A question on anime

If you had a chance to see any anime have a special one off remake what anime would you choose? Honestly my choice would be Pokémon, I would love to see the Kanto journey redone for a run that was just as long as the original indigo league series. If I saw it remade, I still would want to see Ash as the series’ protagonist but I’d want it to be more true to the generation one games rather than having all of the character of the day stuff, I feel like it would make the series more appealing to watch.

I don’t mind seeing characters of the day but when you look at the Pokémon games and all the things that you have to do, it’s more than possible to make a series that’s more true to the games or at least has a good story (the Pokémon Adventures manga showed this). I could honestly imagine the scenarios that the series would come up with, Ash losing to Misty the first time that he faces her (because that battle is fucking difficult), camping out in the cave just before Lavender town (I forgot its name… and I’m too lazy to do a quick Google search), having a Silph co arc. Personally, I think it would work well especially when I look at how well received the current anime was when it first came out.

Pokémon Origins kind of pulled off the idea that I’m talking about however, it was a miniseries which was a little heartbreaking. To be able to see a full Pokémon series where there episodes stay true to the game would do the anime justice and I think that it’s way too long overdue.


A question on manga/anime

Visual representation of a reader before and when the story loses them

This post contains spoilers

Have you ever watched an anime or read a manga and looked at a particular arc only to think, damn they shouldn’t have done it this way? I know I have. As a fan, I don’t have any right to dictate the way a story goes but sometimes I look at a series and ask myself what the reception would have been if it went in the direction that I wanted (or expected). I feel that some series are ruined for viewers when they try to get a bit too experimental or they take a dive in areas that don’t seem to fit in with the overall vibe of the story and I know that I’m not the only one.

I think it’s very easy to expect something from a series once it sets into a tone that you find familiar, and whilst being kept on your feet is something that is appreciated, there’s definitely a way to go about it. I wouldn’t really have a problem of seeing a story start off where the stakes only seem to involve the immediate group but then escalate to involve the universe as long as I could see it coming, or it happens in a way that makes a lot of sense. Once the series jumps from fighting humans to fighting next dimensional beings and it just gets thrown into the story that jumping between dimensions is a thing, my mind is going to start running wild with ways that it should have happened. One other thing I’d say is sometimes a series doesn’t need to overstay its welcome.

Carrying on from the last sentence, an example that I have for this is Bleach. Man… Bleach is an anime that’s significant to me but that’s for another day; when I watched Bleach and I saw Ichigo go to Hueco Mundo with the shinigami to fight Aizen and the Espada, I realised that I was right to have developed an interest in anime. There were some things that I might have done differently but if I’m keeping it honest, I appreciated the hell out of this storyline (I used to read the manga in school rather than doing work… oh well), the thing that made me so sweet on it was the ending *spoiler warning* when Ichigo faced off against Aizen and used the final getsuga tenshou before losing his shinigami abilities. I felt this ending was perfect, given that Ichigo was a guy who didn’t really find himself getting into situations but rather situations happened to him (if that makes sense). He was finally able to go back to living a normal life and soul society was safe. Then Bleach decided to make two more arcs… two arcs that the story didn’t need, two arcs that really did a lot of damage to series in my opinion.

Me secretly hoping you ignored my two spoiler warnings

At the end of the day, the way that the author decides for the story to go is the right way. There’s not really any way to argue against that but it’s interesting wonder what could have happened.

Thoughts on Mnemosyne

This was the most appropriate image I could find

(Possible spoilers)

Have you ever wondered what seeing disturbing sexual scenes in an anime looks like? Neither have I, but somebody out there did and that’s why we have Mnemosyne (which is Latin for memory apparently). The show follows the story of an immortal detective call Rin Asogi along with her friend Mimi and other characters that come and leave the show. This show isn’t what the first sentence I wrote made it seem, in fact there’s a lot going on and I know for a fact that I NEEDED to watch this show to get the taste of the Asterisk War out of my mouth.

I don’t really know how to talk about the story of this show to be honest, because it’s so faintly presented that it’s kind of hard to know what’s going on. As I said before, the story follows Rin, Mimi and everybody else and it seems that Rin is being hunted by Apos (the main antagonist) because she’s special (I’m trying not to say too much here). That is pretty much the plot in a nutshell, the anime takes place over six episodes which are all pretty much self-contained, so for the most part it seems like the episodes and the plot are on two different planes if that makes sense. This show is littered with what the fuck moments, so much so that I wonder if the true intention behind the show is to make people feel weird and uncomfortable. The intent of the show can’t be that, it’s just the way that it’s presented; if anything, I feel like the show does try to tackle the subject of the value of life because there are a couple of lines that make me feel that this is the case. I can’t say that I liked it but I can’t say that I disliked it. There were a lot of times where I watched the show and thought ‘whoa!’, to say that I expected this show to be dark is true but I really underestimated it. From the first scene of the first episode, that should have been the sign that shit was about to go down but instead it took me to the point where I saw what I’m pretty sure is BDSM before I realised that if the dark web was a TV channel, this would be prime time television. Moving away from the sexual nature of the show because truth be told, I couldn’t even begin to explain anywhere near half of it, the story takes place over 65 years as most episodes are set years apart. This works for me because it feels like I can watch a time skip without truly missing any important information and that helps to make the pacing of the show more enjoyable.

All of the characters are linked in one way or another, mostly due to Rin’s immortality. In fact there was an explanation for it however, it’s better to watch the show rather than have it spoiled (honestly, I don’t remember so I couldn’t spoil it, even if I wanted to). The characters themselves don’t really seem to have strong personalities or maybe, it’s just that I couldn’t connect with them but one thing that a few of the main characters shared was having an innocent look only to truly be deadly when push came to shove. I did say that I never connected with the characters however the Maeno family (the others that I was referring to in the first paragraph) had something about them that made them endearing. The character who drew my attention most was Apos because he weirded me the fuck out. There wasn’t anything about Apos that didn’t disturb me, from him appearing like a teen, to having a tendency to eat fruit in a way that looked completely disgusting (the fruit is actually important but once again, it’s better to watch the show). I count that as a win for the show but outside of that, there was so little revealed about all of the characters that it was hard to truly care for them.

2L3n28y - Imgur
(What the fuck is that!?) Me when I saw Apos

I have to ask what went through the minds of the people that were involved in the making of this show because this seems like the kind of stuff that you conjure up after years of dark thoughts on torturing people have brewed and evolved in your head. If I wanted to torture somebody, I really wouldn’t have to look further than this show for inspiration; it’s not a problem for a series to want to be gory but it’s like they decided to take advantage of Rin’s immortality in order to present us with something that might be on page 485 of some particular websites. If you see how clear the animation is with the torture scenes then you’ll understand what I mean.

I really just want to say that I’m happy that I’ve come across this anime at this point in my life. If I had stumbled upon this, in my formative years then I really don’t know what this would have done to me. Dare I say it, I might have been… An emo (which could have never worked because I don’t stop smiling when I speak). In all seriousness, I just know that I wouldn’t have been ready for that kind of journey, even seasoned anime viewers could watch this and see a what the fuck around every corner whilst giving the surprised reaction (my brother saw Apos naked and said “fuck this.”) I was truly overwhelmed watching this and I’m going to have to take some more time to digest what I watched… No more anime for a while.

Other thoughts:

  • I said I needed to watch this to get the taste of the asterisk war out of my mouth but it’s like washing the taste of marmite out of your mouth with wine.
  • I watched a guy go downtown and then he got killed. HUH?
  • Mimi said something about humans wanting to prove that they’re alive and that touched me because I’ve felt like that since 18.
  • I liked how most episodes started the same way, probably the one part of the show that made me feel safe.
  • Rin tried to kill someone in episode two and I couldn’t take it seriously because her boobs were being groped throughout the whole thing.
  • I’m not a dog person but there’s a scene in this show where a dog gets sprayed with bullets that makes me think ‘that’s real fucked up man!’

Quick thoughts on The Asterisk War


I finished watching The Asterisk War a few days ago and I needed time to really take in what I just viewed. I’ve got some shit to say on this one, first being that whoever exposed this series to me needs to DM me on Twitter so that we can have words. Second goes without saying but I should get a reward or compensation and I’ll need to think of a hashtag to make this official. I’m probably being harsh on this series but I’m not going to act like this series is good. I mean on paper it looks interesting enough and I went in with no expectations but I just couldn’t help but wanting more from nearly every aspect of the series. I think I could go on for a bit with this one so I’m just going to write a couple of paragraphs and see where it goes.

The soundtrack was good and I liked the character designs, I want to make sure that it doesn’t seem like I’m going to shit on this show. In all honesty this series hovers around the average zone in terms of quality because it looks as if it tries to play everything safe. I felt like there was just enough of a story to keep me watching but there was nothing that made me think this could be a standout show. I’m trying to think about it now as I write but the show really doesn’t do itself any favours in terms of making any memorable or enjoyable moments, it just goes along. I really have a load of thoughts that I think I’m going to write at the end of this post.

Three paragraphs in… and now I’m about to tell you the plot (or what I understand of it), so basically a meteorite struck the earth and gave humans superpowers, these superpowers interest people so much that the superhumans who are called genestella fight in different tournaments all year round called festas (this series only shows the phoenix festa) and the winners get their wishes granted. In response to the meteorite striking the earth, a group of people whose name I can’t and won’t try to remember take control of the earth as some kind of central government. The main character, a guy named Ayato goes to an academy with the hope of finding his sister who disappeared five years prior and this is probably as good as the explanation is going to get.

Me wondering if you’re still reading by this point

The other main characters in the series are called Julis, Saya, Kirin, Claudia, Lester and everyone else’s name will be dropped with some context (hopefully). Back to the plot, this show has 24 episodes and in spite of that, everything seems so rushed. There’s barely any explanation for anything like the origin of the festas, Ayato’s strength, the nature of the ogre lux’s (weapons) that they use and so many other things. It looks like this series just does stuff because… I just watched a bunch of anime tropes get clusterfucked into a ball of complete mediocrity. I know that it’s normal for anime to borrow from other anime but this was just so in your face with it, I really felt like I could say that I’ve seen this before for so many things with this series and it would be an accurate description for this series despite the fact that it’s such a general statement. Most of the episodes that take place before the phoenix festa really didn’t do anything to stamp home any relevance which isn’t a good thing given how many characters they introduced. I think I could say more about the plot but then it might start getting to the point where I nitpick, in all honesty it’s one of those shows that you have to watch for yourself to see how many questions you end up asking.

If I had to say that there was a sticking point for what was bad about this series, it was the characters themselves. They all failed to be interesting and completely drowned in the presence of Ayato which I’ll get into later. All of the main characters were meant to be strong somewhat but it’s hard to buy into their strength when watching how far they were eclipsed by Ayato. Other than trying to get Ayato’s attention, I really had trouble making out their personalities e.g I know that Julis was meant to be a strong willed character but outside of her talking about her goals I couldn’t see it and everyone else was… well… everyone else.

Ayato was by far the biggest sin of this series when it came to characters. He was perfect, which I’ve learned is awful. He came into the school supremely strong, quickly activated the fan service of this show if you look at the first scene, had an attitude where he couldn’t be bothered by anything and became the guy that everybody decided to over rely on. I don’t get too bothered this stuff but he had no flaws which meant that there was no room for growth as a character, there was no room for tension and it became disrespectfully obvious that Ayato was going to win the phoenix festa. Ayato was bland as a character which isn’t always bad but in his case it was, he was a prime example of the series playing it safe because it meant that the main group of characters could never get into a truly sticky situation as Ayato would always be there to bail them out. There never ever seemed as if there could be tension within the group because in the case that there was Ayato would probably solve the issue. I always wondered what kind of overpowered main character bs that Ayato would pull and when it came to the first fight of the phoenix festa, I just had to wait for the series to outdo itself. I could never really tell if Ayato’s motive was to find his sister or to bone Julis because he did a poor job with both, even the whole thing of him being whipped by Julis made little sense to me, I mean in real life there are guys who play the game that way and will endure nonsense from women as long as they end up doing the dirty but anime doesn’t usually work that way. It just seemed like the show tried to make Ayato cool by taking the best qualities of any imagined character and putting it into one hoping for the best and instead it ended up being a disaster. I get how having the best qualities ever makes you seem more interesting but it puts characters out of touch with the audience because there’s nobody on this earth who could possibly be the way that he is in any sense.

I’m going to be honest, this isn’t anywhere near one of my best posts but thinking and writing about this series makes me tired so I’m just going to put the rest in notes.

Other thoughts:

  • From the first episode I got the feeling that it would be better for the world if I finished this show as quickly as possible.
  • From the first few minutes of episode 2 it was obvious that a lot of girls in this series would take to Ayato.
  • In episode 2 I learned that Julis isn’t a snitch and even though in that case it didn’t make sense, I respected it!
  • Ayato’s sister was obviously alive, this wasn’t even shocking.
  • I used to play these sim date games when I was younger and this show gives me that vibe.
  • When the people attacking Julis turned out to be puppets made by a guy named Silas (whose name I just learned at that point) I was disappointed.
  • I was hoping that this series wouldn’t turn into a love story but that would have been better than what I watched.
  • Some of the camera angles in Ayato’s fight with Kirin didn’t make any sense.
  • Kirin is 13? The fan service in this show knows no bounds.
  • I didn’t know what prana was until it got mentioned in episode 7 but when it was mentioned, it was as if I was meant to know what it was.
  • Ayato and Kirin’s interactions always give that I need an adult, I am an adult vibe.
  • So the girls in the series want to be petted on the head by Ayato? I don’t know if I have to say what I’m thinking here.
  • Lester is useless.
  • It was hard to be interested in Claudia’s ability when they weren’t really showcased.
  • How many moves does Ayato know?
  • The fight between Ayato and Irene was pointless (there’s someone in the series called Irene), nothing went into the build-up.
  • Ayato and Julis’ relationship is probably the most realistic part about him, sometimes you just wanna hit it for no reason.
  • Ayato unlocking the next level of his power could have been interesting if he wasn’t already stupidly strong.
  • Ayato and Julis vs AR-D and RM-C wasn’t interesting at all, especially considering that Ayato was already out of their league.
  • Why was Julis told about Ayato’s sword taking the ideal form of its wielder and Ayato wasn’t?

Thoughts on Ghost in the Shell: Arise


(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)

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



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.

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


(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).

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.

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).

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


(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