Anime roundup 4/2/2015: Happy Trails

Death-Parade-12 Death Parade finale – Chiyuki’s fate rests on one final choice: will she sacrifice another human being in order to return to life? It’s much the same trial that Mayu was put through last episode, asking if she would sacrifice a stranger to save the person she loves most. In Chiyuki’s case, the one she loved the most in life was herself.

Of course Chiyuki can’t bring herself to press the button, but it’s her specific reason for not doing it that’s the important part. She doesn’t resist the idea on some abstract principle of right and wrong, but out of compassion for the other person and whoever loves them.

And compassion and empathy are the forbidden human aspect that Nona was trying to introduce into her new arbiters. Compassion and the gentler judgements it leads to are what’s missing from the system. Empathy, processing the pain of all the souls that pass through, is what Oculus asserts will break arbiters.

That we don’t see the end of that debate is a letdown. Decim and Chiyuki’s story has been good and uplifting, but outside of that one bright spot on floor 15, the judgement system still pretty much sucks. Souls are still being shoveled into the void due to darkness-inducing games and flawed judgements. If Mayu was being lied to, there’s probably no way to get them back. The people who probably shouldn’t have been sent there in episodes 1 and 3 are still there. It’s a pretty dark ending once you get to thinking about it.

Perhaps it’s leaving the door open for a new season if this one does well. For the time being, this gets a moderate recommendation– it’s very good as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go quite far enough.


Yatterman-12 Yatterman Night finale – Rather than a revolution that would throw the Yatter Kingdom into chaos, our heroes decide to beat Dokurobei at his own game by co-opting the Yatterman mythology back from him. This leads to pretty much where this show was obviously headed the whole time, with Galina and Alouette stepping into the roles of Gan-chan and Ai-chan, riding a brand-new Yatterwan, kicking Dokurobei’s butt at great length to the victorious strains of the original Yatterman theme.

If you’re a fan of any of the past Yatterman series, then here is your crowning moment of awesome. If you’ve been waiting until the end to check it out because of what happened with the Gatchaman reboot a couple years ago, I can assure you now that no similar outrageous liberties have been taken with the setting. There’s even a surprise cameo from one of the voice actors from the 2008 series after the credits.

Coming to it as someone not familiar with the franchise, I have to say that it did its best work at the beginning and declined somewhat over the course of the series. That’s mainly because the latter-day Dorombos are just more interesting people than Galina and Alouette. As the Dorombos fade into the background, it feels like the story loses something.

Still, it’s not bad. If you’re looking for a light diversion, this could fit the bill.


JoJo-36 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders #36 – Our first look at Dio in a while shows him going all in on the vampire myths as he is seemingly telepathic and capable of passing through solid objects. I say “seemingly” because of that image of Jōtarō punching through a mirror that’s been in the opening since the start of the show. It could be just that Dio is a master of illusion (okay, except for the body takeover bit, that’s clearly working as described).

Then it’s back to flat-out silly mode as two abject cowards take on our heroes. Hol Horse and Boingo are both best at working in the shadows of stronger Stand users. Thrown together, they’re a shuddering ball of inept terror.

It doesn’t help that Thoth has developed a habit of leaving out the middles of stories. How the heck is jamming fingers up Polnareff’s nostrils going to lead to all the heroes lying around bleeding? The sensible guess would be that this will leverage Polnareff’s stupidity, causing him to lash out with his Stand and inadvertently injure everyone else. I’m sure it will turn out to be something much siller than that.


But wait, there’s more!

Bonus Review #1: FUNimation Broadcast dubs

FUNimation has embarked on an ambitious program to address the needs of people being left out of the simulcast anime wave. It’s all very well and good that most of the world gets to see a lot of what’s currently airing in Japan with subtitles, but what about people who prefer their anime dubbed?

To that end, FUNimation has begun what it calls Broadcast Dubs. Some of the shows it’s carrying as simulcasts– currently 9 of them from this past season, including Yona of the Dawn and Death Parade— have started being dubbed before they finished airing.

DubbleTalkThe dubs are still anywhere from a few weeks to a full season behind behind the actual simulcasts, though, which brings us to the second part of the Broadcast Dub strategy. FUNimation has added a live streaming show called DubbleTalk to give dub viewers the water-cooler experience they’ve been missing out on. The hosts discuss the dubs released in the past week, with some live interaction with Twitter. Analysis is generally about at the water-cooler level, but anything at all to bolster the community experience for dub viewers is a good thing at this point.

DubbleTalk is streamed live via TwitchTV at 9:30 Eastern Time on Wednesdays. Episodes are available for viewing anytime afterwards. The video widget provides all the usual controls except the ability to switch to a lower resolution, which has probably never been an issue for Twitch’s core community of hardcore gamers, but is an unfortunate oversight when trying to reach a broader audience in a country where very few people have access to what most of the developed world thinks of as decent broadband.

Regular readers of this column are probably fine with subs and won’t feel any need to watch the show, but if you know any dub-only fans in region 1, give them a nudge in its direction.

Bonus Review #2: Channel A

Channel-APortland’s local gaming con, Game Storm, was held the weekend before last. One of the games I came across there is a fun party game that should appeal to anime fans of all stripes.

It’s called Channel A, and being a party game, play is fairly simple. Players take turns being the “producer”, who selects two cards describing a premise. The rest of the players select from their hands to create anime-sounding titles, and each takes a turn describing a show to go with the title, incorporating the premise. Then everyone votes on the best-sounding show.

The deck is well-stocked with anime tropes, allowing things to get very silly very quickly. Actual premise combinations played in the session I sat in on included “Moeblob”/”Wrestling”, “Gender swap”/”Political satire”, and “Educational”/”Cthulhu mythos”. (There’s a variation where there is no producer and you simply use the top two cards in the premise deck, which would have left us at one point with “Boys love”/”Otaku”.)

Played with anime fans who have some inkling how out-there anime can get, it’s a satisfyingly entertaining way to spend an hour.

For more, see the official site and the BoardGameGeek entry.

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