Author Topic: What Did You Just Finish?  (Read 17872 times)

Offline Krozam

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Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« Reply #60 on: October 01, 2015, 01:17:00 pm »
Log Horizon 2

Roughly as good as the first season, with the same strengths, for the most part, but slightly different weaknesses. It's notable that this season gives a number of characters much more substance. I consider it a wise corrective move, as one of the few weaknesses in the first season was precisely the large number of supporting characters who remained so shallow I couldn't bother memorising their names. On the other hand, this season adds a number of new characters... -_-'

It continues to expand the world and adds new mysteries, some of which are solved, others remain. The plot progression is kind of... sprawling: not out of control, but wandering a bit too much, at least in my brother's opinion. Personally I don't mind, but I can understand why some viewers might like it more if there was, shall we say "less expansion and more progression". There are also a couple of slightly boring episodes that felt like fillers, possibly because there was a shortage of original material for a full 25 eps season. At least this time the ending wasn't so anticlimatic...

Like the first season, this gets 4.5 stars from me. This season does correct the problems I found most significant in the first season, but it has some small problems of its own, so I once again withhold the last ½ a star. Even so, it's a brilliant anime I enjoyed a lot.

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Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« Reply #61 on: October 25, 2015, 11:13:41 pm »
Noragami

I really don't like the comedy in this series, so at first I thought it was so-so. The central characters aren't particularly likeable at first: Yato is just too damn embarrassing with his delusions of grandeur, Yukine is an annoying brat, and Hiyori is an airhead (admittedly I don't mind the last one so much). I kept watching because the fights were good, and because there are occasional flashes of depth.

Juuni Kokuki (12 Kingdoms), my #1 favourite anime ever, suffers from the same problem. You have to get through half a dozen mediocre episodes with annoying or meh characters. Then it gets good. And so does Noragami. For both series, character development is an extremely strong point. By no means is a bad start necessary in order to have superb character development, but it does have some value in the long run. While the first season is wholly focused on the main trio, starting the second season, it seems the supporting characters are also receiving some love.

The plot, too, picks up after the first few episodes. Well, it's still nothing special in the first season, it only gets really good in the first arc of the second season (and my brother, who has read the manga, says that it just keeps getting better, that the main plot only starts to emerge in what should be the second arc of the second eason), but already the last arc of the first season is quite interesting. Furthermore, the flashes of depth are no longer so occasional, they get more frequent and strong as the story progresses. Fortunately, there's also less comedy after the start (though it doesn't get any better).

Animation, music and dramatisation in general are pretty good, though not NGNL level. The first season OP is of particular note, I never skipped it.

Overall, Noragami is an exceptionally promising shounen series, which makes up for its mediocre start by continuously improving. I'll give the first season 4/5 stars, fully expecting to give the second season half a star more.

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Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« Reply #62 on: October 26, 2015, 05:46:02 am »
Madan no Ou to Vanadis

I'll warn you from the start, that I've read the original novels and won't even try to avoid comparing the adaptation to the original. I also can't help comparing it to Campione, another LN series that got a (failed) anime adaptation recently.

Both Campione and Vanadis animes adapted the first 5 novels in just one cour, which is about 7-8 episodes less than ideal, IMO. At its worst, Campione bypassed a volume in just one episode, and extended the last one with an episode of completely original material that broke the rules the author set for the main character's abilities. At its worst, Vanadis anime spared only 1½ episodes for one volume. However, overall Vanadis was adapted smarter: the most material was cut from the middle, while the beginning and the end were left mostly untouched, allowing time for properly introducing the characters and the setting, and to end the story in sufficiently climatic manner. I honestly enjoyed the last two arcs, which both got full 3 episodes, and thus didn't feel overly rushed. Also, the decision to adapt 5 volumes is understandable in light of the fact that the first overarching arc ended in the 5th volume. In Campione's case, there was no such justification, as in the beginning each volume is a largely independent arc.

Campione also changed the story and dialogue in several places, while Vanadis remained loyal to the original material, preferring to cut details and less important scenes and bridge the most important scenes with narration. It's hard to say which is worse... the first method could be better if it was executed well (in Campione's case, it was usually not), while the second method probably cannot avoid giving the storyflow a rushed feeling, but at least it doesn't fuck up the plot. Unfortunately, rushing damages Vanadis where it most hurts, by cutting details from the strategy talk and battles, which are the bread and butter of this story.

To finish the comparison, both series have excellent soundtracks, and Campione also has good animation, while Vanadis uses clumsy, sometimes downright cringe-worthy CGI way too much, so visually I definitely prefer Campione.

Vanadis, at its heart, is not a character-driven story. It's a story about strategy and warfare, a bit of adventure and politics, and a harem for eye candy (there's very little in the way of actual romance, at least as far as I've read the story). Thus, it is forgivable to me that the characters are mostly quite one-dimensional and there's not much character development. Well, I still find most of the characters at least likeable. Some might find Tigre quite bland for a main character, but I like level-headed, sincere characters like him. I guess I find them easy to identify with.

At middle point, I was almost ready to drop it, but like Campione, this was a must watch for me, for virtue of being an adaptation of a LN series that has become quite nostalgic for me. My perseverence was rewarded, as the last two volumes were adapted largely right. For that, I'll give Vanadis 3/5 stars.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2015, 06:54:19 am by Krozam »

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Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« Reply #63 on: October 27, 2015, 10:06:24 am »
Hidan no Aria

The premise is ridiculous: teenagers given guns and swords and some police rights, being educated to become mercenaries. I don't particularly like the lighthearted approach to weapons and fighting this story takes. However, if you can exercise some suspension of disbelief, Hidan no Aria can be a decently entertaining light watch.

Aria is your typical Kugimiya Rie tsundere: unreasonably violent (especially towards the male lead), skilled in battle but incompetent in matters of heart, short and flat-chested... you get the picture. A bitch you don't want anywhere near you, despite her occasionally flashing a cute side. She gets marginally more bearable towards the end. Well, personally, I like tsunderes, and while I prefer more balanced type, I have a high tolerance for violent bitches like her, as long as they do have a cute side that shows every once in a while.

Kinji, the male lead, is a total doormat in front of her, most of the time, but other than that, he's quite likeable. Plus, he does have some cool moments, thanks to his genetic ability, which greatly enhances his abilities and makes him a show-off in front of girls.

Out of the other characters, Riko is notable: she's totally the best girl in the show, and I doubt you'll find many who disagree with that. Her banter with Kinji is far more entertaining than any interaction he has with Aria or his childhood friend with yandere tendencies.

One thing that annoys me is that the story is populated by characters claiming descent from literary and historical character (such as Sherlock Holmes and Jeanne d'Arc), without actually sharing any important characteristics with said characters. All they have from those ancestors is some inherited (often supernatural) ability, which usually doesn't even correspond to the original character's abilities. There are some clan rivalries as well, but they're used in rather crude ways. It feels like the author isn't using even 10% of the idea's potential. A shame, really. I must admit, however, that I'm curious whose bloodline ability Kinji has inherited... a mystery left wholly unexplored in these first 3 arcs.

I haven't read the original novels, but it seems that this is a reasonably good adaptation. 3 first novels in 12 episodes. 4 eps for one novel is generally the ideal ratio for light novel adaptations, IMO. While the story has quite a lot of action, there is no feeling of rush. Unfortunately, that still doesn't mean this is anything special - it's hard to improve on mediocre, largely clichéd original material with no particular depth or intelligent plot. It's a light watch with little value besides the pure entertainment value.

As an action-heavy series, it's good that the animation is serviceable (as far as I can judge, I don't really pay attention unless something is really wrong or really well done). Pretty much what you can expect from J.C.Staff. Musics are the same, you barely notice them, they do their job to set the mood, that's all. The ED is pretty good, though. Edit: Actually, I gave it another listen, and some action scenes actually have pretty good musics. Maybe they're just played too quietly to get my attention... :/

Overall, I could recommend this for someone looking for a light action/harem story, who can stomach a violent tsundere character as a female lead. There is absolutely nothing original, deep or particularly intelligent, but I can't say I was bored watching it, either. 3/5 stars.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2015, 05:03:44 pm by Krozam »

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Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« Reply #64 on: December 15, 2015, 08:15:04 am »
High School DxD (all 3 seasons)

Well, I knew it would be extremely ecchi (which is not necessarily a bad thing, when the girls' character designs are as good as these are), so I didn't go in with particularly high expectations. It turned out to be surprisingly good. I don't usually like pervy male leads (except if they're casual about it, like the Trinity Seven MC), but Issei is okay. A dude who puts his life on the line for his girls like Issei does, kinda deserves his harem. It's a bit hard to take some otherwise epic moments seriously, though, when his powerups are often a result of realising a new aspect of his love for boobs... Apart from Issei, the other characters are also pretty good. Each of the other central characters are getting their own arcs, one by one, where their characters are expanded and deepened quite nicely. Even those characters who haven't got their turn yet, and the supporting cast, are all entertaining.

The third season ends with apparently an anime original arc... it's tied into the story well enough, and it's not bad in itself, but after the epic ending for the previous arc, it falls a bit short, feels a bit anticlimatic. As another undesirable result, the 5th and 6th novels don't get quite as much space as the first four, but it doesn't feel like a bad adaptation, not too rushed. I think they may have made space by cutting back a little on ecchi. It's barely noticeable if you aren't collecting screenshots like I am. There was a shortage of good ecchi screenies in the last season, comparatively.

What else...? Well, plenty of excellent ecchi, a surprisingly decent plot, entertaining comedy, and a real harem (not one of those where the MC necessarily has to make a choice in the end). Issei's seiyuu deserves a special mention, he really puts emotion into his acting, even when shouting ridiculous stuff about boobs. Overall, DxD is quite an entertaining light watch... if you don't go into it with too high expectations and aren't bothered by an abundance of ecchi. 3.5/5 stars.

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Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« Reply #65 on: December 22, 2015, 01:00:22 pm »
One-Punch Man

What to say... OPM is one of this season's anime I knew already from the original material - that is, the remake manga. It is an excellent adaptation: faithful, good production quality, good dramatisation. Some minor filler scenes were added to drag it on so that the ending at 12 eps hits the right spot, the most climatic arc in the series up to the point where the remake has made it. Mostly, it just ended up improving the pacing. Honestly, I think this might be one of those cases where the adaptation surpasses the original.

With a MC who kills most enemies in literally one hit, the story is obviously not meant to hold much suspense in its fights - the fights where the MC takes part, anyway. Instead, it's more about the comedy, and giving a new spin to some old clichés. Personally, though, I don't find the comedy particularly good, it's just okay. I'm more interested in the other characters and their fights, which often actually manage to be pretty entertaining. The first 8 eps, where only a few important characters appear, are pretty meh to me. It's only near the end that more interesting characters start appearing. Well, having read the manga, I know that it will just keep getting better, but as whole, the first season isn't anything praiseworthy. The two last arcs (eps 9-12) are good, but that's just 1/3 of the season. 3.5/5 stars.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 01:32:29 pm by Krozam »

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Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« Reply #66 on: December 24, 2015, 11:41:40 am »
Okusama ga Seito Kaichou!

This short form anime is adapted from a manga series by Nakata Yumi, which is based on her earlier hentai series. Each episode covers one chapter of the manga, and they're all well done. Problem is, some chapters are skipped, which has two negative results: sometimes, the story seems to advance too quickly... er, not that there is much in the way of a story... maybe it'd be more accurate to say that the character relationships aren't given enough time to develop naturally. Secondly, some supporting characters, who weren't given much spotlight to begin with, they lose even that litte in this adaptation.

This doesn't hold back one bit with the ecchi scenes. It's a nice change to see a main character couple who also enjoy the carnal site of a relationship... er, maybe too much, but still. Kaichou's personality is pretty amusing and charming, and the MC is likeable enough. He makes a good tsukkomi. I quite enjoy the comedy, most of the time, even if truly hilarious scenes aren't that frequent.

3/5 stars. I'd give 3.5 if not for the skipped chapters.

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Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« Reply #67 on: December 24, 2015, 09:38:52 pm »
Monogatari Series Second Season

As always with this series, it's nearly perfect. I never get tired of that dialogue. Several characters gain lots of depth and development during this series. It's pretty refreshing that three of the five arcs this season covers are narrated from someone else's viewpoint, barely having Araragi present at all. The plots of each arc are, if not top class, then at least very high class. The musings about human nature are insightful and interesting. The pacing is excellent: if you enjoy this kind of dialogue, there isn't a dull moment, yet it's never rushed. The last episode is full of awesome, climatic in a very Monogatari-esque way, with a pretty shocking last scene. Although, the last episode of the first arc may be even better.

The only problem is with the visuals. There is certain charm to SHAFT's animation, but drawing non-essential characters only as silhouettes isn't a stylistic choice, it's plain old laziness. You'd think with the financial success this series (and some other series animated by the same studio) have enjoyed, they could afford to be meticulous. Well, I can understand that it would be weird to suddenly start doing that now, this far into the series. What is less forgivable are the text screens that flash by so fast that it sometimes takes minutes of trying to catch them with pause. Somehow they seem to be even more frequent than in previous seasons. It is infuriating, and costs the show half a star from my rating. 4.5/5 stars.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 10:43:51 pm by Krozam »

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Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« Reply #68 on: December 26, 2015, 06:53:55 am »
Ushio to Tora

One of the better long shounen anime I've seen. Well, it's not so long yet, just 26 eps, but the original manga is pretty long. And this is going to get another season, starting in the spring season.

Anyway, yeah, it's pretty good. I've always had a thing for fighting pairs, whether they be brothers, lovers, rivals or partners, and Ushio and Tora make for a pretty dynamic and occasionally badass pair. Ushio is a pretty typical protagonist, a not very smart kid with a strong determination and a much too kind heart. Still, he's not too bad, his strong emotions make him easily relatable and there's nothing in particular that I find annoying about him. Tora is a bit of an anti-hero, he keeps saying that he's only helping Ushio in order to one day catch him with his guard down and eat him... but every time he does catch the boy in a weak state, he finds some excuse not to eat him, lol. Unfortunately, as is often the case with this type of anime/manga, the female characters are pretty meh. I've seen worse, but honestly, the only one I'm interested in is a supporting character who has so far been present in only a couple of episodes. That... might or might not have something to do with the fact that she's the only one whose character design and personality I find attractive. <_<

The fights are somewhat atypical for this type of anime, as they rarely include sudden power-ups. The characters have their strengths and weaknesses, and any progress to them is pretty subtle. Other than that, the fights are entertaining, well animated and dramatised, and occasionally pretty emotional. Sadly, they're not particularly intelligent.

The overarching plot is decent, for this kind of a story. Absolutely nothing special, but it serves its purpose and doesn't bore me. At least there haven't been any training arcs so far. There are some mysteries, but they are all more or less resolved during this season.

I hesitate to give this a rating as high as 4/5, but in the end, it's a solid anime, enjoyable enough to justify that. This, Kekkaishi, Nurarihyon no Mago... these are the kind of long shounen series that start out decent, but improve over time. I prefer these instead of the likes of Naruto and Bleach, which start out interesting, but lose their way well before halfway point, and then just keep falling. Of course, after only 26 episodes, it's a little early to say if this will lose its way at some point, but it seems to me that the author has a clear vision and a firm grip of the story.

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Re: What Did You Just Finish?
« Reply #69 on: April 11, 2016, 08:33:21 pm »
It's been a while since I finished anything...

Watched Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut. It's surprisingly good. Pretty clichéd, and it crams too many novels into 12 episodes, but it actually has a pretty decent plot and characters, and I was quite well entertained. I'm actually interested in reading the novels now, to see what the rushed adaptation left out. It's a shame the author decided to make the MC a typical awkward harem lead with lofty ideals, instead of going for a more interesting dark hero / antihero type, which I feel would have suited the plot better. And it really could have used less of the typical fanservice harem antics. It's always a shame when a fundamentally good story is spoiled by wrong/bad elements like this. There was potential for something so much better... 3.5/5 stars.

Oh, and Phi-chan is the best girl. Her arc was pretty heartbreaking. I do like the blue-haired one as well, though, I found her personality very entertaining and her backstory intriguing (though not explored in sufficient depth). The princess is a bit too much of a typical tsundere, I think she falls behind others in both depth and entertainment value. Celes is hot, but she, too, falls behind the top 2 in depth and entertainment value. The assassin chick is promising, but has too little time, since she's only introduced in the last arc and as an antagonist, doesn't get all that much screentime. The sister is entertaining, she reminds me of Shizuka from Campione (I think it's the same seiyuu, too), but didn't get her own arc yet.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 08:56:04 am by Krozam »

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