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    Default General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    That's right, just like a series that's trying to hide that it doesn't have quite enough material to fill all its episodes, GAD is hitting the beach! So grab your sparklers, your sunglasses, and a water melon with a bundle of sticks and get in that surf.
    Or you could just stay at home and talk about anime on the internet because sand's annoying and you don't want to get sunburned. Also because it's March and really not the best time of year for seaside trips.


    Previous threads:
    General Anime Discussion (née The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
    General Anime Discussion A's
    General Anime Discussion StrikerS
    ∀ General Anime Discussion
    G General Anime Discussion - Typing FINGER!
    Anime/General Discussion: Paradox Thread
    Anime 2.0: You Can (Generally) Discuss
    General Anime Discussion: The 08th GAD Team
    General Anime Discussion: Not An Anime!/⑨ is the strongest!
    General Anime Discussion: After War GADam X
    General Anime Discussion: Area 11
    General Anime/Manga Discussion: Twelve Thread-doms
    General Anime/Manga Discussion: Where Are We Golgoing 13?
    General Anime/Manga Discussion 13.5: Recap Episode
    General Anime/Manga Discussion 14: Second Cour

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    On the opposite spectrum of beaches, more Yuru Camp goodness. Still hoping they gets streamed, probably not.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Speaking of stuff to watch, I took a look ahead to next season and, oh boy, it's not going to give me a chance to relax and catch up on things I missed, huh?

    Golden Kamuy and Hinamatsuri are both based on manga friends of mine adore, so those are must-watches unless they actively turn me off. Steins;Gate 0, Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, and Amanchu! Advance are all in on the strength of previous instalments.

    Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii looks interesting, but I don't know much about it compared to the above. I haven't caught up in the previous season (I'm up to date in the manga so the anime isn't a high priority), but I'll probably watch Boku no Hero Academia S3 eventually. I'll be interested in Legend of the Galactic Heroes: die Neue These if it's supposed to be usable as a jumping-on point for the franchise. And I hear that SAO Alternative actually works as a manga in ways the original doesn't, plus the premise is kind of amusing, so I'll give that a chance.

    And of course, I assume we'll all be watching the standout star of the season, Uma Musume: Pretty Derby?

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Hinamatsuri is great. A beautiful combination of comedy and how it is built on suffering. More Amanchu was unexpected and most welcome.

    Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii is a lot of fun. As one half of a rather nerdy couple, this one really hit home with familiar situations (even if the nerddoms are not the exact same as the manga). Just wait for the fujoshi face off.

    I doubt I'll be watching that Derby one because it says it's sports. Unless that was meant as a joke. It's hard to tell, considering some of the stuff that is immensely popular is incredibly boring to me, and I seem to be the only one who likes some of the stuff I love.

    More Lupin III!!!!!! always a welcome addition,
    More CHEDCL. The last OVA seemed like such a final and perfect finale so this one really was unexpected. Looks like a new crew, which is always risky. I'm a bit unsure what to think, but they did a good job of entertaining me last time so I'm definitely going to give it a try.
    And Fist of the Blue Sky is getting another go. I'm there. Time to get my Hokuto Shinken on. Unfortunately, it looks to be crappy CG.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    I've got my cute girls and romance shows all lined up. Real Girls (it's like they know), Comic Girls, Shiyan Pin Jiating (I don't know what this is gonna turn out to be), Tachibanakan Triangle, Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai, Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii (adult otakus, this season's MMO Junkie maybe), and of course Steins;Gate 0 and My Hero Academia season 3. Not sure how hyped I am overall. Next season has a lot of returning series of shows that I haven't seen, and I'm not a huge fan of Steins;Gate. I wasn't really hyped about this season until it turned out I loved quite a number of shows, so I guess who knows.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by kamikasei View Post
    Speaking of stuff to watch, I took a look ahead to next season and, oh boy, it's not going to give me a chance to relax and catch up on things I missed, huh?

    Golden Kamuy and Hinamatsuri are both based on manga friends of mine adore, so those are must-watches unless they actively turn me off. Steins;Gate 0, Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, and Amanchu! Advance are all in on the strength of previous instalments.

    Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii looks interesting, but I don't know much about it compared to the above. I haven't caught up in the previous season (I'm up to date in the manga so the anime isn't a high priority), but I'll probably watch Boku no Hero Academia S3 eventually. I'll be interested in Legend of the Galactic Heroes: die Neue These if it's supposed to be usable as a jumping-on point for the franchise. And I hear that SAO Alternative actually works as a manga in ways the original doesn't, plus the premise is kind of amusing, so I'll give that a chance.

    And of course, I assume we'll all be watching the standout star of the season, Uma Musume: Pretty Derby?
    Spring is stacked - in addition to almost all of the ones you mentioned, I'm interested in the two baseball animes (a Major sequel (!) and what looks to be a more grounded one focused on a relief pitcher called Gurazeni), the Bones show about the living plane Hisone to Masotan (for the adorable factor), Mahou Shoujo Ore (for the WTF factor; probably the same ballpark as Uma Musume), and another Madhouse show called Wakaokami wa Shougakusei (for the feels potential - after the greatness of A Place Further than the Universe I'll have to take a look at it at least).

    The character designs of the LoGH remake have me less than enthusiastic about it - original Siegfried Kircheis was just a damn handsome man, and the new one's hair is not nearly luscious enough. The modern style designs just feel generic in general. Perhaps the show is better in motion, but this might be in the same department of Sailor Moon Crystal - remakes nobody needed that just look worse. (Though I hear Sailor Moon Crystal gets better over time as the makers get more practice doing 3D.)



    It'll take a lot for any of these shows to push A Place Further than the Universe from the 2018 throne for me, but you can't ask for the moon.

    1. A Place Further than the Universe (Pitch-perfect in every way)
    2. Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (Just as brilliant, really, just more low-key)
    3. Violet Evergarden (Remains a feast for the eyes, even if the story drags a bit)
    4. Mitsuboshi Colors (Genuinely really funny)
    5. Yuru Camp (Consistently relaxing)
    6. Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san (An excellent, 100% faithful adaptation - if only I hadn't read the manga twice)
    7. Gakuen Babysitters (I only really like Inomata and the chairman and they don't show up often enough)

    I had to drop Citrus when Matsuri was introduced.
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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    More CHEDCL.
    Oh, I overlooked this somehow. I still haven't watched past the first season, I really should. But there's just so much stuff in the backlog, and it's so much easier to watch just the new episodes each week...

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    I doubt I'll be watching that Derby one because it says it's sports. Unless that was meant as a joke. It's hard to tell, considering some of the stuff that is immensely popular is incredibly boring to me, and I seem to be the only one who likes some of the stuff I love.
    I wish I could say that it should be glaringly obvious that I'm joking about the nonsense sports anime where girls with horse ears and tails engage in competitive pony play while also being pop idols, but honestly, it's totally possible someone could make a show so described and I'd love it. It's just not this show.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by kamikasei View Post
    Oh, I overlooked this somehow. I still haven't watched past the first season, I really should. But there's just so much stuff in the backlog, and it's so much easier to watch just the new episodes each week...
    I get most of my anime watching done while doing dishes or making dinner. The shows I don't care quite so much about getting every single thing that is said. I save the good stuff for dedicated watching.

    On the subject of older series, the girl and I recently watched Space Dandy - second time for me, first for her. Still a little gem of a series. Then, trying to give her an alternative to Naruto for her shounen action fix, I started her on Katanagatari. Yes, I'm well aware of the humor in the situation, and I chose that only because the Medaka Box anime stopped just when it started getting really shouneny and good.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    It's like the makers of Violet Evergarden felt snubbed by my earlier post and released an episode specifically to strike right in the gooey center of my heart.

    I yield, you can have 2nd place. It's a testament to just how good A Place Further than the Universe is that it remains unassailable - it's made me cry just as much, and more consistently, and it also delivers laughs, usually both in the same episode.
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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    I got crapped on for this elsewhere, but anyone else watching Sora Yori feel that Hinata's backstory was really badly done? She got dumped on by her "friends", so she quits track, quits school, gets a job at a convenience store, and uses that as a reason to hitch a ride to Antarctica? I mean, don't get me wrong. I hate people, and would love to go to a place where there's as few as possible. It was also great that Shirase shut them up at the end, because they surely deserved it. But it felt really forced as a reason for her to change her life.

    The show had been nothing short of a masterpiece to me before the newest episode (even the music is fantastic), but man, that just hit me the wrong way.
    Last edited by Pendulous; 2018-03-15 at 12:14 AM.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Could the group please recommend some anime/manga/LN which show the main characters' courtship for a significant but minority part of the series, then show their established relationship for the rest of the series? I'm not just looking for realistic slice-of-life stories. High fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, etc., any subgenre is perfectly acceptable as long as the main two characters develop a romantic relationship in the initial part, then continue that relationship for the entire rest of the series.

    If pressed for specifics in anime terms, I'd prefer that the courtship period be no more than 12 episodes, and no less than, say, 5 episodes. Also, if complete, the series should have at least twice as many episodes after the courtship period. For bonus points, it would be nice if the series spent at least twice as much time after the "honeymoon" lovey-dovey period as during it, if such a time period exists in the series. Flashbacks to the courtship period do not allow a series to qualify, if the realized relationship is shown within the first arc. I'm not looking for series that start with a couple already together.

    It should go without saying that realistic character motivations and actions are preferred. Also, it would be nice if there are no conflict plotlines that could be entirely resolved by a short honest conversation that for some reason just doesn't happen until the writers decide to end that plotline. However, the concerns in this paragraph shouldn't prevent a series from being mentioned in this thread. If a series trips over this sort of thing, please point it out when mentioning the series, though. Basically, good writing and bad writing are to be commented on, but I'd like to know about as many of these types of series as the group can point out. Also, if the series fits into genres like shonen, shojo, seinen, josei, it would be nice to mention which one(s) their flavor fits.

    Also, recommended series don't have to be specifically romance series, they just have to each have a realized relationship with the main character(s) that starts after showing the courtship period.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    The first thing that comes to mind is Ore Monogatari, a romance about two high schoolers and how their relationship grows. It doesn't fulfill all your criteria but t's very good.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Shaman King, clearly.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Spice and Wolf is more than good enough to recommend on general principle, and comes way closer to fulfilling the letter of that request than anything else I've watched.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by Pendulous View Post
    I got crapped on for this elsewhere, but anyone else watching Sora Yori feel that Hinata's backstory was really badly done?
    I disagree.

    Spoiler
    Show
    She wasn't simply dumped on by her friends. She took their encouragement to perform at her best in competition and got recognized for it - but that pissed off the senior girls who couldn't compete with her, and then none of the friends who'd encouraged her to risk that, against her own instincts, were willing to stand up for her. So she quit the team rather than deal with that, after which she was bullied out of school. There was a good bit more to it than just her friends letting her down.

    Working at the convenience store doesn't strike me as any kind of mark against her - she was still all set to progress to college, she was just using her time until then doing something more useful than either subjecting herself to a toxic environment, or wallowing in depression at home. Same for going to Antarctica - I fully believe the reasons she gave to begin with, of wanting to do something cool and unusual before she has to re-enter the grind at college. What she says in this episode about it being a place with no one else around is largely a reaction to what Shirase calls out, I think - the assumption that she must be wounded and waiting for her old friends to heal her, rather than having moved on and past their phony bull****.

    Plus, we saw with the passport in Singapore that she does have kind of an avoidant personality that hates relying on others or letting them down. Her backstory here was entirely consistent with that. edit: And it occurs to me that what she specifically calls out in Singapore is people sacrificing their interests to cover for her failings, when she hasn't asked them to - which is kind of what she was expected to do on the track team, either not participate or deliberately underperform so that worse athletes could get the spots they felt entitled to.


    I thought this episode worked better than the Yuzuki-focused one last week (which was fine, just a bit thin/flat - this one had more meat on it. (This is not a joke about their respective body types. Though it could be. (You know, this episode had layers. Like a sandwich.))).
    Last edited by kamikasei; 2018-03-15 at 08:54 AM.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by Pendulous View Post
    I got crapped on for this elsewhere, but anyone else watching Sora Yori feel that Hinata's backstory was really badly done? She got dumped on by her "friends", so she quits track, quits school, gets a job at a convenience store, and uses that as a reason to hitch a ride to Antarctica? I mean, don't get me wrong. I hate people, and would love to go to a place where there's as few as possible. It was also great that Shirase shut them up at the end, because they surely deserved it. But it felt really forced as a reason for her to change her life.

    The show had been nothing short of a masterpiece to me before the newest episode (even the music is fantastic), but man, that just hit me the wrong way.
    I'm honestly not sure where your issue lies. It was very clear from a couple of episodes ago that Hinata has massive issues trusting people (which is why she puts up her happy-go-lucky facade so consistently and desperately), and that something must have happened to make her quit high school. What did you expect it was going to be behind it, if not bullying? The only alternative in my mind would have been parental child abuse or something.

    I'm not sure what "dumped on" means - English is not my native tongue. It doesn't sound quite right to me after looking it up, because the word allows for the possibility that you could be dumped on unintentionally; the word I've got in mind is betrayal. She was ostracized and bullied, because her supposed friends did not have her back when it counted, and were only looking out for themselves.

    Again, I can only speculate what you're talking about. Did it feel "forced" to you because you can't see how bullying could lead to a student quitting school? Because that does happen. Really, you should be glad it does happen, because another frequent outcome of highschool bullying is suicide. I found all of this extremely relatable - I haven't been bullied anywhere near as severely, but I've always had trouble fitting in, and a lot of anxiety over it built up. If you're getting "crapped on" for saying this, it's probably because to people who this episode is the most relatable to - bullying victims, or really anyone who's been treated poorly by people they trusted - this episode has an amazingly cathartic and powerful resolution. Here's Hinata, who's convinced herself that her feelings don't matter to others and she cannot trust anyone, that it's somehow her fault and it's up to her to get over it, and she will always be alone, and here's Shirase, proving to her that her feelings do matter, that people who can be trusted - true friends - do exist, that she does not have to be the bigger person and "get over it", and she does not have to be alone. I would have thought all of that would be immensely relatable to anyone - because even if you haven't personally experienced this kind of hurt, humans possess empathy - but evidently that's not the case. I'm still struggling to understand how any of this is "forced".

    So, Hinata quits school, and ends up with nothing to do before she goes to college. Getting a part time job to fill the time with something useful strikes me as perfectly natural; and it's equally as natural that a talented and driven individual (she clearly took track seriously and is blisteringly smart) would be looking out for something more, especially if she has some personal demons haunting her that she wants distraction from at all costs.
    Last edited by Silfir; 2018-03-15 at 07:49 AM.
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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by gomipile View Post
    Could the group please recommend some anime/manga/LN which show the main characters' courtship for a significant but minority part of the series, then show their established relationship for the rest of the series? I'm not just looking for realistic slice-of-life stories. High fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, etc., any subgenre is perfectly acceptable as long as the main two characters develop a romantic relationship in the initial part, then continue that relationship for the entire rest of the series.

    If pressed for specifics in anime terms, I'd prefer that the courtship period be no more than 12 episodes, and no less than, say, 5 episodes. Also, if complete, the series should have at least twice as many episodes after the courtship period. For bonus points, it would be nice if the series spent at least twice as much time after the "honeymoon" lovey-dovey period as during it, if such a time period exists in the series. Flashbacks to the courtship period do not allow a series to qualify, if the realized relationship is shown within the first arc. I'm not looking for series that start with a couple already together.

    It should go without saying that realistic character motivations and actions are preferred. Also, it would be nice if there are no conflict plotlines that could be entirely resolved by a short honest conversation that for some reason just doesn't happen until the writers decide to end that plotline. However, the concerns in this paragraph shouldn't prevent a series from being mentioned in this thread. If a series trips over this sort of thing, please point it out when mentioning the series, though. Basically, good writing and bad writing are to be commented on, but I'd like to know about as many of these types of series as the group can point out. Also, if the series fits into genres like shonen, shojo, seinen, josei, it would be nice to mention which one(s) their flavor fits.

    Also, recommended series don't have to be specifically romance series, they just have to each have a realized relationship with the main character(s) that starts after showing the courtship period.
    Invaders of the Rokujouma?! has something like that.

    13 books have official English translations that are available online for free (the purchasable books/ebooks add a few extra illustrations), and there's an anime adaptation based on the first 6. What you're looking for is slightly more prominent in the anime.

    At the start it looks like a harem series... and I think technically it does qualify as one, but at the same time that feels like a horribly misleading description. There's no real romantic competition going on, and the group dynamics develop into something more like:
    Quote Originally Posted by Volume 11
    And upon further observation, she realized that these six people seemed to have similar feelings for each other. It was apparently just the way they regarded those in their circle of friends, but if that was true, she couldn’t understand why that would include her. She’d never met any of them before coming to school, and she couldn’t think of a reason why they would consider her part of their group without even really getting to know her.

    It was a mystery to her, but so was the exact emotion their hazes were projecting. It wasn’t something she’d seen in other people walking around the city. It was similar to the kind of affection shared by lovers, married couples, families, and teammates, but it was also distinctly different from each of those. Perhaps it was something like all of those put together, but whatever it was, [she] hadn’t encountered it before.
    Last edited by Prime32; 2018-03-15 at 02:51 PM.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    That description makes me think this author has absorbed some foreigners' misconceptions about the uniquely mysterious and special bond between nakama and made it a real thing.
    Last edited by Lethologica; 2018-03-15 at 03:09 PM.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    It's actually pretty great though.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by Pendulous View Post
    I got crapped on for this elsewhere, but anyone else watching Sora Yori feel that Hinata's backstory was really badly done? She got dumped on by her "friends", so she quits track, quits school, gets a job at a convenience store, and uses that as a reason to hitch a ride to Antarctica? I mean, don't get me wrong. I hate people, and would love to go to a place where there's as few as possible. It was also great that Shirase shut them up at the end, because they surely deserved it. But it felt really forced as a reason for her to change her life.

    The show had been nothing short of a masterpiece to me before the newest episode (even the music is fantastic), but man, that just hit me the wrong way.
    Have you missed the part where nasty rumours were spread about her around the school? It wasn't just a single moment of supposed friends being jerks, there was a whole avalanche of bullying that followed.

    If "elsewhere" is what I think it is and you're one of the (anon) posters who raised that objection there - other posters pointed it out for you there too.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by gomipile View Post
    [stuff]
    For non-romance series, the action-adventure story Elemental Gelade and the (highly under-appreciated) real-world drama Aishiteruze Baby both feature relationships that are pretty much exactly what you're asking for.

    For romantic dramas though, the one I think you really want to see is Bokura Ga Ita. The reasons for that are a little more complicated, but I'm not going to go into them right now.

    Because I'm going to be talking about it as part of. . .


    The 20 Best Series I Have Seen In The Last Two Years
    (you all hoped I'd forgotten about it, but I was just waiting for the new thread)

    Right then, here we go.

    91 Days
    There's a guideline often given to starting writers that, generally speaking, a story should have a character that the audience can comfortably root for. Stories like 91 Days are a reminder that this is not an absolute rule, as long as you know what you're doing. A pitch black, but deeply compelling, dive into the depths of the criminal underworld of the prohibition-era USA, 91 Days does not pretend that its protagonists are good people - nor even that a lot of them are justifiably bad - but will still make you feel some sympathy towards them. While it's as slick and stylish as a tailor-made dining suit, it never loses sight of the inherent tragedy of the cycle of violence, betrayal, and revenge its characters are trapped in.
    It's a dark, bleak ride, that goes to some highly unpleasant place, but for people like me with a high threshold for that kind of thing, it's a solid effort all around, and one that I think gives good reason to be hopeful for Shuka as studio (not that this will be the only series of theirs on this list, mind you).


    Beck
    Kind of slow, and a bit clunky and rough around the edges in others, but like any good rock band it's got enough charm to carry itself.
    Even without the music it'd still be a decent teen-life drama (turns out having characters with actual lives helps that, weirdly enough) and the music itself is genuinely quite strong (with allowances for some slightly awkward English lines). So yeah, all-in-all it's solid series, although I admit this might be partly influenced by my being old enough to remember when hard rock was a bigger cultural presence than it is these days.


    Bokura ga Ita
    It's a little ironic this one ended-up being the lead-in to this list, since it's the entry I've had the most difficulty in phrasing. Not because my feelings on it are conflicted or anything but because I feel a bit more pressure on this one to try and sell it, as it were. Becaise Bokura ga Ita, despite its endearing but nonetheless kind of doofy artstyle, is a surprisingly mature, unromanticised romance drama.
    Saying that is going to require at least some brief definition of what 'mature' means; not that it is full of content unsuitable for children, but the perspective it takes. One that recognises nuance and is not afraid to directly raise uncomfortable questions without retreating into easy safe answers. It's the difference between a relationship hurdle that stems from a misunderstanding that could be solved through an open conversation, and a relationship hurdle where the problem is that the couple don't feel like they can actually have emotionally open conversations with each other.
    As you can probably guess, it's not a series where the question is 'will they/won't they', so much as it's 'can they actually manage to make this relationship work?', or even 'is it actually worth trying to make this relationship work?". It's a fundamentally honest, sympathetic portrayal of the highs and lows of being in love, and how just being in love isn't enough by itself to make a good relationship.
    If you have any interest in romantic dramas, I'd say this is something you really should consider watching.


    Durarara X2
    As time's passed I've found myself wondering if there isn't something almost supernatural about Durarara. Because all logic would dictate that it just shouldn't have worked anything like as well as it did.
    It's too kitchen-sink weird, its plot is too chaotic, and its cast of characters is just too large. The first season already had so many recurring characters it was effectively the Erdos Number of the contemporary Japanese VA scene, and X2 almost doubles the size of the cast. It should not be possible to wrangle that into a functional story. Hell, it shouldn't even be possible to even distinctly characterise all of them, and largely without resorting to stock characters and stereotypes.
    And yet, rather like most of the relationships in the series, somehow despite all the evidence saying otherwise: it works. It actually works quite well. Even in the rougher patches (such the Sho arc, which does kind of drag) it manages to hold, and then pull itself in all its messy, multi-threadedness back together into a genuinely strong, emotionally complete conclusion. It's been a long, weird ride, but I'd be lying if I said it hadn't also been kind of a delightful in its own odd way.


    Emma: A Victorian Romance
    So as I hope most of you know by know I'm British, and I've had a fair amount of exposure to costume drama and period novels over the years, so Emma was always going to hold my curiosity. Happily, it has quite a lot more going for it than mere novelty. It's well-characterised, heartfelt, and competent enough to be able to keep dramatic tension going without resorting to clichéd contrivances. I also have to give special note to the background art, which is exceptional throughout the entire series' run, gorgeous, impressively detailed and sets the scene perfectly.


    Erased
    Even nearly two years on, I'm still kind of surprised by how popular this one was. Looking at it, I would have expected it to have been one of those series that had kind of fallen through the collective cracks, which I'd have to tell people to go back and look at. But instead almost everyone watched it. Which is just kind of neat, honestly.
    And yeah, it's just a very solid series with a creative hook and premise. A bit on the nose in the places, but generally it manages to stick to a fairly high standard throughout. Its first episode in particular is a masterclass in how to effectively start a series off.


    Ergo Proxy
    Quelle surprise. An artsy, stylish, philosophically-minded sf series with a surrealist bent on my best-of list. I'd like to say the only way this could have been more laser-targeted at me would be if it had used Radiohead on the soundtrack except I can't, because it uses Paranoid Android as the end credits theme.
    My fondness for cerebral weirdbleak aside though Ergo Proxy kind of caught me off-guard both in terms of just what sort of show it is, which I suspect happens to everyone, because I don't think anyone watching it could have seen things like episode 14 coming - even if you specifically told them about it beforehand. More than that though, Ergo Proxy embodies the idea of a philosophical journey or exploration to in a way that is kind of it's own. It is, after all, a series about a journey of discovery of the self and the nature of the world, across landscapes and mindscapes capable of getting as strange and referential as the more abstract realms of metaphysics can get, where even it's weirdest points still nonetheless matter in to its overall much more serious point. This may make it sound dry, but it really isn't, in fact that may be what I respect most about it. My subject at university was philosophy, and it was something I found both compelling and actively enjoyable in a way that's kind of difficult to explain to people who don't have that particular mental itch, as it were. Ergo Proxy, possibly more than any other piece of media, captures that kind of feeling (and without require years of study and uncomfortably large student loans).
    And the thing the thing is: even if you don't get the more esoteric subject matter, Ergo Proxy still works. It works very well. Its art direction is top-notch and. while it's certainly a more idea/theme focused story than anything else, this isn't coming at the expense of its characters. Hell, the episode Busy Doing Nothing is a masterclass in terms of humanising its cast.
    I've seen it twice in the last two years, and I will be watching it again in the future.


    Fantastic Children
    Quote Originally Posted by mallorean_thug, in June of 2015
    [...] I did manage to finish Fantastic Children the other day. It was really good [...] Of everybody that posts around here, I think that @Mr. Silver would enjoy it the most. You should really try it out at some point.
    Well mallorean_thug from three years ago, you were right (dunno if he's even on the site anymore, tbh, but hey callbacks).
    Fantastic Children is a very good series, eventually. The first few episodes, while not bad, suffer from being a collection of different plot threads that don't really start connecting with each other until at least 5 episodes into things, and are kind of hard going. Once they do start coming together though, it does turn into a very strong show, with an impressively wide-scope. Invites some ghibli comparisons and manages to hold-up okay to them, which says quite a lot.


    Gankutsuou
    Easily good enough to get on here on its own merits, but if you have read The Count of Monte Christo (which it's probably worth doing if you've got access to it, btw) this is downright fascinating. Of all the adaptations of it I've seen, Ganutsuou is the best thing to be based on it, in large part due to how it differs from the source material it's re-imagining. While the dream-like SF setting may be the most striking change about it, it's the choice of protagonist that fundamentally defines Gankutsuou and its relationship to its source material, re-contextualising much of the narrative and characters, and underpinning the series own tone an theme.
    Not that you need to be aware of this to follow it, of course, but if you do know the source material it's definitely an interesting aspect. Also Joji Nakata's turn as The Count is probably the best role of his entire career to date, and I'm not making that statement likely.


    Kaze no Yojimbo
    Given that, statistically, the odds of anyone reading this have even heard of this one are quite low, I should probably give a brief description of just what this is. So you see it has 'Yojimbo' in the title? Imagine that in an early 2000s setting and you've basically got the premise (for anyone wondering: this series predates Samurai 7 by two years).
    After the initial premise though, things diverge. Kaze no Yojimbo is at its a core a slow-burning mystery drama, with a rather noir-esque tone, and a pretty darn strong one at that. The pacing is methodical and the editing is tight, with the plot - and underlying secrets of the town - revealed slowly as it goes. Its cast are well-realised, as are the secrets the vast majority of them are hiding.
    The main weakness of Kaze no Yojimbo is that it's not a very high budget production. This is most apparent in dialogue scenes, which are often in a style that's immediately obvious, but a little difficult to explain quickly without just looking at it (although if you've seen dialogue scenes in adventure games of the time period, it will probably look familiar to you). While this is a little odd at first, as the series goes on you do get used to it, and there are still some sequences that do manage to be fairly visually striking.


    Moryo no Hako
    Moryo no Hako's inclusion here may on the face of it seem a little odd, as it's the only series here where you could comfortably cut one of the main cast (Enoki, in this case) from the show completely and lose nothing. That isn't as big a knock as it sounds though, as there's more than enough going on with the rest of it to compensate.
    Moryo no Hako (or 'box of goblins', if you'd rather) is probably the single darkest series on this list, a twisted, macabre thriller sitting somewhere between murder-mystery and psychological horror story. While it is quite gruesome in where it goes, it doesn't use this merely to shock, if anything it's more concerned with piling more stress and pressure upon it's cast, until their ability to mentally function starts to come apart and this isn't actually making it sound easier to whatch at all, is it?
    If you do have the stomach for it though, it's quite the thing. For a series this dialogue it has quite a lot going on 'beneath the surface', so to speak. It's also, as far as I can recall, the only anime I've seen to date that directly references Unit 731, which again kind of speaks to what the overal tone of this is (and yes, as far as I've been able to find, it got away with that).


    Natsume's Book of Friends
    Now, I have actually put this series on one of these lists before. But since then Natsume's now gotten up to 6 seasons, so here it is again.
    Yes, it's at 6 seasons, and it's still good. Over 70 episodes in and it's still consistently delivering heartfelt, character-based stories of friendship, loneliness, companionship and loss as effectively as it ever was. It's episodic nature may be helping it somewhat, but it's still kind of remarkable. How long it'll be able to maintain this I can't say, but since it looks entirely like there's at least another series coming I guess we'll see.


    Ouran Highschool Host Club
    Now, the last couple of episodes don't quite work and, while I'm aware this is Japanese and came-out 12 years ago, some of the terminology used is a little uncomfortable these days.
    But you know what? It's still just a really good comedy. It has a great eye for visual humour, and doesn't half-arse anything when it comes to jokes. In fact its commitment to what would otherwise be throwaway gags is kind of amazing. For instance, they didn't technically have to cast Fumihiko Tachiki as Kyoya's father. But they did. Because if you had the opportunity to do that and didn't take it, you would not be committing to the joke. And if you're not committing to the joke, you're not Ouran Highschool Host Club.


    Paranoia Agent
    The other series I've seen twice in the last couple of years. Probably the best thing with Satasho Kon's name on it, and certainly the most complex. The pun there in 'complex' isn't entirely unintentional. Paranoia Agent's complexity is less that of a sophisticated machine, more that of the human psyche: messy, dark, ambiguous and uncomfortable but nonetheless fascinating and kind of beautiful in its own way. There is so much going on here, in its plot and characters the dark ocean of rich theme sauce it's basted in, that the issue is not so much knowing what to talk about as knowing where to start. I could write an essay's worth of text on any one aspect of the series, although in the interests of space and not running into board-unsafe territory (e.g. topics of suicide, self-harm, sexual assault, historical revisionism as it relates to modern Japanese politics) I'm not going to go into it in this post.
    Animation-wise it's everything you'd expect. A perfect blend of realism and surrealism, tightly edited and expertly directed and just as packed with meaning and detail as the rest of the script.


    Parasyte: The Maxim
    I was not expecting this to be as good as it was. Good monster design, yes (although not as good as it turned out to be) and pretty well animated, but not as good overall as it was. I was absolutely not expecting it to be the the sort of series that would include discussions on the validity of applying human standards of ethics to sapient but non-human entities, but that's what Parasyte does. Repeatedly. Not badly done discussions either. Also worth noting is the soundtrack, which I think is probably the best case for dubstep/drum'n'bass as a score's main genre as you're ever going to find.
    This is not to say it's perfect, by any stretch. Quite a few of the side-character are under-developed and under-utilised and the series itself does slip into a bit of a holding pattern for a few episodes around the midpoint, but those aren't fatal flaws by any stretch. The fact is it could very well have gotten away with being a lot less smart and with putting in a fair bit less effort than it ended-up, but went ahead and did it anyway. And that, I think, is something worth commending.


    Princess Tutu
    So, I could just say this is as good as you've probably already heard it is and leave it at that, but I'm not going to. Because there's a particular aspect of this series that gets fairly little attention, which is that Princess Tutu is kind of a 'lit crit' series, and a very well-done one. That this isn't mentioned much is maybe not that surprising, since most series that lean into that territory tend have those elements go over most people's heads (e.g. Blast of Tempest), and you don't need to be that aware of it to follow what the series is doing anyway, but it is notable for a couple of reasons.
    First: it's not all that subtextual about it. The fact that Drosselmeyer, the author of the story-with-the-story, is dead isn't merely a clever joke, that piece of literary theory is intregal to the series' underlying themes and why its plot goes the way it does (especially in the last act).
    Second: Princess Tutu is a children's series. What it does would be considered as having a fair amount of repespect for its audience's intelligence if that audience were adults, and this is a show that was originally aimed at kids.


    The Tatami Galaxy
    If you've seen it, you'll know why it's here, and if you haven't you probably should put it on your watch list at some point. All hyperbole aside it's just an suberbly done series. It's smart, it's funny, it's insightful, it's creative and it's incredibly strong on all aspects of visual direction. Lightning fast-paced nigh-absurdist comedy, but still retains a strong sense of character and heart to it. Also probably contains the best dick joke in animation.


    Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
    One of the sadly numerous 'overlooked gems' of the late 2000s, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a highly competent real-world disaster series (which is a weirdly rare genre in animation, to be honest) and, despite a rather sentimental tone, one of the most vicious tearjerkers out there. I'm not being hyperbolic with that statement. I spotted one particular plot point coming about 4 episodes before it happened, so that by the time it did land I was able to call exactly how it played out which did absolutely nothing to prevent it from reducing me to an emotional wreck.


    Uta Koi
    One more comedy series to the list. Animation-wise it's fairly low-budget, but it's smart, witty and with a pretty distinctive premise: anachronistic looks at the lives of the 100 poets whose work made-up the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu. Jokes are good throughout, and if you ever wanted to see Murasaki Shikibu as a kind of Heian Period Virginia Woolf then you have weirdly specific interests, but Uta Koi has you covered.


    Zettai Shounen
    Zettai Shounen is kind of a difficult series to describe, because it's almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the sort of series that you would imagine would be called "Zettai Shounen". Its opening titles don't really resemble the actual series all that much. But therein lies the rub: there aren't a lot of things that do resemble Zettai Shounen all that much.
    Part of this is because it is practically a diptych: the second half taking place in a different location to the first half with a different group of protagonists. More of this has to do with tone: it's by and large a melancholic, quiet, atmospheric series and quite slow-paced to boot. But most of it is down to how it's story is told.
    Zettai Shounen shares a lot of its creative team with .Hack//sign, and in some ways feels like a better realised version of the storytelling methods the latter was attempting. What that means in practice is that Zettai Shounen's story is brought out through quite subtle methods. Conversations between characters, but just as much what isn't being said as what is explicitly in the dialogue. For instance, there is one scene where the breakdown of a romantic relationship is communicated to the audience by one character's change in facial expression due to what suffix another character applies to the name of a third party.
    The most striking method, though, is in how the series is shot. More so than basically any other series that isn't FLAG, Zettai Shounen feels like something that was filmed by a camera that was somehow contained within the scenes. There's a sense of weight to how it pans and transitions with the end result being that, after a while, you start to feel as if you're actually there yourself. It gives a sense of intimacy to the cinematography and also a sensation of almost voyeurism, as if you're somehow eavesdropping on the characters' conversations.
    It's really not something I can recall experiencing before or even since in an animated series, and would probably be worth looking at just for that, even if the story it was telling wasn't quite robust. Which, barring a couple of episodes, it is.




    So yeah, that's it. Honestly, I could have put in a couple more titles in there, but given how long that went decided against it. Might do an 'honourable mentions' follow-up if the thread's looking slow at some point later, perhaps.
    Last edited by Mr.Silver; 2018-03-18 at 09:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gomipile View Post
    Could the group please recommend some anime/manga/LN which show the main characters' courtship for a significant but minority part of the series, then show their established relationship for the rest of the series? I'm not just looking for realistic slice-of-life stories. High fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, etc., any subgenre is perfectly acceptable as long as the main two characters develop a romantic relationship in the initial part, then continue that relationship for the entire rest of the series.
    These are quite rare! I remember trying to find these years ago, and had some luck.

    Itazura na kiss starts as a high school show, and follows the cast's lives for several years, ending with them being young, employed adults. It's exaggerated, and I imagine some of the stereotypes would be even more annoying now than they were back when I watched it, but it fulfills the premise.

    Lovely Complex is a romcom of about 24 episodes. It has very funny character-based comedy, with well-written romance parts. Various characters hook up with each other, and the last episodes (maybe 7 or so?) basically focus on realistic relationship problems high school couples face around and after graduating - differing plans, moving away, career plans, having to balance work and studies and relationships, etc.

    Spice and Wolf couple doesn't really hook up in the anime, but they start as partners in business and end up as close friends worried about whether to take the next step because their future plans are so different. It's a slow economic, medieval show, with the story arcs basically following the structures of heist stories. Except, instead of stealing, it's all about stuff like devalvation, stock market and futures investments.

    There's a short show called REC or [REC] that might be hard to find these days. It's about two young adults who spent the night together, and end up as co-workers, but aren't quite sure if they want to be together. It's not exactly what you asked for, but handles similar themes. It's about working in voice acting / advertisements / etc.

    Along the same lines, there are some shows about adult characters first spending time together (e.g. as coworkers, living together) and then getting together. Their interactions before officially getting together could basically show them as a couple, any way. Again, it's not exactly what you want, but it has similar themes.
    Miss Kobayashi's Maid Dragon is basically this. Dragons-masquerading-as-humans are used to view normal life through a stranger's view, and as stand-ins for queer couples in Japan, and for honestly funny comedy sketches.
    Miss Kobayashi is an overworked programmer who starts living with a dragon as a maid/"housewife", and soon another as an adopted daughter, and more dragons in her circle of friends & acquaintances. The story ignores dating, but shows them learning to care for each other and living together. Unfortunately, the otherwise fantastic show also has a recurring joke/side plot of a young boy being basically sexually harassed by a character whose personality is "my boobs are big".

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamikasei View Post
    Speaking of stuff to watch, I took a look ahead to next season and, oh boy, it's not going to give me a chance to relax and catch up on things I missed, huh?

    Golden Kamuy and Hinamatsuri are both based on manga friends of mine adore, so those are must-watches unless they actively turn me off. Steins;Gate 0, Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, and Amanchu! Advance are all in on the strength of previous instalments.

    Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii looks interesting, but I don't know much about it compared to the above. I haven't caught up in the previous season (I'm up to date in the manga so the anime isn't a high priority), but I'll probably watch Boku no Hero Academia S3 eventually. I'll be interested in Legend of the Galactic Heroes: die Neue These if it's supposed to be usable as a jumping-on point for the franchise. And I hear that SAO Alternative actually works as a manga in ways the original doesn't, plus the premise is kind of amusing, so I'll give that a chance.

    And of course, I assume we'll all be watching the standout star of the season, Uma Musume: Pretty Derby?
    You forgot about Chio Chan no Tsuugakuro

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    Quote Originally Posted by endoperez View Post
    Miss Kobayashi's Maid Dragon is basically this. Dragons-masquerading-as-humans are used to view normal life through a stranger's view, and as stand-ins for queer couples in Japan, and for honestly funny comedy sketches.
    Miss Kobayashi is an overworked programmer who starts living with a dragon as a maid/"housewife", and soon another as an adopted daughter, and more dragons in her circle of friends & acquaintances.
    She's not overworked, she's literally addicted to work. Like "Day off? Nah, need at least 8 daily hours of work."

    Quote Originally Posted by endoperez View Post
    The story ignores dating, but shows them learning to care for each other and living together. Unfortunately, the otherwise fantastic show also has a recurring joke/side plot of a young boy being basically sexually harassed by a character whose personality is "my boobs are big".
    Trivia, the manga's author has another manga where"a young boy tiny man being basically sexually harassed by a character whose personality is ´my boobs are big´" is basically the whole plot. So it seems like it's the author's personal fetish and he'll be damned if he doesn't include harassing big boobs character.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fri View Post
    You forgot about Chio Chan no Tsuugakuro
    That's not out until July.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    She's not overworked, she's literally addicted to work. Like "Day off? Nah, need at least 8 daily hours of work."
    Eh, she never really felt like either. The one time it's brought up is for Kanna's athletic competition at school. And if I recall, she just had a project that needed to be done and she couldn't take off work for it. Not even "get off work on time", actually taking off work to go.
    Last edited by Pendulous; 2018-03-19 at 04:57 AM.

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    I haven't actually read that far myself but Jitsu wa Watashi wa apparently has them in a relationship after a point. don't know how far the anime gets.

    Hiromiya? Though I think after a point it got weaker.

    Kare kano counts I guess.

    Things about them actually being a couple for more than a few chapters are already rare but it not starting with them as a couple or with them becoming a couple in the first chapter makes it hard.
    Last edited by Ibrinar; 2018-03-19 at 08:33 AM.

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    Default Re: General Anime/Manga Discussion 15: The Beach Episode

    Quote Originally Posted by endoperez View Post

    Unfortunately, the otherwise fantastic show also has a recurring joke/side plot of a young boy being basically sexually harassed by a character whose personality is "my boobs are big".
    Pretty much why I dropped dragon maid before it even got to that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drascin View Post
    Girl's Last Tour
    Might have to give it a try then. I don't mind it when characters get philosophical.

    As for what I've been watching:

    Lupin the Third: part 4 was excellent (even though it proves I'm two years behind on current anime trends .)
    Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, well...If you told me that a show about hitmen, baseball, and a crossdressing baseball hitman was going to be my favorite anime this season, I wouldn't have believed you.
    Darling in the Franxx... I dunno, very mixed feelings on this one. I'm giving it one more episode to impress me but I think I may still drop it. I feel it just takes itself too seriously for what it is and it makes me feel uncomfortable somehow.
    Konosuba: Season two didn't end as strongly as one as one but it's still nice whenever the isekai genre is given the beating it deserves.
    AAAand I should still finish JJBA part 4 at some point. If only to see the next brilliant gambit Kochi or Josuke can pull out their asses.
    Last edited by Doorhandle; 2018-03-22 at 03:30 AM.
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    Surprised by the lack of mention that the schedule for the new FLCL was announced. FLCL Progressive – June and FLCL Alternative – September. Also a new trailer. https://youtu.be/lleTz_DQTh4
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