Blog Archive

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring 2017 Anime Preview:

What to watch this spring based on what's been previewed as coming:

Holdovers:

One Piece
Bolt
Kira Kira Pretty Cure a la mode
Granblue the Animation
Tales of Zestiria the X
Dragon Ball Super
BanG Dream!

Known Good Shows:

Shingeki no Kyojin 2
Ero Manga Sensei
Berserk 2
Kyoukai no Rinne 3
Danmachi Sword Oratoria

Very promising shows:

Clockwork Planet
Sakura Quest

Shows at least worth checking out the first episode of:

Gin no Guardian
Alice to Zouroku
Tsugumomo
Roku de Nashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records
Sagrada Reset
Busou Shoujo Machiavellism
Tsuki ga Kirei
Hinako Note
Re:Creators
Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho
Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka?  Isogashii Desuka?  Sukutte Moratte Ii Desuka?

So 25 shows to start out with, five times as good as our current dreary lineup of just five shows.  I expect multiple new great anime to emerge out of this season, starting with Ero Manga Sensei which is a lock.

My first impressions post will be focusing on the new shows out of this batch, which is only 15 of the 25.

Sailor Moon Crystal S1 out in bluray:

The anime gods heard my plea and have finally started to get to work on Sailor Moon Crystal bluray.  Thanks to [koten_gars], we now have episodes 1-14 subtitled in bluray.  SMC subs already covered eps 1-7, so this represents a mere seven additional bluray eps, but after years of silence any movement at all is welcome.

Now we just need Crystal's second and third seasons to come out in bluray, and the real partying can begin.

The long awaited FF XV patch seems to be coming out.  The same for the patch that allows flight in WoW Legion.

With the winter season winding down (only five shows currently airing worth watching), Random Curiosity's new spring 2017 anime preview is out.  People can check out all the details about what's coming in the weeks ahead that is going to replace our current lineup.

My first impressions post will come once enough new series worth reviewing have aired.  Winter 2017 was really good, with three new great anime and lots of returning favorites like Rewrite.  But I have a hunch spring 2017 will be even better.  The final Tales of Zestiria the X episode will be airing at the end of April as well, so Tales is an honorary member of the spring season too.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Naruto Watched and Rewatched:

I watched episode 500 of Naruto Shippuuden, then rewound it and watched it all over again.  As a result, combined with all my efforts heretofore, I've both watched and rewatched the entirety of Naruto.  From the beginning I've said that any must-see, great anime in my top anime rankings is worth watching not only once in full but that I could even watch them all twice, and have set that as my goal for any show I tout.

For Naruto especially though, which has often been my #1 anime of all time, and still sits at the lofty position of #10, rewatching it was the least I could do for this show.  Naruto has accompanied me for fifteen years now.  I've been watching it from the very beginning, and now I've watched it to the very end.

Naruto was a fifteen year long project.  Rewatching Naruto took a year on its own.  It's rare for such enormous things to finally decelerate to a halt.  But Naruto isn't really over, even now.  The Bolt anime will continue, and so long as it has Kishimoto's supervision/approval, it can't be considered filler.  There's still a good chance that the Bolt anime will adapt the scarlet spring gaiden manga, which is straight from Kishimoto's pen.  Until at least that section is adapted into the anime, Naruto isn't over.  But it could be that Bolt lasts another fifteen years and they will all be fantastic too.  Who knows?  Dragon Ball Super has been surprisingly good.

I expect to see this ride through all the way to the end, and not only watch all of Bolt but rewatch all of it too.  So this is just a milestone in the journey.  Who knows when the ending will actually arrive.  Maybe after Bolt they'll do a story about his kids or something.  Like a horror movie it'll just never die.  But it's still a really impressive milestone.  Fifteen years!  Wow.

There's also a good chance that Naruto Kai will be a real thing in the future, in which case watching Naruto all over again is a real possibility.  Even if that doesn't happen, someday I want to take on the Naruto abridged challenge, and watch Naruto Abridged vs. all my favorite short anime series such that they're of equal length to Naruto Abridged, and see which is better overall.  My relationship with Naruto isn't done yet.

Hinata sure was pretty in her kimono, as was Hanabi.  Most of episode 500 sucked, but it was well worth it for the beautiful moment showing Hinata and Naruto together.  To the very end, Naruto managed to be like that -- mostly dross, but always containing at least one amazing scene or line to justify it all.

Akame ga Kill! Zero introduced a whole new round of villains our Imperial assassins need to fight.  It feels like the manga is going to extend longer than I expected.  The best parts of the new volume that has come out isn't about the fight of the week though, it's about the character development of Akame and Green that's occurring somewhat in the background.  Everyone wants to know how Akame went from Imperial agent to a member of Night Raid, and the hints in this volume towards that are the core of the volume's appeal.

Luke Cage isn't any good, but I guess I should've expected that going in with an all black cast/setting.  I'm not really the target audience this time.  In that sense, I'm glad Iron Fist is going back to a white blond boy as the protagonist.  After I finish watching Luke Cage he's on queue.

Gilmore Girls' new season was also underwhelming.  Rory, for some reason, transformed into a total slut as an adult, and Lorelai didn't treat Luke as well as he deserved.  There was a bit of the old school charm in the show, it was still funny a lot of the time, but I dunno. . .  There's talk of making more of the show, but if it's going to be like this, I'd rather they didn't.

Firefly remains the gold standard for western television.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kiwaguro no Brynhildr Translated:

Well, it took a year past when it ended in Japan, but Brynhildr has finally been translated in English in full.  You can now read the complete manga from start to finish, which is very useful, considering the anime just makes a total hash of this manga and yet still manages to be great (a lot like Negima).

But, a lot like Negima, the Brynhildr manga spirals out of control and makes less and less sense as time moves on.  Eventually every chapter is a sudden plot twist with no foreshadowing and no explanation, until your head just starts spinning.  It doesn't even feel real, but more like a massive troll, by the end of the series.

So the anime has problems, and so does the manga, though the two problems are completely different from each other.  Nevertheless, Brynhildr is still a great anime and a great manga, because it had a lot of good things going for it too, especially at the beginning.

It's not often that a good manga is both complete and completely translated.  Warts and all, everyone should take this chance to sit down with some hot chocolate and marshmallows and enjoy one of the best stories the world has to offer.

This was another manga finishing in 2017, just as predicted in my January post.  This is the year of manga finales, so there's a lot to indulge in these days.  Hayate no Gotoku's conclusion is coming up next.  It's fun to be right all the time.

P.S.  Zootopia's a pretty good movie, despite preaching all the typical lessons of liberalism.  It's a lot more convincing when set in a fantasy world where liberalism is actually true, as opposed to the real world where it's actually false.  The Shakira song set to the train tour of the city would have been amazing all on its own.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Tales Listening Project Complete:

All good things come in time, and this project was no different.  It took years to listen to every quality Tales song ever composed, from Phantasia all the way to Berseria, at least 100 times.  But today that journey ends, the destination met.  Now I can say I'm a true aficionado of Tales music.

Tales and Final Fantasy are eternal rivals not only in the quality of their gameplay, but also their music.  I've been listening to FF themes since I was a child, but I had completely neglected Tales until this project began.  Now I'm in the humorous position of having listened to Tales music more thoroughly than FF, which needs to be redressed next.  With Tales done, my next target is the FF XV soundtrack.  Once I've listened to the good songs from this game 100 times, I'll be up to date on both Tales and FF.

Once I have a full catalogue of all the best Tales and FF music in their respective playlists, I can begin the grand melee.  I'll play a song from my 5 star Tales list at random, then a song from my 5 star Final Fantasy list at random, and whichever song was more pleasing to my ears gains entry to my 10 star video game music playlist, which will be brought into existence via this second phase of my project.

The third phase of my video game listening project will be taking the songs from that new playlist and having them compete, one random song vs. one random song, against the music from other video game franchises -- Lunar, Ogre Battle, Xenogears, Chrono Trigger and the like.  Whoever survives that competition will become my 20 star video game music playlist, video game music's final form.

Nothing could start until my Tales listening project was complete, but now things actually get more exciting and fun than ever.  The Tales listening project is dead, let the video game music grand melee begin!  (Just as soon as I finish listening to FFXV, of course. . .)

This, too, is a tremendously large undertaking, so I wouldn't be surprised if I were still working on it in 2018.  But the prize that lies at the end of the rainbow, music that's been filtered and filtered until it represents only the best of the best, is well worth it.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Da Capo III Complete:

To be precise, the main storyline is complete.  There's still the side stories to deal with, but they're just fun extras.  I've now read through the entire plotline and understand all the mysteries of this world.  Of course I'll work on the side stories from here, but this is still a milestone.

Considering how long I had to wait to receive the answer to the mysterious puzzle first posed in the D.C. III anime over four years ago, I'm just relieved it's finally over.

Aoi's route was okay -- it revealed half the mysteries so was cool in that way -- but I'd never choose her in the real world.  She's just this hardworking, serious type I have nothing in common with.  I'd even prefer Charles if it came to that.

The real gem was the 'Da Capo' route, which solved the remaining half of the mysteries, featured a lot of Sakura, and made you feel like your effort in all the other routes wasn't wasted, by having all of it come to bear at the final moment, both in 1951 and in 2051.

Now that I've seen the whole story, even more I wish they would go ahead and animate the rest of the story.  Da Capo III is a masterpiece.  It's better than Da Capo I, though nothing can beat II.  The game totally justifies its franchise ranking as #2 best visual novel series ever, behind only Clannad.

The game was originally rated PG-13, so you could leave out all the ecchi stuff without harming the plot in any way.  The anime would work just fine adapting the original visual novel.  It would probably have to be 2 cour to work, but it's not a story that doesn't adapt well to anime.  There isn't a lot of stream of consciousness monologues, for instance, which is what made the Planetarian adaption such a hopeless endeavor.  Nor is there a bunch of violence, which kept Rewrite from being adapted properly.  And because the Da Capo arc explains in-game all the different routes, there isn't even a need to somehow collapse all the various routes together into one common route, you can just properly follow the game's plot and tell everyone's stories accurately.

If there were such a wonderful Da Capo III anime, a proper sequel to the prelude anime we received, it would be a tremendously good show.  But since there isn't, I suggest everyone start the drudgery of clicking through the entire visual novel instead.  This is a can't miss story, especially if you've already embarked upon its mysteries via watching the anime.  Four years of agony finally turned into pleasure.  Why wait any longer?


Hai to Gensou no Grimgar Licensed:

The bad news is Hai to Gensou no Grimgar is licensed, so the fan translation that was halfway through volume 4 randomly stopping was no doubt due to this.  The good news is that someday the official translation should reach volume 4 and then we can at least pay to read the series.

There are so many licensed series that never reach past where the fan translation already reaches, though, that I'm not going to hold my breath.  The pace of official book releases is always extraordinarily slow, too.  If we ever do get to read volume 4 in English, it'll be in 2020 or something ridiculous.

Hai to Gensou, like PapaKiki, is right up there in quality with SAO.  So even if I have to pay to read this series I'll do so.  I can't afford to miss this epic adventure.  I only wish I could pay to read PapaKiki in English.  Unfortunately it was never licensed or fan translated.

I'm pretty ambivalent about official English translations though.  If they actually went through with their promises and translated the entire series, they would be good things, because most fan translations never make it that far.  But since they usually don't do that, they just make you pay for the same junk product that was originally free.  I feel like if you're going to stop fan translators from translating a series, at the very least you should promise to translate the entire series.  Otherwise you're just a dog in the manger.  Also, official translations should go much faster than fan translations.  A fan is just doing it as a hobby in his or her spare time.  A pro is supposed to be doing it as a job, working most hours out of every day.  How is it possible that official translations can come out so slowly then?  They should translate all the way to the most recent released volume in Japan, not always lag five years behind.

Official translations that kept up with the current Japanese releases would at least have some value compared to fan translation sites which are always ponderously far behind.  But most of the time these official products somehow manage to proceed even more slowly than the fan translation projects they preempt.  Just give me some reason why your product is worth paying for, please. . .

P.S.  Speaking of books that are fan translated, I finished Baccano volume 9 and am now working on volume 10.

P.P.S. Speaking of books that will soon be officially translated, Akame ga Kill! Zero volume 5 comes out in just two days now.