As I said in my review of season one, it isn’t often that Anime fans are blessed with a period piece drama aimed at a mature audience. To be honest, given how typically shows like this don’t get a lot of attention, I’m amazed we got a sequel. Now that I’ve found a peaceful Monday morning to finish the series- exactly the type of peaceful scene I think the creators intended this show to be viewed in- I can’t resist talking about this series.
Much like the first season, It feels a bit difficult reviewing this series because it is so much quieter and more reserved than most other shows I watch- even shows that are also dramas. It is a melancholic jaunt through the lives of artists, performers, mothers, fathers, saints, sinners and the children who carry on the legacies of their families. It is one of the most unique Anime I have seen in years and I can tell you right now, it is one that everyone should check out.
My last two posts focused on seasons one and two of Darker Than Black, a niche action Anime that I’ve been obsessed with over the past month for its flaws just as much as what is good about it. However, since the OVA is only four episodes, I may as well make the review short and sweet and then finally assess this series as a whole. If You’d like to read my other reviews to catch up, I will link them below.
With that squared away, let’s get to the good stuff.
I think I may have been a little too harsh on the first season of Darker Than Black. Sure, the story’s structure was a bit unusual, the stories themselves weren’t always that enjoyable and there was a conflicting tone that wasn’t well balanced, but it pulled through for me because the action and characters were very well done and the themes of the story, while open for interpretation, filled me with a sense of real satisfaction at the end of the series that I don’t often feel when analyzing a show. I ended my review of season one calling it average, but after watching season two I almost want to give the first season higher praise.
If you haven’t read my season one review, check it out here…
When we get sequels to popular Anime, the results can be mixed. You either get a sequel like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig or you get a sequel like Psycho Pass 2. The former expands upon the original’s premise and delivers an altogether superior product while the latter is a mess, plagued with new additions at the cost of what made the original so enjoyable. Sadly, Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor is the latter rather than the former.
Do you ever try to find out why you love a show and then are dissatisfied with the reasons you come up with? Not because the reasons themselves aren’t sufficient, but because it doesn’t feel like those reasons are what typically justify praise when it comes to narrative mediums.
One popular school of thought places the narrative and writing at the forefront of what makes a story good. For me though, it is only the most common reason that people universally agree upon the quality of a story. Visual mediums are the most meaningful to me when the end result is a culmination of effective writing, visuals and especially music.
So what happens when I’m confronted with a show that flaunts a strong visual presence and great music but falls short in consistent writing and narrative. More importantly, why do I love 2007’s Darker Than Black, despite it falling into that category? Continue reading
After four years, several fake sequel announcements, 5 OVA’s, a weird middle school spin off and two crappy live action films, Studio WIT has finally delivered us the long awaited sequel to one of the most internationally successful Anime of the last decade. Is it burdened by having only 12 episodes this season? No. Does it answer the questions we were left with at the end of season one? Kinda. Does it improve upon the first season’s flaws? Absolutely. Continue reading
With Attack on Titan’s second season now completed, it is the perfect time to look back on the first season and give it a formal review before giving its sequel the same treatment later this week. Attack on Titan holds a special place in my heart as it was the Anime that made me fall in love with Anime back in January of 2014, thus kickstarting a three and a half year obsession that has introduced me to entirely new facets of entertainment I never knew I wanted. I’m surprised I haven’t given this show a formal review before, so without further ado, here is my review of Attack on Titan.
A period piece drama about an obscure Japanese performing art, aimed at adults, is not what people have come to expect from anime. It certainly was a change of pace from what I’m used to. Even Anime I consider to be aimed at older audiences are usually action shows, science fiction, or character based deconstructions, but there is a certain class about Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju that I don’t see from a lot of Anime.
Kekkai Sensen hooked me right from the very beginning with our main character narrating a letter to his sister, as we are treated to a stunning montage of what is clear to be the climax of this 12 episode series. A wide array of colorful and sleek characters are seen dismembering ghoul after ghoul across a vast and expansive metropolis under the night sky, all the while our hero scales a tall staircase approaching what he hopes to be direction needed to stop the chaos and save the day. The main title flashes on the screen with dazzling effect and we are brought back to the beginning of the story.
Yuri on Ice, Directed by Sayo Yamamoto and created by Mitsurou Kubo, is the latest project from Studio MAPPA, who’s previous projects include Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe’s Kids on the Slope, the beautiful Rage of Bahamut: Genesis, and the very bizarre Punchline. Yuri on Ice has also the been the subject of much debate over the implied relationship between the two main characters, with some heralding the show as a masterpiece for that element in it of itself. But can this thoughtful experiment in characterization stand on its own, or does it fall flat as a paradigm of pandering?
It seems that every year, I grow to appreciate the art of animation every year, by growing fonder of different studios, actors, techniques, narrative styles, and directors and the conclusion I have come to is that without Japanese animation, I would not harbor the appreciation for storytelling that I possess now. It takes a special kind of show to remind me of that to the point that I am left breathless by what has transpired. Akagami no Shirayukihime, or Snow White with the Red Hair, is that show.