Durarara!!x2 Shou – Save Us From the Kind Man

Ah, what a time to be alive, the cour finale for Durarara!!x2 is upon us, and it’d be a bitter-sweet occasion, if not for the fact we have 2 more cours to look forward to, so be joyous and merry, because more Durarara!! is coming soon. This specific write-up began as a post-finale overview for the first of the three cours (To those who don’t know, “cour” in this sense refers to a “Season’s worth of episodes, 3 months’, which is distinct from “Season” for various unimportant reasons) for Durarara!!x2, but as it kept growing longer, I gave in and turned it into an exploration of the themes I found interesting in the show, and how it went about them.

Part 1: The Great Game Begins:

Durarara!! X2 Shou anime review - Orihara Mairu and Kururi are having fun

In life, stories do not come to an end. There’s never a clean break, and there are always more storylines going on in the background, and things are always, not starting, not ending, but ongoing. That’s always been what Durarara!! has been about, and especially the first half of the first season. And yet, while thinking ahead to the cour-finale, as I watched it, and especially with all that’s been going on as the episode continued, I was left with the impression that this is doubly true for this cour .

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be spoilers for the entirety of Durarara!! up to this point.)

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Junketsu no Maria / Maria the Virgin Witch Episode 12 (Finale) – Everyday Salvation: Change

So, love is here! War was stopped, in this one section, but as we learned earlier, war always continues elsewhere, because you merely move the fighters, rather than stop their reason for fighting. So, Michael, Maria, and Joseph, what will happen?

Thoughts and Notes:

1) For Whom?:

Maria the Virgin Witch / Junketsu no Maria anime episode 12 notes - Maria as part of the world

1) Michael is asking Maria if she’s now acting for her own happiness, rather than the world’s. But of course, the state of your surrounding, and those who live around you, also affect your own situation.

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Death Parade Episode 12 (Finale) – Empathy and Sympathy; Dolls and Free Will

Last episode was pretty great. I had quite a bit to say, check out that lengthy post-episode write-up. Mayu made a declaration, that she’d make the decision, she’d sacrifice herself for what she loves, and so long she deems something as meaningful in her life, it all that matters. On the other spectrum we had Chiyuki, who deemed her own life meaningless, and gave us a beautiful ice skating and memory-montage sequence.

And now we need to see how it all shakes down, judging others, understanding them, and the “plot”, which had thankfully not been the focus of the show, leaving the stage for vignettes about humanity.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) The Dolls’ Heart-Strings:

Death Parade anime episode 12 notes -  Nona rises against her kind's lot

1) So, Arbiters don’t have emotions (obviously a lie, though I guess they do lack empathy), so who is pulling Nona’s strings? Is everything done according to some God’s will? Is she defying the will of the one who created her? Not too unlike parents and children, who become their own adults.

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Winter 2015 Anime Overview – Weeks 11-12 (Anime Power Ranking)

The penultimate episodes are upon us, so just before shows finally give us their final episodes, let’s see what we’ve got on our hands. Spoiiler – because I’ve dropped most of the shows I didn’t care for, anything ranged from “average” to “absolutely sublime”, the past two weeks, and especially the last, had been extraordinarily strong. A great finish to a good season. Now just to hope the finales all deliver as well.

The shows covered will be Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Death Parade, Durarara!!x2, Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch), Log Horizon S2, Parasyte: the Maxim (Kiseiju), and Shirobako.

1) Death Parade episodes 10-11:

Death Parade anime episodes 10-11 overview

The last two episodes have been magical. I think they truly worked great as “two episodes”, and were best to talk of them in said manner. Death Parade isn’t always consistent in its pace, but rather than call it “uneven”, it often feels, and certainly did this time around as if it’s a conscious decision, just as one could read an anthology of short stories that don’t all follow the same tone. So it was here, and these two slower episodes felt more thoughtful, more deliberate, and infinitely more intimate.

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Rewatching Neon Genesis Evangelion: An Adaptation of One’s Memories

Neon Genesis Evangelion animeWhen you meet acquaintances or family members you haven’t for a long while, it’s possible you’ll pick things up right from where you left off as if nothing had changed. But what if one of the parties involved “changed”, as far as they are concerned? They might get annoyed or even angry that the other side acts as if they know them, presumes to know them, when they merely know their past self?

What does all of that have to do with Neon Genesis Evangelion? Well, I’ve first watched NGE about 15 years ago, and my last rewatch had been either 8 or 12 years back. I happened to rewatch it during January, and it was quite unlike my experiences rewatching or rereading media in general, which usually subscribe to the first mode of meeting old acquaintances again – you get what you expect, you revisit all those fond memories, and if anything, those feelings are enhanced as you prepare yourself emotionally for these moments’ impact.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be show-experience transforming spoilers.)

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Death Parade Episode 11 – These Broken Shards We Embrace

Time for Onna, or Chiyuki, to get her judgment, eh? Time for Oculus to intervene, or not, and time to find out what Nona’s gambit was all about. We’re nearing the end, and it’s time for us, as well as Decim, to tie up loose ends.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Mayu’s Choice, Ginti’s Predetermination:

Death Parade anime episode 11 - Villain Ginti

That lighting, Ginti is such a villain.

1) So, back to Mayu, it seems. We learn Harada, who would’ve sacrificed Mayu was sent to the Void. We learn of how terrible it is to be in the Void, not the lack of any thoughts, but a terrible sensation, and nothing else. We also learn souls can be taken out, if you send someone else in their place – does it mean you need to send someone who is not supposed to go there, or one who is supposed to go there is fine too? Does a soul come out of the Void whenever a new one goes in, or just when one actively makes a “trade”? And is it up to the soul whether it wants back or not?Anyway, plenty of questions, which are orthogonal to the main issues of the show, but any answer could affect the read of the show’s themes.

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Shirobako Episode 23 – Optimism is the Message

So, the author is unhappy, again, and things are going pear shaped, after Miyamori fought tooth and claw to fix everything, again, so let’s see how they try and fix this mess. Again. It’s a hard life, yo.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) In the Trenches:

Shirobako anime episode 23 - Chazawa's smug grin

1) “Should we ready a recap episode, just in case?” – It’s Gatchaman Crowds all over again ;-)

More importantly, though Nabe-P said they’ll make it, he knows reality, so is readying a recap episode. Gotta prepare for all eventualities…

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Spring 2015 Anime Season Preview and Expectations

Spring 2015 is starting soon, and unlike most seasons, this time my post is done more than a day or two before the shows start dropping, hurray! I actually took time and wrote this monstrous post over two days, so I’m not entirely drained.

As always, in these posts I cover shows I plan to follow, or have thoughts on why I will not follow them, or considered following and decided not to. As always, I try to strike a balance between giving you enough information on the show, and telling you why I think it is or isn’t worth watching. Shows ordered by day, and by expectation within the day, since I might pick or not pick a show up based on how busy that day is. That’s only sensible. Unlike past seasons, I included “Almost In” as a new category, describing shows that I’d pick up in prior seasons, but decided to put aside in order to make more time for backlog, after growing unhappy with how many shows I pick up end up “not worth the time”, even, let alone “good”.

Most of the information about the shows can be had from the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver. Check them out if you want more information, or information on shows I didn’t cover (such as follow-ups to shows I don’t watch).


Arslan Senki - The Heroic Legend of Arslan anime Spring 2015Arslan Senki / The Heroic Legend of Arslan – An 80s epic fantasy series, a contemporary of Lodoss. This anime is an adaptation of the modern and ongoing adaptation by Hiromu Arakawa, the mangaka behind Fullmetal Alchemist (which I liked), and Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon, the anime adaptation of which I liked). As the manga adaptation is ongoing, and anime is often used to help market source material, I wonder if we’ll be allowed a conclusive ending, as the original material is there, or if we’ll be forced to wait, or told to go and follow the manga?

The material is there, but the studios are mostly known for shorts such as Aiura and Miss Monochrome, or shows such as Terra Formars or Arpeggio of Blue Steel. Abe Nokiyuki as the director is known for Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho, Great Teacher Onizuka, and well, Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler), while the script composition is handled by the very prolific Uezu Makoto (Katanagatari, Humanity Has Declined, School Days, Danganronpa, and many more).

This is the show I have the most hopes for this season, but production is looking a tad iffy. I really hope they pull it through.
Interest Rating: 2/3.
 Epic fantasy? Good source material? I’m in. Though maybe I should just read the source material, eh?
Airing Date: April 5th. Preview.

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Media Months in Review – September 2014 – February 2015 – Games and Books

The intention is to post these monthly. Since I haven’t posted these in a while though, I’m going to split the last half year’s media consumption post into several parts. This one will focus on games(video games, board games, card games), and books (also manga and comics). I’ll give a paragraph or so for every show I have what to say of.

Video Games:

Diablo 3 4 Furnaces

Diablo 3 is all about the loot. Taken during patch 2.1.1, those 4 Furnaces, damn.

Diablo 3 – The big elephant in the room. I’ve spent over 800 hours on the game over the recent months. It had consumed me, at least for the first 2-3 months, where every single free moment of my time was spent on it. I barely watched anime, even. The drive for loot was strong. I’m now slowly winding down my time with it. Both because the gameplay isn’t all that good, and because I realize the only goal you play it for is to get items that make you faster at obtaining items. The “end-game” content is truly lacking, and the only thing worse than the end-game content is pre-end-game content, which just feels bad. Though the basic leveling in terms of levels feels good.

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Winter 2015 Anime Overview – Weeks 9-10 (Anime Power Ranking)

This write-up covers two weeks, because the episodes didn’t necessarily give enough to describe for one episode lately. The shows are ordered based on how much I liked the episodes in question or thought were good.

The shows covered will be Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Death Parade, Durarara!!x2, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Egypt arc, Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch), Log Horizon S2, Parasyte: the Maxim (Kiseiju), and Shirobako.

1) Death Parade episodes 8-9:

Death Parade anime episodes 8-9 - Onna is angry

It should’ve been obvious by now, and episode 8 did all but say it, and then came along episode 9 and truly did say it – this isn’t about the people being judged, it’s about Decim. We judge the people we see, we judge their judgments, and most of all, we judge the one who passes the judgment, trying to figure out if he made the right decision, and if he made it for the right reasons. This reminds me of the Gorgias Socratic Dialogue, where what I often found problematic in the dialogues was actually brought out.

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