Category Archives: Uncategorized

Yet more on the upcoming plans

Okay, I’ve been talking for a while about doing non-anime reviews in December. So far, the things that have come up are the film Space Balls.  The western live action show Arrow. Which is ongoing so I’ll just look at one series for that one, if I do review it. The book, Hyperion. I also know someone who’s  been wanting to hear my thoughts on the Spectacular Spider-man cartoon for a long time. So, I may do a review of that one. 

Although I’m not guaranteeing any of them at this point and I am still taking suggestions for what you lot want to see reviewed. So, leave as many suggestions as you want or even leave a show of support for one of the suggestions I’ve already got. I will say I haven’t read Hyperion or seen Arrow. So, I’ll be going into those blind. I’ve actually watched Space Balls and that particular Spider-man cartoon before. Which is good, since I already have a good idea as to what I’ll say about both of them. 

As for the remaining November reviews, Sword Art Online II‘s review is going to be up this Wednesday and I still plan on watching JoJo Stardust Crusaders to end the month. After those two, the first review request I’ve got is Brain  Powerd, I  don’t  know why they miss-spelled “Powered” in the title. I’ll probably get to that s either the first or second review of December. The first request after that is Rurouni Kenshin. I probably won’t actually get to that this  year since it’s almost a hundred episodes long and I haven’t watched a single  one. I’ll probably get that up in February. March at the latest. I’ll fill the rest of December with reviews of series that have thirteen episodes or less so that I can get started on that. 

So, that’s where things are at this point. To close things off, here’s a picture of my boys. Because  you guys seem to like it when I  end these little updates with dog pictures. 

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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. 

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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.

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Good series, bad episodes: Sasameki Koto episode seven

Hello, you handsome gents and lovely ladies. I had several ideas of what kinds of things to post on the weekend. Manga chapter reviews was one, constructive lists of ways that anime, both good and bad, could have been better was another, editorials on various topics was another and then there was this idea. An in-depth look at the bad episodes in otherwise good series.

I’m going to try all of them at different points, maybe I’ll switch what I do based on my mood or maybe one of them will stand out and I’ll end up doing it every Saturday on a consistent basis. We’ll see.

I originally posted my Sasameki Koto review back in late January of 2013 as my last review for yuri anime month. It was transferred over to WordPress in early January of this year. Overall, I praised it for doing a lot of things really well and being generally enjoyable. However, there was one episode I pointed to as the big negative of the series, episode seven. So, what exactly is wrong with this particular episode?

We open with Akemiya posing for and then wrestling with his little sister in a really disturbing and highly suspect scene. This is supposed to be a comedy, People. We switch to the next morning with Sumika receiving a letter of challenge at school. Since Sasameki Koto isn’t an action-oriented show where that sort of thing leads to an action sequences, she has the good sense to throw it away. This is when Manaka, Akemiya’s little sister pops up and demands that Sumika answer her challenge. Sumika points out the ridiculousness of it. Akemiya shows up and drags his sister outside.

This is where the episode swiftly goes from kind of meh into its downward spiral. Sumika follows to find out just what’s going on and Manak demands that she go on a date with Akemiya. Saying that even she has trouble resisting him and they’re siblings. Again, this is played up as being funny. She threatens to spread embarrassing pictures of her brother if Sumika doesn’t comply. Akemiya manages to reign her in a bit and she starts crying, which makes Sumika feel sorry for her, for no adequately explained reason, and she agrees to go on one date with him.

Akemiya shows up dressed as a girl, since he knows that Sumika likes girls. Unbeknownst to them, Manaka is following them around while smiling creepily and she gets a nose bleed while thinking of her brother. Once again, I have to remind you all that this is played up for laughs. We get a brief scene of Kazama trying to call Sumika, and then going to her house to find her, while they’re in the theatre and Sumika’s phone is off. Don’t worry, Kazama won’t be in this episode much. She’s only one of the lead characters why would we want to see her when we could watch the little girl who is insanely creepy when it comes to her brother?

Sumika and Akemiya head to a maid cafe where Manaka disguises as a maid and tries to drug them with a love potion. that she bought off of the Internet. Okay, that could have actually been a funny scene given the absurdity of it if it had been executed better. Either way, she gets thrown out because she obviously isn’t old enough to work there. The two go clothes shopping and end up in the same changing room. It’s supposed to be funny because it’s awkward, I guess.

Manaka notices that Suimika has no eyes for her brother and calls in her secret weapon, three bespectacled, sweaty fat guys with cameras. Apparently she promised them an action shot of a current elementary school student, probably herself. The three corner Sumika and she uses her karate, which only makes them happy. Akemiya lures them away from her and reveals that he’s actually a guy, hoping that it will convince them to go away. But the three are still interested and close in, possibly to sexually assault him. He runs away while Manaka and Sumika watch awkwardly. We cut to night and Akemiya tells Manaka to never do something like that again. The episode finally wraps up with Sumika realising she missed calls from Kazama and hurriedly calling her back.

So, why is this episode so horrendous? Let’s start with the attempts at humour. Most of them are just really disgusting and have horrible implications that will never be explored or mentioned again. Add that to the ultimate pointlessness of the whole thing. Nothing that happens in the episode influences anything else in the series. It’s also hurt by the fact that Sumika’s motivation to go along with this is really weak and it really infuriates me that Manaka, creepy little brat that she is, doesn’t see any real consequences for any of the horrible things she does over the course of the episode. She almost gets her brother assaulted and all she gets is told “don’t do it again.” We also have a real problem with tone in this episode. It really doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the series.

I still recommend Sasameki Koto as a whole, but I would advise against watching episode seven. It’s unpleasant and does nothing.

Liebster award Nomination.

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I was nominated for this thing by MariaRantsaboutstuff. Apparently, it’s an award that involves filling out a bunch of questions and then nominating five other people for. Sounds and looks suspiciously like the blog form of a chain letter, allow me to be completely not serious about this.

You might be wondering, why are you even doing it if you think it’s just a chain letter type of thing? There are two reasons. The first is that I never really answer questions or talk about myself and it seemed like a good way to let you all see me in snarky bastard mode. Usually you guys just see me analyse things or try my hardest to tell a compelling story. The second is that it seemed amusing enough. So, let’s get to those questions and pretend to be serious.

1) What inspired you to create a blog?

Well, one night a ghostly apparition appeared in my room and ate all my biscuits. I later found out that it was my dog and I started the blog as a way to pass the time while guarding my stash of sweets.

Honestly, I used to maintain a blog on Gamespot. It was a way to do some creative work, which is something I enjoy greatly but the primary reason I went there specifically was to post in the Unions that they had at the time. When they announced that they were getting rid of those I brought the blog here.

2) What was your first anime?

When I was a small child my mother exposed me to one of the darkest, most twisted anime ever made, Superbook. I don’t even remember whether it was the Deutsch dub or the English one, nor do I remember much about it except for two kids traveling through Bible stories with a robot, but I do remember it being an unholy abomination of annoyance. True story.

3) If you could cosplay any anime character (assume crafting skill and money are not an issue), who would you choose?

Nausicaa’s little rodent friend. Then I too would be able to be adorable while riding on peoples’ shoulders.

Now for the honest answer, I would have to find someone that I have the build and look to pull off competently like Jet Black from Cowboy Bebop.

4) Aside from reviewing anime, what are some of your hobbies?

Every night I get my assistant and we try to take over the world. Sometimes I spy on the neighbours with my binoculars because I’m sure they’re up to something. I mean, those perverts have telescopes by their window.

No, I do have quite a few hobbies. There’s my non-professional writing. I also like to read, play video games. There’s weekly D&D and there’s the time I spend on the AFT forum.

5) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Antarctica, where the only people anywhere nearby are scientists and I can be as reclusive as I damn well please.

Okay, that’s not the real answer. I’d really like to go to Japan, I know big shock coming from someone who reviews anime for fun.

6) Which was the saddest anime you’ve ever watched?

That would have to be Superbook. Who thought it was a good idea? Who watched it to the extent that it got a second series? It’s very existence is mind boggling and says nothing good about the world we live in.

Wait, did you mean intentionally and skillfully sad? In that case, I’d have trouble choosing from among Grave of the Fireflies, Blue Drop, Chrno Crusade or Wolf’s Rain. Those anime are all really tragic.

7) The funniest anime?

Well, clearly I don’t know how to laugh or have fun since I’m so busy doing analyses.

This is another tough one, actually. I’ve seen some really funny anime like Galaxy Angel, The Slayers, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, K-on, Muteki Kanban Musume, Steel Angel Kurumi 2, and many others. I don’t think I could choose the funniest overall if I wanted to.

8) If you could star in any anime, which would you choose?

Isn’t it obvious? I have the perfect voice to take the lead in Mermaid Melody. I’m sure that being a guy and not being able to sing in the least won’t be a problem whatsoever.

No, I would not star in an anime. The Deutsch dubs are almost as bad as the English ones and I certainly am not an actor. I would only contribute to the problem. Now, if an anime studio wanted to pick up one of my stories and have me work as the head writer to turn it into an anime then I would not be opposed to that. I still wouldn’t be the star, though.

9) If you could take any anime character out on a date, who would you pick?

Lina Inverse. Hello, Paper Cuts.

Yeah, it’s obvious why this wouldn’t work. Anime characters are pixels on a screen or drawings. While you could take a drawing on a date it’s something that people are going to give you dirty looks over and it doesn’t really accomplish anything. Besides, I’ve got my Fluffy for dates. That is a nickname, obviously.

10) If you could have any career in the world, what would you want to do?

Supreme Emperor. The reign of terror of the old world leaders would be over in favour of my reign of terror.

No, no, too much paperwork. I do like the job I’ve got now. I love article writing. But I might elect to switch to the head writer for a television production of one of my stories. Maybe with the BBC or with an anime studio. The BBC would probably work better, though, since I am quite fluent in English.

11) What is a goal you wish to accomplish this year?

To get a sixth bookcase for my apartment.

No, that might be something I need to do at some point but it’s not really a goal. Honestly, I’d like to finish a story I’ve been working on and get it published for e-book or for print.

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Well, I got through those. Let’s go with some random facts.

1. I have a pretty extensive plushie collection. Way back in my Doki Doki Precure review, I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted plushies of the min characters. I got ones of Mana, Rikka, Alice and Makoto. I wanted one of Regina, but I couldn’t find one. I’ve also got Levi, Holo the wise wolf, Lina Inverse, Roy Mustang, The Elric Brothers, Black Rock Shooter, Deadmaster, Nanoha, Fate, the Sailor Soldiers (except for the Starlights and ChibiUsa), Nausicaa’s rodent friend and many, many others mostly from anime and video games but also some from Western TV shows and assorted others.

2. I own all of Milk Moriyama’s manga that’s been released in any language I speak. I really admire the way she writes romance.

3. I don’t get along well with most of my family. My dad scarpered when I was really little, my mother treats me like crap because I don’t buy into her religion and my older brother is a prick. The only ones I can really stand being around are my little sisters.

4. There actually is a reason that I write so many LGTBQ characters that goes beyond “I can.” Many of my closest friends growing up, and even today as well as my youngest sister are a part of that group. Most of the really good relationships I’ve seen have been queer relationships. And I know that they don’t have a lot of media that’s about them.

5. My role model growing up was Captain Picard. I loved Star Trek: Next Gen, still do, and he was just the perfect leader. He was rational, had enough wisdom to know when to compromise, strong in his convictions and just had so many words of wisdom.

6. I have a fondness for silver age writing in Western super hero comics. Sure, the Bronze age was when the best writing happened, but I do enjoy reading those goofy over the top stories and I still watch some old shows that have that aesthetic on occasion. Like the version of Batman starring Adam West or Spider-man and his Amazing Friends. 

7. When I really need to relax I open my Open Office Writer, play some Hayashibara Megumi songs, let my Labrador sit in my lap and type whatever I feel like. The stuff I write usually ends up being a mess that I would never share with anyone and promptly delete, but it is a good outlet and it does relax me.

8. I am really critical of adaptations when I know and love the work they’re adapting.

9. When I don’t have any requested reviews, or the ones I have are just too long to finish in a week, I’ll choose what to look at pretty arbitrarily. I’ll just check for something I haven’t seen that’s the right length and that doesn’t look like it would be painful to watch. Although I do sometimes end up with things that are painful to watch anyway.

10. There are a lot of writers I really admire, Gail Simone, Alan Moore, Chris Claremont, Miyabe Miyuki, Terry Pratchett and several others. I sometimes look at their work and have to make an effort to not compare myself to them. Lest I destroy my self esteem.

11. People often think that I’m a super serious type of person. Probably because I’m heavily introverted and don’t spend much time around people I don’t know which leads casual acquaintances to get the impression that I’m really uptight.  I do take my writing seriously, for the most part, but I rarely take other things seriously.

Well, thanks again to Maria for adding me to the chain letter. It was fun goofing about with it. If I nominate you and you want to do it then send me an email at: ktuluthedarkone@hotmail.com. I’ll give you your personalised questions. I will warn you, the first two will always be asking your name and quest. Now, if you do ever have questions for me just leave a comment or send an e-mail asking them. I don’t mind answering unless it’s something really personal. Maybe I’ll even do another entry that’s just answering questions if I get enough. Just don’t be surprised if you get a somewhat snarky answer followed by the honest one.

Reviews of yesteryear: Nodame Cantabile

Nodame Cantabile was originally a manga by Ninomiya Tomoko. I’ve never been exposed to her work before so I don’t quite know what to expect. I do know that it won the 2004 Kodansha manga award for best shoujo manga, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign. I’ll just have to watch through it and see.

The story is pretty basic. There’s a music student named Chiaki who can’t travel overseas due to an acute fear of both boats and planes, even though he’d like to study music in Europe. He lives next door to a piano student named Noda Megumi or Nodame who finds him passed out by the door one evening and decides to bring him inside her apartment to let him sleep in the comfort of the indoors… surrounded by comforting filth. The two quickly become linked when Chiaki starts taking lessons from the same instructor as Nodame and she quickly falls in love with him. You follow the two of them as they pursue their mutual love of music and as their relationship grows. It’s a simple story but it’s well written. The synopsis really doesn’t do it justice since quite a bit happens in their academic, personal and musical lives. There’s always an obstacle for one, if not both, of them to pass and it keeps things interesting. That being said, I did have one issue with the story, and no, it’s not the way the romance is done. Contrary to certain misconceptions, I don’t just mindlessly hate all het romances in anime. Just those that are poorly written. I don’t know whether that misconception still exists or not, but I heard it quite a bit back then. Possibly because I’d only reviewed a few things with prominent romance and most of them were terrible harem anime. This one, I honestly liked. Chiaki and Nodame might not be one of my favourite anime couples of all time but I did like their relationship. No, my problem is with the pacing. There are quite a few situations that drag on longer than they needed to and a few at the very end that were rushed. No, it isn’t a major problem but it’s enough of one to merit mention.

Since the story is pretty simple, this anime really needs interesting characters to work. Does it provide them? I’d have to say yes. The major characters are interesting and have some really dynamic and some funny interactions. Chiaki and Nodame especially are well developed. The primary supporting characters, Mine and Masumi, are also interesting. The more minor characters are really the issue. A lot of them get very little development or personality. Although I’m not going to hold that against the series too much since it deals with orchestras and, as such, has to have a lot of characters. What I will hold against the series is the character of Stresemann. While I don’t have a major issue with dirty old men in media on principal, it does bother me when they get away with harassment and borderline molestation without any real problems. Stresemann is one of those characters. He shouldn’t be able to maintain a career in education, or anything else where there’s potential for a harassment charge, at all.

The art is really detailed and impressive, mostly. The only issue I really had with it was that they do some bizarre stuff with facial expressions. I’ve mentioned this before, but it was in another review that not everyone’s necessarily seen so I’ll repeat it. This convention doesn’t bother me when it’s used sparingly, but Nodame Cantabile doesn’t show any kind of restraint with its use and the result is that it loses any impact that it may have had otherwise and it just ends up getting slightly annoying.

The actors do well in their roles. Especially Seki Tomokazu and Kawasumi Ayako. My only real problem with the cast is that there are a few Deutsch lines and the actors clearly don’t have a good grasp of Deutsch. So these lines just don’t sound good. Admittedly, that’s a pretty minor issue. Although you would think they’d give the actors pronunciation guides. The music… the music is amazing. When they’re trying to make it sound off, it sounds off and when they’re doing scenes where it all comes together, it sounds incredible. The music is so astounding that it almost makes the series worth watching by itself.

The yuri factor is a 1/10. There’s no yuri to be found in this.

My final rating for Nodame Cantabile is an 9/10. It’s an amazing series. I have a few gripes but they’re minor when compared with everything that the series does well. If you’re a fan of classical music, romance, or slice of life series, I would definitely suggest giving this one a try.

Reviews of yesteryear: Eve no Jikan

Eve no Jikan is another request that I’m going into without any idea of what to expect. All I know is that it involves androids and it was created by Yoshiura Yasuhiro, the critically acclaimed director of Pale Cocoon, which… I also haven’t seen. Well, let’s take a look at Eve no Jikan and see if it gives me an interest in his other works.

Eve no Jikan has a very basic story. Androids and robots have been integrated into society. One day young Rikuo is going through his house android’s activity log and finds a strange message about the “Time of Eve.” This leads him and his friend, Masaki, to a cafe where the rule is to treat humans and robots the same. Really, it’s more of a character study dealing with questions of sentience and whether or not artificial intelligence can lead to both sentience and emotion. You might be thinking, “isn’t that really common in science fiction with Star Trek (Next Gen and Voyager especially), I, Robot, A.I and many others being examples? How does Eve no Jikan compare to all of the other stories that ask those questions?” Pretty well, actually. Eve no Jikan has a lot of really strong and emotionally powerful moments. The questions may be old, but they’re asked in a compelling way. My one issue with the series is that it isn’t as subtle or nuanced as it could’ve been. What really bothers me about it is that the answers seem to be the same for all robots/androids regardless of how archaic or advanced they may be. There’s no distinction drawn or exploration of the degree of sophistication that artificial intelligence needs to have to gain sentience. They had the opportunity but they dropped it.

A work like this needs interesting characters to work. Does Eve no Jikan provide them? In abundance. The major cast is both intriguing and sympathetic. One of the things they do really well is develop circumstances so that you don’t initially know who’s an android and who’s human, with a few obvious exceptions. In the end you know some of them but there are a few that are never actually revealed, which does help add some intrigue to the series. Each episode focuses on a character or two and illustrates what kind of circumstance they’re coming from while tying into the major themes. They manage to develop the characters better than some anime I’ve seen that are four times as long.

The art is the least impressive part of the series. This isn’t to say that it’s badly done, it’s actually pretty decent, it’s just not anything special. The only things that really stand out are the non-humanoid robots. Everything else is very basic.

The cast in this is really good. Fukiyama Jun, Satou Rina, Tanaka Rie, etc… all give really strong and subtle performances. The music is downplayed, but it does help maintain the mellow atmosphere.

The yuri factor is a 1/10. There isn’t any yuri in this.

My final rating for Eve no Jikan is an 8/10. It’s a great anime with spectacular characters, and a well done story. I would recommend checking it out. Especially since it’s only six episodes.