And we’re back! No preamble, let’s get straight into these first impressions!
Requiem of the Rose King
As civil war ravages the nation of England, one young man dreams of joining the battlefield and seeing his father crowned as King. Both the House of York, symbolised by the white rose, and the House of Lancaster, symbolised by the red rose, have laid claim to the throne and neither will back down until their country’s fields are filled with blood. This is the period that will one day come to be known as the ‘War of the Roses’ and it will set the course of history for the next century. Young Richard idolises his father and dreams of seeing him, the Duke of York, on the throne, but those aren’t his only dreams. Is Richard truly a cursed child, meant to bring ruin to his house and country? Only time will tell, but in war their are so few who are truly victorious.
I mentioned last week that there was an anime out based on a couple of Shakespeare plays and this is that anime, based on Henry VI part 3 and Richard III respectively. I’ve never read either play (I haven’t read any Shakespeare) so I’ve no idea how loyal this is to it’s source material, nor do I know how historically accurate it is. That last fact does make me feel bad since this is British history. The most I know about the War of the Roses is that it partly inspired Game of Thrones and someone, somewhere is executed by drowning in a vat of wine. So, I’m going into this completely blind and I can’t help but feel that’s to this series’ detriment. There’s a very dream-like quality to the story so far, which feels very Shakespeare, with a plethora of dreams and portents plaguing young Richard. The problem is that it makes things a little hard to get into, especially when the plot keeps throwing events and new characters at us with barely any time to get to know them. Then there’s the animation, which feels like it’s already straining against its budget. There’s been an unreasonable amount of still frames and no matter how artsy the show tries to get, it mostly feels pretty cheap. I’ll give this one another few episodes but I’m not holding out much hope.
Sasaki and Miyano
Miyano is a fan of the Boys’ Love genre, so much so that he’s always buying new manga and fantasying about the other boys in his school getting together as couples. That’s when he meets Sasaki, a tall and unusual senior with a bit of a reputation for getting into trouble. Sasaki says that he wants to get to know Miyano better and the next thing he knows Sasaki is always hanging around and borrowing manga from his collection! With all of his fantasying could Miyano finally have found himself in a real-life Boys’ Love romance? But how does he really feel about Sasaki?
Sparkle sparkle. Glitter glitter. Sorry, someone seems to have activated a bunch of filters on my screen because there’s just so much stuff floating all over the place. Oh, wait, sorry that’s actually part of the episode. Jokes aside, I am really liking this series. It’s a very slow, but well thought-out and developed romance, or at least it will be by the time the main characters get together. I do like the way the show is taking it’s time about things, with the characters struggling to understand their emerging feelings, almost like a real romance. There’s no real obstacle or complications to things at the minute so if you’re after high melodrama you’d be best looking elsewhere. About the only tension so far is waiting to see if these two knuckle-heads will realise their feelings for one another and actually do something about it. I’ll definitely be sticking around for this one.
Attack on Titan: The Final Season part 2
The final battle for the fate of humanity is upon us. As Marley launches a surprise attack on Paradise Island both Eren and his supporters find themselves on the back foot. Meanwhile Eren’s former friends are freed and argue over their next move, should they fight alongside or against Eren? Will Eren really go through with Zeke’s plan or does he have some ulterior strategy in the works? Whatever happens the world will never be the same again. Not all the mysteries of the Titans have been answered though, just who is the girl in Zeke’s vision?
Do I even have anything to say about this series at this point? If you’ve not checked out Attack on Titan yet this really isn’t the place you should be starting and if you are a fan then you’ll already be watching this. Still, this is the last time I’m going to be talking about this series outside of a full review so let’s do this. This show is good, so good. Yes it has it’s problems but it’s a master of making each and every scene as tense and exciting as they can be. It knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat and considering this final part looks to be mostly just one last massive battle you’re getting that ramped up to eleven. Add on some great animation, performances and a tremendous amount of artistic flair and this show is as top notch as it has ever been. I have no idea how this is all going to end, I can’t even think of any way that this story can get a happy resolution, but I still hold out hope. As false as that hope may turn out to be.
After an apocalyptic event Japan has become a wasteland, the majority of it’s populace infected with a strange disease that makes it appear as if rust is covering their skin. One doctor, Milo, is desperately searching for a cure for his infected sister, he’ll us any and every ingredient he can get his hands on, including illegal substances like mushrooms. That’s when a wanted criminal, Akaboshi Bisco, enters the town, causing giant mushrooms to sprout up wherever he fires his arrows. The last thing Milo is expecting is for said criminal to turn up at his clinic with someone for him to save. But then the lives of both these men will never be the same again after this night is over.
I love it when a show gets weird, as I’ve talked about time and again on this blog it’s what I come to anime for. I can only marvel at the bizarre string of ideas that someone has managed to concoct and then present with complete abandon. It’s incredible. Not only does this show have an archer whose arrows turn into an array of gigantic mushrooms, but all modern vehicles have been replaced with wildly inappropriate animals. We’ve got hippos instead of tanks and giant iguanas in place of bikes and yet despite this string of absurdities, and many others, the world this series has constructed makes perfect sense when you look at the internal logic. The only thing that might put people off though is that this show has a strained relationship with cause and effect. The first episode is told very out of order and while things get more linear across the next couple of episode I can see that being a confusing experience for people. Still, if you can get through it this show is more than worth it and I’m looking forward to where it goes next.
Princess Connect! Re:Dive Season 2
The Gourmet Guild is back! Yuuki, Kokkoro, Pecorine and Karyl are all hungry for an adventure and they’ll go further than they ever have before to find new and exciting dishes! Whether it’s exploring an ocean of flying fishes, helping some friends putting on a concert or even trying to unravel the hidden mysteries of the world, every day is a surprise in Astraea! How long will these happy days last though? Both Pecorine and Karyl are holding tight to their secrets and just what is the supposed lie of this world?
Princess Connect is back! Can it live up to the surprise hit that the first season was? Yes, yes it can. I love this show so much, I would happily spend the rest of my days watching Yuuki, Kokkoro, Pecorine and Karyl going on one crazy adventure after another and that’s exactly what this second season has given me. We’ve got more characters to get to know, more exotic locations and, surprisingly, hints at some plot progression! Honestly I wasn’t expecting the revelation about Pecorine in last season’s finale to be brought up again so soon, or for us to check in with Karyl and the Queen this early, but we have. Throw in the mentions about the lie of this world and it’s hard to ignore the feeling that big things are coming. My theory is that somehow the world got rewritten and places, people and events have either been wiped away or altered with no memory of their past lives. We’ll see if it turns out that way. Either way, whether this show is going on a goofy adventure or laying the groundwork for something grander I can’t wait to see where its taking us!
That’s it for this week, back to regular reviews next time were we’ll be spending some time at an aquarium. See you then!
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday or you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisGJoynson.