There are two Fate/stay night TV anime series and the first of three Heaven's Feel movies coming out in 2017. In addition to this, Fate/Grand Order also dropped its 72-minute -First Order- commercial on the last day of 2016. It seems...excessive. It also doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in me to learn Fate/Apocrypha is based on a light novel series. Fate/Extra at least is going to be a SHAFT x SHINBO show, which I suppose is good news for those of you who like that sort of thing. I'm at least sort of optimistic because it features the Tange Sakura-type Saber, who was at least pretty great in Carnival Phantasm.(more…)
As you can see from my per-episode chart, it took a while for Dagashi Kashi to secure the top spot I predicted, but it's in good company. Konosuba is my current number four show, but its rating is higher than what I gave my top show, One Punch Man, autumn 2015. I certainly disagree with people who claim this is not a very good season. Besides, there are at least three "NOT KID'S STUFF" serious shows worth watching1 in addition to some entertaining lighter fare, so I'm pretty deaf to most complaints.(more…)
I'm tempted to describe Chaos Dragon as the broth of too many cooks, but I'm not quite optimistic enough to believe that. More likely it's just your regular ol' half-assed train wreck. As I understand it (and certainly do not rely on my impressions as the truth, garnered as they were from the rumor and conjecture of various secondary sources), Chaos Dragon is an anime adaptation of a real-world Red Dragon role-playing game campaigned by esteemed writers and directors including Nasu Kinoko (Fate/stay night), Narita Ryohgo (Durarara!!!), and Urobuchi Gen (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika). The actual anime itself is incoherent and frankly terrible in wholly unremarkable ways. I have no interest in the lead character, Ibuki, and never agreed there was a good reason to make this kid king. I also didn't care about that nonsense about the Red Dragon's powers, or killing suicidal friends, and definitely not the bewildering responses to news about his sister.(more…)
Dated 30 December 2014: Fate stay/night: Unlimited Blade Works is still good even though it's no Carnival Phantasm
The first cour of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is quite good despite all the problems in its source material. This is a testament to ufotable's deft execution, because that source material is sufficiently flawed that it could easily turn into a train wreck in less capable hands. The mythology behind the Holy Grail War is so preposterous that it seems more appropriate for any Fate/stay night adaptation to play it safe and simply be a straight-up farce like Carnival Phantasm. It's a credit to ufotable that I don't spend every moment of every episode asking perfectly reasonable questions such as, "Why hasn't Berserker killed them yet? Why isn't he killing them now?"
The first cour of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works legitimately is good, though. The action sequences are exceptionally well done, the production values are great all around, and (most amazingly) Emiya Shirou does not come across as a shitheel. Unfortunately, this is a split-cour series, so we're going to have to wait until spring to find out what manner of CGI euphemism we'll get this time around. Who knows, maybe ufotable will actually animate the sex scene? J.C. Staff did that with Shingetsutan Tsukihime, the first anime adaptation of a TYPE-MOON game (Internet memes notwithstanding), even if it turned out that vampires don't have nipples.
Dated 9 December 2014: ufotable's Fate/stay night would be a lot better if it wasn't for Fate/stay night
I'm not entirely convinced Fate/stay night needed a remake. Whipping boy Studio DEEN's first adapted this TYPE-MOON game in 2006 with the Saber-centric "Fate" route, followed by a 2010 movie based on the Rin-tastic "Unlimited Blade Works" route. Logically, the Sakura-suffering "Heaven's Feel" route should be next, but it appears ufotable plans on adapting it (as a movie) after animating their own "Unlimited Blade Works" project, this time as a television series that sort of succeeds ufotable's 2011 Fate/Zero prequel.(more…)
Kawasumi Ayako is in three shows this season. She returns as the regal Saber in ufotable's adaptation of Fate/stay night, she's back as the not entirely forthright LRIG Hanayo in selector spread WIXOSS, and she voices a surly (male) mascot in Amagi Brilliant Park.
Ayako's Saber remains basically the same as her previous turns as Saber (excepting the farcical Carnival Phantasm), meaning she's generally pretty good and has some neat battle cries, but doesn't otherwise offer a lot of range since Saber is fairly taciturn. Her Hanayo has been largely absent from the initial episodes of selector infected WIXOSS. The show has thus far been churning through apparently endless amounts of grief involving other (read: inferior) characters. This basically leaves Moffle in Amagi Brilliant Park—an amusing character with occasional mugging, but Moffle is no Nodame, I'm afraid. These days, however, I'll take what I can get.
Aldnoah.Zero was far and away the best show from Summer 2014. I know a lot of viewers disagree with this opinion, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of its episodes. I've written a lot about it. Probably too much, considering I don't like it thaaat much even though it did almost get a perfect score on my little chart jobbie.(more…)
Dated 16 August 2014: Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei isn't as good as Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya E1n
The first season of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya was unexpectedly good. The TYPE-MOON universe is so filled with overwrought narratives it's no surprise viewers who are fans (but, importantly, not fanatics) of TYPE-MOON enjoy its parodies so much. (See, for example, the brilliant Carnival Phantasm.) The first season of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya hits its marks almost perfectly. It had clever juxtapositions of familiar elements, funny inversions of standard mahou shoujo stereotypes, and outstanding fight scenes.
Unfortunately, Prisma☆Illya stumbles in its second season, perhaps because it has become too familiar. Rather than simply being a Fate/stay night parody, the Prismaverse now has its own emerging myths and canon. It hasn't outright bogged itself down with its own "overwrought narratives," but it is neglecting much of what made the first season so good. This may be a roundabout way of saying that the second season is slow, but I'm not sure pacing is really the issue. I think the actual problem is I don't care about Kuro as an antagonist. She's also not likeable enough to sympathize with as an inevitable "frenemy" character, either. Many viewers also complain about the fan service. Although I generally won't criticize a show for its fan service, no matter how aggressive it is, there is a desperate quality to the fan service this season, to the show's detriment. On the plus side, episode six demonstrates that Silver Link can still do cool shit with the fight scenes, so there is that.