Tokyo. However, due to an accident, he lost all of his memories. During his freshman orientation, he encounters another freshman from the same school, Mitsuo Yanagisawa, and they hit it off at once. Without any memory of each other, their lives become more and more intertwined as if set by the hands of fate. But what is their fate, and will it lead to happiness or another memory to forget…


The amnesiac protagonist hook is nothing new, but Golden Time handles it nicely by it not being the main thrust of the story. Rather, it's a tale of Banri's journey into adulthood as he starts his new life in Tokyo, and his subsequent relationship with the show's poster girl Koko Kaga, who is introduced as an obsessive stalker of Banri's new friend Mitsuo.

As the show progresses, we start to find out a little more about Banri's past, thanks to the presence of Linda, a girl whom, it transpires, went to high school with Banri and knew him before his amnesia-inducing accident. Banri's past is also represented as a "ghost" that is still in love with Linda, and which holds a grudge against the "new" Banri for his relationship with Koko, culminating in it apparently putting a "curse" on him -- though it's never quite clear if the ghost is actually real or if the bad things that happen are actually just bad luck.

Koko is the more interesting character, however. Initially depicted as a fairly "typical" (for anime) clingy, stubborn, overbearing stalker girlfriend-type, her hooking up with Banri (after one too many times of being spurned by Mitsuo) gradually reveals considerable hidden depths. Hailing from a background of privilege, Koko is struggling to find her place in the world and has difficulty interacting with anyone who isn't Mitsuo or Banri. Initially this isn't entirely her fault, as her good looks and clear "rich girl" aura intimidate anyone who comes near her, but in subsequent episodes we notice that she also has a habit of pushing people away, particularly if she feels jealous of them for whatever reason.

Golden Time 2.jpg


This is particularly apparent during her interactions with her young-looking peer Chinami, whom she initially calls "Miss Ultrasonic" due to her high-pitched voice, but eventually, slowly, gradually -- and via a rather rocky route -- strikes up what appears to be a genuine friendship. It's clearest in her interactions with Banri, however; she's quick to jump straight to telling him that she loves him, but also has a habit of running away when things get difficult. The clash between Banri's past and present selves makes for frequent drama, and their growing, changing relationship is the main "hook" for the series as it goes on, rather than the amnesia subplot.

I'm 17 episodes in out of the 24-episode run so far and looking forward to seeing how it continues. It's one of those shows that is fairly light-hearted on the surface, but which has a certain degree of dark undertones, so I'm intrigued to see which direction the whole thing goes in as it draws things to a conclusion -- if, indeed, it does reach a conclusion, as I believe the manga it is based on is still running. Either way, it's a good watch if you enjoy character-led drama, and I'm glad I took a chance on it for whatever reason I added it to my queue in the first place.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Beige » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:10 pm

We're on track to finish Mawaru Penguindrum in the next viewing session of our twice-a-month Anime and Cocktails night with friends. We've switched on to Hell Girl season 3 for our middle slot "Dark" show and continuing with Space Dandy for the "you are drunk" slot-3.

Golden Time looks good though. Potential for Slot 1 ("Serious show") is high. I'll do an evaluation after we get done with the Penguins on Friday.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Angry Jedi » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:08 am

It's arguably a bit of a slow burn, though unlike many other slice-of-life anime in which very little happens in each episode (this isn't a criticism; I've adored a bunch of shows in which nothing happens due to the simple joy of spending time with some appealing characters) Golden Time is described by many as being more akin to a soap opera. Something Significant happens in each and every episode, and it has a flair for flamboyant cliffhangers.

It also does a pretty good job of reflecting the chaos of everyday life and how nothing is ever particularly simple. Lynette and I have often talked about how anime OPs can be used effectively to give a good idea of a show's tone, and the OP for the second season of Golden Time reflects this chaotic theme rather nicely:

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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Angry Jedi » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:21 am

I've now finished Golden Time. It remains consistently entertaining up until the end. The last few episodes are arguably a little meandering compared to the sharp focus and snappy pacing of the rest of the show, but it makes up for this with a really powerful, worthwhile ending.

Highly recommended. Give it a shot if you're after a very unconventional, unusual and downright memorable romance story.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Angry Jedi » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:32 pm

Started watching Toradora today. It, like Golden Time, is the work of Yuyuko Takemiya, so I'm looking forward to comparing the two. I know absolutely nothing about the show save for the fact that a number of people regard it as something of a "classic", so I'm intrigued to find out more.

Crunchyroll's elevator pitch:

It’s Ryuji’s first day as a junior in high school and it seems as if things are looking up. He gets to sit in between his only friend, Yusaku, and, more importantly, the girl he’s secretly crushing on, Minori Kushieda. But just when he thinks the stars are aligned in his favor, he unwittingly crosses the most feared girl in school, Taiga Aisaku, making her onto his arch enemy. To top it off, Taiga has moved in right next door to Ryuji and happens to be Minori’s best friend! Can this school year possibly get any worse?!


I can already tell that a lot of the interest in this show is going to come from the two main characters. Protagonist Ryuji is widely feared thanks to his "face of a killer" that he inherited from his apparently deceased father (who, it seems, was into some seriously shady shit, though exactly what wasn't revealed in the first episode -- possibly something Yakuza-ish?) but is actually suffering from poor self-esteem due to other people's negative reactions towards him.

Leading lady Taiga, meanwhile, is pretty ("like a doll"), short, and very, very angry indeed. We get a slight hint of exactly why she might feel this way at the end of the first episode, when Ryuji visits her expensive-looking apartment in the building next door to his house and discovers her apparently living alone, surrounded by filth. There's immediate tension between the two of them, but it looks like providing the basis for a compelling and exciting relationship to be explored over the course of the rest of the series.

Looking forward to more!
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Raven2785 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:25 pm

Golden Time and Toradora. 2 animes I put down due to time obligations in case of the later, and the former due to me having my head stuck inside both Death Parade and the new season of Durarara gotta get back to them one of these days.

Other than my renewed love for Durarara (If you like multiple characters just interacting with each other, all of them with some depth. Supernatural aspects combined with the mundanity of daily living, and flying vending machines/street signs, then Durarara is the anime for you) the one other thing I can recommend is another show that had ended it's run about 2 years ago already, and that is Sakurasou.

Image

The premise is a simple one, Sorata Kanda is our main character and he gets found out by the school to have been keeping stray cats in his dorm, so the school officials give him a choice: Get rid of the cats or get transferred to Sakura hall, where all the other misfits and problem students are placed, guess what our character chooses?

This is where he meets Manshiro, the girl who's a brilliant painter who came to japan cause she wants to learn how to draw manga, but is totally clueless as to how to deal with society at large to the point that she needs a retainer and guess once again: who gets stuck with Manshiro duty?

For a show about high school, teenage romance, and it's respective hijinks, it starts getting deep surprisingly fast (I believe it's the 3rd episode someone questions Sorata on why he's still staying in Sakura hall when by that time he could have found homes for all the cats already) and there's also the other aspect of Sakurasou that makes it interesting, and that is that the school is a school with an artistic bent to it, and it shows with the rest of the cast. 2 of them improving on being writers, one desperatly trying to become a voice actress, another one being a coder/hacker/programer hikikomori, etc. point is everyone has a motivation and a drive to do something except Sorata, who hanging out with these individuals not only encounters friendship but also a pasion of his own that gives Sorata a lot of drive and motivation, but also leads to both disapointment and sometimes jealousy (Let's just say that not everyone accomplishes their dream, and when they do fall they fall damn hard)

It is a show that I honestly only expected to like based on the color palette and the animation and it ended up endearing me to a lot of it's characters and their struggles shooting for the stars and sometimes failing, hearty recommendation from me.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Calin Kim » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:49 pm

Going through Cowboy Bebop again because of the recent Blu-Ray release.

I haven't watched it in, oh, 8 years or so, and I'd forgotten how long it takes to really get going. I'd also forgotten that Ein joins the crew before Faye does.

Anyway, it still holds up, but I'm ready to get into some of the really good ones.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Angry Jedi » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:49 pm

Broke with my usual "late to the party" pattern with all forms of media today and watched the first episode of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, also known as Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka or just DanMachi for short.

This show... is going to be a whole lot of fun. I blogged about it earlier, so rather than paraphrase myself I'll simply repost my earlier thoughts after a single episode here:

Image

I have a large backlog of TV, games and anime to plough through, so it’s pretty rare that I will come to something the moment it’s released, particularly if I have to wait a week between new episodes. The last time I did it was for the first season of the anime Sword Art Online which I don’t care what anyone says, I enjoyed a whole lot.

Appropriately enough, it’s another anime that’s got me doing it again this time: the somewhat cumbersomely titled Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, also known as Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka or DanMachi for short. (I shall refer to it as DanMachi hereafter for the sake of brevity.)

DanMachi is, like many anime, based on a light novel series, and the first episode of its anime adaptation recently aired. It seems to be picking up a lot of buzz already (some of which is admittedly due to little more than the physical appearance of heroine Hestia) and is looking like it will be one of the “biggies” this season if the early enthusiasm is anything to go by — and judging by the first episode, it looks like being a lot of fun, too.

It’s a premise and setting that appeals greatly to me. Set in what appears to be a typical Japanese role-playing game world — complete with various humanoid races including the obligatory catgirls — DanMachi’s protagonist is a young man named Bell, a level 1 adventurer and the sole member of the “Hestia Familia”. The “Familia” business involves the gods having come down to the mortal realm to give up their powers and live among their people; adventurers pledge allegiance to a particular god or goddess’ familia in order to receive special powers to fight monsters and grow stronger through their experiences. Levelling up, in other words.

Young Bell, as previously mentioned, is the sole member of the goddess Hestia’s familia. It’s not yet clear after one episode why Hestia only has Bell, but she doesn’t seem too upset about it; in fact, she seems rather taken with him. Hestia herself is an energetic, impetuous tsundere of a goddess who so far seems to be pretty open about most things but quick to anger, somewhat jealous and rather possessive of Bell.

Image

As you might expect, this sets things up nicely for some tension. In the opening moments of the show, Bell is rescued from the fifth level of “the dungeon” — far too difficult for an adventurer of his calibre — by an experienced female warrior named Aiz Wallenstein, whom he is immediately smitten with. His rather hasty obsession with her manifests itself as his first ever “skill”, which Hestia immediately does her best to try and conceal the presence of: it allows him to grow in strength considerably more rapidly than other adventurers, so long as his feelings remain strong. Wanting Bell to succeed, Hestia encourages him to do his best, but is somewhat hurt when the huge amount his “stats” jump up by reflect seemingly very strong feelings for Aiz.

Late in the episode, Bell is sitting in a pub enjoying a meal, when Aiz’s adventuring party comes in. They don’t notice him, but they knew of his initial encounter with Aiz, and one particularly obnoxious member mocks and insults him for being “too weak” for Aiz. While DanMachi isn’t explicitly intended to be a reflection of modern online games like Sword Art Online was, it’s difficult not to read this as a reference to overconfident elitist players of games like Final Fantasy XIV who see themselves as “superior” to newcomers, even when it’s not a fair comparison. I don’t doubt that Bell will see this obnoxious scrote of a catboy get his comeuppance before the series is out, and I already know it will be a satisfying moment.

I’m glad I checked out the first episode, then. So far, despite the inane-sounding title (particularly when it’s in English, as Crunchyroll has it) it’s shaping up to be a really interesting show, and I’m already looking forward to seeing how it develops. Oh, and I want a game of it already.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by Angry Jedi » Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:13 pm

DanMachi is four episodes deep now, and it's proving to be a lot of fun, even if its core structure appears to be a fairly predictable "pure-hearted protagonist is blissfully unaware of the women throwing themselves at him" harem formula.

Those characters are interesting, though, and their motivations are intriguingly murky. There's the implication that not everything is entirely as it seems with several of them, and I'm looking forward to see what inevitable conflicts they produce later in the series.

The mythology aspect is interesting, too. The show makes use of deity figures from a number of different pantheons, ranging from Hestia (who is a main characters) to Loki via Ganesh and numerous others. The gods and goddesses are depicted in a somewhat unconventional manner compared to their traditional depictions -- some, like Loki and Hephaestus, are even gender-swapped from their original incarnations -- but they all incorporate visual, personality and background traits from their traditional mythology. Loki is, of course, something of a trickster; Hephaestus is a master smith; Hestia is... well, a bit rubbish as deities go, but she provides protagonist Bell with a warm and safe place to come home to each night.

The show is a lot of fun, animated well and has a great soundtrack. It plays with RPG tropes and gameplay conventions in an enjoyably literal manner without going as far as to outright say "it's just a game". It, so far, appears to deserve the hype it's been getting since it launched.
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Re: Anime no Sentai: Squadron of Anime

by RedSwirl » Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:48 pm

I think I'm finally going to try to download Legend of the Galactic Heroes, but it's 44 motherfucking gigs. I'm probably gonna download it one season at a time. That should space out the downloads to at most 11 gigs per data cap payment period.
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