I watched the Love Live School Idol Movie this past weekend, and it was a pleasant experience. It serves as a nice sendoff for the members of μ’s as they transition to the new generation with Love Live Sunshine and the introduction of Aquors. I’m not going to do a full review of this movie, as I would be too biased to do so., but I do have some thoughts about the movie as a whole. There may be some spoilers for the anime series in my thoughts.
Kenji Kazama is just your average high school delinquent. He leads his gang known as the Kazama Party as they do deliquent-like activities, such as skipping class and causing trouble. However, an incident with Roka Shibasaki and the members of the Game Creation Club (provisional) led to Kenji being forced to join the club. After spending time with them, Kenji notices how each member has his or her own oddities about them which drives his crazy. Together, they experience a whole lot of wacky adventures with other students who have their own oddities.
Another month. Another few episodes into the fall season. Still haven’t dropped any of my three shows that I’m watching. Well, here is what I thought about them.
Shirobako (Episode 4-8)
Mushashino Animation has been going through a rough patch in their production of Exodus!. Kinoshita, the director, hasn’t finished the storyboard for the final episode and is locked up by the chief producer Honda in order to finish it. In addition, Endou, the animation supervisor for the eighth episode, has abruptly quit due to a spat between him and the 3D director Shimoyanagi, regarding whether to use key frames or 3D for a key explosion scene, and it’s up to Aoi and her co-worker Taro to resolve this crisis. These problems are an interesting look in the behind-the-scenes process of creating an anime. It definitely feels like watching a documentary with the different processes and positions involved. The good part about this is that these problems don’t get resolved in just one episode, but take a couple of episodes to develop, which makes it feel a little more realistic. There are some problems as the storylines and points-of-view switch around during the course of the episode, which can seem to drag on a little bit, but I like how they manage to focus on the other characters beside the main five.
On the other side, there are also the struggles of two of the main five characters. Shizuka, who is a newbie voice actor, has been trying to land a role and go to auditions, but has yet to find a part. Ema, a key animator who works at Musashino Animation, struggles with the balance between speed and quality and ended up making mistakes on the cuts for which she was responsible. We can see how the stress from working in the industry has affected them. They feel down and sad, lamenting that they aren’t having the success they were expecting when they graduated from high school. This shows how tough it is to make it in the anime industry. There are thousands of voice actors, yet only a limited amount of roles. In addition, the deadlines that the animators have to make can cause a lot of stress, especially with how little they are getting paid. We feel for these two and hope that they can get better and achieve their dreams of becoming successful
The next episodes are setting up for a great finale of this arc, and hopefully, everything will go smoothly as we transition into the next where the main cast makes another anime with more experience.
Rating: 8/10 (Great)
Lord Marksman and Vanadis (Episode 5-8)
Tigre has been branded a traitor by the Brune Kingdom, and an army has been sent to kill. Tigre has to employ the services of Elenora again in order to fight them off. Here, we are introduced to more of the war maidens. Ludmila is a long time rival to Elen, who wields a spear capable of manipulating ice. Sofya serves as a mediator for all the war maidens, who wields a priestess staff who can deflect most weapons.
If there is one thing that Marksman has going on, it is the tactical side of the battles. A narrator is explaining the details of the strategies employed by both sides while a graphic with CGI chess pieces move along a map and simulating the battle in front of us. Unfortunately, that is the only good thing about this show. Tigre, despite his rural background and his use of a bow in battle, is just too perfect. He doesn’t have any real flaws about him. In battle, he is just like Legolas, who can hit any shot with his bow. Those shots are just impossible to make, especially one where he shot an arrow high in the air and killed a knight’s horse a few seconds later with that same arrow. While indeed cool-looking, he seems just too powerful during battle, only getting injured once. Additionally, there are so many harem elements that just come off as cliche and tired. The bathhouse scene where Tigre walks in on Ludmila. The “armor” that the war maidens wear during battle. It’s just not that interesting.
Lord Marksman and Vanadis is not a good show. I’ll see it through the end, since I’m already two-thirds of the way done, but I’m not really expecting anything interesting to develop.
Rating: 3/10 (Bad)
When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace (Episodes 5-8)
After such a great start, Supernatural Battles has lost some momentum going into the middle stretch. Jurai is still his lovable “chunni”, but again shows why he is such a good main character. This time, it’s his interaction with Tomoyo, a closet “chunni” who Jurai can relate to. Tomoyo is aspiring to be a light novel author, but has been struggling in the competitions she has been entering. Jurai supports her, and she ends up passing the first round of a light novel competition. Sayumi also get her own episode, where her past as a middle school student council president shows her ideals and how her experience in trying to force them on others has changed her. However, the most dramatic episode came when the series focuses on Hatoko, Jurai’s childhood friend. She is in love with him, but can’t seem to understand the world that Jurai lives in as a chunni. In a two-and-a-half-minute impassioned speech (you can watch the speech below), Hatoko vents her frustrations on why she can’t understand him and his chunni ways. The way Hatoko puts her emotion into that speech was brilliant and heartbreaking. Often times, it’s the weird kid that tries to fit into the “normal” society, but this time, it is the other way around with Hatoko trying to fit into Jurai’s world.
Unfortunately, some of that momentum is lost in episode 8 where we are introduced to another group of students, who obtained supernatural powers, led by Tomoyo’s older brother. According to them, there is a war going on between these people with superpowers for the entertainment of these fairies. The “Supernatural Battles” from the title certainly took effect here in this episode, but it really runs away from the themes that could have been explored with Hatoko’s breakdown. In addition, this sudden shift from a slice-of-life show to an action shonen would have been good if Jurai’s group had been more involved. To be honest, it was an unnecessary break.
This has been an entertaining show. While I don’t expect the ending to be conclusive, the balance between the comedic timing and dramatic elements really help this series a lot of fun to watch.
Rating: 8/10 (Great)
Yukiteru “Yuki” Amano is just an average middle school student. Preferring to remain alone, he records everything he sees in his cell phone. Additionally, he talks with his imaginary friends Deus ex Machina and his servant Mur Mur. One day, he receives a special gift from Deus, a “Future Diary” in a form of cell phone that can predict the future. With his “Future Diary” in hand, Yuki is thrown into a battle royale with eleven other participants with Deus, revealed to be the god of space and time. The goal of this game is simple: be the last person standing before the 90-day deadline and become the next god of space and time. Yuki is forced to team up with Yuno Gasai, a fellow classmate of his, who has a strong obsession with Yuki, but there is more to her than what she shows.
The town of Nagarekawa is struggling to attract tourists from around Japan. Thus, the city council decided to implement their own local idols or “Locodols” to promote their town. Nanako Usami is an ordinary high school. One day, her uncle, a member of the city government, approached Nanako to become a Locodol representing Nagarekawa. From there, she pairs up with Yukari Kohinata to form the Nagarekawa Girls as they try to promote their hometown to the whole nation.
We’re about a third into the Fall 2014 Season, and it is shaping up to be a decent season. I have three shows that I am currently watching right now, and here are my thoughts regarding these shows.
Saya Kisaragi is just your normal high school girl. She works as a shrine maiden at her father’s temple and goes to school with her closest friends. However, there is another side to her. At night, she is a monster slayer, protecting the village that she lives in from monster who feed on humans. Armed with her sacred sword, she attacks these monsters with swift and lethal moves. As more monsters start to attack her village, she starts to wonder and question the circumstances of her own existence and tries to find the answers to these questions.