First Impressions of Fall Anime 2016

Magical Girls Raising Project

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Magical Girl Raising Project caught my interest because of its incredibly strong premise and competent execution within its first two episodes. While the potential dark side of being a magical girl has been explored before in shows such as the ever-popular Puella Magi Madoka Magica, they haven’t really been pitted against in such an overt, death game scenario before. Even with such a relatively straight forward premise, this show manages to stay fairly unique in regards to its plot. The magical aren’t really pitted against each other in terms of actual face-to-face combat. No, by using a system that ranks the girls based on the amount of good they do in certain allotments of time, the goal of the game is to essentially weed out the weaklings rather than prove who’s the strongest, all because there’s not enough room in the city for all these magical girls. In the end there will be eight left, meaning there can be legitimate alliances that don’t need to break because they’d eventually have to turn on each other. There’s a place for trust, as well as an allowance for deception. Continue reading

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Sound! Euphonium 2, Episode 4

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We start this episode with a strange confession from the woodwinds instructor. Niiyama-sensei apologizes to Mizore, admitting she was wrong about something she said to her earlier, that she “convinced herself there was a limit to Mizore’s potential”. It seems pretty odd that an instructor would give up on a student like that, but it gives Mizore a chance to prove her wrong, which she does but not seemingly in response to her sensei’s words. While the idea of having one’s limits is brought up by the teacher, it seemed to be just a way to show how far Mizore has come and the skills she’s developed through mindless devotion. Wouldn’t want to cram too many thematic elements into this show, after all. Continue reading

A Kizumonogatari: Nekketsu Review

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Kizumonogatari is a movie cut into parts for absolutely no reason other than to make more money off of chumps like me, both off the airing in theaters and Aniplex’s already wildly exorbitant Blu-ray box sets. While Nekketsu does manage to end on a much less awkward and arbitrary note than Part 1, it’s still abundantly obvious that this film was chopped up after the fact. Does this ruin the experience for me? Not really, but it’s certainly disappointing, and a bit of a personal burden because I have to travel to another state each time to see it. I’d gladly pay three times the amount of a ticket to see the full movie in one sitting, too. But because of the shitty, imposing business strategy behind it, Kizumonogatari can’t be consider a complete film, despite each part being still being an immensely enjoyable experience on their own. With that out of the way, let’s get into the actual review. Continue reading

Sound! Euphonium 2, Episode 3

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So I had to look back into the previous season to confirm whether or not Kumiko was the character through which we followed the entire story. I know it sounds silly, she is the main character after all, but for some reason I felt the show was a little more open in terms of perspectives than what has been shown in the current season so far. From what I found, season one definitely follows Kumiko, at least in the beginning. Later on we get to see more points of view and scenes with other characters where Kumiko is not present. The reason I bring this up is because in the current season I feel like we’re may be following her a little too much. Right now, it’s through her that we find the viewpoints of the others, and it feels like Kumiko just happens to be in that position to inform the audience. Continue reading

Gratuitous Titillation: Issues with “Fanservice” (Part 1)

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Fanservice is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days in the anime and manga industry, and many are quick to either defend or castigate it when depicted in one specific form: Gratuitous titillation. Usually synonymous with “beach episodes” in slice of life shows, as well as any other needless portrayal of primarily female bodies, gratuitous titillation is often a target of disgust for a handful of reasons. While I can see merit in some of these views, I mostly believe that fanservice and gratuitous titillation are okay, in a loose sense. One reason for that is because fanservice is a very broad term, one that often gets misconstrued as just “giving the fans what they want”. Another reason would be that something being unnecessary does not have to equate to being undeserving to exist. And then there’s the whole “objectification” debate that tends to come hand in hand with gratuitous titillation. Before I jump into all this however, I’d like to bring to attention that most of what you are about to read will focus on gratuitous titillation alone rather than fanservice as a whole, because like I said earlier, “fanservice is a very broad term”. Also, I realize there are other terms I can substitute for “gratuitous titillation”, such as: “needless arousal” or “superfluous stimulation”. I just think “gratuitous titillation” is a fun phrase, and I’m going to keep saying it. Continue reading

Sound! Euphonium 2, Episode 2

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Before we get into this episode, I’m going to break it down into two simple parts: Pool, and not pool. The pool part of this episode is the pretty much the obligatory pool episode that finds its way into seemingly every modern anime out there. I obviously hyperbolize, but it does feel like a majority of high school slice of life series have a pool or beach outing in at least one episode. Now, I know some consider this to be pandering and “fanservice”, and for the most part I’d agree it usually is. However, a lot of people tend to dismiss these kinds of moments because, in a very simplified way, it’s needless sexualization. Continue reading

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness Review (PS Vita)

So I wrote a review for The Vita Lounge that I hadn’t even noticed posted almost a week ago. Whoops. Anyway, I did not favor the game at all, and I feel like I gave good reason as to why (despite being at odds with critical consensus). I’d love to get more feedback (and possibly more positive criticism in the comments if you have any) on the review. It seems at least a few people are just looking at my score and shrugging off my opinion because of it. This is why I don’t like review scores, because it portrays a much more objective illusion for reviews, which are inherently subjective. There are aspects which you can be completely objective in game reviews of course, such as judging the game’s mechanical performance (which I do touch upon in my review). For the most part however, my judgement is based off my own expectations of what I consider to be a “good game”. And to be frank, those expectations are not very high, in my opinion. But I digress.

Here’s the review