Haikyuu!!: the review

I found Haikyuu to be greatly enjoyable, and even though sports and athletics is not really my thing and I haven’t played volleyball I could still appreciate and share the emotions of the characters. From the beginning, the concept of team work and the fact that a match is won as a ‘we’ not an ‘I’ was emphaisised and it lived up to its expectations truthfully. Like all good anime, the characters played an amazing role in the great feeling that this anime gave. I knew I was gritting my teeth all along while watching the matches. The competition! Those real emotions! This anime could not have been more realistic. For a volleyball player, I cannot say but I certainly hope most people found this to be a treat.

As the anime progressed, I was slightly reminded of Chihayafuru of how competitive the tourneys are and how the competitiors put in their hearts and souls into them. Chihayafuru was being very realistic about the emotions and feeling of characters during the games and I felt the same here too. As for the demography, there were a few female characters. There was Shimizu who was around to help their coach and sensei with the chores and stuff, but I am still unclear about her actual job and her motive for sticking around. Was it because of some guy? I doubt it though.

The pacing feels a bit slow, considering I just watched The Seven Deadly Sins which has some remarkable pacing. But the story and the overall consistency of this anime more than make up for it which makes it seem like a small quirk in the end, a small topic that just fades away when you discuss the anime with someone. For a simple game like volleyball, a bystander will assume that players are knocking the ball around with no particular strategy in mind much less complicated strategies like reverse psychology (I don’t even). But Haikyuu strips the game apart showing you the harsh reality of what real competition is like. At first, Haikyuu was centered on one (or perhaps two) characters but as the anime progressed all the characters in the team got the spotlight repeatedly. As far as the character development for the sake of the plot goes, Haikyuu gave it quite adequately. Well, how can you expect to go in depth into the lives of 11 different characters without making it into a slice of life and drama anime! Ha! Haikyuu had one aim in mind, volleyball. No romance, several small doses of comedy from time to time and of course a feeling of brotherhood. Whether you are interested in volleyball or any other sport or you just want to watch an anime pushed towards perfection, it’s your choice but I sure am glad there is a second season since I am already starting to miss it.

Anime review: Sword Art Online 2

The successor to Sword Art Online is quite an eye-catching anime with superb visuals and charatcer development. Quite contrasting to Season 1, this made good use of the interesting premise that it was most entertaining to watch. Initially, I wasn’t harbouring great expectations. I had checked its rating on MAL and it was lower than what the first season got. I was just looking to watch a good action anime, and I knew the visuals would be good and since I have seen the first season it seemed like a good idea to to give SAO 2 a shot. And boy, I was swept off my feet.

SAO 2 is divided into three arcs. The first arc being the longest which lasted for around 13-14 episodes. The Gun Gale Online arc. GGO is another VRMMO where players can use guns as well as swords although ideally it’s like a FPS. Kirito is asked for help by a government offical to investigate serial murders caused from inside the game. No one knows how the murders are being committed because the new nervegear (forgot its name) cannot generate life threatning high energy waves unlike its predecessor which was bascially the reason behind SAO 1. The killing is done simply, the culprit shoots a player in-game and the player in reality dies of heart failure. The method is fairly obvious, and the culprit is predictable too. Still, even if you manage to figure it all out you will probably sit around to confirm your conjecture. It is interesting ‘enough’ keep you hooked. Of course, there are fights. They will remind you of Star Wars haha 😀

The arc after GGO is the Excalibur arc. Mostly a filler arc I would say since it does not contribute much to the overall story. However, it is not disappointing in the least. Depends on your liking, I wasn’t too thrilled by it personally.

SAO 2 concludes with the Mother Rosario arc. One of the most touching and tear-jerking arcs I have ever come across. Backed up with a great back-story it fulfils the SAO experience with a sad but an ending you will remember. Many have cried, and I almost did.

I would say SAO 2 has met diversity in a rather unique way. Three arcs for three kinds of persons. My favourite were GGO and Mother Rosario. In GGO I enjoyed watching the fights and how I wished the future could offer us technology which would enable us to full-dive into games. Mother Rosario had its feels, I need feels from time to time and anime serves as my abode.

Anime review: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

The story begins with Kousei Arima, a pianist who has pitch perfect playing skills, playing in a music competition. Suddenly, he is unable to hear the notes of the piano that he is playing. Frustrated and nervous he goes off tune and eventually stops. After that he never plays the piano until Kaori Miyazono enters his life. She rekindles his interest in playing the piano and enjoying music.

Shigatsu wa kimi no Uso shines as an evergreen anime. Few titles have earned that badge. It can even make a person who has sealed up their heart love once again, appreciate the melodious music and at times make your eyes moist. I loved this anime so very much!

Shigatsu comprises of rare genres such as music, slice of life, drama and romance. The pacing feels great, there is always a competition around the corner which they passionately prepare for. Music is given a lot of importance and it does not feel shadowed by drama or romance.

Everything about this anime has been crafted masterfully. The characters have not been spared either. They are good-natured, selfless and have a good spirit of friendship.

It is the story that steals the largest slice of the cake. The story is what won most of my heart (Kaori won the rest!). True fact, that there is a little bit of fore-shadowing, but you will still ensue watching it because it is too beautiful to miss.

Reviewer’s personal note:
You know how much I loved it by now. I began taking a keen interest in music, violins especially after I finished watching it. Being left-handed it is unconventional to play the violin left-handed (bow in the left hand). I want to start learning to play one. One of my favourite music genres is Jazz <3

All the right moves with Zankyou no Terror

All the wrong moves with Zankyou no Terror

Some people loved this, while some did not. Zankyou no terror is a controversial anime. There is just enough of everything, well planned, decent characters and even the story is quite gripping. In some ways I liked it, but it left huge plot holes like: Why didn’t Nine and Twelve gather evidence using their intelligence and diligence and tell the authorities about the Athena plan? Though they were kids, surely evidence would have donethe talking. Instead, they went to do things the hard way by bombing places strategically in Japan, conveying the message in an indirect way. It is like they wanted to say, “Look, we are going through all this trouble, so we obviously have a strong motive”. They expected a detective to understand what they were trying to convey even if no one else got it. By all means, that’s a rash way of thinking things out. That’s friggin’ how TEENAGERS think; which they are, factually.

The second thing that bothers me is Five. I’m not even sure what that hell her motive was! Did she want to kiss the love of her life or did she want the goddamn plutonium back. I don’t even. After causing everybody more trouble than required, randomly she suicides with a smile on her face. What the f***?!

These are the two main issues I found with this anime and they pretty much constitute the main plot. LOL. It wasn’t a bad watch. Everything about it is mediocre including its soundtracks, but the story is f’d up.

Thoughts on Kokoro Connect

I loved Kokoro Connect with all my heart. I thought it was kind of educational way though. Not the boring, monotonous way but because they discussed a lot of things about life and stuff. Even romance. KC is also one of my first good highschool romance anime. The only other one that comes to mind is Clannad, which I am not a big fan of. There’s mostly harem in it. Harem does not interest me in the romantic way but they sure are funny. I watched Clannad a long time ago, anyway. One of my very first anime. My anime friend was like, it’s not going to be that great and stuff, and I totally should’ve listened to him. But anyway, it added to my taste and experience. A thing to think about: how in the world does Clannad have such a high rating on MAL?

Getting back to Kokoro. They ventured over various things that you learn in life because there was this creepy guy called heartseed or something who messed around with their group. I couldn’t understand whether he was doing it to make all their lives better or just for his entertainment. It was entertainment for us anyway. So yeah, let me start from the very beginning. There are these five people: 3 girls and 2 guys who are the only members of the cultural club of their school. So yeah, one day they randomly start switching bodies. That’s why there’s genderbender genre for this anime/manga whatever. And the fun goes on. Heartseed makes his appearance then and tells them that he’s just fooling around with them for his entertainment. Except he sounds far more creepier. He is really strong so there is basically no point in fighting him. I mean there’s this karate girl among them and she throws a kick at him and he blocks it perfectly. KC is not ONLY genderbender stuff, that’s just the first arc. Every arc they all learn something and it has an important impact on each of their lives. Different magical things happen to them in the latter arcs, I wouldn’t spoil them for ya.

I would say Kokoro Connect is both character driven as well as plot driven. It sure is unique in the way it progresses and that’s one of the reasons I like it so much. Thing is, I never found myself liking all the characters a lot. There is a main character. But the rest of the characters in the group are developed nearly the same. It surprised me because I normally like at least one or two characters in almost every anime I watch. But I DEFINITELY like characters from a good anime. One of the reason is that they had to develop 5 characters in such a short time. Another thing is that throughout the series, there always was some kind of tension between one of two of them. Especially the final arc. If there was more normality in it perhaps I would have liked it better.

Kokoroco’s length is really perfect. The awesomeness didn’t get over too quickly nor did it get so long that it became boring. You know, some shows should really end right there, 17 episodes then FIN. Over. The End. It is silly of me to say such things though because I doubt I can even make a story half as good as this. Well, anyway KC ends at ep 13 according to MAL and some special called Michi Random starts which lasts for 4 epis. It is rare for a special to be so good. Even the Steins;gate special is good, and finishes the show tying all loose ends and all. Point is that the special was pretty good. Most tragic however.

Basically what happens in the story is that every one has some problem or the other, and the different magic heartseed casts on them helps those problems to surface and together they help that person become free of them. It’s not exactly ‘dark’ but you could say that apart from jokes that happen from time to time, the anime is pretty depressing overall. If you like serious kind of stuff you’ll enjoy Kokoroco.

PS: TaichixIori win!

Barakamon

Barakamon has earned it’s place in one of my best and favourite anime of 2014. I’m a big fan of slice of life and Barakamon is surely one of my favourite from that genre! The story starts with Handa Seishuu, a calligrapher who wins a calligraphy competition is criticized badly about his calligraphy by a director and punches him in the face. As a result, Handa’s dad sends him away to an island. Upon arriving, Handa is brought to a closely knitted community where he meets Naru, a hyper, young little girl and her friends who he grows fond of.

Like every character in Barakamon is so likable especially the MC and Naru. All their friends are also so adorable. It’s a comedy anime and there were many places which made me laugh till my stomach hurt. I am going to watch this soon again. Slice of life genre depicted at its best. You will love all the characters by the end of this show, and miss them too. I don’t have much to say, just be sure to watch it xD

My thoughts on Fate/Zero

Fate/zero is the kind of anime I wouldn’t recommend as a starter. For some people though, it would serve as a good starter anime but not for everyone. Anime that are good starters often have a hit-and-run kind of entertainment. They tease the viewer enough for them to start liking it, and just as they begin to ‘love’ it, it gets over. Then it is the viewer’s turn to beg for more. Again, opinions may differ. A viewer with more taste and experience will probably like different titles than a person who hasn’t had much exposure to media. However, there are titles which have a general consensus of being truly great. Fate/zero is an anime which comes very close to that mark.

As for the first few episodes the viewer is introduced to the concept. We are sucked in by its sheer complexity and creativity. The concept of FZ is one of the best ones I have ever come across. It is beautifully crafted plots like these that enable us to ignore the small flaws an anime has. It is not just the plot though, it’s animation, music and characters provide viewers the perfect ambience suited to the story. It’s all about the ‘feeling’ in this anime, forged by people with stellar experience and a wide vision.

But like you said in the review, there is a lot of unnecessary bloodshed and children being killed for joy. While at the same time you will find more talks about honour than any other anime you have come across. “What makes a true king?”
FZ could have done without Caster and his master. Also, even assasin was very weak (even in character) compared to others. Their prescence added little or nothing to such a magnificent concept’s aura. Felt like a waste, to be honest. I would like to add, even berserker seemed to be like a mad dog (just the way Gilgamesh reffered to him). Not a good character, peeps :3

If there would have been a preqel to this which was normal in every sense, had great characters and the victor won the holy grail which granted his wish, Fate/Zero would be the infamous second season. My favourite character is Saber. I also liked Lancer, rider and his master, and Gilgamesh for being true to his code as a king. Some good characters were killed soon like Lancer and Gilgamesh’s first master and the show had to run with the remaining few. FZ is an example of a story where a good and complex plot was not covered by a sheath of simplicity.

The Game genre

The ‘game’ genre has been becoming increasingly popular lately with anime like Accel World, Sword Art online, BTOOOM!, etc. being produced frequently. One can call it a trend by all means, because that’s what it is, considering the increasing audience these type of shows are gathering. Primarily, the game genre consists of a plot where people are involuntarily (in some cases voluntarily) dragged into a ‘world’ where their only objective is to survive and beat the game to get back to their normal lives. There are exceptions, but this is how it is in most cases. Also, some players start attacking each other and our MC comes and shows them who is boss.

Sword Art Online is an anime which has a great start and build up potential only to lose it in the subsequent episodes like the air oozing out of a punctured tyre. Frankly, the reason I view SAO as a decent anime is because of the complexity of the plot. It feels like at least they tried. When you have a complex plot, moulding it to your will (and keeping in mind that readers and viewers have to like it) proves to be a difficult task. Anime with simple plots are easier to make, take usagi drop for example. Its creators did a fantastic job of course. But throughout the series, nothing much happened. It’s a slow paced slice of life anime and it is supposed to be like that but my point is: it’s much simpler to deal with less intricate plots. Once you get tangled in the complexity, it’s difficult to navigate through it and tie up all the loose ends once you are out of it. That’s what separate the good from the great stories. The ability to wield complexity.

Speaking of plots, there are ones that dictate the rules of a game like Log Horizon and SAO. Also, there are ones wherein players develop and discover new rules as they go (a good example would be No game No life). No Game No Life was more focused on a more practical way of introducing the plot where they didn’t dwell into every detail right from the beginning. Viewers were supposed to take in what was going on during a particular scene as is (instead of applying logic). This can be understood because the creators never intended for the story to be sci-fi, as a result they did not have to tie up loose ends in that domain. They wanted a story which solely had the following: setting followed by a genius strategy. Its 12 episodes were more entertaining than either of LH and SAO (25 episodes). I was curious about what new things I will get to see in the world they were in and of course blank’s genius tactics. There is no denying that they could not possibly explain every tiny detail, but all we knew was that there were 16 races which resembled the chess pieces on each side of a game of chess and that the whole earth was covered by them. There were 10 rules, one god. Pretty much nothing else. Video game based anime had a fixed set of rules that viewers couldn’t possible be surprised by much, since we are acquainted with the setting beforehand. On top of that a video game based anime cannot be lax with their rules, that’s what games are all about right?

One reason that has come to my notice as to why some anime lose their ‘fun factor’ is because they get DEAD serious. Yes, people died. Not that such a plot should become taboo. SAO did a good job with its seriousness for the first few episodes. They should have deviated to being more fun and friendly in the later episodes. Instead, they highlighted selfishness, revenge and killing without reason. Not good. Same with BTOOOM! Instead of being a strategy anime, it turned out to be barbaric death ground. Even the characters were terrible. I really wish I hadn’t watched that. Ha! By the way, Log Horizon feels all the more better to watch because we needn’t worry about our favourite characters dying. With staying alive not the first thing on their mind, the story progressed well. This has been very well thought of, and I am impressed making LH one of the good anime I’ve seen. Need I say anything about NGNL? 😉

I’ll be honest with you, during the time I had just begun LH, it felt like I had covered more episodes than I really had. For example, once I finished the 6th one, it felt like I had completed 9-10. Not because it seemed long and boring but because it felt as if they covered so much in one episode that had it been another anime, the same amount of coverage would have taken a greater number of them. While watching, I thought if it keeps up this kind of awesomeness, I’ll give it a 10 :3

“An anime is as good as its characters”
We need cute girls! Haha 😀
This is where NGNL and LH showed their true colours.
I’ve seen plotless anime which had a strength only in character development and their general nature. Sakurasou is of that kind. After finishing it I was like, the person who created this has fantastic potential to create even better work! Sakurasou is a good example of making something out of nothing. Hajime Kamoshida is a genius. Characters are central to anime or any kind of entertainment of that matter. You become attached to them. Some even fall for them (I have a thing for red headed girls :P) and once the anime gets over, we miss them. You know why watching anime makes us feel better? Mainly because of them 🙂
NGNL and LH have both great characters and stories. If you haven’t watched them yet, whatchu waitin’ for 😉

Anime Review – BECK

Everybody loves music! All of us listen to music, some of us can play covers. There are a few who compose… Ever thought of starting a band of your own?
Oh yeah?
Then BECK will be your ‘The Thing’.

BECK (The Mongolian Chop Squad) is an anime of the music genre like no other. Passion has truly been seen in the making. Except for their low budget on the animation, the anime is sound. Animation plays a big role in making an anime interesting as you all know. Even then, BECK has quite stood out from the crowd. It has a great storyline, and I am sure if the animation quality would have been even slightly better, it would be one of the best anime out there. For the same reason, it is a bit overlooked too.

A little praise… BECK has a more or less high school plot with crushes, fighting and bullying, etc. MC sure is a natural at music and his temperament makes this show even more enjoyable. He is a very reasonable person. His bandmates on the other hand are eccentric esp. Chiba who I thought was quite funny. The music was great, honestly. I’m not sure whether I liked the OP or ED more. Maybe the ED, just a lil’ bit…

BECK turned out to be a good show, but it seriously could have been just 12 episodes long. Cut all the mafia parts and boring drama. In a way the number of episodes helped it to get the viewer feel passing of time as our MC got better and better at playing and singing. It’s nice how they kept close attention to minute details. Also, the way characters entered the MC’s life and how they exited were done well. Never again did we see Izumi! But that was just weird. Why wouldn’t he see her even though she went through all the trouble of finding Maho and telling her that there was nothing going on between her and Yukio.

I often found some friends on an anime group comparing Kids on the Slope (one of the best anime of 2012. I gotta review that soon…). Sakamichi no Apollon (same thing) is a josei anime and their main focus is on the drama whereas the music is not that highlighted. I couldn’t have got an inspiration to play an instrument by watching Kids on the Slope. But I did get that feeling after I watched BECK. Kids on the Slope was just 12 episodes long but the timeframe was much longer than in BECK, but that was only due to the last episode. Well, enough with kids on the slope. You guys should watch it if you haven’t yet.

BECK had a ton of drama. Well, they couldn’t talk about music forever 😉
But it was enjoyable nevertheless, even for the characters. Yukio had a genial character which made him pretty popular among girls. There is some love rivalry, but we all knew who was going to win. Their band had extremely talented members and good chemistry. So, as long as problems stayed out of their way, they were going to become big. But problems are always there…

Maho was cool, but she got on my nerves sometimes because she hung out with that other jerk. But girls are players, can’t be helped. Koyuki (his name in the dub, fir some reason it’s different) played his part well in the love rivalry. It felt absolutely normal watching it in the anime. I must admit, that I like at least one girl from every anime I watch. Not sure I can say the same about this one. Probably one reason is because none of the girls get a lot of screen time. Another plausible reason is that I would like Koyuki to keep Maho for himself. It’s rare for me to like teen boy MCs, who often screw around with girls and stuff. This guy however, is serious about music and loves playing in the band…

The premise is small comparatively, don’t expect too many of unexpected people to pop up every now and then. There’s some politics that was played by Ryuuske’s rival’s band manager, and by that mafia guy. An anime of this sort cannot have a large premise, if it does though, you have to be really good at shaping the plot the way you want it to go instead of circumstances in the story to lead you to making decisions. BECK is about the band and the MC. Those are the two things that stand out in my memory clearly.

Anime Review: Shingeki no Kyojin

[Spoiler Alert]

All that hype! The show sincerely deserved all that though. I’m just here to spoil it a little with my reviewing, but don’t you mind that fans, because I too loved the show in all sincerity.
Humans are nearly extinct. Man-eating Titans the which can reach heights of around 60 meters in height are by and large. To protect themselves from Titans, humans built themselves a colony surrounded by three large walls. But a hundred years later, a massive Titan appears out of thin air and destroys the gate of the outermost wall. Which leaves an entrance to the outside world. The Titan world. As Titans enter the city, the go on a man-eating spree. Powerless humans have no choice but to leave their belongings and evacuate to the inner walls. As

One of the main points about this show is that it excelled even though the characters were not developed so well. In fact the MCs weren’t done according to the viewer’s expectation at all. Take the protagonist for example. Eren showed signs of a rock solid personality during the beginning of the show. But all that diminished after he joined the Scouts. Where did all the “I will kill every last one of them” determination go? Also, even before joining the Scouts there was a scene where he had to move boulder to block the outermost gate. He had to be reminded by Armin of his desire to go out of the gates and venture into uncharted areas. That act took a huge penalty on the viewer’s opinion of his personality. Eren had potential alright, but honestly at times I have to remind myself ‘Why a guy like him became a protagonist’, only because he can transform into a Titan. His character gets totally shadowed by the other characters, and apart from the fact that he can transform into a Titan, I ended up looking at him as an ordinary character. He was overshadowed by other characters. Not that they made any great impact. But still, some made more impression than Eren in half the time (like Levy).
Misaka is another person of interest partly because she is (sooooo) cute. Why was she prepared to put her life on the line for Eren like that? Whatever her reasons were, they should have at least hinted on them. But if they’re saying that the only reason for that is because he had saved her from the kidnappers, doesn’t mean that she has to throw away her life for him. As for Eren, I didn’t see any scene where I thought he cared about Misaka. All he did was tell her not to join the Scouts for example, and she would obviously resent. That just felt so pointless. Times like these made Eren suck all the more. Attack on Titan would have made it even higher in the rankings and obviously would be more fun to watch only if the main characters had been better.

It’s not only the MCs, for the main flaws in Attack on Titan lie in their characters. Potato girl for example. She was given a good introduction, a fine comedy one. But later, they didn’t do anything to develop her character even though she stayed alive till the end. Jon was made quite better than the others. His character was explored well for his role in the anime. He felt how powerless he was to defend the city, and he really thought of others and looked at the wider picture. He caused some good quotes to be spoken in this anime. Same goes for Armin, not bad for the amount of screen time he got. His master strategies were very well thought of, and I liked his character.
I feel really dumb saying this but honestly, it seemed as though the creators of this story belittled the characters that couldn’t fight well, and showed to the viewer that either you fight well or be eaten. At one point it makes you think, ‘why send in people unable to fight that well?’ just send the elite troops for Christ’s sake.

When any character died, it didn’t make you too sad since they weren’t developed so well in the first place. There were a handful though, like Levy’s team. Speaking of Levy’s team, I became fond of Oluo and Petra (loved her!) through the course of the second half of the anime and was much saddened by how they died. Petra’s death was horrible.
I quite liked how Mikasa on the other hand didn’t bear even a scratch on a battlefield where hundreds were killed in masses. Seemed to me like with enough gas, she could take down all the Titan’s in the world.

Shingeki no Kyojin portrayed an anime with fine strategy. Armin was the boss! Erwin was pretty awesome too, except when he knew who the female Titan was, he should have lured her out of the city and then engaged her. But even from his prospective it was not possible since outside, it was all barren so nowhere to use their ODM gear. It makes sense for him to try to capture her in the forest. Only if it would have worked. I suppose he had to resort to their final option of taking her down in the city. Even then, he had a contingency plan of taking her underground before engaging her. She was too smart to fall for that. I would have suggested to take her out quietly while she was not aware of impending attack. It’s quite heartless of me to say this but even if their conjecture was false, one life would be lost. Whereas if it really was her, hundreds would be saved.

That ends all the points I picked up from the anime. Now to the scoring. The animation was amazing, it is what gave the series such a boost in their fandom. 9/10 for animation. The story was great too, although this season felt like a arc in a bigger setting. 8/10 for the story. You know how I feel about the characters. 5/10.

Lastly, thank you for reading my review. I hope that you enjoyed it. Don’t take my rant seriously, I loved this show even though it may not seem like it 😉