CGI being used in Anime

CG has been being used more and more in the last decade or so. And there are a lot of conflicted opinions about them. So here, I’ll be going through 4 different “levels” of CG in anime and looking at how they are used and how I feel about them.

Full on CG

Houseki no Kuni - 01 - 02 - Lost in Anime

This is your Berserk 2017 and Bang Dream. A lot of people, including myself, will say that shows that use CG as their main animation medium are very hard to look at. Rakuen Tsuihou was the biggest laughing stock of that year and pretty understandably. The movements look really janky and unnatural and the texture of the CG feels really cheap and brings down the whole quality of the animation. A lot of the public’s mindset on CG anime, however, did change with Houseki no Kuni. Many praise it to be one of the better shows. It has a widely positive reception with a mal score of 8.43. But to me this wasn’t a show that I could enjoy.

Don’t get me wrong; I do like Houseki no Kuni. I had a lot of fun reading the manga. But the CG in the show made it really hard to look at. One of the best parts about the original manga is the beautiful backgrounds and visuals. Every single frame is so full with detailed lines composed so beautifully. But the CG simplifies everything in an unnatural moving model that can’t really express what I loved about the visuals in the original manga. I heard a lot of people say the CG is fine in the show but can you imagine this show being fully animated? It would’ve been absolutely stunning. The story itself allows a lot of aesthetic experiments and I was a little bit disappointed by the CG.

But over time, I think I did get a little bit more used to it. Especially since I got accustomed to games like Persona or the Atelier series that have characters move in CG models most of the time. So I’m sure I’d be more fine with CG anime than I was 2~3 years ago.

Idol shows

𝙿𝙼𝚂」Antique Gucci MEP - YouTube

I don’t like Idol shows and I think people that like idols shows don’t like them for how good the show is too. I find, usually, that fans of idols shows like them because they like the character, or the idols. That’s why concerts featuring voice actors of the characters singing are widely popular. 

But the shows themselves are just bad and a lot of it has to do with the CG dance sequences. To me, this type of show is a lot worse than a show that is completely CG. Even disregarding how unnatural these CG dances look, the CG visuals clash with the hand drawn parts of it. Both parts look completely different because of the texture of the CG animation. This creates a huge disconnect between the daily life sections and the staged sections to the point where it doesn’t even feel like the same show. Then again, it’s not like I’m going to watch these shows even if they were to be done normally animated. 

CG Crowds

5 Best & 5 Worst Uses Of CGI Animation In Anime | CBR

CG crowds are often used nowadays as a method of saving money. Rather than spending a huge sum of money drawing background characters that are normally not given a lot of attention, they put CGI models in the background to fill up the empty space. The thing is, this tactic that they use on parts of the background that don’t take much of the attention of the audience is given attention when they look hideous. Once the movements in the background start to slightly bother the audience, it becomes almost impossible to pay attention to the other visuals in the show that they probably directed the money towards. 

This really also applies to objects that move. Like cars, for example. I’m not an expert in the animation process but I’m gonna guess CG doesn’t work too well with the drawn frames. Like the CGI crowds, they become really really hard to look at. Then again, I understand why studios are doing this. Animation is expensive and it’s hard to believe a street without any cars. But honestly, if the final product is going to look janky as most CG products are, I’d rather see a plain street that looks normal than a bustling street with people and cars that look like they are glitching in real life.

Ufotable

I spent a full page or so just talking about how much I had CG in anime, but I do like them sometimes too. Although very minor, I’m a huge fan of how ufotable uses CG to sharpen up their backgrounds. Although CGI looks really unnatural when they move, when they are still, they are usually fine. Sometimes, they even add a sharp look to the backgrounds. For example, most of the buildings in Ufotable use a mix of CGI and hand drawn animation to create their final look. The final product becomes very meticulously drawn from their shape to their aesthetic feel.

Ufotable also uses CGI for their action scenes. They get CG models to pose for the scene then  draw on top of the models. The texture of the drawings are the same because they still color and draw the way they would normally do, yet the movements feel more organized in many scenes. 

If studios are able to incorporate CG like this, without making it obvious that they used CGI or if they make it look natural and matching with the total aesthetics of the show, then I’d be happy to see studios find ways to save money like this.

Aesthetics over Anything

It seems like when a lot of people say “animation” they are describing visual presentation in anime. The thing is animation and aesthetics or visuals are completely different things. Whereas one describes how well the pictures flow together with cinematography or high frame rate, the other is basically describing how “cool” it looks. 

And while both are very important to anime, I’m a firm believer in Aesthetics being more important than animation or any other aspect of an anime. More than that, I think aesthetics are the aspect that pushes a 9 out of 10 show to a 10 out of 10 masterpiece.

A show I want to point to is Nisemonogatari. This is a show that a lot feel is the weakest of all the monogataris. And I would definitely agree. Nisemonogatari does feel a lot of times like a fan service season. Most of the characters that the season focuses on are all characters that have been briefly introduced yet never talked about previously. But even with these aspects that should make a show boring in normal circumstances, I think the aesthetics itself covers up all of the problems that the show has. Every second in Nisemonogatari you are on the edge of your chair, not because of a tense battle scene, but because you are speechless at how beautiful each frame is. 

Take the Shinobu bath scene. You can see the full display of Shaft’s unique aesthetics. First, you have the hyper-empty room. Shaft directly put the characters as the focus of an exaggeratedly large room. Then you have the colors that kind of look hollow to support that empty feel of the room. Both of these aspects immediately direct the viewer’s attention to the center with the red flower petals and the bright hair of Shinobu. You also see these transparent glass-like materials on the side of the bathroom that just adds to the holy like atmosphere that Shinobu gives throughout the whole scene. 

Even the infamous toothbrush scene. No one will tell you that that scene has good directing, animation, or even say it’s good (unless you are into that stuff) but the visual presentations in the scene are also really unique. Immediately as the toothbrush enters the whole atmosphere turns into this erotic pink. You see each string (?) of the toothbrush flying around beautifully with the music in every direction. My favorite part of this scene is when the camera fans to the monitor. The chair and the background is simplified and you see a video and Karen on the monitor. This single frame that just screams Shaft made me so invested in Nisemonogatari as a show.

But good aesthetics doesn’t have to be a Shaft show. take two shows for examples: Slime Isekai and No Game No Life. Both isekai shows feature the cliche of an overpowering main character. Both are very fun shows. But I enjoyed No Game No Life a lot better than Slime Isekai. And a primary reason to that is No Game No Life’s aesthetics. The world of Disboard is filled with extremely bright and flashy colors. Immediately, as the show starts off with Sora and Shiro being blasted from their dark rooms to Disboard, we are introduced to the world with an explosion of neon-like pink and blue colors. The brightness may seem a little bit blinding but it screams fantasy immediately. The contrast from their dark room with only monitors to light up the room to the brightly shining world of Disboard immediately caught my attention when I watched the show. 

That’s not to say Slime Isekai wasn’t visually pleasing at all. If you look at the cave scene in episode one, the lightly saturated bluish colors of the cave that prevent everything from going pitch black creates a very mysterious atmosphere. I can tell you that I enjoyed that visual presentation a lot more than Arifureta’s almost blinding dark cave. But No Game No Life aesthetics, more than Slime or Arifureta, is very unique. It’s a whole new setting that presents a whole new visual presentation from anything that I’ve really seen in anime. And I truly think that shows like this that can present a unique visual appeal makes it really stand out from the rest of the anime out there. This is exactly why I think shows like Aria, Mushishi, Hidamari Sketch, or Kara No Kyoukai stand way above any other shows in their genre.

You might be thinking aesthetics isn’t the only reason why No Game No Life is better than Slime and why that’s better than Arifureta. And I agree. These examples that I gave are shows that I think are just fundamentally good in other areas as well. After all shows with good aesthetics are useless if all other aspects of the show fail. But to me, a show with great aesthetics, failing on other areas is a lot more refreshing than an okay show with boring visual presentation. Because personally, I’d rather read a pretty art book than a good novel.

My Ultimate Top 5 Cute Girls show list

I adore cute girls shows. Over the last 10 years or so, they have become the staple and norm of anime and they have been dominating the market. Although there may be this negative mindset against these shows because of their repetitiveness, there are a lot of cute girls shows that are a lot more special than others in one way or another. So here are 5 shows that I believe are the 5 best cute girls shows of all time!

Is the Order a Rabbit

ごちうさSS 「意味深なごちうさSS Case5:シャロ」

If you told me to choose the cutest show of all time, I’d say Gochiusa without any hesitation. This show does everything to be cute. It has a unique setting, round character designs, fantastic voice acting, and fun events that rounds out everything. What makes this show really fun to watch is how easy it is to watch even when the show is not funny. In a lot of comedy, slice of life shows, such as Asobi Asobase, are focused on the comedic side so when I can’t necessarily relate to a joke or don’t find the joke funny, it becomes really hard for me to continue. But in Gochiusa, even when the jokes aren’t as funny you still find yourself having fun watching the characters. But more than the anime itself, because of the various events that the show holds and the deluxe cast of voice actors whom I avidly follow, the outside influence of the show makes it almost impossible for you to miss out on the show if you follow voice actors. 

Nichijou 

Nichijou!! I love that anime; it's so funny! | 鳥獣戯画, 日常 ...

Nichijou is my favorite comedy of all time. It’s explosive animations, perfect comedic timing, and most importantly Mai trolling are all fantastic. I think what makes Nichijou really different from a lot of these comedies that gets talked about a lot is the exaggeration in animation. But what gets talked about a little less is the characters. The characters in Nichijou are very unique yet they play multiple roles. Usually comedy characters are limited in their roles in shows. For example, there is the boke character and the straight man character. But in nichijou, everyone kind of plays all of these roles. Like how comedy is with friends in real life, Nichijou’s character’s role changes depending on the situations that they have been set up with. For example, you can see Yuuko playing boke yet being the straight man with Mai most of the time. Other than that, the characters are just really fun. Nano and Hakase are both so cute and watching the process of Nano going to school in the middle section is absolutely a blast.

Aria 

アニメ映画『ARIA The AVVENIRE』(アリア ジ アッヴェニーレ) 特報 ...

Aria is so immersive. Every season of Aria fills you in with the wonders of Neo Venezia. And it’s really apparent how much thought was put into mixing the setting and the characters into this relaxing pot. The show is about Mizunashi Akari, who is training to be an Undine at Neo Venezia. The characters are really fun to be around. Personality wise, they are mostly fairly laid back and relaxed in the very low stakes environment. Akari, especially, has this really bubbly personality where she finds joy in very much mundane aspects of life. And all the characters seem as though they are having a lot of fun in their life. But another huge aspect of the show is the music. I can easily say that the music in Aria is the most relaxing in anime. The instrumental of the show is usually light orchestra or piano music that is really easy to listen to. With the very detailed background along with the cool, clue color palette, the show, both visually and auditorily, gets the viewers to feel like they are sitting in Akari’s gondola. 

K-on

けいおん | 注意!サムネイル画像なので1 ... | 京都アニメーション ...

K-on is probably one of the highest regarded cute girls ever, and it is rightfully so. I mean show can you even have a cute girls list without Hokago Tea Time. K-on takes the viewers on a wonderful journey of 3 hours with Yui, Ritsu, Mio, Mugi and Azusa. Although the show does take an omnibus style, the characters grow and develop so much through the 3 years of highschool. The thing is, you can’t really feel this when you watch the show. The show does such a good job making the viewers naturally change with the girls that everything from their jokes to conversations feels like they didn’t change much. But once you go back to season 1 episode 1 after watching the movie, you will immediately be surprised at how much they change just in the way they talk and interact. And by the end you will look back at the emotional rollercoaster and be blown away by the time you spent with these characters.

Hidamari Sketch

Hidamari Sketch is arguably my favorite anime series of all time. Everything about this show is perfect. To list a few: Yuno, Yuno, Yuno, Yunocchi.

On a more serious note, Hidamari Sketch is the most special out of any show in this list because of the visuals. I’d go so far to say that Hidamari Sketch is the most visually pleasing show I have seen in my life. The first two seasons capture the very essence of late 2000 shaft, while the last two seasons have the polish you would expect from recent shaft shows. It might be a little bit jarring at the start because of the art style, but once you get used to it other visual elements like the still life or the background or the patterns become more of the visual focus. Of course, as you’d expect from a cute girls show, Hidamari Sketch also does an excellent job making fun characters for you to watch and hang out with. Other than the main four, who are all very playful and unique in their own ways, the two new characters that join in the 3rd season or the teachers at school are all hilarious characters that make up a lot of the show. 

Should you Play: Sayonara Wild Hearts

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a game that came out quite a while back, but in case you were still wondering where to buy it or not, here’s my opinion:

So I sat down to play… Sayonara Wild Hearts (2019) - George ...

In short, yes.

Sayonara Wild Hearts is extremely entertaining, with graphics that look really good, and uses the blockiness of it to its advantage by making it a part of its aesthetic.

Sayonara Wild Hearts - Original Soundtrack 상품을 Steam에서 구매 ...

But although the visuals are great in the game, I think the key appeals of it are the music and the gameplay. Wild Hearts itself is an extremely short game, even for its 13 dollar price, and it’ll take you 1-2 hours to clear the entire game.

Review: Sayonara Wild Hearts - A Marvellous, Music-Driven ...

It’ll take longer than that, maybe another hour or two(or even more) to get Gold Ranks on all of the stages, but in 2 hours you’ll have seen everything the game has to offer.

The gameplay consists of dodging and shooting, while collecting points through hearts. Yet its constantly changing, sometimes being a 3D racer, while other times its a shooting game or resembles a 2D platformer(this review is intentionally showing similar photos that are mostly from the beginning of the game, to avoid spoilers).

sayonara wild hearts review (7).jpeg | GameCrate

But the key point to the gameplay is that it’s extremely easy. The levels themselves don’t require much skill, and there are countless amounts of ‘silent checkpoints’ in the game, allowing for quick respawns close to where you died, which keeps your excitement high while you’re playing.

Many people have referred to this game as a rhythm game, but I don’t think you should go into this game with that expectation. The music is definitely great, and there’s no doubt that this game would be much worse without it. That said, the gameplay itself is very loosely connected with the music, and rarely relies on your sense of rhythm.

I think the best way to understand how cool this game actually is, is to watch the trailer for it. When I first watched it, I thought that there was no way the game is actually going to look like this, but literally all of the gameplay looks like whats shown in the trailers. It transitions so smoothly between the short cutscenes and the gameplay, and it’s really unique in how you’re put in all sorts of new situations, introducing new gameplay mechanics that are really cool to play with, but simple enough to not warrant a tutorial.

Sayonara Wild Hearts Wallpaper 68826 1920x1080px

I only have two major complaints with this game, both of which are related to the ‘coins’ that are in every level, which affect the ‘rank’ that you achieve after each level. The first complaint I have is how disconnected the gameplay is to the visuals. There’s these guiding ‘coins’ in this game, and so when you’re being chased by an enemy, instead of looking at it to see where it would go and where you can dodge, you can simply look at the coins to look at where you’d go. This makes the visuals feel much less important and dragged my attention away from it, which is a true shame considering how cool and well done they are.

Sayonara Wild Hearts Review - Full of Heart (PS4)

The other complaint that I have is how the coins actually appear. During the parts in the game where there is no enemy, and all you’re really doing is chasing the coins to get a better rank(and lack of anything else to do), often times there is no visual cue or consistent pattern to how the coins appear. Instead, it’s much easier(and I think the only way to actually get all the coins) to kill yourself after seeing where to coins appear, so that you go back to the previous checkpoint to be able to collect the coins.

Sayonara Wild Hearts Review | Flashy stylish arcade bliss

But enough of my complaining, if you’re even considering this game, then I would strongly, strongly recommend it, especially since it’s only 13 bucks. The problems I mentioned were some things I found a little annoying during my first playthrough, and I’m sure some people won’t even notice or be bothered by it at all.

Why I won’t watch Kaguya Season 2

I drop a lot of shows. Recently, this is to a point where I drop almost everything that I watch seasonally. So I can’t do a weekly review of the show, not just because I don’t like watching shows weekly but also because most shows feel like a drag to watch. So instead of doing reviews episodically, I want to just go over most shows this season and reason out why I ended up dropping it. Of course, there are a couple of shows that I want to put on hold for it to finish airing, but those will have separate reviews afterwards.

Anyways, the first of my dropped shows was Kaguya season 2. In fact, I didn’t even complete the first season of Kaguya.

But don’t get me wrong. I like Kaguya. Jun talked about what makes Kaguya a lot better than other rom-coms and I would have to agree with everything he said. I mean, the voice acting is amazing throughout, the ridiculous set up makes for great comedy, and the directing and camera movements are interesting and somewhat creative enough (with its line effect and sudden focus on characters) to keep most entertained. I’d say it really does a good job making it feel as though the whole story doesn’t take place in one place because of the various effects, angles and camera movements they use. Other aspects like the OST or animation have no problems either. 

Even with all these great aspects, however, what keeps me away from the anime comes from the fact that I read the manga. I absolutely adore the manga. The characters are really expressive and the jokes are hilarious. And although the anime mostly matches up with the manga, the fact that I read it influenced my watching experience quite heavily So in order to explain why I’m not watching Kaguya, I’m going to have to draw a lot of comparisons to the manga.

My main problem that really sums up the reason why I won’t watch the show is that can’t help but feel like the jokes drag a little. This wasn’t a problem when I read the manga. This is mostly because in manga, the only way of engaging is visually. This means that I can scan through the manga at any speed I want. And the weekly chapters are fairly short. However, an anime or any show’s job is to control the pace you view the episode at. Because of the voice acting or the music, it becomes impossible for one to enjoy the medium as it was supposed to be by skipping through. This means that if I am bored at what is happening on the screen, there really isn’t a way to escape it.

This is largely problematic in the anime. The jokes in Kaguya are great and all. I mean I was consistently laughing while reading the manga, but they are centered around one idea and are very repetitive (at least where the anime is at right now.) Although this may have not been a problem if I hadn’t initially read the manga, but because I did, I know every single joke that is going to appear in that episode and I can’t help but feel a little bored. 

The next reason is the auditory part of it. I understand that a huge reason why people who read the manga watch the anime is because they want to see the characters move with their voice, along with BGMs that make up the mood very well. First, I do like the voice acting in Kaguya. Koga Aoi’s voice is very flexible in range and emotion and fitting with Kaguya’s role, the tone shifts of characters are good punch likes, and you couldn’t have had the famous Chika song without Kohara Konomi. I love the show’s radio as well, and the voice actors are hilarious to listen to. 

But despite that, there is a specific part of the anime that really bothers me: the narration. The narration in the manga is fine and all. It doesn’t bother me too much when I’m just scrolling through the manga. But in the anime something about the narrator’s voice really gets me. I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that he is interrupting the flow of the anime, stating the obvious most of the time, just has an over exaggerated voice that is hard to bear, or all of the above.

Take the “that was a lie!” episode with the tests for example. In the manga, it was absolutely hilarious. This is mainly because the text was in all caps with a bigger font that appeared in the next frame over. This made the exaggeration hilarious along with the unexpected element of it. The individual faces of the character, filled up half the page with their expressions which is absolutely hilarious just to look at even without context. Because of this the manga was able to continue on the joke through the short burst, using the past frames event almost as a reference to create comedic effect, which made the chapter really fun. But in the anime I felt both exaggeration of the “it was a lie” and the surprise element both disappear. The anime switched up the line in the subtitle, so it was slightly more of a mouthful, making it lose that impact. The narrator, as well, lost the enthusiasm that I kind of expected. His tone was relatively similar to what it was in previous episodes, whereas in the manga, a dramatic shift to the voice was done. Of course, this probably also has to do with the fact that I read the manga. I was expecting the joke to come and I’ve seen so much memes of it on youtube and reddit that I honestly got a little bit tired of it.

I may get back to the show in the future when I forget about the manga and just need a good laugh. But in the meantime, as good as Kaguya is, I’d rather be watching shows that are less boring until I forget about the manga.

What makes Kaguya-Sama Stand Above the Other Rom-Coms

With the second season of Kaguya-sama being back on air, the popularity of the show has once again shown itself, with various anime communities having consistent conversations about the show. Kaguya has gotten an immense amount of popularity, even in the western fandom, with over 250,000 users listing the first season on MAL, and the second season currently holding an incredibly high score of 8.75. It’s not common for a Rom-Com Slice of Life anime to be ranked so high, so what makes Kaguya-sama stand so far above other Rom-Coms?

Well for the most part, it’s basically two things. Comedy and Cute Girls. But it’s the great execution that the show carries out with these two elements that allow for such simple things to help the show achieve such great acclaim.

The premise of the show is pretty simple, two very noble, prestigious students are in love with each other, but they want the other to confess first. Sounds somewhat like a commonplace relationship, but here, these two are characters of high intellect, so we are often treated with “high-level conversations” where the others try to evaluate any small hint that they come across through small talk, and they try and make the other slip up into a confession.

This of course is simply ridiculous, but it’s this absurdness of the show that makes it so funny. Many of the best parts of this show(and the source material manga) is the frankly stupid situations that the main two find themselves in.

Combine this comedy with the somewhat large cast of genuinely interesting and mostly likeable side cast, and you have an excellent recipe for a success.

P.S. Kaguya is best girl, fight me.

5 Best Winter 2020 Anime

I finally took the time and caught up with most of the anime from last season. And there were quite a lot that I had fun with. So here are my top five favorite shows of last season. If a show isn’t on this list, I probably 1) didn’t watch the show yet (the jewel show, Dorohedoro) ,2) did not like it as much (Plunder, Somali, or Magia Record) or 3) dropped it after one episode (literally everything else.) 

Number 5: Hanako-kun

Aesthetics, aesthetics, aesthetics. Hanako-Kun was easily the most aesthetically pleasing show this season. This is for everything in the show from character designs to background art. There is something about the use of thick outlines along with the color palette that they used that uniquely makes the show feel comfy yet eerie to look at. I don’t think many would disagree when I say Hanako-kun is a delight for the eye. That being said, that was all that the show had really going for it. The whole show seemed to drag a lot in certain spots with dialogue that weren’t too interesting enough to captivate me. They also handled a lot of the exposition in a manga panel style. Although this wasn’t bad, it did feel a little sudden and slowed down the aesthetic experience of the show. Regardless, the fact that the show was pretty enough to watch to completion makes it, to me, a similar experience to violet evergarden – another show that I thought didn’t do well writing wise. 

Final score: 67/100

Number 4: ID: Invaded

I still have a couple of episodes left of ID: Invaded, but I decided to include it because I am enjoying what I watched until now. Immediately from the first episode, I was intrigued with the system of IDO. The concept is extremely interesting, and the visuals that accompanied the different worlds were all different, unique, and fascinating. I would’ve even liked an omnibus style crime show where the main character just goes on researching different types of IDO worlds of criminals (which is similar to the earlier bit of the show.) The beginning of each entrance to the IDO is really exciting. Because the main character does not remember anything when going into the IDO, he always starts off with “I don’t remember anything. All I know is that I’m a master detective.” which for some reason gets me hyped everytime. However, I thought that everything outside of the IDO world was less enjoyable. First of all, the Koharu girl is extremely annoying. I hated the “justice-first” mind that she carried everywhere. The officers commentating on what’s happening in a sci-fi room also felt like it was interrupting the exciting. Regardless, the show’s concept makes the show interesting enough to complete. 

Final score: 72/100

Number 3: Kyokou Suiri

Like Hanako-kun, this is another show where one aspect of the show just carried the rest of the show. Or more specifically in this case, one character. Kotoko is an amazing character. She is extremely cute, her design with the curly hair and elegant outfit is great, her backstory and concept is interesting, and the way she speaks is witty and fun to listen to. Kyokou Suiri really seems to understand this fact (probably accidently) as most of the show is exposition and dialogue from the viewpoint of Kotoko. The two characters, Kuro and Kotoko, were perfect personalities that Kotoko bounces off of. And the interaction between them were the highlights of this show. The exposition did eventually get a little boring later in the show when it became more case focused and less character focused, yet Kotoko always made me come for more.

Final score: 75/100

Number 2: Bofuri 

I initially thought that this show was another unoriginal game show without much substance. Well, that’s not wrong. But strangely, I ended up enjoying this show. A lot of the things about the show are not very good. And for a while a lot of things in this show bothered me. Maple is way too broken, the game mechanics don’t make sense, the characters yelling the same skills becomes really annoying, and every other character except maple all seems extremely useless and replaceable. The only reason why I continued this show was because I wanted to see how long they could contain the overpowered concept for. But at a certain point, I stopped thinking of this show as a serious game show different to the likes of Darwin’s Game or SAO, and started taking it similar to cute girls shows and Arifureta. The ridiculousness of it along with the cute characters really allowed me to just take in the show as a cute girls show. In the end, I ended up enjoying this show as a good pastime. 

Final score: 75/100

Number 1: Eizouken

Yuasa Masaaki saved anime. I watched the first episode when it came out, and immediately stopped watching. I knew that I had to watch this show from start to finish without stop because this show felt like it was something else. And it definitely was. Everything about this show is great. The characters, who represent different parts of anime staff roles, are extremely fun and they all have really good dynamics together. The visuals, especially during the imagination sketch-like aesthetics, are really great to look at. The story and setting is one that any anime fan would love. Throughout the show, Masaaki’s passion for the industry is so visible. This show is a must watch, and it alone probably will make this season the best this year.

Final score: 98/100

The Struggle with Additional Characters(ft. Hidamari Sketch)

So many times, in long running TV shows and occasionally Anime, come a time in the show where either some character(s) join the main cast. There’s many reasons that can apply to this situation, such as some of the main cast leaving because their actors are too expensive, or even the writers running out of ideas with the current character dynamics. But whatever the reason, you often find that characters are coming in and out of shows. And the ones that come in are almost never just as good as the original cast.

Obviously there’s the sentimental value that you’ve come to bear for the original cast. But there’s indefinitely something beyond that. Good writers can obviously come up with characters that would have interesting chemistry with the pre-existing cast, and with the main cast already having been deeply explored, it may end up being easier to write a character with a personality and background that compliments the others than it would have been in the beginning. But more often than not, show writers are not that well skilled.

Hidamari Sketch is an example of a show where there was a more than solid cast, but the team(or rather, mangaka) decided to add an additional two characters who simply did not live up to the main cast. Nori and Nazuna are not dislikable, but they’re simply nowhere near the level of Miyako, Hiro, etc. Even the side characters like Natsume or Sae’s little sister are much, much more cuter, interesting and likable.

Still, there are some fun occasions with the two new main characters where they have some really enjoyable chemistry with the original main cast that stems from the upperclassmen and lower classmen. 

Also, Nazuna’s voice is just a little too high pitched for me, which just makes it worse- but that’s probably just me…

Why Bofuri is so fun (the Anti Darwin’s game)

Bofuri fails to be what many would consider a good show. In fact, it does have a lot of elements that I, myself, along with many others criticize in other fantasy (game) shows like this for being. The unexplainable game mechanics that make the game broken like any of Maple’s skill, replaceable, boring and boring side characters that have no place in the overpowered main character, and static characters without much motives are just some to point out.

ENGLISH SUB] BOFURI : Itai no wa Iya nano de Bōgyoryoku ni ...

But for me Bofuri was one of the most enjoyable shows of this season. It was also one of the more popular shows this season.

So what makes Bofuri more enjoyable than the likes of Darwin’s Game — another game centered show that aired this season?

BOFURI Episode 7 Review. Kali ini saya akan membahas apa saja yang ...

The biggest difference between the two shows is how seriously it takes itself. Bofuri, from the start, establishes itself as a light hearted game. Something less significant than a test score from school. The main character, Kaede (Maple) receives the game from her friend Lisa (Sally) and plays the game with her pajamas on. We see a couple of times, throughout the show, that they log off from the game and even continue their daily lives. We see scenes of them at school or calling before and after playing their game. The game for both of the characters is like what games are for (most of) the audience: a fun, time passing activity.

Katou | Darwin's Game Wikia | Fandom

However, unlike Bofuri, Darwin’s game establishes itself as a SAO-like death game. Immediately, we see characters die with gruesome visuals of blood, with our main character running away for his life. The show constantly invites the viewers to feel tension at the chance of death being apparent at any time. It tries to create an intense mood to get the audience to get engaged in the show through its music, colors, and sound that accompanies this premise. 

The problem is, this doesn’t work. 

I’m not saying that tension is bad. Tension is needed for any psychological or action shows like Darwin’s game to be great. I mean, how many times did Death Note or Fate Zero make you get on the edge of your seat at its most exciting moments? But Darwin’s game, although it tries it’s best to be an exciting, tense show, it utterly fails to be one. And the worst part is that the show itself fails to recognize this. 

Watch Darwin's Game Episode 8 Online

There are a few ways that the show fails to stay exciting. First, the game constantly adds new rules to the game. This strays the audience from a set mark they can base the stakes off of. Because the rules are constantly changing, the audience can just think that any problem or former stakes will be changed in the future so there is no need to get invested. Second, the characters are established as undefeatable from very early on. Although this isn’t too big of a problem if done well, the show fails to capitalize on the “die at any moment’ concept. Even if anyone were to die, because they don’t take time to make anyone other than Kaname, Shuka or Rein even remotely interesting, it really doesn’t matter at this point. The game itself strays too far from reality. The show doesn’t explain how the city is cleared out when cities are being destroyed and people are being killed and yet no one seems to question it because everyone was napping. These are just a few problems.

Darwin's Game - QooApp

But the thing is, these aspects that fail to make Darwin’s game exciting are also mostly in Bofuri as well. For example, the admins constantly are nerfing Maple’s skills or making specific rules for each event. Like Kaname’s group, Maple’s group (or just maple) are also overpowered beyond belief. Both to a point where it gets ridiculous.

But this brings us back to my point about how seriously these two shows take themselves. Darwin’s game is using these aspects to create a tense atmosphere. Obviously, these elements stop it from being so. However, because Bofuri recognizes how ridiculous the show is, it plays off these overpowered skills as a joke. We see other characters constantly commenting on how ridiculous. This is to the point where the opponent kind of gives up after seeing Maple’s skills. Because of this, the show isn’t about how Maple uses her skills to defeat everyone (well slightly) but more of a character focused story on how Maple isn’t normal. From the start, the show shows clearly that her actions are not normal with her maxing out vitality points only. You can even see this from the title itself which directly translates to “I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense.” A hilarious title that reflects the hilarity of the show. 

Why You NEED to Watch BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll ...

Of course, this light hearted-ness of Maple’s skills are matched perfectly with the cute character design. From the whole colors, characters, and the feel of the episodes, you can tell that unlike these serious death games, Bofuri is a cute girls show at its core. Being a “cute girls doing cute things” show, it succeeds in doing so in everyways. All the characters are adorable and fun to watch. 

So in conclusion, what I’m trying to say is, Maple is cute. 

On having to watch anime (and watching weekly)

Consuming anime feels a little different when you have to watch and discuss them.

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In the past, I’ve always watched anime by myself, binge watching every show I can find. And throughout my life, I’ve never been a person who enjoys watching anime weekly. From a young age, anime — or any type of medium — was something I did by myself. While most of my friends at school would always play games together, I would usually be watching shows at home. Because of the abundance of shows that were available to me, I’ve never even thought about watching shows weekly. And even if I did, the 2~3 series I completed between weekly episodes made me forget all about what happened. So in the end I rewatched the whole thing when it ended. 

But a huge reason why I was able to binge shows like this was because I didn’t participate in discussions.

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I think the only reason why one would be watching seasonal anime is to discuss the shows. Unlike older shows that are kinda everywhere, airing shows gives everyone a focus. Something that everyone is watching. I mean, no one is talking about shows like Nichijou or the Monogatari series in blog posts or discussion threads; it’s all Bofuri or Eizouken. 

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This is a huge reason why I think I was able to watch a huge amount of older shows. Because I didn’t understand the concept of different seasons or air dates and cared (known) about discussion threads and such, I just went off on my own way, watching anything and everything.

However, in the last two years or so, I find myself watching seasonal anime. And I feel like I have to watch them.

One of the reasons why I’m more inclined to do so now is that I just don’t have that many shows (or at least good shows) I can watch left. The rate that I used to consume shows outpaced the rate in which shows came out greatly. Recently, the only binge watching that I do is watching really bizzare old shows that aren’t very fun or rewatching my favorite shows. The latter is of course fun, but there’s a limit to how many times you can watch a show over and over again. So the only option left for me became watching seasonally.

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And to fill in the time between episodes, I started discussing shows. 

At the start it was just reading through reddit threads, joining and ghosting on discord servers, or talking to friends that actually watch seasonal anime. But little by little, I started participating more and more. Eventually creating this blog (although I don’t post very often.)

But a new problem came up from this. Now that I participate so deeply — whether it’s discord servers, forums, or this blog — I can’t help but feel that I have to watch anime to avoid missing out. It’s not like I am active enough on my blog nor have been blogging for a long time to say that the blog is a restriction for me, but with people pinging me or texting me about shows, I feel like I have to watch these shows.

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It’s a weird feeling. It’s not like I can’t decline them and say I’m gonna watch till the show is over. But once you taste that conversation with others, it’s like a trap you can’t escape. Every show must be talked about or else seasonal anime feels empty.

But as I am watching shows weekly, it became very hard to find shows that I thought were mindblowing. Of course, there’s the fact that watching weekly makes you forget stuff or the excitement for shows die down after a few weeks and all, but the discussions I had with others may have swayed me to think negatively about shows. Because I was watching these shows weekly solely for discussion purposes, I found myself stretching out the 20 minutes that I had for that week, and nitpicking every single detail that otherwise would not have bothered me at all. So ultimately, shows never became perfect like before. 

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It wasn’t until this season, when I watched Eizouken, that I felt another 10/10 show would ever appear. That’s a huge reason why, after 3 episodes or so, I stopped watching Eizouken and actively avoided any sort of discussion on it. I’m probably taking this a little bit too extremely, but I’ve been avoiding reading blog posts or chatting to avoid this completely. I’m so weekly minded that any sort of temptation can and will tip me over to watch the show. 

This does make me feel really left out though. Everyone I know are talking about how good the show is and I’m just here kinda frustrated that I’m not watching the show. But as much as I want to watch the show, I want avoid anything that might ruin the experience even slightly.

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Although I do think that watching these shows weekly and discussing the shows with others may drain the fun a little, I think that these discussions will add fun to any show that I otherwise wouldn’t have cared too much about.

Take Arifureta for example. Arifureta, on the season that it aired, was like the show that I talked the most about. I’d watch every single episode the day it came out, and use the following week to just talk about that episode and speculation. And I must say, making fun of the show is extremely enjoyable. Like I love talking about how bad Arifureta is. Of course, laughing at Arifureta myself was also fun, just because of how horrible the show is itself, but laughing at the show together with others made it so much more fun. The nitpicking that I said was a problem before was like what made Arifureta Good. 

To me, this discussion changed my viewing habits slightly from enjoying the show itself to enjoying all the context and discussion around it as well. I think that this may be the reason why I don’t really find show mindblowing nowadays, but find every show, on average, generally better thanks to the discussion I have on the more mediocre shows.

I’m not saying that me having to watch anime because of the discussion I am a part of is a bad thing. They both have their goods and bads. But I sometimes do wish I could go back to the crazy days when there were so many shows left for me to watch that I just consumed everything in front of me.

I’m curious if anyone else had discussions impact viewing experiences. Do you like nitpicking shows or watching for the purpose of reviewing? Do you feel forced to watch shows when running a blog?