Caligula Episode 3 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Caligula Episode 3.

What’s the show? Caligula, Episode 3.

So last week you were mildly complaining about the fact that the show had lost some of its initial ‘weirdness’. What about this week? Well objectively speaking things are weirder this week, at least aesthetically and tonally. Straight off the bat we’re subjected to Alice in Wonderland-esque madness as two of our female characters find themselves seeking answers from a sweet obsessed “cute girl” and her decidedly disturbing flower princesses.

Right… It’s a bit hit and miss, but it all has a point which is the flavour of the day as it were. It is a weirder episode but all of it—well most of it—has a direct purpose within the episode.

So we’re given some answers? Well like I assumed from the previous episode this is some Matrix style virtual world these characters are living in, except it seems like whoever they are externally they at least chose to be in this world, even if their virtual personas have varying degrees of cognisance toward this fact.

Hmm, that’s interesting. There’s also some kind of suspicious group of ‘overseers’ who speak with a lot of ‘music references’ who are evidently in some kind of control over this virtual world. As if it wasn’t obvious music, specifically that of μ, a virtual idol plays a very important part and oh no…

What?! I just looked up the synopsis for the show on the internet and it basically spells out everything I just spent 3 episodes slowly learning in a couple of brief sentences.

Maybe you should research shows more before you watch them… And maybe you should shut the hell up! Listen, I’m fine discovering a show at my own pace, it’s just kind of annoying to know that I could have been clued in this whole time just by reading the wikipedia synopsis. I don’t know, I guess I just thought I was being clever figuring out what was going on before it was explicitly revealed, but turns out everyone already knew what was happening all along!

And how does that affect your enjoyment of the show? Well, uh, it doesn’t… it’s just it makes me consider why other reviewers may have been less than impressed by the mystery given they already knew so much going in!

I see… so are you still enjoying the show despite whatever the hell you were talking about? I think now that the premise has been established it’s either going to get better or worse, there’s a lot of pieces in play, a lot of characters introduced and there’s a certain level of depth to the plot that could result in some compelling story-telling. Also I’m down for a lot more weirdness as long as it’s better than the kind of stuff we got in this episode which was uneven at best.

PERSONA 5 the Animation Episode 3 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for PERSONA 5 the Animation Episode 3.

What’s the show? PERSONA 5 the Animation, Episode 3.

And are the problems you highlighted in Episode 2 still evident? Unfortunately, yes. The video game stylings and transplanting of the visuals still feels lazy and uninspired, but another problem has presented itself…

😛

Oh? The pacing in the first two episodes was fast, to the point of being confusing for those who haven’t played the game however it was something that could be perhaps overlooked. The pace in this third episode however is way too fast to the point that the show’s hard to follow even for people who’ve played the game. It’s so bad that twice during the episode I had to pause it not only to explain what was going on to the irl waifu, but also just to collect my thoughts. Because of the sheer amount of information that was being imparted and the rapid pace at which it was being imparted.

I loved this shot, wish there were more artful compositions like this.

That doesn’t sound good at all. Like I get they need to get a lot of information across, but there comes a point where it almost feels like there’s no breathing room between vital scenes. Even things as simple as exterior establishing shots between the scenes last like 1 second instead of 3 or 4 seconds, it might seem like a simple thing but it makes the whole endeavour feel annoyingly rushed.

Nice establishing shot, too bad it’s only on screen for half a second.

I can understand that. And what’s more annoying is that there’s some genuinely affecting scenes in this episode but they’re not given the amount of time they deserve to fully cement their impact. The one exception was (and obviously spoilers here) was when Shiho attempts suicide after being abused by Kamoshida, it’s a genuinely impactful moment and the framing and use of silence in this scene shows a lot of restraint on the part of the show’s creative team. I just wish more scenes in this show were given this kind of treatment.

Powerful moment.

Anything else of note? I appreciated an early scene (which I don’t think was in the game, or if it was it was perhaps framed differently) where Ryuji and Ren are talking about what’s going on at the school while getting on the train and Goro Akechi, the junior detective character is just casually listening in. It’s good that he’s involved, even in a background capacity as it will make his integration into the story later all the more natural.

Akechi-kun is watching…

And that’s it? Pretty much, I might end up making these reviews every two weeks because there’s not that much to talk about, at least not a lot of positive things. Which is a shame because the story and characters are worth talking about, I just wish they were being handled in a way that gave them the time they needed to sink in. With the wealth of content from the game this could have easily been a 50+ episode series and not have felt slow. This episode had some really beautifully animated scenes but that was entirely in the scenes set in the ‘real world’, most if not all of the stuff inside the ‘palaces’ didn’t look nearly as good, but maybe that’s intentional to help differentiate. The biggest problem at the moment is the pacing and I’ll keep watching in the hope that the pace is rectified soon but I’m not holding out much hope given how far we’ve still got to go in this story.

And once again the animation in the Palace’s is markedly more derpy than the outside scenes. Oh well…

Last Period: the journey to the end of the despair Episode 1 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Last Period: the journey to the end of the despair Episode 1.

What’s the show? Last Period: the journey to the end of the despair, Episode 1.

O…kay, and what’s it about? It’s about a group of adventurers in a fantasy setting, anyone who can use magic are called ‘Periods’, and they go around accepting quests to battle ‘Spirals’—

The only thing that can defeat a period is chocolate and pain killers!

—Wait! They’re called ‘Periods’?! Listen, the sooner you can move past it the better, it’s an unfortunate name and ~probably~ not intentional.

What do you mean “probably”? Well this show’s a parody, not a full-blown everything is played for comedy parody but rather a subtle dig at gacha-style RPG phone games.

Next thing you know you’re spending irl money!

You’re going to have to explain those terms to me like I’m an idiot. Baka…

What? Nothing! Right, so gacha is like Japanese toy vending machine, but in its usage here it means spending in-game currency to win new characters which range in rarity from one start to five star. Five star drops being very powerful characters but, of course are very rare. You use these characters you unlock to battle through quests, destroying evil minions and levelling up your characters all the while. They’re big business in Japan, though only moderately so in the West. Also you usually play them on your phone.

Rare drop!

Right, so I take it some knowledge about that kind of stuff is important to get the most out of this show? It helps, the majority of the humour comes from references to these kind of games, and it breaks the fourth-wall a couple of times to reference things the characters couldn’t possibly know. Most of the fourth-wall breaking comes from Choco, the white haired loli.

Pointing it out doesn’t excuse it, well unless it’s intentional? I don’t know, I thought it was funny.

Please don’t say the l-word around me. So who are the other characters? There’s a lot, like almost too many are introduced to remember them all, but it’s got this kind of absurd pace that makes it work. Haru is the protagonist, and also the most boring of all of them. The other members of the team are Liza a magic user and Gajeru, some sort of goat/man? There’s some mentions of him being foreign which puts him at the butt of some jokes from Liza, who is kinda mean to him.

And kinda racist too!

Any other notable characters? Yes! There’s a fake “Team Rocket” (or Team Skull seems more appropriate based on their costumes) bad guy group called “Wiseman” and they’re just pure joy to watch, just like in Pokemon the enemy characters have more personality than the heroes!

“Meowth, that’s right!”

A-ha, and is this a kids show? I can see why you’d say that, it’s got a very Saturday-morning anime vibe to it. The show kinda reminded me (and fondly too) of show’s like Pokemon and Fairy Tail and to some extent Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon (and even Digimon, though I never watched the series some of the monster designs felt reminiscent of what I’d seen in commercials). But this not a kids show, it airs at midnight in Japan, its audience is very much teen aged.

Watch out for big breasted girls poaching your adventurers! They’re up to no good!

Midnight?! Is it that adult. Right, I sometimes forget you’re not familiar with the anime world and Japan and all that. Midnight is a pretty typical timeslot for more niche audience shows, i.e. show’s that aren’t Shonen anime. It’s not at all adult, but there are a lot of skimpy outfits, I mean skimpy by your standards probably. It’s all fairly standard for the likes of me.

A pervert. Correct.

Luck of the draw!

So what’s your final say on the first episode and do you recommend it? If this show had played it straight, and didn’t have all the references to gaming tropes and the larger culture surrounding iOS/Android gacha RPG games the only thing it would have had going for it would have been cute character designs and the genuinely fun “Wiseman” bad guy group. But it’s there references and tongue-in-cheek humour that add an extra layer. It’s nothing remarkable, in fact its downright derivative at times, but the fact that the show is not only aware of it but makes fun of itself makes it a joy to watch. Most people will probably be indifferent towards it (in fact I know a lot of my followers will downright hate it) but personally I can’t wait for next week and with the exception of Food Wars’ return it’s the most fun I’ve had with an anime all season!

Getting some AoT vibes from this setting! ’tis pretty tho.

Hyperdimension Neptunia – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Hyperdimension Neptunia.

What’s the show? Hyperdimension Neptunia (2013).

Uh-huh. And what’s it about? Anthropomorphic video game consoles in revealing clothing fighting generic bad guys and having conversations about international diplomacy with lots of lame video game puns and references.

I wish.

Scathing! And here I thought it would be right up your alley, what with ‘cute girls’ and ‘skimpy clothing’, least that’s what it says here in my notes… *shuffles papers* I don’t like the fact that you seem more prepared for these reviews than you are usually… it’s unsettling.

Well get used to it, bub! So what’s got you so negative about something you’d normally be all over. I don’t like the insinuation that just because something has good lookin’ ladies that I’d be “all over it”, there’s plenty of shows that fit my niche that I’ve not ended up liking, I just don’t find it easy to write negative reviews so I rarely cover them…

Boing!

Why not? Why don’t I like writing negative reviews?

Yeah. Well, every show is someone’s favourite show, just seems kind of mean to pick on something someone out there loves…

That’s a dumb reason, you’re dumb. Fine, you want me to let lose?!

YES~! Fine, this show, no this whole series, is just unbelievably lazy and stupid and inane, it’s kind of like the thing that a couple of ten-year old’s would come up with while having a sleepover, like “omg imagine if our video game consoles were countries and they were ruled over by sexy anime girls, hur hur hur!”

So many characters, so little point.

I’ve probably heard worse ideas for a series, but go on… It’s not even that the idea is stupid (which it is), but that it’s that it feels so half-assed that every idea was like the first idea they had, like “okay, we need a name for the Xbox country/how about Leanbox, lol ok sure whatever” The Japanese are so much smarter than this, and so everything about this series just screams ‘lowest common denominator’. It’s like The Big Bang Theory of anime. Cheap references, lame jokes and zero point to it all.

…Did you watch this in English? Maybe, so what, sometimes I watch shows I know will suck in English so I don’t have to pay as close attention.

Y’ever think it might be better in Japanese? Of course it’s fucking better in Japanese, but that still doesn’t fix the inherent issues… as if I could sit through 12 whole episodes of this shit while also reading subtitles. The only thing that made this tolerable was that I could stare at the eye candy.

I don’t even remember who this is, but ‘Yay boobs!’?

You are unbelievable sometimes… What?!

You’re so judgmental but I bet if you found this show under different circumstances and watched it in Japanese you’d be singing its praises! Haha, okay… And what pray tell are these “different circumstances” you speak of?

If you were a teenager when you watched it! …I-I… no, that’s…

I’d like to give her the D-pad.

That’s…? Okay fine! Maybe, just maybe I would have been into it if I was a ‘young’ and ‘impressionable’ (read: horny) teen! But that me is stupid too, I’m so much smarter now! I’m an educated, well-read adult of class and sophistication with a taste in anime and manga to match!

Didn’t you just give ‘Mononoke Sharing‘—a manga with copious amounts of boob related fan-service, a positive, dare I say glowing review on your blog? Oppai… oppai never changes…

Well~ not really.

Was that a f**king Fallout reference?! So how about them (local sports team)!

I… I don’t even know what’s going on at this point… This show is boring and dumb and I feel like I’m a million years old and let me shake my fist at the unceasing callousness of the passing of time! Just let me be young again and I’ll pay you a million yen!

See what I mean?

Who are you even talking to? God, the devil, I—I don’t know, I think… I think I’m having a midlife crisis!? FFFFuuuu~

SO—final score and recommendation? Ergh, umm—if it isn’t already abundantly clear I don’t like this series, it’s lazy and repetitive and obnoxious and just fucking stupid but I do admit that some of the girls are *kisses fingers* bellissimo! I just don’t care about their “plight” and I certainly don’t care about their characters beyond the superficial, much like the original creators probably! Oop~ there I go presuming things I couldn’t possibly know! Oh well whatever, ahaha, this is why I shouldn’t write negative reviews while drinking: 55 out of 100.

This Digimon spin-off certainly took a turn for the perverse!