katmic (Level 10)

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It has been quite a few weeks since I last read Fairy Tail; and I can’t say it was a bad decision, reading a large chunk of this arc in one go. Admittedly previous disappointments by Hiro continue to persist; but I guess it is still difficult to read Fairy Tail without admitting how entertaining it can be.

THE CHAPTERS: Having survived elfman’s treachery, the fairies invade Tartaros, engaging in a battle for their friends, their guild and the future of magic on their continent.

MY THOUGHTS:

Reading these ten chapters of Fairy Tail resulted in some mixed feelings on my part. On the one hand I was certainly thrilled and entertained. On the other hand, there were SO MANY MOMENTS that irritated the hell out of me. And these issues go back to all those complaints I raised about Nakama power in a separate post.

Like I said, it irks me how fairy tail will basically cheat in favor of the good guys in order to hand them an undeserved victory. There was one moment when Natsu and Lucy were fighting that Hades look alike; and as they were screaming about how they wouldn’t let the demon steal their souls, despite the fact that he was doing just that, I couldn’t help but think about how well that scene exemplified Fairy Tail’s problem.

Certainly it was Lucy that eventually came to the rescue; yet if she hadn’t we both know Natsu would have spouted some nonsense about willfully forcing his soul back into his body, despite the strength of his opponent’s power. Even having broken away from Fairy Tail for a few weeks, that side of the series still irks me.

A manga starts a story by laying down the law of its land; where power ups at least attempt to overcome those rules in the most linear way possible, stories like Fairy Tail flout them. Certainly it was stated at a certain point in the story that action A isn’t possible, but this is Fairy Tail we are talking about. They can do what they want with magic no matter the restrictions; after all they are the indomitable invincible giants of their series.

With that precedence in mind, where exactly does Hiro expect to draw his tension from?

And that is the crux of my problem with these ten or so chapters. No matter how awesome some of these moments got, at no point in time was I at the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. Because we all knew Wendy wasn’t going to die-someone was obviously going to swoop in at the last moment. We all figured Natsu wouldn’t be losing his soul, and obviously MIrajane wouldn’t fall to her opponent’s tricks.

So here are the simple facts; having fought against THE MOST POWERFUL DARK GUILD IN THEIR WORLD, Fairy Tail is going to somehow come out of that battle WITHOUT A SINGLE CASUALTY. Then again, how can I be so surprised. We are talking about a guild that fought seven dragons and came out more or less unscathed.

It is for this reason that the tower of heaven is still his best arc yet, and he has yet to do anything as good. And that is because none of Hiro’s stories every really have any payoffs. And at least Tower of Heaven managed to introduce some depth to the series, some semblance of a payoff (but with none the less zero character development).

+Highlights: Dragon Force Wendy was awesome. I cannot be the only one who was pleasantly surprised that Hiro actually allowed Wendy to shine, without having Natsu ride in to the rescue. Admittedly that same chapter would have been a great opportunity for HIro to introduce some casualties to this conflict but… like I said, no pay offs.

-Almost every battle in these chapters was structured impressively, quite dynamic in not only displaying the resilience of the fairies but the strength of the demons. And that had been the greatest failing of this arc since its beginning, presenting Zeref Demons that were, in all honesty, ridiculously weak.

For all intent and purpose, I can say that Hiro redeemed most of them; and truth be told I really cannot complain about Wendy’s victory, or even Natsu and Lucy’s win, not even Gray taking down that one demon with one strike.

If there is anything these chapters failed at, it was instilling in me any level of anxiety, and that comes down to all that Hiro has done in the past; Fairy Tail has become too predictable for me to truly invest myself into its progress. Hence, you take away that nail biting anxiety one gets from a really good story, and Fairy Tail loses a large chunk of its credit in my eyes.

RATING: I will break this singular rating down into categories, because my overall rating isn’t that flattering.

-Action- 8/10, dynamic, fast paced, well choreographed.

-Art-8/10, while bland in some places, quite amazing in others.

-Character Development- 1/10, typical sappy Fairy Tail, replacing actual solid character development for worthless tearful speeches about Nakama.

-Story-5/10, a little torn on this one; like I said, Fairy Tail is now way too predictable.

Overall Rating: 4/10

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After wrapping up with Freezing: Vibration, Strike the blood was really the worst anime to follow it up with, not really as bad as Freezing but far from stellar viewing.

But maybe i should have expected this. There are certain genres of anime that simply turn me away, the first being slice of life, which i almost never bother with, except for that one anime whose name i forget about some guy that adopts his grandfather’s daughter from an illicit affair-and up to this day i have no idea how it happened that i ever sat down to watch it even knowing what it was, despite the fact that i enjoyed it immensely.

Slice of life series just turn me off completely, stories i know i will not enjoy and always reject watching or reading. Shoujo and Harem come in a close second. Shoujo i might touch once in a while, depending on the story, but Harem i ignore almost completely, mostly because anime and manga in this genres is always predictable, almost like all the writers are following a similar blue print.

Strike the Blood is harem, and the moment i saw that description, i knew what to expect, so maybe i shouldn’t have been too disappointed with what i watched.

THE PLOT:>

The Fourth Primogenitor—the world's strongest vampire, should be no more than a legend. Yet once, long ago, rumour has it that this being of myth manifested in Japan, accompanied by twelve Kenjuu and spreading calamity, a phantom of destruction.

It’s with this knowledge in mind that the government and the Lion organization decided to dispatch the Sword Shaman, this special attack mage, chosen for a mission of observation and then possibly obliteration taking the shape of the apprentice Himegari Yukina.

In possession of the anti-primogenitor spirit spear, Yukina is said to have arrived in the Demon District, Itogami City. What is the true identity of the Fourth Primogenitor, Akatsuki Kojou, whom she encountered over there?

MY REVIEW:>

Is this really what all harem series are about, a male protagonist who might or might not be clueless about his objective in life, slowly but surely attracting the attention of every strong female character that he encounters, each of whom then spends the rest of the series vying for his adoration?

I don’t get it? What’s the appeal? Because STB pretty much followed this formula. Not that Koujo didn’t exactly deserve the female attention he was garnering…actually that was just it, it didn’t really feel like he was doing anything to deserve it.

And that isn’t the only thing turned this show off for me. Strike the Blood had potential, i think; truth be told i remember coming across this anime and thinking the title sounded cool, so maybe i wasn’t too discerning in choosing the anime in the first place.

Anyway, Strike the blood:

+ The primary protagonist- irritated me, and not in that obvious manner that you would find in someone like Shiro from Fate/Stay night. I mean, i don’t need my main characters to be super humanly flawless in all that they do, but koujo felt like the only ordinary fellow in a group of extra ordinary individuals.

He was ordinary without being bland, his existence characteristic of some random support character in any other anime series, a supposedly all powerful immortal vampire that spent a considerable amount of time getting his ass kicked, very passive, continuously stumbled upon situations rather than wilfully getting involved, spouted a lot of cliché shonen lines in trying to justify any unnecessary anger he displayed and… okay all these are starting to seem like rather insufficient reasons for me to dislike him.

So let’s just conclude that Koujp was largely lacking as the main character of an anime series.

+The concept- was kind of dumb to me, a series about a super powerful fourth progenitor that was barely average in ability, vampires that didn’t possess anything characteristic of the undead; a number of very vague reasons to engage in unnecessary combat.

Strike the blood wasted way too many opportunities, introduced a ton of would be intriguing elements that it made no attempts to elucidate upon or inject into the story in any meaningful way, like the Lion something something Organization, the church, war dancer something, the witch of the void.

And did i mention that this show was about the fourth progenitor. They could have placed some effort into really exploring what that meant, at least allow us a glimpse of the other progenitors in action, to enable us to understand just what set a progenitor apart, because at least then we could allow Koujo the excuse of being an premature progenitor, maybe explaining why he was so weak.

And what was with those brief flash backs we got at the start that supposedly explained what happened to Koujo and how he became what he is now, which they did nothing what so ever to explore?

Basically, what was with all those unexplained unexplored elements of the story? Maybe Strike the blood is a sequel to some anime i didn’t know about which explained most of these elements, because that would explain the vagueness.

+Characters- the cast was largely unnecessary to the story, existing only to create the illusion of real life; and real life must be filled with all sorts of unimportantpersons surrounding a core essential individual, which Koujo wasn’t by the way.

I get the One piece message, when it tries to explain to me why people seem to flock around Luffy. Koujo comes off as a random piece of meat that is important for no logical reason (again, i don’t think they explained the threat of the fourth progenitor well enough).

--Positives- i will admit, i normally hate the female leads in anime of the genre as STB. But Yukina was okay, if not a little irritating during her mini spurts of jealousy.

And…okay i wanted to say something positive about the action, but i can’t. Now Strike the Blood’s action scenes i can call bland, nothing special, which is an area where i thought the anime would excel. Again, no serious attempts to explain the concept of familiars, homunculus and the nature of characters like Astarte.

VERDICT: lazy, that’s what Strike the blood was, not nearly as interested in explaining itself as it should have been, and as a result a lot of the dialogue was gibberish, with characters spouting all sorts of nonsensical terms and words regarding concepts they hadn’t bothered to explain, mother system this, angel faux that…

Does that mean it was total crap? No. It was entertaining; i can’t say that i was having a great time watching it; rather it passed the time well enough, worth checking out in fact, because i think there are some people out there that might enjoy it.

But its far from quality anime.

RATING: 5/10, i really wish there was more vampire to Koujo, because, minus the blood sucking, he was just another Pokémon summoning high school kid.

Anyway, what did you think of Strike the blood? Worse than i described it, or better than am giving it credit for? Leave your comment below. I personally place it miles above Freezing.

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‘I have heard of such a being who wasn’t a knight…I guess I must be the only one left who still remembers this tale now…since it was like a fairy tale passed down among the fallen. The one who wielded every demonic and holy sword there was, Embraced the gigantic snake that will smash the vessel of the world. And tamed the beast that will rip out the gods’ throats.’

‘The one who grasped in his hands every evil fate in the world. The Primeval demon Lord of Yore. I am sure, his name was-‘

I can’t be the only one that thinks A Fairy Tale of the Demon Lord reads more like a medieval fantasy Grimm story, revealing the darker side of all those sunny tales with happy endings, and less like the Asian comic it actually is.

Not that this is a bad thing; in fact it lends a certain strength to this story, a depth of sorts that makes this series one of the oddest yet endearing I have ever come across.

THE CHAPTERS: The Epilogue to this ancient tale begins to unfold; new fates come into being, binding themselves around three lives-Odin, the Princess and the Nameless knight- that have long sought reprieve from their cruel destinies.

MY THOUGHTS:

It’s been waaaay too long since I last read A Fairy Tale of the Demon Lord; and truth be told I was pretty sure it was over(especially considering the fact that the last chapter included an ‘END’ in its title).

But then again, this season 2 is the Epilogue, coming forth after the end of the tale…which doesn’t even make sense because, rather than closing a few loose ends, these recent chapters only served to continue the primary storyline, whose initial ending by the way was acceptably vague.

Anyway, enough nitpicking, what did I actually think of these recent chapters?

THIS WAS AMAZING!! And why shouldn’t it be? This series has been in my rear view mirror for a long while now; to see it make such a sudden and surprising return is nearly as exciting as learning about the resumption of ZETMAN’s run.

Truth be told I wasn’t even sure where the story intended to progress, though I never did manage to figure out the crux of the A Fairy Tale of the Demon Lord story till the very end, initially certain that the author was wandering about through disparate plotlines in a rather random manner.

[Spoilers Ahead]-Here’s what the Demon lord story was originally about. You have a nameless knight, spending his days in a depressing rote of battle, fighting endless war after endless war, slaying a thousand dragons and an even greater number of enemies.

Said knight puts his mind to freeing the princess from a demon lord that had slaughtered countless knights before him, sent to safeguard the life of his prisoner, a fair princess. With awe striking power, the knight strikes the demon lord down, saving the princess and in the process finding his purpose to live, within the warmth of her light.

The princess proves to be an unattainable object, a doll created by Asgard to safe guard the earth from an oncoming apocalypse; and in seeking her hand, the nameless knight must contend with the mighty power of the Empire and its ruler Odin, within whom the nameless one finds an enemy greater than any he has ever encountered, himself.

Adoration becomes love. Love becomes obsession. Obsession becomes passion. Passion becomes despair in the face of overwhelming power. A nameless knight turns to darker forces and, in his pursuit for the warmth of the princess, becomes a demon lord, eventually stealing the princess and hiding her within his new dark abode.

And how do you think the story finally ended? A new nameless knight rode out of the badlands to challenge the new demon lord, not for the love of a woman, but to safeguard the demon lord and his dark destiny from the curse of a princess that had doomed an endless horde of nameless men to a cyclical fate of victory and eternal despair.

A story not only tragic but intriguing in twisting the nature of the damsel in distress/knight in shining armor concept, sprinkled within the structure of ancient Norse mythology.

Really, the purpose of this epilogue, the final act in the demon lord saga can be summed up with that last line: ‘The one who grasped in his hands every evil fate in the world. The Primeval demon Lord of Yore. I am sure, his name was…’

A story about a nameless knight isn’t much of a story, not without a strong and powerful name, a title even, around which legends may be built; so we find ourselves in a unique position, to finally explore the story behind the story, to understand the purpose behind the order of nameless knights and their various multi purposed swords, the objective behind Odin’s obsession with the demon lord cycle and the true form of the princess’ curse.

All solid considerations that, if properly explored could lend added weigh to a pretty unique story; Oh and did I mention just how EXQUISITE the art was in these previous chapters; each panel an artistic masterpiece in displaying fluid cohesive combat, doing what only a few rare manga and manhwa have achieved, in creating a considerably intense atmosphere within which to play out the drama of this fairy tale.

Not since Noblesse has a colored Manhwa impressed me so, specifically regarding the artistic representation of the various conflicts.

If I haven’t said it before, I will state it now; this series is a must read. If you’re one of those otaku wondering aimlessly around the internet, searching for that most intriguing of manga to dive into, then A Fairy Tail of the Demon Lord is for you.

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AAAAAAH, it’s finally here,the Nanatsu no Taizai anime, coming to a website near you soon; anyone that has made it a point to ignore the fame of this rising star is going to be sorely disappointed to see its final advent into the world of anime.

Should we be worried though, getting an anime adaptation so soon in the manga’s run? IN the face of past experiences with the Big 3 and filler, maybe; unless the powers that be are smart enough to keep the series in an annual run, churning out at least 25 episodes per season per year, allowing the manga to gain ground.

That way we avoid filler while enjoying great production values.

THE CHAPTERS: King confronts Hellbram, who reveals himself to be more than the average holy knight. There clash stirs dark memories from a distant past.

MY THOUGHTS:

I wanted to review the last three Deadly sins chapter in one go, but the next 51 page chapter wasn’t released as normally scheduled on Sunday, so, I will just have to wait for what I hope is a better exploration of King’s sin than what we saw with Ban who was far from impressive.

It is an interesting notion, the idea that The Seven Deadly sins are called so because they each committed a great sin that somehow granted them their power; we know Ban’s greed had something to do with his immortality, the fountain of youth and King’s sister (though that was more misunderstanding than anything).

I am curious to see how sloth fits into King’s past and position as fairy king. Two more weeks have passed of me wanting to see someone put the hurt on Hellbram and Deyfus for what they have done to Diana, and in fact continue to do.

Dreyfus somewhat got his comeuppance, but Hellbram is proving to be a whole other matter; I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised that the great knight is a fairy, considering the sorts of very convenient magical arts Hellbrum has displayed ever since his first appearance in the manga, always slipping out of one impossible jam or another with the perfect anti flame spell or wind countering curse.

Truth be told I am not nearly as intrigued with this particular mystery as I was with Ban; actually it is mostly because of Ban that I cannot help but expect another fairly uneventful flashback to a sin’s past.

But then again, this is a fairy king we are talking about; so we could be in for 51 pages of awesomeness. Speaking of which, considering the durations these two fairies keep speaking about-hundreds and hundreds of years in the past- just how old in King.

RATING: 6/10; here is what I love about The Seven Deadly Sins; even after so many chapters, with so many revelations made in past arcs, we still no almost nothing about the Nanatsu no Taizai world, which makes this manga so much more of an adventure than most other series I have come across in recent times.

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Is this the Claymore Chapter I have been waiting to read for all these years? Well, it is starting to feel like it; I mean here I was wondering how Nagi was planning to fill another 30 pages of ghosts vs. Priscilla without the godlike abyssal one rationally obliterating everything in her sight.

Then it happened, that last page….

THE CHAPTER: What can I say happened in this chapter without giving it all away? Priscilla proves herself to be even more of a monster. Clare takes the battle up a notch.

MY THOUGHTS:

First issue though; where the hell is my Noblesse? It’s been way too long since I last feasted on this Manhwa greatness.

This chapter of Claymore was creepy, at least to me, mostly with the way Priscilla was literally consuming and assimilating her opponents; watching those vines shoot about, with giant human heads attached to their ends was just a little…disturbing for me, especially that scene with Octavia.

The stakes have never been higher and I can appreciate Nagi’s attempts to create an intense atmosphere on a battlefield where death is literally one millisecond away, where characters keep escaping by the teeth of their lives, and only ever really delaying the inevitable…

…Sorry, but none of this matters, not Miria’s speeches or Cynthia’s courage or Raki’s stupidity…THAT ENIDNG…THAT ENDING, the next chapter cannot come soon enough.

RATING: 10/10, THAT ENDING.

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