Anime Expo Announces Screening of Kase-san and Morning Glories

Don’t miss this premiere at AX!

Anime Expo keeps up the momentum with another big announcement!

Earlier today on their official website, AX announced that they will be premiering the anime Kase-san and Morning Glories at a special screening,  attended by director Takuya Sato and producer Yusuke Terada. The anime will be shown on Sunday, June 8 at 12:30 pm in room LP2.

Based on the original work from Hiromi Takashima, this release will feature animation produced by ZEXCS (Say “I love you”, Rental Magica, Sister Princess). The series is currently licensed in North America by Seven Seas Entertainment who describe the series as:

Kase-san and Morning Glories is the debut release of Hiromi Takashima’s ongoing yuri series about a high school romance between the clumsy, flower-adoring Yamada and the exuberant Kase-san, the school’s track and field star.

Regardless of how you feel about yuri content, this looks like a movie that plans to play it right down the middle and tell an honest, coming-of-age story, much like other important titles such as Wandering Son.

It’s always great to see something progressive come out of Japan, and I’m certain that this title will be no exception.

Funimation Announces June 30 License Expiration for Shiki

Shiki Leaves the Funi Catalog This Month

This is news that a few of us already knew about but wasn’t widely reported on until Funimation made it official yesterday via social media. If you’ve never seen the vampire horror series Shiki, you have until June 30 before it disappears off Funimation’s catalog.

The series first premiered in Summer 2010 and was licensed by Funimation a few days before it premiered. While it rarely gets brought up as one of the best horror series ever, those who have seen it know that they watched something special even if they didn’t truly appreciate it at the time.

Funimation describes it as:

As citizens of a secluded village die off in alarming numbers, the head doctor tries desperately to save them—but his efforts are in vain. Panic and disillusionment run rampant as loved ones’ corpses rise from the grave with an insatiable thirst for human blood. Haunting and hallucinogenic, Shiki stares into the hearts of both the hunter and the hunted—and blurs the line between man and monster.

This just serves as a reminder that licenses don’t last forever so if you want to watch something or buy something, strike while the iron is hot. Remember Baccano? It goes for over $200 on Amazon right now. Black Butler? Almost $100.

Shiki is about to join an elite group of series that never got their time in the spotlight. Series such as FLAG, Petite Princess Yucie, Now and Then Here and There, and others are part of this special club and sadly Shiki is becoming one of them. At least it’s still up on Crunchyroll.

DARLING in the FRANXX, Episode 21

A lot of stories don’t commit to their themes, in my opinion. They’ll mention them from time to time, do some tapdancing around them, but then hold them at arm’s length when it’s convenient; when the theme calls for a gesture too big, too bold, for them to convincingly sell to the audience. DARLING in the FRANXX committed, has always been committed really, and I love it for that.

Let’s go through this in some detail, since that seemed to work pretty well last time. VIRM assimilates the last of the human APE members, and an indeterminate number of other humans, into their collective. The way they define their way of life is intriguing: “There is a form of pleasure that is gentle and perpetual.” Gentle and perpetual…so pretty much the opposite of an orgasm, then? As the ultimate enemy on a show all about sex, VIRM is thoroughly anti-conception; it even pulls life in, instead of pushing it out.

Left with no other options, Hiro uses Strelizia to bond with the Klaxosaur Princess and sees inside her mind; in theory, this should probably drive him insane, but I like this episode so much I’m not going to make an issue out of it. Somehow, he processes the eons of time that the princess spent alone, before humans were there. It’s pretty similar to what his own life was like before he met Zero Two, only much, much longer.

Our kiddos in Squad 13 are smart enough to realize that the battle between the Klaxosaurs and VIRM is no longer about them, and there’s no point in wasting their energy fighting either of them. This is why Werner Franxx raised them this way, allowed them to value their own lives; so when this day came, when it was no longer clear why they were fighting, they’d ask the right questions. Okay, it’s mainly Ichigo who catches on fast here, but the other kids don’t take much convincing to see things her way. I bet all those people who said mean things about Ichigo and her voice actress earlier in the series feel really stupid now, as they should.

It’s kind of funny how the Klaxosaurs basically ignore the Franxx at this point. Everybody’s got better things to do.

Kokoro says that no matter who the enemy is, all she can do is fight. Amidst all the craziness of this episode, there’s a great little moment where Mitsuru seems to know what she’s saying is ironic somehow, but doesn’t know why. He doesn’t remember, but he viscerally knows that there’s something else that she can do.

Dr. Franxx helpfully informs us why the world hasn’t already ended: the self-destruct program was meant to work on Strelizia in Stampede Mode (what happens when a pistil, usually Zero Two in the past, operates a Franxx by themselves), but now that Hiro’s there, Strelizia is still in “normal” mode, whatever that is. Union is currently saving the world; if the princess hadn’t taken Hiro with her more or less on a whim, the planet would be gone already.

Zero Two reaches the area where Franxx and Hachi are monitoring the situation, and promptly faints. Well, it looked like she lost about 50 gallons of blood on the way there, so I guess it’s be expected. When she regains consciousness, she asks Dr. Franxx why the princess called her a “fake,” and here’s where I start to get a little confused. Because I was 99% sure, based on what we’ve seen so far, that Franxx made Zero Two by combining the princess’ DNA with his own, making her their daughter. However, here Franxx says that Zero Two is just “a clone” of the princess, with no mention of his own genes playing any role. He could just be being vague, but considering that Franxx has pretty much been telling the truth about everything lately, it seems odd that he would lie to her now.

I like the idea of Zero Two being a child of Franxx and the Princess a lot more than her being a clone; it works better with the themes of the series, and it also helps explain why Zero Two doesn’t look all that much like the princess. However, I suppose the specific way Franxx created her is really a minor detail at this point.

The Princess gives us a little more background on how the Klaxo Sapiens evolved to fight VIRM, with one curious detail. Last time, she said that the male Klaxo Sapiens evolved into magma, and the females evolved into weapons. This time, she says that the “weak” evolved into magma and the strong became weapons. An inconsistency, or insight into the Klaxo Sapien worldview? If they were a matriarchal society, they might consider men to be “the weak.”

The Nines turn out to be clones of 02, which is maybe another clue that when the doctor says “clone,” he doesn’t mean creating a literal copy. The Nines all have different appearances and don’t look like Zero Two much, so I think his version of cloning may involve mixing in whatever DNA he has on hand just for the hell of it. Speaking of the Nines, they’re busy fighting the last war; they were raised to fight the Klaxosaurs, and that’s what they’re going to do, even if it no longer makes any sense, because they weren’t raised to think.

There’s a gruesome moment where one of the Nines’ mechs is brutally ripped about by VIRM drones, killing her. This is one of those times that the show is again referencing something from the past, because the scene is very reminiscent of what happens to Asuka and her mech (also called Zero Two, come to think of it) in The End of Evangelion. What’s interesting is, making that connection to Evangelion kind of put up a barrier between me and what was being shown. When it started happening, I thought “Oh, this is an obvious homage to that one scene in EOE,” so I wasn’t thinking about the person being ripped to shreds inside the mech.

Hmm…where have I seen this before…it’ll come to me, I’m sure. Something about people turning into Tang?

I wonder; people have been talking about this show’s frequent homages to Eva and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and some have concluded that Darling is a ripoff because of that. I wonder if the purpose of these homages the whole time was to create the kind of distance I experienced above. Not to save my delicate sensibilities from violence and gore (although I appreciate it), but to call our attention to the fact that we’re actually watching a play.

This may seem like a strange connection to make, but please stay with me here for a moment: it’s like watching the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2010 film version of Hamlet, with David Tennant as the lead. You’re not really paying that much attention to the story, because it’s freakin’ Hamlet; if you care enough to watch an RSC production in the first place, you likely know the story backwards and forwards already. What you really pay attention to is what’s been changed; the modern clothes, the way technology is utilized, the way Tennant is playing the most batshit insane Hamlet you’ve ever seen, and it might be over the top, but it might also be closer to Shakespeare’s actual intent with the character.

We know the beats in these mecha stories: Eva and it’s legion of copies taught us, Gurren Lagann further refined the formula. This is the latest iteration of that same kind of story and we’re not supposed to be watching expecting a brand new play. We’re supposed to be paying attention to what’s changed; What’s different now from 20 years ago in Eva? What’s different now from 10 years ago in Gurren Lagann?

Anyway, Zero Two could give a rat’s ass about the finer points of the situation, because she’s loaded up on fluids now and ready to go rescue her Darling. Since cementing her bond with Hiro, she seems to have reached this evolved state where she knows exactly what’s worth caring about and what isn’t; perhaps it’s the clarity one can achieve before death. She’s so fearless and beautiful here, and you kind of wish everyone in the world had their own Zero Two to come rescue them when things got bad; then again, if everyone had their own Zero Two, things wouldn’t get bad in the first place.

Surprisingly, Dr. Franxx decides to go with 02 to save Hiro, and Ichigo’s team shows up just in time to get them where they need to be. I’d say that was awfully convenient timing, but let’s face it; it’s not like Squad 13 had anywhere else to go at this point, so it’s pretty plausible that they’d show up around now. Dr. Franxx jostles, but does not break, the fourth wall, in an attempt to make us all like him at the last minute. It’s pretty damn effective.

Squad 13 has to deal with some VIRM vermin and physical obstacles on their way to Star Entity; it didn’t feel tedious at all while I was watching it, but going over it in detail feels unnecessary. Basically, Ikuno seemingly uses up her life force in one desperate move to clear Zero Two’s path, and Ichigo and Goro appear to die in the process of taking out the last invader. I wouldn’t count those two out just yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they actually were dead; I think this show has been signalling for a long time that the only two lives that really NEED to continue in this story are Mitsuru and Kokoro (and I’m not even sure about Mitsuru.)

Then we get a scene which seems ridiculous on the face of it, which is Hiro explaining to the Klaxosaur Princess the concepts of love and friendship. Yes Hiro, I’m sure this 60-million-plus year old being really needs to know what your 15-year-old self just learned in the past two months. I think it makes sense if you keep in mind that the Princess probably knew this, but between the Klaxo Sapiens warlike evolution and millennia of solitude, she’s forgotten. So Hiro’s not really telling her anything she doesn’t know; she’s being reminded of things she’s been afraid to remember.

Hringhorni, the giant spear made of Klaxosaurs by APE, is being stolen by VIRM; I know it’s a Checkov’s Gun situation and that thing is probably going to be very important in the last three episodes, but I kind of wish it would just fly off into space and we never see it again. Go to the moon, keep the Lance of Longinus company.

Franxx has some of the princess’ cells on his person, so he’s able to bypass the “Only Klaxosuar Princess Can Use This Door” rule at Star Entity. Those crazy scientists; give one of them a sexy look, next thing you know they’re running around with your DNA for decades and copying it all over the place. Franxx then all but confirms that he took Zero Two to Plantation 13 deliberately to reunite her with Hiro, which does a lot to redeem Zero Two and Hiro’s all-too-convenient backstory for me. It’s one thing if Zero Two and Hiro met as children and were lucky enough to stumble into each other again years later, quite different if the person in charge was deliberately manipulating events.

Franxx apologizes to Zero Two, expecting her to hate him. Instead she thanks him for creating her, and allowing her to meet her Darling. Franxx then muses that she’s become very human, which rings a bit ironic to me; how often does a human child say to their parent “Thank you for making me?” No kid does that. The giant Klaxosaur the princess was using as a ride takes Zero Two to the center of Star Entity, sacrificing itself in the process.

You have to wonder what this lady’s story is; just another tiny piece of the puzzle that we’ll never know.

Zero Two reaches the cockpit of Strelizia to find an either already dead, or nearly-dead Hiro, and reverts to her full-on Klaxosaur form. Having seen Zero Two in Hiro’s mind, the princess is now ready to accept her as a successor. Their horns join, another form of union, and whatever’s left of the princess merges with Zero Two; she kisses her Darling.

How does a kiss stop the self-destruct sequence? Because love changes you. When Zero Two and Hiro kissed, Strelizia shed it’s skin like a caterpillar and became something new. The self-destruct sequence no longer applied, because that was a condition placed on the old version of Strelizia, who’s been obliterated. I know this idea that love can change you may seem hard to believe if you haven’t experienced it, but it’s true; I can hardly recognize myself from ten years ago. Maybe it’s an awfully convenient way to stop a cataclysmic explosion, but if you don’t buy that a kiss can save the world, I don’t think you’ve been on board with the story Trigger’s been trying to tell all along. From the first moment, it’s all been about the two birds that can only fly together.

Hiro and Zero Two have a meeting of the minds, returning to the snowy glen where they bonded as children. Hiro says he missed her, and it’s like dude, you just saw her like three hours ago. But what can you do? That’s how young lovers are. Plus, Hiro has just experienced eternity via the Princess’ mind, so for him, I guess it really has been a long time.

I’m glad the two of them get this moment together, this moment of happiness and perfect understanding. It makes what’s about to happen more tolerable, though still painful.

Strelizia takes over Star Entity and becomes a super-mech, easily devastating the VIRM forces; VIRM manages to get away with Hringhorni, but give up on assimilating the rest of Earth’s technology after losing so many of their forces. I wonder though; haven’t they already been successful? It seems like they absorbed an awful lot of humans early in the episode. Are the only remaining humans the parasites? It’s not clear if the human population even exists anymore. In any case, VIRM has been defeated for the day, but they’re coming back. With their entire army.

And now humanity is screwed, because only Strelizia Apus can fight VIRM, and only Zero Two can operate Strelizia Apus, and Zero Two appears to be dead from the strain of everything that’s just happened. I’m torn here; part of me wants Zero Two to be alive, because I like the character a lot. But I also feel like her dying here is something that needs to happen; I’m going to feel kind of cheated if next episode reveals that she’s only in a coma or something. Remember, in the second OP, Zero Two disappears a few seconds before Hiro does; the writing’s been on the wall.

So…now what? Whoever’s left from Squad 13 is going to have to try to save the world from the return of VIRM, but what’s even left of the world at this point? Does Hiro even think a world without Zero Two is worth saving?

VIRM said they’re coming back, but they seem to think in terms of geological time, so they may not actually return for eons. Therefore we could get a timeskip, just like Gurren Lagann, and as illustrated above, I think it’s more likely to happen because it was already done in Gurren Lagann. Maybe in episode 22, it will be thousands of years later, and we’ll be seeing the world created by Kokoro and Mitsuru’s children; there are worse things. It’s hard to imagine staying in the present, because there’s nothing left here; only Hiro and his grief.

I think I’ll still be thinking about this episode for a long time. It feels like Studio Trigger finally did what they’ve been trying to do for years; they got close with Space Patrol Luluco, but there was a limit to what that show could do as a comedic short. This is the emotional resonance that mostly eluded Kiznaiver, that only worked intermittently in Kill La Kill. I feel almost proud of Trigger for pulling this off, but it’s not a uniformly positive feeling; part of me wants them to go back to making shows about school uniforms from space shredding each other, because this was exhausting. Just as VIRM was completely out of their depth with Zero Two, I don’t know if I can handle a fully-awakened Studio Trigger.

Three New Summer Anime Promotional Videos Hit the Web

Three promotional videos hit the internet within the last day or so and we’re going to watch all three of them!

First up, we have the one that’s whole name is steeped in irony, Happy Sugar Life. This trailer is titled the “Painful” version for a reason. Yes, that’s right. This is 15 seconds of hot yandere action. Enjoy!

The series premieres on July 13 and features animation from studio Ezo’la while Nobuyoshi Nagayama is directing. The story is described as:

High-schooler Matsuzaka Satou has a reputation for being easy, but one day her lifestyle of sleeping with one boy after another comes to an end. It happens when she meets the child Shio, for whom she is convinced she feels true love for the first time. Satou may seem sweet and innocent, but there is nothing she won’t do to protect their life together, including committing murder. But from where did she acquire the little girl, and how long can their “Happy Sugar Life” together last?

Next up we have a trailer for one of the anticipated series of the season for many of you, Hi Score Girl. It’s another 15-second TV spot but it also features one of the theme songs in the background, so that’s something.

Premiering on July 13, this one features animation from J.C. Staff and has Yoshiki Yamakawa sitting in the director’s chair. The title is described as:

The year is 1991 and 6th grader Yaguchi Haruo only has video games to live for. He’s not popular in school and he’s neither handsome, funny, nice nor even friendly. The only thing he has going for him is that he is good at video games. One day at the local arcade, he plays Oono Akira, a fellow classmate but who’s popular, smart, pretty and a rich girl that absolutely destroys him at Street Fighter II. Not only does he lose to her 30 times in a row, he can’t beat her at any game. Haruo can’t seem to shake Akira off as she follows him from arcade to arcade everyday after school and beats him every time. As weird as it sounds, the odd pair begins a strange bond and friendship.

Finally, we come to the trailer that makes the least amount of sense to me because I’ve never played any of the “Tales” games. Apparently this show is based on a Japanese smartphone game and will be run in a 24-hour marathon loop at 8 pm local time in Japan on July 20, which doesn’t really matter to us because this series also received a global release that ended back in late May.

Regardless, if you’re a fan of the “Tales” RPG series you should absolutely be checking this one out.

If you’re wondering what it is you just watched, that would be 50 seconds of the title Tales of Rays Gekijou which, as mentioned, premieres in Japan later this summer.

And there you have it. We made it through all three videos! Any of these whet your appetite for seeing more? I definitely plan on checking out Happy Sugar Life, but we’ll see how far I make it before it creeps me out too much.

Via [1], [2], [3]

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes Movie Reveals New Trailer

I’m not going to do it. You can’t make me and if you think that looking at me like that is going to change my mind, you’ve got another thing coming.

…..

Fine. PLUS ULTRA!

That’s right, a new trailer for the upcoming My Hero Academia: Two Heroes movie hit the internet yesterday and it is a glorious 92 seconds of everything we love about this show.

The trailer is more than just a 92-second sizzle reel though, as it also reveals a new cast member: Rikiya Koyama playing the villain, Wolfram. If you’re listening not-so-closely, you’ll also hear the movie’s theme song Long Hope Philia by Masaki Suda kick in at about the minute mark.

Is your appetite sufficiently whetted? Good, because there isn’t much time left before this movie premieres around the world. It gets its world premiere at Anime Expo in Los Angeles on July 5th before hitting the big screen in Japan on August 3rd.

Funimation holds the license to this series and describes this movie as:

The climactic finals are over, and U.A. is getting ready for the summer training camp. Deku and All Might receive an invitation from a certain person to go overseas to a giant artificial moving city called I-Island. This island, a kind of “science Hollywood” that gathers the knowledge of scientists from around the world, is holding an exhibition called I-Expo showcasing the results of Quirk and hero item research. In the midst of all this, Deku meets a Quirkless girl named Melissa and remembers his own Quirkless past. Out of the blue, the impregnable security system the island boasts is hacked by villains, and all the people on the island are taken as hostages! Now, a plan that could shake hero society has been put into motion! The man who holds the key to it all is the number one hero and Symbol of Peace, All Might.

Via Gigazine

Food Wars! The Third Plate, Episodes 21 & 22

Things are coming to a boiling point on Food Wars! Oh my God, did I just say that? I really just said that. In theory I could go back and delete that sentence and try to open this post another way, but it’s too late now, the die has been cast.

Anyway, flashback time! Episode 21 gives us the background on Saiba (Soma’s Dad) and Azami (Erina’s Dad) that we’ve been craving for a while, but it manages to raise as many questions as it answers, if not more. Long story short, Saiba was the most brilliant chef of his generation, hero-worshipped by his classmates, but the constant pressure to perform eventually got to him and he cracked. Azami’s crazy, Stalin-style plans for food-world domination seem to be based on the idea that he’s never going to let another chef go through what his idol Joichirou Saiba went through…somehow. I guess if a talented chef tried to walk away from Totsuki under Azami’s reign, he’d have them dragged before a firing squad, and that’s his solution to the problem? It’s not entirely clear.

One thing this episode did clarify was how the Elite 10 works. I’ve thought for a while that the rankings weren’t strictly representative of talent; if they were, Erina should be ranked higher than the tenth seat, right? Turns out things like class participation matter, which is why Saiba was never No. 1 of the Elite Ten despite being the undisputed best chef in school. Being Rindou-centric, I wonder how this applies to Rindou, who is No. 2 on the Elite 10, just like Saiba was; there seems to be a parallel between those two because she’s probably his daughter  for some reason. I wonder if Rindou could be No. 1 if she wanted to, but never shows up to class; that sounds like her.

We still don’t learn anything about Soma’s mom; best guess is that Saiba started working at a diner called Yukihira, named after the owner, and married the boss’s daughter, but that’s speculative. We don’t even know for a fact that Soma is his biological son; he could have married a woman who already had a child. Granted, given the resemblance and all, I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to think that these two are related; I’m just saying, the background is so vague that nothing is certain.

My best guess, which will probably be laughed at by people who have read the manga and know all the answers already (meanies), is that both Soma and Rindou are Saiba’s children, with a woman named Yukihira. When they were still very young, Ms. Yukihira left, taking her daughter with her, and leaving Soma with his Dad. Later on, Ms. Yukihira married a man named Kobayashi, explaining Rindou’s surname. Meanwhile, Rindou knows that Soma is her little brother (hence her special treatment of him), but Soma doesn’t know because Saiba finds the whole subject painful and refuses to talk about it.

There. My theory is probably completely wrong, but it felt good getting it out there.

This episode also gives us another glimpse into why Soma is special as a chef; it’s not talent, because he isn’t far and away better than his contemporaries the way his father was. It’s the fact that he always runs head-first towards a challenge, and enjoys living like that. It’s not just that he tries hard (which he does anyway), but that he seems to have been born with this rock-solid sense of self that cannot be shaken by anything, even repeated failure. “Keep trying, don’t give up,” may be a trite message, but I think they’ve found a novel way of expressing it with Soma; it’s more about how he views the challenge than the fact that he keeps trying.

“We’re stuck in a cage with Nikumi’s boobs and Alice’s ego? HOW WILL WE SURVIVE????”

Episode 22 gives us an update on the expelled Totsuki students, with Alice, bless her, taking everything in stride. I’m glad the show acknowledged the fact that as a Nakiri family member, Alice couldn’t just be tossed aside by Central the way Azami wants; it seemed pointless to introduce her Dad in a position of power, and then have him stand by idly while his daughter was disrespected. So the kids have not been sent crying back to Totsuki, because Alice has too much pull for that, so they’re around to watch the Team Shokugeki. Central retaliates by placing the rebel students in an actual cage while they watch the match, and wow, way to be petty, Central.

We see the current line up of the Elite 10 for the first time, and RINDOU IS DRESSED FOR COOKING! I repeat, RINDOU IS DRESSED FOR COOKING! Now I don’t honestly believe that we’re going to see her cook anything before the end of the season, but hey, it’s a nice gesture at least.

Meanwhile, the Rebel Alliance (heh) has gathered some other student chefs who haven’t been expelled: Kuga the Chinese Food specialist (which should have been obvious if I thought about it), Isshiki the Naked Apron Senpai (former 7th Seat in the Elite 10), Copy Chef Subaru (the guy who disrespected Takumi’s Mezza Luna, but that’s okay because he’s on our side now), and…this guy.

Megushima Toskue. Does anyone remember this guy at all? Because they introduce him like we’re supposed to recognize him, but I swear I have no memory of him being on this show before.

Despite the fact that everyone in the arena is rooting for Central, including the host, we’re led to believe that this is going to be a fair contest, because the Elite 10 have their pride and feel like they shouldn’t need to cheat to crush the rebels. When Nene (6th Seat) gets assigned her specialty, Soba, she’s actually embarrassed that she got such a lucky break, which is cute. I’m wondering how Soma’s going to pull out a win with this one, because he knows damn well that he can’t outcook Nene with traditional soba. They are presenting his diner experience as some kind of superpower (“only SOMA truly knows how to cook for the unwashed masses!”), but I don’t see how that’s going to help him here. We shall see.

More interesting is Isshiki-sempai, who’s being a goofball and having a good time like always. That is, until his opponent has the gall to insult the residents of Isshiki’s beloved Polar Star Dormitory, and Isshiki is just not fucking having it. Apparently he’s been hiding his God-like cooking skills from all and sundry, and now that he’s defending the honor of his dorm, he’s going to show us what he can really do for the first time…including using a knife like Himura Kenshin. I’m intrigued and– not gonna lie– a little aroused.

Cooking Battousai is not amused by your remarks.

Mimisaka is facing off against someone we don’t know, unless this person has also appeared on the show before and I just forgot; Food Wars! has too many characters and I can’t keep track. Remember when it was just Soma, his dad, that chick who lived next door, and that was it? Those were the days…except we didn’t have Sexy Naked Apron Ninja Chef Isshiki back then, so I think we’re doing better now. I’m pretty happy now.

TV Anime Adaptation Announced for An Angel Flew Down to Me Manga

An Angel Flew Down to Me Coming to TV!

Big news out of Japan this morning as we have a brand new TV anime adaptation to tell you about!

According to the third compiled volume of the manga series, An Angel Flew Down to Me! (Japanese title: Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita!), a TV anime adaptation has been green-lit at studio Doga Kobo (Monthly Girls Nozaki-Kun, Gabriel Dropout).

Along with the production studio, we also have some key members of the staff already!

Director – Daisuke Hiramaki
Character Designs – Hiromi Nakagawa
Series Composition – Yuka Yamada

The series’ main character is a shy, otaku, female college student named Miyako who has a younger sister in elementary school. When this younger sister brings a friend home to visit, Miyako falls in love instantly. Yeah, there’s a reason why I waited a bit before I told you about the story.

The series was originally launched in 2016 in the magazine Comics Yurihime with story and art by Nanatsu Mukunoki and, as mentioned, has three compiled volumes to date.

I’m not going to lie to you, that story synopsis isn’t filling me with vast amounts of hope for this one. I could always be surprised but until I see a promotional video that shows me otherwise, I have to chuck this one in the ‘possibly creepy’ bin.

Via Moca News

Sword Art Online Alternative, Episode 9

This show has done a lot to assuage my initial fears. From the very start, my biggest problem with the concept was that Gun Gale Online, the game itself, just didn’t look fun to play, and after the last few episodes, I really can’t say that anymore. Personally I’d still prefer to be flying around as a wind fairy in ALO any day of the week, but I admit that I can see why the strategic-yet-visceral gameplay of GGO would be fun.

We get the Pito-Rampage-of-Terror that we were all but promised last episode, and boy does she deliver. I get the impression that Pito is just someone who has an innate talent for violence, like Frank Castle as the Punisher. She doesn’t do any ridiculous acrobatics or make any insanely hard shots or anything, she’s just really quick and decisive and make the shots she needs to make. I hesitate to use the word “realistic” in regard to anything that happens on this show, but I think there is an element of realism to her “massacre” that makes it effective. If she just could just magically shoot people with twin machine guns while doing 15 backflips in the air, it wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

“I have slain your army; please send another. No really, please send another, I love killing people.”

However, as deadly as Pito is, I think the “ten minute massacre” in the title also refers to LLENN taking out about 20 other players. What’s interesting is that LLENN doesn’t want to fight; she wants to take the line of least resistance and slip out of sight, only to resort to fighting three other teams when she has no other choice. I wonder if there’s an element of LLENN lying to herself here; pretending she’s the nice gal who only fights when she has to, when in reality she’s even more dangerous in combat than Pito is, because she doesn’t waste time grandstanding.

I don’t get what the deal is with these two dudes, desperately holding on for dear life when it’s clear they’ve lost the battle. Guys, your dedication is impressive, but this isn’t not Sword Art Online; you know you can just log out of the game once you lose, right?

Now I’m having flashbacks to Metal Gear Solid and Liquid Snake sneering “You ENJOY all the killing!” and argh, I did not want to think about that today. Now I have Cam Clarke’s voice in my head, and it’s probably going to stay there for about three hours. Damn you MGS and your intensely memorable voice acting!

On another note, I’m beginning to wonder if Pito is really as crazy as M says. We really only have his word for it that she’s planning to kill them both, and for all we know, he could be the true crazy one. You’ll notice that for all of Pito’s ruthlessness in battle, she’s very well aware that the people she “kills” are going to be chilling out in the lobby the moment she’s done with them, and she seems to be perfectly happy about that. It’s still entirely possible that what M told us about her is true, but I’m not certain.

Speaking of crazy, some creepy guy tells Fuka that he wants to kill her and then grope her character’s corpse, and uh…why would you say that? I think the creators just wanted an excuse for Fuka to be able to bludgeon someone to death with her grenade launcher without us having to waste even a second feeling sorry for the dude. Incidentally, that’s the part of PVP gamer culture that creeps me out; I mean, I know it’s not real, and no one’s corpse is really getting groped, but it’s just…why would you even go there? I kind of wish Fuka was there to be awesome and stomp over ever creepy player who says things like this, but sadly she cannot be everywhere at once; sadly, we do not live in a world of Infinite Fukas (although I think scientists really outta get on that right away.)

Anyway, we then get a weird scene where a female player hits on LLENN a whole lot, and it’s kind of irritating. I get that it’s supposed to be humorously awkward, but it just drags on for too long. I do however enjoy how psyched LLENN got at the idea of getting more ammo; you can tell she’s become a true gamer now, the way she lusts after bullets.

This is the face I make whenever I discover a cache of ammo in Tomb Raider, except I’m less maniacally adorable and more just, well…maniacal.

That annoying scene serves a purpose though, because it allows a skilled team to sneak up on Team Death By Loli, and then we’re at the end of the episode. Looks like we have at least one more episode of the girls wreaking utter havok before the inevitable Pito/LLENN face off, so I hope they continue enjoying themselves.

How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord Reveals New PV and Key Visual

Yep, it’s another isekai series filled with demons and magic and stuff.

Earlier today a brand new promotional video and key visual was revealed for the series set to premiere on July 5th, How NOT to Summon a Demon. In the video (which lasts for almost two and a half minutes), we are given a pretty good idea of what to expect from this one. I’m not going to comment specifically about what I think of this one (that’s what Twitter is for) but I’ll let you see and judge for yourself.

At the very least, we at least get to sample the opening and ending theme songs.

J-Novel Club is releasing the light novel series in English via their website and describes the story as:

In the MMORPG Cross Reverie, Takuma Sakamoto is so powerful that he is lauded as the “Demon Lord” by other players. One day, he is summoned to another world – but with the same appearance he had in the game! There, he meets two girls who both proclaim themselves to be his Summoner. They had performed an Enslavement Ritual to turn him into their Summon… but that’s when Takuma’s passive ability “Magic Reflection” activated! Instead, it was the girls who had become enslaved! Though Takuma may have been the strongest Sorcerer there was, he had no idea how to talk with other people. That’s when he makes his choice: to act based on his persona from the game!

“Amazing? But of course… I am Diablo, the being known and feared as the Demon Lord!”

So begins a tale of adventure with an earth-shakingly powerful Demon Lord (or at least someone who acts like one) taking on another world!

The cast for this series includes (character names first):

Rem Galleu – Azumi Waki
Shera L. Greenwood – Yuu Serizawa
Diablo – Masaaki Mizunaka
Alicia Crystella – Yumi Hara
Sylvie – Rumi Okubo
Edelgard – Emiri Katou
Klem – Atsumi Tanezaki
Celestine Baudelaire = Sayaka Senbongi
Mei – Yuuka Morishima

Via Getchu

DARLING in the FRANXX, Episode 20

Wow. There’s big episodes, there’s huge episodes, and then there’s whatever this ungodly nonsense was. So much happened in this 24 minutes that I felt overwhelmed the first time I watched it, and only puzzled out some of what was going on after watching it again the next day. I’m still unsure about a few things; whether that’s because I’m being a little dim right now, or because the events of this show do not entirely make sense at the moment, remains to be seen.

Before I get to this episode in excruciating detail, a point of clarification: I had been referring to Werner Franxx as “Papa” in these blog posts, but it’s become increasingly obvious that the term is meant to refer to APE in general. It was kind of ambiguous for a while, especially since Crunchyroll’s subs refer to Papa as a “he,” but now it’s pretty clear that APE=Papa. My apologies for any confusion, but to be fair, it was meant to be a mysterious term for a while.

Okay, now I’m going to go through this episode in more detail than I normally do, in part because it might help me figure out what the hell just happened. We open with the kiddos being briefed by the “new” Nana about an upcoming operation. I wonder if this means that the parasites and their handlers are seen as so disposable, they don’t even get exclusive code numbers. I mean, if Ichigo got killed in action, is there another 015 waiting in the wings? I guess it wouldn’t make much difference, it’s more wondering about the scale of the parasite operation. It’s actually sort of comforting that New Nana doesn’t appear to be a clone of Original Nana, which just goes to show how dark this world is.

Hiro and Zero Two are being briefed on their mission: to implant Strelizia into Star Entity, the great Klaxosaur weapon, and take control of it. Hiro asks if there’s a future for them after this operation, and the way the APE elder words it is interesting. He says that after the battle “the future will belong to humanity,” but that doesn’t really answer Hiro’s question; 02 isn’t human, and it’s debatable whether Hiro is anymore. The APE guys are liars and nothing they say should be trusted anyway, but if you want to get all rules-lawyer about it, saying that the future will be safe for humans is no guarantee of anything for our favorite couple.

Kokoro is throwing up on the regular now, so either she’s a)pregnant or b)ate a bad shrimp recently. I’m pretty sure shrimp is not part of the approved Parasite Diet, so I’m going to assume she’s pregnant. But does she know that she’s pregnant? APE erased her memories of Mitsuru (or at least, they tried to), but did they think to erase her memories of what she read in her version of What to Expect While You’re Expecting? The idea that she might be pregnant and not even know what pregnancy is anymore is pretty terrifying. Can you imagine when that baby starts kicking?

My gut feeling is that she knows; maybe the pregnancy hormones screwed with APE’s brainwashing, or something to that effect, but she’s a bit of a cypher in this episode, so we don’t know for sure yet. For the record, I expected her pregnancy to screw with her ability to pilot a FRANXX (since actually being pregnant kid of mucks up the “piloting is conception” metaphor), but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Our kiddos have an interaction with the Nines, who seem to have a vendetta against them now. Zero Two stands up for her squadmates for the first time. Notice when she says that her friends have “their eyes set on the future,” the camera shows Kokoro’s midsection, and she tenses; yeah, she totally knows. Other than that, the most noteworthy thing about this scene is one of the Nines sneering that Papa only lets Squad 13 get away with things because they’re “necessary tools.” Uh…duh? Does this person expect this to be news to anyone? What do the Nines think they are? You can tell that these kids have no playground experience, because that was an awfully weak insult.

Klaxosaur attack! I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from the sakuga fans who’ve been bored to shit for the last four episodes. Further provoking doubt in the efficacy of APE’s memory-erasing technology, Mitsuru and Kokoro are nearly incapacitated by saying each other’s names out loud. Was Hiro the only person that memory-erasing headset ever properly worked on? No wonder APE loves him.

Speaking of Hiro, he and Zero Two are having a romantic heart-to-heart while they prepare for the mission. They’re smart enough to know that all hell is about to break loose, so their words have proper gravity here. It’s one thing to say “If we get separated, I’ll come find you,” as a general statement; quite another when you’re about 60% sure that’s going to be necessary, and probably in about half an hour.

This is when the Klaxosaur Princess decides to crash the party, and here’s where everything starts to get muddy as hell for me. She tells Doctor Franxx that she won’t let the humans do what they want with “our child;” at first, it seems like she means Zero Two, but she doesn’t; she’s referring to Star Entity, the weapon. By the end of this episode, we know that Franxx and the Klaxosaurs created Star Entity together (that’s the only explanation that makes any sense), so…how many layers of deceit have been going on here? Has Dr. Franxx been sneaking out of the Plantation on the back of a horse-shaped Klaxosaur to go work on Star Entity, only for APE not to notice for a while? Or did they know all along, and let him get away with it because they wanted to seize control of the final product? Or maybe Franxx KNOWS that they KNOW and they KNOW that he KNOWS and…*brain explodes*

Okay, obviously I’m not smart enough for this plot twist, so we’ll come back to that later.

Dr. Franxx helpfully informs us that the Princess is the last of the Klaxo sapiens, and…what? Why is she the only one? Shouldn’t there be at least a few more to serve as a kind of ruling class over the other Klaxosaurs? I get that she’s kind of like a queen bee, singular, but it’s not clear why the race would evolve like that.

Interestingly, the Princess doesn’t kill Dr. Franxx once again, even though she easily could; I think she has some regard for him as the “father” of their creation, even if she would never admit it outright. Because now that Star Entity is finished, she probably doesn’t need him alive.

It’s kind of touching, Franxx’s doomed love for the Princess; I’m not going to be all “Werner Franxx Did Nothing Wrong,” but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find him sympathetic. Considering the pathetic state that humanity has been reduced to (which is largely his fault, but eh, details) you really can’t blame him for taking one look at the Klaxosaur Princess and saying to himself “that’s it, I’m switching teams.”

Hiro and Zero Two aren’t having much luck accessing Star Entity, then the Princess starts approaching and Zero Two freaks out. She’s been able to sense Klaxosaurs coming all along, so I imagine feeling the Princess approach must be the equivalent of hearing Godzilla walking towards you. Then we get absolute confirmation that the Princess does not think of Zero Two as her child, but rather as a “fake,” a lesser copy.

I don’t know if this is intentional or not, but there’s interesting subtext here. We just got through this whole arc with Kokoro about how children are the mark you leave on the future, and the Princess, being inhuman, rejects it. She’s not interested in Zero Two as an autonomous replacement for her; she only wants the thing created as a weapon, that she can directly control. Zero Two is more her true child than Star Entity could possibly be, but she can’t see that, because she doesn’t have a mortal human lifespan; why does she need to leave a mark on the future, when she still expects to exist in the future?

The Princess wants to use Hiro as a partner, so she kisses him, and when I say “kisses” I really mean heinously sexually assaults— it looks really violent, like she’s actually pumping some kind of fluid into him via her mouth. Everyone viewing this show through a warped lens of sexual politics just had an aneurysm, but we’ll move on. The APE guys start freaking out that the Princess is getting Star Entity, but they don’t seem to all be on the same page. I thought on first viewings that all of the APE guys turned out to be aliens, but now it seems like only maybe two of them were, and the rest were humans? It’s hard to be sure.

The Princess uses her Klaxo-telepathy to lambast the humans for stealing magma energy, and here’s where things get super-crazy. Dr. Franxx reveals that male Klaxo sapiens evolved into magma, while the females evolved into the monsters that the mechs have been fighting. So, all those times the Klaxosaurs attacked human installations, their motivation was “stop using my friends as a battery, you assholes.” We also learn that the Franxx are just souped-up Klaxosaurs, which isn’t surprising at this point. Oh, and sometimes the magma-males congeal into a fetus-like form and serve as pilots for the female Klaxosaurs, which is what resides in the core.

Okay, the “Our weapons are really just something we copied from our greatest enemy” thing is right out of Evangelion (and probably 20 other mech shows at this point), but I’m still kind of stuck on the whole “dudes evolved into magma” thing. I think we’re supposed to believe that this evolution was deliberate (since the Klaxo sapiens are said by Dr. Franxx to have “built” the Klaxosaurs as they now exist), but like…who would plan something like this? Who, in response to an existential threat, would say “You know what I think we should do? Turn all the men into a superheated fluid, bury it underground, and turn all the women into giant rampaging rhinoceroses, that’ll show those aliens who’s boss!” It’s just so bizarre I can’t quite wrap my brain around it.

The Princess activates Star Entity right in time for a bunch of purple aliens, VIRM, to show up right near Earth. So APE was infiltrated by these aliens, and APE made sure that the humans would continue killing the Klaxosaurs, since the Klaxosaurs were the biggest obstacle to taking over the planet the first time they tried it. So the Klaxosaurs have never been the real enemy and have in fact been trying to save the planet this whole time. Humans have just been dupes.

Star Entity begins kicking righteous amounts of ass, blowing up the invaders’ ships left and right, only for yet another TWIST! Star Entity has been contaminated by VIRM, who programmed it to self destruct if the Klaxosaur Princess got in the cockpit and started kicking ass. They wanted to use Star Entity, but rather than let the Princess use it, they’d sooner destroy it. And the Earth with it.

The really baffling thing right now is that I have no idea what these VIRM aliens want. Supposedly they want the Earth, but it doesn’t seem to be a big deal to them to blow it up to get rid of the threat of Star Entity. Via APE, they’ve said things about liberating the creatures of the planet (and considering they don’t appear to have physical bodies, they probably mean liberation from corporeal form), but if they can do that by blowing the planet up, why didn’t they just do that in the first place?

You could say they’ve been after Star Entity the whole time, but Star Entity was created in response to their attempt to invade Earth the first time. Are they so good at 4D chess that they knew an unsuccessful attempt at invading primeval Earth would lead the Klaxosaurs and the humans to team up to develop Star Entity, which they could then take over and use for their own purposes? But at the time VIRM invaded originally, humans couldn’t even have existed yet in this timeline– *head explodes again*

*Collects pieces of brain and resumes blogging*

So, do I have something completely wrong here, or does this not make sense? Hopefully it’ll be explained further in the remaining episodes, because I don’t get it.

In any case, Zero Two has taken a beating from the Princess, but she’s not down for the count yet. There’s a famous scene in X-Men comics where Wolverine gets thrown down to the basement of the Hellfire Club while everyone’s fighting, and everyone thinks he’s been taken out, only for him to climb his way back up while mutilating about 20 enemies in the process. I get a similar feeling from Zero Two pulling her bloodstained self together at the bottom of Gran Crevasse; she’s about to go on a rampage, and I think her Mom is about to learn that her daughter is A LOT more like her than she thought.

I’m baffled, but excited; I don’t know if the show can make all of this work in the few episodes it has left. But damn if that wasn’t a compelling episode of anime.

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