We won’t know until we try.
Those are words to live by. They may be a little reckless and impractical in real life, but the sentiment is a valuable one. And when applied to this episode, I don’t think it was purely a case of Hikari demonstrating her spirit, but also a way of proving to Takami that she has indeed grown a whole lot stronger since they both left Fusou and that she’s a capable Witch in her own right now. As I watched Hikari, I teared up thinking back to all the training and growth she’s been through – she started off as someone who had trouble crossing the sea using her magic power and couldn’t operate a Striker Unit or dodge projectiles to save her life, and now she’s running across the sea on magic circles, blowing up the mini-Grigori Neuroi snakes and making a valued contribution to the 502nd in a way that only she can.
I have to say though, things was looking really bad at first. Takami did end up failing, as would have been necessary in any case to get Hikari up in the air via the Chidori, but I didn’t expect it to not be her fault, especially since the 502nd pitched in to support her whilst she was vulnerable. I have no idea how these Neuroi nests generate the ‘protective’ clouds they do in such an efficient way (and I was kind of impressed by how proactive it was in systematically destroying the rest of the ground weaponry with its lightning just in case) but I guess the failure of the tank and AP round ties in with the underlying rhetoric of the franchise that it’s primarily up to the cute girls, and not conventional military methods, to save the day. Although to the army’s credit, there was nothing fundamentally wrong or unethical with the initial plan this time round, and there’s only so many spares you can produce given the amount of magic power that goes into each of those rounds.
Tsurugi Issen was great. It’s perfect as a finishing move, and honestly I would have been perfectly fine if it was Kanno who ended up delivering the final blow on Grigori. I’d actually entirely forgotten about the pistol Krupinski loaded with a single bullet and gave to Hikari, which was probably for the best in hindsight as I’d have spent the entire scene waiting for it to appear if I’d been anticipating it. This is the first time Hikari has saved the day to this extent, and her long path to becoming a capable Witch made her moment of triumph all the greater.
I can’t believe it’s over. I feel very similar to how I did when the two seasons and movie of Strike Witches ended – a sense of lingering emptiness and a slight regret that I didn’t appreciate it as much as I could have whilst it was still airing. The latter rings especially true for Brave Witches, as I remember going into it with a bit of apprehension (and an enduring attachment to the 501st) and having it slowly but surely finding a place in my heart as the season progressed, much like Hikari did for the rest of the 502nd. I was also worried about the implications of Silver Link taking over from Gonzo, but in hindsight they were a fairly solid choice. Although they’ve inflicted a lot of pain on me and have had some magnificent screw-ups in the past, their track record is pretty good as far as cute girls as concerned, so in hindsight I shouldn’t have been so sceptical.
I can see the criticisms, though. I know there are many fans of the wider World Witches franchise beyond Strike Witches who would already have been familiar with the Break Witches before any sort of anime adaptation was announced, and I think the reaction to having a brand-new, original Fusou Witch as the protagonist (as opposed to someone like Sadako, who had some pre-anime support as a contender for protagonist) was mixed, especially with the initial (but incorrect, as I’ve learned) similarities to Yoshika. The argument continues by saying that her relation to Takami, who originally belonged to another JFW, by definition reduced the screen time and focus that could have been placed on the core members of the 502nd. A glaring example is the lack of a Rall episode, as well as the relative lack of attention paid to Sadako, Georgette and Krupinski (at least until the latter part of the season). That’s not to say they don’t have very important roles like healing for Georgette and Sadako being the only one able to make decent meals, but both of them got a total of one episode’s worth of focus, and it kind of biased towards Sadako. In contrast, there was lots of recurrence for Kanno and Nipa – which makes sense story-wise as they’re Hikari’s closest friends in the 502nd, but all this is still something Silver Link has a lot of control over. The World Witches franchise here provides the framework, but beyond that it’s basically up to them as to how things are done. Similarly, from an objective point of view the almost unconscionable amounts of Eilanya was kind of scandalous given that this is an anime about the 502nd in the end.
Of course, I don’t mind at all because Eila and Sanya were my favourite of the 501st, Kanno is great, and Nipa is my cute wife. In other words, Silver Link pandered in the correct direction this time. That sledding scene as Kanno and Nipa watched the sunrise with Hikari was probably one of the comfiest moments in the entire season. If you haven’t heard, there’s even going to be an extra Episode 13 released with the BD and aired in Japanese theatres that focuses on… you guessed it, Eilanya and their time with the 502nd over Christmas. Someone at Silver Link has really, really good taste.
Anyway, I’m definitely hoping for a second season. I haven’t been following sales lately (although I plan to for Winter 2017 in order to watch Konosuba’s unstoppable financial momentum first-hand) but it shouldn’t be impossible, especially as this episode ended with the 502nd heading to a new conflict instead of being disbanded. And Brave Witches is only ever going to be able to capitalise on its potential with a sequel given that, like with Strike Witches, so much of this season was spent setting up its characters and developing Hikari. So watch this space! And I’ll love Silver Link forever if they go to Suomus next.
Teika’s big idea is to have everyone talk to Kohana overnight, in the hope that their voices will reach her subconscious. One by one, they enter her hospital room alone and say something true to their character. Rintaro, for example, talks about how much he loves her smile and even makes a confession of his feelings for her! Kanato thanks her for looking after him, something which apparently no one has ever done for him, and he also encourages her to smile. Louis says he doesn’t want to dance if Kohana can’t dance with him, and thanks her for helping him to realize his feelings for dancing, namely that he loves it with all his heart and wants to continue practicing it. Monet, the whiny little brat, berates Kohana for leaving him to deal with life on his own and tries to bribe her to wake up by telling her he’ll (gasp!) eat raw carrots for her. Aoi keeps his words short but simple, thanking her for helping him to return to the world of light.
Naturally Teika is last, and he thanks Kohana for “saving him” and bringing light to his world. No one had ever told him they loved his singing, just that he was really good at it, and Kohana’s proclamation of “I love your singing!” has stuck with him. Teika asks her how they should help her wake up, and out of desperation he starts to sing, which provokes a very small reaction in Kohana.
This gives Teika an idea: they will hold an art session for Kohana right in her hospital room. Everyone performs their magical art, and their sparkles blend together beautifully. Inside Kohana’s subconscious the guys manifest with swords, and they start to slash away the thorny vines holding her mind captive. Their singing causes light to break through the clouds in Kohana’s mind, and she can see their sparkles raining down on her. As they sing to her about how important she is as a person, and that she must be true to herself, Kohana has the realization that even if she can’t arrange flowers like her mom or even use her magical arts at all, she’s still herself.
With that epiphany, Kohana’s subconscious is instantly transformed into a land of flowers with butterflies everywhere. Two hands shove her forward and Kohana sprouts a large pair of glittery wings of her own. The hands are revealed to belong to Kohana’s mother Sakura, and the two share a few brief moments together before Kohana flies up above the Earth where the guys are waiting for her.
Back at school in the real world, the Scala Artista are reborn not from glass but from what look like sakura (cherry blossom) trees. Petals rain down yet again over the school’s campus, and everyone watching knows that things are alright again.
Now that Kohana is “cured”, the event committee goes ahead with their Halloween party as planned and it’s a huge success. Everyone on the committee has dressed up, and their costumes are pretty neat. Everyone on the event committee is helping out, and Kohana helps comfort a lost child at one point with a small bouquet of flowers. We see that her sparkles have transformed from snowflakes into butterflies and she’s able to use her magical art without punishment again.
As the festival passes by quickly, each of the guys talks about how important it is to enjoy the present moment with each other because soon some of them will be graduating, and next year the committee will have some different members. After the parade the committee gathers to put on their play about “Sleeping Beauty”, and it’s a big hit of course. Teika even kisses Kohana (as part of the play, haha)!
Later in the evening after the festivities are over, the committee regroups back at their headquarters where the discussion turns to talk of hosting a Christmas party! Wow they sure don’t waste any time eh??
Story: I was pretty impressed with the pacing, as the story progressed much more quickly than I thought it would and extra events were included in the final few episodes that I didn’t think would make the cut. Each bishounen typically got their own episode, but together they only took up half the season and the rest of the episodes were devoted to putting on the Hoshi Festival and then Kohana’s personal struggles. The twist with Kohana’s illness at the end was appreciated, even if it never posed a serious threat and was resolved in the span of an episode.
In a nutshell, Magic-kyun! Renaissance promises to be a light-hearted reverse harem, and that’s what it delivers so I really can’t complain too much.
Characters: I think the cast is my favourite thing about this title. It follows the standard formula of each bishounen being a different personality, and they’re all so wildly different from each other that they’re each entertaining in their own way. I feel like certain characters had deeper backstories than others, but everyone’s past was covered. Juri was also a fantastic character and had her own strengths, though we didn’t get to see any of her backstory.
That being said, because this is a reverse harem there usually isn’t too much character growth outside of the main two or three characters. Kohana doesn’t change much outside of the final episode, but Teika experienced a lot of personal growth and Monet comes to mind as well.
I do appreciate that the Kohana x Teika pairing never really took root, although I feel like there was definitely some set-up for that couple. I guess Hundred spoiled me and now I keep expecting the main character to actually pick a romantic partner, even though I’ve been told it usually doesn’t happen. *shrug* Either way, Teika gets to give Kohana a quick kiss but we don’t see her reaction. If there’s a season 2, maybe their relationship will progress some more?
Music & Animation: FANTASTIC! Musical animes are starting to grow on me I think; after Dance With Devils, Magic-kyun! Renaissance is the second musical anime I have covered. I enjoyed all of the songs, and I thought it was neat that the seiyuus for all the guys perform both the opening and ending themes together under the group name ArtiSTARs.
And the animation? THIS ladies and gentlemen, is how you blend together 2D and 3D animation. The “sparkles” are beautiful and don’t take away from the 2D animation at all. Magic-kyun! Renaissance is beautiful and I loved every minute of it.
Overall thoughts: I’ve been with AAB for one year now, and this show easily makes my top 3 list of favourite shows. While sometimes I found myself wishing for some “real” conflict or danger, the reality is that most reverse harems are not like that and so it’s somewhat unfair to expect something from a show that says it’s full of fun and romance. Which is exactly what we get, by the way. The characters are unique, there’s romance and hot guys, and oh did I mention that the music and animation are kick-ass?? I definitely recommend giving this show a watch, especially if you’re a fan of musical anime!
Final Score: 10/10
At last, the final episode. This one was rather adorable and made me appreciate Shiori and Sawako’s friendship even more.
Shiori is on the shinkansen (“bullet train”) traveling to see some relatives. She’s brought along a book she’s been wanting to read, but a call from Sawako derails her plans. Sawako tells Shiori that she watched the sci-fi movie directed by Christopher Nolan which Shiori had recommended, and that’s all Shiori needs as she starts to gush about the Dylan Thomas poem included in the movie. The movie’s title is not specifically mentioned, but if you google Christopher Nolan’s name along with the poem’s author, it appears that the movie the girls are referring to might be Interstellar. Anyways, the poem is as follows:
Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
Shiori also makes connections between the movie and the book The Grapes of Wrath.
Sawako’s pretty easy to please; she says she only likes the poem because the “rage, rage” line reminded her of all the times that Shiori’s gotten mad at her.
Shiori is caught off-guard. Does she really get mad all that much? The call gets dropped, and Shiori heads back to her seat stunned. She tries to continue reading her novel, which is revealed to be the young adult dystopian novel Matched by the American author Ally Condie. Shiori considers recommending the book to Sawako because the Dylan Thomas poem is included in it, but while she’s deliberating whether she should, Shiori gets a text message from Sawako. It’s the cutest thing ever – smiling tangerines! Shiori’s pleasantly surprised and she can’t help but giggle out loud just a little.
Shiori decides to recommend Matched to Sawako after all, making sure to mention that the Dylan Thomas poem she likes is also in the book as well.
As the credits roll, we see all of the characters reading their respective books. Later on Sawako tells Shiori that she hasn’t read Matched yet, just that she feels like she has. Shiori, predictably, gets annoyed and tells Sawako to just read it already.
Story: Because this is a short, the series doesn’t have much of a plot. Each episode is rather standalone, though in the last few episodes there are references and flashbacks to events which happened earlier in the season. Rather it feels like this title operates on a series of “themes”, like Sawako not liking to actually read and Shiori getting mad at her for it.
Characters: This series has only four characters, which for me helped keep the storylines focused and to the point. That being said, Sawako’s voice got a little irritating sometimes when she and Shiori would bicker back and forth, and she could be difficult to listen to even in these short episodes.
It’s a little unfortunate that even with the small cast the Sumika-having-a-crush-on-Endou subplot didn’t get more attention. The two were definitely secondary characters next to Sawako and Shiori, which is understandable I guess because this is a short, but Sumika’s crush on Endou was cute and I was hoping it would get some kind of resolution.
I think my biggest bone to pick is that only Sawako and Shiori show any character growth, and even then they don’t change much. Sumika and Endou are definitely static characters, while Shiori and Sawako’s constant bickering got old sometimes.
That being said, the friendship which develops between Shiori and Sawako was perhaps my favourite thing about the series, aside from the tidbits about the books and authors featured within the show.
Music and Animation: The animation’s cute, no complaints from me. The music was alright, though again because this is a short there isn’t much of it. The ending theme is cute and catchy, so I can’t ask for much more than that. Nothing really stands out as being exceptional, but neither the music nor the animation are terrible or lacking in any way.
Overall Thoughts: This is a cute series about characters who really love to read. I loved the focus on the different books and authors each episode, and screencapped each one to save for later reference for myself. Most of the authors I was unfamiliar with, but it was always neat to see one I recognised, such as the novels 1Q84 or Matched. If you’re curious about learning more about Japanese literature, or even just literature in general, then this might be worth watching.
Final Score: 7.5/10
(Might be slight spoilers)
Pokemon celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. It made me come to the realization that I’ve known Pokemon my entire life. It’s crazy, really. It felt like yesterday that I was sitting in front of the TV watching the Pokemon anime as a kid. I never really played Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow until Fire Red came out, and I still didn’t exactly play that one much too, but I would sit next to my brother and watch him play it.
My first Pokemon game was Gold and I’ve noticed just how far the main series Pokemon games have come. Here we are now to the lovely and warm region of Alola as Gen 7.
Once I saw the concept art of Pokemon S/M, I had a strong feeling that it was going to be based around a tropical part of the world. Once it was revealed that the region was named Alola, of course everyone’s minds went straight to Hawaii and I was completely ecstatic. Seeing as how the past Pokemon games were finally being based on places outside of Japan, like New York and France, I was desperately hoping for a region based on a tropical place. A region based on Hawaii was perfect. Well, not completely perfect because we still don’t have a dolphin Pokemon. Dropped the ball there, Game Freak. :’)
Pokemon Sun/Moon starts off with you speaking to this region’s professor, Professor Kukui, through a web cam. You go through the usual intro like you always do, then you pick what gender and what character model you want. After you finish that, you’re treated to an intense cutscene and the game’s title appears, and you finally start the game.
In my personal opinion, Pokemon Sun/Moon is probably the most different Pokemon we’ve gotten (so far). We have the same formula, such as going on a journey to catch Pokemon, which Pokemon is known for. But the task of visiting each gym and collecting badges has instead changed into taking on Alola’s traditional island challenge. Pokemon Sun/Moon gave us the opportunity to really immerse ourselves into the world they created. The story keeps you on edge, filled with an array of colorful characters. And of course, their changes to some of the game mechanics also helps to make your journey through the Alola region a smooth one. There’s so much to talk about, so I’ll try my best to not make this review a jumbled mess.
The Alola Region
Like mentioned above, the Alola region is based off of Hawaii. Just like how people in Hawaii say “aloha”, people in Alola say “alola”. Just from the first moment you play the game you can feel the calm and relaxed atmosphere. The Alola region is filled with culture and its own traditions and, such as the island challenge. Alola follows its own ways and is much more old-fashioned than the other regions. While the region is a modern tourist destination, it also stays close to its roots with the Tapu and their shrines. It’s said multiple times that the Alolan people are the closest with Pokemon than any other region, and it shows through what you see in the game like seeing Pokemon running around or hanging around their owner. It feels natural.
The game does wonders with its worldbuilding.
I don’t know what they were thinking back in Game Freak, but this gen is notorious for having the most bizarre and gruesome Pokemon entries in the Pokedex we’ve ever had. Does it have to do with the fact that Rotom, a ghost Pokemon, is the Pokedex? I don’t know, but that could be a reason. We’ve gotten entries before of Pokemon eating other Pokemon, but they really made the details more specific. Some entries are just plain weird, or really funny, and they’re not like any we’ve had before. But it really gave us an idea what life is like in the wild for Pokemon and we come to understand it much better, like how documentaries teach us about the circle of life and whatnot. The Rotomdex isn’t different from a regular Pokedex other than the fact that an actual Pokemon is in the Pokedex talking to you. Sometimes Rotom will give you hints to your next destination, it’ll give its opinions of certain situations you go through, or it’ll say some snarky comments at you and they’re hilarious. I always found myself reading whatever Rotom had to say and found myself smiling or even laughing and for once I could actually say that I got attached to my Pokedex. The Pokedex this time also got some aesthetic changes, where when you catch a Pokemon you get a portrait of them and can immediately see if they evolve or not. When you have the whole evolution line, the back of the screen glows red showing your completion. To me, it made for a satisfying moment that I’m still trying my hardest to complete the Alolan Pokedex. Game Freak, keep the Rotomdex!
For this region, the team we face this time is Team Skull. They’re the baddest of the bad…at least, that’s what they think. In all honesty, they’re a simple street gang that’s out trying to steal Pokemon. They dress in all black with skulls adorned on their bodies, and when they speak with you, they make sure their presence is known by flapping their arms around like wannabe rappers. Unlike other the other villainous teams in the Pokemon games, Team Skull is a complete joke. Literally no one in the game is afraid of them, instead they’re just seen as a nuisance and ignored. Their dialogue is the funniest in the game and they rap and rhyme most of the time that you can’t help reading their lines out loud. They’re my favorite team in terms of enjoyment, amusement, their design, and their music! I like rap/hip-hop so I was basking in the Grunt theme, Plumeria’s theme, and Guzma’s.
Plumeria unfortunately was the least important character. You would battle her a few times but she didn’t make much of an impact unlike other team admins. But…Guzma. YA BOI Guzma, I really like him. He’s kind of a deep character when you find some things out about him later on postgame, but he was just a joy to encounter in the game. And to battle! He’s actually pretty tough and his Golisopod is a demon.
When it comes to the story, I won’t say too much because I would spoil it. Pokemon Sun/Moon’s story has to be the darkest, or at least one of the darkest stories Pokemon has made. There were twists and I admit some weren’t surprising considering some of the scenes and hints we got throughout the game, but there were times that I was legitimately creeped out and surprised. Another new thing this Pokemon game did was include many cutscenes. I’ve seen people complain about them because the scenes are long but I love them. They are a little tedious in the beginning because of all the tutorials, but later on the scenes are part of telling the story, and they also give us moments to learn about some characters. Up until now Black/White’s story was my favorite, but now I’m not sure anymore. They’re both tied to when it comes to story.
Also, there’s a lot to do in the post game!
Again, can’t say too much or else I’ll spoil. What I like about the new formula in this game is that there are a lot less characters. Before we would have the eight gym leaders, but after the battle with them, we never got to know just who they were except for what type they used and just their general personality. We never created a bond for gym leaders, but in Black/White they actually managed to do that for us once. The trials gave us time to interact with the trial captains and know just who they are, and in some cases we could even barge into their home life and battle them. This is the same with the kahunas as there are only four, and they all made some sort of impact to the overall story and post-game story. I can’t say anything about the villainous characters, but they were written really well.
But, I can say that I love Lillie. She’s…an absolute angel. I get so angry when I see people call Lillie a weak character and I couldn’t disagree more. I find her a very strong character and she had a fantastic growth that I just felt so proud of her! I love her! She’s became one of my favorite Pokemon characters next to N (do you see a pattern here?). But I also really love Hau and Gladion and I just want to take these three children and just hug them really tight. I also hate that people hate on Hau because there’s nothing to hate about this kid. He’s just a kid with an enthusiasm that’s contagious, who supports you and also battles you along the way, and he’s so kind that it’s hard to hate him. I know people don’t like him because he’s not a true “rival” (tho I disagree), but I just think that’s a silly reason. Hau also has some growth for himself and he’s just so likeable. In general, the story does extremely well with its characters.
I’m going to keep it short and say that Sun/Moon is the best-looking Pokemon game that we’ve ever gotten. It helps that Alola is beautiful itself, but the game’s scenic shots made it so nice. Unlike X/Y we have full character models and thankfully the walking grid is gone so we can actually move around any way we want. Facial expressions, body language, and different camera shots are used a lot in the cutscenes and they’re done so well that they add to the story. Unfortunately our trainer character is stuck with the default 🙂 face so some scenes look a little silly.
Now modes were added such as Poke Pelago. It’s a place where the Pokemon in our PC boxes visit islands, and each are different. At first I didn’t really care for it, but after I learned more about it and developed more islands, it actually became pretty useful and fun. Also, I’m happy knowing that the Pokes in my PC box aren’t bored and sad.
The Festival Plaza is a new feature where you can play little games with people around the world in order to get points and use them to purchase items in the shops you have there. When you increase the rank of your plaza, you can add different shops. You can interact with all kinds of people and request battles and trades with certain people if they allow it. This is also where you can also do the online services like trading and battling, which is what I mostly do. But the plaza is also where you can dye your clothes, which is another thing I do a lot.
We have Battle Royal, which I don’t think it’s too big a deal. I actually like playing Battle Royal more against people online than in the actual Arena. It’s a fun mode and it’s a nice change in the way of battling, but I found it didn’t change too much, and if you want you can just completely ignore it and nothing about the game will change.
Character customization continues again this generation. Again we can choose which character model of which skin color we want, though I’ll be picky and say from the start that I wish we had more choices. Of course this is just me. I don’t necessarily make my trainer look like myself, though I try, so I try to pick the model with my skin color. Though I was stuck between the second and third models because I’m neither of those, but a combo of those. But I picked the third model because playing the game with brown skin is awesome, and I’m sort of tanned. I just wish we had maybe one more lighter tan option.
As for the rest, again we can change our hairstyle. One gripe I have about the styles is that we have no idea how they look, and the only way we can find out is paying and then checking the result. And if we don’t like it? Gotta spend more money again. The hairstyles we have, at least for the females, I liked and I also liked the colors. Though again I wish we had more options with hair color. Just gives us all the colors! You unlock more colors and hairstyles after you beat the game, but giving us the option of knowing how they look before we buy the haircut and color would be nice.
A new feature added is contact lenses and lipstick for females. This was welcome and I had fun picking which eye color and lip color to use to make my trainer more cute. Of course, the way to see a lipstick/eye color is to go into the dressing room, pick one, then have your trainer walk out. If you don’t like it, then you have to repeat all this and it actually takes awhile. Like with the hairstyles, I would like it if you could just switch around with the eye and lip colors instead of having to pick and wait.
As for clothes, thankfully you don’t need to reach a certain level of “style” to purchase any. Matching with the region, most of the clothes choices are tank tops, shorts, and skirts. But the options are a little dull with the colors, with the same colors in every store. Having the same tank/shorts combo can get pretty boring after awhile, but you can try your best to pick a good outfit. Also, you don’t have to wear a hat. You can wear hair accessories too, which is a plus.
One HUGE change in this game are the fact that there are NO HMs. That’s right, none. Because we have Ride Pokemon. We can surf with a Lapras or Sharpedo, break rocks with Tauros, and fly anywhere we want with a Charizard. Usual HM moves from before are now TMs or moves that some Pokemon can learn naturally. I was surprised to see my Pikipek learn Rock Smash on its own. No longer will you have to pick a Pokemon to become your slave and have them learn dumb HM moves, only to put them away when you no longer need them. It’s a wonderful change and I hope they do this again because HMs suck. Also, it’s fun to see your 11 year old trainer ride on the back of a Tauros smashing rocks. A big positive!
And lastly, another feature added was the Poke Finder. Really, this was probably the most underwhelming add-in. You don’t really do anything with the Poke Finder other than just take pictures for fun. The pictures don’t really add to anything and they’re not important, and if you want, you don’t have to take pictures at all. Sure it’s another way to fall in love with Alola’s scenery, but the low frames while taking pictures and the only 3D in the game looking a little iffy, it’s okay to skip it if you want.
Speaking of low frames, if you have the older 3DS, there’s going to be a lot of lagging. When you play double battles, play against the Totem Pokemon, or worse when you play a Battle Royal, expect a low framerate and a lot of lagging. I have the New 3DS XL and I still have problems with the lag and framerates but not as much as people with the older models, so that’s a problem.
If you couldn’t tell, I love this game. I love it to death. My older brother stopped playing Pokemon games after Diamond because he got tired of the same gameplay the games had. I managed to persuade him about Sun/Moon but was surprised to know how into it he got from just the trailers. Visiting him on Christmas today, I found out he finished the game and that he loved it, and what he specifically loved was that this game took things from the old and added a new twist to it to make it original, and he was all for it. He had lots of fun with the game and I was glad. Game Freak did a wonderful job changing its style a little bit, but not too much. It was the perfect amount of change that made Pokemon veterans happy, while also still remaining open to newcomers and people that haven’t played the games in awhile. Seeing how happy I was with the game, and seeing how happy my brother was with it too made me realize that Game Freak did good.
If I haven’t made it obvious enough, I love Pokemon Sun/Moon and people really need to play it. It has a wonderful story and characters are full of heart. The game is engaging and fun and even though I’ve finished the game and (I think) did all the post game stuff, I’m still playing it and having fun. Just…play this game! Get it! It’s great! Alola!
“The young people in this town have hearts of gold.”
Isn’t it amazing that we’ve finally come to the end? This show took up nearly the whole year, but now my Jojo Fridays have come to an end once again and again I feel empty. As usual, Jojo endings are usually bittersweet. Even though the heroes succeed in the end, there’s always something that just can’t be fixed. In the previous parts it was major characters dying. In this case, all of our major characters live, but the victims of Kira Yoshikage are gone and their families continue to wonder where they are. As usual, lots of emotions were felt in this finale.
Kira’s hand fetish is so bad that Mona Lisa’s hands gave him a boner when he was a kid. And now I can’t look at the Mona Lisa the same way anymore. Kinky freak.
Firefighters, police officers, and an ambulance arrive to aid Kira. Kira is about to activate Bites the Dust on the woman paramedic, and while he’s getting nasty over her hand, Hayato quickly explains to the other how Bites the Dust works and tells them that they have to stop him. Jotaro is the one that needs to stop him but he’s too far away from Kira. But thankfully Koichi used Act 3 to make Kira’s body heavy, giving Jotaro the opportunity to stop time, be the badass that he is, and beat the shit out of Kira.
Kira actually thought he had activated Bites the Dust but met up with Reimi, who then made him remember how he died.
Now…Kira’s death is one that’s talked about. Unlike the other villains that have been launched into space, and ora’d so hard his body exploded, all of these done by the Jojos…Kira got ran over by an ambulance. His death was so easy and so anticlimactic that he got ran over, and that’s it. The first time I read that in the manga, I just went back and forth with the pages and was all “That’s it? Really?!”. And I wasn’t the only one with that reaction. To me, it didn’t feel fulfilling. However, his “real” death caused by my girl Reimi and Arnold in the alleyway sort of made up for it. I had enjoyed the final fight, but it wasn’t until Kira’s death that I was a bit disappointed. For such an intense fight to end that way…I mean really? I felt that way for a long time, but I then started to look at Kira’s death in another way. Yes, his death was easy and really stupid. It was also very embarrassing. But Kira was a man that wanted to live a quiet and peaceful life out of the public eye. He hated being embarrassed, and his death was ironic because it was embarrassing. His death was made public with all eyes on his corpse with the news of his death getting out, and we saw that his female coworkers talked about it. For once, he was in the spotlight. He couldn’t even have a quiet death! It was completely out there because of the absurdity, so in a way, this death was fitting. At least, that’s how I look at it now to maybe change people’s minds about the ending.
The bittersweetness of this ending shows as Kira’s crimes are never going to be exposed. There’s no evidence of the women’s corpses and even if the Stand Squad knows how they were killed…well, they just can’t do anything about it. And it’s very sad. Though, justice was technically brought.
But I think I feel the worse for Shinobu. Even though she lived with a fake husband, she was honestly in love. Every single day she was becoming more lovely and happy and their family life was actually becoming better, ironically. She had no idea what was going on, she was just living each day. So seeing her wait for “Kosaku” broke my heart. Seeing Hayato say he was going to wait with his mother to eat just made me even more sad. Their relationship was obviously strained from the start, but at this point now, I think they’re relationship will only grow much stronger. Hayato is going to have to live with the secret of the truth and try his best to console his mother in the future.
We get such a happy ending. All the major characters are alive and well. I’m happy that David Pro added some new scenes, showing everyone having fun in their normal lives. I especially loved seeing Okuyasu eating at Tonio’s restaurant again, but this time he was with his father. He had been looking for a Stand user that would turn his father back to normal and seeing his father go through the strange effects of the food actually made me wonder if he would, but he just looked a little more rejuvenated which made me laugh. I always loved the last scene of Josuke seeing Joseph and Jotaro off. Their father/son relationship started off really awkward, but Josuke stealing Joseph’s wallet and grabbing his “allowance”, and the fact that he calls Joseph “Old Man” now, shows just how much closer they’ve gotten. Though damage was done to Morioh, things have returned to normal once again.
Obviously I knew how it was all going to end because I read the manga. I think people have noticed that my reviews were becoming much more shorter and bare. When I was blogging the second season of Stardust Crusaders, I would sometimes run into that problem. But I usually always had something to say because I didn’t know what would happen, and I’d talk about how crazy and bizarre a fight was and so on.
In this case, I already read Diamond is Unbreakable so I already knew what was going to happen. So in a way, that took out the wonder and anticipation. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a special series because you never know what’s going to happen next, what kind of strange Stand user will appear, and that’s what makes it so fun. Being new to Jojo and being an anime-only fan at the time, it was really fun to blog. This time with Diamond is Unbreakable, I knew what would happen next so there was a little less fun, if that makes sense. Also, getting to know the story of Part 4 again, I admit that there were Stand battles that were far less exciting than others and for me it was a bore to get through, and then I had to write a review on that episode, which actually felt like a chore. And I felt bad when I put out short reviews. Usually my reviews are 700+ words, and some of my reviews were under 500 words and I hate that. So I guess that’s what happens when I’ve read the source material. I usually don’t read manga. :T
Now as for the anime itself, David Pro delivers again with an almost perfect adaptation. They followed the manga so closely like they always do and only made slight changes to the order of events near the very end, and that wasn’t such a huge deal. They recast basically all of the characters voices from their video game counterparts, where they actually had voices for the first time, and I thought the cast was perfect. I quickly got used to Kaji Yuki replacing Romi Park, even though I preferred her voice more. I also think that Takahiro Sakurai did a splendid job as Rohan, though if Hiroshi Kamiya had kept the part I know he would have done a great job too.
The music was great as well, though I have to admit that I was torn with the openings. Animation was something I noticed would fluctuate in the show. Sometimes it would look really good, and sometimes it would look really bad. And most of the time it would look just right. The anime team did well in changing their style to match Araki’s changed style of the time, which happened to be my favorite until he changed his style again. -_- They really did away with the shading the manga had, which I actually liked because it added some shape and dimension into the characters, so that left me a little upset but not too much.
As for the characters, there are a lot of great ones. Kira stands out a lot because of who he is. I already mentioned before that I love Kira more than Dio as a villain. Kira feels like someone you can meet on the street and think “Hey, he’s a cool-looking guy” and just walk away, not knowing that he really is a serial killer. He paints himself to be so normal and he lives such a normal life, and it’s so creepy. He’s smart and calculative enough to have hid his crimes before he had even gotten Killer Queen. He’s just so interesting to me. He also happens to possess one of my favorite Stands in all of Jojo. Josuke is a great Jojo as well. I do have to admit that he’s a Jojo that doesn’t have much character development because he didn’t really change from beginning to end. He started off as a sweet, spoiled, chill, and friendly guy, and he ended as a sweet, spoiled, chill, friendly guy. Josuke was always the person to help others, and only fight when he needed to. He’s just all around a good kid, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Koichi is another great character who had tremendous growth and I know the fanbase hardly ever talks about him, which is a shame. Then there’s Okuyasu, Rohan, Mikitaka, and Reimi. There’s so much to like about them. And the fact that Joseph and Jotaro came back was also a huge plus.
We did not get a hint that Vento Aureo is going to happen, we’ll just have to wait for it to be announced. As to how I feel about Part 5…
I didn’t like it. Vento Aureo is a controversial part for the Jojo fanbase, where one half loved it while the other half hated it, and I’m part of the latter. I don’t want to say anything that’ll spoil the story in any way, but I did not enjoy pretty much all of the characters, I hated the villain, the fights dragged out, and most of the Stand fights were with the characters I didn’t care about. Whereas I read Part 4 in a flash, I was having a hard time reading Part 5 and was basically forcing myself through it. It wasn’t until much later in the manga near the end that things actually got good. I liked the setting and the idea, but I didn’t like how it was executed.
So, if Vento Aureo were to get an anime, I don’t think I would blog it. I could give a quick first impression of the first episode, but to actually cover it week to week is something I would pass. I like to think that maybe I’ll enjoy Vento Aureo’s story more if I see it animated, but I’m not so sure. And I don’t want to write out half-assed reviews. I’d most likely write something for the first episode, and then write an overall review when the anime finishes and give my full thoughts.
Of course, that’s only if Part 5 gets an anime. We’ll have to play the waiting game again for a Part 5 announcement, but I have high hopes that it will. They could have just stopped at Stardust Crusaders since it’s the most iconic part in all of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, but they actually went and gave us a Diamond is Unbreakable anime. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has always been popular, so why would they stop here? There’s still so much that needs to be adapted into an anime. Animating the rest of the parts will only bring much more new Jojo fans that were too daunted by the long-running manga. Which means they’ll make more money. The fact that Jojo’s never got a proper television anime before is amazing. We got Stardust, then we got Diamond, so now I only think it’s proper that we get Vento Aureo. I don’t think the fans need to worry.
Now, when we’ll get a proper announcement, I don’t know. I hope soon. Jojo’s is going to hit it’s 30th anniversary on the New Year, so maybe then! The Diamond is Unbreakable anime was fun, so let’s keep spirits high and wait for good news. 🙂
“Even from a far away place, your heart is always nearby”
We’ll meet again…right? After the end of the big battle with peace and happiness, Cyan knew that she would have to return home. I thought they would at least give her some time.
As expected, the good guys and the power of music win again. Darudayu flies in with the Melodisian Almaz and uses the power of it to boost the strength of everyone’s song. And with Maple’s “sacrifice” too. It was great hearing everyone’s voices in the same song, I thought it sounded fantastic. Their song defeated Victorious and it made her realize how much she really did love music and how she saw on Sound Planet how fun and warm music was. She used music before in hard times, like what we saw with her and Astrael. But hearing everyone’s songs made her see music as something else. She tells this to everyone and apologizes to them, and they were all happy to forgive her. Cute silliness ensues with everyone crying over Maple but he appears just as a…ahem, fried egg. And yeah Victorious just heads back to her planet where she brings music as she sings happily.
The concert at Puru Land continues and all is well. After their performance, Plasmagica is visited by Ninjinriot from the future telling them that they have succeeded. And since there’s nothing else for her to do there, it’s time for Cyan to go home. Just like last time, it’s a sorrowful departure full of tears but also happy words. They believe they’ll see each other again so they all remain positive. Cyan gives one last look to her friends as she is enveloped in Kamui’s green light.
In the credits, we see Cyan singing a new song we are to assume is the song she wrote for her school band for their festival. From the lyrics, the song is a shoutout to Plasmagica. It’s a sweet song. 🙂
A short recap, but this episode went the same way shows like this typically go. Good guys look like they’ll lose, one of the characters supposedly die but they don’t, a power arrives that helps the good guys, they win, they help the villain realize they were wrong, and happy ending! Honestly, it’s formulaic so I wasn’t on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. Cyan’s departure wasn’t as sad as last time, probably because the first time I really thought Cyan would leave permanently. But this is the second season and she came back, so Cyan will probably come back again. Also, the departure was a little sudden and rushed so that was another reason. Speaking of which…
The second season of Show By Rock was fine, but like other people have mentioned, it was a little rushed. There were many things thrown into this season for us, such as Moa’s home planet, the intro of BUD VIRGIN LOGIC and ARCAREAFACT (who are still in the sewer!!! give them money!!! Shuzo help them!!!), the tension between Rosia and Retoree, Rom and Shu’s dealio, the sibling reveal of Ailane and Aion, the Queen of Darkness and her past, Tsurezure somehow knowing about the Melodisian Almaz, and so on. There was so much they squeezed into these 12 episodes that some things got more attention than others, where most of these topics were talked about with little to no buildup, and then we would move on to the next thing.
If I had to be brutally honest, this season wasn’t better than the first. There’s good things about this season though, like the character development. They made me like Rosia! I like her lots, and I just love all the characters in general. When it comes to characters, Show By Rock does it well. But when it comes to story, it falters. They made it seem like the girls of BUD VIRGIN LOGIC would be the main baddies, and they focused so much time on them only to have Victorious be the main one. And we kinda knew she was, but we never focused on her and her point of view. We rushed through her backstory, as well as other backstories. Aion and Ailane being siblings came out of nowhere with absolutely no hints, and Aion was a character we never really payed too much attention to. Rom and Shu’s past getting some attention was great, but again they didn’t do much with it. They probably could have if only they had more time for all of this, but they couldn’t because there were other episodes that took up that time.
The episodes that didn’t have to do with anything were episodes 2-4. As much as I love Moa and even though I felt like she needed her story to be told, I think we could have done without her episode altogether. Yes, I know it was her planet that funded the Puru Land project and the mecha, but we could have learned that in another way. Episodes 3 and 4 had some character development, especially the water sports episode, but it had nothing to do with the main plot so that took away from all the other things they wanted to do.
And frankly, as much as I absolutely love ARCAREAFACT (*blows kiss towards a sewer*), they didn’t contribute to the main plot either. They posed as rivals for SHINGANCRIMSONZ, and again that’s great for character development, but this took time away from the plot. Were ARC central to the plot? Sure, they had Victorious acting as their manager, but it wasn’t too important. They could have just made Victorious disguise herself as something else and we could have gotten rid of ARC and nothing would be different plot wise. We never even got to see them in the finale except for that tiny little snippet of them watching the Puru Land concert on TV. They weren’t villains, but just rivals.
Of course, BONES could have kept everything in! But that just meant that they needed more episodes, but seeing as how BONES worked themselves to the bone (haha) this year with so many shows, they probably struggled with this season and there was no way for them to make this season a two-cour. And the struggle shows with the quality of the animation. The animation dipped after awhile, especially in this finale, so you could see where they were cutting corners. I actually said earlier this year when I was blogging the first season of Bungou Stray Dogs that they had to cut corners with that show, but watching how amazing the animation was in the second season, they had to cut corners on a different show! I mean, it makes sense. That’s probably why they animated the performances in regular 2D and not in the usual Miumon ultra-hyper-1000fps 3D.
I know I’ve been saying nothing but negatives about this season, but I still liked this season. Not as much as the first one, but I still enjoyed watching it. The music this season was still fantastic. BUD VIRGIN LOGIC’S two songs, Schlehit Melodie and Danzai no Solitude, were my absolute favorite songs in this season. I’ve been listening to their songs every single day now and I haven’t gotten tired of them. It’s just so good! The other bands had great songs too, and really, the most important thing in an anime about music is having good music. So even though the animation took a dip, at least the music quality didn’t. In fact, I think it was better.
Also, I’m the kind of person that believes that a show with good characters and an iffy plot is much more better than a show with bad characters and a good plot. When it comes to characters, Show By Rock does well with that.
This season had a good thing going for it and it did a lot good, but it had some stumbles. But that didn’t mean that I didn’t like this season. True, it wasn’t as good as the first season, but it was still enjoyable for a Show By Rock fan like me. Will they make another season? I have no clue, and I’m not sure if they should. Apparently this series sells well in Japan, so anything could happen!