K (anime)

Jun. 6th, 2014 11:16 am
silverthunder: (Sokka - Stop looking at me!)
I recently watched the anime series K. Originally this was going to be one of my workout anime, but I ended up just marathoning episodes. It was actually pretty good, and I ended up liking the main character more as it went along (he was kind of meh at first), although he got overshadowed by more interesting side characters IMO. Thirteen episodes was definitely not enough time to properly develop all of them, but I still found them likable, so good enough, I suppose. The various novel and manga prequels probably flesh some of them out more.

Speaking of manga, I went and read Memories of Red, because I like the Homra characters a lot, and goddamnit, now I totally ship Fushimi x Yata. Why is their angst so delicious? Fushimi acts like kind of a creepy psycho whenever he and Yata meet up in the anime, but in Memories of Red there was so much internal conflict. Those two just can't understand each other - it's almost painful to watch.

Also, I apparently decided to start watching this series at a really good time, because the Days of Blue manga is still ongoing, there's a manga adaption coming out for the Lost Small World novel (Fushimi x Yata backstory - more angst!), and the sequel movie, K: Missing Kings, is out in a month.

Here's hoping it all gets translated.
silverthunder: (Avatar - OMGHUGS)
It's funny, I can normally write a LOT without trying when I see a bunch of flaws in a series, but when it comes to the ones I really like, I usually have to actually think to find things to say (y'know, other than "this was really damn good, and everyone should watch it").

I just finished watching Nagi no Asukara, which was a really lovely series. I mean that literally, too - the art is beautiful, the scenery and colors and animation... my eyes were happy, let's just say.

The story was pretty engaging too, if you don't mind the endless series of crushes and complications that come with these kinds of pre-teen "growing pains" shows. I thought it handled itself well there, for all that you may have seen something similar somewhere else. The addition of the ocean city and the land city and their conflict and everything tying into a plot about change, feelings you can't control, and acceptance made things interesting.

Spoilery comments under cut )

All around, a very good series, and I recommend giving it a try.

Convenient video with all op/ed (note: spoilers in the second op/ed): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9uMeTPWwVY
silverthunder: (Avatar - Group Hug)
Random update, and I'll get the dull stuff out of the way first.

My sister emailed and apologized to me for the things she said. I'll be honest, I'd already forgiven her. I love my family a lot, even if I don't feel like I fit in well. I was thinking about emailing her, but I didn't know what to say. I didn't feel like I owed her an apology, so it felt like I'd be fishing for one from her. So I decided to wait and see what happened, and apparently that was the right way to do it. Anyway, the time between when she sent the original emails and when she sent the apology was about a month. It's the longest fight I have had with one of my sisters, but I don't feel like it created a gap between us. I'm known for holding grudges, but this time I wasn't really angry - mostly just sad. I was really happy to hear from her.

Cody and I started watching a series called To Aru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index), which is pretty decent at six episodes in. The world and setting are interesting and I found the storyline compelling. The main character is sympathetic enough that I want to continue watching to see what happens with him, although some of the secondary characters don't have me convinced yet. I've noticed a couple of issues with pacing and exposition, but that's mostly due to the sheer volume of knowledge you need to take in about this world and the powers and curious things going on. Most of the episodes I've watched have managed this without too much awkwardness, with one very, very glaring exception.

Spoilers for episode four, in case anyone was planning on watching )

Anyway, aside from that episode, the series has been pretty okay. I'm enjoying it, anyway, and I'm kind of excited about the fact that it's got a lot of episodes (and I've heard that the side story to this one, which is also two seasons long, is actually better). Here's hoping we don't see any more awkward episodes like that one, though.

As usual, here are the opening and ending videos for the first half of season one if anyone's curious about this series:

OP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQIzb72IATU
ED: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=choP8rCAJZY
silverthunder: (Ken - Um... sure...)
So Cody and I finished watching Sword Art Online last night. It was a good series! The theme of gaming and MMOs doesn't hurt it any, in my opinion! Both of us wanted to play after we finished - luckily, the beta for FFXIV was up, so we logged in to explore around for a bit.

As I've seen everyone say, the first half was noticeably better than the second half. However, for the most part, I still enjoyed the second half. With one very notable exception.

This is going to be a 'duh' for anyone who knows me and has seen Sword Art Online, but yeah: Asuna's treatment in the second half of the series.

I mean, we get this decently strong female character, who - while not being groundbreaking or anything - can hold her own in a fight and whose skills the main character - who is the epitome of the l33t gamer - respects. And she refuses to bow out of a fight because she wants to protect him as much as he wants to protect her. Better yet, she has the skill to do it!

And so, clearly, the best thing to do with this character is to make her essentially a princess in a tower waiting to be rescued for the whole second half of the series.

Such a disappointment.

And I will also say, outside of a spoiler cut, that the second half of this series would benefit from a trigger warning for the sexual harassment in it. Those scenes made me uncomfortable. The ending battle was the worst, but those "scientist" things? WTF, seriously? None of it was even necessary! The villain's "experiments" should have been enough to want to take him down. It seemed like a lame excuse to put fanservice of Asuna out there in various compromising positions - and, of course, to fuel Kirito's angst and rage in that last battle. Terribly, terribly degrading.

Spoilery stuff under here )

For all these complaints (and I know they're pretty serious ones), I still enjoyed Sword Art Online. It was a fun series that still managed to take itself seriously and tug at the heart strings here and there. The art was pretty, the theme of the series and how it carried off that plot was actually pretty good, and it made me want to game more. Haha!

Now let's get a series like this with better overall character development and a more active, strong female protagonist!

For those interested, the opening/closing videos for the first half of SAO:

OP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xA-ZdNkRBGA
ED: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w36jj0F-6pc
silverthunder: (Killua - Meow)
I watched the last episode of Tales of the Abyss today - finally. I'd been holding out because Cody and I were watching it together and he wanted to finish the game first, but enough is enough. I wanted to see the rest. So I watched it.

For a game adaptation, it was pretty darn good! Not genius - it had pacing problems that were somewhat similar to the ones I noticed in Sword Art Online, and the character arcs were a touch on the shallow side - but still very enjoyable and engaging. The characters themselves were very likeable, despite Luke being a putz at the start (although the fact that he was such a flawed character might have actually made him more likeable), and the plot was interesting. The action scenes, although a little short sometimes, were exciting and had a nice look to them, and I appreciated the use of spell/action names. Because this is based on an RPG, after all!

Overall, I really had a fun time watching it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a decent sword-and-sorcery anime.

Cut for spoilers )

Off-topic: there's an open invitation to anyone familiar with the series to guess who my favorite character is. Just guess, you'll probably be right. I can be pretty predictable.

If you're interested in Tales of the Abyss, here is the OP video (incidentally, the same song used in the opening of the game, which is pretty cool). The OP is different for each episode because there's a little preview portion of the upcoming episode in it each time. I couldn't find the ED for some reason... too bad.

OP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5UIJ4109uQ
silverthunder: (Terran - Serious Business)
I've only seen about eight episodes of this series, but I do have some things to say about it so I decided to go ahead and make this post. My opinion could change later, obviously.

Following in the tradition of the .hack series, Sword Art Online is about a virtual reality MMORPG where players can log in and experience the game as if they were physically there. Like .hack//Sign (and perhaps other titles, but this is the one I know of), SAO is about being trapped in the game with no way to log out. However, in SAO this is global (all players are unable to log out, not just one). Additionally, if you die in the game, you WILL die in real life - and the only way to escape the game is to clear all 99 levels of the main dungeon.

Fans of MMORPGs (and fans of RPGs in general) will probably enjoy this title. It's fast-paced, well animated, has gorgeous music and exciting battle sequences, and there are many things that will be immediately understandable to gamers and make SAO feel like a real RPG.

I am really enjoying this anime, and look forward to watching more (Cody and I are watching together and trying to take our time since it's still airing right now). However! I cannot say it is perfect (far from it) and there are still a few problems I have with it.

More under the cut )

Anyway, for all of this, SAO is pretty damn entertaining. I'm definitely looking forward to watching more and seeing how this story unfolds!

OP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xA-ZdNkRBGA
ED: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w36jj0F-6pc
silverthunder: (Avatar - Group Hug)
Just this morning, I finished watching Fantastic Children.

It was very good. I'd go so far as to say that it's a shame it's never going to break away from being a "fringe" series, because I found it entertaining and the plot was fairly well thought-out. A lot of people are probably going to be turned off by the art or the title before even looking at an episode, and then more will be turned off by the lack of fast-moving action and the fact that it takes a while before the viewer is able to figure out what's actually going on (although this was really part of the fun for me). But while I wouldn't say this is going on my list of favorites, I was still very glad to have bought it, because it was worth the money in my opinion.

Thoughts )

In the end, while I don't think this series would be for everyone, it's a pretty enjoyable watch and I'd definitely recommend giving it a try.
silverthunder: (Takumi and Akira - Naughty thoughts)
So, I finished watching Macross Frontier a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty good - decent enough plot, and lots of mecha fighting mixed with song and stage performance. Unfortunately, my set of subs would replace what characters were saying with the translation of the singing in the background in some places, which was kind of irritating. But it still really got you pumped when you were watching the combination of a huge battle with lots of explosions and the performance of a good song.

One of the things I'd heard about this series before watching it was that it had a love triangle (one guy, two girls) which never got any kind of resolution by the end, so I guess you were supposed to just imagine the ending with whichever pairing you preferred. I read into it a bit more, and found that there was supposed to be a resolution, but it was kiboshed at the last minute so that they could squeeze that much more money from viewers in the movie remakes by billing them as "resolving the love triangle". I haven't watched the movies, but I do know which girl "wins" based on triumphant shippers gloating over it, and... well. Let's just say I wasn't surprised, because the series might as well have had a resolution in my opinion. The other half of the triangle just felt completely one-sided.

Spoilerific stuff under cut )

Anyway, the series is really good, and I think most people would probably enjoy it, because the music and the action are pretty awesome.

I'm now about 10 episodes into an anime series called Fantastic Children, which I originally thought was a fantasy-adventure story aimed at kids. Upon watching more than the first couple of episodes, I have come to the realization that this... is most definitely not a kids' show at all. It's pretty good so far, though.
silverthunder: (Ty Lee - :))
I have gotten really lazy about posting entries... Oh well. My life right now consists of work, cosplay meetings, and Final Fantasy XIV. It's keeping me busy enough.

I am also in the process of reading a series of books recommended to me by [personal profile] yukinoomoni. I think it's referred to as the "Heroes" series by fans, but it doesn't seem like there is a series title. The first book is called "Resenting the Hero", and it is by Moira J. Moore.

I am currently reading book four, so obviously I like the series.

Review under cut )

Overall, what would I say about this series? It's good. The plot is solid, the characters are fun, the world is interesting and well-crafted, and there is a strong narrative.

Highly recommended!
silverthunder: (Sokka - Stop looking at me!)
I went and saw the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie today with my parents and one of my sisters. I was the only person in our group who hadn't yet read the book. After the movie was over, and we were out in the theater lobby, my sister asked me if seeing the movie made me want to read the book.

My answer is cut for spoilers )

This is probably one of the many reasons why, if I were to ever try to get a story published, it would never be mainstream adult-oriented fiction.
silverthunder: (Nezumi and Shion - Dance with me)
So, I finished watching No. 6 just now - watched the last two episodes while doing my workout today. It was pretty good! Considering they only had 11 episodes to deliver a plot like that, the pacing actually really wasn't bad, and the character development was decent all around.

One small nig: Shion's transition in the last two episodes felt a little forced. It wasn't terrible, but I felt they could've done with another episode to ease into it. Doing that might've slowed down the action, though, so there was probably a trade-off somewhere.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series. It was subtle in all the right ways, and there was always enough going on to keep my interest engaged. The hinted-at romantic triangle between Nezumi, Shion, and Safu was lovely, and never threatened to overwhelm the plot. The ending was a little abrupt, and could've been stretched out a bit more, but I still felt satisfied with it when it was over.

Honestly, I would have liked to have seen No. 6 as a 24-episode series just to develop the setting and the characters more, and to watch the way they interacted. It did well with the time it had, but I feel like there could've been so much more.


Aug. 23rd, 2011 10:42 pm
silverthunder: (Nezumi and Shion - Dance with me)
I am currently five episodes into an anime series called No.6. I was going to wait until the series had finished airing and I'd seen all of it before I posted about it, but I changed my mind after stumbling across this article.

I think this really hits on what I find so refreshing about this series, and why I think most of the people on my friends list would probably enjoy it. The series is classified as science fiction. Does it seem like it's leaning towards a relationship between its two (male) protagonists? Yes. But like the review I linked to says, this is a fairly mainstream sci-fi series that doesn't bill itself as shounen-ai. I think this is probably the first time I've seen an anime that seems likely to contain a m/m relationship but doesn't really define itself by that fact.

Regardless of whether it goes there in the end, I think this series will turn out to be a pretty good one. The BG music is good, the animation is good, the story is engaging. If it doesn't pull its punches regarding its main relationship, it could be something awesome.

For those interested, you can view the opening video of the No. 6 anime here.
silverthunder: (Ling - XD)
I don't think I've mentioned yet that Cody and I went to see the last Harry Potter movie a couple of weeks ago. It was really good - much better than the other movies in the series. I felt like the pacing was handled a lot better (although this may not be saying much, as I have always felt that the pacing in the HP movies was handled poorly). Cody said that he had a lot less trouble following what was going on, and only had a few questions for me after it was over.

My impressions? Well, it did rekindle my interest in the series as a whole, which is good. There were a couple of scenes where I would've preferred if they'd left it the way it was in the book, but other scenes where I liked the way they changed it for the movie.

Overall, I have the same feeling I did when I finished the book: I would really, really like to see some talented writer (doesn't have to be JKR) do the whole thing from Neville's perspective. I think I would get more into a series like that. Harry was okay and all, but... yeah.

Side note: while at Cos & Effect, I managed to pick up the 'Neville would have done it in 4 books' T-shirt. Heh.

NG Life

Jul. 9th, 2011 10:59 pm
silverthunder: (Lavi - Ooh... sparkly...)
I just finished reading a manga series called NG Life, which was actually very good! It's a shoujo series about a kind of dorky guy who remembers his past life when he was living in a little Italian city hanging around with his best friend and his wife and an assortment of other characters who show up as reincarnations later in the manga. Thing is, even though there are a few people around him who he recognizes as reincarnations of those he knows (I was particularly amused by his mother and father being his rival and younger sister from his past life), none of them remember anything. The most important two are his best friend, who has reincarnated as a girl with feelings for him (although he can't see past the "you used to be a dude" bit), and his wife, who is now a boy.

As you can imagine, many crazy hijinks occur.

The manga does a fairly good job of keeping the full story of what happened in the past (and why the main character is so stuck on it) under wraps and revealing pieces of it as the story goes on. I personally thought the relationship between the main character's past life and his best friend was very cute and would've liked to see them get together back then! Of course, that doesn't happen, but oh well, you can't have everything. The conclusion of the past life had me in tears at the end, and it almost felt like the rest of what happened afterwards was overpowered by it.

Still, the main romance was pretty sweet and the characters were all fairly likeable (except for one or two who got on my nerves a few times). I was hoping the manga would go more along the lines of gender not being a barrier to affection (either with the main character realizing he was okay with loving a boy or okay with loving someone who he had previously known as a boy), but even though it didn't, I still enjoyed it. It had a theme of not getting stuck on the past and learning to be who you are without trying to be someone else, which is always cool.

For the most part, I'd recommend it if you like shoujo romance and don't mind a lot of silliness mixed in. I'm going to go try and track down the Tokyopop translated version and add it to my manga collection!

In other reading-related news, I'm just about done with my Austen readings (making my way through a Watsons continuation now), and I'm thinking I'll move on to Georgette Heyer next. I've got a number of samples downloaded to my kindle, so I'll be giving them a go shortly. My expectations are high, so I hope they turn out to be good!
silverthunder: (Syaoran and Sakura - Shine)
So, yesterday evening I finished watching Mahou Shoujo (or Puella Magi, as some prefer) Madoka Magica. This was recommended to me by [livejournal.com profile] herongale, so I was fairly confidant that it would be good. It's also a magical girl anime and in some ways is typical of the genre, but it contains numerous elements that I have never seen in any magical girl series anywhere.

What wish would you make in exchange for your soul? (spoilers) )

I'd recommend this series to most people. The opening video can be found here, although it is not really representative of what the series is actually like. This scene that is shown at the beginning of the series is probably better. And just as a bonus, here are some magical girl transformation sequences.

I would also like to note that the BG music is done by Yuki Kajiura, and is therefore made of awesome.
silverthunder: (Default)
I finished watching Baccano just recently. It was pretty good, once I got used to the way it jumps around in the three different timelines. At first I was thinking that it might have spoiled things a bit to know that certain people lived through the events in the first two timelines, but then I got caught up in it and was just waiting to find out how it all happened. It was a really fun series. I liked the train arc the best - Jaccuzi was a surprisingly engaging character when he wasn't crying all the time. And Rail Tracer was quite the egomaniac! I couldn't tell who was more of an asshole, him or Ladd. I lean towards Ladd, but only because I wasn't very fond of his character and ended up kind of liking Rail Tracer. Isaac and Miria were highly amusing at all times.

I'll be watching the OVA episodes shortly. I might even watch one tonight when I work out.

I've also started watching Puella Magi Madoka Magica, recommended by [livejournal.com profile] herongale. I'm five episodes in so far, and it's very good. The opening video does not match the show at all! But that's okay. It's kind of a strange take on the magical girl genre, and pretty dark in places. The music is gorgeous (it's Kajiura Yuki, after all) and the animation is very pretty. I'm thinking I'll probably finish it off before leaving for Otafest.

Book-wise... I'm starting on the Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling. It seems pretty decent so far, although I'm only a little under two chapters in. We'll see how it goes. Her other series looks interesting, too - if I end up liking Nightrunner, I'll be tackling that one next.
silverthunder: (Takumi and Akira - Play around)
So I've been reading more fantasy/romance ebooks - surprise, surprise. That's been my reading material of choice for quite a while now.

I read 'A Matter of Magic' by Patricia C. Wrede, which is two books combined: 'Mairelon the Magician' and 'Magician's Ward'. I like Wrede's writing style. She has a light but engaging way of describing things. Plus, she seems to have a knack for creating appealing characters (at least, in my opinion). Kim was a great heroine, cynical and cautious, and made a good foil for Mairelon, who had more of an "it'll work out somehow" attitude. I really felt for Hunch, though, between the two of them. The romance was okay - nothing spectacular - but that wasn't the focus of these books, as is usual for Wrede. Overall, this was a good read.

After that, I read 'The Wide-Awake Princess' by E.D. Baker. This one wasn't as good as 'A Matter of Magic', but it had its moments. I didn't feel like I got to know the characters beyond a surface level, and conflict felt like it resolved itself a little too easily. But the book was light-hearted and never seemed to aspire towards great depth, so I think it succeeded with what it set out to do. Again, the romance was kind of 'meh'; I didn't really feel the chemistry between the two. But oh well.

I downloaded some samples for books by Shannon Hale, but didn't feel like buying them afterwards. Something about the style just didn't grab me, I guess. Still looking for new authors, but I'll probably be giving Wrede's 'Thirteenth Child' a go if nothing comes up.

I also read a manga series called 'Power!!!' (I think this has been translated to 'Girl Got Game' in the NA release), which wasn't bad. It was a silly series with a lot of decent comedy scenes. Nothing too deep or meaningful, but generally a lot of fun to read. And the main characters didn't annoy me, which is unusual for most of the shoujo series I've read lately.
silverthunder: (Luna - Looking to the future)
Lately I've been on the lookout for fantasy books with female protagonists who get involved in adventure with some cute romance on the side. I've downloaded a number of samples and I'm slowly working my way through them (if I like the sample, I'll buy the book and read it, which then sometimes means buying more books by the same author and reading them, so this process is going slowly).

I just finished reading a couple of books by Sherwood Smith, and I felt like talking about them - hence this post.

Now, I loved Sherwood Smith when I was younger (still do, as her writing style appeals to me a lot) for her 'Wren' books. Wren was my hero when I was about 12 or so. I'd only read the three at the time - now I've read 'Wren Journeymage' as well, which I didn't like as much as the others (but it was still a decent read). One thing I didn't notice at the time but which I have now come to realize is that I like her books that much more when nothing exciting is going on.

Does that seem weird? It sure does to me. It wasn't so apparent with the Wren books (there are so many action sequences that I adored), but with the ones I'm going to talk about now, it became obvious.

The first was 'A Posse of Princesses'. This is a book about a young princess with some unrealistic ideas about romance who gets invited to a gathering of her peers for the first time with the hope of potentially marrying this rich prince. She makes a number of friends, and there's a twist with the prince that I found obvious pretty much from the time she arrives (the mileage of other readers may vary). And, well, the scenes where she dances and chats and makes friends and basically engages in court activities are fantastic and engaging. Then the plot starts to unravel, and my connection to the story began to unravel with it. The main character becomes less likeable. The book becomes harder to read. I found myself skimming long passages. Then we go back to the ending, where the romance is resolved... and I found myself shaking my head and saying out loud, 'What?' Who could possibly think this is a good way to test whether a romance will hold up? Bleh.

Anyway, I still feel it's a pretty good book, but it's not a re-read.

The next was 'Crown Duel/Court Duel' - two books in one. And what a difference between the two! Crown Duel was so frustrating to get through for me... There were flashes of cleverness here and there, little golden moments that reminded me why I enjoyed Smith's work, but for the most part it was just hard to read. The heroine was almost completely unlikeable. She was abrasive, willfully ignorant, and - well - incompetent. Not saying I'd do any better in that situation, but it was almost embarrassing to read about this girl because of the way she thinks and acts. I think I read the next book mostly out of curiosity (and because I already had it, as they were part of the same big ebook purchase), but it ended up being a much better read. Suddenly Mel was someone much less abrasive (although she still had moments that made me roll my eyes) and more interesting to read about. And this book is about 90% non-action. The action sequence at the end was even pretty decent, and it meshed well with the story. The romance seemed believable (and was actually decently developed, although it was easy to figure out who was sending the letters). And the characters were interesting and fun to read about. All in all, a vast improvement.

One thing that struck me in both 'A Posse of Princesses' and 'Crown Duel/Court Duel' is the clear dividing line that seems to exist between women and men. I'm sure Smith didn't set out to do this (I don't remember it from the 'Wren' books - maybe I need to re-read them), but it felt like the women in the books were naive, ignorant things while the men were worldly and knowledgeable but still were willing to humor these poor uneducated and vulnerable women because they had spirit and were nice and honest and pure. I didn't care much for that. The books were good, but they're not going on my favorites list.

I'm moving on to a new author now (and I have a lot of samples to get through), but I'm still open for recs on fantasy/romance with fun female protagonists!


Mar. 8th, 2011 11:11 am
silverthunder: (Laccus - Shimmer)
So Cody and I finally finished off Mai-HiME (My-HiME?) last night. It was a pretty neat series. The animation and the fight scenes were really awesome, and the music was absolutely gorgeous (well, it's Kajiura Yuki, how can it not be?).

Thoughts )

Overall, I think I would recommend this series to most people. Even if you're not into anime with "fighting and fanservice", I'd advise you to stick it out through the somewhat mediocre first half, because there is a pretty decent payoff in the second half.

Opening video: LINK (this OP sequence is currently one of my top 10 favorites)
BG music example: Mezame (because it's just that good)
silverthunder: (Edward and Alphonse - Adopt us)
I've been thinking about doing this post for a while, mainly because my little blurb about FMA:B was so short, but also because I've never really talked about my thoughts on the original series. And I've seen this topic come up a few times and it kind of caught my interest.

I want to state right from the start that I really love both series, for all their flaws. They were both excellent watches, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. But they are definitely different, not just because of their storylines, but because of the way they did things.

But anyway, I'm going to do a brief comparison of the differences, and what I thought each series did better than the other.

Here we go )

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