- It's a film: Yowamushi Pedal: Spare Bike
- It's a film: Your Name, aka. Kimi no Na wa., and it's very good
- It's a film: Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions
- It's a film: Zegapain Adaptation
- It's a film: Zutto Mae Kara Suki Deshita: Kokuhaku Jikkou Inkai, aka. I've Always Liked You
- Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories
- Season 3
- Episodes: 13 x four-and-a-half minutes
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: horror anthology
- I've since finished this and... the monster designs have got goofier.
I've watched seasons 1 and 2, so of course I was going to watch Season 3. What's more, being an anthology show, here I'm essentially reviewing a short stand-alone horror film.
The episode doesn't start with the creepy kamishibai puppet theatre guy they'd had before, but instead a small boy drawing and singing. I also dislike the closing theme song, after loving the ones in seasons 1 and 2. Drat. Ah well. Incidentally, that child is animated in a more realistic art style than the show as a whole, for some reason. (In other words, he's actually animated instead of being Flash animation that looks like cardboard cut-outs.)
The story itself is about a man going to a bath house. I assumed he was a schoolboy, but apparently he's coming home from work. Well, it hardly matters. That's this art style for you. The story itself is quite good and I liked the atmospheric scenario it creates in the bath house. I wanted to see what would happen next... but then the ending's a bit of an anticlimax. It's not bad, mind you. It's the obvious horror ending, but because of this to me it felt as if the writer hadn't been able to think up a good conclusion and just chose the easy option instead. Or then again am I just saying that because the director hasn't quite made it work on-screen?
Also, what was the significance of the ancient old granny at the front desk in the bath house? Audience misdirection? That's okay, but again for me it adds to a slight sense of incompleteness. I still very much enjoyed the story, though, even if perhaps someone needed to work harder on the ending to get it up to "excellent". I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the season.
- Yuri!!! on Ice
- Yuri on Ice
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 23 minutes
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: professional ice skaters
- I've since finished it and... yeah, everyone's right. It's very good.
I'd heard about this one. It was the big breakout hit of its season, with everyone saying it's fantastic. (It's a gay ice skating drama.) In fact, I'd heard so much highbrow praise for it that for some reason I think I ended up expecting something worthy and critic-pleasing. There's no sensible reason why my broken brain should have lurched to this conclusion, but it did.
I was wrong and it's lots of fun.
Firstly, the animation. It can be beautiful and subtle, e.g. when Victor and Yuuri are performing the same skating routine, the former's clearly a world champion and the latter's being a slightly graceless doofus and yet still also an international-level ice skater. At the same time, though, the animation's also full of energy, charm and funny facial expressions.
The cast are fun. Yuuri's a bit of a failure, crashing out of competitions, gaining weight and being embarrassed when people back home treat him as a celebrity. However he's also very relatable and I'm looking forward to seeing more of his adventures.
Finally there's the gay angle. It feels more real than usual. Gay men in anime are liable to be fujoshi bait, i.e. idealised fantasy objects and often written as a woman in a man's body. Here, though, Yuuri couldn't be called a fantasy figure and he's not drifting through a beautifully silly world that's entirely male and/or gay. He's going to have to earn his relationships instead of having them given to him on a plate. That said, mind you, you've got to admire the magnificence of that nude shot at the end. Forget about gender for a moment. I'd call that shot triumphant.
This show looks great.