Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 11

One phrase impressions:

Fate/Extra Last EncoreStill Madoka.
Violet Evergarden
 Anime is obsessed with dead moms, isn’t it?
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni –  And finally that’s a healthy relationship starting to grow.
Ito Junji: Collection – It’s an Angel! It’s an Angel! It’s a Gundam! It’s an Angel! It’s an Angeru! OMG, it’s Gojiraaa!
Mahoutsukai no Yome – Is it possible to wrap everything up next time?


Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 10

One phrase impressions:

Violet Evergarden Very very poor girl…
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni –  Chihiro, finally.
Ito Junji: Collection – I’m glad I didn’t eat before this.
Mahoutsukai no Yome – Flashbacks, flashbacks…

Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 9

One phrase impressions:

Violet Evergarden Poor girl…
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni –  Rashomon and stuff.
Ito Junji: Collection – Tomie!
Mahoutsukai no Yome – Well, Elias deserved that.
Fate/Extra Last EncoreFate is suffering.

Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 8

One phrase impressions:

Violet Evergarden I’m sold.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni –  A typhoon of emotions.
Ito Junji: Collection – Here we go again with n FPS (n approaches 0).
Mahoutsukai no Yome – Is that a Monogatari reference?
Fate/Extra Last Encore – Once again nothing really new.

Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 7

One phrase impressions:

Violet Evergarden Comets and stuff.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni –  Rebuilding the friendship.
Ito Junji: Collection – Whut?
Mahoutsukai no Yome – Do you really need so many new characters?
Fate/Extra Last Encore – New floor, same stuff.

Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 6

One phrase impressions:

Violet Evergarden Disney!
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni –  Hamsters are awesome!
Ito Junji: Collection – It’s supposed to be animated, right?
Mahoutsukai no Yome – Run from the beast!
Fate/Extra Last Encore – And I thought Fate was interesting…

Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 5

Violet Evergarden (Ep. 4)

     I’m afraid this episode felt the weakest so far. As far as I remember, both Iris and Erica are anime original characters so that would make this episode yet another anime original in a quite long row. As Erica had only little screen time previously, it isn’t unlikely that she will also get a solo episode, so there’s even a possibility that the content from the original light novels might become a minority overall, and that’s quite funny. I don’t know pretty much anything about the novels, but I’d say episodes for Claudia, Cattleya and Benedict (and the Major) are also a possibility. I’m not complaining, just this episode about Iris felt like it didn’t live up to the expectations. It wasn’t bad, just too normal. Unrequited love and parents still wanting to control their children when they shouldn’t are good themes to explore, but for me it didn’t feel as touching as Luculia’s story. Ok, we did get some insights into Iris’s past and her relationship with her family, but these are just specific details that will hardly matter once Iris returns to her workplace and starts dealing with people that have no connections to her. Also I don’t think Violet grew that much this episode. Sure, she makes small steps forward and starts understanding that PEOPLE HAVE EMOTIONS, and that FEELINGS ARE COMPLICATED. She still needs a good kick in her kokoro to become a normal person, and by the tempo we are going now, it’s unlikely she’ll make much progress until the end of the series. I guess it was sort of an achievement that Violet wrote a good letter (and longer than three sentences) to Iris’s parents, but Iris simply dictated every word of it, so does this really count as a development? I might have already adapted to the beauty of the visuals because I didn’t found them as amazing as before. Certainly there are some good parts, like Violet bowing like a true lady or occasional Iris’s character animation. The scene in the train once again repeated how much Violet is different from ordinary people – Iris was sitting comfortably just as she wanted while Violet retained her straight military pose no matter what. By the way, please gave the person who designed Iris’s birthday dress (and generally clothes for the show) a medal. Or two. Other than that, it’s mostly normal or at least not outstanding – both visuals and the story.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (Ep. 4)

     I don’t like where the story is going but I like how it’s going. This cook became an important character too quickly for me. It almost seems strange that a show that visually is very strong didn’t think of any way to foreshadow this turn of events. There might have been something, but my head in that case was too thick to pick it up. I simply would’ve liked one or too simple shots of the cook looking at Akira before this episode, because now it felt really uncalled for. Akira reading the same book with doodles during her lunchtime suggested a very predictable turn of events, so that’s another negative. Now onto some positives, as the show again delivers. When Akira gets some news from Kondou, she behaves just like characters from Tsuki ga Kirei. It’s nice to see her more childish side compared to her always dignified exterior. Akira’s thoughts about both of  the men were especially clear because of her clothing. As the show likes to emphasize feet, the differences were also extremely visible through the footwear of Akira’s choice – casual slippers worth a couple of dollars versus impressive high heels, and, of course, nail polish. It was definitely funny to see that both dates technically were identical (during the film scene there was one dude who also saw the film by himself for a second time. Apparently he loves horror movies), but in the second one it was Akira who took the reins. The ending made clear that Akira is still full of insecurities and, as pushy as she is, not really able to go all the way, like the cook did. Who knows if it was for the best? There was that scene when Akira angrily brushed her cheek with a paper tissue, and then threw it away, but missed the bin. Pretty much the same happened a few episode earlier when she was also unable to throw away trash from a distance. It seems that she still isn’t sure about what she is doing and what to do next. As much as I didn’t enjoy this abrupt complication of things, there’s still an incredible amount of things to love.

Ito Junji: Collection (Ep. 5)

     I remembered those lovely times when I watched all those terrible horror shorts just for a good laugh. Sadly, the first story also fits into that category. Random melting people, one of whom seems to be the Michelin dude, mad scientist whose main goal is to create a mythical potion to increase height, and a magical moment when the said potion indeed turns out to be able to increase height quite literally – isn’t it some top notch comedy material? There’re also some “what?” moments – girls randomly showing interest in boys only because of narrative purposes and boys not leaving their haunted houses for no reason. Come on dude, you advised the girl yourself not to come by all means. Why should you stay then if it’s so dangerous? Although I must give some credit for the idea of overlapping parallel worlds and especially the last seconds when yet another Oshikiri appeared. The second part? Oh no. It’s Souichi again. Oh no. The teacher is weird. Oh no. Butt humor. Oh. No. Butt humor overload. OH NO! I’m sorry but that’s terrible. There might be people who found everything funny and I’m happy for them. It’s absolutely not for me though. That was just the kind of cringy humor I despise.

Mahoutsukai no Yome (Ep. 17)

     Did I miss something or did Elias actually open all the presents meant for Chise before she did? The episode tried to delve into some scenarios of classic mythology and also reiterate the idea of the importance of family, only taken from another angle. Yet there were lots of stuff that just didn’t work for me. As far as I remember, the magic of words may transfer the right to a person only then if another person who denounces the right, had that right in the first place. Usually it’s mothers and their children or something like that. In the case of the show, I find it hard to believe that Stella’s words could’ve been that powerful because what about their parents? Does that mean that it’s Stella alone who can decide her brother’s fate and parents have no say in that? Another questionable moment came when Elias chose to reveal his true form to Stella, because I have no idea why did he do that. We already saw in the beginning of the show that he can make look himself like a normal person so why would he risk scaring Stella by showing his skull? And what was the point in revealing himself in the first place? It’s not that he couldn’t help by staying unseen, and I’d think that the less people know about a random guy with a skull for a head walking here and there, the better. And isn’t Elias supposed to be kind of powerful? Can he just be randomly caged without even considering to resist? Later on it was very hard for me to believe that the fox fur we already saw before could also transform Chise into a bear. Isn’t it supposed to work only for one species? The end of search came too soon and without any climax. Chise just went home, took the fur and instantly found what she was looking for – end of story. I can’t say I really cared for Stella and her brother, either. Overall I’m happy that this episode featured some great concepts like the power of words, Chise found out that she really does give something back and not always just takes away everything. Fraternal love was also a good theme but it didn’t tie that well with what we know about Chise, because everything we know is that she did have a brother, and that’s all, so it’s hard to know how this encounter made her feel. I think splitting this story into two episodes could’ve been a better choice. Or just going deeper while exploring the themes because now it felt kind of superficial.

Fate/Extra Last Encore (Ep. 2)

     I’m less confused about the plot now but instead a bit baffled because the episode made me remember all sorts of things. For example Shaft head tilts and other camera angles that only Shaft uses made me question if I’m really not in the middle of rewatching Bakemonogatari. At the same time my ears told me that the exposition dialogue couldn’t be more Fate, as if it was copied and pasted from Stay Night. Later on this first level (is this Sword Art Online?) looked precisely like an excerpt from Ghost in the Shell Innocence. In the end only the last scene with Shinji mattered, so the efficiency of the episode was pretty low. Well, I guess we finally got some action, and that’s a positive. Not that it was very memorable. Maybe next episode will improve that because  the fight isn’t ended yet so far nothing felt like anything outstanding Shaft could pull off. Meanwhile Saber seems to be a weird mix of Senjougahara’s pushiness and cuteness of a generic dojikko. She might prove to be interesting but so far I can’t say I have any attachment to the characters. Well, apart from my already existing knowledge of returning cast such as Shinji or Rin. Hakuno again barely said a word, though he might have an excuse because he should be pondering quite hard how on earth he didn’t die second episode in a row. I understand that he’s a visual novel protagonist, but it’s not a visual novel anymore, it’s an anime. Do something about it! I guess the most prominent thing is that so far I don’t feel any chemistry between Hakuno and Saber. How can you have a dynamic duo if one of them talks to herself a lot and the other’s responsiveness perfectly imitates a wall?


Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 4

Violet Evergarden (Ep. 3)

     I can’t remember the last time I saw an anime where a protagonist in class wouldn’t sit in the last seat near the window. Anyway, the story as a whole was quite likable. For the most part Violet still was a she has been – amazing in technical aspects of Doll-business but absolutely clueless about the emotional part. About this Luculia girl… Well, I have to say I’d watch another episode about her. And another. As much as there would be, though it seems like her story already ended, far too early. It would be amazing to catch a glimpse later on of how she and her brother are handling things though i doubt that will happen. I’d be happy if the show also addressed the post-war depression again in some later episode. It’s clear that some broken bridges seen in the first episode aren’t the only relics of war, but we have seen very little of anything else. Violet so far has no interest in the outside world, so naturally we don’t see much either, but it would be so fascinating to delve deeper into lives of ordinary people in this world. The biggest problem I got with this episode is that Violet was granted the graduation brooch. It is supposed to be a very strict school so I wouldn’t expect the teacher to give compliments for such tiny achievements. It was definitely an enormous step forwards for Violet, but do you really want to let someone like her loose because she was able to write three words after so many tries? And the school is said to have dignity because they produce the very best dolls. I think it would have been a better idea for Violet to gather her thoughts about how is she different from normal graduates and what does she need to do in order to improve. Well, in the first place I find it rather unlikely that Luculia stuck to Violet despite her robot-ness. Also I think a great opportunity was missed when Luculia wrote a letter as Violet dictated. Violet absolutely needed to read how her robotic thoughts were written by a girl who can actually feel. On the brighter side, the art remains gorgeous and there are countless tiny cinematographic tidbits that add quite a lot. Take for example the scene where Luculia’s hat flow away, just as her and her brother’s happy days were to end.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (Ep. 3)

     Well, I just like the show. Say what you will about the age gap, but I can’t help loving the dynamic between Akira and Kondou, and that is only one great point among others. For example, the soundtrack is everything you should and could expect from a character drama based anime. I’m again impressed by the way the show emphasizes Akira’s wish to run, inability to do so and her emotions because of that. Even if she must stay away from her friends, it’s even harder for Akira to be near them, see them enjoying themselves and improving while all she can do is sit and do nothing. It’s nothing strange then that Akira chooses to pursue the one other great thing in her life (as she views it) – a relationship with Kondou. That is all well and good, but what really makes Akira a special lead is her determination to push her point as much as she needs. A usual romcom probably would’ve played an incident of confession for laughs and everything would go on as if nothing had happened, but Koi wa Ameagari no You ni goes beyond that and does it without hesitation. I also appreciate Kondou’s position – he clearly is interested, but he also has all this knowledge of a middle-aged boy – he knows that a serious relationship would be awkward and most likely socially disapproved, his kid also comes into the equation. At this point Kondou is just confused without a clear answer to his questions, and, even worse, left with essentially no space to make other decision apart from accepting or refusing Akira’s intentions, and at this point he’s unwilling to do either. There are also great scenes like Kondou staring to his windshield and understanding that he can’t avoid Akira’s emotions just as wipers can’t wipe all the rain. Later on it just feels genuine when Kondou tries to come up with ways that would absolve him from having to deal with Akira’s feelings, and at the same time he looks disappointed thinking that it might have been just a prank. Right before the show started, I said that I’m not really into the character designs. Once the girls of the track and field team got into one place, I noticed that the designs come as almost CLAMP-esque, with especially long and thin limbs. Well, necks are also not unlike ones in Ballroom e youkoso or Haikyuu. Bet when the story is so strong, do I really need to complain about anything?

Ito Junji: Collection (Ep. 4)

     Finally something that can really be called creepy. It think the first story came the closest so far to being Ito-ish. Body horror is something Ito can do really effectively (remember Uzumaki for example), and mysterious holes in human body are a perfect example of that. To be frank, such holes aren’t uncommon in manga – Shintaro Kago (you can check him out, though his ero-guro stuff is usually NSFW) used them, as did some other mangakas. Add some insects that may crawl in the holes and you have a perfectly disgusting horror story. As much as liked it, I can’t help thinking that much more could’ve been done. Everything still looks like moving manga panels and there’s barely any animation. The staff just didn’t go beyond of what’s serviceable and didn’t bother to accentuate the horror elements. For example why an eye may be seen through the wholes but not the brain? Why can’t any light be transmitted through a hand covered with holes? The insect part also felt like an afterthought and not a necessary element. And a random friend randomly decided to check out a random bookshelf and randomly found a random diary that contained the exact specific information he needed.  Really? Turning now to the second part, once again we returned to stories that are more laughable than scary. I appreciate the idea of puppets controlling humans but that’s pretty much the only positive thing I can say about the segment. Speaking about the character designs, I like these thick lines, though sometimes they make the whole picture seem a bit amateurish. And Ito, although easily accusable of his drawings suffering from  the same face syndrome, certainly can create attractive characters. I guess if they would look like everything else is in this show, I’d have dropped this anime already.

Mahoutsukai no Yome (Ep. 16)

     When the title of the episode is “God’s mill runs slow but sure”, you know that you can expect the most basic stuff, only more of it. I get that the general purpose of the episode was to confirm that Chise really has friends now. A side goal was to set things up for the future – these two kids already seem important according to the preview, and I bet this not-that-friendly-looking centaur with a pregnant lady on him also weren’t put there without any reason. Ultimately it felt like a pretty much discardable holiday OVA, only aired at a very curious time. Sure, there’re shows that have their Christmas episodes in the middle of summer, but it still doesn’t look right. That pseudo-kissing scene also was weird. I guess the point of it was to be awkward (kissing with one of the partners having no lips?), with Elias being just curious and playful, but funny as it is, I find his relationship with Chise far more uncomfortable than the one in Koi wa Ameagari no You ni. Or maybe the age gap really means something – Kondou being almost 30 years older than Akira actually sounds more natural compared to Elias’s head start of probably several hundred years. This shopping trip with Alice seemed more meaningful – both apprentices getting on well may force some uncomfortable moments for their masters in the future. I’d really like for some scenario to play out in a way that Alice should side with Chise and go against both Renfred and Elias. Alice’s backstory was pretty standard tear-jerker so that also was less enjoyable than it could’ve been. I guess the important moments that could have consequences at least in the following episode could be compressed into 5 minutes or so. In the end despite this fairly cozy atmosphere, overall I’m afraid I expected something more.

Fate/Extra Last Encore (Ep. 1)

     I’ve no idea what happened. I was quite confident going in because despite having absolutely no knowledge about the original game, I do know something about Nasuverse, but that proved to be useless. An alternative setting is nothing new for the franchise, though I’m nothing but confused about this class about servants, casual burials, Shinji’s girlfriend, some stuff concerning the moon and that girl who seemingly was Red Saber’s Master before Hakuno. Kirei’s comment at the end about miracles happening certainly didn’t help as Fate’s lore is already far more complicated than necessary. Sure, I still have much faith in the series (Kinoko Nasu is on the writing team, so that’s a huge plus), but if I didn’t know anything about the franchise, I would’ve dismissed the show as yet another edgy battle royale that rarely achieves anything good. Now I guess I just need to wait and hope for the best. Speaking about the art, there’s lots of elements clearly of Shaft origin – fixation on the eyes, fairly empty 3D rooms seen from various angles, minimalistic architecture – you name it.  Though I’m not sure this all psychedelic ornamentation was necessary. And, finally, character designs are weird. Well, not per se, just very different from the canon as well as from Shaft’s standards. For example Rin may sound like her usual self but my brain still needs time to process the information that a girl that looks like Rin’s cosplayer is actually her and the real one isn’t hiding somewhere in the shadows. I guess the moral of this episode is that chess is a dangerous game. Don’t play it, kids.

Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 3

Violet Evergarden (Ep. 2)

     The production remains wondrous and outstanding (as expected) but the story seems to have lost its momentum a bit. The first episode primarily followed Violet as she first saw this entirely new to her post-war world. Everything felt like it spanned precisely the amount of time it needed, and I don’t get this feeling this time. It’s natural to add more characters to juxtapose normal people with Violet but then the focus is lost in order to familiarize with other employees and create the general atmosphere of the company. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but staying too long in one place was especially felt when Violet continuously screwed with her duties. I get the point, need you repeat it time after time? I think everyone more than gets what kind of character Violet is at this point and it’s really treading the line of being too much exaggerated. Come on, is it even possible to make a human being so inhuman? I doubt that even this training, no matter how strict, may change Violet to make her a suitable letter-writer. She probably needs to have a huge emotional blow (such as learning something bad about that Gilbert guy) to change, though I can hardly think of anything that could break that steel heart of hers. She’s just like a diode (speaking electrotechnically) – her words can hurt anyone but other eople’s emotions seem to have barely any effect on her. On the other hand, Violet seemed moved when Erica told that she’s incapable of becoming what she wants. Well, Violet and Erica may be seen as polar opposites as Erica writes in a too safe and polite way that the initial meaning of words may even be lost. Erica also seems to have found sort of a relief because even if she makes mistakes, Violet is far worse. If Violet became more open, there could be some fine moments of these two interacting.  Anyway, it’s quite funny that a service whose employees are called “dolls” is far too complicated for a real doll-like character. I begin to wonder how anyone could have thought that Violet should do well without a complete change of her personality. To Cattleya Violet really seems more like a toy, a doll that can amuse by being incompetent in a cute (sort of) kind of way.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (Ep. 2)

     Despite liking Violet Evergarden way more before the airing, I think I feel far more strongly towards this one as of second episode. There’s just something very likable about all this, age gap or no age gap. The episode and especially Akira’s running scene (beautiful, wasn’t it?) reminded me strongly of Tsuki ga Kirei – the girl also was a runner, though a far happier one. And Akira also wants to run. It’s nothing strange that even after officially quitting track and field team she misses that sorely, and any pretext to go running is just what she craves for. Naturally, the outcome was as expected. The anime to a great effect employs visuals to show Akira’s self-consciousness while being near Kondou. And Kondou is as clueless as ever. Well, he’s a male lead in romance series, so that’s not unexpected. There’s still a far road for Akira to break the ice and even to make Kondou believe that they can be thought of as a potential couple. Now he’s treating Akira pretty much as a porcelain statue that could as well be his daughter. I wonder how he did get married in the first place. It’s just as if Kondou was a high-schooler and Akira was a mature lady. Kondou so far being the primary source of comedy also works rather well most of times. As this new guy came to work in the restaurant, the comedic role could be transferred to him so Kondou could be free to be more sincere. Shoujo sparkles weren’t as prevalent this time. Cool. Koi wa Ameagari no You ni pretty much is a sleeper hit, and at least for me – a huge one.

Ito Junji: Collection (Ep. 3)

      I guess the first story was of that kind when Junji Ito just randomly tried some random idea without much thought about it. Generally it’s just a waste of time. For example, who would think a crossroad fortune-telling would be a good idea? Come on, you can’t even talk about luck being involved in that – a passerby can actively say what he thinks, and a vicious person can roam the streets and actively destroy people’s dreams. Well, it’s true that there’s some chance involved as you can’t be sure what you’ll encounter but even a coin-toss would seem to be more appropriate thing. And to believe every bit of nonsense a random passerby can spit to the point of committing a suicide? Even without this terrible set up there’s nothing else – that mysterious walking bishounen does nothing but walks, and I guess the main point was that the MC told enough good fortunes and therefore was able to reunite with his sort-of-girlfriend? Really? The second story felt way more like Ito’s usual stuff, though it still was way too predictable and more funny than scary. Snails in Uzumaki were far more interesting and effective. I’m sorry, guys at Deen, I’m afraid you’re not doing any justice to the source material and I don’t see anything likely to improve. I’m afraid you wasted your time, as well as mine and other viewers’.

Mahoutsukai no Yome (Ep. 15)

     Interesting. I expected Chise to have a whole course of recover procedures and that it would span more time. And by time I mean not time in the story but the actual time required to show everything. Still, I can’t complain. The fairy country was gorgeous to say the least. There can be many opinions about the show itself but I think that pretty much everyone can agree that the backgrounds are created masterfully. Last episode we saw that even if love may be possible between humans and magical beings, a happy ending isn’t given. Now in a form of this doctor and her husband we see that everything is possible actually. Well, right from the start both the human and the fairy were shoved in directions that brought them together. The human seems to be too fairy-ish and the fairy too human-like, but it pretty mush forms an yin and yang connection when both partners are polar opposites but at the same time share many traits that they shouldn’t have. Yet, in order to become like that, the human must have shed his humanity, and Elias isn’t letting Chise do that regardless of her opinion. Elias so feverishly pursues humanity that it looks like he would never consider letting anyone lose it. I wonder if it’s actually possible for Chise and Elias to become as inseparable and connected like the punk-doctor and her husband – Elias severely lacks human side and therefore must stay in human world while Chise only learns about magic, and that should be far easier in the fairy world. Paradoxically it seems like in order to grow closer they should live in different worlds. Of course, the story as a whole looks like one with a happy ending so I would expect some hard work should make anything possible regardless of our couple’s choices. Moving on to the second part, at first I was curious why did Silky’s backstory ended up precisely in this place. In the end I think everything makes some sense. It’s applaudable how much information the show conveyed without much words. Silky’s main wish has always been to have a home, a place where she could have a little space of her own and just to be around people that matter to her. It’ hard to close an old door and open a new, but Silky just as Chise a bit earlier is shown to have found a place to call home from the bottom of her heart. This long departure of Elias and Chise worked well to emphasize that. Silky’s presence usually is minimal but it’s finally shown that she deeply cares about everyone – even such a seemingly cold person can be moved enough to smile or to lose her composure and run in order to hug someone. Well, I would’ve liked to see more of Silky’s tender side because she seems severely underused but with time already spent by practicing brutal revival methods on Chise (is it a usual technique to gamble with a life of a patient?) left only hope for some time in the future.


Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 2

Violet Evergarden (Ep. 1)

     Well, I don’t know where to start. Let’s say, the art. Which is amazing. Obviously. KyoAni always excelled at character animation and this production feels like a genuinely good film rather than a TV anime. I don’t know how much it was shown in the original light novel but such details like Violet remembering (or not) to salute everyone as if she’s still in military, that spilled cup of tea, flowing hair and various other things not even mentioning facial expressions were expertly done to say the least. Using complementary colors isn’t the most common way to apply shading, but that works. Especially since all the objects (bodies, fabrics etc.) behave like they are complex structures of sophisticated geometry rather than stylized blobs. The lighting also does a great job showing the contrast between the present (when even the broken bridges don’t seem threatening) and the past (when arms quite gruesomely fall off). The opening scene with flying letter was maybe too much in the vein of “hey, we could do it so we did” but other than that the production is truly stunning. Yeah, there’re those controversial filters, but somehow they don’t bother me too much. Speaking about the story, so far it doesn’t seem that original. I guess if the show was made by some other studio, it would look like pretty much another normal show. There are enough mysteries to be solved like all the past being unknown and, more importantly, what happened to that Gilbert dude (he’s probably not dead but I still don’t really get all this secrecy), but it looks like the general approach will be just centered on Violet’s growth. And there’s lots of room for that. On the other hand, it almost bothers me how such a girl could have been grown to be so emotionless and robot-like, as if she was raised in a cage or something. Her obsession with Gilbert at this point also looks unhealthy to say the least – she shows no interest in anything but him. But yeah, the lower you start, the higher you can get so this character drama of learning to become a human (hey, Violet should form a team with Elias for Mahoutsukai no Yome) and adapting to the civilian life should make a great experience. At least in theory.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (Ep. 1)

     Shoujo sparkles! Shoujo sparkles everywhere! That part was a bit overdone (come on, it’s not manga anymore), but apart from that it was a quality start. Akira’s world must have been almost completely shattered after her trauma (props for not forcefully shoving the fact in the face of the viewers). She looks to have fenced herself from others and while her closest friends still remain by her side, it’s not as if nothing had happened.  I don’t know how much into running Akira was, but seems like she was good enough so not being able to do that anymore creates a terrifying whole in her life. It looks like Akira had an eye for Kondou for some time already, but now having nothing else better to do, she naturally shifts the majority of her attention there. Kondou himself looks quite likable, a guy who despite his clumsiness should be able to be a decent parent for his kid. It looks like he’s just trying to be the best manager he can regardless of his ability to do so. Love is a thing that knows little boundaries, and so far I have absolutely no problem with both main leads being not indifferent to each other. There’s a long way to go yet, especially considering the possible resistance of the society and cluelessness of the manager. Well, I can’t fault him – Akira’s attention may really look unsettling. Well, the bottom line is that the first episode was enjoyable and if the show is able to retain the quality in all departments, it will definitely be worth anyone’s time.

Ito Junji: Collection (Ep. 2)

     Well, I got to say I’m impressed. It still certainly isn’t a masterpiece but a huge improvement over last time nonetheless. The first story opened with some genuinely funny jokes but proceeded quite predictably. It wasn’t that scary, but “unsettling” is a word it deserves. The second story even made me sympathetic a bit with the dreamer man, and considering the shortness of the story it’s a bit of an achievement. On the other hand, the ending wasn’t the most satisfying as the story just was cut off. Well, once again Ito proves not being able to wrap up everything, though his ideas are pretty great. As the material improved a lot, the presentation remained the same, or in some cases even went downhill. It’s really worrying that it’s only a second episode and even now there are problems with synchronization between the animation and VAs. Especially in the first story you can literally see which shots were adapted from the big and impactful panels, though pretty much everything feels like minimally moving manga and nothing more – a textbook example of being uninspired. I can confirm that colors detract a lot of suspense and much is lost compared to the original manga. I guess Ito is really unadaptable.

Mahoutsukai no Yome (Ep. 14)

     …And that fox story ended unticlimactically to say the least. All the tension brought by that spirit (I guess?) dissipated in a second. It’s just like the show suddenly changed its mind to view him no longer as menacing but as someone who just provides another possible route if you’re willing to take it. Of course Chise didn’t leave Elias because it’d mean the end of the show, but she could’ve struggled a bit, at least. What’s the point in a conflict that gets from the setup to the conclusion within a few minutes and has hardly any lasting impact? The other problem is that the first part had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the episode. But yeah, the rest of it was quite good indeed. Once the old dude and this vampire-lady were introduced, their episode felt a bit out of place for me at the time, but this sequel seems like a great improvement. Since we already know about the relationship, the pair is far easier to care about, especially since the show has already spent much time contemplating about death. Chise had enough death around her already, some apparently horrendous instances (her mother) and some awe-inspiring (that dragon Nevin). She probably knows better than many all the feelings that may be evoked and, as she values her friends quite a lot, Chise tries to give the most beautiful memories she can as a present while it’s not too late. I wouldn’t think this odd pair experienced anything as enchanting as Chise did with Nevin, but it still was something. I guess the only major problem for me was that still the vampire-lady was clad not that appropriately for this kind of story, and even if it wasn’t a huge distraction, it still dissonated with the atmosphere. As magic in Chise’s world comes with a price (especially if you do something you’re not supposed to) that’s a great idea to follow for a time being, so the following episode should be quite interesting. It’s great to know that magic isn’t omnipotent. It has already been said that Chise mustn’t overexert herself, but some serious (and bloody) consequences are a far better illustration of that compared to, say, falling asleep for a day or two.