Deca-Dence

Deca-Dence is an anime that kind of wants to be different, at the same time not offering a single new idea. They have a “what a twist” moment in the first or second episode (oh no, this world is artificial, it’s a video game!) but that doesn’t help much, considering that after learning this Shocking Truth we simply be moving from one cliche to another. The two main characters and how their relationships are progressing are pretty stereotypical — a girl who’s overcoming her weaknesses and a man, who’d just been living his lonely boring life knowing that he’s just a cog until he met the aforementioned girl. The supporting cast… well, they were some guys but I doubt that any of them can be called “memorable”. How many times have you seen the “let’s save the world!” plot? You’re going to watch one more iteration. Even the idea of a closed world, where humans are observed and controlled by something they created themselves, is nothing new, for instance, Scrapped Princess showed the same concept back in 2003 — but with much more lovable characters. I’m biased though, Scrapped Princess is one of my favorite anime no one cares about =)

A fun fact is that I didn’t dislike it much, despite writing mostly negative stuff now. The problem is that this anime is an average mix all around, a true definition of “neither fish nor fowl” and nothing interesting regarding it pops up in my mind. It’s okay, it’s not annoying but also not dramatic enough or romantic enough, not funny enough or apocalyptic enough. It’s drawn nicely but not great. And so on and so forth. Deca-dence is a finished story though, which is certainly a plus, truly a show to watch once and forget about it for good.

Only had I started playing NHL 21 and immediately became famous lol =) Ended up playing against a twitch streamer in my first game (okay, technically the second but in the first first we got only to finish a period and the connection dropped) and 150 people were watching how I triumphantly lost, 3-4. Heh, though I demonstrated all my enormous arsenal of moves — between the legs dekes, new chip dekes, glass passes, switching to a goalie, you name it.

Seriously though, I’m surprised but so far I like the new NHL game. I can see why people complain that the movement became less fluid, the players feel heavier, that’s true. On the other hand there are more accidental contacts and loose pucks and the poke checks work soo much better! Not sure about the “your” AI yet but when I played a Squad Battle game, damn, the superstar computer made me sweat, it’s forechecking mercilessly and its neutral zone play is much better. What I’d want — tweak the interception rate a bit and slow down the game a tad. But so far I’m happy I pre-ordered the game.

Appare-Ranman

This anime is a perfect example that P.A. Works is a second to none studio when it comes to daily life shows but if they’re trying to work in a genre that’s supposed to be more plot oriented or action packed — well, that often doesn’t end up well. I mean, just compare Shirobako or Sakura Quest with Fairy Gone. Or Sirius the Jaeger. Of course, it’s a generalization, for instance, Kuromukuro was a really nice mecha anime and Glasslip was a pretty questionable slice of life. The trend is here however.

Everything in Appare-Ranman simply yells “cliche”! Starting with the characters which represent virtually every stereotype: a genius forgetting to eat or sleep and not understanding human emotions; a swordmaster who isn’t ready to use his sword; an outlaw who’s lost the love of his life; a woman, who’s an amazing racer but isn’t allowed to drive because of her gender — and the list goes on and on. The main antagonist is a cartoon-ish villain and the teamwork will prevail. You know the drill. The plot is embarrassingly straightforward and predictable and I can’t recall anything interesting there.

Sometimes, though, this anime shows its cute, slice-of-life, side. The running gag with 新しい Hototo, despite being, frankly, pretty dumb, is nice. When Kosame is showing that he’s in charge and boasting — it’s cute. The scene at an outdoor bath might’ve been the finest moment of this anime =) Sadly, these moments are brief and we’re immediately back to the tedious main story.

Personally, I’m going to erase this show from my memory as quickly and possible and probably pretend it’s never existed in the first place. I still love P.A. Works and, well, we have a new show from them this season — and who cares about Appare-Ranman when we have looking very promising “The Day I Became a God”?

The NHL draft has finished and I’m happy for the Jets, who got Perfetti. This lad was playing here in the OHL and was terrorizing any team he played against. That’s the main take from this event =)

I’m curious though what’s going to happen with the next season. Unlikely the owners can afford to play for the empty stands, hockey doesn’t have such great TV deals as football or basketball do, and the situation with the US-Canada border is still unclear. It’s going to be sad if Canadian teams will have to play in the States, like the Blue Jays and local MLS teams do.

It’s always difficult to pick up a show after a long break and Re:Zero is not an exception. I bet I exclaimed at least a dozen times during the first episode that I’d no idea what’s going on and who the hell this or that character was. However, remembering the plot of something you watched many years ago is just a part of the problem. The second part was not so trivial. Re:Zero might’ve been the first of the “new wave” of isekai shows (and I swear to Takhisis I can’t wait till it stops). There had been Inuyasha, there had been Escaflowne, there had been 十二国記 — but none of them was so dramatic, violent and sometimes desperate as Re:Zero. In my opinion, it was a great anime. But we’ve had so many other shows about dudes mysteriously transferred to a different world! In every possible genre, with every possible combination of girls surrounding them. My main concern was that the second season of Re:Zero would end up being just, you know, another one.

I’m glad I was proven wrong. After a relatively slow start, the second chapter of Subaru/Barusu’s adventures showed that despite belonging to the cursed genre it still can surprise. Well, maybe surprise is not a correct word — but this anime certainly can hold our attention. It piles up new information on the awed audience, Subaru dies again and again trying to reach the best possible outcome and Roswall is scheming something. We meet the witches, in person, all of them — and so far they are even not terrifying but cute. Who would’ve though eh? More cute girls in a shounen show. Anyway. It’s fascinating that the entire season covers pretty much just a couple of days in their world. Which, of course, are repeated multiple times. The best ending? It’s not here yet. The worst? Heh, we have a few decent candidates. Would you prefer the one with Roswall revealing that he knows or at least suspects what kind of ability Subaru posesses, killing Ram and then, in his turn, getting killed by the horde of rabbits? Or the one where the entire mansion is slaughtered? An there are more. The mix of hope and desperation which I enjoyed in the original series is still here and when characters are happy, or suffer or lost — it’s believable, to an extent.

Not everything is perfect, for sure. Deux Ex Machina shows up exactly when Subaru gets stuck and needs help. The amount of information we received suggests that this is going to be a looooong story. Moreover, with its number of moving parts I expect to see quite a few shortcuts and convenient turns of events to tie the loose ends, which will cause multiple simultaneous facepalms all over the world. We’ll see. At least this time we won’t have to wait years until the next season =)

Only did I start to complain that EA wasn’t publishing enough info on NHL 21 and we still hadn’t seen the actual gameplay (I didn’t participate in the technical test) and voila!

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/759673447

I can’t tell yet if the game is any different comparing to NHL 20 but I was definitely impressed with Brady Tkuchuk, who won the tournament =)

Going to pre-order the game anyway, a few hundreds hours of entertainment are worth $80.

Fruits Basket 2

I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I am upset at the fact we’ll have to wait for more episodes of this anime. The first season was okay but it was mostly retelling the story we already saw in 2001. The second season though is where the story of the Somas curse finally began unfolding.

I still don’t like a lot about Furuba. Honda Tohru is still annoying as hell, there are too many characters and the purpose of introducing some of them and dedicating time to their backstories is hard to explain. For example, now we know that the teacher at the school was and probably is still in love with Hatori Soma, which gives us… pretty much nothing. Or there are plenty of members of the student council, hanging out with Yuki. This entire plot line, which apparently was supposed to bring out something new about the main character, could probably have been done with fewer people.

Nonetheless, the story moved further. Akito started to play a bigger role and we all know that such borderline-crazy characters are usually pretty good to keep an anime interesting. Haru, which has possibly become my favorite character, got much more screen time. The idea that Akito is a god was finally voiced clearly. The mood of the anime changed. It had already had quite a few dark moments but the concept of that mysterious bond between Akito and the rest of the zodiak pushed it to the new level. I also must mention the pacing — it’s as good as you could ask for. The last episode and the last scenes demonstrate that perfectly — Kureno reveals that the curse can be broken (even though we don’t yet know how) and, when the final titles are about to show up, we see that Akito is actually a girl! I’m not sure that her gender matters much in terms of the story, and, shame on me, I skimmed the manga synopsis and sort of spoiled the surprise for myself — but still, damn, it was an impressive gesture!

There’s definitely going to be another 26-episodes long season, the final one, and whereas I know that, yeah, there are going to be moments I will hate — I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the authors surprise me one more time and I will get upset again when this anime will have finished.