Show by Rock – Pure Madness


screenshot-00201Well, that was certainly an experience, one of those moments when all the collective insanity hidden deep within the anime industry is given the opportunity to see the light of day. As a concept I rather liked the episode, and even the weird CG wasn’t particularly distracting, perhaps because it was more of the ‘cute and cuddly’ variety, rather than attempting to use CG in creating realistic looking characters. Also, Tarou turned into a heart-shaped talking guitar, which was the natural career path given his many, and hilarious failings in anime production. Read more of this post

Arslan Senki (The Heroic Legend of Arslan) – Ignorance is Bliss


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Arslan Senki got off to an interesting start – introducing us to a country resembling medieval Persia. The story deals with some interesting themes revolving around the consequences of slavery on a society, the issues that having an absolute monarch who views ordinary citizens as little more than cattle, and the problems with religious fanaticism and obsession. Through all of this we follow Arslan, the prince of Pars (the country roughly based on medieval Persia) as he tries to understand the world he lives in, and how he, as someone who is supposed to rule must deal with the intricacies of medieval politics and religious beliefs. Read more of this post

Horror, Ghost Stories, and Mischievous Spirits – Tales of The Strange and Anomalous in Anime


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This post was partly influenced by comments I have seen on forums, and twitter in the past criticising horror anime for its inability to scare the viewers, alongside problems with writing and characters. Horror in Japanese culture can be both terrifying, but also seem somewhat benign – it deals with a variety of different themes, but the most important, and arguably the most used is that of spirits and the effect they have on the human world. Having said that, I also believe that the term ‘horror’ when it comes to describing Japanese ghost stories is somewhat misleading, and feeds a series of assumptions about the stories content and whether or not it might be scary. Read more of this post

Yuri Kuma Arashi – Still Rubbish, and still Beautiful


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During my first impressions of Yuri Kuma Arashi I explored some of the central themes that the series appears to be dealing with, especially those surrounding the idea of women in male roles as found in a wide variety of anime and manga. Those themes remain particularly interesting to me, but this series does not, and instead of exploring such themes in an interesting manner, it is clear that the anime is a classic case of directorial indulgence. It is fairly obvious by now that Kunihiko Ikuhara does not need to justify any of his stylistic, or thematic choices. When discussing the current state of Yuri Kuma Arashi I had an interesting comment that Ikuhara is able to get away with such bland, uninspiring anime because he directed Utena. A series – albeit a rather superb one – that is getting close to two decades old has somehow given Ikuhara an aura so powerful, so impenetrable, that regardless of his abilities it seems very hard to criticise him without people claiming that you simply do not understand his deeply symbolic style. Read more of this post

Aldnoah.Zero – What was once merely stupid is now even worse


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It’s hard to describe how utterly ridiculous, ludicrous, stupid, and often downright insulting Aldnoah.Zero is. As a series it has a lot of promise, with elements of the narrative, plot, characters, and setting lending themselves to an interesting story that explores themes of envy, social and cultural isolation, and a sense of superiority instilled in a population in order by the ruling elite to maintain their control. Other series such as Aquarion Evol, Yamato 2199, and to a lesser extent Rinne no Lagrange have all dealt with similar themes and they have all been entertaining, with well rounded characters, and a story that doesn’t lurch from one bizarre and unnecessary reveal to another. Read more of this post

The Rolling Girls – First Impressions


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It’s hard to gauge where Rolling Girls will go, but the first episode introduced a suitably bizarre world filled with fascinating countries, and an interesting way of dealing with conflicts. The series seems to draw upon historical and cultural themes and ideas to build its world, with Japan effectively broken up into the older domains from the Edo and earlier periods. I rather liked this depiction of Japan, with the numerous new domains creating their own, somewhat unique cultures, whilst also vying for dominance over their neighbours. I have always had a fascination with medieval Japan, not necessarily because of the Samurai, but because of the culture and its influence of modern Japanese society. As such, seeing a series effectively split Japan up into numerous smaller domains that are reminiscent of that period is particularly interesting. Read more of this post

Yuri Kuma Arashi – Equal Parts Rubbish and Beautiful


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Yuri Kuma Arashi, one of the most anticipated series in ages didn’t get off to a particularly good start. The animation, such as it was, wasn’t especially brilliant, with dodgy CGI, and very little movement, and the story is about as nonsensical as Ikuhara gets. However, the backgrounds were beautiful, and there are some interesting themes hidden under all the random elements, and often distraction ‘symbolism’. Read more of this post

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