Anime · Uncategorized

Why I Dropped Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card After the First Episode

I tried to like this, I really did.  I was a huge Card Captor Sakura fan back in the day, when it aired on WB simply as Card Captors.  When I saw there was a new series, and it wasn’t a reboot, and that there was a simudub, I figured I’d check out the first episode sooner rather than later to see if it was a series I’d want to watch the rest of.

 

Sadly, Card Captor Sakura:  Clear Card totally misses the mark for me.  I’m not sure if it’s my nostalgia glasses, or if the show is just disinteresting, but I do feel like there’s some of the magic from the original series lacking in this one.  I liked the old WB dub, but when I thought about it I wasn’t like “Ugh this isn’t like the original dub I grew up with!  Lame”.  I think the new dub is good, and matches the Japanese voices well.  Do I like Sakura being so high pitched?  Not really, but I get that that’s pretty much how she sounds in Japanese.  With that out of the way, what else would make me dislike this series?
I usually watch a show for 4 episodes before dropping it, but this one, I stopped after one.  The first episode was slow paced, but I don’t mind slow paced shows.  The action didn’t happen until the end, but it wasn’t enough to make me hop right on over to episode 2.  So what is it that bugs me so much about this series?

 

Honestly, when it boils down to it, Card Captor Sakura:  Clear Card just doesn’t capture the same magic Card Captor Sakura did.  In my opinion, Clear Card tries to capture the magic the original series did, while not realizing what exactly was so great about the original series.  Sure Card Captor Sakura had cute moments, had slice of life aspects, had magic, but at the end of the day it also was about different aspects of love, how different people dealt with relationships, and without that aspect of the show there, I think Card Captor Sakura:  Clear card just falls into the category of “Generic, fine enough but not interesting magical girl anime”.  Now granted, that’s my opinion about it after watching 1 episode, but I feel if a show can’t grab you after the first one, it isn’t doing its job right.
But what do you think about the show as a whole, was there something about it that kept you watching?  Should I give it another go because it gets better?

Anime · Cartoons · Uncategorized

Why You Should Give RWBY Another Chance if You’ve Dropped it

A group shot of Team RWBY: Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang

 

I watched RWBY a while ago, when volume 3 was the last volume out.  It had gotten my attention enough to give it a shot, but it took a lot of time to get there.  Literally, it was the end of vol. 3 that made me go “Oh, this show is actually interesting now” when volumes 2 and 1 just seemed like a generic hot chicks with swords sudo anime web series, tropy characters and all.
So because of that, I dropped RWBY.  I had watched the first four episodes of volume 4, and there was so little going on I got disinterested.  I was watching it when it aired, and I’m just not a watch an episode one at a time person.  I still would see people talking about how great RWBY was, and a friend told me volumes 4 and 5 were great and they had just watched them.  So I had taken about 2 years off from watching the series, since I was watching volume 4 when it was airing and a volume comes out once a year.

 

And man, waiting and binging volumes 4 and 5 was a great choice.  The show, although I see some people complain about the slower pacing, really reached a depth I didn’t think existed when in volumes 1 and 2 it was nothing but big fighting set pieces.  Volume 4 took the time to slow down, let the aftermath of volume 3 take its toll on the characters, and allowed them to grow, breath, and develop.  When the fights came into the picture, they had weight behind them, because the story had built to that point.  I can’t see the fights, and honestly would love for audio description to be added to the show, because there are huge chunks of just awesome music, no dialogue, and then I have to read the RWBY wiki for transcripts to see what happened in the stretch of the episode that has little dialogue.  They have a lot of show, not tell in the series:  which totally works, not knocking RWBY for doing that.  But those stretches of show not tell have no audio queue’s, and usually just footsteps for a few minutes with flashy sound effects that don’t really tell you what’s going on in the scene.  Like I said, you just have to deduce what happened, or look up what happened via transcripts.
I guess that’s also a big part of why I liked the slower pacing.  Less fights, meant more auditory going on because the characters were talking, and moving the plot along with dialogue.  And then, the fights had weight, and were a liiittle easier to figure out about half of what was going on.  Volumes 4 and 5 were both slower paced, and getting our heroes back together so the overarching bigger plot to take place with every character having grown through their trials in the volumes.
It was just…nice.  No other way to put it.  I felt a connection with the characters I hadn’t felt before, and didn’t see them as “The cool one, the one who’s a tomboy”  Characters that I didn’t even like before had arcs that made me like them.  If for some reason, you were turned off from RWBY volumes 1 through 3, but saw that there was a spark of something there that interested you decently, but not enough to want to continue watching, try watching volumes 4 and 5.  The show really starts there if I’m being honest, the first three seasons just feel like a prologue.
You an RWBY fan?  Did you like it from volume 1, or did it take a while to grow on you.  Would love to hear in the comments!

Anime · Uncategorized

Erased: A Mystery Anime, or a Coming of Age Story

Disclaimer:  Major Erased spoilers will be below!

 

There’s a reason why I generally don’t review anime, and it’s because I have a hard time talking about it other than “I liked this a lot!” or “It was ok/eh it sucked”.  But when there’s a certain show that has really interesting themes and some deeper topic I can dissect that isn’t just a straight up review, I tend to want to write about it.  I found that in Erased, so time to dive in!
Erased was super popular in Spring of 2016, and I had always planned to watch it but never got to it.  I watched it this weekend with a friend, and wow was it amazing!  I was watching on Twitter when the show was airing and seeing all the hype, and after watching it something in particular from seeing people talk about the mystery falling a bit flat stuck out to me.  I saw a lot of “The killer reveal was lame” or “The mystery wound up being blah” comments but after watching, I came to this conclusion.

 

This show isn’t about the mystery.

 

 

This show is so much more than a crime drama, find out who the killer is anime.  This show, when you look past the mystery, is about the connections we make as people.  Look at Satoru, pre-revival:  he was detached, just going through the motions of life because he had to.  Not working at the job he wanted, not knowing about his old friends, just a shell of a person.  When he hops back to 1988 the first time, he feels like he has to do everything alone because that’s just how he’s lived his life.

 

Jump back to 2006, and he’s changed a bit.  Willing to take Iri’s help, willing to go to other people.  It may bite him in the butt at times, but when he wants to go back, he goes back because he genuinely cares about the people in his past and wants to go back and set things right.  And, after going back, he is willing to take help from Kenya and his other friends because after banging his head against the wall trying to go alone, he realizes he can’t do it.

When I first saw that the timeline that was going to stick was the one where Satoru was in a 15 year coma, it seemed so bittersweet.  He had lost years of his life because of some jerk of a killer, but seeing how that effected his friends, how just living the life he had before the fact the way he did it in turn effected them.  Because he didn’t isolate himself like he did the first time through, they loved him enough, and were genuinely effected enough by his accident because of how much he cared for everyone around him, that it didn’t matter he wasn’t there, and was in his coma:  because he never was truly gone, he was always with his friends.  And in the end, that care, that love is what caught the killer, because they all still cared about each other, and continued to do so after the fact.  They were willing to help Satoru with anything no matter what, because he had fostered such genuine, sincere relationships with them before, and in the end, that is what caught the killer.  It had nothing to do with outsmarting him, but simply was boiled down to Satoru had friends who cared and wouldn’t let him do something of that magnitude alone, and the killer was the exact opposite.

 

The mystery in Erased is flawed, sure.  I figured out who it was within the first few episodes.  But the show isn’t really about that.  At its core, it’s about the subject of loneliness, and how someone thinking they’re better off alone is usually false.  It’s a way to protect themselves from getting hurt in the end, and lowering those barriers truly are what make your life worth living.  Because everyone is flawed, everyone is hurting, and no one should truly be alone in their misery.  You truly can’t live without caring for others, and in turn having them care for you.

 

I love this anime.  It’s a beautiful coming of age story, underneath the guise of a murder mystery.  The themes of self-worth, trusting others, and overcoming your insecurities is so prevalent in this anime that in the end I don’t even think the writers were focusing on making the culprit  unobvious.  It was more about Satoru’s journey.  It’s a great anime that if you haven’t seen, I highly recommend you do, it’s a lovely story.

 

Have you watched Erased?  Would love to know your thoughts about the series in the comments!

Anime

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Series Review: Fan Service, Fantasy, and a Lot of Fun

April was a rough month for me – a lot of things weren’t coming together, and there was a lot of stress involved.  I had read a lot of reviews about this show, and as a destresser I decided to watch it.  I was skeptical, because maid’s in anime are well, always known as fanservice moe fauter, but was it worth watching through this show, and  getting past the fanservice for some genuine entertainment and sweetness?
Yes, yes it was.  I will say that I waited until the series had completely aired – I don’t think it would have held up as well if I were watching this series over 13 weeks.  Watching it over 1 week, in blocks of 4 or 3 episodes at a time was a lot more enjoyable for me, because when I got bored or tired of the show I was able to stop and just go back to it the next day.  It definitely helped me with the destressing as well, because it’s just so darn cute!  The humor was funny, and the show genuinely has a sweet message to share, with an enjoyable cast of characters (mostly).  My main criticisms  with the show is it’s rather one note in its plots.  Like I said, if I were watching this week to week, I probably would have been tired of it.  It’s mindless, adorable slice of life fun and if you need something that will give you a chuckle and warm and fuzzy happy feelings, definitely watch this show.
Now for the things I didn’t like.  Honestly, as much as I enjoyed the show, I really couldn’t stand Toru!  The first episode almost turned me off from the show, because it just was playing up all the weird, pervy tropes I really don’t like that tend to rear their head in certain anime.  Toru’s selfish, possessive and pervy personality traits never quite go away (they do get muted a bit, but still) and it just makes an enjoyable show lose a bit of its charm.  Kana is entirely too cute, which I get people may like but I don’t care for.  But once again, I know that other people may disagree with that, I generally don’t like cute characters that are just there to be cute.

 

The supporting cast is great, minus Lucoa and Shota’s relationship.  I liked their interactions, but the boob jokes got a little old.  She was a late comer, but I think Elma was probably my favorite character.  I love myself a good comedic straight woman who also participates in the goofyness every once and a while.  The gag with her and food is also something I would do, so it was always funny to see XD

 

Criticizing this show for lack of plot is sort of unfair.  As I watched it, I kept on comparing  it’s format to Azumanga Daioh – just a lot of scenes taking place that go over a period of time that are funny, cute, and entertaining.  If you go into the show knowing this, I think it’s a lot easier of a show To get into because all in all it’s just some good fluffy fun.  If anything, just watch for the Christmas play:  hands down, my favorite story from the series.  I wish the entire episode was the whole play, because it was amazing and hilarious.

 

After I finished the show, I wasn’t exactly sure on my feelings about it.  But the day after finishing it, I genuinely missed visiting with the characters, and seeing what wacky adventures they were going to get into.  For all its flaws, it had that many more enjoyable traits, so if you need a great, humorous watch that is going to make you relax and bask in some mindless, sweet fun, then definitely give this anime a watch.  I recommend watching at least the first three episodes to see if you want to give it a chance though, because the first episode does not give a good example of how charming this show truly is.  I watched the English dub, and it does a great job capturing the characters!  That being said though, I only heard a tiny bit of the Japanese version, so some characters may be a bit more hyped up for American audiences (I have a feeling that may have been the case for Toru, correct me if I’m wrong in the comments).

 

Did you watch Miss Kobayashi when it was airing, wait to binge it like me?  Would love to hear how you liked the show in the comments!

Anime

The Facet of Love Tackled in Magic Knight Rayearth? An Analysis of the Themes Addressed in the Anime

Recently, I watched a let’s play of the Sega Saturn Magic Knight Rayearth game.  Isn’t that completely out of the blue, you might ask, and the answer would be somewhat yes:  initially, I was looking for a very specific track of instrumental music that I couldn’t find anywhere on YouTube (I eventually found it, but only as a midi) and in the process of doing so, found a LP of this game.  I love MKR, so decided to watch it.  The game is…problematic, to say the least, and the plot aspects of it barely scratch the surface of the depth that both the anime, and manga had.  After watching the game, I went to rewatching the anime, and this thought crossed my mind.

 

CLAMP’s main corner stone to me has always been, their central themes focus on love.  It’s fairly abundant  in any of their works, but Magic Knight Rayearth being their first one, I never thought that was the case for it.  Rewatching it older however, I realize I was wrong:  because underneath all of the magical girl, epic fantasy adventure, is a very subtle study of one of the many facets of love.  Spoilers for Magic Knight Rayearth beyond this point, you have been warned!

 

As opposed to say, Cardcaptor Sakura, which makes the relationships between characters very obvious, Magic Knight Rayearth takes a far more subtle approach.  And that’s because, the aspect of love they touch upon is very subtle.  At first, I thought that the overarching theme was how your love can affect others, and change them for better, or worse, in the case of Alcione.  That’s what I got after finishing the Sega Saturn game.  Starting to rewatch the anime though, the concept of love touched upon here is a lot more introspective than that.  It’s how loving someone can internally effect you, and your actions, and how it can be the driving force for your actions, for better, or worse.

 

An image of Alcione, one of Zagato's faithful servants

The first, and most prominent, example of this is Alcione.  She loves Zagato, and will do anything to prove herself to him, because she thinks doing so will make him love her back.  Look a little deeper at this, and it’s really a lack of self-esteem and self-worth that drives her:  She trained under Clef so she could serve Princess Emeraude, another chance to prove her self-worth.  We can assume that somewhere between the show starting and Emeraude being kidnapped, that she fell in love with Zagato, and transferred her need to prove herself by protecting the Princess, to being useful to him.  In the end of the anime’s first season, there’s this really heart breaking scene between her and Zagato that just drives this point home, and has always made her this really sympathetic, tragic character for me, honestly one of the best character arcs in any anime for me still to this day.

 

An image of High Priest Zagato

Zagato, on the other hand, takes a far more aggressive approach.  He loves Emeraude, finds it unfair that she’s been given the cards dealt to her, and wants to move heaven and earth to make sure she’s safe, and loved, and protected.  He’s a good example of how internal love can externally drive you to do extraordinary things.  Best example of this?  Making his own freaking Rune God!

 

The only people who had enough willpower to stand up to him were the Magic Knights, and that’s saying something.  Though I will say, rewatching the show, his lack of caring for anyone but Emeraude makes me sympathize with him a bit less.  I found myself yelling at the screen:  “Yeah, the Magic Knights feel bad about what they did later, and he loves Emeraude, but that doesn’t excuse treating every other character like garbage!”.  I suppose having that sort of reaction only proves my point further.  Zagato’s actions are extreme, but can any of us say we wouldn’t do something like that for someone we loved, who was not only doomed to eternal servitude, but their only way out of it was death?

 

An image of the three Magic Knights: Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu and their Rune Gods Rayearth, Celes, and Windam at sunset
The heart which believes, decides the future!

Our main trio, Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu, all took a bit longer for me to try and figure out.  Hikaru is definitely the driving force for any of their character development.  Her determination, and love for her friends, is what drives her forward.  I’d say her drive is also a version of wanting to prove herself, but at the same time she genuinely wants to help the people around her, because of her love of life.  Because of that, both Umi and Fuu grow as a result.  Umi, becoming less selfish, and Fuu, becoming less selfless, and being less self-sacrificing than she started out as.  It’s honestly really hard for me to think of these three as individuals, because so much of the story hinges on the fact that they love, support, and care for one another in such a foreign situation, when if they were back in Tokyo, they probably would have never become friends in the first place.  In that respect, what internally drives their affection for one another, is protecting, and eventually caring for one another, and their mission at hand.  But honestly, that’s scratching the surface with these three, I could write a whole essay on the Magic Knights, they’re amazing!

 

CLAMP has always been amazing at writing realistic characters, no doubt about it.  The main reason why is because they touch on deep topics like this, and don’t shy away from amazing plot twists, like in this show.  Magic Knight Rayearth will always hold a special place in my heart as being the first series I watched as a preteen anime fan, and as the show that introduced me to the fact that being a voice actor was actually a profession.  Rewatching it, listening to its music, and just basking in the awesome that is Magic Knight Rayearth always makes me so happy!

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this show in the comments!  Have you seen it before?  What are your thoughts on how love is portrayed in this series?

Anime

Your Lie in April Episode 1 Thoughts

Time to start this rewatch!  I’ve never rewatched an anime before that wasn’t from my childhood, so this will be interesting.  I thought it would be fun to try and think of my initial thoughts of the episode after watching it the first time, then see how I feel about it now knowing what’s coming.

 

For episode 1, I think I mainly was interested, but also skeptical.  The pointless overdone “You pervert!” trope happened and I was like ugh not this again, but the rest of the show was interesting enough for me to stay watching.  I knew going in the anime was about music, so being a musician myself I really wanted to give it a shot no matter how wonky I thought it might become at the time.

 

Upon rewatching, I like Tsubaki a teeny bit more.  I still don’t really like her, but she’s not as annoying as I remember.  Well, not annoying, but I always found her actions pretty selfish throughout the show, but now seeing the amount of foreshadowing put into the first episode in regards to her feelings, it doesn’t bother me so much.  I wish the humor tropes were gone from here, but I  also like them at the same time so no real complaints with that.  Other than that, I enjoyed the episode!  I feel like for this particular show, knowing what’s going to happen detracts a bit from the drama, but it’s still enjoyable to watch to see what things you didn’t notice happening that were going to lead to bigger reveals later on.

 

I was going to try and watch an episode a day, but that really isn’t’ my style haha.  So what I’ll probably do, is catch up with the show on the weekend, watching the next four episodes for this week one day and the next five for the next week on Sunday.  What can I say, I’m just a binge watcher at heart 😀

 

I’m glad to see this show still is enjoyable upon second watching. Music is still fantastic, and loving the journey faster than I did before because I know what will be happening.  So instead of one episode a day posts I’ll just write my general thoughts on the five episodes I watched for the week over here~

 

Anime · Uncategorized

Blog, and Anime Update!

Hi guys!  So as you’ve noticed, this blog hasn’t been updated for the past week.  That’s mainly because I’ve been busy, and the posts I write over here take a lot of time to write. Don’t get me wrong:  I love writing them, but it does take a lot of time to do so that I’ve had to use to do other things the past week.  But in the past week, I’ve also been thinking of smaller posts, and projects I can start over here that would be more like small first impression posts, episode recaps/impressions of anime, or something like that, then in comes Weekend Otaku with his Your Lie in April viewing party, and I was like “That’s perfect!”.
I already was planning another project with anime, where I watch a lot of older anime that I haven’t seen that are really popular.  I was into anime in the late 90s, early 2000s, and due to not having the huge range of availability for shows we do now, I didn’t watch a lot of anime because DVDs were expensive!  Chibi Crystal also was really into one specific genre of anime which was magical girl and fantasy, which in the early 2000s equated to only watching Inuyasha, Sailor Moon, Card Captors and Magic Knight Rayearth.  I know Cowboy Bebop used to come on Adult Swim in that block with Inuyasha, as did Outlaw Star for a time (which I did like, but it got pulled from the block of shows I used to watch before I could finish it) but Cowboy Bebop didn’t have swords and magic and half demons falling in love with high school girls so Chibi Crystal was having none of that.

 

Now that Chibi Crystal is no longer chibi however, and is getting off of her I haven’t watched anime in six years or so and just started watching again in 2016, I want to revisit a lot of old shows.  So things like Cowboy Bebop, Code Geass, Evanjelion, Death Note etc etc. Aka, I have a lot of catching up to do!  I have yet to schedule those, and not sure if I’m going to do an episode to episode recap, or a chunk of a few episodes, but if you have any good, iconic anime to throw my way to watch I’ll add it to my list and finally start my watching anime new year’s resolution I’ve been putting off XD

 

But, before that, back to the Your Lie in April watch party!  Weekend Otaku is hosting one, and it seems like tons of fun.  If you’d like to join in, here’s the post for more details!  I’m going to be using this to post more and watch an anime I love, so it’s win-win for me haha.

 

So yeah, be prepared for blog posts to start up again next week, with my first impressions of rewatching Your Lie in April on Monday!