Monday, April 20, 2015

InuYasha TFA 19: A whole lot of unconscious people

InuYasha TFA episode 19 review


After a brief moment of levity where InuYasha destroys part of Kagome's house, we end up with a boatload of people who are knocked unconscious, thanks to yet another one of Naraku's incarnations. Miroku, Rin & Kohaku (to a certain extent) are all knocked out, with Kohaku's unconsciousness mixed with moments of "puppetry" where Naraku's incarnations control him.

The best scene in the episode is Sango caring for Miroku, and for only the second time in The Final Act, we get a romantic scene between the two. Unfortunately, we can't seem to get a scene where both of them are talking to each other; every time there's romance between them, it's always one-sided (remember Sango and the jars of alcohol?).

Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into this episode. In fact, I was so bored by it that I fell asleep the first time I watched it, and had to slog through it again in order to write this review. Maybe it's just that the whole "Kohaku controlled by Naraku" storyline is so old and tired by now that I don't feel anything over it.

Character of the episode: Sango
It's about time Sango gets a moment in the spotlight.

Episode rating (out of four stars): *½

Sunday, April 19, 2015

SAO II 4: Kirito goes shopping

Sword Art Online II episode 4 review


We're going a bit out of order this week in light of the big Kill la Kill episode. We'll start off with Sword Art Online II, where Kirito enters Gun Gale Online.

To begin, he's got a female avatar which everyone else is crazy about. There is no explanation as to why he has this female avatar. It's basically just there as a humorous plot point. Credit Aniplex or whoever for keeping Bryce Papenbrook as the voice actor and having to make his voice sound like a girl. It makes for some humor, even if (like the Leafa storyline) you wonder how Sinon can't realize that he's a guy.

Then Kirito meets Sinon and has to buy a gun to start out with. He doesn't have much money, but never to fear, there's a Ski Ball-esque jackpot waiting if he can only win at this one gambling game. We see one poor soul fail at the game, then Kirito goes all deus ex machina and wins the game in perhaps the most predictable moment in the history of anime. It was about as ridiculous as my "favorite" scene from Ocean's Twelve, which I've referenced on this blog before.

So then Kirito, having won the Ski Ball jackpot, goes to buy a gun. But of course he's not going to buy a gun, and not just because we see him in the opening with a lightsaber. The real reason is because, well, it's called Sword Art Online. So he has to have some sort of sword. I love how Sinon and Kirito collaborate to make sure not to call it a "lightsaber" for fear of being sued. They call it everything but a "lightsaber."

And that's it. That's your whole episode. I can't say I wasn't entertained, but maybe I'm being too positive. In the past I'd blast this episode to pieces, but I guess I sort of enjoyed it, maybe because I'm not taking SAO II so serious.

Character of the episode: Kirito
Not like I had much of a choice. I actually would have said the cowboy that shoots at Kirito during the game, but that's not actually a character.

Episode rating (out of four stars): **½

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Voice Actor Draft 2015 Preview

Coming in a couple weeks... the 2015 Voice Actor Draft. Here's how it will work.

  • 32 anime franchises - not so coincidentally the number of teams in the NFL, and the number of anime franchises of which I have seen at least 2 episodes - will participate in a draft, where they select voice actors that would fit well in their series.
  • Anime franchises will select in order of my ranking of them on My Anime List, from lowest score to highest.
  • Each franchise will select a voice actor according to how well they fit the characters in their series. It is as if the franchise is starting from scratch and has no voice actors, except...
  • Results from last year's draft are included. However, any actors from last year may be redrafted by any franchise except for the one that chose them last year.
  • Franchises not in last year's draft receive a compensatory pick at the end of the third round. Fullmetal Alchemist, which received 2 picks in last year's draft (as the original series and as Brotherhood), will lose a third-round pick.
  • The draft lasts three rounds and goes in the same order each round. The compensatory picks are awarded after all other franchises have drafted, and then in the same order, lowest score to highest.
  • No voice actor may be drafted more than once; however, they are still part of their original franchise from last year.
  • This is all in fun. Think of it as fantasy casting. It is in no way an insult to any actor who does not get picked, or gets picked low. It's just for fun.
The 2015 Voice Actor Draft begins April 30!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

InuYasha TFA 18: A kinder, gentler machine gun hand

InuYasha The Final Act episode 18 review


Last episode was a milemarker - Sesshomaru got his arm back. Oh, and it was laugh-out-loud hilarious. This one, however, in its attempt to develop the InuYasha-Kagome romance, falls a bit short.

Kagome has to go back to school to take her high school entrance exams. Yes, she's that young. And she goes through a series of misadventures on her way to the exams, including a scene where InuYasha is able to run down a train. Along the way, InuYasha and Kagome become closer, but something's missing.

That something seems to be InuYasha's personality. He's not the same InuYasha we know and love. He's a kinder, gentler version of InuYasha, and it just doesn't work for me. I know the InuYasha from the 167 episodes of the original. He's not all mushy right after Kagome yells at him to "Sit!" This new InuYasha is a real pushover. Unfortunately, once you've built in character all these episodes, you can't just throw that all out the window now.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy some of the romantic scenes. The two were even about to kiss, when that scene was disrupted. I just expected something a bit different.

Character of the episode: Kagome
InuYasha could have gotten it too. Not an episode to write home about, that's for sure.

Episode rating (out of four stars): **

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Anime Bowl Toonami Podcast - Episode 3

My favorite word - "tomfoolery" - is pulled out of the old thesaurus and used to describe one of the shows from last Saturday night. But which one? That's why you have to listen. And don't miss our bunny trail down the line of other shows with non-aging characters!

Intro: 0:00
Dragonball Z Kai: 0:19
Kill la Kill: 2:45
Sword Art Online II: 10:57
InuYasha The Final Act: 18:01
Naruto Shippuden: 25:47
One Piece: 27:58
Who won the night?: 33:04

Monday, April 13, 2015

SAO II 3: Kirito Star Trekking

Sword Art Online II episode 3 review


(The screenshot of the night.)

My sister and I used to use the term "Star Trek" any time a person would assume the position Kirito did above. The reason being, we saw a Riker cardboard standee where Number One was in that very position, making us wonder if he had to go number one. The term stuck, and now "Star Trek" is used by us as a discreet way of telling that someone has to pee.

When I wrote my guest article for Beneath The Tangles, I only took the first Sword Art Online into consideration for my list of "most overrated anime." (Check out the post there, and the whole blog while you're at it. I'm still lobbying to someday be good enough to be considered as a guest for their podcast!) I never thought it was even humanly possible that SAO could make me have all the feels, which this episode did.

The bank robbery scene was quite the shocker. It was jaw-dropping and very unnerving. You probably don't know that I have a fear of banks. Why? Well, this. I'm always afraid of a bank being robbed when I'm in it. And this scene was just another reason for me to only use the drive-up ATM from now on. "Avert not thine eyes," but I averted them several times in the bloody scene. It didn't end in total tragedy, but that's like saying Chernobyl was only a "minor meltdown."

So we got the point across well, that Sinon (Shino Asada) is scared of guns. But at the same time, we don't get the point about why she's now playing a game that's all about guns. Please tell me why, because the episode never made that clear. Oh, sure, it drove the point home very well that she's scared of them. But if I had what happened to her, happen to me - I wouldn't be going home and playing Grand Theft Auto. (In fact, I used to be a huge Grand Theft Auto fan, before I grew up and matured. Now I see it as juvenile.)

You can argue it two ways: not much happened in this episode, as all we really got was the flashback for Sinon, and Kirito agreeing to enter the world of Gun Gale Online. Or you could argue that a ton happened in this episode, if indeed Sinon's backstory becomes a huge part of her character, and if Kirito leaving Asuna to protect Sinon from Death Gun will lead to a potential love triangle. As usual, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Character of the episode: Shino Asada
She looks to be a fascinating character. Is she going to be a Leafa, or an Asuna?

Episode rating (out of four stars): ***

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kill la Kill 10: Pillars of salt, pillars of sand

Kill la Kill episode 10 review


Man, do those tags on this blog need cleaned out. Half of them are never used, because they're from back when this blog was still finding its way. Actually it still is finding its way, and getting lost.

Anyway, be careful what you wish for. When I wished that Kill la Kill wouldn't spend one episode per Elite Four battle - for predictability reasons - I didn't expect one of the members of the Elite Four to just quit and walk off the battlefield. That's precisely what happened, as the second member of the Elite Four just flat-out quit, even after a flashback and all.

But then things get better. Nonon, the girl who is the third member of the Elite Four, totally makes up for her predecessor's joke of a battle. She comes marching into battle with a whole band leading her way, then transforms into this giant monstrosity which blasts out music, the noise of which hurts Ryuko. And then she starts dropping missiles on Ryuko, and the battlefield is engulfed in fireballs. This is over-the-top stuff here.

But the best moment of the episode comes from Mako. As she sits next to Gamagoori and the other loser, she starts up a cheer... for herself. And thus comes the line from Senketsu... "Apparently your friend is cheering for herself." It's such a great line, and it's true. Ryuko seems to get some encouragement from this, but more importantly Senketsu finds a new way to transform, which helps her start to make a comeback against Nonon.

I was really hoping that Nonon was going to actually win the battle, which looked very slightly possible at one point. That would be the type of twist that would make me love Kill la Kill even more. But Ryuko hung in there, even as her homeroom teacher called to some guy on a motorcycle to make some preparations for something. I don't know what that was all about, but what if the twist was that the man on the motorcycle was Ryuko's father? Meaning, still alive? I certainly hope not, of course. It would be the worst twist since How I Met Your Mother erased its entire final season in its final episode. (Not that I ever watched How I Met Your Mother, just that's what I heard.)

Character of the episode: Nonon
Whose sandcastle can never compare to Lady Satsuki's.

Episode rating (out of four stars): ***