Danganronpa 3: Zetsubou-hen,Whatever will happen to these characters no one cares about?

Welcome to the last week of this year’s horror anime month. In order to wrap things up, let’s look at the other instalment of Danganronpa 3, Zetsubou-hen. Is it an improvement over the other half of Danganronpa 3, just as weak or worse? I suppose the only way to find out is to watch and determine for ourselves. So, let’s take a look.



Zetsubou-hen opens with Yukizome taking a teacher’s role at Hope’s Peak Academy as part of an investigation into the Academy’s more shady pursuits. She’s assigned to the 77th class and begins her work in earnest, both as a teacher and an investigator. All while events are moving towards the great world-changing event of ultimate despair.

Therein lies the biggest flaw with the series. If you saw the first Danganronpa, you know how it’s going to end. Even if you haven’t, the series itself calls it a tale of hope that ends in despair. Which could work, if they built up some tension in another way. But the series never bothers. About half of it is spent on vaguely slice of life school life with very minor references to Yukizome’s investigation. Then we get a bunch of episodes setting up Junko’s machinations. Most of the series is just build up to a pretty disappointing climax. To make matters worse, if you happen to have watched Mirai-hen first, like I did, then you’ll know the exact plot points to expect. The series also shares Mirai-hen’s weakness of having a lot of bad, over-blown speeches. The only difference is that the ones in Zetsubou-hen are mostly about despair instead of hope.

That being said, I do appreciate what the series was trying to do. When it comes right down to it, it’s trying to humanise the group that Naegi got called a traitor for protecting. It’s trying to get you to connect with and understand them. There’s just one problem with that. Let’s talk about the characters.


The Danganronpa series in general isn’t good at providing compelling characters. The first anime got around that by providing good mysteries. The Mirai-hen part of Danganronpa 3 tried to do the same, but ended up spending too much time with strangely absurd action sequences and puerile hope speeches. This series doesn’t even have that to fall back on. We know that Junko’s the villain as soon as she shows up. We see what Hope’s Peak is up to before there’s much investigation into it. We know that things are going to end in despair. So, what we’re left with are shallow archetypical characters who spend the bulk of the series doing nothing interesting.



The character designs continue to be a weakness. Although this may be the part of the series that’s least effected by it since a good half of it is about the students just being students. The series does have a strange habit of making the non-important characters just look like blue humanoid blobs. Maybe they didn’t want normal looking people and they didn’t want to bother coming up with stupid looking designs for background characters. I will credit this series for having bloody sequences that are fairly competent. Although they do use bizarre neon colouring for it. Maybe they were on a time slot where they couldn’t show much blood so they worked around it by making the blood not look like blood.


This is one area where I have to give every instalment of this franchise credit. They are good at casting. Ogata Megumi, Hanazawa Kana, Toyoguchi Megumi, Takayama Minami & Nakahara Mai are all good in this. In spite of their characters lacking any real complexity. Really, none of the actors do a bad job. They’re all basically competent. The music is also decent enough.


There’s a bit. Junko’s sister seems to have a thing for her. I have no idea why they included that, but it’s there. The photographer has a girl that she seems to have a thing with. The chef is openly bisexual and it’s revealed that a certain gent is in love with another man. That being said, this stuff barely comes up and is, mostly, not important to the plot.

Final Thoughts:

And that’s Danganronpa 3: Zetsubou-hen. Ultimately, its big failing is that its whole raison d’etre is to get you invested in bland characters. In the interest of doing so, it lacks mystery and has very little that could be charitably called horror. If you’re a big fan of the franchise and you really want to see the events that built up to the grand hyper worst despair-inducing situation, you might find it interesting. Maybe. For myself, I’m going to give it a 3/10. While it is pretty bad, there’s nothing truly terrible about it. Next week I’ll open November with a review of 91 Days. Have a happy Halloween and retain your fabulousity.

Upcoming Plans: First Update

A while back I discussed my plan to review non-anime that you lot request in December. So far, I’ve had a request for Space Balls, which  is a film I can definitely get a hold of. So, I’ll probably write up that review early so it’ll be ready when the time comes.

I also do have a  tentative idea of what November’s reviews will look like. I’ll definitely review 91 Days, since I already promised it. Aside from that, I’ll definitely get up a Sket Dance review. I’ve been working on the series for a while since it got requested, but it was kind of long so I didn’t quite have it done at the start of October. I’ll probably also do Toradora. I’m about halfway through the series and don’t anticipate any problems finishing it. Sword Art Online II is the next request after thatI’m really not looking forward to that one given how horrendous the first series was. I’m keeping my mind open to the possibility that it could be an improvement, but I don’t see any way that the writer could take those characters and make them anything resembling compelling. It’s possible that he does but highly improbable. The last review of November is likely going to be JoJo no Kimyou na  Boukenn: Stardust Crusaders. That one I am kind of looking forward to since I did like the first series in all its absurd, cheesy splendour. 

So, that’s what we’re roughly looking at for November and for the non-anime reviews of December.  Just keep those requests coming. I’ll do another one of these in a while to let you know where we are.Until then, here’s a picture of a little dog dressed as Wondy. 

Wonder Dog.jpg

Ajin: Could have used more development.

Let me start by apologising, somehow I got the mistaken impression that 91 Days was a horror anime, which it isn’t. I’ts a historical thriller. I got ahead of myself. For those of you who were looking forward to my reviewing that, I’ll review it in November, but for the moment, let’s talk about an actual horror anime. To be specific, let’s talk about Ajin. A supernatural horror mystery from Polygon Pictures. Based off of the manga from Sakurai Gamon. I have no idea what to expect from it. I haven’t heard anything about it. Let’s delve into it.



The titular Ajin look human, act human and think of themselves as human. The key differences are that Ajin can’t die. Every time they take mortal damage, a black mass swirls around them and they resurrect. Ajin can also summon black humanoid shapes that are invisible to human eyes. There are rumours about the Ajin. Some say that the government offers a reward of a hundred million yen to anyone who helps capture one. Some say they’re subjected to cruel and inhumane experiments once they’re captured. Nagai Kei is a quiet, studious lad who doesn’t much care for people. After an accident, he learns that he is, in fact, an Ajin. Now, the government is after him and he’s on the run, convinced that there’s some truth to the rumours.

The biggest flaw with this series is that it doesn’t really develop its ideas that well. It’ll spend a little time with something and then move on to the next thing without ever returning to flesh out the previous thing. The consequence is that there are a lot of plot points that are allowed to drop and others that could have been considerably more interesting, but aren’t given time to build up because they really wanted to get to the next big moment. Not like the big moment they were on mattered that much. It’s also worth noting that the “horror” of this series is largely just that it has supernatural creatures. There’s all of one moment in the entire thirteen episodes that actually kind of works as horror.

In spite of that, I do like the idea of the series. I like that it has moral ambiguity with neither side of the conflict being moral. And neither one is morally questionable in some over the top or cartoonish way. They have motivations that legitimately work, given the scenario. The narrative does also do a good job of keeping you interested in what’s coming next. In spite of its tendency to rush things. Its very good at ending its episodes at just the right moment to get the audience interested in what’s coming next.


This series is somewhat reminiscent of Phantom: Requiem in that it doesn’t have any morally good characters, mostly. It has a couple side characters who seem genuinely like good, supportive people. Its major characters, in contrast, are very much a self-centred group. Each of whom is willing to do terrible things if it serves them or helps them towards their goal. That being said, it is interesting to watch how they respond when their interests clash and they do, largely, come across as actual people, at least in terms of personality. It’s also kind of interesting that so many of them act out of desperation at various points in the narrative. That being said, the dynamics don’t always work. A big example is Kei and Kaito. We basically see flashbacks of how they used to be friends a long time ago and, somehow, it left such an impact that Kaito is willing to risk himself for Kei. Even though Kei’s literally spent years ignoring him. If their relationship troubles had been a recent development, it might be believable, but with that much time it comes across as really contrived. They really needed to show us more of their relationship and why it means so much to Kaito even after all this time, which does tie into the series’ general problem of rushing ahead without developing things properly.


(This fight scene makes Kirk vs the Gorn look  natural)


The artwork in this isn’t very good. Its not that it uses obvious CG, it’s that it uses obvious CG that looks to be at about the level of a Playstation 2 game, and not one like Final Fantasy XII that looked really nice. No, it looks like an early PS2 game when developers weren’t even close to pushing the system’s limits. It’s more than a little distracting to see those visuals when they’re trying to have a serious moment.


The vocal cast in this is pretty good. Miyano Mamoru, Ootsuka Houchuu, Hosoya Yoshimasu, Komatsu Mikako & Sakurai Takahiro are all good in this. Kanno Yugo did the music for the series and it’s decent enough.


There really isn’t any. Nor is there romance in the series in general, save for one character’s motivation.

Final Thoughts:

Ultimately, Ajin is okay. It has some good ideas and it is interesting, but rushing from one major plot point to the next hurts it. As does the generally weak artwork. If the series had had twenty episodes and spent more time on its important plot points, it could have been really good. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have that time. So, it’s rushed, but still decent enough. My final rating is going to be a 6/10. If the premise sounds interesting and you can forgive the artwork, you might get into it. Next week I’ll end this year’s horror month with Danganronpa 3: Zetsubou-hen. In the meantime, keep your fabulosity gauge filled.

Danganronpa 3: Losing Focus

It’s been three years since I looked at the first Danganronpa anime. While it wasn’t one of the best anime I’ve seen, I did rather like it. Now we’re skipping ahead to Danganronpa 3, because there wasn’t a Danganronpa 2 anime. Maybe they thought the game wouldn’t translate well. Maybe they didn’t consider it good enough. Maybe a new Dragon Quest game came out. Maybe they got distracted reading Voyages of the Cerberus and missed their window of opportunity. The first two are more likely by far but a man can daydream. The odd thing about Danganronpa 3 is that it’s split into two settings, both of which were running at roughly the same time. This week, we’ll be looking at the Mirai-hen & Kibou-hen setting this week. Although I may take a look at the Zetsubou-hen setting later this month. So, let’s take a look and see how it holds up compared to the first series.



We open with our protagonist from the first series, Naegi Makoto, being taken to the headquarters of the Future Foundation to answer charges of being a traitor. Supposedly, he safeguarded a bunch of remnants of despair. Maybe that’s what happened in the second game. While attending the meeting with all the foundation’s higher ups, along with Kirigiri & Asahina, the building gets attacked. They wake up to a Monokuma video telling them that they’ve been brought into a game of despair. He claims that one of them is a traitor and, in order to end the game, they have to either kill the traitor or wake up with all of them alive. To put them to sleep at regular intervals, they’re also given wristbands that inject them with sleeping drugs after a set amount of time. The wristbands are also programmed with forbidden actions. Should any of them do their forbidden action, they’ll be injected with a lethal amount of poison. Naturally, Naegi is instantly viewed as the most suspicious by several people. Can he survive their attacks and solve the mystery around him?

There are two major flaws with the series. The first is that it spends a lot of time following the characters who are outside of the game. A lot of the stuff they do is really over the top action fare and it hugely undermines any suspense or horror atmosphere that’s happening on the inside. Not only that, but the events on the outside don’t do that much. They reveal some information that the audience could have gotten from the characters on the inside and it would have worked better. The other big problem with the series are the speeches. In the first Danganronpa anime, the ending had a big speech and it was cheesy and kind of stupid, but it didn’t hurt the series over-much since the bulk of it focused on the mysteries, which were pretty solid. In this series, there are a lot of really cheesy speeches about hope and despair. A lot of the discussion is less about the mystery and more about hope. These are speeches that could kind of work, if they were in a Precure series or something else for small children, but that are really absurd and ridiculous in this context. By the way, the Kibou-hen special is mostly cheesy speeches to wrap everything up and the series retconning what could have been a strong tragic moment thereby ruining it.

That being said, this was a solid premise. The idea of all these characters being trapped in a claustrophobic setting and uncertain of who they can trust is a compelling one. If they’d focused more on that facet and less on over the top action and speeches, this series could have been really good. I also do like the ultimate reveal. The twist is also genuinely clever.


In the first series, the characters were largely kind of shallow archetypes, but passable for what the series was doing. In this one, not so much. While the characters are still shallow, they’re also a bit annoying. Particularly Naegi and Munakata with their long speeches. We get it, you guys have a serious hope fetish, leave it in the bedroom. The only character who gets to keep their dignity is Kirigiri. She’s the only character who actually seems interested in solving the mystery. The rest spend their time chasing after each other, hiding, or following her lead.

On the outside, we have our action squad, Naegi’s sister & Touko from the first series doing the bulk of it. We also have Tagami who gives some exposition and orders people around. We also get to see Hagakure hang about outside the Future Foundation building being completely ineffectual. I seriously have no idea why he’s here. He contributes nothing to the story. They just cut to him doing random things on occasion. In one scene he’s fortune telling. In another he’s fishing and, in another he’s fleeing a helicopter. None of which affects the plot in the slightest. You could seriously replace him with a black Labrador and nothing would change. Except that the Labrador wouldn’t be as annoying and would be cute.



I’ve mentioned the overblown action scenes already. They aren’t good. The absurd, overblown character designs continue to be a weakness for the series. I’m sorry, but it’s distracting when your horror mystery has characters who look like they should be challenging children to a trading card game in order to steal Egyptian artefacts. The unique, game aesthetic the first game had with its visual style aren’t present in this one. Which is kind of a shame since those did give the series a unique identity. Which is something this one could use. We’ve got dark visuals mixed with goofy character designs. Neither of which is really unique.


Hikasa Yoko is really good in this. I’ll also give credit to Ogata Megumi, in spite of Naegi’s annoying qualities, she does give a strong performance as him. Saito Chiwa and Ishida Akira are also quite good. As are Suwabe Junichi & Morikawa Toshiyuki. Most of these performances, in all fairness, are perfectly passable. There are a few exceptions. Minase Inori doesn’t do well when her character gets in any kind of emotional moment. Neither does Eguchi Takuya. I don’t know if it’s the direction or just that they aren’t good at serious moments. I’ve heard them both give strong performances in comedic works, but never in anything serious. Hirano Aya’s character is just an annoyance.


There’s a bit. Naegi’s sister and Touko seem to get really close in their scenes together. Which culminates in a really homo-erotic speech from the sister while they’re clinging to a rocket. Although, it does seem to be one-sided with all indications being that Touko still has a thing for Tagami.

Final Thoughts:

This was a series with a promising premise. Unfortunately, it’s held back by a lacklustre execution that largely fails to take advantage of it. Instead, we’re given cheesy hope speeches, ridiculous action scenes and characters who mostly can’t be bothered with the mystery. In the end, it’s a weak follow up. My final rating is going to be a 4/10. Next week I’ll continue horror anime month with a look at Ajin.

Kagewani: As hilariously inept as cryptozoology.

Welcome, to the start of horror anime month. Where most of the series I review will undoubtedly have the horror tag, not because they’re scary in any way, but because they have monsters. Kagewani is a thirteen episode series that was written by Kumamoto Hiromu and brought to us by Tomovies. You may not recognise the studio name and wonder what else they’ve done. Well, there’s this and its currently airing sequel. That’s it. The studio is really new. How does their initial venture into anime production hold up? Let’s take a look.



Kagewani follows Professor Judas Traveller*, a crypto-zoologist. You probably think of cryptozoology as that field where a bunch of people with no credibility waste time trying to find fictional creatures which it is, in reality. But this is a work of fiction and, in the world of Kagewani, those fictional creatures actually exist. Virtually every episode covers a different encounter someone has with a cryptid while Judas observes or listens to the story without actually contributing anything, except for a few isolated cases where he actually does something.

The biggest issue with Kagewani is that it attempts to be suspenseful horror but it fails miserably on both accounts. Each episode is under eight minutes long and they cover different cases, which doesn’t allow for any suspense to be built up. We also see the monsters right away in most episodes, which is also detrimental to the suspense. The horror aspects also fail. Most of it is just based around goofy looking monsters chasing people we know nothing about and don’t have any investment in seeing come out okay. We also have an underlying story about the titular kagewani and it fails about as badly as the one-shot stories. The series also suffers from characters gaining knowledge they shouldn’t have. The big example being the wampa*1 episode and the person its chasing escaping because she somehow knows how its vision works. I guess she looked at the script.

About the best thing I can say about the series is that it’s actually kind of funny. It’s like Corpse Party or Galerians in that it’s so egregiously incompetent that a lot of the “horror” moments just come across as laughable. If the series was a deliberate parody of B horror films, it would actually be pretty decent.

*Yes, I know that isn’t his actual name but it amuses me to call him that.

*1 I know it’s really supposed to be a yeti, but either one is fictional so it doesn’t really matter.


The characters are a big part of why the series fails. In order for suspense horror to work, we as the audience need to have some level of investment in the characters and their well being. In this series we get thirty seconds with a character, if that long, before they’re being chased by some monster or other. None of them come across as complex, interesting or fleshed out. We don’t care what happens to them because they’re like the generic background characters with no real personality that show up once from an action-oriented shounen series that runs for hundreds of episodes. Judas Traveller isn’t any better. He’s just a generic obsessed dude who’s mostly relegated to the background where he can watch events unfold without actually contributing to them. The Precure they added in Max Heart was more developed as a character and she was the very model of a modern mundane magical girl.



The art is a big reason for the series’ unintentional comedy. It’s at Spider-man and his Amazing Friends levels of the studio just not caring. The animation is janky. The characters look like badly made paper dolls. The posing is frequently really unnatural. Did the studio literally give every episode the animation budget of a convenience store boxed lunch?


The performances in this are quite flat. I can’t really blame the actors. They cast some good ones. I think the problem really does stem from the characters being duller than the original characters in a bad fanfic. The music isn’t very good. It’s not badly done, but it’s just kind of weak.


There isn’t any. Having ho-yay would necessitate that the characters have strong enough interactions and personalities for chemistry. Which they don’t.

Final Thoughts:

Kagewani is an incompetent series. Like Galerians and Corpse Party, it fails miserably at what it’s actually trying to do. But, like those series, I kind of recommend it for the unintentional humour. Still, I have to give it a 2/10. Next week we’ll continue this year’s horror anime month with Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibougamine Gakuen Mirai-hen & the sequel special Kibou-hen. Look forward to that and maintain your fabulousity.

Announcement: Plans for December

Hey, Everybody. I just thought I’d take a moment to address my plans for the next couple months. To be specific, I want to talk about December.

Traditionally, I haven’t done anything special for December. For one thing, there aren’t many anime that are about the winter holidays. For another thing, October is horror anime month & January’s reviews always follow some random theme that I want to do whether it’s Hayashibara Megumi month, yuri month, Studio Ghibli month or Magical Girl month. If I gave December some theme or other, I wouldn’t be working on actual requested reviews for three months in close proximity.

If I’m being honest, though, I have always wanted to do something for you guys in December. I’ve always wanted to do something to show my appreciation for all of you who read my reviews, make requests &  leave comments. But  I could never think of anything besides leaving you all a sincere holiday message and doing as many requests in December as I could. Trouble is, I usually do a lot of requests. So, it comes off as business as usual.

That brings me to this year. I was hit by some inspiration and that’s why this December will feature reviews every Sunday. Not only that, but Sunday’s reviews won’t be covering anime. They’ll be over pretty much whatever you guys want me to review. Live action films, Hollywood animated films, live action TV series, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, books, games & musicals. All those forms of  media I don’t  normally talk about. The one exception is that I’m still not reviewing porn. Just because the whole idea of porn is to titillate the audience and I doubt most of you reading this want to hear about what does that for me.

So, just request anything you’d like to see reviewed. I’m going to actually encourage you to list as many things as you’d like and to not worry about whether or not you’re repeating something that’s been brought up before. The reason being that I might not be able  to find some of this stuff and a longer list increases the likelihood that I will be able to review something you’d like to see me look at. Plus, if a bunch of you all want to see reviews of Space Balls, Doctor Who, Good Omens, X-men Evolution, Secret Six, Sunday in the Park with George  or whatever, that kind of tells me what I should prioritise.

So, between now and December I’ll be posting the things  that have been suggested every two weeks so that you can comment on what you think of me doing them. I’ll also be posting how many people have requested them. It’s just going  to be a way for me to keep all of you updated on how it’s going. If you guys really have a lot of requests, I might even do two extra reviews a week. Yeah, it’s going to be difficult, but this is to show my appreciation and gratitude to all of you. If  I can convey how much your support, readership, comments and everything mean to me by doing extra reviews one month a year, it’ll be worth it.

So, leave those review requests in the comments. You can also send it to my e-mail, it’s up in my “About Ktulu” page. Those of you from AFT can leave requests in the usual place.That’s it for the moment, I’ll leave you all with a picture of a dog in a kimono.


Haibane Renmei: Bitter-sweet & Uplifting

Haibane Renmei is an anme based off of a doujinshi manga by Abe Yoshitoshi, the same bloke who wrote the Serial Experiments Lain manga. The anime version was handled by Radix, the same studio behind Divergence Eve. Which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence but we’ll give it a shot. After all, most anime studios work on series of varying quality. Let’s just hope it doesn’t feature a bunch of awkward CG scenes or any of the other elements that were bad in Divergence Eve.

Haibane Renmei3.png


We open with a girl falling. Shortly after, we cut to a winged woman finding a cocoon. She and her winged friends gather around the cocoon to prepare for the new life that’s going to emerge from it. We quickly see the girl from the beginning inside the cocoon. After her emergence, she’s told that she’s a haibane and given the name “Rakka” based on her cocoon dream. The series continues to explore haibane culture and the town they’re a part of as Rakka gets to know her compatriots and finds her place.

The biggest criticism that I can levy against the series is that it’s slow at times. There are a lot of scenes that don’t really do anything for the narrative itself. They’re more about being cutesy and reiterating aspects of the various characters. That being said, I can’t deny that a lot of those scenes are quite good and they do help with the atmosphere.

There’s a lot of good in the series. I like that every question that gets brought up during the course of the series gets addressed. I also a appreciate that the series doesn’t always give definitive answers when it addresses those questions. Rather, they let you figure out a lot of it for yourself while giving you enough information to do so. The series has a very strong calming atmosphere with strong bitter-sweet and uplifting moments throughout. The ending in particular is a perfect mix of those two aspects. One other thing the series excels at is investment. Throughout the series there are questions that get brought up and various sources of tension that stem from them and it really serves to bring you into the world. Not only does it get you interested in what’s happening but it legitimately makes you care about it. Which isn’t a simple feat.


Psychological series really depend on strong characters, quite possibly more than any other genre. Fortunately, that’s an area where Haibane Renmei excels. The characters and their interactions are a major focus of the series. Which not only serves to develop and flesh out the characters, but it also gives you a sense of connection to them. You really feel a sense of empathy for the haibane, Rakka & Reki in particular. Even the secondary characters have enough development that they feel like actual people.

Haibane Renmei4.png


Thankfully, the art in this is really nicely done. Unlike that other series from Radix. The character designs look nice. The backgrounds are nicely detailed. They draw crows really well, which is worth mentioning because crows are a bit of a motif for the series. The scene where Rakka’s wings come in is superbly animated as is the climax. Overall, the aesthetic is just really well done. When the series is going for a soothing feel, it does it well. When it’s trying to be disconcerting the visuals can get really interesting. The only thing I can really criticise is that hats are used on multiple occasions to hide characters’ halos and it doesn’t make visual sense. You can’t really see any bulge from them like you should be able to.


The two performances that really stand out are Hirohashi Ryou (who also voiced Tails in Sonic) & Noda Junko (who also voiced Zakuro in Tokyo Mew Mew.) There are no bad performances, though. Yajima Akiko, Miyajima Eri, Orikasa Fumiko & Murai Kazusa are all good in this too. The music within the series was handled by Otani Kow, who also did the music for Another, Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino & Gundam Wing. He did a superb job with this one. The music really suits and contributes to the atmosphere.


There really isn’t any. While the main girls do have strong bonds, there’s never really a point that elevates those bonds above friendship.

Final Thoughts:

Haibane Renmei is a pretty superb series. While it can be slow at points, it has a strong atmosphere, excellent characters, a compelling narrative with a lot of praise-worthy elements, really good art & a strong cast. Compared to my other experience with either the writer or studio, this series is superior. I thoroughly enjoyed it and my final rating is going to be an enthusiastic 9/10. Next week we’ll begin horror anime month with a look at the horror mystery Kagewani. And remember to stay fabulous.