Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

It’s been some time since I’ve seen some really awesome anime, something that could actually blow my mind with its events. So, when I saw Re:Zero get high ratings in multiple anime-related sites, I felt this would be one anime worth watching. Only, I had to wait till the show was nearing completion, because my general style is to pick up an anime, and just blow through all of it at once. All right, enough of my ramblings about my viewing habits, let’s get down to business.

The show starts off with the protagonist Natsuki Subaru, a hikkikomori who plays video games all day, get suddenly transported from a convenience store to a fantasy world, with nothing but his groceries and phone in his hands and clothes on his body; he has absolutely no clue where he is, or what he’s supposed to do there. While exploring this strange new world, he crosses a small group of thugs, but is soon saved by a silver-haired girl who’s chasing after her stolen insignia of unknown importance. Since Subaru has already caught a glimpse of the thief while getting accosted by the thugs, the girl decides to take his help in catching the thief. But what starts off as a simple tracking mission leads them to the thief’s den, and death. I’m not going to say anything more about the plot, but suffice to say it shares some elements with Steins;Gate.

Image result for re zero kara hajimeru isekai seikatsu

The premise of the anime starts off being simple enough, with elements of a regular fantasy-adventure with comedy and harem elements sprinkled about, but it will strip you of your misjudgment faster than you think. Re:Zero is a great psychological rollercoaster of a ride, set in what appears to be inspired from Renaissance-Europe, and reminds one of old-school RPGs. Subaru, whenever he gets killed, ends up respawning at some previously visited spot at a preset time, which leads Subaru to start referring to them as save-points as the story progresses. And let me tell you, the psychological aspect in the story is profound, and will mess you up as the anime progresses.

The RPG-feel of Re:Zero will attract many to the anime, at least those who game a lot, I’d say. And the plot-progression is also fluid, with minimal slow-downs through most parts of the show. The medieval time-period-inspired settings look grand in stature, and animation is pretty good in my opinion. The best part of the show, was Natsuki Subaru’s character development, and that of another female character, who seems to be more of a lead player in the happenings than the silver-haired girl; though the anime creators may say so otherwise. Only issue with the show, at least for me, was that it sort of lost its character towards endgame. The feel of the show felt kind of tampered with, for me at least.

If you liked Steins; Gate and play RPGs fairly regularly, chances are you will like Re:Zero a lot.

RATING : 9/10

PROS :
– game-like concept
– character development of Subaru and another character is well-done
– medieval fantasy setting works great

CONS :
– lead female character isn’t as well-developed as Subaru
– loses some of its character towards the end

 

 

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BLACK MIRROR [SEASON 1]

BLACK MIRROR [SEASON 1]

These days, I’ve started watching more TV series than I’ve ever watched before. Excepting my marathon through Breaking Bad, that is. In the course of my browsing through some shows I should watch, I came across Black Mirror, a British show about how technology can influence our lives in negative ways. So I thought to myself, “Hey, let’s try this out!”

Black Mirror is a show of just 3 episodes, each of which are about 40 – 60 minutes long, with each of the episodes containing their own self-contained story. The show goes where no other show has gone in its exploration of the dark things that just may happen due to over-dependence on technology. The first episode has one of the princesses of Britain kidnapped, with the ransom being that the Prime Minister has to perform a degrading act if he intends to get back the princess alive. And the other episodes are set in different locations and timelines too, probably, with their own tales to tell.

The acting in Black Mirror is pretty solid throughout the show. And the settings for the incidents are unique from what most would have seen in TV shows[unless you watch sci-fi stuff all the time]. The writing is pretty good for all the episodes, too. But what I found to be a bit inconceivable in the show, was the technology being used. Some of it felt a bit too far-fetched for me, but who knows, it might become the reality of the future. But the biggest weakness to me, was that it wasn’t altogether as special as I’d hoped; maybe my expectations from the show were a bit too unrealistic, but what I felt was that the later episodes couldn’t hold a candle to the pilot episode.

If you want to watch a psychological drama in a somewhat futuristic setting, try out Black Mirror.

RATING : 7.8/10

PROS :
– unique settings
– cool concepts
– good acting

CONS :
– later episodes aren’t as good as the pilot
– technology shown seems a bit too far-fetched, for now

 

MAKING A MURDERER

MAKING A MURDERER

Netflix has got it going on with really smart and thoughtful shows, I must say. I don’t really watch TV series much, but whatever offerings I’ve seen from Netflix have all been quality stuff. With the same confidence, I began watching Making A Murderer, a real-life thriller incident; the show spanning over ten years in the time-line. So, how good is it?

Steven Avery was a 23-year-old man convicted of rape and attempted murder in 1985, and was sentenced for thirty years in prison. But eighteen years into serving his sentence, DNA testing of the crime-scene evidence conclusively proves Avery’s innocence, and in fact proves that another convict was guilty of the crime Avery was jailed so long for. Looking into the case also shows many discrepancies in evidence-gathering and investigation by the police, and the corrupt nature of the local law enforcement is exposed. Avery is finally released in 2003.

Understandably pissed-off at the county police, Steven Avery sues them for $36 million, and begins preparing for the lawsuit. But within a few months, Avery is once again the prime suspect, this time for an even bigger crime, that of murder. The show takes the viewers through this high-profile case which made national headlines during its day, with the circumstances being all the more bizarre this time around. And this time, the county police seem to have caught him cold. What really happened? And who is the murderer? These are only a few of the questions we viewers are faced with at the beginning of the show, and some of them have not been answered, yet.

This show is a documentary of the events that transpired before and during the case, with the show looking mainly at the defense argument for the case. And as such, Making A Murderer makes use of only real-life footage, ranging from news clippings to court proceedings to interrogation and investigation footage. Not to forget the voice-overs and comments from the actual players in the case; the prosecution, the defense lawyers, the defendant Steven Avery and his family members, the witnesses and such. I like the fact that none of the events have been actual footage by the makers, as it really helps in maintaining the authenticity of the show. Also it must have saved the makers a lot of money, but that’s another matter entirely and is not worth our consideration.

And let’s get down to the business end of it; is the show any good? You bet. This is probably the best show I’ve seen in recent times, and if I have to compare, it is as intense as the final two seasons of Breaking Bad. In fact, Making A Murderer is so intense in its content that you’d want to binge-watch the whole show.  However this is almost impossible as emotions take over the viewers all the time, and may leave you too pissed-off at some of the incidents and the people, to the point where you really will need a break from the show. Also, kudos to the screen-writers  for maintaining the pacing of the show at a swift, trotting pace,so to speak. In these kinds of shows, it is very easy to mess up and drag out some events, or rush through others, but I’m glad to see the show not fall into the same old trap.

Overall, I would say Making A Murderer is one of the best shows I’ve ever watched until now. Those of you guys who want to believe in the criminal justice system, please watch this show at your own peril, as your trust may find itself getting eroded by the happenings.

RATING : 10/10

PROS :
– effective use of live footage
– intense and atmospheric
– great pacing

CONS :
– will probably make you lose faith in the justice system

THE MECHANIC 2 : RESURRECTION

THE MECHANIC 2 : RESURRECTION

I’ve always liked Jason Statham’s films, I must say. Whether it’s him playing the suave, stylish transporter with his rules, or gunning down mercenary armies as an expendable, or playing an illegal boxing promoter, I’ve never had a shortage of fun in watching his antics. The first Mechanic film was a pretty fun film, which put Jason in the role of a hit-man teaching his trade to one of his victims’ relation. So how does the second iteration fare? Was it worth it?

Arthur Bishop, the ‘mechanic’, has now hung up his tools and lives a secluded life in Rio de Janeiro, blending into the locals. But now, someone manages to hunt him down and offers him one job, which has Bishop killing three men in different continents over a span of half a week. Bishop refuses, and narrowly avoids being captured by the organization in a riveting fight scene. After erasing any traces of his life in Rio, he sifts over to Thailand, where he has a close friend. Within a couple of days, he saves Gina[played by the gorgeous Jessica Alba] from an abusive, violent man. But fast-forward a few hours, he gets tracked down again by the mysterious organization, and Gina is kidnapped in order to force Bishop to comply with their demands. How does Bishop pull off these assassinations? Can he save Gina from the leader of this organization, who seems to have a connection to Bishop’s past life?

                                               Preparing for every contingency is Bishop’s style…

Although I’ve written quite a bit about what makes up the plot, it’s pretty straightforward in its execution, and there is no messing around. The plot is rather weak, but the focus of the movie is Jason Statham’s badassery and the action scenes, and the movie nails them pretty well. Jessica Alba looks great but has little to do in the film, and the antagonist isn’t going to win prizes for best character anytime soon. But as I’ve already iterated, the movie is all about action and it gets the action part right. The assassinations are the coolest part of the film. And the locales, ranging from the sandy beaches of Thailand to the city-life of Sydney to Rio, are all stunningly depicted in the film.

Overall, if you like action films, you will probably like The Mechanic 2 : Resurrection too. But if you want to watch some film which is also ‘smart’, so to speak, look elsewhere.

RATING : 6.7/10

PROS :
– Jason Statham all the way!
– locales are stunning
– good action scenes

CONS :
– character development is non-existent
– weak, if not a total lack of, plot