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Messages - Krozam

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Manga / Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
« on: April 03, 2014, 03:31:21 pm »
Koharu no Hibi by Ooshiro Youkou

I've occasionally wondered, what kind of a romance it would be if a guy actually accepted a stalker yandere's feelings, and somehow worked out solutions to each of her psychotic episodes. Somehow making the relationship work. I actually considered writing one. Well, Koharu no Hibi effectively ended my contemplation about that subject. At times it's really creepy, at times it's really cute, but ultimately, it was a rewarding read. Something quite unique, something I hadn't read before. The male protag is not totally useless, and I must admit, for all her insanity, Koharu has some endearing character traits. As expected of a hentai mangaka (this one isn't hentai, though), the difficulty of things like an indirect kiss, or on ordinary kiss for that matter, aren't exaggerated. The sole exception being moving on to the first name basis - but that scene is so adorable and funny that I can't blame the author. In the end, this story is quite cute. 3/5 stars.

Music: I Feed You My Love by Margaret Berger... That title is so fitting. XD

Manga / Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
« on: March 31, 2014, 07:33:17 am »
Tora Kiss by Kamoshida Hajime and Tomato Mato

I don't need to write a long post to review this manga. It's enough to say that it's very similar to Trinity Seven, and almost as good. It suffers from the same problems and benefits from the same strengths. It has a similar male lead (except lazier and lacking in ambition), similar humour and a similar harem setting. The girls are a a bit weaker, more reliant on the MC's strength, but quite cute, both in personality and appearance. The art is different, but almost as good. The plot is more interesting than you'd think based on the summary, but I feel it hasn't reached the good part yet, the manga is still just setting up, at 20 chapters. A superbly entertaining read, and I eagerly look forward to more. 4/5 stars.

Edit: Aaand it got axed. Gg, Japan. -_-'

Anime / Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« on: March 29, 2014, 09:02:51 pm »
Strike the Blood

A nice, entertaining fantasy action series. I'd compare it to Campione: there are several common elements, not least of which is a harem which actually looks like it might lead to a real harem end. The male lead is pretty decent - I wouldn't call him cool, and he can be pretty thick-headed when it comes to girls, but he's still relatively capable and likeable. The girls have really cute character designs, and not bad personalities. I especially like Asagi, who is the only "normal" girl in the bunch, but still manages to be very useful (and has the cutest design).

The plots aren't bad, but they're usually pretty straightforward. Fairly high in entertainment value, but not much depth. The fights are entertaining as well, if a bit repetitive. The settings and the magic system are pretty interesting, but not explored enough.

I haven't read the original novels, but I think the anime is probably a pretty good, non-rushed adaptation. After I learned that the author of the original novels is the same person who wrote Asura Cryin', I couldn't help comparing them. Unfortunately, the comparison truly doesn't flatter StB. If it's about the depth and development of the characters or the complexity of the plot, Asura Cryin' stands several levels above StB. The visuals are clearly superior in StB, but AC has far better musics. The comedy, the settings and the magic system are roughly equal. The emotional impact of Asura Cryin' is incomparably higher than that of StB. Both shows are unfortunately thematically shallow.

In conclusion, StB was a nice, light watch. Constantly entertaining, but ultimately left me a pretty mild impression. 3,5/5 stars.

Anime / Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« on: March 28, 2014, 01:20:10 am »
Mikakunin de Shinkoukei

One of the best slice of life romcoms I've had the pleasure to see. I'd compare it to Acchi Kocchi: they're both very lighthearted and lacking in drama, cute and funny, based on 4-koma manga, and have rather similar atmosphere. I must say I enjoy the AK male lead more than the Mikakunin one, but on the other hand, Mikakunin has more enjoyable female cast. Sure, they're all rather one-dimensional, save perhaps the female lead, Kobeni... but their character dynamics are a constant source of entertainment. The male lead is a bit quiet, but I wouldn't exactly call him bland. He has his good points.

Perhaps the weakest point in the story is around the middle, when they introduce some fantasy elements that, IMO, aren't properly foreshadowed and feel completely unnecessary and out of place in the story. I got used to it, however, and ultimately it was a minor bother to me.

The ending is nice. It feels incomplete, they clearly left the door open for another season, but the last ep is quite a fine finish nonetheless. It has just the right amount of drama to bring such a lighthearted story to a pleasantly climatic end. All in all, Mikakunin was a very pleasant watch, 4/5 stars.

Manga / Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
« on: March 24, 2014, 06:14:17 am »
So I started reading UQ Holder, the sequel to Negima, with a new cast (aside from Evangeline), that takes place some 80 years after Negima. That is fine with me in principle, it's not like I was particularly attached to the cast - the atmosphere, fights and plot were more interesting. Besides, Eva was pretty much my favourite character, and she's still here.

Akamatsu does some interesting things with magic in UQ holders, just like he did in Negima. And immortality as well, an element apparently very central to the story. Also, there are some societal dimensions to the story, interesting changes caused mainly by the revelation of magic to the public. The fights are still okay, although as of yet, nothing close to Negima's best fights. And finally, it is interesting to learn what eventually became of Negi and the rest of the cast from Negima.

However, everything else is just... meh. It feels like a bunch of shounen clichés slapped together, starting with the protagonist - an energetic, dumb kid with big dreams and ridiculous natural fighting talents. Pretty much a typical shounen protagonist (apart from the talent part), nowhere close as interesting as Negi. None of the other new characters so far are particularly interesting either, I keep comparing them to some Negima characters they resemble. Some of them have potential, though, we'll see.

Characters aside, the overall plot is still hazy, the story feels pretty aimless for now. Aside from some brief hints, I still have no idea what Akamatsu is planning for this story long-term - or, heck, even short-term. It's kind of rushed, he obviously wants to make Touta, the protagonist, strong quickly - what I don't understand is, why didn't he give the character a proper headstart, to shorten the trip? Sure, he has certain... advantages he either acquired in his (forgotten) past or at the very start, but still, his development is pretty ridiculous.

Anyway, the story feels rushed and aimless, which makes for an experience lacking in feeling, atmosphere and, well, common sense. I'm not sure this is worth reading, it's a huge disappointment to me, but I guess I'll give it a while longer, see if a plot surfaces in another 20 or so chapters.

Anime / Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« on: March 23, 2014, 07:45:28 am »
Log Horizon

Every once in a while, I come across an adaptation that renews my faith in adaptations. Log Horizon is one of those. It's patient, faithful, improves on the original instead of crapping all over it, and it's simply good. It covers the first 5 volumes of the light novels, each volume given approximately 5 episodes (most LN adaptations give 3, max 4 eps for one novel - explains why most LN adaptations are crap). The adaptation is faithful (though I've only read the 5th novel, so I'm not entirely sure how faithfully the first 4 vols are adapted), with slight improvements on the pacing and comedy and replacing some of the slightly excessive amounts of inner monologue and narrator explanation with dialogue - shows that the director not only respects the original material, he also understands what needs to be changed when transferring the story over to another medium.

Everybody knows that the concept of Log Horizon is very similar to that of the widely popular Sword Art Online, on paper. What everyone who has watched/read both knows is that in reality, they're nothing alike. IMO, LH is much better. But I haven't watched SAO completely, so I won't go any further with that comparison.

A more interesting comparison, in my mind, can be made to a korean webtoon manhwa called The Gamer. These two stories have the opposite approaches to essentially the same theme. The Gamer plays with the idea of what would happen if a live human were to become like a game character, while remaining in the real world, only applying game logic to his life. He gains experience, his physical and mental attributes are determined by his stats, he kills monsters and gains loot, he can learn skills by reading a book etc. Log Horizon, on the other hand, takes place in a virtual game world, which the human players eventually discover to be more alike a real world than they ever imagined. In many ways, real world logic applies to that world. I can't say much more without spoiling important plot points, but I really find the comparison between these two works quite interesting.

But enough about adaptations and comparisons, let's talk about the anime and its own merits. One of the first things you'll realise when starting to watch it is that Log Horizon is rather slow-paced. There's some action, but it never really takes the spotlight, this story is about something else. It's mostly about discovery, settings building. This is achieved without all that much travelling, for what is discovered here is not so much what lies beyond the horizon, but more about the rules that govern that world, and gaining a deeper understanding of its indigenous people - the NPC's. That's some freaky advanced AI that controls these NPC's, they're so much like living humans that players can befriend them, or fall in love, before they realise that the other party isn't a player character.

Another very interesting element in the story is politics. I don't know what it is in fantasy politics that I so much enjoy (I care little about real world politics), but LH is one story that serves me well in that regard. Just as the main character's intelligence serves him well in this new world he's found himself and 30,000 other players. I do love an intelligent protagonist, perhaps even more than a badass one. Shiroe would have no need to be ashamed in the company of characters such as Keima from The World God Only Knows, Tooru from Iris Zero and the nameless protagonist of Hammer Session. He's a masterful organiser, manipulator and strategist, who is awesome enough to change the very rules governing his new world.

Other than Shiroe, there are a few other characters worthy of notice. First of all, Crusty and princess Leinessia are a pair whose interaction is in the highest class of entertaining, IMO quite comparable to Lawrence and Horo from Spice and Wolf. The two maidens holding special feelings for Shiroe, Akatsuki and Minori, also gain quite some development during the story. And then there's one more very interesting NPC character, whose identity would be a spoiler. There are plenty of entertaining and likeable characters besides them, but honestly, I feel like characters overall are a weak point in the story. They avoid archetypes pretty well, but they're not given much depth either.

The plot is... great. It manages to be unpredictable and entertaining without being overly complex or twisty. But what is perhaps even more impressive is how little it relies on action. Similar to the author's earlier work, Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, there is a measured amount of action, but its role is strictly limited to supporting the plot. It's a bit more reliant on comedy, but in part that is thanks to the adaptation - the original novels have somewhat less comedy. Furthermore, if the anime adaptations are any indication, the author has greatly improved from the days of Maoyuu. LH has a way, way more interesting story to tell. A story about building a society out of a more or less lawless bunch of gamers lost in a familiar yet foreign land, and as I said earlier, about discovering the rules governing that world. This story is clearly settings-oriented, but it's a different kind of settings building from what you usually see in similarly oriented fantasy stories.

I might have rated the anime full 5 stars, if not for the unfortunate fact that the 5th volume happens to be a breather between two more serious arcs. Had the anime ended at 20 episodes, it would have had a properly climatic ending. As it stands, the last arc is interesting, but rather lacking in excitement - not a good finish, it leaves far too mild an aftertaste. It does give us a glimpse of what to expect from the second season, however, and somebody had the good sense to ensure that there WILL be a second season, so that it's not just another annoying incomplete story -ending. Still, the last arc would have served better as the start to the second season.

The visuals are good, but nothing worth talking about. The VA's are good as well, but nothing outstanding. The BGM's aren't bad, but probably not worth DL'ing either. The OP and ED, however, are both great.

In conclusion, Log Horizon is a great anime with fantastic settings building, a likeable cast of characters and a quality plot. It squeezes far more out of its basic concept than I thought possible. It's not for everyone, as there is a significant lack of ecchi and the pacing is pretty slow for the most part, but for me those are positive facts. I score the anime 4.5/5 stars, due to most of the supporting characters being somewhat shallow and the ending being anticlimactic.

Anime / Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« on: March 20, 2014, 03:08:58 am »
This isn't an anime, it's a live action series, but I wanted to write a review...

GARO (+ the 2nd season, Makai Senki, and the specials/movies Byakuya no Majuu, Red Requiem, Soukoku no Maryuu)

Well, I certainly didn't expect the series to become so good, based on the first few episodes. It stars off as a typical modern fantasy demon hunting story with a monster of the week pattern. Clichéd as fuck, but reasonably entertaining. Quite a lot of action, which is a blend of martial arts and CGI-heavy fantasy battle.

In the 7th ep, I first glimpsed a view of the epicness this series could achieve in its battles. The special effects aren't at their best in the first season, but boy, do they know how to make an aerial battle! Garo's battles put many an anime and manga to shame. I'm rather looking forward to the anime adaptation, it will be interesting to make comparisons.

Starting the 18th ep, the story gets interesting. They finally stop with the monster of the week routine and introduce a plot. The plot is hardly complex, but even as such it makes the series a hell of a lot more interesting. And towards the end, the story gets seriously epic. I consider the ending of the first series a fine example of a properly climatic, fulfilling ending.

The specials, Byakuya no Majuu and Red Requiem are pretty good. They expand the story universe and introduce some good recurring characters. Not to mention having some nice action with improved CGI.

The second season, Makai Senki, is better than the first one. It, too, starts with the monster of the week routine, but it doesn't last so long, and there are occasional plot episodes in between. The plot starts right from the first ep, and it's a lot more interesting than that of the first season. Also, the settings are once again considerably expanded. Of course, the special effects are clearly improved from the first season, and it seems the budget is overall larger, resulting in a larger cast and higher quality overall. The climax of the season is once again epic shit, though I feel like I put my expectations slightly too high, resulting in a slight disappointment. My emotional investment in the second season was far heavier than in the first season, in part thanks to being already familiar with most of the major characters, in part simply because it's better. I teared up a couple of times.

Lastly, there's the movie Soukoku no Maryuu, which I just finished. It's... different. In fact, it's completely fucking absurd. The MC travels to an absurd world clearly inspired by The Wizard of Oz. As such, it's filled with weird creatures, vivid colours and, well, it's by far the most CGI-heavy stuff seen in the series so far. It's a pretty nice movie, though.

The main character, Kouga, is stone-faced, strong and quiet type, curt to the point of coming off as a jerk at first. He's a steadfast hero, and someone might find him boring, but I far prefer his type to an annoying teenager. His character development is slow and not so easily visible, but it's there. The female lead, Kaoru, is in the first season a constant damsel in disteress. Or should I say, demon bait. In the second season, she's no longer plot-centric, and as such her screentime is considerably reduced. But, she play the role of Kouga's love interest well enough, and provides some touching romantic moments. Also, her art is great. I love that picture book she makes during the second season, the pages presented at the end of each episode have a very special mood to them, especially once you know the story that inspired each of them. The rest of the recurring characters are generally pretty good, both the villains and the supporting characters. Among the numerous one-episode characters and Horrors that Kouga routinely slays, there are some interesting ones, too.

The acting work is generally pretty good. The actors even manage to pull off all the dramatic, anime-like lines and poses with the necessary seriousness, lol. Kouga's actor has an "easy" role, as a character who rarely shows emotion, but it suits him pretty well. The level of Japanese actors, in my experience, isn't quite on the level of their voice actors, but this one has decent actors, mostly.   

If you can stomach the monster of the week routine, the series is actually very enjoyable. It's hardly deep, but it's entertaining, especially once they start expanding the settings. The best part is definitely the epic fights, where they go all out with the CGI to create flashy magical effects, giant beasts, foreign dimensions and awesome aerial battles. For the series overall, I'd give 4/5 stars. Note that the first season alone would only deserve 3 stars, 3.5 at most. The last 8 eps are great, but most of the first 17 eps are pretty mediocre.

The series continues, but the 3rd season, Yami o Terasu Mono, has a different cast, and the coming 4th season has a different cast again. I'll miss Kouga and co.

Anime / Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« on: March 13, 2014, 09:31:20 am »
Overman King Gainer

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this anime for me is that even though it's mecha and full of abilities ridiculous for scifi, my suspension of disbelief system had no problem handling it. I usually hate mecha, and most of Japanese scifi in general. No idea why this one was so easy to accept.

Overman is really quite an enjoyable anime. It's only too bad it doesn't reach half of its full potential. The story settings are very interesting, the characters aren't half-bad, and there's even potential for a nice romance on the side, but all of this is severely hindered by the fact that every single episode is crammed full of action. Don't take me wrong, the action is enjoyable in itself, and both the settings and characters do get some development at times, but it's just not as good as it could be. The beginning is confusing, half the series feels rushed, and after several episodes of excellent build-up, the last ep is somewhat rushed and anti-climatic. It's not like 26 eps wouldn't have been enough for this story, even a much longer story, it's just that with 80% of every ep being spent in battle, there's little time left for what I consider "more interesting stuff."

Anyway, once you get past the first ep, which is pretty confusing and doesn't explain much, the story adopts a "mecha of the week" routine. The main characters are pretty likeable, even the teenage boy in the leading role is gutsy and competent enough. Granted, I don't know what the leads in mecha anime are usually like, but seeing as he does most of the heavy lifting in nearly every battle, and even manages to be reasonably straightforward about his feelings for a girl, I don't think anyone could call him useless. The secondary lead is pretty awesome, the girls in the show aren't half-bad, and most of the major antagonists are given almost more character development than the protagonists, so overall I'm not disappointed with the characters, although they could have been much better.

Starting ep 12, it starts getting better. Still a few forgettable eps in the mix, but most of the eps on the second half are much better than a single one in the first half. As I mentioned earlier, the last arc gets several eps of build-up (battle-filled build-up, of course), only to end in a somewhat rushed and anti-climatic way. I won't call the ending bad, but I was expecting much better based on the build-up.

The episode plots are rather repetitive, but the good villain characters and the interesting - if underused - overarching plot make it worthwhile. The basic concept is great, and there are lots of good ideas thrown around carelessly, half-used. I know I'm repeating myself, but the show could really have been so much better if they'd properly delved into the rich backstory and explored the fairly unique settings.

I'm not a good judge of animation quality, but it's not bad. The combat is fluid, which is very good, since most of the anime is spent in combat. Some of the musics are forgettable, but the OP is epic, the ED is kinda good too, and Meeya's song is very nice. I've already DL'ed the OST.

In conclusion, Overman is a fun ride which wastes the vast potential in its settings and characters by cramming every episode full of, admittedly quite entertaining, action. 3.5/5 stars.

General Discussions / Re: [Story] Mr. Darkness and Mrs. Moonlight
« on: February 16, 2014, 01:54:29 am »

Anime / Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« on: January 23, 2014, 07:13:28 am »

Quite decent for a slice of life romcom with a little magic for spice. It doesn't try to be the most original story, but what it does, it does fairly well. It even had a plot in the last 4 eps (disregarding the OVA). I wish it'd started a little sooner, the result would have been less rushed. Not that the ending as a whole is rushed, just the one exposition episode, which dumps a lot of character history on the viewer in one go. After that, the ending is nicely paced, suitably climatic, and pleasingly definite. The romance is pretty cute, the comedy is decent, and the cast is likeable enough. The male lead is quite okay, and the girl they chose for main heroine (it's based on a VN by Windmill Oasis) was probably the right choice. I like the show slightly more than the anime adaptation of Windmill's later VN, Shukufuku no Campanella. 3/5 stars.

Manga / Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
« on: January 19, 2014, 09:31:21 pm »
This isn't really a manga or manhwa, but it's a special case that deserves all the fame I can spread.

Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh

In my opinion, Courtney Crumrin is one of the greatest comic series ever created, East or West. Rarely have I read anything so full of wisdom and depth, and yet so utterly entertaining. It is one of the two best Western comics I've read, and they're both quite comparable to my top 5 manga and manhwa.

First of all, don't quit as soon as you open the first pages of the first issue. I know the art looks pretty bad, but trust me, not only does it get better, it actually fits the story perfectly and creates a very powerful mood. The comic is B&W at first, but the 10 last issues are in full colour. Just keep reading, and I can almost guarantee that you'll be intrigued by the end of the first issue and totally hooked by the end of the first series. Make sure you have ample time as you start reading, because you may end up devouring it all in one sitting. About a day should be enough.

Courtney is definitely one of the most badass little girls ever. She also has a lot of character, she's anything but bland. She's gloomy, yes, but she doesn't wallow in self-pity. She has a complex moral compass, she's highly empathetic yet capable of some rather terrible deeds. She's wise beyond her years, yet like any child, she makes mistakes all the time, and learns from them. She's relatively self-sufficient, yet finds herself relying on certain adults. A delightfully complex, likeable protagonist.

While Courtney is badass for a little girl, her great-uncle Aloysius, the second most important character in the series, is badass incarnate. He's the wise mentor for the inexperienced Courtney, her guide to the world of magic, witches and the night things. Also a complex character, he's a kind man whose unshakeable sense of duty and selflessness have forced him to make great sacrifices and commit terrible deeds. I can't help pitying him, while being totally in awe of him. Powerful, frighteningly so, yet not without moments of weakness. Wise, yet not without lapses in judgement.

The dialogue and storytelling are top-class. Like I said, you'll probably be hooked by the end of the first series, possibly much sooner. Apart from Malazan Book of the Fallen, which is radically longer, there isn't another work of literature which has provided me with so many awesome quotes to add to my collection.

The depth and wisdom in this story is just amazing. The story could be read, enjoyed and mostly understood by a 10-year-old, yet an adult could learn from it just as well. There are powerful moral lessons there, but they're not all straightfurward. There's a learning curve, contradictions, ambiguity, openness for interpretation... It's not preachy, it's all a part of the superbly entertaining story, but there's plenty of food for thought.

The world is wonderful, magical, full of secrets and things that work different from the human world. The faeries are interesting beings, inhuman in many ways, but with some important things in common with humans. The witches are interesting as well, with their place between the human and the faery world, and their troublesome politics.

The ending was suitably climatic. That is to say, an EPIC ending to an epic story. That last part, which I just read today, was more plot- and action-focused and less contemplative, which was a good choice. It was also a good ending to the entire series, the author had the good sense to stop at the high point instead of letting the story drag on, stagnate, and slowly lose its glory.

All in all, there are very few flaws I can think of. It could have given some of the antagonists, particularly the final one, more depth. The art has some weaknesses, particularly at the beginning, although it also has some significant strengths in its individuality and strong dramatisation. The flaws aren't serious enough to make me even consider anything but 5/5 stars.

Music: Courtney Crumrin has a unique atmosphere to it, and I don't think I ever found anything quite suitable. While reading the last series, I mostly listened to From the Heart by DWB feat. Fade.

Anime / Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« on: January 15, 2014, 04:55:07 pm »
Kyoukai no Kanata
I like this anime quite a bit for its funny, snappy dialogue and strong mood. It also has moe girls and standard KyoAni animation, so it's very aesthetically pleasing. A decent male protagonist and entertaining, well-animated action. The plot is so-so. I could've given this 4 stars if not for the cheap ending, which drops it down to 3½ stars.

Witch Hunter Robin
One of my early anime from about 8 years ago. My third watch. Everything about this anime is slow, from general pacing to the way the characters walk. There's a bit of quite decent action in most episodes, though, and the ending is suitably climatic. At first the show is very episodic, but the main plot that kicks in at ep 11 is sooo good. I love those moments when everything you think you know about the story world is turned upside down. The mood is powerful, melancholic, further enforced by the fantastic OP song. The downside is, the story is almost completely devoid of humour. The characters are realistic, mostly not very stereotypical, and most of them have decent depth. Iwasaki Taku's great soundtrack completes the package. Overall, a great anime, 4/5 stars.

Hataraku Maou-sama
I could've sworn I wrote some kind of a review of this when I finished the show quite long ago, but apparently not. Anyway, I rewatched some action scenes today, figured I might as well add a short review of it in this post. The show is mostly comedy and slice of life, and unfortunately, I don't like the comedy. I cracked a smile maybe once an episode. The characters are also not that interesting or deep, and most of them are quite stereotypical. I'd have dropped the show after the first ep, but someone (Danyo?) convinced me to keep going. Well, at ep 5 I knew why. Most of the action moments are superbly dramatised, and whenever Maou has a bit of magic to use, he's fucking badass. The action moments alone were quite worthy of suffering through everything else. 3 stars.

Anime / Re: The Season So Far...
« on: January 12, 2014, 12:08:03 pm »
Still waiting for a couple of shows, but I guess I'll make a quick post now...

D-frag - Checked it out, wanted to like it, but the comedy is just not my type.
Noragami - Fairly interesting beginning, I think I'll like this.
Chuunibyou S2 - The first season was pretty good, and the first ep of S2 shows no sign of diminishing quality.
Witch Craft Works - Damsel in distress with reversed gender roles. I went in with low expectations, which were quickly confirmed. So many little things about this irk me, from the useless male lead to the senseless worship of the female lead, I won't be watching any more of this.
Nourin - Gave it a chance despite my prejudice against everything with idols, couldn't make it past the first half of the episode.
Mahou Sensou - Conceptually up my alley, but pretty mediocre beginning. Amusingly, the most unique thing about it is probably the fact that the protagonist has a girlfriend. Pretty rare in "sudden girlfriend appearance" anime, that the guy is already hooked to another girl.
Hoozuki no Reitetsu - Weird. I kind of enjoyed that episode, but this seems to be plotless, so I'm not sure I'll bother following this.
Mikakunin - The only positive surprise for this season so far, I very much like this. Good comedy, potential for a good romance, and the characters are interesting (well, the guy is so quiet, it remains to be seen if he's bland or just slow to open up). Even though it's told from the girl's viewpoint, this is no shoujo crap, she's a sensible girl and the guy is neither perfect nor mean, not even a bishie.
Wizard Barristers - I don't like most of the character designs, but otherwise, not bad. Plenty of flashy magic action, promising soundtrack and God voicing a frog familiar.
Koi Iroha - This has the female version of the useless, annoying male protagonist, and no remarkable good points so far. Dropping it.

Continuing from last season:
Log Horizon - Sneaked up to the spot of my favourite of last season, and it'll most likely stay as my favourite for this season as well.
Strike the Blood and other shows from last season (except KyoKana, which I finished yesterday) are currently stalled.

Sooo... Overall this looks like a pretty mediocre season.

Manga / Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
« on: December 11, 2013, 05:52:52 pm »
Thanks, both of you. Bonnouji is indeed a good manga, if you appreciate the kind. The lack of any even moderately serious conflicts could be considered a problem, but it's a good read that always brings a smile on my face. I'd rate it 4/5 stars.

Now, let me present you an excellent manhwa I found a couple of days ago:

Noblesse by Son Je-Ho and Lee Gwang-Su

I'm glad I didn't find Noblesse earlier. Or, well, start reading it. I honestly didn't expect much, but reading 307 chapters in 2-3 days (289 practically in one sitting, the rest the next day) was a memorable experience. It did take me a while to really get into it (about 2 out of the 5 long arcs that are currently complete), but it was good from the start.

Noblesse is one of those stories where it's difficult to pinpoint the real main character. Raizel, the mysterious, quiet, elegant, seemingly all-powerful vampire who wakes up from a coffin at the start of the story (apparently having slept the last 820 years) is clearly an option. He undeniably the heart of his group. However, he's a bit colourless for a protagonist. I don't mean he's a bad character: he has mystery, depth and plenty of interesting scenes. He's just too quiet, too powerful in battle, and hides his emotions too well to be an engaging main character.

Fortunately, the authors realise this. That's why, instead of flooding the story with his internal monologue, they choose to keep his mystery, rarely allowing us a peek inside his head. Instead, they divert attention to the other characters around him. Interesting, deep characters such as Raizel's servant, Frankenstein, an enemy agent who switches sides, M-21, and our main window to the antagonists' side, Dr. Crombell. Frankenstein in particular is no doubt one of my top favourite characters ever. By far the deepest and most multi-dimensional character in the story, he's badass as fuck in battle, has an incredibly interesting past, and he's of course cool-looking (as almost every single character in the story). I especially love it when his sadistic side surfaces, and when he taunts his opponents in battle.

The storytelling has its weaknesses. It's unfortunately repetitive with its jokes (doesn't mean they aren't funny most of the time) character introductions and kidnappings. I'm also not happy with how the story after the first couple of arcs breaks its balance between the light-hearted school life and all the epic stuff. I'm fine with the ordinary students always playing the helpless victim parts, but after the first couple of arcs they quickly started to lose their screentime. I feel like it's been ages since I last saw Shinwoo kicking some punk's ass. Nevertheless, it is an engaging, thematically rich story with an interesting plot and a lot of good characters.

At first, the battles are somewhat repetitive, with the ordinary students always getting in trouble and Raizel and Frankenstain always coming to the rescue and utterly curb stomping the arrogant enemies. Not that I don't enjoy over-powered protagonists and seeing arrogant, evil enemies getting their due, but too much is too much. Fortunately, the battles keep getting better and more characters join the group, providing more moderately powered good guys to battle the increasingly powerful enemies, who are eventually able to give Frankenstein and even Raizel a run for their money. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the battles in the last three arcs are among the best I've ever seen. This'd make one hell of an action anime, I'm sure of it.

The comic is fully coloured, and I'd say that the art is very good. All character designs are individual and easy to differentiate. In the best tradition of manhwa, this story is filled with beautiful and elegant people, both men and women. Well, I never say no to eye-candy when it doesn't harm the story: there's little to no actual fanservice (which is actually a pity, Seira in particular is really hot). The action scenes are very well drawn, there's great motion and fluidity to the pictures, especially lately. Regarding the quality of backgrounds, I can't say great things about the BG art, but given that this is a fully coloured weekly webtoon and has decently long chapters, it's understandable that not a lot of attention can be paid on the backgrounds. At least there are rarely any white panels with just characters.

All in all, I'd definitely recommend this one to any friends of action and supernatural battles. This far outstrips the likes of Bleach and Naruto in terms of plot and depth, yet it still manages to provide at least as much action and entertainment. Edit: After some deliberation and a few new chapters, I decided that 4½ stars is just a little too generous. 4/5 stars.

Music: Blue Stahli mostly. Again, because I found it recently and don't really feel like listening to anything else. For battle scenes in particular, it fits well. Throw Away is good for moodier scenes, I'd even say it's a perfect fit as M-21's theme. I also listened to Position Music's Production Music Vol. 141 – Damned Anthem when the action got too heavy for the likes of The Destroyer of All Things.

Music / Re: What Are You Listening to Right Now?
« on: December 09, 2013, 09:04:37 pm »
Blue Stahli. Just recently discovered, and immediately shot up to my top 10, maybe even top 5.

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Just two from among 50-ish awesome new songs I've been enjoying the past few days.

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