D. Gray-man Hallow Episode 12&13: [Final Impressions]

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Episode 12 : My home

vlcsnap-2016-09-29-18h36m34s830Tikki and Allen are running away from the Order and Apocyphos. Tikki says what Allen knows too much but probably did not want to hear. In the apparent Manichean division Allen is not part of one’s group. He’s not black but isn’t white either. He doesn’t belong with the Noah, nor with the Order but now is the time to make a choice.

Meanwhile at the Order, everyone is afraid, The third exorcist are attacking, so there’s some little fights everywhere. I say “fights” but it’s just the characters screaming their attacks and not really fighting, which is a shame. But oh well, it is nice to see everyone fighting a bit, since you know, they did not do much this season. Oh yeah! Also, Road disappeared…

vlcsnap-2016-09-29-18h36m47s953Lenalee continues to defend Allen, she is probably the only person that still believes in him. Even if her brother asks her to go after the 14th she refuses, understanding that Allen trying to save both exorcists and Akuma doesn’t make him an enemy. When she finally meets with him, Allen says he’ll stay an exorcist no matter what, because it’s his home and he feels great there. But right after saying that, he parts way with Lenalee and leaves her alone as she tries to make him stay.

The fight scenes with those color backgrounds trying to give some dynamic to the scenes surprised me quite a bit, since they’ve never been utilized in D.gray-man before and not even in this season. It gave a really shounen’ish touch to this episode and I felt like I was watching some good old Nekketsu rather than D.gray-man. However, I do appreciate some visual choices for some parts, especially with Apocryphos which were really interesting. The way Apocryphos was presented and every choice concerning his presence, were quite judicious. Finally, the scene were Allen leaves Lenalee gave me little chills… because I love Allen too and don’t want him to go.

Episode 13: Walker

vlcsnap-2016-09-29-18h34m18s667We take a little peek at Allen’s past right after he transformed the one he loved into a Akuma and got “infected ” it. Cross Marian acts like Allen’s life doesn’t matter and is only helping him because he is the host of the 14th and that his goal is to protect the host to prepare Neah’s return. It’s during that time Allen was given the last name Walker, name that was previously Mana’s one. After that flashback, we see Allen returning returning to that place after he ran away from the order, using the Ark gate for the last time.
In the meantime, The Noah haven’t really manage to find anything about the 14th by torturing Lavi and Bookman. But we learn that one of the Noah has put some sort of parasite into Chaozi’s body, allowing them to watch the Order’s action form the inside.

vlcsnap-2016-09-29-18h38m34s2693 months have past since Allen’s disappearance, while the opinions about Allen’s true goal are diverging inside the order, Lenalee hasn’t lost her faith in Allen and even blames herself for not making him stay. Kanda is also back at the Order, activates Mugen, shows how cool he is and announces he’s ready to go look after Allen, since the latter helped him and Alma.

Meanwhile, Allen is going bananas, being chased by Akumas while having to fight in order to not lose his conscience to the 14th. What keeps him up a bit is seeing Marian and Mana , telling him to stand up and walk on his own path. To not follow anyone’s lead anymore and especially not the 14th’s one and to create his own destiny.

Final Impressions:

vlcsnap-2016-09-29-18h37m32s238Aaah I can’t believe D.Gray-man is over! I did not want it to end but sadly there wasn’t much more source material to adapt. I’m satisfied with the moment the anime chose to end at. The last scene where Allen decides to stand up for himself, to in a way, honor Mana’s last name, was quite an powerful moment and great way to end the season. Seeing Allen walking, determined, gives the impression that things will continue and that more is to come. So the final was fine, not spectacular but it was cool enough for me.

Now what about the rest of the series you might ask? Well, same as the ending, it was fine. I had really, really, and let me say it once again, really high hopes for D.Gray-man Hallow. I screamed when I saw the announcement and was hyped all long until I saw the first episode. Yeah, that was a bit disappointing but I tried to hold back a bit, and stay optimistic. After a few episodes I got the feeling that D.gray man was finally back. Sure the animation isn’t stellar and breathtaking, but at least the anime stayed true to the manga. Indeed, I have no particular complaints regarding the story. I love D.gray man’s story and seeing that they weren’t butchering one of my favorite manga definitely put me in a more lenient position towards the anime.

vlcsnap-2016-09-29-18h34m40s131But yes, the animation wasn’t particularly good, actually, I think it’s even below the standards of what can be done nowadays, but heh, what can we do about it? Nothing, and complaining about it won’t make the animation quality better so I chose to ignore that aspect a bit and to try to enjoy the anime, which is what I did.
The sound however was a different case. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it was non existent. They were some cool tracks sometimes but overall it wasn’t spectacular at all.

So overall, I did enjoy the anime but mostly because I’m attached to the manga a lot. If I did not have this past with the manga and was just discovering the story with the anime, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it a lot less. Since the animation is not terrible, the sound is average, the only thing that saves the show is the story. Although sometimes rushed, the story was consistent enough to provide 13 episodes with each time a lot of content. As for the characters, well, I love them all, even the Noah who are complete dicks, I just can’t help but to sympathize a bit with them, or at least, to be interested in learning more about them.

Now I’m just sad we’ll have to wait I don’t know how many years to get another season…. Oh well, we still have the manga bit sigh… it’s going to take a loooong time before the rest of the “Searching for Allen” Arc gets animated.
I see you in 2050 then!

Endride – Episodes 23 & 24 [Final Impression]

Episode 23

The second-to-last episode picks up with Pascal’s sacrifice allowing Shun and Emilio to continue their journey to Tir Na Nog. As Shun and Emilio fly away, Ralph and Joseph break away from the group to search for Pascal’s body while the Ignauts concentrate on fighting Ibelda.

Back at the castle, Alicia stays with Eljuia, Felix and Louise. Eljuia has mostly recovered already, but Louise and Felix are still injured. Felix wants to go back into battle anyways to help Demetrio, but some pointed words from Louise cause him to back down. Not only that but she convinces him to stop throwing his life away.

The Ignauts continue their fight against Ibelda, and realize they need a new plan. Fighting Ibelda from the front isn’t gaining them any ground, and eventually vlcsnap-00011they will all run out of energy. It’s decided that Demetrio, Mischa and Gradido will distract Ibelda long enough that Guidoro can attack Ibelda and throw the grenade into his body.

The plan goes off, but not entirely according to plan. Ibelda envelops Guidoro into his gelatine body and they have a meeting of minds, during which Guidoro tells Ibelda that while the Truculent never had allies, he now has friends who want to help him protect Endora. Then Guidoro detonates the grenade and he dies along with Ibelda.

Shun and Emilio reach Tir Na Nog, and it’s not how they had envisioned. As they approach, Emilio tells Shun that Tir Na Nog is rumoured to be ruled by an omnipotent god. Falarion flies them all up to the top, where they see a large blueish-green circular crystal in the middle of the platform. Emilio and Shun try to break it with their Warp Relics, but it isn’t until Shun remembers that crystals have gem cleavage that they are able to shatter the crystal’s top layer. Just then someone interrupt them, and it’s Shun’s father, who has returned to Endora! And with a Warp Relic of his own apparently, one that makes him look like the Spiderman villain Doctor Octopus. Looks like the omnipotent god who was rumored to live in the tower was really Shun’s adoptive father all along?

Asanaga cruelly tells Emilio that his father Alzerm didn’t die in vain, for Asanaga has taken some of his body. It’s not specified but I assume that this is a reference to his Warp Relic. Asanaga then uses one of his barbed octopus-like arms to stab Falarion in his chest.

Shun and Emilio attack Asanaga with their Warp Relics, but they can’t seem to hurt him. They have to take him down to stop the leeching of Warp Particles, but how??



Episode 24

Emilio is the first to evolve his Warp Relic in this episode, turning his two-pronged spear into one with a larger, heavier point. Asanaga assumes that this evolution is due to his hatred, but Emilio corrects him and says that it’s due to the strength he has for the people he’s fighting for.

Asanaga grabs Emilio and holds him upside down with one of the arms of his Warp Relic, and Emilio and Shun discover that the arms can be broken if they are struck. (Previously they’d just been deflecting the barbs at the end of the arms.)

Shun is the other person to evolve his Warp Relic this episode, and Shun tells his father that now that he knows the truth about him and Endora, he can never go back to his old life of ignorance. Shun destroys another of Asanaga’s mechanical arms, bringing him down to three.

vlcsnap-00011Deep in the forest, Joseph and Ralph find Pascal. He’s alive! Pascal was able to deploy a parachute as he fell, and it’s what saved his life as he got caught in the canopy and hung above the forest floor.

Up at Tir Na Nog, the battle isn’t going well for Shun and Emilio. They haven’t been able to hurt Asanaga, but he’s been whittling away at their strength and stamina with each blow he manages to cut them with. Asanaga tells Shun that he only became strong for him and for Makiko, but Shun tells him that his mother would never be happy with what Asanaga has chosen to do.

Asanaga is not happy to hear this, and he strings up Shun with two of his remaining Warp Particle arms while he moves to stab Shun with the third. But in the end he’s not able to kill his own son. Emilio sees that Asanaga is distracted, and he morphs his spear into a shaft of light. Falarion too turns to light and melds with Emilio’s weapon, and together both energies stab Asanaga right through the chest. Shun rushes over to his father’s side, and Asanaga looks gently up at Shun but says nothing as he dies.

Upon Asanaga’s death, Tir Na Nog stops sending Warp Particles to the surface, but it also starts to fall apart. Shun and Emilio try to hold onto the rubble but fail, and are saved only by Falarion who catches them on his back.

Shun and Emilio fly back to the Ignauts, who are waiting for them with baited breath. Falarion also seems to have miraculously recovered from his injury. Demetrio teases the guys for making Alicia cry, and Emilio is reunited with Pascal. At least the guy still has one father figure left in his life right?

Pascal, Joseph and Pascal’s friend look over the blueprints for the parinblue, but decide it’s not a good idea to try to duplicate that ancient technology. Pascal says that they should focus their energies on Warp Particle research, because at least Warp Particles can be used to better Endora.

In the evening, a large feast is held at the castle to celebrate the Ignauts’ victory. Emilio and Shun have a quiet moment with Demetrio beforehand, and Emilio thanks Demetrio for everything he and the Ignauts taught him. Emilio even takes a moment to apologize to Alicia for worrying her, although he can’t figure out why she’s crying again.

During the celebration speeches, Demetrio says that the Ignauts must continue to help the people of Endora because all of the conflict and chaos is not going to magically stabilize overnight. Demetrio says that he’s asked Gradido for permission to use the Zoozian’s island as a base, and for Gradido to oversee the northern vlcsnap-00017continent along with Ralph. Demetrio goes on to say that Felix and Louise are to focus on healing their injuries, while Mischa, Eljuia, Pascal, Joseph and Aaron will work to restore the castle. Lastly, Demetrio’s plan includes Shun and Emilio helping Demetrio with the southern lands.

Later on while everyone is busy drinking and celebrating, Shun decides to quietly slip away from the festivities. However Emilio catches up to him outside, and Shun reveals that as much as he’s enjoyed visiting Endora and meeting everyone, he has to go home because he can’t leave his mom alone. Emilio says that he wants to protect Endora, but admits he’s not quite ready to be king yet. Shun and Emilio bicker one last time, then say their goodbyes.

Up on the surface, Shun materializes on top of a building like before. However this time his parinblue emerges from his chest, then turns grey and falls to the rooftop, crumbling into pieces. Shun picks up a piece and holds it up to the sun, admiring its color and shape in the light. His voiceover talks about his idea of finding worlds inside rocks as a child, and how the memory of Endora will always remain locked away safely in his heart.

But after the credits, we see a dusty land reminiscent of the Sahara Desert. As the winds blow the sand around, a parinblue is revealed to a mysterious stranger. They pick it up to admire it. Who could this be…? Will Endora have a new visitor from the surface in the future?

My thoughts: No I didn’t miss a week, Endride‘s finale really did air two episodes in the final week of the season.

I feel like this was a fitting end to this series. I’m a little sad that Shun didn’t decide to stay in Endora with his cousin, but I can understand his need to not leave his mother alone. She already lost her husband at the hand of her son, she didn’t need to lose her son too.

The ending after the credits makes me wonder if we’re going to get a second season of Endride in the future. Maybe there will be a timeskip? (I know I’ve been all about timeskips in my musings lately, but seriously it would make sense for all my shows this season to have sequels!) An adult Shun visits Endora to see Emilio and Alicia’s family? Or another evil bastard takes the parinblue and travels to Endora to fuck things up? Make it so!


Final Impression

Story: I have no idea why this show was two cours; it honestly could have been done in just one. Yes alright the first half introduces us to all the characters, gives us some insight into their personalities and relationships to one another, but in the end it all feels like filler. And really, really annoying filler at that. Emilio and Shun bickered CONSTANTLY, the dialogue was really repetitive and kinda cheesy at times, and there wasn’t much that really stands out in my mind.

How bad was it? I was literally going to drop this show until I watched the twelfth episode and my intentions did a complete 180. After that episode, enough drama happened and intriguing questions about Endora were raised that I felt like sticking with the show for its second cour. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still struggled to blog Endride, but I tried hard to find things I enjoyed about the show so I could at least keep myself interested.

So in terms of the story, the first eleven episodes can be written off. Well, maybe watch the first one or two and then skip ahead to episode twelve.

Which parts of Endride‘s story were done well, in my opinion? I really liked the mythology behind Endora and its connections to the surface the most, as well as learning about Emilio’s past and his blood ties to Shun. I also appreciated that the big bad guy of the show ended up being Asanaga, Shun’s adopted father. It made Shun losing his biological father (without initially realizing it) that much more bittersweet. Last but not least I also enjoyed learning about the parinblue and some of the techology Asanaga helped create.vlcsnap-00001

Characters: Endride had a really large cast, almost too large. I feel like several characters ended up with rather small roles to play, and could have been omitted from the show entirely. For example, Felix and Mischa had similar personalities and spent so much time bickering about their devotion to Demetrio that I found them both annoying. And Louise played the traitor role well but aside from the subplot about her being a Zoozian and later betraying the Ignauts, she didn’t do much. Alicia did even less, having one episode devoted mostly to Falarion but otherwise didn’t seem to have a role other than to cook for the Ignauts and have Emilio as a love interest. And even the latter didn’t get very developed over the course of two cours.

Of the characters I did end up liking, again due to the show’s rocky start, it took me awhile to warm up to them. Shun and Emilio are the primary examples of this sentiment. By the end of the series I liked both Shun and Emilio, but in the beginning holy fuck did I want to smash their faces together. Repeatedly. Far too much bickering and far too much stupid dialogue. Yes we know that Shun’s from the surface and Babel can send him home. Yes we know they need to go to Babylon. ENOUGH. REPETITION.

That being said, a few of the main characters experienced character growth that they kept from being static, Emilio being the most obvious example. He went from being a spoiled prince consumed by his mis-directed anger for the man he thought was his father, to a supportive friend to his cousin who ended up losing his father twice over. Actually they both lost their fathers twice over, come to think of it. Emilio however had to show more maturity and have a calmer personality because he will most likely one day be king.

Also, Asanaga was a fucking psychopath. Enough said.

Music and Animation: I wasn’t a fan of either ending theme, but the opening theme did grow on me by the last few episodes. The animation… well, to be nice, let’s just say that I feel like this was some production company’s first attempt at making an anime. There was lots of derpness, lots of bodies that were out of proportion or just looked off. The backgrounds and scenic shots were beautiful, incorporating CG well, but much of the series felt like it was rushed or just made by people who needed some more practice with their animation.

Ironically, unlike my other show from the summer season Qualidea Code, I feel like the animation got better during the last few episodes. Don’t ask me why, everything just seemed sharper and better animated to me.

Overall Thoughts: I felt like the second half of this show was a good effort, a beginner’s attempt at a fantasy show. The music and some of the animation was done well, but Endride suffered from lackluster characters, rushed-looking animation, and not enough plot in the first half of the show. The only reason I’m scoring Endride as high as I am is because I a) actually decided to continue with the second cour, and b) the final five episodes were pretty good.

Final Score: 7/10

Bananya Episode 13 [Final Impression]

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Qualidea Code – Episode 12 [Qualidea of the Radiant World] [Final Impression]

The final episode begins with a flashback to when Gutoku first met Airi: she impaled him on her claw. When he awoke, Airi appeared human to him again, and he seemed to be healed.

Back in the present, Ichiya and the others are prepared to do battle against Gutoku, until Aoi activates her World. We already knew that it enabled communication between people, but it can also prevent others from using their World powers. Aoi steps over to Gutoku’s side permanently, leaving behind her peers for good.

Gutoku whispers something to Aoi and she takes off, with Asuha and Canaria hot on her heels. Gutoku gets into a fistfight with Ichiya, but when he stops one of Kasumi’s bullets with his hands, he transforms and reveals he’s half-Unknown. Perhaps this is the result of Airi infecting him when she injured him; the cause of his mutation is not specified.

Meanwhile Asuha catches up with Aoi, and the two girls get into a fistfight. The fight serves as a reminder that Aoi is not as useless as she’s been portrayed vlcsnap-00008throughout the series – she was Maihime’s backup until Hotaru showed up, after all. Aoi also mentions that her World allows her to basically read Asuha’s mind when they’re face to face. Eventually Aoi manages to almost choke Asuha out, but Asuha turns the tables around and gets the upper hand on Aoi.

Elsewhere in the tower, Maihime and Hotaru are facing off against Airi in her true Unknown form. She’s a strong foe, probably the strongest Maihime has ever faced. Maihime and Hotaru’s fight with Airi ends as Maihime impales Airi on her energy sword. Just before she dies Maihime remembers a conversation she had with Airi when she was a child, and Airi talked about wanting to experience having a baby and dying a satisfying death. Maihime flashes back to the present and she realizes that she has been fighting Airi all along. This is confirmed once Airi’s body disintegrates and Maihime spots the pocketwatch on the ground. However there is no time to grieve yet – Maihime and Hotaru must rescue the remaining children from cold sleep.

As all of these fights are going on, Canaria has gotten herself lost chasing after Asuha and Aoi. However she spots the dimensional gate, and once she reaches the top of the tower, she activates her World and begins singing her song.

Everyone else hears Canaria’s song and is boosted by its effects. Ichiya fights back against Gutoku, who had pinned Kasumi and Ichiya against the wall with a blasting stream of energy. Gutoku reveals that Airi has died and that the tower, which was Airi’s own body, will soon crumble and the dimensional gate will fail. Gutoku closes his eyes and Ichiya’s gravity powers blow a hole through the side of the tower.

Ichiya wastes no time telling Kasumi and Asuha to flee the tower, as he flies off to find Canaria. He finds her in freefall and he saves her in the nick of time. Once everyone is assembled outside the Administration tower, Ichiya and the others join the rescued cold sleep kids in watching the tower fall to the ground.

However inside the tower, something is happening. A severely injured Gutoku finds Aoi’s unconscious body, and then Airi’s spirit appears and asks him to take care of Aoi. Airi knows that losing two parents at once would be too much for Aoi to handle. Gutoku agrees to take care of Aoi.

vlcsnap-00031Ichiya and Canaria meet with Johannes, and tell her that they want to rebuild Tokyo before they leave to see their parents. Then Kasumi and Asuha rush in to visit with their mother, and Ichiya and Canaria leave to give them some privacy.

By the seaside, Hotaru and Maihime stand at Aoi’s grave marker. They discuss how Airi was kind like a human mother would be, and Maihime admits she still doesn’t fully understand the conversation she had with Airi in her past. Then they’re joined by the other four representatives, and Kasumi reveals that he and Asuha are leaving. The other four will remain behind and work to rebuild their cities.

After the credits roll, Canaria’s voiceover says that the story is about learning more about their World powers and how they can be used to save the world.

My thoughts: I thought the memory of Maihime and Airi talking was a nice touch and helped tie in with the family theme of the previous episode. In the end Airi never birthed a child created from hers and Gutoku’s genetics, but Maihime was probably as close to having a child of her own as she got, and Aoi definitely saw Airi and Gutoku as her parental figures. So in a sense, in the end Airi did sort of have a child, and she was something of a parent.

I wonder if we will get another season. Maybe a storyline that takes place after a timeskip, when Gutoku has been raising Airi for a period of time? Maybe there’s a battle between countries over the kids who have World powers?

Lastly while I don’t want to whine about graphics and animation yet again, I feel like I have to mention how disappointed I was with the quality of animation in this episode. The series had been getting slowly worse as we got closer to the end, but I feel like this episode took a sharp decline in quality. Much of the animation was derpy, like it was rushed and there was simply no time to get a lot of the proportions right.

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Final Impression

Story: Absolutely fantastic. If you’d told me at the beginning of the season that this would be a story about aliens abducting children and brainwashing them to fight mankind, I would’ve told you that you were nuts. Qualidea Code had some of the biggest twists I can remember seeing in an anime in recent years, and I am still so impressed with the plot of this show, even if it was somewhat hindered by poor animation.

Characters: I’m kinda meh on the cast. Maihime’s probably my favourite character, but I have issues with most of the others. Airi and Gutoku were also very interesting to me, especially once it was revealed that Airi was an Unknown and Gutoku loved her despite being half-human himself.

Random list of thoughts: Ichiya was too arrogant for my liking, Kasumi was too apathetic, and the brother-sister complex between Kasumi and Asuha kinda weirded me out. Canaria was cute but a little too vapid for my liking. Johannes was far too childlike, but that was also part of her appeal, and I love how Kasumi was just having none of her ego-stroking. I did like that Asuha eventually accepted Johannes once she got used to having her biological mother back in her life. Aoi became infinitely more interesting to me in this episode, and I honestly wish her betrayal had happened an episode or two ago so there was more time to feel vlcsnap-00035the resulting pain from her decision.

Music and Animation: The music in Qualidea Code was pretty awesome. There was a couple of opening and ending themes used throughout the season, which always helps to keep things fresh. I liked the electronic-sounding themes used during some of the larger fight scenes, and Canaria’s World song was pretty to listen to without it getting repetitive.

However, in terms of the animation… I’m really disappointed. The animation was so pretty in the first half of the season, but the latter half was pretty disheartening. Faces were not proportioned right, limbs looked off, and just blah.

Overall Thoughts: Honestly, like with Berserk (2016), the only issue I have with this show is the quality of the animation. The difference is that it was known from the beginning that Berserk would be using a mix of 2D and 3D animation, and it was clear pretty quick that viewers would either love or hate it. Qualidea Code started off with stellar animation, but experienced a decrease in quality for the last six or so episodes.

And the final episode in particular was really atrocious. The example that sticks out in my mind was the fight scene between Aoi and Asuha. Faces were off, limbs were everywhere, and the whole thing just looked really warped. For the poor animation in the last episode alone, I’m taking off an extra half a point. I don’t know why the quality suffered so much, but I’m curious whether anyone else noticed a change too. Or am I really just too picky?

Final Score: 8.5/10

Tales of Zestiria the X Episode 11&12: [Final Impressions]

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Episode 11: The War

vlcsnap-2016-09-27-08h39m16s434The whole crew goes to the battlefield. Alisha’s plan is to stop the two enemy armies to clash and thus, to avoid war. On their way they meet with a girl named Ian, who is as useless as unbearable, she wants to hold the hand of the shepherd, only seeing the Shepherd in Sorey, and not the human being that is behind the function. I guess it follows the idea that now, Sorey might be overwhelmed by his duty, the burden of the Shepherd becoming to heavy for one person to carry.

Everyone worries about Sorey and wonder how he will be able to handle this conflict. Mikleo also feels Sorey’s duty as a shepherd is starting to become a very heavy burden and tries to ease his mind by reminding him of the good old times in Elysia. He also offers him to go exploring ruins again with him, after all this shit is over.

Now that war has finally begun, malevolence everywhere. Therefore Sorey tries desperately to stop them but ends up being affected by the malevolence. He manages to purify everyone in the battlefield but sadly the war isn’t over and there’s still some fights all around the place. Then, Sorey and the Seraphs see a human hellion who Lailah calls the lord of calamity.

vlcsnap-2016-09-27-08h40m49s575In the meantime, Alisha tries to discuss the situation with the general but he refuses to stop war (as expected) and tries to capture her. With Rose they fight against the soldiers, but Alisha refuses to kill anyone and gets stab. They are about to get killed but are saved by some magical wind, work of a wind Seraph. OHOHOHO Finally I want to say, too bad there’s only one episode left heh.

So this episode had nice visuals during the war scenes, the battle scene was clearly my favorite one in this episode. The succession of bloody images in close ups and transitions with that distortion effect, made the scene quite oppressing and depressing at the same time. However, The downside of the episode is clearly the animation which although, remains great was sometimes a bit inconsistent. It also looked like they sometimes used some 3D images since it’s cheaper during some sequences, without any warning so it caught me off guard. It’s like the whole budget of the episode went in the battle scene or for the final episode, and if so, I cannot blame them about it.

Ep 12: The Lord of Calamity

vlcsnap-2016-09-26-22h12m21s033Sorey decides to go and confront the Lord of Calamity, of course he’s too strong and rekts Sorey. But why is the Lord of Calamity evil you may ask? Well, for the moment, we don’t really know, he did not talk much. He had only one argument, which was: “Men are the source of malevolence so purifying them is useless, you can’t save them, so better kill everyone”. Whereas Sorey responds, with: “No I will save them., cuz this ain’t the way things work, I will save everyone”. Basically the bad guy’s only line of dialogue was : “ooooou feel the malevolence, oouh, I’m very evil and bad, ooouu” and then he goes away. That’s it, yup, nothing else, that was almost just a cameo… Like Fox guy, the foxy fox that attacked the Seraph village in the first episodes… he came to say one line he went away, a bit useless if you ask me.

Rose comes to get Sorey cuz Alisha is supposedly dying. They have a little talk telling each other that they are happy they’ve met. And then, they do a squire contract because… I-I-I don’t know… they want to be together? Maybe they should explain how a human can become the Shepherd quire? Also I thought Alisha was hurt and about to die? How is she miraculously cured? Also, why did the war stopped? A messenger came to say something and the war suddenly stopped? Why? I don’t know, maybe they’ve explained it, but I forgot, it doesn’t seem clear to me…

vlcsnap-2016-09-26-22h12m14s814But anyway so now she can see the Seraphs… I don’t know what else being Sorey’s squire brings her but heh… Everything seems fine until the General who wanted to kill Alisha and who is now a hellion, comes and wants to kill her again. So Sorey goes all yandere mode cuz this dude is not going to touch his grill. He’s about to lose it but magically manages to purify the general because… I don’t know, let’s say he came back to his senses hearing his friends’ voices, at least that’s how it works in YU-GI-OH!

vlcsnap-2016-09-26-22h13m59s045Rose asks Sorey to come to Rolance with her and he accepts, so now they’re heading to Rolance with Dezel, whose name hasn’t been pronounced even once if I’m not mistaken… that is some good character introduction… He just appeared last episode, did some magical things, enough for us to understand that he is Rose’s personal stalker. Other than that… Nothing… cool.

I don’t really know how I feel about this episode, the whole second part of the episode felt a bit pointless to me, and to be completely honest, the first part too. To me, the show could have ended when Sorey and his cool gang encountered the Lord of Calamity. They also could have killed Alisha, giving Sorey more reasons to become tainted by malevolence. But nope, they chose the easy way and ended on a generic ” OUR ADVENTURES CONTINUE IN SEASON 2!”. They just saw a war, thought on a battlefield, just witnessed Sorey becoming bananas but no one is worried? I’m not saying they aren’t concerned by that and maybe they’ll show how the war affected them in the second season, but that was a clumsy way to end this season.

Final Impression :

Tales of Zestiria the X was along, with D.Gray-man my most anticipated show for the Summer 2016 seasons. I am by no means a Tales of fan since the only opus I know is Tales of Zestiria. So coming to this show, I was just hoping to witness a pleasing adaptation of a game that I quite liked.

Starting by the positives, the show is beautiful, in every aspect. The animation is stellar and the soundtrack is like honey to my ears. The little fight scenes we got were nicely choreographed and thrilling. The characters are attaching and I find their character design appealing. As for the story, I especially liked how the show focused more on Sorey and on his dilemma as a Shepherd during the last episodes.

vlcsnap-2016-09-26-22h13m15s133However, like mentioned earlier, I had some problems with the last couple of episodes, that went a bit crazy. It’s like Zestiria has no real plot and is just a succession of scenes, about different things happening in this fucked up world, giving almost the impression of an episodic type of show. Of course the thing about the bad guy not being brought up earlier is also present in the game but I do believe it is a flaw. Not every game can be well adapted on screen but hopefully Tales of Zestiria the X isn’t a bad anime. At least not as bad as Ace Attorney, oh boi, this one was horrible.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah! The true villain of the show is introduced in the last episode and we only heard his name once. Furthermore, Sorey’s goal to make humans and Seraph live together was abandoned during the most part of the show and only brought in the final episode to give Sorey some determination. Finally, the war drama was back again just before the end, and it wasn’t enough for me to get involved in the war and to clearly see and understand the points the anime was trying to made. And it’s the same thing for that “final battle” between the Lord of Calamity and Sorey. Because everyone basically forgot about the Lord of Calamatiy, nobody was expecting him to be on this field, thus, there was no tension, I wasn’t thrilled nor excited about this fight, nor was I waiting for it. So not only I was disappointed but I also did not give many fucks about it.

As for the characters, like I expected, I liked them all, but only because I already knew them from the game. The only characters that I felt had a real connection in the anime were Sorey and Mikleo, and maybe Sorey and Alisha. The rest of the cast was a bit bland and even their interactions did not make me believe those guys were “friends” or even getting along. Which is a shame, since in a team, chemistry between all the members is important. Even Rose and Alisha, did not seem close to me, or at least, I just couldn’t believe that they could be such good friends in such a short time, and after what happened between them.

vlcsnap-2016-09-26-22h12m51s675Also, I did not get much Mikleo during the last couple of episodes… I’m disappointed… I’m really disappointed, where’s my Meebo? Nah, I’m joking, however I’m quite angry Dezel did not get any proper introduction, he just appears and that’s it. It’s like the show assumes you already know who he is. Of course, not everyone knows who he is, since not everyone played the game. The fact the show is produced by Ufotable gives it enough hype and fame for non game players to be interested in it. Therefore, you have to explain things. And that’s another problem of Tozx. Little things were truly explained. Sorry to bring that up again but the Amartization thing? They’ve never explained what it was. It’s just Sorey merging with the Seraphs because… he can?

So overall Tales of Zestiria the X remained a bit generic and was flawed with his pacing, plot and sub plots getting out of hand. However, the animation, sound and characters did save the show for me. It was a pleasure to listening to those beautiful soundtracks and watch the show in 1080P. As for the characters, I just can’t help but to like them, especially Mikleo. So of course I came to this show knowing I would be biased but heh, as much as I’d like to be objectivity’s spokesman, we are influenced by our personal experiences and in my case, by the game. Since I already knew the cast and was attached to it, I had no problem getting in the story and loving the shepherd crew.

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TOZX is by no means a bad show.
To me it is just a bit clumsy and like it or not, a bit generic.
The idea to make Sorey becoming more and more tainted by Malevolence is a really good one, so I sincerely hope they will develop this in the second Season.

Macross Delta Episode 26 [Final Impression]

Final Impression

If I had to choose one word to describe this series, I would choose: Disappointment.

It was such a letdown. It was about half way through the series I realized that we were not going to get a neat and tidy ending. It is incredibly disappointing it wounded up this way because this series had a lot of potential. But with the poor choices made in regards of pacing, lack of character development and spending way too much time on the Love Triangle between Freyja x Hayate x Mirage, it ended up as a hot mess. macross-delta-ep-26-img-0019I think one of the most frustrating parts about this series is the lack of screen time and development for Walkure as a group as well as individually for their members early on in the series. It’s something I expected more of, especially since Freyja had just joined the group. Instead, they hardly showed us anything, leaving Mikumo’s mysteries until the final quarter of the series and we never got to see Freyja become truly involved with the group, which is a joke in itself really. You’d think the new member would be more involved don’t you think? But nope, instead we see her hanging out with Mirage and Hayate and that was pretty much the focus, the love triangle among the three of them. I think this is also one of the contributing factors of the Walkure girls lacking the much needed screen time and development they needed. Let’s look at Reina, what do we know about her?
Nothing. It’s the end of the series, but we know nothing about her beyond the fact she’s a hacker and been recruited into Walkure and because of that she was spared of arrest. And Makina, what else do we know about her besides the fact it was her dream to be an idol, and this wasn’t quite what she signed up for, but pursued it anyways. Kaname and Freyja are probably the only ones with some form of development, but even Freyja as the main character hardly got anything beyond the fact she needed to dig deep into her heart and figure out the true reason why she sings. Then we have Mikumo, who is the more complicated character of the group. It is an understatement for her mystery to be unraveled so late into the game, but did it really have to wait out foreshadowing it until after they passed the half way point of the series? I think this is one of the biggest mistakes which resulted the consequences of having a rushed ending. Furthermore, we still know nothing about the Chaos Organization, who is responsible for reviving Mikumo in the first place, and that frustrates me. I suppose the only positive outcome of this is that Mikumo’s character is a total badass and that’s what made people love her. It is a real shame we will never get to see Mikumo learn to forged her own path and identity, because once she is given the freedom to explore, she is not just a badass but a very charming and adorable girl.

And let’s not forget about Heinz. He is the one character that did not get any character development whatsoever. The worst part about this is the fact he was one of few characters who desperately needed it. It infuriated me to see him receive crucial advice from Keith, (at right time too) but never acted on it. Instead Heinz wounded up as merely a puppet for Roid to use to pursue his lifelong goals. It was only within the final episode Heinz realized Roid had betrayed them and was trying to pursue his own goals and only then Heinz ordered the Aerial Knights to form a temporary alliance with Walkure/Delta Platoon to take out Roid.

macross-delta-ep-26-img-0027Among all the characters, Hayate and Mirage were probably the only ones who had any form of decent character development. Hayate had to learn to obey orders and stop being such an immature brat as a pilot of the Delta Platoon, and slowly but surely adapted to his role appropriately after undergoing some very cruel moments of reality-checks. As for Mirage- well, I was going to say Mirage had to overcome the expectations from her peers because of her family’s history as pilots, but now that I think of it, it was kind of slipped under the rug now wasn’t it? Her development seemed to have shifted its focus to bearing the burden of the one-sided crush. Needless to say though it is because of that is what makes Mirage probably one of the best characters of the series. Though she knew it was futile, she never acted immaturely about it, she always treated Freyja as a fair rival, and ultimately stepped up to the plate to give her the nudge she needed to confess her feelings. Mirage is hands down the most selfless character of the series, and that alone makes her a lovable character.

Finally, we have Roid and Keith. It goes without saying the tense relationship created an interesting dynamic. Their interactions and differences made it very clear how the rift was forming between them, and one was always went when would it be the breaking point. Keith and his keen eyes were sharp enough to catch onto Roid’s suspicious behavior, and began to question his intentions and trust. It is why he tried to encourage Heinz to start thinking for himself and not simply going along with the advice he has been given.

macross-delta-ep-26-img-0023Roid on the other-hand was blinded by his ambitions. His ultimate goal was to create the Star Singer, which he had at one point thought King Heinz would be the one who play that role, that is until he discovered the truth behind Mikumo’s identity. Once that was out, he was long gone and immediately pledged loyalty to the true Star Singer. Roid’s development as the villain was probably the most consistent part of the story. They foreshadowed it very early on, making it so the audience can begin to draw suspicions towards him, but it is a shame how his ultimate plan didn’t last for long since it only went online within the very final episode.But the end of their days was a crappy one to say the least. Keith jumps off and stabs Roid so fast I intially didn’t know what had happened, and then the next thing we know, the entire place is blown up and the two of them die, just like that.What the fuck?

Keith really did not deserve to be killed off in such fashion, so that ticked me off.

I could go on about the crappy treatment many other characters had received, as well as how poorly paced the storyline was (the ending was so rushed, it made everything corny and stupid), but I think you get my point.

It is sad to say Macross Delta had a sloppy finale, I couldn’t find it in me to enjoy it even a little. They didn’t kill everyone off, but they might had well because what a lackluster ending this was. Many of the events that took place today were the events I was hoping to see sooner, at least three episodes before the finale because I knew it was going to wound up as a train-wreck. A part of me had hoped there was maybe going to be second season, that’s how bad the pacing was. But alas nope, it appears that may have never been an option.

Macross Delta could have been an amazing series. They had a lot of Easter Eggs and references for veteran fans who had watched the previous successors of the Macross series, the music (though many were worried in the beginning) / original soundtrack was awesome, and the characters had so much potential, but at the end of the day, it all of that went down the drain. As result I don’t think I have it in me to recommend this series to anyone. If you are not terribly invested in it, maybe you will be fine watching it, but don’t expect anything amazing besides the music (it is literally the only redeeming quality of this series). The lackluster ending and final quarter may make you feel like you had wasted your time. So tread with caution, because this is not something everyone will necessarily enjoy.

Final Grade: 6/10

Rewrite Episode 13: The Promise I Made With You [Final Impression]

Holy fuck.

Impression

I’m actually stunned. Of course, I was fully aware from the very first episode that salvation would most likely happen, and that humanity would (for all intents and purposes) be completely exterminated. Hoping for anything different would be far too optimistic. But I don’t think that made it any less shocking to see it actually happen in animated form. As profound a story as visual novels can tell, they often lack the sheer visual impact that motion pictures have. In particular, I actually found it really haunting to see Kotarou turning into a tree this time. From the moment he overwrote himself to match up to Esaka and his wound turned into bark, I had a feeling it was inevitable, but it was pretty gruesome watching it actually happen. In the game, we mostly got descriptions and not his anguished cries as he turned into what was essentially a familiar.

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In fact, it’s a bit strange that this ending was as despair-filled as it was. A lot of it was subtlety, but it was made clear that many of the characters died before the final stage to salvation even happened. Imamiya died before the episode even started. Esaka and Nishikujou were clearly corpses when they turned into light – Nishikujou had a sword stuck through her. All the Bayern Knights most likely died fighting against Sakuya. From the fact that Chihaya mentioned Sakuya being really heavy, Sakuya was no longer granting her super strength and so he too was already dead by the time Chihaya was carrying him through the ruins. And why did Lucia and Shizuru have their minds broken before they disappeared? What the fuck, this is too depressing! I know each character route ending (arguably apart from Chihaya’s) is supposed to be a bad end, but did they really need to make it so tragic?

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rewrite-13-img078Who else was surprised by Kotarou’s decision? Any Gaian would argue that he chose the planet’s future over humanity’s present, but really it looked like he chose to be with Kagari and sacrifice all of humanity in the process. Salvation was still avoidable at that point, and it was the whole reason as to why Esaka fought him – the natural disasters may have already happened, but it’s not like everyone was dead yet. I was initially rather shocked, but in the end I guess it’s a Kagari route and it wouldn’t be strange if he did really fall in love with Kagari as various events occurred. It might have all been skipped in the adaptation due to time constraints, so maybe Rewrite+ goes into more depth on this. I was really sad though! Seeing Kotori cry is the worst thing ever, I love her so much. I mean, I love Akane the most, but… I want to protect Kotori’s smile the most? Is that allowed? I’m not sure how to explain it, I’m still reeling from the episode. For all the shitty quality throughout the season, I have to say 8-bit did pretty well with the finale. The Rewrite anime has never felt more Key-like than it has here.

rewrite-13-img063I want to mention a bit on salvation, as an important thing I paid attention to during all of the character routes was to see exactly what happened during salvation and how it was triggered. It was really interesting that they subtly told us that Akane shot both Kashima Sakura and Nagai to death, but was then fully brainwashed and became the next holy woman. I presume that’s why the song of destruction stopped before continuing again. If that’s the case, Akane should have killed both Shimako and herself, but she’s probably too kind to kill a cute loli in cold blood. I would have started questioning my devotion to her if that’s what she chose to do. I seem to recall that in some routes, salvation consisted of the disappearance of humanity, but in others that disappearance wasn’t magical and instead occurred due to natural disasters killing everyone. What we got in this Kagari route was both, which is slightly strange. I wonder whether it’s because those disasters weren’t enough, and the second time salvation started up Kagari decided to go with another method? It’s also really cool seeing salvation happen all over the world, instead of just in Kazamatsuri. The entire thing felt really biblical actually, although I’ve never really thought about it in that way before.

rewrite-13-img048Most of all, this final episode was a massive hype train for Moon and Terra. The last few seconds of the episode featured Moon Kagari and her blueprint, in an anime rendition of what is probably Moon’s most famous CG, whilst the entire episode was filled with references to Terra. Bond made a final appearance in a Kotori flashback as she narrated how she saved Kotarou’s life, and Chibimoth turning back into Pero was pretty heartbreaking. Yoshino fighting the familiars was similar to what he did during Moon, and you could tell that, just like what was going through the minds of everyone who’s played the game, Esaka was thinking about his Guardian training with Kotarou all those years ago, that the current Kotarou in his ‘half-baked condition’ has forgotten all about, although his ‘body seems to have remembered’. In the state he’s in now, he’s forgotten his youth. At 27 years old, he has no idea what youth is, and he wants to set out on a journey to discover what it is. His true youth happens during the events of Terra, and that’s what we’re getting next.

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Overall Thoughts

Rewrite is actually such a fantastic story. It’s been my favourite VN ever since I finished it exactly two years ago now, and although it has many flaws, this adaptation has made me remember many of the reasons why that is. I’ve talked about those flaws countless times since the anime began, so there’s no point in me beating a dead horse any further – I’m still unsure as to whether it should have existed at all, but it has served its purpose as fanservice really well. From the point of view of a visual novel reader, it’s extremely interesting to explore another one of the dead end routes that Moon Kagari has spent so long studying within her blueprint.

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Remember this post? In the end, the anime chose to opt out of dealing with the potentially very messy consequences of adapting multiple routes and chose to go with an original one to be properly fleshed out as an individual Rewrite+ route. Come to think of it, I’m not actually sure whether the route was first envisaged through the anime and was later expanded in Rewrite+, or whether it was vice versa. As you probably know, Moon and Terra are next, and thus they’ve decided to adopt the latter part of how I originally thought an ideal adaptation of Rewrite would play out. I predicted that the common route, all the character routes and Moon and Terra could be accomplished within three cours, whereas 8-bit have decided to go with a Kagari route as the first season, followed by another cour consisting of Moon and Terra. And I’m sure Moon and Terra can be finished in a single season, Moon isn’t very long at all. In retrospect, three cours for everything might have been a little ambitious actually.

key-4I’m looking forward to it. It’s slated for Winter 2017 (i.e. Rewrite has ended up being a split-cour adaptation) and so it won’t be too long a wait. 8-bit will be around to make things worse as usual, but the times during which I felt the most excitement about their work on this was during the opening scene of the hour-long first episode, featuring the start to Moon, and the anime rendition of Philosophyz during which Bond faces off with Kagari. It’s fucking Kazamatsuri Bond, fighting Middle Eastern terrorists and shooting little girls’ parents in the heads in front of them, how much can they mess up? And I just realised, we’ll get to see young Nishikujou. With short hair. I love short hair. Not to mention loli Akane and Kotori. That being said, I’m more excited about Moon as a whole. It was extremely surreal when I first played through it, but in retrospect I really enjoyed it. It’ll be interesting to see what the Kotarou formed by the culmination of all Kotarous is like on screen, and as I’ve said before I believe that there’s more intimacy between Kotarou and Moon Kagari during Moon than there ever was between him and Earth Kagari in Terra. The rooftop dancing scene, that time when he ascends to a higher plane of existence and has to be brought down by Kagari, even the three cups of coffee scene – it’ll all be really good. Hopefully.

Finally, if you’ve reading this post about Rewrite for the first time, or if you’re an anime-only who even vaguely liked the story that you’ve seen thus far, please play the visual novel. It’s extremely long (>50 hours) but it’s well worth your time. That I can promise you. It’s at least as good a work as the rest of what Key and Visual Arts have produced, trust me when I say that their prestige and name brand means something in the industry they compete in. Just like with Little Busters, don’t let the relative lack of money thrown at its anime project dictate the quality you perceive either the original work or the story to have.

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Rewrite Episode 12: Song of Destruction

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Love Live! Sunshine!! Episode 13: Sunshine! (Final Impression)

“Is your heart shining?!”

Here we are at the end of this season. I take back what I said about “poor writing” in my last review if they performed in this episode, because this is only the quarterfinals, right? I screwed up. They haven’t reached the very end of Love Live, so that makes plenty of room for a season two.

I think we were teased. With all the talk of turning the zero into a one gave us the impression that they would make Aquors perform STEP! Zero to One, so it would get it’s proper PV. Well, Mirai Ticket was nice too, I guess.

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-13-1080p-mkv0014The girls are practicing really hard for their performance. They’ve been practicing every single day of their summer vacation, and they keep checking whether or not they’ve gotten applicants, but it’s still a big fat 0. But that won’t make them falter. As they eat their ice cream in the library, Chika’s friends come in to drop off some books and are surprised to see Aquors there. They learn that the girls have been practicing every day, and we see them later when they approach Aquors at the pool. Mu-chan, the only one whose name we know, tells Chika and the others that they’re curious and want to maybe become school idols. They were moved by Aquors, because they love how they are so determined to save the school. But they want to save the school too, and they want to help. Chika is more than happy to hear that and she immediately agrees to let them join in, as singers. I would have expected to see more resistance from the other members at this moment since it all happened so fast, and to take on more members right when they’re about to perform in the Love Live tournament seems crazy.

Luckily Riko thought so, but she didn’t say anything until the day they were supposed to perform. Love Live’s rule is that the only ones that can perform are the ones that applied. All the students performing on the stage with them? Did they really think that would happen? Pfft, as if! I don’t know why they bothered to do that because I felt like it just wasted time. But another big scene in the episode I felt was a waste.

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-13-1080p-mkv0052As the girls get ready, we see nice moments between the girls in their years. Yoshiko gets emotional and hugs Ruby and Hanamaru, the third years hug each other, and the second years are psyched. And then…I don’t know how long this part lasted, but I was getting impatient. Apparently these girls are actresses, as they retold their story to the audience, which was everything we saw from the beginning of the anime until now. Forming Aquors, meeting Riko, gathering the other members, the zero votes they got. Zero…zero…zero…zero…Basically, it was a recap of all the episodes we saw. Personally, I found this part to be unnecessary and a complete waste of time that could have been used for something else. I understand that they were telling the audience their story, and about wanting to save the school, and to show their growth, but we saw their complete growth last episode when they all decided that they wouldn’t copy Muse anymore, and that they would start their own journey. This speaking part just went on and on. I did find it funny how Yoshiko introduced herself to everyone by putting herself in the audience, and then a couple seconds later we see her on the stage with the rest of the girls. I…don’t know how she did that, maybe she does have teleportation powers, but it was funny.

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-13-1080p-mkv0058Aquors performed MIRAI TICKET. Not my favorite of the insert songs we got, but it was still very energetic and pretty. Production value was amazing, the crazy camera angles, the colors, the dancing and animation for the dance was on point. I’m so glad the CG models look so much better. Also, those were probably the best outfits they’ve worn so far. It was a very nice scene, as the girls from the school came down with their glowsticks and jumped around and cheered for them. We got a Mama Live again, as we saw Riko’s mama, Yoshiko’s mama (with the same side bun), Dia and Ruby’s mama, and Hanamaru’s mama. Also earlier we met Chika’s tiny mommy! I thought the person with the long dark hair was her mother, but it was her sister!!!! I was pretty much like Riko, I was so shocked! They literally have the same smile, and face, and ugly bangs.

At the end, we saw that things were finally turning around for Aquors. As they gather at the beach for a photo, the number of new applicants for Uranohoshi High School has finally turned from a 0 to a 1. They’re ready to keep on shining and fighting to keep their precious school open!


Final Impression

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-13-1080p-mkv0018From the beginning I was keeping an open mind for Aquors. I was a huge Muse fan, and I still am. I love them to death and I’m still so attached to them. That’s why I was very hesitant of Aquors at the beginning. I admit that I was ignoring all of their news for awhile, but then I thought “Hey, that’s not fair. I should at least give them a chance.” When their anime announcement came, I took more interest in them. I listened to their singles, read their general character introductions, and just payed more attention to them. And it made me wonder if I would ever love them as much as Muse. Would they continue what Muse started? Would they make their name known? Would one of these girls surpass the Nico Nii? Even now, with this season done, I still don’t know. Do I love them as much as Muse? To be completely honest, I don’t. But I still like them. Was the anime itself better than the original series? Well, I can only compare the first season of the original, since Aquors was only given one season so far. Looking at them together, I think they’re pretty equal. The original did things better than Sunshine, but there are also things Sunshine did better than the original in its first season.

The drama, I thought, was handled much better. I’ve actually been rewatching the original, in its dub form, which I think is great. I felt that the drama and conflicts in Sunshine were handled a little better. Sure, sometimes I had problems with their resolutions, such as with the You conflict. The actual conflict would be handled well, but I felt that the resolution would rush by so quickly, only because they didn’t have enough time left in the episode. Oh, and sometimes they could be really cheesy. But even so, I found them more enjoyable. The trouble with the third years was relatable and iconic, and that episode was probably its best. Also, there were things Sunshine did that the original didn’t, such as episode 8. Muse never faced any kind of failure, but the fact that Aquors did was realistic and a wake up call to them. The anger and raw emotion we saw out of Chika and the other girls was welcomed. Not being honest, feeling left out, frustration at your failure, etc., the anime team dealt with those issues well. The second season of the original handled their drama better, but I’m only comparing the first season, and that’s where they suffered a bit.

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-12-1080p-mkv0003Although when it comes to characters, I think the original did better. With the original, I found myself really attached to the girls of Muse, though my opinions started changing in the second season. But by the end of the first season, I had a strong attachment to almost all of them. As for the girls of Aquors, I don’t know how to feel. I don’t hate any of them, but I feel mostly indifferent to most of them. I like them, but I don’t love them either. I felt like not all of them were able to really show much of themselves. For example, Hanamaru had a great episode to herself, and I loved her. But after her episode, she was mostly in the back, always eating something, and always saying “Zura!” She never did anything major after that, as well as some other girls. I also felt as though the girls weren’t exactly close. I didn’t feel like they were as united as Muse was. Riko mainly only talked with Chika, Ruby was mainly with either Hanamaru and Dia, You mainly spoke to Chika, Kanan seems to be close with Chika and You but we didn’t seem them talk to each other much, the third years are basically their own clique, and Yoshiko…was shafted a lot, and was mainly there to say her usual fallen angel lines and nothing more. Which disappointed me because she used to be my favorite. Sometimes we did get other dynamics like Mari listening to You, and Riko talking to You on the phone, but I would have liked to have seen more of that, and just the characters doing more than just their quirks!

Animation, I shouldn’t even talk about this much. We know Sunshine has a higher production value. The CG models actually look great and not…with a creepy doll face. The colors were bright and lively. I loved the scenic shots of the water and the mountains of their little town. It’s just leagues above, and I’m glad.

I would say, between the two series, the music is equal. My absolute favorite of the insert songs we got was Mijuku DREAMER. The performance was pretty, the song is pretty, and I’ve been playing it on repeat for a couple days now. The song with the long name they performed in episode 11 was my second favorite. Also, I just love the ED theme, and I always love when the characters sing it in their respective episode.

horriblesubs-love-live-sunshine-11-1080p-mkv0028As for plot, I’m not sure. I have to admit that I was very frustrated when the school closing down plot was being used again. For the longest time, Aquors had a major identity crisis. I know this led up to their growth, but it was still a little annoying to watch. All the Muse references was getting old very quickly too. Maybe this is another reason why I didn’t find myself attached to the characters too much. However, I don’t think they’re carbon copies of Muse. Far from it! They share some similarities with the members of Muse, and the show was clever enough to point that out, but they are their own characters. But because Aquors took a long time to see who they truly were, the plot suffered a bit.

My attitude changed a lot through the course of this season. I was happy, frustrated, then happy, then frustrated, to content. Even though there were hiccups, I still enjoyed Sunshine. And don’t think this is all over, they’re not done with Love Live yet! Also…this is Love Live, this is popular shit. Of course there just has to be another season. Let’s hope that things will improve then. To the people that still haven’t seen Sunshine because they don’t want to let go of Muse, I still think you should give Aquors a chance. But if you don’t like them, then that’s okay. In the end, I give Love Live! Sunshine!! a 7/10. Has some problems, but it’s still a good watch.

Now, before I finish this review, I think it’s a given to rank my list of the girls. Of course, people are going to disagree with me. I’ll list them, and give a quick reason why, because this review has been going on long enough.

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  1. BEST GIRL: Mari! Funny, as how I was indifferent towards her for awhile. She’s just so funny and silly and she makes me smile and laugh. But she’s not always silly because she can be serious and she shows just how much she loves and cares for her friends. And I love how she was there to listen to and comfort You. She’s just so wacky, and sweet, and weird, and nice, and I love her! Unfortunately, from polls I’ve seen, she’s the least popular among the Japanese fans. But I still love her. Shiny!
  2. Riko – I loved her from the start. Very pretty, she also makes me laugh, but she’s very level-headed, which I like.
  3. Kanan – Very pretty, very cool, even though she didn’t have much screentime she really stood out to me. ship her with Mari. <3
  4. Hanamaru/Ruby – I’m not sure how to rank them because I like them equally. Ruby is adorable and I like how she stood up for herself. Hanamaru’s episode was fantastic, but hasn’t done much after. I can’t put either of them above the other.
  5. Yoshiko – Was my best girl before the anime aired, but went down the list. Her episode was fine, but after that she never did much. Still makes me laugh sometimes, but the little demon/fallen angel thing got a little old fast. A little indifferent.
  6. Dia – A little indifferent as well. Her personality change was a little jarring, but I kind of like her dorky side. A little low on the list because I hated her for a good chunk of the show.
  7. Chika – Indifferent. Annoyed me a lot. Yells too damn much. But I liked her growth.
  8. You – Indifferent. Cute, but boring. Her episode did nothing for me. Just goes “Yousoro!” Unpopular opinion, I know.

When the second season hits, my list will definitely change. But for now this is what I got. I can’t wait to see more. Until then, zura!

Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV – Episode 5 [The Warmth of Light] [Final Impression]

The last episode of Brotherhood picks up where the first episode left off, with Noct launching himself into battle against the same snake daemon which had killed his security team many years earlier. Ignis and the others yell for Noctis to stand down, but he refuses. In the meantime while Noctis fights the daemon, Gladio, Ignis and Prompto have their hands full with mechanical soldiers.

Until the daemon wipes out the mechanical soldiers, that is. Ignis again yells for Noctis to back off, and once more the prince refuses.

We get a flashback to the events of the first episode, when the snake daemon first attacked Noctis’ group. The snake kills all of the security members in the cars, and then Noctis’ wet nurse as she tried to flee with the prince. The snake daemon is about to kill Noctis when Noctis’ father shows up and squares off against the vlcsnap-00017creature.

Eventually Noctis’ father is able to slash the daemon across its face, and then push it backwards off a cliff. The king comes over to check on Noctis’ condition, but Noctis passes out.

Back in the present Noctis continues to attack the snake daemon, but he’s not able to get the upper hand. Then a particularly strong strike from the daemon sends Noctis flying into the ocean, and it seems like all is lost.

As he slowly sinks, Noctis remembers his father yelling his name in a panic, and it seems to wake him up. He concentrates and we can see some familiar white particles forming…

Up on the cliff, Ignis and the others are not able to damage the snake daemon at all. Then Noctis flies up from the sea to strike a blow to the daemon’s chest. He reveals that he now has the same ability his father has, to generate weapons of white light. Along with this new ability Noctis’ strength, stamina and speed seem to be vastly improved.

Noctis is now able to go all out against the snake daemon, and it doesn’t take long for him to slash off several of the enemy’s arms. Ignis and the others rally around him and together they finish dismembering the snake daemon’s other limbs, with Noctis ending the fight by decapitating the creature’s head with a large sword.

After the battle everyone is relieved that the daemon is dead, but they stand back to give Noctis some space. Noctis flashes back to when he woke up after the snake daemon’s attack, and his father was holding his hand. “I won’t let anyone hurt you,” his father had said. Noctis falls to the ground in tears; the idea that his father may be dead is almost too much for him to wrap his head around.

Later on Noct and the others continue in the Regalia to Altissia. The four of them discuss the upcoming battle, and they do their best to remain optimistic about the upcoming war. Noctis teases Prompto about seeing Lunafreya, and Prompto takes the bait and gets all worked up. As Ignis and Gladio try to settle Prompto down, Noctis closes his eyes and takes another nap.

My thoughts: I think that this anime short serves as a good introduction to the upcoming Final Fantasy XV video game. Viewers have a good grasp of the events leading up to the game, as well as the main cast of characters they will be playing as and interacting with if they choose to play the game.

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Final Impression

Story: It’s hard to have much of a story with only five episodes, but as previously mentioned the anime sets up the events leading to the beginning of Final Fantasy XV. Most of the series is covered in flashbacks, but that’s alright with me.

Characters: I really liked the format of having the middle three episodes be an introduction to each of Noctis’ friends and guardians. Prompto’s the lighthearted comedic relief, Gladiolus is the muscle and Noctis’ trainer, and Ignis is Noctis’ protector and mentor. Each character serves a different role in relation to Noctis, which is why they make such a good team.

However I still think Prompto’s gun is pretty useless in comparison to the others’ swords. Maybe there will come a point in the game where Prompto will save the day with his gun?

Music & Animation: The animation is pretty solid and the music, particularly the songs played during the end credits, is fantastic. I will definitely be finding a way to get my hands on the game’s soundtrack once it’s released.

Overall thoughts: Fantastic short! I only wish there was more. No complaints about this short at all. Bring on November!

Final Score: 10/10