Norn9: Norn+Nonet Episode 12 [FINAL]

Eva’s Final Impression

We have reached the finish line with today’s finale of Norn9! So it turns out last week’s confusion was justified because what we were seeing was simply a test in order to determine whether or not they wanted to go forward with the Reset. In order to perform a Reset, the decision must be an unanimous, so when Koharu started freaking out, that was it. Norn9 Ep 12 Img 0003The decision was made, they would RESET. Aine then proceeded to deactivate the system herself, which in part with Koharu’s power going haywire resulted the Norn ship for an inevitable destruction, forcing everyone to have to retreat from the ship. However while the others were able to safely escape, both Koharu and Kakeru were kind of trapped at where they were and only had one option- to sky fall and hope their friends can catch them. In the end, because their friends couldn’t get to them, Kakeru made the selfless decision to put Koharu’s life first and push her to safety and fall to what should could have been his death. Time then passed on, and a year goes by without knowing Kakeru’s whereabouts (which contradicts itself later), and Koharu is living alongside with Akito and Nanami. They live on the beachside, not to far from where the Norn had crashed, and ever since it’s been considered forbidden to visit. Why they would put a restriction on it, I don’t have a freaking clue. Were they worried about it blowing up or something? Then why live next to it? It just doesn’t make sense- but whatever- eventually Koharu decides she wants to the Norn and basically moves there to live and then later on at some point, Ron comes by and drops Kakeru off and the two lovebirds are finally reunited.

Now there appears to be a contradiction behind the explanation behind how Kakeru survived. So for a little more than a year, everyone kept on saying they didn’t have a clue where Kakeru was. Then later, we learned it was Ron found Kakeru swept onto a beach with coma. We then learn Ron was at was at Natsuhiko’s place with Kakeru- sooooo why didn’t anyone mention him- or did I miss something?

Norn9 Ep 12 Img 0035I have to say, this episode did make me cry-which surprised me because I wasn’t expecting it to make me cry. I think it was Aine’s final song that got to me, because she was on her dying breath. Norn9 has an absolutely stellar original soundtrack, and I absolutely love every single one of the tracks. That being said, this finale was a bittersweet one and in a way I am sad to see it has finally come to an end. I wished it had twenty-four episodes, because goodness- what a treat it could have been to have all three couples given a chance to develop. My biggest disappointment is how both Nanami x Akito and Mikoto’s relationships were neglected. This was a rare opportunity, and it saddens me they couldn’t play with it more. In the end, the final ships determined as canons are Koharu x Kakeru, Nanami x Akito and Mikoto x Natsuhiko. Now what gets to me the most (because of my bias of Mikoto’s love interests being my favourite) is how even though they decided to go with Natsuhiko and Mikoto at virtially the end of the show, we didn’t even get any time in the finale. And the applies for Nanami x Akito! Was it really that hard to put a romantic special moment for each of the couples? All we wanted was ONE special moment for each of them, but no- only Koharu x Kakeru gets the good stuff. Look I get it, they are the MAIN couple, but come on, give us some crumbs at the very least, we’re not asking for much!

Norn9 Ep 12 Img 0017Besides that letdown, I was at least able to enjoy a lot of other tidbits. I was happy to see Itsuki and Heishi keeping in touch, I was greatly entertained by the fact Mikoto took it upon herself to learn how to be a pilot (that’s so like her!) and it warmed my heart to know Sorata was now living with Natsuhiko and is helping him build the rocket that will one day take humans to the moon. It delighted me to know Nanami did not erase Senri’s memories of the truth, and now he and Akito can rebuild their relationship as brothers. My heart broke for Sakuya, seeing him standing out there all alone, and I was caught off guard by the fact it was Ron of all people to have saved Kakeru in the first place and drop him off for his reunion with Koharu. (See Ron, you don’t have to live as an asshole!)

Final Verdict

This is the first time I have watched an adaption of an Otome Game I had the opportunity to play beforehand (or more accurately: During the show). So for once, I was able to offer my perspective of how the adaption was being handled in the eyes of the one who played the game. And honestly, I have to consider myself lucky, because the adaption was a very interesting one to say the least. The staff involved with this project are in no way “big names”. They are people who were part of big projects, but were often not the ones in charge. This is why I went into this with the benefit of the doubt. I was curious to see how they would handle a complicated story as Norn9, and a game with three heroines, each with their own group of love interests. And you know what, although it wasn’t perfect and I wished they balanced out the screen-time more among the three girls and their love interests, it is fair to say they did a pretty darn good job. Anyone who played the game understands how complicated is it for anyone to make this into TV-Adaption. The biggest hurdle the staff have to overcome is the script. This is a struggle because in order for the story to make sense for anyone who has not played the game, they have to not only merge events taking place in various different routes but also figure out how to tie them together. They succeeded in doing that by creating some clever original anime-content material, but there was a huge risk involved- which was, High Risk, High Reward. This would determine whether or not the original anime-content would be a Hit or Miss. I can’t say for sure whether or not there were more fails than success, but I would say it’s about equal. One of the benefits from creating original anime-content material was creating curve-balls. It created some suspense for those who have played the game, offering something new to look forward to. One example was Mikoto’s relationships, or as I had liked to describe it as, “Love Triangle” due to how complicated it was getting. Now of the three girls, Mikoto was the last one to be addressed and was also the one who suffered from the cuts the most. While they did a really good job creating this tension and anticipation of which one of her routes they were going to follow, it ate up a lot of time for her to flesh out her relationships. In the end, it was Mikoto, Sakuya and Natsuhiko who suffered the most from the amount of the game’s original content cut out.

Now that being said, there were also a handful of stupid and questionable decisions. First off, the one thing that irritated me the most in this adaption was how much they watered down the heroines’ personalities. For example, Koharu starts off a bit timid and incredibly naive, but make no mistake: this girl has fire in her belly. I was disappointed how we were not able to see more of Koharu’s fierce and brave side of her. And to make matters worse, they decided to do a “role reversal” by turning Koharu into a damsel in distress, when in the game- it was Kakeru who needed saving and Koharu was the one to save him! I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to see them do that! And Nanami too, suffered from a watered down character. While Nanami does shoulder a lot of guilt, she isn’t as helpless as they made her to be. They actually adjusted the setting where some of her scenes with Akito takes place- such as the first one, I will never forget it- have the wind suddenly blows her over? Like um, why couldn’t they just stick with Nanami being knocked out of the hole from the impact of the earlier attacks (aka: she and Akito almost falls out of the ship).

Overall I enjoyed Norn9: Norn+Nonet very much. It was something I looked forward to every week, curious to see which direction they were going to take the show. It was far from perfect, but at the end of the day at least I am not ranting about how terrible it was. It was so refreshing to finally see actual romance take place- something that is sorely lacking from Otome Games’ adaptions due to ‘Open Endings’. It was fun while it lasted.

Final Score: 6.5/10
Imperfect, but is still worth to watch if you are looking for some romance. Unfortunately only one couple really gets to experience it.

Story/Plot: 6/10
Characters & Development: 5/10
Animation Quality: 7.5/10
Original Soundtrack: 10/10

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable Episode 1: Jotaro Meets Josuke! (First Impression)

It’s finally here!

I’ve never been so in love in my life (????)

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JOTARO LOOKS SO GOOD

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AND JOSUKE DOES TOO

I’m a pretty recent Jojo fan. I started getting into it when the first season of Stardust Crusaders was airing and I quickly caught up. Right after I finished reviewing the second season, I quickly went over to read the manga, starting from Part 4, Diamond is Unbreakable. And I’m hooked. Part 4 is pretty special. Just watching this episode you can see the difference. For one thing, the colors are a lot brighter compared to Part 3, and that’s because with Part 4 you’ll expect a more calm and relaxed setting. There won’t be big road trips, no zombies, no scantily clad Aztec men. The entire part takes place in the small but lovely and (used to be) peaceful town of Morioh-cho. I always loved that about Part 4, but even though it’s a more chill part, it still has exciting action. We’ve only been introduced to two new characters so far, but believe me when I say the characters are fantastic as well. This part getting an anime is amazing, and it makes it highly more likely that the rest of the parts are going to get their own adaptations later.

*imagines an anime of Stone Ocean* (*’?`*)

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I might make fun of him, but I swear I love him.

So let’s get to the actual episode! This part is set years later after Part 3. It’s 1999 and we’re in a small town called Morioh. We get this narration by a boy named Koichi Hirose, who is about to start his first day of high school. Yes, high school. Don’t be fooled, he’s just really…tiny. As he waits for the bus, he accidentally bumps into someone. A tall man in white, who we all know. Jotaro Kujo (*cheers*). We saw in the beginning that he had been riding a taxi into Morioh, and when he apologizes to Koichi for bumping into him, he asks if he knows a Higashikata. Koichi doesn’t, but he knows the address that Jotaro shows him and so Jotaro waits for the bus that’ll take him there. It’s then that a commotion starts with some thugs. Enter Josuke. He gets berated by the upperclassman for not saying hi to him. Josuke’s too busy trying to get over his fear of turtles. Why is he afraid of turtles? I don’t know, we’ll never know. But the fact that he’s afraid of turtles makes me love him more. He gets into trouble with the upperclassmen, and one of the thugs grabs the turtle and chucks it at a wall and injures it badly. It’s then one of them asks for his name, and when Jotaro hears him say it, he reacts. It’s also then that these thugs ask Josuke to take off his uniform, and they rush him, and one of them goes to insult his hair.

WHICH IS SOMETHING YOU DON’T DO WITH JOSUKE.

All of a sudden, Josuke’s personality takes a 180 and he beats up the thugs. Seeing a familiar sight, we see an arm appear from behind him and punch one of the thugs that does a weird thing to his face. He’s bleeding at first, but then it heals but takes a completely different shape. Getting freaked out, they run off. Josuke walks over to the turtle and puts it back in the fountain, the turtle alive and well.

jojodiu8Now, people watching this are like “Josuke Higashikata? Jojo? Where’s the Jo in his last name, there is no Jo!” You’re right! Because the Jojos always have a Jo in their name. Jonathan Joestar, Joseph Joestar, Jotaro Kujo. But Josuke Higashikata? Well, besides the fact that the idiot thug couldn’t even read Josuke’s name right, he really is a Jojo, and why? After the thugs leave, Jotaro drops one hell of a bombshell. Josuke is the illegitimate son of Joseph Joestar. Yeah…that’s right. When I first read the manga, this piece of news was in the third chapter and I was…stunned, to say the least. Josuke is a Jojo, because he’s a Joestar. Jotaro explains, that while Joseph was in Japan for whatever reason, he met a 21 year old girl in college named Tomoko, and had an affair with her. She became pregnant, and had Josuke. In 1987, when Jotaro and gang were going after Dio, little Josuke was afflicted with a horrible fever, the same that Holly had. When figuring out how to distribute his inheritance, Jotaro and Joseph found out that Joseph had a son in Japan that he never even knew about. And so Jotaro came to meet him to tell him that he’ll receive a third of Joseph’s inheritance. Now…I’m going to admit right now that learning this, it broke my heart.

I really liked Joseph, but the fact that he would have sex with a 21 year old girl (I’m 21 btw) and he was in his 60’s when he did…EW? That’s gross. That he would cheat on his wife after their very long marriage? We never learn why he did, or how long he was with Tomoko, but…that really hurt my views on Joseph. And right after when I praised him after what Suzie said in Stardust Crusaders, that he never disappointed her. Grrrr. I don’t hate Joseph, but he’s really lowered on my favorite Jojo list because of this. Then again, if the affair never happened we never would have gotten sweetheart Josuke. Also, he’s technically Jotaro’s uncle, even though he’s younger than him. Awkward.

After learning all this, Josuke apologizes. Because he’s caused chaos in his home, such as Suzie being angry. And none of it is his fault! But Josuke apologizes anyway, which catches Jotaro off guard because he thought Josuke would be angry. Ohh, he’s such a sweet boy. ;_;

jojodiu17Now, Jotaro is also there because there’s a Stand user on the loose in Morioh. Joseph tried taking soul pictures of Josuke but instead got a man named Angelo instead. He only warns Josuke and Koichi about him, but that’s all. The boys leave for school, and Jotaro is left with his dumb hat after his small fight with Josuke after insulting his hair. I noticed that they really left out the gruesome details about Angelo’s murders in the anime, but basically this man is a murderer and rapist who targets both men and women of all ages, most of them young and I won’t even go into the details because they really are gross. Jotaro is out looking for him before things get out of hand.

Josuke and Koichi drop by a convenience store after school after police cars rush over there. A man is holding a woman hostage and threatens to stab her. He yells at everyone to stay away, and when seeing Josuke, tells him and his stupid hair to get back. And, here we go again, he gets pissed off and approaches the man. He uses his Stand and punches through both the man and woman’s bodies, while holding the army knife the man had. He then retracts his Stand, and the woman strangely is all better. And somehow the man’s knife is in his gut. Hmmm….we also see a Stand come out of the man’s mouth and slip away, warning Josuke that he’s going to be watching him. In the very end, we see a man and that very same Stand standing outside of Josuke’s home.

I’ve been waiting for this, and I’m absolutely happy with it. I love Part 4, a lot. So to see the first few chapters adapted so well makes me so very happy. We also got to see Tomoko and Josuke’s grandfather. Besides Jotaro, for some reason they recasted the seiyuus that worked on the Jojo video games for the anime, changing Romi Park to Kaji Yuki. I’m…very sick of hearing Kaji Yuki in everything but I have to admit that he did well as Koichi. They also changed Josuke’s seiyuu, which I liked because I thought his voice in the video games was too deep. Visually, I was a little skeptical of it in the beginning but it looks a lot better than I thought it would. Music I LOVE. Not too much action this episode, but that was expected. So far everything is meeting my expectations and I’m just so happy. IT’S JUST SO GOOD! I can’t wait to see everything else animated.

And it’s so nice seeing Jotaro. He’s a marine biologist, that’s so great. <3 His blue sweater/lime green shirt thing is ugly as fuck though, that choice of clothes was never in the manga. Give me the tight black turtleneck....p-please.

Diamond is Unbreakable is special because of it’s different setting and feeling. It’s honestly my favorite part (so far), so I’m looking forward to the rest! HYPE! Watching and blogging this will be so much fun. ^^

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He’s so afraid…

Haruchika Episode 12: Sympathy Triangle [Final Impression]

It’s finally over at last.

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Impression

Obligatory twins.

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Haruchika 12 Img003Well, it’s over. I thought this had 13 episodes for some reason, and was planning to do them both together, but apparently it doesn’t and this is the end. I’m fine with that too, this hasn’t exactly been the most fun thing I’ve had the pleasure of watching this season. Anyway, they just had to end this with Haruta being an insufferable dick again. I could feel all of the second-hand embarrassment radiating off the screen and into me as they stalked him on the train, across lines, and even paid for a taxi to follow the bus he was on. Holy crap. And of course they ran out of money – I’m glad they did, and if they’d lost him somehow they wouldn’t even have been able to get home. They’d have had to call Serizawa… uh, I mean Nao-chan to pick them up or something. When he didn’t get off at Hamamatsu and had flowers with him, I thought he’d be visiting a hospital and that Haruta and Chika were going to regret following him and butting their noses into something that nothing to do with them. Then they revealed he was visiting a cemetery. And I was like… well, fuck. Haruta had really better not decide to confess in a fucking cemetery of all places.

Haruchika 12 Img004Was the broken baton supposed to represent something like his ‘future career desires breaking into two’ if he continues being a music teacher? Something like that? And the new baton that everyone helped buy for him represents them indicating their blessing that he leaves them and goes to pursue his dreams. If this were a school English essay I’d be writing some abstract thing like that – but unlike literary greats who probably meant every bit of the symbolism they put into their literature (or most of it, at least) I’m sure whoever wrote this didn’t really think things through quite as deeply. They didn’t even resolve that plot line, did they? They spent over half the episode on Sensei and the issue of whether he’d leave, then Sensei didn’t say anything about what he’d do in the future and the episode just ended. And the entire show’s over now, so that’s that.

Haruchika 12 Img005Well, it’s the exact kind of ending I expected, really. I was all excited when I thought they were actually going to animate them playing a piece of music together as a brass band – but no. No fucking way will they spend any more money on this flop of a show – I’m sure that’s the very thought that was running through the minds of the guys at P.A. Works as they animated this episode. Because did they show the performance? No. Well, they played some music – but it was just a remix of one of the OST tracks for the show. Instead, they cut out the vast majority of the animation for the performance and played the fucking credits over the music instead. I’m not going to even bother ranting about this, I’m too tired and the show’s over now anyway. I wasn’t exactly expecting brilliance on the scale of Crescent Moon Dance (if you remember, I cried during the UFO finale) but… it would be nice if they’d actually animated some instruments, right? And they even used CG for all the group shots with more than a few people. I thought I’d never say this, but I guess even P.A. Works can be real cheapskates sometimes.

The only part of the finale I really liked was when Chika tried to rally everyone’s spirits and put on a cheerful facade, before sitting on the stairs and crying with Haruta, who was also crying. I thought that was a pretty heartfelt scene – and it’s a wonder I even felt anything at all after how many train crashes Haruchika has been through. Chika was really cute, in hindsight. Haruta is right about that – she really did carry the show. The title shouldn’t have been Haruchika, but just Chika. Chika complaining, Chika doing silly things, even Chika sneezing at the end there – they put a lot of effort (I guess the credit really goes to Sarah Emi Bridcutt) with Chika, and that’s one thing I did appreciate. I’ll miss her. And the twins. But only them.

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Overall Thoughts

Haruchika 12 Img001I’m sorry these posts weren’t as hilarious as the Glasslip ones. I’m quite proud of those, but I don’t have as much time to craft responses which are as rude. Also it wasn’t as bad as Glasslip – and I was extremely disappointed back then, more so than I am with this. I didn’t expect much this time round, you see. I don’t really have either the strength or the will to talk at length about this, and I’m sure you know my opinion on it anyway. Which is that it had oddly sub-par production values for P.A. Works, and didn’t really know what it wanted to be from the outset and therefore failed at everything it tried to be. Like Glasslip. It was pretty bad. Also like Glasslip. If you’re reading this and haven’t watched it (not like there’s anything to spoil because nothing happens), don’t. I’ve saved you the trouble.

I wanted to like Haruta, I really did. I thought I’d be able to see something interesting because he was genuinely gay and not something that was just played for laughs – and Japan is very conservative about this sort of thing, so I was excited to see what they’d do with him. Something progressive, right? The answer was ‘almost nothing’. And he turned out to be an insufferable twat anyway. About 70% of the way through the show I just gave up and thought: ‘You know what? Just do whatever you want, Haruta. Just solve these mysteries for us because I don’t think any of us could do it without your asspull knowledge and super sleuthing skills either way’.

Haruchika 12 Img009Is there anything else I want to say? Oh yeah, I uh, want to do immoral things together with the twins. I know I say it every week, but I won’t get to say it any more so just bear with me. Really, they’ve kept me going through this, together with Chika. If I won some sort of award for sitting through Haruchika and had to give an acceptance speech (I genuinely typed Glasslip there before remembering this wasn’t the same show and backspaced) first I would thank my parents. Then my voters, and third the semen demon twins. Kae and Sae, you only appeared for a few seconds each episode, but you were both super cute. Thank you.

Also the OP was nice. Not even fhana could save this show in the end. Though ever since we had ChouCho and nano.RIPE on Glasslip I don’t think OP/ED artists have ever been a reliable indicator for the quality of a show. They spark hope, at the very least. nano.RIPE did great for Bahamut this season, by the way. Even that was better than Haruchika. Next season (for some reason I’m going to regret) I’m going to be doing the P.A. Works show as well – it’s some mecha show called Kuromukuro. There’s this cute girl who looks a bit like a short-haired Chisaki and is voiced by M.A.O – I have no idea what her name is but I recognize her voice. M.A.O’s voice is really soothing and pleasant, just like Nanjou Yoshino’s is. I’m going to do it for her. For this kyuuto gaaru. From an objective perspective it has good visuals, and from the PV I think it’s the sort of show where everyone is living a happy life and shit suddenly gets real as disaster strikes. Which is, honest to god, exactly what I need to happen after Glasslip and Haruchika. Okamura is directing, so that means quality, right? (He says, after remember that Nishimura Junji did Glasslip) It’s mecha, so it should be exciting, right?

…Right?