Wednesday, February 20, 2013


It's so rare, and I must repeat, so rare to have a few ongoing anime titles that continue to blow your mind and socks out of the hemisphere - week after week, episode after episode. You have the occasional one in an anime season, but to have a solid few serving up these fantastic 'dishes' consistently is making us all feel really pampered. I read the comments and it just makes me shiver in delight. Everyone feels the same - there is such a unity amongst the viewers on how we think. There's a strange high that we're all in, and we are not in a hurry to get off. So glad the 3 anime titles have continued from the previous season into this one in one fluid motion - I was almost gonna cry if they wrapped up then.

I really don't want this to end - it's such a rarity to be on a roll like this. Everyone's already lamenting about the future. The score to PSYCHO-PASS has been top-notch brilliant. I couldn't help but be awed by it - just into its 1st and 2nd episode - and I'd been waiting eagerly since. Stellar voice casting, great story to the point that it hurts, and it isn't afraid to draw bites from the viewers. It holds no boundaries - it'll go beyond the 'normal', simply because it is Urobochi's writing. You can't expect the unexpected, because his 'unexpected' is not our 'unexpected'. You flinch, you turn your eyes away, and yet the raw reality of humans still astounds you and demands your attention. He has written for Fate/Zero, perhaps one of the most successful in the entire Fate/Stay Night series. My cousin and I still talk about Fate/Zero till this day. The absolute morbidity which seizes you as you want to turn away, and yet fix your eyes on the unfolding horror before you. I must say, it's not a pretty feeling but I'd been there and it was hardcore. Didn't regret it, came back wanting more.

PSYCHO-PASS talks about the future - a civilization completely run by a supreme AI system, known as the Sybil System. Each single human in Japan is scanned, categorised and streamed at birth. Your life is mapped out before you. We see the goodness of such a capable system. You can scroll through and choose your head-to-toe attire at a tap of a button. Your room decor can be changed in the same way. You have an AI which governs your house and interacts with you - you don't need to do ANYTHING. Cars are driven by themselves - you just sit in there. This is a civilization completely alien to us now, but perhaps not in the future. You can interact through your avatar online - in forums, chats and groups. The avatar is controlled by your movements. It's interactivity to the maximum.

But here's the meat of this completely high-tech civilization. Everyone has a psycho-pass. This pass is embedded within you, and it reflects your psycho hue. If you are feeling angry / sad / vengeful / anything bad really, the friendly AI patrollers come to you and ask you to calm down. If you don't, they see you as a potential criminal because you may commit a crime, and you are taken into custody. Yes, Minority Report anyone? There are truckloads of scanners in every darn inch of the civilization. You cannot run. If you are deemed to be a possible criminal from birth, you are tagged and marked for life. This means no one gets a chance at redemption really. However, if you are deemed to be a powerful figure for good, you are also tagged and marked for high places. This sort of streaming is definitely not for the faint-hearted. And you can't get too angry about it, remember your psycho hue? If it gets tainted, you'll find those terrifying AIs before your door. In your house. Beside your bed.

 Animation is top-notch.

This is to ensure absolute adherance to the system. It is the police, the guards, the commander, your God. It tells you the careers you should take, the schools you should go, the grades which you will get. Choice? There is no need for that. The Sibyl System does all the thinking for you, or it will clamp a dog leash around your neck and demand 24/7 surveillance on you as a 'potential danger'.

 Mild stuff.

If you'd been a good citizen and never commited a crime, kept your stress well under control and didn't betray an emotion which spelt danger, and all of a sudden, you were kidnapped and raped, your psycho hue would be shooting through the roof. Of course. We are introduced to the 'human keepers' of the Sibyl System. Inspectors from the Department of Welfare are the modern police, who are dispatched when the occasional crimes take place. And they are armed with Dominators. These guns are probably the coolest I'd seen in anime so far. It changes its status as it focuses on its target by scanning the target's psycho pass. If you aim it at a person just sleeping next to you, it will notice a neutral psycho hue and lock itself. If it's getting a slightly agitated response, it goes into Neutraliser Mode and causes the target to go into shock. However, if it is sensing an off-the-radar psycho hue, it goes into Destroyer Mode and the target (human or machine) is blasted into a pile of skin & bones, or nuts & bolts. The way they die ain't very nice either. You will cringe at seeing it.

Therefore, as I was saying, if said Dominator was aimed at the poor victim whose psycho hue had gone way off, it would go into Destroyer Mode. The logic is such that this victim will never recover fully from the trauma and must be disposed of, before she becomes a potential social problem. We see this in Episode 1, and it had to be the most full-on I'd seen in just an opening episode. Having said that, it introduced the civilization, its perks, its Inspectors and the workings of a Dominator. By the end of it, I was completely and utterly hooked. The music score was spot-on, and I could tell the story was going to be just fascinating. So many ethical and moral issues for the pick.

 Is the system really fail-proof?

So, what about those guys who were deemed as the 'rejected' by the Sibyl System? Some of them are streamed into the Dept of Welfare as Enforcers - who work under the guarded supervision of the Inspectors. Dominators are wired to neutralise Enforcers. The anime follows the story of the new Inspector - a young female named Akane. She has a spectacularly clear psycho hue all her life, a quality long picked out by the Sibyl System. To be able to CHOOSE to work as an Inspector as part of her career choices after she graduated from school was lauded as an amazing achievement. Remember, it's not about choices in this civilization. And she meets the Enforcers, her Inspector supervisor, and the story unfolds so captivatingly after that. In particular - Kougami, an Enforcer is also another protagonist. We get to know the characters - and thankfully, they aren't too cliche. There's a colourful back story to Enforcers too - not all of them were initially 'rejects'. We thought there could be a love story, and there was none (yay for not being predictable!). It was just pow wow in terms of twists and new surprises. We observe how Akane deals with Kougami and her supervisor, as well as dealing with the murders, how things are being processed, the usage of Dominators on people and eventually, a horrific event which will change her forever. Will her psycho hue be affected?

Well, watch and find out for yourself!

Aim and shoot.

It's darn nice to see how the Enforcers prefer to use good old tactics to figure out crimes, instead of relying on technology. They read faces, body language, decipher the psyche of the person to identify the murderer. It's highlighting the fact that we must not forget the skills we have, and to avoid replacing them with 'intelligent technology'. No matter how advanced and amazing technology may become, the cognitive processes of a human's brain can never be replicated in its entirety. We observe how Akane and Kougami set about their tasks within the Sibyl System, and how their beliefs will be challenged by surprising events unfolding along the way. As much as there is absolute obedience from the citizens, there is also much tragedy and injustice caused by such an entity.

We also get to see the citizens' mind processes and the sort of beliefs they have after having been borned and bred in a civilization like this. A scene was particularly confronting and difficult to watch, but it was just horrifyingly realistic and reflective of the mob mentality. I'd read grotesque stories like this on the news happening in China. Absolutely inhumane. The anime touches heavily on morals, the definition of good and evil, and quotes a lot from books and authors. It was during this time that I listened to Ravi Zacharias and it really brought home both points about God and humans' morality. It's just been amazing so far, and the Dominators are way too cool (and bloody scary).

 I can just look at them forever.

The anime doesn't shy away from showing you the terrible side of humans, down to the way murders are executed or showing you the corruption of morality. It can be quite revolting for the uninitiated - not really for everyone. It still pales in comparison to titles like the 7 part psychological horror series 空の境界 - which I had to look away at some parts because I think the scene of a man busily devouring another man's flesh in terribly realistic animation isn't something I'd like to carry with me.

 Yeah, again, mild stuff. There's more.

Everyone's been spazzing about PSYCHO-PASS. And why shouldn't we all? It's about the most exciting and intellectually challenging story brought to us. It's not predictable, it keeps us guessing, and admittedly, the whole gruesome tinge to it also brings a sense of realism to the story. We'd been lucky that we have this,  新世界より and 絶園のTempest to keep us all happy and quiet. The current anime season's selection is hardly as good as the previous - which brought all 3 along and a few good others, so I'm glad they are going on into this season as well. But alas, all good things must come to an end. I shall enjoy every minute to its fullest.

Best finish to Episode 2 for its 1st ending sequence. We love it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Zetsuen no Tempest.

Watch it because its opening sequence is so fine. I cannot get enough of it. Period.

The song is titled 'Spirit Inspiration', sung by Nothing's Carved In Stone. And yes, it's a J-rock band. I wouldn't have guessed (sorry). Of course, it not only has a rockin' opening sequence, it has brilliant quality animation, a suspenseful storyline so far, and great characters of depth.

Just watch it anyway. Anime Fall Season 2012, you have brought me unprecedented joy with so many fabulous titles.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wow. Wow. Wow.

It has to be the first time since I'd followed that many anime titles. It's beyond belief! But I have to say, this season's anime offerings are mad. Just brilliantly mad. Been loving almost all the titles I chose to follow, and there are a few stand-outs so far. It's still early days though, but since I am such a chin chai person, I'm not too fussed if they fail to impress towards the end, really.

* * * * * *


Love uniforms. Period.

THE GRAPHICS! Spaz-a-lot.

Certain things that stood out immediately.
1. The graphics. Phwoar.
2. Fluid animation. Different camera angles. Loved it.
3. Pace of episode 1. Bang, bang, bang. Cool intros of major characters (and seiyuus).
4. Opening song by Angela - instant winner.

* * * * * *

 Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is a very funny anime which speaks dearly to my heart. In many ways, I can relate to Shizuku, who was first introduced as a girl who only liked to study, and had perfectly no interest in anyone else - either as friends or love interests. But that's where our similarities end, because she's absolutely studious and fastidious in her schoolwork. The Ace. And well, sadly I wished I was like that too.

Then along comes Haru, our very eccentric male protagonist. He hates school because he was wronged by the system once, and he has the weirdest inclinations towards being random and destructive. Bringing a chicken to school, hello!? But b'cos he was different and did not subscribe to the normal etiquettes, fears and insecurities, he treated Shizuku in a way that forced her to re-look her life values - all of which were forged when she was growing up. I can totally relate to that. And so, this anime brings loads of laughter, but also hits home with regards to changing yourself, your values and attitudes to people around you, and perhaps frighteningly but rewardingly, opening yourself up to people.

* * * * * *

Other titles I'm watching include:

1. Sukitte ii na yo
2. Shin Sekai Yori (another masterpiece, but CREEPY beyond relief)
3. Kami-sama no Hajimemashita
4. Code-Breaker
5. Psycho-Pass (pretty good potential)
6. Robotics;Notes (really trying to tamper my unreasonable expectation on it, b'cos of Steins;Gate)
7. Zetsuen no Tempest (lovely stuff - almost K-like and interesting plot so far)

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Sometimes, I do love the printed materials rather than anime. Classic. =)