Anime

Lost Song Review [Spoiler Free]

I was in the mood to watch a fantasy anime after watching a lot of the heavier shows out there (Evangelion, Angel Beats, stuff like that) and when I was scrolling on Netflix, Lost Song’s description was interesting to me.  A magic system based on song, and a girl who wants to fulfill her dream of singing at the Starsong festival?  Sounded like my type of fun, adventurous, entertainingly tropey kind of fair.  What I got instead was a show that started out that way, and ended up in an entirely different direction all together.  Did this show succeed in trope subversion?  Or did it’s plot twists just make it fall flat.
…It fell flat.  Pretty darn hard too.

 

For more, let’s get into the review!

 

STORY

 

The story in Lost song follows two main characters.  Finis, a songstress who has the power to use songs, which work like casting magic spells in this world, who is being used to make sure one kingdom wins obligatory fantasy war.  Rin, a country girl, who also has the power of song, and wants to work her way to getting to the capital so she can sing at the Starsong festival.  Eventually, these two paths converge, and that’s pretty much the plot without spoiling anything major.  I thought the first six episodes of  the show did a good job of showing us the world Finis and Rin live in, and the problems they both had to face.  The show honestly plays out like an RPG for Rin’s plot:  Find new party member, learn new spell, run from soldiers, rinse repeat.  What I found far more interesting was Finis’ story, and her love story with Henry and I wish we would have seen more of this throughout the first half of the show.

 

It turns out, that there is a reason revealed in the second half of the show, that explains why we didn’t see Rin and Finis meet sooner, and it’s honestly a pretty good plot twist that I wasn’t expecting to happen.  How the show handled this after the fact however, didn’t really land at all, because to figure out why it was a good plot twist, I had to look for final episode discussions to see people explaining what the heck was going on.

 

The second half of the series was a confused mess of the show dropping this plot point, trying to explain it to us, trying to make sure it really really made sense and that it wasn’t a convoluted  mess (spoiler, it was) and the final episode’s epilogue, while sweet to an extent, leaves more questions than answers.  Plus, it leaves a ton of plot holes that I’m still trying to figure out after watching.

 

A good plot twist can’t drive a show.  I think Lost Song was really hoping that it would work, and that making this different than the average fantasy show would make it stand out amongst its peers.  This plot twist does the opposite however, and just makes Lost Song confusing and forgettable.  It wasn’t a bad ride by any means, but the show left no lasting impression on me and as of now the biggest thing I can say about it is “It was fine’.”

 

CHARACTERS

 

The characters were your average fantasy tropes.  The valiant  knight, the sad damsel who can’t lift a finger to protect herself, the country girl with big dreams and a heart of gold…I’m fine with a story either being plot driven or character driven, and this story obviously was going for an impactful plot, but the black and white nature of the characters was a bit heavy handed at times.  The bad guys were 100% evil and got theirs, the good guys won the day, and the main characters fate is…a bit murky?  Honestly I can’t talk enough about how wonky the plot twist made the show.  The ending for a certain set of characters is really unclear, and I highly doubt that we’ll get any content telling us how their fate ended up ending up, for lack of a better term.  If the plot stuck it’s landing and was executed well this wouldn’t bother me too much, but since the second half of the series went off the rails, it just was more obvious that the characters weren’t really fleshed out.

 

ACCESSIBILITY

 

You can pretty much tell what’s going on at any given time in the show.  It’s a very what you see is what you get type of series, so other than there being sections where music is playing only and not knowing what’s happening, and one episode that has narration and visuals (but that whole episode is a confusing mess so I doubt watching it would have really helped), the show is clear to follow beginning to end.  No audio description for this one, but there is an English dub that is probably the best part of the show for me.  That and the music, the music is fantastic.

 

CONCLUSION

 

The best way I can describe this show is Ar Tonelico:  The anime.  It honestly hit a lot of the story beats as that game did, but the game spent more time fleshing out the world and characters so it worked way better.  If Lost Song was a 24 episode anime, or even 18, then maybe it could have done service to the story it was trying to tell.  As it stands at 12 episodes, the second half of the story feels jarring, rushed, and that our characters just had to go with it so the show could end.  I won’t say it was a bad show, but it wasn’t a good one and it could have been if the plot twist wasn’t just thrown in there to make the show more interesting.

 

I’d give Lost Song a solid 6 out of 10, and that extra number is for how epic the music is.  It’s really a 5 out of 10:  I don’t feel annoyed I watched it, but it didn’t leave any lasting impression on me.  If you want a nice show to pass the time with and aren’t expecting too much, then go ahead and give this one a watch.  The plot twist genuinely shocked me and was a really good concept, I just wish it was executed better than it was.

 

Have you watched Lost Song?  Let me know what you thought of it in the comments!

 

TV Shows

Iron Fist Episode 3 Thoughts

This show is so frustrating because it has so many interesting ideas, but just tries to do all of them at once.  Does it want to be a court drama?  An action show?  A mystery?  Because episode 3 was all three of those things to varying success.  I like what I’ve taken to calling the Marvel Cinematic New York Universe (MCNYU) just fine, but Iron Fist is trying entirely too hard to be its own thing, while trying to fit into the MCNYU and it shows.
I liked seeing the connection of how small this Universe is by having Jerry, who has been in Jessica Jones, and Daredevil pop up.  My problem with that was how they just sort of threw a reason in for her to know Danny.  “Your Dad gave me my first job!  Let’s do dis” when Danny could have just gone to her, said, “I’m Danny Rand and I have a case for you” and that could have made sense too.  Would it have been as believable?  Probably, since we’re dealing with a universe full of super heroes.  I kid though:  really, I just wanted more of an explanation than I knew you once forever ago!  It just added to the paper thin world building Iron Fist has already had.
The entire episode, I kept on internally shouting just get a DNA test already!  So when that reveal happened at the end I was like finally!  The first piece of good writing in this show.  Also Danny trying to teach the kids how to properly fight in the dojo made me lol, because when Coleen was like “This place is a safe space for them to not be beaten up” I was just like but it’s a dojo they should be learning martial arts I 100 percent agree with Danny here.
That restaurant scene with Joy and Ward ugh…why are they being so jerky?  Like I get wanting to hold onto something you’ve worked hard for, but the lengths they are going to completely erase Danny from existence is really pissing me off.  They aren’t very likable characters you can empathize with either, so they just rub me the wrong way and I hope they get what’s coming to them.

 

A theme the show has been tackling I find interesting, is what makes family?  What makes you, you?  Joy and Ward are both jerks who are trying to hold on to something they built, but it wasn’t there’s in the first place.  Meanwhile, Danny is just trying to find his sense of self, which is tied to this company, and to them, but they keep on denying it, in a way denying part of their identity.  Is either mindset wrong?  Saying Joy and Ward are jerks is easy (and I honestly think they are being entirely too stubborn and narrow minded) but is it so wrong to want to hold on to something you’ve worked for your entire life, even if it isn’t rightfully yours?  This plot seems like it will be coming to a head soon, and I’m really curious to see where it’s going to go.  Ward’s internal crisis was 100 percent predictable, but I still really want to see where his character arc is going to go.

 

I like the layers Harold is getting also, like what crap did he get into with Madame Gao?  They tried to hide her in the shadows, but I know that voice!  I love Madame Gao in Daredevil so I’m really excited to see her face off with Danny later (I hope).  I’m also waiting for the eventual Claire Temple cameo, because I freaking love her and if we’re getting cameos from other shows she better pop up soon.

 

I’m guessing this reclaim Rand Industries plot is going to end soon, because I can’t see it carrying past episode 5 or 6. We’ll see if I’m wrong.  If I remember correctly Danny has this company in the comics, so it’s inevitable he’ll get the company back:  Just a matter of when.
The show is trying to give Coleen a plot but…her novelty is wearing off on me.  Misty was an actual layered character, who’s interactions with Luke made sense.  With Danny and Coleen, I can’t tell if it’s just because it feels like they’re trying to push a romantic relationship or what, but their chemistry doesn’t gel with me, and this new story arc they’re going to give her seems like it’ll be boring.  Or resolve quickly, we’ll see which happens first.

 

Only entertaining audio description note in this one to me was:

In the cage fighting scene when it opens, they call one of the fighters Tank Top, like it’s his given name the entire time and I was like looool.

 

So once again, an episode that was passable, but not really…interesting?  It sort of was?  I still have such mixed feelings about this show.  The best way I can describe it right now is Luke Cage light:  It feels like it’s trying to be grounded in reality, but at the same time not and without a cast of likeable characters to carry this, like Luke Cage had its falling flat.  Plus, the lack of fight scenes, and when the fight scenes do happen, they are so uninspired.  Luke Cage had way better fight scenes, and he’s not half as nimble as Danny is supposed to be!
On that note, the Iron Fist powers turning on and off like a light bulb is so strange.  What’s the deal, does he have full control of it, or not.  Does he need the power of friendship to have full control?  Maybe a strong sense of self?  Does it just activate when he’s in super perilous situations?  I need answers, stop being convoluted show!
Ugh I told myself these would be short posts, but here’s another long one XD if you’ve watched episode 3, would love to hear your thoughts!

TV Shows

Iron Fist First Impressions – Episodes 1 and 2

I thought it would be fun to do episode reviews/impressions on shows I’m watching, along the same lines as I see on anime review blogs.  I’ll be doing this for anime as well, but figured I’d start off with a show I’ve been hesitant to watch and have been watching slowly, Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix!

 

I was pretty hesitant of this show going in.  I love the other three Marvel Netflix shows, but Iron Fist has never been a character that really has interested me.  The only reason I even paid attention to him is because he’s partnered with Luke Cage in Heroes for Hire, who I love, but other than that I’ve never thought he could hold his own in a standalone series.  Does that stand true?
So far…I have mixed feelings.  Episode 1 was a slow pace, even as first episodes go.  Mainly, we got introduced to Danny’s circumstances, his childhood friends, and new (and awesome) character Colleen Wing, who follows the trend Misty Night started by being a badass, no power wielding female lead in these series.  Some cool enough (all be it uninspired) fight scenes take place, we set up the possible villains  for the series, then said villains  throw Danny in a situation he has to get out of (trying to avoid spoilers, fairly new series) end of episode 1.  Was interesting enough, but not enough to majorly grab me.
Episode 2 starts where episode 1 left off, with Danny in said predicament.  I have to say, this episode did a lot more to engage me in the story.  A major thing that frustrated me was no one believing Danny was Danny due to his assumed death, but no one really played an active role in trying to figure out the truth until this episode.  It was a lot easier to watch things unfold with Danny having people on his side, but then when he started talking about Iron Fist being the sworn enemy of the Hand I just went, “Oh no, not the bad guys who ruined Daredevil season 2!”.  Like seriously do not like The Hand as a big bad, the blandest  evil organization ever.  I’m hoping with Danny having the power of the Iron Fist, we’ll get some interesting battles and backstory about The Hand but oy fingers crossed they don’t muck up this show by just being there.
One thing I like is that The Hand and Iron Fist have a pre-existing relationship, which wasn’t the case in Daredevil.  I think just that alone will make The Hand be a more interesting villain, and the fact that the two businessmen who I thought would be the villains  may not be all that they seem is intriguing.  Especially the one who wants to keep Danny safe, and has something to do with The Hand already.  All in all, episode 2 did slightly better in engaging me in wanting to watch the rest of the show, but not sure how much that’s saying considering it’s been a week since I watched episode 1.

 

That’s basically my first impressions on Iron Fist!  Not good, but not terrible.  In all honesty though, if The Defenders miniseries wasn’t going to be coming out, I’d be skipping this series XD

 

This review is 100 percent a train of thought type of thing, I just finished watching episode 2.  I’ll probably be writing more of these as I watch the show, but not sure how frequently I’ll be watching it.  Hope you got just a little something out of my ramblyness XD

 

Some entertaining notes while watching with audio description on:

They kept on mentioning Danny having “a digital MP3 player” in episode 1, then later mention him messing with the wheell on it – so it’s more than likely an old iPod Nano, which I don’t think is that old?  Or perhaps I’m just too old XD when I figured out it was an iPod Nano I was like dang don’t make me feel ancient audio description script!
“A bramble of blond hair” is the best description I’ve ever heard for someone with blond curly hair.

I really like how the Marvel Netflix shows in general use body language to portray the emotions of characters, I think it adds an extra layer to them.  Also like how precise  the scripting is when this happens.

Don’t think there are any other entertaining descriptions, but with audio description sometimes how they describe things just makes me laugh.  If you’d like to try it out and have Netflix, go to the audio description section at the bottom of each page, and there’s a list of shows that have it.  The catalog has grown quite a bit, and every Netflix original has it from the get go, which is nice!

 

Aaaand I’ve written a lot longer about this than I wanted to, so much for this being a quick, short post XD that is all, Crystal out!