Rate the last anime series you watched
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24-08-2015, 07:19 AM (This post was last modified: 24-08-2015 07:31 AM by Free Thought.)
RE: Rate the last anime series you watched
If people want to watch a good "MMO genre anime", for the love of all that is holy don't touch Sword Art Online. Go watch Log Horizon instead.

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24-08-2015, 08:57 AM
RE: Rate the last anime series you watched
The first 4 episodes of SAO are amazing the rest is various levels of mediocre to awful. Skip season 2 it is a steaming pile of shit. Honestly the worst sin of this franchise was they fucked over the one good thing they had going (tension of not being killed) when they hyper accelerated the plot after wasting 3 episodes playing house. A good writer could have kept the feel of the first 4 episodes going with interesting stories unfortunately the creators of SOA decided instead that we needed the most vapid and 1 note female lead ever created. She may as well have been a body pillow. If you really want to check it out pretend it is 1996 and there is only an OVA of the first 4 episodes and nothing else was ever done with the anime.

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05-09-2015, 09:24 PM (This post was last modified: 05-09-2015 10:32 PM by Hafnof.)
RE: Rate the last anime series you watched
So I signed up to Crunchyroll and watched both Sword Art Online II and Log Horizon. My phone is currently broken so I can't post while I'm binge-watching, thus my being a bit quiet online of late.

The second sword art online series is better than the first in my opinion. It covers some slightly more fertile philosophical ground and consists or a number of small story arcs. The first arc couldn't quite escape the rape rescue fantasy trap that the first series fell into. It's a poor story telling device for many reasons. It's ugly on its face, it makes for one-dimensional villains, and also for one-dimensional heroes. Moreover in my opinion it is disrespectful to audiences, suggesting that this is what they want to see on screen. To me it sets a limit on the level of social sophistication the media is intended to be consumed by. But this time it was only one half of one episode rather than half the series as it was in SOA I.

Oh, and that arc also included light sabres. At first I though the transition into a gun-based world would go badly but I think it was actually pretty well written. The remainder of episodes and story arcs were of differing quality but explored some of the issues left open by the first series around the benefits of virtual reality to its users and the blurring of boundaries between virtual and real worlds. I don't know if I can really revise my original rating upward with what I consider an awful second half of the first series, but if you simply cut that out of your viewing session the two series as a whole would threaten the 6/10 mark.

Log Horizon ログ・ホライズン
[Image: log-horizon.jpg]

Log Horizon is in a sense based on a similar premise to Sword Art Online. Players of an online video game are trapped in the game world. But whereas SOA's premise is that a full dive virtual reality headset has been engineered to do this by its creator Log Horizon has the players as keyboard and mouse users who suddenly find themselves physically immersed in the world. The style is also very different. SWO keeps the number of characters limited and controlled and is more of a conventional anime series in this regard. Log Horizon one the other hand is aiming from the beginning to be an epic consisting of many characters and with mini story arcs woven into the main narrative. It both succeeds and fails at this. You end up with long periods of certain characters disappearing from the screen while something happens to them, the worst case of this perhaps being the flavour-text incident with Crusty where a major character is missing without any advancement in the story to try and find him or even to explain his disappearance for many episodes. The first half of the second series is interesting in this regard also where the main character Shiroe is off on a long quest. Although he appears on screen from time to time his own story is barely progressed, and instead the real progression is around his sidekick Akatsuki.

Throughout much of the series I was judging it against this "epic" standard it set for itself and found it wanting, but I do think it made it there in the end. It has many flaws and rough patches as it tries to integrate so many things into the short time it has on screen. It plays more like a novel than an anime series. But my final conclusion was that a Novel takes a long time to become epic. It takes a long time to explore the characters, cultures, settings and plot to achieve that epic status. I think Log Horizon for all its flaws does make it.

Shiroe is essentially the main character of the story. He's something of a Mary Sue, or a Sword Art Online Yui in that his knowledge and intelligence are enough to solve essentially any problem he faces. But despite this central character trait his actions never really feel like a cheat and his character progression is never really dull or ended. He continues to grow as those around him grow. He isn't just a launching pad for the growth of other characters (although Naotsugu arguably is). I wish they had done more with Akatsuki-san over the course of the first series. The second series first rubs our faces in this lack of growth for an epic character by significantly diminishing her stature, but eventually makes up for it by building her up again.

Log Horizon seems to alternate styles at times in a way that can be jarring. During the period of Shiroe's quest we often see on screen a major musclehead Shōnen scene or episode butted up against an all female Shōjo relationship-based drama. Ultimately the Shōjo side of this series seems to win out and I think that was probably the right choice. It just felt like more than one writer was involved and the edges between their work seemed a little sharp to me.

Overall for me I'll call it a 7/10, though it did take its time getting there.

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05-09-2015, 11:28 PM
RE: Rate the last anime series you watched
I've only seen the first season (the second is currently airing in Japan), but I enjoyed watching "Psycho Pass."

A new (to me at least) take on the thought crime motif, where a nation has the technology to scan citizens' brains & detect "latent criminal" tendencies within. There are several truly enjoyable moments & I liked the overall story arch for the season, but there were few episodes I could fully enjoy due to inconsistencies of character (within characters) or the lack of character development in regularly occurring characters. Overall I would give it 8/10.
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06-09-2015, 04:11 PM
RE: Rate the last anime series you watched
As part of cjlr's android dreams film festival - begun with Ex Machina last week, but now, sadly, winding down - I ran a few favourites by again. Those titles then being:

Time of Eve. Now, I know ol' Asimov himself said among other things that his conceit was to avoid robot pathos, but even so he couldn't help himself from veering there on occasion. And this doubles down. The blade runner joke made me giggle like a schoolgirl, so there's that.
Conclusion: 2.8 laws of robotics out of 3. Zeroth law notwithstanding.

Armitage III. Close-in skies on Mars and a bad-ass soundtrack; bright lights, gunfights, and, against all logic, and imported classic car. The delivery becomes uneven, but it's a bold effort. On the one hand, sexy robots. On the other hand, a distinct trace of reactionary Japanese gender politics.
Conclusion: at least 1.01 out of 1.38 AUs.

And I did additionally select, as something I'd not seen or tracked down before:
My Dear Marie. There is originally a manga, I'm told. The 1996 OVA is only three episodes long. The opening scene is a Frankenstein pastiche. The conclusion is an acid trip. At no point is there any unifying motif. It raises questions and wanders off without addressing them. I loved it. The third volume - called, yes, Android Dreams - knowingly makes reference to electric sheep; this greatly pleased me. Also, there is tennis.
Conclusion: one navel-gazing erotic robot clone dream sequence out of one. Your guess is as good as mine.

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06-09-2015, 08:02 PM
RE: Rate the last anime series you watched
I am torn between whether I should playing Zone of the Enders 1 & 2 before, or after, I watch the complete anime series.

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15-09-2015, 07:33 AM
RE: Rate the last anime series you watched
Your lie in April 四月は君の嘘
[Image: CHARACTERS.jpg]

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is a musical anime not shy about tugging on the heartstrings. The core storyline is about a boy learning to play piano again after the death of his mother with the help of a weird violinst. Through a series of mostly ordinary scenes the series earns the emotional manipulation it employs in my mind, not feeling forced. And while it is a melancholy story it also feels hopeful and captures in its episodes a series of moments of youthful possibility.

I really like like the series. Although I did not shed a tear I found the characters and story consistently engaging. The music is of course very good throughout, although a few motifs felt overused over the course of a binge-watching session. 8/10 from me.

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18-09-2015, 08:53 PM (This post was last modified: 18-09-2015 09:06 PM by Hafnof.)
RE: Rate the last anime series you watched
Golden Time ゴールデンタイム
[Image: Golden-time3.jpg]
Golden time is series that goes through a few stages. At first it seems to be a promotional for university campus life, but ends up taking a turn into some strange but actually OK territory. The story turns into an exploration of a boy's two loves, the love he had before he was hit on the head and lost all of his memories at age 18 and the love he found afterwards. As he starts to regain some of those memories there are a couple of what I would consider very good episodes, and after then I don't think any later episodes really did anything to spoil what had been set up in the series. I had some major suspension of disbelief issues when the boy's past self shows up not just as a metaphorical ghost but as a literal one but that was smoothed over in the end.

So to summarise my feelings about Golden Time, a few ordinary episodes lead to a few strange episodes, which lead to a couple of very good episodes, and those very good episodes aren't spoiled by mostly good but fairly predictable episodes after that point. In my mind the series finished well. It contains some memorable characters and is actually thought provoking at times. Overall it ticked in at an above average 6/10 from me.

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19-09-2015, 01:30 PM
RE: Rate the last anime series you watched
OVERLORD!

Amazingly good new anime.

Fairy Tail

Also, pretty good, long lasting show.

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21-09-2015, 09:31 AM
RE: Rate the last anime series you watched
Time of Eve イヴの時間
[Image: 19480.jpg]
I'm still scratching my head over how to feel about this short series set in an Asimov-esque future Japan. On one hand the laws of robotics are clearly Asimov's, and the episodes are paced and feel a lot more like Asimov's work than other (ahem I Robot, cough cough cough cough) attempts at his work in recent times. But on the other hand while Asimov was the quintessential logician constantly spawning novel scenarios based the laws themselves this series paid strong homage to the Kokoro found in some of the more serious Astro Boy works.

The plot is a series of character studies, or studies of people and/or robots in various situations. The story is held together by each of these characters being found in a "grey zone" cafe that operates not strictly within and not strictly contrary to robot law and ethics. I felt a kind of distance to the characters that actually reminded me of Asimov's work as though they were to be studied and understood by dissection with the head rather than with the heart. If you are an Asimov fan and are happy to see a kind of Astro-boy/Asimov mashup it may particularly be worth a look in. Overall I enjoyed it and give it an above average 6/10.

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