Anime Theme Songs for your craving!

Anime Theme Songs for your craving!

Are you listening to something right now? Maybe an OST from one of your favorites? Maybe a (boring) pop song? Or is it an opening theme song? Well, an awesome OP is probably one of the tall tale signs of a good show right? Here’s a list of pretty good theme songs that you might like. Don’t worry, I’ve included lesser known titles and a brief mini-review on every single one. Feel free to debate with me if you spot something familiar, I’m all ears.

-Gosick

If you’re looking for a good detective story then Gosick is a tempting choice but it’s a double-edged sword mind you. The detective stories are not actually mind boggling puzzles that require a great deal of scrutiny to solve, which is what the detective genre is famous for, they piece that and that together and the crime is done and dusted. But the animation is the real deal here, the mysteries are pretty nice but the setting and the atmosphere are also one of Gosick’s strong points. It’s set in the fictional European country of Saubure in an early 1900s era where dark practices, unexplained phenomenon, ancient legends and devious cults are pretty rampant throughout the whole country so expect some plot twists. Now the only gripe that you might have about the show would probably be that the mysteries feel kind of toned down and predictable once you’re a fair amount into the story. You might also not like the protagonist, Kazuya because he will literally bore you to death with his generic personality, what keeps him floating is his relationship with Victoria (she’s actually the one who does all the thinking here). Overall, an enjoyable watch just make sure to remember that this is not as perfect as you might expect.

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-Nagi No Asukara

Literally a MUST WATCH if you are ever looking for a drama-focused story casting a range of characters with their own unique feel to them. You will fall in love with the amazing underwater shots and attention to detail. The heartwarming ways that the characters face their problems and go past them will pull you into Nagi No Asukara’s beautiful world. The dynamic of the story would be the main characters growing up, they really did a wonderful job on making us see that the characters really changed for the better while silently planning the next heartbreaking scheme or plot twist. There were no cliché awkward moments and there was no trace of the word ‘generic’ anywhere you look, it’s that special. This genuinely a hidden gem in the vast ocean of anime and once you finish it, it will probably be a milestone for you no doubt. You can check out my own review here.

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-Your Lie in April

Your Lie in April is a story about Arima Kousei who used to be a widely known pianist at a young age. Unfortunately, while he was growing up, he lost his mother. The emotional shock rendered him unable to hear the sound of the piano again, this also made him introverted and hard to communicate to. But he slowly started to regain his love for music when he meets a violinist, Kaori Miyazono. The romance here was kind of a closed-group thing, I’m sure you’ve seen the formula before, Kousei falls in love with Kaori but there’s competition for his affections between her and his childhood friend, Sawabe Tsubaki. The comedy was a good addition because the artstyle was genuinely sweet and the characters were pretty accepting of each other. This is why I would call it a closed-group romance with a little bit of comedy mixed in for good measure. Something that you should take note of though is the possibility of you not getting what is going on at all. The show is pretty subtle on symbolism and likes to portrays its ideals in a visually alluding fashion rather than saying it directly. So if you’re only used to taking everything at face value then the episodes where they do play the piano will feel like a boring marathon that is super tiring to watch.

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-Boku Dake ga Inai Machi

Out of all the time travel mystery animes, this one more or less skims through the mysteries to give the story some breathing room. Any determined person can easily find its flaws. Though when a serious Sherlock Homes makes sight, this show is going to get lit with a flamethrower. I blame the lack of a good thrill to the mysteries and overly apparent focus on other remote themes to be the biggest factor. But if you’re a casual viewer without a clue who only wants to see the character interactions, heartwarming moments and favor a more contained and slow pace, it fits like a glove. Surely this one could have been so much than it is now. The murderer for crying out loud is already pretty obvious even from the very beginning and the undeniable evidence always mounts. There’s also crucial missing details about the villain that they never cared to explain either. Still, this is a very good show about the main characters growing up (technically). Go check out my review here.

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-Noragami

This show centers around the god of war (no not that bald guy from the game) Yato, and Hiyori a high school student who, after an accident, has gained the ability to enter the spirit world where all sorts of strange creatures lurk among the populous, seemingly invisible to ordinary humans. Hiyori asks Yato to fix her condition but she is soon dragged into the world of Kami (gods), for better or for worse she is stuck in the boundary between two worlds. Can she still live her life like it was before? Is there really a way to pull her back from this boundary?

A really brilliant mix of action and comedy. Yato’s cheesiness and the funny character expressions, easy going humor and anything-goes attitude make this a joy to watch. The characters are pretty wacky and hilarious but turn serious when they need to. The best thing about is that the comedy and all the stuff relating to the gods and spirits don’t undermine each other, they’re neatly separated and never ruin the mood. A very fun and engaging watch indeed.

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-Terror in Resonance

Terror in Resonance opens up with two mysterious teenagers ironically named Nine and Twelve, sneaking into a top secret nuclear fuel processing facility and stealing an activated plutonium core. Six months later, both of them set off a series of terrorist attacks on Tokyo under the name of Sphinx. They upload a series of riddles on the internet that give away the location of their Sphinx’s next target and task the police force in finding the answer. An investigation team is formed with former detective, Kenjirou Shibazaki being the leading man. But a conflicted and depressed high school student, Lisa Mishima, is almost killed by one of their scheme after which she is forced to keep quiet about their involvement. Through a series of events, she willingly becomes an accomplice in their plan to retaliate against the world. Will destroying the world have any meaning?

There are some slight annoyances that pop up though. The main detective pretty much knows all of the Greek mythology that the riddles are based on in a dime. Lisa never actually changed from the depressed and repressive teenager that she was. There isn’t much to talk about the two main characters to be honest, we learn everything there is to them in like the first two episodes and their motivations are… And don’t get me started on how unrealistic the story is, there’s just no way two kids could do that. But if the phrase “Terrorism in Anime” sounds interesting to you then jump right in, it is not going to be the cat-and-mouse game that you might imagine it to be.

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-Strike the Blood OP2

The video was pretty awesome huh? This show is going to be worthwhile right? No, poor chap it’s not, unless you want to be scared forever mate.

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This…this guy’s chick magnetism rate is off the charts. Complete BS.

Strike the Blood is definitely a controversial one in my books. I mean the second half of the first season is loaded with fan service/ecchi at every corner, you can’t escape it and almost every girl here gets objectified one way or another, often like what’s shown above. But if you can miraculously look beyond all that then yeah Strike the Blood is a notably good fantasy anime (the real reason I watched it in the first place). Just don’t expect them to explain everything. Our MC, Koujo will pummel all the bad guys with his harem, guaranteed. I’m obliged to stop writing about it cause it’s so hard to even consider being two feet in front of and not be deemed innocent. Only watch it if you know what you’re doing bros.

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-The Irregular at Magic High School OP2

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure why I even bothered with binge watching all 26 episodes but I enjoyed it none the less. If you’re in search of an infinitely cool overpowered protagonist, then look no further. Our main man, Shiba Tatsuya, never blinks, never misses, never budges an inch and most important of all, he’s fu*king famous for being a badass. Every character just talks about how godly he is, it’s like self-glorification. And there’s only one person that he wants to protect, his sister of all things. You immediately know this when you hear “Onii-sama” for like twenty times in a single episode. Even if you don’t understand it though, it’s pretty good humor. Tatsuya can do miracles quite literally, he can rewrite magical sequences in an instant, create new magical tech like he was feeding his hamster, assassinate targets from unimaginable distances, trace the exact path of a bullet, vaporize a moving truck and sense if a computer is infected with a virus or not by LOOKING at it. OMG! Does this guy ever sleep? What am I talking about, you’ll love his awesomeness, the other less than perfect facts can be ignored anyways. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to give a go at being superman! (or batman)

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Yay! You made it! *pats shoulder* I hope this post was a fun and refreshing change of pace for your day. I thinking of doing another post like this again so stayed tuned.

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Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 1-4

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 1-4

I’m back. Yay! Wahoo! Now, I have only one job…TWO jobs; 1.to dutifully post something interesting and 2.to catch up on everything that I missed. Did you miss me? –awkward silence– I guess not…

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Ah, don’t mind don’t mind

 

Our protagonist, Homura Suzuko comes back to Ikebukuro, where she spent her childhood with her best friend Morikawa Chinatsu. Suzuko had to leave the town because of family issues and they haven’t seen each other since…but there’s just one tiny problem, they both become Selectors and if the Selectors don’t fight in ‘battles’ which are basically duels between two Selectors, something bad happens. They play WIXOSS battles using cards that belong to their ‘deck’ and five gold coins, representing their memories are given to each Selector. The coins turn black if you don’t battle within a time limit and when you win you get a black coin restored, if by any chance you lose your last coin, all your memories will disappear, as simple as that. Gemu ga hajimemashou! (I literally googled that)

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There are a few differences that set it apart from Selector Infected, which came before it. One being that Chinatsu and Suzuko get fairly equal focus in the story. And this approach seems to be working for me. Why revolve the plot on just one main character and waste precious screen time if you can share that screen time with two MCs who are BFFs? While the childhood friends sentiment seems more like a placeholder in the first episode, they do fill that hole with some believable backstory. The characters are sort of more believable compared to those in Selector Infected, who, mind you, are a bunch of go-happy kids with zero depth whatsoever. It was like drinking a water bottle with the words “Dark Plot” printed on it. There was no way they knew how to put the pieces together, they made a mess of it. Most of the tragic moments seemed like a ‘given’ and it was terribly cliché to watch.

Okay moving on. I am very hopeful that the LRIGs will play a larger role in Lostorage. Come on, they know everything about their Selectors, all their memories, aspirations and personalities! I see room for improvement however small it may be, mostly because the LRIGs in Infected were simply “there” because that’s clearly how the system works. I don’t want them to just be little people that fight for you in a game, I want to see some real bonding with the Selectors and vice versa.

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McDonalds always had the best employment rates

Overall, the animation this time around was a huge improvement. Lostorage is clearer and sharper compared to the original and the LRIGs are pretty dope. Raise your hand if you thought Infected’s dark and overshadowing atmosphere looked like shit! *raises hand* There’s evidently more prominent parts and features in the LRIGs designs, starting from their weapons to their costumes. They certainly are cooler to look at and their costumes are eye-catching to say the least. I am digging how awesome Ruri looks right now. IMO, she IS a long forgotten female clone of Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. Go Jack!

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And of course it wouldn’t be a WIXOSS show without slightly hinting what happened in the first one. I think all that stuff should remain buried don’t you think? Lostorage feels like a fresh take on the WIXOSS franchise but undeniable similarities are still there sure. To be honest, I get sorta get a strange air that Lostorage mirrors Infected in some way just like when the cards first hid the truth of the battles from the Selectors, Suzuko’s doubtable thought process that she’ll get some friends if she buys some WIXOSS cards (only for it to backfire, big time) and Chinatsu’s unexplained desire for battling and so on.

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Life’s not looking so good huh table?
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God I want that hair style

And what’s interesting about Lostorage is the apparent lack of any end game goal. I mean what is it supposed to be? We need more episodes so I’ll leave it as is for now. The other thing that’s interesting is the card battles themselves which are a superior to those in Infected, we get to see the cards for like THREE whole seconds. Just kidding. The flashy exchanges and special abilities for individual Selectors should definitely add an interesting variable to the upcoming battles. One more thing, I noticed that the view doesn’t zoom in when an LRIG attacks or defends, it adds more of an atmosphere as we can clearly see that the Selectors themselves can get hit sometimes, we also get a much clearer perspective of what’s going on in the battlefield. That’s an extra mile that will go a long way to helping the battles feel unpredictable and downright awesome.

If you ask me, I’ll think that this would end up being rated higher than the original WIXOSS that it’s based on in the long run. Again, Lostorage Incited is not going to be a whole lot better either. The premise, while being pretty acceptable by far has outlived its usefulness and we obviously need more than just “childhood friends” and that memory of them playing around the pack and that little push-up bar to justify their relationship. Still, I’m actually looking forward to what will happen in the next episode. What will their real encounter be like?

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This isn’t what it looks like at first ok!
Shelter: What does it all mean?

Shelter: What does it all mean?

Everyone on the internet right now is telling me to watch ‘Shelter’, the very talked about 6-minutes anime music video by Porter Robinson (am I supposed to know him by any chance?). I’ve heard from my friends that it was a tear jerking experience and their recommendation was; “It’s just SIX minutes, you’ll like it”. Okay, what do you mean? Long story short, I took a dive and watched it but it was a far cry from being a masterpiece. Normally it would take a few repeats for you to fully understand what it is they are showing so do pause and take a better look if you must.

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And here comes the question, can you really tell a well-rounded story in 6-minutes? Yes, you can, that’s my belief anyways. I bet that you watch mostly 12-episodes seasons with lots of screen time to flesh the characters out or to just get a general feel of how the characters are like. In Shelter, our protagonist, Rin, doesn’t speak at all aside from the beginning of the video and at the very end. This really was the real barrier that prevented me from relating with her at all because while I do know that they were hinting at loneliness, isolation, anxiety and overcoming the loss of a loved one, the dialog was not convincing.

“Maybe I forgot how to think at all” “But I’m not lonely, it doesn’t bother me.”

“Even when I realize my loneliness” “I’m not alone because of you”

I feel like any single person could have said those lines. It’s just not that hard to come up with something that will describe what she is feeling but no, we are looking at a cry baby saying things that really don’t seem to make her situation any more special. Surely these words carry meaning but that same meaning is universally understood and didn’t have an impact on me. Fine, you’re hiding your depression and enduring it, yeah brag about it, cause I’ve heard what you’re saying again and again from a whole load of other shows.

FYI, Rin is stuck in a digital world where anything that she draws becomes reality and everything can be simulated in this world minus the physics of course. The animation as you can expect, is pretty breathtaking when you see it, one minute she’s running in a green field as wide as the eye can see and the next, she’s sitting at the edge of a huge glacier which for some strange reason glows colors…

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After years of being suppressed, her subconscious begins to creep in on the simulation. One day, she notices that a swing and a big tree mysteriously appeared in her world even though she didn’t draw it. This triggers memories from her childhood to resurface. She thinks about the past for a little while but ultimately ends up suppressing these feelings again and goes back to what she usually does, creating more incredible stuff for us to awe at.

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But these memories soon begin to leak onto her world but she doesn’t understand what she is seeing and she tries to ignore it. Feeling sadder in the process. Eventually, this triggers a bug and a very deep rooted memory takes hold of the simulation and she finally understands why she was put in this world in the first place.

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We learn that she was the only successful candidate of a program her father created, aimed at making sure that the human race can continue on once after the apocalypse. Now for the sake of spoilers, I won’t tell you what it is. Oh and there’s a portrait of a woman holding her new born child beside the TV with a flower vase near it… Seriously, who didn’t see this coming? Safely playing by the rules huh?

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To wrap up, a refreshing experience that requires a little prying open to understand it’s real worth. You really shouldn’t take anything at face value, especially if the story is cramped in a 6-minute space. Shelter was a great example of visual storytelling plus with a catchy techno song that you might even like more than the actual video. It was only when I set my mind to reviewing that I found out that it was not at the slightest a disappointment. So, here is me recommending Shelter to all my readers (that’s you!).  Stay tuned for more posts and thanks for reading, as always.

-KKSparrow

Flip Flappers Episode 3 Reactions

Flip Flappers Episode 3 Reactions

Flip Flappers has done it again. I’m in my room as confused as hell over how this episode turned out. Well, can’t say that I wasn’t expecting this outcome after watching the first two episodes, honestly the pacing hasn’t changed much and they are still throwing a bunch of stuff at us to justify what little explanation there is.

Firstly, we go into Pure Illusion again and get a list of other things that we haven’t seen like desert bandits, a peaceful village made out of sand and then some. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed that the villain here got spewed in 4 minutes flat without so much as leaving an impression on us. That clichéd sailors moon transformation though…

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We do get a hint of actual backstory but as you’ve guessed, they quickly ignored going into the context of it all. Still, these could get explained in a later episode, let’s hope it does anyways. This episode did surprise me with Yayaka’s involvement in Pure Illusion, I’m honestly glad she’s portrayed as working for the bad guys but we won’t know her true motives until Papika and Cocona go to school tomorrow, damn. Wait, maybe she was brainwashed? An alternate Yayaka in Pure illusion? Your opinions?

For what it’s worth, this episode is not completely useless. The big lasers plus the catchy magical girl outfits and classic magical girl action was great to watch and I can’t wait for more magical/sci-fi sequences like this but there’s just one little problem…

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There is no way to get a grasp on what happened in this episode. I have so many question about the story as well as for the characters. It’s almost like they want us to be confused. At least it’s worth it in the end as we frantically needed a shocking reveal or two and it’s become pretty clear how the overall story is going to play out now.

Ultimately, Flip Flappers might not be willing to let us in on its secrets and the amount of thought that has gone into the references really shows that it is going for more than any ordinary show. It will either end up as a completely psychological experience that likes to mess with your head or a half-baked show that failed to make its characters interesting with a plot that jumps all over the place. I can already picture a lot of people feeling mortified if it does not end well. Remember, this is all just a prediction.

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The evil cult that Papika and Cocona are up against is well equipped and the fact that they’re only at the level of collecting ‘fragments’ and whereas the sinister organization is collecting Amorphous ‘spheres’ probably means that they have a long way to go already. And the compilation that Cocona’s mind was empty and that she had wanted to kill Papika doesn’t make any sense to me, what exactly are they trying to conjure up? There’s only a tiny difference between Cocona and Papika then, I don’t see a reason why Papika couldn’t be exactly the same. Or is there some kind of connection between this and the mysterious girl on the boat in episode 1? They do look similar yeah, I’m guessing they will keep this under wraps until very later on.

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The next episode preview looks to be more of the same so I’m curious of what Flip Flappers will cook up next week. But my enjoyment of the show is beginning to look one-sided. It is going to be another delusional wait. Somebody had better bring crackers if the show is so concerned about dragging its plot for so long.

-KKSparrow

Gakkou Gurashi: A unique take on the zombie anime?

Gakkou Gurashi: A unique take on the zombie anime?

Gakkou Gurashi centers around five students who took shelter in their school when people started turning into blood thirsty monsters a.k.a Zombies! With the school surrounded by zombies and possibly also the whole town, what will happen to them?

This anime differentiates itself by being adorable as well as terrifying in its own right. To be correct, Gakkou Gurashi is a successful mutation of the moe Slice of Life and the Zombies genre. The characters are likable, cute and have their fair share of psychological issues brought about by the zombie apocalypse, which are well emphasized and most often come off a very emotional for some. It didn’t feel like a gimmick or clichéd at all and the show is plenty serious about what’s going on when it comes to it. The cute exterior and the dark interior will surely surprise a lot of people though it can seem like they are just incompatible but this is as close as you can get to being great.

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So, let me ask you a question. How do you keep watch over two individuals who hate each other? Put them in separate rooms of course, Ha! Well, if they merged the two opposite themes, it would be a death sentence right? First of all, the show can actually be split into two parts, the one concerning the present and the one concerning the past (with a few exceptions). Each episode has about an equal slice of the two and that’s what makes this so enjoyable. All the loss and suffering are in the past while the Sol themes are in the present (more or less). But don’t think the zombies will sit idly by and just watch…nothing lasts forever you see, especially a barrier made out of desks tied together by metal wires. I’m amazed that they can be so calm about that.

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I can already see the zombies rolling through the hall!

There are clues that you can notice buried in the background and slight changes in detail for those of you who pay close attention. If you put the pieces together, you can actually figure what they’re keeping under wraps. Like the opening theme changing to represent what happened, and don’t be surprised if a character gets grayed out…oops wait, it that considered a spoiler? The characters are OK I guess but I have to admit that there wasn’t enough depth to them and when they switched around the past and the present, the mood can become damn confusing and the characters can seem alienated at times. Sometimes the horror and their goofing around don’t mix very well.

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Gakkou Gurashi is a bit jumpy at times and the pacing is doubtable, you can end up not caring at all. It changes from a being flashback to going in reverse chronological order then back to normal again all without so much as a hint. And like every other cute show out there, the word ‘character development’ doesn’t quite fit into the picture, they’re just too cute to relate to when things go down hill and I think they are used more as plot devices than anything else. And mirroring any other show out there it just had to have an episode that focuses around cleaning a pool for god’s sake, you know like they usually do. Plus, an epic water gun fight!

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With that being said, you should not expect too much blood or gore from the series. The bloody environment is apparent and the class rooms are covered in it but for better or worse they are not actively visible because A CERTAIN character has some problems with it, aside from that, they do have the initial shock factor when we realize that it was another façade.

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The zombies are pretty cool to look at and the close ups are pretty detailed and terrifying I must say. The one thing that stood out was how the actual zombies sounded, you don’t want your Zombies to sound like the ones in Plants vs Zombies do you? Murmuring for our forgiveness because they weren’t that cool to begin with, and no I won’t forgive you Zombies! When a Zombie roars in Gakkou Gurashi, the sound is deep and tantalizing and worthy of tearing someone to shreds. There’s increasingly more tension built up as the story progresses and it just catches you off guard when they suddenly turn up the horror by a magnitude. The way they kept the zombies out of sight for the most part made them a great deal creepier then if they had been there. Okay, okay I’m a bit over-analyzing here.

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I’m supposed to be scared of a bunch of black blobs you say?

I think a lot of zombie fans are familiar with the little explanation that the whole thing was because of some truck carrying a deadly virus or because a research exploded and caused the outbreak or another country attacked japan with a chemical agent so I’ll leave it at that, this pulls that stunt as well but it doesn’t fully explain it. Well you can’t pull off a zombie killing spree that’s for sure.

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Sir, I would like to inform you that you’re being laughed at

The jokes and funny skits, while being a great distraction from all the tense moments from the previous episodes, they felt off to me because they really don’t pay attention to what is going on and the later episodes actually have almost no funny lines whatsoever, which was definitely a good call. Nothing was memorable about the jokes anyways, you take it and laugh or you throw it out and roll your head in a circle, it works both ways.

The Conclusion:

Overall, Gakkou Gurashi is still an experience worth having because it is the only thing that comes close to featuring kawaii characters and zombies without looking stupid. The story was refreshing with a good dosage of emotions that almost everyone can understand unless they’re seriously aiming for realism here, you won’t find it. The Sol elements were a good distraction from the heavier stuff, alas they can be boring and completely random of course. The eerie atmosphere and in-your-face horror will keep zombie fans entertained if they can ignore all the other lighter parts. There are only a few locations in this show, around the schools and one more and it can get a bit repetitive because they reuse the same scene over and over again but you can certainly deal with it, it’s not that bad. To conclude, watch it if you like cute stuff and zombies and kinda want a middle ground between the two with compromises but avoid it like hot garbage if you are expecting it to excel at both, you WILL be disappointed I’ll tell you that much.

-KKSparrow

Flip Flappers episode 1 – 2 Review

Flip Flappers episode 1 – 2 Review

Flip Flappers could potentially be your favorite airing show this Autumn season and while the lack of any plot progression will bore some people , it’s still going to be a good watch for those who’d like to take a break from all this and watch something “cute” for once. Flip Flappers is cheerful, light and beautiful to look at, and it doesn’t let up its plot just yet, which is actually a good thing in my eyes. So, what about it?

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Who’s that creeper in the background?

Papika is out looking for another partner after things didn’t work out with her pervious one and this is where she meets Cocona, an introverted, shy and studious girl who is having trouble deciding what she wants her future to be. On their initial meeting Papika and Cocona are pulled into a parallel world called “Pure Illusion”. The two have more adventures together and quickly become friends. But the lab that Papika comes from forces Cocona and her to go on these dangerous adventures to collect ‘fragments’ (whatever they are) with the overall goal of liberating Pure Illusion. Has Papika been deceived? Is she being used just to collect these so-called ‘fragments’? But for how long? Will Cocona be forced to work as well? Find out next time on Dragon Ball Z…never mind.

The one thing that everyone can agree on at this point is that the animation is amazing and fluid. The world of Pure Illusion looks to be both wonderful and sweet as well as twisted and terrifying. I like the way that there are very visible pencil markings in the character’s eyes and the fact that they use a lot of bright and brilliant colors to draw the scenes, it was a real treat to look at because this is the only airing anime that goes overboard with colors. The characters are also super hug worthy to boot. Though I think Flip Flappers is far from being a kids’ show.

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Let’s start with the obvious, the plot, we literally have no plot outline shown what so ever on the second episode, Papika and Cocona are still messing around in the world of Pure Illusion and you’re gonna have to wait if you want more. It won’t make sense pretty easily and you’ll feel like you’re just being dragged along for no good reason, getting transported into a world that is incredibly reminiscent of going through the closet in Nania and as strange and mysterious as Alice in Wonderland. I think Pure Illusion still has a lot to surprise us with, though the real reason it might be dangerous may not be because of the creatures living in the inside but because it sucks people to another dimension? Or maybe there’s a cult of evil-doers hidden deep within Pure Illusion?

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It seems like Pure Illusion manifests itself from the surrounding environment and could be an “Illusion” of reality, thus the cheesy name of course. And like you guessed, this leads to some funny results. You’ll have to dig for more details if you want to and there’s a fair bit of things to uncover like cameo appearances, deliberately ignored plot holes, and oh did you notice that illuminati symbol on that robot above?

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This makes it a little bit hard to focus but they do pump it up a knot when they need to and there was this feeling that whatever it is that they were seeing will never probably be explained and that they only got into trouble because they disturbed a balance or something. Yes, this feels a lot like Alice in The Wonderland in that it is kind of a distorted version of reality, featuring mysterious surroundings, a creative art design and most of all a sense of adventure in an unknown world where anything could happen.

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The one thing that stood out like a sore thumb to me was the fan service that you will occasionally see now and then, made worse by the fact that they are most likely ten, probably. Well, maybe they’re not 100% normal I guess. Are they seriously trying to explore these girls’ sexuality while building up their friendship? I’m not against the idea but couldn’t they have make it less questionable and not too overly obvious?

Papika is energetic, quirky and fun while Cocona is more closed off, quiet and independent. I get it, Papika is finally the one that cracks Cocona’s invisible shell and gets her to laugh and enjoy herself even though Cocona thinks things seriously and doesn’t want to be involved in anything. Well that pretty much tells you that it is possible to become BFFs in less than two days…Myth BUSTED!

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Seriously! We can see you guys!

Final Thoughts:

I will be looking forward for the next episode to convince me that this is worth following but what’s aired so far shows a lot of potential. I’m generally fine with the minimal story and confusion on these two episodes especially because it’s obvious that they don’t want to revel anything important and are keeping quiet, inserting subtle details. This could be fun, dark, sad, mischievous, interesting or confusing at the same time…I just know it.

-KKSparrow

So Ra No Wo To: A great Military anime in disguise?

So Ra No Wo To: A great Military anime in disguise?

Here’s the gist of it. Sora no Woto is set in the beautiful city of Sieze, a sleepy border town located right between the Kingdom of Helvetia and the Romanian Empire and revolves around the lives of the girls serving in the platoon stationed there. Sorami Kanata, a novice military bugler, has been transferred to the 1121st platoon in Sieze, a lax group of five that more or less don’t have drills too often and are tasked mainly with helping the residents out. Despite technically being in the military and all, there’s not a lot of tension around the group and overall a very sweet series to watch if you ever feel like it. If you’re willing to dig a little further, you’ll find that the story builds around a world that is full of lore and things to discover, possibilities to consider and a new faithful perspective of war and the death and destruction it brings.

Sora no Woto on the surface will look like any other Slice of Life out there but it tries to deduce the meaning of war, loss and acceptance with your past sins behind the scenes of it Sol camouflage. Honestly, Sora no Woto couldn’t be more different from the “K-On in the Military” that some people might believe it to be. Strictly speaking, there are a few mishaps, like every other typical 13-episode anime out there.

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When I watched the first episode, I couldn’t help but feel astonished at the gorgeous scenery within and around the city of Sieze. I mean, look at that! Don’t tell me that it doesn’t look beautiful. Everything is painstakingly detailed and very obvious that the artists poured their hearts into this. The color palette is amazing with the majestic cobblestone buildings and other minor sights catching my interest instantly.

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The beauty of the world definitely caught my interest although the plot frequently jumps from being a cute show with a little moe-factor in there to conveying serious and deep rooted man-made disasters and goes to lengths to make us embrace the harsh reality and see that the world they live in has miraculously survived a long and bitter war that had repercussions even when everything seemed to be full of energy. The oceans are now bare, turned into deserts, humanity has lost most of its technology, and music is used as a military tool, signaling battle formations, enemy kills or sounding the retreat. The characters have all experienced the war that almost destroyed their homeland and the lingering feelings of their loved ones haven’t faded completely.

I like that they tried to combine the Mecha, Slice of Life, moe and Military aspects together, the end result was only mildly enjoyable though, I guess that’s to be expected. Had they purely told the tale of people regaining their love for music again, it would have been infinitely more enjoyable to watch. The lore of Sora No Woto while still being very interesting to me, didn’t follow through enough and there were a lot of things that they neglected to show us instead relying on just the characters alone to bring in the feels which was a futile attempt at getting my attention and fell through the floor. We’re honestly given more time to think than anything.

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The undeniable weakness of Sora No Woto lies in its plot. And because of that this make it a hard recommendation, almost a majority of the episodes move at a snail’s pace, I already know this will turn off some. Those episodes add nothing to the backbone of the story. Kanata and the members in her platoon going on an outing, a water gun fight, trouble in a part of town etc. Hell, one of the episode was about getting a new lens for the tank in their armory with Kanata surprising us with how much her bugler skills have improved, it literally bored me to death… and another one about looking over the only phone in the fort so that HQ can check if the phone lines are working…Get it over with and kill me already!

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The sound track is one of the better inclusions of the show. This might be the first time I heard a French song in an anime, I was surprised really. Well it wasn’t a coincidence since all the letters in Sora No Woto are written in French. The music was soothing and hit all the right spots. It felt inspiring and endearing while at the same time blending in perfectly with the lore. The calming rhythm played by an array of rural instruments strengthened the various scenes in the anime. I’m probably going to put the opening theme song, “Hikari no Senritsu” on loop and listen for like 45-minutes after this is done. The animation was silky smooth and you will fall in love with the artstyle. Okay maybe the slightly moe character design can be a problem.

I’ll give credit where it’s due, the later part of the show starts to draw upon the on-going war that was vaguely hinted the entire time. We are slowly revealed about the scars in the characters past and it was a refreshing breath of air, the girls are not without their fair share of secrets and past regrets. And here’s where it gets interesting, the war now adds a feeling of concern, it went from background noise to a heavily emphasized theme of Sora no Woto.

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Continuing on with that, Sora No Woto is more about remorse for the already dead than fighting a war or anything else. It’s filled with incredible scenes that really capture what they were aiming for, abandoned and decrepit but still standing after all the fierce fighting. In a sense, a family might have built a home there and lived happily but sadly they’re all dead. A thriving village might have been there but sadly it’s all destroyed. A school might have been there but SADLY it’s all rubble. Hey, I’m just saying.

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The Conclusion

I tried to make this review as spoiler free as possible but there’s seriously not much to cover either than what I’ve said above. You could just watch this with Hibike Euphonium 2 if you’d like since they are similar to some degree. Either way, Sora No Woto will come off as a mixed bag or passable at the most. I cannot see any reason it should be rated higher. The characters are fairly generic and the plot was uninteresting and the ending felt abrupt. It definitely was engaging at times but was quickly dampened by the filler like episodes. The story is a jumble of different things squished together, the episodes don’t have much correlation to each other and can feel like utter boredom with very vague hints about the characters past which are not explained properly and left untouched. Yes, it has many flaws, and it’s beautiful and rich world is the only thing that I found myself actively wanting more of. To get to the point, if you think you can live with undeveloped characters, watch through some boring episodes, take awe in its creative setting, listen to its amazing soundtrack and generally fine with being served a half-critical slice of the prospects of war, Sora No Woto is going to impress more than disappoint.

-KKSparrow