Musings and Reflections – Summer 2018 Week 2

One phrase impressions:

Hanebado! – Good for you, Nagisa, you moved on.
Yama no Susume 3 – New shoes instead of dream fulfillment.
Banana Fish – Poor Ash.
Sirius the Jaeger – Why should I care?

Piano no Mori – Pretty boring.

Hanebado! (Ep. 2)

  • Animation remains as outstanding as in the first episode. Apparently rotoscoping was used. It might also have been heavy use of some reference materials (seriously, the staff even attended some high-school badminton matches), but that’s beside the point.
  • Love the OST. Also, I want to emphasize the sound design. When the character are talking on a court inside, the echo clearly confirms that it’s a big enclosed space. All the foley also works just fine.
  • Interesting that Ayano joined the club after all. To be frank, I’ve no idea why. She doesn’t seem to be interested in the slightest. Is the bind between her and Elena so deep that Ayano is forced to join the club so easily? The attitude that “you need to play because you’re talented” isn’t probably the best for an individual. Is it a usual occurrence in Japanese society that someone must do something because she’s good at it and not because she wants it?
  • It’s great that Nagisa is shown not to be completely over-powerful, as Riko, being a more or less a normal player, still got pretty close to beating her. Consequently, in this way even Ayano’s abilities are inferred to be not godlike but just better than everyone else’s by a fair but not too huge margin.
  • Interesting ways to show flashbacks are always welcome. But that poses a question why do Nagisa’s flashbacks look black and white while Ayano experiences them colored? Could it mean that Nagisa’s flashback was so important (the most basic colors) that it basically defined her? Or does it means that Nagisa’s become so obsessed with working hard that even her memories are devoid of details – her whole personality is bent towards getting better and nothing else matters?
  • The perv coach read Nagisa like an open book. Seems like he’s not a bad person after all, though his continued advances may become a problem. Anyway, it looks like Nagisa has been imprinted with the idea that she’s good only because she’s tall and because of that she made sure to make that her strong point. I guess she didn’t have a very competent mentor back then who would’ve made her game more balanced. But a competent coach is there now and thankfully Nagisa heard just the right words. Looks like her love for the sport has come through and, with personal issues more or less sorted out, she can move forward. And, most importantly, she smiles!
  • I’ll probably won’t like the pink twin-tails. Nothing speaks more of an over the top tsundere personality.
  • I don’t watch much sports anime so it’s probably nothing strange that I haven’t seen anything where talent and no passion would be juxtaposed to little talent but lots of work. Well, usually a protagonist is talented (but no one knows that) and works hard and eventually defeats a talented and usually arrogant rival. But that’s something new for me because both types – talent and no talent – are the protagonists.

Yama no Susume 3 (Ep. 2)

  • Hinata sure is hungry. As expected from a genki girl. Such tiny details and various sakuga moments that by all means shouldn’t find a place in a short anime make the show so much more colorful and engaging.
  • Mt. Fuji is off limits for now. Does that mean a 4th season or will this one see the girls succeed in fulfilling Aoi’s dream by the end? It’ll be very interesting to see how all the experience girls have gathered will make climbing the same mountain different.
  • It seems like mountaineering is a seriously expensive hobby. It’s not that I couldn’t afford it once in a while but 300 euros for a pair of shoes? I don’t know, man, I don’t know. And since when feet size is measured with a computer? Have I been living under a rock?
  • All this discourse about the equipment offers another parallel with Yuru Camp. I wonder if the original mangaka know each other. A collaboration would be such a treat.

Banana Fish (Ep. 2)

  • We start exactly where the last episode ended. Took me several tens of seconds to remember what’s going on. Usually such a task is given to an OP – when you watch (or only listen to) it, you naturally start thinking about what already happened and what could. There’s a reason why OPs are called OPs – it’s to open the episode.
  • Speaking about the OP, it’s quite good. As with the whole show, urban landscapes almost seem to be a character itself. It’s definitely not the most cute and calm of the stories, and both visuals and the song portray that very well.
  • Scene composition didn’t lose a bit of its quality. At least to me symmetry and geometric patterns always seem extremely appealing. I need to watch more Wes Anderson stuff.
  • As beautiful as that pole vault was, I have several questions. How did our guys outran their pursuers by that much? What’s the point in having a long walled path that leads to a dead end? What was the material that pipe was made of? It certainly wasn’t metal, or at least I don’t know of any cheap and common metal or alloy that could be so elastic. But props for thinking up a unique talent.
  • Oh, the kid had to die. And that Marvin dude. Unexpected. On the other hand, they were featured enough to make a bit of an impression, so by their death the show tells that it means business. Good. But the question is who would gain by framing Ash for Marvin’s death? It shouldn’t that bald mafia boss because it seemed like Marvin was still useful to him. But so far there’re no other suspectable people. About the crime scene, Ash didn’t really have time to grab gloves or something like that and the gun should be checked for fingerprints. Such details that I think should be addressed are probably overlooked simply because there’s so much material in the original manga to cram. I’d rather have multiple cours with a story that moves at its own pace. At least the direction of the story itself is getting clearer – it’s Ash vs Mafia.
  • Well, Ash does have one of the saddest backstories in anime that I can remember.
  • I was overjoyed when Ash was presented as the main character. Now there’s also Eiji who’s virtually the opposite to Ash. And that might become a problem as he gets more screen time because at least at this point I don’t see him as anything but a typical nice guy that plague anime.

Sirius the Jaeger (Ep. 1)

  • Somehow I expected more. The man behind P.A. Works Kenji Horikawa insisted that “the music, story and animation are of the utmost quality”. Of course, everything should be understood knowing that a Japanese won’t ever say anything bad about a project he’s part of. Some people even joke that when a Japanese says “Yes” it may even mean “I absolutely refuse, it’s a strict no”.
  • So, I kind of agree with Horikawa about the music and about the animation. Adding some violin here and there, especially since one of the characters happens to be a violinist (as a hobby, apparently) gave the show some so needed flavor of uniqueness. About animation I probably only need to say that Masahiro Ando is the director, so action sequences are as good as expected. Generally, everything looks competent, as a P.A. production should, for example some cool scene composition.
  • Now, the story. Oh dear. I have to object to Horikawa’s statement as so far there’s nothing that would really interest me. Vampires, vampire hunters, military, Japan, and a historical setting? It sounds like it might be original but it’s not. As far as I remember, only Shiki offered anything interesting to me concerning vampires in anime, and this? Well, there’s nothing wrong with such a story but I don’t feel invested in it at all. The characters rather resemble a cast from any JRPG, and that clashes with the attempted realism of the setting. So many characters were introduced that even the main one (I guess), Yuliy, had only a few seconds of showing his character which can be summarized in a few words – mostly calm, impulsive, proficient with his staff. Other characters are even worse than one-dimensional.
  • So, the story is non-existent in terms of being interesting and original, characters are also very poor for the first episode. If not for the technical aspects, I would’ve seriously considered putting the show on hold. Oh well, I guess my patience is still unexhausted just yet. For now.

Piano no Mori (Ep. 12)

  • Yeah, I’m late. Anyway, better late than never. Just for the record.
  • The same scene as in the first episode when Kai greets Chopin. It seems fitting. On the other hand, I still feel that even if the scene in the first episode showed what was to come, it didn’t make much sense from a narrative and dramatic viewpoint.
  • Oh, the super-irrelevant-girl-whose-name-I-don’t-recall randomly made an appearance. Yeah, it’s Takako. It’s nice to see her but also a bit frustrating knowing that her introduction into the story achieved surprisingly little.
  • May I doubt that Chopin was tied to a tree for some reason when he was composing Raindrop Prelude? Despite the darker segment, the piece is rather cheerful, isn’t it? I don’t think that living a cheerful life and suddenly for some time being tied to a tree works as a metaphor. But oh well, anything that works for you Kai.
  • It’s all well and good about the second season but Mozart’s Requiem? Really? For a show so obsessed with Chopin this is at least weird.
  • So, Kai must be a good pianist because the audience did nothing but comment endlessly how good he is. You know, there’s a technique called show don’t tell. And it usually works well for a reason. I understand that in manga form there’s no other way to express the power of music but using a medium that can take advantage of the music such a way of adapting stuff faces too many problems. Is it a faithful adaptation? Probably. Does it work? Not really. Unless I was supposed to feel bored. In sports anime it’s really hard to portray how good players are if opponents in a match are approximately equally competent. Then someone who comments about technical stuff may really broaden the outlook about the sport itself. This episode? Nothing but “Oh, he’s so good” and “Oh, I feel like the music brought me in a particular place”. Ok ok, I get that already, no need to repeat that like 20 times.
  • Again I remembered Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso and its last performance (coincidentally that was also Chopin). There visuals were employed to emphasize the emotional performance. It grabbed the feelings and never let go – so it worked. Piano no Mori apparently doesn’t trust Chopin enough to leave it alone, without annoying commentators. The music doesn’t breathe. The visuals are almost all stills and on top of that they don’t evoke much emotions. Sure, there were nice moments but overall? Nah, nothing special, no one strong and distilled emotion paired with one expressive performance during which the audience either stays silent or doesn’t exist anymore because Kai is so engrossed in the music.


Leave a comment


  1. I hope to finally get around to watching Hanebado! Tomorrow. This week totally went into a different direction that I expected, (a problem with my Ipad caused me to fall seriously behind on reading posts on WordPress). But tomorrow I have the entire day off, so I plan to watch some anime then for sure 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hope you’ll like it (or rather liked, seeing that I’m rather late with the reply).
      Technical difficulties can be very aggravating but if you managed to fix it – that’s great.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I started with the first epiosede yesterday..and I have to say it wasn’t bad. As mentioned I am not really a sports fan…but this seems to have it’s focus not completely on the sport but more on the characters…which is nice. Might continue watching this for sure 😊

        Liked by 1 person


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