Girls und Panzer – Review


shot0257Girls und Panzer is absolutely brilliant and sits as a perfect example of how even the most innocuous series can be turned into a veritable masterpiece with the right direction, writing and a truly engrossing story that has been created by a group of people who truly love classic war films and all they entail. I, like many others on twitter, was quick to laughingly and quite ironically proclaim this series to be the best of the season and perhaps the year just before it premiered. However, having sat through the gripping action, wonderful character development, and truly superb soundtrack it is safe to say that I can now, entirely un-ironically proclaim it to be a spectacular success. I have never really had any problems with the ‘cute girls doing cute things’ aspect of many anime, finding the ordinary, if rather romanticized portrayal of Japanese school life often charming and entertaining. What we find in Girls und Panzer however is an entirely different take on this well warn aspect of anime, and while it still has cute girls doing cute things, the constant presence of tanks and the important part that they play in life helps to subtly change the way this anime portrays the lives of school girls. Read more of this post

Disappointing Anime of 2012


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While there have been many very good anime series this year there have also been a number of disappointing ones, series that had a lot of potential, but for one reason or another failed to live up to it. Such series aren’t necessarily terrible, but because they suffered from numerous problems ultimately never lived up to the potential that their stories or characters had. In fact there are a few of these series that I really enjoyed watching, or at least enjoyed parts, but their flaws were too much for me to really like them as a whole. I never really ‘hated’ these series, largely because hating an anime series seems to be an exercise in futility, although there are a couple of exceptions, series that were just terrible and what little enjoyment I got from them was short lived. This is a list, but not in any real order since it seems a little silly to try and order the disappointing anime in the same way as you would order your favourite anime (and I even find that pointless). Read more of this post

Sword Art Online – Interesting but flawed and disappointing


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Sword Art Online was not a very good series, in fact it was a rather disappointing and largely flawed series, but neither was it terrible, with numerous elements that were interesting and a fascinating set of worlds. As a set of stories Sword Art Online partly fails because of its inconsistencies and generally problematic nature of the entire setup and how it is portrayed within the series itself. Certain key elements to do with the worlds and how they work in a broader context for example are pushed to one side in order to concentrate on the central characters such as Kirito, Asuna and later on Sugu. This isn’t the end of the world of course since Sword Art Online is at its heart and action adventure, with the virtual world and characters allowing for excellent action sequences and some rather grand fights between players and boss monsters. The worlds are vast and colourful with an immense variety in terrain and monsters, thus producing vibrant and fascinating looking sets and landscapes. Unfortunately none of this is ever really used until the Alfheim Online, but even then these worlds, regardless of their vibrancy and apparently central nature are ignored and pushed to one side. It is therefore a series with lots of potential that never truly fulfils it, or does anything with the tools that are available. As a series it continually introduces new and actually rather interesting ideas and characters, but never really uses them to their fullest, often forgetting about them almost as soon as they are introduced. Read more of this post

The Illogicalzen Top Twelve Anime of 2012


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It appears to be that time of the year where many bloggers begin to list their favourite anime and make lists that may differ wildly from each other while containing a few common links. I didn’t do this last year, partly because I wasn’t really as involved with anime blogging as I am now, but this year shall be different! I have to admit that I don’t really believe in lists, finding them too restrictive and forcing you into picking your favourite, but for lack of a better format, and because I am taking part in Kidd’s Ani-Bloggers Choice Awards I shall have to come up with a list and an order for my favourite anime for the year. But, even thought they will be in order, these anime are essentially equal for me since I enjoyed them for different reasons and at different times, and in all cases there were points where they didn’t quite work as well. But, before I get into the list proper there are a few honourable mentions, all series that I enjoyed but weren’t quite good enough to make onto my Top Twelve List for a variety of reasons. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 12 – Different Perspectives


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Chuunibyou is a fascinating and complicated idea, one that embodies the surprisingly simply but occasionally complicated notion of imagination. Throughout this series we have been told how ridiculous and embarrassing Chuunibyou is, with repeated examples of the strange and the wondrous shown in the form of Rikka and Dekomori. Chuunibyou is a social Haiku, as a term it is used to condense and concentrate numerous complicated social and cultural situations and attitudes into a single, easily used idea. At its most basic, Chuunibyou is essentially a term used to describe adolescence, a period in everyone’s life where external influences and ideas can have a tremendous impact on how you view yourself and the wider world. It is therefore tremendously difficult to truly label someone as a ‘sufferer’ of Chunnibyou, apart from those who act in the most extreme ways. Rikka, Dekomori, and the past Yuuta are all perfect examples of the more extreme end of Chunnibyou, with each character taking on a new, and altogether different personality. The way they act, speak, and interact with the wider world around them differs tremendously from the social ‘norm’, therefore marking them out as wider, or perhaps dysfunctional. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 10 – It’s all one big game


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The ease with which peoples voices can be faked, along with the startlingly inaccurate information and maps that the police have at their disposal once again throws the numerous flaws and dangerous of the Sibyl system into the light. As Kougami and Akane are called out into a trap we see how the criminals are using the flaws that they have seen in the system to their advantage. They use these flaws and choose where they wish to meet, thus demonstrating a clear knowledge of the city that even the most advanced technology cannot replicate. When Kougami seemingly walks through a wall and then disappears at high speed the puzzled and shocked look on Akane’s face shows us how much she trusts the technology at her disposal. It is however hardly surprising that there would be numerous unknown tunnels and alleyways in a city as large as the one in Psycho-Pass. Over time the numerous redevelopments and restructuring must have left a veritable maze of catacombs and mysterious and abandoned areas under the city. What is most surprising though is how little the official data shows of the city, with all of these mysterious areas missing from the official records. When we take these inconsistencies into account it is little wonder that Makishima has been able to avoid the gaze of Sibyl and the Public Safety Bureau. In many respects this area represents the twilight of this city, both metaphorically as well as physically, a place far from the gaze of the all-seeing eyes of sibyl. Read more of this post

Sukitte Ii na yo 11 – Friends and Enemies


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Mei and Megumi are incredibly similar when we take their pasts and attitudes towards others into consideration, but regardless of such similarities they are exact opposites in terms of how they have approached the problems in their life. Mei, with the help of her new friends and Yamato has decided to face her fears and learn to trust others. Her painful memories and feelings of rejection and betrayal had a clear impact upon how she approached society, believing that everyone would eventually betray her so there was no point in even trying to make friends. At the beginning of the series we see a girl who has rejected society and social contact, instead she drifts through life like she were a ghost. Meeting Yamato, Asami and Aiko changed all that and throughout the series we have seen Mei gradually open up to these characters and begin to enjoy life to it’s fullest. Part of the reason for this change has been Mei’s inherent understanding of what it means to be alone and treat like a ghost. Her encounters with Aiko and Asami have helped to demonstrate how compassionate and understanding a character Mei is. Through her painful experiences she has helped Aiko and Asami get over their own complexes and realise what is important in life, and in doing so has built strong and lasting bonds with them. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 11 – Colourless World


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It is a supreme irony that the one thing apparently hurting Rikka was also filling her world with colour and laughter. Her Chuunibyou, while extreme and often nonsensical was nevertheless an essential part of her life and the one constant that allowed her to make friends and create a club out of her widening social group. Without it she has become, not only normal, but also boring and lacking the liveliness that we have become used to over the course of the series. Rikka is a character that has had to deal with the loss of her father at a young age, thus resulting in her Chuunibyou, that she was going to come back to ‘reality’ sooner or later was also obvious, but the way she has gone about it seems to be far more damaging than her Chuunibyou ever could be. Throughout the series Touka has talked about Rikka using her Chuunibyou to run away from reality and simply ignore the truth that is before her eyes. She has viewed Rikka’s Chuunibyou as dangerous and also annoying at times, especially during the summer holiday arc where she tried to force the issue of their father’s death onto Rikka. Furthermore, Touka’s attitude towards Rikka doesn’t help matters, and by constantly attempting to force her own reality onto Rikka, Touka inevitably strengthens Rikka’s dependence on her alter ego and dream world. Rikka’s world and her alter ego as the wielder of the Tyrant’s Eye become central to her everyday life precisely because her family, through their rejection of Chuunibyou has alienated her. Read more of this post

Sukitte Ii na yo 10 – Lies and Misunderstandings


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The introduction of Kai would always bring with it another set of problems, specifically for Yamato, but his characters also helped to demonstrate the uneasy relationship that Yamato has with Mei. Up until this point Yamato has demonstrated how shallow he can be, and how damaging his willingness to help anyone and everyone has been to his relationship with Mei. The appearance of Megumi prompts Mei to question her position with Yamato, almost convincing herself that she never had any business falling in love with Yamato in the first place. For his part, Yamato is portrayed to be as naïve and new to love as Mei; his willingness to help others, along with his general attitude further exacerbates an already tense situation. As Mei and Yamato grow further apart, kicking themselves about what they did or didn’t do, what they said or wanted to say, we began to see how alike these two characters are. Mei and Yamato initially appear as polar opposites with Yamato’s popularity portrayed in stark contrast to the almost invisible nature of Mei. Partly because of this Mei continued to back herself into a corner, blaming herself for allowing Yamato to model and get close to Megumi. It is an uneasy relationship because Mei’s overly cautious and arguably introverted nature, coupled with Yamato’s ineptitude and inability to understand the consequences of his actions have gradually been building up and gaining ever more power and influence. They clearly love each other, but because of these problems they continue to bump into other issues that potentially hurt their relationship. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 09 – Self-Destructive Society


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While a significant chunk of this week’s Psycho-Pass was given over to our cyborg hunter and his sophistry, the most interesting element was the self-destructive nature of the Sibyl system and its impact upon society. Psycho-Pass presents a fascinating world, a vision of a dystopian society within which your every thought can be tracked and quantified. It presents us with a highly stratified and controlled society where simple test scores can determine where you work and what your life will be like. A world where your thoughts, attitudes and abilities can be measure and quantified, thus determining your entire life, will create a highly stratified and structured society. In doing so, such a society would arguably create distinct and destructive social divisions, and with no ability to move and change your life, what might be dissatisfaction in another society can become dangerous and destructive. To be reliant on technology is one thing, but to let the technology control your life is something very different. Senguji Toyohisa makes an interesting point in his interview when he asks what the difference between a human who relies upon technology such as the costume devices or Ai secretaries and automatons and those who are full cyborg’s. At the most basic level there is little difference, with both wholly reliant on the technology to allow them to function in one way or another. On the other hand, those who have full cybernetic bodies have become utterly reliant upon their technology. Read more of this post