Tag Archives: Fantasy

Arslan Senki Episode 13

Episode 13 Production Details

Episode Director: Takashi Yamazaki [Also credited as Takayuki Tanaka, as a pen-name] ( Key Animator on Yu Yu Hakusho episode 79 / Storyboard alongside Masami Shimoda & Takuya Sato on Selector Infected Wixoss episode 11 / Episode Director on FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood episode 23 / Episode Director on Shokugeki no Soma episodes 16, 20 and 21)

Storyboards: Takashi Yamazaki

Script: Makoto Uezu ( Script on D-Frag! episodes 1, 3, 4, 8 and 12 / Series Composition on Akame ga Kill! / Script on Arslan Senki episodes 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 13, 17, 24 and 25)


I cannot believe it has been since November that I last discussed this anime series.  Amazing how time flies and I’m glad to be getting back into re-watching this show.  After this episode there was a recap for the next week when it aired.

Finally!  We’re at Peshawar, the last outpost of the Pars Empire for everyone’s journey.  With the return of Narsus and the young girl he saved, Alfried presents to us a new theme in this series in more ways than one.  Respect and how it can be earned.  Narsus was once well-respected within the Pars army even by its King for his unparalleled abilities as a tactician. Elam’s comical banter with Alfried in this episode illustrates how this group is going to become stronger as time goes on but that its bound by the loyalties of two men–Narsus and Arslan.  Narsus gained the respect of Daryun a long time ago and and while he has his duties as a knight to be a shield for Arslan, Narsus is becoming the strength the young prince needs.

This episode even points this out with Kishward’s arrival and it solidifies Arslan’s principles to rebuild the entire social structure from the ground up.  Quickly we see that Arslan has shown potential to be an honest King when he says that “If we don’t make the new kingdom a better place, there’s no point in fighting for it”.  This statement alone sums up nicely his rationale of thinking!  Exactly the opposite of what Hermes’ goal is–he doesn’t care how the country ends up just that he rules it out of revenge of the King of Pars for stealing everything from him.  Which is why he’s going after Arslan and anyone related to the family.  Bahman being reintroduced here brings up what had troubled him when he was first introduced–Arslan’s origins.  When Hermes sneaks into Peshawar to confront Arslan is right where Bahman’s role is somewhat similar to Vahriz was to Arslan.

I really like how we actually get to see a flashback of a young Hermes training with Bahman.  Having built up rage inside of him and incredible swordsmanship we get a brave yet terrified view of Arslan–realistic for a 14-year old boy to act in life or death situation.  Unfortunately though Hermes’ over-exaggerated performance is his undoing when Arslan aims the torch towards him depicting he has a fear of fire due to his past.  Seeing Narsus, Daryun, Falangies and Kishward come in to save the day was rewarding.  Simply because this series’ past couple of episodes has been about gaining the trust of companions and Bahman getting killed at the hands of Hermes enhances this incredibly well! Fantastic episode!

It’s a shame that the animation by LIDEN FILMS and Sanzigen is extremely thick and heavy in this show. It doesn’t work too well. Those fight scenes could have been more fluid than what we got and there were many times that the character models were not completely drawn in.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Kekkai Sensen Episode 5

Episode 5 Production Details

Episode Director: Sueng-hee Son ( Episode Director on Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann episode 3 / Episode Director on Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou / Episode Director on Gundam Build Fighters episodes 5, 10, 15 and 20)

Storyboards: Rie Matsumoto ( Assistant Director on Yes! Precure Movie 5 / Director and Storyboards on Kyousogiga / Storyboards and Episode Director on Saint Seiya Omega episodes 3 and 10)

Script: Kazuhisa Furuya ( Series Composition on Kekkai Sensen)


Abrhams still in Hellsalem’s Lot helps Klaus in protecting Dog Hummer.  A pretty boy that’s reminiscent of Vash the Stampede from TRIGUN an earlier work (1995) of Yasuhiro NIGHTOW’s. Since Kekkai Sensen premiered every episode has been a sensory experience–between stunning visuals, a killer soundtrack and the vast amount of talented seiyuu taking part in this BONES animation production.  Add to this list Miyano Mamoru (the voice of Dog Hummer and Steins;Gate‘s Rintarou Okabe!)  and Keiji Fujiwara (the voice of Deldro Brody and Karas‘ Nue).  The fact they share the same character builds on the foundation of what this episode is really about.  A crazy girl in love with two men and how far she goes with her obsession with the two of them.

Grinding up Deldro Brody and injecting him inside of Dog Hummer re-establishes just how creatively wild Kekkai Sensen can shape into!  Koorogi Satomi was a perfect choice for Aligura–a risky and well versatile seiyu with a lot of range between deep low voice acting to extremely high-pitched voice work!  Aligura was the spotlight of this entire episode because she can barely contain her lunacy in that she’s willing to destroy an entire city to be with Brody & Hammer!

This episode dives even further into anime original material as we learn more about White’s brother. I really like how this show is jumping between original manga material with Femt and filling it up with brand new content just for the anime!  This was the first time seeing Femt meeting White’s brother leaves a lot to guess as to how this show will end and what role Femt will play throughout the rest of this.  Mystery surrounding this series possible villains is a good way for this show to highlight it’s minor cast and build up an even large supernatural fictional New York setting!

Klaus’ role in this was interesting because he ends up stealing Deldro’s composite from the crash site–Aligura was quite anxious to get it back.  Makes me wonder if she is an Elder 13.  In any case, it’s implied strongly that she is by the end of this episode.

As for the rest of this episode it’s mostly anime original content between White and Leonardo’s budding romance–can’t believe the film they are watching is a goofy spoof of the American film “Twins”!  Haha!  Fantastic!  It’s episodes like this one that remind me that anime with source material can work together nicely with deviations using original content.  Aligura capturing Leonardo and asking him all sorts of questions about romance and if he has a girl that he cares about built up Leonardo to ask White out on a date wonderfully.  He’s become even more courageous in taking her out of her hospital bed to see a film and it pays off! Amazing ending!

I’d like to see more of Aligura she was hilarious in this episode!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Kiki’s Delivery Service [Theatrical Edition] [90/100]

Director:  Hayao Miyazaki ( Director on Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Wind Rises, Porco Rosso, Mei and the Kitchen Bus, My Neighbor Totoro, On Your Mark music video, Spirited Away / Original Concept Design on Tales from Earthsea / Character Designer, Screenplay, Original Story, Theme Song Lyrics and Director on Castle in the Sky / Logo Designer on Japan Animator Expo 2015)

Script: 

  • Hayao Miyazaki
  • Nobuyuki Isshiki ( Script Writer on Fushigi na Koala Blinky / Script Writer on Uchusen Sagittarius)

Original Creator: Eiko Kadono ( Original Creator on Three Little Ghosts TV series)

Music: Joe Hisaishi ( Music Composer on ArionCastle in the SkyHowl’s Moving CastleSpirited AwayMy Neighbor TotoroPorco RossoNausicaa Valley of the WindThe Wind RisesRobot Carnival OVA / Insert Song Performance on Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso episode 1)

Characer Designer: Katsuya Kondo ( Character Designer on Aurora / Key Animator on Maison Ikkoku episode 39 / Character Designer and Animation Director on Ocean Waves / Key Animator on The Secret World of Arrietty / Key Animator on When Marnie was There / Character Design on Sanzoku no Musume Ronja TV series)


 

Based on Eiko Kadono’s 1985 novel and originally produced in 1988 this was the first film from Studio Ghibli released under the partnership with The Walt Disney Company. Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most critically acclaimed directors ever to grace the anime industry.  His friend and other co-founder of Studio Ghibli Isao Takahata created the amazing Tales of Princess Kaguya about a girl born from a bamboo thicket and her journey in becoming a desirable young woman giving her suitors tasks that are next to impossible.  While Takahata is very good at writing stories that have a strong sense of realism, Hayao Miyazaki creates coherent stories filled with memorable characters, matched with beautiful artistic skill with every frame hand-drawn, an emotionally driven music score by Joe Hisaishi and wondrous magical concepts.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is about a small witch that runs a delivery service.  You would think this would make for a decent animated short but Miyazaki charms his audience by giving us one of the most beloved characters in a Ghibli film and one of the few female characters in his collection of works that ensures we see all sides of her emotionally.

I’ve seen this film many times on Blu-ray but I got a chance to see this last night at my local Alamo Drafthouse with the Japanese dub and English subtitles.  This whole month they’ve been showing Miyazaki films and it’s a great treat for the old and newer generations to enjoy Japanese animation on a wide-scale media format.

As a witch in training, Kiki, discovers a new town far away from her family life filled with friendships and love.  The storytelling is fantastic!  Containing life-like dialogue between Osono’s motherly protection over Kiki and Tombo’s curiosity over Kiki.  Even if some of the turns in its plot are somewhat forced for example the bike sequence and the ending this is a wonderful example of solid storytelling.  The contrast between Kiki and Osono is fantastic.  She views Kiki’s flying as something out of a fairytale and it’s under Osono that Kiki begins her work as a messenger.  The transitions between the drama and the comedy far surpass a lot of animated feature film works of today due to its riveting animated movements of Kiki flying and facial experssions.  The comedic scenes with Jiji the cat are animated with kids in mind while the adults get to see captivating moments with Osono, the woman that gives Kiki her first delivery errand and the whole sequence between Kiki and Ursula.

I believe one of the most fascinating characters in this film is in fact Ursula.  An artist in her late teens that is seen towards the beginning after Kiki loses the stuffed cat from the birds and a little halfway through the film when Kiki takes a vacation.  Ursula teaches Kiki that the things we are good at should never be rejected.  A common theme in Miyazaki‘s “all-ages” works.  Which brings me to why I think this would have done incredibly well as a full-fledged TV series.  One of the issues with this film is how little development its side-cast has especially Ursula, Tombo and Oku-sama.  Clocking in at around 2-hours this film felt short.  Miyazaki directed some pretty amazing TV anime from the 70’s well into the 80’s from Lupin III Part I to Sherlock Hound and even a few episodes of Masterpiece Theatre’s Akage no Anne ( Anne of Green Gables).  I would have loved to see this adapted into a 1-cour or even 2-cour anime!  They’ve got more than enough material to play around with for it!

Being a Miyazaki film without adult action like Princess Mononoke and Nausicca it embellishes Kiki being accepted into a human society and what she can do to make her mark in life from the perspective of a teenage girl.  How she grows from reliance to independence is why I regard this as one of my favorite anime films.

It’s also very neat to see a cameo of Hayao Miyazaki in animated form!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 90/100

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Owari no Seraph Episode 6

Episode Director: Kei Ajiki (2nd Key Animator on Sword of the Stranger / Key Animator on BLEACH Opening Sequence 12 / Key Animator on Nisekoi Opening Sequence / Key Animator on Mushishi episode 23 / Animation Supervisor on PSYCHO-PASS episode 2, 20 and 22 / Key Animator on Kekkai Sensen episode 1)

Storyboards: Masashi Koizuka (Animation Supervisor on Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 episodes 2 and 7 / Episode Director and Key Animator on Robotics;Notes episode 5 / Episode Director and Key Animator on Shingeki no Kyojin episodes 13 and 17 / Director and Storyboard Writer on Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen Hen Opening Sequence)

Script: Hiroshi Seko (Script Writer on Kill la Kill episode 5)


Yuu and his friends confront their demons in order to become stronger.  He confronts Mika in a dreamlike state only to be quickly given his power through his desire to save him.  That flew by. As did Kimizuka’s possession of  his own abilities.  While this part in the story is about earning a new family for Yuu, this episode focuses on Yoichi, what happens to his sister and how he becomes a demon after losing to her.

Everything about this episode has been beaten to death before and it doesn’t help the fact that it was Yuu that helps Yoichi gain his resolve and turn back into a human.  A lackluster episode that reminds me of Ao No Exorcist and how that series handled it’s character relationships.  Too cliche and cheesy when Yuu talks Yoichi out of fighting them.

On the up side, at least WIT STUDIO knows how to animate debris, smoke effects and the dark fog that represents the demons throughout this episode.  The background visuals are still gorgeous it’s just that the story in this episode isn’t as solid as the previous ones.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 3/10

Kekkai Sensen Episode 4

Episode Director: Daisuke Tsukushi ( Episode Director on FullMetal Alchemist BROTHERHOOD episode 29 / Episode Director on Kingdom episodes 3, 9, 14, 18, 25 and 32 / Episode Director on Vividred Operation episode 6)

Storyboards: Rie Matsumoto ( Director on Kyousogiga / Director and Storyboard on Heartcatch Precure! film / Episode Director on Yes! Precure 5 episodes 14 and 24)

Script: Kazuhisa Furuya ( Series Script Writer on Kekkai Sensen)


This is one of my favorite series to air in 2015.  It’s perfect.  Ok no series is perfect, but this is in my Top 10 of Best Anime Series of last year.  A top-notch production from BONES, an adrenaline rush with a collection of stories that are interwoven with new characters becoming involved with Libra.

This episode introduces us to Lucky Abrams, a man stuck with misfortune all around him wherever he goes.  I really like how the we are clued in to these characters, the setting of New York and it’s various monsters from the perspective of Leonardo Watch.  This was a fun episode to watch because Lucky Abrams sets the dynamic of Libra and how the main cast interacts with each other.  Previously we’ve seen Zapp hate on Leonardo, Klaus acting as the father figure, Chain as the level-headed type–this time everything is turned upside down.  Everyone is caught in turmoil because of this man.  Great way to preface this entire plot with a party at the very beginning of this!

It’s too bad this series is only 12 episodes because there is a certain level of creativity Kekkai Sensen oozes with–The Elder 13 and Leonardo with his all-seeing eye being caught in the middle of a bad situation that only gets worse.  These Blood Breeds are portrayed as vampires–a different kind of monster than what we’ve seen in previous episodes.  This is the first time we’re also getting a glimpse of K.K. and Steven’s abilities.  Such smooth animation and I like how dramatic the sound effects are in matching the style of Kekkai Sensen‘s musical score.

Jazz isn’t the only style here that rocks!  The visuals are definitely something to be said.  Amazing that this is the fourth episode and there hasn’t been a drop in quality from character’s expressions and that was awesome to see the panning to Klaus attacking the Blood Breeds!  The action comes off stylish throughout this entire episode!

While this series has been focusing on episodic content, the main story is slowing heading in the right direction with Leonardo question who Black is and Femt being in contact with him.  Nice job in turning things full circle from previous episodes.

Want to point out the insert song at the end is entitled “Dust” written and performed by Toft Willingham.  A reggae, rock and dubstep singer for the band Spiritual Rez.  A talented music performer with his hands in tons of projects.  He’s known in the U.S. for shifting between musical styles from classical to his family roots of folk music and has made some strides with his rigid yet engagingly smooth sounding voice.  I wonder how the heck music producer Masataka Mikami got him involved in Kekkai Sensen let alone Taisei Iwasaki in the same room to make music together.  Incredible!

Got to love the product placement in this show.  Haha! Blur Moon!

I cannot get enough of this ending.  Why I haven’t I been writing about this series lately?!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Musaigen no Phantom World Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

In the near future, in a world born of human imagination, what humans would call ghosts or monsters appear, and they come to be called “phantoms.” Haruhiko Ichijō, is a first year at Hosea Academy along with his upperclassman Mai Kawakami, who fights phantoms with the ability “Spirit of Five Elements,” Reina Izumi, who has the ability “Phantom Eater,” and Koito Minase, who fights phantoms in solitude. They experience the ups and downs of high school life before a certain incident leads them to the truth of this world. ~ANN


 

Animation Production: Kyoto Animation ( Amagi Brilliant Park, Free!K-On!Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai!, Figure 17Full Metal Panic!, Hibike! EuphoniumHyōkaKanon, Kyoukai no Kanata, Lucky StarNichijoSora o Miageru Shōjo no Hitomi ni Utsuru SekaiTamako Market)

Director: Tatsuya Ishihara ( Director on Air / Director on Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai! / Episode Director on Fushigi Yugi episode 19 / Chief Director and Storyboard on Haruhi Suzumiya film and TV series / Director on Nichijo  / Director on Hibike! Euphonium / Storyboard and Episode Director on Tenchi Universe episodes 3, 8, 13 and 23)

Series Composition: Fumihiko Shimo ( Series Composition on AirAria the Scarlett Ammo Double AClannadMelancholy of Haruhi SuzumiyaKokoro Connect, and most of Kyoto Animation and Ishihara’s directorial projects)

Character Designer:  Kazumi Ikeda ( Animation Director on Air episodes 2, 5 and 8 / Animation Director on Amagi Brilliant Park episodes 5 and 11 / Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on Clannad / Key Animator on Free! ending sequence / Character Designer on Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai! / Animation Director on Hibike! Euphonium)

Music: EFFY ( Wrote insert song arrangements for Cross AngeMagical Girl Lyrical Nanoha the Movie 2nd A’s and No-Rin)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Ichirou Miyoshi ( Episode Director and Storyboard on Air episode 11 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid episodes 4 and 12 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Gate Keepers 21 / Storyboard and Episode Director on K-On! season 2 episode 4)

Storyboards: Yasuhiro Takemoto ( Director on Amagi Brilliant Park / Key Animator and Storyboard on Amagi Brilliant Park ending sequence / Storyboard and Director on Amagi Brilliant Park opening and ending sequences / Storyboards on Kaze no Yojimbo episodes 4 and 22 / Storyboards and Episode Director on Kyoukai no Kanata episodes 2, 4 and 10)

Script: Fumihiko Shimo ( Script Writer on Amagi Brilliant Park episodes 1, 2, 8, 11 and 13)


Typical Kyoto Animation.  They produce about one series a season and it’s all in-house staff.  Character Designs, backgrounds, musical style, color designs every aspect of this show seems to me a lot cheaper to do with an average budget. I like how visually imaginative this show is but for realism purposes I can’t continue it because it does not make sense.  If our brains were altered we could possibly see pixie girls and giant monsters?

Optical illusions play a big part of this show and it was a good choice to use Kyoto Animation for this premise.  However, it’s not straying away from their usual works.  Adaptation from light novel material with a large amount of fanservice and moe.  Apart from the beautiful animation and top notch sequences by Kyoto’s in-house animators Taichi Ishidate, Shinpei Sawa and Kouhei Nakahara we just have a generic Kyoto Animation fanservice fluff show. Boring.  Please do something more interesting.

This was a step-down from what they’ve delivered in previous years with Hyoka, Haruhi Suzumiya and Air.  The definite killer for me in this was Mai Kawakami’s breasts becoming a major plot point and resolution to the totem poles situation.  What?  At least the 16-bit style was a cool addition that’s out of the norm for Kyoto Animation. I don’t have a valid reason to watch this show other than for its animation.


 

OP: “Naked Dive” by SCREEN mode

Directed by: Tatsuya Ishihara

Storyboards: Tatsuya Ishihara

Animation Supervisor: Kazumi Ikeda ( Key Animator on Naruto episode 55)

Generic J-Rock that has a style similar to the artist Mell. The animation cuts and transitions aren’t good as it focuses more on fanservice rather than being original.  Cookie cutter character designs.  Come on Kyoto! Branch out more! I will say this. If there’s a studio saving the industry in getting otaku to purchase their products it’s Kyoto Animation and SHAFT studios.  It’s like I’ve mentioned before sometimes you have to be more visually appealing than have a decent story however this studio does the same stuff way too often.  This opening clearly indicates that.

ED: “Junshin Always” (純真Always; Innocence Always) by Azusa Tadokoro

Directed by: Yasuhiro Takemoto ( Director and Storyboards on Amagi Brilliant Park opening and ending sequences)

Storyboards: Yasuhiro Takemoto

Animation Supervisor: Kazumi Ikeda

Japanese Seiyuu with two series this season–Divine Gate’s Bedivere and this anime’s Ruru.  It’s not a big surprise that they used a seiyuu to do the ending song for this. Just like the opening this was generic.  Mostly with Ruru flying.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 4/10

 

Owari no Seraph Episode 5

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Episode Director: Shuuhei Matsushita (Storyboard Writer on Tokyo ESP episode 6 / Episode Director on Yahari Ore no Seishun Lovecome wa Machigatte Iru. Zoku episodes 1 and 10 / Episode Director on Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen Hen episode 10)

Storyboards: 

  • Minoru Ohara (Episode Director on Neon Genesis Evangelion episode 17 / Storyboard Writer on Fulmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood episodes 18, 29, 36, 42, 47 and 53 / Storyboard Writer on Galilei Donna episode 9 / Storyboard Writer on Diamond no Ace episodes 11, 16, 19 and 22)
  • Norifumi Jo (Started out as a 2nd Key Animator on Bounen no Xamdou episodes 6, 8, 11 and 13 / 2nd Key Animator on Michiko e Hatchin episode 3 / Key Animator on  One Piece episodes 637 and 655]
  • Kou Yoshinari (Key Animator on Black Bullet episode 1 / Key Animator on Sora no Method episode 13 / Key Animator on Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos film)

Script: Hiroshi Seko (Script Writer on Shingeki no Kyojin OVA “Ise’s Notebook” / Script Writer on Zankyou no Terror episode 4, 6, 9 and 11)


What a great episode this was.  The soundtrack–using a slow instrumental version of ScaPEGOAT was very cool. It’s also great to hear that Hiroyuki Sawano hasn’t overtaken this anime’s score.  Much of this episode gives the other composers a chance to deliver some variety.

I enjoyed the animation where Mika goes back to his home it pays tribute that he hasn’t forgotten what happened to his family. That they had been murdered by Ferid.  We’ve already known for awhile that Yuu hasn’t forgotten it but I feel that it’ll be their family bond that unites the humans and vampires and ends this long war.  He’s gradually becoming the very monster that frightened him and the other orphans when this series began and I like how this fuels his determination–never sucking the blood of a real human to become a true vampire.  There’s his resolve right there.

The greatest scene in this has to be Shinoa stealing Yuu’s exam.  Saori Hayami is doing a splendid job this year–portraying two entirely different characters (Shinoa and Shirayuki from Akagami no Shirayukihime) and with 17 more roles under her belt it’s about time we’ve got another strong female seiyu in the industry!  She’s quite fitting for Shinoa’s sassiness and tsundere personality.  Her range with this character is really incredible!

It’s also nice to see how much closer the group is becoming–Shinoa’s relentless display of antics built up Yuu’s and Kimizuka’s relationship nicely resulting in that wonderful punch in the face.  Since this series has a second half it’s great that we’re getting comedy before the group encounters their inner demons.  It’s taking its time and doesn’t waste a moment on an overload of nonsensical drama.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

 

Owari no Seraph Episode 4

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Episode Director: Junichi Takaoka (Started career as Key Animator on Yu Yu Hakusho episodes 79, 88, 89, 93, 99, 104, 107, 108, 111 / Animation supervisor on Monster episodes 27, 38, 52, 62 and 71 / Key Animator on Monster episodes 21, 52, 62 and 64 / Key Animator on Dennou Coil episodes 24 and 26 / Animation Supervisor and Key Animator on Death Note episodes 7, 14, 23, 29 and 35)

Storyboards: Junichi Takaoka (Animation Supervisor on Nisekoi episode 1 / Storyboard Writer on Nisekoi episode 4 / Key Animator on Owari no Seraph episode 1)

Script: Hiroshi Seko (Script Writer on Garo: Honoo no Kokuin episode 4 / Main series script writer on Owari no Seraph and Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen hen)



After that reveal at the end of the episode it’s only natural for this episode to shift its focus on Mika.  The story in the first half has the tendency of jumping back and forth between Yuu’s training and Mika’s life within the Vampire walls.  That’s certainly one way to do it, however, it would have been much more interesting if the show took the first twelve episodes and chose a single perspective to tell the story.  Similar to how Shiki handled the use of humans trying to survive and solve the mystery of people dying in the village.  It’s nice to see this contrast between Yuu and Mika in that Yuu’s receiving a warm welcome from his new friends and the rest of the Imperial Demon Moon Company.  Mika on the other hand, seems more alone than he ever had been before.

I think it was intentional for Studio Pablo to design backgrounds that are strikingly different.  A lighter color palette  in the scenes with Mika to highlight the fact that there isn’t much of a comradery between vampires.  The darker backgrounds illustrate how lively humans are in this show.  Especially the best moments being the rift between Yuu and Kimizuki and of course Guren’s intentions on establishing a division that goes deeper than just pure strength.  So his idea of having Yuu make friends was in actuality, for all them including Shinoa.  To grasp the demon that is contained in their weapons and control them even through the bonds of friendship.

Krul Tepes is like Guren Ichinose in many ways.  Guren wants to teach and protect Yuu in the toughest ways possible.  Krul saves Mika’s life and notices Ferid has other plans that are far removed from the vampire’s goals of exterminating humans.  She keeps Mika close by her side in order to keep him safe.  Good to see the parallel between Yuu and Mika like this–they’ve both got a reason for survival;  Guren and Krul understand that and need to keep them safe for their own kind’s sake.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10

Owari no Seraph Episode 3

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Episode Director: Tomokazu Tokoro  [Storyboards for Hikaru no Go episodes 9, 13 and 21 / Episode Director on Nanatsu no Taizai episode 1 and Storyboards for episode 22]

Storyboards: Tomokazu Tokoro and Tokudo Daisuke [Episode Director on Bounen no Xamdou episodes 4, 5, 19 and 25 including storyboards for episode 26 / Episode Director and Storyboards for Sengoku Basara Ni episode 4 and Key Animator on episode 12 / Storyboards and Key Animator on Shingeki no Kyojin episode 17]

Script: Seko Hiroshi[Overall Series Composition Writer for Owari no Seraph and Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen Hen]


Hiroyuki Sawano is without a doubt one of my favorite composers because he knows how to elicit emotion from a scene.  He’s not Michiru Oshima–her work on Rokka no Yuusha and Akagami no Shirayukihime are some of the best scores this year.  However, this episode works in his soundtrack very well by introducing Yuu’s fear to us and the power he holds from overcoming that fear.

What’s also great is how there’s a strong disparity between the drama and the comedy of this.  Shinoa is slowly training Yuu into an Imperial Moon Demon Company fighter and how to control his power.  She’s there to protect Yuu and make him stronger–their relationship is fantastic because it’s not super serious.  Here is where Tachibana Asami’s soundtrack comes in nicely–straying far away from the heavy drum beats and emphasis on string instruments that Sawano is known for.  Perhaps this will help him grow as a composer!

This episode main focus is fear and I like how this theme is used as the backdrop for Shinoa training Yuu and Yoichi.  That scene between the demon impersonating Mika and Yuu is fantastic–his desire to know if Mika is still alive or not and find his own resolve and crashing down anything that stands in his way builds a lot of questions on how Yuu will turn out later on in this series.

Fantastic episode!


Something interesting about the singers Hiroyuki Sawano gets for his soundtracks seem to be pretty well-hidden. Remember the song “Home- This Corner” that was an insert in 2011’s Guilty Crown?  The English in that was strongly enunciated and her vocals are ridiculously high ranging.  According to information I found she scored a 930 out of 990 on the TOEIC test (The Test of English for International Communication) and moved to France after production for Guilty Crown ended.

OP: “”X.U.” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]: Gemie

Directed by: Yasuomi Umetsu

Storyboards: Yasuomi Umetsu

Animation Supervisor: Satoshi Kadowaki

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Heavy electronic synthesizers, bass beats and keyboard melody.  Generic for Hiroyuki Sawano but it works really well for this series.  Love the visuals in this what helps this is character designer Satoshi Kadowaki.

The fight sequence with Yuu and the giant monsters are highly impressive.  Debris and smoke effects come off nicely–the fluidness of the animation is by animator Shinya Takahashi.  He’s basically known for this–it’s his trademark.  It’s not polished and pretty but it does line out every frame (for the most part) especially with sword streaks.  His work on GANGSTA episode 5’s fight sequence between Nicholas and Doug highlights his talents wonderfully! Takuma Ebisu handled the smoke and debris effects for a lot of this opening segment! Very awesome sequence! This minute and a half long opening included around 20 different key animators!

ED: “scaPEGoat” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]: Yosh

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Directed by: Yasuhiro Akamatsu

Storyboards: Hiroki Shinagawa

Animation Supervisor: Ayumi Yamada

Singer Yosh comes from the J-Rock band Survive Said the Prophet.  His english is very good especially in the parts of scaPEGoat.  The visuals by Studio Pablo in this ending sequence are toned down from the rest of the show.  Giving off an eerie, post-apocolyptic world that focuses on survival of the fittest. In Seraph’s case humans vs. vampires and who will rise on top. Great ending love the use of shadow’s by Zankyou no Terror‘s key animator Ayumi Yamada!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Owari no Seraph Episode 2

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Episode Director: Koizuka Mavashi [Director and Storyboards for Owari no Seraph‘s opening sequence / Animation Supervisor and Key Animator on Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 episodes 2, 9 and 11 / Episode Director, Storyboards and Key animator on Shingeki no Kyojin episodes 13, 17 and 25 (Assistant Chief Supervisor on Shingeki‘s episode 4]

Storyboards: Miyaji Masayuki [Episode Director and Storyboards on Space Dandy episode 10 / Episode Director, Script Writer and Storyboards on Bounen no Xamdou episode 1 / Storyboards on Haikyuu!! episode 16]

Script: Seko Hiroshi[Script Writer for Shingeki no Kyojin episodes 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 23 and Ise’s Notebook OVA / Script Writer on Zankyou no Terror episodes 4, 6, 9 and 11 / Script Writer on Kill la Kill episode 5]


 

Looking at the staff for this episode and seeing as how WIT STUDIO is animating this series it’s amazing how production is truly handled.  General Series Director, music composers and if I recall general script writers are subcontracted.  What’s interesting with the staff of this episode in particular is how many of them have worked together previously for WIT STUDIO, and I bet it’s a lot cheaper to use them rather than a completely different collection of staff that are either from another animation studio ( e.g. Production I.G., Studio Pierrot) or freelanced.  It also depends on their caliber of work too.  Makes me think how quickly these jobs within animation production are paid more quickly than on-hand staff at WIT STUDIO.  This episode doesn’t look like the premiere it had a few disjointed shots– the fight sequence between Yuu and the vampire had a lot of “cutting corner” techniques in order to save money.

The apocalypse from the very beginning actually occurred and the vampires use this in order to strike fear that the outside world is a place to stay far away from.  The premiere shoved a ton of sequences in our faces between the annihilation of mankind, Yuu’s life as an orphan and his escape with his friends.  This episode takes a backseat and introduces one of the most well-rounded characters of the Spring 2015 season–  Shinoa Hiragi (voiced by the amazing Saori Hayami!).  Yuu’s discovery that the outside world isn’t so bad (for now) is a strong build-up to his reckelss behavior at the academy.  The punishment he receives?  Making friends.  After losing his family to the vampires its clear to anyone that he’s got attachment issues.

Shinoa is snarky, she’s honest and can sometimes be a downright pain for Yuu but this compliments his naivety about The Japanese Demon Army’s duties wonderfully.  His other friend, timid Saotome Yoichi joined the army after his sister was brutally murdered by a vampire and setups his revenge motives nicely.  Somehow I feel we will be returning to that in another season.  There’s a lot of kids in this show, for a grim world like this one, it will (hopefully) allow for these main characters to mature as the story progresses.  For now though we’re barely touching the surface of the main cast.  I just hope this first half will flush out more background on the vampire/human situation rather than the intense emotions we had this episode.  Bringing me to my next point.

Commander for Imperial Demon Moon Company, Guren Ichinose, knows his duty but still acts like a child at times.  His promise with Yuu to make him a part of his army if he makes friends fits this tone nicely.

As for the quality of this episode there’s a lot of still shots.  It doesn’t detract away from the visually impressive premiere we had one bit.  It’s refreshing because the background designs by Animation Studio Pablo are absolutely stunning!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6/10