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Summer Anime Season 2017 – Review October 9, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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This season was sort of a strange one for me, watching wise. Because I was busy with other stuff while these aired, I didn’t get to watch them until most of them were completely done. I’m usually the kind of person who watches week to week rather than binge watching. I noticed that most of the animes I watched this season were romance based. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Aho Girl

Gamers!

Hajimete no Gal

Netsuzou TRap

New Game!! 

Re:Creators

Sakura Quest (Dropped)

Tsurezure Children

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


Aho Girl

This was the first show I checked out of the Summer Season as it was one of the short episode animes that were easy to digest. The name of the show pretty much explains the main character; a stupid dumb girl named Yoshiko obsessed with bananas and doing what she wants. All of the other people around her have their quirks as well, like an abusive childhood friend, a perverted disciplinary committee member, etc. I found the show to be annoying at times, mainly because of Yoshiko. At times though, while she has showed that while she lacks book smarts, she knows how to enjoy life and tries to spread that to others, whether it’s wanted or not.

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Gamers!

This is a story that revolves around certain students and one hobby. Amano Keita is our lonely protagonist who has a passion for gaming and becomes friends with Uehara Tasuku, who is secretly a fellow gamer and is someone who believes his life is perfect. We also have Karen Tendou, the club president of the video games club and Chiaki Hoshinomori, who constantly bickers with Keita. This is a story filled with a non-stop sequence of comedy scenes and misunderstandings. Our chaotic romantic comedy now begins!

Gamers! was a good anime that kept throwing the misunderstanding ball back and forth, enough to make you pull your hair out. The main character Amano Keita is not quite your typical lonely protagonist. He initially makes himself this way because he thinks of himself as inferior to others around him as a self-proclaimed gamer. As a person though, he is passionate about games that he will converse and argue with anyone who shares his interests. He eventually opens up to the people around him to the point where he cannot be called a loner anymore, and can easily talk to people without being nervous sounding.

The show had a load of references to games that were easily recognized, especially in the opening intro: Horror games like Resident Evil, Shoot Em’ Ups, the Super Smash Bros. Series, FPS (First Person Shooter) games like PUBG (which I’m real surprised to see here as it’s a new and upcoming game that apparently is popular enough in Japan for it to be perfectly shown in anime form), platforming games like Mario, Visual Novels, Rhythm Games, RPGs (Role Playing Games), Classic fighting games like Street Fighter, and MMORPGs set in a fantasy setting. Within the show were some direct usage of game footage as well like from a Persona fighting game. Crane games (UFO catchers) and smart phone mobile gaming was also shown as well. The last episode was almost all about explaining DLCs (Downloadable Content).

In this show, love triangles are overrated; it’s more like a love star as the five of them were constantly in doubt of who liked one another. That’s one of my issues with Gamers!, is that the beginning and end of the anime had game aspects, while the middle was more of just a rom-com style of anime. You could entirely remove the game aspect with another topic and still have the same dynamic and situations. The series was created to cater to games and the culture that goes along with it; to attract said audiences that have been increasing at a steady rate due to the development in technology and ease of obtaining.

The conclusion of this series’s season was no conclusion at all. It was just simply another episode that offered no closure for the characters or plot. The only thing that it did was sort of sort out the love star but besides that, not much progression in terms of their relationships. Sure I did say that the romance is more like the filling in the middle of the sandwich, but it’s still part of the series none the less. And because of its integration with the story and characters, I wish it was more fleshed out and balanced so that it did not feel like a completely separate topic from the title of the show. It was the characters themselves that tied the “games” and “romance” themes, and I do hope that if another season is created, that these could be blended in a way that shows that only Gamers! can do it right.

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Hajimete no Gal

This anime was a mixed bag of sorts. This show is basically about a virgin guy trying to lose his virginity to a gyaru gal he confesses to as part of a prank from his friends, under the misconception that they are sluts. Most of the main male characters were immoral and sometimes downright wrong to the point where he not being a part of the show would have decreased the cringe factor. Besides that point, the show worked to try and show that you can’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case a gyaru/virgin guy.

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Netsuzou TRap

Emotional tug-of-war between two girls who have boyfriends basically explains what happens in Netsuzou TRap. Here’s an actual synopsis from MAL.net:

Yuma and Hotaru have been friends since childhood, so it’s only natural that when Yuma is nervous about her new boyfriend, she asks Hotaru for advice. But when Hotaru starts coming onto Yuma for what feels like more than just ‘practice,’ what does it mean…? With boyfriends in the foreground but a secret, passionate tryst in the background, will Yuma and Hotaru try to forget what happened between them or have they fallen into a trap of true love and betrayal?

Mid Season Thoughts: This anime is one that makes me sort of hate it, in a good way I mean. I find it interesting to see the amount of people who don’t like what’s going on in the anime, from comments I’ve seen from each episode on Crunchyroll. Naturally the anime is trying to evoke mixed to negative emotions. It’s as if people don’t see the capitalized letters of the show’s name “NTR”. If you want to know the full meaning of the genre term, just do a search of it on your own, but in basic terms it’s “designed to provoke jealousy in the audience by proxy by having a character indulge in sexual activity with someone other than the protagonist.” I obviously don’t like what’s going on storywise, but I’m still interested to see how it all ends. Everyone involved just seems to get deeper and deeper predicaments, and it will have a bad end…. probably.

Overall thoughts: Now that I’ve finished the anime, it’s time for me to lay out my thoughts. I suppose things ended in the best way possible: The girl gets the girl, stays friendly with the guy she was going out with (Technically they never officially broke up so ???), and it’s assumed that the abusive boyfriend leaves them alone? Sounds ideal I know, but I’m not sure whether or not this is a true end, or just a conclusion that everyone watching can digest. I was expecting things to spiral all the way down, but it didn’t. On an emotional richter scale I felt it never went beyond a 5.5/6.0 out of 10, so it was relatively mild. I think that’s for the best as it probably didn’t want to scare people away from the NTR genre, rather it gave us a taste of the delicious poison that could potentially have people wanting more.

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New Game!! 

In this second season anime about the game making company Eagle Jump, progression through trials and competition that create drama sums it up. After finishing up Fairies Story 3, a decision is made to create a brand new game. Ideas from employees of the company put theirs’ out, but Aoba’s is chosen. While her concept wins, to the company it may not sell without a notable name behind it so Yagami Ko is directed to be the public character designer, while Aoba is the internal (and true) character designer. With her co-workers and new interns on board for this new series, they work to create a cutesy game called Peco.

I enjoyed the increased drama when compared to the first season. It gave the characters more of a push to work harder at their goals, instead of the show being more like a slice-of-life kind of show that the previous season felt like. I also noticed that the shippings between most of the characters was much more pronounced, but at the same time a bit lighter at the same time. Think of it as more love spread evenly all over.

The ending summed up everything nicely, and with an important moral ending: Keep working hard towards your goals. Don’t stay in your comfort zone too long or you’ll grow complacent. By going beyond your comfort zone, you can learn and achieve more than you would if you stayed safe. Don’t just survive, live. I won’t spoil the ending, so that you can experience that feeling yourself, that moving forward is the way to accomplish things that you may or may not have expected to.

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Re:Creators

This review for Re:CREATORS is for the second half of the season episodes 13-22, as well as an overview for the entire series.

Episode 13, aka the recap episode was done in a way that I’ve never seen before. It summarized the story up to the current episode, but with a few twists from narrator Meteora. I loved how besides just retelling the story, it also threw in some jokes about the creation of the anime, such as the difficulty of animating Altair’s hair or easing qualms about the use of a recap episode, which is usually seen as a cheap way to have filler.

Mid Season Thoughts @ Ep. 15: I’m liking the set-up that’s going on for the final battle. Whether or not we’ll see any kind of major fighting between now and the end, I’m not sure. As they said in the show, “No one knows how the story is going to end”, and I feel this can be interpreted in a couple of ways: The first interpretation is what most people would think; that because the “story” is being created to prevent an end-of-the-world crisis, and with the many uncertainties that lie within that plan, the characters in the show won’t know how it will all unfold when the end happens. Maybe though, there’s another reason why the characters in Re:CREATORS won’t know what will happen until the end. My second interpretation is more out there than feasible, but it would be quite amazing if it was the case. The way the show uses the term “audience” and talking about getting “acceptance” from them, in order for the elements that they are planning to use to lure and trap Altair, feels like they are talking about not only about the people in the world of Re:CREATORS who consume media related to the characters in said universe, but also directly to us viewers as well. After all, the main world that the anime takes place in is parallel to our own, a place where we create stories for our own entertainment and business. Imagine if our feelings and “acceptance” affected the series ending as well. That the creators of the anime were tracking our ratings of the show and incorporating it’s influence as part of the show. I know it’s a far fetched idea as most anime productions are done under a strict schedule, but it would be so meta if it was possible.

The second opening “Sh0ut” is another Sawano Hiroyuki masterpiece. What I love about his style when it comes to him making anime openings is that they are straight up serious songs with attitude. The beats and drops he uses are so addicting to listen to, even if it can get a bit overused at times. Either way, he’s my favorite anime soundtrack composer and I almost always check out an anime that he’s involved in. The opening sequence that goes with “Sh0ut” is simple yet effective, and is amplified by his music. The timing of the transitions, each character’s showcase at an angle where you can’t see their face directly deep in thought preparing for the final battle, Altair’s cute faces (which look so unlike her from what we’ve seen in the show so far), sneak peak of the battles yet to come, along with foreshadowing for additional story elements in between. I’m enjoying it so much that I can’t help but wave my hands to the transitional beats that is the second opening sequence of Re:CREATORS.

Direct after thoughts: I just finished watching the final episode, and else can I say but that this anime was exciting and emotional all the way to the end, in a word fantastic. While this anime was a great watch I will not say that it is flawless, but it definitely was interesting meta wise. As I mentioned in my mid-season thoughts, I had speculated that the “audience” could of referred to us actual viewers as well. Now that I’ve finished watching I can say that this is probably false, but it definitely still could of influenced how the audience was talked about in the anime. Most of what was explained about how they would approve what was shown, I could understand if those theories were used for actual shows marketing.

This next part will be my summarizing of the story episodes 14 through 22. SPOILER ALERT if you don’t know already.

Episodes 14 though 16 was the set up towards the final battle, which was called the “Chamber Elimination Festival”. This was the lull of the series, where scenes dialogue and work by the Creators to prepare for the finale. This part got a little repetitive with the episodes ending with the reinforcement that their plans will bear the fruit that they’ve planted, even with the amount of uncertain factors in play. Luckily when this thought came to my mind, it was the last time this was used.

The final battle started in episode 17 onward, and it was all over the place, in a good way. We didn’t get the usual match ups which was a breath of fresh air. I didn’t want to see more of Alicetaria vs. Selesia, Yuuya vs. Blitz, etc. What I didn’t initially know was that Alicetaria had already planned to change sides to fight against Altair. It wasn’t obvious to me, but there were some hints when I look back, like when she visited Magane and what her Creator hinted she would do in the battle. I suppose that she decided to take a step back and look at things in a more clear perspective. Whether or not she knew that Altair killed Mamika before telling her so I’m not sure. It started with Alicetaria attacking Kanoya who hasn’t been in much of the battles sue to his large mecha. I did find it to be a strange matchup at first, but it was exciting none the less, to see how powerful Alicetaria was against a mecha defending with an energy shield. This was when it was obvious that she was planning to team up with him against Altair when she lead both of them away from Altair to avert her gaze during her clash with Selesia to set up for a combined attack against her.

All of these episodes had something different towards the progress of the battle, with trump cards being played by each side when the timing was right.  The first trump card was the reuniting of Blitz with his daughter. The creator of his story used the crossing of Meteora’s story from the overarching Chamber Elimination Festival series as a way to introduce magic that could bring back his daughter in a convincing manner. By doing so gained Meteora another character who would fight against Altair. In the combined attack with Selesia, Kanoya, and Alicetaria, things were going according to plan; Selesia was able to trap Altair while Kanoya and Alicetaria teamed up to charge at her. This was when Altair played her card, Charon, to stop the attack and to cause ruckus between Selesia and Kanoya. Charon is Selesia’s battle partner in her story who she sees as a mentor and love interest(?). She ends up having a conflict of interest when he explains his stonewall thoughts about how the world of the gods (the real world) should be changed or destroyed for their gain or revenge for how their fictional world turned out to be, as Kanoya and Charon fight each other. As this new fight began suddenly, Alicetaria makes her stand known to Altair, who tells her that indeed she was the one who killed Mamika, a relief of sorts because of how strong minded Alicetaria is. They attack one another, with Alicetaria ending up on the receiving end of her own attack, thanks to Altair’s own powers. This eliminates yet another Creation from the story.

The next trump card in my opinion was the new and improved battle version of Hikayu Hoshikawa. Her first appearance in her new gear was used as a comedy/fan service break, but she showed that she could fight in her own right with her martial arts super powers. She gained her new abilities through acceptance from a spin off fan disc that her Creator made for the battles. She could pack a punch that blasts the ground, even easily kick away a fully charging magic mecha without problem. The complete change from a non-combatant to powerhouse fighter made her an easy target for Altair’s reset-to-origin ability, which reverted her back to a regular high school girl in love.

An unintentional trump card came from spoilers of Sho and Yuuya’s series, where Yuuya revealed that he did not in fact kill the ones close the Sho as he thought Yuuya did, and that the one who gave him his “persona” like partner is the one responsible. Apparently Yuuya played along with this lie because he thought that was Sho’s way to hang out with him. With this fact now public, Sho and Yuuya partner up once again, alongside Blitz and Hikayu against Altair and Charon.

With Charon being Altair’s shield, it became evident that he needed to be removed from battle to get to her. Because he was in his own flying mecha, this only allowed Selesia and a damaged Kanoya to do battle with him in the sky, with the others attempting to fight Altair. They both are unable to singly keep up with Charon, who was a formidable fighter in his world. His motivation for fighting through Selesia’s understanding and acceptance of her Creator and his world, is that he is tired of fighting and just wants it all to end, regardless of how it ends. Selesia ends up having to sacrifice herself to take out Charon as he will not back down, assisted by Kanoya who initially refuses to but does under the honor of being a hero in his own story. With this Altair was now on her own, but with the loss of yet another couple of characters.

Even with the loss of troops on her side, Altair was able to gain sympathy and acceptance from the audience giving her control of the story within the Birdcage (separate dimensional space). In order to get control of the situation, the Creators summon their secret weapon, a new character based on older designs of Altair that shared the same power as her, the Holopsicion (reality bending powers). This new entity named Sirius is able to fight on Altair’s level and is even able to seemingly subdue her by trying to take over her being. However, it seems the opposite took place as Altair gained control over Sirius, changing her appearance to look like a mix of both characters. With most of the characters out of commission to take on Altair, the end loomed near.

Souta who was watching with the audience decides to try and use his secret weapon that he ran by Matsubara. Souta’s plan was slightly hinted earlier, so it wasn’t totally out of left field, but I figure for people who were not expecting it, or that it felt out of place, that the anime tried to justify it by explaining it thus so. Souta created a new character for the story, or rather one based on who was central to the conflict of the story, Shimazaki Setsuna. Yes, Souta created Setsuna so that Altair can meet her Creator. A Creation meeting another Creation who was created by a close friend, who both created Altair. When Setsuna was talking with Altair, I felt that Setsuna wasn’t just talking for herself, but also for Souta as he is partly her creator as well. I could feel the emotions coming from Altair, who only wished to meet her Creator. Because her motives came from Setsuna’s feelings towards the world at her own end, it was sad to hear that Altair’s life was caged to those feelings as well. I felt sorry for Altair at this point, as she simply fought for the injustice that she felt Setsuna was subjected to. Setsuna explained to Altair that while she created her, she is also everyone else’s creation as well. While she may be trying to destroy the world, she is not just a villain but also a protector and inspiration for the weak, like Setsuna. Altair’s Creator accepted her fate, but Altair herself would not take that as the only path for Setsuna to take. When Setsuna was created, she was also formed at her final setting, a train station. An alarm signaled the arrival of a passing train, which she attempts to fall in front of. Altair sprung to action to fight her creator’s destiny, by trying to destroy the train and reaching out to her. Altair says that she can use her power to create a world for Setsuna who can then make stories once again. Upon grabbing her hand they are transported to another world where they will both exist as Creations and Creators. Setsuna remembers Souta, who tears up thinking about Setsuna and what she meant to him, before the screens glitch out towards a “The End” screen.

It seems that the audience mostly approved the story as Altair is now gone, in a better place in everyone’s minds. The Birdcage disappeared and the world was saved from destruction. While losses were made like with Selesia, Meteora assures Matsubara that even if she died in this world, that was only one of the many possible branches her story could have gone. She still exists in the story that he continues to write.

With the world slowly but surely stabilizing its Restorative (logic) Power, the Creations decide to return to their own worlds while they still can. They say their final goodbyes to their Creators before leaving through a magic gate created by Meteora. As the final Creation left, the Creators say their goodbye’s to her. However, it is revealed that as the caster of the Gate of Return, she is unable to go through it herself, hence she decides to stay in the real world, to everyone’s disbelief. She eventually loses her magic power due to the world’s logic, and states that she wants to become a Creator of her own right. The overall moral of the story of Re:CREATORS is that everyone has the ability to create something beautiful. Whether or not it is widely accepted, it does not matter. What does is how you express your passion and despair into a story that captivates and motivates others to read and relate.

There are a few things I want to address that affected my overall rating for this show. The first obvious one is the lack of Magane at the very end. All of the Creations whereabouts except her were shown. I can only assume that she stayed in the real world as she was not present at the Gate of Return. I doubt that she would been able to go using her own power based on the fact that a large amount of power is needed. If she did decide to stay in the real world, she would eventually lose her abilities as well. If spotted she might be arrested for her previous actions before being allowed to live freely in the real world. Knowing how she is, without her power she would just be seen as a sort of creepy character. I don’t know how she would live in a world like ours without her power to make things “interesting” for her. The only hint of what might have happened to her was from the last time she makes an appearance. She is seen at an airport when aiding Souta to summon Setsuna. She probably planned to journey far away, probably to never be seen again.

The second factor that bugs me slightly is the story convenience factor. Playing off of the “impromptu” idea that the Chamber Elimination Festival was based around, the Creators had ideas that they would implement for the Creations to use as firepower against Altair. How it was used was purely up to them, which is what made the ending mostly unpredictable as I like it. However, what I found didn’t seem to flow well with the story was the sudden “flashback” to Setsuna. If I was an audience member, and I’m seeing the moment where Altair takes over Sirius, it would have seemed a bit weird if all of a sudden a flash a light happened and another new character showed up that was emotionally close to the main character Altair. Maybe the premise was suppose to be that Sirius, who was an earlier version of Altair’s concept, at the very least awoke memories within her of her Creator, hence the flashback looking setting. I didn’t have these initial feelings when I first watched this scene as I was in the moment, emotionally invested to see how it would turn out. Now that the high of binge watching this show has faded away, I notice how planned the final battle was; organized but fragmented so that the story ideas could be used whenever was best. Even thorough this negative aspect, the show acknowledged this from the scene where it was shown that some people did not like how the story seemed to be made up along the way.

The third is the lack of explanation for how all this could have been possible. We already know about Setsuna and what caused her to die. What I don’t understand is where Altair came from in terms of her materialization into the real world with powers that are beyond logic. After that it’s easy to say that everything that’s happening is because of Altair and her reality bending Holopsicon. Altair’s abilities comes from the many fan created stories that have spawned on the internet. However if the Creators world is suppose to be a reflection of our own real world, then what can explain how enough “acceptance” can create magic and weapons that can not logically exist in said world. This is what I cannot wrap my head around, and I wish there was something to fill in this gap in the story, so that I can accept it as well.

The visuals and story may be the cake, but for me the music is the frosting, or flavor. As I mentioned earlier, Sawano Hiroyuki’s music is what gives life to this show, and others he’s a part of as well. I don’t think I would of liked this anime as much if he wasn’t doing the music for it. The atmosphere the music gives the battles, as well as the calm times, it’s almost always perfect for the situation. The only kind of Sawano music that I don’t like are for funny scenes which end up sounding either cheesy or just strange, but I can live with those as long as I get everything else he creates. My only complaint is the overusing of some songs for certain scenes in this show, especially “BRAVE THE OCEAN”, which was first played during the first fight between Selesia and Mamika, but more known in episode 10 during Selesia’s Revise temporary power up. It has that “miracle has happened” or “going according to plan” aura that faded with each use.

Overall this anime is my favorite of the year and probably will be a recent favorite for a while. Yes it may be dialogue heavy, and yes it has issues and plotholes, but that’s besides the point. I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching this show from start to end. I may have been in the heat of the moment during my marathon of the second half, but to me that does not change my feelings for this show even after looking at it after cooling off. Re:CREATORS was an exciting show that I had on my mind most of the time before I had a chance to finally sit down to finish it. I just wish I knew people who liked the show as well.

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Sakura Quest

I stopped watching mid-season and never had enough interest to continue it. It’s not that Sakura Quest is a bad anime, but it’s extremely laid back. Compared with the other interesting shows of the season, I ended up dedicating my time to them over this.

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Tsurezure Children

This short episode format anime was a breath of fresh air for the rom-com genre for me, as it wasn’t the usual scenario where the progression is slow and cliché.

Tsurezure Children depicts various scenarios of young love coming to fruition, along with the struggles and joys that it entails.

This description courtesy of MAL.net is what makes this a good watch for people who like romance animes. It has multiple couples with their own circumstances, with similar reactions to how you’d expect it to turn out in real life. (Hard for me to say this as I don’t have experience of my own….) I enjoyed watching how their relationships struggled and grew through like and love for one another. My favorite couple was Sugawara and Takano, a classic couple where Sugawara likes an oblivious Takano, who slowly grows attracted to him due to his kindness. Takano’s love inexperience makes it entertaining watching her deal with her new feelings, to the point where she likes him too.

I do hope for another season of this anime, as it only gave a couple of the couples a conclusion at the end. There were maybe as much as 10 couples/pairings, and with the episodes only being half the duration of a standard episode, there was just not enough time to give justice to them all. I want to see more of the pairings that are working steadily towards the couple status, as well as seeing the progression of the couples that have established themselves already.

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Crunchyroll Expo 2017 September 1, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
Tags: , , ,
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I went to Crunchyroll Expo (CRX) this year, Crunchyroll’s first ever anime convention, which took place on August 25th through 27th at the Santa Clara Convention Center. If you don’t know what Crunchyroll is: Crunchyroll is an American distributor, publisher, licensing company and international online community focused on video streaming East Asian media including anime, manga, drama, music, electronic entertainment, and content. – Wikipedia. Originally created as a website to illegally distribute licensed anime titles, it grew over time into an official platform to house anime and manga titles. Its name is now mostly known throughout the industry as one of the legal ways to watch anime and support the anime industry at the same time. I’ve been a premium member of Crunchyroll for a while now, but I will admit that I used to watch anime on illegal sites before, like most people have. For me, Crunchyroll is a cheap and convenient way for me to watch most of what I’m looking to watch in an anime season.

My friends and I went to CRX for the first two days of the event. There wasn’t much that interested us in the third day so we skipped it. CRX also happened to be right after a 6 day road trip my friends and I had, so it was a bit of a transition from that to a con scene.

For all my photos taken from Crunchyroll Expo, please check out my Flickr set Crunchyroll Expo 2017.


Day 1 – August 25th

We arrived at CRX at about 5:30PM after dealing with some 101 traffic. We easily toured the entire con as the convention center is quite small in comparison to other con centers I’ve been to. The Dealers Hall and Artist Alley were pretty good but there wasn’t much else in between that interested us. I at least did find myself buying a Game Boy Advance SP in the Dealers Hall after looking for one for a while to replace the one I have that has a broken inner screen where the liquid crystal display is. I also got a couple free bags and a pin for being a premium member of Crunchyroll.

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Not long after going around the con, we decided to leave at around 7PM to go to a nearby Sushi place called Kula Sushi in Cupertino for dinner. The food here is good but the wait to get in is really long. (We waited about an hour and a half.) I love their secondary belt delivery system, which is used to deliver ordered food from a touch screen directly to your table. It was useful as we were at the end of our revolving belt, meaning that most of the sushi on it was already taken. After a satisfying dinner we headed back home to rest for the next day.

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Day 2 – August 26th

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The second day started almost like the first, but I avoided potential traffic by taking the 280 instead. We arrived at CRX at around 4:30pm and split up shortly after so that I can go around to take photos while my other friends wander the con. At 6PM we meet up to grab some dinner at the food trucks that were posted on the side of the convention. There wasn’t many options, but it was better than nothing. I got myself some Korean chicken “rice bowl” that didn’t have rice due to the truck not having any more rice. Despite that, the chicken was quite good, just wish I had rice, that would of made it more filling. There was some events that each of us wanted to check out at around this time: My friends wanted to go to the screening of Lastman, a french animation about a magical boxer…. apparently.

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Crunchyroll Expo 2017 113

While they attended that I decided to go to the ClariS video concert, which was the exact same one I attended at Anime Expo. I got to the AX one in the middle of it, so I didn’t get the full experience. I lined up about 45 minutes before it was to start, and by the time it was go time the line was long enough that I thought that they would have to cap the line for the room. As we entered the concert room we were given a pair of green and pink glow sticks that were branded with the ClariS name. I got a seat near the central aisle towards the back, and as people filed in I noticed the room was bigger than I thought it would hold. Looking towards the stage was a fairly small screen that was showing a pop quiz about ClariS which most people seemed to participate in as it played. While waiting for the concert to start there was an old man next to me who didn’t seem to know who the “performers” were, so I explained as simply as possible to enlighten him about ClariS. Right as the quiz ended, the concert started. It was a great mix of anime songs they did, as well as from their own albums. It was also my first time being in a concert where the audience participated using glow sticks, just like a lot of J-pop concerts do in Japan. It was fun to see myself and others try and figure out the rhythm and type of movement for each song. Usually we took ques from the audience in the video concert, as well as audio ques from the more experienced concert goers who added their own parts for us to follow.

After the concert I waited around for my friends a bit near their screening room. I ended up getting tired of standing around waiting so I decided to go to my car and wait there, which wasn’t too far from the exit of the convention center. As I walked to my car, fireworks were going off over the Great America theme park that was across the street from the convention center. I could see people in the neighboring hotel checking out the light show from my car. At around 10PM my friends finished up and we left for home shortly after.


Overall Thoughts

For the first ever Crunchyroll Expo, I thought it was tame but solid. Sure I was there collectively for only several hours between the three day event, but based on the schedule there wasn’t much to see overall. If I were to rate it out of 10, I would give it a 7. I give this con the benefit of a doubt for a couple of reasons: For one if they had a better venue space I feel they would have had more things to see/do, such as having anime viewing rooms and maybe some dedicated spaces for cosplayers. Most of the rooms they had at the Santa Clara Convention Center was used for panels and events, and anything else left was empty for unknown reasons. As a company who is directly connected with the industry, I expected more exclusive events/guests. I personally didn’t see much that would have interested me at CRX, but I do have my hopes up for the future years to come. With a bigger venue space, and time to create a reputation as a reputable anime convention, I see potential in Crunchyroll Expo to be a competing anime convention in the Northern California area. I don’t see them moving down to Southern California anytime soon, as there already are a number of conventions who have cemented themselves there. Unless they cave to the increased amount of people who would attend an anime convention in SoCal, they will probably stay close to their headquarters in San Francisco. If CRX continues, I’ll probably be there so I hope you look forward to it as well.

Spring Anime Season 2017 – Review July 4, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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This season had a pretty good mix of animes. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria

Eromanga-sensei

Hinako Note

Little Witch Academia (TV)

Re:Creators

Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata ♭

Sakura Quest

Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria

In this side story spin-off of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Sword Oratoria focuses on Ais Wallenstein and her Familia under the Goddess Loki. The story runs parallel in timeline to Bell Cranel’s one, so we see scenes from the original series when they intertwine.

At first I thought that this was going to be more of a slice-of-life series than the original series was going to be, however now that this season is over, I feel that both series hold their own well. In the original series, Ais was seen as more of a boring character; powerful but lacking much emotion. By having a series about her, it helped to flesh out her character more, by showing her backstory up to the present. I’m hoping that both this spin-off series and the main will mix more in a similar fashion to how the To Aru Majutsu series has with its separate story focuses on Misaka and Accelerator.

Eromanga-sensei

A spiritual successor to Oreimo as it and this series was both created by the same person, Eromanga-sensei is about light novel writer and “protagonist” Izumi Masamune and his little step sister Sagiri who is known by her online alias Eromanga-sensei for her erotic illustrations. A shut-in since her mother died about a year ago, Sagiri is slowly acclimated to coming out of her room by her older brother Masamune, who learns is the author of the book she illustrates for. They create and share a dream of making a successful LN/anime series together.

I was attracted to this series mainly for its closeness with the Oreimo series, as well as for what the name of the series has to offer. Even though Sagiri is only 13, her ability to draw ero-art was top notch. It was later shown that her skill and habits comes from her late mother who seemed to work as a illustrator as well. Her older step brother Masamune, a self proclaimed genius of light novels, started writing when he was very young. With encouragement from fans of his work, his goal was to become a professional for his fans and career.

This anime series was slow but not in a bad way. While not much as changed, we can see that both Sagiri and Masamune are making headway towards their dream. They both have made new friends and are enjoying the road ahead of them. Even if times were bad in the past, things change and the only direction left will be the future. Sure Sagiri may not have left the house, but at least she has left her room right? I also enjoyed the other characters as well, Yamada Elf and her outward personality, and Senju Muramasa with her absolute adoration for Masamune’s LN work and admiration for him.

It was an enjoyable series overall. Some fan service parts were cringe worthy for characters clearly too young, but if you try to put yourself in their position, I guess it makes sense for why it’s normal for them.

Hinako Note

The cutesy anime of the season, Hinako Note is about a country girl who is bad at speaking with others. In order to improve this part of her, she decides to move to Tokyo and joins the drama club in high school. She moves in to a boarding house/used bookstore/cafe that houses a colorful cast of people that becomes her friends. Together they help Hinako overcome her fear of interacting with others by starting a theater troupe.

I guess I started watching this one because well it looks cute. It’s pretty much an anime about friendship and getting over the little hurdles in life. One thing I do need to mention is how the fan service was served in this anime. For one, there wasn’t any during most of the first half of the season, and it definitely wasn’t expected in this kind of show. When it did show itself it was quite blatant, and felt a little forced and unnatural for how innocent it generally projected itself overall. I’m not saying it was outright bad to have it, but rather it should of been done in a soft cutesy way rather than straight up bunny suit / skimpy outfits. Besides that, it was an OK casual anime to watch.

Little Witch Academia (TV)

I binge watched Little Witch Academia (TV) as I didn’t have time to watch it when it started at the beginning of the year. I remember when this series was created from the 2012 Young Animator Training Project, a government program to train young animators on-the-job. Studio Trigger was part of this program and created LWA from it, gaining praise from viewers of the first short movie of this series. A Kickstarter was run to produce a sequel short movie which surpassed its funding goal, and was premiered at Anime Expo back in 2015. I got to see that when I went and it was awesome, showcasing itself in a classic Trigger fashion.

The TV anime version of LWA was announced in a clever way, through one of Trigger’s other series, Space Patrol Luluco. Space Patrol Luluco is chock full of references to Trigger’s other works such as Infernal Cop, Kill La Kill, and LWA. At the very end of the last episode of Space Patrol Luluco, you see Luluco essentially pass the baton to Akko of LWA, a nice touch to give it good luck in its future.

The Little Witch Academia TV anime was a blast to watch. Spanning 25 episodes, it tells the story of a girl named Atsuko Kagari aka Akko who dreams to become a witch like Shiny Chariot, a magic performer who taught her that “A believing heart is your magic”. She enrolls in the same school that Chariot went to, Luna Nova, to study magic to eventually reach her role model. There she befriends all sorts of people, and learns what magic can do, for others and for herself.

The anime was done in two segments; The first half of the season shows Akko struggling but slowly learning the basics of magic. A bunch of random events happen to our overly energetic main character who does whatever she thinks is right. Even if she doesn’t think things through, it seems to work out in the end. The second half starts with the introduction of an antagonist of sorts, and Akko learning about the true purpose of the Shiny Rod. The Shiny Rod is revealed to be the key to break the seal of Grand Triskellion, an magic with tremendous power that can change the world. The Nine Olde Witches sealed it within Arcturus Forest due to dangers that it posed if fell to the wrong hands. And thus, the Shiny Rod (Claiomh Solais) exist as the only key to unlock it, if its wielder is able to revive the Seven Words of Arcturus. I won’t spoil much more than this, but this definitely adds solid context to Akko’s actions and the world around her.

I really enjoyed all that Little Witch Academia had to offer. Action/comedy moments that bewitch your heart. Near the end of the series, upon reviving the final Word, I had goosebumps all throughout that scene, as if the magic within my heart was reacting to it. Trigger knows how to build up to a great ending, and I’m glad that I got myself to finally sit down and watch this fantastic series. The only nitpick worth mentioning was the sometimes cheap animation look. It’s not really a complaint, but rather noticing an art style that has charm. (Probably done for a more comedic look, and budget saving tactics.) I will look forward to Trigger’s next anime for sure. You can count on it!

Re:Creators

My favorite anime of the season, and a while actually. Re:CREATORS is an anime where genres fight against each other knowing that their worlds are a creation by people in the real world. Created by studio TROYCA, and music by Sawano Hiroyuki, the duo who also created Aldnoah.Zero what it was, this series was something I was excited for hearing that these two were working together again. The first synopsis I read for this anime was a bit confusing:

Humans have created many stories. Joy, sadness, anger, deep emotion. Stories shake our emotions, and fascinate us. However, these are only the thoughts of bystanders. But what if the characters in the story have “intentions”? To them, are we god-like existences for bringing their story into the world? Our world is changed. Mete out punishment upon the realm of the gods. In Re:CREATORS, everyone becomes a Creator.

(Source: ANN)

This gave me a vague idea what it was about, but luckily it looks that MAL.net got it much better:

Humans have designed countless worlds—each one born from the unique imagination of its creator. Souta Mizushino is a high school student who aspires to be such a creator by writing and illustrating his own light novel. One day, while watching anime for inspiration, he is briefly transported into a fierce fight scene. When he returns to the real world, he realizes something is amiss: the anime’s headstrong heroine, Celestia Yupitilia, has somehow returned with him.

Before long, other fictional characters appear in the world, carrying the hopes and scars of their home. A princely knight, a magical girl, a ruthless brawler, and many others now crowd the streets of Japan. However, the most mysterious one is a woman in full military regalia, dubbed “Gunpuku no Himegimi,” who knows far more than she should about the creators’ world. Despite this, no one knows her true name or the world she is from.

Meanwhile, Souta and Celestia work together with Meteora Österreich, a calm and composed librarian NPC, to uncover the meaning behind these unnatural events. With powerful forces at play, the once clear line between reality and imagination continues to blur, leading to a fateful meeting between creators and those they created.

This synopsis nails down what it’s about more directly. What’s also awesome about this season is that it runs for 22 episodes, a better way to flush out the story. So far it’s about half way done, and it has been an up and down ride. The first few episodes were wordy in describing the series’s universe, but that’s because this is a relatively new project as the manga looks to only have started a couple of months ago. Whether or not the anime version is following the current manga, is on an original storyline, or is parallel to the manga but ahead of it, I’m not sure.

I’m definitely enjoying most of this anime, but it’s not without things that bug me. First off the main character: Enter Souta, a weak sounding guy who is emotionally scarred after indirectly causing a friend’s death. To me he got on my nerves because he looks like he was going to cry every so often. At this point in the anime it looks like he’s finally soaking up his tears to do his part in being helpful. I hope to see him grow out of his depression to not bring the rest of the cast down.

The second irritation is Magane, a character who talks too much, enjoys causing chaos and killing, and has an ability that I still have a hard time trying to understand. Here’s her ability description courtesy of MAL.net: “She possesses an ability called “Infinite Deception of Words” that allows her to bend reality through lies and deception; by telling a lie and manipulating somebody into rejecting that claim it creates a “lie of a lie” which by proxy makes the initial claim become real.” Can someone tell me how this works? I’m running this example in my head: Say something is blue, but she says it’s yellow. I reject that it’s yellow, so…. huh? I can’t even run a simulation in my head for this. The anime examples don’t help either. Let’s just say she plays mind games and whatever she wants to become a reality happens.

The scene where Selesia gets a power up in Ep. 10 is one of those moments where everything comes together. The atmosphere of the battle, Sawano music doing its thing, and the transitions, pacing, and emotions. It’s those rare amazing anime moments that stay in my mind, leaving me to constantly think of the show and what to expect in its future.

I really wish that this anime had more exposure. It’s not available on Crunchyroll or Funimation, only Anime Strike (Amazon) as far as I know. There also isn’t much advertising for it that I’ve seen. Maybe it’s because it’s a new IP, that it’s not an established series, that advertisers don’t want to take a risk with it. Maybe if it does well enough, and the story demands it, another season can be made with a potential for more viewers.

We’re only halfway done with the series, so I’ll have my full review of Re:CREATORS in a couple months. I’m enjoying it, you should try watching too. If you enjoy anime in general, and like to see swordwomen, magical girls, tough guys wielding personas, floating gunmen, giant mechas, and a crazy psychotic high school girl duke it out for the entertainment of a dark version of Hatsune Miku who uses an endless array of floating swords, then please take a look for yourself.

Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records

I wasn’t originally planning to watch this series because it looked like another one of those magical academy type of shows, but after seeing some clips on social media, I decided to give it a try. The difference between this anime and others like it is that that main character isn’t some student, but rather a new teacher named Glenn Radars. He’s quite simply put, a bastard who seems to be a selfish, laid-back, full-of-himself kind of guy. (The English name of this series is Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor.) While that is what he projects on the outside, there is more to him than meets the eye. He was formally part of an elite magic military group, where he was known for his killer instinct. During this time, he lost someone that he cared for that he was trying to protect. After abruptly leaving the military, he became a teacher under orders from Celica Arfonia, his adopted guardian who taught him magic at a young age after losing his family. As a teacher, he learned again what it means to be responsible, and to care for his students, especially because one of them looks like the one he lost in the past.

The show itself was entertaining, especially with Glenn in the driver’s seat. He may not have been a particular powerhouse of magic, but he made up with his intellect, physical strength, and charisma. One of the minor things that detracted my liking of the anime was the pacing. If you look at the anime based on its main conflicts, then you might notice a trend. Every few episodes is like a mini story in itself surrounding Glenn and one of the other main characters. It was almost like every 3 episodes that it was focused on a character; Glenn, Glenn and Rumia, Glenn and Re=L, Glenn and Sistine. While in hindsight this pacing structure is solid, it also made it a little predictable for how the anime was going to proceed story wise once noticed. This may not be a bad thing all things considered, but its just something that I thought I should mention as part of my review.

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata ♭

In this second season of Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend .flat, we finally see much more advancement of character development, as well as cute moments from most of our female main characters surrounding Aki Tomoya.

I am glad that things moved forward in a consistent way. There was much more drama surrounding their relationships, and the more or less realistic ending of moving toward new opportunities. Katou Megumi really shined when she showed her emotions. What made her “unique” was her boringness, because whenever she would express her happiness or sadness it had more weight than someone who was emotional all the time. Utaha and Eriri also became bolder in their approach to Tomoya, and also towards their careers. As for Tomoya himself, while he learned valuable lessons from his peers about game and friend development, he doesn’t change all that much, especially the dense protagonist part of him. Overall I enjoyed this second season of an anime, definitely better than the first. If anything more I want see from this series, is the game that Tomoya and Megumi make together, the game that Tomoya wanted to make from the start. That would more or less bring it full circle in my opinion.

Sakura Quest

This anime will be a 25 episode season, and at this point it is half over so I’ll just jot down some of my current impressions of it. Here’s the quick synopsis from MAL.net:

“In the wake of a nationwide movement during the Bubble economy period, a small town in the countryside has revived its “mini-nation” tourism program; hiring five girls as travel ambassadors. The series will follow a year’s time of the five girls as they work in the tourism agency of a small failing town in an effort to reinvigorate it.”

This is a very laid-back and slow series that is interesting enough to watch if you are into slice-of-life. It can get boring sometimes, as I think I’ve fallen asleep a couple of times while watching, but that’s more because I watch anime late at night. I’ll give a full review at the end of the season, but for now it’s just another casual anime to watch.

Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2

Most of everyone’s favorite anime comes back in this Season 2, and boy was it slow. My first and main complaint when watching the first few episodes: The constant backtracking. While watching the beginning of the first few episodes, I just wanted the story to move forward. Can’t do that when a few minutes in we get a “12 hours earlier” scene that seems to last for the rest of the episode. I know that it’s trying to build context towards the ending of this season, but I just wish that it could of done that through linear storytelling rather through throwing us back and forth in the timeline. I’ve been hearing about the lack of animators in the anime industry, so that’s probably why they couldn’t run another 25 episode season so soon. That’s probably also why not much time in story was passed, as they focused on using big story elements to shrink the amount of episodes needed to engage viewers. For the record, I have not read the manga, so I’m not to say whether or not they are following the source material. If the anime version runs parallel to it’s manga counterpart, then probably my complaints are invalid. But either way these are my sole opinions as one who only watches the anime.

Besides my main issues, the season was solid in doing what it needed to do. The revealing of plot altering events were done well, though to me the impact of it was more like a “Huhhh…” than a “Huh?!” I don’t know, I wasn’t thrown aback by it at all. Maybe because the who-is-a-titan thing is starting to become all more common than it was back in season 1.

Season 3 has already been announced for 2018, so we won’t get a wait time as long as we did for the second. I plan to watch it as I’d like a conclusion to this series’s mystery of the titans, but I’m not even sure a third season can end it, unless they bring it back to a 24-25 episode season. We’ll have to wait and see once again.

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?

This was another don’t judge a book by it’s cover anime. In WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?, it takes place far in the future where humans have become instinct at the hands of “Beasts” roaming the planet. New races arose and now live on floating islands that are out of reach of all but the most mobile of Beasts. (The following is the rest of the synopsis via MAL.net):

“Only a small group of young girls, the Leprechauns, can wield the ancient weapons needed to fend off invasions from these creatures. Into the girls’ unstable and fleeting lives, where a call to certain death could come at any moment, enters an unlikely character: a young man who lost everything in his final battle five hundred years ago, the last living human awakened from a long, icy slumber.

Unable to fight any longer, Willem becomes the father that the girls never had, caring for and nurturing them even as he struggles to come to terms with his new life, in which he feels the pain of helplessly waiting for his loved ones to return home from battle that his ‘Daughter’ once felt for him so long ago. Together, Willem and the girls gradually come to understand what family means and what is truly worth protecting.”

At first, it looked like it was a slice-of-life type of anime based on the later part of the synopsis and main image that was used on its MAL.net page. Turns out its more of an drama/action/romance genre, and it does so quite well. What I liked about the main character Willem was his attitude. He wasn’t an annoying shy guy, like we’ve seen in other world animes. He’s a smart, strong character with a tragic backstory. He may have been a hero before, but that time has gone and passed. Even then his motivation to protect what he cares about has not dimmed, rather he found new reasons to live through it. Every so often he may show vulnerability from his emotions, as a man out of time who lost everything, but that makes him relatable.

As for the girls, they’re a cute bunch but learning what they really are and what they’re for makes it bittersweet. I wonder how similar a Leprechaun and a human like Willem are, as there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference. They both even have some extra power, the flying/self-destruct ability for the Leprechauns and Willem’s super sprint/strength (though for Willem that could be because he was a hero in the past).

It concluded as you would expect when things continually fall apart. I was a little confused for what happened at the end, my question: Who survived? While the final scene hints at a rebirth of sorts, the whole ending makes me feel that at the very least happiness was held on until the very end. It gives us viewers hope that they found what they were looking for. I definitely hope that’s what happened.