End of October Update 11/4/15

Konbanwa minna-san, when was the last time we connected?

Yes, it feels like an eternity passes between each of my posts, but hopefully that hasn’t lost any of your attention. If you didn’t already know, I play the cello. Due to the inconveniences that the Christmas season brings, the private lesson teacher I meet with bumped the entire traditional winter recital a whole month. On this Saturday, I am supposed to have a solo ready to perform for the small get-together, but that has been rough in coming along. Awfully rough, I’m afraid. So when I’m not studying for tests or filling out the copious stack of homework, I’m practicing long and hard, metronome and tuner in hand.

As it is, Nagi-Asu and Hyouka have been the only ‘new’ anime that I’ve tackled. That’s pretty sad, considering it’s been a WHOLE month. Granted, I did spend my Halloween weekend hitting up Another with my siblings (I had already seen it, so more “Movie Theater” stuff). They LOVED it, though because I was unaware of their fright-tolerance, I kind of heavily foreshadowed the umbrella and teacher/knife deaths (even though it was fairly easy to predict). I didn’t want them to have nightmares, what can you say? I’m a nice guy. Though looking back, I wish I hadn’t put so much focus on “Ok, here’s that scene I’ve always been talking about.”

The second set of ALDNOAH.ZERO came out at the tail end of last month, so I pre-ordered and received that. Now all I need is some time to actually sit down and enjoy it, gosh darn it! Speaking of, I still haven’t even cracked open Baccano! nor A Lull in the Sea. In my defense, however, I might be upgrading to Blu-Ray for Nagi-Asu, budget permitting, so until then, that’s on hold.

For “Cafes Talks,” I had an interesting run-in at a Renaissance Festival, so if you are curious as to what happened to me, click here! Even though Halloween is over, here are ten places that you still should NEVER go into for the fear of dying a terrible death! That was fun to write. I am working on another “Cafe Talk” post, so stay tuned for more shenanigans.

But you’re here for the anime update, so here we go!

Recently Finished:

Another (previously-seen) – What can I say, guys? It’s freakin’ Another, one of the best horror anime to hit my list. Does it live up to a rewatch? Absolutely. My stomach was shaking right before all of those gruesome deaths, but after seeing them over and over again, they do tend to lose shock value. It was a spooky way to spend the break, no doubt, so if you haven’t checked out Another yet, I encourage you to do so if you’re hankering for good mystery and thirsting for blood!

The Heroic Legend of Arslan – This. Show. Just. No. I’ll admit, Arslan came to clean itself up a bit at the end. But the announcement of a FREAKIN’ SECOND SEASON just astonished me. HOW?? This twenty-some episode mess gets a sequel but The Devil is a Part-Timer doesn’t? I really question Japan and more specifically Arslan‘s sales. Rant coming soon, so if you enjoy those, you’re in for a good roasting -_-

Hyouka – This one I finished way back in the beginning of October and I even wrote a review about it! Click here to see if we shared similar thoughts or are interested in a school/mystery anime with many other great things going for it.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Souma – I actually finished this before my last update, and a review just went up yesterday (oops). It was quite hard to wrap my head around all of the crazy fun that Food Wars! delivered, but I managed to settle on a rather lengthy review. I’d be overjoyed if you checked it out (if you haven’t yet) right here so that we can talk about this amazing anime!

Currently Watching:

Sound of the Sky – Weren’t expecting this entry, were you? I briefly mentioned back in the summer that this would be my breather anime for when I got busy, and boy did I choose just the right show! I’m so absorbed by the setting and the musings of the characters, but . . . Where is the show taking me? I’m about 8 episodes in, a good two-thirds, so I’ll be finishing this one very soon hopefully. I haven’t had a breather anime like this in months, so I feel very refreshed watching this mini wartime slice-of-life series. You can also expect a review, as I have many things I would like to say about Sora no Woto

ALDNOAH.ZERO (eps 7-12) – I’ll be starting this up as soon as Sound of the Sky reaches its end :'(, and I’m quite excited to see how the dub handles the end to this mecha tragedy!

Currently Reading:

That’s right, Takuto actually reads books when he’s not sifting through everyone’s wonderful posts (holy crap, some of you post way to often JKLOL)! I just finished Sword Art Online Light Novel Volume Two: Aincrad. Let me just say that this novel was TEN TIMES better than the first one. I loved each of the four stories about the different heroines of SAO, and it was a special treat to hear from Lizbeth’s side, specifically. Of the four stories, Lizbeth’s story was the best – and that last page for it, oh lawd, the feels! “Red-Nosed Reindeer” was still pretty depressing, but I think the anime actually handled that better. Same with the story of Yui. Silica’s story, the first one, was my second favorite. I never noticed how reminiscent to country life Silica’s character was based on. It’s all about details, I guess.

But as for what I’m currently reading, I’m 20 pages into Volume Three: Fairy Dance. And the mockery of the “Fairy Dance” begins! Let loose the sparkling fairies and soar into the sky with feelings of lust for a fairer world. Like I mentioned last update, “books are better than the movies that spawn from them” is the stereotypical debate that rears its ugly head, and I want to test that theory with “Fairy Dance,” considering all of its unanimous hatred by fans (even though I enjoyed it). We’ll have to see what ALO brings! Volumes 3 & 4 came in the mail with ALDNOAH.ZERO DVD Set Two, so hooray for Rightstuf sales!

If any of you follow NichiFix over on YouTube, then you would know that he unboxes anime and does manga hauls. While I don’t attentively search for that kind of stuff, I find what he has to say entertaining. He’s also nice (and a RailDex fan ^.^). Anyway, I won his nonchalant giveaway that he hinted at in a monthly manga pickups video about a month ago. I KNOW, I ACTUALLY WON SOMETHING!!! It was Volumes One and Two of Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Volume 17 of Negima!, and, due to his lateness (even though I forgot about it too :P), he threw in Haganai Volume 1. How kind! This was probably even more exciting to open than my mini Rightstuf haul!

And that about covers everything. Sorry for the long update, if you skipped over some parts, I don’t blame you. I just wanted to let everyone know why there’s been a huge lack of content. Once this dreadful recital is over, however, things should return to normal. I’ll be hitting up the simulcast for Seraph’s second season, Nagoya-something. That should be interesting. But it wouldn’t be an update if I didn’t complain about the passing time – Oh, where do the days go?! I’m still alternating with shorts (as in pants) over here even though fall has descended upon us. Maybe, just maybe, if it rains even an inch, I’ll marathon Baccano! like I’ve been wanting to for so long now. But how was your Halloween? Did ya do anything crazy, scare any kids or get spooked yourself? I ate candy, and Matt-in-the-Hat and MarvelouslyMismatched know that, haha! Feel free to talk to me at any time through the comments, as I always – always – look forward to what you have to say, even if it’s just a “hello.” Until next time everyone, this has been

– Takuto, your host

30-Day Song Challenge Day 24: A Song That Makes You Angry

Yikes, what song pertaining to anime makes me angry? Hmm, I don’t think anime music has necessarily made me ‘angry’ before, unless it was a bad opening or something. So after much interpretive thinking (and a Kataphrakt space war), I finally settled on one. Please know that my reason for choosing this song is my own personal opinion. Enjoy!

From ALDNOAH.ZERO’s 2nd Season, “&Z” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:mizuki

(Sorry, but this pitched version was the only one available. Also, some spoilers for the series ahead)

Okay, so what about this song angers me? Is it that I dislike the music itself? Did I think it wasn’t a good fit for the anime? Hells no, and not at all! Hiroyuki Sawano is a freakin’ genius, and I can’t imagine a better song to match this sci-fi tragedy’s tone. What fuels my hate fire is that whenever I hear this song, all I can think of is the way it ended; specifically, the path Slaine was led down and his inevitable end that follows. My gut pains at the thought: After all of his emotional and physical struggle to save his beloved Hime-sama, Slaine soils in his new-found royal position and ultimately runs the VERS Empire into the ground. Despite his efforts to save everyone, he instead will be remembered as the spark that ignited the war. Not to mention, he didn’t even get a death sentence, but is forced to live with his regretful actions in solitary atonement.

My rage boils at the unfairness of the situation. Does he deserve such cruel punishments? Some would agree, and I do to most extents, but perhaps this is pushing the line. ALDNOAH.ZERO‘s writing is rocky and frankly not the greatest, though I can’t ignore the fact that it appeals to my senses without fail! It’s a tragic beauty, and in that regard, doesn’t need a ‘good’ ending.

But what do you think? Does Slaine’s lonely end just drive you up a wall in angry tears, or do you laugh at the justice served? Let me know in the comments! Until then, I’ll be plugging in my headphones, listening to the hollow melancholy of “&Z” as I bundle up and cry for mah unlucky bud, Slaine.

– Takuto, your host

30-Day Song Challenge Day 23: Cover Songs That You Like

Oh boy. It’s gonna be a full house tonight – and I won’t even get into instrumental covers, DARN. Enjoy the selection!

From Guilty Crown, “Euterpe” English Cover by Amanda Lee

It has begun, the AmaLee FAN RAVE! Gosh, this woman is incredible. All of her English lyrics are superbly written, fitting for any original song and show they come from. Not to mention, her voice is very easy on the ears; whenever I search for English covers, the voices tend to be a bit pitchy (whiny, scratchy, poorly recorded, what have you, still glad people try though), but not hers, uh, nope. She’s fantastic, and I love the way she always rhymes the lyrics ^.^ “Euterpe” is one of my all-time favorite insert songs from a show, and AmaLee covers it wonderfully.

From Puella Magi Madoka Magica, “Magia” English Cover by Amanda Lee

Now for the dark side of AmaLee. Dive into Hell itself with Madoka Magica‘s twisted, corrupt ending theme. What I like most about this cover is the way she transfers the lyrics into English. They’re simple, but incredibly powerful; intense and understandable. I used to have her dub memorized at one point, but time stole that from me (perhaps I should frequent this song more often).

From Attack On Titan, “Reluctant Heroes” English Cover by Amanda Lee

I swear to God, I never even noticed how bloody tragic this song was until I listened to this fairly recent cover. Since the original is sung by male Engrish and features loud rock instrumentals, this softer and sweeter feminine contrast shines even brighter. Her harmony is timeless, and the piano – LAWD, the piano! You’re bringing me to tears!

From Fate/stay night: UBW, “Brave Shine” English Cover by Amanda Lee

Sh*t, this is brilliant, like I can’t even. First off, the song is so EPIC, but then you have the English lyrics that make it understandable. I think people can better relate to music sung in their own language, don’t you agree? But it is necessary to give foreign songs a listen, too. Otherwise, you’re not sampling all of the lovely flavors the buffet of song offers, right? 😉 Great dub lyrics, on-point harmony!

From ALDNOAH.ZERO, “Heavenly Blue” English Cover by Amanda Lee

This is one of those songs that giving a new drum to changes the entire meaning of the work. Personally, I still prefer Kalafina’s to this new meter, but these lyrics are so, soo good, fitting for the show’s tone.

From Parasyte -the maxim-, “Let Me Hear” English Cover by Amanda Lee

I love everything that she does with this one. The remixing is intense, but it’s a subtle eeriness. I think it gives the show a whole new beauty, one that I can’t honestly get enough of. Pull the song out of its screamo rock context and you’re left with an emotional ballad about humanity.

From The Heroic Legend of Arslan, “Lapis Lazuli” English Cover by Horiphin

Sick of AmaLee yet lol? The recording itself may not be the brightest, but oh boy is this a gem of a cover. THESE LYRICS ARE PERFECT!!! It’s already one of my favorite songs, but once you put it in my native tongue, it nearly doubles the value of the entire experience! I hope this cover hits a million views someday, because it definitely deserves a listen. Did I mention that the lyrics were absolutely incredible? Hot damn.

From Negima!?, “1000% Sparking” English Cover by FUNimation 

FIRST ANIME SWAGGG. Part of me wishes that studios still dubbed their songs (maybe as an extra or something), because I really like this cover – In fact, I prefer it tenfold over the original! This song embodies a small warm spot in my heart, and it’ll never leave, so I had to throw this one out there. I hope you like the cover, too (ignore the audio issues, I know, audio skips are the pits)!

From Sword Art Online, “Overfly” English Cover by Amanda Lee

I know, you’re probably all sick of this name (show or singer or both), but before I head onto my number one cover (no, this list is not in order, just best for last), I had to mention that this “Overfly” cover is absolutely brilliant. I can’t even speak about how great this cover’s lyrics are without foaming at the mouth and collapsing. It is Miss Lee’s Magnum Opus in my eyes, and I always feel so alive when I give this a listen. The message transfers so differently in English, but it feels so righteous! This one I do have memorized 😉 and I hope you enjoy her beautiful voice one last time on this list ~

From Neon Genesis Evangelion, “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” English Cover by Geeky McGeekstein

Here it is. My favorite English cover to ever exist for a song. These lyrics transcend the song, and the recording itself carries a quality that makes it feel vintage, much like the 1995 anime. I already mentioned this one a couple days ago, but it’s seriously one of the best songs and covers ever. I CANNOT think of another cover that surpasses this masterpiece! Top-notch singing and bloody fantastic English lyrics!!!!! (and no, I don’t care if you dislike it)

If you read all of this, then a high-five for you *slaps hands* Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy my selection. It’s quite the extensive list, but I couldn’t just leave one or two on this one. Besides, it wouldn’t be like me if I didn’t have you reading a freakin’ 10-paged B-essay every time I posted 😉 See you tomorrow!

– Takuto, your host

End of July Update 8/5/15

Hello helloooo, it’s update time ~

Another precious month of my summer as slipped by me . . . WHERE did the time go?? My fun summer life form is running low on HP, and in about a week it will reach zero. The cup’s almost out of coffee. The river’s almost all dried up. Why??? Because school starts soon (BOOOOO)! But don’t worry, I’ll still make room for anime between all of my homework.

For those wondering, my simulcast break has been absolutely wonderful. Like most, I hope that the season summer continues to be great so that by the end, I’ll have several more cool shows to watch, not that my list needs anymore ;). I have a couple of special announcements at the end of the update, so read on!

To the update, we got our recently finished shows:

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (and R2) – Ah man, what to say? Bloody fantastic show from start to finish, I couldn’t have been happier. It was quite the undertaking, considering its 50-episode stretch, but oh boy was it worth it. I suppose I could just flaunt on and on about how much I love mecha now, and proclaim like a love-struck weeaboo that I know all of the ins-and-outs to the genre, but you’d be much better off simply reading my review of the series here 🙂

ALDNOAH.ZERO Episodes 1-6 English Dub – These were just my brief thoughts over the new dub for an anime that I enjoy, click here for more info

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Part 3: Rebellion – Okay, so I am one of the few who freakin’ loves this film, so it was a joy when the Blu-ray arrived in the mail. I had seen it previously subbed, and the English dub was incredible! All of the actresses did amazing jobs with their characters, Homura and Sayaka especially holy crap! I’ll probably never review this film just because I can’t ever wrap my thoughts into a nice bundle like with most anime, so yeah. I do like the premise of how the film ends – how Homura reveals her true love for Madoka since I felt the series kinda dropped that – but it was a little extreme in terms of execution for my tastes >.< Still, so happy to actually own the movie!

A Certain Magical Index: The Miracle of Endymion – I know this film is a boat shot full of holes, but I seriously love this franchise too much to judge. As long as I see the Railgun in action, I’m good for another six months. Like Rebellion, the animation is gorgeous, so that made the watch even more enjoyable. I love me Raildex 😀

Currently Watching:

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – In the last couple of episodes, Soma’s master chef-of-a-father returns from the U.S. to test his son’s new abilities. The gang is also back at the school, which means stuff’s probably going down in the next couple of episodes. I think the show is still kickin’, and I haven’t got sick of it yet!

The Heroic Legend of Arslan – Hmm, this show on the other hand feels like it’s wasting my time. I mean, I still enjoy the story about Arslan growing stronger to become king, but there’s not enough bonding with Arslan’s party and development for him, so I find it somewhat hard to appreciate him. Agh, I digress, it’s okay.

Nagi no Asukara: A lull in the Sea – So this show has been on my watch list since the dawn of time, so I thought I’d get on it since a) I’m on my simulcast break and b) It was recently released with an English dub. I’m four or five episodes in, and OH MY GAWD that art makes Takuto drool 😛 Such a pretty show, and the characters and story aren’t half bad either. I pretty sure I’m in for a good ride

Now for those special announcements! One, I FINALLY FINISHED the Sword Art Online Light Novel: Aincrad Volume One! You probably don’t remember, but it was that DAMNED book I had been trying to cut down since I started blogging, and it’s finally OVER!! My brother bought me the second novel, so I will be starting that as soon as I finish my summer reading school books.

Two: This award floated back to the surface, and what do ya know, I had recently been nominated for the Liebster award again! Hooray! You can read my nomination right here if you’d like

And three: Ever since I started watching anime, I’ve kept and recorded a list of all of the anime I have ever watched and the season and year that I watched them in (because I think season affects the mood the series has on me or something). The list is pretty defunct now, considering that I have a MyAnimeList account to keep an even more specific account of my watching. But since it can’t sort the shows in the order that you watched them (alphabetical listing only), I still keep that my scratch list on hand as a memento.

Anyway, my point is that according to my lil’ list, I am on anime number 99, which I have designated to Nagi-Asu. When I hit 100, I’ll probably have a mini party of some kind because, why not!? 100 anime is a huge accomplishment for me! I have a pretty darn good idea as to what show I’ll watch for my 100th, but as my followers and friends, I’d like you guys to put down your recommendation for my next anime to watch! Also, if you remember your 99th anime, what did you watch?

I think that’s all I have to say for now. Until I finish Nagi-Asu, I won’t be reviewing anything . . . maybe another “Cafe Talk,” perhaps? How have all of you been? I’ve noticed we’ve recruited quite a few more customers to the cafe – you’ve chosen the right spot to hang out! Hehe, but seriously, thank you guys 😀 How has your summer gone besides so damn fast!? Let me know in the comments so that we can chat, but speaking of chatting with friends, real quick, my pal LitaKino uploaded a video on her YouTube channel as a live chat with the hilarious Gigi from AnimePalooza and a couple others. If you have the time or are looking for a dorky laugh or two, check out her video! Alright, now I’m done. Stay cool in this hot weather, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

ALDNOAH.ZERO Episodes 1-6 English Dub Thoughts

Konnichiwa, minna, today I’m here with a totally unscripted (script?) post regarding Aniplex of America’s [ridiculously overpriced] first volume of the sci-fi mecha drama anime about space wars, ALDNOAH.ZERO. Their first volume contains episodes 1-6 on DVD with an all-new English dub. Before we have a look at the cast, you can read my season one and two reviews for more background on the series by clicking on them and/or go watch the show yourself for free over on Crunchyroll!

You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for a U.S. release of this show . . .

Art book available in the Limited Edition release.

Our main man Inaho Kaizuka is voiced by Max Mittelman. He’s fairly new to voice acting if I am correct, but he brings a fresh breath to the nearly-silent protagonist. Natsuki Hanae did a fine job, don’t get me wrong! But Mittelman uses a little more expression when he speaks, and that means all the world considering that Inaho acts like a pre-recorded message. So far so good!

The passionate drama bomb Slaine Troyard is voiced by Zach Aguilar, another newbie, I think. His intense breathing and airy voice try to compensate for Kensho Ono’s higher pitched, younger sound, but it’s still not as good as the Japanese dub. The acting was great, his voice was just too low. I should add that by episode 6, his voice really grew on me, and I just hope that in the second set he finally feels comfortable with his role.

Erika Harlacher does a fine job at capturing Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia‘s allure. Sometimes it sounds as if she’s holding back too much air, but I don’t know if that was an acting issue or the sound setup. Solid nevertheless.

Since those are the main three characters, I’ll just list the minors with a brief reaction:

Christina Vee as Rayet Areash – OMG it’s Homura Akemi *heavy breathing*

Erica Mendez as Inko Amifumi – She didn’t sound like Ryuko, but most definitely a rising star in voice acting

Bryce Papenbrook as Calm Craftman – Man, Papenbrook can pull off the best young “fiery” guy-friend voice ever, awesome!

Christine Marie Cabanos as Nina Klein – “Right or left or right or left or . . .” not too shabby, high voice matches character

Bobby Thong as Okisuke Mikuni – Gets sucked up in the first 5 minutes, good I guess

Erica Lindbeck as Yuki Kaizuka – She does a great older sister, like damn 😉

Matt Mercer as Lt. Marito – The last time I heard Mattew was actually in person at a con, so hehehe makes a good alcoholic

Ethan Murray as Soma Yagarai – Yep, he sounds like a doctor to me

Julie Ann Taylor as Darzana Magbaredge – She’s ironically missing that low edge like in the Japanese, but still a nice performance

Trina Loo as Kaoru Mizusaki – Not much to say here other than she’s Magbaredge’s b*tch

Sandy Fox as Eddelrittuo*gasps, shreeks* come here you tiny little cute puffy servant you, wait, you didn’t read that

Lex Lang as Count Cruhteo – Wow, we need this guy more often! So majestic, so bold

Kirk Thornton as Count Saazbaum – Another powerful voice, one of my favorites to listen to!

Todd Haberkorn as Trillram – YESSS WE NEED MORE SASSY HABERKORN

Patrick Seitz as Vlad – This and Trillram were probably the best rolls cast, that rich gurgly low voice is what more actors should strive for

Kyle McCarley as Kisaki Matsuribi – Very similar to Inaho’s boring dialect, only not as memorable

Lucien Dodge as Yutaro Tsumugi – I honestly didn’t realize how much of a pervert this character was until I watched this English dub *glasses gleam*

Alan Lee as Shigo Kakei – I mean, he’s a background character, what can you expect

Carrie Keranen as Countess Femieanne – It was racking my brain as I watched the whole episode, but then it dawned on me. ALL HAIL LADY SATSUKI! She’s also Mami Tomoe, which I didn’t realize. Fabulous acting!

Geoffrey Chalmers as Rayregalia Vers Rayvers – He nailed the old king voice for sure, well done

Below is the English Dub Trailer Aniplex posted a while back. See it for yourself!

And here is their cheesy little yet humerous English Cast Promotional video announcing their presence at the 2015 Anime Expo. Dorky as it was, it made me realize something: There are actually two heroes of the story; two different eyes to watch the show through. Remembering this makes me want to rewrite my reviews, or revisit the franchise in a future post because I enjoy it so much. 😀

As you can see, I am really pleased with how the English dub was executed! Besides Slaine’s slightly low voice, everyone else was pretty well cast. Now I have to wait until October for the second set to be released . . .  that’s an awful long wait 😦 I hope they decide to dub the second season, despite it’s disappointment, as I’d love to watch it all over again! I do think that the set is worth picking up for hardcore fans of the series, despite the DVD being $30 for only six episodes. It was so much fun watching an episode each night before I went to sleep . . and now it’s over. Thanks for reading this rather different post! Did you enjoy a step away from reviews? How do you think the A.Z English dub fares compared to the Japanese? Personally, I thought it was much better/easier to watch in English. Channel your thoughts to the comments below, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

ALDNOAH.ZERO 2nd Season

One of the most controversial anime to come out these past couple of seasons finally comes to a close. But who comes out on top? Slaine fans get “Slained” and you Inaho dogs, just sit there and don’t smile. Nah, I’m just kidding! Caution: Spoilers for both seasons are present!

Picking up from the first half’s suspenseful ending, silent protagonist Inaho undergoes a surgery that connects some sort of calculating machine into his shot eye. No. He’s not dead, but the thing’s pretty cool. The Deucalion suits up for battle, and while the Terrans celebrate their temporary “victory” / prepare for any Martian activity, the Martians step up their game.

As Slaine, the Terran-born Vers soldier accompanies Count Saazbaum, who seeks revenge on Earth, an “accident” occurs and Saazbaum is killed. In an attempt to restore the Vers Empire and reclaim the blue planet, Slaine ascends to Count status and primitively the throne with a new gal who literally came out of NOWHERE, wheel-chair-bound, lavender-haired Princess Lemrina.

Rather than stand by twiddling their thumbs, the Terrans take the fight to the Martians, and an all-out space war rages! But the fate of the two races ultimately resides in Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia, whose preserved body in Martian Custody slowly reawakens . . . a bullet to the brain and she didn’t die either. Damn.

I’ll admit – I really enjoyed the first season, especially the end. Sure the plot and characters went downhill after the first 6 or so episodes, but it kept me thrilled to see what would happen next.

Season two is a bit different, however. First the pros. The show starts stronger than ever before with the inclusion of Asseylum’s sister Lemrina was probably one of the series’ best moves. While my favorite moments in the first season were obviously the glamorous, high-energy robot battles, season two’s were the drama talks among the Martian hierarchy. The manipulative Lemrina is an essential part of Slaine’s motive for justice, for she can change her appearance to mirror Seylum’s, masking any idea that Seylum had died. In turn, she is a thorn in his side, desiring his affection and secretly wishing that she could replace her comatose sister for good. Though these additions couldn’t save the series in the end, the spicy and dramatic relationships really turned up the emotional dial for this sequel – I only wish I could’ve see more of Lemrina.

Now the cons. The plot is an obvious wreck. Poor pacing, bad balance of characters, and a much different (lesser) tone than the first half resulted in a LACKLUSTER ENDING. Seriously, after two seasons of killer alien robots and explosive combat and emotions – no one died. Not even any of Inaho’s friends took the fall. I’m not saying that death is a good thing in anime; it’s simply that ALDNOAH.ZERO went through a lot of trouble and no one bit the bullet.

Overall, season two values a softer and more emotional approach to a very different story. While the franchise still retains its innumerable plot holes, lacks proper character attention, and frankly sh*ts on its own design, A.Z is still passes as a decent tragedy.

Characters, what’s to say? The sequel drops any supporting Terrans, so you can all forget about Inaho’s friends. Well, maybe besides Inko and his sis. That Marito guy doesn’t even get any follow up to his problems, whatever they were. Just poor balance of characters.

More of the Martian counts are introduced as distinct personalities, which ties back to one of the greater things this sinking ship of a show offered. Their intense qualms regarding loyalty to the almighty dick Slaine made for more interesting views.

Inaho is still pretty meh. He still swoops in to take out the Counts, calibrating all of their weaknesses and eliminating them in the last second. His eye causes him suffering, but he endures the pain for the computer’s benefits. One part of the show really startled me, and that was the smooth transition from Inaho to the eye “talking” to Seylum. Supposedly, the eye grew a consciousness of its own or something cause it carried out Inaho’s last words to the Princess. Just goes to confirm Inaho is nearly no different than a robot, cause I hardly noticed the shift in dialogue – and they even stated it.

It felt really weird when Asseylum woke up from her coma, as if Lemrina’s whole world came crashing down on her – and it kinda did. Too bad Asseylum wasn’t as near as complex as Lemrina, for she remained the same old boring, dutiful Princess. However, she grew some balls in the end and surprised everyone. When that happened, A.Z woke up from its nightmare and ended things right then and there.

Slaine was by far the most developed, but that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. He went from being an obedient servant of the Vers monarchy to a stubborn, stuck up b*tch. I guess it proves once again the power is greed trope. I can distinctly recall him saying that he had pretty much started down the road to hell, and that there was no turning back. His decisions make absolutely no sense; he does retarded stuff, and in the end gets blamed for everything that happened. Humanity will remember that the whole war was because of him. Like . . . wut?

A-1 Pictures’ animation didn’t drop in quality whatsoever. It’s still pretty solid, so if you’re one for the Kataphrakt CGI fights, then you’ll be satisfied. Characters are colored in lighter tints to contrast the black nothingness of space. I love the characters and their expressions! Also, the Martian Kataphrakts are freakin’ cool, even if their design makes little to no sense.

The OP “&Z” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:mizuki mirrors the softer appeal the anime presents while the ED “GENESIS” by Eir Aoi, to me, captures the downfall of Slaine and the ultimate tragedy of the show. Beautiful.

Hiroyuki Sawano continues to impress with touching, somber piano solos and full orchestra tracks. Though the small OST is repeated over and over again to where you can predict what song will play next, the tracks are still great, supporting the mood admirably. His attempt to milk what he could out of A.Z wasn’t in vain; there are several touching moments centered around Slaine, Asseylum, Inaho and Lemrina that were particularly beautiful despite their relevance to the plot.

If you watched ALDNOAH.ZERO’s first season, then go ahead if you haven’t already and finish this thing off. To others, I would avoid this franchise in general for its inconsistent plot, poor distribution of character development, and at times nonsensical scheming. The show is not bad, it’s just messy, and I would only watch it if you are searching for high-energy, well-animated, robot space combat or political drama, though do realize that that part eventually goes down the drain. I’m glad ALDNOAH.ZERO is over. It’s just a shame that the writers couldn’t learn from their mistakes – the show had A LOT of potential.

I guess that’s it. THE ANIME DOESN’T END HORRIBLY WHATSOEVER. If you watched A.Z, please leave a comment below with any of your thoughts. I’m a bit lost when it comes to this show. If you had similar musings, hit the like button for more anime reviews. Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

End of March Update 4/1/15

Mina-san, konbanwa ~

It feels like forever since I’ve talked to you guys! I hope you are still enjoying the Cafe :3

As much as I don’t want to sound stereotypical, I have been very busy lately. And it’s not just school work and such – I’ve just been watching a lot of anime, but not in the mood to review any. That’ll change though – I’ve got the reviewing spirit back!

This past month, during my Spring Break, I had the wonderful opportunity to venture to Naka-Kon by Kansas City, Kansas, my first anime convention. IT WAS UNFORGETTABLE AND AMAZING!! I will slap together a post (with pics :D) if you want to see how it went! My many thanks to all who made the experience so fun and memorable. Domo arigato ~

And without further ado, my usual update:

Recently Finished:

Date A Live – while Tohka was great, it was overall disappointing and did not live up to my expectations, check out the poor little review here

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – very interesting and artistic film, a classic to time travel for sure, has not been reviewed by me yet

Ben-To – I probably had more fun with this show than I should have, but who cares! Check out a tasty review here

Kill la Kill – 5/5 entertainment wise! Masterful execution, lead characters, music, and quirky art, for more click here

Wolf Children – the first half was excellent, showing off the ideal, optimistic and persevering mother, but the second half about the children growing up was frankly a bit depressing, sad but beautiful movie, apologies for no review

Yona of the Dawn – I decided to jump on this one towards the end of the simulcast season and I did not regret it one bit! The story was classic, characters were fun to watch, and the traditional Japanese tone was cool, review on the way!

Parasyte -the maxim- – it has finally come to its end, and while I wish we got to know more about the parasites’ background, I was still moved and will miss Migi 😥

Currently watching:

Log Horizon 2 – I will miss this one when I watch the last episode, but I heard they might do a season 3 . . .

ALDNOAH.ZERO – I have one episode left, and things are definitely wrapping up, what’ll happen next??

Soul Eater – after meeting Micah Solusod in person at Naka-Kon, he inspired me to check out this infamous show, so I picked this one up

SHIROBAKO – haven’t started this one, but I heard it’s about the anime industry. You have my attention

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – one of the spring simulcasts, looking forward to high-energy fights and glorious animation!

Fate/ stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – if you know me, then you would know I’m a big Fate fan!  Woohoo for ufotable – can’t wait to watch the epic second half

Finally, I have a My Anime List account!! You can find me and friend 🙂 me here:

http://myanimelist.net/profile/takuto27

I guess that’s all on the menu today. Please look forward to my Naka-Kon post, Yona of the Dawn review, and Parasyte -the maxim- review. So what’s new with you? What are you looking forward to this spring season in anime? Comment below! Thanks for reading and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host