Anime Lookout | Winter 2017 Part 2

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of what I hope will become a regular feature of Anime Lookout. That’s right, after all these years of posting first impressions, I’ve decided to create a follow up post where I can annoy you with more of my pithy anime opinions! Great news am I right!?

In all seriousness though, I’ve been wanting to do this for quite a while, and considering how far behind I was on my winter anime, I decided this would be the perfect time to try this out!. Below you’ll find some follow up blurbs on the shows I continued watching after I first wrote about them. In case you’re wondering where some of the shows I listed at the end of my Winter 2017 post went, well the answer is simple: I didn’t watch them!

Most of this can be chalked up to apathy, which is often the main reason I drop shows. An anime can be incredibly bad and baffling, but if it starts to make me shrug, then boy oh boy is it going to drop off my radar fast. I know there are probably a lot of good shows I didn’t watch (Konosuba 2, cough cough), but frankly I don’t have all the time in the world, and if I’m not feeling it, well then I’m not going to watch it.

With that preamble out of the way though, let’s get on with the show! Continue reading

A Brief Overlook | Xenogears Disc 2

A Rushed Apotheosis

If there’s one thing most JRPG fans remember Xenogears for, it’s the game’s infamous second disc. When a critical discussion of this game comes up, the second disc will usually be a talking point. Going into this thing, I knew that it was likely going to be a messy, somewhat rushed experience, and while my predictions were correct, I didn’t think it would be this bad.

The second disc of Xenogears knocked the wind out of me, and not in a good way. For every moment of beautiful storytelling on this thing, there’s a boring info dump, forced gameplay, or sometimes both back to back. Playing through it made me actively miss the first disc, which is amazing considering I wasn’t even really a fan of that one to begin with. And yet by the end of the game’s credits, I was exhausted and burnt out by the game’s squandered potential. Continue reading

A Brief Overlook | Xenogears Disc 1

Ambition & Perdition

As someone who plays a lot of JRPGs, it’s hard to ignore Xenogears. When fans talk about classics of the original Playstation era, it’s always bound to come up due to its massive critical acclaim and dedicated cult following. In many ways, the title defines Squaresoft’s ambition at the time, with Xenogears being the peak of their willingness to take risks. Initially pitched as a concept for Final Fantasy VII, the idea was rejected due to its dark and intense subject matter. And yet they still greenlit it as a separate project, sending director Tetsuya Takahashi down his long path of increasingly ambitious projects that has lasted up until this current console generation with Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

It’s hard to deny that the game has left a mark on genre fans. And yet, I somehow feel like it’s impact has only lessened over time. Like Chrono Cross, Xenogears no longer seems to be a title people instantly think of when they think about good JRPGs. The game is still the subject of a lot of speculation and debate, but I don’t think anyone would put it on the level of the Final Fantasy games of the same era in terms of popularity. Then again, comparing a niche game to one of the most mainstream RPG franchises of all time may be flawed argument to begin with.

But it still begs the question of how this game has held up over the past 19 years. Is it still the daring title it was all those many years ago? And better yet, was it ever any good to begin with? Continue reading

Anime Lookout | Summer 2017 BONUS ROUND

– BONUS ROUND –

The Reflection:

Even before it was released, The Reflection was a pretty controversial title. Despite the staff including some incredibly talented names, this show received instant ire from some hardcore fans due to the involvement of Stan Lee. To many his creative direction was enough to sour them on the series. After all, a lot of people watch anime to escape traditional American comic book and animation storytelling. However other fans remained hopeful, since both its director Hiroshi Nagahama and character designer Yoshihiko Umikoshi cited this series as a passion project of theirs. With both being such big names in the industry, working on shows like Mushishi and My Hero Academia, it seemed a little ridiculous to brush off the entire project due to just one producer.

Personally, I was somewhere in the middle. On one hand I thought the Stan Lee hate was a bit over the top, but on the other I couldn’t help but be somewhat cautious. I mean, as much as I wanted to trust the staff, superheroes have just never been my thing. So in the end, I decided to reserve my judgement, and after waiting a few extra weeks for this first episode to premiere, I can finally cement my opinion on it. Continue reading

Anime Lookout | Summer 2017

Ah, summer time! The time of year when the sun shines down and students are free to relax on vacation. I know I’m enjoying my free time! That being said, even though early July would seem like the perfect time to release a whole bunch of new and cool anime, the summer anime season is rarely ever impressive. They’re never quite as dry as the winter season, but for the most part they tend to lack a lot of pazazz, featuring a few noteworthy titles here and there alongside some relatively forgettable genre shows.

Still, it’s always nice to dig through it all to find the gems, which is what I aim to do with these posts. So with that preamble out of the way, let’s get on with the show! Continue reading

A Brief Overlook | Chrono Cross

Crossing the Ocean

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

Out of all the JRPG’s I’ve played on the PS1, Chrono Cross may be the most brilliant and strange. In a console library dominated by classics from the genre, the game stands out among the rest by just being so, well, bizarre. As a sequel to Chrono Trigger you’d expect something more traditional, a title hoping to live up to the soaring heights of its genre defining predecessor. But the game itself is anything but typical, featuring a battle system unlike any others before or since, and a story that seemingly tries to make things confusing. When you look up anything about the game’s endings, you’ll find that most search bars will bring up Chrono Cross ending explanation as a secondary option. The game is a puzzle to say the least.

And yet, in spite of how obtuse it can be, whether it be because of the massive exposition dumps that dominate the game’s latter half, or the strange logic of its multi-dimensional mechanics, I can’t help but love it. Because at the end of it all, when you look past the Dragon Gods and supercomputers called FATE, Chrono Cross has a very well thought out message. Continue reading

Anime Lookout | Spring 2017

Yikes, it’s been a while! Hey everyone. I know that I usually release at least one post in between these big seasonal preview guides, but, as you can probably tell, that plan hasn’t been working out recently. I’m currently in the middle of a big semester at school, and I’ve been swamped with a large project that’s still hanging over my shoulder. That being said, I’m nothing if not consistent (at least with this series), so even though I’m way behind on all my winter shows, I’m going to watch a bunch of spring premieres anyways!

As I’ve said in previous Anime Lookout rambles, spring seasons tend to be my least favorite anime wise. Even though a lot of anime is released during this time of the year, I’ve never found it to be particularly interesting. Occasionally there will be something really outstanding in the mix, but for the most part, I find that I tend to lay low during this time of the year. However, there are a lot of high profile shows this season, from long awaited sequels to shows like Attack on Titan, to more prestige titles like the Eccentric Family. If nothing else this season is packed, so if it seems like I’m covering more shows than usual, that’s probably why.

Anyways, let’s not waste any more time with this preamble and get on with the show! Continue reading