Friday, 14 August 2015

Gate Episode 7 Review

Hello master, would you like some tea, a shoulder massage, or maybe a snack? After being tortured to the point of unconsciousness, Itami found himself in a comfy bed surrounded by a collection of anthropomorphic maids. This scene was straight out of a Japanese maid cafe, complete with hot tea, photo sessions and lively conversation. The only thing missing was a plate of omelette rice with my name written in ketchup. As shown in the previous episode, monster girls exist in the New World. The previous owner was said to be quite “liberal” in having monster girls as maids for his household. A noble class system and hierarchy exists in the New World, is the beast race considered inferior and of low class?

The episode introduced one of Princess Pina Co Lada’s subordinates, Bozes Co Palesti. Palesti appears to share many of the traits of her princess; short tempered, proud and quick to fall to conclusions. I hope the two characters progress in different ways throughout the series because at this point they both feel one and the same.

Much of the humour stems from the Princess’s attempts to rectify her mistakes in order to maintain the newfound treaty. Every time she tries to make things better she only manages to make the situation worse, leading to Itami actively trying to avoid her. At this point the Princess and her Rose Knights appear to be utterly useless and incompetent, exposing their lack of experience, political diplomacy and organization. As shown by the training montages, the Rose Knights pale in comparison to the well oiled Japanese JSDF. The real worry is the Princess and Palesti both going to Japan, what would happen if they had another political mishap? Would this force Japan to play a new hand in how they deal with the world beyond the gate?

The female sage Lelena is proving to be an integral intermediary between the two nations. It begs the question as to why Lelena is acting as the translator instead of a member of the JSDF? We have already seen Itami’s party communicate with people of the New World without the need of a translator. Is there really a need for Lelena to overwork herself or be a security liability in a negotiation between two warring nations?

The reaction from the New World inhabitants to the technologically superior JSDF never gets old. In this episode you see both the Princess and Palesti hesitantly enter an automobile and visibility are taken aback by the vibrations of the vehicle. It is interesting to see how these characters make sense of what they are seeing, for example Lelena believes that the guns shoot bullets because of an enchantment to the gun’s cylinder.

Next episode the inhabitants of the New World pass through the gate and into Japan. Luna remarked on having to wear warm clothes because it is Winter in Japan. Is being cold the least of their worries? Will they die from, or bring some sort of disease? How will Japan, the world and specifically the victims of the Gate attack react to them? And perhaps the biggest question of all, how will otakus around the world handle seeing a goth lolitta from another world?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Date A Live Review

This series is the anime equivalent of The Bachelor. The Bachelor is a tv show where a guy dates a pool of women all vying for his affection. Throughout the show the girls often get jealous of one another and get into fights. By the end of a date or an episode the bachelor presents the lucky few with a rose, anyone who does not receive a rose is eliminated. Much like The Bachelor, Date A Live focuses around a high schooler named Shidou, who must date a collection of girls. The girls are humanoid beings called Spirits who come to Earth and in the process of doing so cause massive earthquakes than can destroy entire populations of people. In order to stop these tremors, Shidou must seal the powers of these Spirits by making them fall in love with him. Therefore instead of dating to become famous like in The Bachelor, or dating to get married in real life, the purpose of dating in Date A Live is to save the world. Yes, as corny and convoluted as that sounds this is essentially what the show is about.


One of the fundamental differences between The Bachelor and Date A Live, is that the concept of elimination through the process of a rose ceremony is lost in Date A Live. If Shidou stops dating or makes the girls upset, the girls will regain their powers thereby being a danger to society. The purpose of this review is not to question the morality of either show, but you have to admit that in real life most guys do not openly date multiple women at the same time unless they are polygamous mormons. The obvious reason for this is because people get jealous, jealous people get angry, anger causes discord in relationships thereby ruining them. The show addresses this in a serious manner at first but eventually becomes a running gag as though it was conveniently brushed aside. This unsolvable flaw is eventually address by a deus ex machina solution of having the girls believe that Shidou is “saving them” which makes everything all ok. However the issue still remains, if Shidou ever develops truly romantic feeling for one girl, the other girls will eventually get upset and unintentionally destroy the world.

But this is not real life, this is a god damn harem anime. There are 2 types of harem anime, the first type is where the protagonist eventually or will eventually choose a girl, the second type is when essentially all the girls are chosen, a harem ending. Part of the fun in a harem anime is rooting for your favourite girl or rooting for the harem ending. However in Date A Live because Shidou can’t ever choose a girl, the anime limits itself to the harem ending. Therefore upon reflection, I felt part of the fun to be lost due to the plot.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is a theme that was brought up with particular emphasis in the second half of the season. I found this to be the most interesting and something I wished could have been explored further.


The characters in general are very cute and have their own little quirks. In a sense, this very fact is a double edged sword. The majority of the cast has been written to be very one dimensional in order draw a sense of endearment from the audience. For example, the first spirit Shidou encounters is a girl named Tooka. Tooka’s is written to be dumb, she constantly thinks about food, likes having her head scratched, acts like a child, naive to a point of believing anything that’s been said. Tooka encounters some heartbreaking moments where I really felt bad for her, however her reaction towards these events felt artificial, fake and contrived in order to keep with this kawaii persona.

The protagonist Shidou really bothered me. In the anime he constantly tells girls that he wants to save them, that they will be together forever, etc. However when one of the girls gets angry at him for dating or kissing someone else, there were many instances where Shidou looked baffled as though he couldn’t understand why these girls felt this way. One of the most basic facets of being human is the ability to relate to one another. Shidou seems to lack this, he never once looked at the situation from the girl’s point of view. This leads to a heartbreaking realization, every girl does fall in love with Shidou, however Shidou never truly loves them back at a romantic level.

A character I really enjoyed was the primary antagonist, Kurumi. Of the characters she is definitely the dark horse. Her actions are not just evil, they are downright demonic and at times terrifying. So much of the show is cute and happy that the audience forgets the weight of what is actually going on. People are dying and not in a honorable or romantic way, but instead in a most violent, bloody and painful manner. Kurumi’s presence brought a shocking realization of this fact that I found to be quite effective.

Art, Animation and Sound

Here is where the series truly shines. Each girl has their own colour palette and real thought was placed into their attire and appearances. The characters designs perfectly fit the personalities of the characters. However besides the main characters I did notice small lapses where for instance background characters all had the same face. The animators were smart in having what I call “moe” scenes, where the art style completely changes into a less detailed cute style allowing them to cut corners. The animation is fluid, there are some intense action sequences where I never noticed any dropped frames. My favourite piece of artwork from this series was the over the top view of the city, the city is covered with craters which showed where the attacks and earthquakes took place.

The music in this anime was beautiful and very fitting. Simply listen to the opening of the show to get an idea of what to expect. The battle music took advantage of string instruments like the violin, scenes filled with warmth were accompanied by uplifting piano arrangements, comedic scenes had appropriate effects to suit the mood. Besides the music I have to praise the voice actors for this show, I wouldn’t make any changes.

Final Thoughts

Story: 4/10
Characters: 5/10
Art/Animation: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Enjoyment: 8.5/10
Overall: 6.5/10

Date A Live is like your summer blockbuster movie, where a lot of money is put into production, you have a great time while watching the film however after seeing the movie you start to realize that many of the plot element didn’t make much sense. The reason why this happened is because the show tries it’s best to be lighthearted and cute but at the same time deals with dark themes and concepts. At the end of the season I still had many questions that were left unanswered, which I’m assuming was intentional because there is a sequel, Date A Live II. At this point some of you might be asking why the high score? Yes, I had many complaints about the show, but the bottom line is that this is a harem anime about dating multiple girls in order to save the world. People who enjoy harem anime will definitely enjoy this, I know I sure did.  If there weren’t so many unanswered questions and unresolved conflicts I might actually give this show an 7.5/10 because I know harem fans will love it. Therefore have fun, enjoy the ride, but please do not think too hard about it.  I know I did and my head is still ringing.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

God Eater First Impressions Ep 1-4

One of the most hyped up shows of Summer 2015, but does it live up to expectations? 

The show is about a group of hunters called God Eaters who hunt monsters called Aragami. The concept is fairly simple and quite frankly generic by today’s standards. It’s the classic theme of mankind bringing it’s own ruin via technology. In terms of setting Attack on Titan comes to mind, where a walled city is protected by an eclectic band of heros from monsters. You have the protagonist who wants to save everybody, the mysterious european beauty with an excessively long name, the new recruit, a carefree leader, the bad boy and a strict commanding officer. Nothing in this series in terms of plot and characters screams unique. This is completely fine by me, being generic doesn’t mean it’s bad, it all depends on execution.

The biggest issue with this series is pacing. A comparable series from a previous season is Terra Formars. It was a show many had high hopes for, besides the awful sensors, one of my biggest complaint was the pacing. The show felt extremely slow, this largely had to do with the amount of exposition even though it was an action show. God eaters has been known to have some production issues, with change of hands in production, episodes getting delayed etc. The slow pace of this series so far is reflective of the production problems this show has been having. It is as though the producers had to slow down the pace in order to keep up with production. Like Terra Formars, screens seem to take a few seconds too long, you have times when no one is talking and the camera is set at a particular character posing or staring off into empty space. As a personal preference action anime should be fairly fast paced; heavy exposition, slow plot progression, long setup are all unwanted.

The saving grace of this series is the beautiful art and animation. The cell shaded art style can be polarizing at first but there are certain scenes where it all seems worth it. A scene that comes to mind is when the protagonist is aboard a plane and sees a gigantic aragami emerging from sun kissed clouds and diving back in like a whale emerging from the waters of the ocean. Also the action sequences are gorgeous, you can perfectly see how the sequences work, what is going on, everything seems crisp and clear. The 2 main types of weapons are swords and guns, what I hope is that new weapons are introduced or existing ones evolve to bring more diversity in terms of action.

Taking everything into account, I would say the show is very average at the moment. Setup up to this point has taken too long making the pacing seem too slow. I think i’m going to start liking the series more as the action starts to pick up. The only value of this series so far is it’s art and animation which again is polarizing and takes some time to get used to.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Grisaia no Kajitsu Impressions

Three episodes into Grisaia and I still have no idea what is going on. So far what has happened is that a male transfer student has arrived at an all girls school where there are only a handful of students and a principal. For some odd reason the teachers are never shown yet we know the classroom is a place of learning because of the textbooks that are brought to class. Is there a teacher, is it self study, does it even matter? Besides the feeling of bewilderment Grisaia has left me with questions upon questions. Each of the girls in the school each have fulfilled the typical anime tropes, the lolli, the pervert, miss twin tails, maid. Obviously things or not what they seem. Episode 1 foreshadowed that the one called Amane, the horny one, is not what she seems, it is implied that she suffered through a major traffic accident. By episode three a concept that arises is that no one at that school is normal. Therefore I am expecting this anime to be a deconstruction of character tropes. The protagonist is cold and as stated by other character sounds “pompous and arrogant”. He is an orphan who was taken in and I assume he is some sort of hitman.
The real question I have is if this series is worth continuing? I have heard that this adaptation is horrible but I have also heard that the next season is great. I have never played a visual novel before but many of the scenes do feel like one, from the ubiquitous panty shots, anime trope characters. At the moment nothing is very interesting yet the tone of the show does feel eerie as if the very world itself is a fabrication. This brings the concept which I find the most interesting and what I believe resonates with many people. There is a line by the protagonist where he states that he doesn't feel like he is actually a student, but instead playing the part of a student. Constantly I ask myself, if this is the real me, am I just acting this way for the sake of others? Perhaps it is the most socially awkward and distant among us who can relate most with this anime.

Highschool DxD BorN Review

Knockers, juicy mangos, mounds, marshmallows, bazookas, cupcakes, twins, rack, warheads are all less than stellar innuendos to the embodiment of what High School DxD has come to be known for… Breasts, breasts and more breasts. High School DxD BorN is the third season of High School DxD, a franchise that has securely found it’s place in otaku culture. If you do not know the story by now this is not the review for you.


Following the events of season 2, Issei and company travel to the underworld to compete in a tournament between promising young devils. This tournament is what has become a staple of the franchise, a rating game. A rating game is an opportunity for devils to gain esteem and fame in the underworld as well as to gain ranks in the devil hierarchy. However events do not go as planned, the Gremory family get involved and as usual have to save the day.

Besides the fanservice what I find the most interesting about the franchise is the mechanics of the underworld and the hierarchy that exists. There is surprisingly a large amount of detail and depth put into the rankings, the families, strategy all of which can be pretty overwhelming. What bothered me this season was that there was little to no mention of these mechanics because the tournament that was supposed to happen, never really happens but instead gets rudely interrupted.

This season introduces Norse Mythology to the series. Recently I have been watching a tv show called Vikings on History and have become infatuated with all things Norse. I was happy to see how certain plot elements were taken from Norse mythology, albeit with an anime twist. Who knows, you might learn something. Head count, we now have Devils, Angels, Fallen Angels, norse gods and... cat girls? Yes I said it, nyaa!


This season in particular puts particular emphasis on the other females in Issei’s harem, Koneko, Akeno and Asia. Of the three I felt that Koneko’s was more interesting because it introduced backstory to the character similar to Kiba in season 2. Speaking of which I always wondered how Kiba feels about having every female member of his family fawning over Issei. There are hints of a possible love interest for Kiba, so have fun looking for it because it only lasts a second. Koneko attitude towards Issei somewhat takes a complete 180, instead of acting tsundere Koneko now wears her feelings on her sleeve for him. Looking back I still do not feel that this was not deserved and only served to satisfy a certain anthropomorphic trope.

Many new characters are introduced to the show adding to the intrigue. One character that I didn’t understand why was even introduced was a valkyrie called Rossweisee. Rossweisee serves Odin, is incredibly beautiful and constantly complains about not having a boyfriend. She has no purpose to the story and as of yet has no relationship to Issei.

Issei this season is his usual overpowered, oppai loving self. What I found interesting early on was Issei recollection of a certain painful event that occurred during the first episode of the franchise. It answers the question as to why Issei doesn’t choose one girl, perhaps why his relationship with Rias never goes anywhere further. The conclusion of the season addresses this plot point, Issei recognizes this fault, however Rias and the other girls of the harem seem to have no idea so it is never fully resolved.

Animation and Sound

Despite being a show filled with demons and fallen angels, Highschool DxD always finds a way to visually pop off the screen with it’s contrasting color palette and art style. There is a noticeable lack of quality this season as compared to season 2. This is typical of a series in it’s 3rd season and is to be expected. It’s not a deal breaker so long as you keep your expectations low.
The music this season is largely a disappointment. The words forgettable, boring, typical comes to mind. I found myself constantly skipping the opening and ending. Nothing this season particularly stands to mind.

Final Verdict
Story: 6/10
Characters: 6/10
Art: 5/10
Sound: 4/10
Fanservice: infinity /10
Overall: 6.5/10

Of the three seasons so far, High School DxD BorN is by far the weakest. However I was able to watch the entire series in 1 weekend, therefore I still enjoyed the show despite it’s faults. If you have seen the first 2 seasons, I would say you should watch BorN but with the caveat of keeping your expectations low. The fanservice and comedy is abundant, yet the plot especially towards to end of the series drags. The plot drags to such a degree that much of the drama introduced never gets fully resolved. The whole season feels as though it’s filler or set up for possible future seasons.

As a final note, I first started watching this season when it was first airing and stopped due to all the censors (for obvious reasons). It has been less than 2 months since the series stopped airing and I was able to watch the entire season uncensored. Don’t worry, I didn’t faint from loss of blood due to excess nosebleeds.