It’s nice to know that Maru has gone from indiscriminate execution to kinda listening to what people have to say.
I’ve been watching a couple anime as of late! It’s actually been a while since I’ve picked up a new series, but in the past two months I’ve watched Voltron (not technically an anime, I realize), Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Berserk (2016), and Kuromukuro.
Guys, Voltron is so much fun! This animation studio went from making big action/adventure asian inspired martial arts epics to big action/adventure scifi mecha/space opera epics, they are my FAVORITE PEOPLE. My only complaint about it is that there isn’t currently enough episodes. Episode 11 ends on a big ol’ cliffhanger and nothing is resolved, which is infuriating when you’re having such a jolly time watching the show! Oh wait, I do have one other complaint. WHY NOT USE THE ORIGINAL THEME?? I mean, I like the new theme, it grew on me pretty quick, but the classic Voltron theme is probably the most quintessential GET HYPED music ever made, Thundercats’ theme being a close second. Every time Voltron forms in the new series, I unconsciously begin to vibrate with anticipation over hearing that improbably awesome theme, but I’m consistently let down! Other than that, though, show’s just great, go watch it.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, or Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, is ALRIGHT. I enjoyed parts of it and I love the concept and character design, although it feels like a derivative work trying to cash in on the popularity of Attack on Titan. Initially I thought I would like it more than AoT, seeing as how it’s basically steampunk samurai armed fighting zombies, but it quickly gets bogged down in way too much melodrama and perhaps too little plot clarification for my tastes. My initial impression of the cast was very positive, as they all came off as smart and proactive, but about four episodes in, everyone started getting very emo and indecisive, and the introduction of a main villain took the show in a direction less about straight up survival, and maybe over complicated a series that was only 12 episode long. The pacing also has a lot of stop and go to it and the ending definitely left me with more questions than answers. If it gets another season, I’ll watch it! But I didn’t like Iron Fortress nearly as much as I thought I would. Great soundtrack, though. I loves me some Hiroyuki Sawano.
Berserk (2016) is a direct sequel to the new movies, or the original 1998 anime. Unfortunately, it’s almost entirely done using some rather ugly CG character models, and there’s a lot of stiff animation and fugly faces. Visually, it’s not my favorite thing. I am happy it exists, though. The anime is only two episodes in so far, and it’s interesting enough that I’ll certainly keep watching, being a big fan of Berserk. If nothing else, it’s definitely gotten me to go back and start re-reading the manga, which is probably one of the most engrossing and visually impressive manga ever made, easily being my second favorite after Kenshin, and even then probably only second because Kenshin actually has a fantastic and conclusive ending. After two episode, I don’t know if I can really recommend Berserk (2016) to fans who haven’t read the manga and are looking for a continuation of the two animated adaptations of the Golden Age arc. Instead, I’d just recommend to read the darn manga because it’s incredible. But who knows, maybe we’ll get a Sailor Moon Crystal scenario where the show would go from looking ugly and low budget to looking utterly beautiful between season breaks. (I just compared Berserk to Sailor Moon)
OKAY GUYS, HERE’S WHERE IT GETS REAL. I had not heard or Kuromukuro, it was totally off my radar. While browsing Netflix I just saw that it was a new addition, and the description was something like “a samurai from the past helps defend a research station from attacking mechs”. I was all “I enjoy all the nouns and verbs in that description, maybe I’ll watch this show”. Well, and this is NO JOKE, I may have found my new favorite anime of all time! We’ll have to see, since I’m only three episodes in, but I pretty much love everything about this show, and it contains very few of the anime tropes that infuriate me. So far the characters are well defined and interesting, with no cast member coming off as boring or annoying. The main character, Yukina, is ALMOST too boring, but she’s established with an expertise in geology and geography, and she’s generally laid back, which makes her far less frustrating to watch than your standard ‘hyper anime girl’ trope. Kennosuke, the samurai from the past, is the classic ‘fish out of water’ time traveler, and although it’s been done to death, it’s a trope that I never get tired of, especially when played for humor. Kennosuke is so wonderfully earnest that he’s impossible not to like. He’s also a super badass when he’s piloting his giant robot or fighting enemy mechs buck naked. The other side characters are great too, my favorite being Tom Borden, who acts exactly like you’d expect Kenta Daisuke would if given a giant robot. But what really sells this show for me, other than it’s beautiful animation, great character designs, and incredible fight choreography, is the PACING. this show has some of the best pacing in an anime I can recall in a long time. Each episode (and, mind you, I’ve only seen the first three so far), slowly builds up the story, letting the characters grow and interact with each other before throwing a big problem at them. The jokes are legitimately funny and not the “I’m eating a lot of food” or “I fell on a girl and touched her boob” anime garbage I hate (although there was one grope joke that I groaned at). Overall, it avoids the blatant and distracting fan service and tired, overused jokes of most anime to deliver a character driven story full of, well, samurai robots that fight with giant swords. It’s fantastic and everyone should be watching it! (okay, I’m seriously be geeking out about this show, I can’t help it. Everyone’s got such great hair!)Published on by Alex Kolesar