Jujutsu Kaisen, Another Pretty Shonen

I originally planned this post to be a review, but honestly, it’s been months since I finished watching the season. So I want to share my thoughts, and you are free to agree or disagree. My comments are always open down below.

Honestly, I didn’t want to talk about it because it’s nothing you hadn’t seen before even though I liked it. I have seen many comparisons with Naruto, but I can’t say for sure because I disliked Naruto; I believe it reinforces my feeling a little bit. Besides, I think it made a few things wrong that broke the experience for me. Perhaps I was expecting too much of a shonen, which is always a mistake.

Itadori

The show starts with our protagonist, Itadori, who joined a club of occultism in high school. This little group, however, didn’t take matters very seriously. They try to speak with a spirit or demon, but they laugh; for them, it was just a place to distract themselves from the real world. We know exactly what happens when things seem normal, right? Movies, cartoons, and books have taught us that everything is going to turn for the worst. This does look like the beginning of a horror show, which sounded like something I wanted to watch. Unfortunately for me, that was not the case. When the first creature shows up, we see our protagonist jumping in, breaking windows in the process, and after that, he does not seem very impressed by the things happening in the school; he fights the creature with his fists and rescues his friends. I need to tell you that at this point, Itadori is an average high school student, not a sorcerer of any sort yet.

Before the episode ends, Itadori eats the severed finger of a powerful demon who possesses him for a while. Of course, the most logical choice for a high school student is to eat a finger to prevent the creature from stealing it. SIGHS.

Look, I know we should not be waiting for logic in an anime show, but I’m already tired of seeing the anime/manga demographic bringing the same thing. We already know the protagonist is going to be too strong, even before acquiring any power. The thing is that Jujutsu Kaisen tricks you the first five or ten minutes; it looks like it’s going to be a horror anime, but in the end, it is just another shonen. The best of its season, yes! The best of the genre, not even close!

There are a lot of moments that break anything that could be serious. There are jokes when I believe there should not be, and sometimes something horrible happens right after it or before. Please, understand me, I love humor and good laughs, but it’s weird when it often comes in a show that tells you it’s horror. Those moments ruin at the same level as Dragon Ball Z. In Dragon Ball Z, when we see a character die, we don’t feel sad because we know the main cast will revive the dead. Also, when we look at the characters having a lot of fun training in the afterworld, we know there’s no point in having any expectations.

There are good things!

Main characters

There are good things. Not everything is a mess. I believe it has more good things than bad. Like I said, most of my opinions are based on my expectations, and perhaps I feel too tired to see these tropes. Shonen is a pack of tropes, I know, and I should not be asking for more.
The characters are very charismatic, all of them, including the additional cast. I don’t remember a bad character in the show. The villains fill their purpose. I have to say that the shorts at the end of each episode make me take them as jokes, but that is my problem because the shorts at the end are not canon.

The animation of the anime is superb. Everything looks good, from the character design and general animation, especially the fights. Once you see the anime, you’re not going to be able to look away from the excellent visuals the show has. I definitely say it’s the best it has to offer, perhaps not the most important, but it’s always good to have these kinds of animations.

I believe there are better shonen anime shows everywhere, but I can see why many people love the show. I am not looking forward to a second season; I am not interested to see what happens next. Perhaps it’s something you’re feeling excited about, and that is fine. It’s just not for me.

I took the photos from the anime’s verified Twitter account – https://twitter.com/Jujutsu_Kaisen_

The Worst Jojo

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure was, for me, the anime/manga that really got me into anime. As many of you, I was introduced to the Japanese animation with Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Ranma 1/2, and years later, Death Note.


Although, my love for Death Note was incredible; before that, I thought all the Japanese anime and manga was about a guy or a woman fighting powerful enemies, and yeah, Death Note changed that idea my mind had carved, but it didn’t help me become an anime fan. Ironically, it wasn’t until years later that a lot of people—and I mean it, A LOT OF PEOPLE—spoke highly of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (an anime about fighting) on the internet; forums and anime websites put the series on a pedestal that made me curious.

Let’s skip the boring story about me becoming an anime fan. Let’s answer to the title. Who is the worst Jojo?

  1. Jonathan Joestar (Phantom Blood)
  2. Joseph Joestar (Battle Tendency)
  3. Jotaro Kujo (Stardust Crusaders)
  4. Josuke Higashikata (Diamond is Unbreakable)
  5. Giorno Giovanna (Golden Wind)
  6. Jolyne Kujo (Stone Ocean)

And just to clarify, I haven’t seen or read part seven or eight, and I don’t intend to. So this post only counts parts one through six. Steel Ball Run and Jojolion are out!

Every time someone has a discussion about “the worst Jojo”, most answers aim at Jonathan, the first Jojo. From a perspective, it is understandable, he is the first, and the author didn’t have the most awesome ideas like he does today. The magic called Hamon that was brilliantly used until Battle Tendency was good (the way it was used was genius), but it had its limits. And as for the story and character, we have the story of Jonathan, a goody-two-shoes that didn’t know how to fight and is a true gentleman, and villain that turns into a bizarre version of a vampire; the arc focuses in the rivalry between both and that’s it. The protagonist grows/develops really quick, he beat Dio down in the very first episode, when he was still a human. Dracula with esteroids.

Sometimes, a good idea is not put into words/manga/television as it meant to be. The studios have the power to change things before being aired or printed. It is a business, so they’re going to look for money, and the last thing they want to do is take risks with a new intellectual property. There are many reasons why the final product ends up different than the author’s original idea. I am not sure this is the reason Phantom Blood is “slow” (compared to the following arcs, because it is faster than other anime/manga series). But its originality, when you take in count that the arc is supposed to be a vampire story, with an over-the-top b-action movie, it is enough to make up for and ignore the weaknesses. Also, Jonathan, even though it happens too fast, the character grows; there’s a development in him…


UNLIKE…

SPOILER ALERT


At this point, we all know how the arcs in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure are divided, right? Every arc has a descendant from the previous Joestar. Phantom Blood features Jonathan, Battle Tendency features Jonathan’s grandson, Joseph. Stardust Crusaders Joseph’s grandson, Jotaro. And it goes on… with a few twists; let’s just say that even the Family Tree goes bizarre starting from part four.

Most of the protagonists have a lot of charisma, even Jotaro, the “bad” guy that has everything calculated and under control. He doesn’t change much during his arc (Stardust Crusaders) and the following in which he appears as a side character (Diamond is Unbreakable, Vento Aureo, Stone Ocean); but he’s a fan favorite for a reason, and we see some heart in the guy during his last appearance in the series.

So, he’s not even close to be the worst Jojo. I don’t know about you, but as much as I tried, and as much as the author had wanted VERY HARD to make the following Jojo important, just because he came from one of the most iconic characters from the series, a meme-lord, and the first villain. The whole Vento Aureo was more like a spin-off that would have been mediocre at best without Bucciarati and the other characters.

GOGO

Giorno Giovanna is THE WORST Jojo

Giorno Giovanna is the worst Jojo. There’s no personality. There’s nothing that stands out other than the “revelation” of him being Dio’s son, a revelation that makes NO DIFFERENCE in the story. Just because a character is a 1/2 (if you’re a fan, you know what I mean by the “1/2”) descendant of an iconic character, DOES NOT make this new character a good character.

I am not sure, but starting from Vento Aureo, Araki had no idea what to do with the series. We need to admit, though, that he did a brilliant job with the stands; weird powers emanating from each, making all the fights based on strategy and intelligence rather than “power levels”. This is another thing that bugs me about Giorno; when he’s got the fight versus Bruno Bucciarati, his Stand, Golden Experience, was formally introduced, and it was weak, he punched Bruno’s face and it didn’t hurt him; however, he realized that he’d thought everything around him went slower, but when Golden Experience had touched him his mind worked faster, and that’s why he’d seen everything moving slower. Honestly, it is an interesting power, too broken, but genuinely interesting. Well, it seems Araki forgot about it because we never see that again; Golden Experience is still able to create life, and that’s it; even that ability to return the damage is gone for good.

As a character, he is just there, coming up with ideas out of nowhere most of the time. Indeed, there were situations where it was well applied, one example of a good use of his Stand was that episode when he turned several cars into frogs to confuse the enemy. Unfortunately, most of the times Giovanna is a living Deus Ex Machina. Especially in the final “battle”. This is where it got worse.

Diavolo is a villain that remains hidden until the very last few episodes. He is the leader of Passione and it is understandable to remain unknown. It makes that villain intimidating, and he is even more when you see it the first time as Doppio. You realize the guy is insane, his double personality disorder making him an unpredictable threat. And this is not even the beginning; his Stand, King Crimson, has the ability to see the future, erase time and move trough the erased part. One person as a Jojo fan, after the brilliantly done fight in part four of Josuke versus Kira, is expecting another with a better intensity level, or similar at least. I insist, Giorno Giovanna is a Deus Ex Machina. He arrived at the final showdown just to kill Diavolos once (get it?) immediately. The episode just took the time to make that arrow get in Giorno’s hands, but nothing else happened. We got this scene of Diavolos trying to use his Stand against the protagonist, and then, with the power of the arrow, Giorno’s Stand evolved to Golden Experience Requiem and countered King Crimson’s power. That’s it. No fight, only an overpowered character defeating the final boss; a Deus Ex Machina.

We all can agree that Jotaro got a new ability out of nowhere, indeed; the difference, again, is that AT LEAST we got a fight. Bland one, maybe, but A FIGHT! Giorno just arrived at the scene to defeat Diavolo.

Giorno Giovanna is a mediocre character. Giorno Giovanna is the worst Jojo.


Feel free to share your thoughts with me!

The Name’s Boogiepop

Boogiepop and Others cover

Promotional image of the anime adaptation

Boogiepop and the Others is a difficult thing to describe. First things first, I need to warn you: the anime is slow. And when I say slow, I really mean it. Its opening might give you the wrong idea of the show, so I advice you to just enjoy the music, but don’t judge it by its opening theme video. Boogiepop is a slow phased show, and if you’re looking for big, spectacular, bombastic fights; or, if you’re looking for horror and supernatural things to be thrown at your face directly, look away. This show is not for everyone, that must be said.

Let’s start with the opening. It is performed by MYTH & ROID, also known for working on other openings, like Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, among other anime series. Boogiepop’s opening is deceiving, as I have mentioned; it is really good, its visuals will make you pay attention and get interest in what is about to come. The problem is, when you watch it without clue of what you’re getting yourself into, then you’re going to be expecting an action packed series, an adrenaline rush full of fights and explosions. Let me tell you: it’s totally the opposite. The only true thing about the opening is the little hint of the arcs and protagonist. That’s it.

OP

So, am I telling you that Boogiepop and Others is bad? No, it is a great show, actually.

What should you expect from the series?

Boogiepop, putting my own words, I would describe it as a supernatural, psychological horror, drama. Its slow phased way to tell things makes the tense emphasizes with the events that occur.

The mystery, as the series goes on, gets bigger. And as one episode introduces you  to certain characters, and their point of view of the things that are happening, the episode ends to start the next with a different place and different characters and their own dilemmas. Always living life from the same event, until the arc is solved.

To summarize: there are mini-arcs consisting in three to four episodes. Each of them showing a different side of a same square.

Someone called Boogiepop

2

The first episode begins when Takeda, a high school student, is worried about his girlfriend. He was walking on the street, and then a figure wearing a black cloak and a weird hat. The figure helped a strange, decaying, man with long white hair; it questioned the passing civilians if they didn’t feel bad for not helping someone in need. Takeda recognized that figure as his girlfriend, Touka.

He finds her, standing on the rooftop of the school building. Takeda asks her what’s going on, if she’d been messing with him. Touka, or at least the person that looks like her, tells him he is not his girlfriend.

“First of all, I’m not Miyashita Touka. Right now, I’m Boogiepop.”

This is where we get out first revelation. Boogiepop is a being that took the body of Touka Miyashita Touka. A split personality, as “he” explains to the boy.

A horror that is disguised with the daily lives

As the story goes on, you notice that there’s something wrong, and not only supernatural beings. These forces are there to follow orders from the Towa Organization, a shadow group which goals are not very clear; the anime’s first season doesn’t talk much about it, but we can assume that this organization has the purpose to get control of the world. Maybe the Illuminati is a close comparison.

6

This is the creepiest thing that happens, and it lasts one second

The story as, it goes, tells you the problems that the characters have to deal day by day. Some of them don’t even know if normal is a good thing. Others believe that they will never be normal enough to fit. While some characters have to deal with acceptance (or resignation) of what they are meant to be. Depression, fear, angst, loneliness, and other feelings that, deep down, are taking over mentally. These creatures created by the organization take advantage of these issues.

“Everyone needs some help when they’re suffering.”

3

These monster brought to life by the Towa Organization is what Boogiepop calls “enemies of the world”. As soon as they appear, Boogiepop automatically rises to the surface, taking control of Touka.

Its looks

Visually, I don’t have any complaints; to me the anime looks very smooth, and they add some blurry parts to add to the eerie atmosphere. The animation is not top notch, but it does the job very well.

In conclusion

The series involve a greater mystery that is told by the different students, points of view, for us to watch from every perspective of the events that happen in the episodes.

Unfortunately, this show is not for everyone. Boogiepop and Others doesn’t want to tell you everything, you have to put some pieces together, and learn how these entities, and Boogiepop itself, partly represents an issue that most teenagers and adults have to deal with day after day.

If you believe the opening and its action sequences are part of the show, look away. This anime is not for you.

However, if you like slow phased series that invite you to pay attention, and follow the story with hints told by different characters that aren’t directly related to the others, this is definitely an interesting anime to watch.


The anime consists in 18 episodes. It is available for you to watch on Crunchyroll.

New Violet Evergarden Movie

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New Poster

Yes, I am excited. As you already know from my previous posts about Violet Evergarden and its movie, my love for the series is beyond words.

The only thing I know now is that’ll be released in Japanese theaters on April 24, as the poster says.

There’s not a confirmation for American theaters yet, but I’ll keep an eye on the upcoming movie. It really makes me happy to hear we’re having more of this wonderful anime.

Don’t forget, the anime is available on Netflix ( 13 episodes + OVA). The movie, Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll will hit the platform on April 2, so mark your calendars!

Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll

After watching the anime Violet Evergarden, I was excited when I saw on Facebook that Konnichiwa Festival brought the movie to Latin American theaters. Of course, as I live just across the border from Juarez, I didn’t give a second thought, got my ticket and went to Cinépolis (the biggest and most popular theater in Mexico) really excited. As you can read on my previous post about Violet Evergarden, you know that I loved the anime.

Another thing. Though I don’t think a clarification is necessary here, Konnischiwa Fest made the movie available for three days only: February 14th, 15th, and 16th. I went on Saturday 15th, so you know this post had been scheduled.


Violet-Evergarden-1-key-art

An experienced Violet

This movie shows an experienced Violet. She hasn’t changed much, though, we have the same girl that we loved in the anime. Only now you can tell that she’d learned a lot from her past duties as a Memory Doll. Her social skills improved.

What is the meaning of friendship?

Isabella York is a young noble that was sent to a girl Academy to learn how to be a proper woman. Then Violet is hired to do a different job: help Isabella to become what she’s meant to be, a proper lady. This time there’s no letter to write, but CH Postal Company made an exception because the request came directly from the royalty.

During her stay at the Academy, Isabella starts as a hostile person towards Violet. Isabella felt a bit useless because her temporary servant, Violet, knows better about manners. As I’ve mentioned before, this is a more experienced Doll; doesn’t take much, though, for Isabella to trust her. She began to feel comfortable with the company.

Their bonds grow stronger. Violet gained Isabella’s trust. She tells her about her past as a poor girl and her “sister”.

Bonds that grew stronger

The second half of the movie focuses on Isabella’s “sister”, Taylor Bartlett. After certain events that came from the Academy and Violet’s friendship with Isabella, Taylor travels to find the CH Postal Company for work.

The bonds that were tied grew stronger, they’d extended to other places to the point that two adoptive sisters that, for twists of fate, ended up cutting a distance from each other.

Violet Evergarden - Art Nouveau

Conclusion

Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll focuses on friendship. The bonds that we make and how their strength could make us reach others. Never forgetting that the distance is insignificant when the feeling is real.


I really wish I could speak more about the movie. However, it isn’t long, and I’d spoiler something. This is definitely a movie you should watch if you like anime. It is not necessary to watch the anime on Netflix to understand what’s going on here. I STRONGLY recommend you do that, though! The story of the protagonist, her purpose, and how she starts gaining experience as a Memory Doll is beautiful.

Violet Evergarden

VEVVER

Violet Evergarden is an anime available on Netflix. It is also based on a Japanese light novel of the same name written by Kana Akatsuki and published by Kyoto Animation on December 25th, 2015.

An anime adaptation is available on Netflix since 2018, consisting in 13 episodes and an original video animation (OVA).


VEvergarden

Where it begins

The story starts with our protagonist, Violet Evergarden, whom has been raised as a weapon and used in war as such. She was literally a war machine—a child that had not known nothing but to follow military orders. There was nothing but chaos in her life, and her feelings were nothing. Violet was a robot-like creature.

Everything changes for her when the Major, Gilbert Bougainvillea, adopts her. Or more specifically, was given to him as a gift from his brother to use her as a weapon. Gilbert, though, didn’t see a weapon; he saw a starving child that needed something more. To be treated as a human being, not a murdering object.

violetevergarden02

Their bonds gathered a sweet strength when both our protagonist and the Major were walking in a market. He wanted her to buy a dress, something that makes her feel like the girl Violet is. Then she saw an emerald and picked it up. Violet told Gilbert that it looks like his eyes; that, of course, touched deep in his heart.

We also see images of war, and how Violet ruined went straight into the battlefield without hesitation. Gilbert realized why she’d been considered a weapon only, but he didn’t let that obscure his perception of the girl. For him, that was a signal that she needed humanity. Love.

Before everything had ended, Violet and Gilbert were gravely injured. The girl lost both arms and she was unable to drag the Major out of the castle, and he asked her to stop. And gave her an order, a dying wish:

“Live… and be free. From the bottom of my heart, I love you.” —Gilbert Bougainvillea

And with those words, the story starts.

The power of words

Words move the world. The words that had been written tell a story, or the feelings of thousands. This is exactly the job of our protagonist now—After the war, Violet is hired as a Memory Doll, and her job description indicates that she has to write letters in the name of the employer. That employer could be anyone, from a single woman trying to reach her brother’s soul, to a big company that needs to close a deal.

Violet Evergarden accepted the job as a doll. Not to follow orders this time; the main purpose of joining is to find the meaning of “I love you”. But before that happens, her coworkers noticed that all her letters are too straightforward, and even though sincerity is a good thing, it is not the right way to do things. There are many ways to build words to cause an impression. And that’s what Violet learns in the beginning.

A linked journey

“I will run as fast as I can to wherever my customer desires. I am the Auto Memories Doll, Violet Evergarden.” —Violet Evergarden

Every customer has a story to tell. Every customer is a new emotion added to Violet’s experiences. As the story progresses, she grows emotionally, becoming more and more into a girl her age. Someone that was hurt by war, but maturing at the same time while accepting she was never a weapon; that she’s worth as any other person.

Conclusion

This is definitely one of the best anime series available on Netflix. If you’re looking for a good drama, do yourself a favor and watch it.