katmic (Level 11)

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Wednesday, 25 March 2015


How can the chapter end like that? I mean, seriously. 

Considering last week’s fairly tame chapter, I expected this week’s chapter to rise several notches higher in terms of entertainment. 

But having the commandments jump into action so suddenly was unexpected; AND I WANT MORE.

THE CHAPTER:
Elation over the defeat of the Albion is short lived as Galan prepares for his assault against Camelot.

MY THOUGHTS

Then again, maybe I only found this chapter enticing because of last week’s lackluster King-oriented plot. That doesn’t make chapter 119 any less entertaining. But I can’t help but wonder if my excitement for the chapter isn’t being driven by my determination to thoroughly enjoy Nanatsu no Taizai every week.

-Hendricksen
I guess that answers things; my initial reaction upon watching Hendy and Dreyfus unleash the ten commandments was to presume that they had been essentially play-fighting during the finale of the previous arc.

This chapter more or less cements the fact that he was being controlled by Dreyfus in someway. I am not certain which is better: having Dreyfus control Hendy or the two working as partners?

I foresee a Griamore/Hendricksen clash, on account of what the son will believe Hendy to have done to his father.

The idea of Hendricksen joining the sins to save the kingdom is intriguing. Though I foresee his death in a Dreyfus-style sacrifice.

-The Ten Commandments
The battle is here, and I couldn’t be more excited. Galan looks like a decent first opponent; though I would have preferred that Hawk not reveal Galan’s stats or mention the fact that his power made Demon Hendy look like a puppy.

I want us to learn firsthand, along with the sins, just how powerful Galan is when he first engages with them. That being said, that power level is just ridiculous.

It is one thing for Hendricksen to almost exceed the Sin’s combined power. Galan surpasses the whole lot of them by a massive margin.

And this is inclusive of the mighty Merlin-who will finally get to fight.

Sufficing to say, the sins do not stand a chance. Not merely against Galan but the commandments as a whole. The same commandments whose abilities are essentially depleted, and yet Galan can somehow muster a power level of 26,000.

RATING: 7/10. This chapter was great. And hey, it seems Gowther is still in the game. I honestly didn’t notice the fact that Slader brought him along. Next week is going to be one hell of a party.

HIGHLIGHTS: Galan’s appearance.
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Natural catastrophic events intrigue me. In fact I would go so far as to call myself a fan. Why? Well, curiosity.

I would compare it to my curiosity with fainting; I have never fallen unconscious in my life. And I have always been curious  about the experience. Is it like falling asleep? Is their light or are you shrouded in complete darkness? And how about the awareness factor? 

The idea of a tornado curling its way down to the earth from above, magma tearing a path across a landscape, the earth moving beneath your feet like waves. My imagination builds a picture of epicness.

Tokyo Magnitude was a reminder that many of these images that I tend build are devoid of the true impact of these natural phenomena on human life and infrastructure.

Not that my interest in experiencing these events has been dampened; rather Tokyo Magnitude proved educational in presenting a picture akin to what I might experience where an earth quake ever to strike within my vicinity, a picture that is less surfing on rock and more riotous madness.

+THE PLOT:
There is a 70% possibility that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake will occur in Tokyo in the next 30 years. The anime depicts what would happen if an 8.0 earthquake took place. 

The story centers on Mirai, a middle school freshman girl who goes to Tokyo’s artificial Odaiba Island for a robot exhibition with her brother Yuuki at the start of summer vacation.

A powerful tremor emanates from an ocean trench, the famed Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge crumble and fall, and the landscape of Tokyo changes in an instant. With the help of a motorcycle delivery woman named Mari who they meet on Odaiba, Mirai and Yuuki strive to head back to their Setagaya home in western Tokyo.

+MY REVIEW:

Tokyo Magnitude plays out almost like a documentary; there were moments partway through the third episode where I expected agents of a secret organization to swoop down, sweep Yuuki and Mirai off to a secret base where they would reveal the cause of the Tokyo’s destruction to be a giant turtle at the center of the earth that, using giant mechs, Yuuki and Mirai would have to destroy.

But no. Tokyo Magnitude is largely a grounded story; an earth quake destroys Tokyo near the end of the first episode and we then have to follow two kids as they attempt to make their way safely home.

If you come into this anime expecting more than that, you will be sorely disappointed. If your interest lies with finding a great story with interesting characters, then Tokyo Magnitude just might surprise you.

+The Good
-Character development
Tokyo Magnitude is fairly straightforward; it is largely character oriented, bringing clearly to the fore the suffering of a wide variety of individuals. 

Without being depressing and unnecessarily shocking, the anime uses its 12 episodes to present the loss and misery in as realistic a manner as possible; which is refreshing.

Considering the number of anime that like to exaggerate the reactions and actions of persons and groups of individuals when they find themselves in dire situations, Tokyo Magnitude allows the men and women that Mirai, Yuuki and Mari meet to maintain their sense of self, never overacting or presenting ridiculous personalities in the anime’s attempt at showing just how desperate they are.

And that is where the anime succeeds; rather than beating you over the head with how bad things are, trying to invoke fake emotional reactions, Tokyo Magnitude is subtle, allows viewers to reach their own conclusions about characters, their intentions and state of mind. 

There is little that can be said about the primary protagonists, of which only Mari was 3 dimensional enough to matter in terms of character development.

Mirai, the female lead, was bratty as hell. And I don’t know if I bought her attitude. Yuuki’s positive demeanor was the perfect foil to Mirai’s negativity. There was hardly a ‘journey to redemption’ style story to latch onto, though.

Tokyo Magnitude was about survival. There wasn’t anymore to it.

-Pacing
Despite their short run, 12 episode anime rarely impress; you would expect 24 episode series to fumble because of their length. 12 episode anime, however, are the ones that tend to waste the first 3/4s of their run, only ramping things up at the end.

Tokyo Magnitude never rushes, so you can never accuse it of glossing over the suffering of the people surrounding Mirai and Yuuki. However it doesn’t drag nearly enough on the suffering for the story to get too depressing.

There is a purpose in the plotting and the story strives to achieve its goals with each episode, especially the struggle within Mari with regards to her duty to her family when compared to two desperate children she must guide to safety but whom she owes nothing.

Overall, the episodes fly by. Rarely does one feel the need to skip ahead because of irrelevant material.

-Payoff
The success of every journey oriented story lies in the payoff at the end; Tokyo Magnitude delivers what I think was a brilliantly crafted finale. 

And I have to say, I found the number of reviews on the internet claiming to have seen that final twist in the story coming, so much so that they thought the final two episodes dragged, surprising.

Without spoiling anything, there are enough hints near the end to suggest that something is truly wrong, but nothing so egregious that they ruin the surprise. And it is because of the finale that the entire anime emerges as a far better story in my eyes.

+The Bad
There was very little bad in Tokyo Magnitude. Or rather nothing so bad that it would affect the overall quality of the anime. Just a few irritations that the Anime could have approached better:

-The Art and Animation wasn’t anything to boast about, and in fact had some inconsistencies. Not enough to deduct from the quality of the story, but noticeable.

-The Music was almost negligible, nothing to cry about but largely unmemorable. Though it might be argued that that was the intent of the director, keeping the score low key enough to allow the anime’s silent atmosphere to reverberate. 

-As the primarily lead, Mirai was insufferable. And the anime didn’t afford her character nearly enough time for us to understand or care about the reasons behind her insufferable demeanor.

+VERDICT
Tokyo Magnitude is largely story oriented; it is less about the spectacle of the earthquake and more about the difficulties and suffering of the survivors.

Less about survival in fact and more about one woman’s internal struggles as she strives to do right by her family and the two kids under her charge.

Tragedy permeates the plot but rarely does the story get too depressing.

RATING: 7/10. Tokyo Magnitude is hardly the most memorable anime. However it is the kind of story worth investing time into.

HIGHLIGHTS:  The Yuuki/Mirai finale. No matter what many of the comments on the internet have said, I honestly didn’t put two and two together until Mirai begun running around at Yuuki’s school. And even then, it was merely a suspicion.
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We had a set up chapter three or four weeks back; it came just after the second round and set the stage for the Shinsou/Midoriya showdown.

That set up chapter was lame; not like this set up chapter, which was actually paced appropriately.

THE CHAPTER:
The different combatants face off against one another, bringing Uraraka closer and closer to her fight with Bakugou.

MY THOUGHTS:
After Midoriya's fight with whoever he would be up against (who doesn’t want to see the hero of a Shonen series in opportunities where he gets to keep proving himself), I was looking forward to Uraraka’s fight most.

And not because I thought that this would finally be her Sakura/Sasori moment, where she would finally get to prove herself. No, the fact that she was facing Bakugou of all people just raised the stakes for that fight more than even a Midoriya/Todoroki match up.

Heck, I don’t think Midoriya VS. Bakugou would be as interesting as this. The pairing just…doesn’t work for several reasons. Uraraka is one of the most timid characters in the series. Bakugou is a monster.
And I thought it was interesting for Midoriya to confirm that there was no chance of Bakugou going easy on Uraraka. 

This matchup actually reminds me of the Han Dae Wi VS Yu i-ra fight from The God of HighSchool. Precluding the whole ‘fight amongst friends’ thing, the attraction of that battle primarily lay in the promise of finally showing the power difference between the two characters.

As shockingly brutal as Han Dae Wi was (he more or less obliterated Yu Mi-Ra), it is because I am expecting Bakugou to do so much worse that I am looking forward to the battle.

Uraraka was so psyched at the end of the chapter, talking about her determination to give it her all, that I am really routing for her to come out on top. But, I just simply cannot begin to see that happening.

I guess, the better question would be: how far is Bakugou going to go? And will Uraraka have the sense to surrender when things get crazy? Let’s hope Midoriya hasn’t spoiled her so much that she pushes herself against Bakugou till she breaks.

+RATING: 6/10. A victory for Bakugou would be irritating, merely because of how annoying he can be. But a victory for Uraraka would have to make sense. And I simply cannot see how she can pull off a win.

HERO OF THE WEEK: Midoriya is proving to be a bonified Batman with the way he’s analyzing and creating counter strategies for everybody’s quirk.

Tetsutetsu and Kirishima’s fight also looked epic. Mei was amusing, using IIda to sell her stuff.

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Kaminari
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The first time I watched Yu-Gi-OH, with the series largely revolving around a monster cards game, I remember wondering how or if the writers could ever make the premise of the game matter.

Because that is what I wanted; something that exceeded basic card game shenanigans. I don’t remember how that original series eventually managed to make the virtual world of Duel Monsters matter within the real lives of the characters but I have had similar thoughts about Toriko ever since I begun reading it.

A story about food? And Ingredients? Really? Exactly how is this going to work? How can that plot work outside of Komatsu’s kitchen? How could the mangaka make his story matter within the real lives of the characters beyond the boundaries of Indiana Jones style plots centered around food rather than artifacts.

+THE PLOT:

Toriko recruits Zebra for a mission across the red desert. Within the confines of the Gourmet Pyramid, they will search for the fabled mellow cola, facing new dangers within even as Zebra begins to reveal his true face.

+MY THOUGHTS:

Power. That is what this whole food thing is about. I figured as much earlier on, but with each new arc allowing us to watch Toriko grow stronger by eating new and exciting ingredients, the idea has become that much more cemented.

Yet how good or bad the idea of food as a power source is will depend on the mangaka’s approach; where this Fairy Tail, I would have been worried about the future of the story.

Heck we have seen Fairy Tail go down this road already, with each new Arc seeing Natsu gather new strength by consuming a new type of flame. With Toriko, there is a sense of hard work that cannot be ignored.

Anyway, the Arc. Surprisingly managed to kick things up a notch. I am still uncertain about the primary thread of a plot that is winding through the manga. These arcs really remind me of One Piece, with Toriko and Komatsu heading to a new location for a new adventure every new arc the way the Straw Hats keep skipping from Island to Island, facing new villains and encountering fresh allies and even monsters each time.

-Pacing

Speaking of One Piece, this Toriko arc muddled by opinion of its slow progress even more. The Mellow Cola Arc spanned a paltry 18 chapters. 18 chapters during which we explored the prison, met the warden, zebra was released, his reputation and the impact of his loosing shown around the human world; the trio found some camels, battled the Red Desert’s many threats, found their target and finally engaged in a tense battle with, not one, but two powerful figures. And that isn’t even taking into account the stuff near the end that continued to expand the Toriko universe.

That is how you pace an arc; and this complaint isn’t anchored to the issue of length; the Mellow Cola arc could have been 50 chapters and it wouldn’t have mattered.

Why? Because with each chapter of Toriko, something of note almost always happens. I don’t think their was any one chapter in the arc that I could have called filler. The short adventure was tightly written and to the point.

Which is how a chapter of any decent arc of any decent manga should be.

-Acacia

I look at Acacia as the Hashirama of Toriko; just like Hashirama essentially built the Shinobi world as it was in Naruto, every new revelation about Acacia paints him as the progenitor of the Toriko universe, bringing to life many of the concepts that story depends upon.

Which is why all the images of Acacia do not match the image of the god-like Bishokuya I typically envision; this is Toriko we are talking about, where size and epic presentation are almost always synonymous with strength. I honestly expected these later presentations of Acacia to resemble Melk, possibly even larger.

-God

This goes back to my question about how this story will make food and ingredients matter outsides the kitchen. How the hell can an ingredient lead to a world wide war?

I have a few theories.

God is like the One Piece. It’s not like the One Piece didn’t exist before Gol D. Roger mentioned it. But it was in confirming its existence that Roger initiated the Pirate Age, with anyone that could sail the seas suddenly determined to claim this mythical prize for themselves.

Following that Logic, food in the Toriko world is all about power, and if God is as powerful (or grants as much power) as many expect it to, confirming its existence will initiate a race for what might be essentially the WMD of the Toriko world. Hence, World War.

But this is an ingredient we are talking about. It’s not like the One Piece which, I presume, even if Luffy were to find it, we would still get an all out battle for its possession.

Someone finds God, they will probably consume it their and then. Hence no more God. So, no World War.

-IGO/Gourmet World

We have met a lot of immensely powerful but strangely mysterious characters ever since the Toriko story begun. And one thing that has always bothered me, not in any way that could ruin my enjoyment, but just a nagging thought, was the fact that all these people know one another.

Again, not a big deal. But I just thought it odd that, upon meeting him, Melk showed a familiarity with not only the IGO president but that Seseiya that Toriko met as well as the mafia boss Ryu.

I have always struggled to ignore egregious coincidences, which is why the introduction of a research center in the gourmet world that essentially employed most, if not all, of these ridiculously powerful individuals made a whole load of sense.

And the very fact that they existed as employees operating out of the gourmet world also explained their strength.

Again, no big deal. But I appreciated having that one thread tied up.

-Zebra

Zebra is a surprisingly pleasant addition to the cast; even when I was watching the anime I always paid very little attention to him.

His rough attitude perfectly complements Toriko, even while camouflaging a soft exterior that Zebra seemingly struggles to express.

It was actually fascinating watching him getting taken by Komatsu’s earnestness, even as his bond with Toriko seemed to grow. Though if am being honest, even more awesome than watching him protect Komatsu from kilometers away at a great cost to his own life, was the fighting he did, essentially proving himself to be the powerhouse Toriko proclaimed him to be in the beginning.

Diverse and destructive, I will not mind seeing more Zebra from here onwards. Though I have to admit, I felt betrayed on behalf of Toriko when Komatsu revealed his deal with Zebra.

Thinking on it, Zebra kind of reminds me of Kenpachi; just as heroic even while maintaining that dark sinister spirit.

+VERDICT:

The Mellow Cola Arc was fast paced, surprisingly so, yet it didn’t feel rushed. I thought the Zebra stuff was a little exaggerated, specifically the impact he supposedly has on economic matters.

More importantly, they could have handled his first appearance better. I mean, first Toriko boasts about Zebra’s power. Then Zebra is released at a time when the surrounding lands are over-run by dangerous beasts, just so Zebra could show us what he could do by single handedly defeating them all.

Really wish those first chapters had been more subtle. On the plus side, I found the warden highly amusing. Beyond that though, everything was largely smooth sailing. The well crafted bond (?) between Zebra and Komatsu.

The antagonism between Toriko and Zebra. The threat of the sphinx and the epic appearance of the Nitro. The desperation of the ensuing fight. Toriko and Zebra’s combos.

The Mellow Cola Arc gives me hope for the future; one step closer to the Gourmet World.

+RATING: 7/10

+HIGHLIGHTS: Toriko/Zebra vs the Nitro

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Yeah, No. I don’t know what the Mangaka was going for with these two chapters but, No. That should have been far better than it actually was. Especially chapter 118.

And…scratch that, I do know what the mangaka was going for and, as far as the plot is concerned, there was no need to waste so much time on King’s place among the fairies.

+THE CHAPTERS:
King faces the terrifying power of the golem.

+MY THOUGHTS:
You know what, the mangaka is making it very difficult for me to criticize his work because chapters 117 and 118 where actually kind of awesome.

But ‘kind of’ is the operative word here. The pacing was just off this week , and the way the stuff with the fairies was handled just didn’t work.

-The Bad
There were a lot of elements I just didn’t appreciate this week.

What’s with the mangaka’s determination to affirm King’s place as Lord of the Fairies?

Having watched the anime recently, which reminded of the reasons that forced King to leave his home and friends (for a while now I actually thought he just abandoned them in favor of hanging out with Diane) I cannot even bring myself to empathize with the fairies.

Sure they had some terrible times, but really, all they have been doing (or ever done) is whine. Helbram said it best when he explained that the fairies had gotten so weak and complacent depending on the Fairy King for Millennia.

The obsession with painting King in a bad light and putting him into a position where he has to defend his kingship just didn’t work.

The fairies’ conversion from the anti-king campaign to the pro-king side was not only rushed but very forced.

And so was all that drama about King’s supposed struggle against the golem. The entire situation felt very fake; contrived, designed to create false emotions and unnecessary melodrama about King’s relationship with his people.

And who the hell is Gerharde. Maybe its my memory that has the problem. But she came out of nowhere, and we were suddenly supposed to accept her as a serious entity in the forest, possibly even essential to the story.

Even the business with Ban, which yielded some surprises ran on longer than necessary, especially the number of times Ban had to defend himself against the accusation of taking King’s place as the Fairy King.

At least 90% of both chapters was irrelevant, either badly paced or weirdly structured. It just didn’t work.

-The Not-So-Bad Stuff
Yes, for all the negatives, these chapters weren’t exactly terrible. No, scratch that. The chapters were indeed demoralizing. But the action was great.

I thought the fight between King and the Golem needed a little more grit to it to really sell the struggle; as it where, it felt like King either allowed himself to get knocked around or simply lost interest.

I just didn’t buy that entire fight. It was none the less entertaining. Badly structured, but well drawn and entertaining. Especially the end.

Just how much more powerful can King?

+RATING: 4/10, for such action packed material, chapters 117 and 118 rushed things. A single King VS. Golem chapter would have sufficed.

And the Ban stuff? Unnecessary. I was shocked, surprised, but not particularly blown away by Gerhade’s intentions for Ban. But who else doesn’t expect King to put an end to her plans?

Basically, too much drama for the sake of drama.

Speaking of Drama, these weekly Nanatsu no Taizai episodes just keep getting better. I might go so far as to say that Nanatsu no Taizai has been better adapted than Magi.

+HIGHLIGHTS: Chestiefol, True Form.
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