Tag Archives: Horror

Shisha no Teikoku [Empire of Corpses] [Theatrical Edition] [41/100]

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Animation Production: WIT STUDIO ( Shingeki no KyojinHalHozuki no ReitetsuKabaneri of the Iron FortressMaho Tsukai no Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito OAV, Owari no SeraphThe Rolling Girls / In-Between Animation on Subete ga F Ni Naru: The Perfect Insider / Production Assistance on PSYCHO-PASS 2‘s Opening Sequence)

Director:  Ryotaro Makihara ( Key Animator on Monster episode 12 / Episode Director, Storyboard and Key Animator on Guilty Crown episodes 4, 11 and 21 / Key Animator on Shingeki no Kyojin episodes 17, 18 and 24 / Key Animator on Summer Wars / Key Animator on Colorful / Storyboard, Director and Production on Hal)


  • Hiroshi Seko ( Script on Shingeki no Kyojin OVA “Iise’s Notebook” / Series Composition on Owari no Seraph and Nagoya Kessen-hen / Script alongside Kazuki Nakashima on Kill la Kill episodes 5 / Script on Garo: Honoo no Kokuin episode 4)
  • Koji Yamamoto ( Chief Producer at Fuji TV [the company that established Noitamina] / Assistant Producer on hentai Countdown / Screenplay on Harmony / Chief Producer on many of Noitamina’s works since Hataraki Man in 2006 / Chief Producer on the three NOISE broadcasting company works Ristorante ParadisoAoi Hana and Michiko e Hatchin)
  • Midori Gotou ( Series Composition on Hozuki no Reitetsu / Script on Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san episodes 2, 5, 6, 9 and 10 / Script on Hozuki no Reitetsu episodes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 13)d

Original Creators: 

  • Project Itoh ( Original Creator on Genocidal Organ / Original Creator on Harmony)
  • Toh Enjoe ( Script on Space Dandy episode 11 / Guest Character Draft Designer and Script on Space Dandy 24)

Original Character Designer: redjuice ( Ending Illustration on Shingeki no Kyojin episode 19 / Original Character Designer on Genocidal Organ / Original Character Designer, Designer of the Steiner A9 from episodes 21 and 22, Ending card Illustration and Illustration on Guilty Crown‘s Ending Sequence / Conceptual Design on Vividred Operation / Ending Card Illustration on Wooser’s Hand-to-Mouth Life / Ending Card Illustration on Haganai episode 6)

Character Designer: Takaaki Chiba ( Chief Animation Director on Shingeki no Kyojin episode 3 / Titan Animation Director on Shingeki no Kyojin OVA episode “Iise’s Notebook” / Animation Director assistant on Le Chevalier D’Eon episode 12 / Animation Director and Key Animator on Le Chevalier D’Eon‘s Opening Sequence / Key Animator on Hyouge Mono episode 1 / Key Animation on Ghost Hound episode 7 / In-Between Check on Noir episodes 15, 18 and 26 / Key Animator on Noir episodes 1, 5, 14, 16, 22 and 26 / Animation Director, Design and Key Animator on Sengoku Basara The Movie)

Music: Yoshihiro Ike ( Music Composer on Armored Trooper Votoms Case;Irvine OAV, Asura film, Blood: The Last VampireCobra: The AnimationDead Leaves OAV, Ergo ProxyFlagFreedom OAV, Genocidal OrganKaras OAV, Kuroko’s Basketball Seasons 2 and 3Noblesse: AwakeningShingeki no Bahamut: GenesisReideenTiger & Bunny series and compilation films)

A Noitamina produced film based on the late Project Itoh writer, who died in 2009 of cancer.  Toh Enjoe, the physicist and writer of Space Dandy‘s incredible Episode 11 and wacky love romance Episode 24 vowed to complete his novel before Itoh’s death.  At first, I was excited to hear his works receiving any sort of adaptation. Shisha no Teikoku has similar ties to WIT STUDIO’s current work Kōtetsujō no Kabaneri and the acclaimed Shingeki no Kyojin. If you are looking for an entertaining film, I highly recommend this as it is set in an alternate timeline of the renaissance period mixed with a somewhat familar narrative around scientific reanimating of corpses.  The corpses in this act similarly in the treatment of the zombie threat in this season’s Kabaneri.  There are many action sequences and you can tell that WIT STUDIO polished this up nicely with a balance of body horror and steampunk.  

The first 25 minutes are fantastic as it slowly introduces John Watson (yes that John Watson of Sherlock) in the lead role in discovering how to bridge the gap between bringing a soul back to a dead body, Herbert West style. [If you don’t know Herbert West: Reanimator, it’s a short story created by H.P. Lovecraft in 1922]  John Watson’s companion, who turns out is a corpse, is the body of his old friend, Friday–a heavy nod to Robinson Crusoe’s companion  Friday. The idea to use Friday at the center of this story is a pointed reference to British literature. Completing a corpse with a soul is obvious and traces back to the history behind the Robinson Crusoe novel.  In Trieste, Italy (1912), Irish Novelist James Joyce gave lectures on how Robinson Crusoe embodies the English mindset:

The true symbol of the British conquest is Robinson Crusoe, cast away on a deserted island, in his pocket a knife and a pipe, becomes an architect, a knife-grinder, an astronomer, a baker, a shipwright, a potter, a saddler, a farmer, a tailor, an umbrella-maker and a clergyman.  He is the true prototype of the British colonist, as Friday (the trusty savage who arrives on an unlucky day) is the symbol of the subject races. The whole Anglo-Saxon spirit is in Crusoe.” ~ James Joyce

It is this quote that translate many Shisha‘s themes.  Britain’s way of life with corpses living in the streets, doing daily chores, and in some sense this film set a firm beginning in establishing a Victorian world that welcomes death instead of fearing it.  This is the strong segment of Shisha‘s story.  According to history around this time, there was an obsession with the dead being able to speak with spirits and even entering death themselves. Many loved ones passed way before their time from wars both close to home and from afar.  This idea to communicate with spirits were common among the British because to converse with the ones they lost would ultimately give them closure.  It’s a shame that this wasn’t further explored during John Watson’s research regarding corpses.  

Once the first 25 minutes pass and the Russian scientist and corpse engineer Nikolai Krasotkin enter the picture I felt this film was starting to get flimsy.  Shoving references that seemed unfitting to be in this turn-of-the-20th-century piece.  Using Paul Bunyan as an instrument of evil? Doesn’t make too much sense to use an American historical figure for this unless it was to depict their evil nature.Onboard the Richmond that’s heading for America, Ulysses S. Grant relays information about the Writing Ball that was found in the Osoto Chemical Facility in Japan as a way to convince John Watson to analyze the First.  The First is the only corpse with a soul and as it turns out is the bride to the One, the villain in this film.  Rather he’s one of them out of a few of the leaders of the countries the main cast travel to.  

Speaking of the cast, most of the characters seem to work together pretty well except for one.  Hadaly.  She’s completely out of context for this dark film–her character design is purely for fanservice reasons.  Perhaps it’s because she’s a robot either way this was a mistake on lead designer Takaaki Chiba’s part.  Given how visually grim (and stunning) this film’s backgrounds  were this choice in her visual appearance makes most of her scenes less serious even when they tried to dress her up in Victorian clothing in the later half of this film.  

I’m not sure if it was Project Itoh that tied in most of these references or Toh Enjoe but it didn’t try to be original in the characterization.  According to history, Charles Babbage was the grandfather of computing but in this film he builds the analytical engine and Victor Frankenstein turns out to be this stereotypical take over the world old man villain. A trope that has been overused since the ’80s.

This film in some ways is a sequel to Marry Shelly’s work Frankenstein set in an alternate world.  Perhaps both Project Itoh and Toh Enjoe didn’t fully understand Frankenstein as a monster.  Watching this, I felt, that the soulless and empty Friday represented the classic monster more than this film’s suggested villain.  We this emphasis with his friendship to John as we see a flashback depicting a promise they made in order to understand one another.  Simiilar Even though we see Burnaby fighting a strikingly similar looking Frankenstein in the engine room–Shisha‘s long and drawn out conclusion was poorly written and poorly executed.  The final arc was written by Toh Enjoe and even without reading the knowing the source material at heart I felt as though the story was losing focus on its characters especially with a lackluster and somewhat confusing ending.  That is, if you don’t see the post-credits scene.  It’s a shame that Project Itoh passed away when he did because I would have loved to have seen what ending he was set on writing. 

I know that overusing references is a tiresome point of this film, the biggest highlight for me, surprisingly enough, was the post-credits scene. I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and I certainly enjoyed his appearance and getting a glimpse of a Sherlockian adventure in this film was quite the treat!  

All in all this film points out WIT STUDIO’s flaw as an animation studio.  They are afraid of taking risks. They know how to make series that sell by sticking with what they know on how to produce.  WIT lacks creativity.  Using dead people as a way to channel an emotional impact on the audience has been oversold in the anime industry. Especially when you take into consideration how this film and Kabaneri are riding on the coattails of Shingeki no Kyojin‘s success.  Whether its Titans, zombies, or vampires– much of it is the same; they rely heavily on one trope–Nightmare Fuel.  A disturbing idea [zombies] that play up on a primal fear (which in this case is humanity losing itself to mindless beings) in order to capitalize on a compelling (and hopefully rewarding) dramatic story.  It’s a collection of themes and tropes that have been recycled within the past 5 years! Let’s see something entirely different WIT!



Kizumonogatari I: Tekketsu-hen [Theatrical Edition]

Animation Production: SHAFT (Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, Arakawa Under the BridgeNisekoiMonogatari seriesef: A Tale of MemoriesG-On RidersHidamari SketchKatteni Kaizo OVAKino no Tabi: The Beautiful World filmMaho Sensei Negima! OAVsMahoromaticMagical Suite Prism NanaPuella Magi Madoka MagicaMaria HolicMekakucity ActorsMoonphasePani Poni Dash!RECSayonara Zetsubou-SenseiKono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai)

Director:  Akiyuki Shinbo ( Director on Dance in the Vampire Bund / Director on Arakawa Under the Bridge / Chief Director on Hidamari Sketch / Director on Bakemonogatari / Director on Mekakucity Actors / Chief Director and Series Composition on Monogatari Series Second Season / Chief Director on Nisekoi / Director on Puella Magi Madoka Magica / Storyboard on Saber Marionette J episode 11 / Director on Sasami-san@Ganbaranai / Director and Storyboard on Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko episodes 1 and 3 / Key Animator on Tokyo Babylon OVA / Episode Director and Storyboard on Yu Yu Hakusho episodes 7, 12, 16, 21, 24, 30, 35, 41, 47, 52, 58, 66, 74, 82, 89 and 109)

Chief Director: Tatsuya Oishi (Key Animator on Yu Yu Hakusho episodes 71, 74, 78, 82, 89, 92, 98, 104, 107 and 112 / Key Animator on Ninku episodes 4, 9, 11, 16, 21, 24 and 31)


  • Akiyuki Shinbo
  • NisiOisin

Original Creator: NisiOisin ( Original Creator on Death Note: Another NoteBakemonogatariHanamonogatariKatanagatariKizumonogatari Parts 1, 2 and 3Medaka BoxKoyomimonogatariMonogatari Series Second SeasonNekomonogatariNisemonogatariOwarimonogatariShojo FujubunTsukimonogatarixxxHOLiC: Another HOLiC)

Music: Satoru Kousaki ( Music Composer on A-ChannelBakemonogatariCaptain EarthHourou Musuko, Disappearance of Haruhi SuzumiyaLucky StarNisekoiOreimoSTAR DRIVERTantei Opera Milky HolmesWake Up, Girls! / Theme Song Arrangement and Composition on Natsume’s Book of Friends Season 4 Ending Sequence)

Characer Designers:

  • Akio Watanabe ( Character Designer on all of the Monogatari series / Original Character Designer on Grisaia no Rakuen / Animation Director on Saber Marionette J episodes 10 and 18 / Key Animation on Street Fighter Alpha / Character Designer on Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai)
  • Hideyuki Morioka ( Key Animation on Agent Aika episode 7 / Character Designer, Chief Animation Director, and Key Animator on Arcade Gamer Fubuki 2nd Stage – Nusumareta PP episode 4 / Key Animation on Sailor Moon S episode 92 / Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on REC / Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on Zan Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei)

When Bakemonogatari had first aired back in 2009 two things immediately stood out to me:  SHAFT’s unique visual style and the very first five minutes of episode 1.  Split into three parts, this is the film series that introduces us to how exactly Koyomi Araragi became a vampire, meets Tsubasa Hanekawa and Meme Oshino.  This film kept pretty much in line with the designs made for the 2011 trailer.  The TV anime Bakemonogatari while held a lot of restraint in terms of animation in the beginning it showcased a few pivotal scenes played out in this film–Araragi’s encounter with the vmapire hunters and discovering Heart-Under-Blade.  There were changes from the original scene cut that they did and overall turned out fantastic on the big screen!  Such as Heart-Under-Blade being in the subway rather than on the streets.

Kizumonogatari was originally slated for 2012 and the novel dates back to 2008.  There’s been numerous delays for its release and it certainly paid off. Love the visual style going for this film, one I wish they could have used for the television series.

The opening sequence was a visual feast.  Director Shinbo was in charge of animating that first scene and I must admit that was one of the prettiest things I’ve seen SHAFT do in a long time.  The crows remind me of Zankyou no Terror‘s ending sequence–penciled and shaded in with a fine attention to detailing the eyes.  The beginning foreshadows to new viewers that Araragi is definitely not human and the fact that even under vampiric circumstances he can quickly succumb to weakness.  The fire animation where Araragi was exploding in flames couldn’t have been better if it weren’t for Araragi’s screaming!  It gave off real tension to the beginning of this film.  Aside from the amazing updated Hanekawa sequence, which was a nice way to bridge this to the original show this film surpasses most of what the Monogatari series represents, a harem series with tons of inner dialogue.  Kizumonogatari Part I is an introduction piece that dives into an artistic whirlwind of mystery and horror.

Throughout Kizumonogatari Part I there is this incredible sense of creativity from Araragi running through the subway station, Oshino diving from the building to the reanimated scene of when Araragi first meets Hanekawa with the skirt flying up, a nod to NisiOisin’s works.  The novel is quite a read and contains more dialogue than this first half in animated form even touches on.  Right at the final scene I believe this first part ends on chapter 6.

Given SHAFT’s visual style of storytelling this works wonderfully in delivering new viewers and fans of the TV series an enjoyable simple experience.  The lack of dialogue between the gorgeous slow-paced key frames extends the idea that everything that’s happening is what we’re seeing from Araragi’s mind every minute and every second.  We see, hear, and can think everything that’s going on inside of him!

One of the huge successes of this first film is its pacing.  We’re going to be seeing more of a larger story later on.  There’s no need for long character development the tension is built up around Araragi discovering Kiss-Shot-Acerola-Orion-Heart-Under-Blade for the first time and what we get to see is a busty blonde woman with arms and legs missing and blood everywhere.  Extremely intense!  I love how realistic Araragi is–he’s taken in by her beauty but deep down he knows she’s a monster.  Seeing Kiss-Shot on the floor begging for his blood (which was had some pretty detailed closeup shots of her) illustrates that she still has some humanity left in her after 500 years.  I also thought it was interesting how the quick cuts of the subway station signals were displayed like morse-code against a white backdrop with sound effects similar to Araragi’s cell-phone as if he’s desperately wanting to call Hanekawa to save him.  Questioning whether or not to help Kiss-Shot makes this whole segment believable!  Araragi even runs away from her at one point out of desperation to save himself!

This entire film was a lot more expressive than anything the TV series ever had–SHAFT with a movie budget this should happen more often!  Using CG for the backgrounds and cars might be a bit off-putting to new viewers of SHAFT’s works because the characters moving around and having still conversations feel abstract especially the fanservice with Hanekawa Tsubasa moving in slow motion.

The charm of the Monogatari series sense of humor derives from its female cast interacting with Araragi.  They all have supernatural circumstances surrounding them and Kiss-Shot being a unique vampire having drained all of Araragi’s blood still wasn’t enough to retain her adult body.  A kid shows up when Araragi wakes up and it’s funny to see his initial reaction.  The homage to Araragi’s point on the top of his head is brief and sometimes shown throughout this film is a nice comedic touch to an overall dark setting.

Meme Oshino’s introduction was cool.  Since this is the first time Araragi is meeting him it makes all his scenes in Bakemonogatari‘s first arc much more interesting in his methods on dealing with Hitagi’s situation.  A mediator between apparitions and humans he saves Araragi from being torn apart by three vampire hunters–Episode, Dramaturgy and Guillotine Cutter.  Really like how brief that was and that this film didn’t heavily rely on fight scenes to attract the viewer.

I’m really glad this will be a three-part series because it doesn’t rush the dialogue between Oshino and Araragi trying to come up with a plan to get Kiss-Shot’s limbs back from those vampire hunters and it ends in the middle of a conversation rather than rushing a heroic trope conclusion.  Since this is slated to be a three-hour film series and this first one having the runtime of only 60 minutes it will be interesting to see more characterization developed later on.

There was a trailer at the end of this film in typical Monogatari fashion–no visuals just talking and the heavy emphasis of French and Japanese characters appearing on screen.  The second film arrives Summer 2016.  Can’t wait!




Death Parade [95/100]

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Perhaps I’m being too picky when it comes to Death Parade‘s finale.  I enjoyed it quite a bit and the conclusion to Onna’s journey was satisfying yet I wanted so much more. [sad that we won’t be hearing that groovy opening sequence again]  I really wanted this series to be episodic and channel its progress through the people that mysteriously end up at Queen Decim.  However, I do want to say that this series worked out extremely well as a week-to-week build-up narrative.  It’s incredibly awesome!  Realistically grim with its characters that adds in the supernatural elements with the various death games where we get to see how precious life is.

Rather than focusing just on its side-cast, Death Parade presents the dead as this sort of knot of human relationships that breaks just about every episode in order to build up the true intentions of this show:  what is that makes people human?  A question that Decim never would have thought of from an emotional standpoint if it were not for Onna.  Her past greatly enhances this question wonderfully and I believe where Oculus acts as the pendulum in establishing a power struggle within the staff is where we see this theme is explored from an Arbiter’s point of view more clearly.  Her desire to make Decim more human through Onna’s heartfelt experience as a side-kick arbiter gives us an emotional roller coaster ride with the help of some amazing animation by MADHOUSE!  The nod to Death Note‘s Light Yagami also represents how far this show gathers its dead people from.  Now lets see a second season of this with a Red Garden crossover!

Just a few days ago I re-watched this entire series.  There is a ton of foreshadow about the puppets being the humans that are brought to the bar and Nona’s plans.  I really like the part of this series in episode 11 where the puppets are clapping at the end of Onna’s skating performance–  a fitting send-off from QueenDecim and into another part of life after death!  Given that we see Episode 1’s Machiko in a later episode as a puppet I would venture to guess they were clapping as foreshadow that she would become a puppet herself.  Glad the ending left that portion of the story open.  It’s these final glimpses of a person’s life that Death Parade achieves near perfect in terms of character development–  Chisato’s real appearance as the elevator doors are closing, Yousuke crying over the fact he killed himself, Shimada’s obsession with avenging his sister by killing Tatsumi again, the desperation Maya has in being with Harada in her final moments and most importantly Onna crying over seeing Decim genuinely smile.  All these situations portray regret, compassion, anger, hatred, and so many other emotions wonderfully well throughout this series which is why these final moments in these characters leave such a huge impact each week!

I sure hope creator Yuzuru Tachikawa can make another one of these just as good as this one if not better!


Garo -Honō no Kokuin [91/100]

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Keita Amemiya got his start in the anime industry in character monster designing with 1989’s Ultraman. His first created work had been on Iria: Zeiram The Animation.  An action sci-fi adventure series.  Where he really shines though is in his fantasy works–  Mahou ShoujotaiGaro and horror OVA G-9.

Makai Knights under a code of honor by the Order are sent throughout the land to kill Horrors–  humans that are consumed by their own grief and/or hatred.  German’s wife is killed by being burned at the stake fueling the inevitable witch hunts led by Valiante King’s advisor Mendoza.  Some of the best narratives are the side-cast that Garo focuses on.  The horror doctor, the mother and child outed from their village, the blacksmith overcome by his grief of losing his son–  so many personal issues with these minor characters really build this world into a larger piece that plays onto Mendoza’s hatred wonderfully well.  His backstory is awesome:  he throws his wife and child off a cliff because they are marked just like him after he was banished from the Order as a Makai Alchemist because he was power hungry.

Ema Guizman is one of the strongest female characters of the past few seasons–  she’s doesn’t believe in the Makai Knights and tries to shoulder everything on her own.  The episode where her love with human-turned horror Luciano really illustrates the relationships people have with each other and how the code these Makai Knights and Alchemists follow can sometimes in unfortunate circumstances can change them.  Sometimes though the plot is flimsy–  the handmade Garo Knight felt entirely out of left field just for the sake of bringing back blacksmith apprentice Juliano.  Sometimes there’s overacting in times that doesn’t need to be just to deliver a more intense mood.  However, overall the story is so good that it’s easily passable.

The soundtrack is just as good as the art–  really dark and ambitious.  MONACA founder Keiichi Okabe is amazing–  I couldn’t tell this came from the same group that did the score of Hourou Musuko!  It has understated piano tracks and very toned down drum sections compared to Hiroyuki Sawano.  It works wonderfully in this series that is subtle with its grim narratives.  If you are a fan of Mahou Shoujotai, enjoy watching fantasy series with more mature themes than I highly recommend this series that is a twisted take on the tokusatsu genre!

Let’s see more original series from Amemiya like this one in the future!


Garo -Honō no Kokuin Episode 24 [END]

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At last the conclusion is here.  I admit I wish this series was more than 2-cour–  it truly is a wonderful fantasy setting with mature themes wrapped around the tokusatsu genre.  Amemiya is able to mix these elements together without being flimsy.

So it looks like I was on the mark about German.  It’s great that this series didn’t wrap up right after Leon’s fight against the stereotypical final form Mendoza.

World domination in fantasy series have been beaten to death over the years but I have to hand it to creator Keita Amemiya in writing about a world with so much intrigue behind it.  I say this because the ending here lightly touches on the Horror’s realm right towards the gate.  Mendoza trapped inside of it after German sacrifices himself has me wondering if we will get to see that world eventually in another season or the feature film that was announced.

The voice acting in this is incredibly solid–  Takaya Hashi pulls off a wonderfully displaced Makai Alchemist turned villainous god desperately wanting to survive at the end of this!  Seriously!  This and Kemonozume‘s Jin Kakinoki are probably my favorite roles he’s ever done–  he’s really scary.  He would do justice as the antagonist of Urasawa’s Pluto.  If that ever gets made.


Garo -Honō no Kokuin Episode 23

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Hajime no Ippo Rising director Shun Kudo handled a very pivotal episode here that could either make Garo really good or end up having a weak ending.  This episode left tons out in the open to the viewer–  is Ema dead?  How about German because we don’t see his death on screen.  With only 1 episode left I’d say Kudo directed a well-polished cliffhanger here–  Ximenia bears German’s child which makes me wonder if the feature film will focus on that character.  Is this intentional build-up for more?

The animation throughout this entire episode is fantastic–  Octavia’s apocalyptic design brings this show back artistically to how this series had reminded me of D.Gray-man.  Its grim perspective on humans’ deepest darkest emotions with a fantasy twist–  Horrors are created from the melancholic feelings of a person’s soul.  We saw that a ton in the first half of Garo where Leon and German vanquished Horrors without a second thought that they could save the people succumbed to them.

Octavia is a great representation of a person that lost something or someone and was taken in by Mendoza:  ultimately being manipulated as a tool for his desires.  Even her design screams the sexual representation that this anime series focuses on with its female characters.  Recently, I’ve been re-watching Kemonozume by Masaki Yuasa and can see similarly with Garo how pertinent it can be when a series handles sex:  bridging a gap between genders and how mature sequences can motivate its characters further along.  This is a big reason why I like this series–  it has been about passing on your genes as a Makai Knight and this show doesn’t glaze over the fact on how that is done.


Garo -Honō no Kokuin Episode 22

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A feature-length animated film has been announced for the Garo series and I wonder if it will be a compilation of this series or an alternate take on the universe.  This has been an exceptional series with episodes in-between that lack substance however this episode kicks it back right on track!  Really enjoying what MONACA has been doing with the soundtrack!

I like this episode quite a bit.  Mendoza is trying to harness the power of Anima–  a collection of human souls all unified at single point to create a Horror based on the witch hunts we saw from the beginning of this series!  Fantastic!  He’s been setting his plans up all this time, German working alongside him didn’t even know this and I like how it’s this balance that gives Mendoza the upper hand.  Even to where Ema, Leon and Alfonso get trapped inside an alternate dimension of a futuristic city.  I really like how vastly different the world they are in is compared to the melancholic background designs of Valiante!

The CG might have looked distinctly out-of-place during German’s fight with the demon soldiers and there were some distorted facial expressions this episode nonetheless the plot is finally moving at a pace [unlike last episode] without layering too much on it!  It’s a basic perspective of Mendoza wanting to regain the power he had been originally corrupt to attain in the very beginning and now his dreams are becoming a reality.

Octavia’s loyalty displays this spot-on–  she’s foolish, prideful and until now was unable to understand the anguish of a Horror.  She’s become the sacrificial piece to Mendoza’s plans that usually would have been thrown together last minute however without Episode 20 this would not have been as powerful.  I also thought it showed greatly how lost she is leaving a close-to-dead German alive in order to challenge Garo Knight Leon.


Garo -Honō no Kokuin Episode 21

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We’ve got quite the veteran director working on this episode here.  Masami Hata.  Starting out around the early 60’s as an animator for Mushi Pro.  This at the time was the leading studio in animation as it was headed by the grandfather of japanese animation–  Osamu Tezuka.  This is where he started his directorial debut with television series Wonder 3.  I can clearly see how strong his influence is on this episode here–  the camera angles feel rather old-school.  Before Sanrio’s animation company dissolved he worked as a director on some of their top feature films of the 70’s well into the 80’s.  If I recall, two of the biggest produced films he worked on were Adventures in Slumberland and Chirin no Suzu also known as Ringing Bell.  As of today Hata works as a freelance animator, script writer and episode director.  This and Hajime no Ippo Rising are about the only episode directed television series he’s worked on that I can recall as of late.

The heroic death trope.  This has been overdone to death in fantasy series and Garo isn’t any different even if takes an entire episode to build up to the inevitable fate of German Luis.  So many things happen in this–  Mendoza wants to control the world through Horrors, Garm and German are willing to destroy all of Valiante in order to deal a large blow to the Horrors coming out of the gate.  A tough decision between knights that are supposed to restore peace and order throughout the lands–  especially for Alfonso.  The young prince that lost his mother through Mendoza’s cause will only lead to more suffering.  I do have to wonder what sort of Horror Alfonso would have turned out to be if the country had been destroyed here.

German backing these ideals really illustrates Leon’s abrasive angst towards his father really well.  The flashback sequence that plays against the good use of CG fight between father and son portrays the relationship they have in a much more closer manner than what we’ve seen.  Somehow I feel their past should have had more focus for at least an entire episode or two much earlier;  possibly in the first half of Garo.

As this series is concluding for me it has done well in establishing its characters by focusing on the minor cast around them.  Getting to the end though is a rushed attempt at giving a somewhat satisfying ending especially with this episode’s jump between father/son quest of redemption, Makai Knights decision to choose what is the greater sacrifice and Mendoza’s twisted plot to reclaim the very world that denied him.

This would have been an awesome stopping point for a


Death Parade Episode 12 [END]

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This is good conclusion to the previous episode but I must admit it’s not a finale I was looking for in Death Parade.  It’s like I mentioned before this series is meant to be 2-cour.  I really hope this is the case because it would not only says a lot about original material but for the Anime Mirai project.  I’ve been impressed with the style of content the Mirai program produces and look forward to blogging about the 2015 lineup as well as the Animator Expo that’s currently airing.

Onna’s arrival at the bar due to suicide gives a lot of closure to her character and how mindful she’s been about the humans partaking in these death games.  What does in-fact take center stage is the relationship surround Decim and Onna.  Embracing human emotion is the core concept behind this series and we’ve seen that with the episodic characters  now this episode takes the two leads and creates really good chemistry by this finale.  This episode’s game is more a test rather than anything else. Onna’s empathy and understanding of her past with regards to her mother and the life she is leading now.  This is powerfully inviting–  a daughter yearning to see her mother holding on to some degree a regret about killing herself.  She has a choice.  Press the button in order to sacrifice someone’s life in the world giving her a second chance or cast herself into the void.

Never has this show posed this method of life and death before:  by choice so straightforward.  We did see foreshadow with Mayu and Harada’s outcome yet this episode focuses on how other people’s experiences changes over time.  What we see here is the illusion Decim has created using temptation, love and most importantly understanding.  The understanding of how important life is–  we saw that with Mayu’s decision in the previous episode and now it’s the central issue creating a well-defining moment in Decim’s emotional break.  The ending is subtle–  it leaves off any indication that Nona has confronted Oculus literally and illustrates this idea that puppets can change through experiences just as humans do.  It’s pivotal in handling so many deaths throughout the world.  Hopefully a second season will develop Oculus’ character even more.

Judging humans based on their pasts Nona understands this concept isnt the only piece in creating a sound decision on who goes to heaven and hell but the in-the-moment actions.  Michiko and Takashi from the very first episode represent this point really well.  This episode provides a satisfying token of appreciation in how Decim feels about Onna.  They’re all puppets getting a chance at experiencing some kind of life at the bar and Decim respects the people that come and go even Onna by making puppets out of them after they’ve been cast into the void or reincarnated.  After seeing this episode twice I finally understand the importance of these puppets:  they are the respected overseers of the arbiters’ judgments.


Death Parade Episode 11

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Never would have thought to see Light Yagami make an appearance in this series!  If there would be any MADHOUSE series to do it Death Parade would certainly be it.  Both series are handled by the same studio, centralizing its themes around death where it brushes up with the many supernatural ideas that this series offers.  It’s a written in nicely and is a fun touch to detail.  Nona mentions to Quin in an earlier episode how the deaths have risen.  Now I can see why–  its Light.  If any of you have seen Death Note you’ll understand where I’m going with this.  Don’t tread life so lightly–  Light thought it was some game by taking lives and Death Parade [leaving it up to the viewer] provides the aftermath of his actions in a large way.  A point that even Ginti is getting across–  does it even matter whether Mayu knows Light or not?  Who should she choose to send in the void?  Quite a powerful message–  judge people from what you see or judge them from their actions.  Every episode tackles this method of thinking in some pretty unique ways involving various death games.

Moving away from the cameo this is such an amazing episode that’s both beautifully animated and contains two stories that focus on the importance of life.  Onna isn’t sure how she died exactly but she does in-fact know that she did die when she arrives at QueenDecim for the first time.  This is a question I’ve been wondering about since the premiere.  This episode transitions so well from past to present without force-feeding it with dialogue–  a smooth follow up into the bigger picture.  Nona erased Onna’s memories and we are seeing repercussions of that.  Onna is the extreme conditions trigger for Decim.  The final episode should put this out in the open now–  Decim’s emotional breakdown and how Onna is reactive to it.  So she was a figure skater that had an accident ending her career.  The Onna we see in this show is very different from the Onna that had been alive and episode director Jun Shishido conveys that wonderfully where we see how immersed or rather more alive she becomes as she’s skating.  The Director’s build up every episode to this moment is a smart move that comes off amazingly strong!  Absolutely love that entire scene!

I really like how those flashbacks provide a sense of “coming home” where on Ginti’s side Mayu is “going home” in a different fashion.  With the man she idolized she’s finally receiving what she’s always wanted to be a part of him.  I can see how this adding in Ginti’s scenes would be a turn-off for some viewers–  it’s distracting and is different than the emotional ride we’ve been on with Onna and Decim’s relationship!  However, it’s a really smart move because its almost as if Mayu changed Ginti into a kinder arbiter something I’m sure that Decim will end up doing in the finale!

Awesome episode!