Now that the season for Fire Force has ended was it worth the watch? Here is a quick breakdown of what I think.
Fire Force (overall): 7.5/10
I think that the plot had enough going on to really keep you engaged. The main character (Shinra) is likable and not too OP to break the plot. The fight scenes were good but did not have to carry the show. Shinra looking for his younger brother is the main point of the show and discovering the reason for human combustion is the catalyst that gives each episode a purpose. The fact is that ultimately Shinra is the only one that really cares about his little brother, don’t get me wrong now that he is at the 8th and has told those people whats up, they care too but my point is that if Shinra was never looking for his younger brother no one else would be either. So, having a secondary objective is clutch and key. The true question is how do they intend to keep that going in season two?
Character Development: 2/10 I don’t think the characters developed at all. Honestly its probably still too early for them to grow a lot but they all seemed to have gotten a power boost so they did develop in that aspect. I’m pretty big on character development no matter what genre it is, characters have to grow in some way. Fire Force did not deliver much character development besides the normal power growth scenes and one other scene with Shinra and his little brother.
I enjoyed the animation though I am not that technical. I understand budget costs and all that comes to play when creating anime so I tend to look over anything that doesn’t hinder me from understanding the action. Fire Force did a good job for the most part. There were a couple fight scenes that I thought could have been cleaner but overall, I think it looked fine. There were a few scenes where the lighting was done superbly–the light and dark contrast with the flames, very well done. OH! and all the scenes with the fan service they spared no expense!
All in all, its a fun anime to watch. Aside from the unnecessary fan service that had no real plot moving devices, the world that is built is fascinating to say the least and they do a good job of exploring enough to keep you coming back for more. I was watching this anime at the same time as some other really popular ones and I did not skip a week of this. From the fight scenes (like the one with Maki in in the subway…) to the plot execution I think its worth the watch if your into Shonens. Someone else felt the same way I did about the Maki subway scene and posted it to YouTube check it out below.
My thoughts on the series known as Re:zero, or more specifically ‘Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World’, have shifted over the years. Looking at my MyAnimeList review from April 14th, 2018, it seems I had enjoyed my experience, but ever since I’ve been very unsure as to my consensus over the tv-series. From what I had remembered it seemed like a series full of potential that was stricken with a bold sense of superiority, but I was never really quite sure why. It was until Mother’s Basement’s video on the subject matter that I became more intrigued than ever. He speaks of the shows subtle critique of anime culture and that not having rewatched the series means you haven’t seen the show to begin with. And now that I have taken that advice, I would make the case that this is what made the show feel as pretentious and blatant as it did.
This review contains spoilers
The series follows Subaru Natsuki, the ordinary Japanese high school anime fan, as he is transported into the Kingdom of Lugnica, not too dissimilar from many other fantasy worlds we’ve seen the past decade. After getting into trouble with the capitals many crooks he is saved by the heroine of Emilia who Subaru quickly takes a liking to. The two look for her “insignia”, an amulet of a sort, and after scenes of blood and gore we learn that Subaru is able to “return by death” meaning he is sent back in time to certain events when he passes away. And this is where the critique of the anime fandom and the “otaku” is set up, as the ability Subaru achieves seems like an advantageous one but is throughout the series developed to be extremely trauma-inducing, as Subaru has to relive the suffering the world of Lugnica has to offer repeatedly. It takes the audience’s expectations of the story’s premise and turns it around to show the horror laying inside of it. But this is where the story’s interesting exploration of this critique starts and ends, as we will be looking at now.
The first 50 minutes of the show are emblematic of the problems the show has presenting this recurring theme. As I started the first episode I was impressed at how early they set up how Subaru isn’t the main character of this world. He is repeatedly disempowered, thinking that he can suddenly cast magic and save people and is then shown how this is false. But after lines like “Is this how it’s supposed to be? Wasn’t I summoned into a parallel world?! Where’s my protagonist status go!?” and “And besides, if I was summoned, where’s my cute girl who summoned me?!”, this starts become overwhelming. The entirety of episodes one is spent comedically disempowering Subaru over and over again to the point where it seems as though the creators are screaming the point of the show to the audience. My consensus after watching the first episode was that it wasn’t a masterpiece because it thinks it is one.
This is a common problem in anime I believe, where the point of certain characters or story elements are kept extremely clear. But when it comes to thematic elements, I don’t think I have a better example of overstatement than this show. While it is able to hide this problem in the first third of the show, where it’s either interesting in how it frames Subaru or just turns into the show I thought this was meant to critique as it gives us meaningless fan-service. But it is in the scene where Emilia leaves Subaru in the capital where this changes. This is probably my favorite point in the series, where Subaru’s arrogance and savior complex becomes increasingly transparent to the point of saying that Emilia is hopeless without him, and I finally feel like the show has a point while still wrapping it in subtext. But the high of writing a scene like this can be addicting and this is what we see after this point. This is what leaves a bad taste in my mouth after finishing the series even though as a whole I don’t think it’s awful.
The series becomes a lot more melodramatic and not afraid to cause mass-murder to make a heavy-handed point about Subaru’s flaws as a person. The “from zero” (where Subaru tells Rem he loves Emilia) is a pretty great summarization of what I dislike about the show. Whenever it wants to make a point about Subaru and people like him it isn’t subtle about it in any way. They scream it into the camera, in the exact words you would put into a wiki page. And while I don’t think subtlety is a necessary element of writing, I find it hard to take the message seriously or find any interest in it when there is nothing to read into. Like Folding Ideas said in his video on the film Annihilation, in this series the subtextual is the textual. And while I don’t think comparing the two is completely fair as Annihilations themes are very different from Re:ZERO’s, I don’t think there’s a lot of subtext to read into when it comes to this series, because everything is on the table.
In the end the problems I have with Re:ZERO are not easy to understand for myself. I have to credit the series for making me think about what makes something on-the-nose and what makes something honest, and if a clear line is needed in this case. I’m still intrigued by the series, from just thinking about the problems and why I find them to be so. But in the end, the fact that I find them bothersome should be enough to call it a flaw.
And even if I think other aspects of the series are fine, the way the theme is presented felt really lazy and really drags the series down. If there’s any element of filmmaking I find more interesting to discuss than any other it would be subtext and the meaning of media. But if there’s any case that says that conceptually underlying themes and messages cannot make a show great I think Re:ZERO is a pretty good one
Been a while I know…I’m a busy man but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been watching anime!
Here are my thoughts for Tower of God and Gleipnir! Warning spoilers ahead!!!
Tower of God is the one that everyone is talking about. Coming from the webtoon to the “big screen” this anime adaptation of the popular webtoon starts off rocking! I have read only a little bit of the webtoon so this is not a comparison of the two. Tower of God is a great ride from start to finish . The animation is solid and the fight scenes are freakin cool! I enjoyed the characters for what they are. Ok enough with the niceties…here are my issues.
Plot development: Bam is annoying. His blind undying love for Rachael is such a bad plot crutch that I honestly was ready to quit watching. But, i get it. His story is about LOVE. As for the other characters we get a little background information about them all which isn’t terrible but I was never really convinced as to why they all chose to give up on their personal objectives to help Bam climb to tower to find Rachael. Then i was more confused when they found out Rachael was with them and still chose to help. Did I miss something?? Help me out please.
Character Development: I am sure this will be resolved in season two but we get little to no development of any of the characters except Rachael. Rachael realizes she is actually a terrible person and acts on that realization. She had some actual character development. The lizard girl also had some character development.
The last episode leaves us with a decent cliffhanger. Bam is alive and Rachael is going to have the help of all his friends in climbing the tower. No one realizes that she isn’t disabled but Bam knows that she pushed him off the “elevator”. Decent cliffhanger…though at this point I am invested because I want to see if Rachael gets whats coming to her…a stomp out from everyone there, they should all stomp her to dust.
I watched the last episode today….meh.
Overall I though this anime was great. I enjoyed just about every episode. The animation was great, fight scenes amazing, The opening and ending songs are good! I really vibe with the ending theme, I don’t know what it is about it, it just makes me bob my head every time. I’ll touch on the same things I hit with Tower of God.
Plot Development: The plot of Gleipnir is consistent and very interesting! I find myself wanting know more about everything. The slow reveal of the past troubles is executed perfectly and catapults the anime into the next season. However, the last episode was very lackluster. I think it would have been more of a cliffhanger if Shuichi kept his memories and something bad happened after that. The fight with Clair’s sister was very cool but short lived.
Character Development: The most important characters that need to develop in a story are the main character and the immediate supporting character. Gleipnir does a great job in doing this. Both Shuichi and Clair go through several personality changes. Shuichi evolves from this scared shy guy to this brave confidant guy and we see it. Clair evolves from this over domineering, confident, assertive girl to a more dependent version of that (she still keeps a lot of those qualities but becomes softer). And we see it!
All in all I enjoyed Gleipnir but I cannot end this article without addressing the elephant in the room…the fan service. So clearly there was some fan service. My arguement is that SOME of the fan service wasn’t fan service. The scenes when Clair enters Shuichi are NOT fan service. They make sense for the plot. The scenes where Clair’s panties are showing or bra are probably unnecessary. I will only say this and leave it alone…The scene that show Shuichi being aggressive with Clair must be for a reason because he always snaps out of it and says “what was that?” there is something else there that we have not seen yet.
My take: Gleipnir > Tower of God at this point.
Ever since watching The Social Network for the third time I have been kind of obsessed with Aaron Sorkin. Not really in the “I’ve watched everything the guy has made” way, I’ve just seen Social Network over and over again and a little bit of West Wing before it got boring. He’s probably my favorite writer aside from maybe Charlie Kaufman. And I’ve been wanting to watch more stuff like it for a long time, and one of the shows that I kept hearing about was Tatami Galaxy, the topic of this review. Why did I mention any of that? I don’t know I hate starting these.
The Tatami Galaxy, produced by Madhouse and directed by the great Masaaki Yuasa, follows Watashi as we see him live through the same two years of his life but in different parallel universes where he joins different clubs to get to the dream of a rose-colored college dream.
And probably my favorite thing about the series is this premise. Often I feel premises don’t matter that much as bad premises have been executed well and vice versa in the past. But in this case I feel the premise serves as a frankly fantastic hook to what the series will be all about. After only two episodes of the show, the hook of the show is incredibly clear which I think is important to at least my enjoyment of certain pieces of fiction. And I just love shows where you know what you’re getting into in such a short amount of time. And while I definitely enjoyed episode 1, and got to learn why people were comparing it to Sorkin’s fast dialogue, I think the great thing about it is how you get to see how the second episode differs.
But if I’m honest I’m gonna have to get back on this one cause I barely understood any of it. While I have my theories as what the show might be about, such as how humans believe such trivial choices as choosing what college club to go will be the difference that changes your life, it’s still something I feel I need to explore more in the future. It’s a show I’m bound to rewatch just to understand a little bit more of. So instead of trying to fill this review up with a bunch of fluff, I’ll start a new series of badly structured thoughts just for the sake of writing something.
As a massive fan of Little Witch Academia and especially its music, I was pleasantly surprised to hear her music in the background of this show. She has a very noticeable style of composing which I love and find very fitting for this type of show. Yuasa definitely knows his composers after having worked with her and Kensuke Ushio.
It’s really interesting how at points Watashi seems to be aware of the multiple universes, such as scenes with a fortune teller whos prices consistently gets higher and her “fortune-telling” or whatever gets increasingly harder to understand since both we as the audience and Watashi himself kind of already knows what she was going to say. And I just find that really meta in a good way.
If anything, I don’t think Yuasa has ever made a show that has constantly kept me thinking about itself or its ideas, even if he might deserve to. And while this is probably the closest one to doing that it’s still probably not super memorable for me. At least until I rewatch it maybe.
On the 31st of October, during the year of 2018, I wrote my review on the infamous Trigger produced and Atsushi Nishigori directed tv-series ‘Darling in the Franxx’. I had written reviews on anime that I had completed before this point, but saying that I had a bad grasp on how to write a review and how to analyze a piece of fiction would be an understatement. Nevertheless, to summarize my review, my conclusion was that I was surprised at how good and interesting the characters and themes were (without an explanation of why this was) but that the ending sucked. And this was no controversial take by any means, the general consensus was that the show was at least pretty good until it became god awful. At least in the “I value writing above everything else” circles I was definitely a part of. And while I would still say I enjoyed it as a whole at the time, I couldn’t say I disagreed with anyone’s feelings towards the last third of the series. I was very mixed, but overall I enjoyed it and would never think about it ever again.
Well you’re obviously here to listen to me talk about why this show has been one my mind for the past one and a half years so I guess that wasn’t true
In the story of ‘Darling in the Franxx’, which I will be spoiling from now on, we follow Hiro (016) in a distant future as he has failed the final test in the “franxx program”. Living in a world that values him based on what he has just failed, he assumes the worst. But under certain circumstances, he meets a peculiar girl only known as 002 and is finally able to pilot a franxx module when he shares a kiss with her. And in the first episode of the show, it manages to establish a lot of the narrative and thematic elements of the show which really intrigued me. One of my favorite aspects of analyzing media is reading into small things, writing notes, and interpreting character exchanges. I think you can gain a lot of understanding of the media you consume by trying to understand why a creator put a specific line or direction in a show, and ‘Darling in the Franxx’ truly delivers in this regard. From how Hiro thinks he’s as good as dead without the ability to pilot a Franxx which says a lot about the society that has taught him this, to how a lot of characters deal with a poor understanding of their own happiness, which Ichigo does a great job in this regard. But if I were to strip it down to the core, what the show is really about to me, it would be the conflict between objectivity and subjectivity. Or if you will, wanting to understand the world or the people who have made it.
If we were to look at the world of ‘Darling in the Franxx’, we can see how everything it values is based on objectivity. Everything that isn’t required of a person to survive in this world is not to be given. From how individuality is stripped down from everyone but our main parasite group who only really works as lab rats, to their objective being to protect a lifestyle in the city they will never be apart of. It’s hard to unsee the conflict once you’ve seen it, even in small things like how Naomi is barely mentioned after being shipped out to an unknown place, showing how Hiro was right that she didn’t have a value to the objectivity obsessed society they’ve been taught to believe in. So it is fitting that the show so heavily explores love since it is a completely subjective issue. And it is here where we start to see the conflict begin in this experimental troop.
I would say that every member of the group showcases the effect of living in a world such as this, and no other pair would be better to exemplify this than Kokoro and Futoshi, and more specifically during their breakup. Before this point, the two mostly spend their time talking about how much they like each other without a real reason why. It’s a very effective way to convey the idea they want to sell through the relationship between these two characters. Futoshi is a product of the society he lives in and only values their relationship as pilots of the same Franxx. And while we don’t see anything contradicting this in the early episodes of the series in Kokoro, after she finds out about pregnancy and how it’s a necessity has run out, we see her question what being a franxx pair means and why she was paired with Futoshi in the first place. And this conflict has a climax in episode 11 when Kokoro decides to exchange partner with Ikuno. And what I find so interesting about this episode is how the fan reception has this constant need to throw the blame on either of the characters when I think their split up is inevitable in the world they live in. Futoshi is called creepy and possessive for having a claim on Kokoro, when the world they live in has never taught him what a good relationship would be. In contrast, Kokoro is equally not at fault for wanting something more out of her partner when she realizes that it’s a possibility. They’re opposites results of the world around them.
We see this same thing in Hiro and 002’s drama where she could objectively pilot her Franxx fine by herself, we see how the two pair up, not because they’ve been told that piloting is their one and only objective in life, but because they need each other to not be drained by emotional numbness. They are constantly separated either because one of them might be knowingly hurting the other for their own gain, or just because they had different colors streaming through their bodies. At the end of the day, they care for each other. Not because of an objective standard but because they just had similar experiences in the world they live in. And while I could give more examples here, I think this segment would be too long at that point and I hope you’ve gotten the point.
And I think this was the thing that kept me from forgetting about the show, or at least will be the reason why from now on. About a month ago I started reading Slaughterhouse-five for my English course, and I’d say it’s one of the few things I can compare to Franxx. From how interesting it is to write multi-paragraph notes about singular lines, to how it deals with objectivity. And while I’d say the book does a greater job at conveying this by giving you a false objective message at the end of the first chapter to then explore if this message is true or not, the fact that I can compare the two must mean something. Sometimes I’ll have these episodes where I’ll just think a lot about my life and come to conclusions that just make me feel terrible. I’ll get an objective sounding conclusion that makes me feel smart but equally sad. So it can feel nice to look at this show or a book like Slaughterhouse-five to know what even though technically there is nothing good or bad and that objectively something I’m thinking about doesn’t matter, I can still enjoy the moments in life that are nice and like the things I like because I just do.
I still can’t disagree that the ending of Franxx kind of ruins everything the show has going and pissed me off when I first watched the show. It is undeniably a really bad resolution to the show (not to say that anyone who liked it wrong). And if I were to look at the show as the world of Franxx would, maybe it is ultimately a bad show. One that sets up its themes and characters really well and then throw them out of the window. One of the few objective things I could say about the show is that the episodes between 16 and 26 are a part of the show undeniably. But if I’m honest, I couldn’t care less. Now that I have appreciated what the show has to say, I can’t just throw that out of the window either to say that it’s an objectively bad show because almost half of it is awful. Cause I still absolutely love it. The point here is that I can’t and won’t base my opinion on a piece of fiction based on the number of bad and good things it does. That at the end of the day, what I take out of it will be the number one reason why I like or dislike something. And at the very least, this show has made me think about my own life and my philosophy and thoughts more than most “masterpieces” out there.
So at the end of the day, the ending of ‘Darling in the Franxx’ is absolutely terrible but as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t exist.
As you might’ve noticed I’ve been relatively quiet over the past few months on this platform. Or you know… I haven’t posted a review of any sort over here since the beginning of this weird year of 2020. And I’ve tried to come up with smart reasons for this that I could write in the next post but it never really worked as you might’ve noticed. At the end of the day, I have lost my motivation to write. Whether it is because I’ve had schoolwork to do or because I haven’t seen enough that warranted a review, I simply don’t know at this point. I was going to do a post about my favorite 25 or whatever anime of the decade, but something just didn’t feel right half-way through and that’s where it all ended. Something about writing about anime I didn’t care about just put me off for a while. I’ve been writing about films on my letterboxd but not much more than that. I kept the analytical side of myself I guess but I couldn’t write a lot of it onto paper. But now I need to do something. I’m not going to make this into the smart and long introduction that I always want and fail to make, I just want to write about six anime of the last decade that struck a chord on me.
The first of which is Boogiepop and Others (Boogiepop wa Warawanai). It’s a show that aired at the beginning of last year, and even though the first episode was incredibly confusing and weird, I really liked it. Something about the directing and especially the phenomenal music from Kensuke Ushio really hit me. I’m just a really big fan of stories that play with time and perspective and this show really did it for me. At the moment I’ve seen it twice and I’m still not sure if I actually like a majority of the show or am just trying to make myself like it. But after rediscovering Kensuke’s music I felt like I needed to bring it up even though I don’t have much of a reason to.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken) is up next and it’s the one I’m probably the most conflicted on in hindsight. Out of all the shows on this list, Jojo is probably the show I’ve rated the lowest (as a whole I’ve given it a 7). It’s incredibly inconsistent and I mostly find part 4 interesting which in it of itself has a lot of problems with consistency. Yet still, I think the show has helped me in a lot of ways. To simplify it I began in a new school at the end of summer last year and was really scared about it. My friend group had basically split up and so I needed to find new friends, something I don’t think I had ever really tried to do before this point. I had always been in this group of guys who would bring in a new member every once in a while, so I never needed to do anything really. Now it was me who had to get things back to normal. And in a way, it may have been freeing seeing as I could really decide whom I wanted to hang with instead of just being with the ones who joined our group. But it wouldn’t really matter if I was shit at making friends in the first place. But after a few weeks, I actually found a few people I could hang out with, one of which being a fan anime. More specifically Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. At this point, I had only seen the first season (fuck you it’s a season) of the show and really didn’t like it. It didn’t really matter if it got better later, I just gave up after dragging my way through the season. But after my friend kept talking about Jojo, I felt like I had to get into it as well. And I’m not sure if it was for external reasons, of which I didn’t have while watching the first season, but I just really enjoyed it and I think it helped me in a lot of ways with feeling comfortable talking to at least one person in my new school. I can’t see what would’ve happened if I insisted on not watching Jojo, maybe nothing would’ve been different. But it makes me feel good knowing that I decided to do something that might have helped me feel comfortable at a new school.
But A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) is probably the first one on here where the movie itself has really changed me. I’m not going to say if I have a mental illness or not, I dislike saying anything without proper knowledge, especially regarding such an important topic. But this is probably one of the first films that really made me think about myself and if I’m happy. There are other films on here regarding my psyche, but this is one of the first ones where I realized that it had to do with it. There was something about the character Shouya Ishida that I could relate, well as much I seem to be capable of. Small things about his social anxiety just felt so real that it was hard to forget about. It’s not a movie I feel as passionate about as I did back in 2018 when I first watched it, maybe because I’ve gotten better at handling my anxieties or because it was right and I actually was faking it to myself for some unknown reason. But even though I can’t say I relate to Shouya as much as I did, it’s still important to me in a way. Plus you know, Kensuke makes another banger score.
And so seeing Laid-back Camp (Yuru camp) after that entry might feel weird. I can’t really explain why I have such a passion for the show. I enjoy it when watching, but just thinking back on it months later is what made it so memorable to me. It already has a pretty great score and fairly well writing, but it isn’t nearly as “good” as A Silent Voice. It’s in the Cute-Girls-Doing-Cute-Things genre I kind of despise so I don’t know why this worked so well for me. Yuru Camp is the only anime that I’ve bought the manga from. I don’t read a lot of manga, but for some reason, this was an exception. And I think it’s that the show doesn’t really feel like a comedy. It has jokes for sure, but they’re all directed at the characters and not the audience. And I think that made it a more pleasant show for me. It didn’t change the music constantly or make the characters do something wacky in front of the camera all the time. We just kind of see them hang around, not in service of some audience behind a fourth wall, but just to themself. And I keep thinking about that to this day.
Looking at my past, anime has never really been a part of it. I didn’t dislike it or anything, I couldn’t care less about it in fact. It was just a neutral part of my life, one that didn’t exist in fact. But around the end of 2017, I rediscovered Porter Robinson, an artist I was obsessed over for a while but just kind of forgot until I listened to Shelter. It was one of those music videos that just really hit me, so I had to watch more. I still listen to Robinson’s music, I think Something Comforting is one of my favorite songs ever. But when I think about the impact he has had on me I think about how it leads to me watching anime. And while I saw a few anime after that, mainly Blame! the movie, I think Little Witch Academia was the one that really did it for me. I’ve always been a fan of cartoons, still am. So Trigger’s simple artstyle is one I still admire I think is one of the best in the industry. And for someone who was looking for a more animated show to watch, I couldn’t have picked a better one. Little Witch Academia is one of the most fun tv-shows I’ve seen ever, and I think that’s what matters. I’ve tried to come up with interesting themes you can find in the show, to have a good reason to love this show as much as I do. But I want to be more honest now, and I just think the animation is really well handled and the characters are super fun, and I don’t think it should be about more than that.
But the entry I find the most difficult to talk about is probably Your Name, my favorite piece of media ever. I’m in the process of writing a youtube script for why I love the film, and I’ve written and rewritten it numerous times, and at this point trashed a whole year of progress just to start over. There is a lot I can say about Your Name, and I have no idea how I should do it. I don’t really want to spoil anything here, but the film’s exploration of hopelessness and how people often use it do feel less responsible for their lives. But most importantly, the ending scene is probably one of the few scenes in media I can truly relate to. I honestly don’t think there’s a character more like me than Taki Tachibana, and I’ve never been able to not think about that. It’s a film that puts a lot of weight on me, cause I never seem to know if my reasons for liking the film is valid, or if I actually like the film or am just lying to myself. And I don’t have a way of concluding this other than saying that if you also feel this way, then I hope that stops.
So hopefully this is enough for me to start writing more stuff. Even if I don’t have a lot to say about a show or movie, I might as well just do it for the sake of it. If anything, to stop feeling like I’m not doing anything at all.