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28 minutes ago, martinist said:

New trailer and release date for the last Evangelion rebuild movie.

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Couldn't sleep, started nosing around, and...

How. The. Hell. Did I miss this?! Since when did this happen?! Hunter x Hunter (2011) is on Funimation in the UK...and has been since July?!?!

Just snuck on there, months ago, and somehow hasn't turned up in my recommended section on Funimation? Or anyone on my front page?! What the heck?!?!

I know I was busy-ish at the time, but still, considering I feel like I keep my ear pretty close to the ground on this...I'm pretty surprised it passed on by. It's the first time the series has its dub completely available in the UK. 

Also a blu-ray collection on the way at the end of November over here too, Set 1 with episodes 1 - 26 coming on November 30th, which covers the Hunter Exam and Zoldyck Family arcs. It's funny because I've managed to avoid picking up anime series on disc to this point, but I'm not risking not having access to Hunter x Hunter in the future when it inevitably stumbles out of Funimation down the line. Definitely going to be snapping that up! 

If you haven't watched Hunter x Hunter before, do yourself a favour and change that (and if you have before, this is a perfect excuse to watch it again!).

As a bit of a warning, it starts off quite slow and a bit predictable in the earlier arcs (which, not to spoil anything, is kind of by design), and is fairly long (148 episodes in total, longest anime I've watched through by a decent amount...still didn't stop me from binging it under two weeks the first time around, though!), but it is an absolute masterpiece: endearing main cast, a wonderful gallery of antagonists, nuanced character arcs, a deep and storied world, one of the best power systems in any shounen(/combat) show, a masterclass in animation by Madhouse, and an absurdly astounding soundtrack composed by none other than Yoshihisa Hirano (Death Note, Final Fantasy XIII) - I'm talking maybe one of the best OST's, period. 

It left me wanting more, so much so that I bought the available volumes of the manga and then tracked down translations of the chapters not yet included in volumes. Only downside with the whole thing? You will absolutely come away from the anime wanting more...and there isn't too much more beyond that. Togashi (who also created Yu Yu Hakusho) has unfortunately been on hiatus for a while due to stress and physical ailments, and we haven't had a new chapter for years (very fun when in the middle of probably the most intriguing arc set-up so far). The upside? Trust me when I say that you can watch the anime, and only that, and come away completely satisfied that Hunter x Hunter is just that, 148 episodes of greatness. Unless you hate recap episodes, in which case it's 146 :p

Oh, and it probably has one of the most memorable OP's out there with Departure (by the time the show is done, you will have an on-and-off again relationship with the song, growing to love it, becoming tired of it, punching the air in anticipation of it, and then later crying with it). 

Great ED's too, Hunting for Your Dream by Galneyrus being my favourite. Love the way the narrator comes in, sets up the next episode, and bails to this :bowdown:

This is, without question, my favourite anime series alongside only Steins;Gate and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, with all three in my eyes being several notches above the rest. This sits alongside them atop my pile of fabled 10's.

Do yourself a favour, if you haven't seen it before, and give it a chance of sitting alongside yours :peace:

Edited by Julius
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Got volume 1 of Chansaw Man in this morning. I kinda just bought it since I was recomended it but it is actually kind of fun so far. Might considder picking up the rest of it when the other volumes are released.

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1 hour ago, martinist said:

Got volume 1 of Chansaw Man in this morning. I kinda just bought it since I was recomended it but it is actually kind of fun so far. Might considder picking up the rest of it when the other volumes are released.

Recent chapters have been pretty crazy, I find it gets a big hard to follow as well. The art style makes a lot of characters look the same.

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It's always a weird day when anime/manga turns up on the front page of the BBC website, but hey, at least this time it's with good reason: Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train (that will never not be fun to type) has absolutely killed the Japanese box office. And all this with COVID (cases rising by about 200 per day at the moment in Tokyo). 

From Siliconera:

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The Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba movie broke box office records in Japan. Within the first ten days of being released, following its October 16, 2020 debut, the animated feature film made over ¥10 billion in sales. That ends up being roughly $95.3 million. [Thanks, The Mainichi!]

This means Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Mugen Train beat Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirted Away as the fasted grossing film in Japan after making over ¥10 billion in sales in a span of ten days. However, Spirited Away still holds the record for the highest grossing Japanese film of all time. Time will tell if Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Mugen Train will break even more records and steal that title too.

In addition to setting the record of fastest grossing film reaching over ¥10 billion in sales within a ten day period, the move also broke the record for ticket sales. The Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Mugen Train movie made approximately ¥4.62 billion within the first three days of its release.

Crazy! Good for them, I don't doubt in the slightest that it deserves it. Looking forward to the release over here next year!

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10 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

Oh dang, that would be huge considering that they already own Funimation!

Might lead to a better chance of certain shows getting a dub that hadn't already (or being dubbed earlier than they otherwise would have been) down the line. Very interesting. 

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Just got finished rewatching Hunter x Hunter (2011), having started it the night after I found out that it was available on Funimation. I tried my best to limit myself to 5 episodes per day, to not get caught up and swept away in it, and yeah...it's been three weeks and it's over again. I first watched it last November/December and binged it in two weeks back then juggling work and travel, and I feel just as empty now as I did then. I knew this was going to happen :p I crave more, Togashi! But in all fairness, Madhouse kicked it out of the park with this adaptation. In my last post about the show I endorsed it, and after rewatching the show for the first time...I have to heartily endorse it even more than I did before, there were quite a few things I picked up on this time around knowing how things were going to play out, and I still found myself on the edge of my seat half of the time in spite of this.

Again: awesome cast, an OST which I've listened to daily for the last three weeks and have to say is hands down the best anime OST I've listened to (and is amongst my favourites in any medium - Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, heck, yes, even Star Wars), excellently written characters and character motivations, beautiful character arcs, a power system which is probably alongside the Elements in the Avatarverse (the one with the bald kid with the blue arrow tattoo, not the blue people) as being my favourite, and yeah, it's just awesome. It doesn't take itself too seriously and has some hilarious moments, but has just as many heartfelt ones, and the same goes for epic fights and extraordinary animation. I also love how some arcs are teased multiple arcs out, which, again, is a testament to Togashi's qualities as a writer. Seriously, go watch Hunter x Hunter if you haven't already. 

I kind of just want to dig into what I thought about the arcs. I don't want to dig too deep, though obviously I will probably mention some spoilers as they're in spoiler tags, but just talk generally about what I thought of each one and what I liked and (in rare cases) disliked about them. 

Spoiler

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Both times I've watched the show, I've found the Hunter Exam to be an extremely solid opening arc. It does a great job of setting up Gon as this wide-eyed kid who just wants to see the world (and find Ging, of course), but perhaps does an even better job of introducing us to the rest of the main cast in Leorio (who wants to get rich in order to become a doctor after losing his friend as a child), Kurapika (who wants to avenge the red-eyed Kurta Clan by hunting down the Phantom Troupe), and Killua (who doesn't have much of a motivation at this point, and just wants to have some fun, but who we learn has been raised as an assassin, a son of the renowned Zoldyck Family). The Exam itself is really hard to peel your eyes away from, and it's really interesting to see the dynamic between participants (and their interactions with examiners) as they make their way through the rounds. But above all else, with the introduction of Hisoka, it quickly makes apparent just how tough living in this world as a Hunter would be, and his attraction to potential and power is both frightening and curious, and this is made very clear when he grabs Gon by the throat early on - wanting him to be an "unripe fruit" and letting him live only until he has the power and experience for a fight which will be fun, at which point HIsoka will kill him, and all for pleasure. It also introduces us to something which will be a constant throughout: Togashi subverting plenty of shonen tropes (I think this particular arc, I think the best example is the tournament to qualify as a Hunter having everyone except one participant pass) but also having interactions and conflicts play out in a way which sometimes takes further explanation, but makes for a story which is all the more interesting as a result. Characters are complex, and it's clear that their interactions are well thought out throughout the entirety of the story, not being set in stone. 

Something which this arc also makes apparent is that arcs aren't just going to have one memorable moment, but plenty. Gon meeting Kurapika and Leorio, their early tests, meeting Killua in the underground marathon, facing off against Hisoka in the deadly jungle, the tower where majority rules, the cooking rounds, Gon's fight of wills with Hanzo, and, my favourite: the reveal of Gittarackur being Killua's older brother, Illumi, which petrifies Killua and makes him lash out and murder out of fury. Chills every time. 

And again, the OST. It's hard to nail down certain tracks to certain arcs, as they are generally used throughout much of the show (and some from the films are awesomely used in the show, too), but a number of the ones introduced in the Hunter Exam arc are synonymous with character introductions and certain interactions for me. The music is generally so full of joy and energy in this arc that it's impossible to ignore, definitely giving you the sense of comfort that this is going to standard shonen affair. It couldn't be any more misleading if it tried.

Chasing After a Dream and the faster paced The World of Adventurers, alongside From Whale Island (a piece which feels like looking off into the distance in anticipation of a grand adventure) as Gon's themes, sharing his leitmotif; The Silver Haired Boy from when Killua declares that he just wants to be Gon's friend when facing Illumi (and Leorio and Kurapika have to make the point that he already is); The Scarlet Eye Lament, ironically used when Leorio tells his backstory; All I Need is MONEY!, which is very much Leorio's theme, a really fun jazzy piece; the spanish guitars of Hisoka's theme, The Magician's Baile; the eternally silly Get Funky!; and Beyond the Seas, used throughout the show to cap off episodes (and the ending), which always left me with a little bit of hope. I'm going to be mentioning the music a lot more, though, trust me!

One of my only "issues" with the show - if you want to call it that, I wouldn't because it seems a little harsh - is that this arc has two recap episodes, episodes 13 and 26, in which Aunt Mito receives a letter from Gon about his travels whilst back on Whale Island. I just don't think they were necessary, though I will admit I enjoyed Mito's reactions to Gon's stories. This all being said, though, there is the caveat that I almost feel like this is part of the illusion this arc is setting up that this will be a typical shonen: I've yet to read the manga or watch the 1999 version of the anime, so maybe this was all included elsewhere too, but these are the only two instances of recap episodes of the show's 148 episodes. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit and they just wanted to stall and have two cours of 13 episodes apiece, but still, with just how well the rest of the show was handled, that would surprise me. 

Spoiler

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Okay, so technically it's not officially it's own arc - but I and plenty of others would consider it to be, so I'm going to stick with it. It has all of the ingredients of being its own arc, from saying farewell to several secondary characters at the end of the Hunter Exam, to a complete change in location and goal. 

The Zoldyck Family Arc is short - the shortest in the show actually, at only 5 episodes long - but does a lot to flesh out Killua as a character. We learn a lot more about his family, his upbringing, the rules and obligations of his family of assassins, and most importantly to me, we really start to get a sense of the Zoldyck Family dynamic. It feels like a real family, as foreign as the concept of a family of assassins would be to us all, because they are so well written. They all have their own favourites in the family, or people they respect, or people they want to control. Raising children to be assassins and being elated by their cruelty or malice. So, while short and probably the weakest arc (almost by default just because of how short it is, and for almost no other reason), it is a massive part of the story, and sets up future Zoldyck interactions and appearances throughout the course of the show. Favourite moments would have to be Killua escaping Milluki's torture; Gon, Leorio, and Kurapika making it past the testing gate; Canary's introduction; Killua's promise to Silva; and Goto's coins. 

And while we heard it in the Hunter Exam arc, and will hear it plenty of other times throughout the show, the Zoldyck Family theme, or The Assassin Family's Estate, is worth mentioning by itself here, because we hear it a lot in this arc. And it's awesome. 

Oh, and the awesome nod by Hirano to his love of classical music, utilising the opening chord progression of Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights throughout as the foundation for the piece. The menacing choir, the foreboding and heavy strings...perfection. 

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Heavens Arena is an excellent arc in that it does a great job of balancing a training arc with the introduction of "Nen", giving us some excellent fight sequences and some killer music. The aim of the arc was to just earn some money and train to fight Hisoka when Gon and Killua went off to Yorknew to meet up with the others on September 1st for the World Trade Fair, but not only do we get a fight with Hisoka here, we also end up learning about Nen and its many rules. It immediately gives you an idea of where the show will be going from here, laying out the foundation for fights found in the rest of the series (and even goes so far as to retroactively highlight certain moments as being down to an innate use of Nen), and we also learn about the types of Nen user, and get a much broader idea of how this will factor into Gon's and Killua's progression. Wing and Zushi are awesome too. 

Tracks to highlight here would be Latent Power, and its choral version Auras, as well as more Spanish guitar goodness in The Mad Bailaor. But Try Your Luck is easily the best track in this arc for me. The high tempo and energy it maintains throughout is awesome, but that opening electric guitar segment - and the guitar's return throughout - is so damn enjoyable. Oh, and favourite ending song was first used here, Galneyrus' Hunting For Your Dream:

Favourite scene has to be Gon vs Hisoka, for sure. The animation for this fight is so smooth and incredible visceral, I love it. 

But yeah, Hisoka is a creep :p 

Spoiler

Just to jump to it before I get swept in everything else awesome about this arc, having Killua and Gon return to Whale Island and just have some fun, talk some things over, and figure out their next move before being pointed in the direction of Greed Island, is easily one of my favourite parts of the show. They've been through a lot, and they're committed to sticking together, it's such a great time. Plus, seeing them interact with Aunt Mito and easily scale the island is just so good to see. My Father's Back and Those Called Friends always hit me hard. 

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The world's largest auction. The mafia. The search for Greed Island. And The Phantom Troupe. 

There is so much going on in Yorknew, and it doesn't just work, it works brilliantly. We finally get the main cast back together for the first time since the Hunter Exam, we get introduced to a seedy underworld, we learn about Kurapika's training, and finally get to meet the Phantom Troupe - possibly the best written antagonist group in anime. They rely on each other, and while they have a leader, it's clear he does not rule - this band of murderous misfits are powerful as individuals, but much stronger together, and seeing their interactions with each other adds so much depth. As becomes commonplace in the show, the fact that we - and Gon - end up in a position where we care about the Troupe, despite knowing that they murdered the Kurta Clan, is amazing in itself, but again, it's the Spiders' chemistry and dependence on one another which really drives this point home that they are, for all intents and purposes, a family. 

This arc easily has the best pacing, in my opinion. As soon as we arrive in Yorknew, it's full throttle, and before you know it, the arc is over - despite it being 22 episodes long, the joint second longest in the show (with the Hunter Exam). It is overflowing with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to memorable scenes: Kurapika's training; Kurapika and the other bodyguard applicants being attacked in the mansion; the Phantom Troupe meeting up outside of Yorknew; Gon, Killua, and Leorio trying to get funds for Greed Island; the Phantom Troupe's attack on the underground auction;  Uvogin vs the Shadow Beasts, and Kurapika subsequently capturing him; Kurapika's fight with Uvogin; Gon and Killua meeting Zepile and learning to appraise items; Gon and Killua trying to capture members of the Troupe, then getting caught; Chrollo meeting with Neon and receiving his fortune, then later telling the fortunes of some Phantom Troupe members; Zeno and Silva vs Chrollo; Kurapika's frustration at learning that the Phantom Troupe members have been "killed"; learning about Nen contracts from Kurapika; everyone teaming up to capture Pakunoda; Gon and Killua vs the Phantom Troupe in the dark; Pakunoda's death, Hisoka revealing he was never a member of the Phantom Troupe, and Chrollo being abandoned without his Nen abilities. And I missed a lot. Point is: it's packed. Oh, and I forgot to mention Killua and Gon running into Phinks and Feitan - that was hilarious and bittersweet. 

My favourite scene, however, would have to be the Phantom Troupe's Requiem for Uvogin. Backed by Mozart's Lacrimosa, the scene is a beautiful orchestration of chaos in honour of their fallen friend, and having it then transition into Riot which plays into and throughout the ending credits in place of the usual ending song was the perfect decision. 

I've mentioned Lacrimosa, but there are a lot of other amazing tracks in this arc too. The Phantom Elegy, one of many tracks to serve as a theme for the Troupe, is both beautiful and haunting; as is Requiem Aranea, and The Man of the Reversed Cross - heck, the Spiders even end up with their own Canzoneand they have Dirge from Dark Side, too; The Iaido Lunatic, or Nobunaga's theme, is an excellent blend of modern and traditional instruments which create a worthy theme for the samurai-inspired sword wielder; Chain Bastard, Kurapika's theme for revenge throughout the arc most notably used in his fight with Uvo, has an awesome electric guitar, but unlike Try Your Luck, there's this noticeable unchained edge to it, and this scattered and frenzied piano melody really does a great job at highlighting how unhinged Kurapika is in his pursuit for revenge; and speaking of melodies, Melody's flute piece A Field in Spring is a very soothing one, which comes up time and time again in the arc, as well as later in the show; and while we already we had Departure for Strings, the slower jazz version we get when Zepile is thinking about the kind of person Gon is is probably my preferred track. 

My favourite arc, no question. Best pacing, great secondary cast of characters, an intriguing story throughout, probably the best soundtrack of the arcs besides the Chimera Ant arc, and the Phantom Troupe are awesome. Plus, we get the gang back together, too!

Spoiler

Review: Hunter x Hunter - Greed Island Arc | Anime Amino

A training arc perfectly disguised as a card-based, jumping-into-a-videogame adventure actually all powered by Nen. This arc is awesome, but besides the surprisingly dark tone of it at times and some awesome new secondary characters, there really isn't all that much to say about it. I really liked it. Favourite scene has to be the dodgeball fight, it's so gorgeously animated!

And then it's back to the OST, which again, is brilliant here. The Greed Island Theme is perfect for a video game; You Can Be Stronger (which I think can only be heard once, in one of Killua's fights) sounds like it could be a Pokémon, or perhaps Mario sports game theme, to me; Who's The Bomber is this deep, melancholic, and almost downtrodden piece, which incites sadness but also this overwhelming dread; and then there's of course The Emperor's Time (which was brought over from one of the films), probably one of the most epic tracks in the entire OST. Oh, and Reason is also a great ending song, too. 

 

Spoiler

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There is nothing quite like Hunter x Hunter's Chimera Ant Arc. 

The reward for beating Greed Island was teleporting instantly to where Gon believed Ging to be, only to find his apprentice of sorts, Kite. After learning about the dangers of the chimera ants, small but dangerous ants which will evolve through feeding their queen ant different species which gives birth to generational evolution through phagogenesis, Gon and Killua join Kite on the hunt for a much larger chimera ant queen which has seemingly washed up onto their shores from far afield. What follows is what could arguably be called Yoshihiro Togashi's magnum opus: a horrifying story of evolution, an eye-opening story on the nature of humanity, and a tear-jerking story of how a monster became human, and how a young boy became a monster. 

I could write pages upon pages on the Chimera Ant Arc - after all, it is, by far, the longest arc in the series, weighing in at 61 episodes - and barely scratch the surface. Maybe I'll do that in my own time, but it's certainly not something I'll try to do in this spoiler tag. Instead, as I have been, I'll just highlight my key thoughts on it. 

I think the Chimera Ant Arc, while absolutely brilliant overall, does have some pacing issues, and much more so than any other arc in the show. I think it's the fast clip which the arc starts out with which sort of sets up this expectation for better pacing, because it literally skips out the potential for filler and plunges us straight into the Chimera Ant Arc as soon as the Greed Island Arc ends, as Gon and Killua are teleported straight to Kite, and the arc just hits the ground running from there. Within the space of two episodes, we go from having the Chimera Ant Queen first to the brutal murders of Colt and Reina, two young children, and then within another three episodes the difficult to watch murder of Ponzu (got to mention the awesome electric guitar version of Who's The Bomber used here), and then, within another ten episodes or so of that, we go from having the squad leaders hatching, to the hatching of the Royal Guard (and Neferpitou's terrifying discovery of Pokkle, and her physical probing of his mind), and then, finally, the birth of Meruem. Parallel to that, we have Gon and Killua diving head first into the NGL with Kite, a lot of battles, and a lot of learning on their side about the Chimera Ants. But around five episodes before Meruem's birth, once Gon and Killua escape the NGL after Kite's battle with Pitou, it just comes to a standstill. 

Yes, Knuckle, Shoot, and Palm are awesome, and so are Morel and Knov. But it all just grinds to a halt. Yes, the Chimera Ants aren't going to be as aggressive to some degree, but things slowed down on both sides for a 5-10 episode stretch of Kite's capture, and I really think that's where the pacing issues lie. Some might point to the Palace battle, but while perhaps a bit long in the tooth, I don't think it was ever paced poorly. 

And it's funny, because after the awesome back-to-back episodes of the Phantom Troupe destroying Zazan and her ants in Meteor City (just have to mention Rhapsody on the Theme of Holst here, I noticed it instantly the first time around too having listened to Holst previously thanks to my love of Star Wars - it's a modernisation and rhapsody of Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity, which is awesome because it starts when Bonolenov uses his Jupiter ability) once the characters are once again heading in the direction of the danger (now in East Gorteau), the pacing improves drastically. I know it might not necessarily be the fault of Madhouse - it's an adaptation after all, and I do think there are some important things that happen in these episodes which are still required for the payoff in the end - and perhaps blame instead lies with Togashi for this, but it really is my only major issue with this arc. I seem to be in the smaller (or just less vocal?) camp which really enjoyed the narration, too, and the same can be said about the Palace attack, because I really enjoyed that too. Is it long? Sure. Poorly paced? I don't think so. Worth it? Absolutely. 

Before I talk about the music here, I have to highlight Killua's growth in this arc, as I feel a lot of the focus on analysis of this arc revolves around Meruem (monster to human), Gon (human to monster), and Netero (the malice of man) - perhaps rightly so - and there's a particular ending, from Episode 107, which highlights this perfectly. Firstly, Ikalgo is an octopus Chimera Ant who wanted to be a squid and he's hilarious and an awesome character. Ikalgo saves Killua, Killua recovers at some shady underground hospital, and they're on their way, but Ikalgo hangs back. Killua tells him he's a friend, says "thanks" for saving him, but says as they're friends, he won't be saying it again - they're friends, and it's not necessary. This is a complete flip from the character we had towards the end of the Hunter Exam, who in the final round, stopped to question if Gon was even his friend thanks to his big bro Illumi, and like Leorio and Kurapika explained to Killua then, Killua explained to Ikalgo now: he thought they already were friends. Not only that, but Ikalgo sees Killua the same way Killua described Gon earlier in the Chimera Ant Arc, seeing him as "light itself". And to drive it all home, we get Chasing After a Dream - as I mentioned earlier, one of Gon's themes - slowly rolling in over the top of this. It's beautiful writing, and elegantly handled by Madhouse. A job well done. 

This is contrasted, of course, against Gon's turn. He loses sight of the light, and as he mentioned earlier on in the show, he needs Killue there to stop him when he's getting reckless - when he didn't, he wrote a contract signing over all of his life energy in exchange for immediate access to it all at once to pulverise Pitou, and honestly, it was disturbing. We see him struggle through the stages of grief and then he just lets loose, not having a care for anything or anyone but that moment, and exacting revenge on Pitou for what she did to Kite.

It's terrifying, and heartbreaking, and the music and animation sounds and looks so unnatural, almost primeval in its dark nature, and Gon fulfilled what just about everyone seemed to hint at throughout the story: there is a horrifying beast inside of him. Seeing the protagonist of a shonen turn like this in such a natural way upended everything shonen is "supposed to be", and to great effect. The music does such a great job of capturing all of this, the sinister-sounding choirs in Theme of Kage & Rasetsu, then followed by the spiralling and disharmony of the instruments, and then this bombastic realisation of all that Gon has chosen to become when the brass and drums kick in. It's mesmerising. 

There are so many great characters and stories being told in the Chimera Ant Arc (Gyro's origins, Welfin's backstory, heck, we even end up with a lot of character development for the Royal Guard!), and what makes Togashi's writing so good throughout the show is that everyone wants something. It means when the Chimera Ant Arc ends and people split off, we could have followed a pair of Chimera Ants and a criminal politician to Meteor City in search of Gyro, or followed pretty much any other character. 

But just to back it up to before the end, I do have to talk a little bit about Meruem and Komugi. It floored me the first time, but even more so the second time around. How I went from once again loathing this King of Ants who looks down on humans and murdered an innocent child's parents before their very eyes - before killing them - to being fully invested in his plight and love for Komugi is, honestly, astounding. Gungi is a wonderful game, how they learn more about each other through the game is too, and Komugi goes from this snot-snivelling, almost annoying kid, to this believable love interest for a towering Chimera Ant. It's amazingly well crafted. And yes, that final scene with them in the bunker had me in tears. Understanding and Hyori Ittai / Lamento for Piano are about as fitting as they could be for the final few scenes of that episode. 

"The light that illuminates all" using his photons ability to help find Komugi, a blind girl, losing his sight and then asking him if she's still there, while she clutches his hand...stories like this are important to tell, and important to experience. This love story alone is enough to ignore the poor pacing at times of the Chimera Ant Arc, and heartily recommend it. 

And speaking of scenes which are important to experience, having Kingdom of Predators, a theme which had mostly been used for the Ants, play over a scene about the malice of humans was absolutely the right move. It always scares me just how much this scene nails it. 

Now to reel off the awesome tracks from the Chimera Ant Arc that I haven't already mentioned, because there's a lot: Hegemony of the Food Chain, Show Your Spirit, Elegy of the Dynast (easily one of my personal favourites, such a pained but beautifully composed track), In The Palace~Lamentoso, New Mutation, Legend of the Martial Artist (and the ocarina version, a fan cover unfortunately because the ocarina and flute version were never released :( thankfully it's still a great recreation), To Give a Marionette Life, Hunters ARE Evil, and REASON ~Instrumental

Oh, and Hyori Ittai is definitely my second favourite ending song, perhaps strengthened by its use in multiple instrumental tracks. 

EDIT: HOLY COW, the fact that I didn't mention freaking NETERO VS MERUEM and thought I was done until looking up who else liked Hunter x Hunter in this thread, then found someone talking about Episode 126 (not even mentioning what actually happens!) when it was released over five years ago and me realising instantly that I'd missed something.

Anyways, if that doesn't highlight just how strong this show is I don't know what will. Get that choir and orchestra in for The Last Mission and throw in one of the greatest animated fights I've ever seen, then strap in. Netero's 100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva is seriously one of the coolest things to ever be animated. 

Spoiler

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The final animated arc is a return to a bit of a lighter story, thankfully, and serves as a great epilogue to the Chimera Ant Arc. Learning more about the Zoldyck family and meeting the adorable Alluka and Nanuka (and their frightening ability), the inner workings of the Hunter Association, Gon recovering, him finally meeting Ging, Leorio punching Ging in the face, Kurapika not answering his phone...and, again, something else the show does a great job at: bringing characters back from previous arcs in natural ways. It made it feel like a true sendoff. There's not much else to say really, except the ending is awesome (and the hint of what's to come with the Dark Continent is great...but would be even better if we ever got there! :p ), the Overture for the final episode coming from one of the films is really something special, a beautiful orchestral blend of Departure and Hyori Ittai, and, one final Departure to ring it all out. 

"You should enjoy the little detours to the fullest. Because that's where you'll find the things more important than what you want."

I've just checked my list from last year of how I ranked the arcs after my first viewing, and honestly, I'm happy with it being the same now as it was then. If there were to be any changes, though, I think it would be from my 3rd to 5th placed arcs; they're all very close for me. 

1. Yorknew City Arc

2. Chimera Ant Arc

3. Heavens Arena Arc

4. 13th Hunter Chairman Election Arc

5. Hunter Exam Arc

6. Greed Island Arc

7. Zoldyck Family Arc

On 19/10/2020 at 1:40 AM, Julius said:

This is, without question, my favourite anime series alongside only Steins;Gate and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, with all three in my eyes being several notches above the rest.

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This is, without question, my favourite anime series. 

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Edited by Julius
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Has anyone seen Fog Hill of Five Elements?

It’s a Chinese animé from a studio of only 7 people and is planned to be 8 episodes in its first season (only 3 released so far - they’re being released irregularly as the studio is so small).

 The animation is INSANE!

 

Edited by Kav

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Anyone else check out the Season 4 opener for Attack on Titan last night?

Huge change of pace and style, but I really enjoyed it. Love the art style MAPPA went with, much closer to the couple of pages I've seen of the manga, and animation quality was generally great, though I'll be the first to admit I don't like the Titans now being fully 3D (much preferred them in 2D, but still, a big step up from the 3D animation we had before) - though, I only think I've had a handful of instances where I've actually appreciated 3D being well in a 2D space. OP kind of feels like a baby gender reveal with all that coloured smoke... :p but still like it. Not as hyped as the Linked Horizon openings, but given the change of pace, not too surprising that they chose to go with something else, and I dig it. Gave me the chills.

Oh, and also loved that they kept the episode panel and a bunch of other smaller details consistent with the earlier seasons. 

Hadn't been too well last week, so found myself wanting to be away from screens in general, and caught up on the My Hero Academia manga instead; it's probably somewhere towards the end of what I imagine will be Season 6 now after Chapter 293 yesterday, and holy heck, some of the best arcs/moments are still to come to the anime! Got the Vigilantes volumes on the way too... :laughing:

Naturally, catching up with the manga got me watching Heroes Rising, and while I did enjoy it (the hype and soundtrack is like soup for the soul when you're feeling down) and though it was much better than Two Heroes, still think it was a general step down (also I'm not the biggest fan of semi-canon films, wish they'd follow Demon Slayer's example and just adapt the next arc into a film, or, tell a story which could be consistent with the manga/show) and not a great tradeoff for the animation quality in S4 dipping compared to previous seasons. Which leads me onto...

Well, so much for Horikoshi not having anything left for films :p at least Bones have separate dedicated divisions for their series and films now they've restructured a bit, so fingers and toes crossed this won't have an impact on the latter half of Season 5 in particular. 

This has all resulted me in rewatching the show, about a third of the way through Season 4 again now. Season 1 was much better than I remembered it being, definitely think it only being one cour really helped its pacing; Season 2 is still probably my favourite overall, as the animation quality, plot, and characters all felt like they're the best we've got in the show so far; and Season 3 takes a bit of a dip in animation quality compared to Season 2, but it's still my second favourite by some margin, with probably my joint favourite fight sequence. It's funny not being that far into Season 4 and just how obvious the dip in animation quality is with the number of wider shots of the class they've used, I really do hope Season 5 doesn't get hit by the film's production. Either way, Shoto is still the best.

Also, I only realised during my rewatch that Yuki Hayashi is the composer, funny how many tracks sound so similar to his awesome Haikyuu soundtracks!

Edited by Julius
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Spoiler

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Whelp, another opening to listen to repeatedly.

Man, this season's gonna be fire. My favourite "mini-arc" from the manga is so close to being animated...

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15 hours ago, Julius said:

Anyone else check out the Season 4 opener for Attack on Titan last night?

Damn, I remember loving season 1 and that I couldn't wait for season 2. And now season 4 is starting? I never even started season 2. I have a lot of catching up to do!

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Season 2 took four years to come out because the author felt like it would be too much pressure to write while dealing with an anime adaptation breathing down his neck, almost catching up (fun fact: the 1st Season was supposed to be 13 episodes long, but after its explosive success, they immediately increased it to 25 episodes, thus causing that sudden fright on the author. Quite the lesson on how to properly space an ongoing adaptation)

But after that small hiatus, the seasons have been coming out at a steady pace, and it's been great. You're in for a ride, @Vileplume2000. Might be good to rewatch Season 1, that's basically what I did after I took a long hiatus from the manga.

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The Demon Slayer dub is finally releasing on Funimation tonight at 21:00 GMT! 

It's about time! :p heartily recommend it for anyone who wants awesome animation, a great soundtrack and OP, and a really well done first season to draw you in. Oh, and a really amicable protagonist.

My younger brother got into the show and loved it, so I've been buying him the manga since (which I'm refraining from checking out myself!) and he's loved everything about it so far, which definitely has me excited for Mugen Train and the inevitable second season. 

Definitely worth your time if you haven't seen it already! :peace:

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4 minutes ago, Ike said:

AT&T sells Crunchyroll to FUNImation for $1.175 billion.

https://www.sonypictures.com/corp/press_releases/2020/1209/atttosellcrunchyrolltosonysfunimationglobalgroup

No idea what that means, but FUNImation’s streaming site isn’t exactly the best.

Yeah, the apps are inconsistent too, though been having much more joy with the app on the PS5 with the newer version. That being said, it's still loading up episodes when they require further buffering. 

Seems like a very shortsighted move by AT&T Warner, though. Anime is only growing in popularity and content is king when it comes to streaming, so selling off the largest anime streaming service in the world seems stupid, to put it bluntly. I'd guess they want to focus on a rotating monthly lineup instead, but still...urgh. But didn't they also get the US rights to Ghibli films for HBO Max recently? Weird move all around, to fight for that but then sell off your titan anime service. 

Something positive which will hopefully come out of this - from a fan and business perspective - is more shows getting dubbed, and sooner.

Wouldn't be surprised if Sony did a total overhaul, started from scratch with a new platform, and merged Crunchyroll and Funimation into one new brand (which, you know, actually has an app which works well - they own Wakanim and Animelab already, right? So why is it only Funimation that I see complained about and is somewhat broken?). 

Guess we'll see how this goes...

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Episode 2 of AoT S4 was awesome!  Slower paced and a better understanding of the characters, which I'm always a fan of.

The art style continues to grow on me, I noticed the music a bit more here (probably down to the last episode being so action packed by comparison), and the OP has grown on me a lot in the last week too, especially in terms of its visuals. 

Also, Horikoshi has been absolutely unhinged the last few chapters of My Hero Academia. Just read Chapter 294 and yet another reveal. Cannot wait to see this arc animated in two or three years' time, and after today's chapter, it's now the longest arc in the series, and we're still not done (though it does seem to finally be winding down). 

Finished my rewatch of My Hero Academia S4 earlier in the week and enjoyed it much more than I did earlier this year, even if I do still think the animation quality and season on the whole was a step down from S2 and S3. Bring on Season 5! 

And lastly, to break the cycle of me rewatching things, I started watching Mob Psycho 100 yesterday, and I'm halfway through the first season at the moment. Really wasn't feeling it in the first few episodes, as it felt like it wasn't going in any particular direction, but it's really picked up quite well and I'm having a lot of fun watching it! 

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Finished Mob Psycho on Tuesday and finished Mob Psycho II (and the second OVA!) last night. 

I was expecting some goofy comedy with some witty lines, I did not expect the journey or introspection on society and friendship which I ended up with. This show is absolutely not what I thought it was going to be, but it is something I genuinely think people should watch, because it's got some really important messages. Such likeable and well written characters - I knew it was held in high regard, but again, I really didn't expect it. Just the interactions between characters is awesome to see, everyone has their own motivations, and it just feels right. I mean, is there really a more likeable bunch of guys than the Body Improvement Club? 

Excellent OP's too:

This show bowled me over. I enjoyed One Punch Man for what it was, but this is on a whole other level of enjoyment for me. 

The animation is hilarious in its simplicity at times, and overall variety, whereas it's gorgeous in its fight scenes - genuinely has Akira vibes at times, down to all the psychic stuff I guess, but it's not afraid to get dark and go big either. The OST really surprised me too, I found myself humming along to quite a few tracks! Favourite is absolute Special Training Montage, because, well, it feels like 80's action movie training music, and it's awesome. 

Favourite use of it, and favourite fight, definitely has to be in...

Spoiler

Mob vs Mogami.

First time the show really goes off the rails and has this ridiculous scale and confidence in its fight scenes. 

Specifically love the extra stuff we hear with the violins at 00:30, shame this version isn't in the official OST! 

Absolutely loved this show. I know the first OVA is just a recap of season 1, but it's from Reigen's perspective, which means I'm definitely going to watch it this weekend :p speaking of, his special attacks had me rolling :laughing:

Strong recommendation from me. Only thing I would be wary of is the first three episodes or so of S1 being a bit slow, but once it finds its feet and you start to get a feel for the show and what it's about, it's really hard to put down. 

Now to just hold out hope that the next few arcs end up animated! 

UPDATE:

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I know the first OVA is just a recap of season 1, but it's from Reigen's perspective, which means I'm definitely going to watch it this weekend :p

Yeah, didn't take that long for me to get to it. It was hilarious for a recap with how Reigen made himself the protagonist (and just about every other character who says or does something cool), and way more than I'd normally expect from an OVA. And when he just edits himself over the characters he's replacing himself with! :laughing:

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Season 5 of My Hero Academia is starting on 27th March 2021! 

I know it's just a promotional video, but from the little we see here, the animation is a big step up from Season 4. Looks like having dedicated teams for the films and TV series is already starting to pay off, because Shoto's Flashfire First looks awesome! 

We also got a look at the art for the characters' winter costumes:

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Really hope the animation is how it looks here when the season drops, it'll give me a lot more confidence in them animating some of the upcoming arcs. Not too long a wait! 

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Episode 3 of Attack on Titan Season 4: easily my favourite of the season so far. 

Spoiler

I am an absolute sucker for when we see characters return years later or when we get flashbacks from a different perspective, and this episode had both! 

Flashbacks to younger Reiner and the gang through to S1 Reiner and the gang was awesome. Really liked the fact files on the different Titans, loved seeing the characters from back then in this season's art style, and there were some excellent visuals and transitions, namely the POV of Reiner and Eren looking over their respective walls. Reiner got so much characterisation in this episode it's crazy, glad they didn't hold back from showing what was to be his attempted suicide, because I imagine that's a visual from the manga (? It really just seems like it would be with how it was framed, but could be wrong about that having not read it!), but either way, I could easily see why producers might want to leave it out. I'm glad they didn't. Same with Annie kicking the crap out of Reiner, that got way rougher than I was expecting (but couldn't stop laughing at Reiner's shrieking when surprised by the first kick). 

And Eren's back, hell yeah! I have so many questions in my head, got to imagine from that preview for the next episode with Reiner's reaction that he finds out. Excited to see it! 

Something I need to mention, I could be wrong on this but I'm note sure...the story Reiner and Bertholdt told Eren in S1 way back when they were training and getting to know each other, that's actually based on the story of the guy who hung himself, right? That's an insane seed to have planted so early in the story, I had always thought it was a lie, or part of Reiner going off the deep end. 

Really, really looking forward the next episode! :D 

Also, My Hero Academia Chapter 295...

Spoiler

...Deku really is just turning into Spider-Man, huh? Got the super strength, black tentacle, and now Spidey senses. 

Seriously though, going to be really interesting to see how that's incorporated into his character arc. For a character like Deku who wants to save everyone, being able to sense danger sounds like it'll only put himself in even more terrible situations, and maybe even start to struggle with the idea of not being able to save everyone (assuming this quirk works in a way where he's not just sensing danger for himself, but others too). Going to be interesting to see how that shakes out!

 

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1 hour ago, Julius said:

Episode 3 of Attack on Titan Season 4: easily my favourite of the season so far. 

  Spoilers for AoT S4 E3 (Reveal hidden contents)

I am an absolute sucker for when we see characters return years later or when we get flashbacks from a different perspective, and this episode had both! 

Flashbacks to younger Reiner and the gang through to S1 Reiner and the gang was awesome. Really liked the fact files on the different Titans, loved seeing the characters from back then in this season's art style, and there were some excellent visuals and transitions, namely the POV of Reiner and Eren looking over their respective walls. Reiner got so much characterisation in this episode it's crazy, glad they didn't hold back from showing what was to be his attempted suicide, because I imagine that's a visual from the manga (? It really just seems like it would be with how it was framed, but could be wrong about that having not read it!), but either way, I could easily see why producers might want to leave it out. I'm glad they didn't. Same with Annie kicking the crap out of Reiner, that got way rougher than I was expecting (but couldn't stop laughing at Reiner's shrieking when surprised by the first kick). 

And Eren's back, hell yeah! I have so many questions in my head, got to imagine from that preview for the next episode with Reiner's reaction that he finds out. Excited to see it! 

Something I need to mention, I could be wrong on this but I'm note sure...the story Reiner and Bertholdt told Eren in S1 way back when they were training and getting to know each other, that's actually based on the story of the guy who hung himself, right? That's an insane seed to have planted so early in the story, I had always thought it was a lie, or part of Reiner going off the deep end. 

Really, really looking forward the next episode! :D

 

Ah, there it is:

Spoiler

That's my favourite mini-arc in the entire series. Reiner's flashback. When I first reached it in the manga, I took my sweet time to savour everything, because holy shit, I've wanted that for years! Literally, 6 years from when I found their identity, to catching up that part of the manga. I also felt an art shift there, because Isayama's drawings improved a lot in the meantime.

Glad you noticed that was the same story from Episode 3 (Season 1). On a re-read, I was absolutely convinced Reiner&Berthold's home had been destroyed in the "titan apocalypse" from 100 years ago, because that story felt real. What a twist, to see that it was just Berthold's unfathomable guilt eating away at him.

A lot of what they adapted was exactly as it was in the manga, sometimes to a picture-perfect degree (like the shots to Reiner charging the rifle, or his bloodied mess of a zombieface suddenly popping up behind Annie). But they still omitted one thing I felt was important: After becoming their leader, Reiner's charge towards the wall was a haphazard disaster. He had Annie call titans far from the wall, then she ran all the way to the gates, collapsing of exhaustion near the end (this is why she was unconscious in the refugee camp). Reiner then brought her body to the top of the wall by climbing it (an improvised move, he was freaking out on the inside). And as you saw, Berthold was almost eaten by Dina in the interim. It was sobering, seeing that the destruction from the first couple of episodes was the result of three children panicking under pressure, with an absolute mess of a siege plan. I understand it would've been laborious to adapt the whole sequence, but still sad to see it go.

But you know what, the way they adapted the suicide attempt was all I wanted. I keep wondering if it would've been a better move to put a cliffhanger on that scene, but my heart sank anyway when the finger moved, so mission accomplished.

Brutal episode, and I love it

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9 hours ago, Jonnas said:

Ah, there it is:

  AoT - S04E03 (Reveal hidden contents)

That's my favourite mini-arc in the entire series. Reiner's flashback. When I first reached it in the manga, I took my sweet time to savour everything, because holy shit, I've wanted that for years! Literally, 6 years from when I found their identity, to catching up that part of the manga. I also felt an art shift there, because Isayama's drawings improved a lot in the meantime.

Glad you noticed that was the same story from Episode 3 (Season 1). On a re-read, I was absolutely convinced Reiner&Berthold's home had been destroyed in the "titan apocalypse" from 100 years ago, because that story felt real. What a twist, to see that it was just Berthold's unfathomable guilt eating away at him.

A lot of what they adapted was exactly as it was in the manga, sometimes to a picture-perfect degree (like the shots to Reiner charging the rifle, or his bloodied mess of a zombieface suddenly popping up behind Annie). But they still omitted one thing I felt was important: After becoming their leader, Reiner's charge towards the wall was a haphazard disaster. He had Annie call titans far from the wall, then she ran all the way to the gates, collapsing of exhaustion near the end (this is why she was unconscious in the refugee camp). Reiner then brought her body to the top of the wall by climbing it (an improvised move, he was freaking out on the inside). And as you saw, Berthold was almost eaten by Dina in the interim. It was sobering, seeing that the destruction from the first couple of episodes was the result of three children panicking under pressure, with an absolute mess of a siege plan. I understand it would've been laborious to adapt the whole sequence, but still sad to see it go.

But you know what, the way they adapted the suicide attempt was all I wanted. I keep wondering if it would've been a better move to put a cliffhanger on that scene, but my heart sank anyway when the finger moved, so mission accomplished.

Brutal episode, and I love it

Spoiler

It's funny you mention that about the scene being cut where Annie lures other Titans away and that's why she was unconscious, because in the context of the episode and only watching the anime, I was actually quite confused about what had happened to keep her out for so long. The last time we see Annie before that scene in the episode, if I'm remembering right, is when Reiner chokes her out and we get to see the close shot on her eye, so I thought that was later the same day, and she was just still unconscious from that. What you said happens in the manga makes much more sense, especially given how exhausted she was in the flashbacks by running so many night errands, so I wish they included that scene too!

But yeah, can definitely see why you loved this mini arc, and I totally agree. It's so well written, giving us the chance to see things from Reiner's POV to help give context to his present personality is something I really appreciated. 

 

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Time for Beastars Season 2 news!

New OP looks great, though I'm definitely going to miss the stop motion we got in the first OP. 

Also been confirmed that the series will be releasing on Netflix Japan on 6th January 2021, whereas the international release is being saved until July 2021. Quite the wait, but I'm sure it'll be worth it! 

EDIT: totally forget to link the trailer for it :p

 

Edited by Julius
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