RWBY Vol. 4 Episode 3

REVIEW – Rooster Teeth’s animated series, “RWBY” has come a long way ever since it’s first volume. The gradual shift of tone from happy-go-lucky school life to absolute chaos was well-executed in the series’ third volume.

In the third episode, we get to see where Blake has ended up after the Fall of Beacon. She’s somewhat on a “journey” to find herself as she goes home to Menagerie. It was quite depressing to see Blake’s guard up after the chaotic events. In the previous volumes, she slowly opened up to everyone but now, she’s confused on who to trust and who not to.

It was quite hilarious and expected to find Sun following Blake – to her annoyance. I am quite optimistic for a Sun and Blake pairing since that is where the series is going for. Also, the fight scene against the “water dragon” Grimm was epic. Blake and Sun helping each other out and displaying their strengths to bring it down was just exhilarating to watch.

I have to point out the wondrous addition of sunset colors during the entire fight. Rooster Teeth’s animation team has definitely improved. Can’t forget about the water too, they did that quite well.

On the other side of things, Yang has received a mechanical robot arm from General Ironwood – a gift she is quite hesitant to accept. In the episode, we can see how she’s condescended from a strong woman into a helpless and scarred girl. The confrontation with Adam and the lost of her arm really took a toll on her. She’s gotten nightmares and shows little to no enthusiasm at all.

In the enemy’s viewpoint, Salem and Cinder have a discussion about a “relic” of some sort – something Ozpin had. I’ve heard that they might be referring to Ozpin’s staff but I don’t recall any mention in the series about it. Another thing to note, Salem asked Cinder if she killed Ozpin to which she said yes. We still can’t say anything regarding Ozpin since we haven’t seen any body or concrete proof that he was actually dead.

Over-all, the episode shed light to a few things about Blake’s whereabouts, Salem’s concerns and Yang’s recovery.

A review of the fifth episode will be up soon. I’ve decided not to review episode 1 – 2 since I’ve basically talked about it in the article, “End of RWBY’s fairy tale.”

Credits to Koyorin for the feature image.

KyoAni’s upcoming “Violet Evergarden”

NEWS – Six months ago, Kyoto Animation uploaded a teaser for their upcoming adaptation of the award-winning novel “Violet Evergarden.” The novel is authored by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase.

The teaser showcases Kyoto Animation’s trademark of lively and fluid animation. It is, by itself, a work of art and I am very excited for the series to come out. There is no statement about when it will be out other than “the anime project is in the works.”

 

Kyoto Animation has released the description for this anime project:

Auto Memories Doll.

It’s been quite a while since that name caused a fuss. Originally invented by Professor Orland solely for his beloved wife, Auto Memories Dolls eventually spread out into the world, and a machine that allows people to rent out the dolls was also created.

“I will run as fast as I can to wherever my customer desires. I am the Auto Memories Doll, Violet Evergarden.”

A girl who almost appears to have popped out of a fairy tale with her blonde hair and blue eyes said this with her inorganic beauty and sweet voice.

“Violet Evergarden” is the first-ever entry to win the grand prize in Kyoto Animation’s competition for novels. In the past few years, they would’ve given entries recognition and do an anime adaptation for it but never have they given a grand prize. Examples of these recognized entries were Kyoukai no Kanata, Free! (originally called High Speed!) and Chuunibiyou. All of which were fairly respectable.

However, this series has a lot of expectation to live up to. It is the first-ever grand prize winner and therefore should be a great series hopefully.

Personally, I’m expecting it to be similar with Plastic Memories but it’d had to focus on discovering emotions whilst the android main female lead is tasked to write letters by her customers.

The anime series will probably be up early or mid 2017. Until then, we are in the dark.

 

A look at Kimi no Na wa.

REVIEW – A film that was deemed number one on it’s first opening weekend in the Japanese box office and earned 17.92 billion yen as of November 7, 2016 (www.en.wikipedia.org). Kimi no Na wa is one of the five highest-grossing anime films in history – what could be the reason for its overwhelming popularity?

Kimi no Na wa. is a fantasy anime film written and directed by Makoto Shinkai (5 centimeters per second, Garden of Words), and animated by CoMix Wave Films.

It depicts the story of Mitsuha, a high school girl who is fed up of living in the countryside and wishes to be a “handsome young boy living in Tokyo”. She then wakes up in the body of Taki, a high school boy living in Tokyo. The two realize that they’ve switched bodies and try all sorts of communication to keep their lives in check, ultimately helping one another in their own life problems. However, as time passes on, they’ve lost the ability to contact each other and swap bodies. Taki goes and looks for town of Itomori, in hopes of seeing Mitsuha again.

The film does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life. It shows a lot of humor and the slice-of-life aspect as the main characters live in each other’s lives. I was particularly amused as how Mitsuha, a girl, would act in Taki’s body – the clumsiness, the polite and feminine way of speaking distinguishes each character cleanly. Taki would act tough while living Mitsuha’s life, committing some rowdy acts here and there – to the surprise of Mitsuha’s friends. Mitsuha would struggle to hide her feminine side as she talks to Taki’s friends in his body. It’s just great humor and fun to see people swap bodies and how they react.

Animation-wise, the film was splendid and very detailed. The animators spared no effort in creating each and every frame for this film.

As for the soundtrack, the film’s theme “Zenzense” by Japanese rock band RADWIMPS was catchy and upbeat to hear. “Nademoniya” fit the emotions of sadness and desperation as Taki and Mitsuha try to meet despite the impossibility to do so.

The only confusing aspect of the film that I found was how religion and fantasy was connected. It explained the concept of “musubi” and how everyone was connected but not how it got Mitsuha and Taki to meet. But I can get past that.

Kimi no Na wa. is a wonderful and visually-appealing film. It deserves its popularity and is worth your time and money should you go and view it in a movie theater. It’s probably best if you do since you’d be giving money to the creators rather than just torrenting it from the net.

“Why does the scenery of a town that no longer exists wring my heart so?”

– Taki Tachibana, Kimi no Na wa.

End of RWBY’s fairy tale

DISCUSSION – Rooster Teeth’s animated series, RWBY, returns with a fourth volume. The volume’s plot will revolve around the events after the fall of Beacon as the entire world of Remnant slowly descends into chaos and how the main characters are coping up with this.

Volumes 1 to 3 have been about school, friendship and good things that have happened to the characters so far. They have developed so much as characters and we’ve come to relate with them very well.

In Volume 4, however, we’ve seen a huge chaos and destruction to what the characters have developed – these relationships and self-discoveries they’ve made. Volume 4 is the end of the fairy tale. Reality has hit hard for all of these characters.

To start off, Ruby, Jaune, Nora, and Ren, have teamed up and are on a journey to possibly defeating the people behind the attacks at Beacon? I have not fully understood what is actual goal set for Team JNRR or RNJR but this is the only logical thing that they should be doing.

Along the journey, we get to see how each character has been affected by the events in the Fall of Beacon.

Nora and Ren are somewhat coping with it. Ruby, however, has changed ever since the events at Beacon. She’s somewhat got a sense of seriousness and maturity in her – but the quirkiness is there, just toned down a bit.

Jaune, however, had been most affected by the Fall of Beacon after Phyra’s death. I am not quite sure if the somewhat romantic air around the two was canon or not but without a doubt, Jaune regarded Phyra highly. The scene in episode two where Jaune trained under the supervision of Phyra’s recorded video was very emotional. Rooster Teeth was stellar at orchestrating that scene. They showed that Jaune “was tired of losing everything” and how deep his sorrow is for Phyra’s death.

Yang still hasn’t come to terms with losing her arm. She is showing this depressed side of her which is very opposite to the lock-and-load attitude she’s displayed for the past three volumes.

Blake had reverted to her loner shell and is constantly pushing all friends away from her. Her character development in the previous volumes seem for naught. She is still afraid of getting hurt and her ties to the White Fang.

Rooster Teeth’s work on RWBY’s fourth volume has been stellar. The animations are smoother than ever. I would like to point the use of shadows and gorgeous lighting from the sunset in episode three. Gotta give props to Rooster Teeth for the new stuff in RWBY.

Looking forward to the rest of the episodes.

A civilization to stand the test of time

NEWS – Not too long ago, Sid Meir’s Civilization VI was released. It is the sixth of the ever-evolving and entertaining Civilization franchise. The game still operates the same with its predecessor, Civilization V, but with major changes to the mechanics and victory conditions.

I recently got my hands of a copy and been playing it for the past two days. It was a very exciting thing for me, being a fan of strategy games, to play this. The game was a little bit confusing at first but I got used to it fairly quickly. I’ll be tackling on the things that piqued my interest as I played the game.

First off, the main theme for the game was just spectacular. Every time I loaded up a new game, the song “Sogno di Volare” would just give me chills everywhere. It set up the premise of the game which was to “build a civilization that will stand the test of time”.

Secondly, Sean Bean as narrator was stunning to hear. The way his accent sets the mood when he dishes out a quote related to a newly discovered tech, civic, or wonder – it just gave me a realistic vibe of the game.

Lastly, the new victory condition -Religious Victory, is a new thing for the Civilization franchise. This is, personally, an enjoyable yet head-boggling goal to achieve. The victory condition requires you to convert the majority of the world to your religion. This can be time-consuming and can end up slowing you down if you don’t chart your course right. I’ll leave that up to your own personal experience.

While I may have left out some other new things like continents, new resources, and others – I’m leaving all of that to your own personal enjoyment. You can only enjoy something fully once you go in blind.

Civilization VI is the first base game of the series that is well-developed and feels complete. It is definitely worth your money and gaming time.

Will Sword Art Online’s Ordinal Scale be better?

DISCUSSION – On October 4, 2015, it was announced that the light novel would be turned into an anime film adaptation, with the main staff returning from the anime series. The voice actors and actresses from the anime series will return to reprise their roles in the anime film. This anime film adaptation would be called “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”, and is scheduled to release in Japan on February 18, 2017. Australia and New Zealand will see the film in their theaters some time in 2017, courtesy of Madman Entertainment.

The plot for the new anime film is as follows:

The film is set after the events of the anime’s second season, in which Kirito, Asuna and their friends start playing a new game known as OS (short for “Ordinal Scale”) that, contrary to the previous ones they played, doesn’t have a full-dive function and is based on a new augmented reality device instead called “Augma”. In this game, players are ranked according to their achievements and players with lower ranks have serious disadvantages in duels against their higher ranked peers. However, Kirito and co. discover that something is wrong when they come across monsters from Aincrad, the world from the same game they were trapped inside for two years while fighting for their lives.

(source: en.wikipedia.org)

sword_art_online_the_movie_-_ordinal_scale_visual
Key Visual

The thing that interests me about this new anime film adaptation for Sword Art Online is the augmented reality aspect. For those who don’t know, augmented reality is an indirect view of the environment around us. An example of a game that uses the augmented reality concept would be Pokemon GO.

Now imagine, the mechanics of Pokemon GO right now but merging the MMORPG genre. It would be a different situation entirely than playing virtual reality. The film is set on a game that uses augmented reality and (judging from the trailers) the main characters are somehow trapped in that game.

This certainly piques my interest as being “trapped” in an augmented reality seems too confusing to me since if such game would exist in real life, we would be playing through either a smartphone screen or a pair of goggles that use the elements of the environments in your local area. That idea would be cool but it is quite interesting how the characters would be “trapped” in such a game. Maybe the same conditions with the first game, Sword Art Online, where if they remove the device connecting them to the game then it would end their lives.

As far as success is concerned, I’m very “iffy” on how the plot would be written – will it be good or just as plain and illogical as the anime series? The concept of augmented reality is indeed a new thing in anime (or maybe not) but the success of Sword Art Online’s new animated film “Ordinal Scale” will basically be in the hands of the writer. I do hope that Reki Kawahara has improved his writing for this film, otherwise, it would be a huge downer for me and other people who are expecting the film. That being said, people are already expressing their dislike for the whole series. I hope that the film becomes the “saving grace” for the whole franchise.

Nisekoi author publishes heart-wrecking one-shot

FIRST LOOK – Komi Naoshi, author of “Nisekoi” manga, has published his new one-shot manga entitled “Toki Doki”. The one-shot revolves around a teenage boy and girl spending the rest of their youth before their time runs out.

Nisekoi ended not too long ago and was, according to Komi Naoshi, “the longest manga” he’s ever worked on. Naoshi published a number of one-shot manga prior to Nisekoi. Shortly after the manga’s success, an anime adaptation was produced by studio SHAFT.

Komi Naoshi’s new one-shot “Toki Doki” was heartbreaking to read. It had the same vibe with the film “The Bucket List” where, instead of old age, both characters are under a terrible disease and have few years to live.

The protagonist tries to make the heroine live her life to the fullest. But unknown to the girl, he risks his own life in the process since he suffers the same disease.

It is a touching and emotional story of how life can seem infinite and never-ending. You never realize the importance of life unless you’re nearing death’s door.

Komi Naoshi has done wonderfully in his new one-shot “Toki Doki”. This short one-shot is worth your reading time.

Porter’s Shelter – a must watch?

DISCUSSION – A-1 Pictures, in collaboration with Porter Robinson & MADEON, has created a six minute animated music video/short for “SHELTER”. The animated short shows the life of a teenage girl who is confined in a virtual world – a world where she can create and destroy any entity as she wishes.

Virtual reality has been a popular setting ever since the release of the anime series, “Sword Art Online”. However, it is not the main focus of this animated short’s story. Rather it tells how this teenage girl got herself in the virtual world she is in. The short is set on a timeline where Earth is in collision course with Jupiter. The teenager’s father aims to save her by constructing a spaceship where she can live as long as she can and confine her mind in a virtual world where she can be safe. It depicts of a father’s love for his daughter and his method of recusing her from impending disaster.

Granted – launching your daughter to space, ultimately, saving her life from the collision of two planets is basically an even deeper death sentence than dying in the collision. “SHELTER” is a touching animated short showing how life can be so cruel yet telling it’s viewers that moving on is key to a better future. It has delivered people who’ve watched it an emotional punch in under six minutes which is why this short is a must-watch for those who haven’t.

Think, write, discuss, repeat.