katmic (Level 10)

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Freezing is like nothing i have watched before, in that no other anime has yet to try my patience as much as Freezing and Freezing Vibration.

I watched the first Freezing anime in one night, well, really, less than a night; more like a few hours of my night. Am not even sure what kept me glued to the screen, except the fact that it was two in the morning before i finally closed the chapter on an anime i hadn’t plan on pursuing further.

The question here becomes why i would bother watching an anime that kept my hand stuck to the first forward button. Some episodes i watched more of, while others were a mere blur; whatever the case if i am going to give this anime one compliment, it will be that i was that determined to finish its first season, to know what happened at the end, and that didn’t change for Freezing Vibrations-which i blew through in under two hours.

THE PLOT:>

Ever since the 10th NOVA clash, the Chevalier concluded that the NOVA were appearing at an accelerated rate; Pandora were dying faster than could be created. Their solution, E-Pandora, a project which involved normal humans without a predilection for stigmata being given the power to become Pandora. Pandora from all around the world are invited to the Alaskan base to witness the unveiling of this new project, these including Satellizer, Kazuya and Rana.

However as the trials commence, suspicions begin to rise about the true nature and efficacy of the E-Pandora project.

MY REVIEW:>

Freezing is pointless, as an anime, and i presume as a manga. It’s one thing to describe an anime as good, mind blowing even. Its another thing describing an anime as bad, terrible at that. Both descriptions say something about the anime, that it actually had elements that had an impact in some way.

Great anime leave you cheering, bad anime encourage you to rage. Pointless anime are a third category for me; if i was involved in the creation of an anime series or movie, i would rather it was bad than pointless.

Because at least a bad anime mattered, enough for me to curse its crapiness. A pointless anime doesn’t matter. It’s existence is negligible, in other words had this anime never been made, the consequences would have hardly differed, as opposed to anime that’s so bad it serves as an example of how terrible an idea can get.

-I cannot recommend Freezing for watching, i don’t think its good anime, yet i can’t say i hated it. And that’s because the series as a whole felt…unworthy of contemplation once i finished it. Three primary elements stuck out to me that sunk the show, at least in my eyes:

--Claymore- yes, Claymore, as in Freezing me reminds me a heck of a lot of Claymore. I watched a video recently on YouTube where a reviewer was expressing disinterest in watching Hunter X Hunter not because it was bad but because it reminded him too much of Naruto.

Now he admitted that the two shows likely had nothing to do with each other, no plagiarism had occurred in creating either stories and at their core both stories were different. Yet he simply couldn't get over those elements of the story that so repeatedly regurgitated memories of Naruto (which the reviewer is a big fan of).

Now am pretty sure this particular reviewer managed to overcome this confusion as the last video i watched from his channel was raving about the Phantom Troupe arc.

Good for him, bad for me, because Freezing isn’t anywhere near as good an anime as Hunter X Hunter and the similarities seem so much more egregious that i couldn’t help mentally pausing scenes to point out action A or character B who was nothing if not a direct facsimile of some of my favourite characters and moments in Claymore.

Now i cannot say whether or not Freezing actually took any cues from Claymore; people like to use terms like inspired. But really, how can anyone who’s read claymore enjoy this show. I spent the last hour of Freezing season one wondering why the invasion reminded me so much of the war in the north, why the act of several super powered girls going crazy from a deluge of energy suddenly seemed so familiar, specifically that one scene at the end where Satelli has to transform (sort of) to defeat a superior enemy, only to come under threat of losing her self to transformation, moments before her limiter came to her rescue, pulling her back from the brink of destruction with a few sweet words. (Let’s see, Clare, Raki, awakening, Lion king…no, i won’t say rip off).

I want to say that i have come across such situations before, where anime seemed to bleed into each other. But even as comparisons with Naruto threatened to ruin my enjoyment of Brave 10, the series managed to stand above those similarities.

If i could have flash backs, then that’s what so many scenes, characters, fights, plots in Freezing Vibration triggered in me.

--Petty- Seriously i cannot be the only one astounded by the pettiness of Freezing. The first time i watched Muv Luv i was fascinated by how nationalistic beliefs could push people to act in ways that threatened humanity’s survival, if only to benefit the purposes of their races.

Freezing leaves me astounded at how so many of its characters will expend energy, life, fighting ability to engage in petty fights in the light of an actual threat beyond the borders of the academy.

Now granted this was a much more egregious occurrence in the first season, which left me fascinated at the idea of a school spending considerable resources to train what are supposedly rare Pandora's only to permit them to murder each other within school grounds for silly reasons.

Am sure there are Otaku out there enjoy that, but the irrationality of it all simply irritates me. As a result most of Freezing as a series feels largely petty; it seems like any Pandora/Alien battles are restricted to the end of each season, which leaves me questioning the idea of a plot summary that promises super powered girls Vs. alien battles, instead delivering multiple and extremely petty Pandora Vs. Pandora fights.

If you must have an anime that has to have its girls fight each other repeatedly, do not set it during an Alien invasion; because for all intent and purpose, if Satelli and company are what pass for their last line of defence, the earth is all but doomed.

--Fan service- I am apathetic to fan service, in most cases it neither positively nor negatively impacts my anime viewing experience. Fan service is a problem in anime that choose to over emphasize its presence at the expense of story.

I have probably complained about this somewhere with regards to fairy tail, which has ruined its last two or three arcs because of badly placed fan service completely ruining scenes that should have been much darker.

Demon king no Daimyo had some potential, could have been a great anime, at least in my eyes; but it was ruined by pointless ecchi and fan service. Freezing had 12 episodes in which to put its best foot forward and tell a great story. It instead chose to pour most of its energies into fan service, which took up nearly half of all viewing time. And they are surprised that the fickle story they had in mind played out even more half assed than planned?

-I will admit to sticking with the original Freezing anime for action’s sake, but even that did little to interest me in Vibration; the characters felt…flimsy and fickle, the plot contrived, and have i mentioned before just how DUMB the name Satelizer is, only matched by the dumb primary protagonist it was assigned to.

VERDICT:>

As far as i am concerned Freezing has nothing praiseworthy to offer, which leaves me confused as to why i watched it all the way to the end. Season 2 pretty much reworks and reproduces the events of season 1, with one or two nuances, primarily the characters, new and old.

I might afford a compliment for Satelizer and the pseudo character development she achieved, but even the revelations of her past were more odd than intriguing, with a disturbed villain of a half brother that somehow managed to receive forgiveness and redemption at the end of the short arc.

With Freezing Vibration, i would say, Why bother? Watching the series isn’t likely to affect you negatively, but you will not miss much if you never pick this up.

RATING: 2/10, that was one lame finale. What the hell was Kazuya’s role in this season? And here i thought he was the main character. I still don’t understand the title Freezing; which is something that irks me, anime whose titles have absolutely nothing to do with the story, more like randomly chosen, awesome sounding names.

Freezing Vibration is the second season of the Freezing anime, aired from October 4 to December 20 of 2013. The 12 episode anime was produced by Funimation entertainment, Media Factory and A.C.G.T and is categorized as Action, comedy, drama, ecchi, martial arts, romance, Sci-Fi, Harem, Military, Seinen.

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It’s great to read manga series like Beelzebub, the kind that, after a few weeks’ break, can return with such a bang, only portending great things for this year.

Everything we read last year seemed to suggest that the manga had began winding down, and this chapter further cements this possibility, that battle lines are finally being drawn on all sides, humanity is finally waking up to the presence of demons, and demon kind has finally come to a precipice of change.

I am excited to see where this arc and future stories lead; Manga like Fairy tail could really learn a thing or two about how to write an arc that so explosively details the forces of good and evil clashing in violent battle.

The stakes have never been higher.

THE CHAPTER: With Kunieda and Furuichi cornered by the shadows, the pillars of behemoth descend, choosing Furuichi as their contractee, to carry out their will in battle.

Takamiya and Nasu make attempts to prevent Fuju’s advancement in the face of a secret plan to bring his tyrannical intentions to an end.

Oga’s retreat is cut short by Satan’s power.

MY THOUGHTS:

Beelzebub had a few less than stellar moments in 2013, debilitating the momentum of one of its stronger arcs with some luck lustre material; the finale of the America arc however did more than simply make up for these failures, the manga taking leaps and bounds in its attempts to bring the Oga/Solomon company conflict to a head, the mysterious establishment’s insidious intentions beginning to rise to the surface.

As far as basic battle shonen series go Beelzebub is proving to be one of the stronger series of the year, at least within these first few days of the year, this chapter allowing us a glimpse of just how dire Solomon company’s mistake was in pushing for a result they held no power to control.

I guess what has allowed the last three chapters of Beelzebub to shine, basically the pinnacle of the manga so far, is how far they have gone in showing us Fuji’s power, the lengths to which he’s willing to go to completely dominate Ishiyama.

I will admit to being somewhat surprised, learning that the mysterious fellow controlling the shadows wasn’t Fuji’s disciple but Lord Satan himself, Fuji’s demon. You cannot fully appreciate the impact of this revelation unless you understand the context within which it was made, that the one person Oga and team could have collided with during their retreat was a demon of such reputation as to make Lucifer quake.

-I am beyond ecstatic to find out how this conflict plays out. The stakes really have never been higher. Having watched Takamiya bring Ishiyama’s power to its knees with a few cracked knuckles, there is something about watching him fall to Fuji’s most casual assaults that brings the threat level home, that Nasu, who struck fear in the hearts of those that once threatened Oga’s pseudo rule, would appear so powerless to contend with this force…the last chapter said it accurately, FUJI IS JUST A MONSTER.

-Is this the best arc yet? Even superior to the New Saint Ishiyama arc which had me on tenterhooks? By far. Maybe its just me but i like following shonen series that know how to properly tip the scales against their heroes, creating an enemy that can truly test the protagonists’ mettle, shatter it and start scratching at the scraps at the bottom.

RATING: 5/5, with Oga out of action, probably the best part of the chapter was watching what might be Furuichi’s moment. ‘The one was meant to rule…’ that’s what the pillars said.

Have i mentioned just how epic this arc is turning out to be?

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Maybe the title didn’t really make it all that clear but NOBLESSE IS AWESOME. And i know, nothing really life changing happened, not in these two chapters, not in any dramatic fashion, not in terms of any deep philosophical character scarring manner.

No, this is a battle manga and as far as battle manga go, Noblesse stands up their with the best of them, more or less unrivalled at the moment; and i know, some Breaker fans just got irked. But i haven’t read Breaker in a while so i cannot comment.

And since i don’t read Naruto or One piece or SNK (the only rivals i can think of at the moment that, as battle manga, might challenge Noblesse) Noblesse is undoubtedly the best battle manga out there at the moment.

It is only those that haven’t been following this series from the beginning that will fail to get a kick out of this arc (then again maybe i am too quick to pronounce judgement, since i am yet to read this week’s Magi, or even Beelzebub which has been nothing short of amazing these past few weeks).

THE CHAPTERS- quickly wrapped things up with Roctis, whose daughter fled but not before unleashing Muzaka, the ancient werewolf lord, from his tank.

Muzaka unleashed his power against Rai who, assigning Frankenstein the task of protecting the children, continued to defend against the overwhelming strength. The two squared off, Rai revealing to Muzaka that his memories were frozen centuries ago, at the moment of their last battle, Muzaka paying these remarks little heed and continuing his assault against his oldest friend, that is until Rai’s ring broke.

MY THOUGHTS-

My excitement over Noblesse is such that i am taking extra care to think about what i am going to write in this review, otherwise i might end up ranting on and on for several pages on end.

Looking at both chapters critically, it wouldn’t be wrong in saying that nothing really happened, most events having little impact on the story. Ignes proved herself the greedy little brat she has always been, interested in little more than the soul weapon she had inherited from her father, or so she thinks (boy, will she lose it if Roctis managed to take it to the grave). The kids remained unconscious as usual (the series really needs to find these guys something to do beyond their usual damsel in distress role). Frankenstein was discarded by his master, well, not discarded but simply prevented from doing what he wanted to do most, fight in Rai’s place, who continued to wantonly burn life force.

The werewolves learnt of their master’s presence, revealing to us that they thought him long dead, which was sort of interesting. Then they retreated, leaving Muzaka to battle Rai, the best part of both chapters.

That last panel in chapter 311 had me squirming in excitement to find out what would happen next. The last panel of this chapter 322 had me scratching my hair out in frustration; that is how irritatingly impatient i am to see this battle through to the end.

We now know that Muzaka is Rai’s oldest friend, also a werewolf lord. We still don’t know where the werewolves used to hang out.

It’s possible Muzaka is as old as Rai, possibly a noblesse himself for the werewolf race, which would mean that this battle’s about to take a mind boggling turn. The pair spoke of an unknown object as old, if not older, than them, that they seemingly fought over.

The last memory Muzaka has is his battle with Rai, which makes me ten times more curious about what really happened 820 years ago. We know Rai isn’t walking away from his unharmed, if Frankenstein is to be believed and its Muzaka that put his master into a state that forced to undergo his centuries old sleep.

Yet i cannot wait to see what Rai becomes when fully unleashed. NEXT WEEK’S CHAPTER IS GOING TO BE CRAZY.

RATING: 5/5

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Let me make it clear from the get go that i am a Sword art Online fan. In saying that Log Horizon was actually better than SAO, someone accused me of bias, following some comments i made somewhere against the hype for SAO.

But looking at everything i have said everywhere about SAO, i have only ever complained about how the quality of the show dipped after the first part. That doesn’t make the show terrible, merely average.

If i was ranking anime in this genre, SAO would most likely rank as number 1; well maybe number 2 because i thought Btooom! was better. But Btooom isn’t exactly within the same vain as SAO, not when you consider that the characters weren’t actually inserted into a game, but where transported to an island in the real world that mirrored the game.

In that case SAO comes out on top, with Accel world a close second (in some cases superior because it was consistent from beginning to end; which is actually its only failing. It made no attempts to improve in the second half).

Anway, Log Horizon, now the best MMORPG based anime i have watched so far.

THE PLOT:>

By its eleventh expansion pack, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Elder Tale has become a global success, having a following of millions of players. During the release of its twelfth expansion pack: Novasphere Pioneers, thirty thousand Japanese gamers that were logged on at the time of the update suddenly find themselves transported into Eder Tale in the form of their in-game avatars. In the midst of the event, a socially awkward gamer called Shiroe along with his friends Naotsugu and Akatsuki decide to team up to face this new reality.

MY REVIEW:>

Looking at both series, it shouldn’t difficult to determine why Log Horizon stands as the superior story.

STORY: LH proceeds as more of a mystery than SAO, because we never actually find out, or have yet to find out why or how the adventures came to enter Elder tale, as opposed to SAO and the straightforward reasoning behind the gamers’ imprisonment.

Most people have expressed irritation over the logic of the villain’s actions, his claim to have forgotten the reasoning behind SAO somehow cheapening its results. I am in the camp that cared little about this particular element, more interested in how crappy the SAO (the actual game) finale played out.

LH allows for a grander adventure to play out, one that allows an actual story to develop beyond the random action packed quests that the SAO story followed.

There is an attempt in LH to create a story that builds the elder tale world, that allows us a glimpse into life as it progresses, with new characters acclimating to new realities, interacting with NPCs and native Elder Tale elements, which are given a life of their own, the result being a lively and grounded world.

SAO felt way too virtual, and less than grounded, each episode following the protagonist traversing from one random location to another, making no attempt to follow a cohesive story. The result of this narrative best impacted SAO’s world building.

WORLD BUILDING: This was sorely missing from SAO, whose sword art Online universe was as virtual as any game would be, unable to convey the logic of a real existence. This is as opposed to LH, which allows its characters to interact with theElder tale world as they would earth, allowing us to watch characters as they build new lives, set down roots that become part and parcel of the entire story.

In other words while the SAO world felt fleeting and brief, LH is as much about Elder tale as it is the people loving in it. We know cities, places, are watching them undergo change via the guiding hand of the adventurers, enjoying the chance to watch new societies come into being. As i said LH is less about random quests and more of home creation.

The fact that Log Horizon adventurers are forced to deal with NPCs carefully, to treaty with them, lest these natives stop giving them quests which then make it impossible to acquire new items adds a deeper dynamic to LH.

CHARACTERS: Have i mentioned how much i dislike she who must now not be named? When SAO decided to exclude all other characters in favour of focusing on Kirito and his lady friend, the series began to dive.

LH cannot be faulted for misusing its characters, as the show is actually less about the primary character (who’s also a professional gamer, one of the best in fact, just like Kirito) and more about the secondary characters struggling to build a life in Elder tale.

SAO is about a bunch of gamers trying to beat the game and escape. Gamers in LH have no idea how they got to Elder tale, have no idea how to escape and can’t even beat the game because it is politics convincing the now life like NPCs to cooperate and offer to them new quests.

Isn’t it obvious just why Log Horizon would prove to be more intriguing story telling, that Shiroe’s goal isn’t to achieve the highest level, acquire the strongest sword, beat the game, but to form a guild, create society, allow organization to thrive in a city running amok, to gather the strongest and bind them through law and create a semblance of government.

Basically LH is about world building; that allows plots to revolve around character development, which the series does so brilliantly, not only following the progress of the more powerful characters and the life changing decisions they are making, but allowing us a glimpse into the lives of less capable gamers, the rookies as they try to discover the new world and rise a few levels higher, not for victory’s sake but because it is the only way to survive..

SAO is about Kirito the wondering warrior. LH has the sense to allow the story to progress with all of its dozen or so core characters in mind, each playing a role in the series’ development. It would be accurate to suggest that Log Horizon has a support cast while Sword Art Online doesn’t, not really.

ACTION: Not much to say about that, clearly SAO thrived on this element, more action packed than LH, the story largely revolving around Kirito’s badassery as the dual sword wielding loner.

LH is decent enough, but its action is driven by the story behind each battle. Watching Tohya assault a cave of monsters was largely about watching this little boy, his sister, Minora and a host of other kids finally face off against their first quest, alone, learning to fend for themselves and watching their amateur abilities and personalities clash terribly. LH knows what works.

Except for one incident, SAO was content to follow Kirito and equally powerful comrades cut down one monster after another. Maybe i just like watching anime that has the will to forget its primary protagonists in favor of weaker seemingly less important individuals, if only for a few episodes.

ART: Both series come out ahead here, similar actually in artistic presentation, both in terms of worlds and magical usage.

ANIMATION: Saying that Log Horizon has decent animation wouldn’t matter, not in the face of SAO’s brilliant animation, crisp, clearly and fluid; admittedly one of its finer points.

MUSIC: Meh! is what i will say for both series. One might give SAO the upper hand, and indeed it had superior scores, yet nothing so mind blowing as to affect its comparison with Log Horizon.

PRIMARY PROTAGONISTS: If i said Shiroe over Kirito, most people would probably throw a fit. Yet i do prefer the strategist Shiroe, calm, controlled, far sighted, over broody, myopic loner Kirito

Verdict: Looking at it carefully, SAO stands above Log Horizon only in the superficial elements which don’t really matter. Log Horizon knows how to tell a great story, the magical and gaming elements merely a tool utilized in developing great characters.

At the end of the day Log Horizon is more of an adventure story than Sword Art Online which is little more than a series of quests punctuated by lots of soapy drama.

RATING: 7/10, this at 12 episodes, who knows how the story will change with the passing of time.

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I want to commend Mother keeper for these two chapters; i still don’t know if this is all a problem of translation, but at the very least reading chapters 42 and 43 didn’t give me the sort of migraine i usually get from dealing with Mother keeper.

Despite a few hiccups here and there, both chapters were largely coherent. Putting that aside though we didn’t really get that much content, which actually makes sense if you take into account the fact that both chapters were roughly 15 pages each, quite disappointing.

--Here’s what happened. In the last chapter Torukisu arrived in time to foil Lint’s assault. In the first few pages of chapter 42 Torukisu zips about, avoiding gun fire both from the soldiers and Lint’s robots, that is until a rocket fired by Ricalna nearly puts him down.

Ricalna descends to the battle field, advises Lint to retreat and provide back up to the other fallen Cherub stations, while he, Ricalna, ends Torikisu’s schemes. All that within the first 8 or so pages, at which point the rest of both chapters is wasted on dialogue between Ricalna and Lint, the matter of Ricalna’s trust worthiness proving to be quite a thorn.

Truth be told it wasn’t particularly intriguing material to read, Lint suspecting Ricalna’s involvement in the assault, and then Jim making a nonsensical argument that somehow placed Ricalna in the clear.

We also catch a glimpse of Graham and Ricalna’s sister, preparing to join the assault; somewhat intriguing but largely achieving nothing.

Seriously these chapters accomplished nothing whatsoever, and everything said in both chapters Lint had already put to Ricalna during the graveyard scene a few chapters back. All 42 and 43 did was rehash this conversation, largely wasting limited space.

I will admit to questioning Graham’s motive. At this point the rebel leader is coming of as nothing more than a petty criminal, leading a bunch of self entitled brats unwilling to accept the wealth and health enjoyed by others.

There is that suspicious rocket Sayla noticed being snuck into the city, which makes you wonder if mass murder is really beyond Graham’s conscious.

--The manga needs to pick up speed because these chapters were badly structured and largely unnecessary. Here’s to hoping the Ricalna/Torukisu clash makes up for them, because their first clash was pretty impressive.

RATING: 2/5, at least the art was decent.

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