Tag Archives: Anime

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Gintama.: Porori-hen

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 48/100Title: Gintama.: Porori-hen
Episodes Aired: 13
Year(s): 2017

The point of the Gintama.: Porori-hen season was to adapt the remaining comedic arcs of Gintama before it bows out with the final Silver Soul arc. As such, these episodes are pretty much a random collection of mini arcs that, in the true spirit of Gintama veer between utterly brilliant and utterly baffling.

Compared to the previous season you would be forgiven for thinking that these were completely different shows. The start of the first episodes of this so-called ‘Slip Arc’ sets the tone and is something that I would not have enjoyed anywhere near as much if I hadn’t been able to get all the references (which I now get thanks to doing this list).

The arcs themselves are mostly comedic (including an Attack on Titan reference filled arc involving Kagura’s new giant boyfriend), but some still contain a lot of heart. One set  of episodes centred around a recurring ramen-shop owning character trying to find a homeless customer is both touching and, at times, stupidly funny.

Since we move between a lot of different stories and arcs (seemingly at random) the quality isn’t as consistent as you’d hope. Then again, this arc is the equivalent of a video completionist fast-travelling to every location to find all the hidden chests in order to 100% a game – ultimately satisfying but, every now and then, a little bit frustrating.

As of writing this, the final seasons of Gintama are both on the list. However, since they cover the same arc (separated by a brief hiatus), I will be watching and writing about both of them in one go. Despite it’s faults, Gintama is a show that I have become incredibly fond of over the years and it’s going to be sad to see it leave the screens. Guess I’ll have to find a way to convince that husband of mine to do a re-watch of it with me at some point.

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(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Gintama.

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 47/100Title: Gintama.
Episodes Aired: 12
Year(s): 2017

Okay so my attempt to watch the rest of Hajime no Ippo ended up with a big fat yawn and a whole bunch of hours wasted – at least for me they were. Since I’m currently trying to finish off series that I’m part way through, I thought it was high time that I went back to an old favourite: Gintama. 

It has been a year since I watched the previous season and I had forgotten just how serious this show had become. True they still take part in stupid word games, make crude puns and have an entire line of jokes around an overweight lookalike of Gintoki – but there are some pretty big moments in this.

In the previous season years of serialisation had started to pay off in a big way, which continues with these 12 episodes (and will continue to do so in the final 2-part season that finished airing in 2018. We learn more about Gintoki and Kagura’s past and end on a cliffhanger which spells the end of the Earth… or at least for now.

Since 12 episodes really isn’t enough I am going to move straight to the next season… which is composed of all the comedy arcs that were skipped in order to tell the more serious story-lines back-to-back. It’ll be great to see Gintama returning to their irreverent roots, even if it’s going to be a bit of a tonal whiplash.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger/Rising

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 46/100Title: Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger and Hajime no Ippo: Rising
Episodes Aired: 51
Year(s): 2009-2013

There are times where you have to admit defeat. It’s ultimately fitting that, for the first time in 18 months (or since One Piece), that I am stopping myself from watching an entire anime series before crossing it off. I gave both New Challenger and Rising seasons a good go each -I really did – enough was enough.

Back when I watched the 75 episodes of the original season of Hajime no Ippo aI remarked that I wished that I had interspersed it with some lighter anime. It was a decent enough series but it was a real slog at times. Still, as part of it you got to see a good story of a guy go from awkward school boy/fisherman to a potentially world class boxer. This arc and the interjected humour really helped me to keep going.

Thing is… Ippo’s pretty much there at the beginning of season two. He is ultimately shown not to be world class during a sparring match, because obviously they need material to prolong the manga/anime, and so the training cycle begins anew and we watch seemingly more matches of his compatriots than we did previously.

So not only was this missing the arc that kept me going previously but the role of Ippo himself really seems to have been reduced (especially in the third series). It became a real chore to watch these so, because life’s too short, I stopped after I’d watched 15 episodes between the two series. I know that isn’t even halfway, but by this point I’ve seen 90 episodes of the franchise – so I’m happy enough to mark this franchise as done. If a fourth season comes along I’ll have to re-evaluate, but until then… bye bye Ippo.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Attack on Titan Season 2

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 45/100Title: Attack on Titan Season 2
Episodes Aired: 12
Year(s): 2017

Well, I did say that it wouldn’t be long before I polished off the second season. Here we are less than a week later and I pretty much binged most of Attack on Titan Season 2 thanks to my back pain altering my sleeping habits.

To put this into context, this second season in the Attack on Titan aired four years after the first one. At one cour long, where the episodes serve to introduce three other special titans and the ensuing battles, it does feel like this is more of a series fragment than a full blown season.

In terms of quality nothing has changed, but it feels like this set of episodes was released to keep Attack on Titan in the public consciousness whilst enough material was gathered to produced further larger seasons. It’s the same thing that Gintama does, but for them it works as that series has always been a mix of standalone and short arcs.

Watching this straight after the first season really helped this to feel in better context. I can only imagine what fans of the franchise felt when they waited so long for more story and were given such a brief season. Luckily I haven’t had that with a show I loved yet (as I am always playing catch-up), but I bet many fans were left unsatisfied by the non-conclusion at the end of the 12 episodes.

Having binged the first two seasons, it is going to be weird to an incredibly different dynamic to watch the third season week-by-week. Especially as this third season will be the first time that I am watching Attack on Titan where I haven’t read the manga. Given that it is two cours long and they have enough material to have a fully fleshed out season, I am really pumped that this third one could be the best season yet.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Attack on Titan

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 44/100Title: Attack on Titan
Episodes Aired: 25
Year(s): 2013

I waited as long as I could between reading the manga and starting on the anime. And then Season 3 was due to start. I mean, how could I resist this? The manga was awesome and I really wanted to see how graphic the anime could get. Turns out, just about enough.

When reading the manga I made the decision to stop at around chapter 50 so that I would be able to experience the story for the first time through the eventual anime adaptation. It also helps that 3-4 months have passed since I originally read the manga, which means I have forgotten all the twists and turns.

To be honest, this anime was better than I expected. Sure, Japanese censorship means that a lot of the more graphic images were covered in shadow… however this was probably for the best. I mean the titans are are creepy enough and the idea of innocent people having their head chewed on is grotesque. So I think that this hits a happy medium.

One downside of the anime over the manga is that it helped me to realize how, at times, Eren is actually quite annoying. Wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t the central character of the series. Luckily the adaptation gets pretty much all of the other characters spot on (especially Sasha, who remains adorable in all of her food scavenging weirdness).

I’m also really appreciative of the music and the sound design in the series. At times they can go a bit cavalier with the heroic stings, but usually get the balance right between rousing and off-putting.

Now, usually I don’t watch too many series of a show in a row, but I really feel the urge to keep doing so I can start watching season 3 of Attack on Titan as it airs. So… I guess I’ll be crossing off the second season of Attack on Titan pretty damned soon.

There was a while between watching Great Teacher Onizuka and this first season of Attack on Titan because I felt the urge to completely consume the anime for Nodame CantabileIt’s a real shame that this fell of the list as it really did scratch my urge for some funny relationship anime.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Great Teacher Onizuka

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 43/100Title: Great Teacher Onizuka
Episodes Aired: 43
Year(s): 1999-2000

When I was reading the original manga of Great Teacher Onizuka I was left a bit cold by the overall premise of a former delinquent falling into a teaching job and teaching life lessons the best way he knew how. I did, however, have an idea that this might be something I would enjoy more when seeing it on the small screen with the voice and movements that were intended by the author. On the whole, I was right – at least for my sensibilities.

In making an anime version of Great Teacher Onizuka they have to slightly tone down some of the more sexual under and overtones of the manga. This is still undeniably crude in both content and, due to this being 20 years old, animation style – but it doesn’t feel too overdone compared to the manga. One storyline in particular goes from an attempted rape in the manga to an attempted kidnapping in the anime – the menace still remains, but it’s a horse of an entirely different colour.

The gags too feel fresher in the animated version. For example, there is an episode involving cursed chain letters where I was actually giggling as I watched, where the same story in the manga just completely washed over me. A lot of that is down to Onizuka’s voice actor (who appears to have been in everything at some point) who was able to give the boisterous yet vulnerable vocalisations needed to make Onizuka a lovable character.

Towards the end of the 43 episode run I did start to get a little bit restless though. A lot of the initial conflict of Onizuka winning over his students was gone, leaving a bunch of hi-jinks episodes until a really well done two-part finale. This is a series that works best when it remembers where its heart is, and when this is incorporated into the laughs – then Great Teacher Onizuka is a great watch.

 

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Natsume Yuujinchou San

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 42/100Title: Natsume Yuujinchou San
Episodes Aired: 13
Year(s): 2011

It’s been over 18 months since I watched the second season of Natsume Yuujinchou and, I have to say, it was like putting on a comfortable pair of pyjamas as I dove back into it. It also reignited my desire to watch more episodes of Mushishi (which I am currently going through at a glacial pace).

This might be because of my growing familiarity with the characters, but I do think that this was the best whole season of Natsume Yuujinchou that I have seen so far. It relies less on the original premise of restoring the name to the ‘monster-of-the-week’ and instead has become far more serialised, which suits the show tremendously.

Also, as each season progresses, it is great to see the level of personal growth that Natsume himself is going through. In the beginning he was very much put upon and hated his ability to see members of the spirit world. Like the character of Chise in The Ancient Magus’ Wife, he is someone who was unable to deal with his ability and so was shuffled from home to home until he found someone willing and able to look after someone with his needs.

I thought back to this when watching the final episode of the third season where, not only has he made a substantial number of friends from the spirit realm, but he also had a growing number of human friends. With this being halfway through the show’s run, I am really interested to see just how much more he is going to develop as a character and how his relationship with his weird cat-demon bodyguard continues to grow.

For my next series I am going to be watching the adaptation of Great Teacher OnizukaGiven the content of the manga, I await with great interest to see how this is going to be brought to the small screen.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Parasyte -the maxim-

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 41/100Title: Parasyte -the maxim-
Episodes Aired: 24
Year(s): 2014-15

When I read Parasyte nine months I wondered how well this story of alien invasion and body horror would translate to the small screen. Especially since there was a 19 year gap between the end of the manga and the beginning of the anime series. Honestly, it’s hard to think how this could have been done better as – other than the update in technology – the spirit of the story translated incredibly well.

The key difference between the manga and the anime is a common one with all adaptations – censorship. I’m not asking for something completely disgusting, but there were times where key wounds were artificially cast in shadow that it became silly. Then again, there were other times where they showed dismemberments left, right and centre so I can’t complain too much.

Despite knowing exactly what was going to happen every step of the way, it didn’t make the battles less interesting or the the story any less powerful. In fact, there were some benefits to watching this after reading the manga. Firstly I was able to watch it knowing just how the central character was going to change, which meant I could pay proper attention at those key scenes. Also, I could enjoy the voice of hand-parasite Migi – which was exactly how I hoped it would sound.

So that’s it for another anime whose manga I’ve previously read. There are plenty more to come but, for now, I’m going to be making my way back to a show that I haven’t watched for an awfully long time: Natsume’s Book of Friends. I figured that it would be a nice change to go for something more spiritual after something so bloody.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – March Comes In Like A Lion

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 40/100Title: March Comes In Like A Lion
Episodes Aired: 44
Year(s): 2016-18

March Comes In Like A Lion is one of the most acclaimed anime series to come out in recent years – at least if you follow the ratings on MyAnimeList. For a while both seasons of this show appeared within the Top 100, but it would appear that – at least for now – the first season is its way out. However, for the purpose of this blog, I will be talking about both together as this it would be impossible to dive into the second season without seeing the character growth that went into the first one.

In brief, March Comes In Like A Lion is a slice-of-life following a young and introverted shogi prodigy called Rei Kiriyama as he navigates living my himself in the Tokyo suburbs whilst still attending high school. As the series progresses we watch as he comes out of himself, deals with his troubled past and reaches a point where he feels like he belongs and can find happiness in his choices.

With this description it feels like a lot of other slice-of-life shows, just in the world of professional shogi players. What March Comes In Like A Lion has to recommend it is a metric shit-ton of heart and some genuinely funny moments (some of which includes us being able to read the minds of some very hungry and attention-seeking cats). It also does a good job at explaining the rules of shogi (something that’s far more complicated than chess) and making these games interesting to watch.

As well as the Rei’s involvement in the shogi world, we are also watching him as he becomes accepted as a (pretty much adopted) member of a neighbour family consisting of three sisters and their grandfather. Through them we watch a lot of Rei’s growth as he gets more and more involved in their family, whereby one of the main threads of the second season is about the escalation and resolution of the middle sister being bullied at school.

Where a lot of animes give you some insight into the mind of the main protagonist, this anime gives you insights into every main character and a number of secondary/tertiary ones. It provides interesting psychological looks into relatable situations (like bullying and financial problems) and helps to frame more novel situations (like the anxieties during a shogi game) in a recognisable way.

I hope that, by the time this has been posted, there is news about a third season of March Comes In Like A Lion. Whilst the ending was very sweet and wrapped up a lot of the threads, there is still plenty of story to tell and a lot of manga chapters left unexplored. Maybe they’ll do an Attack on Titan and wait a few years so that they can bank enough chapters to warrant a 2-cour season, as a slow-burn show like this would be greatly disserviced by a 13 episode order.

Since I am currently reading Attack on Titan, I don’t think I’ll be going there for my next anime. After a slice-of-life like March Comes In Like A Lion I’m thinking of going for something more action or supernatural. Maybe another season of Natsume or it might be worth making my way through more Monogatari so I can reach the second season of Owarimonogatari.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Pingu In The City

List Item:  Watch the 100 best anime TV series
Progress: 38/100Title: Pingu In The City
Episodes Aired: 26
Year(s): 2017-18

Right, so Pingu In The City‘s placement on the anime list feels a bit like a joke gone that bit too far. When it first aired at the end of 2017, this show temporarily occupied the top placement as people trolled MyAnimeList by giving it full marks. As of writing this, Pingu In The City has fallen out of the top 100 once, but is now back in the Top 50. I am fully expecting this to have fallen out again once this post goes up but since I’ve seen it, I might as well do a little write-up.

If you know the original Pingu claymation series, then you know what the Japanese computer-animated Pingu In The City is all about. We follow the escapades of lovable young penguin Pingu as his family move to the big city. The episodes are 10-11 minutes apiece and are incredibly cute.

As a young Pingu fan, I was really keen to give this modern reboot a go. The thing is, as much as Pingu In The City has done well to match the original look of the claymation – a lot of charm is still lost by this being computer generated. It’s very competent and it’s cute, but I prefer a small town Pingu having small town adventures with his seal friend.

At some point in the future I will likely have to watch the second season of Pingu In The City. I can’t imagine how much more it would provide than what is in the first season… unless they go completely off book and do something more serialized. Nah! At least it’ll be cute.