Yakusoku No Neverland

This is a re-upload of the same post, which I managed to delete somehow.

After we finished “The Promised Neverland” my first thought was: “oh, one more incomplete show which details I’ll have forgotten by the time the second season begins, just perfect”. How many series like that have we already had? However, a bit later I was ashamed by my own disappointment =)

After all, this was one of the best experiences of the season. And the ending was actually decent — yeah, the story obviously isn’t finished and we didn’t learn much about the world; there’s going to be the inevitable second season and the kids are going to have to survive. But at least we were left at the point where it’s going to be easy to pick up the plot again — the Great Escape has succeeded (“easy to pick up” might be cancelled out by my terrible memory, so it’s better to make a note). We can even pretend that it’s the real end of the story — the kids left the house and now the possibilities are endless!

Yakusoku No Neverland is a show that gave us some fantastic moments — such as Emma’s broken leg. Plus, the authors know how to build up suspense. Whether it’s a cliffhanger at the end of every episode or just scenes that have to be dramatic — the moment’s timing, the way it’s directed, everything adds up to that “thriller feeling”. I didn’t become a fan of any particular character (unfortunately) but have to admit that Isabella, who is constantly balancing on the border between being a mad villain and a loving mother, stands out.

The only thing I could complain a little is that the training for the jailbreak, which took a lot of time, went unnoticed. That’s weird considering how strict and relentless the Mother had been. What about the ropes? Food? What about those hours Don spent training his throws? I honestly expected something different and the route that was taken eventually felt a bit like cheating.

The second season should come out in 2020 and I think that it might be a good idea to read the source — I’d really like to feel more of that creepy atmosphere and if I start reading now it’s still going to be interesting to watch the anime next year =)

Yesterday we saw Mudmen live for the second time and that second time was even better than the first concert. It appears that Irish music, bagpipes and beer are meant to be enjoyed together. “The Night That Paddy Murphy Died”, “Dirty Old Town”, “Drink & Fight”, “Whack for the Lassie” and 5 or so bottles of Keiths’ beer made the atmosphere relaxing and friendly and we ended up being involved in a small talk and even dancing a bit, madness.

Kind of amazing and sad that at the beginning of their career Mudmen release music videos and people would catch their songs on TV and radio. I think they deserve more than just playing in small clubs all over Ontario.

Love, Death and Robots

The credit where it’s due — the format Netflix chose for the anthology is perfect. It’s very difficult to get tired of stories which want only 10-12 minutes of your time. Moreover, the animation looks awesome — whether it’s realistic 3D, cell-shading or a real-life-meets-animation format (starring Ramona Flowers and Eric Forman).

On the other hand… Let’s say the the stories themselves just not my cup of tea. They are quite bland and predictable, but that’s not the main problem, after all we know in advance that it’s difficult to come up with something meaningful when screen time is so limited. The first problem is that a few episodes are preachy. That’s something we luckily don’t see too often in anime and don’t have to experience that thin but annoying mix of disappointment and irritation. The second problem is that sometimes “L, D&R” feels like those 90s “Western-oriented” anime, like Ninja Scroll, which used a very simple trick to make it clear that “we’re not your regular Disney cartoon” — a lot of blood and sex. It’s not that I have something against either of those but c’mon, just showing a nipple or throwing guts all over the place doesn’t automatically make the story better and sometimes just feels cheap.

So, look forward to checking out season 2? As long as we can enjoy good animation — I’m in.

Wataten! An Angel Flew Down to Me

Wataten is one of the shows which look pretty bland according to the synopsis and I didn’t expect much. The only reason we started watching this anime (in addition to the tradition to check out almost everything that at a glance doesn’t appear to be garbage) is that I found the word otaku in the description. I ended up looking forward to every new episode and, have to admit, enjoyed it much more than expected.

After all, this is another slice of life (yeah, yeah, I know, boooriiiing), plus, almost all of its characters are elementary school students (at this point people whose nervous system isn’t strong enough should start leaving). But… Wataten is cute. It’s somehow charming. Mya-nee is adorable and the main reason to watch the anime, even though she’s a lolicon and, according to our society standards, is a perfect example of a despicable human being. The girls, despite having rather typical roles, are not annoying. Well, okay, Noa is a bit annoying but she makes up for that in the last episode when she has 3 roles in the school play =) Matsumoto-san is great, especially when you figure (or find on tumblr) and she’s been a part of the show since the very first episode, restlessly stalking her precious Miyako.

Mahoro, is it you?

Would I watch more episodes? Well, frankly, I’m not sure. But as a one-season long act — Wataten is really good. And I almost forget! It can boast with one of the most catching endings of the season (Kaguya-sama is on the top of the pedestal, hands down).

A reminder for myself — write descriptive and clear commit messages. Just today I had to fix a bug related to a one-year old changelist, which comment said, basically, “fixed the bug”. 5 files and, I don’t know, 100 lines of not-so-obvious changes. What kind of bug? How was it fixed? Anything? The author doesn’t remember this code.

There’s an Animate store in Tokyo Xanadu! Seeing that I kind of want to forget about everything, book a flight to Japan and spend more time on Akihabara. And yeah, buy something at this store =) Damn JRPGs and their realistic environments.

Otona Joshi No Anime Time

After a long break I finally managed to cross one more title from the “Plan to Watch” list — a set of four short josei stories.

Even though the visual of these stories is sort of experimental, including over-painted photos and video, this anime is far from being another Genius Party and probably that’s for the best. Even though I enjoyed both Genius Party movies a lot — appearance was more important than content in many of its episodes. “Otona” relies on monologues and dialogues more than on the shapes’ deformation and peculiar camera angles.

Four simple stories about four different women. An unlucky marriage, problems with kids, the fear to be alone when you’re almost forty — all the things we’d prefer to watch instead of experience first-hand =) I liked episodes 2 and 3 better than two others, maybe because they produce more positives vibes or maybe because it was kind of difficult for me to feel for the first heroine and the last episode’s final felt a bit sudden. My wife actually liked the first episode, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To sum up, “Otona Joshi No Anime Time” is a good adult anime, which will be interesting, I’m pretty sure, not only for its target demographics — it’s great that we have something to water down the endless stream of shounen-slash-isekai shows.

As a follow-up to my previous rant about DomeKano — we dropped it after episode 9. I read the rest of the plot on wiki and seems it was a perfectly valid, although bilated, decision. It’s a bad comedy, a terrible romance and, in general, a show that makes you regret some of your life choices. The choice to begin watching DomeKano particularly.

P.S. I can only imagine what’s happening in the head of Hina-sensei and why, all of a sudden, she fell in love with the main hero. And this love, if the article on wiki is not lying, is not just to forget her Shuu-san, it’s serious and going to last forever (or, at least, for a few months, which is an equivalent of eternity for the empty-headed characters of this anime).

Bad Monkeys (a novel)

I remembered Matt Ruff’s wonderful “Sewer, Gas and Electric” recently, convinced one of my colleagues to read it and, riding that wave of success, decided to check out something else written by this guy.

Bad Monkeys is pretty awesome and a page-turner for 4/5 of its length. It’s well constructed, easy to read and — it has that detective or thriller vibe when you’re super curious what’s actually is going on. The secret organization fighting evil and using Natural Causes guns, does it actually exist? Even fantastic elements aside — should we believe the story Jane’s telling us? For every contradiction between her words and the evidence, whether it’s a text document or a video, she has a perfect explanation — that one of the departments of the Organization cleaned that up. And if her story is true — then yeah, that might have happened. If it’s true. Following the interrogation, looking at how she’s slowly being cornered, caught on discrepancies that can’t be explained by any external interference — I almost started praying to Takhisis, pleading to avoid the typical damn what-a-twist final, hoping that everything she said was a lie and Jane was half crazy.

Not only did we get a what-a-twist final (multiple twists actually) but the last part of the book is chaotic and much weaker than the rest of the story. Fighting scenes, Bad Jane, “I’m actually on your side but no I’m an enemy agent under cover”, rinse-repeat — it felt forced and unnecessary. I’d prefer that the story finished without any explanation, that readers would have to choose the side on their own. Because a great story was ruined by those 30-40 pages.