Thoughts on Ghost in the Shell: Arise

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(possible spoilers)

Whilst I was watching Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, I did some research into the franchise and found out about the OVA called Ghost in the Shell: Arise. I won’t lie, I had to ask myself if I really wanted to watch this series but the inner anime fan in me will always win these kind of debates so I went ahead and watched it. Before watching the series, I thought that Arise was part of the SAC series, not realising that it was set in an alternate reality (I was going to write Arise was a standalone but I would have felt cheesy saying that). Before I forget, Ghost in the Shell: Arise follows the story of the major as she along with her specialised unit combat the firestarter virus and those who are spreading it (that’s all I’m giving here).

I’m happy to say that all the thoughts I had about this series were completely wrong. GITS:SAC put me on edge because I’ve come to accept that I’m someone who likes his action and a story that doesn’t pause. If I had to recommend a GITS series for someone to watch it would be Arise without doubt, it has its philosophy but I don’t think this series is as heavy on the philosophy as SAC although it does have more action and it’s enjoyable as well. It’s not hard to tell that I had more of an interest in this series, seeing more intense action and the major having a personality which I think suited the need for action in this series (which I’ll get to later). At times when I watched SAC, I felt like I was going through the motions but this series made me ask why there were only 5 episodes and a movie, I could have easily watched another 5 to 10 episodes or however much Production I.G would have been willing to produce. There were points in the series that left questions in my head but that was more to do with the movie, other than that this wasn’t hard to follow, it didn’t get convoluted and that had me looking at this series like crack cocaine (or at least in comparison to SAC).

I can’t say that I kept up with everything when it came to the plot but I feel that’s more to with the watching pattern I had when viewing this and I guess I shouldn’t give that too much attention. Despite the OVAs being straight forward, it annoyed me that the last two were inconclusive even if it was a smart way to get people to watch the movie if they wanted to see a conclusion to the story. The thing is that when it got to the movie, I’m pretty sure that new things were mentioned (maybe the fact that I took my time watching this is why I feel like some intricate details might be lost in the matrix) such as a new world which was never even seen; I even became confused at the point of the firestarter virus, the final goal seemed to be explained but I couldn’t tell if this was something that was thought out from the beginning or just added as the story went along. Once again, it could just be my fault for watching irregularly and possibly forgetting some details so the things I’m saying might not be valid. There wasn’t any change between episodes which contributed to the series and ones that didn’t which benefitted the series because the story progressed more smoothly than SAC and the best part is that every episode managed to have its own story that still added to the story; the fact that the episodes were so smooth in terms of story is what made it more confusing that the OVA was inconclusive.

I liked this version of the major, this major had emotions. That’s a big thing for me because when it comes to anime, I really get annoyed by characters that don’t get rattled by any situation because I feel that it has such a negative effect on character depth. Stoics are ok at times but if a character is extremely talented then it just makes for an unnecessary attribute. In SAC, I don’t think I was very invested in any of the characters but in Arise the main group had some life in them, it didn’t bother me much in SAC but it’s nice to see that this was something that changed. In 5 episodes, I don’t expect loads of character development for any character so seeing the show delve into the major was fine with me. Just mentioning that she had relationships with others prior to the series and seeing her somewhat clash with Aramaki because she wanted a group that worked independently of section 9 created more interest and had me wondering what position the major was going to be in by the end of the series. I’m not going to lie, when watching this series I did compare it to SAC at times and that might have made me overlook a few things such as the antagonists although to be fair most antagonists were around for one episode.

I don’t think I had any ill feeling towards GITS and if I did then I definitely took it out on SAC, this series isn’t perfect but it’s the best series that I’ve watched this year. In this moment, I’m still trying to think of any purely negative things to say but I don’t think that there’s anything to say at the moment (I’ll probably have to rewatch this a couple of times). Watching a 50 plus minute episode of Arise felt shorter than watching a 20 plus minute episode of SAC which was probably because in terms of what I look for in anime, I felt like I saw more of that in Arise. I also want to say that the drawings and animation were excellent, with every anime that I watch it makes me understand why those who partake in the drugs watch anime alongside it. I don’t see people talking about Arise that they talk about SAC, maybe because I’m not looking hard enough. They’re both very different series but it doesn’t mean that Arise can’t get shown some love.

I’m not the biggest fan of the Ghost in the Shell franchise but the truth is that if I saw another series then I’d see know harm in watching it. Usually when I don’t expect much from anything it always turns out to be good.

Other thoughts:

  • I Preferred the look of the characters in this series, it took a while to grow on me but it looked better than SAC
  • Batou wasn’t shown enough respect in this series, having his eyes consistently hacked and being knocked out by the major with one punch.
  • The two guys at the warehouse in episode one looked like they arrived late from an akatsuki meeting
  • The major had a love interest, an actual love interest! (SAC major needs to take some notes)
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Expansion in anime

A while back, I watched a video on shonen anime and it brought up an interesting point. The person presenting the video said that the biggest problem of shonen anime is expansion and when I think about it, I can see where he’s coming from. When the story of a shonen anime progresses, the arcs tend to introduce more characters in an attempt to make the stakes bigger and the person felt that, that’s not necessary if that’s what the story is trying to achieve. His argument was the personalising stories are what makes the stakes bigger because we can invest more in the story emotionally.

Do you agree with this? I see where he’s coming from but expansion has never been a gripe for me in anime. I’ve always thought that a big point of concern in shonen anime is crappy character development and continued over reliance on the main character. I feel that if there is going to be a large cast of characters then they need to be remotely useful, we need a reason to care about people who aren’t the main character. In a story the characters could kill God then go on to fight Ultra God in pure madness mode and I wouldn’t have a problem with it as long as the motivation for all the characters is relevant and enough has been done to establish a connection with the audience (or myself in this case) because I know that I’ll eat it up and ask for more like Oliver Twist.

Like I said, I can see why people would have a problem with expansion. Look at Dragon Ball, you just have to ask how much further they could possibly go. The point of expansion is a good one to make and I never really considered it, what would you say on this topic?

Link to the video here

Thoughts on Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex 2nd Gig

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(THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS)

Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex 2nd Gig, the second season to the SAC series. I’m not really sure what I’m going to say for this post so let’s just see where it goes. In this season, the story continues and section 9 are reassembled after the Laughing Man incident. In this season, section 9 are called upon to help the Prime Minister deal with a refugee crisis, as well as stopping a group of terrorists known as the individual eleven, AS WELL AS dealing with internal government corruption (so for the most part, it’s practically season one again). The thing about the 2nd Gig is that it still had its differences from season one and it helped to make it feel like a slightly different viewing experience.

The first thing that I have to mention is the layout, the layout of the episodes for the first season really confused me. I won’t say that I hated it but it did make the story hard to keep up with and it didn’t help since it GITS:SAC is one of those series where you’ve really got to pay attention to what’s going on at all times (in my opinion). I thought that this season was going to be like the first season because I checked Wikipedia and it did say that there were three types of episodes (Dividual, Dual and Individual) and some of them weren’t story based. The Dividual episodes were basically the Standalone episodes for this season but not all of them were completely separate from the story, in fact most of the Dividual episodes had a loose connection to the main story which is something that I appreciated seeing. The layout of the episodes made the story less of a chore to keep up with especially when considering that most of the story in the first season took place in the last five episodes. The story was solid, although I will admit that a few story based episodes in, I was already starting to draw comparisons to the Laughing Man story. I might mention a few more times (or I might not) throughout this post that this story was similar to the laughing man, which I feel is understandable just based on the name of this series and the explanation of what a standalone complex is.

I don’t feel like this season was as difficult to follow as the first season and the philosophy in this season was pretty much like the philosophy in the previous season. There might have been more philosophy but that went over my head if it was there (if you noticed anything then let me know). The episodes kept me thinking about how things were going to end, from when I saw Kazundo Gohda (I’ll talk more about him later) tell section 9 that they should be happy that he let them be a part of his plan, I knew that he was going to die. This was one of the few occurrences where I was left wondering what would happen as the story moved forward and it helped because I was interested in Gohda as a character. I never had to guess the identity of the main antagonist which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but it was something that I did like in the first season and I didn’t watch a load of episodes wondering what purpose they served (because that’s what filler arcs are for). I can’t badmouth the development of the story because it didn’t stray far and it’s not like there’s a hell of a lot that you can put into 26 episodes.

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I feel like I’ve put a lot of writing here, so I give you the fist bump of reading!

One character made this story more interesting and that was Kazundo Gohda (or Goda… I’m not too sure). He was the link between a lot of the episodes and he helped the story to flow together because he was portrayed as the master orchestrator of the events that took place throughout the season, when the episodes didn’t involve him it was simple to blame him for whatever was happening and the truth is that I would happily take that over episodes which aren’t related to the story. Had it not been for the way that Gohda looked, I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to him, I feel like he was kind of like Light Yagami because he clearly wanted to make a new Japan to control himself (I think I said this about Rock in Roberta’s Blood Trail). I can get used to watching a villain stay one step ahead of the main characters without trying to hide that he’s using them and everybody else around him (I don’t feel like I’ve watched enough shows like this). I would have liked to see more on Gohda but I can’t really criticise because there was more of an effort with him than there was the laughing man. I never really cared for the individual eleven or Hideo Kuze either, I know that Kuze had charisma but I could never really get into the character, I thought he was going to be a romantic subplot for the major but the major is an ice chick so that probably wouldn’t have worked. He felt really flat as a character in my opinion and if I’m honest his facial expression matched mine when I watched him.

I understand that there were a lot of things that couldn’t fully be developed on so I won’t go into that but I will say this, I enjoyed the animation so much more. The animation was so much smoother this season and it resolved one issue that I had with the major which was how inconsistently she was drawn. I can’t explain why but I really couldn’t let it go when I was watching the series and I was happy to see it remedied. Lately, I’ve been finding that when it comes to anime, the quality of animation impacts my viewing experience and there are only a few exceptions to this. I have to admit that I hold anime up to a high standard and I feel like some shows have suffered from poor animation (cough, cough the early episodes of Dragon Ball Super). The animation in anime is generally presented beautifully and I can find myself lost in the presentation of a show (you’d be surprised at how anime grabs you when you’re on the drugs). The soundtrack was a decent listen, it’s not like it added anything for me but I did bop my head a few times; with that being said, I’ll admit that there’s no GITS:SAC track that will beat this one for me in my opinion:

There’s not much more to say on the 2nd Gig in my opinion, this season does certain things better than the first season but I feel like it won’t give you much in the way of new things. Before watching this series, I read that it was a masterpiece and whilst I can see why people would love this, I can’t say that I agree at the moment.

Other thoughts:

  • Most of the members of section 9 didn’t receive much more character development and the ones that did weren’t significant. They did give Saito and Paz episodes of their own which allowed me to learn their names and that’s always good
  • Gohda’s death was deserved but not extremely satisfying
  • The Tachikoma provide the most emotional moments of the series which is weird to me because they’re robots
  • I want to know why the opening has words in Russian, it works but I want to know
  • No Aeria Gloris 😦

 

Thoughts on Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex

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(Possible spoilers)

Can you believe that as a guy who calls himself an anime fan, I’ve only just watched Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex? Even worse, I’ve never watched the movie (the original one). Please reserve all of your judgement for me until the end of this post as I continue to share my thoughts on this series and not explain in any way, shape or form why it took me so long to get around to this. When I first heard about GITS:SAC one word came up and that was philosophical, that led me to believe that this would be one of the most philosophical anime I’d ever get to watch in my lifetime and… I haven’t lived long enough to confirm this so I’ll get back to this in about 30 years. There is a lot of philosophy in this anime and it does cause deep thinking which is always good, in fact I’m pretty sure that a few episodes touch upon topics that go over my head. Moving on, the series follows section 9 as they track down a hacker known as the laughing man, this isn’t the only thing though as they also go through many other situations which gives some insight into specific characters.

The first thing I have to say is that I feel as if I might not have understood the series and characters as well as I could have given that I haven’t watched the film. Only time will tell if this is true, anyway I did manage to see that it was an interesting plot and I didn’t know what to expect from it. There are two types of episodes: standalone episodes and complex episodes and in my opinion it was a lot easier to be invested in the complex episodes because those were the ones that made up the story. I didn’t really mind what the standalone episodes had to offer because a lot of philosophy took place in those episodes and it allowed for thinking without paying any more attention to the series than needed since standalone stories were limited to one episode. Due to the nature of the standalone episodes, I felt that the season was unnecessary extended especially when considering that most of the episodes in the series are standalone episodes. The complex episodes clearly show that the story requires 100% concentration, it’s not one of those ones where you can doze off during a few lines and still have a general idea of what’s going on, YOU WILL GET LOST! The truth is that you should be paying attention when watching anime anyway but because of the layout of the series, it was hard to keep track of the story. The complex episodes were split amongst the standalone ones and most of the story took place in the final few episodes, which for me made a task of remembering what happened and piecing everything together. If I had to guess why it was like this, I’d say that it made for a way to insert more philosophy in the series as it would have most likely been confusing if there were too many topics being tackled in the main story.

I wasn’t very invested in any of the characters, in fact you might have noticed that I didn’t write the names of those in section 9 at the beginning of the post like how I usually do when writing up my thoughts on anime series. The truth is that their names frequently escape my mind, I only remember the major (whose real name wasn’t revealed until a couple of episodes in), Batou, Togusa and Aramaki without much trouble which is because they get most of the shine in the series. The characters mostly seem like they’re standard get down to business people and I’m assuming that because of the nature of their work, much isn’t meant to be left in terms of personality. It’s not a problem that I didn’t connect with the characters because I don’t think that the series ever intended for that and this isn’t the first time that I haven’t connected with characters when watching an anime (Kurozuka and Shaman King to name a couple). I know that there’s a second season so maybe that might provide some character development, if it follows the same formula as the first season.

If I still engaged my philosophical side, or even engaged it regularly then I might say that this anime is one that I’d be calling a masterpiece a couple of years down the line. It doesn’t mean that I can’t see some of the greatness that was displayed, in fact, I had to go back and rewatch the final conversation between the major and the laughing man to understand what was going on in terms of the laughing man as a character and a concept. I liked the critiques that the show had on individuality, to think that a group of robots who constantly synchronised with each other became more individual with each sync was interesting, not to mention it led to a conversation about what makes them individual, I felt like it was a reminder that no two people can ever be the same, even if both go through the same things. I know that the meaning of the conversation was even deeper, given that they also talked about things such as experiencing death and if it made them any closer to being like a human. The laughing man was a lot deeper than I expected and in the end, his purpose seemed to be non-existent pretty much due to the involvement of other people who added their own meaning to what he stood for in order to fit in with his narrative (kind of like feminism on social media).

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Deep Jeffrey is trying to come back

If it wasn’t obvious before, then I can say that I’m not used to watching anime like this, I usually see loads of fighting and moments that make me shout ‘jheeze!’ however I can appreciate when an anime makes me think.

Outside of the individuality subject, I did see that there were plenty of wisdom nuggets and a few of those things stood out to me. The major telling a villain to change himself if he had a problem with the world was one purely because it goes against what I think but when thinking about it, it’s a lot easier and more realistic than trying to change the world. There was something said in the twelfth episode which I don’t remember too well, however it was along the lines of disagreeing with vicarious living and detaching yourself from reality and it’s something that I agree with because I don’t really see the point of treating somebody else’s achievements as my own.

I think because of the layout of the episodes, my impression was ‘ok, so this is happening’, if the standalones were put together and the complex episodes were put together, or if there were less standalones, I would have appreciated this series more. It wasn’t as if the layout did any serious damage to the series, especially considering that the first three episodes were standalone episodes. I also didn’t know how to feel about the ending if I’m honest, I don’t think it was crappy, just convenient. Shit really went down in episode 25 and then in the final episode, it turns out that it was all planned. A lot of characters started getting added closer to the end of the series which I felt could have been developed on earlier at the expense of the standalone episodes and I felt that because of the amount of antagonists that were there, it was easier to remove the laughing man from that role and in the end, I felt that the antagonist who was punished was unworthy of the role.

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What the show might have well said to me about the antagonist who got in trouble

The series had me feeling that I have to watch the movie because I’m curious to see what it’s about (I mean the original, not the Hollywood remake, I heard Scarlett Johansson and everybody else in it sucks… Scarlett Johansson is still a very respectable woman and on the off chance that she reads this, I want her to see that I want to spend a day with her, respecting her).

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Fist bump of Scarlett Johansson respect

Other thoughts:

  • The soundtrack for this series is amazing and I’m hoping there’ll be more to enjoy in the 2nd Gig
  • Aeria Gloris!!!
  • When I watched the opening credits for the first time, it made me wonder if I made the right choice giving up the drugs.
  • The plot of some of the standalone episodes were a bit complex (yeah, I said it)
  • Maybe it’s me but I thought the drawing for the major was inconsistent.

Thoughts on Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail

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(Possible spoilers)

After watching Black Lagoon, I had to watch Roberta’s Blood Trail and to be honest I should have watched it a lot sooner. I wrote some thoughts on Black Lagoon and the second barrage earlier in the year if you want to check that out as well. The OVA is aptly named to be honest and it follows the lagoon company, mostly Rock and Revy as they help Garcia Lovelace and his maid Fabiola Iglesias search for Roberta when she goes missing after the death of his dad. There’s more to the story than the goose chase as it brings the political nature of Roanapur into the light as well as Rock’s descent into the lifestyle of the city.

The first thing that stuck out to me was how much more story based these episodes were than the previous set of episodes. There was the occasional story arc however they didn’t last very long, not that you’d expect them to, given how many episodes were in each season; I reckon it could have gotten away with being a character of the day type show if it really came down to it. I felt like I craved some character development because Black Lagoon has an interesting cast of characters and Roberta was without doubt one of those characters. I’d be lying if I said that the OVA didn’t deliver on that front because I got to see the side of Roberta that she at all costs didn’t want to reveal to Garcia and I also got to see a different side to Rock. I feel like I should have seen the direction that Rock was going in but I didn’t which made it better.

This group of episodes might have been based on Roberta but I found that I was more interested in Rock’s story and his mindset. I feel like he had a less active role in the OVA as opposed to the series yet the focus never really stopped being on him; he gambled the lives of everybody on what came across as a game of chess (I’m still trying to figure out if it was an ego thing or not. He’s also starting to sound more like Light Yagami every time I read this) and you could see the lack of regard that he had for everybody since he seemed to be desperate to win. Yukio Washimine’s words about Rock really held some weight in this arc, at the start of it I thought that Rock was being the moral compass, especially because he seemed apprehensive when it came to helping as he knew that it wouldn’t end well but that really wasn’t the case. Rock really proved that he’s the guy that stays in the twilight zone between being normal and completely messed up and I thought that there might even be a case to argue that Rock enjoys the lifestyle.

I had no problem with the dark direction of the OVA, I felt like Black Lagoon and the second barrage were dark but it kind of creeped around the fact that it was dark if that makes sense. Since this wasn’t Rock actively comparing the morals of Roanapur to his own, it looked as if there was more leeway to show how dark the series could get. In all honesty I felt that the way these episodes were presented made everything better; I feel like I said that in Black Lagoon it was clear that everybody had skeletons in their closet and if those secrets were going to be explored then it only made sense that the series would go down a darker path. I will say that there were some moments that honestly made me scratch my head, I really didn’t expect to see some things and I tried to ask myself if they held any significance which I’m struggling to figure out; namely when Garcia kissed Roberta and when Garcia watched Roberta dry hump a soldier.

Even though five episodes were dedicated to this story, I still feel like I didn’t see enough episodes (or at least they could have made the episodes an hour). One thing that I’ve accepted about Black Lagoon is that it leaves me wanting more, luckily it’s coming back from hiatus so I’m looking forward to seeing the anime come back eventually and seeing the direction that Rock and Revy’s relationship goes after what Fabiola said.

Other thoughts:

  • A couple of the rebellious types I see on social media would like Roberta
  • When the series comes back I want to see more of a story involving Benny and Dutch
  • I wish they didn’t remix the opening theme song

Favourite anime moments 2

(THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS)

Last time that I wrote about anime moments, I talked about Rock Lee’s fight with Gaara being a standout moment for me and now I think about it, maybe that’s what I should be writing about today. I say this because one moment came to my head and I feel like I’ve disrespected my favourite anime series by not starting the series of posts of with this.

Anybody who’s watched Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood knows what it’s about and if you haven’t then go and look at a synopsis on Wikipedia, I’ll even give you the link. Moving on, one of my favourite moments from FMAB is the scene where Alphonse sacrifices his body so that Edward can get his arm back. This scene is so emotional because there’s a lot to consider; Alphonse sacrifices himself for the greater good as you’d expect from a hero but so much more is added to it because Edward sacrificed his arm to put Alphonse in a metal body otherwise he would have lost his brother for good. It seems like the sacrifice is made for nothing when Edward kind of ends up back at square one but at least he’s got someone to take his anger out on.

The music really gets you in your feels as well because it’s so depressing, not to mention Edward’s background. I don’t know how I would have felt if this was how the story ended, because there are a lot of things that I like about the characters in FMAB that I don’t really see of other characters in the same genre. For a story that I feel really played up its emotional moments, I’ve got to say that this really hit the nail on the head.

Favourite anime moments

I’ve asked so many questions about anime, so I might as well ask another one. What’s your favourite anime moment? I have to admit that I’ve got many so this kind of post will be continuous and if you’ve got many then I’d like to see them (I’m always looking for new anime to watch).

One anime moment that immediately comes to mind for me is Rock Lee vs. Gaara in Naruto, to this day I still get excited watching that fight. When Lee was first introduced, he faced off against Sasuke and I didn’t expect him to win because he looked like a gag character but when he won, he made things interesting given that it was obvious that he hadn’t shown his full potential and he admitted that there was someone stronger than him.

In my opinion Rock Lee vs. Gaara was easily the best match of the chuunin exams (even better than Shikamaru’s match with Kin Tsuchi), during this match, Lee showed more of his potential and I don’t think I’d seen so much action in Naruto up until that point, in fact the show had been kind of emotional (not to say that the end of this fight wasn’t emotional) so seeing that change really caught my attention and the music could have gotten my blood pumping if I was more excitable.

I love seeing fights in anime (that’s probably part of why I love watching it) and this will forever stand out as a memorable one.

Thoughts on Black Lagoon (and the second barrage)

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This was going to be a quick thoughts post but I just kept on writing…

After a long while, I’m back with one of my quick thoughts; if I’m honest, I was slacking when it came to anime which isn’t a good look. I have no idea why either, I looked at the manga and anime section of this blog to see when the last time I wrote up some thoughts and it’s been a year. This year I’m going to try not to slack (as much) and with that being said let’s actually get to the point of this post.

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My inner self telling me to watch some anime

So as the name of the post tells you, I’ve been watching Black Lagoon. This is something that I wish I watched earlier (at least I got there in the end right?). The series is about the lagoon company which is made up of Rokuro Okajima (Rock), Revy, Dutch and Benny who are a group of pirates that take on missions from various clients and always end up getting into some crazy shit. The crazy shit as I’ve decided to name it is pretty much a result of the fact that they live in a crime infested city called Roanapur which also houses a lot of scumbags.

When I watched this I didn’t know what to expect, I just knew that it was highly rated but after watching a couple of episodes the first thing that came to mind was the action. If I had to guess, I’d say that the action was the main draw of the series and I can see why, it’s just so in your face with guns, guns and more guns (this shit is actually cool when you watch it). It pretty much got to a point where I’d watch an episode asking myself, how and when is it all going to kick off and it felt like the episodes were moving a lot faster when the action scenes were on screen. Outside of the action, I liked the characters but at the same time I feel like there could have been more done to explore the characters.

Don’t get me wrong, the characters are interesting without the exposition but at the same time I always like to know a decent amount of background information about the characters in question because that’s what really gets me invested. I’ll say this, I felt that all of the characters were captured well, due to the fact that Rock is the moral compass in the series; he’s the only one that has morals whilst everybody else has thrown theirs away. What’s interesting about this is that it seems like everybody else wants to have some kind of a conscience but they just can’t find a reason to because the world has messed them up that badly.

Something that caught me off guard was the portrayal of the female characters. I was really impressed with all of them because when I watch anime I’m used to seeing female characters that have abilities but are ultimately useless. For me the change was refreshing to see, as some of the most intimidating characters were female and on top of that they were actually good at what they did which is something that I’d love to see more of (at the same time it might just be that I’m watching the wrong anime). For me it’s rare that I see a female character portrayed like she’s terminator or I see a group rely on one the way that the lagoon company relied on Revy.

One of my favourite scenes:

It’s a shame that Black Lagoon was the length that it was because everybody clearly has skeletons in the closet that haven’t been cleared out. When watching the two seasons I liked the first season’s focus on the lagoon company and what they were getting into, I’d even say that the most interesting scenario in the series happened in the first season (I won’t spoil of course). The main cast of characters is probably the reason why I really liked the first season, I felt like some of the scenes were manufactured to bring out the best in the main cast which is something I’ve never said for any anime or show in general. The second season wasn’t bad, I could see that the series wanted to bring more of a focus to the other characters and it did reveal a little bit of information which once again I wish they would have gone into more detail on. The thing is that given the amount of secondary characters that there are and the length of the series there wasn’t enough time to focus on them.

The series is deeper than the action that it shows and I’m going to admit, it flew over my head. There are a few instances which involve Rock and other characters comment on his morals and the life that they live in comparison to Rock. When watching those scenes I had to watch them all over again I could only come to one conclusion which was that Rock can’t really take such a moral high ground which was interesting to me (I can’t be sure if this was the conclusion that I was meant to get or if it’s open to interpretation). This is another reason that I wish that there was more exposition in the series and that the length was longer.

Other thoughts: Usually I like to watch anime where the story moves along and then you get the big climax but after watching this and a couple of others, I can see that my tastes are slowly developing. I think I could have possibly packed some of the stuff I wrote about into this section but, you’ve read up to here so there’s not much point now. Roanapur is the most fucked up city I’ve seen in anime so far.

Shoutout to anime

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I’ve watched anime for a long time but as much thought as I’ve given to it, I’ve realised that I’ve not given any thought to it (if that’s makes any sense). Having read ‘10 reasons why it’s awesome to be an anime fan’ I realised that I’ve never given anime the shoutout that it deserves which is weird given that there are a lot of phases that I’ve been through and forgotten whilst anime has gone on to help form the person that I am today.

From before I knew what anime was, I was already watching it; shows like Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon and Beyblade formed huge parts of my childhood and even though I didn’t understand what was going on, there was always something about it that was appealing. A little while later I found what I would describe as my true gateway anime, Bleach. I could go on about how amazed I was by the art style and the fights but the truth is that it did way more than that, it made me open to watching Naruto and Reborn! From there the anime kept flooding in.

The first scene I was ever exposed to in Bleach:

During my schooldays, my friends and I would constantly talk about anime and it was honestly like we watched nothing else (come to think of it, on my sick days I’d just watch anime all day long). I can’t say that it’s always been plain sailing because there have been people in my life who have tried to make me feel pathetic for watching anime and for a while it worked. The thing is that as much as I tried to push it down I just couldn’t hide it, as if deep down I didn’t want to and I’m glad for that.

I do like to watch anime as a relaxation activity but at the same time, I’ve noticed that I’ve picked up mannerisms from shows that I’ve watched and whilst it’s not done anything for me socially, it’s still cool to notice that I pick these things up given that I don’t really tend to pick things up from shows. Anime has shown me that it can encourage critical thinking, something that I feel I’ve slightly benefitted from and I’m not sure how to explain it, but it’s taught me more about writing a story than anything else I’ve ever paid attention to. I’m someone who likes to imagine a lot of things and the way that I see some things, makes me realise that at my age, my imagination is still kind of wild and I love that; without anime I don’t think that would have been possible given that there are so many things that I see in my mind that I’m sure I’ve seen in anime.

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Me realising the influence that anime has on my thoughts

These days I can’t lie, I’m not the type of guy that makes it immediately obvious that I like anime (other anime fans are able to easily tell though) but I don’t feel like I need to because of what I know it’s done for me and what it will do for me in the future. One thing that I haven’t mentioned is the confidence that’s come from being comfortable with watching anime, it’s another thing that I can’t explain but an inner confidence has come from watching anime and knowing that one day I’ll be able to show to my children (when I have them of course).

I definitely have to give more shoutouts to anime, the ideas, the mannerisms and pretty much everything else that helps to form myself, especially my creative side would not exist without it!