Lostorage incited WIXOSS Episode 1: Memories / Front and Back [First Impression]

Are you ready for the suffering?

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Impression

Are you ready for the suffering? I guess the first matter to address is that you probably weren’t expecting me to put out a post on this. Nor did I initially have much interest in doing so – it’s supposed to be Berry who does WIXOSS, and I was perfectly content with just following the series and discussing it online. But Berry is a little short on time this season, and because I feel that this deserves blogging I decided to step in. Asenshi only released their version on Sunday anyway, so if you’re a particularly selective person and decided to wait for them, then from your perspective this post isn’t even that late! Hooray! I should be able to do weekends this season too – it would be a different story if this aired on Wednesdays. So unfortunately, instead of Berry’s insightful commentary you’ll have to put up with my waifu chat and regular best girl discussions. I’m not sorry at all.

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In terms of my familiarity with the franchise, I wouldn’t say I know a lot about it at all. I mean, I’ve diligently followed the first two seasons, and I remember doing a quick post when the first season first aired a few years ago, but given that I don’t know much about the plethora of other material that’s now out there (including a movie, several spin-off serialisations and an entire collectable card game) I’d say I’m only barely qualified to discuss this to the depth that I’d like to. I’m marginally acquainted with Peeping Analyze, and I want to watch the movie at some point, but that’s about it. I do have opinions though! Now’s not the best time to elaborate too much on them, but as far as a quick rundown is concerned – I loved the first season, thought the second one could have tied up its loose ends better (not least of all the stuff surrounding the town being destroyed and Ruu’s suspicious grandma) and haven’t seen the movie (yet). I think Ruu is very cute, I think Piruluk is cuter and Aki-lucky was my secret guilty pleasure. Hanayo did nothing wrong, and Chiyori was far too noisy for far too much of the time she spent on screen.

wixoss-1-img016All that… probably doesn’t matter, in all honesty. It’s not like Lostorage is unwatchable if you haven’t seen the two seasons of the original anime. Even after all this time I legitimately have not the slightest clue how WIXOSS is even played. I’m not joking. I know the aim is to destroy the opponent’s Life Cloth and that you grow your LRIGs and that there are SIGNI cards and that’s about it. I’m certain this was the intention of the creators too (speaking of creators, I don’t think Okada Mari is on this anymore) because if they’d spent precious airing time on explaining how the game works, the anime would have been nowhere near as good as it was. As I said two years ago during the first impression post, it’s not actually about card games. It’s about sinking cute girls into the depths of despair using a mechanism disguised as a card game. But anyway, given that Ruu basically solved everything where we last left off, I’m pretty sure this is a separate continuity or a completely different Selector battle entirely, and all we’ve seen so far with regards to the rules and the concept of coins and what’s at stake seems to confirm that. That, or it’s all Piruluk’s fault because for some reason she’s back.

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wixoss-1-img014If you put together everything you learn from the episode, you come to some interesting conclusions. For one, the LRIGs aren’t hiding anything from the Selectors this time – or at least, they don’t seem to be. Instead, everything’s been placed up front on the table and the Selectors are aware that it’s not some sort of benevolent opportunity. Yet at the same time, I’m getting this nagging feeling at the back of my mind that there is something Suzu has not been told, and that this something is going to ruin her. Unlike with Tama, Ril isn’t Suzu’s friend. She’s supposedly part of Suzu, but her relationship with her is more like an administrator of the Selector battles and an occasional guide who will help her past her initial stage of refusal and confusion. I’m already kind of biased against all LRIGs because of the Yuzuki and Hanayo thing during the original series (although as I mentioned above, I don’t think she did anything wrong given the position she was in) and so I simply can’t discard my wariness towards Ril.

It also seems like LRIGs themselves could be slightly different entities this time. Instead of being passed around between Selectors and battling to switch places with their owners in order to escape being a LRIG, a Selector’s LRIG in Lostorage seems to be a representation of the Selector created from a blank slate LRIG who reminds me of Mayu for some reason. In fact, the process Suzu went through when she first met that blank LRIG was very similar to what Yuzuki experienced when she first became an Eternal Girl. It’s all very unclear at the moment – are the LRIGs formed from detached aspects of the Selector’s personality? Is that why that random fodder guy who lost to Suzu this episode had such a shy and kind LRIG? You know, if I became a Selector and got a LRIG, I think she would be a cute loli. Just saying.

wixoss-1-img008It’s worth noting that Suzu’s dementia is already happening, and has happened. For every moment she spends not battling, her memories are being eroded. It’s not that a chunk of her memories gets carved away with the corrosion of one coin – it’s a gradual thing. The mere fact that so many coins turned black before her first Selector battle implies that something irreparable has happened to Suzu, and Ril’s words later on confirmed exactly that. I don’t know if you noticed, but ‘Suzu, ganba’ was not what Chinatsu said to Suzu in that flashback. She said ‘ganbatte’ instead. ‘Ganba’ is super cute, but it’s different. And I think that is really, really important, because it’s simply not what loli Chinatsu said. In other words, her memories have now been falsified. I’m pretty sure this isn’t just an oversight or something. Memories are basically the central theme of Lostorage, and here the implication is that after becoming a Selector, Suzu can no longer be sure that her memories are accurate – are what she thinks they are. And the worst thing is that she has absolutely no clue. I can already see it now. Suzu finally meets with her precious Chii-chan after so many years of being apart, but one or both of them no longer recognise each other or have twisted their memories of the other irreparably.

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wixoss-1-img018If there’s anything I can predict about this season of WIXOSS it’s that a happy ending is very unlikely. I don’t know about you, but thrusting estranged childhood friends together in a high-stakes supernatural card game in order to reverse your forced gradual onset of dementia doesn’t seem very cheerful to me. That opening scene of Suzu and Chinatsu playing together is probably the happiest this anime is ever going to get. I’m actually not sure what the plot twist this time will be, because I don’t think they’re going to be reusing the whole concept of successful Selectors being cruelly denied their wishes and turning into LRIGs – with the end of the OP showing all the Selectors inside cards, it’s almost as if they’re telling us that they know we know, and that as a result they won’t be trying that again.

At the same time, there is absolutely no way that everything will end happily ever after if all five of a Selector’s (very beautiful) coins turn gold. If you seriously entertained that thought for even a second, you haven’t watched the first two seasons properly. It’s a lose-lose situation for poor Suzu, we just don’t know exactly how she’ll despair the moment she thinks she’s won. If turning all coins gold really was a goal to aspire to, then why have that random draw at the start where your LRIG assigns you a number of coins to start off with? It’d make things ridiculously easy for some Selectors. And there’s not even an incentive like there was with the first Selector battoru – if you win you just get to leave with your life and memories intact, from how things currently seem. Nothing’s been mentioned about getting a wish granted or becoming an Eternal Girl, although I do accept that the threat of losing all your memories in itself is likely to be a good enough incentive to make you keep on participating.

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wixoss-1-img021Apart from the coin system, there have been some other changes as well. The most obvious of them is that there are now male Selectors, which further reinforces the idea that the Eternal Girl mechanism isn’t coming back. We won’t be getting YOBs any time soon, in other words. I know there are some who will be rather disgruntled by this, but I don’t really mind. Piruluk has lots of more important things to justify first, like why she’s doing what she’s doing (if it’s her fault at all). As for the new LRIGs, I’ll have to get used to them but they seem cute. I think Nanashi is an absolute semen demon, and I hope to see lots and lots of her especially if the Selector girl in her school ends up befriending her like the preview suggests. Mel is cute, Ril is cuter. Guzuko is a waste of a design, and I mean that in the best way possible. She’s great, but I just can’t see that dude being very relevant in the story at all, and so nothing good will happen to Guzuko nor will she be around for very long. If anything, they’ll be used as an example to show Suzu (and us) exactly what happens when your five coins all turn gold or black. Poor Guzuko.

Shit, this got quite long. But yes. I’m quite excited. It’ll be hard to properly compare this to the original two seasons until we’ve seen more of both the format of the current Selector battoru and the wider plot, but there seems to be lots of potential and lots of suffering. I don’t know whether I’ll ever come to like Suzu as much as I did Ruu, but only time will tell. Pick a best girl and a best LRIG, and let’s see whether either of them still have their smiles protected by the end of the series. If that’s even possible.

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: High

Kiss Him, Not Me Episode 1: A Prince with a Prince [First Impression]

When the anime adaptation of Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, or Kiss Him Not Me, was first announced I anticipated it would be difficult for it to be done justice. A controversial manga in itself Kissmotetedousunda8 Him Not Me succeeds by constantly throwing the story on its head. An otaku, specifically a fujoshi, finds out her favorite character dies in an anime and doesn’t eat for a week. Due to the trauma and stress Kae Serinuma loses all the excess weight on her and becomes one of the most attractive girls in the school. This premise sets up a lot of questions immediately: how will the anime handle the weight topic, are the guys only shallow, what message does it send to people who struggle with their weight?

That is why I think it is important I am covering this show. I read a good portion of the manga and while the anime’s beginning might deceive you, this show has no intention of forgetting that Kae was overweight and no intention of forgiving every love interest for their issues with her before she lost the weight. As long as the anime keeps the touch of the manga that it was written from, the show will be a much more interesting surprise than the summary alone gives.

this is the winner of the show

this is the winner of the show

I was worried from the start because shoujo anime tend to get weird adaptations. Orange changed a lot about the art style for some characters and had moments of genuine breath taking animation followed by some serious let downs. Kiss Him Not Me offers stunning animation and really good seiyuu work: hearing Kae freak out about yaoi in both her heavier self and her stereotypical shoujo self were absolute treats. What will sell you on this anime in the first episode has very little to do with what will come and all to do with the fact that Kae is one of the most relatable and interesting shoujo protagonists ever written. She’s nice, sure, she’s not mean to anyone, sure, but deep down her most defining feature is blogging about anime and obsessing over characters. (I am not self inserting here, nope!)

I give this anime my current recommendation both because I know what is coming and because what we already have is good. Even if you decide all the motetedousunda9guys who originally rejected her don’t deserve her there is still one OTP in the show that works the entire course: Asuma Mutsumi. Asuma knows it’s Kae immediately, barely notices she lost weight, and likes her either way just fine. So that being said if you hate the shallow characters just stick it out for how amazing both Kae and Asuma are. He literally has a scene where he comes to talk to her at the same time all the guys come to ask out her out, only he just came to borrow a book and gave in to peer pressure because he didn’t want to be left out.

Kae is my spirit animal. Join me, animu fangirls, we must unite in celebration. (Look, I owned a Makishima body pillow before. I buy custom plush dolls of everything. She is my spirit animal.)

Possibility of Watching: Yas plz, slay

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Bernard-Jou Iwaku – Episode 1 [Miss Bernard Said] [First Impression]

Sawako Machida, aka “Miss Bernard”, likes to call herself an avid reader. However as her friend Endou-kun points out, someone who complains about the work it takes to actually read a book cannot call themselves an avid reader.

Sawako likes the concept of books more than she actually likes to read. She enjoys the feel of paper and the smell of the ink, and she muses about her bookwormish appearance when she’s reading – all of these are more important to her than reading the book itself.

Another girl in the library also notices these idiosyncrasies, and they piss her off. Her name is Shiori Kanbayashi, and today’s the day she decides to confront vlcsnap-00002Sawako. However she gets caught up in telling Sawako and Endou about the differences between different book revisions, and the episode devolves into a long monologue about book editions and translations.

At the end of the episode, Shiori is embarrassed at having gotten so off-track when she was supposed to be berating Sawako. Sawako asks Shiori if she actually reads these books whose covers and titles she adores, resulting in Shiori gettomg pissed and decking Sawako in the face. Pot calling the kettle black, no?

Miss Bernard Said is a cute short, I’ll give it that. And I really like the bits of trivia that are shown when the characters are discussing an important book. Most importantly I feel like I can relate to both Sawako and Shiori in terms of being a dedicated bibliophile (a person who collects or who has a great love of books).

The music’s relatively engaging, and I don’t have an issue with the style of animation. However Sawako’s voice is slightly irritating, and I’m not sure if the comedic value will be enough to fuel my interest in this show. I’ll give it three episodes for sure. It’s not often I see aspects of myself reflected in an anime character, and I feel like this short has the potential to be a really neat gag series. I’m definitely interested to see which famous literary works will be discussed by these characters, too.

P.S – anyone else enjoy the nod to Neon Genesis Evangelion?

Possibility of Watching: Moderate
Possibility of Blogging: Moderate

Brave Witches Episode 1: The Witch of Sasebo? [First Impression]

Hikari a cute.

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Impression

How fascinating. I haven’t been keeping up with the Strike Witches franchise ever since I watched the movie several years ago, so I was looking forward to finding out how they would handle this spin-off, especially since my traditional stance is that I’m quite averse to this sort of new production arising out of an existing series. My enjoyment of Strike Witches primarily derived from not the setting, but rather the cast of characters and my familiarity with them. You could make me watch Sky Girls or anything where humanity develops new technology powered by cute girls while under threat from an alien species impossible to communicate with, and it wouldn’t be the same because Erica or Sanya or Yoshika aren’t in any of those. So, like with Love Live Sunshine, you can imagine that my initial reaction wasn’t great the very first time I heard about this. I’m attached to the characters in the 501st, and all of a sudden there’s this new anime featuring girls who look awfully similar to those in the 501st but with changed personalities and edited designs. Apart from Not!Yoshika there’s a more serious version of Shirley, an untanned Lucchini, and so on. I think I can see Eila and Lynette in some of the others, too. That being said, the last time I reacted like this was with Sunshine, and over the summer I watched it nonetheless and fell in love with Aqours. I decided to therefore begin this with a different mindset – I’m not attached to any of these characters, but that may change in the future and the important thing is to keep an open mind for now.

bw-1-img003Not!Yoshika is a more fitting name for Hikari than I expected. I intended to use it in jest, but she really is not Yoshika yet a a lot like her. It’s probably the case that Hikari’s talent is buried a bit deeper in her than Yoshika’s was, possibly due to Hikari having lived in the shadow of her sister for her entire life. But both are energetic little girls from Not!Japan with short brown hair and cute tails who will end up somewhere in Europe in a Witch unit together with other girls from countries like Not!Germany, Not!Finland and Not!Russia. I actually really liked how they’re portraying Hikari as the underdog – it’s a nice change from Yoshika, who although was inexperienced had a habit of pulling miracles out of her panties. In contrast, Hikari is clumsy, is struggling to achieve as much as her sister and doesn’t particularly stand out in school. I’m sure she’ll still end up saving the day somehow when she’s with the 502nd, but the way that’ll happen may not be as we expect. Speaking of her school actually, I’m surprised Witch schools are a thing. As I understand, Brave Witches takes place around the same time as Strike Witches, right? That must be the case if Yoshika is with Sakamoto-san, but no-one from Fuso has ever heard of her – it means that all her achievements haven’t happened at this point. So schools existed, but they were never really featured in Strike Witches. It might just be because Yoshika got into the 501st through unorthodox means instead of properly enlisting into the military like Takami did.

bw-1-img006I also enjoyed the relationship between Hikari and Takami. You’d almost expect Hikari to be bitter about the disparity between her and her sister, but I’m glad there’s none of that sort of drama. Takami is also a nice girl, which is not what I’ve come to expect from series featuring a high-achieving onee-chan. I almost expected her to treat Hikari like Maho treated Miho, or like Teru still treats Saki. Both sisters are now heading to Europe, but they’ve made it unclear whether they’ll both join the 502nd – I’ve fallen out of touch with all sorts of Strike Witches-related content, so I have no idea. I do think it’ll be harder for Hikari to grow as a character if Takami is always around, however. A related issue I’m interested in is Takami’s age. As you might expect from a series like this, one of the significant characteristics of Witches they made sure to highlight in the original anime was that they lose their magic as they get older. Sakamoto Mio suffered from this exact problem as the anime progressed. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a mini-arc revolving around Takami and her magic deteriorating, which would explain why she’s only standing on the deck of a ship in the OP and not flying through the sky with Hikari.

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bw-1-img010I do have a small gripe with how Hikari even has this opportunity to be deployed to Europe in the first place – what can she possibly do there? She’ll do something major because she’s the protagonist, but what were the top brass thinking in asking for a single student to be deployed to Europe? And the school decided to select people by asking for ad-hoc volunteers? I can see that they do genuinely need reinforcements, which explains why Takami was immediately sent out so soon after returning to Fuso. But if they want to make a real difference, then either send all vaguely competent students or no students and find other girls. Hikari going to Europe almost feels like an exchange program in disguise. Oh, and for what it’s worth (because I doubt she will be very relevant) it was nice that Hikari sort of became friends with Misumi after saving her. I kind of expected Misumi to be less grateful than she was, so her thanks was a pleasant surprise.

bw-1-img005As you might expect, just like with its predecessor Brave Witches is likely to have a couple of lewd scenes. I loved the scar scene, and I’ve always been a fan of how the girls wear nothing but bloomers (which effectively function as panties) when putting on Striker Units. And you can stare at them all the time, because Gonzo went out of their way to animate lots of close-up shots (like with Perrine) and I’m sure Silver Link will do the same. At other times they look like they’re not wearing any because of the length of their other clothes or the camera angle at which they’re being depicted. Truly a work of art, this series is. I’m neutral about the kemonomimi ears and tails. They’re cute, but they’re not really my thing and so I don’t really care either way.

I hope to have the time to cover this. I can’t guarantee it, because Hibikek comes out on the same day and my love for that is greater than my love for this, not going to lie. But this is interesting, and the aerial combat scenes get really exhilarating so it’s worth a watch for sure. The animation quality is also noticeably higher now that almost a decade has passed since it first aired. I’ll have to see what my schedule is like on Wednesdays and see if I can fit in two posts a day, although at first blush that seems unlikely. Maybe I’ll defer posts to Thursday?

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: High

Hibike! Euphonium 2 Episode 1 [First Impression]

Yuri is the purest form of love.

Impression

I would like to remind you all that I’m going to marry Natsuki-senpai. You’re all cordially invited to the wedding. Yes, even Yuuko. I gave some thought to marrying Reina, but she’s already in a loving relationship with Kumiko. I wouldn’t want to intrude. Look at them h-holding hands! How lewd! Think of the children!

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It’s been about a year and a half since we were treated to this beautiful orchestra drama, right? It feels like a lot longer than that, especially since their last production was the unfortunate dud that was Phantom World. So in essence, Kyoani haven’t produced anything noteworthy since the first season of Hibikek! Yuriphonium. All is well, however! It’s now back, and hopefully gayer than ever. Strangely enough, it was an hour-long special, but who cares why it was so long? They have money! Whoever it was who said that money can buy a watch but not time was simply wrong. Kyoani can buy time. Kyoani finds a way. But remember, everything they’re doing now and have done over the past few years is essentially a gradual build-up to the moment when they proudly present their magnum opus, Violet Evergarden, next year. And then anime will be saved.

hibikek-img013Okay, I’m done with my obligatory Kyoani dick sucking. In all seriousness, this pilot episode was as good as I remember the first season being, if not even better. Although there were a few flashbacks (which they probably had the luxury to insert given the episode length) I felt like it was the kind of second season that you could jump right into without having to refresh yourself of the finer details beforehand. Even if the original season didn’t leave a big enough impression for you to remember what happened during it (in which case you weren’t watching it properly) it all almost immediately comes back from the way everyone acted and how much of a contrast that was to the very start of the story. Remember when there were so many beginners, and now the quality of their playing is such that even Team Monaka have gotten good? Remember when no-one had any motivation, and now random background characters are taking the initiative to practice by themselves even when the school is being closed and even when Taki-sensei is giving them a rare break?

hibikek-img048I’m not sure whether the overall indication is that things are getting better for Kitauji, however. Instead of motivational issues, there’s now something else that’s rearing its ugly head – the drama surrounding the current second-years was never properly alluded to in the first season, and the fallout from that is being re-ignited once more. It seems to have a lot to do with Nozomi, who was apparently a former flautist in the concert band. I assume she quit along with half of the other first-years (as they were at the time) who did, but there must have been more to her involvement than just that. Yoroizuka Mizore, who it seems has been elevated from being a generic background character to someone significant, was most likely okay up until now because Nozomi wasn’t around. All we can do is speculate at this point – but it’s interesting that all of the girls the current drama revolves around went to the same middle school. It’s also worth noting that Kumiko saw fear in Mizore when Yuuko told her about Nozomi wanting to return, which surprised me a bit as I only saw shock. As close as they seemed to be during that middle school flashback, it’s likely that Mizore wants nothing to do with Nozomi now – and actually, that flashback tells a lot about what the drama could potentially be about.

I want to be wrong – I love to be wrong when speculating, because that indicates that a series is being innovative enough to go against my expectations. But here’s what I’ve come up with for now. If Minami Middle School was at the standard of a top-tier, gold-winning school, it’s understandable that they would be disappointed about not getting the gold during that one year. It also makes sense for them to resolve to work extra hard and win gold once with their concert band in high school. My idea is that their problems all started with the fact that the high school they all went to was Kitauji and not a place like Rikka. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that, when they arrived, they found a sub-par band which was not as prestigious or famous, with people who couldn’t really care less about going to Nationals or winning gold. And so they quit. If this is true, it would make Mizore one of the formerly frustrated girls who didn’t quit, and would explain the grudge she holds towards Nozomi for breaking their promise together, if any.

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hibikek-img042Under this scenario, Asuka would have many reasons to withhold her approval for Nozomi to rejoin. Aside from any issues as to her technical ability (of which I kind of doubt there are any) her presence could potentially cause a lot of havoc amongst the upper years that they really could do without for now. And there’d be a nagging feeling at the back of everyone’s minds that Nozomi only wants in on the bandwagon because Kitauji have won the prefectural competition and are going to the Kansai regionals. It doesn’t, however, explain fully why Mizore reacted like that when hearing Nozomi’s flute playing. If she wants to throw up, it sounds like there’s more to it all than just some regular drama, not least off all because she seems oblivious to everything that the band went through last season. It’s to do with Nozomi in particular. I guess one solution would be to have Nozomi play with Team Monaka, but I suspect Asuka is rejecting her out of principle more than anything else. Nozomi re-entering the club itself, even if she doesn’t play in the competition, is tantamount to her running away and successfully coming back afterwards. Asuka is most likely as enthusiastic as Reina about the idea of her doing that.

It’s good that new characters are being introduced, though. It’s great to see more of the band, the second-years especially. There’s still a lot of development to be had with them. Both Mizore and Nozomi are cute, but it’s hard to come to any conclusions about them as we hardly know a thing at this point. Nozomi is hotter, I think? There’s something about her that makes her really attractive, I’m not sure what it is.

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hibikek-img053Either way, as characters they can’t hold a candle to Natsuki-senpai or even Yuuko. By the way, is it just me, or does Yuuko actually have a really sexy voice when she’s not screaming like a whiny bitch? That sarcastic exchange between her and Reina was probably my favourite scene of the entire one-hour special. I wonder whether it was intentional to make her more erotic now that she’s a frenemy instead of an annoyance. I will admit that she’s growing on me slightly now, and if nothing else she’s an easy character to figure out because she always wears her heart on her sleeve. Certainly didn’t expect her to be as good friends with Mizore as she is – both her and Natsuki-senpai will be pretty involved this season if the drama revolves around Mizore and Nozomi purely due to the relationships the two have with them.

hibikek-img050Finally, I just wanted to say that Reina a cute! A CUTE! Anzai Chika really has the best voices. Who else thought that she would want to go up another mountain when she awkwardly invited Kumiko to the festival? As ever, it’s ridiculously hard to let go of the notion that all this is just yuri bait and that Reina is in love with Taki-sensei. I know she’s said it multiple times. I know that. But they’re sending incredibly mixed messages here you know – all the hand-holding, the snuggling into each other while sleeping, the intimacy and change of mood when it’s just them alone on the train after Hazuki and Midori have left. And the very moment Shuichi tries to get close to Kumiko, Reina blows him out of the water. It’s not just me, right? Someone tell me it’s not just me. It wasn’t as evident last season amidst all the drama, but Kumiko has been a good influence on Reina. She’s smiling more, and making friends with people other than just Kumiko. I liked the cold, indifferent Reina, but this Reina is cute too. I should also, of course, confirm that I will indeed be covering this as you might expect. Not just for Natsuki-senpai, and not just for more gay orchestra drama, but also because if Kyoani can put this much effort into it every week to the point that even their freaking sinks look real, the least I can do is to acknowledge that they did good. So, without further ado – you did good, guys. I don’t know why this was necessary, but I remember that button from the first season. It was almost as good as this sink.

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Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: Guaranteed

Yuri!!! On Ice Episode 1: [The Grand Prix Final of Tears][First Impressions]

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vlcsnap-2016-10-06-12h33m17s039Aaaaah! It’s there! The show I was the more hyped about! When I first saw the trailer I thought “oh boi, this one looks awesome, better shotgun it“. And I don’t regret my choice! So let’s find out if Yuri!!! On Ice is worth all the hype that surrounds it.

What happens during this episode remains fairly simple and is some really basic expository stuff. Yuuri, our young hero does figure skating but is kind of losing every championship in participates in. Therefore he decides to stop doing competitions, takes a break and goes back to the familial Onsen for the first time in five years. After meeting with his family and relatives again, he goes to an Ice ring and stakes in front on his childhood friend, a girl whom he might have feelings for before. So Yuuri reproduces the choreography of his idol Victor Nikiforov, the really hot champion of everything. Without telling Yuuri, the kids of that girl post the video on youtube and it’s a hit, everyone sees it, even Victor who decides to go to Japan in order to train Yuuri, since he probably sees potential in this kiddo. So from now on, they’ll live together and there’s some high changes, the other Yuri (the angry one) will show up and the three of them will train together.

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Charibo’s first Impressions:

vlcsnap-2016-10-06-12h33m40s095OH MAMA THIS OPENING! It reminds me a bit of the Subete ga F ni Naru The Perfect Insider opening. Just a succession of dance moves but still, there’s something fascinating about it. The use of the instagram feed in the ending is quite inventive too. The songs used in the OP and ED are both really good but the OP one is the best. At least for me.

The animation is stellar, I think we can all agree on this one. I don’t really know how to describe the backgrounds but they look like a mix between traditional art and digital at the same time. AND THE FACES OF THE CHARACTERS! AAAHN! THEY ARE LOVELY! I mean his show is something else, everything in it is beautiful. At least for the moment, we’ll see if the same care and budget will be put in every episodes.

vlcsnap-2016-10-06-12h32m36s744The comedy is on point, the introduction of those chibi characters surprised me a bit. For the moment, all side characters, expect Victor and Yuri are used as comic reliefs but they remain attaching so I’m hoping their role will evolve later on.

Everything in this episode was very dynamic, which is why the figure skating performance at the middle of the episode had such an impact on me. After witnessing more than 12 minutes of characters constantly talking quickly, moving a lot and almost screaming, that figure skating scene was relaxing. I know nothing about Figure Skating in general so I can’t judge the quality of the performance but I do like to watch some performances, especially during the winter Olympics. Anyway, I liked it, that’s what matters. I do hope there’ll be a lot of those performances, but I fear once again, the show will take a more “Slice of Life” approach than a “Sports” one. A bit like Cheer Danshi!! and Free! for example. Now that I think of it, they all contain exclamations marks in their title… Coincidence? I think not.

vlcsnap-2016-10-06-12h40m52s031Yuuri is quite and in interesting character, he has a lot of contradictory feelings and sometimes does some stupid things without any reasons but heh, that’s what I call being normal. Especially the scene in the toilets when he called his family and lied to them in order to reassure them while trying to comfort himself at the same time. Without any success because even if you try, you can’t really fool yourself. I also liked the fact Yuri is a huge fanboy. Copying Victor’s skating moves, buying the same pet as his and naming it Victor, watching all his shows with stars in his eyes and having posters of him everywhere in his room. I can’t wait to see Victor and Yuuri interacting more, I bet there’s going to be a loooot of blushing, especially if Victor continues to do his little wink and smile… Yeah…
Speaking of Victor, sweet mother hell of bananas, he’s hot. It’s like everything about him is perfect, his looks, the way he treats his fans, his Figure skating performances and even his abs and butt… That’s why I’d like to see the guy in the private sphere, see his weaknesses and maybe the deconstruction of the myth.

So overall: Interesting main character, nice supporting cast, Gold Opening and Ending, amazing animation, what could go wrong?

vlcsnap-2016-10-06-12h41m43s158Well, let’s talk about Victor’s butt. Although I do appreciate butts once in a while, I’m a bit concerned about the nature of this show’s content. I’m almost sure there’ll be more “sexy” scenes like that. I don’t deal very well with Ecchi type of shows, I do enjoy fan service a bit but I grow quickly bored of it and I’m even pissed off if it’s used too often. So yeah, I’m a bit worried Yuri!!! on Ice will rely a bit too much on fan service. That’ll be a shame if they did, they have figure skating, no need for fan service when you are a show about such a cool sports!
Furthermore based on what I saw from the preview, Victor looks like the flirty type. And that’s fine by me, however, if the anime chose to go full “Shounen Ai” way, I want the show to assume it and develop a possible romance between the characters. Not just putting random awkward situations as a bait to attract a certain audience. In other words, if it’s gay, make it gayer.

Finally,+1 for having nipples Victor, that is a rare quality that not every bishounen has nowadays, props to you Vicky.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go Episode 1: [Unchanging Form][First Impressions]

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I’m quite a new addition to the Natsume fanbase so I did not have to wait for very long to get this fifth season. Indeed, it’s when I finished Natsume Yuujinchou Shi that the announcement for season five was made. So I did not wait very long but it did seem like five years to me. So of course I’m extremely happy to get the show back! It’s the perfect series to enjoy with a cup of tea, in your bed, under a huge pile of warm blankets, and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now.

At the beginning of the episode, Natsume whises to learn more about his grandmother Reiko. In town he sees a woman he knew when he was a kid and even if talking to her brings back some painful memories he decides to go and ask her if she knows something about his familly. We can clearly see that Natsume is still deeply affected by his childhood trauma but now, instead of keeping everything to himself hevlcsnap-2016-10-05-16h46m57s425 accepts to open his heart and to talk about his problems.

This episode also offered us anothershort story about yokais. This time, some sort of pot monster comes to Natsume, mistaking him for Reiko and asks him to return the thing he stole. After asking a few nice yokais, Natsume learns Reiko supposedly stole a doll from that yokai. Although Natsume and Nyan Goro don’t really believe Reiko would have stolen anything without a good reason, they go look after the doll. When the pot monster runs away in order to steal his treasure, Natsume is grabbed by a bigger yokai that somehow allows him to see his memories of Reiko. In that sort of flash back, Reiko mentions she met a guy who is nice with her, so I guess it’s probably the father of one of Natsume’s parent.
Finally, Natsume with the help of Touko and Nyan Goro manage to repair the doll and the pot monster is happy.

What made me laugh a bit was when Natsume talked about his treasures, he was envisioning,the Yuujinchou, his foster family and Tanuma. Yup, not his friends, not that girl whom I forgot the name but who can feel the yokais’ presence, nope, Tanuma, the one and only. I’d like to shout “AHN GAY!” but I’ve decided that for this series, I’ll behave myself. I have all the opportunities to make this kind of jokes with Gakuen Handsome. sans-titre-3

Charibo’s first Impressions:

vlcsnap-2016-10-05-16h42m25s791Wow, what a great first episode. It wasn’t great because it surprised me and ended on a giant cliffhanger that leaves you excited for the next episode but it was exactly what I’ve been hoping for. I wanted to get my Natsume Yuujinchou back, true to itself, without adding some unnecessary drama or other features.
I’m also super happy to see Natsume again <3. You can throw rocks at me for saying that but Natsume is clearly the nicest animu guy ever. If I had to pick one guy to be my "husbando" ( I really hate that term), that would be him, he's so realistically perfect that it hurts. He's such a nice guy that I couldn't dream of a nicest personality, and yes, I prefer the nice guy over all your tsunderes, kuudere and other guys with some issues. ALL HAIL NICE GUYS!

The opening and ending are both really nice songs, they are quite relaxing so it fits the show perfectly. The opening in particular reused the same elements than all the previous ones, Natsume riding on Nyan Goro’s back, a shot putting Reiko and Natsume back to back, the nice yokais doing nice youkai things and finally Natsume’s friends putting on a nice and welcoming face. As for the sound, I recognized some tracks of the mythic tracks of the show that were used in this episode.

vlcsnap-2016-10-05-16h42m20s663I would really like the show to take the “trying to discover more things about my past” route. I’d like to know more about Reiko but also about Natsume’s parents and I have the feeling that by doing this search, Natsume will probably continue to heal his own wounds. So that’s a win-win situation. Also, maybe by knowing his grandmother better, he will manage to differentiate himself from her. Since everyone, both yokais and humans do not make any difference between him and his grandmother, maybe knowing her past will help him do so.

The last frame of the opening shows the Yuujinchou, which is a bit dirty, being left off on a table as Natsume goes to meet with his friends. It can indicates that in this season we will witness the beginning of the end of Natsume’s job. Now, he has his friends so he doesn’t really need the book of friends anymore. We’ll see, we’ll see…

There’s a lot of elements that make me believe the show wanted to give an impression of continuity, to serve the fans the same old recipe that everyone loves without changing anything. It’s like the long break did not affect the show and that nothing as changed. It’s even funnier when you know the title of the episode is [Unchanging form]. Natsume Yuujinchou has truly returned, unchanged but still as good as ever.

Also dat blushing Natsume: 10/10

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Watching: You bet I will!

Covering: I’ll try a bit

Bungou Stray Dogs Season 2 Episode 1: The Dark Age (First Impression)

I certainly wasn’t expecting to get an episode all about Dazai’s past in the premiere of the second season. It was a little strange to be honest, because it had nothing to do with what we got in the last episode of the first season. It’s like we’ve started a new arc.

horriblesubs-bungou-stray-dogs-s2-13-1080p-mkv0004But upon further investigation, I found out that this whole episode was part of Dazai’s past in one of the novels, because apparently his past isn’t in the manga. I’m at a little of loss for words because it’s a little jarring that we got this. But! That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like this episode. On the contrary, I loved this episode. Bungou Stray Dogs is always best when it follows these more serious storylines. Even when almost the entire episode was talking, I was absorbed into the story because I really wanted to know what happened with Ango. Oda himself seems to me to be a very interesting character, such as him never actually killing anyone even when he’s capable of doing so. And seeing Dazai in his days with the mafia, he hasn’t changed too much but it’s a little strange to see him giving orders instead of getting them. Dazai was always a very mysterious character, and I’m very glad that we actually get to see how he was in the Port Mafia, and how close of a friendship he had with Oda and Ango. Maybe, we’ll also see why Dazai left.

Where is Ango, what happened to him, and is he really a traitor? And just what is this Mimic group? That’s all the questions I got as the case took a weird turn in the end when Oda found the safe in Ango’s home, as he was appointed to search for Ango. I’m curious of Oda’s character and why he stays as the mafia’s handyman. His ability is very cool, perfect for the kind of lifestyle he lives in.

horriblesubs-bungou-stray-dogs-s2-13-1080p-mkv0050I just ask myself why they started this season out with this? How many more episodes are we going to get of this? I’m going to guess at least one more, and then we’ll go back to the main story with the Agency, the Mafia, and Guild. But why start with this? Does Dazai’s backstory even matter when it comes to the Guild? Learning that Dazai’s past is never even explored in the manga makes me think that it possibly doesn’t. But then that just makes me wonder why they would include this, especially as the premiere? Does Ango, and Mimic, have anything to do with the main story? I’m a little confused, and a little concerned. With meeting an entirely new group of characters in the finale of last season with new danger brewing, I’m going to guess that there might be a lot of content. But with the anime covering Dazai’s past for who knows how many episodes, I don’t know if that’s going to be a good thing.

I don’t know if Dazai’s past has anything to do with the main story, but if it doesn’t, couldn’t they just have made this into an OVA? I’m questioning their decisions.

This was a great episode though. But I’m still concerned. I can’t even expect how this season is going to go now, but I’m still going to stick around for the ride. I just hope it doesn’t hit the ugly stumps the middle of the first season had.

Possibility of watching: Guaranteed

Possibility of blogging: Guaranteed

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Episode 1: Welcome to a World of Dreams and Magic! (First Impression)

I said I wasn’t sure about this show because of the cutesy art style, but I should have learned by now that shows with a cutesy art style can be very deceiving, especially with the magical girl genre. The synopsis read like there would be a battle royale fight to the death that would happen. With the episode opening up with dead bodies and a pool of blood in the first minute, I knew that the synopsis wasn’t lying, and that this show would be just as dark as it made it sound it would. And I was hooked.

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Apparently, my aesthetic are shows where cute girls experience torture and despair in what seem to be lighthearted shows. Gakkou Gurashi, WIXOSS, Yuuki Yuuna, etc. Those seem to be my favorite. I’m not sure what that says about me, haha.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-01-1080p-mkv0017Seeing as how this is the first episode, of course it would start off cute and lighthearted. Our main character is a young eighth grader named Koyuki, and ever since she was a little girl, she loved magical girls and always wanted to become one in real life. She thinks all magical girls are righteous and pure beings that are there to help people and she always admired them. But she noticed that as she was growing up, girls her age were becoming less into magical girls and more into other things, while Koyuki didn’t. So, she kept her love for magical girls all to herself in secret. Even now, she’s playing a magical girl game on her phone, and it changes her life in an instant.

Magical Girl Raising Project is like any other fantasy/RPG-like game. It’s just a simple phone game where you create an avatar and fight monsters and get items. But there are strange “advertisements” and rumors to the game. The main one being that there’s a 1 in 10000 chance for a user to become a real magical girl. Koyuki’s friends on the bus think it a scam but Koyuki as usual seems slightly hopeful, but doesn’t seem to believe it as well. Other strange things going on related to magical girls are actual sightings of them throughout the city. But people write them off as fake as all the images are blurry.

It comes as no surprise that later on Koyuki is chosen to become a magical girl. The game mascot, Fav, which seems to be a love-child of Monokuma and Kyubey, says he’s studied Koyuki and decided that she has everything to be a magical girl. She hesitantly accepts and transforms into her game avatar.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-01-1080p-mkv0034In this anime, magical girls are less like superheroes and maybe more like vigilantes, depending how you use the word. These girls aren’t here to fight against aliens, evil monsters, or magical creatures. They’re doing things you’d imagine any new superhero would do, like helping elderly women cross the road, getting cats out of trees, finding someone’s lost house keys, small things like that. I don’t think I’ve seen magical girls like this so this was a nice change for me. Koyuki is doing what she’s always dreamed of, and that’s helping people, but as a magical girl! But this time she doesn’t have to try so hard to hide herself from the public because Fav explains to her that even if she meets with someone, they will lose all memory of her, and if someone tries taking a picture of her, that said picture will always come out blurry, like we saw before. So these girls have free reign over the city and can run around as much as they want. It really is a dream come true!

We also learn more things about this magical girl community. Through her Magical Phone, Koyuki, or Snow White (her magical girl name), can enter a chatroom and speak with the 15 other magical girls. Everyone was very excited to meet her, and the ones that were actually there introduced themselves and made Koyuki feel warm and welcomed. We also learn more about the work of these magical girls when La Pucelle invited Koyuki out to train her.

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-01-1080p-mkv0062What a surprise it was that La Pucelle actually turned out to be Koyuki’s male friend, Sou-chan! I didn’t expect it at all, so really we have a magical boy amongst us. Funny though, because his avatar has the biggest boobs and the most make up on. But that just goes to show you, always follow your dreams! Good for you, Sou-chan. It makes me wonder if there are more males among the group but I’m going to doubt that for now, as one of Koyuki’s friends become a magical girl is significant. We learn from Sou-chan (La Pucelle) that each magical girl works in their own district, and La Pucelle works in the district right next to Koyuki’s. Some of the magical girls can team up if they want, but it’s basically a rule that the magical girl assigned to that certain district is the only one that can work there, but visiting is just fine, and that’s when La Pucelle and Snow White pair up. There’s a bit of a system to all of this, but everything is so organized and all the other magical girls are so polite, friendly, and cooperative that it looks like that there hasn’t been any problems. They all seem to get along so well with each other, which is going to make it more painful when they’re forced to kill each other.

In the after-credits scene, Fav makes the announcement that there are too many magical girls in the area and that he needs to cut it down to 8. And that right there, is the sign that things are going to start becoming ugly.

I’ve seen people complain that they were disappointed with the premiere because it was lighthearted. And to them I say, um…duh? It’s the first episode. They can’t start killing each other until we know the main character and the story. We’re barely getting situated into this world, but it looks like things are going to move quickly. This episode was like any first episode of an anime. We’ve established the plot, we know all about these magical girls now, we know what kind of person Koyuki is. So now we can finally move on to the rest. As a first episode, I thought this one did its job well. I like what they’ve done with magical girls in this. Of course magical girls can be seen as superheroes, as they transform and protect humanity from the big bad, but in this case, these girls are doing little things. I don’t know, I just really like that!

horriblesubs-mahou-shoujo-ikusei-keikaku-01-1080p-mkv0044The art style isn’t really my cup of tea, but still, the show so far looks great. One thing I have to comment on are the character designs. Each girl has a drastically different design as opposed to the similar outfits magical girls usually wear with each other. I thought Koyuki’s Snow White to be absolutely precious and cute, I’m a weak person when it comes to flowery designs. As for the others, it’s a hit or miss. La Pucelle and the violin girl I enjoy, but some of the others just look ridiculous. It’s nice that their designs really tell you just what kind of person they are, though. So in that regard, it’s a plus.

Now, as for the cliffhanger. If the number of magical girls was really becoming too much, why did Fav recruit Koyuki? I’m sure because of the districts, Fav wants to cut the number down because having 16 girls in one city may be a bit much. Fav said only 8 magical girls need to go, but in the opening scene, there was only one person standing while all the other girls lay slaughtered. I wonder just how bad things are going to go.

I’m intrigued. Very intrigued. And this may be a stupid decision on my part, since I’ve already signed up for a lot of shows this season, but I feel like I can’t pass this up. Maybe I might sacrifice other shows, but I really want to stick by this one. I don’t think they’re going to take long to get into the blood and death.

Possibility of watching: Guaranteed

Possibility of blogging: Guaranteed

Gakuen Handsome Episode 1: Welcome to Baramon High School [First Impressions]

vlcsnap-2016-10-04-08h12m50s016The hero of our wonderful story of love and youth is Yoshiki Maeda, but because I’ve decided so, I will call him Protag-kun . The first episode retraces the first day of Protag-kun, as he is transferred to an elite private boy school named Baramon. I’m not going to teach you anything, as you probably know, in the name of the school you can find the word Bara, which means Rose but also refers to the gay genre in Japanese literature. Don’t be surprised, such subtle allusions are a common thing in Gakuen Handsome, so catch the jaw you just dropped and let’s continue on with the story of Protag-kun’s new high school life.

vlcsnap-2016-10-04-08h13m03s386Protag-kun meets with his homeroom teacher, forget all your so called White hair Bishounens cause here comes Teruhiko Saionji, the sexy outlaw teacher who is going to revolutionize your world. He’s clearly the flirting type and kind of makes a move on Protag-kun, gently caressing his chin and introducing him as his fiance to the rest of the class. People can call that sexual harassment, pedophilia and not professional at all, I’d say it was awesome, because there’s nothing better than forbidden love, ya know. Then our glorious hero meets with his childhood friend, Saotome Takuya and goes home with him. On their way they meet with Protag-kun’s little sister who reads to many BL manga since already ships him with his childhood friend. Finally, as Protag-kun and his sister are walking home, a mysterious man appears. Who is he? What secrets does he hide? Find out more in the ext episode!

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[First Impressions]:

Let’s start with the obvious: The animation is amazing. Rarely have I had the chance to witness such perfection. To me it’s the accomplishment of more than 40 years of improvement in terms of animation. It’s like everything before Gakuen Handsome was only a draft, destined to create this masterpiece. The colors are bright, the animation is super fluid, it’s like the characters are not even in 2D anymore, I can almost feel their presence right beside me… Especially Saionji, I could almost feel the soft sense of his breath on my neck when he was close to Protag-kun.

vlcsnap-2016-10-04-08h18m30s462Gakuen Handsome made a risky bet with his purified art style. By getting rid of all the unnecessary things such as shading, backgrounds, eyes for the main protagonist, Gakuen Handsome clearly wants us to focus more on the characters and their development rather than on superficial things like “the gorgeous animation”. I cannot do anything else than applause this risky choice and congratulate the show for choosing a simplistic approach in appearance, but which hides some bold choices. Gakuen Handsome is clearly a pamphlet against the dictatorship of modern animation and the wrongly instated “universal good taste” AND I CAN ONLY APPLAUSE THAT! THANK YOU GAKUEN HANDSOME FOR SAYING WHAT NEEDED TO BE SAID! Oh yeah, also it denounces racism, homophobia, the society of consummation and love.

vlcsnap-2016-10-04-08h17m08s920Anyway, moving on with the characters. Of course, they are like the animation, amazing. Saionji is clearly a mysterious character with some deep past. I bet he had some troubles with justice before and like Joe Yabuki, underwent drastic changes in jail. Changes that made this guy another man. So if he’s a sexual offender it’s not his fault, it’s clearly the system’s fault, which also makes Gakuen Handsome a denunciation of the penal system. I know it’s a lot, but seeing Gakuen Handsome is a lot to digest.

Now for Saotome Takuya. He clearly suffers from a Mood disorder since he’s always happy and I bet this happiness hide some much more deeper secrets. I cannot imagine how sad he must have been when Protag-kun left the town… and now meeting him again, it’s like a dream. It’s destiny. I bet this guy is going to be more deep than Shinji Ikari, whom I can already remove from my favorite boiz list, to put this dude in the first place he truly deserves.

vlcsnap-2016-10-04-08h17m00s948Finally, let’s speak of the main character who, without any doubt is going to be the most developed one in the whole bunch. He’s a dick, he’s a compulsive liar and I don’t trust him. You know how you can tell if someone can be trusted by looking at his eyes? Well this dude doesn’t have any. Coincidence? I think not. He clearly removed them in order to stay undercover… that’s why I don’t trust him. Furthermore, see how he ignores his little sister and focuses on his own problems? Hum-Hum, not cool Protag-kun. If I had to bet on how this guy is going to evolve, I think he’ll go full School Days Makoto. That’ll be fun to watch.
There’ll be more guys to come in the next couple of episodes but I’m sure they are all going to be equally interesting and of course, really deep.

If I could already put a grade for this episode it would be 11/10, I haven’t really watched many shows this season but I don’t even want to anymore, Gakuen Handsome is going to top them in every aspect.

Jokes aside, I’m really hoping this anime will continue to be funny and won’t try too hard to be a “so bad that it is good “show.

Watching: Hell yes.

Covering: Depends. I hope there’ll be enough content for me to make jokes about, or even to analyze…But I kind of doubt it.