Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – Episode 10 Review – Strings with Chopin?

Did you see what they just did again? Two weeks ago I gave a 10/10 to this series’s episode 8 and now I find myself wanting to give a perfect 10 again. Nothing can stop Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. It’s on a rampage! Seriously. I find it hard to imagine how we’re treated to a stellar-quality, epic, perfect episode every other week. This has already secured a spot in my list of my top tier anime. Very easily.

This show continues to be flamboyant and extravagant. Impressive dialogue, imagery and poetry makes this show is a real treat to watch. I mean, did you see what they did with stars? The author really knows what he or she is doing. Very clever. It began with Mozart’s Twinkle Twinkle little star, and then it appeared in Tsubaki’s monologues, then Watari’s logic of strength in adversary and now the concert lights are Kaori’s stars shining upon Arima.And did you see how Arima use the starry night to describe how his subconscious feelings about his friends? That alone was goosebumps inducing.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April ReviewShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April Review

To be honest, nothing actually happened this episode. No one spoke a single word. It’s an episode entirely composed of monologues. Yes, a whole anime episode about people thinking to themselves. In theory and on paper that seems very odd, but Shigatsu pulls it off very nicely. They really took their time and I’m glad they didn’t rush things. All in all it was a very detailed and thoughtful production.

With regards to creative decisions, I spent sometime pondering over whether the addition of Strings to Chopin’s pure piano music was a good idea. Eventually as I re-watched the episode, I thought it worked more than it didn’t. After all, Strings that we hear could possibly be a manifestation of Kaori inside Arima’s music. Also, they were repeating the B part of the Chopin etude countless times and so the addition of some orchestral feel to the piece did really enhance it especially when the last time was supposed to be something like a musical home run. I didn’t mind and to be honest I got goosebumps watching it the 2nd time round. (the first time I was too shocked at the producer’s boldness!). And to be fair it was a pretty neat arrangement.

“Thank you thank you thank you thank you”, as the strings played together with Arima’s melodious Chopin etude. I think we can all agree that this was a whole new level of feels.

Overall, it was a really awe-inspiring episode. After watching the episode I had this unexplainable urge to sit down on my piano and play the B section of Chopin’s Op 25 no 5 (yes, the one Arima played). I was not sure if anyone could “smell the chalk, see the broken windows or hear the distant sports team” though. But hey I tried.

Episode Rating – 9.9/10

Further Thoughts 

-Not sure if the start can be considered “Watari development” but hey, at least that dude is getting some screen time and has finally said something non-superficial for once. Everybody is talking about stars so we can’t leave Watari out right! I dislike Watari but I really feel that they should really be doing more with him.

-I saw people complaining about the amount of monologues in this series. In fact, I think monologues are something that uniquely anime in general doesn’t really shy away from. No idea why but it seems like conventional US dramas (or movies) and even Korean dramas and all really avoid using monologues for some reason. Why? Monologues are good and I really enjoy a series with well written monologues (like this, or Parasyte). I mean, can you imagine Parasyte with no monologues. I have no idea why american script writers and all are so afraid of a random “out of nowhere” voice-over. It actually does enhance the experience of watching a show. Why are people so afraid of it. And it also could be because anime is often adapted from manga and monologues and all are not all too uncommon in manga/comics.  But really, I’d like to see more monologues in shows in general. They make shows awesome when done right.

-Glowing balls and random Sakura that appeared on the stage. A little over the top? Maybe. But it doesn’t actually cause a negative experience. For me it doesn’t really enhance the experience either. Not that it’s bad, but it’s just the characteristic of this show.  If anything one should be provoked by the strings in the chopin not the flying golden balls.

-Okay. Now on to Arima’s “feelings” and musical confession to Kaori. You notice I hardly talk about the romance with regards to this show. I honestly don’t think romance is the strong point. Arima’s confession to Kaori felt a little random to me. Kaori’s relationship with Watari is also strangely underdeveloped. I find that confusing. But then again I was never watching this series for the romance anyway. I think people who are ARIMA X KAORI WOOTS or Childhood friend FTWzzz are all watching this show wrong (for now). This is a show about music and the coming of age. If you see this as primarily a romance I honestly don’t think you’re watching it quite right.

-Okay. But still “Only one person matters to me” is a little…overly…ain’t you neglecting some other important people in your life huh Arima.

-I liked how the music was spot on. The fast and harsh was really fast and harsh. When Arima was contemplating to stop, the music was dying very obviously. Some people would say that they shouldn’t have to narrate and explain stuff like that but I really disagree. Sometimes, a confirmation would be nice.

-Aiza’s shock and disappointment was pretty well done.

-Mother smiling at the end. What does it mean? (okay I kid, I read the manga, I know).

-9.9, not 10. Because I think there is going to be an episode that beats this pretty soon (yes, in terms of feels and I suspect if it does the same quality for that content, that would be a sure tear-jerking episode). I gave 10 to the Emi episode, because I’m bias and Emi is best girl so yeah. 10 for her :p

-Was thinking if I should do a personal thoughts/write up on the 3 Chopin etudes being featured in this series(Yes, I am playing them/or played them before). But I’m a little tired/lazy now so that’ll be a topic for another day.

Posted in Anime, Episode Reviews, Fall 2014, Shigatsu wa kimi no uso, Your Lie in April | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – Episode 9 Review – “Better off dead”

Another powerful, emotionally wrecking episode. This week’s Shigatsu wa Kimi no uso leaves behind the super shounen styled piano battles and brings us back to Arima’s trauma. Despite the step down in terms of intensity and production value, this episode was great in it’s own ways – because it’s just so fucking depressing.

But first things first. I totally didn’t like how they treated the Emi development at the beginning of the episode.  It was (in my opinion) pretty important material that they didn’t pay much attention to. It was also significantly overshadowed by heavier depressive themes of the 2nd half of the episode. They could have just given Emi a full episode right! The scene of Emi wanting to become a pianist and climbing up and declaring it was supposed to be way more powerful than how they made it seem! And it all seemed lacklustre, drowned by some strange as hell remix of Winter Wind. This has got to be the worst creative fault that A1 pictures has committed to date. It was like, “oh it’s in the manga so let’s just put it in cause we have to”. It was an important scene and I wasn’t very pleased!

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April episShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April epis

Emi is supposedly good at everything. She gave up all her other possibilities to become a pianist because she was inspired by Arima Kousei. Everything was included and nothing was left out but somehow the anime adaptation lacked impact.  Should they have just included this in last week’s episode. That would have been better?

Also in this episode we see that Arima’s problem is obviously guilt and self blame. Somehow he seems very willing to shoulder unnecessary responsibilities and blames himself for things that go wrong even though they are not entirely his fault. I don’t think this is something new and we’ve already sensed this from Arima quite sometime back. The shock of this episode comes when Arima tells his mother that “you’re better off dead”. (or I wish you would die, in the translation but I prefer the former because I think it’s more accurate). This is the line that would make most people go “oh so that’s it”. Yeah. we’re finally getting close to the root of Arima’s trauma and why he is constantly “haunted” by the ghost of his mother.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April episShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April epis

Aside from that it was a clumsy attempt to integrate back story and actual “action” together. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed or distracted when they tried to pull away from the actual performance into Arima’s trauma. And given that Arima’s trauma flashbacks seem really repetitive, (and is a common point that critics love to attack), I thought this was surely going to draw fire. I don’t think they had a choice because Op 25 no 5 is pretty short compared to the time required to do the lengthy Arima development. I’m not sure if it could have been done any better, but I thought it was very clumsy. Especially when you had Performance->Flashback->Random excerpts of Moonlight Sonata->Back to performance. Not very ideal.

This week’s episode can be considered a step down compared to last week’s episode (episode 8 review here). But it really depends on what you prefer. The mother-son back story is just outright depressive and honestly very provocative. These stuff actually happen in real life and it’s sad. But overall, I thought this was one of the weaker episodes of this series because there were actual flaws.

Episode Rating – 9/10

Further Thoughts

-I like how Arima’s choice of repertoire was discussed. It’s pretty obvious that his etude does not really compare to Aiza’s 10/4 and Emi’s 25/11 in terms of difficulty. This has struck me as early as the first time it was first announced as Arima’s piece. But I just like how they made it a point to talk about it. And Kaori rolling a pencil was hilarious.

-I like this show’s iterative way of presenting Arima’s backstory. In earlier episodes, they first introduce us to the theme/general idea and then subsequently they slowly develop and furnish the story with details. It slowly but gradually provides the much needed information and details for the audience to comprehend and come to understand the relationship between Arima and his mother.

-Arima’s mother had a look of “what have I done” when Arima said he wished she would die. She was shocked though we don’t know why. I want to believe that she has just realised what she has done to her own son. I’m actually pretty sure she is doing all of this out of love (and a little out of madness and the grief of knowing that she’s going to die soon). She’s human. What she has done is undeniably wrong, but yeah, let us not forget that she’s human too.

-I’m fortunate enough to not have to experience an unexpected death of a loved one. But from what I heard from my friend (who lost his mother in an accident), they had a petty quarrel/fight just before his mother left and that was his last interaction/memory of his deceased mother. According to him, this aspect of it hurts a lot because he didn’t get to say a proper farewell and set things straight. This episode depicts that pretty well.

– I guess I’ll make it a point to never say things i will regret for life to a loved one. We always take it for granted that when we leave a conversation angry and screaming all hateful words at each other there will always be another day to reconcile. let’s just say it first and apologise later. that’s what most of us think at the back of our heads when we spew hateful stuff at people we love. this episode reminds me never to do that, for there might be no next moment to tell them you’re sorry or you didn’t mean it.

-I thought they were going a little too far with the physical abuse. I’m not saying emotional abuse is okay but a mother who beats his child at the piano? This is not acceptable in this day and age. but YES, a few decades ago this is considered to be the norm when it comes to asian piano culture. Thankfully I don’t think this is accepted anymore but corporal punishment in even schools is pretty common like 30-40 years ago. Back then, even piano teachers would often hit the hands of their students when they don’t play well. But to the extent of blood and bruises? I don’t know, that’s pretty extreme so I don’t think so.

-On my stance regarding Arima’s trauma. I won’t say I’m a big fan of his back story. It’s okay-ish and I don’t think it’s one of the stronger points in this series. I personally can’t wait for him to get over his trauma. (Okay, but by then we’ll have Kaori to worry about. That ominous “pile of medicine” foreshadowing in this episode though). And it bugs me that we still haven’t heard the whole Op 25 no 5 etude yet. I think the producers are trying to hold back as much as they can so that it will still have some lasting impression/impact in the next episode.

-From the bits and pieces of Arima’s Op 25 no 5. The tempo of A part (the “wrong notes” section) seem moderate and slower than I expected. B part actually seems pretty passionate despite him being nicknamed the “human robot pianist” . But I guess we have to wait till next week to judge.

-This is the lowest episodic score I gave to this series. I still can’t get over the horrible winter wind remix at the start. Sigh. Also, I think many people really wanted to hear Arima’s performance but we end up with an entire episode of flashback. While it was necessary, I can see how many people feel cheated/teased by what they’re doing.

Posted in Anime, Fall 2014, Shigatsu wa kimi no uso, Your Lie in April | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – Episode 8 Review – Undeniable masterpiece

This is definitely the best episode of this series so far. No wait, this was the best episode of Fall 2014 up till now actually. I don’t even see how anyone can argue against this. Undeniably strong episode. Watch and learn, this is what a masterpiece episode looks like.

Many shows are exciting and what not, but how many can actually deliver goosebumps to it’s audiences. Not many. We’re not even talking about feels here. Just pure music goodness from the legendary composer Chopin.

As usual, Shigatsu relies on it’s strong, poetic dialogue to impress. The writing is what sets Shigatsu apart. It’s the best anime of Fall for a reason. The writing not only adds a fine flowery touch to the common shounen tropes, but creates a compelling effect that makes this series irresistible.

This week we had double performances. Aiza’s Chopin Op 10 no 4 and Emi’s Chopin Op 25 no 11 “Winter Wind”, both notoriously difficult pieces even amongst the Chopin etude set. The choice of pieces can be considered pretty cliche given that these are indeed the two of the three most popular etudes (only short of the revolutionary etude). The piece choices are apt though as they are the pieces you would expect of the reigning champion and a girl that manages to outshine the ex-champion.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in AprilShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April

Aiza’s Chopin was a little slow for my taste. But he is a 14 year old after all and is probably not expected (or realistic) for him to unleash a Richter speed 10/4. His etude was pretty stable and clean and pretty much without mistakes. It was a musical performance despite the piece overwhelming technicality difficulties. The crescendos and dynamic changes were spot-on and idea and the overall flair was there. But yeah, it was a little on the slow/safe side. Also did anyone notice how they changed the audio quality to match the scene. Like when they shifted back stage there was an obvious change in the sound. Plus, the dynamics of the recording was probably tampered all over the place to suit the dialogue. It’s hard to judge then.

Aiza is a very cool and interesting guy. I’m really liking his character. He is honest and upfront and isn’t afraid to show his weakness (or strength). Let’s hope he gets some other role besides just being Rival A for Arima.

The star of this episode is Emi without a doubt. I’m not sure where they’re going with Emi. As of now she is obviously a mere Rival B but I think I’m not the only one getting “harem vibes.” but anyway, Emi = best girl of the series. Kaori needs to GTFO, Emi FTW! Inb4 Emi X Kousei. Just kidding, the pairings don’t bother me much.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in AprilShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April

Emi’s Winter Wind was also slow. It didn’t feel anything like the harsh and ferocious Winter Wind I’m used to hearing other pianists play. If anything it was like a gentle breeze. It’s obvious that the author prefers Emi as she is given way more development over Aiza. Plus, it also seems that the author puts more thought into Emi’s monologues. (in some way, they remind me of Tsubaki’s monologues. Not entirely, but just the amount of thought put into them). Also, she had a more elaborate and convincing back story, which I personally enjoyed.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in AprilShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April

Just when you thought the performance couldn’t get any better. The show takes a magnificent artistic manoeuvre into the reddish brown palettes completely sucking one into the world of Emi’s Winter Wind. Everything was just drop dead gorgeous at this point. Loving the whole “Red and Yellow” thing. This reminds me of when Mozart is described as pink in Nodame Cantabile.

To sum it up, this episode was purely breathtaking. Two Chopin etudes in one episode, can’t ask for more! This is the materialisation of the primary goal of all anime – to entertain, to inspire and to move hearts. This episode did accomplish all of that, flawlessly. Bravo.

Episode Rating – 10/10

Some Notes 

– It was funny how Aiza’s teacher was acting all surprised when Emi plunged into the rapid descending chromatic runs of Winter Wind. I mean, you’re a piano instructor. You should know the piece! Why are you acting surprised! And same goes for you Arima!

– When Arima talks to Emi backstage while Aiza was performing, the screen were just white light. I thought that they could have at least put a still frame of Aiza playing the piano.

-Loved the scene where the two teachers were picking a fight with each other. That helped raise the tension quite a bit.

-Probably overlooked fact but when Ochiai-sensei teared at Emi’s performance. it was rather moving and speaks volumes of her commitment as a instructor/educator. Well done.

Posted in Anime, Episode Reviews, Fall 2014, Shigatsu wa kimi no uso, Your Lie in April | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fall 2014 Anime – Week 7 Rankings / Roundup

We’re approaching mid-season of Fall but it doesn’t feel like it for me since most of the shows I’m watching are either 2-cour/never ending shows or leftovers. But anyway, it was an interesting week 7 with a surprisingly ranking outcome!

#10 Nanatsu no Taizai – Episode 7 – 6/10
Nanatsu no Taizai Episode 7Nanatsu no Taizai Episode 7
I’ve been hanging on to this series hoping that it would get better. But apparently it’s been disappointing me week after week. At this point Nanatsu no Taizai isn’t even at “generic shounen level” at all! Yeah. It’s far weaker than that! As of now everything about this series is weak. Uninspired plot, dull characters just to name a few. Last week’s episode gave me the “should I drop this” vibes. Ban has a past, but it was so weakly developed that I hardly gave a fuck to what that was. Broomstick fat boy appears in this episode but new dull characters do not save this show from the wreck it already is. The reason why I’m a little annoyed is because I was somehow promised a great show from the hype. Lesson learned. The hype isn’t always right. I kinda feel angry with myself for sticking to this and I can safely say that probably some shows that I’ve dropped would have been better than this.

#9 Akame ga Kill – Episode 20 – 6.5/10
Akame ga kill episode 20Akame ga kill episode 20
It was a decent episode until I read the manga, then I dropped the score by 2. It’s not the fairest judgement TBH but this is a manga adaptation after all. Lubbock’s death was okay-ish in the anime original but  I have yet to read till he dies in the manga. But just based on chapters 35-44 which I’ve read I can totally safely say that the anime is doing a shit job so far. Why did they fucking skip the Esdeath vs Night Raid. And Susanoo’s death? Gosh. This poor score for Akame ga Kill is basically just me being pissed at them not adapting what could have been an infinite times better. The anime is okay at best and once you read the manga you know it’s shit. 6.5 is me trying to balance both sides. I can’t give it a decent score anymore because it’s shit in comparison but yet I can’t give it too low because I don’t want to appear like just another fucking manga purist which we all know can be one big pain in the arse sometimes.

#8 Cross Ange – Episode 7 – 7.8/10
Cross Ange Episode 7Cross Ange Episode 7
Decent episode. Sick Ange kicking arse. Was very predictable and that’s the main reason why it’s scored somewhat lower than last week’s 8.5. Was hoping that the conflict with Ange and the other girls would last a little longer but I figured that it wouldn’t be very fresh anymore to have the other girls hate on Ange for forever. From the 1st episode we know that Ange is going to be the leader of the squad and demand loads of respect from every fucking body so yeah. This was a necessarily development indeed. But besides that, do people get so wobbly and fragile just from a flu?

The battle with the gravity dragon was kinda cool but the resolution was a little cheesy. Generally the Mecha battles are done pretty well though in terms of animation quality and sound.

#7 Fate Stay Night UBW – Episode 6 – 8.2/10
Fate Stay Night UBW episode 6Fate Stay Night UBW episode 6
Slightly more interesting episode and I can see things are picking up. I still cannot understand the mad fanatic love for this series. It’s good yes. But it’s only like slightly better than average kind of good, or good enough to keep watching kind of good. But I honestly feel annoyed when people put this at the same level as Shigatsu or Parasyte. It’s not! But anyway, Caster  and Assassin appears. Archer appears and saves Shirou and we’re left with a cliffhanger of Saber versus Assassin and Archer versus Caster. At the very least I’m actually a little excited to watch the next episode (unlike weeks where I procrastinated 2-3 days before getting down to it). Let’s hope that it’s not a hi-bye fight again. And it bugs me that Shirou should have been dead considering the number of times he runs into an enemy servant without his own servant. I enjoyed Fate Zero quite a lot but honestly the characters (masters especially) are all pretty dull in Fate Stay Night and I think that is one major reason why i’m not enjoying this as much as I should.

#6 Sword Art Online 2 – Episode 19 – 8.5/10
Sword Art Online Episode 19 ReviewSword Art Online Episode 19 Review
The best SAO 2 episode to date actually. The dialogue in the first half was engaging and thought provoking (despite seemingly advocating wrong values?) while the 2nd half’s battle was generally done quite well. It’s a good start to the Mother Rosario arc and I’m looking forward to Asuna kicking ass in the next few episodes. I’m eagerly hoping this series will get better to wash off the bitter after taste of how below-mediocre the first half of SAO 2 was.

But anyway, not much to say because I’ve written a review on this episode here.

#5 Terraformars – Episode 9 – 8.8/10
Terraformars episode 9Terraformars episode 9
Did anyone notice how they’re trying to make this as artistic as possible without animating much? Sneaky fellows. Well at least they’re trying. Despite not being too fond of how they directed this episode, it was still very good. The directing is very unique here. It’s like flash still frame, talk a little, flash epic black screen across with floating words, flash lightning, flash still frame and repeat. At some point I was very distracted with them fading in and out so many different things at once. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad but I personally think they’re trying to mask the lack of animation. Besides that the episode was very emotional. I didn’t really think I would feel emotional watching Terraformars but Adolf’s back story was one badass feels inducing story.

#4 Yowamushi Pedal S2 – Episode 7 – 8.9/10
Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road episode 7Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road episode 7
This week’s Yowamushi Pedal was a little uneventful. (But Yowapedal is still greatness). The main pack has finally caught up to the Hakone-Sohoku alliance and Onoda (and a few other guys) are being swallowed. It was a pretty slow and unhappening episode considering how much they focused on Onodo being sad about not being able to ride with his friends anymore. (A little overly done here?). Hiroshima Kureiminami finally showed their true colours and abandoned the pack. Races are indeed long and there bound to be episodes that are epic cool and some which are not so. This week’s Yowapedal happens to be the latter.

#3 Shirobako – Episode 7 – 9.2/10
Shirobako Episode 7Shirobako Episode 7
I never ever expected this to be in my top 3. But last week’s episode had me go OMG this is actually very good. It started off pretty much the usual stuff and all until they came to Ema and her plight. Then it became very very good. Omg level good. That rooftop scene. That struggle. That relatable pain. Ema. God damn, you’ve become one of the best characters in Shirobako. I can’t help feeling sorry for her. So subtle yet so good. This was the first time I was actually very impressed by the writing in Shirobako and immediately I thought to myself that Shirobako could easily steal a top 5 spot in the season if it keeps this up! The cast is starting to become more and more developed as time goes by and I can say that by another 3-4 more episodes we’ll possibly feel like we’re actually working in Musashino Animation. I’m actually pumped and hyped for the next episode!

#2 Parasyte / Kiseijuu – Episode 7 – 9.4/10
Parasyte Episode 7 ReviewParasyte Episode 7 Review
Usual epic stuff though I thought that episode 6 was much better than 7. On a whole I this episode didn’t strike me as much actually. Didn’t really like the music choices or the way the battle was directed. The fight was a little lacklustre and anti-climatic. Again, just nitpicking here and overall Parasyte is still a very very good show. We’re getting double epsiodes next week and I’m definitely hyped as fuck!

You can read my review on Episode 7 here.

#1 Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / Your Lie in April – 9.4/10
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in aprilShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in april
It’s actually a tie between Parasyte in terms of raw score but I felt Your Lie in April was slightly better. Pre-performance jitters and stage fright is something very relatable to musicians. I think this show deserves to be #1 this week just purely based on how well they portrayed the whole atmosphere back stage. As usual, this show puts great thought into it’s dialogue. It’s very obvious that it’s the type of writing that doesn’t waste a single line. Next week is definitely going to be epic and it’ll be interesting see how Takeshi’s performance will match up to Parasyte’s double episode! Hah.

You can read my review on episode 7 here.

Overall a very interesting week indeed and congrats to Shirobako for jumping up 7 spaces and climbing to 3rd spot! Also, the average score this week was 8.27 as compared to last week’s 8.17. (based on the same 10 shows)  which is a good thing. You may also want to check out last week’s round up here.

As usual I’ll be covering weekly reviews for Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso and Parasyte. I may do Akame ga Kill OR sword art online depending if I have anything to say about the episodes. If there is any anime you would like to see me doing episodic reviews please let me know in the comments.

If you have anything to add in general about my rankings, please drop a comment or on twitter @MegaPrinceYtay.

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Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – Episode 7 Review – Amazing Tension!

When anime is described as slow, it is more often than not mentioned as a flaw. This episode, however, taught us that slow episodes are not necessarily bad. Furthermore, it’s one of the rare moments when going slow does actually help the series instead of hurting it. The content of this episode could have been easily rushed but I liked it how A1 pictures decided to go slow and steady in order to develop things properly.

The second half of the episode was done exceptionally well despite not having any real action going on. I mean, no performance this week, no heart breaking dialogue and this show still manages to shine. Loving that tension and suspense. Something just felt so amazingly right. Hats off! The way they captured the fear and tension of the competitors was just too brilliant.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in aprilShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in april

I really like this bathroom scene a lot. You need to understand how much the bathroom means to performers. Before a performance, it’s the place where you’ll visit countless of times whether you like it or not. You’ll stare at yourself in the mirror and try to calm yourself down while the tap water runs in the background but you’re just too paralysed and can’t be bothered to turn it off. Subconsciously, you’ll continuously splash water all over your face, your neck your arms and all hoping to cool off the jitters but it just keeps coming back no matter what you do. You’ll stay there for a good five minutes, then you’ll go out and wait and in another two minutes you’ll find yourself back staring at the same mirror again, at yourself. You have to check your attire anyway, or hair. Or at least that’s what you’ll tell yourself refusing to admit that there is some kind of solace that the bathroom mirror provides. This is why bathrooms are important. And I like it how Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso depicts it. The fear is real and anyone who has performed in public will probably understand this.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in aprilShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in april

Arima is scared. And there are so many unspoken words that was conveyed when Aiza walked passed him. Arima probably sensed Aiza’s fear as well. Everyone is scared just like Kaori says. The last 10 minutes of this episode was very very slow. But somehow the slow worked to it’s advantage and somehow successfully brought out just the right amount of tension.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in aprilShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in april

Aiza was less of a badass that I predicted him to be. He was strangely rather awkward / well-mannered over the bad boy image that he tries to portray. Voice Actor choices were spot on. Kaji Yuji does a pretty good job as Aiza even though we’re hearing his voice EVERYWHERE these days and I really do think his voice makes Aiza seem more important than he was in the manga. Hayami Saori does an outstanding job with Emi. I was totally blown away because this was totally how I imagined Emi to sound like when I was reading the manga! (on a side note, I can’t wait for Emi’s character development + winter wind and I have a feeling she’s going to be my favourite character in this series!) Anyway the introduction of rivals were a nice touch and I really hope for these 2 likeable characters to remain as long as possible in this series.

The first half of the series mainly focuses on Arima’s struggles and monologues. This time the theme was rather clear. It was more of an identity crisis kind of thing with some musical elements mixed into it. Demonic cat symbolism is back (and we get to learn that her name was Chelsea). I’m loving how this cat is creepy as fuck.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in aprilShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in april

Well either way it was a pretty smart way to show Arima talking to himself. (or his internal struggles). You are not Beethoven, you are not Chopin. Where are you in the music? Loving these profound themes being explored as Arima struggles to insert himself into the Chopin that he is playing.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in aprilShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in april

Kaori manages to clear Arima’s mind from his internal struggle and convince him that “you are you”. Very cliche and overall it was an okay scene to me and I wasn’t expecting much in the first place. Again, the dialogue is one of the strongest points of this series. Even the ones that don’t interest me much are still darn good.

And before I forget. That obligatory Watari development too!

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in aprilShigatsu wa Kimi no Uso / your lie in april

Bathroom crying scene from a sports guy who just lost his last match in middle school. This scene felt like it came from a sports anime (Bathroom crying scene seems oddly familiar, was it from Ping Pong?). After 7 episodes I’m like whew finally. It was a little odd though because Watari hasn’t done much nor given much meaningful dialogue to warrant a “feels scene”. I guess the point here is that, Tsubaki lost, Watari lost, Kaori lost, so now it’s Arima’s turn to shine?

I don’t really want to say this but I actually think Watari is currently one of the biggest flaws of this series. He is severely underdeveloped (well, at least now) and only says very superficial stuff the entire time as though he exists just to make Arima seem more sophisticated and cool.

All in all, it was still a very fantastic episode. It’s more of a surprise to me because I didn’t expect that this episode would be done so well. (I thought that they were going to rush through some of the developments and quickly end the episode with Aiza’s performance). Also, did anyone notice the homage to Nodame Cantabile? Schubert’s A minor Sonata was played somewhere in the middle of the episode after some random Bach was played. The choice of Schubert was strange given that the competition was supposed to be Chopin + Bach for all competitors. They’re changing things up a little making the musical aspect a little more flexible. but it’s okay, the pieces played by random competitors was never mentioned in the manga anyway.

Next week is going to be a mind blowing episode though. And I’m really looking forward to it as it might be one of the strongest episodes so far.

Episode Rating – 9.4/10

Posted in Anime, Episode Reviews, Fall 2014, Shigatsu wa kimi no uso, Your Lie in April | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Parasyte – Episode 7 Review

This episode was a lot weaker than the last episode in my opinion. It might be me just having my hopes too high. I am not sure if I should describe this episode as rushed but I thought the whole final confrontation with the mother should at least last longer.

Parasyte Episode 7 ReviewParasyte Episode 7 Review

Yeah, I felt that the fight of Shinichi versus mother was lacklustre! I was like, “is that it?”. The mother was so weak! I think Parasyte does best in it’s psychological aspects and still leaves a lot room for improvement when it comes to fights. It’s one of the things that is already very good could be done better actually. Of course, the animation and all were superb but I just didn’t really like how the fight turned out to be actually anti-climatic. For some reason something also feels off about this week’s episode. (compared to the last) I’m not sure if it was the same people who worked on the last episode but I personally didn’t like the music choice during the fight. As a resolution to the entire “arc”, something seemed to be missing and I wasn’t really feeling it even during the last scene we had with the dad on the cliff.

Shinichi is now 30% Parasyte? He has “Migi-particles” infused into him which explains his psychological and physical change. He is now alpha as fuck. The “turning alpha” shock factor has somewhat diminished this episode to be honest. We saw the greatest change last week and basically this week’s episode simply reinforced it by explicitly letting us know.

Parasyte Episode 7 ReviewParasyte Episode 7 Review

The introduction of Uda Mamoru also adds an interesting flavour to the show. I’m liking how Shinichi finally has a Parasyte friend. Initially I was very worried because Uda seemed like the kind of character that would immediately die off once he has served his role (as a plot device) but apparently not and I was honestly glad he survived and even saved Shinichi. I’m hoping to see more of him as he was a pretty interesting character that adds some contrast that this show needs.

Again, time flies when watching good anime. Parasyte is the kind of show that hooks you from the first second all the way to the end of the episode. This week’s episode may not have been the best, but it is still very very good.

Episode Rating – 9.4/10

Posted in Anime, Episode Reviews, Fall 2014, Parasyte | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Sword Art Online – Episode 19 – Parents are always wrong?

We get to see some obvious attempts at social commentary this episode. Was pretty hilarious watching SAO clumsily tackle issues such as education, careers and all that shit. They’re obviously trying to send some kind of message across, but are they sending the right one?

The conflict between the modern parent and teenager is dramatised here. What bugs me a lot is how obvious good and bad sides are being shown and lines are being drawn clearly. Asuna, is portrayed as a righteous, victimised heroine who is being oppressed by a clearly evil and overbearing mother. Any kid watching this would definitely relate to Asuna as many should have been in her shoes. After all, parents are always evil right?

Sword Art Online Episode 19 ReviewSword Art Online Episode 19 Review

Unfortunately, I sympathise with her mother more. Asuna was just being plain childish. I mean, “I like my school, I have friends”, or “I’m doing homework IN an online game” translates to “I’m young,ignorant and I do whatever the fuck I want and I don’t think about my future one bit” . It gets worrisome because this episode depicts this as right and shows how pitiful Asuna was for merely being shown reality. You already spend 2 years trapped in an virtual game, and now that you’re out you’re still spending the majority your time in there? And geez, stop pretending to do homework in a game!

More truths from her mother – the school she is attending is more like a prison used to observe and monitor the psychology of the SAO survivors. You can’t be expecting a decent curriculum! Asuna clearly doesn’t think about stuff like her future and all. After all, if she is able to just get stronger as her SAO avatar that would suffice right? I mean, money, education, career are all worthless compared to gaining new sword skills? No?
This anime is sending all kinds of wrong messages! It’s as if you can doing whatever the fuck you want, and having friends and having fun and all are infinitely more important than getting a job and feeding yourself (by having a proper education).

SAO is an anime that grounds itself with reality (or at least it tries, with the amount of “lets sit down and talk” episodes). I can see how the author is trying to bring in controversial topics that resonate with young people. The disturbing thing is I have read/watched reviews of people complaining how bitchy/evil the mum was as though she was completely evil. Oh really? So she shouldn’t care about her daughter one bit and let her rot away in a virtual game until she’s 50?

Education is important. And don’t forget it’s Asians that we’re talking about here.

Uh okay but the forced marriage thing was a little unreasonable though. She was right up till that point. I don’t advocate marrying for the sake of career LOL!

But then again I don’t really like how the mother is portrayed as downright evil. I think Kirito and gang has to wake up their idea and study a little more. Virtual games are not all to life you know? And yeah making a game is also not easy if you’re considering that as a career, Kirito.

The second half of the episode finally gives us some action. Like FINALLY! YAY. And honestly it was pretty well animated.

Sword Art Online Episode 19 ReviewSword Art Online Episode 19 Review

We learn that Zekken is a girl. (For some reason I had always thought so). The fight went pretty close and before Yuki (Zekken) finishes her off she recruits her (Asuna) to help her on some kind of quest.

All in all, it was a pretty decent episode. Much much better than the previous few episodes.
It seems like we’re off to a good start for the Mother Rosario’s arc

Episode Rating – 8.5/10

Posted in Anime, Episode Reviews, Fall 2014, Sword Art Online 2 | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments