How Aria's Setting Elevates it to a Masterpiece

For my money, Aria is one of the best iyashikei slice of life out there. And what really elevates Aria from a run of the mill SOL show to a top tier one, is the setting.

All three seasons of Aria are set in the future, and we watch the character’s lives in “Neo-Venezia”, a city in “Aqua”, which is the anime’s name for Mars. Furthermore, in this universe, the characters call Earth, “Man-Home.” Already from the beginning, the anime has unique terminology and is set in a strange location which we are never given a long exposition for. Instead, we get to explore the culture and the setting of Neo-Venezia along with Akari, our main character. 

As the name would suggest, Neo-Venezia has resemblances to the city in Italy, Venice. Because Mars is a planet that is filled with water, the architects of the planet have made a large city with the exact same concept as Venice, in which there are no car lanes or bicycles, but instead bodies of water where gondolas are placed. The main cast are all gondoliers, and it’s great because being able to see the great scenery and explore the lives of gondoliers.

Of course, the setting is nowhere near as important as the characters of the story or the music, since they are what truly carry any slice of life show. But the reason why the setting in Aria is so great is because it makes the show interesting. Iyashikei anime have no real plot, and that’s the point of an iyashikei. Something to watch just for relaxing purposes, with no story and no stakes in the plot. But what happens often as a natural result of this is that the show is boring as hell. How Aria manages to prevent that is by having a really interesting setting, that we viewers get to slowly explore through the 3 seasons of the show. 

Another good example of a show which uses a similar tactic in order to keep the show interesting is Flying Witch, where one of the main girls is a witch, and although many parts of the anime is not magic or fantasy related whatsoever, we’re constantly kept entertained by the occasional magic elements of the show.

What makes Magase Ai so Good

Last year, aired a show called Babylon, and for 8 episodes, it was an exciting, mystery-thriller that kept you on the edge of your chair each episode, with interesting story, likable characters, and a new twist every episode. And for the majority of these twists, the character that made it possible and kept the show so exciting was Magase Ai.

One of the best things about Magase, especially in the very early parts of the series, is that we have absolutely no idea behind how she is doing things. There are various events in which you can at least make guesses as to how events have occured, but with the suicide happenings with Magase, it’s a complete mystery. She’s the character who clearly feels out of place, but in a good way, adding another layer of mystery to the show. 

In episode 3, when the show reveals that the suicides in the show so far have been deeply involved with Magase, the animation is super high frame quality, and with the great combination of montages of hints in the show so far, it makes for an extremely hype moment, and most likely one of the most exciting moments in the entire series. 

Although I did find myself a little disappointed when the show revealed that Magase basically just had superpowers, she still continued being an excellent antagonist through the rest of the series(and by that, I mean up to episode 8. We do not talk about the rest of the series in this neighborhood…) Not only that, but the show properly acknowledged how insane and overpowered her power was, through her uncle’s monologue concerning Magase. 

There’s plenty more things that I could say about Magase, but I’ll end it with how damn crazy she is. Magase is absolutely terrifying and insane, and we get a front seat view of that in episode 8. For practically no reason but to fuck with Seizaki, she cuts off all the limbs of one of his respected coworkers, while Seizaki screams in the background. That scene was definitely one of the most unexpected and shocking scenes of the show, and although the dialogue she says about “what is good?” is practically meaningless and insignificant, it gives atmosphere to the absolute insanity that we are witnessing. That scene is probably one of the most heart clenching moments of last year, just because you go “AAaaaaAAahhhh” when watching it. It’s painful, horrible, and so much fun. 

Babylon's Disappointing Second Half Doesn't Stick its Landing

Babylon was a thriller mystery show, and for 7 episodes, it was by far the most interesting and intense anime of its season, and to me, 2019. It kept me on edge every episode with a new twist. The simple yet effective and sleek art style, interesting characters, unique yet catchy soundtrack, and the rare adult-oriented crime investigation plot managed to develop a following even within the western anime community, and I was definitely one of its biggest fans. 

After its first half ending at 7 episodes, Babylon took a break, before heading into its second half, involving more politics and the story beginning to spread at a global scale. Unfortunately, it is in the last 5 episodes that Bablyon disappoints. Not only are the writers clearly out of their comfort zone, but the show begins to focus on what were its weak points in the first half. The last episodes are boring if not funnily bad, and in the last episode it presents a weak and uninspired ending.

Although I really did like the first half of the series, if I had to choose a part of it that didn’t hold up as much as the rest, it would indefinitely be the politics. There’s a debate that goes on between Itsuki Kaika and Japan’s representatives, and the points that are presented by the politicians are the most basic, unsophisticated, undeveloped arguments that even a group of middle schoolers could come up with. It’s definitely not a debate that you’d be expecting on something as important as it is, and it shows the lack of competence for the writers in this subject. But it isn’t terrible, and it frankly doesn’t bore you enough for it to stand out or drag the show down. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the last 5 episodes.

Babylon’s second half focuses on how Japan’s adaptation of the suicide law begins to affect the rest of the world. But man, is it unrealistic. Not only are there already places in the world that already have adapted the suicide law, but there is no way that the leaders that aren’t under Magase Ai’s control would act the way that they did. Practically all of episode 11 shows the leaders of the world come together to discuss what “good” is, and it’s visually presented as a very deep, intelligent, mind blowing conversation, but it couldn’t be further from that. If what was being discussed was at least thought provoking, then the visuals could have been justified, but from how shallow it is, the episode is nothing but embarrassing.

By emphasizing on the political side of the show, Babylon loses its best qualities. The (good)edginess, and amazing moments with Magase Ai. Although she does play an important part in the plot overall, and has some appearances, her impact on each episode and the occasional amazing twists that she brought are completely gone. 

There’s still more I can complain and rant about, but honestly this post is getting a little long, and I want to talk about the ending, so let’s do that.

The ending! 

Fuck!

I can’t express in words how underwhelming this ending felt. Although Magase Ai did feel untouchable for a while, I thought that in the end she would be taken over(and most likely killed) by Seizaki. But instead, Seizaki dies and Magase lives on. Now I’m not one to really complain much about who the author decides to kill and spare, and what they want their work’s message to be, but to be frank, I’m fucking pissed and am going to complain. 

Essentially, the president of the United States is hypnotized by Magase and is about to kill himself in public. If he succeeds in doing so, then the general public will believe that suicide is good. In order to prevent this, Seizaki kills the president himself, and kills himself. At least what I interpreted from this, was that Seizaki killed himself because he basically became a public embodiment of evil, and by committing suicide he brings down the act of killing oneself to his level. He also has an encounter with Magase before he kills himself, but that’s heavily implied to be a hallucination, although I think Seizaki may have been acting in order to make himself look as worst as possible before killing himself.

But was there really a need for Seizaki to kill himself? To me, it feels rushed. Like this had to be the finale, and so Seizaki had to make a move that would end everything and represent suicide badly. But frankly, there really wasn’t a need to do that. I mean, Seizaki had yet to kill or at least arrest Magase, and in the end she’s fucking alive and well! In my opinion there’s no way that Seizaki would kill himself there, he had strong beliefs and willpower to be able to overcome the situation of assassinating the president, and continue on with his investigation. After all, the situation probably would have been understood by all of the higher-ups. It definitely wouldn’t have been clean, but with faking punishments and various complicated processes, I feel like Seizaki continuing on his life and the investigation would have been more than possible. But instead, Babylon tries to have a clean cut ending with Seizaki killing himself, and it feels lazy, unnecessary, and unsatisfying.

The concept of the ending isn’t terrible, and the execution isn’t too bad either. But it’s just so…. Lukewarm. Even if you disagree with my ‘could be’s for Babylon, I think that most can agree on how lacking the ending felt. The anticlimactic finale of Babylon, to me, fully represents the disappointing second half of the season.

Babylon was a disappointment. To me, it had more than enough potential to become the best anime of 2019, and yet even after taking a break, it managed to fuck up so badly that it went from a strong 9 to a weak 7 by the end of its run. I’m upset, depressed, and angry. 

There’s still things that I want to talk about, especially why the show got ruined, namely the fact that the second half is literally written by a different person. But this post has gotten way too long, and I’m tired.

I’m curious as to what others think about the second half, especially the people that enjoyed it, unlike me. So please, feel free to leave a comment on what you thought about Babylon and its second half.

Real Neat Anime Blog Award!

A while back, I was nominated by Keiko with the Real Neat Anime Blog Award. If you haven’t followed her already, you should, since she nominated me. I planned on writing about this the week I got the nomination, but I was too busy forgetting about it. 

The Rules:

  • Display the logo.
  • Thank the blogger that nominated you and share a link to their blog.
  • Answer the questions of the one who nominated you.
  • Nominated 7-10 bloggers.
  • Ask them 7 questions.

Anyways, here are my answers to the questions provided by Keiko! ( ^ ^ )

What’s your favourite genre of anime?

Hard to say. It definitely used to be slice of life, but after my long binge of non-anime shows (namely House M.D.) that were much less light-hearted, I find myself getting somewhat bored when watching SOL shows. That said, my two favorite anime of all time, Aria and K-On!, are both slice of life, so I still do like the genre. 

Currently I’d go with mystery and thriller, since those are the genres that I’ve been hooked on recently. A good seasonal anime that have these two elements is ID;Invaded, which, if you haven’t checked out, you definitely should. Edy wrote a review about it here.


Is there an anime you wish you had watched last year but didn’t get the chance to?

Nooope. Unfortunately I have too much time that I watch everything.


If you could have any pet from an anime, what pet would you pick?

Nyanko-sensei without a doubt. He’s cute, chubby, fluffy, lazy, and perfect.

 

Do you prefer watching anime weekly as it comes out or binge watching it once it has finished airing?

Binge watching, because if it’s a good show, I want to watch it all at once. I never really understood the appeal of binge watching, and I’ve always found it difficult to keep track of various show’s plots every week for 3 months. 


What anime from this season surprised you in its first episode?

I’d love to say ID;Invaded, but honestly it wasn’t good enough to be ‘surprising’. It’s a show that really got my interest after 3 or 4 episodes. Definitely don’t think that the first episode is bad, especially as much as what most people claimed it to be when the 40 minute special came out, but it isn’t too special either. No other show really impressed me this season, but I haven’t seen a couple of shows like Eizouken, which is supposedly really good. 


Is there an anime you were looking forward to this season which left you underwhelmed after the first episode?

Not really since I didn’t have very high expectations going into this season, but if I had to choose it’d be Magia Record. Watching it made me realize once again how annoyed I feel that Shaft is wasting their effort and time on a show like Magia Record.


Is there an anime character that you feel is similar to you? If so, who?

Not really, but Konata eats ice cream the same way I do.

————–

Well that’s it for my answers. Here are my nominees! Some of you may have already gotten the nominations, and if you have, then please feel free to not follow up on these! I just nominated some blogs that I’ve recently enjoyed reading.

And here are my questions!

  1. What’s an unexpectedly good series that you’ve seen recently?
  2. Do you put more importance on art or story?
  3. Is there an unpopular or underrated series that you’d recommend to others?
  4. What anime has your favorite soundtrack?
  5. Do you have any upcoming series that you’re looking forward to seeing?
  6. Are there any manga that you’d like to see come to animation?
  7. Who’s your favorite couple in anime or manga?

Thanks for reading~

Should you Watch: House M.D.?

Should you watch House M.D.?

Recently, clips from House M.D. have begun popping up randomly on people’s feeds. They’re mostly clips of a sarcastic doctor, ridiculing his patients in a hilarious way. After watching a couple of clips online, you may be like me and started to wonder, “should I watch this show?”

In short: yes.

I definitely recommend anyone to watch this masterpiece of a show. 

House M.D. runs for 8 seasons, but you actually might be mislead on what the actually show is about. Yes, there are plenty of hilarious parts of House doing his clinic duty and making fun of random patients, but the majority of the episodes cover one specific patient case, who no apparent doctor can diagnose. So, similar to a detective trying to solve a murder mystery, House and his team solve medical cases. These are most definitely interesting, and although there tends to be plenty of medical jargon tossed around, the show still manages to maintain your interest, and you can tell what is happening narratively through music, acting and sneaky explanations that even a simpleton like you or I can understand.

One of the things that makes House really enjoyable is just the rawness and how casual everything feels. Yes, people get injured or hurt and there are dramatic reactions, but nothing feels too exaggerated or cheesy. I truly felt like I could appreciate this part of the show after watching Unnatural, a Japanese medical drama. There are similar moments between House M.D. and Unnatural, but what really stands out on the surface is just how much more cheesy Unnatural feels. Don’t get me wrong, Unnatural isn’t a bad show, in fact I’d recommend it to a lot of people. But House M.D. is just so much more enjoyable on a surface level. Take one part of Unnatural for example, where the heroine asks a question to another person. She wants to know if a woman has had sex with her husband before his death, but takes a long time beating around the bush before asking if they had “sexual intercourse”. House, on the other hand, would just straight up say “Did you bang your husband last night?” It’s not that House M.D. is more realistic per se, but it’s just more casual and overall more fun. 

But what makes House M.D. a 10 instead of an 8 is the drama that creeps up on you. Despite how episodic the series seems to be at first, after 20 episodes or so, things begin to change. And things constantly change, slowly but surely throughout the 8 seasons of the show. And the way the dramatic points of the show are done are seriously amazing. Trippy elements are never really present in the show, but when House M.D. gets serious, it really does do magic. Hallucinations, recollection of memories, emotions, they’re all spectacularly conveyed through the directing. I really can’t say much more about the character development and dramatic moments of the show, but trust me. If you find the first few episodes of the show enjoyable, then for my money, all 8 seasons are undoubtedly worth your time. 

Oh man, I can’t believe I got this far into this post without talking about House himself. I’m sure you can tell just from the quotes of this show I’ve put into this post so far, but he’s hilarious. He’s what makes this show so unique and fun. By any normal standard, House isn’t conventionally likable at all. He’s childish, and he’s also a huge ass, like many characters point out throughout the show. Yet he manages to be witty, charismatic, and I don’t think there’s any other character like him. David Shore, the director of House pointed out in an interview that he wanted to make someone unlikable likable, and I think he’s done that perfectly through House’s character.

So, should you watch House M.D.?

Yes. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes Yes! 10/10, and definitely one of my favorite TV shows of all time.

In-depth Analysis of Nekopara (Episode 1)

nekopara was okay. i thought it would be about a guy fucking his cats, but unforunately this show ended up showing some like normie shit about a guy grooming his cats. from what i could tell, this is some like slice of life shit….. i think like the cats are doing work and running a shop, and then they find a shota cat? something like that… honestly i think that shows like this are not good because they don’t develop their characters, and it’s just overall the characters are nothing but typical anime character archetypes like the tsundere or the genki girl. the main problem that i find with shows like these are that they confuse iyashikei(psychologically “healing” shows) to boring garbage nothingness. It’s not enough to just have characters with no personality acting out the same, tired out jokes that a million other anime have done. Of course, maybe I’d have a different opinion on this show if i actually watched it, but i’m a busy man with better priorities.

cute anime girl

A (Late) Review of Goblin Slayer: Is it worth watching?

Goblin Slayer was one of the most popular shows last fall in 2018, with lots of conversation rising from its opening episode that was taken quite controversially within some communities. Read my take on the show to help you figure out if this show is worth your time or not.

Note: This review was written quite a while ago during the time that this show aired, and was originally written to fit to the traditional MAL review format. This is only a review of the first episode, I didn’t go beyond that point(and have no intention in doing so).

Story: 1

Goblin Slayer is a shitty edgelord anime that is nothing special, except this one is ‘brave’ enough to include a rape scene right at the first episode. Now personally, I don’t have anything against rape fetishes, monster fetishes, and nothing against shows that choose include those, but the way that this show uses it to attempt to shock the viewer is laughable. The character that the main girl first gets into a team with are a bunch of idiots, that clearly have no idea what they’re doing, going into a dungeon that is way above their level. But if the foreshadowing that is provided by the show isn’t enough, the characters’ personalities, appearances and dynamics are so generic even in this show, that it’s plainly obvious that something bad is going to happen.

I don’t think that it’s a bad idea to use rape as a shock factor to try and pull viewers in. In fact, I think it’s a completely valid method, but with how unlikable the characters are, you’d have a better shot at being surprised by looking at monster rape porn, which is going to be both more well drawn and appealing to you if you’re into those genres. I’ll end this section with a great quote from Digibro. “The rape wasn’t even that good!”

Also, this is probably something that just applies to me, but the dialogue, especially the character Goblin Slayer’s, feels just slightly off and overly dramatic in the most subtle ways, that months after watching the first episode, Edy and I ended up referencing some random shit like “A lot.

Art: 1

Ugly characters and art, accompanied with inconsistent animation. Goblin Slayer tries to act cooler and smarter than it actually is by having important scenes in black and white with only some things like blood colored in, which is fine in it of itself but there’s also other stuff that’s colored in like someone’s clothing or eyes, and it’s different for every person. This obviously doesn’t have any significant meaning, and is rather just for aesthetic purposes, but it ends up being distracting to the viewer and doesn’t even look that good. It makes no sense, and clearly this anime just trying to pull a shaft without knowing what the hell they’re actually doing. The anime also puts on that terrified, contorted face whenever they can, and just like 99% of the other shows that use the expression, it makes the show look and feel like garbage.

I’ve seen bits and pieces of the second episode, which introduces a childhood friend character, and her tits are just way too fucking big, it’s distracting and the way it’s animated just looks stupid and out of place. This anime is also filled with tons and tons of CG, and even the main goblin slayer character is CG most of the time when we see him walk around, so we can tell just how much the staff cared about making this show look good.

Enjoyment: 1

I hate this show. 

Conclusion:

I love this anime- my doctor gave me a proscription for Ambien to help me fall asleep, but I just fire up Goblin Slayer instead and save so much money on proscriptions to help me sleep! Thank you Goblin Slayer!

Overall: 10

What did you think about Goblin Slayer? Leave a comment! (●´∀`●)