My wife thinks that the best Evangelion AMV is “Engel” but I know that there’s only one right answer and this is it:

I found this music video on a CD with various Eva stuff about 15 years ago and watched it probably a hundred times — I think it perfectly represents the mood of the anime (and of course I never cried watching it, no-no-no, that would’ve been an insult to my masculinity). I don’t have that disc anymore and had no idea what the name of the song was or what band performed it, so it turned out to be quite a task to find it again — hopefully it’ll be safe here from now on =)

今日から俺は!

Cromartie High School is one of my favorite anime of all times and it seems I found its predecessor! I was going to watch this OVA with a not very fancy name “Starting today I will…” for a long time but because it’s not available legally on any of the countless streaming services and because I’d been too lazy to use, you know, alternative sources — it had to wait

Like in Cromartie the main characters of Kyou Kara are delinquents. Like in Cromartie they chose that path deliberately. Although whereas Kamiyama was tough mostly just in the collective imagination of everyone around him (okay, fair, he was quite a dumbass from the beginning and blended in perfectly), Itou and Mitsuhashi are actual bad boyz. Itou kind of reminded me of Kiryu-san from the Yakuza series. He is a great fighter but at the same time he has ideals and principles and often gets in brawls protecting someone. He even found a girlfriend! Mitsuhashi on the other hand… Oh boy. He is the main star of this show. He doesn’t think that anything can be “too much”. Run away leaving comrades behind? Easily. A chance to sucker punch someone? Huh, thank you very much. Blame someone else in every situation you got caught? Always. He’s a good boy, that Mitsuhashi.

Back to comparisons with Cromartie. That anime was pretty much a pure comedy. “Starting today…” is 50/50 fights and jokes and at this point I have to bright up Yakuza again. The motto of this anime is “Whatever a situation might be — there is always a violent solution!” The restless duo will fight everybody at every opportunity, just like all of Kiryu’s quests always end up the same. It’s not bad, especially because despite their amount the fights are not very repetitive.

The last but not least — Kyou Kara Ore Wa! was coming out from 1992 to 1997, so it’s also a dose of good old visuals. And good old subtitles! I watched this anime with a fan sub and it was awesome! Overall, it is a really enjoyable OVA, worth the time I spent on it and living up to the high scores all 6000 people who watched it left on MAL =) upd: 6001

Imai was about to find his true love!

Upd2: damn, there’s a live action!

Weathering With You

Sadly, there’s not much to write about this anime. Well, on the one hand Weathering With You is definitely a step forward comparing to the previous Shinkai’s movie, Your Name. Whereas I almost fell asleep watching 君の名は, the first hour of 天気の子 was pretty decent. It was cute, especially when the sunshine girl began working, sometimes funny and, all in all, pretty lighthearted despite the heavy rain soaking Tokyo wet. And I have to mention that, of course, this anime is gorgeous — it’s a Shinkai’s work after all. I read once that he is the best when it’s about drawing sky, wires and kettles. There are not so mane kettles in Weathering With You but plenty of sky — you’re going to like it.

On the other hand, we got a full package from this, no doubts, very talented director and artist. “Only today, if you’re buying our amazing visuals — you’re getting a boring plot and messy ending for free!” The last third of the anime, starting with a typhoon in the city, is a drag. It’s full of cliche, it’s predictable, it’s boring!

However, this time it’s only the last half an hour, so maybe there’s a chance that the next movie will truly live up to the expectations Shinkai set with his short movies, which I admire and not ashamed to admit that.

Wave Listen to Me!

A good main character automatically makes any anime 48% more interesting, that’s a scientific fact. Koda Minare is that key factor for this anime about… her life mostly =) Her unique personality, voice and talent to get into troubles made me patiently wait until Friday every week and happily witness yet another odd story, real or imaginary.

Just in the course of 12 episodes we saw Minare-san getting fired from a curry restaurant, finding a new job as a radio host, moving to a new place, settling scores with her former boyfriend, figuring out the mystery of the blood dripping from the ceiling in her neighbor’s apartment and, in general, living every day like it’s the last one =)

The story of her ascendance as a radio personality could’ve become another shounen-like trope, with a young strong woman overcoming her shyness and avoiding traps set by her evil competitors at the station. Luckily Minare doesn’t probably know what “shy” means. Her motto is virtually “do now, will think about that later” and she’s quite successful as a host from the very beginning, despite having to come up with her monologues herself. She takes the world of late-night radio programs by storm, thanks to her untamed imagination and not being able to keep anything for herself.

On top of everything , “Wave Listen to Me!” is funny. Again, mostly thanks to Minare and her over-the-top reactions to whatever she faces, whether it’s a confession, the origin of her name, a new job or a situation when a turtle just shat in your mouth. A fun anime for adults about adults, with great lines here and there and nice characters — I keep my hopes high for the second season! *crossed-fingers.jpg*

Sing “Yesterday” For Me

Damn fucking shit! I can’t even describe how disappointed I am by the last episode of this anime! For 11 weeks it was awesome, I looked forward to the moment when finally Shinako and Rikuo would be together, was rooting for them and there was a glimmer of hope that their relationships had a chance. We even almost got there… only to see them breaking up the last moment. Okay, it would’ve been fine! It would’ve been realistic and expected end of this story. After all, shit happens and it’s really difficult to move from friendship to something else. It was obvious that Shinako wasn’t sure whether she needed that bothersome thing called “relationships”. It would’ve been such a sad but logical and mature ending when all four main characters end up being single but having gained new experience and maybe a new perspective in life. Instead our two adults immediately ran to their underage admirers, confessed and started going out with them. Happy fucking end. Fuck.

P.S. At least I can be happy for Kinoshita. He was an all-around nice guy, and thankfully embarked on a tour with his band just in time, avoiding all that dumpster fire of an ending.

Kakushigoto

Kumeta Koji likes puns. I mean even if someone didn’t notice that after Sayionara, Zetsubou-sensei!, Joshiraku or Katte Ni Kaizou — Kakushigoto, the newest anime based on the manga of this super talented author, will be dropping puns on you at such an alarming rate that it’ll be impossible to unsee.

Starting with the very name, which has at least 3 meanings here. The first one is the most obvious — the name of the main character is Kakushi Goto. There we go. 書くmeans “to write” and 仕事 — well, we hear this word in anime all the time, “work”, a reference to his profession as a manga artist. The funny thing is that there’s also a word 隠し事 which is also pronounced as “kakushigoto” and means “a secret” — which is simply perfect for this anime!

Anyway, Kakushigoto is not only about joking and punning around. It’s about little cute details and cute characters. Hime is super cute. Their dog, Roku, who certainly has a seiyu, is cute. Hime’s homeroom teacher looking for suspicious guys around (“Stranger-Danger!”) is also cute. Even the air-headed editor, firmly believing that he’s doing an amazing job, Tomaruin, is oddly nice.

Kakushigoto is surprisingly slow-paced and family-friendly despite the fact that the Goto-sensei draws lewd manga. Yeah, here and there we have these amazing Itoshiki-sensei-style dialogues and they are undoubtedly one of the staples of this show — but to a huge extent it’s just a story about a small family of two (oh, sorry, Roku, three of course!), their relationships and their daily life.

What’s even more surprising is that in the 12th episode we got a logical conclusion of the story. In a comedy anime consisting of only 12 episodes, with virtually no plot! Mind blowing =) A great show and another gem of this amazing season.

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru

It’s embarrassing and simply unjustifiable that I’d been putting off this anime for so long — “And Yet the Town Moves” is a classic Shaft’s anime and a must watch for any fan of this studio.

It’s pretty much impossible to describe this show. It’s Shaft at its best, “Pani Poni Dash” Shaft, “Mariaholic” Shaft! Okay, maybe it’s one step below the “best”, there’s Monogatari series after all =) We have a few characters doing… things. That’s about it. Yeah, if you squeeze your eyes hard enough it’s possible to make out a love line but let’s be honest, in this anime that line is virtually nonexistent. There’s no heat in the character’s romantic relationships, they are lukewarm, body-temperature nya.

Instead, it’s better to talk about the important stuff. For example, about Chiaki Omigawa, who gave the voice to the main heroine, Arashiyama. Or about the ending!

Or about the countless jokes and puns in the anime. Or awkward and odd situations the characters find themselves in all the time. Or about Arashiyama’s dog, Josephine.

To me, Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru is almost perfect. It’s short, beautifully animated, will give you a few catch phrases (“Grandma is going to hit the slots” is the one I admire the most for no reason) — and it’s weird! In a good sense of this word. A show that kicks off in a maid cafe finishes with scenes of the Japanese (yes, particularly Japanese, don’t mess up the line you’re standing in) afterlife. You know, that ordinary slice-of-life story with aliens. Just a normal Shaft anime =)

Gundam: The Origin TV

My relationships with the Gundam franchise are relatively long and relatively complicated =)

The first Gundam show I watched was SEED and I still would rank it among the best mecha shows ever created. I got hooked, claimed that I was a Gundam fan and began watching other anime with the same magical word in their title. Pretty quickly though I reached a turning point, Zero =) Honestly, there were just too many Gundam series, they were too long and (surprise!) — not all of them were as awesome as the one I fell in love with. After that I’ve been watching them on and off, liked some — Iron-Blooded Orphans, for instance and disliked some, stuff as usual.

So, with all that enormous experience I have I can say that The Origin is one of the best things that happened with the Gundam universe in a while. It’s beautiful — turned out that the old-school character design and that, you know, 70-80s expressive animation look amazing when done with modern graphics otherwise. It’s about maybe not the most popular but certainly the best-known man of the entire franchise, Red Comet Char, and shows the events which led to his rise as a legend of Zeon. It’s fast and simply interesting to watch! Sometimes even a visually great anime can be an absolute drag, right, Gundam Unicorn? (Well, to be honest, I need to finish it first before making such bold statements, but still)

Of course, it might be a bit funny to listen to Char’s or Amuro’s voice in this show, because their 声優 are the same who voiced the 0079 and, well, it was 40 years ago =) But that even adds up to the warm nostalgic atmosphere of this anime.

So, maybe Gundam The Origin will be become the second turning point for me, after all there are countless shows I haven’t seen yet =)

Eden of the East

Eden of the East had been in my “definitely going to watch it” list for a long time but somehow I’d been putting it off, always managing to find something else. After the first two episodes this anime looked like it’s going to be a home run, so I began to question my life decisions — I mean, c’mon, during the years after this anime came out I somehow did find time to enjoy such masterpieces as “Orange” or “Yamada-kun and 7 witches”. Eden of the East’s visual was great, two main characters could boast with, I don’t know, some chemistry and the idea with the guy’s amnesia maybe wasn’t especially novel but helped to set up the stage for explanations what’s going on in the world. Plus Umino Chika’s character design. Plus all those super-phones, missiles flying around, Chosen Ones and the evil(?) puppeteer who started the game aiming to rebuild Japan. Oh boy, it was going to be big.

After the last, 11th, episode I sadly have to admit that the anime couldn’t live up to the level it set at the beginning.

My main problem with it is not even that it’s rushed (and it is! I was wondering how the authors were going to explain everything in just 11 episodes, considering the number of mysteries — missing NEETs, missiles, the game itself, the way Juiz works and at the same time showing the relationships between characters — and we ended up with all aspects being severely underdeveloped). So, my biggest issue was that lovable at first Saki and Takizawa transformed into a seriously annoying couple somewhere in the second half of the show. Always smiling but hiding his pain hero overcoming every obstacle on his way and the supportive sidekick-slash-almost-girlfriend convincing everyone that “he’s just not understood, he was betrayed by his friends, he’s not like others”. Ugh. (By the way, Underpants is the only nice character there.)

Comparing to the irritation caused by them other things were just kind of meh. Juiz is simply overpowered — it feels like if Takizawa (and only him, because he’s the Good Guy!) asked it to win the game — Juiz would figure out a way. The anime is called Eden of the East but the club plays a minor role throughout the entire season and its members get next to zero time to show themselves.

I know that there are two 東のエデン movies, which supposedly finish the story, tie the loose ends and in general make everyone who has watched them a better person — but is it really a good way to tell a story?

P.S. I’m positive that we didn’t need “End of Evangelion”!