Thunderbirds are GO! episode 6 – Power out, not really something to shout about.

Virgil & Parker have so far been my favorite characters in this current reboot, so seeing them involved in this episode should mean this should be one of the best episodes, right? Well….no, it ends up being one of my least favorites for a number of reasons.

The episode starts off with Virgil & Grandma Tracy heading to London on Thunderbird 2, after some banter all of the sudden both the City of London & Thunderbird 2 suffer a unknown power outage, Virgil somehow manages to land his aircraft on the street without crashing into anything (Yeah, the wasn’t really believable) and starts to worry about his non-working electronic gadgets, however Grandma Tracy gives him vocal support, saying that you don’t need to rely on electronic vehicles or gadgets to save everyone, so with a map & compass, they start to find what caused the power outage.

TB51On the other side, Lady Penelope & Parker are also in London during the power outage & also start investigating, they find posters of a group called ‘The Luddites’ who are a anti-technology group. They manage to find a couple of the henchmen & disguise themselves in order to find out this groups master plan.

Obviously the message to kids here is simple, we are starting to see them grow up in an age of electronic devices that can help people and this has lead to somethings forgetting about physical survival skills, it’s most likely the only reason why Grandma Tracy is in this episode at all, I get it but I wish her character would stop being 75% comic relief, I’m worried that the bad cooking joke will continue through out the season.TB52As for the episode it self, because most of it was on foot, the episode ended up being less exciting on my end, the CG was alright here actually but no cool stuff was shown in this episode I think, even Parker was pretty quiet I’m afraid. The twist at the end was predictable as well.

Ah well, it was alright episode anyway, at least we saw more badass Virgil climbing construction cranes without any safety gear..wait…VIRGIL YOU CRAZY GUY.

Thunderbirds are GO! episode 5 – One Escape Pod

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Episode five was pretty entertaining for the most part, since this was a basic “steal an airplane” episode, it also featured our new protagonist “Kayo” in her individual international rescue.

The Plot is simple, A new developed plane has been stolen soon after take off and is blocked by sonar soon after, we find out that The Hood was disguised as the captain and changes the course to his lair so he can get his hands on the new tech on the plane, as captain he tell’s the passengers to put there gas masks on but is filled with sleeping gas, he fool’s everyone but Kayo, who has been on the plane but hinders his plan.

Kayo attempts to stop The Hood which end’s up near the fuel supply but Kayo accidentally hits it and causes a fuel leak, causing damage to the plane, it is here that The Hood escapes in ONLY escape pod on the ship and it is up to her to safety land the plane with the later help from the Tracy family.

What I continue to really like about the reboot is the ship designs, they remain faithful to the ships from the old show, these futuristic ships always seem cool to me, good on you reboot.

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Also reboot, thank you for bringing back the old fast danger music, it’s also nice to see it used once rather than multiple times, while I personally don’t like the reboot soundtrack, good on them for not relying on nostalgia all the time.

I also liked the attempted landing sequences, the one that involved Thunderbird 2’s landing pod, to help land the plane was really tense, so yeah, another great moment.

Negative moments are easy for me, “WHY WAS THERE ONLY ONE ESCAPE POD”, sure it’s a plot device to let The Hood escape but if there was a real emergency with no chance to land, who gets the escape pod?

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Secondly, I know Kayo is new & all but her speech on giving up was lame, with all those sleeping passengers on board, I thought that was a lame part of her character, hopefully Thunderbird S will sort that out soon, thank god Virgil was there as usual to save them.

So yeah, sorry for the delay on this, I’m hoping to get episode six done this week!

Thunderbirds are GO! episode 4 – I’M (not that) NUCLEAR.

Episode 4 was a bit of a whimper here, it was terrible by any means but it lacked on what made the last episode exciting & thrilling.

This disaster starts with an unknown person entering a closed nuclear facility in the middle of a desert which has been closed for 20-years, this cause’s the radiation to leak outside of the building which gets Thunderbird 5 – John Tracy’s attention, so both Thunderbird 1 & 2 are sent to investigate & shut down the place before a storm carries the radiation to a nearby city.

TB1

This is a Scott Tracy episode for the most part, since he goes into the nuclear facility in person to investigate the facility & find out why this unknown character entered it, which leads to him to discover a female scientist who wants the uranium pods to sell them to The Hood. This is honestly an unlikeable character even though she does receive some back story about how nuclear power was abolished & how it destroyed her family business, I didn’t really care.

I do kind of dig the message to kids although I’m not deep into Thunderbird lore, in a world that stopped producing nuclear power – radiation is dangerous yo, plus the usual “Don’t sacrifice yourself for this” message that has been done a million times in other kid shows.

TB2

Scott wasn’t really good in this either, I’m not honestly a fan of his voice actor, plus the jokes that are attempted here fall flat, except for one adult joke (if that was one, I dunno), Vergil was cool as heck for the short time his in it though, maybe he should become the leader. Also I couldn’t ignore the plot-holes in this episode, sure it is explained that Scott’s suit can withstand the radiation but I don’t think finger-less sleeves is a good idea.

I liked The Hood’s reaction at the end of the episode though, that was another decent bit of humour. Still, I got through the episode fine but I hope for a bit more improvement next time.

Thunderbirds Are Go! episode 3 – Slow and Steady wins the Space Race.

I’ve decided to cover the new ‘Thunderbird’s Are Go’ series due to nostalgia reasons and curiosity, I was a huge fan of the old puppet Thunderbird’s show when I was a kid, so much that most of my childhood video’s show me shouting “THUNDERBIRD’S ARE GO!” because I thought it was the coolest thing ever and hey, I think it still is, the disaster music still give me goosebumps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4mdFtE7UTo

So first of all, my thoughts on the debut episode of this reboot, it was alright, it definitely felt Thunderbird’s in spirit, the launch sequences were fantastic, we had two disasters to deal with, The Hood still looked menacing and Virgil in a mech suit, pumped my fist right in the air I did. vlcsnap-2015-04-12-22h18m12s201However, I did have some concern’s after it, not about the CGI, since I found it to be used alright, it’s more about the pacing, I felt that the show rushed into introducing most of the characters, there wasn’t any time to talk and when it was, it was only around 2 minutes during an hour episode, this was my main concern for the series, sure I understand that this show is geared towards this generation of kids but I just thought they could of slowed down. I had a few more nitpicks like poor comedy & slightly jarring CGI but overall I liked the opener.

Episode 3 is much more focused and dim’s any worry that this reboot will be failure, hurrah for SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!

The episode is focused on Thunderbird 3 & 5, Alan is sent to space collect any metal debris he finds, bemoaning that it’s less exciting than doing a rescue, however he notices that he has latched a space nuclear mine and activated it, the mine uses a camera and follows any nearby space shuttle that it finds, it is here that Thunderbird 5’s John Tracy tries to figure out the number combination to disarm this bomb, he finds the digital source but the last digit is unreadable, John most locate the original paperwork from the company building that made the mine bomb, with the help of Lady Penelope & Parker. vlcsnap-2015-04-12-22h13m39s246Unlike the debut episode disasters, this one felt more like a threat, Alan’s attempt to keep the mine from latching onto any other ship was harder than he thought, since there was multiple times that he ran into large fleet of ships, which the mine would easily target any of them, it makes for more tense scenes than the previous ones.

The dialogue felt much more natural as well, didn’t rush to explain situation’s, sure there was the cheesy attempts at humor but I actually thought some of them worked this time, from John’s commands to Brain’s instructions.

My highlight though was Parker’s break-in into the mine companies archive, he gave his best Solid Snake impression and it showed one of the best reason’s why it was a good idea to do this in CGI, it was highly entertaining to see Parker do his spy shite. vlcsnap-2015-04-12-22h21m15s22Lastly, some of the visual in this episode were surprisingly great, mainly the large fleet ones, I hope space episodes continue to be like this.

So yeah, I liked this episode a lot, I was expecting an introductory episode to Thunderbird S so maybe this is saved for next week, so I’ll see you next week reboot, hopefully you give me more episodes like this!

Favourite anime OP’s of 2014

It’s hard for me to get excited when it comes to anime openings, maybe it’s because they always hold a theme depending on the genre, so for rom/com harem shows I expect it shows all the girls and the track will be sweet bubblegum J-pop theme; while action shows have a bit more punch, I mostly hear that male/female J-pop voice that just automatically makes me skip the whole opening.

Since we pretty much have listened to every anime opening this year, I have decided to write all my best openings season by season, I have already pick most of them but I have gone back to see if I missed I might be into, so without further or do, let’s jam:

Winter 2013/14 season

Hoozuki no Reitetsu

So hey, WIT Studio can succeed in making other shows that aren’t Attack On Titan hurrah! It’s good to see them make a silly fun comedy show and this opening indeed shows it, the theme song easily gets into your head, it’s hard to not sing “jigoku! jigoku!” during that darn chorus, I really dig it.

The animation is full of color showing plenty of characters, half being animated drawings, to characters dancing, it’s just really fun to watch and it’s a perfect opening for this show.

Nobunagun

Nobunagun’s OP maybe cheaply animated but man I really do dig this song, it easily gets my attention with that hard guitar and the shouting of “RESPECT FOR THE DEAD MAN” and while it’s animated a bit poorly, the character designs & names look pretty ridiculous when they are shown in groups. I didn’t hear much praise from the anime as a whole but this is something that could fit on my music library.

Noragami

This one I did skip quite a bit since the song isn’t as interesting until the mid-part when it  kicks in but the animation is the main draw here, going for a more black & white style until the song finally hits the chorus and the screen hits with color during those action moments, it’s good stuff.

Space Dandy

Of course I’m going to mention Space Dandy guys, it’s once again another fun OP that’s really hard to skip, well animated and with that darn funky track from Yasuyuki Okamura, I think this will be remembered in the years to come.

I could just link the actual OP but instead, just have the whole Yasuyuki Okamura – Viva Namida music video.

Spring 2014 season

Brynhildr in the Darkness

By the guy who directed Elfen Lied,  Brynhildr in the Darkness is yet again another really well made opening, probably the creepiest on the whole list, it contains death, blood, explosions and unknown magic powers, the track also adds to the creepiness mixing orchestral with wub wub but it works, which is a rare feat to accomplish.

I also recommend you listen to the Ejectro version after, that is one of my favorite remixes of the year:

Kenzen Robo Daimidaler (NSFW)

“Daimidaler!, Daimidaler!, Daimidaler!, Daimidaler!, Daimidaler!, Daimidaler!, Daimidaler!”

It would be so easy to leave this off the list, especially considering some of the scenes are very questionable but credit is due for having a really kick ass opening, also there is a certain moment around the middle of the series where it is used as a ending theme to great effect. The song is brilliant, sung by Masaaki Endoh who also lent his voice to GaoGaiGar and Daigander.

So yeah TLDR: excellent song, questionable OP scene choices.

Ping Pong: The Animation

“AWWWWWWWWW YEAH”

Yuasa’s Ping Pong The Animation has been praised to death by most of us and he has yet again supplied us with another memorable opening, however I wasn’t expecting such a energetic, in-your-face one.

It was slightly worrying during the first 2 episodes since it was a repeat of animation from those actual episodes but it finally fully showed during the 3rd, it was also during future episodes when the OP changed from time to time, mostly adding some extra detail to characters.

Excellent stuff from Yuasa yet again!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

I almost missed putting this on here due to Anichart not having it on previous season list’s but fear not since I did not forget greatness of the Stardust Crusaders opening, much like other Jojo openings, this was a grower, I’m still a big fan of David Production using CGI to animate these openings and the song is good overall, it’s again one of those themes that gets your attention so you can Stand Proud (sorry).

Summer 2014 season

Barakamon

This one gives me the fe-, It gives me the fee-, it makes me feel good *whew*, it’s just very cheerful every time I watch it, also it makes real good use of the music during certain moments in it, it’s very fitting to one of the surprise hits of the year.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/103254675″>Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun Opening</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/martinhdeer”>Martin HDeer</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

My love for this show has been big over the past year and it thankfully has a really likeable opening that avoids the generic J-pop trappings and goes with a more funky theme, damn I love that acoustic guitar, it’s once again another fun theme with the cast showing there personalities, plus the opening animation shows great enthusiasm and color.

So yeah, season 2 better happen, this better not turn out to be a Giant Killing wai- ;_;

Tokyo Ghoul

I’ll be mentioning this band again later but I really like Ling Tosite Sigure but this was a solo effort from lead singer TK and it shows since this is a bit more orchestral, this one is both beautiful yet tragic with fits the opening really well, since this is a dark fantasy.

Very stylized this one but I like it, reminds me that I will have to finish watching it soon.

Winter 2014 season

Patasyte ~the maxim~

Band Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas are hit & miss for me, I have no idea why they randomly appeared with a replacement OP during Brynhildr in the Darkness’s run with a pretty meh song but stuff like the Kaiji Season 2 is fantastic.

This to me is much like the latter, I like this opening personally, it gives use the basics on what the show is about and I really like the song when it kicks in midway through.

Psycho-Pass 2

Actually, looking at all the openings I’ve included, there is a surprisingly lack of sequels on here, so including this is a bit weird. Still, Ling Tosite Sigure return to do the new opening to Psycho-Pass 2.

Much like Ping Pong, the further episodes you watch, you start to see some changes, which is probably hinting on what might happen during this season, the song is yet again fast and gets pretty crazy in the end, solid stuff.

Rage of Bahamut: Genesis

Last but not least, Rage of Bahamut: Genesis is just a really fun rock song with a pretty catchy chorus, it might not be the best considering I find the animation a bit average but I’ve hummed this quite a lot recently and that’s enough to get on my list

Scotland Loves Anime 2013 reviews – Blue Cats, Sci-Fi and Kevin Bacon?

1268532_725803810769616_464228305_o A few updates for my blog, I’ve managed to get some extra hours on my job recently, which also means my free time is all over the place, still my anime watching will not decrease, I’m still watching seasonal anime and I hope to do a few end of anime lists next month.

This year’s Scotland Loves Anime was in the middle of the three years i’ve been going there, there was a lot more memorable stuff inside the festival, which last year didn’t have. I enjoyed myself and I hope to go next year

I wanted to link all my Scotland Loves Anime reviews in a list as an update to my blog, so go and check them out, I enjoyed all of them expect for Budori Gusuko but go ahead and check my reviews on the Edinburgh line-up:

Garden Of Words – link

The Life Of Budori Gusuko – link

FUSE – Memoirs of the Hunter Girl – link

Patema Inverted – link

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo – link

Magical Witches Yoyo and Nene – link

Aura: Koga Maryuin’s Last War – link

Steins;Gate (Movie): Fuka Ryouiki no Deja vu – link

Hal – link

Ghost In The Shell: Arise OVA 1: Ghost Pain – link

I also wanted to note that I went to London Comic Con October 2013, which pretty much completed my Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure fandom, it truly has been the year of Jojo for me and this picture (with some of the Cyberconnect staff) sums up 2013 for me in many ways.

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Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³ review – Ok people, move along. There’s nothing to see here.

nothing to see hereSure, the anime has one episode left at this point, but to be honest, the show certainly felt like it ended this week, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³ and why I have such negative emotions towards it.

The show was animated by Studio Gainax, which I feel is still in a state of limbo after important employees left to form Studio Trigger but it’s not like they have made terrible anime after Panty & Stocking, The Mystic Archives of Dantalian was a pretty interesting show, even if it was slightly lacking & a bit forgettable.

I think the warning signs started to go off when Gainax adapted Medaka Box into anime form, considering this was a Nisio Isin manga (with the success of SHAFT’s Monogatari series) I thought this was a great way for them to bounce back, however, the Medaka Box and it’s 2nd season wasn’t well received and sold very poorly in Japan.

With that out of the way, I thought this new Gainax project would be bland and would likely be a “cute girls doing cute things with the subject matter slightly hinted at” airsoft anime but Stella did attempt to do something to try to separate itself from that term, even if it failed.

The show was directed by Masayoshi Kawajiri and has no directing credits to his name, in matter of fact according to Anime News Network, his only other role was a Background artist to the Dantalian show, what a promotion. Strangely enough though, that’s the only noteworthy staff thing I can point out.

So yes, the show is about airsoft, now I might sound of a bit of a hypocrite when I say that, I couldn’t watch Uptotte because it uses guns but I’m fine with watching this, the reason why I can’t watch Uptotte is how the guns are used and how that show sexualities them, for that reason, I don’t want to go near Uptotte and while Stella has a range of actual firearms, I don’t mind it as much, well because I grew up with friends playing airsoft guns when I was a young teenager, also airsoft in this anime is used more as a sport, so I was fine with watching this.

What is the plot though, it centers around Yura Yamato, a 1st year student who excited to join Stella Women’s Academy but has no idea which club to join but a few of the C³ airsoft club members start to take interest in her and after some matches and talking, Yura decides to join the airsoft club.

c3bu_1-1So this is a basic sports/club anime set-up and I was awaiting either two things to happen:

1. Will this feel like K-ON

or

2. Will this feel like Girls Und Panzer

I say this because Yura starts off as the usual shy, unconfident, friendless character through the first 3 episodes and I never really warmed to her, she never really showed any sign of backbone and while understandable, I didn’t like the way she moaned and wined in those episodes.

The airsoft club members themselves are mostly cardboard cut-outs, you have the best-friend who cares for the main character, you have the loli sniper, you have the energetic tom-boy and you have the smart one with glasses, the only character in the team that had a bit of depth is leader Sonora but still, I found these characters boring and I never really rooted for this high school airsoft team.

Speaking of the airsoft matches, the presentation of the anime is below average, the animation of these games can either be decently done or lackluster and the soundtrack is just overall terrible, sucking all the tension out of most of the scenes, the only episode that avoids my negativity on the presentation is episode four, which is one of the more visually interesting episodes, sadly we never got another one.

Stella04-2-650x365While I criticize the show for being nothing special, the show certainly has one very interesting idea and that’s Yura Yamato herself, after episode 5, there is a moment that changes Yura and starts to take airsoft seriously rather than just having fun, this leads to a five episode run of selfishness, betrayal and depression. It felt like this separated anime fans thoughts on the show, some embraced the dark path of those episodes others thought that Yura’s sudden change was really stupid.

I thought Yura’s change made the show stand out really, sure she was mean spirited in those five episodes but it’s rare to see a main character in this kind of show make such a dark turn and make it believable, since then I couldn’t wait for every episode, that is until the end.

Commie-Stella-Jogakuin-Koutouka-C3-bu-10-19AF116C.mkv_snapshot_12.26_2013.09.17_18.57.14When episode 12 comes along, all that tension, all that frustration, all that build-up is dashed, all for the safe, happy ending. I will fully admit that I don’t approve of this one bit.

I have a reason why though, take those five episodes where Yura undergoes some dark character development and replace them with some typical, generic Slice Of Life episodes and then episode 12 stays the same, it would be like nothing serious ever happened.

That’s the biggest issue with Stella, the stuff that Yura went through feels like a waste of my time, the resolution felt lazy and uninteresting and it’s just like your typical anime happy ending that to be honest, I didn’t really want from this show.

Stella-Jogakuin-Koutou-ka-C3-bu-groupIt’s all my opinion though but considering it had that and failed to grasp the idea fully, Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³ is average, nothing special and will most likely be forgotten and I hope it is.

5/10  (I did watch the final episode and considering it’s a pointless filler episode, I won’t talk about it)