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Old 03-08-2018, 05:51 PM   #7626
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I have never heard of that title, or if I did, I had forgotten it. But reading the summary made me laugh because I immediately knew the demographic once I saw the main character's name is "Kaoru".
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:44 PM   #7627
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
I have never heard of that title, or if I did, I had forgotten it. But reading the summary made me laugh because I immediately knew the demographic once I saw the main character's name is "Kaoru".
Clue me in. "Kaoru" tells me nothing.

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Originally Posted by RealMrGame10 View Post
Just bingewatched 2012's Sakamichi no Apollon

I think where I am in terms of emotions right now, this really struck a chord with me (no pun intended)

The music was fantastic, the animation was really pleasant to look at, and I think all of the plot points were paced in a way that really highlighted the emotional impact, even if it glossed over some details

as far as bullshit romance anime misunderstandings go, this was really not that frustrating to watch? plus all the scenes where they played music were just so good oh wow

overall, the show was just constructed in such a way that when something stupid was going on, it wasn't stupid for too long, but when something really feels-y happened, you felt how feels-y it was. It was just a ride that covered most of its weaknesses for me

9.5/10
You clearly liked it a lot. Good! It's always nice when you find that rare 9 or 10 out of 10.

Reading the spoiler-free synopsis on MAL, the premise sounds somewhat familiar. I think I may have heard of this show back in the day.

It seems that this series was a collaboration between director Watanabe Shin'ichirou and musician Kanno Youko -- the same director/musician duo who worked on Cowboy Bebop!

Your timing is impeccable -- apparently a live-action movie is coming out in less than two days.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:26 PM   #7628
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You clearly liked it a lot. Good! It's always nice when you find that rare 9 or 10 out of 10.

Reading the spoiler-free synopsis on MAL, the premise sounds somewhat familiar. I think I may have heard of this show back in the day.

It seems that this series was a collaboration between director Watanabe Shin'ichirou and musician Kanno Youko -- the same director/musician duo who worked on Cowboy Bebop!

Your timing is impeccable -- apparently a live-action movie is coming out in less than two days.
... I did not know about the movie but that would explain why it was showing up on my social media feeds

Yeah, I don't know if this is objectively going to break any scales in any regard, but it is a well-constructed show with themes that really resonate with me (i.e. friendship, discovering one's passion through music, thinking about a future past high school, being honest about how you feel, etc.)

They're themes that definitely show up in other anime, but I think the way that the show conveys them just works better than a lot of other slice-of-life shows

definitely helps that I identify with Kaoru's difficulties expressing his feelings to his friends and interpreting certain actions from his friends in a completely different way than they were intended. that could be frustrating to other viewers, but it's something that i understand and feel was well-depicted in the show

plus best bro Sentaro reminds me of my own very good friend from my own life

plus i love music and watching good musicians enjoy time together

plus: spoiler about the nature of the ending:
Spoiler: show
fucking sappiest, happiest, most feels-y anime ending i've seen since FMA: Brotherhood with more personal meaning to me

i've often wondered what me and my friend's lives might look like in eight years, and whether we would be able to meet on common ground again

and Sakamichi's ending was just so soothing in that respect


Anyway I think Sakamichi means a lot more to me as a music-loving, angsty, socially awkward high school senior than it might for someone who's not any of those things, but I also think that it wouldn't be able to mean so much to me if the show was not very good at delivering the messages that spoke to me

almost don't wanna watch the movie to preserve this in my mind lol
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:35 PM   #7629
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Clue me in. "Kaoru" tells me nothing.
It's an incredibly popular name for shoujo and josei stories, when used as a male name it's almost a 100% tell. But even when used on a male/female, you are bound to see a Kaoru or two somewhere in there.
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:43 PM   #7630
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Anyway I think Sakamichi means a lot more to me as a music-loving, angsty, socially awkward high school senior than it might for someone who's not any of those things, but I also think that it wouldn't be able to mean so much to me if the show was not very good at delivering the messages that spoke to me

almost don't wanna watch the movie to preserve this in my mind lol
Sakamichi no Apollon is a show that's been on my radar for those reasons, mainly bc of this AMV among others I've watched that capture the feelings of awkward teenage nostalgia and strong friendship bonds. Although in a similar sense to you not wanting to watch the movie I've been putting off seeing the series proper in order to "preserve" the AMV's perfect representation? I guess it's like how I prefer the Kagerou Project PVs over the animé - or really any of the written forms of canon since a music video alone is enough to contain just enough context whilst evoking emotion - without having to be bogged down by expectations of more complex plot or pacing.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:17 AM   #7631
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Sakamichi no Apollon is a show that's been on my radar for those reasons, mainly bc of this AMV among others I've watched that capture the feelings of awkward teenage nostalgia and strong friendship bonds. Although in a similar sense to you not wanting to watch the movie I've been putting off seeing the series proper in order to "preserve" the AMV's perfect representation? I guess it's like how I prefer the Kagerou Project PVs over the animé - or really any of the written forms of canon since a music video alone is enough to contain just enough context whilst evoking emotion - without having to be bogged down by expectations of more complex plot or pacing.
I've gone back and read the manga (which is actually a surprisingly quick read)

Sort of in relation to what you said, the manga goes over a lot of plot points that the anime really glosses over, especially in the final episode.


spoilers for the last episode of the anime and the last 20 or so chapters of the manga
Spoiler: show
In the eight year timeskip, roughly 7 chapters of material are just skipped over altogether, showing Kaoru as he goes through college and struggles to let go of jazz, plus shows what all the other characters are doing in that timespan.

One of my favorite scenes in the manga that makes a lot of sense plot-wise isn't in the anime at all, and it was a really sweet moment. Kaoru is eating with his mother, showing how they've reconnected over time, and she starts absent-mindedly singing "Lullaby of Birdland," which Kaoru and Sentaro gave her as a record when Kaoru met her for the first time in years. This sparks Kaoru's interest in jazz again despite medical school being hellishly busy. It's a really beautiful scene that I would have loved to see animated.

Kaoru consequently starts looking for opportunities to play jazz, so he renews his piano skills, but still feels that he's missing Sentaro's drum-playing whenever he plays. In the anime, it suggests that Kaoru hadn't played piano in eight years, which calls into question how he's able to play "Moanin'" on the church organ so effortlessly with no practice. Still, with that being the biggest plot hole of the anime by far, it doesn't really detract from how well the anime hits on the emotional notes necessary to conclude the show satisfactorily.

The manga also has an epilogue of sorts, which goes past the final scene of Kaoru playing on the church organ (to which the anime added Sentaro playing the drums, which was a fantastic addition)

The epilogue, or "bonus track," is a bit of a character study. It goes into Ritsuko's father's history with jazz during the war, talks about Junichi and Yurika's relationship during the timeskip, and gives some closure to Kaoru and Ritsuko's relationship.


However, these elements in the manga kind of speak to your point. Plot-wise, they were incredibly satisfactory and cathartic. But the anime didn't need these plot beats to wrap up the story in an emotionally poignant way. You can easily infer what the characters' relationships have been since high school, the mini-session that the friends have tells you everything you need to know about where their relationship is after all that time.

Yes, it's cool to know what happens next, where their reunion takes them, but I think the philosophy of the anime is that it doesn't matter because that's not the point. The point that the show wants to comment on is how the bonds that friends form can last and get rekindled through their shared experiences. All of the visual callbacks to the OP really highlight that.

Still love this damn show wow
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:59 AM   #7632
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Was just thinking about how I'd like a KareKano reboot when I realized something:

Himouto! Umaru-chan is basically a KareKano reboot where instead of it being a romcom it's a slice-of-life com. But they both share the same exact central premise: "in class, she's Miss Perfect; but at home, she's secretly slovenly."

Still would like that Fushigi Yuugi reboot though. Especially since this is the Age of Isekai and whatnot! Maybe something like it already exists and I just don't know. I have, after all, been living under a rock these past few years ...

The first Heaven's Feel movie comes out on Blu-Ray in Japan on May 9. No word on the second movie other than the vague "2018" from last year's tease at theaters. Assuming they're timed for similar releases, I guess it would be October 2018 for the second movie and October 2019 for the third. We'll have to wait and see.

Have you guys been watching S2 of Overlord? I know you guys like the series a lot, but there's been next to no noticeable discussion here of late -- and that goes for Overlord, too! Has it been a good season? Are you guys not excited for it because it's far behind where you guys are in the books? I haven't touched Overlord yet, so I can't really comment. Just wondering why you guys are so quiet about S2 when you tend to be really talkative about the books.
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Old 03-17-2018, 11:56 AM   #7633
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Umaru has the incest angle though, which is apparently an inescapable trope now in any anime featuring a brother-sister. I mean, Umaru's presentation is only half-baked, but it's still there and also doubles as mother-son incest.

For Fushigi Yugi, I think the wider problem is a decline of interest in ancient mythical China as a setting or theme. Isekai isn't anything new either, but 18 years ago MMO-style anime were limited and unique, while they're omnipresent now and almost universally derived from Dragon Quest. These days, it seems we're applauding any take on Dragon Quest that isn't a straight-out Dragon Quest clone or shameless ego trip vehicle.

...

As for Overlord, I've been watching it religiously every week, and I wrote a post about it, but I didn't want to offend Kuno, Loki, Kamen or PikaGod and stopped halfway because it wasn't fun to type. But the basic jist is that Overlord season two sucks.

The content is good, nay great, and I can see a sincere effort by the director in respecting the source material, but this is like watching an athlete legitimately try to win a race but finishing 2 hours after the field has closed.

Overlord's problem is where the director is too conservative with straying from the source material, and loses sight of the anime's purpose to simplify and streamline the story and make it accessible to people who have never seen it before. By necessity, there is some summary and repeating necessary. And for a swords and sorcery title, with the signature feature an evil cabal manipulating the world from the shadows, you need to show action and link that action to the cabal in some way.

Volumes 5/6, The Men in the Kingdom arc, is one of the better arcs and isn't slow at all. But it lacks in physical action until the last part of the story: most of it is psychological and social.

Without spoiling anything, think of Clark Kent applying for a new job and the skeptical interviewer dissecting his application package. Denigrating his farm boy origins and country accent. Dismissing his time at the Daily Planet as indicative of low ambition. You the reader know this is Superman, the most powerful superhero in the world, and most of these claims are off the mark, but here he is constrained by the system and is being dissected by this middle management toad.

This would be fascinating to explore psychologically, and the equivalent is within the volume itself, but it is adapted poorly in Overlord in an effort to hit all of the major plot points. Plot points I don't feel are particularly important to the story.

Moreover, a lot of the visual communication from the first season is lost in the second. An example would be, at the climax of the first arc, the main character is fighting a group called the Sunlight Scripture. It's almost sunset. By the time the battle is effectively over - where the group runs out of offense - the sun has set. If light = life, and dark = death, and the sun is the source of light, well, the sun has set on the Sunlight Scripture.

And the scripture members seem to realize this, comment on it and start to whisper prayers even though they're not physically harmed. It's human nature to maintain hope in the absence of absolute finality, but these guys read the writing on the wall, and realized it was written in their own blood. The fear is audible and it was great! There are no such scenes in season two.

It's strange because this is the same director as season 1. Granted, the gent doesn't have a TON of directorial experience, but the scene I outlined above was present in the novel. It makes me think that the director is only an average chef, who can make an outstanding meal with excellent ingredients, but is not skilled enough to make an outstanding meal with raw or less outstanding ingredients.

This is in sharp contrast to Youjo Senki which couldn't have been a better adaption of the source. The novel is almost an incoherent mess, good ideas suffocated by historical and war movie references. The difference between the two is about equal to Fullmetal Alchemist versus Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood without the benefit of budget.

Youjo Senki also managed to do what seems impossible in this current climate - balance out an overpowered protagonist in a believable way, by making her reliant on her subordinates and country. You could be the best player on your team, or the best player in the league, and still accomplish nothing meaningful if your team loses. Overlord season two fails to establish such stakes or squeeze the viewer in any way.

The only other show I've been watching this season is the no-stakes Pokemon Sun & Moon. Who knew both shows had something in common. Well, there's this too:

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Old 03-17-2018, 05:49 PM   #7634
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I mean I'm not gonna be offended if you're just throwing your thoughts on why Overlord 2 is shit.
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Old 03-17-2018, 08:08 PM   #7635
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I feel reticent to talk because almost all of my opinions these days are negative. Even if people are open to differing opinions, I think it wears on patience and participation, which I don't want to scuttle. It's hard to tell if I just have high standards, anime has really declined or I'm just seeing a one-off poor effort. But the output is the same! I have to revisit something from time-to-time, like a Haruhi (which is actually against my MO of watching a show once) just to reassure myself that such quality was possible once upon a time.

The only sanctuary is in technical analysis of stuff, which seems like an evolution of criticism anyway.
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:24 AM   #7636
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In this 2017 thread about the upcoming Tonegawa anime, a number of fans opine that Madhouse has lost their touch and that the past several years have seen nothing of value out of them. ................ How out of touch are these opinions? Or how out of touch am I? Because even though I haven't been watching gobs of anime lately, I've still lightly followed along enough to know that Madhouse has been behind many of the No.1 most popular shows these past few years.

Jan 2018: Overlord II, Cardcaptor Sakura sequel
Oct 2015: One Punch Man
Jul 2015: Overlord
Apr 2015: Ore Monogatari
Jan 2015: Death Parade
Apr 2014: No Game No Life

Going by this list alone, it is I who am out of touch. There's a clear gulf between 2015's OPM (was this seriously from that long ago!?) and 2018's Overlord II. But I'm truly surprised. When I left off with Madhouse last, it seemed like they were meteorically rising to the top of the anime world. Hunter x Hunter was their critically-acclaimed, fan-acclaimed answer to Studio Pierrot's Naruto; the likes of Kaiji and Death Parade were their answers to those with refined tastes #noego; and the hype surrounding Overlord, a project they opted to snub ONE PUNCH MAN over, was insane.

So what happened? Why is there this obvious two-year gulf between late 2015 and early 2018? That's not to say that any of the shows they did in between are bad. I haven't heard of most of them! ... But that's the thing. I haven't heard of most of them.

Doppel, you recently shared that you think Overlord S2 sucks even though you adore the source material. ... Do you think Madhouse has undergone a power restructure? Do you know if they have? I'm pretty curious. It seems so strange to witness them go from a well-liked but B-tier studio in the mid-2000s to an S-tier studio in the early 2010s back on down to a B-tier studio in the late 2010s.

Indeed, this may even shed some light on the reasoning behind the Tonegawa anime. This may have as much or more to do with Madhouse as it does / than it does with the Kaiji franchise. Is it possible that a flailing Madhouse, suffering reduced profits and investments from the last few years, is looking to their successes of yesteryear for possible sources of revenue? "Let's go ahead and do a Tonegawa spin-off, our very own Nagato Yuki-chan, and then from there let's go and reveal to the world Kaiji S3." I mean, it theoretically works to our advantage as Kaiji fans. Especially if Madhouse sticks to their traditional formula of hyper-faithful adaptations of the source material. But ...

... Given what Doppel has shared about Overlord II, should we be concerned about Tonegawa-kun and a possible Kaiji S3?
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:22 AM   #7637
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An anime adaptation of Vinland Saga has been announced. I remember wanting to read this manga years ago. :o Never did. But been meaning to for a very long time. Looks like I ended up waiting so long it got an anime adaptation that its manga fans felt would never come!
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:22 PM   #7638
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Quote:
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Doppel, you recently shared that you think Overlord S2 sucks even though you adore the source material. ... Do you think Madhouse has undergone a power restructure? Do you know if they have? I'm pretty curious. It seems so strange to witness them go from a well-liked but B-tier studio in the mid-2000s to an S-tier studio in the early 2010s back on down to a B-tier studio in the late 2010s.
Yes, something like this did happen. First though, I'll point out that the ending of the Hunter x Hunter anime in 2014 was very bad for Madhouse. Super long anime adaptions are a multi-year contract for studios and was how many stayed relevant. Think of Pierrot, who did Naruto...what have they done lately? Pretty much Boruto, the sequel that saved their souls. I guess there was Tokyo Ghoul too this decade. So the ending of this, even with a successor in the wings (of which there was not), was an ill omen.

These are also important since a long project gives opportunity to intern new staff (who cut costs since interns provide a lot of free labour) and also hedge personnel losses to other studios.

In this sense, OPM was a lucky break because it was a big contract that performed amazingly well. But getting season two off the ground was a problem. Madhouse contracted a lot of freelancers to help out with OPM who were being courted by other studios. A lot of those freelancers had donated their time/effort to making OPM outstanding visually because they were doing it out of pride. But they wanted to be compensated properly for a similar level of production, and the money wasn't there for that kind of quality. The studio sealed its fate when one episode director (?) boasted that OPM had a normal budget and it was just Madhouse's deft managing that made it look so good. So obviously, the other producers were asking questions as to why Madhouse couldn't do OPM again.

The freelancers moved on, and so did the director, so while Madhouse nominally had the rights to OPM season 2, none of the original staff was available, so they were obviously going to create a disappointing project. Either Madhouse gave up the rights or the producers pulled it, but OPM was awarded to JC Staff last year after 2 years of troubled planning/coordination.

So while Madhouse absolutely was an S-tier studio around mid-2014, it was already on the decline by 2015 when it animated Overlord and One Punch Man, and OPM was more a life rope that didn't really save it. The lack of a new project meant even the in-house staff moved on. Youjo Senki was initially intended to be a Madhouse project, but it was actually done under a new studio - Studio NUT - who consisted exclusively of Madhouse expats who were with the company months before. In fact, their relationship is so tight that I sometimes confuse NUT with Madhouse and maybe did in my rant earlier upthread.

You might think, "why would an otherwise good studio not get anymore contracts" but it's a bidding process, and Madhouse is competing against other studios like A-1 Pictures, who I would really call the superstar of the past decade.
A bit of a tangent but I recently learned that a restaurant I used to go to in the south, which did amazing business, went out-of-business when its lease was withdrawn by the landlord to sell to a redevelopment initiative. Because they had held the lease for 20 years, there was no other close location to move to, so they simply closed the business. Timing and logistics are an under-acknowledged aspect of business and in Madhouse's case things didn't come together at a good time.

That said, I have to wonder if Overlord's problems are really budget related or a strategical blunder by the director. They might be related, but the Youjo Senki success makes me wonder since heck, YS is the definition of shoestring:

-CGI tin-men/nutcrackers filling in for soldiers
-multiple episodes delayed because the studio ran out of money/time due to staffing shortages
-a recap/filler episode thrown in just so the show could meet the 13 episode order

And yet, the direction was far more competent than Overlord, like Makoto Shinkai in his early years. Well, maybe not quite like that, but it's a parallel.

Quote:
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Indeed, this may even shed some light on the reasoning behind the Tonegawa anime. This may have as much or more to do with Madhouse as it does / than it does with the Kaiji franchise. Is it possible that a flailing Madhouse, suffering reduced profits and investments from the last few years, is looking to their successes of yesteryear for possible sources of revenue? "Let's go ahead and do a Tonegawa spin-off, our very own Nagato Yuki-chan, and then from there let's go and reveal to the world Kaiji S3." I mean, it theoretically works to our advantage as Kaiji fans. Especially if Madhouse sticks to their traditional formula of hyper-faithful adaptations of the source material. But ...
Part of what scuttled future Fukumoto adaptions is one of the staff couldn't be brought back. Taniuchi Hideki, the composer for Akagi, both Kaiji series and Death Note, went to prison for marijuana possession and was blacklisted from ever getting a job in Japan again. Madhouse at this time was entering its peak so I can understand them pursuing more...conventional projects. And as you say, they're in a pinch right now so they have the option to go back to Fukumoto material.

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... Given what Doppel has shared about Overlord II, should we be concerned about Tonegawa-kun and a possible Kaiji S3?
Yes and no. If we get the same director, Yuzo Sato, I think he's more than capable of handling it. But Sato struggled with an anime back in 2014 called Mahou Sensou which got him a lot of hate from MALos. So if the source material is bad, there's only so much a director can go.

Interesting to me that some comments are along the lines of, "If you knew the source sucked you should go anime original"! I wish we had an industry insider, and not an Answerman/Ask John butt talking speculator type, who would honestly explain why anime original was the de facto standard 20 years ago and is virtually taboo today.
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:17 PM   #7639
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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
Think of Pierrot, who did Naruto...what have they done lately? Pretty much Boruto, the sequel that saved their souls. I guess there was Tokyo Ghoul too this decade. So the ending of this, even with a successor in the wings (of which there was not), was an ill omen.
I think Studio Pierrot is a different beast from Madhouse. While both are decades-old studios, Pierrot's heyday was in the '80s and early '90s; already by the turn of the century, they were a yesteryear company, sort of like Toei, who got contracts based on name recognition more than talent and production value. Naruto (and several other Shonen Jump properties) was their this. It was their receipt of a valuable property from an establishment juggernaut because they themselves were an establishment studio. Pierrot doesn't get offered shit nowadays, but back in the early 2000s, they were the budget, Hanna-Barbera option for Shonen Jump and a lot of other publications looking to save a buck.

Madhouse's trajectory was somewhat opposite in this regard. While Madhouse, too, has been around for several decades, their work even in the early 2000s was -- if low(er) budget -- at least decent. People wouldn't call it Hanna-Barbera the way they would Studio Pierrot or Toei. When I think early 2000s Madhouse, I think off-day J.C. Staff. Think of CCS or Chobits, both Madhouse works from this time period. Neither is badly animated by any means. Hell, there are times where 2002's Chobits looks better than a 2015 episode of Naruto.


And then what happened?

Where Studio Pierrot declined over the 2000s, Madhouse flourished.

And we went from CCS-level graphics ... to this:


That makes the apparent fall from grace that much harder for me to stomach right now. Because with Studio Pierrot, they were already a derelict leftovers from the '80s by the time they set forth on Naruto. Whereas Madhouse, they had been B-tier -- not the best but by no means terrible! -- and had somehow managed to leapfrog over A-tier and land themselves cleanly in S-tier when all was said and done.


If what you say about the brain drain from Madhouse to NUT is true, I have to wonder how/why this was allowed to happen. Not in the sense that you can prevent people from leaving, but in the sense that ... you can cultivate an office environment where they want to stay. How did Madhouse lose young aspiring animators to other studios? How did it lose veteran employees? Man.
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:40 PM   #7640
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
The studio sealed its fate when one episode director (?) boasted that OPM had a normal budget and it was just Madhouse's deft managing that made it look so good. So obviously, the other producers were asking questions as to why Madhouse couldn't do OPM again.

The freelancers moved on, and so did the director
Well that seems pretty shitty. He puts his foot in the company's mouth, ruins things for the company, but gets out while the going is good. Do you remember who he is? You are much better at keeping track of directors than I am.

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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
Madhouse is competing against other studios like A-1 Pictures, who I would really call the superstar of the past decade.
Interesting. I don't really have a good feel for who this studio is or what it is that they do and have done. Let me go and look ...

Apr 2018: Persona 5
Apr 2017: Granblue Fantasy
Apr 2017: Eromanga Sensei
Oct 2016: Occultic;Nine
Apr 2016: Phoenix Wright anime
Jan 2016: BokuMachi
Oct 2014: Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (IS THIS REALLY THAT OLD!?)
Various: Ao no Exorcist
Various: Sword Art Online
Various: THE [email protected]
Various: Working!
Various: Fairy Tail

The above list is my selections of what I saw that they had done over the past few years that either a) I knew to be super popular or else b) I otherwise felt deserved a spot on a list of top contributions by this studio.

And I'll be perfectly honest -- I only see two titles on there that are contenders for a 9 or 10/10, and those titles are BokuMachi and Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. The latter I haven't seen and can only assess based on feedback. The former is a flawed masterpiece, and much has been written about it on this very forum. Other than that, I see ...
  • a token Naruto bid (Fairy Tail) to counterbalance Madhouse's (HxH)
  • popular crap that is super popular and pays the bills but is super crap (SAO, for one)
  • baaaaaaaaaad adaptations of beloved vidja games (Phoenix Wright, for one)
  • BOOBS an attempt to make the next Steins;Gate that didn't pan out (Occultic;Nine)
and not a whole lotta substance. =\ Where are you coming from with the "A-1 Pictures is the best studio of the 2010s" rhetoric? They're not ufotable with the Fate franchise ... They're not P.A. Works with an objective synthesis of boundary-pushing animation quality and artistically-meritorious storytelling ... They're not Kyoto Animation with their own boundary-pushing animation quality ... And they're not Trigger with a reinvention of what it means to be an anime studio from the very ground up and heavyweight hitters like Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia.

Tell me, then, why you estimate that A-1 Pictures is "the superstar of the past decade"?
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:57 PM   #7641
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
Part of what scuttled future Fukumoto adaptions is one of the staff couldn't be brought back. Taniuchi Hideki, the composer for Akagi, both Kaiji series and Death Note, went to prison for marijuana possession and was blacklisted from ever getting a job in Japan again.
Do we have a verifiable status update on this? It's been a few years since this story first broke. Has his sentence been commuted? Has he been released? Would he be able to secure work again with Madhouse, especially if the stars are aligning where he can find work nowhere else and they desperately need his special touch to make Tonegawa-kun a success and get them out of the gutter?

Do we even know how long his sentence was originally for?

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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
Yes and no. If we get the same director, Yuzo Sato, I think he's more than capable of handling it.
Do we know anything more about the politics behind why this guy stayed behind with Madhouse / why he did not migrate to NUT?
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Old 03-19-2018, 06:20 PM   #7642
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A-1 is a superstar because of three megafrachises: Fairy Tail, Idolmaster and its related spinoffs, and Sword Art Online and it's related spinoffs. All of those are mass-media monsters. FT is comparable to HxH, Idolmaster rivals Fate as a franchise and SAO is unchallenged as the most successful RPG isekai period.

Then, as a cherry on top, A-1 gets Apocrypha, the most popular Fate spinoff since Zero. This is just the foundation, since it also allowed them to release shows like:

Boku dake
Kuroshitsuji (4 cour)
Anohana
Uchuu Kyoudai (government funding/contract)
Magic (Jump)
Nanatsu no Taizai (Jump)
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Granblue

While A-1 has not had earth-shattering hits beyond SAO, along the likes of White Fox, Madhouse or PA Works, they have a huge number of impressive titles with different teams working on them. Unlike, say, late 2000's SHAFT which was the Shinbo show.

...

You asked about the producer statement. Here is the quote. I don't know if this statement single-handedly sabotaged OPM 2, but I doubt it. I think the producers were looking at the quality of the anime and raised their expectations without increasing their funding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87
I think Studio Pierrot is a different beast from Madhouse. While both are decades-old studios, Pierrot's heyday was in the '80s and early '90s; already by the turn of the century, they were a yesteryear company, sort of like Toei, who got contracts based on name recognition more than talent and production value. Naruto (and several other Shonen Jump properties) was their this. It was their receipt of a valuable property from an establishment juggernaut because they themselves were an establishment studio. Pierrot doesn't get offered shit nowadays, but back in the early 2000s, they were the budget, Hanna-Barbera option for Shonen Jump and a lot of other publications looking to save a buck.

Madhouse's trajectory was somewhat opposite in this regard. While Madhouse, too, has been around for several decades, their work even in the early 2000s was -- if low(er) budget -- at least decent. People wouldn't call it Hanna-Barbera the way they would Studio Pierrot or Toei. When I think early 2000s Madhouse, I think off-day J.C. Staff. Think of CCS or Chobits, both Madhouse works from this time period. Neither is badly animated by any means. Hell, there are times where 2002's Chobits looks better than a 2015 episode of Naruto.
Worth noting that stuff like CCS, and probably Chobits, had an insanely high budget, boosted by their publisher Kodansha. CCS was supposedly one of the most expensive anime ever made when it aired - which seems ridiculous, comparing it to something like Evangelion, but look at the budget problems Evangelion had, and look at the quality CCS was able to maintain over 70 episodes.

Kaiji and Akagi, of course, are exceptional and worthy of a lot of praise. I can't imagine they were terribly expensive, but Madhouse leveraged its budget well and patched holes with style. Since the Fukumoto titles had psychological tension, not physical action, that helped cut down cost as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87
If what you say about the brain drain from Madhouse to NUT is true, I have to wonder how/why this was allowed to happen. Not in the sense that you can prevent people from leaving, but in the sense that ... you can cultivate an office environment where they want to stay. How did Madhouse lose young aspiring animators to other studios? How did it lose veteran employees? Man.
Money and contract works. If you contract someone, you don't have to offer them benefits, with the added risk of inconsistent availability. Moreover, when you start a new studio, everyone gets benefits and a promotion. Key animator gets promoted to lead animator, and so on. That's probably what happened.

A lot of small studios do contract work themselves before getting their big break. NUT was formed specifically to launch Youjo Senki, and I think that speaks a lot to the studio's confidence that they could make an impression. The universal sentiment about the YS project was that it, and the studio, were a joke to not be taken seriously. We were so wrong!
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Old 03-19-2018, 06:50 PM   #7643
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Also, I was mistaken: government-sponsored anime air on NHK. So, Uchuu Kyoudai despite its promotional bent was not a government contract, but Cardcaptor Sakura was. That explains its reputation for having a legendary budget, it probably did.

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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Do we have a verifiable status update on this? It's been a few years since this story first broke. Has his sentence been commuted? Has he been released? Would he be able to secure work again with Madhouse, especially if the stars are aligning where he can find work nowhere else and they desperately need his special touch to make Tonegawa-kun a success and get them out of the gutter?
I haven't heard anything, but that's not surprising. A drug conviction in Japan puts his career resuscitation status below that of Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby.

MAL every once in a while has ESLs post cryptic messages on pages for anime staff...so if you believe what's written on his page, he was still in prison last year and got out January of this year. A 5-6 year sentence which is believable, I guess.

HEY, maybe that's why, Tonegawa now...?!

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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Do we know anything more about the politics behind why this guy stayed behind with Madhouse / why he did not migrate to NUT?
He's an employee of Madhouse, not a contractor, so I don't see much benefit for him. He doesn't get a promotion or a salary boost moving to a shoestring startup.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:21 PM   #7644
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I wish we had an industry insider, and not an Answerman/Ask John butt talking speculator type, who would honestly explain why anime original was the de facto standard 20 years ago and is virtually taboo today.
Oh, man! Now this is an interesting question! The reason I knew I wanted to break my reply up into a series of smaller posts, rather than have it all be inside of one massive posts, was because I knew I wanted this discussion to be all on its own, separated from the rest.

Talking out of my own ass , I think a lot of it has to do with 1) safety and 2) cost-saving measures. Adapting a novel, video game, or comic book series into television is a lot safer than adapting a brand-new screenplay written for TV. You already know it's successful! It's also probably cheaper. Super speculating here, but: With a pre-written work, on your own payroll you only have to worry about one or two screenplay writers who will mostly be doing editing. With a brand-new manuscript made for TV, you'll require at least one, probably a team of writers, and they each have to be paid competitive wages to offset the alternative they have of simply taking whatever story ideas they can come up with and going it alone as novelists, etc. Putting it simply, a TV writer can't be paid less than a novelist for coming up with a brand-new story (otherwise he'd just go and be a novelist, leaving you without your show writer), whereas someone adapting another person's writing for television can probably be paid less. This is pure speculation, though.

Anime has always been a mix of adaptations and brand-new material. I can't think of a single decade where this wasn't true! Yet you're absolutely right, I think -- we used to see a lot more made-for-TV stories than we do today. (Or did we? Read on to find out!)

1990s adaptations: Magic Knight Rayearth, Yu Yu Hakusho, Fushigi Yuugi, Ranma ˝, Slayers, Rurouni Kenshin, Sailor Moon
1990s originals: Escaflowne, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop
2000s adaptations: Suzumiya Haruhi, Death Note, Fate/stay night, Naruto, K-ON!, Clannad, Fullmetal Alchemist
2000s originals: Code Geass, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
2010s adaptations: Hunter x Hunter, One Punch Man, Overlord, Ao no Exorcist, Sword Art Online, Fairy Tail, Dangan Ronpa
2010s originals: Psycho-Pass, Nagi no Asukara, Death Parade, Little Witch Academia

I took care with the above lists to try and make them representative of the heaviest hitters and not to just populate them with all the shows I've seen or adore. (In case you're wondering "Why no Chobits? ", "Why no Rozen Maiden? ", "Why no Kanon? ", "Why no Hikaru no Go? ", etc, etc, etc. ) Tended to be an easier feat with anime that were adapted from a preexisting source material; my lists for TV originals are definitely a lot more colored by my personal experience.

But there are definitely other series in both categories that I could have listed off if we were going for any desperate grab and not just heavy hitters. Like ... for the 2000s, for example, I've listed only Code Geass and TTGL. But there were other, more "minor" anime from that decade like Samurai Champloo and Ergo Proxy. "Minor" in the sense that they didn't get great big followings the way that Geass and TTGL did, but still pretty widely-known anime in their day, and still remembered fondly by a number of otaku today. (Originally had Suisei no Gargantia in the 2010s Originals list, but objectively it's already fading into obscurity ... ^^;; Little different today than Ergo Proxy, and so impossible to justify the inclusion.)

The lists above, were they an unbiased selection, would certainly seem to suggest that there have always been many television adaptations of pre-existing works. But if this is the case, then why the gut feeling that you were right? Why did I readily agree with you that we've seen a decline in the number of original screenplays?

I think it may have something to do with the fact that many of the made-for-TV originals in earlier decades weren't particularly memorable or popular. Look at my '90s list, for example. While it certainly wouldn't be complete without the inclusion of Eva and Cowboy Bebop, one can hardly say that my list of adaptations is crammed with fluff.

Perhaps this is our chicken and the egg, then: perhaps the animation studios of the 2000s, taking note of the '90s, concluded that it wasn't worth the effort investment to write a novel screenplay for television, only for fans to deride it and write it off as garbage, when you could simply take someone else's already-acclaimed story and put color and motion to it. Why should I work so hard to make my Noir when I can even more easily adapt someone else's Another and make bank off of it? Why bother with a .hack//SIGN that people will say has a failed ending when I can just adopt a novelist's MMO isekai story that people say has even worse flaws yet somehow manages to be even more popular and make even more money?

Deserving of a special mention is P.A. Works. By and large, they've stuck to original screenplays. Here's a list of their portfolio over the years, beginning with Hanasaku Iroha:
  • Hanasaku Iroha = original
  • Another = based on a novel
  • Tari Tari = original
  • Red Data Girl = based on a series of novels
  • Uchouten Kazoku = based on a novel
  • Nagi no Asukara = original
  • Glasslip = original
  • Shirobako = original
  • Charlotte = quasi-original (collaborative project with Maeda Jun writing)
  • Haruchika = based on a series of novels
  • Kuromukuro = original
  • Sakura Quest = original
  • Uchouten Kazoku S2
  • Uma Musume Pretty Derby = based on a mobile game it's releasing alongside
  • Irodzuku Sekai no Ashita kara = original
That's a pretty damn impressive ratio of original works to adaptations. The only studios that come to mind who might be able to dance toe-to-toe with P.A. Works in this regard are all older and washed-up studios: Gonzo, Gainax, and yes, even Sunrise.

Bonus information: The founder of P.A. Works, Horikawa Kenji? Used to work for Production I.G. and Bee Train. Makes a lot of sense when you think about what I was just saying about Noir and .hack//SIGN. This is a man who (likely) believes in the importance of using anime as a medium to tell his own team's stories.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:49 PM   #7645
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It used to be argued that a lot of anime-original endings came about because of adapting material that wasn't fully finished yet. For example, Hellsing, Fullmetal Alchemist, One Piece, and even Pokemon often went into filler or anime-original territory because there simply wasn't enough canon material to put to screen. But, that wasn't always the case: GONZO was famous for this even with material that had definitive endings.

I don't know that someone who designs a completely anime-original story is paid the same as someone who changes the ending of an existing IP. In any matter, it still stands that with a terrible IP, one has to ask why the anime adapters don't make a better effort to change things to make it a better animated product. This happened for Overlord and Youjo Senki, with the former earning scorn and the latter praise, but I find it hard for YS novel "fans" to really defend the original considering how incoherent it can be at times.

As for completely anime original...it's much more expensive to go that route, building up an IP from scratch. PA is unique in that regard because even Kyoto Animation goes the different route of sponsoring novel contests, buying the IP of the novels that floats, so they can own 100% of the marketing power for that IP.

Kyoukai no Kanata, Hibike Euphonium, Free! and Chuunibyou fit under this class, with Chuunibyou having the biggest impact on otaku culture (through the name) but no further.
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Old 03-20-2018, 05:27 PM   #7646
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Berserk spoilers!

Spoiler: show
I don't have to say anything. There's only one thing that could constitute as a spoiler at this point, and we are there.
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:27 PM   #7647
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Goblin Slayer teaser trailer. I would advise anyone curious about this title to just watch the first two episodes back to back, and not really look into this very deeply. It is a story that must be seen/experienced, not "told". You won't get it unless you go that route.
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Old 03-31-2018, 04:57 PM   #7648
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The new Legend of the Galactic Heroes had a theatrical release today, but it was also leaked to YouTube. I got to watch it.

It is technically accomplished, with modern angles, but the more generic character designs hurt. It was surprisingly poorly paced despite spending close to the same time as the OVA's, of course to make room for the empty action.

It's not bad, but it doesn't really shine at all.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:15 PM   #7649
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Somehow I came to think that the Tonegawa anime was Spring 2018. It's not, it's apparently going to be Summer 2018.

Looking for proof of this just now, I came upon this find from the MAL page for the manga:

"Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa ranked first in the 2017 Kono Manga ga Sugoi! for the male readers category."

Here's more:

"Written by Tensei Hagiwara with artworks by Tomohiro Hashimoto and Tomoki Miyoshi, the manga has been serialized in Monthly Young Magazine since June 2015 in collaboration with Kaiji series creator Nobuyuki Fukumoto. Kodansha published the sixth compiled volume on November 6 last year. The series placed first in the 2017 Kono Manga ga Sugoi rankings under the male readers category, and currently has over two million copies in circulation, including e-book versions."

I can't find proof of the Summer 2018 claim, so even that may be false. Going to give up the search for now without delving too deeply, but if any of you already know or want to find the answer, go ahead and edumucate me.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:30 PM   #7650
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I thought Goblin Slayer was airing Spring 2018 too, but for now it's TBA. I was under the same impression you were.
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