Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Long Awaited Update to End the Long Awaited Update

The Long Awaited Update to End the Long Awaited Update

Warning: The following post may contain spoilers of various anime series. If you wish not to know some details of the plots, or simply don't wish to find out about whatever happens at all, please exit the tab, and come join me once you've watched the first few episodes of each. But than again, if you want to take that warning with a grain of salt, feel free to stay put.

With that said:

"OMG! I wonder where Dazz has been for like...hmm...I don't know, eons?"

Don't worry. I am back and have risen from the ashes!

Okay, could have been more graceful. But surprise, surprise! I have officially returned to the blog universe! I sincerely apologize for being a s**t reviewer in the past 8 months, but here's the lowdown of what's been going on in my life.

So, junior year was a thing. Aside from schoolwork, events, and just being busy in general, I was more focused on working on my TM shows for YouTube and watching anime. I was planning on coming back to here several times over the past few months, but came up with a few excuses in order not to.

"Oh look, Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai is still airing. Maybe you should wait until it's finished airing before you return?"

"Hey Dazz, your school musical is almost over. It'd be awesome if you could resume posting after it's all done and wrapped."

"You know, summer sounds like an awesome time to get some hardcore writing done for your blog. Since you'll have more free time, maybe you can start then?"

Oi vey, I'm awkwardly laughing at myself so hard right now. Let's try to accept I go back to school in a few weeks, and I haven't touched or edited anything on this blog since January. It's been so long that my writing style has probably changed plus maybe improved, and more pictures and videos have gone away (including key visuals) which I have to fetch again (and others I still need to update). And it's also a damper when school really doesn't give you motivation to work on non-related things when your energy is running low (add in a job on top of that), or when you don't have the materials ready.

But really, the simple cause of this dilemma was me. I was just too lazy to even attempt to do anything regarding this blog, hence why it's been abandoned for more than half a year. I don't know if it'll get better from here, but I hope I don't leave this blog for another unidentified period of time. This place has really helped me out with the writing, after all (along with essays I did this past school year).

So, it's time to jump back through time to earlier this year, when the snow was still on the ground, and the post Christmas feeling was heavy in the air (along with me re-watching Rosairo + Vampire's first season):


We started off the year in terms of new anime with...nothing catching my eye. This season just ended up being a literal ghost town, because I wasn't motivated in watching anything because these series never got my full attention or reviews convinced me otherwise (hello, Hand Shakers). It was so meh that the only anime I ended up following was the second season of Nanbaka:

If this season proved anything, it proved that the statement introduced at the beginning of this cour of this being a comedy anime is now completely irrelevant. Sure, there's still a lot of laughs here and there, but once Episode 3 rolls around, we are stuck in a brand new story arc, and oh boy is it deep. The positives are still there (I even found out Kenji Fujisawa's the music man), even if this didn't have a proper ending (and the last half dragged towards the end, but whatever). We also get more development on some side characters I didn't expect, are introduced to more big personalities (and more fabulous nails), and laugh and clutch onto our pearls. There's also the fact that Samon Goku has a heart and is really, really hot.

*clears throat*

Before I pass out from all this swooning, I should also mention that the dub for this show is a god-send. Seriously, go watch it.

But this show wasn't the only one I watched while the snow was falling/melting/repeating for 60 days. I also got some Fall 2016 shows on my platter to enhance the viewing experience (and a movie, even though I barely mention those):

So let's welcome BSD's second season, Soul Buster, and the Sailor Moon R movie into the ring. How are you all doing?

Yeah, I should also mention my anime watching game isn't as strong as it should be. Again, see low motivation, school plus a part-time job, priorities for TM, and me.

Bungo Stray Dogs kicked things off, quite literally, as I binged the first 4 episodes all on New Year's Day. And let's just say that that arc was pretty much epic. Though it focused on Dazai's pasy and his two closest friends in the Port Mafia, along with secrets brewing down under, it couldn't help but capture my attention and be incredibly engaging. This was the bang that I caught for myself this year.

And while the middle was lacking in terms of its pacing, which made for a really sloppy reintroduction into the story's main plot, the last four episodes brought back the Bungo that I really enjoyed. There's also some improvements along the way, such as the tonal shifts and Atsushi's characterization (even though it still isn't the best). Bungo Stray Dogs still had its main strengths intact as well (which is always well-appreciated for second cours or seasons), and I'm keeping my eyes open on that movie. Especially since the title, Dead Apple, makes me think of this:

Yeah, yeah, I'm a weeb. So what? I think it's gotten mostly under control since I was in the Awkward Phase.

Soul Buster was one of the shows that everyone s**t on in the fall, and for me, it actually wasn't...that...bad. Sure, it isn't amazing, but the story was at least somewhat enjoyable (despite being paced incredibly fast canon-wise), the characters were kind of interesting, the music was mostly fine, and the animation looked decent without the style they went with when magic twirled all around the frames (because it could get incredibly distracting). But then again, the main problem was the shortened episodes, and I think with a more fleshed-out run time, this series may have been better than it turned out to be.

Now onto the Sailor Moon R movie, which I was lucky enough to see in theaters in the brand new English dub locally (after watching the Canadian dub ending back when I was 8 during the Copyright Free days of YouTube), and I was promised an epic ride. And that's pretty much what I got, so much so that I "accidentally" collapsed outside the theater when the movie was done.

Basically me the entire time:

I pretty much loved everything. From the story, to Fiore, to the art, to the score (MOON REVENGE OOOOOOOOO). Seeing it on the big screen is definitely one of the highlights of my life thus far. And I even found that jazz piece from Uta Pri's 3rd season on the same day. Talk about lucky!

Just go watch it, please. I recommend it to everyone. You won't be disappointed at what it has to offer. As for me, I'll be patiently waiting for the other movies so that I can relive S and fully experience SuperS.

All right, let's move on to:


Spring was another busy time, with Driver's Ed, my school's musical, and the inevitable stress of being one step closer to your senior year (along with throwing a sick day in there because why not have your body mess with you). But there was the fact that this season was...wait for it...actually appealing to me.

Yes, I know, right? I was shocked too. But there were only a few titles that I was interested in following, along with ones to put on my backlog for later viewing. I also was motivated enough to pick up a show on my own. YAS, FINALLY LIFE DECIDES TO GIVE ME A BLESSING! Let's see what these shows were:

Here we have Clockwork Planet, Magic-kyun Renaissance, Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai (otherwise known as Seven Mortal Sins), Tenchi in Tokyo, and The Royal Tutor. Let's talk about each of them in detail, shall we?

Clockwork Planet showed some promise due to the source material (LN's) being co-written by the writer and illustrator of No Game No Life, but there was also the promise of some good animation that reminded me of the early 2000's. This was strange to me because the studio behind the adaptation, Xebec, haven't had the best track record for me in their 2010's productions (Triage X was meh, and we're not even going there for Maken-Ki 2 despite me not watching that series). And overall, I was one of the only few who managed to like this series. 

Sure, some of the story details in the second half flew past my head, but at least this show was still enjoyable to watch and was interesting. The animation, whilst inconsistent at points, was still pretty. Plus, RyuZU is a savage burn queen that will live on for eternity. It may not have been the best series but it's not AS rushed as, say, Taboo Tattoo. Let's just say that the tonal shifts were awful, I didn't care much for the majority of the characters, and the second villain could have been written SO much better. At least all of us have the OST though, because it's pretty dope.

Magic-kyun Renaissance was one of the series that aired back in the fall that I was really excited for. Not only did it sound like my kind of show, but there were SO many promising aspects. You know, aside from the boys.




Okay, weak Charli XCX reference aside, this series pretty much delivered on everything I asked for minus some animation in a few episodes (which dipped in quality and made me sad). The story was really good, the writing even more so (and this is mostly coming from Tomoko Konparu, the lead writer of Uta no Prince Sama (which has declined in quality), among other shows), I liked all of the characters, and the score was pretty nice. But, let's all just be in awe of the fact that Kohana has a literal backbone, shall we? When she stood up to Teika in Episode 3 when he was being so cold to her (COLD ENOUGH TO-), I was floored.

And the bed scenes I've seen on Tumblr for the game:

The first years are precious and Rintaro is super cute. That's what I'll leave off on.

*clears throat again before he goes off track*

Now onto Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai, which took FOREVER to air. Not only did it start a week after most of the spring shows had premiered, but it faced several production delays due to Artland's financial problems (it was unknown until they announced publicly that they had filed for bankruptcy the day when a lewd recap focused on sexual scenes aired). Let's also consider the fact that I'm just simply out of this show's demographic despite watching fanservice shows before. Since I'm now more comfortable in my own skin and am not 100% straight, it's easier to come clean with that.

And it's also good to see that this series wasn't completely trashy. Sure, the first 4 episodes played it in that light, but come Episode 5, and the feel for this series was completely different. It does feel like a problem, especially considering the team of writers is mostly consistent, but it was welcome by me. Gone were the pointless sexual torture scenes, nipple licking, and various other scenes that made me uncomfortable. Instead, we got some actually interesting scenarios to defeat the other sins, along with some unexpected character development. Let's not forget the really good score!

Of course, this show isn't a gem. The story still has issues from both structure and writing standpoints, the good standing of the middle 4 episodes dips until the finale came out to surprise me to Hell and back (ha, ha, funny), most of the characters don't have much meat to them, and the animation is either pretty or just meh depending on the episodes you watch. But at least it's not just gutter material like other fanservice shows targeted at horny males.

As a warning now, I'd say you're better off watching this series dubbed. Sure, you won't be hearing some of the more iconic seiyuus, but the show was easier to stomach without subtitles, and the voice actors, most of them being newer to the field or this being their first work (no pen names in sight either), do a good job with their characters. Oh, and the script is pretty funny and doesn't take itself as seriously.

Tenchi in Tokyo was the long awaited return to the Tenchi franchise for me. It'd been a while since I was in the world, and while the reviews for this series weren't as good compared to Universe, I wasn't planning on looking at GXP or the 3rd OVA (though Ai Tenchi Muyo wasn't horrible). And while it took me longer than necessary for me to finish it, it was still a good run. I loved seeing Ryoko again (so much so that I tweeted some of her best faces per episode), and it was nice being reunited with the general gang. I also liked the new characters and what some of them brought to this series.

Of course, the more limited animation budget didn't escape my eyes, nor did the fact that the main plot for this show took TOO long to get moving. All of the filler comedy and shenanigans got really old around the halfway point (which is where the main villain, Yugi, finally made her appearance to the Masaki household), so it made me happy to see them go away for a more serious plot when some of the girls start dispersing across the galaxy. I also think Sayaka is portrayed more like the "trifling hoe" then she really should, plus the fact that my Tenchi x Ryoko ship is still being suppressed. They got closer, but I guess that's not enough in this timeline. I don't want Tenchi to have his own babies with each girl in his harem, okay? Polyamory has no place here. 

The Royal Tutor was a show that immediately appealed to me. Aside from the fact that I knew I was going to like this the minute I saw PVs, Bridge was handling the animation production, a studio we know all too well of (Fairy Tail's reboot). I was incredibly curious to see how that would play out, along with the main cast being lesser known seiyuus (aside from Aoi Shouta). Of course, my intuition wasn't wrong.

Though the score didn't work as well for me (despite it coming from one of the composers from Karneval), and parts of the story didn't really click for me (Bruno's episode, Licht's "front"), I still enjoyed the hell out of this series. Though it's more episodic towards the middle, I liked knowing more about the princes and seeing them develop as people, along with the last story arc being unexpectedly gripping and enjoyable to sit through. The animation didn't end up being too bad either, and the comedy did mix well with the more serious events that went down in the last few episodes. We also got another good dub!

Just know before you watch it (or maybe you've watched it, IDK), that Kai likes soft things and is just generally adorable and relatable on a spiritual level:

I can't. He's too pretty. God bless him.

Which brings us to:


My anime game is still incredibly weak this year, but I am planning on getting a few shows started to get back into the back to school spirit (UGH CAN'T SUMMER JUST LAST LONGER?). I have ideas, but I'll of course go through my backlog to see if there's anything else to focus my radar on. Another Yaoi Corner also needs to be in order, and I have a couple of ideas circulating for that.

Enough of me rambling, because I'm actually currently watching one series. And that is:

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu.

So right before I actually decided to watch this series, I managed to watch a few minutes of Episodes 1 and 4, plus the whole Episode 2 at a local anime convention at the end of July. I've of course heard of this franchise, though I haven't actually played the game yet. Rather, I mostly talk about Touken Ranbu with the same person online who pushed me towards Haikyuu, and who I have the great pleasure of sending fanart back and forth with. She's amazing.

Anyways, Hanamaru, the comedy based spinoff, is still on my radar (and is also getting another season), but I decided to start with the more action based series first since aside from cute boys, that's another thing that could be appealing about TR. AKA seeing their uniforms get torn and potentially showing ski-

Oh wait, never mind. I get why now. And as much as I would like some of that manservice in the actual show (aside from Izuminokami healing from his injuries in Episode 6, and actually in battle), I should just let that go. Because this series so far is bloody brilliant. Yes, the storytelling's not the best, and some have warned that you need more background on the games before going to it, but I can understand it plus bathe in the appeal of the sword boys at the same time, damn it!

Aside from being introduced to characters I hadn't heard of or being reacquainted with some characters I've seen only briefly (erotic fanart counts aside from the wiki), I finally got the chance to see this character in their natural habitat:

Tsurumaru! It's a joy to finally get to know your witty, sarcastic, and just oh so fabulous self! Kudos to finally also being a Soma Saito character that I actually like straight off the bat. WOOT WOOT!

So far, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu has been pretty enjoyable in every aspect. For this being the first ufotable production I've seen, this is looking gorgeous. For a composer who's mainly known for work on fighting games, this score is pretty badass. For someone who's filled to the brim with seiyuu roles like I am, it's incredibly nice to be able to pinpoint them immediately in their characters and discover where others fall in makes me fill with glee. This is like the Haikyuu! fanboying all over again, and I am not ashamed of it. Hopefully this series will continue to be good even though its episode count hasn't been confirmed yet.

And that should just about wrap this up. Again, I apologize for taking so long to post something this year, and I still have no idea when I'll post next. Keep watch, though, because I may just surprise myself (and everyone else, along with making more Tsurumaru jokes) by doing something other than this. See you later in the meantime!

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