I think it’s impossible to answer this question. Animation quality varies with each series (and sometimes seasons), however, they categorize the best animation as Sakuga. Animators “skip frames” in order to save money. Motion exists, but it’s not fluid. A scene may only depict the mouths of characters moving if the scene only called for speaking. Sakuga is different. It animates each frame, resulting in movement that is so fluid that its realistic. They do not limit anime to reproducing realistic scenes. So even unreal scenes have realistic effects. Action oriented anime series often use sakuga the most. Fight scenes benefit the most from fluid action. Some anime series reserve sakuga animation specifically for action scenes. The episodes produced can have select moments that are sakuga, but the rest of the episode isn’t.
They also use Sakuga animation for emotional moments. Some sakuga animation can take the “fluid” motion too far. This can make characters appear distorted. Fans can find this of putting. If done correctly and with artistic style, the distortion may be more appealing. Sakuga does more than look good. It can make an anime feel for alive. This is especially important for series with complicated motion. Sport anime like Yuri on Ice and Haikyuu come to mind. As I’ve mentioned previous action or shonen anime, benefit the most. Anime like Naruto and Bleach selectively use the animation style, focusing on the most important battle and fight scenes. Regardless, sakuga animation isn’t for everyone. Some anime fans seem to hate it. I think sakuga allows anime to reach its peak. Breathing life into characters and environments that can feel lifeless and unrealistic.
One of my favorite sakuga scenes is Kakashi vs Obito. Check it out:
I’ve been saying this all season, but it bears repeating. Attack on Titan has been to humanize the Eldian’s. Consider Willy Tybur, in episode 6, we see that he’s a father of 5. This successfully humanizes him. We think of his children being fatherless. However, he goes on in his conversation with Captain Magath to show little concern for Eldian’s life. The sympathy he earns in the previous scene is relinquished and when Eren eats him in the following scene, we don’t care. Eren’s assault has a devastating impact. While he massacre’s the attendees, the warriors suffer losses. Zofia is crushed under rubble. Udo tries to save her and is trampled to death.
The tragedy has the likely effect of radicalising Gabi. She can’t understand “why Udo and Zofia” had to die. The answer is they didn’t. However, Gabi is pushed further when Sasha kills a soldier in front of Gabi. Shocked by the violence, Gabi grabs a gun. I think Gabi will end up killing one of the Scouts, probably Sasha in revenge. However, Gabi’s not the victim here. She has killed plenty of people. She may be too young to or to bias to release that she’s no better than anyone else. That is the theme that Attack on Titan is trying to make. There are no angels here. It’s tragic that it involves a child like Gabi at all, but this is the world of Attack on Titan.
Look at what you’ve done, Eren
Lara Tybur is actually the War Hammer Titan. She quickly dominates Eren, when she impales him on a spike. The Titan can create any weapon it chooses. This makes the War Hammer titan a versatile Titan. Overwhelmed, it exposes Eren. When the War Hammer Titan asks “his last words,” he calls for Mikasa to take action. Mikasa arrives in typical epic fashion. Soaring through the air with new armor, she fires eight Thunder Spears into the nape of the War Hammer. As she pulls the triggers, they explode, appearing to kill the host. Once reunited with Eren, she asks him to “come home.” Eren’s “mission” to invade Marley seems to have been another one of his reckless decisions.
The Marley’s army prepares for a full assault. Eren notices that the War Hammer function differently from other Titans. First, it doesn’t have the nape weakness. Eren notes that the titan appeared “from the feet,” instead of “from the head.” Lara isn’t inside the War Hammer Titan at all. She’s hiding underneath the stage attached to the Titan by an umbilical cord. Eren transforms a second time, pulling out Lara from her hiding place. He tears the umbilical cord and the War Hammer Titan collapse. As he prepares to eat the Titan, the Jaw Titan attacks him from behind. Before it can kill Eren, Levi arrives slashing the jaw of the Titan, preventing him from biting.
It shocks Galliard that the Survey Corps isn’t afraid of him. Titans had besieged Paradis Island for decades, resulting is the Survey Corps developing skills and means to deal with Titans. This has also happened to the nations that surround Marley. This episode tests us. As viewers, we are rooting for Eren as he slaughters the masses. The “masses” unfortunately include children. Soldiers are expected to die and have made victims of other. I won’t lie, I was enjoying this massacre, especially when Eren kills the soldiers. Attack on Titan has attempted to make us feel for the Eldians, but I think they needed more time. War creates victims of everyone. The Survey Core may win this fight, but they could lose the war or at least more of themselves. Of course this is Attack on Titan, so they could get slaughtered in the next episode.
Jujutsu Kaisen returns after a brief break. Episode 14, “Kyoto Sister School Goodwill Event – Team Battle, Part 0” begins the Kyoto Goodwill Event arc. Jojo, Geto, and Mahito discuss their plans after failing. Mahito realizes that Sukuna is “valuable,” and believes that they should focus on winning him over. Jojo is willing to everything possible, even if they die. Geto already sets a plan in motion. Elsewhere, Gojo and Yuji decided on a plan to reintroduce Yuji to his friends. At the Tokyo school, Nobara arrives with luggage. She falsely believes that they were going to the Kyoto school. Jujutsu Kaisen once again mentions Yuta Okkotsu. The buildup for this character makes me want to see his skills. So it’s working.
The Kyoto jujutsu students arrive and we get formal introductions. The student group comprises Ultimate Mechamaru, Nishimiya Momo, Kamo Noritoshi, Zenin Mai, and Toudou Aoi. All are second or third years, giving them the advantage over the Tokyo team. Gojo arrives late and makes a big deal about Yuji’s return. Megumi and Nobara aren’t moved. The Kyoto students don’t care, but it pisses Principal Gakuganji Yoshinobu off. Gojo loves antagonising him. If my knowledge with anime is any sign, old people are usually badasses. Gojo may be stronger than him, but I still wouldn’t mess with him. Anyway, Yuji reunites with his friends.
Principal Masamichi Yaga explains the rules of the team battle: “The first team to exorcise the grade 2 curse lurking around the battlefield wins. Its also populated with many grade 3 and lower curses. If the grade 2 isn’t exorcised by sunset, the team with the most exorcisms win.” The students must reframe from killing or severally wounding each other. However, during the Kyoto team meeting, principal Gakuganji orders them to kill Yuji. He considers Yuji to be Sukuna’s vessel and nothing more. The Kyoto team plans on ganging up on him. Jujutsu Kaisen is making the case for Kyoto, being the source of mole. We have learned little about Geto’s past, but I think he was a student at Kyoto.
What is Megumi capable of
A common theme of this episode was: the hyping of characters whose abilities haven’t been seen. This was the case for Gojo and now Megumi, Okkotsu, and Toge. At this point in the series, I feel like we know little about most of the characters’ abilities. This isn’t a criticism, but more of an observation. Regardless, we get some information on Toge’s abilities. He uses cursed speech. This ability allows him to “infuse his words with Cursed Energy to improve the spirit of his commands, forcing all those who hear it to obey.”
This ability has downsides. If he uses it against a target with more cursed energy, it will take a toll on his body. While we have seen some of Megumi’s abilities, Sukuna has pointed out that he has a special ability. Kamo Noritoshi warns against Zenin underestimating him, pointing out that Megumi is “the most talented in the Zenin Family.” Hopefully, Jujutsu Kaisen will stop teasing us in the next episode.
Favorite Animal Sidekick, Pet or Summoning (Cerberus)
Cerberus (Kero) is one of the two Guardians of the Clow Cards in the anime series, Cardcaptor Sakura. Appointed to be the next “master of the cards.” When Sakura Kinomoto accidently releases the cards, he chooses her to be the next candidate. In his correct form, Kero is a huge lionlike beast with large white wings. He wears a helmet and breastplate with a massive ruby in the center. When he’s in his borrowed form, he looks like an adorable plush toy with big ears and small wings. Kero is bossy and greedy. He has a fondness for sweets, particularly cake, cookies, and chocolates. Kero is self absorbed. He loves to be filmed by Sakura’s friend, Tomoyo Daidouji, and loves the cute outfits she makes him. He cares about his image and often wants to watch the recordings.
Kero has a love of video-games. He avoids the sad facts of life, which is why he focuses of enjoying life. Despite his love of sweets, he doesn’t need to eat because he gets all his energy from the sun. Despite his poor qualities, Kero is a good friend and mentor to Sakura. Kero tries to keep her happy and comforts her when necessary. He’s willing to protect her from danger and she returns the favor. Kero’s relationship with Syaoran Li is the most interesting. They hate each other. They play their relationship for laughs. Constantly bickering, Li calls him a “plush toy” or “stuffed animal,” and Kero responding with “brat.” Kero often bites Li while in his “borrowed form.” Their relationship always brought me joy.
The Promised Neverland season 2 episode 1 opens with the orphans running frantically with a black background. Considering how the last season ended, most would assume that they are fleeing from the orphanage. However, when Emma claims that “it’s just like a game of tag,” the scene shifts to reveal that their being chased by an alien. The outside world has been a mystery for both the audience and the orphans. Where are the monsters? What are other dangers? Turns out that there are some more “primitive” monster to deal with. Emma notes the “beauty” of freedom, but also its cruelty. The children stay together as they traverse the new surroundings. Emma tells the children that “everyone to stay in a group.” Ray apologizes to Emma for not cooperating sooner. In typical Emma fashion, she forgiving.
Emma first wants to find drinkable water and hopefully food. Ray notes that the “enemy” will assume that’s what they’ll do. They decide to head southeast. Emma presents Ray with the pen Norman gave them. Ray rotates it, resulting in holographic map appearing. Ray realizes that there’s morse code that reads “T.O.U.C.H.M.E”. So he does. It reveals another screen that requires a password. After referencing the “mythology” found in the book from Minerva, they enter the correct password. A note from Minerva appears. It reads: “if you need help, come visit me.” “I’m located at B06-32.” This scene gives us some peace of mind and tells us that where they can go. The moment also reminds us of Norman. Despite being shipped out, he’s still helping the orphans.
The hunted and the hooded
Yvette, a young dark-haired girl, notices a plant on the base of a tree. She can’t remember exactly where she saw the plant before. Ray chimes in that it was “The Adventures of Ugo.” The plants are “sea anemones,” they can store fresh water. Ray cuts one, filling a jar with water. This solves the river problem and even better the book is a guide. We return to the moment in the opening when the orphans were being chased. Ray decides that he will trap the monster in the “snakes of Alvapinera.” According to Ray, if “you fall down, you’ll never get back out.”
He distracts the monster, and it targets him. Suddenly, the monster is decapitated. Ray carves a message in the tree, then tells the hunters that all the others have died. Elsewhere, the orphans worry that Ray is taking too long. Emma tells them to head “downwind” as she heads to find Ray. Unfortunately, she faints. Her ear bleeds and her fever rises. Suddenly, a mysterious girl appears. Meanwhile, Ray leads the hunters away from the others, but they corner him. When all seems lost, Ray is rescued by a cloaked figure.
The hunters give chase but lose the scent. Ray awakens in a cave bathe in green light. Emma and Ray discuss the hooded figures that saved them. One of the hooded figure arrives to bring them to dinner. Ray asks about the other hooded figure and is told that his name is Sonju. When Emma asks the hooded figure about Minerva, she doesn’t seem to know who that is. Ray asks what we all want to know. Why are demons saving humans? It shocks Emma to learn who she’s been talking to.
So many questions
Season 2 of the Promised Neverland already has me scratching why head. This is a good thing. They didn’t focus on the creatures found in the forests. One child called them “bugs” is that literally what they were or was that a guess? Are they demons? The question of why the demons helped them is the most pressing, but I’m sure it will get answered in the next episode. The Promised Neverland has lost some drama created by being tapped in one place.
I miss the dynamic between the trio. While I miss the trio, I hope that the other orphans take center stage, at least sometimes. It will be difficult to do with such a large cast, but I would like to see how they handle this situation. The new mysteries are intriguing. What are the demons exactly? How does their society function? Do they all eat humans? Are the demons that saved Emma and the others like vegans? I can’t wait to learn the answers.
Anime that Never Gets Old, No Matter How Many Times You’ve Re-watched It
The anime that never gets old is Dragon Ball Z (DBZ). Any average anime fan probability has seen DBZ. It was one of the premier anime from my childhood, and I can’t seem to get over it. To be honest, I talking about the fights that occurred in the series. Despite the facts that the disparity between most characters (that weren’t saiyans) became massive, I still enjoy the fights.
Speaking of fights, they weren’t particularly high quality in terms of creativeness. The battles can be linear and as a result predictable. Although, most anime is predictable on some level. My tastes for the style of fights have become more sophisticated over time, but I still find DBZ to be enjoyable. I don’t remember how many times I’ve re-watched the series, but I think I’ll do it one more time.
Attack on Titan has been making the case that both Marley and Paradis Island have reason for war. However, episode 5, “Declaration of War” undermines this case. Willy Tyber reveals the sorted his of family and King Karl Fritz. As Tyber tells this tale, Eren and Reiner discuss their similarities, while the Scouts work behind the scenes. Able to hear the stage from the basement, Eren shows Reiner that he’s already cut his hand. Reiner ask Eren, “why he is in Marley.” He responds that he there for the same reason as Reiner, “he has no choice.” Reiner breaks down. Since the beginning of the fourth season, Reiner has been at the center. Particularly, his guilt at the death of his friend, the attack on Paradis Island, and the betrayal of the Scouts. Reiner is a more sympathetic figure. Falco Grice is also sympathetic. Having trusted Eren when he was unaware of who he was, he becomes a pawn in the war. When Falco realises that Eren is from Paradiso Island, he’s devastated that he aided the enemy. Eren apologizes.
Elsewhere, the soldier escorting Pieck, Porco Galliard, and Zeke Jaeger orders Zeke to “go to the gate.” Pieck claims to find the soldier to be “familiar.” Most fans would instantly think of Armin. The soldier is much taller than the Armin we remember, but he resembles him. Willy tells the audience the entire history of the Eldian Empire. Using the power of the Titans, the Eldians dominated humanity, wiping out “many ethnicities and cultures.” However, the story of the Marleyan hero Helos was false. King Karl Fritz was the one that wanted peace. The Tybur family and the King colluded together to end the violence. The King moved the Eldians to Paradis Island, threatening to unleash a thousand of Colossal Titans. Despite this threat, the King accepted the invasion of the Paradis Island because he believed that “the Eldian sins could never be atoned for.”
Eren Jaeger is a threat to world
The soldier brings Galliard and Pieck into an abandoned room. He cuts a rope near the wall, opening a trapdoor beneath the two Titans. Pieck notes that they’re “too cramped to transform without being squashed to death.” Back on stage, Willy tells the shocked audience that the peace King Fritz wanted ended when Eren stole the Founding Titan. He announces that the “new threat to the world is Eren Jaeger.” With the Founding Titan’s power, Eren can command “millions of Colossal Titans at any moment.” In the basement, Reiner tells Eren that “they wanted to save the world.” Eren seems to see himself in Reiner, who blames himself for the tragedies that happened to Eren. Although Eren claims that he and Reiner “are he same,” he will “continue moving forward until his enemies are destroyed.” Eren’s eye turns bright green, and he transforms in the room with Reiner and Falco.
Eren emerges from underneath the stage, crushing Willy and tossing him into the air. I thought Falco’s presence was going to prevent Eren from transforming. We assume that Eren’s the “good guy” and won’t kill a harmless child. Attack on Titan has been making the argument that there are no heroes, just sides. Regardless, if the Marley nation had left Paradis Island alone, they all would have peace. The fear and bigotry of the Marley’s lead them to attacking the Island, resulting in the uprising that caused Eren to rise in power. The cycle of violence started with the Eldians, but could have ended with the Marley nation. They instigated this war, now they must suffer the consequence.
Jobless Reincarnation: I Will Seriously Try If I Go to Another World or Mushoku Tensei, is a Japanese anime series based on the light novel by Rifujin na Magonote. He originally published on the novel on the websiteShōsetsuka ni Narō (Let’s Become a Novelist), a Japanese website where user upload their novels for free. They then released the series as a print and then adapted into a manga. Mushoku Tensei is an isekai series. The isekai genre revolves around an ordinary person who is transported, displaced, or reborn in another world.
These worlds might be a parallel universe, a fantasy world, or a virtual one. The main protagonists usually hate the world they live in, either being bored with their life or they have a terrible one. Tensei begins with the death of an unnamed NEET, a shut-in, he dies trying to save the life of a group of teens from an incoming truck. He awakens as a baby named Rudeus Greyrat, in a fantasy world and keeps his memories from his past life. He grows up in a house with his parents, Paul, Zenith, and their maid Lilia. Blessed with the intelligence of an adult, Rudeus can use magic as a child.
The ability to use magic is limited at birth. A magic user can activate spells with a “magic circle” or by “chanting.” Rudeus uses the chanting method and conjures a ball of water. After his second attempt, he learns that he can use magic without chanting. Through training he develops a magic that requires certain steps: Creation, Setting of Size, Setting of firing speed, then activation. Feeling confident, Rudeus tries a more complicated water spell. It blows a hole in the attic wall, then shoots through the sky. His parents rush in and his mother is ecstatic that her son can use magic.
His parents call for a magic tutor, Roxy Migurdia. She assumes that Rudeus is too young to “understand the concept of magic.” Regardless, she takes Rudeus to train. Roxy explains that magic is divided into three general categories, “Attack Magic, Healing Magic, and Summoning Magic.” From there, a magic user can learn magic in ranks: Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced, Saint, King, Emperor, God. The magic system in Jobless Reincarnation: I Will Seriously Try If I Go to Another World requires “mana.” Roxy shows how water magic works on a tree, breaking the trunk. When she asks what Rudeus thought, he tells her that his mother loved that tree and might be angry. Roxy rushes to fix the tree. She uses healing magic to reconnect the tree trunk and causes flowers to grow.
A chance at a better life
Rudeus tries it. However, he’s concerned that using magic without chanting is taboo. He chants but becomes distracted when getting a glimpse of Roxy’s underwear. He accidentally shortens the chant, revealing that he can use magic without chanting. Roxy’s repair of the tree wasn’t good enough. It breaks again. Afraid she might get fired, Rudeus struggles to comfort her. In his past life, he hadn’t communicated directly to a person in decades.
However, he has knowledge of what a “eroge protagonists,” would do. Eroge is Japanese genre of erotic video games. Mushoku Tensei takes liberties with it, perverted adult male trapped in a boy’s body. I’m sure someone can find the humor in it, but I can’t. I did like that he could use his past life to comfort her despite not having much personal experience. At dinner, Rudeus decides to make the most of his new life. He wants to “work hard” unlike his past life. There’s something sad about how he felt about his previous life. It ended because he rescued someone. I wasn’t all bad. I’m glad that he will get another chance to live a full life.
So I’m a Spider, So What?opens at a highschool. As the students prepare for class, a bright light appears from what seems like a meteor. One student awakens as an unnamed (I’ll call her Kumo) white spider speckled with purple spots. Her siblings and mother result to cannibalism. So I’m a Spider, So What? lets the audience know that despite the cartoony animation, the tone is going to be more brutal. Aware of light novels and the isekai genre, she quickly adapts to her new existence. She learns that she has a AI that informs her of the gaming mechanics. She has 100 points to spend of a skill. Kumo buys the Appraisal skill. However, she quickly learns that it was useless, at least for now. They play the whole thing for laughs. So I’m a Spider, So What? is funny.
I think, therefore I am
She eats her dead “brother” proving that despite her memories she’s not completely different from the other spiders. Her stats pop-up, her name is unknown, Skills: Appraisal LV.1, Poison Fangs LV1, Spider Thread LV3, and Night Vision LV9. Her other attributes HP, MP, and SP are all at 26. After eating her brother, she’s full. Suddenly, the computer AI tells her she’s gained the title of “kin eater.” With the new title comes the skills Taboo (level 1) and Heretic Magic (Level 1). She still trying to figure out the world. Is her title bad? How does she even use heretic magic, use an incantation? However, her past life as a gamer seems to give her a leg up. She tries to gain the title of a dancer by dancing, but falls when something gets caught in her web.
Ow . . . Is my body melting?
She returns to find that she caught a blue frog in her web. It attacks her with poison burning her eye. After she flees to avoid more poison attacks, she told that she gained the skill: Acid Resistance (Level 1). She attacks the frog, avoiding its poison spit. However, when she reaches it, the frog spit poison on her back. Her poison resistance increases to level 2. Using her speed, she gets behind the frog, and starts biting it. It a brutal scene. Spider is excited to defeat her first prey and to learn that her fangs are poisonous. Suddenly, we see what appears to be a graduation. Schlain Zagan Analeit, the prince of the country, is in attendance. We’re told that he’s a prodigy, but not of what. On Schlain’s solder is a dragon-like creature called Fei-chan. Standing next to him is Karnatia Seri Anabald, the daughter of the duke and another prodigy.
It’s like getting to relive my youth! I’m excited!
Filimos-san congratulates them for being “accepted.” She’s an elf, and their teacher, but also a student. It took me a second watch to realise that Filimos is probably the students’ teacher that was also reincarnated in a younger body. She introduces them to her other students, Natsume and Hasebe, the crown prince of the Renxandt Empire and a VIP from the Holy Kingdom of Alleius. Natsume asks, “who are they on the inside?” Schlain responds that he’s Shunsuke Yamada, and Karnatia reveals that she’s Kanata Ooshima. Fei-chan begins speaking, revealing that she was Mirei Shinohara in her past life. Most of the class has been reincarnated into the bodies of humans. Those reincarnated as monsters can communicate with humans. Elsewhere, Spider tries eating the frog. Her Acid Resistance rises to level 2. She still can’t enjoy eating as everything tasting bitter. Determined to survive, Spider pushes through.
I loved the first episode of So I’m a Spider, So What?. I’m excited to go on this journey with Kumo. This series isn’t action heavy, but it balances humor with action well. The series subverts the typical “chosen one” narrative by making the principal character a weak spider. I’m curious how much subversion this series does. I usually focused on animation first, but I think that So I’m a Spider, So What? has solid animation but nothing that stands out. It remains to be seen if that changes. I love the mechanics of the series. Everything that Kumo does results in some stat increase. Considering the fact that Kumo was a loner in school, I don’t think she will have a preexistent relationship with any classmate. So I’m a Spider, So What? reminds me of Made in Abyss with an adorable character trapped in a dangerous environment. That’s a good thing.
As the terrible 2020 comes to a close, I’m happy to write my annual year in review. Having re-read my 2019 blog post, I am ashamed to say that I’ve accomplished almost nothing I intended. I haven’t even started writing that book, failed to comment more, haven’t written more essays, reviewing classic anime, manga vols., or comic books. I reviewed more movies, and completed more anime seasons, but I could do better. After changing my permalinks last year and costing myself monthly viewers, I have recovered well and increased viewership. The last three months have surpassed 10,000 views. Hopefully that trend continues. Overall, this blog will reach just under 100,000 views (97,000). So despite my failures, I have made progress elsewhere.