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Weekly Animé Review

October arrived, and with it the Japanese animé season started. Following this, I’m going to write mini-reviews of the animé I’m watching each week. I’m not a fan of spoiling what is happening, but I’ll try to be as informative as possible and, if available, point toward were you can legally watch these show with English subtitles.

Fate/Zero, episodes 1 & 2
Saber: Are you my master?
Saber always asks this question.

Can be watched for free with sub-titles here (multiple languages available, episodes are up for seven days, new episodes on Saturday). Also available on crunchyroll one week after the episode aired.

Episode 1: Exposition galore! The first episode was 47 minutes (without ads). 47 minutes of explanation and character presentations. Despite spending 47 minutes on exposition, it actually went really quickly over a few characters; the next episode will probably be exposition heavy as well. So in this episode, we learn about the main characters, the Grail Wars, and a few of the Servants, which means it’s a good introduction to the series, but it might not be as fun for people who wanted action. It set up a lot of elements for drama as well. Most characters act like professionals too, making this a grown up show (as opposed to Fate Stay/Night, where all the Masters were kids). People didn’t move a lot, but the art style was really good. Ufotable seems to have gone all artistic on this one with the color palette and designs. The music was really good, as well.

Strangely, besides Saber, my favorite characters ended up being people I didn’t think much about in the previews: Waver Velvet and Iri. I find Waver simply adorkable, and Iri is just a nice lady.

It was also nice to see Fate Stay/Night characters in their younger years; well, nice might not be the proper word… Sakura :( Small warning, this show has some really visually disgusting stuff: torture, murder, worm rape. All of these involving both adults and children.

Episode 2: More introduction for the Servants and the missing Master. Really nice animation, too; if Ufotable keeps this up, it will be a movie-quality series. We get to see Assassin, Archer, Rider, and Caster in action. Caster is really creepy, nasty, and evil. His first action is to kill a little kid in a really disgusting way, but then he told his master to call him Bluebeard. Rider will be lots of fun, and he’s the Servant of Waver, which means twice the fun. The best description for Rider is that he’s a “big brother” who wants to conquer the world. Archer is already his pompous annoying self with his “I’m better than everybody” attitude (with good reason). Oh, and we see Saber, but she just acts all emo, as expected – she’s a badass woman with issues related to gender roles aka “You think I’m not up to the task because I’m a woman.” Poor Saber.

For the people who want to know who the Servants are from the hints in these episodes:

  • Saber = Arthur(ia) Pendragon (the episode explains why he/she is gender-bent).
  • Assassin = He’s an amalgam of the Hashishin
  • Rider = Called King Iskander the Great (Alexander the Great)
  • Caster = Gilles de Rais (proud serial killer that inspired the Bluebeard legend)
Chihayafuru, episode 1

Following a suggestion, I watched the first episode of this show. Available on Crunchyroll, you need to pay if you want to watch it the day it airs, or you can wait a week to watch it for free.

Episode 1: I now know another crazy Japanese game called karuta. Requirement: learn 100 poems and godlike reflexes. The first episode gave me the impression the show was heavy in social drama and study, which might be good or totally boring, depending on how it evolves. I know this is based on a manga, but I don’t feel like reading it. The art and animation were good, and the episode direction was done really well. The main female character (Chihaya) is rather interesting too, and so are her male friends (Taichi and Arata).

Not sure if I’m going to watch all the episodes, but right now I’m interested enough to watch episode 2.

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, episode 1
Horizon ep1
Big bouncy melons.

Watch on the Anime Network.

Episode 1: Exposition galore, part two! This was a weird episode; the whole thing was a PE (physical education) class where the students are trying to take down their teacher with wonky super powers. We also get a fast-track history lesson in the beginning and end. We get introduced to something like 30 characters in less than 20 minutes. I barely remember two or three of them. Now, there are a lot of good voice actors here, and I would say interesting characters to go with them. The down side of the show is way too many bouncy breasts, males who want to fondle breasts, and general male fan services (ladies in skintight suits, BIG breasts, etc). I’m kind of interested in watching episode 2, but the fan services might kill this for me. Oh, and there was censure too, and somehow it look like the show was trying to laugh at its own fan services. Finally, this episode should probably be called episode 00, because I have no idea where this is going (and apparently the novel work is complex as hell, too.)

Persona 4, episode 1
Kuma Kuma
Kuma Kuma

Watch on The Anime Network.

Episode 1: Contrary to the other shows, this one didn’t have much exposition. It used the typical story introduction: present important characters, then end with showing the main characters’ powers. Not much to say without spoiling it, but not a lot happened besides standard introduction. It has a really catchy opening song in proper Engrish (title: Pursuing my true self), and the animation is really good so far. There is also a lot of English text, making things easy to read in the background. Funny thing: it follows the game of the same name, but the protagonist is voiced here (he’s mute in the game besides battle sound); though, he doesn’t talk much here, either. His new acquaintances do most of the talking.

The screenshot actually shows a talking bear (Kuma = bear); he’s not representative of the art style.

Shows I’m still waiting to see

Last Exile – Fam, The Silver Wing: This won’t start airing before the weekend (on the 14-15th). I watched the special that aired this week, though, and I can’t wait. Probably my most-awaited animé this season (Fate/Zero was in the #2 spot).

Gundam AGE: Haven’t add the time to watch episode 1 at the time of writing this.

Guilty Crown: First episode airs on the 14th as well.

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