Koutetsujou no Cabaneli – Review – Rail Wars! (Literally)

When Studio WiT announced Koutetsujou no Cabaneli, everyone was thinking that this show is another Attack on Titan rip-off. But, in actuality, it is not. It is actually a…

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Highschool of the Dead rip-off…

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Guilty Crown rip-off…

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and most importantly, a Train Simulator 2014 rip-off, complete with $3000 worth of DLC, sold separately from the game itself.

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Oh…Tetsuro Araki…how far you must have come…


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Koutetsujou no Cabaneli is a 2016 anime directed by Tetsuro Araki, famous for his work with Guilty Crown, Highschool of the Dead, and the most famous anime to date, Attack on Titan. If you ever watch anime aside from long running shounens like Naruto or One Piece, chances are that you have watched his work at least once. And this show is his second anime work that gives him free rein, Guilty Crown being his first. This means that this show is essentially Tetsuro‘s brainchild, and boy, can you see it clearly more than ever. So, is it a good thing, or a bad thing?

Let’s talk about it.

Summary:

A mysterious virus began infecting industrial revolution era Japan and transforms ordinary people into undead creatures known as Kabane (lit. corpses) with increased regenerative abilities and superhuman strength. The only way to kill these undead creatures is to destroy their hearts. Either that, or you can just behead them, or flatten them with trains. Um…more on that later.

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Unfortunately for the survivors, it is not an easy task since the technology they possess do not have the necessary firepower needed to penetrate the steel cages surrounding their hearts, and most melee weapons and the steam powered rifles are not effective in dealing with Kabane. Enter Ikoma, a lowly steamsmith who is hell-bent on ridding the world of Kabane. In order to do so, he and his pal, Takumi, began doing their own research on these Kabane and even invents a more powerful weapon, the piercing gun.

One day, an armored locomotive called the Kotetsujou docks at the fortified station Ikoma and his friends are residing in, a day earlier than expected. Something happens along the way and soon, Ikoma and company board the Kotetsujou to escape the station under siege.

Plot:

If you have watched Tetsuro Araki‘s work, namely Guilty Crown and Attack on Titan, you will have known what to expect. This show is by no means original, in fact, if you have been watching anime for sometime, it will not be a breath of fresh air for you. There are a number of recycled plot points and feel somewhat disjointed at times. At one point, it feels like Attack on Titan, then the next episode, it feels like Highschool of the Dead, then the next episode Guilty Crown. I don’t quite mind if the plot has been recycled or unoriginal as long as it’s a more refined version, Koutetsujou no Cabaneli is a more polished version of all of the aforementioned shows.

But, it is none of those shows. Attack on Titan has amazing action set-pieces and intriguing lore about its settings, HoTD is a fun, ridiculous ride that doesn’t take itself seriously and Guilty Crown is a gloriously, well-animated and spectacular mess.

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For one, KnC doesn’t try to establish its own identity, but tries to achieve a goal that wasn’t really there to begin with. It tries to deal with the clutter-filled plot of AoT, except that it’s plot is different from the plot of AoT. It tries to right the wrongs of the questionable main protagonist from Guilty Crown, but it itself is not Guilty Crown. It tries to bring in themes of fear like HoTD, but at the same time, tries to talk about family bonds and political stability.

The plot is way, way too ambitious that it left way too many blanks for the audience to fill, and that leads to unrelatable characters, a plot riddled with plot holes and a show that strives for the best but didn’t quite reach the height it aimed for.

Oh, can I talk about the ending? It was rushed, anti-climatic and so uninspiring that it made me wanna cry. Is it trying to build up for another sequel or something? What happened?

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Settings:

Same problem here. There are way too many blanks left for the audience and we are left to our own imagination most of the time. First of all, what are Kabanes? In the first few episodes, we are told that they are drawn by blood, so technically speaking, if you don’t spill blood, you will have no problem, right? No? Okay, so they are very difficult to kill, right? But, you can run over them with trains, decapitate them, shoot them with guns that will kill them with three or four shots. You don’t need a piercing gun like Ikoma‘s that has a very limited range to kill them. So, they’re not scary? Plus, I’m sure by the Industrial Revolution, we are advanced enough to understand the anatomy of the body to know that viruses travel through the blood stream. So, how is it that no one but a steamsmith realized that you can still live even if you have been infected? What about gunpowder? Gunpowder was invented in the 9th century in China, so why didn’t they come up with cannons and whatnot?

So many questions, but no answers. In short, the settings are riddled with so many holes that the possibly interesting lore gets bogged down entirely.

Characters:

*Sighs* So much potential wasted.

Ikoma is a good character, at least to me. That’s because I recognized his motives and understood how his mind operates. However, the show doesn’t explain that to viewers, not even briefly. For example, in the first episode, Ikoma was trying to stop the bushis, the soldiers from killing a supposed infected person. I was watching with a friend, and that scene drew two different responses from the two of us. I was rooting for Ikoma while my friend was literally screaming for the bushis to hurry up and kill the infected person. I’m sure many people have the same reaction as my friend, and if your reaction was like him, chances are you didn’t quite enjoy this show.

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There are too many things left unexplained to the viewers, and it relies on a matter of perspective as to whether or not you will enjoy this show.

But, if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the rest of the characters had next to no character development. No backstories, no depth, and as the story progresses, they all get sidelined and nothing interesting happens to them. Even Mumei, easily the best character in the show was, by the end, sidelined to being a mere damsel-in-distress just because the plot requires it.

Graphics & Soundtrack:

Now, if there’s anything you should watch this show for, it’s for the visual spectacle and the awesome music. The show delivers in the visual department, and boy is it amazing. The visuals team use an unorthodox contrast of bright colours and shades of grey to deliver stunning backdrops, as well as to capture the haunting, steampunk version of Industralized Japan. A lot of effort has been put into this show to make it this beautiful and I have to say, this show is absolutely stunning.

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Oh, have I mentioned how much I love Aimer? No? I love Aimer, how about that? Her style of music and the songs she sings normally have a really melancholic and atmospheric feel to it. Add Sawano Hiroyuki to the mix and you will have a really awesome soundtrack. In fact, I can go out on a limb here and say this is better than Guilty Crown‘s soundtrack and if you’ve watched Guilty Crown, you know how high a standard GC’s soundtrack has. Though, Egoist’s opening theme wasn’t as great as I thought it would be.

Conclusion:

A show that essentially bit off more than it can chew, Koutetsujou no Cabeneli is not necessarily a bad show, it’s just that it didn’t exactly reach greatness like everyone thought it would. It does have a few plus sides, like good pacing, intriguing characters and great visual effects. However, don’t expect another phenomenal Attack on Titan, in fact, it would be better if you prepare yourself for another Guilty Crown.

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After meticulously calculating the points awarded for plot, settings, characters, graphics & soundtracks and my personal enjoyment, I present to the rating for Koutetsujou no Cabaneli:

7.92 (Good)


So, there you have it. I am still looking forward to the spring season with– wait, ReLife released all its episode yesterday?? Wait, where can I watch it?! I’m gonna watch it and enjoy it (I hope).

Either way, what do you think about Koutetsujou no Cabeneli? Did you like it, or not? Also, what do you think about the new spring season? What shows are you hyped up for? Let me in the comments section below and I will see you in the next review! Ciao!

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Bungou Stray Dogs (Season One) Review – Much Wow, Such Doge

Written April 30th 2016

Watched 3 out of 12 episodes

Overall Rating: 1

I started watching this show, thinking that this show would have great plot and memorable characters but unfortunately, this show let me down so bad. Reason: This show had nothing to do with dogs at all!!! I can’t believe Japan did this, using dogs’ name so irresponsibly! Time to call PETA.

BTW, this show had nothing to do with dogs, or bungee jumping at all, despite what the title would have you believe. Instead, it features a ragtag group of detectives with superpowers. Aside from a referential main concept that is utterly useless, this show is an unoriginal and uninspiring disappointment! Also, misleading as hell!

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HOLD YOUR HORSES!

Metaphorically, I mean. Please don’t attempt to milk your horses in any way, they will get upset. We all will.

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Actual review below ->

Bungou Stray Dogs


Atsushi Nakajima was kicked out of the orphanage he resided in, and weeks later, he arrives at the city, searching for shelter and food. Starving and homeless, he decided to resort to crime out of desperation and starvation. However, before he could do rob anyone, he finds a person drifting down the river and Atsushi reluctantly saves him from drowning. It turns out that man, Ozamu Dazai, is a suicidal maniac, and also genius detective working for the Armed Detective Agency, the fabled detective agency comprising of super powered individuals. Unbeknownst to AtsushiDazai and his partner, Doppo Kunikida, are in fact, on a dangerous mission that has more connection to the bewildered Atsushi than he thinks.

Plot:

I recognize phenomenal writing when I see it. To have a good plot, you not only have to be entertaining, but also have consistency and great pacing. The layout of Bungou Stray Dogs is largely similar to the first season of Durarara!! and some other shows, for that matter. The first half of the show would focus on world building and character development, while in the later half of the show, the main plot would start to kick in and the pacing would pick up. I won’t say the writing for the first 12 episodes of this show is flawless, but it did better than Durarara!!

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People have mixed opinions about Durarara!! Some say the first half of the show was great, while the later half couldn’t live up to the promise of the first half. Others say otherwise. I for that matter, thought both halves had their flaws. In the context of this review, in my opinion, Durarara!!‘s first half was plagued by inconsistency and overcrowding. There was just too much happening, and sometimes it can get overwhelming. Bungou had a much better time when it is introducing its characters, and it was ultimately much more engaging due to good pacing.

That one episode aside (Episode 11), the show was consistent throughout and most episodes feature mini cliffhangers that offers enough intrigue to keep you hooked but not enough to overwhelm you.

Settings:

The whole debacle about people with abilities is not exactly very original. In fact, it is a dated set-up dating back to the pre-2000s. What’s new, you may ask? Well, not much. If you were expecting Holmes-esque detective stories, well, don’t hold your breath. While it may have an one or two episodes about actual detective work, it’s still nothing to shout about.

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The central conflict between the Armed Detective Agency and its illegal counterpart, Port Mafia serves as the backdrop for the show and sets up for great action scenes. This backdrop is great and all, but it isn’t the main focus of the show, but it will kick up a notch in the second season. And boy, am I really excited for the second season.

So, what’s intriguing about this show, you may ask? Well, if there is one thing we could learn about entertainment from Hollywood, it’s that you don’t need an entirely original setting to be entertaining. It’s intrigue doesn’t come from the awfully new setting, but it’s great pacing and (wait for it) it’s characters.

Characters: 

Despite what you may be led to believe by naysayers, the character development of this show is actually best part of this show. Let’s talk about the main characters. Atsushi is your typical main character with the cliche backstory we all are familiar with. Out of place MC? Check. No parents and relatives? Check. Naive? Check. Dense? Check. Well, he may not be very original and intriguing, and the show knows it. The writers doesn’t try to shove the character down your throat but instead, he is used to subtly introduce the various characters. The plot is still centered around him though, but he still can hold on on his own.

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What the main character cannot do, the supporting characters compensate. The main duo, Kunikida and Dazai is by far the most entertaining and the most developed characters. Both of them have contrasting personalities and interesting backstories. They both have a lot of potential to be great characters and a lot of mystery surrounds these two. They remind a lot of Izaya and Shizuo, from Durarara!!, and they also remind me of the interesting characters the Durarara!! duo could have become. I really want to see these two from Bungou evolve from their current state into great characters. I have a lot of hope for them.

The rest of the cast have a limited screentime, mostly limited to one episode per character. I won’t complain though, the writers don’t have 50 episodes to work on.

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The main complaint people have with this show is that the characters are comical and very goofy at times. While I don’t mind the goofiness myself, many were “appalled”, at least according to MAL. I think what the writers were going for comedic relief in the form of goofiness, but they failed to achieve the heights they were aiming for. It wasn’t bad though, however, it should be said that that the goofiness can be passed off as a failed attempt at comedy. Still, it is a somewhat integral part of the show but not so much to the extent that it may ruin the show completely. In short, the humour may tick you off but bear with it, and you will be rewarded.

Graphics & Sound Design

Graphically speaking, this show is superb. The animation is superb and the use of bright colors is phenomenal. Overall, it is top notch. Studio Bones are at the helm of animating this show, so it should be to no one’s surprise that this looks so good. The action scenes were especially great, well-choreographed and visually stunning.

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The soundtracks are also very good. It reminded me a lot of Kekkai Sensen‘s jazzy, upbeat soundtrack and serves as an awesome backdrop to the madness unfurling before our eyes. The OP and especially the ED were quite good. Granrodeo’s track, “Trash Candy” was the usual rock number you’d come to expect from them, but the animation sequence were kind of generic, in my opinion. The ED, Luck Life’s “Namae wo Yobu wo” is one of my favourite anime ED of all time. I liked the melancholic feel of the song and swooning melody a lot, and this track alone makes me feel like I wanna buy Luck Life’s EP on the App Store. It is THAT good.

Conclusion:

This show in my opinion, is one of the best shows to come out in Spring 2016. And, no I don’t think Re:Zero is best anime of the season. Sorry. I enjoyed this show quite a lot, despite it’s popularity or rather, lack of. For me, it represents Durarara!!‘s unfulfilled promise of refined storytelling and interesting character development, and combines that with the jazzy, upbeat tone of Kekkai Sensen.

It have good writing, great pacing, promising characters and amazing visuals. It may not be as popular as the ongoing shows like Re:Zero and Boku no Hero Academia, but it could very well surpass them both in terms of storytelling and characters. Well, that would depend on the second season airing this Fall, so how it would fare is anybody’s guess.

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It does have some flaws, here and there, but I still find it to be highly entertaining.

And so, after meticulously calculating the points awarded for story, character development, graphics & soundtracks, as well as my personal enjoyment, I hereby decide to award this show the rating:

8.11 (Promising)


So, there you have it: My first review of this season’s anime. I really liked this show and the promise of a tantalizing character driven story. One can only hope they don’t screw up, but then, who knows?

Tanaka-kun Itsumo Kedaruge finished earlier today, so I may finish watching that last episode and complete my review for it. And next week, I will have finished Koutetsujou no Cabaneli and Sakamoto desu ga so hopefully, will have another review up by next weekend. I still have one episode of Tanaka-kun to watch, so I will see you in the next one. Ciao!

Fate/Zero – Review – Magical Battle Royale

Set in an alternative world where magic exists and supernatural battles take commonplace (Sorry for that reference, Tee-hee!), the Holy Grail War occurs in the Japanese city of Fuyuki every 60 years. Here is my review on the prequel of Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero. Check it out!

Being a reviewer, I think it’s important to be critical about the technical aspects of a show, yet be able to express one’s own thoughts and views sufficiently enough to let people understand your feelings. However, during the course of my reviewing stint, I have found some reviewers being overly critical about an anime while neglecting his/her own feelings while writing/recording the review. This makes the reader feel as if the reviewer doesn’t enjoy the show even though the truth may be totally opposite from what is perceived.

What has that got to do with anything with Fate/Zero? Well, absolutely nothing except for the fact that I freaking love it!

A lot!

I just kinda want to get it out there very clearly before I do anything.

So, that being said, allow me to introduce you to Fate/Zero, the prequel to ever popular Fate/Stay Night.

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Ufotable Inc. is a rather small anime production studio. To be frank, I have never heard of their previous works before (Except for Gyo OVA) and I don’t think I would want to watch them. This leads me to wonder, how the hell did they even get to produce something with such popularity?

I mean, if you are a Fate series fan, you would know of the countless prequels, sequels, spin-offs, parodies, visual novels, light novels, films, video games, radio dramas etc. that were derived from the original Fate/Stay Night adult visual novel.

Not that it’s popularity is incomprehensible, though. Adult factors (e.g. *ahem* sexual charisma) aside, the concept of the visual novel was one of guaranteed success. Introduce characters with the most mind-blowing powers, then have them to duke it out, then watch the ensuing chaos and madness. This formulaic approach has brought success to countless shounen anime series. Add some of the most famous historic/mythic characters into the mix and you ultimately get the concept of the Fate series, which is kinda cool, since you get to watch historic characters you learn from books and stories fighting each other.

First, the setting. We are introduced to the Holy Grail War that is held every sixty years in Fuyuki City of Japan. Where else? The war chooses seven Masters from the mages in the world and these mages are to summon Servants, embodiments of Heroic Spirits from the history of the world, to fight in the said war.

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Enter Emiya Kiritsugu, a freelance mage killer. He participates in the Holy Grail War on behalf of his wife’s family, the Einzbern family. He intends to obtain the Holy Grail, an omnipotent object that grants its owner’s wishes. His goal is to use the Grail in order to achieve his goal of shaping the world into an ideal one where there is only peace, which is otherwise impossible in terms of worldly aspects. In short, he needs a miracle and the Holy Grail promises just that.

Of course, this wouldn’t actually be a war, if there were no other warring factions. And thus, we are also introduced to the other six Masters, each with their individual hidden motives and desires for winning the war. The fact that there are no obvious main characters, with every faction given equal amounts of screen time adds flavor to the story.

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Unlike many other simplistic shounen stories out there which are considered to be the next big thing just because a sudden twist in the story, Fate/Zero constantly surprise us with many twists and turns along the way. I mean, this is not a war between high school students, one mistake can prove fatal. Like every ACTUAL war out there, there are alliances, betrayals, and cold-blooded murder during the course of the war, and that lays down the foundations to one of the darker sides to this battle royale.

Now, here comes the juicy parts. There are seven different classes of Servants to be summoned: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Rider, Berserker, Caster and Assassin, each with their special abilities and finishing moves. As if having these characters at each others’ throats are not exciting enough, for the most part of the show, the true identity of the Servants are kept secret from the audience. At least, most of them are not revealed until mid-way of the show.

This adds the flavors of mystery and intrigue as the viewers are kept grasping at straws, trying to figure out the identities of the Servants. But then, (a twist here) the Servants are not just fighting machines that are used by their individual Masters to win the war. They also have their own motives for participating in the war, which most of the time complicate matters further for the Masters.

All the different parts of the plot, hidden or otherwise, can individually make up a good story, but to be able to piece it together to create a phenomenal over-arcing big picture takes exceptional planning and calculated arrangements. Over this, I commend the writers for doing such a great job of piecing all the pieces together and bringing the tried-and-tested formula to a whole new level. Thus, I highly recommend this show to whoever looking for great multi-layered stories featuring a battle royale filled with espionages, betrayal and mind-blowing action.

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The only thing that I could complain about the plot is the lacklustre ending, which I will not discuss, for the sake of not spoiling you guys. I can only say that the ending is necessary to ensure the continuity of the series as a whole. In short, the ending was it trying to cover for the retarded 2006 anime version of its elder brother, Fate/Stay Night.

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The character designs, on the other hand, are one of the most realistic and thought-provoking ones in a very long time in anime world. I mean, it’s been so long since I have watched an anime that doesn’t feature some high school delinquent and their daily lives.

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Each individual Servant and Master in the show has their different set of ideals and before long, their ideals clash, causing them to waver. In my opinion, these ideals are eye openers, as we are exposed to different types of thinking and cultures, especially for people who are bounded by the same type of thinking. Who knows? Maybe you can learn a thing or too from this anime.

Ideals aside, the characters also have their very own characteristics that are unique to them. Fate/Zero really excels at giving us a wide array of characteristics, ranging from the prideful to the wimpy to the menacing, and utilizing them to build up the tension in the series. The use of character design also plays a prominent role in boosting the plot as I have mentioned earlier.

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Now, you must be wondering why I mentioned the production studio, Ufotable Inc. earlier. Or…maybe not.

Anyway, despite having relatively less experience dealing with highly popular franchises and being comparatively unknown, Ufotable got the project to produce Fate/Zero. Somehow. Whether you like it or not, Ufotable has produced one of the best anime entries in the Fate series, which is not surprising given that it’s predecessor was the 2006 Fate/Stay Night, the UBW film, Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illy and Carnival Phantasm (Does that count?). But not only did Ufotable exceeded the expectations of many but also produced one of the most relevant and entertaining anime series ever produced.

The studio probably also poured all their budget into producing the many epic and beautifully animated fight scenes ever produced. That gamble paid off though, as viewers are treated to fight scenes so beautifully animated and choreographed that it probably ate away most of their budget by the end of just the first season. Trust me, when I say it’s beautiful.

They are not the best choreographed ones though, nor the most epic but it certainly is the most beautiful. The array of colors and the glorious intensity of the fights were simply outstanding.

In the technical aspects, the animation and the music was marvelous too. The animation was flawless and consistent throughout. The production studio certainly did not cut any corners here. The music was also splendid, with the first OP by LiSA, sending chills down my spine. The OST was great too and compliments the series really well. I have really nothing to complain about in the technical aspect, which is pretty amazing, given that it was produced by a relatively unknown production studio.

All in all, this show is one of the best anime series out there. There’s splendid plot, relatable characters, outstanding action, flawless animation and great music. Damn, I think I’ve run out of complimenting adjectives to use. That’s just how good it is.

So after meticulously calculating points awarded for the story, animation, character design, music and my personal enjoyment, I decided to award the series with a rating of:

8.78 (Great)


So, if you enjoyed this show and would like to watch more like it, I point you towards the remake of the original Fate/Stay Night by Ufotable last year, entitled Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. For another spectacular battle royale story, I recommend you Btooom! which is also very dark and has very graphic content. Definitely NSFW.

So, there you have it, my review of Fate/Zero. If you like this review, do feel free to click the ‘Like’ button and follow my blog too. If you haven’t done it already, also feel free to like my Facebook page here. If you have any suggestions, feel free to post it on the comments below. Like per say, “Daniel, there are too many words. I don’t feel like reading.”

Joking aside, I sincerely hope for any suggestions or requests from you, my dear readers. For example, if you have any topic in mind that you would like to read about, feel free to reach out and tell me. I’ll try to write about it or make a list. Your choice.

Anyway, till the next post, cheerio!

Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne – Review – This Is Exactly Why I Love Anime!

Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is a morally grey series and gritty show that is bound to give you chills down your spine. Read the review here!

In more conventional and traditional societies, anime is treated as cartoons and regarded with suspicion as there are also a lot of taboos surrounding it. One particular taboo that people use to confront me is how perverted anime is becoming. As an anime fan, I find myself agreeing to this statement even though my credibility as a human being will plummet down to the depths of Hell. I can’t blame people though. It’s becoming more and more common to see that occasional series where the girls are hyper-sexualized and do all sorts of perverted stuff. There is also the ‘ecchi’/’hentai’ genre which can be regarded as borderline animated pornography, some going all the way. This causes people to think there are only two kinds of anime, which is:

1. Anime for kids e.g. Avatar: The Last Airbender (P.S. Avatar is not regarded by some anime fans as non-anime) and Pokemon/Digimon.

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2. Anime for people with weird fetishes, like cat girls, lolitas (aka girls that are petite in size or are still children) and even little sisters, or people who are lustful/perverts.

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Debunking stereotyping like that is really difficult and takes up a lot of time explaining the basis, history and stating examples from anime so I’m going to save that for some other time. Instead, I’m going to review an anime named after the Greek God of memory. I present to you:

Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne.

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If you haven’t heard of this show, no worries. I’d say, 65% of the anime fandom have not heard of this show either. But if you did, chances are, you probably know it as torture porn where there are scenes where characters get impaled, tortured, or even blown to pieces, all while naked and screaming like they’re on drugs and in some sort of high.

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In case you’re about to turn tail and run, screaming: ‘DANIEL IS A F***ING PERVERT!!! I WON’T EVER VISIT HIS SITE!!!!’, don’t worry, I’m totally fine. But don’t you run away yet.

Mnemosyne revolves around women who unwittingly absorbed a Fruit of Time from the Tree of Yggdrasil that causes them to become immortal. One such woman is Rin and alongside her trusty companion, Mimi, who is also immortal, works as a private investigator. Of course, Rin being immortal doesn’t mean that she is like Superman, she is not immune to injury, or otherwise there would basically be no plot left. But being immortal has its pros. Being a private investigator AND immortal means she can just throw herself into various dangerous situations without any hesitation just because she can respawn after dying, rendering Death incapable of keeping her dead for long.

As people say, “There are always two sides to the same coin,” and likewise, being immortal has its cons too. Rin, aside from being immortal, is a normal human being with no superhuman capabilities to speak of. From time to time though, she would find herself trying to escape pain, suffering and even permanent death from the hands of evil scientists, hunters of the immortal and the evil, mysterious being, Apos.

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If I’m going to say this, I best be saying this now:

This anime is by no means, an anime suitable for children and the adult themes of homosexuality, sex and extreme violence are very much the norm in the world that is Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne

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In other words, this anime is definitely not for kids and can be likened to late night TV shows that heavily feature dark and grim themes. Except take these dark themes, multiply it by ten, add near-nude and sex scenes that would make any censorship board go into overload and in the end, put your character through so much physical and mental torture that normal people would go crazy at the sight of it.

AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE ANIME!

No, I don’t have a fetish towards sadomasochism. No to Vancouver and fifty shades of blue, black and green!!

I meant I love how anime has so much potential to be able to present us a story that normally wouldn’t sell on mainstream TV. I mean how can you possibly make a live action show about people playing basketball? Sure, you can make a documentary but can live action recreate the superhuman feats of strength displayed in sports anime? Can it give us epic fight scenes like Dragon Ball Z or Hunter X Hunter? In reference to this, Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is a perfect example.

During the course of the series which is 6 episodes of approximately 45 minutes each, the series stretches 65 years from the late 20th century to the near dystopian future. What live action show can do that? Not to mention the gruelling fight scenes and sexual themes, this show is definitely impossible to be remade into a live-action movie and thus potentially great shows like this one are lost.

Not wanting to spoil anymore of the plot, I shall commend the writers for confronting such dark themes without making it feel as if it was there just to be there. Unlike ‘ecchi’ series with their loads of fan service and erotic acts, the torture scenes, the sex scenes and the violence are served to us in adequate proportions. It keeps the fine balance between pleasing people with certain tendencies (you know who you are, *snicker* *wink*) and not making the rest of us feel like we’ve just watched outright, blatant torture porn.

Mnemosyne 4

In short, for making lewd plays and outright violence feel like a justified, legit plot, I clap for you.

Clap for you 1

Jokes aside, the show very cleverly slit these erotic stuff in between events, making it somewhat acceptable for people like me, who are not particular fond of lewd anime while pleasing fans who…well, you know what you like. Prior to watching these, I was having one of these cravings for dark and morally grey series like Death Note, and it is noteworthy that this show scratched this itch very wonderfully.

For the characters, they are written well enough though they aren’t exactly very distinguishable or memorable but I guess I have no qualms over it. It is after all only 6 episodes long and the story doesn’t call for elaborate development of the characters, so I’m fine with the development they give their characters.

As for the technical side of things, the animation was well, rather average. I’m not sure about you but watching this show on 720p, I find the playback somewhat grainy. It’s the same problem I faced with other shows produced by Xebec, the producer of Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne. The music is also somewhat average and serves to complement the tense and gritty scenes but no tracks are worth noting in particular.

To conclude, this show is a blatant, morally grey show that takes themes people shy away from and unashamed-ly serves it with doses of sexual and graphic scenes. Though the execution of the show are sometimes unclear and the writers may not explain enough for everyone to know everything clearly, if you, like me, have a craving for dark, gritty shows, this one is definitely going to fulfill it very nicely.

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And so, after meticulously calculating my ratings for the plot, characters, animation and technical aspects, and lastly, my personal enjoyment, I decided to give this show a rating of:

7.72 (AVERAGELY GOOD)

If you liked this show, chances are you would also like the ever popular Death Note, another morally grey series that is sure to turn your ideals on its heads. You may also find Monster, an anime based on the apocalyptic story of the Anti-Christ, to your liking.


 

There’s that. If you like this review, feel free to click on the ‘Like’ button, leave a comment below and if you haven’t already done it, like my Facebook page too. I appreciate your thoughts and views and will strive to work towards a better reviewing experiencing.

With that, I leave you. This is Daniel See, signing off. Cheerio.

Sadness and Alternate Worlds – Hotarubi no Mori E 蛍火の杜へ – Anime Review

Sorry for the late posting, but anyway, this is the next show with a splendid pile of feels, Hotarubi no Mori E@Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light! That ending though…I can imagine its impact on them fangirls…

Hello, people. Sorry for the late posting and stuff. Blame reality. I haven’t been watching anime properly for a whole week and I did only paperwork for a long, long time. But fret not, for now I am back with a renewed passion to write more reviews for more entertainment!!!

Sad anime is so tiring and draining. watching it either kills me inside or leaves me hanging so I decided to run the sad anime review marathon alongside my regular anime. For today, we have…


Hotarubi 5

蛍火の杜へ, Hotarubi no Mori E aka Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light is based on a one-shot shoujo manga of the same title.

Hotarubi_no_Mori_e_(manga_cover)

It revolves around Takegawa Hotaru, a girl who lives in the city and goes to the countryside to live with her uncle during the summer vacations. When she was six, she entered the forest nearby that was said to be occupied by the mountain god and the spirits and got lost. When she was crying from exhaustion, a human-like entity wearing a mask approached her and comforts her. However, when she attempts to hug him, he dodges her and tells her that if he touches a human, he will disappear. And so, little Hotaru became more fond of the man/spirit whose name was later revealed to be Gin, and proceeded to visit him in the forest everyday of the summer vacation.

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Of course, like every shoujo manga, there’s always a normal looking girl as the main protagonist and the ever-mysterious yet charming male character as the love interest. But unlike typical shoujo, the characters are not exactly too tied up with its usual stereotyping due to the irregular setting. Like the movies by Makoto Shinkai such as 5 Centimeters Per Second or Voices of A Distant Star, the plot of this OVA/short film whose running time is exactly 45 minutes, the problems faced in real life are recurring themes in this anime too, although presented in a less orthodox way. For example, physical distance is the underlying theme as Hotaru is unable to touch Gin and that makes them yearn for each other more.

Hotarubi 1

In terms of story, plot and development, this anime is one of the most well-developed stand-alone OVAs I’ve ever seen. It’s run time of 45 minutes is utilized to the maximum and every scene and dialogue is used only to present the plot in the best way possible. More about that ending later.

Illustrated and published in the year 2001, the manga was so good that it was considered to be Yuki Midorikawa, the manga artist’s starting point for her best known work, Natsume Yuujinchou. The anime production began in 2011 and top of the class as well. Undoubtedly, this anime has one of the best storylines ever adapted for an OVA and the most depressingly relatable one I’ve seen so far.

Given its length, there is nothing much to talk about this anime. The plot was good, the characters were average, which is understandable given its shortness, the artstyle was quite artistically beautiful although not as stunning as Makoto Shinkai’s work. In short, it was a beautifully crafted animated story with a lot of charm that had a great finishing and is almost flawless in every aspect.

So, you’re thinking: “How is this anime sad?”

I’ll give you a few clues. [Minor spoiler alert]

  1. Gin is not a spirit but somewhat he is somewhat not of the human world. And that thing about him not able to touch humans is true. He also doesn’t age like humans do. In short, he is forever a teenager.
  2. Hotaru is a completely normal girl who like all normal girl characters in shoujo yearn for love as they enter adolescence. But do you think she can withhold herself from wanting to touch Gin?

Lastly…[Really, don’t read this if you still have completely no clue whatsoever to what is going to happen. Ignorance is bliss.]

3. What is going to happen when Gin touches a human?


 

Enjoy your feels while you’re at it! Enjoy your next day rolling on the ground crying, you crybabies!!! *Evil laughter*

Till the next sad stuff, ja ne~~

I can hear them fangirls crying their eyeballs off their sockets already.