Category Archives: Uncategorized

Vatican Miracle Examiner: Thank God It is Over

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never been a huge seasonal anime watcher but I am attempting to change this with each passing rendition of “hey heres 50 shows to watch.”

 

What i used to do was watch the big shows out there starting with erased during the 2015 season. while that series had its flaws later on I liked the weekly ride that it was. That is a rare feeling for me as I enjoy shows in a different manner than most. I prefer to watch my anime in shot gun bursts. Not entire marathons, not one episode per week but my ideal viewing situation is about 3 episodes at a time. This is roughly an hour worth of time and is perfect for my attention span. Anymore and I feel uncomfortable and less leaves me wanting to click next episode and lacking that ability. There are exceptions where I’ve binged and watched weekly so I see some value in both sides my my preferences are mine.

 

Vatican miracle examiner is a special show. Special in the sense that i planned to watch it weekly I drafted it just like Hand shakers. And like hand shakers i was severely disappointed.

This show seemed interesting in concept. Twos priests work for the vatican to investigate so called miracles using science and historical analysis to debunk them. Theres also the aspect of the priests wanting to actually witness a real miracle, but also having a grip on reality that these claims are likely bs. The opening theme song is also good and at first kept me somewhat entertained every week.

 

That’s the end of what’s good about this series. Let’s get to the bad and the ugly.

 

Let’s start with the characters. Hiraga and Roberto are seemingly deep at first glance with the former being the science research leg of the team and Roberto using some cunning analysis of situations and historical knowledge he gets from various old texts and biblical expertise. We also had glimpses to their pasts and struggles they have dealt with but only a glimpse. In addition they are just boring. Like the whole show. They are dull in design, voice and action. Nothing they do is memorable and I had to google their names still even after 12 episodes. Any development they have is lacking and the thing the series focuses on most is their pseudo homosexual bond. Seriously this show was very close to yaoi. The character designs are generic pretty boys (very few women are in the series at all). Loren, who is a guy,serves as an info broker for the duo while serving a prison sentence. He is an atheist and the show touches the idea of trying to convert him but barely. that plot line gets lost in a sea of ridiculousness.

 

This shows storylines are so bad they are funny. This could be a thing you watch when u want something to laugh at like Wolf Cop, Birdemic SAO or my videos.

 

The 12 episodes are broken into three mini arc mysteries in which the boring priests go to a boring setting and encounter some out of this world phenomena claimed to be a miracle. The series is at its best in the first arc where we investigate levitation,stigmata, and an immaculate conception. The road to debunking these claims is a slow burn at first but then slams the gas pedal into WTF land. At the end of this arc the series has gone down so many out of left field twists and turns it feels like a comedy. Antagonist motivations are insane and when the arc concludes there’s no sense of fulfillment, just confusion.

Skip this show. The animation is bad it’s too dark at times, character designs suck, voice acting isn’t much better the plot sucks and gets more and more boring with each arc. Maybe just maybe watch the first 4 episodes. Better yet just watch episode 4 and you won’t be missing much and will be perhaps as equally confused as I was. If you enjoy bad stuff once in awhile this anime isn’t even consistent in holding your attention.  -Miasma

Don’t Forget 3. Oct. 11: Why FMA is Great

 

 

Life lessons can be taken from a variety of media, anime included, and while I personally believe that you shouldn’t take every value you hold dear from things you watch or read, I think anime can offer a great deal of virtuous information.You may never be a champion athlete you may never travel into space but all of us have the ability to adapt and persevere through adversity. This is where the Elric brothers of the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise shine the most. The original FMA was my second anime I’d ever seen, and to this day its theme of perseverance, its questioning of authority and its yearn to seek truth still stand out to me.  

 

Fma is an epic fantasy tale about overcoming life’s negative aspects by breaking them down and turning them into positive notes. We see death, despair heartbreak and immense regret yet these emotions while tragic in nature all succumb to the human spirit. Human spirit aided by magic of course but yeah. We all suffer, we all go through pain. Even in circumstances that are seemingly out of our control. One is all and all is one.

 

In this world alchemy exists, and not only that but it is used as a tool by scientists and the military in various ways.  From medical care to bombings, from fixing a broken radio to spearheading a war of extermination, alchemy is a tool which is all about equivalent exchange.

 

Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law.

 

On a personal side note I am a Christian. And before you freak out about me supporting a show whose main characters are seemingly atheists, to me what I try to take most out of the teachings of my religion is that I try to treat people the way I want to be treated. I act nice to others so that’s sort of what I expect. now does this always work? hell no. but I believe in it and I believe that this principle also fits with hard work.  I. believe that the best things in life do not come easy.

 

We all face adversity in some form. The characters of FMA deal with life’s adversities. The Elrics deal with death and loss as well as forced maturity due to the lack of parents and their goal to abandon their previous life in order to obtain their goals. Mustang lives with regret, his horrible memories of the Ishvalan war of extermination haunt him. Scar is plagued by a broken heart felt for his brother who lost himself within alchemy and the outside world that had forsaken his people.

 

I love a revenge story and there are several instances of revenge and reclamation in FMA. Scar seeks to avenge his people, Mustang seeks to instill honor in Amestris, and the Elrics look to redeem themselves and in a sense, seek revenge on God himself for taking so much from them.

 

As Vic Mignogna has said many times, Ed is, by the end of the series not an atheist. he was a kid who had everything stripped from him leaving behind a shell. It’s for this reason Ed is one of my favorite characters of all time. He is human. he makes mistakes he has bonds he tries to separate himself from what should matter most to him as we all do once in awhile. We blindly value the material while sacrificing the emotional daily as we must do to survive. for example we go to work daily, and let work overshadow our day for that period of time.

 

That time can never return to us. it could have been spent with family, developing our interpersonal well being or even self reflection but that gets abandoned as a necessary sacrifice. Ed leaves behind the emotional to seek his goal and repay his debts and endures so much hardship along the way. He is the essence of perseverance and will to live. now he has little brother to help of course which ties into my next great point of fma: bonds.

 

FMA showcases what I expect out of immediate family members, love and devotion. They care for each other, put one another first and foremost and would shatter without one another. This bond is not shared by everyone in reality and it is in their undying loyalty to one another that I find the Elrics to be one of the strongest families I have ever seen.

 

Hawkeye and Mustang share a bond of military background and personal ties to flame alchemy. Hawkeye agrees with mustangs goals and guides him on the way there.

 

My favorite bond in the series is one that is often overlooked. Wenry and the Elrics. yes I know her and Ed get together and all but I think that her ties to both of them is so unbreakable it must be made of diamond. Wenry is part of what the Elrics abandoned yet she is their tie to their home they need her automail skills. Yes ed does have feelings for her but I always felt Wenry meant so much more than a mechanic and a waifu. She heals the wounds of the heart the boys Bear as much as she can, and is their tightest connection to humanity as they delve into a world of discord.

 

Wenry is a prime example of why home is always home even if only in memory. one could sever all ties to their town, but memories will remain and even when she is not in the show memories of their childhood with her resonate with Ed and Alphonse always.

 

Perseverance and bonds are just two of a myriad of factors that make fma a masterpiece. It has great music awesome visuals and the like, but what I relate to and love most are those characteristics. Some may hate on the series original ending like I once did and the actual full story development of fma may have been a little rocky and in truth I like Brotherhood better. You should still watch both, just maybe not back to back.

 

if there’s anything I want you to take from this just know.

 

“There’s no such thing as a painless lesson—they just don’t exist. … You can’t gain anything without losing something first. Although if you can endure that pain and walk away from it, you’ll find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. A heart made fullmetal.”

-Miasma 

Check out my Youtube channel, Gyre Media!

FEAR, AND LOATHING IN LIVE ACTION

 

 

 

 

As an anime fan, I know that what I enjoy as a hobby is somewhat niche.  My entire life I have seemingly liked niche things, stuff that the general populous may not enjoy, metal music, anime, manga, and to a lesser extent video games.  Like the world of gaming anime is definitely becoming more mainstream, and it has more spotlight on it now than it ever did before.  Still it is a niche hobby in my opinion as it is far behind gaming in the west primarily in my opinion because anime is created in Japan, while games are produced all over the globe.

 

But let’s get to what this is really about. Your Name. The highest grossing anime film of all time from acclaimed director Makoto Shinkai, who is a personal favorite of mine, is getting a live action Hollywood film done by JJ Abrams.  There is good and bad to this, mostly bad, at least as I predict.  

 

The subject of live action adaptations is all over the community and while I have talked about my opinions of the live action Ghost in the Shell in the past I feel that I have a feeling about all of this that can be summed up in one word.

 

FEAR.

 

Fear because it seems like such a difficult task. Fear because I think that western filmmakers and live action filmmakers perhaps in general make the mistake each time of not quite understanding what makes anime fans like the original product.  Because very often, the original product is not something that can be done with live actors. Humor for one thing,in anime is unique and zany. That can’t really be replicated with actors. The crazy faces, slapstick comedy and rants like in FMA would be hard to do in a live action production.  Which is what honestly gives me fear about that upcoming film in december.  There are certain stories that are better left animated.

 

With your name, Shinkai’s beyond beautiful art style and character designs make the film so much better because aesthetics matter greatly to a lot of viewers, myself included.  It may be a shallow way to look at media, but I generally like stories that are character driven and have a strong aesthetic that appeals to me.  Shinaki’s films are excellent in these categories in my opinion. His characters feel realistic and even in supernatural settings I get emotionally ties to them. I don’t know how well that will work with some actor on screen.  

 

This ties into another thing that scares me is that I personally just don’t like live action material versus animated media, and there’s a lot of people out there who feel the same.  I wish there was more mature animation sure, but I would even watch old cartoon network shows over most popular HBO or AMC series any day because they feel so different and there is a difficult to describe connection I get to things that are animated.  

 

I am also not a fan of this particular film being adapted because this film is very Japanese to begin with. It has Shinto beliefs and ideals on display, and Mitsuha being from a traditional background is an important aspect both to her as a character and the plot.  The beautiful landscapes are snapshots of Japan. Having been there it’s a beautiful country, and while the United States is also beautiful, I don’t think we can achieve the same visual appeal.  They can make everything American, like the Death Note live action, but watching that knowing what the original was would feel uncomfortable to me as comparisons would be easily formed within my mind and I either dismiss them or use them as fuel to make me more enraged.  

 

I might suggest Hollywood to got two ways with creating anime influenced or inspired media. One option is to focus on creating their own art perhaps simply inspired by anime, in a manner similar to Porter Robinson’s Shelter music video. That was original, that was entertaining, and that was visually beautiful and still fairly western despite having a Japanese animation studio behind it.  The other is to look deeper into what anime means to its fans and try to create more western animated shows that have mature and powerful themes. The latter seems like a long stretch, but I put my faith in the power of God an anime on our side.  

 

Your name is one of my favorite anime of all time, from my favorite director. Not everything he has done is spectacular, but his masterpiece has the potential of being tarnished here and that scares me.

 

Will I see the film, probably. But I have low expectations as always with these sort of things, and while I am glad that people in the west are interested in turning the spotlight on anime, the idea of taking away what it was originally angers me. I don’t want anyone to see this live action film and judge the original work without seeing it, but that will happen.

 

Unless Abrams puts a big letterhead at the beginning of the film saying “GO WATCH THE ORIGINAL” I don’t this really being successful in the eyes of fans.  But maybe I am wrong, let’s hope so.  

-Miasma   

Kemonozume: Love, Claws and Weirdness

 

Kemonozume is an anime that certainly falls into the unique category. From its weird visual style to its bizarre take on a Romeo and Juliet esque narrative this series while short packs a lot into 12 episodes.

 

Directed by the now well known Masaki Yuasa, Kemonozume has a distinct animation style to it that does not look great in my opinion, but you wont see a lot of stuff out there like it even in comparison to Yuasas other works like Tatami Galaxy and Kaiba.   

 

This is a love story. But so much more.  In this world mankind is not that the top of the food chain, as there are creatures called Shokujinki who devour flesh despite appearing like normal people most of the time.  With their power unleashed, these Shokujinki have huge claws and terrifying razor sharp teeth and are incredibly strong.  

 

Toshihiko is from a powerful clan of monster hunters called the Kifuken, who are dedicated to suppressing the power of the flesh eaters and protecting humanity.  The flesh eaters can only be killed when their claws are removed, so the people of the Kifuken are sworn by the sword and Toshihiko is one of the most skilled in combat arts.  

 

The romance of this story comes into play when Toshihiko meets and falls in love with a girl at the beach named Yuka. He has a near instant attraction to Yuka, and the two begin a relationship very quickly and passionately. What Toshihiko does not know at first thought is that Yuka is a Shokujinki who tries her best to keep her power hidden.  This is a struggle for her, as anything that causes her to lose focus including making love with Toshihiko disrupts her control over her predatorial tendencies.  

 

This series is short so I will avoid spoilers as I do think you should check it out, but what it delivers on is a west side story like romance between two individuals on opposite sides of a war.  What I really liked about it was the fact that there was no clear “good side”.  Yes, the flesh eating monsters are a plague to humans, but there is a grey area there as they can suppress themselves and are seemingly human when doing so. In short, they aren’t all bad.  

Yuka’s struggle with what she is kept me very interested in how her character would develop. I was very entertained when she was in a scene because I could always feel the internal tormoil she was keeping locked up within her behind her pretty smile.  She cannot help what she is, but she can chage her behavior, and holding onto her self control is very important to her, as is her love for Toshihiko, causing a romantic yet seemingly insane power struggle within her just to keep control of the beast within.  

The humans who fight the monsters here train extensively and are dedicated to helping humans, but you find out that not everything in their past or in their present state of affairs is squeaky clean.  Corruption is abound, and those who are supposedly protecting us all along may not have humanity’s best interest at heart.

 

I like romances that are realistic, and while it feels weird to say this in a realm of flesh eating ogres, this relationship felt real. Yuka loves Toshihiko but knows she’s a monster. She pushes him away at times in an effort to save him, but he loves her back and will not give up.  

One thing I find very fascinating amount this series, and what I think sets it apart from other “monsters aren’t so bad shows” like Tokyo Ghoul or Shiki is the different interactions people have with the monsters. There are several instances of love between human and monster here, and each one goes down a different path.  

 

The series does get weird towards the latter half, as strange characters are introduced and even weirder events happen that just complicate things. The animation is not great, and I wasn’t big on the shows opening. There were several funny cold openings that the series used as comic relief I found enjoyable.  in the end it is an enjoyable show with a decent ending. It’s got action, drama, romance. Monsters, sex, nudity, swords, giants and even a monkey.  Check out Kemonozume.    

Anime That Teaches You to Football? Eyeshield 21 First Impressions (ep1-25)

Video version on my Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/h5MAd4NI63o

Sports anime can be a divisive genre.  I’m making the bold assumption that many anime fans are not the kind of people who tend to watch sports all too often in real life, so why bother watching it in anime form? This argument I sort of understand, as I usually avoid mech shows because I don’t really find robots all that amusing.  Am I missing out on some cool anime? Sure. But if you are the type of person that skips anime solely because it is tied to a sport, I think you can make a similar mistake.

I played football for years, and I consider myself to be sort of a rare “athletic” anime fan.  I played sports all my life, and continued through my college years.  In many cases I found myself to be different from my sporty bretherin as they did not often seem to like anime or stuff I was into, so it was always hard to really discuss it back then.  Does this show break that barricade? No. But it’s pretty enjoyable.

Eyeshield 21 is based off a manga by Riichiro Inagaki and Yusuke Murata that began in shonen jump back in 2002.  It had a seven year run, ending with volume 37 in 2009, and an anime adaptation aired from 2005-2008, lasting 145 episodes.  The story revolves around a teenager named Sena, who has amazing natural speed he usually uses to escape bullies, as he is rather small in stature.  Sena is kind of a wuss, and he is often in need of protection from his friend and love interest Mamori, who he has known since childhood.  While escaping bullies one day Sena’s speed gets noticed by the football team, and he is recruited to the team by the demonic looking quaterback Hiruma, and gentle giant lineman Kurita.  Sena struggles to hide that he plays football though, as he does not want Mamori to worry about him, thereofre he wears a visor, or an eyeshield and goes by “EyeSHield 21” when on the field. He is kind of like Zoro in this weird goofy sense.

25 episodes into the show, I have stuff that I like and stuff I don’t.  The biggest plus for this show for me was how they are dedicated to teaching the viewer (likely a Japanese young boy) the game of American football.  Commercial breaks are segmented by the Ameto Clinics, where Mamori reads off some of the games basic rules. As a former player a big football fan, I found these funny and enjoyable to listen to, and I’d imagine they were successful in the points they were trying to get across.  The games are also enjoyable and wacky with power moves such as the spear tackle. There’s also a bad news bears vibe as this team is not great, but they have Eyeshield, and hope of course.

The show also has a cool opening song, and some of the characters I really enjoy, in particular Mamori and Hiruma.  I love Mamori’s protective nature and man would it be nice to have a girl care about you that much in high school.

Hiruma is just wild.  He shoots guns, yells a lot, sics dogs on people all in order to grow his football club. While very brash, he’s loyal, and definitely has a softer side that I hope I will see in the future.

Sena on the other hand is lame. While he is sort of loyal, he reminds me a lot of Shinji from Evangelion and is a baby far too much of the time.  I also dislike how the show is paced, with games taking several episodes at times. The animation is not great either, and many characters have one liner that they say way too often.

Will I continue this series? Yes, just to see more anime football. I know this manga is even more popular and goes past the anime, which bums me out a little as I am worried we won’t get a solid ending, but I will enjoy the ride.  This series is definitely a slow burner for me, something I would not binge.

If you have never seen a sports anime, i’d maybe check out something shorter first.  145 episodes can be a big task.  But if you like sports and or sports anime check out Eyeshield 21, and check out my review someday down the road.

 

 

 

Maturity, Love and Melancholy: Eureka Seven

 

video version of this post: https://youtu.be/HpjBzwFV45M

 

There are many times in life I wish I had superpowers, and finding a gem of an anime like Eureka Seven from the past that I overlooked is an occurrence that brings back that desire. I wish I had infinite time or time travel abilities not really to live forever but to experience enjoyable things at times when they were most appreciated. Much like I’d love to experience star wars when it was originally released I’d also like to be able to bring myself back to the days when things like Bebop and Evangelion were new and the zeitgeist of their influence was still fresh. I also wish i had infinite time for the selfish purpose of watching all the anime i could possibly see as I sadly know I will leave this world missing something.

 

Eureka Seven likely needs little introduction to most, but it was a 50 episode epic coming of age story blended together with mecha, romance and action genres. Studio Bones produced it back in 2005 and it was an anime original. The heart of the story takes place far in the future and revolves around Renton Thurston a boy who lives in the shadow of his father who died as a hero to mankind, a belief shared by much of society but not quite by Renton as he never got to know him.

In this future there is a popular action sport called lifting which is basically sky surfing and it is Rentons favorite activity. Lifting similar to skateboarding today is sort of a rebellious act and rentons hero Holland leads a rebel group called Gekko State that is on constant run from the military and the organized government. Renton eventually becomes a member of Gekkostate and at first sight falls in love with a crew member named Eureka and this spirals out to an incredible tale of maturity. The series shows the struggle toward finding one’s individuality  and self worth, both with and without people always being physically there supporting you.

 

While i’m not a huge mecha fan, action romances are my favorite genre, and they in my opinion are far too rare. Inuyasha and chrono crusade, my favorite anime and manga respectively have elements akin to Eureka Seven, but the latter has more flair and futuristic wonder that can only come with the sci fi setting it has. I love when a relationship is battle tested both literally and through experiences the main characters go through. Eureka is not typical on any sense and Renton struggles to understand both himself and a girl who possesses great power and a sense of mystery. His emotions are all over the place as he in many ways has to raise himself through life’s struggles.  and One of the most intriguing aspects of romance to me is how the characters act away from one another. How do they think? How do they act? How do they change? Do they grow or fall apart?

Now in Eureka Seven’s case it has those elements in spades, but it is not just one romance but several overlapping ones.  Eureka and Renton are the stars, but my most appreciated the relationships between Holland and Talho as well as Dominic and Anemone.

Holland is the leader of the rebel group and has a tragic past. He is at times brash and unapologetic but is loyal and committed to his crew. His backbone is supported by the tough love of Talho, his second in command. Her tsundere attitude provides comedy at times but the show has several scenes dedicated to her expressing her true feelings although she does have difficulties expressing them to the man she loves most, Holland.

Anemone is, for the majority of the show, a major antagonist used by the military as a weapon. She is looked after by Dominic, a young but high ranking military official who seems to have an unrequited love of Anemone and hates how she is used as a tool. Anemone denies needing Dominic and treats him like crap a lot of the time but just as the show also develops  Renton and Eureka’s relationship, we see how being apart affects Dominic and Anemone as well. Anemone slowly realizes she at times is not strong and needs Dominic who supports her no matter the cost.  

The relationships in this show felt real.  You do not always understand everything about your partner in life, but you do your best to support them and be there when they need you, and these characters did that. None of the romances are perfect, and I loved that.

Eureka seven is a journey. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect for everyone, the journey is long with a slow start, and the sci fi element can get a little convoluted at times but it successfully throws genres and character archetypes onto what became an amazing roller coaster ride. I wish I could see this show back when I was closer to Renton’s age and I wish time were infinite that way the ride wouldn’t end.  

  • Thanks for reading, – Miasma

DO NOT MESS WITH KOKO: JORMUNGAND ANIME REVIEW

 

The story of Keitaro Takashi’s Jormungand follows a boy named Jonah who was orphaned by war and has become a very adept child soldier. He joins a group of mercenaries protecting the world renowned arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar. Koko travels with a large team , around not only  due to the dangers of her job but also because she is regarded as a great boss for said bodyguards and they would lay their lives on the line for her.  Such commitment is explained throughout the series as we see how Koko is no mere weapons dealer, she is an activist for creating a world that if peaceful. How does one do that while selling huge bombs and turret guns? Well I guess you’d have to watch it.

 

Both Koko and Jonah have their own sense of contradiction with Koko wanting world peace and dealing arms around the world and Jonah being a powerful child soldier who kills people yet claiming to hate guns and those who use them, but the show works hard to make this work in the sense that we do not always enjoy the path we currently walk, but we can make choices finding a better way along that route. It’s kind of like when you meet a young child and they say they want to be some out of this world basketball star.  You know it is going to be a tough go, but in the end I found myself supporting Koko and Jonah for the most part and wanting them to succeed somehow.  

 

Koko comes from an arms dealing family, and as such was expected to deal guns around the world spreading chaos and discord.  Her brother Kaspar is also in the trade and is far less concerned with world peace and more in tune with the ugliness of reality. Koko has been working on some sort of world fixing plan for years and throughout the series and it is not fully revealed to us at the very end what her actions have come to.  She is incredilby cunning and always in control even when business does not seem to be falling in her favor.  When she is around there is a great sense of calmness and she instills that sentiment in her team as well.

Jonah’s friends and family were ripped from hip by soldiers and as such he fights fire with fire. And bullets. And bombs and… well you get the idea he is a bad ass.

 

The majority of episodes include great backstory of her bodyguards, and while not all are fleshed out as much as others, I found it really interesting to hear old army stories from a demolitions expert or a story of revenge from a former Finnish army standout.  While you could say this show is episodic in that regard there is an overarching plot going on, the series is just doing what I wish many others did and that is develop character rationales and backstory. The missions they go on are so entertaining but there is not much threat as they are so good as a team that eventually you know they are unbeatable.   

 

Given Koko’s job she is in constant danger, yet she handles things so smoothly it really shows her commitment to her cause and to those around her.  Some of my favorite moments in Jormungand were when she treated her comrades like they were parts of her own body, seemingly lost without them.  She can also be very silly at times to break the mood, especially around the stoic child soldier Jonah. They complemented each other incredibly well and were rocks for one another as they sifted through the chaos of being in the arms trade.  

 

The animation by White Fox was great.  They especially nailed the character designs as they were memorable, especially Koko. Character eyes were also on point, as the color kept my attention constantly and emotion within them was conveyed well.  This show also has my second favorite opening song of all time, second only to Watamote.  Mami Kawada’s Borderland is just a really great tune and fits the series well.  The second opening was not bad in fact I would say it fit nicely as well, but there’s no way it stood a chance here.  The dub was awesome as well with a few heavy hitters including Micah solusod and Brittney Karbowski from Soul Eater, Greg Ayres from Another, and a great performance from Koko’s voice actress Anastasia Munoz whom I hadn’t really heard of before but she handled Koko’s mannerisms and tone perfectly.  

 

At the conclusion of its 24 episodes is where Jormungand tends to separate people.  Across the internet I have seen forums and debates about the ending of this series and the actions taken by certain characters, and while I admit it was a weird surprise I commend Jormungand for actually having an ending unlike so many works out there.  I was very satisfied with where it left off. I will cover this controversial ending in a spoiler section below.  

 

I recommend you buy Jormungand. It is full of action, guns, fan service if you are into that, great character backstory and development and one of the most intelligent main characters I have ever seen.  If you like action you will enjoy this but also if you like cool rational thinking crafters of crazy plans such as Light Yagami or Lelouch you will like this series as well. The easy comparison would be Black Lagoon here, but I would also say to watch a series called Gungrave, another guns filled action series with a deep subplot with incredible character development.

 

 

SPOILER AHEAD

 

 

 

Ok, so that ending. The final moments of Jormungand did not plan out how I pictured them in my head, but they were still entertaining.  Koko went from a character I adored to someone I disliked a bit at the end with her idea of sacrificing 700,000 people to end aerial combat.  Jonah was also perturbed by this and runs off on his own after working with Laspar for two years.  In the end,  he leaves kaspar who saw this decision coming a long time ago.  Kaspar gives jonah money and sets him off on his own life. Jonah though realizes the difficulties of being so isolated and is eventually starving when Koko and her team welcome him back.  The series ends with Koko seemingly hitting the button that will start up Jormungand, her super computer that will take out aircrafts like an EMP.  Her idea is forced peace, which I srt of agree with but I dislike the actions of a character like Light, Lelouch and to a lesser extent Koko here as I do not support the concept of “sacrifice pawns to save the queen”.  Personally, I hate the idea of someone being in charge of another indivusal’s right to live.  I feel as a religious individual that God judges people, not other humans, and as such the blatant killing of 700,000 people was not copasetic with me.  

 

That being said, notice that Koko did not hit that button for 2 years, and more importantly to the characterization, until Jonah returned.  It is my theory that she waited for 2 main reasons.  

 

First, she waited for the war to engulf the world, liley causing less domestic flights internationally, ergo saving some of the civilians killed.  Secondly, she awaited Jonah’s approval.  I doubt she could handle going on killing so many without the consent of someone she loved so dearly.  Once Jonah realizes that this world is shitty, he realizes he has to make a change somehow, or others will change it for him. And at least he was not making that choice alone.  

So do I like Kok’s actions, no. Can I support them, maybe. Are they justified, possibly. Am I beating around the bush? Yes.  Koko is still one of my favorite characters of all time and while I would have written this ending differently, I appreciate how it ended up.  In addition, i suppose it is technically still up on the air as to whether she activated it or not, as the threat to such power is scary to stop any general.  The sad part pointed out by Kaspar is that no matter what Koko does weapons and war will still go on, and that is true, but i I have learned anything from koko it is that we have to make an effort to stay on our path.  

 

-Miasma

Check out my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrkWORcwe_Wy_DfSAcDIacA

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter How I Look at It, Watamote is Brilliant and Terrible

-An Anime review by Miasma

The term recluse gets thrown around playfully these days. Agoraphobia and social anxiety are known conditions and are very serious. But how can a series make light of such serious social problems? Make it a black comedy of course! Enter the anime Watamote or Watashi ga Motenai no wa do Kangaetemo Omaeru ga Warui or “No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys Fault I’m NotPopular.”

 

 

Watamote follows Tomoko Kuroki a high school first year who has dreams of being a popular girl boys drool over and girls envy. She wants to be adored and respected. One big problem though, she has crazy overpowering social anxiety. She cannot hold conversations with strangers and has a tendency to obsess over anime and video games instead of bettering her appearance.

 

Every episode chronicles Tomoko’s recluse lifestyle while she tries and miserably fails to become popular. The show summarizes itself at the start by saying it is about a girl whose story doesn’t really matter. And as such some out there will hete this show. I can see that something so episodic and trivial can be boring and at times I myself was bored but nonetheless I adore this show.

 

On a personal level I empathize with Tomoko. I did not have dreams of being a popular girl but I was always the oddball in school and it was not until late high school and early college in which I was able to make friends. This series holds true catharsis for me especially when Tomoko is forced to eat alone as I did this same thing in high school. It is truly never easy being the weirdo of your class, and while some may argue that responsibility lies within oneself for social status, I would say that if Tomoko actually had people from her early days including her in a social environment,she would have likely been different as a teen.  

 

Relatability aside, Tomoko is nuts. She is intentionally the absolute personification of how bad social anxiety can be and how otaku/gaming lifestyles are an escape from such reality. Any progression she makes in this show is minimal and it does get repetitive.

 

Tomoko’s best qualities are her determination and reliance on her brother Tomoki. She is always thinking about the future and avoids crying most of the time but her anchor is her brother who thinks of her as a pest yet truly cares about her. I have a sibling I can relate to in this manner so once again Watamote hits close to home for me.

This show is animated well by studio Silver Link. It has its drops but when it wants to look sharp it does. I particularly like how they portray people’s faces or lack thereof when Tomoko is in contact with them. She has major social issues so she’d never try to look at faces and so they don’t bother to animate them on purpose. I also liked the designs of the characters especially Tomoko.

The opening is my favorite of all time. Its loud proud and a kickstart to what are actually very mundane episodes. It will hsve you headbaging then relaxing as you watch a girl play hentai games in her room all summer.

The dub was okay, Monica Rial does a good job of being the zany Tomoko but for some reason I preferred her Japanese actress. The opening song and animation is amazing and my number one of all time, but many may disagree for sure as it is rather brash.  

Be warned. This show doesn’t really go far in terms of plot. But that’s not the point. It is a black comedy about very real problems just pushed to a high degree. And the series does not cover the entire manga so it is possible Tomoko ends up a success story. I know I will read it to find out. One thing that the anime also did not delve enough into were its side characters.  

Tomoko’s only friend Yuu is an interesting character having gone to a different school and found a normal life where she is much more popular than Tomoko.  This contrast is hilarious but she could have been in the anime a bit more in my opinion.  Another character I wanted more of was Tomoki, the main character’s brother who shares hilarious scenes with his sister while he’s there but that does not happen quite enough.  

For many I’d say try an episode of Watamote. You can stream it for free on crunchyroll. Just try it  as an experiment then you can decide to drop it if you do desire. I know some people causes splits of love and hate and while i can see the hate I connect with the series so much I had to buy it. But let me know what you thought maybe my opinion is…dare i say it….UNPOPULAR!

Shin Sekai Yori- The Evolution and Devolution of The Anime World

An Anime Review by Miasma

The ability to pop people like water balloons.  Pyrokinesis. Telekinesis. Barrier creation. It is not just caped crusaders that carry these powers in comic books, but in this anime, it is all of society.  And it gets ruined by whiny children.  Just kidding. No t quote ruined, but at least it may hinder your initial enjoyment of the experience of watching Shin Sekai Yori, or from the new world.  

Shin Sekai Yori follows the lives of children in a village known as Kamisu 66 set over 1000 years in the future. Humans have evolved to have powerful psychic abilities, basically making them demi gods. such as the aforementioned power to kill all things,but this doesn’t really happen. You may think such power world spiral the world into chaos, but it is quite the opposite, There is peace and, you cannot use this power on another human being. The story follows a girl named Saki Watanabe as she grows up in this world, who stumbles upon some information she was not supposed to hear, and she begins to unravel the dark secrets the world around her contains. The world around her is not what it seems, lies have been told, and the truth may not be bearable.  It is hard to talk about the plot without spoiling it, but there is action suspense, romance and social commentary abound in this anime.

This anime is adapted from a series of light novels by Yusuke Kishi.  And be warned,before I piss off anyone out there I will say this I HAVE NOT READ THE NOVELS. I ONLY SAW THE ANIME.  There. I said it, and you have to deal with it.  

If you are still reading congrats on having great patience, and as a reward here is my bottom line with this show.  I hated half of it, and the ranged from decent to somewhat enjoyable. Episodes 1-11 I could barely stand, and I didn’t find myself caring about what was going on.  This is not really the fault of the story as I think that the story is this series’ strongest aspect, but even that was knocked over like a bowling pin by its worst aspect. The terrible characters.  

I eventually started to like Saki, our protagonist a little bit towards the end, but everyone else in this series I hated. Even guys in the background.  The main group of classmates Saki is friends with experience much of the journey along with Saki, but none of them were memorable to me in a good way.  I remember them, but for their predictability and shallowness.  There is cliche melodrama when they were kids and this blossomed into episode 8, which includes the most shoehorned romance scenes I have ever seen in Image result for shin sekai yorianime. It literally comes out of nowhere.  All of a sudden people are in love with one person, then onto the next. I was confused, then annoyed then bored.  

The first 11 episodes are very slow, and it builds the world up, but it felt like a roller coaster that was built on a track far too high in the sky for me to get thrilled by.  Yes this world has its uniqueness, but that only goes so far for me personally when your characters are about as interesting as a wet carrot.  Shoutout to South Park.  

Early on Saki (besides these powers that everyone has) is a typical schoolgirl who at first had some growth in terms of coming to terms with her powers, but this aspect of her character goes by the wayside when she gets interested in Sasuke Uchiha, or in this case Image result for shun shin sekai yoriShun. Shun is that popular guy who is good at everything, and while he does go through some turmoil himself in this anime, I just could not care about him. Call it jealousy if you’d like but characters like him and people like him in real life just annoy me.

Next we have Satoru, voiced in the dub by my man Greg Ayres. I met Greg at a convention, he’s a great guy but I digress.  Satoru goes through crazy out of nowhere changes in this anime and he is kind of all over the place. He is brash, loud and adds to the melodrama early on. However, like this anime he too get better with a lot of time.  

There are two more main classmates here but I just remember them as whiny and Yuri bait.  That is all their characters really have.  They have a really forced “role” by series end but many many important things with them happen off screen, which made me cringe.  I like my characters to have certain traits and this motley crew tried its hardest to get me to drop the series.

Now that I have gotten all of that out, I have to say this anime is not terrible. It is sort of a mixed bag.  In fact I think you should check it out in all honesty. But be warned because nobody warned me. The latter half of the series hits you with much more information about the story is revealed and it becomes a far better series.  No longer is it bound by these crappy stereotypes, it is now about action and philosophies involving human nature and our relationship with those both superior and inferior to us.  

The animation was pretty good done by A-1 Pictures, there were scenes where they cheated a little bit and it dipped in terms of visual quality but there were pretty moments as well to counter this.  I know I mentioned Greg Ayres, but I watched the sub.  I prefer japanese voice actors portraying characters this young.  Image result for shun shin sekai yori

The story is this series saving grace by a country mile.  After that lull at the beginning, the show had me on the edge of my seat, especially at the very end. It was interesting in concept to grow up with a set of characters and it made a fantasy story a bit more relatable, but once again this was inconsistent. The character actions were a bit too all over the place and just didn’t feel real to me.   The story has somewhat of a solid ending, and a reveal at the end that in my opinion wasn’t that much of a surprise, but for others it might be.  

There are a few things omitted from the story i would have liked to see such as (spoilers) when Mamoru the whiny baby and Maria, Yuri fanservice incarnate live their own life in the wild, have a kid and are killed off screen.

Is Shin Sekai Yori a great anime? Not in my opinion. It had its moments but I enjoy actual characters over stereotypes, and it took far too long for me to care. The series is on a lower echelon for me, I’d say it’s alright, borderline mediocre. Maybe stream it and give it a chance. It is a memorable experience for sure but not always in a good sense.

I find it funny how a show about human evolution had some of the most mundane traits anime has to offer.

Image result for shin sekai yori ogre

SPOILERS AHEAD

My biggest complaint with Shin Sekai Yori is its characters and how they act in the crazy world around them.  This concept is amazing, and the mental ability could happen someday way down the line, but I’d like to think we would take ulterior options to killing children.

Kamisu 66 has a dark past, and I get that but my biggest question that remained unanswered was that why can’t we just seal off powers like they did early in the series? It is made very clear that power can be stopped with seals, so why doesn’t the village chief in all of her immortal wisdom (another cliche character btw) create seals to stop ogres or alter this crazy rule that people can’t attack people. I am all for a peaceful world but safety within such a society was poorly handled in this show. We shouldn’t feed children to cats, just saying. Why not create prisons of psychic barriers?

Also the Karmic Demon thing with Shun bored me to tears as I did not like him and to be honest, was happy to see him go. Except he didn’t really go, he is in Saki’s mind when it’s convenient, much like Naruto’s parents but at least I cared about them.

Squealer, leader of a clan of monster rats seems to be a fan favorite, but I did not trust him from the start and saw his actions coming. In the end, he is not even that bad a guy, but I was glad to see.

This anime was too often predictable and stereotypical. And in the few times it wasn’t I wished it followed a standard. We don’t need random episode 8 yaoi and yuri fanservice, but it is shoe horned in there for what reason? It even turns out that our top two main characters love each other! They aren’t even gay! I would not have an issue with the characters being homosexual, but don’t tease it then drop it.

 

And I did not feel any sympathy for the chief of the village, Tomiko.  Over the years, who knows how many children she has killed, and when she stays behind when chaos enuses towards the climax of the story, the anime tries to make you feel bad for her? No way.  

 

Not the worst anime ever, but one of the more predictable ones I have seen. Maybe I’m psychic.    -Miasma

Check out my YouTube channel, Gyre Media for more anime and manga content.

War is Hell. Now and Then, Here and There

 

Anime can convey a lot of different emotions. So can war, at least in the entertainment realm. Anime can make us both laugh and cry and when you can attach yourself to a certain character or situation it can really get under your skin, keeping you enthralled in that world.  War films and shows depict what is easily one of mankind’s largest flaws. Our ability to kill each other so easily.

I realize that aspects of war and an ability to advocate for peace separate us from animals but the bare bones fact remains that most of humanity will fight and do awful things to survive.

Saving Private Ryan is a war film that showcases the irony of combat. One looks to end conflict when on the battlefield by battling. We hope to save lives by taking them. There are no negotiation tables with treaties in the trenches, and as such the reality of war is that it pits human against human to see who has the stronger will to live regardless of the cost.  You fight for your family, and that entails killing those who may also have families. You bomb as to not be remnants of a man scattered on the rubble, but to transform the enemy into such remnants.

Now and then here and there is an anime that accurately portrays, as far as citizens can project, the horrors of war. This anime came out in 1999 and it largely fell by the wayside of larger shows of that era such as DBZ, One Piece, and Evangelion. One thing it does far better than all three of those put together is the sense of despair in it’s characters. The series is not afraid to go toward unforgettable avenues to convey discord, and there are scenes here I will never forget.

Our plot is about a boy named Shu who meets a mysterious girl named Lala-Ru who is hunted down by mechs from a dystopian future. Shu tries to save Lala-Ru and is dragged back to her time with her. Shu is then kept as a prisoner and later a child soldier serving Hellywood, a power led by the evil King Hamdo.

The world where Hellywood reigns is very bleak and water has become a rarity. Those who have it have power and those who don’t get crushed by the will of Hellywood. King will do whatever it takes and I mean whatever…to get water, especially from Lalaru who has the ability to create water from a magic pendant she wears.  in their scuffle the pendant is lost and the rest of the show is about various levels of imprisonment and torture. Shu is beaten down and forces into the military as are many children in this world. Lala-Ru is kept as personal prisoner of the King, and is forced to submit to terrible things.

 

 

Young girls in this world seem to get it the worst. They are seen as tools to breed more soldiers, and along the way Shu meets an American girl named Sara, who is new to this realm as well. Just as Shu is taken into the military, Sara is brought into her role in this life and while we are thankfully not shown too much, we see enough to indicate the horrors she experienced.

The anime delves into the minds of some of the child soldiers as well as the surrounding villages who fear Hellywood.  It truly shows how the desire to end war can easily spark flames to continue it.

It is within its characters than Now and then here and there most reminds me of Saving Private Ryan. Soldiers are often given missions they do not wish to partake in yet they do so to serve the country and most importantly get home. Now while the Saving Private Ryan soldiers are a bit more noble than those in this anime, The child soldiers  want just that, to get home. And they will do terrible things to return to normalcy.

 

Can things really return to normalcy postbellum? What parts of your personality will be left on the battlefield? How will you recover from the sacrifices made and the treachery you and many others had to endure or inflict upon other human beings? These questions I cannot answer, and I bet few can, but Now and Then Here and There asks these questions vividly, and like in most war films the viewer is left pondering if they could navigate themselves emotionally to the their own answers.

The animation of this anime was alright, especially for 1999. It won’t blow you away, but I’ve seen way worse. The music of the series was hit or miss for me, as the opening and ending themes were something i rushed to skip to keep the story going. But some of the background music was great especially in one scene where a character makes a traumatic escape. I watched the dub and its casting was great, but the mouth flaps were off quite often which distracted me. We see Dan Green from Yugioh and a much younger Crispin Freeman. I was most impressed with the performance of Lisa Ortiz as Lalaru, as she is a stoic Rei Ayanami like character, yet I feel she nailed the delivery of every line and was able to convey emotion heavily despite having few lines. The anime never really explains a lot of its loose ends such as how they are able to time travel, why the world is in drought, and I wish it had gone deeper into Lala-Ru’s background.

Now and then, here and there was an incredible experience. There are several scenes I will never forget and it will make you feel sorry for these characters and fill you with hatred for the King. No other anime I have ever seen recognizes the complexities of humanity like this series did. At times it can show the toxicity of human nature but within the same world show the power of peace. It wraps up rather nicely and has one of the more fitting endings I’ve seen in awhile, besides my few unanswered questions, which aren’t entirely necessary to enjoy the experience. Please buy this anime it is well worth it and very underrated. But be warned it is heavy on its mature themes of rape, torture, and murder.

 

– Miasma