29 March 2017

V Reviews - Space Patrol Luluco: Trigger References, the Anime

Studio Trigger is one of the more hyped animation studios of recent years. This due to two people. Hiroyuki Imaishi & Masahiko Ohtsuka.

Both are former directors at Studio Gainax who directed both Gurren Lagan and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. But somewhere in 2011 both Imaishi and Othsuka went off to create their own studio in 2011, aptly named Studio Trigger.

And this duo has created some very interesting and energetic animation series over the past years. This includes the crowdfunded Little Witch Academia, Inferno Cop en Kill La Kill.

And if there's anything that is common in all of Imaishi's and Ohtsuka's projects (both while they were at Gainax and now in Studio Trigger) is that they tend to apply the rule of cool a lot. In short this means: Distract the viewer with flashy visuals and spectacles to make sure they don't notice the problems underneath.

Hold your horses. I'm not saying that every Trigger project has problems. For example, you won't hear me say a bad thing about Little Witch Academia. But some Trigger anime do. Space Patrol Luluco does end on the side where the story is kept to a "bare minimum". Instead, we get an ode to Studio Trigger itself.

How and why? Let's review and find out.

V Reviews - Space PatroL LuLuco


Ultra Super Pictures (the joint holding company created by studios Trigger, Sanzigen and Ordet) announced in 2015 that it would be producing a 30-minute anime block with short anime on several TV channels for an entire year (this on AT-X, Tokyo MX and BS11). They gave several animation studios the opportunity to produce short TV-series to fill up this 30-minute time-slot and experiment away with it.

The most notable production that came from this one year's worth of short anime is probably Space Patrol Luluco, by Studio Trigger.

Luluco was created both to fill the final season of this block, as well to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Studio Trigger! And with that anniversary Trigger thus wanted to create a new IP which celebrated their previous works, as well as creating a new original work which focuses on a "intergalactic first love story!"

The work is thus an anime-original created by Imaishi himself and further supported by Trigger/Gainax regulars (like Akira Amemiya, Hiromi Wakabayashi and others).

There's more to this image than you think.
But you need to watch Luluco to understand...


Luluco is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives in the "Solar System Frontier Space Colonization Zone Ogikubo" (fyi: Ogikubo is an actual area in Tokyo). She lives here together with her father who works for the zone's Space Patrol division.

While Luluco herself would love to live a normal life, everything is changed when her father incidentally freezes himself due to eating a freezing pill by mistake (*facepalm*).

How... just how...?

Luluco goes to her father's workplace (the Space Patrol division) in order to get some help, but instead gets herself enrolled in the division to pay for the unfreezing of her father (with a hilarious nod to Inferno Cop in the process).

The next moment at school, her body reacts when a fellow student performs the "illegal act" of cheating. It starts off with a warning signal and then she completely transforms. And no, this ain't no regular "magic girl" transformation. This is Trigger's way of transforming.

This isn't even my final form!

From then on, Luluco's must protect Ogikubo from space criminal, together with the "mysterious alien exchange student" AΩ Nova (pronounced "Alpha Omega Nova"), as well as their villainous classmate turned hero Midori.


It's kind of pointless to list up all the characters, since most of them aren't really well developed. And talking about some characters is even spoiling the story.So I'll leave just a group picture instead!

Luluco is the single one character who gets any character development, since the show revolves around her. She's the young teenage girl who is in love with the mysterious AlphaOmega Nova and gets dragged into all this mess by Director-General OverJustice.

Animation & Sound

It's hard to criticize the animation of a Trigger Project. You can instantly recognize the Trigger look-and-feel from any anime you watch.

This is a short anime, so animation budget is more limited and production time more constrained. But if you compare it to some of Trigger's other short animated series (not to mention other short anime in general), this is REALLY well animated. I've seen a lot worse.

Foreground characters get the focus, background characters are often reduced to "animated" sketches (though I have to admit: with amazing character designs). The action scenes get lots of detailed and fluent animation, while other scenes are reduced to the bare minimum "animation" required to be called an anime.

In short: if it's not an important scene, it either doesn't exist or is reduced to very rough animation. If it's an important scene, it becomes a real spectacle to behold.

Also on a side-note: Trigger did the animation for both LuLuco and Kiznaiver at the same time. Lots of animation to be done in a short time.

On sound, I can be very short. The sound overall is quite good for a short show. I especially like the opening theme by Do Heijitsu ("Cry Max"). Not much else to be said.

Tons of References!

This was a celebration anime, so there are TONS of references to previous trigger works: both known and unknown.

First: the direct cameo's: There's Inferno Cop, a few characters from Little Witch Academia and even the unfindable "Sex & Violence with Machspeed" (seriously, there was like one showing ever, no official release).

Then there's characters with obvious multiple influences. OverJustice is a character that mixes both Inferno Cop (again), but with Kamina's glasses (Guren Lagann) and an attack that's obviously Guren Lagann-based.

Lalaco (Luluco's mom) is a pirate (FLCL), acts like Kamina (Guren Lagann) and has the Kill La Kill clothing style and thread theme going for her. And Keiji (Luluco's father) looks like he came from some old Gainax anime for some reason (lots of FLCL vibe I'm getting form him, but I can't pinpoint it exactly).

And I could go on for a while here. There's just SO many references. If you want a full list of EVERY reference made, check out the following video by Mitchell Ross:

Personal Enjoyment and conclusion

While I did enjoy watching this anime, this is a pure love letter to anything Trigger and the duo Imaishi-Ohtsuka in general (it's almost like an Abridged series). However, if you take the TONS of references away from this anime... there's almost nothing left (which is kind of normal, since it's a celebratory anime).

But that also means that if you haven't seen much of Imaishi and Othsuka's works, you will probably not get most of the references made and just stare blankly at the screen, wondering what is happening.

For example: I felt urged to watch Inferno Cop shortly after Luluco because I noticed I was missing some references, only to then realize where the handcuff joke from episode 1 came from!

So what rating do I give this short anime? A 7/10. It's okay and I definitely enjoyed it (the visuals are still great). but since I haven't watched every Trigger anime yet, a lot of references went over my head. I also felt that this anime didn't really have rewatch potential (unless you want to delve back into the anime to find out all references - again: watch the previously mentioned YouTube video instead).

Recommendation: If you're a fan of Studio Trigger, or of the works of the duo Imaishi-Othsuka, you should DEFINITELY give this short anime a watch. You'll enjoy every minute of it.
However, if you're not that familiar with Studio Trigger's works, or you just don't like their anime; then give this one a big pass. You will miss most references and will not enjoy what is happening on screen.

That's it from me now.

Until next time, V out.

26 March 2017

V Reviews - Bananya: WTF did I just watch?

Shifting through random best-of lists of 2016 anime series, a certain weird image popped up here and there that caught my interest. It was an image of a cat in a banana...

At first, I thought it was an add for 9gag, or similar joke sites. But no, this was a genuine anime of 2016.

So out of sheer curiosity, I started watching it! 13 shorts of about 3 minutes later and I'm still left wondering what I just watched.

V Reviews - Bananya


Well, somewhere in 2015 a few business people at the Japanese Stationary store Q-Lia had a meeting about what new kind of mascot would sell them merchandise. Seeing as cats are very popular in Japan, they obviously had to do something with cats.

But how could they make cats look original? While there is no official confirmation on this, I'm pretty sure the Minions movie from 2015 (and its trailer) had something to do with this...

No matter what you think of the movie: the MARKETING on Minions is genius-level.

So not that much later in 2015, Bananya became one of the new Q-Lia mascot characters. And to no-one's surprise, the banana-cat became quite popular!

Did we mention there are plushies?!

Shortly after its launch Q-Lia launched a crowdfunding campaign to get an anime sponsored (animated by TMS entertainment). And while the campaign wasn't that successful (at first glance at least), they apparently still got enough money to get their animated shorts made.

And in summer of 2016 we were "blessed" with this beauty...

The err... Story?

Yeah, er... It's the story of Bananya, an animal who is both cat as well as banana. And he's not alone. There are other plushies... err, banana-cats as well. And while they're not visible when we look around, they start appearing and do stuff when we leave the room.

And they're technically cats doing cat-like things. But in this case, they have a banana-shaped lower half. And those cat-like stuff includes stuff like sleeping, eating, chasing mice, wandering around town... you know. The usual cat stuff!


Left to right, top to bottom we have:

  • Bananya
  • Tora Bananya
  • Sabatora Bananya
  • Kenaga Bananya
  • Kuro Bananya
  • Bananyako

And there also Baby Bananya, Oyaji (old man) Bananya, Taba (bundle) Bananya and a few others.

Art & Sound

The art is simple, yet very charming... And that's it. But honestly, that's all it needs. It's cats doing cat things in a cute way. No matter the art style, people would probably have loved it either way.

Sound is kind of basic, but acceptable.
What is fun to note however, is that nearly all of the characters are voiced by two voice actors: Yuki Kaji & Ayumu Murase. Both are high-level voice actors. Yuki for example voiced Eren Jaeger (Attack on Titan), Arita (Accel World), Citron (Pokemon X&Y), Yukine (Norogami) and many others. Ayumu on the other and voiced Hinata (Haikyuu), Allen Walker (D.Gray-Man Hallow), Rui (Gatchaman Crowds) and many others.

So high profile people for a series of shorts about banana-cats.

Personal opinion and conclusion

Err... I'm glad I watched it. Now I at least know what a Bananya is... And I'll admit: This blog post was fun to write!

But no, it's not a series for me. I like cats and banana's, but that's about it.
If you are a cat-fanatic, you're probably going to LOVE this anime and rate this a 10/10. I mean, just look at the reviews on Myanimelist: Probably all cat-lovers who reviewed it.

For me, I'll give it a passable score of 6.5/10.

It's not offensive, it's not bad. It's just... fluff. All short episodes together are about half an hour of fluff.

Recommendation: If you're feeling down and you need something cute to cheer you up, go and watch this. It will make your day all the brighter. Just looking at cats like Baby Bananya is going to give an automatic "Daaaaawh" reaction from you.

Just don't expect TOO much from it.

Until next time, V out.
I'm gonna go grab a banana now.

23 March 2017

V Reviews - My neighbor Seki: The results of being in a boring class

You probably have had some days when you were at school, looking like this...

Bored out of your mind. Totally uninterested with what is being said in front of the class. Thinking there were dozens of ways you could actually spend your time better than sitting there, listening to a lecture of some old bastard?

Well, then you never had a neighbor like Seki Toshinari. Because if there's anything he's specialized in, it's killing his time spent in class. Whether he's playing around with Shogi or Transformers, being creative with domino's or even knitting (lol, wut?), or doing mundane things like polishing his desk, Seki will find a way to make his boring classes entertaining!

Let's go over this this series of short episodes!

V Reviews - My neighbor Seki: The Master of Killing Time


Tonari no Seki-kun (or My Neighbor Seki: The Master of Killing Time as it's sometimes known) is a gag manga created by Takuma Morishige and has been running on a monthly basis since 2010 in the seinen magazine "Monthly Comic Flapper".

Morishige has been active in the manga industry since 2006, but has only had "mild" successes until Seki. Most of his stories tend to wrap up in 1 or 2 volumes and are either horror or Slice of life series. This one is his first story he's able to upkeep for more than five years now. And it's still going (9 volumes as of August 2016, with a 10th probably not too far away form now).

And in 2014, the manga got released as a short anime by Shin-Ei Animation, a studio who is mostly known for kid-friendly shows like Shin-Shan, Doraemon and Ninja Hattori-kun. But recently, they are also releasing more seinen titles under their name, like Sweetness & Lightning, Trickster and thus also this My Neighbor Seki.

Also, due to the appeal, it also got turned into a short-lived TV drama (8 short episodes only).

FYI: If you want to read more on Mr. Morishige, you can follow him on twitter: @morisget


Rumi Yokoi has the bad luck that when she's in class, she has to sit next to Seki(-kun). Seki doesn't really say much (outside of a few Link-alike grunts). But what does make it bad for her is that he's constantly playing around with stuff and ends up distracting her from the class she's supposed to follow.

No matter what she does, each lesson he picks something different from his bag and starts playing with it. Whether it's Shogi, Transformer robots or miniature golf; he doesn't care about the lesson and just starts playing around.

And even if she tries to ignore him, he makes it REALLY hard to do so.


And it probably doesn't help that Yokoi herself has a vivid imagination. I mean, how does a simple play of Shogi turn into this...?

I only saw two shogi pieces, Yoloi saw this...

For the rest, the episodes are stand-alone. So you can watch any episode out of order and you won't miss a thing. In some episodes Seki gets away with everything, in others it's Yokoi who gets the final laugh. In the end, it is always entertaining to watch what Seki will pull out of his bag and how Yokoi will "counter" it.


Only two major characters here. The rest is "support" at best

Rumi Yokoi: Main character of the show. She voices everything and has to sit through each of Seki's play-sessions. She tries to keep Seki away from playing and tries to get him to focus on studying... with not such great results. Instead, she's the one who is often distracted from the lessons due to Seki-kun. It doesn't help that she has quite an imagination as well.
Toshinari Seki (oh, that wordplay): The boy sitting next to Yokoi who just can't seem to get interested in school and just plays instead. You have to admit it, his imagination and creativity is top notch. And when he does put his effort behind something, there isn't much in the world that can stop him. Also, he can have a bit of a mean streak to him.


On short anime the budget is automatically limited. The thing to look forward to is how a studio handles a limited budget!

In this case, the animators were asked to keep the "real" schoolworld as mundane and simple as possible, while putting extra effort in making the jokes "shine" as much as possible.

The end result is indeed that the main characters and background look lackluster and boring; as if the entire show was created in the early 2000s. But when fantasy goes haywire, you see the animation really come to life. Whether it's the domino race, Shogi becoming a little more realistic, or the dire climbing of Teddy on a mountain (of a man), the animation can take a turn for the magnificent and draw you in.

Come on, Bear-kun! You can do it!


On sound levels, this show shines. While the random tracks are quite fitting to the mood (including the hilarious robot song), it's the Opening and Ending that are the most entertaining.

Both OP and ED use animation that uses Seki's playfullness to its maximum potential. This resulted in an OP and ED I didn't skip... not even once! Which is rare for me (I usually skip at least one of them).

Oh, and if the ED sounds awesome to "tick along" with with your fingers? There's one person you got to thank for that: master-level drummer/composer Akira Jimbo composed the ending theme "Set them free", and even did a promo video for it while showing his skills:

Oh, and on a side-note... Kudo's to voice actress Kana Hanazawa, since she had to voice almost every episode all by herself (outside of a handful of supporting characters who don't even appear every episode). This because Seki doesn't talk.

Personal opinion and enjoyment

I liked this anime from the get-go, but quickly ran into its major flaw... It's kind of a one-trick pony. Every episode is a gag surrounding Seki playing with something and distracting or annoying his neighbor Yokoi. If you try to binge-watch this, you will definitely get bored of it in the long run. So if anything, this is one of those shows that are better enjoyed when watching in smaller bursts.

Overall I give this a 7.5/10.

Is it the greatest anime ever created? No... definitely not.

BUT! Is it something to watch during/after a boring day at school? Absolutely, YES!

This is one of those shows that you will enjoy even more if you go to school, because almost every single prank that Seki pulls or every single thing he plays with is something we all secretly wanted to do in school as well. And watching him act it out is just very, very enjoyable to watch.

No need to search for subs (you're gonna have a hard time doing that), you can actually watch it for free at Crunchyroll. If you have ten minutes to spare on a day, go watch one of these episodes. http://www.crunchyroll.com/tonari-no-seki-kun-the-master-of-killing-time/videos

That's it for me now.

Until next time, V out.

20 March 2017

V Reviews - Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou: An 90s MTV cartoon in anime form

Anime series with an airtime shorter than the usual 20-something minutes usually tend to fly under the radar of anime fans. And that is a real crying shame. Some of my all-time favorites are "short" anime. Without Short anime, we wouldn't have masterpieces like Cromartie High School, Detroit Metal City, the Hetalia franchise, Chii's new Home and many, many others.

And in the past few years, short anime have taken a huge spike in creativity, especially when it comes to typical Studio Trigger projects..

2016 as well has had some weird and creative short anime that are worth taking a look at. In the following few weeks I'll give a spotlight to the most interesting of these short anime of the past few years, starting off with Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou by Studio Deen.

Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou is a short anime on the other end of the spectrum of what we're used to. It doesn't look at all like an average anime of today. If anything, it would more or less fit into a creative animators block on MTV (like back in the 90s). It has a weird animation style, its cast are mostly young adults/teenagers and it's all about music. It would totally fit on MTV (too bad MTV has totally lost all of its relevance today)!

So start to boil your pork cutlet and look up your best vinyl records. Because today we're spinning Tonkatsu!


Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou is a gag manga created by Lipyao and illustrated by Yūjirō Koyama. If you never heard of those names before, that's not really surprising. This series IS their first.

It has been running in the digital Jump variant "Jump+" since 2014 and it has already been published into 9 physical volumes (since December 31st).

And in April of 2016, Studio Deen has adapted the manga into a short series of 12 episodes of about 10 minutes each. Not only that, Pioneer has been sponsoring the show and few club parties have been created surrounding the "Agetarou" figure. If the series becomes more popular and gets a greater following over time, who knows what else we can get from this?

What IS Tonkatsu?

Tonkatsu is a typical Japanese dish, which consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet. The pork cutlet is either fillet, or loin parts. And it's usually served with shredded cabbage and rice. There's also a variant of it with Japanes curry, aptly named "katsu-Kare" (Tonkatsu-Curry).

And yes, while I was in Japan a few years ago, I've eaten it a few times as well; even in a family-run restaurant like Agetarou's family restaurant.


Agetarou is a young adult who is working in his family's tonkatsu restaurant in Shibuya. But since he's forced into the job by his parents, he's not really into making Tonkatsu. One night, he's forced to do a delivery to the staff of a night club.
Agetarou has never been to a club before, and as thanks for the delivery the staff member lets him in from the back entrance.

When entering the club, a new world opens for Agetarou and he instantly falls in love with the environment. He loves the music, the chill people and the cute girls. On the dance-floor he suddenly meets Shuugo, one of his frequent suppliers of hot towels (yes, that IS a thing in Japanese restaurants). Shuugo apparently is a frequent visitor of the club and it doesn't take too long for the two to become close friends.

Agetarou starts to go to the club more frequently. Until one day, he sees the American DJ Big Master Fly perform. Agetarou becomes inspired from him and realizes that the BPM of the DJs tracks is similar to that of cutting the cabbage in his restaurant. In fact, throughout the series he finds lots of similarities between preparing Tonkatsu dishes for customers and DJ'ing. But he is even more inspired when he receives an LP from the DJ.

He instantly dreams of becoming a DJ and starts to set out on becoming a full-fledged DJ. But Agetarou realizes he has a long way ahead of him into learning the craft.
The rest of the story focuses on Agetarou's journey to become a DJ. From finding a decent setup to practice his DJ skills (that doesn't cost an arm and a leg), digging through records, learning the crafts from a "sensei" DJ, playing his first gigs, almost f**king up his first gig, and so on.

Diggin' through some records!


Agetarou Katsumata: Main character. Is your average "innocent" teen boy who has been somewhat sheltered due to him and his friends never really having too much time to go out. That changes after Agetarou discovers "the club" and wants to become a DJ.
Agesaku Katsumata: Father of Agetarou. Doesn't like his son going out that much and would rather have that he learns the skills to become a top tier Tonkatsu chef!
Shuugo Oshibori: During the day a delivery man of hot towels in restaurants; During the night a frequent visitor of the clubs depicted in the anime.
(DJ) Iori Oiri: Veteran DJ with a style that Agetarou likes. Becomes the sensei to our young wannabe DJ and helps him through his first sets.
DJ Big Master Fly: American DJ who towers over everything and acts like "god" for Agetarou (sometimes in the series even literally as a god, giving him advice from the skies).

Other guest characters include the writer (Raita), other DJ characters and even a possible love interest.


This is done by Studio Deen and err... well, it's something only they could do (probably). Because it's an anime where not keeping up consistent quality animation doesn't really matter.

No, Tonkatsu DJ doesn't look like your average anime. If anything, it looks like the crude animation style of your typical 90s and early 2000s MTV cartoons (like Beavis & Butt-head, like Aeon Flux, Like Daria, etc). Crude, but cool enough for teens to enjoy. And trust me, there are some trippy images to enjoy.


As expected of an anime about DJs, there's a lot of groovy tracks on the soundtrack. However... how do I put this?

It becomes too repetitive WAY too fast. I guess the budget for tracks to play on the anime was limited, so they had to keep themselves to the few tracks that were on the OST. And while they're not that bad, it's just way too repetitive for the entire series to remain interesting to listen to.

And for a series focused on music, that's a crying shame.

Personal opinion and final conclusion

I loved this short, quirky anime. It's something completely different from what we're used to in the everyday anime of today.

And as somebody who grew up on watching MTV (back when it was still relevant), including the classic MTV cartoons, this seemed like a blast from the past. It's something that would fit right in there!

I personally hope there will be more of it because i enjoyed this; even with the music becoming repetitive at the end.

I'm giving this a solid 8/10!

Recommendation: If you like music, or if you liked the classic 90s MTV cartoons, give this a watch! It's a really interesting short series!

Until next time, V out.

On a side-note... how did this never become a meme? Screw it, I'm going to be using this image from time to time now!

18 March 2017

V analyzes Erased: What went wrong and what did not?

So this second part took WAY too long. But I wanted to cover all bases, made sure I heard and read every possible angle as to why this is amazing / the worst thing ever made. And I also read the entire manga to see what went wrong.

Through this process I think I went through a dozen rewrites of this script to get it to a point where I like it enough to post it.

So first up: Do I maintain my 7.5/10 score? No. I'd probably reduce it to a 6.5-7 / 10. For the manga I'd stay at 7.5. It remains enjoyable to watch. But there's a lot of story plot holes and lots of bad things could've been better.

Let me list up a few of them.

Also, I think this should come as no surprise, but er... this analysis will be filled with spoilers!

#1: Erased was a passion project, but the studio wasn't really interested

A1 Pictures is nowadays mostly known for the phenomenon Sword Art Online. And the director of it (Tomohiko Itō) had scored major brownie points at his studio for making it such a success.

Tomohiko knows and used his "brownie points" to request of Aniplex (mother company of A1-Pictures) that he could animate one of his most favorite manga series: Erased.

Aniplex couldn't really deny the director of their most profitable franchise, mostly because he was also still working at the Sword Art Online movie.

But they also didn't see much profit in this adaptation. They thought they at best would just get their money back. So while the studio gave Ito free reign in terms of animators, the budget had a limit and they were only given a 12-episode time-slot to adapt an 8-volume manga (which then still wasn't finished at that point).

#2: The 12-episode format required parts of the original story to be "erased"

If you read interviews on Ito's work on Erased, you'll notice quickly that he's holding back on giving comments on it, or trying to minimize the damage he needed to do to the original story.

He had to cram 8 manga volumes worth of story in 12 episodes (it should've been double of that). In order to do that in a somewhat successful way, he had to cut almost half of the entire story.

Ito focused on the most important characters in the story: Satoru's mom and Kayo. Thus he had to minimize or erase Airi's story in the adaptation. If you have read the manga, you'll notice that Airi plays a MUCH bigger role in the story than in the anime adaptation.

Hence why many critics point to Airi being a kind of useless character. She was more essential to the story in the manga than in the anime. For example: In the manga, Airi is passionate about photography. She's the one who kicked the paparazzi's ass (which makes way more sense than Yashiro in the anime). She's also the one who triggered Satoru regaining his memory (which makes way more sense than the baby in the anime).

This could've been such a powerful scene...

Personally, I liked Airi more than Kayo. But it was the director's decision to cut her parts to a bare minimum... oh well (sadpanda).

#3: The anime had to be created while the manga wasn't finished yet

This may seem strange since the manga ended around the period the first few episodes started airing, and the crew would've had the time to sit together with the mangaka to adapt the ending.

But again, the director also had to be busy with the SAO movie and only had 12 episodes to tell this story. So the crew decided to cut just about the last 8-10 chapters and create the last episode of their own, trying to come to a similar conclusion to the manga. Truth be told, the screenwriter's only option in this fashion was failing. The anime ending thus became... average (to say it nicely).

And while the ending of the manga wasn't hot shit either (the story sure ain't no Steins;Gate); it was at least way more enjoyable than what we ended up getting here.

Not the best finale, but still more enjoyable than the anime

#4: The removal of Yashiro's bakstory makes the villain's motives weak in the anime

Yes, there is no excuse for this one. While certain elements are never really explained (like why the superpowers and why they disappear), the backstory of Yashiro fixes a whole slew of issues people have with this anime.

In short: Yashiro was forced to help his brother rape schoolgirls. But when his brother stepped out of bounds and killed one of those girls, Yashiro's powers kicked in and he started seeing Spider Threads he could cut (which seems taken from Greek mythology, but is actually based on a famous Japanese folktale). Yashiro ended up killing his own brother and was able to successfully frame it as a suicide.

#5: The superpowers never really get explained, do they?

They come from somewhere. In Yashiro's case, he sees the story he read come to life; in Satoru's case it's an expansion of both his desire to become a superhero and his enormous regret of not being able to save Hiromi (not Kayo btw) in the past.

But that's about all we get as an explanation. I get that we don't need everything spelled out. But considering Satoru's powers disappear during the series, you'd at least expect some form of explanation. We don't get that. Also, the story doesn't really experiment too much with said powers.

Well, at least we know that awkwardly screaming at the top of your lungs helps activate it [/sarcasm].

So why do I still like it?

The direction used, the general look and feel, certain specific moment and yes: even the symbolism that the series uses. The general story and drama in this story lured me in, even if I knew that many people hated on the story. I still liked it. Heck, I didn't even mind all the symbolism used in the show (the infamous red=bad; blue=good color schemes, the perversion of justice, the regret symbolism, the Hero symbolism, and other things).

I like it, because several good moments stick, even after the anime has ended.

In my first part, I already talked about how I loved the Christmas tree scene, which I still love.But there are a few more, which I still fondly remember.

One big scene that I want to talk about is Satoru's contemplation of killing Kayo's mother. While it doesn't make sense time-wise and the taser got removed in the transition from manga to anime (yeah, he had a taser, look it up!), everything about it seemed to work. His rage, the buildup and even the eventual intervention of Kenya. All in all, the scene takes less than a minute. But I couldn't help thinking in myself "Do it!"

The other big scene I love is Kayo's first home-cooked breakfast meal moment. This got put on the most heartwarming moments of the year list of Crunchyroll's anime awards and only lost due to YOI-hype. It is very captivating.

There's obviously even more great moments, but I'll leave that for you to figure out.

I like it because in the end it's a story about a man who tries to save his own mother

Yes, I may be biased on this, since I'm a man who has a close bond with his mother and I have no idea what I'd do if I found my mother murdered in cold blood.

I can't help to feel emotional the moment that Satoru once again meets with his mom and finds out she's still alive in this timeline.

But on the other end, who can blame Satoru? Satoru's mom is one of the best supporting characters I've seen in 2016 and is probably the best mom in anime in general.

I like it because it's a good drama, not a mystery anime and hardly a thriller

A lot of people that hated this anime, hated it because it's not a good mystery nor a good thriller.

And I (kind of) agree with that. The mystery never really went anywhere. There weren't enough (good) red herrings to send the audience the wrong way. But it never was intended as a mystery story. It somehow got presented that way, and that may have been very wrong on the anime's side of things.

Because in the end, this is a Drama with supernatural elements and a hint of a thriller and mystery. This is the story about Saturo being given a chance to remove his feelings of regret. To save his mother, to save his murdered childhood "friends", to save himself from his "broken" personality... to become the hero he always wanted to be.

I like this anime, because it is a critical piece against Japan's justice system

A lot of people critique certain decisions people make or have made in the anime. Why did Satoru ran away from the crime scene in the first episode? Why are both Airi and Kenya so focused on helping Satoru? It all connects to the same thing. The author's personal critique against Japan's way of handling Justice.

Have you ever played an Ace Attorney game? If you have, you might've thought by yourself that the court works in a bizarre way in these games. Well... THAT is basically Japan's Justice system (safe the "everything needs to be decided in three days" part). The prosecutor and police work together to find an accused party, find evidence and consider him/her guilty. Then it's up to the defense attorney to prove the court otherwise.

In short... You're guilty until you're proven guilty... unless the defense can get you to be declared innocent.

This way of thinking is opposite to the Western standards, where people are innocent until the prosecutor and police have sufficient evidence to prove you're guilty.

While our Western system isn't 100% good either, I'd rather prefer to be judged over here. I don't think I have to tell you that the Japanese justice system and the general way of thinking is the root cause of many family drama's and many people end up being opposed to it. This includes the mangaka Kei Sanbe.

The theme of justice is a frequently recurring element in the story of Erased. I could go in even more detail on what elements represent this, but I'll leave the video of Pause & Select here instead, who explains the "perversion of Justice" in Japan and in Erased (which is where previous image comes from). Go watch it!

Anything else?

I think I could go on for ages, since there's so much to talk about. I didn't even cover things like the child abuse, nor the "kids don't act their age" remark many people had. But I erased those parts since I felt I couldn't make a convincing argument from either side. There's people that say those things are handled well, while others say it's handled poorly. I noticed I'm somewhere in the middle on those things.

Other than that, I'm finally glad I was able to finish this in a way I'm somewhat satisfied with it. Monday it's time for regular reviews again. Got a few lined up.

Until then, V out.

15 March 2017

The Digi Rant: A drunken rampage may get you followers, but doesn't grant you respect

Oh, Digibro... *sigh*. I really wish I shouldn't have to talk about him, but it's been annoying me all day and I need to get this out of my system...

I don't know if it was the alcohol influencing him, but this video is a prime example of how not to make a video on Youtube. This is Youtuber drama at its finest (or worst, depending on our point of view). He tried to convey feedback to other anime Youtubers on how to improve their content, but does it in such a way he either undermines almost every point he tries to make, or just starts dissing everybody around him.

In general, the video makes him look like a Hyrulean Sword who can't handle feedback and and a selfish asshole who thinks that only his video's are good and the rest sucks. In short, he makes the entire Anime Creator community look bad...

I know Digi has his share of fans that'll try to defend him to hell, so I'll try to stay as calm and complete as possible on this. But his rant has too many missteps and only a handful of points that stick to the end. Let me list them for clarity's sake.

Misstep 1: 2-minute (or more) introductions to video's should be cut? Should it really?

The first point that Digi tries to make is that he's sick and tired of introduction stories to video's that last 2-3 minutes, using Gigguk's latest video of Konosuba as an example.

Personally I don't really mind introductions to an analysis/discussion video, since it helps set the mood and context of said video. I find mood + context necessary when watching 15+ minute video's. And yes, this applies to all Youtube video's, not just anime-related content.

But I can understand that if you have tons of video's in your feed to watch, you want to skip to the actual meat of the video as soon as possible and skip the introduction bs. And there are lots of people who think this way, because lots of comment sections in Youtube video's have comments like: "Actual review starts at 2:30" (with timelink).

Skipping to the point of the story is something that I've seen Digi do in past video's. He doesn't do minute-long introductions or stagnates between segments. And getting to the point as fast as possible may be one of the reasons why he has so many followers.

But to be honest... it doesn't make his video's any better than the ones he's criticizing. In the end, it's just a directional choice. Heck, in most cases Digi removes the introduction segment, yet keeps rambling to fill his required timeslot of 15+ minutes on most of his video's (keep that in mind, it'll return later).

So by forcing his own editing choices onto other content creators he's not not giving constructive feedback, he's just being selfish and arrogant.

Misstep 2: Nobody in the anime community is looking at their writing or trying to improve

Do I even need to comment on this? It's baseless bashing. He again uses Gigguk as an example to say his writing sucks (it's no Pulitzer price certainly, but it's not bad), his microphone sucks (just as much as Digi's mic in this video tbh) and his music is too loud (maybe if you listen with headphones? I had no real issue with it) and that he focuses on the wrong things to improve (his forced opinion, Gigguk clearly thinks differently).

All in all, Digi is once again trying to push his own choices onto other people, which is quite arrogant and selfish.

Misstep 3: "I can't talk to these f**king people, because none of them are watching my shit"

Baseless assumptions much? I think most anime creators have seen a Digibro video at this point. He spreads them like wildfire, so they're kind of hard to ignore.

Also, did he try contacting "those people"? From what I've personally noticed, a lot of anime youtubers are open to feedback and collaboration videos. But if they don't reply, it may be because of the negative tone and hating/bashing Digi uses.

Here's a golden tip for all of you: "Constructive feedback helps to get communication started".

In this case, I can only point to Digibro's lack of experience in communicating with real people. I'm just guessing here, but I assume his youtubing career has resulted in him never really getting an actual job where communicative skills are tested.

To give an example, just listen to Digi's response to Geoff (Mother's basement) after Geoff said he met Arcada IRL and said that he's a nice guy. "Doesn't make his [Arcada's] video's good. His video's are not entertaining. Why should I respect him as an entertainer if I don't find his video's entertaining?"

Sentences like that have multiple problems.

  • A: Arcada (GlassReflection) is one of the creators who is constantly trying to improve himself and is slowly getting better at it. In short: Arcada is the type of guy that Digi says doesn't exist in the anime youtuber community, safe himself.
  • B: he's bashing baseless again. Digi calls himself a drunk, American asshole later on in the video. And he's not exactly wrong about that. But admitting that, doesn't necessarily prove his point, nor does it excuse his negative behavior.

Misstep 3.5 (kinda subrant on the previous one): "All of these youtubers hang in cliques, but don't venture outside".

Pot calling the kettle black, imho.

Misstep 4: His issue with CanipaEffect in general (it returns a few times in Digi's video)

Digi has a point that Canipa takes a certain stance towards him, although Canipa sure isn't the only one taking that stance (just sayin'). Canipa isn't really hiding it that he isn't a fan of Digibro, but he doesn't outright say it (which gives him the label passive aggressive). Although this is probably because he doesn't want to spread hate like someone else (just sayin').

But it's also clear that Digibro has not yet directly contacted Canipa to clear out this "conflict". In other words, refer to the golden tip from misstep 3 once again.

Misstep 5: Digi's rant on RCAnime (#ThisPunkBitchMotherfuckerRCAnime)

I've seen RCAnime's video on Konosuba. Yes, the audio mixing wasn't great (it made me click away before the end). Yes, he has a voice that hasn't fully matured. But come on? Dissing on how people sound? There's many people making content on Youtube whose voice isn't that great. Heck, personally I don't even like Digi's voice. But again, that's just me. I'm not dissing him for it. It's not like he can change that!

But what this rant quickly boils down to is the podcast on which #ThisPunkBitchMotherfuckerRCAnime "made fun" of Digibro's 24-part series on the Asterisk War...

Yes, I know it's not a 24-episode rant on the Asterisk War itself, but a 24-episode on how not to suck at making anime, using each episode of the Asterisk War as an point of view... But the point remains. At the end of the day people will remember it as the 24 episodes on how the Asterisk War sucks... and make references about it. Because that's what this is.

If you listen to the referenced podcast, the diss is actually just a simple reference joke. But apparently Digi didn't get the joke and got annoyed by it, assuming it to be bullying.

Valid point #1: Teach people about sound mixing

Yes, you may be surprised to see this in here. But there is a point that remains valid at the end of the video (it needs to be said). Digi talks about sound mixing and says he's going to do a full tutorial video on that.

My thoughts: Good! Do that! In fact, I'm even interested in that and curious as to what you have to say!

Misstep 6: He makes a 15+ minute video on why people should stop making 15+ minute video's

Another one of Digi's rants is how he finds it annoying that so many people talk too much about the same thing, thus causing the video to be 9, 15 or even 30+ minutes. He even calls certain youtubers out on abusing Youtube's search algorithm (which is true).

But there's no better way to undermine that point if you know that Digibro does EXACTLY the SAME thing. For somebody who claims he watches his own video's all the time (which I doubt - most creaters hate re-watching the stuff they make), it's very off-putting to see him acting so... did I mention the words selfish and arrogant already?

Misstep 7: Dissing other creators for accepting sponsorship deals

Okay, so you either like or dislike sponsored video's. I don't care personally. But content creators need to live. Sponsorship deals helps give that little extra above Patreon and Youtube ads and Geoff mentioned not too long ago that he kinda needs the money since he's moving out of his mother's basement (which I remember well, because the pun made it stick).

But Digi shouldn't be jealous about people who do accept these deals after he refuses the same deals (to each his own, seriously).

Would people like Goeff and Gigguk have made said sponsored videos they did without said deal? Maybe / maybe not. Maybe Geoff had ideas about it, but didn't want to push it too hard because it's only frigging Naruto.

Valid point #2: Youtubers stealing lines / ideas from others

I think it happens to most people. We all get our information from somewhere, but don't always remember where we got said info from. Most YouTube creators use advanced copy-pasting to create a video in the first place. Though, admittingly, Geoff should've referenced Digi at least. This is one of the things that Digibro does right. When he re-uses lines or opinions from other people, he actually bothers to say WHO said it and provides a link to them.

Misstep 8: "If I can get the info from literally going to Sakuga booru, then what's the point?"

If I can get information from Wikipedia, ANN and other sites, what's the point of watching anime Youtubers?

Answer: Because only a minority does visit those mentioned sites. The majority of people rather click on a YouTube video explaining them stuff. Most content creators are part of the minority that needs to look up stuff in order to make video's. And yes, this IS a reference to my earlier quote about advanced copy-pasting.

Misstep 9: Blaming youtubers for not being anything different, while not understanding content that dares to be different

Digi has a point that many anime youtubers make similar content or don't try to be different from the rest. But once again, he undermines his point when he attacks YouTubers that dare to freshen up this homogeneous mess.

Animat's video (while being a little too long for my taste) had an original intro. I genuinely liked it and I'm kind of jealous of not coming up with that idea first. But then again, Digi hates 2-3 minute introductions (see misstep 1). So I can understand why he doesn't like this video.

But then came his comment on Pause and Select: "I literally cannot understand most of Pause & Select's video's".

Seriously? Pause and Select's video on the theme of Death in Rakugo Shinjuu is one of the best anime related YouTube video I've seen in 2016! His content is deeper and more thought-provoking than your average anime reviewer.

If anything: He makes thé videos Digibro claims he wants to see. But Digi's "I don't understand" response says more about him, than about Pause & Select's video's.

And the last misstep: "I'm going to make so many people f**king angry with this video".

So, let's see. how did the crowd react to Digi's meltdown?

If you follow the targeted people on twitter, you might've noticed most of them just had a: "Lol, wut?" response, mostly laughing at the video; celarly knowing better than the ranter himself.

Some even made sarcastic comments. RCAnime for example will now forever be known as "ThisPunkBitchMotherfuckerRCAnime".

Gigguk on the other end responded by addressing the anime community in general rather than hating back on Digibro (*sigh of relief*). Because let's face it. The people who were the most angry about Digibro's video was the angry pitchfork-wielding anime community.

And if I'm annoyed about anything, it's that there really is too much hate going around in the anime community in general and Digibro really didn't help with his video.

So let's keep it as it is. Let's laugh at Digibro's drunken rant video and move on. He finally got this rant out of his system (and so do I now) and maybe something good will come out of it (I doubt it, but I can hope).

And yes, now I'm going back on finishing my damn pt 2 of my Erased review. I Really, really want to get THAT out of my system and focus on regular reviews again.

Until next time, V out.

7 March 2017

V reviews - In this corner of the world: A better war movie than The Wind Rises

For the past two weeks, the Anima festival was happening in Brussels. Too bad I found out about it a little too late. Why? Because the festival had the first Belgian air dates for "Your Name", and I was just a little too late to get to see it.

But after biting away my disappointment, I found out there were still some tickets left for another anime movie that was recently released: "Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni", which is released in Europe as "In this corner of the World".

The movie information and trailer caught my attention. And since I totally missed out on Your Name, I wanted to double down on watching this film. So I drove to Brussels through the pouring rain, parked my car in the overpriced Flagey parking, sat down in these worn-out uncomfortable theater seats and watched it. But the end result made the entire trip worth it!

"In this corner of the world" is kind of flying under the radar in the west, since its name is not "Your Name", nor "Sword Art Online the Movie". But it is a movie that requires your attention. So let's review this and get the show on the road!

V Reviews - In this corner of the World

Backstory - The manga

"Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni" is a Japanese seinen manga created by award-winning writer/mangaka Fumiyo Kōno.

Her published works tend to be on the short side (1-4 volumes) and usually tend to be slice of life dramas. And since she was born and raised in Hiroshima, most of her stories are about the atom bomb and the aftermath of it. While she is too young to have experienced the bombing herself (°1968), she grew up in a city that has experienced this drama first-hand. This means that she has heard lots of first-hand stories from people around her. Family members, neighbors, everybody who lives in Hiroshima has their own story. And Fumiyo absorbed those stories and turned them into works of her own.

Until now, Fumiyo's most recognized work was "Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms", which received several awards and was turned into a live-action movie as well (which also garnered lots of praise and awards). This story was about a family of survivors of the atom bomb.

"In this Corner of the world" on the other end is the story of a young woman that has to experience the hardships that the second world war brings to a family of common people. And once again, the manga has gained lots of critical praise.

Backstory - The movie

In 2012, a project to animate this manga was first announced, but then postponed due to lack of resources. In 2015, a crowdfunding campaign was launched in order to help finance the project... and by god, it got almost double the requested money. Calling this a success is an understatement.

By October 2016, the movie was finally released in Japanese theaters. And now the producer is taking the movie all around the world, to show it at movie festivals.

And this movie adaptation is aiming to become a big success. Seriously, look at the Accolades of the wiki page. It's only been released for less than half a year and the list of awards already are too long to mention on a single A4 page. In the Japan Academy Awards, it even beat out films like "Your Name" and "A Silent Voice" in the category of best animated movie.

And this is just the beginning. I'm curious what it's going to do at the big Film Festivals (like Cannes, Sundance, etc), not to mention next year's Academy Awards (it will be nominated, mark my words).

The Story

The story of this movie portrays the life of Suzu, growing up from a kid in Hiroshima into adulthood. She's a dreamer and an talented artist. But most of all, she's an airhead with little to no care in the world.

But as has long been tradition in Japan, a young man (Shuusaku) asks for Suzu's hand to her parents and she is being married off without even seeing the guy once. Okay, she sees him once while being "disguised".

Master of disguise, everyone!

Shuusaku and his family lives in the harbor city of Kure, which lies in the south of the prefecture of Hiroshima. So Suzu has to move to Kure and shortly thereafter she has to marry the man (with a hilarious joke concerning the "marriage night" and umbrella's - you'll get it once you see it).

Wait, is she starting to strip...? During her wedding?

Suzu has to live in this new environment, while proving herself to be as useful as possible with this new family. And that isn't easy, especially when her sister-in-law (Keiko) returns home after her husband died early and Keiko got into arguments with her in-law family. In this process she had to leave behind the shop of her late husband (which was forced to close down anyway) and she had to leave behind her son with her in-laws (in order to inherit the family name, I guess?).

But while this setup of a movie would be somewhat stale, I didn't mention the name Hiroshima without it playing a pivotal role in this story.

Yes, this is wartime Japan in World War II and everyone somewhat falls victim to it.

Shops start to close down, food supplies are being rationed, black markets flourish, bomb shelters are being built, the military police is being suspicious of everybody and so on and so on.

Yup, that's all that is left to eat today...

And while the majority of the movie consists of Suzu getting used to her new life, the second half of the movie starts to become more dramatic.
The moment you really feel you got to know the characters in this movie well, the war starts to creep in... really close.

Air raids become more frequent, people are being torn away (quite literally) and tears are being wept. Even Suzu herself is unable to escape unscathed.

This is only the beginning...

And after tragedy hits her really hard (no spoilers), she wants to return to her family in Hiroshima. All this while the movie makes sure to show you it's just a few days before the bomb is dropped...

The only thing you're wondering when all this drama starts, is if Suzu will make it out alive. But for that, you'll just have to check the movie out yourself.


Suzu: Innocent airhead who is being pushed into adulthood, but still has the mindset of a child at times. She's our main character and is quite enjoyable to follow.
Shuusaku: Suzu's husband. A quiet man who respects Suzu for who she is. Seriously, in a world where women are just married off to random people, I kind of expected this guy to be either a scumbag or predator of sorts. But overall, he's quite an okay guy. He does kind of idolize the military and wants to train to become a marine later on.
Keiko: Shuusaku's sister. Keiko is a woman with a strong personality. She's not evil or malicious, but her personality can be a bit overwhelming for Suzu at times. Keiko is a young widow who got separated from her son after falling into an argument with her in-laws. After this breakup, she returns to her own parents home together with her daughter (Harumi).
This leaves her somewhat bitter and jealous of Suzu. But Suzu makes it really hard for people to hate her.
Entarou & San: Shuusaku's parents. They gladly welcome Suzu into their family.
Entarou works in a military factory. San stays at home most of the time, but has health issues. Due to this, she relies on Suzu to do the household chores.
Harumi: Keiko's daughter. She gets along really well with Suzu and vice versa. While not said out loud, it's clear that Suzu sees Harumi as a replacement for her sister. She really cares for this little girl.
Sumi: Suzu's younger sister. The two get along really well, but they get separated when Suzu marries. They do see each other a few more times in the movie and you still see the close bond these two have.
She is considered to be a beauty and does take advantage of her looks by charming soldiers into obtaining goods and even a ride to Kure.

There are more minor characters floating around in this movie, but less time is spent on them. These include Suzu's parents and grandmother, Suzu's "evil" big brother, Suzu's early boy-crush (Tetsu) and a few others.

Animation and sound

This is really a well animated movie. It's animated by Studio Mappa, known for recent hits like Yuri on Ice, Rage of Bahamut, Kids on the Slope and Hajime no Ippo the Rising. If anything to compare it by, I think Kids on the Slope does come the closest. It uses a similar color palette.

The character design require some getting used to (they feel a bit chibi-like at times). But once you get used to the art style, you can get sucked into the movie.

Other than that, the environments are amazing to look at. It sometimes feel as if I'm looking at photographs instead of animated backgrounds.

The music is created and performed by singer/composer Kotringo (Rieko Miyoshi), who has also received some awards for this score (which should say something about the overall quality). If you want a feel of what the soundtrack sounds like, take a look at the trailer.

One song that did jump out from the movie was the opening track, which is typical Western church music (kind of a weird choice). It's probably a coincidence, but I couldn't help but notice it.


This movie is adorable to watch, yet very captivating at the same time.

Yes, it does tend to drag itself a bit halfway through. But when the tension of the war comes, it really makes you live the emotions along with the people who are experiencing the tension.

And while the movie makes sure not to show too much of the bloody results of the war, the few times when war does chime close to our family, it really packs a punch. While I did not cry myself, there will be plenty of people who will be needing their Kleenex.

Also, the last 5-10 minutes are a bit weird. The movie does it best not to show too much of the war horrors that happened post the A-bomb (not unlike the infamous first few volumes of Barefoot Gen). But then there's suddenly a few scenes with a girl and her mother which are utterly disturbing and kind of misplaced in this movie. It comes out of left-field and has a big impact on the final moments of the movie. But it also makes you wonder: "Was that really necessary?"

But overall: Do I like this movie? Yes, Yes I do.
In fact, I find it to be better than The Wind Rises. The Wind Rises is the Oscar-winning Ghibli movie that is also a "slice of life" drama set in World War 2.

But I personally found The Wind Rises to be a bit boring. Yes, it has pretty visuals and it was Miyazaki's (supposed) last movie (now we know better!). But that's about it. Outside of the plane building, there's not much substance to that movie. The love story and drama is just mediocre at best.

tl;dr? This review in one image

In "In this Corner of the World" there's so many things present that one part does not outweigh the other. It's a better overall experience and a must-watch if you want to learn anything about Japan during World War 2 and how living in Japan during the wartime was like.

Overall, I'm giving this an 8,5/10. If this movie plays in a theater or film festival near you, go and watch it! You will not regret it!

Until next time, V out.