Myriad Colors Phantom World, Episode 13

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It’s finally over. As Myriad Colors Phantom World comes to a close, so does my first ever episodic review series…I probably should’ve picked a better show. That being said, I had a fun time, and I hope you did too. This show definitely had its ups and downs, now all that’s left is to determine what side Phantom World decided to end on.

No intro sequence this time, due to the urgency of picking up from a cliffhanger. If you don’t remember from the last episode, here’s a quick wrap up: Haruhiko kissed his mom and then they passed out and so did Ruru for some reason. That’s really all that’s important here. What’s concerning is that although Ruru losing consciousness was the very last thing to happen in that episode, it wasn’t the first thing address in the following episode. Instead we see that Haruhiko’s mom is in a coma and Haruhiko is fine but doesn’t have his powers anymore. Then Ruru’s part is put into play and it’s just this odd role reversal thing that leads to the revelation that Ruru and Haruhiko are intrinsically tied for some reason and they kiss and are officially shipped and I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Back to Haruhiko, I’d like to point out that we’ve learned more about him and his backstory in the last three episodes than the rest of the series combined. That’s kinda odd, considering he’s the supposed main character, but clearly it’s just meant to create a sense of emotion and meaning for the finale, albeit a needless sense at that. Phantom World has spent so much time creating an ensemble, so it seems counterintuitive to focus on one character for the series final moments, and to spend that time on Haruhiko no less! He’s by far the most unlikeable character in the show and isn’t really deserving of a three episode spotlight. But I digress.

Now onto other details, that thingy from the second episode is back. And it turns out to be just a convenient tool for the gang to hack into the evil corporation’s servers. Who is this evil corporation? No idea. Where did they come from? Absolutely no clue. But we need some sort of super bad guy and a final fighting ground, so here it is. Apparently this evil company has been conducting experiments on Phantoms and the one that possessed Haruhiko’s mom the other day escaped from there. And so the Phantom returns there with all her new powers to destroy the place.

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Let’s take a look the generic plot-points checklist so far, shall we? Evil corporation: check. Evil research facility (check). Test subject escapes (check). Test subject wreaks havoc in search of power (check). Test subject comes back with power to have revenge (check). We’re at four now! Let’s see how many we can get before the show ends!

The group makes it to the company in order to confront Enigma (test subject). Haruhiko says he’ll go in by himself because he’s a man and that’s what men do (check). Girls call him out on his bullshit and go in instead (minus check). When in their fighting poses, villain reveals her backstory and her plan (check and check). When the girls get nowhere in the fight, Haruhiko jumps in because a man always has to save the day (check). Villain shapeshifts into his mother so Haruhiko now can’t fight her (check). Haruhiko gets his powers back for some reason and releases his summons, now in their final form (check). Happy ending and everything returns to normal (check).

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I felt like the series as a whole tended to walk the line between generic and self-aware generic, making it somewhat not generic, but this ending was as generic as they come, and I can’t say I’m not a little disappointed. Myriad Colors Phantom World definitely ends on a downside, but what’s my final overall judgement? Find out in my next weekend post: The Myriad Colors Phantom World Review (working title).

+ Nice visuals

+ Teddy bear hacker

– Generic climax

– Generic villain

– Shoehorned emotional material

– Shoehorned villain

Final Thoughts on Anime Winter 2015/16

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Here we are folks, the end of another season. I can’t say it was better than the last season, nor that it was worse than the next season, and don’t even get me started on how it compares to the season before that season before this season’s season. But I think I had a good time.

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Well, that sure was…something. Honestly, I can’t say I’m not at least a little disappointed with how this season wrapped up, and I’ll get to that later. First I want to talk about the characters. Specifically, how many there are. I mean, there were already a lot, and then the show just kept dumping more and more on us, to the point where I would have to actually take notes just to try and understand what the hell is even going on (I didn’t actually take notes, and so I was extremely confused). What’s really bad is how poorly/under-used some of the characters are, to the point where it would’ve been better off not introducing them in the first place. Then there are these villainous plots that seem to lack any rhyme or reason, but perhaps they do and the show just presents itself so poorly that you can’t possibly understand why some characters do what they do. Now back to the ending *spoilers-move onto next paragraph if you don’t want to be spoiled*, Durarara!!x2 committed a most vile cliché, one so off-putting that some might consider it a storytelling sin. A gun is put to Mikado’s head, the trigger is pulled, cut to credits, come back next week, he’s not dead, and I shake my head. No, Durarara!!x2. That is a cheap, no-good, dirty, rotten, obvious, terrible low-hanging fruit that no one in the right mind should pick. But I don’t know, I just really hate it when characters are killed only to not be killed. And then Mikado gets stabbed in the streets later for no apparent reason and still doesn’t die. Okay.

Konosuba

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Ooh! I liked this show! A lot! It starts off in dangerously generic territory, only to become refreshing and original, as well as charming and satirical. The animation is cute and derpy sometimes, swift and action-y at other times, and overall pretty engaging. The characters are likable and the way they interact with each other is even more enjoyable. It’s a fun show and I’m definitely looking forward to season 2.

Erased

Erased started off as an incredibly promising show, so much so that there was almost no way it could deliver an astonishing ending worthy of it’s amazing setup and premise. Sadly, it doesn’t, at least not for me. The killer wasn’t a very shocking reveal as there were really no clues leading to him being the killer in the first place. He revealed himself, rather than Satou uncovering him. And that in itself, is fine. I won’t knock a show for taking a different approach to certain things. What I will say however, is that the killer was not a very interesting villain. Sure, he was maniacal and had a cunning plan as to how to kill and frame all these people, but the reason for doing those things just wasn’t there. He did it just because he could, and the show doesn’t really get into what was really in it for him. Some sort of satisfaction, I assume, but can’t really say for certain. Perhaps I’m just asking for too much out of our fictional serial killers. You do you, psychopaths. Oh, and a 15 year coma is a ridiculous amount of time.

GATE (season 2)

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I feel like I might be coming off this Winter season a little negative. Also, this show was awful. There’s nothing interesting about Zolzal as a villain. He is very much a brash, idiot rapist that has more power than he know what to do with, with no secret plan or chance in hell to take down the SDF, and his sex slave bunny lady easily manipulates him only to accomplish even more of nothing. She wanted to take down the empire, and then didn’t? Doesn’t she want to kill this dude that keeps raping her or something? No? And then there’s the SDF, who are even less compelling to watch. They trample over everything in their way with their superior might and technology. Fin. Oh, and then Itami goes back to being an otaku, because that’s his only defining characteristic that the show just completely ignores until the very end. And although I kinda like Rory, she was definitely created to cater to gothic lolita loving weirdos like myself, and I take full responsibility for her existence. And even then, I didn’t really care for the over sexualization of her.

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I’m not going to get too much into this show here, as I have written every episode review so far and plan to do a complete review once the show is completed (so come back next week for that ^-^). What I will say is that it’s my favorite of the Winter 2015/16 anime season. So uh, check out my reviews.

And what did you think about this winter anime season? What were your favorite shows? And what do you plan to do about the upcoming spring season? I plan to try and watch more shows outside of Crunchyroll, because as you can see, I’ve missed out on a lot. Thanks for reading! Hope to see you next week!

Myriad Colors Phantom World, Episode 12

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Well, the intro is back. *sigh*

But I kinda liked it this time. They started getting into Phantoms and aspects of our personalities and shadows (personas) and stuff and it was super enlightening and then they ended on a joke that seemed to foreshadow what was coming next. The last line of the intro: “Folktales aren’t copyrighted, so we’re in the clear!” A comedic nod at using folktales because they’re easy and free, only to be completely ignored. Well, I guess that lady was a vampire-thingy, so that’s kind of a folktale? Or perhaps there’s some sort of Japanese folktale that’s gone completely over my head, and if that’s the case please tell me in the comments below.

So we move on from the intro to find our spunky protagonists once again fighting some Phantoms on school property, just like the very first episode. Except now there are more members, and apparently they are on the top of the school hierarchy. Yes, they started from the bottom and now they are here, and everyone admires them and life is great and even Minase has a fan club, for some reason. Then there was a call back to the device thingy in episode two that was never explained, only to not be used in this episode either.

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Now onto a tie in from a previous episode that actually means something: The Human Encyclopedia’s mother who abandoned him is suddenly back! That’s not suspicious at all! Haruhiko gets all emotional and they start to mend their relationship and Haruhiko doesn’t have to be alone anymore and they have a blast spending time together and going shopping together and doing mother and son things TOGETHER and it’s great. Then they have this moment where all the girls come to the table and it’s brilliant/awful/whatever you want to call it.

Now, I’m of the belief that just because there’s one male protagonist and a group of female protagonists, a harem isn’t a forgone conclusion. I’m not saying I don’t like harems or that this show would necessarily suffer just by having one…but *deep breathe* WHAT THE F@#$! I really don’t know how to feel about this. On one hand, there is a reason for each of these girls to like him, as realized by all of the characters in that awkward dinner conversation when Momma drops the “which one of you is going to f@#$ my son?” bomb. Okay, I may be paraphrasing. But on the other hand, Haruhiko sucks! He plain sucks, specifically, the life out of the room whenever he goes full encyclopedia and explains something everyone already knows. And by everyone, I mean the characters. Obviously he is an exposition device and exists to inform less educated viewers, which in it’s own right is perfectly fine. But damn does it feel patronizing to more informed viewers, as well as the other characters. And this, plus his almost complete lack of any other defining characteristics beside “kind of nice” and “good at drawing” makes him not a suitable partner for my Izumi. Back off my waifu, Haruhiko! You don’t deserve her! You don’t even deserve Minase.

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Erhm, also there’s this convenient phone call that pops up and provides the shocking revelation as to what’s really going on. Then the villain reveals herself and her plan doesn’t really make sense at all considering her end goal but whatever just go with it and Haruhiko kisses his mom in the moonlight and Ruru steals the attention even though there are currently three people unconscious right now. And then the predictable cliffhanger to lead into the final episode.

So come back next week to find out what I think about that.

I really should tweet my predictions or something, because I totally knew the last two episodes would be connected through a conflict that just appears to serve what will probably be a big, action-y and emotional climax. Or something.

Myriad Colors Phantom World – The Simpsons of anime?

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Is Myriad Colors Phantom World the new “The Simpsons” of anime? Sorta. If the last few episodes that have aired at the time of me writing this are of any indication, it would seem that Myriad Colors Phantom World has joined the world of sitcoms.

Week after week this show puts our protagonists in new, supernatural situations with wacky complications and a variety of results. Each episode ends in a range of different ways, from peaceful learning experiences to Haruhiko becoming a drag queen that’s taken away by a monkey to live out his days as trophy wife, only to inexplicably return next week as if nothing happened. There’s nothing the show overall is leading toward and every episode can stand on it’s own.

I don’t believe prior knowledge is needed to enjoy this show. The world is pretty loose in terms of laws and logic, and anything can basically be explained in one of two ways: “Because magic” and “A Phantom did it”. As for the characters, all you really need to know about them is that they are friends. That’s it. In the beginning their reason for being together was that they were the Phantom Hunting club, and so when there’s a Phantom on the loose, these teenagers need to handle it…for some reason. This plotting device is dropped somewhere along the way and now the Phantoms basically find them. Someone asks them to be in the school play, then a Phantom shows up. Ruru has a wish and a Phantom appears to grant it. Sometimes Phantoms don’t even show up until the very end, and just exist to create an action-y climax.

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This show is weird and clumsy and funny and serious and etc. Myriad Colors Phantom World started like it was building to something. It introduced characters one at a time and gradually gave us bits of character development that it never really used later on. This show tried to develop a world, and then kinda gave up. Phantom World changed, and some might argue for the better.

I personally like the show better this way, because now that the group is established, albeit poorly in some regards, we can just throw shit at the characters. Put them in hilarious predicaments and place them in any plot you want. Sometimes the episodes are a complete gag that serve only to humor us. Other times they can be a heartwarming look at the life of a single mother. And anything in between.

But what do you think? Have you been watching Myriad Colors Phantom World? Do you like what the show’s become or not? Talk to me in the comments and come back next weekend for another feature. Thanks for reading!

Myriad Colors Phantom World, Episode 11

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It happened. IT FINALLY HAPPENED! No more terrible intros where The Human Encyclopedia tries to teach us fairly commonly known concepts that loosely relate to the episode at hand while Ruru grasps for any joke she can because Haruhiko is just too boring without it. Instead, we get this ^ sick shot and awesome line that leaves me excited and wanting more. “Phantom-Hunting Mom”? What could be cooler? Nothing.

But before we get to the good stuff, let’s take a moment to highlight the bad. Koito Minase. I still feel like this character hasn’t been properly established, at least not well enough to be part of the gang. Like zoinks, did I miss something? Cause they’re all apparently good friends now, and I’m not entirely sure why. I know they had their run-ins and worked together multiple times to take down the Phantom of the Week, but what actually made her decide to stop being a loner? (Comment below if you know why)

So the whole story really begins when Haruhiko heads home and finds a little piece of his past: A letter that he wrote for his class as an elementary school student. This triggers a flashback of him reading it to the class with melancholy music to accompany. There is, however, no dialogue in this scene and so what really happens here is left ambiguous…for now.

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Haruhiko then wakes up the next morning as a child. Young, confused, and running late, he gets dressed and heads for school. What’s interesting here is that he has the mindset of his young self and does not remember anything from his older years. Now here’s the clumsy part of the setup. Kurumi finds Haruhiko sitting outside, baffled by the fact that he didn’t recognize anyone in his class and that they didn’t seem to know him either. The worst part of this is that it takes way longer than it should have for Kurumi to put two and two together. This boy looks like Haruhiko. This boy talks like Haruhiko. This boy then introduces himself as “Ichijou, Haruhiko”. Come on, Kurumi! You’re not this dumb, and this shouldn’t be something so difficult to grasp considering the reality they live in. It would’ve been simpler to just notice what was up right off the bat and bring him to the clubroom. But I digress.

While the group considers how to approach this new development, The Little Human Encyclopedia shows just how annoying he can be. But this time it’s different, because he’s not being annoying to the audience like he usually is. Now he’s being annoying to the others, in the way that children often are. Then Ruru does the funniest thing I’ve ever seen throughout the entire series.

After that, Mai is decided to be his caretaker, for some reason, and she has to suddenly learn how to be a single mother. And it’s adorable. She takes him shopping and he does the cliché child thing where he fills up the shopping cart with whatever he wants. Time passes and now Mai has a part-time job to support Haruhiko and is under an incredible amount of stress due to just making ends meet. They have their sweet bonding moments, like Mai comforting him during a thunderstorm, or playing at the park the next day.

Then a cat pisses on a Phantom sandbox and ruins everything. Mai is suddenly in trouble and Haruhiko conveniently reverts back because the situation calls for it. He saves the day and everything returns to normal. They go back to his place and Mai reads Haruhiko’s letter from the beginning of the episode, revealing what was actually written and bringing the whole episode full circle, wrapped up with a neat little bow.

A truly fantastic episode, arguably the best in the series so far, Myriad Colors Phantom Worlds delivered something I didn’t think it was capable of, and I loved it. I wish the whole series was just watching Mai stepping into the role of a single mother, as it’s been more compelling than anything else shown so far.

+ Hilarious, off the wall moments

+ Heartwarming, down to earth moments

+ Mai is best mom

+ No lame intro!

– Little clumsy in setup

Kizumonogatari Divided – Why three parts?

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing one of the finest pieces of animated film to ever touch this planet. A sheer masterpiece in it’s own right, surely no one would disagree. And even if you would, that’s not what we’re discussing here today. For today’s post, I’m going to start off with what already feels like a common, inevitable complaint. Kizumonogatari should not have been cut up into three separate movies.

Some might argue the movie would’ve been better off as one whole. Even two parts could’ve sufficed. But three? Hour long movies? Too much. That’s not to say part one has too little because of this. An excellent beginning in all regards, is part one of Kizumonogatari. But it leaves off in such a weird place, in such a quick cut way, that it feels like the movie was almost certainly divided after the fact. We’ll have to see by the start of part two whether that’s true or not, but even now it’s painfully clear there was no need to slash this movie into thirds. Back to my point about even being cut in half, without spoiling the story I will say that there is a pretty good cut off point in the middle of the novel. But the way they did it here, the place they did it here…it just doesn’t feel right.

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What adds to the feeling of having our entertainment force fed to us piecemeal is the fact that every part is planned to be released in 2016. Now, I won’t pretend to know more about the anime industry and how studios work outside of what I’ve learned from Shirobako, but it seems like this movie is finished, or damn well near. Part one does not look or feel like something that’s been made in a matter of months. This film already feels like years in the making, and I just don’t know how they could come out with two more parts with the same caliber or greater in the next twelve months. But of course, this is just conjecture.

Now onto the “why?”. Why turn this story into three parts? It doesn’t seem like the studio needs the time, and even if they did the full movie would be ready in the matter of a year according to schedule, so why not hold it? The simple answer is money. You can make more money making people pay three times than just once…or so it may seem. But I’d like to propose something else. If Aniplex thinks this movie is worth that much, why not just triple the price? I paid around $13 for my ticket (tax included), but I would’ve much rather pay $39 to see the whole thing at once. Kizumonogatari is worth it to me, and it’s probably worth it to a lot of other fans. The only thing you’re wasting is my time (and the cost of trip as I don’t live too close to one of the select theatres). It’s disappointing, and I hope we don’t come to see this more often in the future.

Bloody Brilliant – Kizumonogatari, Part 1

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“SHAFT is perfect and creates nothing but masterpieces. Anyone who disagrees is wrong.”

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I could watch this movie without any dialogue whatsoever and still be kept thoroughly engaged from beginning to end. That’s my untested hypothesis, of course. Needless to say, Kizumonogatari is visually stunning. Gorgeous. Magnificent. Ravishing. Sensational. Out of this world. I just want to keep listing off words to describe how fucking beautiful this movie looked. As is the SHAFT guarantee, there’s never a dull moment. Whether it be the playfully unique changing of camera angles to the cuts of text, or how it manages to take us from location to location to location in a matter of seconds, the monogatari series has always been something that encourages keeping your eyes glued, otherwise you just might miss it.

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The character art is fantastic, and even more mesmerizing in motion. What’s even more fun is how the camera moves with the character it’s following. It’s an interesting view to, walking behind Araragi. Or in front. Or to the sides. Or to any angle imaginable, which is basically what Kizumonogatari is trying to accomplish. Look good, in every possible way. And from scenery to character art to motion, it succeeds.

As for the character’s interactions, they’re absolutely wonderful…but succinct. It seems like there’s much less dialogue in this movie than in any of the other monogataris. For the first five to ten minutes (roughly) not even a single word is spoken. Now, I’m not one of those asshol- erhm, “special people” who like to criticize a movie through comparison with the novel it was based on. They’re different mediums, and it’s an adaption, so there’s no need to get our knickers in a twist. However, the book does hold quite a lot over the movie in terms of dialogue and Araragi’s inner thoughts, and it might’ve been nice for SHAFT pull more from it. Still, the movie still manages to be witty and profound without it.

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Without getting too far into the issue of runtime, I will say that Kizumonogatari ends in a…strange place. A weird way to end a movie, that doesn’t really offer up much of a conclusion nor cliffhanger. Even the final line wasn’t much to go off of. It’s…a little disappointing, considering the film as a whole was bloody brilliant. But I think I’ll write about the story being cut up into three parts another time, so for now I’ll just leave you with these words: Bloody brilliant. Excessively excellent. Splendid masterpiece. Impeccable piece of art. Epitome of film. Fucking amazing.

Thanks for reading!