Category Archives: Anime

Anime Review: Masamune-kun no Revenge

Masamune-kun no Revenge is the kind of anime that would inevitably come out every season. It is, in essence, a harem, high school life, comedy, light romance show. It is the kind of show that would appeal to younger anime fans, especially those with less experience in knowing the tropes and cliches in the industry.

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Don’t get me wrong. Just because an anime roots itself in a genre that can easily be seen as cliched does not mean it has to be so. My subjective opinions aside, there are definitely some good shows that I’ve seen in the past in this genre that have some unique aspects to them. However, Masamune is definitely not one of them. It does have a premise that has potential. As it turns out, though, the plot is more or less filled with tropes from the standard drama shows, of which plot development depends on. The eye-catching premise of “revenge for childhood rejection” is just another excuse to make the main romantic pairing, without going very deep.

One of the things that this show suffers from is that it tries to adapt the entire source material so far in 12 episodes. While even the source story is not complex, adapting the whole thing in one season turned out to be not so great. The show starts off fine, but rushes through character relationship with other main heroines during the middle, only to abruptly sweep them aside as “side characters” to make way for the main heroine in the end. While this seems to be the standard adaptation practice for harem shows nowadays, it is still very bad for the story.

What else is there to say? If you’ve seen a dozen shows in this genre you can predict how the story is going to go. The artwork is vibrant and character design is quite nice, but there is no “wow” factor to be found in visuals. BGM and theme songs are typical JPOP. If you enjoy it, you would like the music. Obviously, songs vocalized by upstart seiyuus are nowhere near the levels of “professional music”, as you would expect. I would not call the main characters flat, but their depth are quite far from being intricate. In fact, the main girl is the amalgam of two tropes: ojousama and tsundere. The protagonist is just… another male harem lead.

All in all, Masamune-kun no Revenge is an above average harem show, but still deeply entrenched in cliches and tropes of the genre without its own quirks. Most people who enjoyed watching this show would probably not going to remember its title after a while.

My very subjective score: 5.5/10


Cross Medium Recommendations (1)

Hi, been a while since I last posted on this blog. I’ve been planning this post for a while, and hopefully it will be interesting. Today, I will bring you guys several recommendation across ACGL (anime, comics, galgame, and light novels) spectrum.

It is usually easy to seek recommendation in the same medium. For example, for anime rec, you can just pop into myanimelist’s recommendation forum and ask for rec according to your criteria. The same goes for manga, light novel, or visual novel; you just have to ask in the relevant forum. However, one thing that I’ve rarely seen is recommendation from one medium to the other. To give an example, if I liked Code Geass, can I find similar stories in VN or light novel…?

I am going to tell you, yes, absolutely.

Moreover, all recommendation that I am going to enumerate here are considered classics in their own respective fields. Even if you have never experienced a particular medium before (probably visual novel/galgame or light novel), this is a good place to start.

1. Gintama & Futurama

Gintama (anime/manga)

Futurama (cartoon)

So despite what I said, I decided to start off my first recommendation with a Japanese anime and an American cartoon. Well, anything goes, right?

Gintama started as a manga in 2003, and was since adapted into anime in several seasons starting from 2006. Futurama debuted on TV way back in 1999, and came to an temporary halt in 2001 after just 4 seasons. The series is revived on TV, however, in 2007, and aired 3 more seasons until its finale in 2013. At first sight, one can immediately observe that both shows have 2 main male characters, with 1 main female character, in their posters. Of course, the similarity doesn’t just stop there. Both are episodic comedy parody series that follow one principal and one principal only: anything goes.

The setup allows for such flexibility in story-telling. In Futurama, the protagonist, Fry, is a 20th century man who was frozen and essentially time-traveled into the 31st century. He had no choice but to work in a universal delivery company, exploring the most dangerous part of universe on an everyday basis. In Gintama, the protagonist, Gin, is an Edo Samurai whose entire country has been invaded and occupied by Amanto, or space aliens. As he has lost his job as samurai, he opened a yorozoya house, where he and his team do all kind of odd jobs upon request. Already, both shows have such broad and crazy setup. Literally anything can happen, so you’d never know what to expect, ranging from popularity contest, space conquering, holiday gathering, to sudden, emotional flashbacks. Normally, I don’t like to watch episodic series in that they lack a coherent main story line, but pure comedy parody series with such crazy setup are an exception.

Parallels in how characters are presented also draws affinity between the two series. The protagonists, at first, seem to possess all kinds of negative qualities that a human being could have, spending their days lazing around the neighborhood. Unlike the deluge of Mary-Sue protagonist that seem to encompass all positive qualities in shows nowadays, Fry and Gin are usually lazy, sometimes dumb, indulging in bizarre habits, occasionally revels in others’ misery, and always draw the short end of the stick in life. However, this is only on the surface. As the shows progress, audience will discover that, actually, there are a lot of good points about the protagonists and their entourage. This stark contrast is always done in powerful ways, making the characters real humans instead of characters endowed with many good attributes.

Finally, both series share the element of trying to make fun of everything that is waiting to be ridiculed, from our everyday habits, customs, culture, to just ways of how humans interact with each other, in a non-aggressive, fun way. Of course, Futurama mostly makes fun of American culture, while Gintama do Japanese, so it is sometimes hard to catch the humor if you are not familiar with the particular culture. Still, the key point is that there is so much comedy in both that you’d at least be able to catch some, and it would still be very funny. Ultimately, through their ridiculing of human nature, we could perhaps learn something about ourselves, and change for the better. I am very serious when I say this.

2. Code Geass & G-senjou no Maou

Code Geass (anime)

G-senjou no Maou, or Devil on the G-string (visual novel)

If you are an anime fan who is still active in recent years, you’d probably already watched an original anime called Code Geass, or at the very least, heard about it somewhere. Now, if you really absolutely loved Code Geass, right after you finished the anime you’d probably feel a big void in your heart. Where else can one finds such an entertaining and gripping tale of revenge, fraught with tension and theatrics? Some would, rightly so, suggest the anime Death Note. Of course, it doesn’t take a detective to see the similarities between them. Still others would recommend the anime Guilty Crown, written by the same script writer. In this case, one would disappointingly find that the similarities remain limited, if not only on the surface, with setup such as the king’s power, big robots action, blah blah blah. Today, I am going to take you guys on a different path. If you broaden your horizon, you will find that there is this one popular visual novel called G-senjou no Maou (Devil on the G-string) that will definitely satisfy your thirst for Code Geass.

What makes Code Geass so endearing is definitely not the mecha action. It is the drama, the theatrics, the high amount of tension, how characters pull ridiculously impossible yet brilliant moves against their opponents, and of course, Lelouch. Unfortunately, Lelouch is not in this visual novel, but we get the next best thing: a charismatic, mysterious criminal mastermind, self-styled Maou, or Devil, whose identity is shrouded in mystery even from the audience.

Instead of royal offspring acting as commanders trying to outwit one another in the battlefield as in Code Geass, we dig deep into the world of terrorist and yakuza in G-senjou. As the adopted son of a mafia boss, the protagonist, Kyousuke, obey his father’s every bidding. His peaceful day as an yakuza-in-training is disrupted when two individuals suddenly showed up in the city, a beautiful girl named Haru and an internationally powerful mafia known only as “Maou”. And so, along with Haru, Kyousuke begins an deadly cat-and-mouse game with maou, in an epic game of wits.

Without going into more details, I am going to assure you that the two stories are most similar in that they have the same “feels”. The suspense is there. A lot of mystery needed to be uncovered. Characters engage in deadly games of wits against each other, with high stakes. They pull off huge stunts when one least expect it. Some comic relief here and there, and then bang, plot twist again. Although the story is prone to some minor plot holes with careful inspection, just like Code Geass, the story overall is very well written and executed in a good pace. The conclusion ends in the most dramatic fashion possible.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the voice actor for both Lelouch and Maou is Furukawa Jun?

For more info, refer to this post https://bunny1ov3r.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/first-experience-with-visual-novel-an-attempt-at-g-senjou-no-maou-review/

PS: I really meant to include a couple more recommendation in this post, but I got really lazy and still wanted to publish it today. I’ll call this post part I. Hopefully the next part will come soon with more interesting recommendation across mediums. 


Top 5 Tragic Protagonist in Anime

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve written anything about anime on this blog, and here I am again to share some thoughts. As you can read from the title, today’s blog will be talking about some of the most “tragic” protagonist in anime. Before I start, I really want to clarify the definition of tragic here, so that you don’t misunderstand the criteria.

1. Only applies to protagonist, the person with the most role in the story and drives the story, because it would be a super long (and with not as much impact) list otherwise.

2. Only applies to TV animated series.

3. The tragedy being talked about here is how much the protagonist have to suffer in the end, against whatever kind of consolation, salvation they may have received, in a dramatically sense. A character death doesn’t have to be tragic. To live but deprived of all things one love and having all one’s values denied is quite tragic!

4. Spoilers, obviously. Spoilers everywhere. If you haven’t seen the title, just skip to the next one.

#5 Simon, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Due to the peculiar nature of TTGL, mixed with crazy galactic battles and whatnot, the quite sad conclusion to the series is often not as talked about among fans. Still, if you think about it, the ending left our protagonist, Simon, at quite a deprived state. He lost his rank (as the leading figure of humanity), his reputation (his name is completed erased from history), most of his comrades, and most importantly, his love of life, Nia, and becomes just another homeless man. Fortunately, it seems that he haven’t lost his passion in life, and still try to inspire the next generation to walk his glorious path in life. This is why he only made number 5 in this list.

#4 Ouma Shu, Guilty Crown

Guilty Crown is what inspired me to write this post. More specifically, my recent play through for the visual novel Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas is what reminded me of the tragic conclusion in guilty crown, at least for Ouma Shu. I remember that in 2012, Ouma is a character who is often criticized by fans for his cowardness and unwillingness to act. I won’t be commenting on this here, but enough to say that at the conclusion of Guilty Crown, you don’t want to be this guy’s shoes. Seriously. Perhaps he was too gifted by fate and coincidences at the start, so that his fall is even more spectacular. He lost his king’s power (least of his concern), his whole family again (I think that mana is revived and killed again?), one arm and one eye, and most importantly (again), his erratic partner in battle and love, Inori Yuzuriha. His whole ordeal is quite similar to Simon’s, to be honest. His only salvation in the end is his connection with his friends in class, which doesn’t say much since he was never the outgoing person.

#3 Zwei, Phantom: Requiem of the Phantom

It’s harder to talk about this since the anime concludes in an open ending. However, it’s easy to see how fucked up this guy is by the end. This guy is forced to do many things that ultimately destroyed him. He rejected/abandoned a girl who loved him (and whom he has feelings for), killed his own student, who loved him (and whom he has feelings for), and finally, died together with his teacher and lover, not able to escape the curse of being an assassin. He didn’t rank any higher in the list because there is a sense that he himself submitted to his fate, and the two of them died on their own terms, sort of.

#2 Kiritsugu Emiya, Fate/Zero

Since F/Z is a very popular anime, I doubt I need to say much to convince you that this guy here indeed suffered a tragic life. Long story short, this guy believed in the principal of sacrificing the minority to achieve the greater good. He did exactly that in holy grail war, and betrayed many people for his selfless goal for the greater good. He was one step away from victory, but ended up losing everything. His lover/servant died, his wife died. Saber was returned to heroic realm with much remorse, and he failed to stop the holy grail war, instead bringing a calamity upon the world. Worst of all, he survived, by himself… and his enemies of course.

The only reason this guy didn’t make it to number one is that he was saved by his adopted son, Shirou Emiya, who is the only person he saved from the disaster. It’s ironic that the act of saving just one person was able to comfort his soul, and bring him salvation. However, it is clearly not enough to redeem himself of the regrets that will haunt him forever.

#1 Kyousuke Kousaka, Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai

Suprised? Well, this is certainly not a troll, if that’s what you are thinking. Calm down, and disregard the fact that this series is supposed to be a comedy harem for a second.

Good? Ok, let’s talk about this.

As a completely average person with no super power nor super rich family background, it is quite unlikely to get into a situation where multiple girls (not to mention “high in beauty points”) holds affection for you at the same time. Suppose this happens, what would you do? A typical anime harem lead would go for the harem route, while a normal person would try to get together with the girl who is most compatible with him (and in real life, the girl who has the most beauty points, lol). Of course, compatibility depends on the person. In this case, a family oriented person would go for Ayase, an otaku would go for Kuroneko, pedophiles would go for Kanako, a safe person would go for the childhood friend……

and if you are really a hopeless siscon, you would go for Kirino.

Except that, it wouldn’t end pretty. In galgame term, it would be a BAD END.

It takes gut to abandon everything to make the person you love happy. It takes even more gut to reject your entire harem just for a moment of fleeting happiness in a marriage ceremony with your sister. Whether you sympathize with Kyousuke, he is undoubtedly deprived of everything at the conclusion of the story. He knew that he will never get another chance to have so many high-quality girls liking him, knowing that, he still chose his sister, spending a few days together before separating again, at the cost of losing most of his friends (admirers).

Whether you like or dislike the ending for Oreimo, it is painfully apparent that his choices ultimately led him to a BAD END with no chance of redemption.


Spring 2014 funny pics

These are just some of the screen shots I took while following some of the anime series in this season.

Black Bullet 8 Japanimation

[Black Bullet] The birth of a new term for anime: Japanimation

 

chess = tictactoe NGNL eps 3

[No Game No Life] Chess = Tic-tac-toe

 

Cross-dressing Shidou Date A Live II eps 5

[Date A Live II] Every successful harem mc has a cross-dressing fetish!

 

Date A Live II eps 9 Touka is #1 in my harem!

[Date A Live II] The moment you realize that Touka is indeed the #1 girl in the harem

 

Mahouka eps 10 big brother is badass

[Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei] As if Shiba is not already badass enough, the director actually feels the need to directly tell us that…

 

nisekoi ecchi

[Nisekoi] Are you sure this is not some hentai anime?

 

No Game No Life 8 pic 1 cat ear girl

No Game No Life 8 pic 2 cat ear girl

[No Game No Life] Be. Worried.

 

SHAFT Elevator Nisekoi 15

[Nisekoi] SHAFT made so much money now that it is making elevators!

 


On the topic of myanimelist (MAL)’s anime database

Hi everyone. It’s been a long while since my last post here. Today, instead of doing an usual review, I would be sharing some things about the nature of MAL (myanimelist.net)’s anime database.

I think most deeply-invested fans of anime medium would at least heard of MAL, which is basically an online site where you can update what you’ve watched on your account. While there are similar types of sites, like hummingbird and anilist, myanimelist remains as the the site with the biggest user number. To give but an example, the most popular anime on MAL, Death Note, have as many as 460,000 members! With such a big sample of users scores, we can do some basic calculations to know more about the parameters of the population of MAL scores.

I have extracted all MAL data from this site http://test.animeadvice.me/, which is a program that someone else built.

 

Distribution of All Anime on MAL database

By all anime, I meant anime that is on MAL’s database and with more than 50 user scores. There are 6922 anime in total at my time of data extraction.

Having copy and pasted all those data entries into excel, I can easily calculate the average and standard error of *MAL score of the entire anime database.

Average = 6.87

Median = 6.87

Standard Error = 0.76

 

mal score frequency

Frequency Graph Divided in range of the standard error

So basically, the distribution of MAL’s anime database scores is a normal distribution, with a slight negative skew.

 

*MAL score is calculated in Bayesian average.
Weighted Rank (WR) = (v / (v + m)) * S + (m / (v + m)) * C
where S = average score of anime; C = average score of entire anime database; v = number of votes for the anime; m = minimum votes (50 votes)

 

Average Year Aired of the Most Popular Anime

Are people only into new anime, or are people still immersed in the nostalgia of past glories? I also find it worthwhile to investigate into the average year aired for some of the most popular anime (on MAL).

I have computed the average year and standard deviation of the top50, top100, top250, and top500 most popular anime on MAL.

Year Table

The current time would be formatted as 2014.5 (2014 June). This means that the average airing time of top50 – top 500 are 7 to 8 years in the past. Whether this means that MAL users are obsessed with new anime, or are they overly fond of the old anime, it is entirely up to your discretion.


International Saimoe League

This is the International Saimoe League’s 2014 regular season promotion video.

 

http://internationalsaimoe.com/

 

For those who don’t know, International Saimoe League is site where anime fans can vote for the cutest girls in various rounds throughout the year. It holds numerous voting rounds annually, and follow a sophisticated procedure.

*Fans don’t need to register to vote.


Fate/Zero

Today, I present Fate/Zero from the highly acclaimed studio ufotable, produced during 2011-12. Fate/Zero is the prequel of Fate/Stay Night.

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Fate/Zero takes place 10 years prior to the events of Fate/stay night, detailing the events of the 4th Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City. The War of the Holy Grail is a contest in which seven magi summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete in a deadly game with the aim of obtaining the power of the “Holy Grail,” which grants a miracle. After three inconclusive wars for the elusive Holy Grail, the Fourth War commences.[Wikipedia]

Fate/Zero, alongside with Sword Art Online, is among the most hyped anime to watch during 2012. There are a lot of things to like about f/z, since it is notably different from the trend of anime today consisting of teenagers saving the world or managing their harems. Instead, fate/zero offers a cast of older men, most of whom are willing to abandon their morals in order to achieve victory in this deadly tournament. Each person wants to win for a different reason. Even though all of the motives are arguably well-intended, but good fortune rarely accompany good will in fate/zero.

The most enjoyable part about watching fate/zero for me is seeing the clash of ideals among participants of the holy grail war. By participants, I meant both the magi and the servants. The 14 characters experienced different things in life, due to the particularities of their era and social surroundings. Ufotable has done a great job in giving a big part of story-telling to dialogues between characters. These exchanges are intelligent, philosophical, and allow us to peek into the characters’ past, without becoming overly pretentious and hard to follow.

fatezero2

In terms of production quality, Fate/Zero is top notch. Ironically (or not so), LiSA, Aoi Eir, Luna Haruna also performed in OP ED music for Fate/zero, same as Sword Art Online. However, the addition of Kalafina makes f/z slightly superior than SAO in terms of music.The animation … well, let’s just say that ufotable is amazing in this aspect.

However, fate/zero is not without flaws. This occurs in two levels, in terms of enjoyment and story. Allow me to explain a bit more. Storywise, f/z is amazing up to the ending. While the whole thing did not fall apart, the ending did not lived up to the epicness shown throughout the story. I suppose this is inevitable, since the story has to end in a particular way as the prequel to Fate/Stay Night. As for entertainment, for most people, f/z may present a world that is too dark for people to handle. As soon as you become attached to a character, bad things happen to him/her.

All in all, Fate/Zero deserve its hype during 2012, and presents a complex retelling of the 4th holy grail war. I award fate/zero with a 9.3/10.

RECOMMENDATION

For all viewers looking for a mature story.

For people unsure of whether to watch this, try the first episode and then decide.

For ultimate recommendation try Kara no Kyoukai movie series also produced by ufotable. Also, don’t miss Fate/Stay Night 2014 remake by ufotable that will be aired soon!

 

 


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