Tag Archives: drama

Bad Fanfiction Theatre: Ice and Snow [Part 2]


If you missed Part 1, CLICK HERE

Inspired by the works of BennettTheSage, Anifile has a brand new show entitled Bad Fanfiction Theatre. Join Mr Gamington-Smythe as he dramatically reads the finest fanfiction the internet has to offer. Today, the thrilling conclusion to the drama that is Jack and Elsa’s relationship. Will more tears be shed? Probably.

Original Fanfic: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10645952/1/ice-and-snow

Sketches drawn by http://www.youtube.com/FrobmanAKATillman

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SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATREON BACKERS!
Phyllida, Jayson C, Brian E, Darren180223, Luis V, David D, Mahan, James H, Dawn S, Carson C, Eric W, Brandon W, Alexander W, Jack, Brandon B, Eclipse, Jamie D, Griffin, Teitur, Bryce S, Michael S, Matthew D, Charles G, Jonathan K, Henry H, Jack0, Jayro Z, Tim M, Joshua R, Benjamin M-D, Lightuke, Alesha F, Alexander S, Jack D, D’Metrius S, Anthony C, Peter B, Veronica B, Vaatiwithblue, Malcolm T, Furst, Alexander and Sean!

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Glasslip REVIEW


Friendship groups are wonderful things. A small circle of pals in your town, or in this case seaside village, whom you can hang out with and have fun with; but things can easily turn sour. Relationships of that ilk are always hanging by a thread and can easily break especially if there are an equal amount of girls and guys in the group. Most of these circles are mature and sensible enough to not allow this to happen; but in Glasslip, it all descends to immature angst and bickering for some really REALLY bizarre reasons.

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Glasslip is set in a small coastal haven in Japan where a group of five teenagers hang out together in a local cafe. There Touko, Yanagi, Yuki, Sachi and Hiro share each other’s stories and have a nice, relaxing time outside of school. They maintain this by imposing a strict no-dating rule [a REALLY strict rule]; if two members choose to date, they have to leave the group. Like love is toxic or something; kind of strange and antisocial do you think? Especially when there’s only five people in the group already. One day though, a boy named Kakeru [whom the group calls David as a reference to Michelangelo’s David] shows up and take an immediate interest in Touko. The gang react oddly to his interest like he’s some kind of serial killer! Anyway, the rest of the story focuses on [or at least tries to focus on] Kakeru’s ability to see snippets of the future which brought him to Touko, whom can also see the future while she’s working at her parents’ glass factory. Kakeru is drawn to her because of this and helps her unlock these visions to their full potential. What are these visions? Well…that’s where Glasslip’s premise begins to shatter.

glasslip_2The whole gimmick of Kakeru and Touko seeing the future is so mishandled that it may as well not be in the story; whatever story is there to begin with. The idea of being able to see the future in little “fragments” as Kakeru describes them leaves the door open for some supernatural dealings to occur or even earth-moving events that can be prevented. How does Touko use this newly found power? To stop Yanagi crying one time. That’s it…oh! There’s that one time she finds out one of her BEST FRIENDS has to be hospitalised and she barely reacts to it; we just cut to the next scene like that revelation never happened. What? Those are the most taxing things her clairvoyance has to tackle, which is stimulated whenever she’s making glass paraphernalia. You’d think it’d be the backbone of the story, but it’s not. Instead we are carried by endless amount of teenage angst and melodrama which could easily be avoided. Not that you’d be able to tell because THE PLOT IS AN ABSOLUTE MESS. Seriously, there is no point to anything. The characters are so one-dimensional that you may as well pretend they’re cardboard puppets. I’m not emotionally invested in them at all because I don’t know them; I don’t know their backstory or their motivations outside of their romantic pursuits. We’re just thrust into the situation at hand; they are friends who live in the same town – enjoy! Then there’s Kakeru. He is a bit of an enigma but he brings nothing to the table. All he seems to do is tear the friends apart just by existing. The motivation behind the group’s animosity towards him when they first meet Kakeru is so vague that I get the feeling they hate “because reasons.” or “because the plot says so.”. I’m trying to think of a reason but I’m drawing blanks; it ultimately makes those friends look like total jerks if they’re so close-minded.

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I can’t think of a recent anime which has got its plot so disastrously wrong. By wrong I mean having no sense of direction. I am aware that shows like Azumanga Daioh or Hidamari Sketch, which are also slice of life shows, are almost as bereft with plot progression but those shows make it clear what they are so the audience isn’t left scratching their heads and getting frustrated. Another anime people liken Glasslip to is Nagi no Asakura in terms of the setting and basic idea of friends hanging out during an emotional upheaval. The former fails to emulate the latter’s prowess. Glasslip infuriates with how slow it is and confused as to what it wants to be and therefore is a jumble of supernatural flickers which are dampened by valueless romantic endeavours that are so strained and drawn out that they bring nothing to the table other than to pad the plot out and bring ‘drama’ to proceedings. They failed spectacularly. I guess that’s why I stuck with the show as long as I did [episode seven]; I hung in there to see if anything would happen and because I was in awe of the spectacular trainwreck laid before me. Something kind of happened in episode six when things get a little violent but it’s died out quickly. That’s when you know something’s up when you get excited over a plot point which is slightly different from what you’d seen for the past twenty minutes per episode. Even the romantic confessions are botched; they feel so clinical and lacking of any true feeling that they sound ridiculous. Honestly! Such a bad story.

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Its only saving grace is the artwork. PA Works [which helmed the animation for this AND Nagi no Asakura actually] pulled out all the stops here and gave a terrible plot some wonderful and majestic backdrops. There were times when I found it hard to distinguish some scenes from real life, they were that skilfully presented that I was left in awe. The forests, the sparkling blue ocean in the distance, the authentic town houses and apartments strewn around the town; everything felt genuine and lovingly replicated in 2D. I could briefly tune out of the story and revel in the seaside setting and breath in the coastal air as if I were there. I felt so immersed…then I got brought back to reality with a thud when some more romantic bungling occurred and any trace of charm was extinguished. I can confidently say that the art design is the only thing going for Glasslip. You could justifiably watch this show on mute and just watch the backgrounds for two hours. Seriously.

glasslip_6Simply put, I care for nothing in Glasslip bar the visuals. I don’t care about the future powers, I don’t care that Yuki and Yanagi have an on-off relationship but neither can get the balls to properly initiate it, I don’t care that Hiro and Sachi have a budding romance between them…ok maybe I care a little, ONLY a little. I especially don’t care for a story which has such unappealing main characters. Touko and Kakeru are so boring. I know nothing about them outside of the things which are presented to us; Kakeru just moved into town and has a mother that travels and Touko’s family are glassblowers. That’s the extent of my knowledge; how am I supposed to work with that? Kakeru especially is unlikeable because he seems to cause trouble by either saying nothing or being slightly petulant. He claims that since he sees the future and knows what will happen, he just lets things happen – what will be, will be. How defeatist. In short – I. DON’T. CARE. Neither should you. This anime will go down in infamy, I swear it will for having one of the worst ‘plots’ in recent memory. Oh wait, it can’t because it hasn’t got a plot. Oh well! Next!!

Glasslip is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CANCEL [If you value your sanity, steer clear of this mess of a plot. Only look at stills; that’s all you need to see.]

If you like what you read, please visit my Patreon campaign to help grow Anifile

One Week Friends


Memories are precious. Memories are what make us who we are; things that we recall in times of either great elation or times of sadness. They are clearly important to us as human beings; they are what connect us to the people that we love and cherish. Imagine if all that were to be erased at the start of each and every week. People you grew close to would be removed from your thoughts and you would have a blank canvas all over again. It sounds horrifying; but that is what poor Kaori Fujimiya, the main character of One Week Friends, has to go through. Thankfully she is not alone.

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Kaori Fujimiya is a lonely girl. Someone with no friends around her to talk to or hang out with. This isn’t because she’s a nasty person, she is the opposite of that. She has no friends because she chooses not to get involved and have either herself or others be hurt because of her condition; that being that every Monday morning, she forgets short-term relationships or memories that she had formed and anyone she had recently come into contact with and had a good memory associated with them would be erased from her mind, quite literally. When a boy named Yuki enters the scene, he is captivated by Kaori and wishes to be friends with her, but she has rebuffed him once before. Nevertheless, he keeps trying and eventually starts to make an impact when he starts a traditional lunchtime meeting up on the school roof where it’s just the two of them. At first, Kaori is reluctant but she is soon thrust into the excitement of forming new friendships. However, she is soon reminded of her impending memory wipe and begins to close down again in fear of hurting both Yuki and herself. The next time the pair meet, she is cold and distant; it’s quite scary to see…but thankfully things begin to be rebuilt and the pair quickly warm up. Soon, more friends are added to the table and hopefully Kaori can have the circle of friends that she has always wanted. I’m not going to lie, this show REALLY gets to you.

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What One Week Friends has going for it is that it, along with its soft and elegant art style, is very smooth in its delivery and pitch. It knows that memory loss is a sensitive subject and one that could be exploited if a more crass director were to come across it, but Matcha Hazuki’s [the original manga author of the show] vision of Kaori and Yuki seeking mutual companionship has been left intact. It is a beautifully delicate show with a lush and unique colour palette which is full of watercolours and soft pastel hints in its art direction. This is a soft anime with a hard and thoughtful message behind it. Stay positive and life will be positive in return. Kaori is a sweet girl with a loving family which she cherishes dearly as they are the only group of people that she remembers constantly but she presents a cold and impenetrable barrier around everyone else not because she doesn’t care about others; but because she DOES care. If she didn’t care, she’d make friends and then freak them out every week to the point she’d become a potential pariah. The writing is done very sensitively and it’s a marvel to watch.

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Yuki is a good kid too. His attraction to Kaori is mainly platonic and is exhibited in a very plausible manner. When we first see him try and befriend Kaori, it is him declaring his desire to be friends, not to go out on a date or have her be his girlfriend. He has a simple wish to be her friend and include her in school life; his intentions are quite selfless. To see him when Kaori doesn’t recognise him at the end of the first episode was a really powerful narrative twist; even though you saw it coming, you wouldn’t have expected it to be done so cruelly. That’s why I love the writing; it’s not afraid to be cold and tug at the heartstrings of those watching and yet it will reward you with moments of pure and touching joy. I once again have to commend Yuki for his selfless nature; he not only wishes to befriend Kaori but also introduces other people to her as well, ensuring she has a circle of friends and is not just reliant on Yuki for social satisfaction. He could’ve easily kept her for himself and indulge in her vulnerability and manipulate her by claiming something she can’t remember and exploit her trust in him; but he doesn’t do that which is such a relief. You might be quick to notice that the pacing is a little on the slow side; fans of quick-draw storylines and rambunctious characters might be frustrated at the melodic trundling of One Week Friends and its plot, but it has to be like that in order to do the subject matter justice. You can’t blaze through the story a mile a minute, you’d miss out on key nuances and subtle hints of the growing bond between Yuki and Kaori. His idea to use a diary to help her remember things is a stroke of genius and done to help her; even though he realises its use is to keep him in her mind which is a little selfish I suppose…but he apologises for it which only makes Kaori closer to him. It’s all so sweet and tender punctured with a feeling of foreboding and bitter pain that is soon to befall upon them at any moment.

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One Week Friends is one of those shows which makes me proud to be an anime fan. It’s an example of how the medium can tackle a serious issue like mental trauma and turn it into a tale which is laced with positivity and love. Brains Base has produced an animated gem along with Matcha Hazuki’s brilliant premise. It might not be as action-packed or filled with gut-busting comedy to satisfy most slice-of-life fans, but it’s a touching and pragmatic story. It marks what true friendship really is; stand by your friend and help them through their woes, be there for them in their darkest hour and in their moments of happiness. I was blown away with how well this whole package came together and this is definitely a candidate for my top five list for this season.

One Week Friends is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CONTINUE [A majestic masterpiece with sensitive storylines and well-crafted characters]

If you like what you read, please visit my Patreon campaign to help grow Anifile. 

Black Bullet


Humanity is at peril a lot lately. The Attack on Titan trend of 2013 has sparked a slew of anime adaptations of manga which involve some kind of barrier containing humanity and protecting them from a formidable and horrific enemy which is knocking on their door and about to attack once and for all when we, the audience, join the party. This time we get replica obelisks from 2001: A Space Odyssey protecting Tokyo in this action tale, Black Bullet. Is it something refreshing or just as buggy as the creatures that populate it?

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In the year 2021, mankind was stricken by a mutative virus known as Gastrea which causes huge insect creatures to destroy humanity and spread its contamination across the planet. Our main character Rentaro, sees one of these bugs close-up and his life is changed forever as is the entire world. The only thing that can hold back the Gastrea strain are huge towers of a dense black metal called Varanium; these structures contain Tokyo and its district in a relative peace while the menace roams outside occasionally slipping inside and causing trouble; that is where Rentaro and his partner Enju come into play to deal a dose of death to these demons. They are special agents of the Tendo Civil Security Agency and act as a buddy cop team [referred to as Promoters and Initiators]. Together they take out rouge and infected humans with the Gastrea virus and act as the last line of defence if the police can’t handle proceedings. One day though, a masked man named Kagetane and his Initiator daughter Kohina arrive on the scene and throw everything into discord. Only Rentaro and Enju can make any headway against Kagetane and his proclamations that the world is about to be destroyed and that he shall be the catalyst behind it. Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Tokyo, hundreds of young girls [or Cursed Children] are left abandoned; infected by the Gastrea virus from birth and gifted with some of its characteristics such as super strength and regenerative abilities. As such, humanity treated them with distrust and banished them to the corners of the barrier. However, the ruler of Tokyo [Seitenshi] has enacted a new law to help break down the social stigma but it is a very hard divide to heal. Rentaro and friends try and bring the two sides together as well as save the world from being entirely overrun by the Gastrea.

blackbullet_2Black Bullet is a very confusing beast. It is a decent looking show with some noteworthy plot points and thought-provoking narrative structures but it suffers from moments of boredom and irrelevance. Light novel adaptations run the risk of being full of filler to help pad out an entry in a series and it can be transferred to its anime partner. Black Bullet is an action anime at its core but there’s not as much action as there would normally be. There’s a lot of standing around and talking about what just happened to fill any gaps in the plot that may have arisen; it’s a little broken up and it can distract viewers from its fundamental brief to convey the struggle that humanity has with the Gastrea. To me, it doesn’t FEEL like humanity is at risk; it looks pretty clean to me. It’s not like other apocalyptic anime in that humans still look like humans and society has remained relatively cohesive. The threat level is seemingly low. Granted, there IS a huge race of insect monsters coming down hard to dispel this status quo but the threat is not as present as it should be. That being said, when Black Bullet gets around to the action, it does it rather well. The addition of Kagetane as a non-Gastrea threat is a credible narrative tool in that it adds multiple threats which would happen in a dystopian society; there is very rarely one enemy. It would be natural for multiple foes to arise from the carnage and claim their stake in the world that they claim is rightfully theirs. There are some pretty gruesome scenes which don’t try and sugar-coat the situation and throws itself head on into showing that being infected with a Gastrea virus is not a nice way to go. It does the action part competently at least! Shame it has to rely on anime tropes to get by otherwise.

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The Cursed Children I mentioned earlier are the creation of the Gastrea infecting pregnant women and giving birth to infected babies with traits of the Gastrea whose DNA slowly corrodes their host over decades instead of instantly. These Children are all female, which is down to the virus itself supposedly destroying Y chromosomes? It’s not made that clear initially. Sadly my mind can’t escape the fact that the reason they’re girls is to act as moe bait. Rentaro’s partner Enju is an example of this. Acting as Rentaro’s Initiator, she is a useful partner and is a very powerful individual. There’s no debating her place in the story, she is needed…but when the action isn’t happening, she falls prey to lolita tropes. She has a high libido, constantly making advances on Rentaro who thankfully rebuffs her desires but the fact she’s doing this is unsettling for me. This shouldn’t be in this kind of anime and it ruins Enju’s character. That’s all she seems to be there for; to act as eye candy and be the focus of many unfunny sexually driven comedy moments. It doesn’t work for me. What does work though is the fact that the Cursed Children are not forgotten and Rentaro does try and help them; especially with making Enju go to school like a normal girl. His actions are creditable; but I can’t shake off the feeling that the Cursed Children are excuses to have cute mascots fighting to appease a certain demographic.

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Is Black Bullet worth your time? I hesitantly say yes. You have to take things with a pinch of salt and realise that there’s a lot left unexplained and that some of the time you will just have to go with the flow and accept that you might find out later in the show or maybe not at all. The Gastrea’s origin isn’t compelling enough for me either; I’m not sure how they came about or why they’re after humans. It seems to me that they are just GENERIC BUG MUTANTS. Nothing special. However I will say that the show does its action well and it’s worth watching for that at least. You just need to be patient as there are long expositions and complex moral dilemmas abound; you can’t switch off with this one!

Black Bullet is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CAUTION [It’s a disjointed action show, but it does have its moments.]

If you like what you read, please visit my Patreon campaign to help grow Anifile.

Spring 2014: Sports


Welcome back to Anifile’s look on the Spring 2014 lineup. Today’s entry is the sports genre. A type of show which has seen a resurgence in recent years and is represented by four series for the spring session. Let’s get our boots on and kick off with our selection today.

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Roughneck Wrestler!! Matsutarou
[Abarenbou Kishi!! Matsutarou]

Genre: Shounen/Sports [Wrestling]
Animation Studio: Toei Animation
Origin: Manga [Chiba]
Airing Date: April 6 2014

Summary
Our tale is about the life of a roughian named Matsutarou who has incredible strength and a natural at the art of sumo wrestling. However, he has a very wreckless personality meaning he doesn’t take responsibility for his actions or have any goals in life. The anime chronicles his rise to becoming a proper sumo wrestler.

Initial Thoughts
It’s strange for a company like Toei to not put out a trailer for what is meant to be a series aimed at the young male demographic. There’s little to get excited about in terms of visual content, the website for the show is very sparse in terms of information too. No trailer here for this one. However, the fact that Matsutarou is unlike a typical shounen hero in that he has no dream to speak of at the start of the series is quite refreshing in that he is an untapped vessel capable of great things. I’ll reserve judgement for now until I can see some proper content.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Baby Steps

Genre: Sports [Tennis]
Animation Studio: Studio Pierrot
Origin: Manga [Katsuki]
Airing Date: April 6 2014

Summary
Eiitirou, more commonly known as E-Chan, is a bright young student who is bored with life and needs to find an outlet for his frustration. He stumbles upon the school’s tennis club and is instantly enthralled with the intricacies of the sport. With all his heart, E-Chan quickly rises to the occasion and throws himself head first into the art of tennis.

Initial Thoughts
Now as soon as you read this, I bet most of you are thinking about the show Prince of Tennis and will immediately begin comparing the two shows. However, it seems that based on initial research [once again, no trailer!] that this is a purely tennis anime, little romance going on. E-Chan is driven to become the best at tennis. Another thing that I’ve gleamed from my research is that people are excited with Baby Steps being adapted. It has a strong following and based on its fanbase, it’s a very real show with very minimal moments of bonkers special attacks or heightened supernatural moments. Worth a look.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Haikyuu!!

Genre: Sports [Volleyball]
Animation Studio: Production I.G.
Origin: Manga [Furudate]
Airing Date: April 6 2014

Summary
Haikyuu!! is about a student named Shoyo who grew to love the sport of volleyball after watching it on TV. Despite the fact that he’s shorter than most players, he wishes to emulate the “Small Giant” a lauded figurehead for smaller volleyball players. Shoyo eventually recruits five other players but is defeated by Tobio, another skilled player. Shoyo devotes his life to one day beat Tobio in another match.

Initial Thoughts
I’m getting massive Free! and Naruto vibes here. The whole intense, male-centric character roster coupled with the determination of a sparky light-haired protagonist to become the absolute number one. Its presentation is very slick and truly adds a lot of drama to an already fast-paced sport. Although most people would be familiar with female volleyball [I’m looking at you, young male audience members!], male volleyball is just as popular and as such it makes sense for there to be an anime. I can see this become popular in western markets and I’ll certainly check this out. Probably my favourite sports show this season based on initial impression.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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Ping Pong The Animation

Genre: Sports [Ping Pong]
Animation Studio: Tatsunoko Productions
Origin: Manga [Matsumoto]
Airing Date: April 11 2014

Summary
Makoto and Yukata [known as Smile and Peco] are both members of their local table tennis club. Their teacher observes that they both have great talent as they both frequently play against one another. The teacher spots that Smile’s attitude is the one thing that is holding him back from becoming a great player and this story recounts Smile’s development into becoming a competitive player in the field.

Initial Thoughts
This looks a lot different to most anime. It has its own style which is a lot more realistic and at the same time is able to be more artistic than real-life ever could. It’s like a combination of both world and it’s come together into a striking and unique visual presentation which is likely to not be popular with those seeking the typical anime spread. This is meant to be a tale of table tennis; simple as. Drama and action in spades. Or table tennis bats.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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That’s game, set and match for the sports genre for Spring 2014. Most of it is a mystery and we’ll have to wait until the season has begun before we can get the final scores in. Tune in next time for the anime genre biggie – the sci-fi/mecha genre. It’s going to be a big one!