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

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

Aldnoah.Zero – The Politics of Conquering


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The idea of rigging an event, perhaps creating a situation that would allow a country to go to war is hardly new. Both in anime and in real life, situations have been engineered in order to create the desired effect for one particular party, regardless of the consequences or collateral damage to others. The same is true in Aldnoah.Zero, although to anyone familiar with this sort of story, and indeed, the writing style of Urobuchi Gen such an occurrence will come as no great surprise. We are presented with two opposing factions (ala Gundam), the Vers Empire, a clearly evil, nationalistic, militaristic, fascist society that has strong views of its own superiority to those who live on earth, a somewhat weaker, and far more naïve faction that seems doomed to destruction. Read more of this post

Mekakucity Actors – Creativity just got Shafted


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What a chore it was to sit through this first episode, desperately trying to grasp the slights bit of meaning and enjoyment from an experience that made me wonder if I wasn’t just watching a series from 2010. This remains the general feeling I have when watching anime from Shaft, that studio with an inexplicably large fan base – well, the Monogatari franchise is likely one reason – but has effectively released the same anime every season (at least those they have produced work for) since 2010. Even with this feeling I went into Mekakucity Actors knowing very little about the series, and wanting to enjoy it, wanting to find that one series by Shaft that dispels my worries, my annoyance, and my boredom for good, unfortunately this did not happen. Read more of this post

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