AJIN [SEASON 2]

AJIN [SEASON 2]

The second season of Ajin finished airing just about ten days ago. Those of you who haven’t yet caught up on the anime after the season one cliffhanger, get ready to jump on the hype train! [Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t seen S1]

So the first season ended with Nagai Kei and his new companion Nakano Kou making a break and escaping the clutches of Tosaki and Shimomura. And in the meantime, Satou has issued an ultimatum to the Japanese government to include provisions for ajin to be treated as normal human beings, and to stop using them as guinea pigs for experimentation. The alternative being that Satou and his fellow ajin go after 15 officials who are the main culprits regarding this matter. The second season picks up from there, with Satou beginning to make good on his promise. On the other end, Nagai and Nakano want to stop Satou from executing his master plan, but they are severely lacking on manpower. Nagai comes up with the idea of pairing up with one of the main officials in secret so that this issue ceases to remain an issue anymore. And guess who that is… Tosaki himself!

Image result for ajin satou

                                                                  Way too OP…

The story is pretty fast paced, as it was in the first season. And it doesn’t waste time in pleasantries of any sort. The action keeps moving from Satou’s perspective to that of Nagai and Tosaki, and these switches have been handled well, so that the viewer is not distracted in the least. And as it was in the previous season, the action scenes are amazing; especially the ones where Satou goes berserk in killing people, they are truly badass moments in the show. The characters have been further developed, and some backstory for Tosaki and Shimomura comes in too. Nagai and Co. are great, no doubt about that. But my favorite character would be Satou, as is only to be expected. The guy says so many awesome things in his trademark nonchalant style; the writers did a fantastic job with this particular role. It’s as if he is the anime version of Vaas from FarCry 3. And just in case you don’t know this guy, let’s just say he is still the best villain I’ve seen in a game yet.

The only real issue with Ajin is the same as it was with the first season; the frame rates. I know that the production crew decided to do it the hard way and make it a 3D animated show, and I laud them for it. The actions are remarkably human-like, as a result. But more than occasionally, you’re left trying to see if you can differentiate one frame from another during some of the quieter moments of the show. Other than that, the show is pretty slick.

In conclusion, I would personally recommend Ajin to anyone who watches anime, and have done it on numerous occasions already. If for nothing else, just for the amazingly haunting background score that plays at the beginning and end of each episode…

RATING : 9/10

PROS :
– good plot pacing
– action scenes are even cooler
– amazing background score
– Satou-san OP
– improved 3DCG

CONS :
– frame rate is still a bit unsatisfactory

 

 

 

 

 

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GINTAMA [SEASON 6]

GINTAMA [SEASON 6]

The sixth season of this long-running show of hilarity : that is what we’ll be reviewing in this post. Or is it? Read on to find out more.

The anime begins with Gintoki taking off away from his Odd Jobs mates Shinpachi and Kagura, and returns with a hangover. But seems like he’s had a bit too much of drink this time round, because he’s greeted by his two friends as a customer to Odd Jobs, rather than its head. And the even bigger surprise is that the head is not Gintoki, but Kintoki, a naturally straight-haired guy, with golden hair to boot, to contrast with Gintoki’s silver. And so we know now that the show we’re watching is actually Kintama. Too bad for you, suckers! Anyway, this is how the new season starts off, with Gintoki put in quite a spot, and no one recognizing him for what he is.

                                                  Whoops, this is from a new show Mantama…

The new season is only 13 episodes long, which sucks for all Gintama fans, but whatever is there, is awesome indeed. This time around Gintama has three story arcs and one standalone episode making up the contents. But contrary to the usual, this season all the arcs are much more serious in tone than before. But not to worry; where there is Gintoki&Co., there is always an enormous potential for hilarious, out-of-the-world screw-ups, whether metaphorical or literal. And also, one of the arcs does give us some more insight about Shinpachi and Otae’s past lives.

And now for my mandatory recommendation to readers of this post to watch Gintama, as I’ve been doing since I’ve started watching the goddamn show. Watch it already!

RATING : 9.3/10

PROS :
– some backstory on Shinpachi and Otae
– more serious story arcs

CONS :
– only 13 episodes, damn…

 

91 DAYS

91 DAYS

After finishing Re:Zero, I began to watch 91 Days, as I knew the anime’s final episode was about to release soon, then. So, was the show worth the watch?

91 Days begins with the protagonist Angelo Lagusa’s family getting assassinated by the mafia to settle a dispute, while Angelo helplessly watches on from his hiding place in a cupboard, and then barely manages to escape the killers. Years later, Angelo receives a letter from an unknown individual, and this prompts him to return to his home town of Lawless for revenge.

The anime is set in the Prohibition-era in America, when mafia made the rules and anyone who thought otherwise were…disposed of with impunity. Illegal sales of liquor were the main sources of income for the mafia families at the time. From the letter, Angelo finds out that the Vancetti family was the one that killed his family, and then sets out to infiltrate the Vancettis, with some help from his childhood friend Corteo.

91-days-episode-01-screenshot-01

I always like it when the main character does a Light Yagami…

The anime is so named because the whole story takes place over a span of 91 days, from Angelo’s return to Lawless to its conclusion. The story is pretty good in my opinion, but even better is the plot progression throughout the anime. The way events lead to new developments, and how the fallout of some decisions affects different characters is amazingly well depicted. The whole anime has a dark undertone to it which fits perfectly into the events surrounding Angelo’s circumstances. Well, it’s not Gungrave-level awesome, but it is great nonetheless.

The art style felt somewhat similar to that of Joker Game for me, but that doesn’t take away anything from 91 Days; in fact it is quite the opposite. So no complaints on that front from me. Also, the anime boasts of one of the best opening themes I’ve heard in recent times. And the ending theme is pretty well done as well.

Overall, I would say that if you are a fan of mafia-based films and TV shows, or just like gritty, realistic stuff in general, 91 Days is for you. On the other hand, if you were one of those guys who were made too uncomfortable by shows like True Detective, then look elsewhere.

RATING : 9.1/10

PROS :
– good story
– solid plot progression
– great character development

CONS :
– may be a bit too cynical and dark for some viewers

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

 

 

AJIN

AJIN

Ajin is the anime I came up with when I wanted to watch something serious and atmospheric. So, how does this anime fare?

Mysterious human beings imbued with immortality are discovered for the first time in Africa. These meta-humans, called Ajin, resurrect themselves whenever they get killed so that they are back, as good as new. Fearing their potential for destruction, the governments of the world decide to capture them to prevent any possible harm to the society, and start experimenting on their capabilities in order to better understand them.

Nagai Kei is a high-schooler who spares no thought to anything other than becoming a great doctor, and studies hard to make his wish come true. One evening, deep in thought, Nagai fails to note a speeding vehicle, and gets crushed underneath it. But unknown to even himself, Nagai was also an Ajin; his body resurrects itself and he is able to start moving again. But now there are a bunch of witnesses who have seen this other-worldly phenomenon, and are they ready to inform the government about him. Fearing for himself, Nagai uses a high-pitched shriek which immobilizes everyone in the area, and makes his escape from the scene. Thus begins the three-way game of cat-and-mouse between Nagai Kei, the government and a mysterious person called the Hat Man, who is a suspect in the recent disappearance of an Ajin from a governmental facility, and whose plans for Nagai are unknown.

The concept of resurrection may seem like old news at the outset, but Ajin treads new ground with it. The plot is pretty solid, and its progression is nicely paced, with no unnecessary developments and byways. The whole anime world is set up neatly, with realistic depictions of school-going kids to employees and beyond. The animation is really well done; the scenes of Ajin resurrecting themselves, and the mysterious IBM[Invisible Black Matter] creatures created by the Ajin are excellently rendered. The coolest parts are the action parts though, with fights almost taking on a cinematic flair. The opening and ending themes are absolutely fabulous, and this is one of the few shows where I never, I repeat never, skipped the themes. But special mention has to be made to the background score; it’s just flat-out godly, and really gives viewers the chills whenever a particular music comes on.

This kind of stuff happens throughout the show…

The main issue I had with Ajin, though, is also related to the visuals. Or more specifically, the frame rate used throughout the show. The show runs at a frame rate of below 30fps easy, with the viewers actually being able to make out the changing of frames in the non-action scenes. This is pretty annoying, and although you may kind of get used to this 3-4 episodes into the anime, this isn’t something you can wholly unsee. And i think the animators tried to emulate human motion with the anime characters, but it doesn’t always work out for the best.

Anyways, I would recommend Ajin to anyone who wishes to see an anime with supernatural elements, or an anime which refuses to pull its punches in general.

RATING : 8.3/10

PROS :
– plot progression is fluid
– great action scenes
– well-developed universe
– awesome opening & ending themes
– godly background score

CONS :
– frame-rate issues
– movement-related 3DCG is somewhat hit-or-miss

Barakamon

Barakamon

So, why did I decide to start Barakamon? Because right now, its prequel, Handa-kun, is airing to more than satisfied audience. So it felt like a good idea at the time to start in on this anime.

Handa Seishuu is a talented but temperamental calligrapher. As such, he is prone to mood swings and impulsive acts which often land him in trouble. During one calligraphy exhibition, the director of the exhibition severely criticizes Handa’s calligraphy style, associating it with a copybook style of writing and lack of originality. An angry Handa punches the old geezer in the face for this criticism, and is almost immediately sent off to a remote island by Handa’s father who comes to know of this incident.

Handa is allotted a house, which has turned into a secret base for the villagers’ kids, and he is greeted by a mess of a place, along with a small kid Naru. And thus begins Handa’s journey to finding his own style of writing, and some good old self-discovery.

Barakamon is really funny throughout its length, and Handa is the butt of many jokes, ranging from his cooking “skills” to buttjabs; the variation fills a whole spectrum. The characters are awesome too; Handa is stellarly designed, as is only to be expected, as are the villagers. The anime renders village life in a most life-like way; every villager knows the other, something which is sadly amiss in urban life. And all the villagers are funny in their own ways; the school teacher is always seen with a cigarette in his mouth, while Tama, a school-going kid, wants to publish a horror manga in Shounen Jump. Everyone has their own quirks which make them uniquely lovable, for lovable they all are. But for me, the real star was Naru; she’s sooo cute and funny, and does crazy stuff all the time.

Anyone who has some level of interest in calligraphy should find Barakamon to be more of their taste, possibly. In any case, fans of anime like Hayate or Gintama should find this a worthy pick.

RATING : 8.5/10

PROS :
– well-designed characters
– hilarious
– occasionally heartwarming too
– Handa’s mom

Joker Game

Joker Game

Ever wanted to watch an anime about clandestine activities? I must say, I’ve seen my share of anime over the years, but I still haven’t viewed a single anime which totally revolved around spying. Until Joker Game, that is.

Joker Game is set in the period of the Second World War. Japan had never really had a proper spy agency as such; the Imperial Army commanders didn’t believe in the act of spying. They in fact thought of spying as an act of cowardice, something which they had no room for in their hearts and minds. Even so, through the machinations of one person, a spy agency was established. The organization was known as the “D-Agency”, headed by the mysterious and enigmatic Lieutenant Colonel Yuuki.

D-Agency operated on one very basic tenet; ‘Don’t kill. Don’t die.’ This was alien to the Imperial Army’s beliefs, who believed in killing and dying for the country as the ultimate expression of patriotism. The final eight candidates who were selected for spy training were all thereon trained under extreme conditions, both physical and psychological. The anime follows D-Agency’s spies and their spymaster in various acts of espionage and betrayal.

Joker Game renders the WW II era more or less faithfully; the steam-engine trains, the now-vintage cars, all those hats everywhere, it’s pretty well done, I’d say. Animation is slick throughout the show. Most of all, it gives us viewers the feeling that we’re watching a true-blue show on espionage, not like those James Bond movies where everyone knows he’s a spy. Only thing is, there is not much emphasis on the characters themselves, except for the spymaster. Yuuki is an amazing character, but the spies are forgettable, in the sense that they do not get much screen-time and we’re only vaguely aware of their being a spy through their actions. Also, most of the show is episodic, many of the plots last just one episode, with events occasionally transpiring over two episodes.

Overall, I’d say that Joker Game is a pretty good anime, and those who like to watch shows about espionage would definitely take to it.

RATING : 8.5/10

PROS :
– slick animation
– well-realized setting
– lead character is awesome
– the approach to spying

CONS :
– less screentime for other characters
– episodic nature may not be for everyone