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…

 

GINTAMA [SEASON 5]

GINTAMA [SEASON 5]

The fourth season of Gintama picks up after the crazy incidents of its previous season, with a gap of an year between the two seasons. So, how does it hold up in comparison to the previous insanity?

The anime starts off with Shinpachi returning to the Odd Jobs “office”, if you could call it that, after the gap of an year, since the show was on hiatus for that long. But on returning, Shinpachi finds out that all is not as it seems. Gintoki seems to have turned into a Dragon Ball Z character rip-off, and Kagura has grown way too much in the span of an year. Otae-chan is married to Gorilla Kondo-san, of all people. This convinces Shinpachi that something has gone seriously wrong with the world in the span of just an year. The surprises don’t stop here; as is only to be expected from Gintama, craziness follows soon enough, like maybe within a minute of the opening song itself.

Image result for gintama season 5

                                                          What the hell…are you kidding me?

Actually, you know what? Every review of the newer Gintama season feels the same to me, because the show does do similar things with explosively hilarious effects every single time. But not only that, the anime does tug at your heartstrings on many occasions, when you really feel for those poor sods. They really do know how to make the viewer feel. Far as the characters themselves are concerned, Tama has now grown into a more important supporting character, ever since the story arc in S3. And Otose gets a whole new story arc for herself which explores her background and why she  is supposed to be one of the four unofficial heads of Edo, so to speak. So basically, some more character development in the show.

Anyways, whoever enjoyed the show and stuck with it for four whole seasons, would find it only sensible to watch this hilarious and chaotic show through its 5th season too. Way too much fun to pass up for me.

RATING : 9.2/10

PROS :
– more character development
– much more emotional than S4

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

 

 

GINTAMA [Season 4]

GINTAMA [Season 4]

Gintama does not continue so much as rush headlong into yet another set of funny antics that is season 4. Anyone who’s watched Gintama up till its third season and found it to be of their taste, you don’t even need to continue reading this; just hurry up and start watching already. But anyway, how does this season hold up in comparison to the previous seasons?

Very well, I must say. As usual, Gintama is ever-ready to make humor out of anything and everything. The season starts off with Gintoki going for a haircut, but chaos and hilarity ensue when the shogun also comes to the same barber shop while the barber is out getting new manga issues for Kagura to read. And Katsura and Kondo too. Anyway, the nub of the matter is that this season sets the pace right off the bat, so to speak. Pacing is never an issue with Gintama, anyways , except for its very first season.

Some of the sorta-minor characters come back pretty strongly, with Otsu-chan and Tama-san getting a whole story arc each. And there is also an arc on a popularity contest which was one of the most creative efforts put up by the developers. And those parodies ranging from One Piece to Nintendo Wii to Dragon Quest, are all just so well done.

Anyways, I won’t be taking up much more of your time. Those who found Gintoki and Co. to be their favorite weekend companions [or something on those lines] will continue enjoying the show. I honestly don’t understand how they manage to come up with such ludicrous, yet entirely imaginative ways to make the viewers laugh all the time.

RATING : 9/10

PROS :
– even more humor!!!
– parodies are godly, as usual
– some minor characters make a comeback of sorts

CONS :
– not as many heartwarming moments as in the previous seasons

 

SUICIDE SQUAD

SUICIDE SQUAD

So I’ve gone out to watch Suicide Squad with my friends, most of who are avid superhero comic fans. Although not a fan of such stuff myself [with my interest lying more towards the anime side], I must admit I was curious myself to check out this film. A movie featuring super-villains as the main protagonists? I don’t think this has been done before, not in my memory at least. But my memory has been known to fail me at inopportune times, so well.

A US intelligence officer, Amanda Waller, decides to recruit the most infamous super-villains to carry out a top-secret mission in exchange for a reduction in their prison sentences and some small perks. The agency into which they’re being recruited, Task Force X is an organization which performs black ops missions, and this agency decides to use these infamous villains for deniability in the event of something going haywire. The villains, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang and others are all gathered up, supplied weapons and then choppered off to Ground Zero to complete the mission. While at the same time, the Joker is mounting a rescue operation for Harley Quinn. What is the mission? And can Joker get Harley out?

The squad in question…

The plot progression is generic, and is something the viewers have seen time and again. It isn’t the high point of the movie by any means. The movie is funny, although some of the gags do fall flat. Action scenes are great, as is expected from a super-hero film, or a super-villain one, for that matter. Of course, the events transpiring throughout are always to set up the next explosive set-piece. Especially the Deadshot scene. But it isn’t all action either. Some of the scenes are actually meaningful. The interactions between Harley Quinn and Deadshot especially, are really good to watch, and in general these interactions between the different member of the titular suicide squad are good to watch.

Far as acting goes, it was pretty good. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is the right mix of crazy and hot, and she really freshens up the screen whenever she’s on it. And Will Smith as Deadshot is great as well. Killer Croc generally stands around and growls whenever he isn’t busy tearing the enemies apart. Jay Hernandez as Diablo is really cool when he shows off his skills. And Viola Davis as the ruthless intel officer Amanda is good in her role. Cara Delevingne as the antagonist feels somewhat random though. And towards the end, some of her scenes end up being unintentionally hilarious, although the situation is dire. I myself wasn’t a fan of the Joker played by Jared Leto [an actor I do admire for movies like Requiem for a Dream among other]. But it may just be my own personal opinion.

The soundtrack of the movie consists of songs from artists as varied as Eminem to the rock band Queen, and everything in between. And the songs are all awesome.

Overall I would say that if you are a fan of the DC Universe, you should watch this film. No, it is not a perfect film by any means, but you’ll have fun throughout its 2 hour run-time. And if you are an action junkie, then definitely watch it.

RATING : 7/10

PROS :
– Harley Quinn and Deadshot are awesome
– great soundtrack
– interactions between the squad members
CONS :
– generic story
– antagonist is a bit random
– Joker was a bit meh to me

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

ReLIFE

ReLIFE

So on my recon of the latest anime which I could try out, I came across 91 Days and proceeded to start in on this ongoing show. But when I almost had decided on 91 Days, I saw that ReLIFE would be a better thing for me to watch, as I prefer to binge-watch my anime rather than watch an episode a week. And conveniently enough, all the episodes of ReLIFE came out together, as if it were one of those Netflix shows. So, how is this anime?

ReLIFE follows Kaizaki Arata, a 27-year-old man who has resigned from his first job in just three months, and has since been without a regular job, living off his parents’ allowance and part-time jobs. He applies for jobs and attends interviews, but has not been able to score a steady job yet. After a night of drinking with his friends, which he attends only to keep up appearances, he receives a phone call from his mother. Kaizaki’s mom cuts off his allowance over the phone, and he is left worrying about his future, which look positively bleak and hopeless.

But just as his phone call ends, Kaizaki is greeted by Yoake Ryo, a scientist from ReLIFE Research Institute and is offered a year’s costs and a job waiting at the year’s end if Kaizaki participates as a test subject in an ongoing research. Kaizaki has to take a drug which transforms him into his 17-year-old self and attend high school for the period of a full year. In his drunk state, Kaizaki ends up taking the drug capsule overnight. Later he does agree to being a test subject in the experiment, if only reluctantly. Kaizaki’s days as a NEET are over.

ReLIFE is an anime which plays out over a school-life setting, with Kaizaki studying alongside kids who are ten years his junior. The show makes good use of its setting, and fills the cast with a bunch of colorful characters. The trials and tribulations which Kaizaki faces on his one-year long journey through high school again, make for fun viewing with lots of humor. The supporting characters are interesting too, and above of all they are believable and identifiable. I personally found the character of Kariu Rena, a really competitive girl in both sports and studies, to be the best-written; in fact, she more or less carries ReLIFE‘s plot forward. Only problem for me, was remembering Rena’s first name, I always kept switching it up with Higurashi‘s Ryugu Rena.

relife-anime-funny-scene

The story itself is not a revelation as such, with most of the plot being the generic stuff that happens over school life, but that does not take much away from ReLIFE. Also, some of the comedy stems from a long-standing gag throughout the show, which some may find to be a tad annoying. But otherwise, ReLIFE is a well-realized anime. It’s not Gintama-level awesome humor[I doubt anything can ever reach up to that level], but it is pretty good.

This may quite probably be one of the better offerings of this summer, unless there are many more anime with amazing plots and stuff. I personally found ReLIFE to be heart-warming and fun throughout.

RATING : 8.5/10

PROS :
– identifiable characters
– funny
– ending is awesome

CONS :
– plot progression may be a tad on the tried-and-tested route