Second seasons of any show are scary. They are scary as you are not certain if whatever you saw in the first season can be maintained in the second. True, a lot of this is based on however the original manga unfolded itself, but you can take liberties with things. The problem for me with “The Numbers 2” (“Nanbaka 2”) is that it became the Dragonball Z Syndrome: endless fighting amid endless fighting, when we are not endlessly fighting. This is what you get in the second go-around. (more…)
Yeah, the ending of the first season guaranteed a second season, but it fell into the Sophomore Slump and we ended up being dragged along in an exercise more in what not to do for a second season. We are back to “BBK/BRNK” (or “Bubuki/Buranki: The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy”).
So, after the crew of the Oubu learn the ins and outs of their Buranki, they discover that there are more users out there. Oh, the crew of the Oubu (left to right) Shizuru Taneomi, Kogane Asabuki, Azuma Kazuki, Kinoa Ogi and Hiiragi Nono. (more…)
I always have a problem with anime movies, in that I am aware of the merest tip of the iceberg that comes to a regular cinema on its own (although I am having troubles with “The Red Turtle” and that’s a Studio Ghibli offering). A tremendous amount of them just go drifting past, so it is a bit or a workout to be able to find them without having to go to some special showing in a theater no one can find at exorbitant costs to view it and you have but one weekend to grab any of the four total showings. And the next nearest theater for it is 600 miles away. That is why when I run into an anime movie, I grab it and take my chances.
Such is the case with “Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda” (“The Anthem of the Heart”, subtitled “Beautiful Word Beautiful World”). At its heart, it is a love story, but how we get there is a tad unusual. (more…)
I lie to myself all the time. “The check’s in the mail.” “Yes, I took out the trash.” “I know I told you that.” After getting treated badly by the last JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, “Egypt Hen”, I swore I would never see it again. Well, guess what happened? Yup, yup and more yup. I found myself watching Installment Series Five or Six, “Diamond is Unbreakable”. (more…)
Short-Run Series XXI – All Things “Great” and Small
I remarked that the Japanese will do an anime on anything. Although this is a caliber of romance, it is a more mature effort. This is no high school rom-com, but something more serious. However, it is packaged around the struggles to create a new dictionary. So, you are immediately thinking ‘How dull can that be?’ And, in a broad sense of thing, yes, it is rather dull. I mean, you are just doing research work to make this project fly, as you track down the real meaning of words. It’s the old Connotation vs. Denotation battle that my Freshman English teacher used to hammer into us as we dissected poetry…..but I have digressed again. It’s tough being an old man. (more…)
I once made the comment that it appears that anime companies will do a show on anything. Or so it seems. What initially appears to be an anime on shogi (Japanese chess) turns out to be far more than expected, but that is what you learn with “3 gatsu no Lion” (“March Comes in Like a Lion”). I was worried initially, as it authored by the same person who did “Honey and Clover” and I found that a truly turgid drama. Plus, the art style and approach is like “Your Lie in April”, but I decided to stick with it. It has a lot going for it; it has a lot working against it. But, let’s get down to the board, as it were. (more…)
The Game of “Life”
What would you give to be able to relive a crucial part of your life and correct mistakes that you had made at that time? Would this give you a better chance for the rest of your life? Are you up to the task? Can you keep a secret? Do you like having a minimum wage job and no girlfriend? Have you registered to vote? (more…)
You Sometimes Have to Go a Little “Berserk”
This is what I call an iteration series. Huh, what do you mean? The reason we have the year in parenthesis is that this show was done before, way back in 1997, but this version of “Berserk (2016)” (“Beruseruku”) is potentially a lot that the previous series was not, like openly bloody and endlessly violent. (more…)
“Orange” is the Happiest Color
I remember, when I was young, and my heart was an open book, maybe sixth grade (it was a long time ago, about when we had to stop hunting mastodons for food), we had to do an assignment, which was write a letter to our future self that would be read ten years from then. Well, I wrote some caliber of nonsense and eventually lost the letter. It was probably a good thing, too. In any case, this is part of the plot for the anime “Orange” (“Orenji”).
It is the past. Naho Takamiya, (in the center), a second year high school student, receives letters sent from herself 10 years into the future. Her future self asks her to prevent her “biggest regret”, which has something to do with the new transfer student, Kakeru Naruse (black hair to her left). At first skeptical, Naho begins to believe the letters, as they accurately predict events. When the letter asks her not to invite Kakeru to go out for the first day, Naho and her friends (left to right, Takako Chino, Hiroto Suwa, Azusa Murasaka and Saku Hagita) decide to invite him anyway. Kakeru ends up not attending school for the next two weeks.
When she learns of the terrible fate that will befall Naruse if she does nothing, she strives to prevent the past events from happening, thus altering the future. The series details not only those efforts but how our little troupe fare in the future.
Time shift shows like this are difficult, as you have to balance the two realities, so things are credible. We, of course, are not going to ask the question as to how the future letters got into the past, as that would cause the series to totally collapse (think of the movie “The Lake House”), so you just move along with the events and see the ever-increasing stakes in the actions that they all perform in order to save a friend.
We also see how they have to learn not to be afraid, as a small slip here can create a larger slip down the line, and at a time when you may not be able to correct it, and that you have to believe in yourself, whether it is the now version or the future version.
Late in the show, there is a very good discussion regarding multiple dimensions, which also explains away the problems we encounter with the original future time story line. At its core, it is still a story about the bonds and strength of friendship, but it is done in a very concerted and focused manner. Perhaps not as intense as “Erased”, there is a still a good story to be told and the potential downfalls of not believing what the future you is imparting to the past you.
There is a movie coming out, but I am hoping it is a real movie and not a compilation film of the series. It’s already out in Japan; we get to wait another year or so. Or longer. Did I not get the memo?
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Typical but useful)
Plot 8 (Done quite well)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness 8 (Good use of the time shift)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 8 (Good use of the time paradox idea)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You got one, too?
I have noticed another trend in anime. This one was a long time coming, as a lot of companies are not too eager to get on the bandwagon for this one, but it is best described as “Magical Girls Gone Bad”. One could argue that “Black Rock Shooter” is a caliber of magical girl show, and things in it went badly for those involved. It has gone through a lot of other shows to get us to “Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku” (“Magical Girl Raising Project”). This does give pause as to whether or not you wish to follow in this profession. (more…)