Tag: Anime

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.

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

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

Yuri!! On Ice Episode 1 Reactions

Yuri!! On Ice Episode 1 Reactions

Yuri On Ice practically needs no introductions after it snared everyone with its gorgeous opening PV. It is currently the craze for sports anime fans right now with other bloggers posting their thoughts on this glorified first episode and Imagine what would happen when I had the same idea…Oops Although I just LOVE the thought of figure skating done right in an anime (I’m tired of basketball), I know I will run out of my room with a nervous look when the BL fan service comes kicking in.

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For starters, the story is not set in high school…Yay! Katsuki Yuuri the main boy of the show has failed to appeal to the judges and he ended up taking last place in the Gran Prix Finale where his role model, Victor Nikiforov is all the buzz after winning for five times in a row. On top of that, Kazuki has also lost the National Competition and returns home to Kyushu. Frustrated about his future, he tries to cheer himself up to get back his love for ice skating by imitating one of Victor’s performances only for a video of it to go viral and back fire on him with Victor coming to his place proposing that he become his couch. I’ve seen this before, the childhood idol of our main characters sees talent and inadvertently wants to take him under his wing and teach him his skills.

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The premise sets things up perfectly, Yuuri is a talented ice skater but he was not at his best mentally in the competition, which is very understandable. He doesn’t know how he should act now that he failed to make his mark on the skating world and goes back to Japan to gather his thoughts. But why would a prodigy like Victor visit him anyways? Because after winning for five years straight, Victor must be mighty tired and running out of competitors and with another amazing skater Plisetsky Yuri moving through the ranks, he might have felt like scooting over to help Yuuri out after he saw the video since he can be considered a pro for even making it to the Gran Prix Final. Well Victor’s reasons aside, it seems like they are going to stick to this ‘plot’. *wink*

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I don’t know about you but I felt a little motion sick when Yuuri showed off his skills to Yuko, his childhood friend who trained with him and also admires Victor, Yuuri was clearly trying to get out of the friend zone, yep. While I was plastered to the screen, it felt as if Yuuri was skating on a two dimensional ice surface rather than a three dimensional one and his rapid movements made it worse. Maybe I was sitting too close to the screen? It kinda seemed like Yuuri was layered on top of the ice, it was irritating. Most people won’t notice it much so moving on…I am glad they didn’t blur the spins and flips and stuck to the usual way of animating things, only showing a few frames to give the illusion of Yuuri spinning which was choppy but fantastic non the less with the show cutting between Victor’s actual performance in a huge stadium and his little late night skating practice to flaunt his best stuff for his crush. If it was in real life, you wouldn’t catch him rolling through the air in a quad, see him pull off some depth-defying tricks or make out his legs individually when he spins like hell. All of that would look out of focus and blurred. There’s a silver lining though, you have to give them credit for hiring a real professional figure skater and drawing his moves for us to experience.

The animation quality elsewhere was not bad at all with a lot of beautiful shots of the scenery. There definitely was a cozy and welcoming atmosphere with comedic effect on the topic of Yuuri being fat and his family being worry-free and only wanting to support him after he comes back from a long trip to another country. Though Yuuri doesn’t look like a glutton to the slightest when he’s skating. How do you explain that logic guys?

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Overall, very excited for what we’re going to see in the next episode and how they will handle the interactions between the characters. I am genuinely stoked to see how Yuuri will go back to skating again. Let the beautiful skating scenes continue as tradition and I’ll see you next time! That title is a little misleading don’t you think?                                                                                                                   -KKSparrow

Let’s play a little mind game kids!

Let’s play a little mind game kids!

The current trend among all the girls seem to be the new card game, WIXOSS. WIXOSS is more than just any simple card game however, there are players mysteriously named Selectors and they have special WIXOSS cards called LRIGs who can talk and possess their own unique personality. Every Selector can have one of their wishes fulfilled if they win “battles”, where they are transported to another dimension and fight with their LRIGs. After a Selector wins a number of battles, she automatically becomes the Eternal Girl and their wish gets granted, simple enough. But there is a dark secret hidden in the plectra of battles for glory and fame. Would you believe that your wish can come true? What’s the price to such a force that can make even the impossible happen?

Welcome to Selector Infected WIXOSS folks, that’s the actual title by the way. Yes, this anime is about a card game but that is not the main focus. The story is more psychological than action, dealing with the struggles of three girls as they adapt to being Selectors. Although they’re not shy to make some characters go mentally unstable and make us feel sorry for their losses. Everything is going well, the characters are smiling, having a good time and that’s when the story takes a turn and shit goes downhill…fast. I repeat, they are not afraid to make the characters (and by extension us) suffer the consequences of wanting their wishes to come true. This not your average slice of pie, this is some messed up stuff right here.

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Ruuko Kominato is currently living with her grandmother and brother after her mother left her while she was a child. One day, Ruuko Kominato discovers an LRIG in her deck of WIXOSS cards and becomes a Selector. She is challenged by another Selector, Yuzuki Kurebayashi to a battle, after that the two quickly become friends joined by Hitoe Uemura later on. The three desperately try to fulfill their dreams in a world where every Selector is mercilessly beating others to realize their own. Their aspirations become desperation as they learn that they are not playing just any regular game. Reality is more twisted and cruel than they had thought. Go figures.

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Nobody’s staring at you guys! Stop it!  (Ruko, Hitoe and Yuzuki)

Don’t you just love the smell of looming doom and despair? There are supple hints to the darker part of the show early on, from the opening and ending theme songs, Ruko’s nightmares, the mystery behind the LRIGs and the depressing soundtrack, they all make you anxious to see what is so wrong about this game. Okay, okay you might half-expect all of the plot twists if you’re used to seeing shows like this (wait, does that make me a horrible person?) but you won’t believe how far they took it, nope. As much as the three girls would want to avoid any trouble and act like normal friends, they are still Selectors and they can’t just run away. The other Selectors are all fighting for their own reasons, doesn’t that seem unfair? Should they just give up their wish? There may be people who are in dire need of it don’t you think?

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The use of gray and dull colors in the backgrounds and foregrounds gives the show a dark undertone that really makes us feel helpless whenever we see the characters grieving after a battle and goes to show how empty and bleak their situation really is. Their hopes get turned upside down and they don’t have any way to escape it either than to continue fighting. Putting up fake expressions to mask their anger and trying to run away from all the frustration and disbelief. By winning more battles, they are denying other people their wishes and when they lose for a number of times, a horrible fate awaits them. Do you sit down and enjoy life as usual only for another Selector to beat you or do you move up the ranks and ruin more wishes? Was your wish that important? Do you even have a wish in the first place?

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Ruko is the developed character out of their group. She had no social skills whatsoever and it was pretty obvious from the start of the show. She is always confused with what she is thinking and can’t decide on what her mind actually wants to do. Because of that, she is generally very susceptible to fear and can’t handle negative emotions so she does her best to bury everything inside keeping her feelings suppressed and contained, trying to be as neutral as possible to everyone and anyone. In a sense, she’s having a hard time accepting who she is and when disaster befalls them, she forces herself to hold back her feelings though she’s not very good at faking it. Ruko developed into a strong and confident person at the end and it was at least satisfying to see her come all the way from a worthless introverted neutralizer to this new Ruko.

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The battles serve mostly as the icing on the cake. They are not featured heavily but were essential to make the whole dynamic of the show work together. Even though I watched all the episodes, I still don’t know all the buttons. It’s not that I wasn’t paying attention, they simply don’t properly explain what sort of properties a card has, the card levels, card class special abilities or how everything relating to the cards stitch together. Then again, you won’t need to understand it, you just need to watch the action unfold.

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As cool as the battles may look, there are also downsides like the characters talking more than fighting even in the arena and the very limited number of moves that they show off. Seriously, all I see are attacks, defends, grow (powerup) and draw (a card). What?! Isn’t there more? Sadly no. Now that was disappointing, can’t say that I’m not surprised, No.

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Final Thoughts

Do you like dark stories? Need to relax without feeling too stressed? You could just watch Selector Infected WIXOSS to cool you down (that name looks out of place wherever I put it). This could give you the infectious dosage of (sweet) depression that you’ve been looking for, it certainly fits the criteria nicely. This series has its fair share of mind-boggling plot twists and awesome battles and the LRIGs character designs, especially Tama (Ruko’s LRIG) was very pleasing to my eyes. Although the fights are a worthy point, I can’t shake the feeling that they cut some corners with the animation, things in the background are undetailed, the water-color on the background can look awfully bad and you’ll notice a few rogue lines here and there, the pencil lines are also as thick as they get sometimes. Like I said, the story is about three girls who fight to make their dreams come true and they face a lot of mental challenges along the way. Seeing something terrible happen to a friend and not being able to do anything about it, misunderstanding other people’s feelings, being faced with the choice of survival with the loss of another and total mental breakdowns, you name it, it’s going to have that one too.

-KKSparrow

Extra

If you’re going to watch this because you think it is similar to Mahou Shoujo Madoka then I can offer some advice for you. A Comparison really…

  • The biggest similarity is that they both feature some kind of action or the other. In Madoka it was the Magical Girls with their powers against the Witches and in Selector it’s the Selectors against one another with their LRIGs.
  • The main characters in Madoka are superior to the ones featured in Selector in my opinion. There was so much outward emotion and unbearable thoughts portrayed by the Madoka team that they easily trump the half-real and strange logic behind the characters here.
  • Hmm…I wonder why there was never an asshole as a Magical Girl in Madoka. Security probably kicked them out. Selector has them and she’s a super annoying, ungrateful, self-loathing brat, you know, like the ones that truly piss you off beyond compare because they cause so many problems for our precious characters. Yeah. Don’t go berserk buddy. Good Luck.
  • When Madoka was out to send us into a phase of hatred towards Kurbey, you don’t have anyone to blame in Selector. Sure you could blame the ones who made it…wait, who made the cards again? Oh, they’re too lazy to tell you that. Well you could always blame the other players who most likely will be overjoyed for finding such easy prey. God Bless.
  • Like the girls in Madoka, the three here are fighting for their wish and also face the consequences for it. They get hurt just like the girls in Madoka but they are not the best at making us feel for them. The character development in Madoka was very well-deserved while the three here are not that believable. If only they would let us into their twisted minds, this show would be much more enjoyable. Don’t just show us that a character has matured, make us believe it.
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I Gotta Run See Ya!