Kanata No Astra

Hooray, ladies and gentlemen, finally we got a TV show that doesn’t leave us with a notorious つづく after the 12th episode but actually depicts a complete story!

We weren’t especially interested in this anime (and, frankly, just looking at its poster and description would could’ve blamed us?) but one weekend we decided to watch the first episode, just because, well, we had time. Eventually, during that weekend we binged all 10 episodes that’d come out and yesterday finished the last one.

Kanata No Astra is a bit odd. In theory, it has a plot making twists to the left and to the right, the world that is a mystery by itself, and the heroes with piles of skeletons in their closets. In theory, all that should be more than enough to catch you. However, the selling point of the show turned out to be its humor. If this anime was dead serious — unlikely we would’ve completed it. Yes, the authors did know how to put cliffhangers and how to keep everything moving, the story itself though is a set of all cliche you could imagine predictable. All those “enemies”, wormholes, cryogenic cameras, space ships conveniently placed where the characters needed them, clones and even anti-gravity shoes — everything works exactly when and how you’d expect. What might be a little boring =) But add Chars’ sparkles, Zack and Quitterie’s marriage and jokes about 140-years old Polina — and there you go, now we have a good space adventure!

The final of the anime is a bit naive and sweet but who doesn’t like happy ends? I was satisfied with it and glad that the authors showed what happened to all of the main characters. It was a good run and a decent companion for the best show of this season, からかい上手の高木さん 2 (yes, I’m obsessed with it now and planning on mentioning it all the time. Can’t wait to watch the last episode!)

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We caught up with Kanata no Astra in a single weekend and I like it but, oh boy, it’s such a soap opera! What’s interesting now is whether Aries is real Seira or her clone (Aries = Seira spelled backwards after all, Nastia is too smart for me) and how they messed up timelines that much — hope we’ll learn something this Wednesday!

Dororo

There are anime genres that I usually try to avoid intentionally, like sports anime, for example or, starting recently, isekai. Also, there are anime about samurai. It’s not that I’ve been consciously ignoring this kind of shows but honestly, if someone asked me what samurai anime I’ve seen — it would be an awkward situation, because off the top of my head I could only remember “Samurai Champloo” and maybe would lie and add “Rurouni Kenshin”. At least, now this list is 3-entries-long =)

Dororo is based on the Tezuka’s manga and there already was an adaptation, back in 1969. It’s fascinating, actually, to compare the show made 50 years ago with the modern version, this video is a good example and this channel has more:

I don’t know how different Dororo-2019 is comparing to the manga and old anime in terms of plot, but it feels that the Tezuka’s story stood the test of time. Yeah, the story of a guy who has to defeat demons in order to get his body back is not the most convoluted and unpredictable one we’ve seen but it’s well done. The episodic nature of the show also helps — yes, there’s Hyakkimaru’s family somewhere and they all will have to meet eventually and finally decide whether the sacrifice was justified — but it’s somewhere on the background and we have a monster to kill right here and now =)

We had to turn a blind eye to some stuff — like, for example, for a person who’d been deaf and mute for a big part of his life Hyakkimaru learned how to speak surprisingly quickly. Or that the blind monk showed up exactly when he was needed. Not a big deal, it could’ve been worse =) And I’d say that the ending was satisfying, whether the main hero’s relatives died in fire or not.

Frankly, Dororo might’ve encouraged me to go deeper into the uncharted territory of anime taking place in medieval and early modern Japan — so, maybe it’s time to finally check out that Kenshin anime, eh?

Boogiepop and the Others

There were two shows which we started watching, didn’t want to drop but, at the same time, they didn’t hook up enough to check out the release schedule every week hoping that the new episode came out. The first one was Dororo — which actually we finished in one go! The second one — the newest attempt to return Boogiepop to the screen, Boogiepop and the others.

Shame on me, but I haven’t read any Boogiepop novels and have seen only a single episode of the old Boogiepop Phantom anime. Theoretically, this series should’ve become something I’d fall in love with immediately — it’s supposed to be mysterious, grim, deep, non-linear and with dialogues that NisiOisiN could be proud of. In practice… it was just really, really boring.

Yes, there were moments here and there, which could make me click my tongue and say something like “Okay, that was pretty impressive”. However, the vast majority of scenes was a grey-ish mess. I couldn’t care less about this bunch of visually indistinguishable characters, whose motivation was mostly unclear. I didn’t care about the plot, which, as the rest of the show was very uneven. Especially the last arc — I felt like it was dragging forever.

The biggest problem with this show, though, is that it appears to pretend being all that deep and meaningful, whereas in reality all that “depth” comes from chaotically thrown together pieces that don’t have anything to back it up. Random phrases, secret organizations, odd conversations, weird actions and even weirder reasoning behind these actions — it has to have a moment when it’s beginning to untangle and you can almost see the whole picture. Boogiepop and the Others leaves us with pieces that don’t match each other no matter which side you turn them.

One thing I’ll definitely going to remember is the great job of Aoi Yuuki, who gave the voice to the title character, it’s intentionally not the most ear-appealing voice in the world but it’s unique, for sure.

P.S. I read a bunch of reviews on MAL and many people complain that it was a poor adaptation of the original novels, so I kind of want to give Boogiepop Phantom a try — at least, it’ll have those warm late 90s’ anime vibes =)

We Never Learn

Another harem anime. Another moment of shame when you change the status of the show to “completed” on MAL. Another ふつ high school student, who somehow becomes a love interest of virtually every woman who gets to talk to him once, including teachers, classmates and childhood friends. What’s good about this guy? Maybe he’s not that ordinary? Maybe he’s, you know, going to inherit a yakuza family (wink-wink)? Well, in theory, Yuiga-kun is supposed to be very smart, that’s the entire premise of the story, but, as it usually happens, his ability to cheerlead and listen to others overweights everything else. This and, of course, the ability to genuinely apologize after getting into another awkward situation.

It’s not that We Never Learn is terrible, thanks to the huge assortment of harem shows it’s better than many in the genre. Better, though, doesn’t mean that it’s worth watching and it doesn’t mean that it’s any close to the best representatives. It doesn’t have Nisekoi’s animation and neither of the heroines has Kirisaki’s charm, it’s light years behind Monogatari in every aspect, it’s not as funny as Ouran High School Host Club or KonoSuba — and the list goes on and on.