Posts Tagged ‘magic’

Have you ever been to a neighborhood that’s just being built? Have you ever been inside the model homes when they weren’t finished (and were prepared to run away real fast if someone yelled out, “Hey you kids!”)? I have, and seeing what looked good on the outside and what didn’t pan out inside is probably the best way to describe Atelier Escha and Logy — Alchemists of the Dusk Sky.

The early episodes are beautifully animated, and the theme music is top-notch. So far, so good. The setting also draws you in, being a slowed-time, wistful, slice-of-life steampunk tale of an alchemy bureau in a small town. However, you soon realize that the pacing isn’t meandering, it’s immobile. When characters are developed, the whole episode just becomes back story for that character, and their relationships to others aren’t explored at all. Then the obligatory fan service episode shows up. After that, everything finishes in a rush to explore the one thing that’s been obvious since the first or second episode. It all feels like a less polished, less emotional To Heart. Even the ending collapses into a maudlin pit of mush; the bittersweet tinge doesn’t save it.

Save your time and your eyeballs. There’s no real reason to watch this as it never turns the corner and it delivers so much less than it promises. With that said, there’s nothing objectionable except for the fan service episode and that’s the usual hot tub obscured nudity for no real purpose.

Welcome to the graveyard, Escha and Logy.

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Yumeiro Patissiere is a foodie anime`. It traces the trials and travails of Amano Ichigo (yes, her last name is Japanese for strawberry) as she follows her goal of being a confectionary artist. She is given an invite to an esteemed school for patissieres, the St. Marie school, and immediately finds herself thrown in to the highest skilled group, all based on the invite. As the series unfolds, she improves her skills, makes friends, and learns a thing or two about the Sweet Spirits.

The series starts well, hits an early dip, and then takes off from episode 8 onwards. From there on, it’s usually good, but you can tell that some episodes were simply better planned and designed than others. Towards the very end, you can tell that the anime` is leaving out bits of the manga given how events happen without any buildup.

There’s not much moral resonance here, except that Amano’s humility is front-and-center. She has her place in the world, she never gives up, and it isn’t all about her. Other than that, it’s just a light-hearted “chase your dream” kind of deal. Profanities are uncommon (most are mistranslations, I’d bet); no gore or violence, and extremely rare risque` bits. In short, it’s quality entertainment, but nothing deeper than that. Still, you’ll probably grow to care for the characters as the series goes on. Because there are 50 episodes, here are the highlights:

50 (finale)

The rest aren’t bad; none are truly awful. The series leads straight into Yumeiro Patissiere Professional, which looks to be not as well done. We’ll see.

Anyhow, there are no batch files up, and many groups are doing this, from Wasurenai, to Horrible, to Serios. If you look at any decent torrent hole you’ll be able to find them.

It’s worth watching this and enjoying it, just don’t expect anything on the order of D-Gray Man or Tokyo Magnitude 8.0.

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I won’t break down Air on an episode by episode basis, because that means I’d have to go back and watch each episode again, and this series is just so L O N G and so S L O W that it’d be like having a root canal on the installment plan.

It starts off like a sentimental summery romance/harem kind of thing, and then ventures into predictably confusing Shinto/magic stuff, but when they take two episodes off to warp back in time a thousand years, and then the main male character becomes a crow, all bets are off. Does the story end with weird Japanese metaphysics that explain…well…nothing at all? You bet! Does the main female character die at the end? Of course! And is everything left hanging? What, did you think it would resolve? You haven’t watched much anime` then!

Honestly, this series had enough of an interesting plot for really six episodes at the most. They had to break out the crazy junk because their plot, pacing, and characterization bit the big one. There’s a few profanities per episode, and occasional perv moments (quite a bit more in the last two episodes), but it’s the stupid Shinto themes that prove the most annoying.

Only watch this if you have nothing at else to do with your life. Welcome to the graveyard, Air.

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Spoiler Warning…Here there be spoilers….Spoiler Warning

You may not want to watch this series at all, because the way it ends makes the whole thing pointless. I have nothing against dealing with death or even having a story end when the main character dies. I even have some marginal sympathy for the theme of adulthood being a kind of death, but to have this surprise you like a stalker when the series is nearly completed? Excuse me, what? There’s almost no foreshadowing, no atmosphere of doom, nothing. It’s just like bam, the main character’s going to die. It’s emotion without reason, tears for the sake of tears, sadness without meaning. I HATE that. Anyways, if you don’t mind a series that pretty much wastes your time in this fashion, here’s the rest of the guide.

Sora has discovered that she is a mage (that is, she has mage’s blood) and so she is required to attend magic training school. The training involves practice and theory, which means training one-on-one with a more experienced mage, and attending class with others magicians her age. Contrary to what you might expect, the series has a slice-of-life feel with a sense of gravity about it. It’s real without being gritty, honest, and at times heart-felt. You feel like you’re growing up right along with Sora, which is why the ending is so frustrating. That said, it’s not particularly emotional and the characters aren’t original.

One of the more annoying things about this series is the animation. It’s decent by itself, but it takes place against photorealistic backgrounds. The contrast is always jarring and makes you think less of the animation itself. This effect is not compensated for by the above-average music used in both the opening and ending themes. Often episodes feature a street performer who is probably some rising star over in Japan. Not that she’s bad, but it’s in nearly every episode and it makes the series seem like a vehicle for her purposes.

The series contains no risque` elements, but it does have occasional profanities.

Low point: episode 5 (focus on a boring minor character).
High point: episode 9 (romance).

For your downloading pleasure (in descending order of quality):
Anime` Kraze

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