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For all the criticism Demon Slayer gets for "being stock shonen", I didn't have that opinion at all after that mid-season arc. The story is definitely trying to convey important messages (which is more than I can say for Fairy Tail or Dragon Ball), and is actually pretty competent at that (which is more than I can say for Naruto).

The main character isn't an obnoxious git, and instead reminds me more of Kenshin Himura (who's just the best shonen protagonist ever, and also an unconventional one) in many ways. Besides both being kind swordsmen, Kenshin is the strongest guy around who avoids violence when possible, while Tanjiro has all the reason in the world to feel rancorous, angry, or emotional, but never allows his grudges to cloud his judgement or shirk his legitimate responsibilities. It's a strength of character that other shonen protagonists rarely get tested on.

And yeah, animation looks great. Man, that ball fight looks fantastic, and it's not even that important in the grand scheme of things!

So yeah, very pleasant surprise, to see a shonen live up to its reputation. For now, at least.

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How is FunimationNow's streaming these days? It's been a few years since I tried it out with the free trial but I never fully subscribed because there was too much buffering regardless of the quality of the connection and I seemed to hear the same complaint from other people. Has it gotten better?

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54 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

How is FunimationNow's streaming these days? It's been a few years since I tried it out with the free trial but I never fully subscribed because there was too much buffering regardless of the quality of the connection and I seemed to hear the same complaint from other people. Has it gotten better?

To be honest...still not great. 

Last I checked a few months ago, the PS4 app is just straight up broken and doesn't load episodes. I'd say that's my internet connection, but my PS4 has an ethernet cable connected and my internet is fine without it most of the time, and the app works on both my smart TV and on my smartphone.

And, when it does work on my smart TV (takes a few seconds to buffer and play), it's a complete pixelated mess which is still loading in. The fix I've found is letting it play for a second or two, and then rewinding it to the start again, worked every time for me so far.

But it's far from ideal ::shrug:

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Started watching 'A Place Further than the Universe' this week. Wasn't massively sold after the first episode but I've heard good things so I'm willing to keep going. To be fair to them it was just setting up the basic premise. Anyone else seen it?

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So I started Attack on Titan for the first time last Wednesday evening. I think I had held off on it for so long because of how much hype was surrounding it (not a fan of getting swept up in things, much prefer to take it as it is), but actually I had gone to watch it a few times in the last few years, going so far as lining it up on Netflix and downloading episodes on the app too, just to decide I wasn't in the mood (all I knew it was popular and somewhat brutal, and I knew what the Colossal Titan and Pure Titans looked like). 

To give you an idea of where I land on it, I finished Season 1 two days later, last Friday; started and finished Season 2 in one sitting last Saturday; and started and finished Season 3 (Part 1 and Part 2) last Sunday. Then I hunted down all of the OVA's on Monday and watched them in one sitting too. Yeah, I absolutely loved it :laughing: it's a bit late here so apologies for any incoherent thoughts, but I don't mind, just in the mood to talk about it!

I think S1 is my favourite season, it had me completely on the edge of my seat and does so much of the heavy lifting when it comes to setting up the world and its characters (and most importantly getting you invested in them), and does so with aplomb. The stakes are consistently high, it felt much more unpredictable at that point (even if I did catch onto some of the bigger twists revealed later down the line very early on), and is just way too intriguing to put down. But I loved it all, even if I think S2 and S3Pt1 had some pacing issues (though I've since read there were production issues too with those seasons, so honestly not too surprised if that's the case). Some spoiler thoughts relating to S1 in particular, but branching out a little to reveals in later seasons...

Spoiler

So what I cottoned on to very early on in Trost was that Reiner, Bertult, and Annie just weren't given much screen time (I was looking out for Reiner seeing as he had acted nice to Eren and Armin in training). That was a red flag and I immediately knew something was up. Then poor old Marco turned up dead, Annie says she found him, and yeah...I pretty much knew at this point that, at the very least, these three had witnessed Marco's death and were withholding what really happened from the others. Then we see the Female Titan and it's pretty obvious who that is, but I also made the connection about Reiner being on the right flank of Erwin's formation and everyone being told different locations for Eren and Squad Levi, so when Female Titan grabbed Reiner I knew he was going to relay info on Eren's whereabouts while in her hand (I guess he whispered or shouted it or something, but I guess he carved it into her hand?), and of course she then started running off in that direction. Then straight after that it dawned on me that Reiner was the Armoured Titan, and Bertolt the Colossal.

Not saying it's a problem that I figured this out by this point - I'm sure that a lot of others did too, and honestly that the information is there for that to be pieced together by someone watching for the first time is great, in my opinion, because that means it's well written and not as contrived as some reveals are in other anime - but it did mean that the big reveal of S2 fell pretty flat for me. 

Need to mention here that I wish Jean found out about how Marco was killed, because there would have been no way he didn't kill Reiner when he's incapacitated in S3Pt2. 

Also, when Eren is first introduced to Squad Levi, I thought that their numbers - while great - for kills and assisted kills were quite low for some of the most elite soldiers in the Survey Corps. I love how brutally we were reminded of why that might be the case, though losing Petra hurt. 

Oh, and they totally got me in EP5 when Eren got "killed". I know for sure that I wasn't fully invested in him by that point, and that he had been written in a way where it seemed like they didn't want you fully onboard when he got killed, so seeing the person set up as the main character so brutally taken out by a Titan was really interesting I thought, and I was curious about whether perhaps Mikasa was going to then step in to be the MC. Again, good writing here, because this is followed by EP6 where it is almost exclusively backstory for Mikasa and why we should be invested in Eren - this made it so that I wanted him to return, and was happy when he did. 

So I think I'd probably say, for me, that it's S1 > S3Pt2 > S3Pt1 > S2. 

Also need to talk about OP's, because AoT has some of the best. I would say that OP2, Jiyuu No Tsubasa, is my favourite.

Literally opens with a national anthem-like section, but for me the highlight is after Armin is covered in blood and we see Squad Levi flying through the forest (obligatory mention here that ODM gear is AWESOME). The animation in this show is also insanely good, especially the use of 3D, similar to how Demon Slayer used it to get some shots which would have been nearly impossible to draw by hand, though there were one or two times where it was noticeably poor (arm movements while running along the top of a wall comes to mind, looked more like they were speed walking in an exaggerated way). 

Think OP3, Shinzou wo Sasageyo, is my second favourite OP. in particular when it turns up a notch when we see them dodging boulders in the field and we got an awesome one-two-three punch of the brass. Loved it. So I think I would rank the OP's as: OP2 > OP3 > OP1 > OP5 >>> OP4 (I still actually really liked OP4, but didn't match the hype or tone of any of the other four openings, though I guess that makes since 1-3 and 5 were by Linked Horizon and 4 was by Yoshiki). Also big shout out to how awesome a job Linked Horizon did at expressing the story of AoT in their lyrics. 

Anyway, watched the trailer for S4 a bunch and I'm fully hyped, but I'm stuck on whether to wait or read the manga.

I don't want to get caught up too much in speculation like I have done in the past, such as with Star Wars (speculating on and then being right about some of the much better moments in the ST and then obviously being off base with the rest when it goes downhill has left me in a position where i hate to do that). I think S3 ended at Chapter 90 of the manga, which is still going strong at Chapter 130, so with 40 chapters at least to cover, my guess would be that we have at least two cours to cover, potentially Part 1 in October 2020 and Part 2 October 2021? I've read a bit into the production and I'm sure Mappa will do fine with it compared to Wit's issues, but even if it were to be only two cours (honestly I think it could potentially be three, just based on the number of chapters and not much else), it could still very realistically get delayed by at least six months out of this year due to Covid-19. I'm genuinely on the fence, because like with Demon Slayer the music and animation is a massive sell for me, but at the same time, being much further along with AoT than with DS, I'm much more invested and so would want to avoid spoilers as best I can, and potentially would need to do so for years.

@Kav I think I recall you mentioning before that you've been reading the manga, how have you been finding it? I read that S2 of the anime cut a lot of stuff out compared with the manga so if I did pick it up, I might start from the beginning. 

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@Julius to be honest I stopped watching the anime after the first season. I’m still reading and absolutely loving the manga, it’s fantastic!

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AoT is one of those few cases where I actually stumbled onto reading the manga a few months before they even announced the Anime. When it debuted and exploded in popularity, it was a nice moment of cathartic vindication. Not too long after, the manga entered that slower S3 arc, and considering their monthly schedule, I decided to take a long break. I decided to go back and binge everything around the time that S2 aired (I definitely remember a clip of that reveal, with that epic music, was what got me pumped to go back to it)

I suppose binging everything at once makes certain twists more obvious. When you're reading month-to-month, or watching week-to-week, these small scenes get forgotten, not to mention you never know which details are important and which ones aren't. Also, at least one twist was made more obvious by the existence of Anime intros :heh:

As for manga-to-anime changes, Season 2 was actually mostly unchanged (aside from one lengthy scene, which was a conscious choice by everyone involved, not a limitation). If it looked like it had weird pacing, well, it was that way in the manga too :heh: Definitely one of the more unpredictable arcs, which also means an unpredictable pace.
Season 3 Part 1 is where the major changes are. While it was being published, there were a lot of complaints that the arc was slower and had less action (it did, and that didn't make it bad, but it was hard to stomach on a monthly schedule), so the mangaka decided to make some changes for the Anime, like switching around the order of some events (for example, the cliffhanger at the end of the first episode should've happened in episode 3 or 4, if it were following the manga closely), or deleting certain scenes entirely (including a really fascinating conversation with a minor character, unfortunately. Also, the memetic "Arminface"). If you do decide to check the manga for changes, all of Season 3 Part 1, as well as the finale for Season 1, are the biggest changes of note.

To my knowledge, production issues didn't affect the quality of the Anime at all. Every change was a creative choice.

And yeah, Season 4 is likely to be two cours. Not sure if they'll divide them or not, they could just air 24-25 episodes in a row. Since you're in for the Anime, might as well wait for it. It'll be the final season, anyway.

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I started watching [insert Japanese anime] and it's really weird, but I'll keep going and see how it goes.


Currently trying JoJo's Bizarre Adventure because I'd seen so many references to it. See above.

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On 03/07/2020 at 9:47 AM, Happenstance said:

How is FunimationNow's streaming these days? It's been a few years since I tried it out with the free trial but I never fully subscribed because there was too much buffering regardless of the quality of the connection and I seemed to hear the same complaint from other people. Has it gotten better?

I've not had any problems with the app. I got through Tales of Zestiria X with no issues.

 

Currently working through Food Wars, which someone recommended then appeared on the Netflix. Most enjoyable. Almost inspires me to do some cooking.

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Posted (edited)

New trailer for Demon Slayer: Mugen Train looks so good. New song from LiSA too :bouncy:

And new key visual:

EeanPTfUMAEjSKu.jpg?name=large

Absolutely love that they're just continuing the story with this film instead of the usual canon-but-not-actually-canon hype fests we usually see. Can't wait to see what ufotable can do with a movie budget! 

Edited by Julius
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