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Katanagari full review
Katanagatari is an oddity. Its pace, art, story, dialogue, fights and characters are all different form regular standards. Though I think it's accessible to a younger public I'd say it definitely qualifies as a seinen.
The pace can feel slow or not depending on what you're expecting. It's not very action packed, so if you're mostly interested in the fighting part, you'll probably get bored or frustrated pretty quickly. On the other hand, if you're sensitive to the immersive story and universe that unfolds upon you in a poetic fashion, you may find that the rhythm is perfectly on point.
There are a lot of dialogues, maybe a tiny bit too much for me in some instances but they're usually atypical and sometimes get captivating, funny or gripping. It's actually one of the main aspects of this series, it can feel very light at times, almost feeling like a shonen, but it also get very gripping, intense, dramatic and contemplative. The quantity and length of the dialogues reinforces the storytelling dimension of the series.
There isn't a lot of fighting but I really enjoyed how they handled that part. The fights are deeply rooted to the story and the characters which make them all very unique and sometimes epically great even if the sequence is very short.
Katanagatari is an extraordinary show in a literal sense and I really enjoyed the unique storytelling. The first episode gives you a good idea of the tone and ambiance of the series and I think it's probably useless to keep going if you didn't like it at all. If you loved it and were captivated, buckle up and you're in for a wonderful ride!
As for me, 9.25/10 is how much I liked this show, chesto...I mean, cheerio !
Legion so far.
"David Haller is a troubled young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, but after a strange encounter, he discovers special powers that will change his life forever." That's the synopsis from IMDb and it's all you need to know really.
I've only seen up until episode 7 but I figured it was enough to give my initial thoughts and feelings on this peculiar show. NO SPOILERS.
Legion is one of these show that takes a pretty known universe/genre but does thing completely differently than what you're used to. Many characters are peculiar, preposterous and so are many situations. Generally speaking, the show has this very original approach that puts it in a whole other category. Maybe what's struck me the most is the directing and editing, how the music is used with the images to give this truly outstanding result.
You may not like this show, it's definitely not for everyone, but you should be able to tell very quickly is it is made for you or not. Indeed, if the plot reveals its intricacies throughout the episodes, the pilot gives you a good idea of what to expect from the get go.
Legion is definitely trippy at times, contemplative, character driven and I'm certain a lot of work and love has been put into this series. As a comparison, I had kind of a similar feeling when I watched the British series "Utopia". My mind was a bit blown away by how different the show was from what I was used to.
If you're not into marvel recent series like Daredevil, Luke Cage etc, and think everything comics related is not for you, you should give this one a try, you might be surprised.
Then again, given the peculiarity, it is likely that most people will either love or hate the show as shown by the usual review battle you're witnessing right now.
Sherlock: The Final Problem (2017)
I was very surprised by this episode as I was expecting something very different for a finale.
This episode had things that I liked : As usual the film editing and visuals were great and refreshing. The performance of the actors felt powerful to me, an oh yeah it felt really amazing to see Moriarty, especially his entrance. I also liked some moments that the main characters shared, namely Sherlock, Watson and Mycroft.
The main thing that I disliked about the episode is THE PLOT as well as the writing oh this character of Eureus Holmes. Over the years, we've had a number of characters, sometimes antagonists sometimes not, displaying a high or very high level of intellectual abilities, other than Sherlock I mean.
I really hoped the show would do something different for the finale. Instead you get this character of Eureus that is so "clever" that she's been able to "enslave" or "reprogram" everyone that she has talked to which is such a stupid idea from the get go. I don't care how clever you are, you can't just enslave anyone that talks to you for a few minutes or even hours. My main problem with this episode is this, I really have a hard time to swallow that anyone, no matter how clever they are could gradually gain control of a facility of that kind just because ooooh they're so clever they're now controlling everyone, it doesn't make ANY SENSE.
The other issue I have is linked to that idea. How did that girl became such a psychopath ? It's never explained nor hinted at. There's the whole idea of the feeling of loneliness she has because apparently she's so clever at the age of 6 that she can't relate to anyone or have any friends. But that alone doesn't explain why she would coldly murder a six year old kid in such manner. I mean I get the intellectual thing but that kid his just frickin' creepy and it's never explained why.
So yeah, I actually enjoyed some moments and ideas of this episode and I love Sherlock as a whole but I just deeply regret this choice to try and make yet another supposedly clever/mastermind character that is so great he can control everyone he talks to, A STUPID IDEA.
I'm not too disappointed about it being the finale as Sherlock provided a number of great episodes over the year and it kinda feel like watching a series of film rather than an actual series. I thoroughly enjoyed this show and I thank the whole crew for this epic adventure.
Penny Dreadful (2014)
Penny Dreadful, a dark and poetic tale set during the Victorian era.
This will review will be covering the series from S01E01 to S03E03.
NO SPOILERS. I will not talk about the plot, it's not easy to summarize and I believe it's best to just read the synopsis before watching the show.
As with any form of art, the appreciation of the material, the emotions it will or will not arouse in the viewer is highly subjective. It is something I like to stress in my reviews.
That being said, I'll talk about the things that I find valuable and hopefully give you some idea as to whether it's a good fit for you.
The show is one of those that gets better and better with time. The second season surpassed the first and the third is on her way to go even further.
One of the things that fascinated me is its universe. The atmosphere, the setting, the characters and the story create a unique dark, yet poetic and almost wistful tone that I find captivating. It is sometimes violent, bloody, but not in a gratuitous glamorized way.
The performances are great. Josh Hartnett's character and his story line never cease to grow. That fact is reflected in is acting which is fantastic even if he is not given a chance to truly shine in the first episodes. He later delivers truly powerful scenes and his character is much more interesting than what he seems at first glance. Eva Green is incredible. Somehow captivating even during simple casual scenes and truly breathtaking in strong emotional ones. I'd easily put her in my list of most impressive and wide-ranging actors if I had one. I'd probably also put her in the list of actresses I'd happily marry but I'm getting off topic. The dynamic of those two character's relationship is my favourite and bring about remarkable scenes.
No surprises from Timothy Dalton who embodies his character with such talent that I don't even think of him as playing a part when I'm watching the show. Other actors like Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper, Harry Treadaway and Reeve Carney are impeccable which allow them to deliver convincing, heavy and at times poignant scenes. Special mention to Helen McCrory, who gives an outstanding and intoxicating performance in season two. *add her to the list of women I'd happily marry*
There's only two elements that I've experienced as slight flaws. The first is the plot. I'm not talking about the broader story or the underlying theme which are great. Merely about the way some of this story his delivered throughout the series. Some scenes didn't interest me at all and I got a bit bored at times. However, the second season almost entirely erased that small flaw, conveying a more coherent and enthralling tale in each episode as well as as a whole.
In many ways, the second seasons is better than the first in my opinion. The crew's perfected their material, gaining in experience, clarity, vision and skill. It's easy to tell that the show is constantly growing, as many great promising shows do. (have "Black Sails" in mind)
I believe the second will not be shared by many : it's not scary enough for my tastes... The way they depict the creatures does not really work for me. For instance, I experienced my encounter with the first "monsters" we see as a major let down. I didn't find them that frightening, menacing or convincing.
It's not a huge flaw but it does takes a bit away from the experience as you're supposed to get that feeling of darkness and fear. That aspect is treated in a much more convincing way by other means that the creatures themselves. The arc with the Nightcomers, the cut-wife and the events around it in the second season worked really well for me.
Apart from that, I believe that the interest of the show also lies in the beautiful, poetic aura that exude from it. Via the story, the characters, the performances as well as a beautiful soundtrack and scenery. Well the decors, landscapes or range of the story are not on par with something like Game of Thrones obviously. But I don't believe there is any other TV show that'd be able to do that. Still, they're doing great with what they have and the third season is taking a substantial step up with a broader map, outline and scenery.
Finally, what the show is really about is its character's inner demons, which is this world can materialize themselves in many ways. About them running from their past, their fears, their pain, chasing after their lost, fighting back, trying to find redemption, some peace and maybe a bit of love and happiness. Do not expect a pure horror flick with scary monsters, witch hunters, magic swords and exploding crossbow bolts. It's much more than that. The psyche of the characters run deep and will take you to compelling, dark yet sometimes surprisingly bright places.
If you really disliked the first episode, there's no point in watching more of it. I doubt it's gonna magically turn into something you love. If you're hesitant, if you're not totally convinced by the first couple of episodes, I'd suggest keeping on watching for a little while, you might be pleasantly surprised by further developments.
What about you ? Do you believe there is a demimonde ? A half world between what we know and what we fear ? A place in the shadows, rarely seen but deeply felt ? Do you believe that ?
Kotetsujo no Kabaneri (2016)
Kotetsujo no Kabaneri
This anime is visually appealing and the animation is top notch. I heard it was made by the same team that adapted Attack on Titan and that became too obvious too quickly.
The protagonists live in a post-apocalyptic world. Something must have happened and they are now the prey of zombie-like creatures called Akabane. It seems to be some kind of disease that's passed through blood/bites, but we don't know how or why it appeared. I say zombie- like but don't get the wrong idea. Their physical abilities are not normal. In terms of strength, toughness, speed, agility and overall physical prowess, they're beyond human. They just behave like zombies, being seemingly brain dead, drawn towards human flesh or just murdering them.
The hero, Ikoma, suffered through a childhood trauma that made him determined to fight and kill the Akabane (rings a bell right?). He'll be living through another experience that's gonna change him and meet Mumei, a ridiculously strong girl that looks like a child and probably is.
To be fair, this show has its own identity, a unique environment, characters, setting... But considering this one is not adapted from another source like AOT (manga), it feels a bit cheap to come up with that many similar plot lines. The soundtrack and the way it's used is also very reminiscent of Attack on Titan. It looks like they tried to replicate a good formula to do something with this anime. Not sure what or why, but considering there is a lot of people waiting for a the second season of AOT, it really begs the question.
The first 3 episodes didn't fascinate me, I wasn't as much into it as I expected. To me, the characters's attributes came of as stereotyped, the hero as generic, very similar to Eren yet somehow boring.I don't care much for him whereas I found Eren likable and was able to be invested in what happened to his character.
I also found his partner Mumei to be quite conventional. A sort of seemingly insensitive, obnoxious, cool-looking overpowered fighter that beats the frak out of him instead of using words or at least adequate use of her force. The girl beating on the male protagonist on every whim she has is overused in animes, usually as comic relief, here I'm not sure why but either way I've never been found of it.
I'm Not sure where they are going with this Kabaneri thing and their thirst for human blood, maybe it will bring something interesting, but right now I don't really care.
The show has some strong qualities and some weak points in my opinion. If you're not annoyed by the redundancies with AOT and If you really like the the main protagonists, you should be able to enjoy it more than I do. If not, you'll probably feel like me and see it as an alluring but kinda shallow show that won't get your hopes up very much. That being said, it'd be premature of me to make a definitive opinion after 3 episodes only so I will keep on watching to see if how it develops and hopefully grows on me.
Overall I still enjoy this anime. Would have given it a 7.5 if I could but it does not reach an 8 in my heart. It does bring some good things to the table, like the railway system that gives off this fast pace rhythm and a kind of intensity to some scenes. I was just expecting something different and was not as fascinated as I was by Attack on Titan.
It's all very subjective and I'd recommend people to give it a try. You should be able to tell if the show is meant for you after watching a couple of episodes.
I think that making a comparison with AOT is really fair considering the circumstances. The same teams is behind both animes and there are obvious similarities concerning major fundamental plot lines so it does make sense.
As for me, I enjoyed the beginning of AOT more than this one. I felt greater depth, better character development, better plot, more dramatic intensity and I liked the soundtrack better. How about you ? Watch and find out.