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Journal: GP's Weeb Journal 2023

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11
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Talentless Nana - Summary
So, this was another thing I watched as a suggestion. I went into this completely blind, so suffice to say the surprise at the end of episode one was definitely a surprise. From that point on, things got interesting. But, fair warning, spoilers ahead.

Spoiler:


The animation, audio and performances were all solid. Nothing incredibly standout, but far from being bad. I actually watched this one dubbed which is something I don't do very often and was pleased to find the quality was solid. Kyouya and Jin's VAs especially did good work.

Over all, this was a fun watch that only got better as it went on, eventually ending on a huge note that still leaves a lot unsaid. I hope there's a s2 in the near future otherwise I might have to look for English manga copies because there's so much story clearly left untold.
 
25,380
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11
Years
Update
So, I don't really have enough to give a full and comprehensive post for anything, but I have still been reading and watching stuff... sort of. Actually, I just realised I also have not written up anything for chapters 16, 17 or 18 for The Promised Neverland. So I'll have to come back and do that soon. The final two volumes just arrived too so it's been a long time since I forgot to write anything up for them. Whoops.

In the meantime though, I have finished a re-watch of Re:Zero and I finally finished reading the last little bit of Kubo Won't Let Me Be Invisible. I've already talked about both plenty though, I even wrote a review of Kubo for a thing us mods were doing a way back. My thoughts on both haven't really changed so I don't have much to add. Both are still great.

I need to get back into To Your Eternity as well. I don't know why I've dropped off it so much since it's so good.
 
25,380
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11
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The Promised Neverland - Volumes 16, 17 & 18
So... this long overdue update is probably going to be very brief since it's been ages since I actually finished these chapters. I got caught up with GT stuff and other things. My bad.

These volumes dealt with a fair few things. We saw Emma and Ray navigating the strange interdimensional place to meet with the demon god guy with the unspeakable, unreadable name and establishing a new Promise. Although the writer very sneakily isn't telling us what that is, which leads me to believe Emma is going to be giving something up for everyone else's sake that everyone else will not be happy about.

Meanwhile, Don and Gilda are told to bring Mujika and Sonju to the base, given an implication of a change of heart. They are pursued by a strike force though who are meant to take the demons out. The demons catch on to the trick easily enough and take the assassins out, allowing Don and Gilda to talk to them and explain Emma's plan. The demons are on board.

Soon thereafter, the group of the kids and two demons heads to the capital to find the attack underway. The humans have entered the palace and killed all the noble demons but the queen is too powerful for that. Mujika and Sonju intervene and held, finally killing the queen as Don and Gilda head back to the tree base to inform everyone there of what is happening... only to find that the place is empty and an attack force is on the way.

Honestly, the pacing was better once more in these books. Maybe still a touch too quick, but ultimately engaging. I'm excited to see how it all comes to ahead in the final confrontation with the Ratri clan, right back where it all began at Grace Field.

Exception - Summary
I decided to watch this while I was unable to sleep one night and was pleasantly surprised. The basic premise is simple enough, although certainly creative. A colony of humans in cryosleep are en route to colonise a new planet. However, it needs some work done before it is habitable for most Earth species. To do that work, a group of five clones is 3D printed onto a ship that was sent in advance to start the terraforming process. However, as the last of the clones is being printed, the ship is struck by a solar flare that messes up the process and has him coming out deformed - mutated into something demonic and bestial with - at least at first - only primal destructive instincts.

The show is only 8 episodes long and spends the first episodes dealing with the question of what to do about the misprinted Lewis and the ethical question of if it is okay for them to kill him for safety of the mission. Which is already pretty interesting, honestly. Over time though, the story changes and begins evolving into a mystery thriller instead before eventually becoming an action show in the final stretch.

Now, some of the writing was a little predictable and some of the characters were pretty stale and one-note. I admit that much. But the actual way the plot played out and gradually evolved over the course of the show was enjoyable and quite well done. I also quite liked the characters of Patty, Misprint Lewis and, to a lesser extent, Oscar. The way the mystery played out wasn't always the most surprising for me, but it definitely kept me engaged. I wanted to see how it all played out from moment one. That being said though - Nina, Other Lewis and Mack weren't the most thrilling cast members. I wasn't a fan of Mack at all, honestly. But he needed to exist to be the opposite of Patty.

Visually... the show was less strong. The character designs other than Patty and Misprint Lewis were pretty awful for starters. They ranged from conspicuously boring in the case of Other Lewis to "I don't want to look at you in the case" in the cases of Oscar and Mack. The ship and a few scenery shots were really pretty to look at, but most of the environments on the ship felt extremely flat. The animation itself also felt very lifeless and stilted.

Musically everything was fine. Nothing crazy but nothing bad either. The voice acting was similar. I actually watched this one dubbed and the cast had a lot of great voice actors in it... who did not bring their A games. That's not to say anyone was bad, but the performances felt like they lacked a lot of the punch that the events of the story called for or deserved. Which, at least, means they fit the animation.

So yeah, Exception. The story is genuinely quite good and I liked it a lot. But it could have used a little more room to breathe just so we could give the characters a little bit more depth. It would have been cool to maybe flash back to the lives of their originals on Earth to get some more context other than some vague statements or clues in the form of the items left for the clones. Maybe feature a few more conversations between the characters that weren't mission or Lewis-related in their entirety. That way the pacing of the events on the ship would still be in the goldilocks zone (heh) without the characterisation of the clones suffering. Otherwise... different character designs and animation would have gone a long way to help the show. I can't complain about the casting of the English cast, all of the choices were good. I think that is actually part of what made the performances so disappointing. All-in-all, it's a solid show and I'd recommend giving it a shot if you can stand to look at it for eight episodes. But I wouldn't exactly call it a masterpiece. The flaws are there and they are noticeable.
 
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The Promised Neverland - Volumes 19 & 20
Yikes... apparently I started writing this update and then just... never actually did. As with the previous update, that means that it's not very fresh in my mind because I finished these a while ago. That being said, I probably wouldn't want to talk too much about the plot details anyway.

So, to clear it up, these final chapters deal with the battle against the Ratri clan - a fight on two fronts as Mujika and Sonju find themselves painted in a very negative light and made to look like villains for the attack on the demon royalty and the human team launch a guerrilla assault on Grace Field, intent on saving the remaining farm kids and escaping to the human world.

I have little negative to say about these chapters. The pacing was fast, the character drama was solid and the endings the characters got were largely earned, albeit bittersweet in some cases. The cost for Emma's Promise was pretty much exactly what I expected, but it still stung until the epilogue figured its way around it.

So, all in all, I really liked The Promised Neverland and I am glad that I decided to keep going with the manga (especially instead of going with s2 of the anime... how they thought all of this would fit into a single season is beyond me). That isn't to say the story isn't without its faults. While the early volumes are an incredibly strong opening, the story does start to drop off a bit once the kids escape Grace Field and by the time we're in the middle volumes there start to be a lot of pacing problems. Things start playing out way too quickly, characters don't get enough exploration, there is a sudden time skip that just leaps over what would have been an interesting part of the story entirely, things happen in ways that feel contrived because they lack explanation etc etc. It's not like the story becomes a total dumpster fire, but it does mark a notable decrease in the quality of the narrative. That being said though, it does get a lot better in the later volumes and starts picking up the pieces. Does it ever reach the heights of the first three or four volumes again? Not really. But the story does become a lot more gripping and engaging again.

I suspect that some of the problem might just have come down to editorial pressure and time constraints, given how strong the beginning is. There are a lot of very compelling characters but the cast is huge, so it isn't surprising that they didn't all necessarily get the screentime they deserved or needed. So, within reason, I won't fault that. But there are definitely some characters who absolutely needed to be given more time to be a part of things and properly explored and there's not much I can say to salvage the parts where the pacing was at its worst.

It really is a good story and it is definitely worth reading. Just don't go into it expecting the middle chapters to have the same quality as the first few volumes do. It comes back around in the end, but some parts are a bit of a slog. The art never wavers though. Every panel in this series is excellent and the cover art is gorgeous.

BNA - Summary
I binged this over two days, so I'm just going to summarise my thoughts in general. BNA is a story where beastmen - lycanthropic people who can shift between human and animalistic forms essentially - are treated with extreme prejudice and violence in society with Anima city, a segregated city in Japan being a safe haven. The main character, Michiru, flees to Anima City after mysteriously becoming a beast person after recovering from an accident and has to adapt to living there while getting embroiled in a lot of the goings on there and trying to regain her normal human form.

I was worried about this one after the first few episodes because it seemed like it was intended more to be an exploration of the show's world than a story with any real character growth or plot development. I think that these concerns were mostly unfounded though as by episode four we start getting snippets of growth and plot and by episode six, things have really kicked off with stories of corruption, mysteries slowly getting unravelled etc. Was the execution of this story perfect? Definitely not, but it was a lot better than I was expecting from what I'd hear about the show second hand. The last few episodes in particular were extremely engaging... except for a large chunk of the finale.

As always, I'll try to avoid spoilers, but I think the twist with the antagonist was incredibly dumb, added nothing to the show and existed purely as excuse for Trigger to go full Trigger with the action sequence that resulted from it. They did not need to pull that twist to make the villain work, the worldbuilding, his previous actions and the motive that seemed to be the case already did a perfectly good job of making us hate him and giving him a motivation for what he was doing. The twist didn't even really change that in a meaningful way it was just there to make you go "I bet you didn't see that coming!" Which is true, I didn't. Because nothing previously established in the story suggested it would be the case. Nothing in the worldbuilding suggested it would or could be the case. Subverting expectations with a twist doesn't work when the twist neither adds anything to the story nor feels like it belongs there or makes sense when you view the rest of the plot with the benefit of hindsight.

There was some other little things where character growth and themes could get a little muddied, but I think they mostly got a grip on that by the time the series was doing its epilogue stuff. Sort of. At the very least, it was satisfactory enough that I don't think it was a big deal. The character were fairly interesting, albeit a bit one note and shallow at times. The themes were pretty clear cut, beast people being used to explore prejudice and discrimination isn't anything new. It was an interesting idea to show that even a character who isn't outright racist still had some inbuilt, systemic shit to work through though. Definitely there was nothing as glaringly awful in the writing as the twist with the villain, that's for sure.

The art and animation were gorgeous. It's a Trigger anime. The animation is always top quality and every different style they try always looks good. Crazy, lively and kinetic animation is their trademark. But I've never been one to let them off for their mistakes just because their work is fantastic to look at.

It's a good show, but definitely not a great one. I liked it and would recommend it. But the flaws are there.
 

Cherrim

PSA: Blossom Shower theme is BACK ♥
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So, all in all, I really liked The Promised Neverland and I am glad that I decided to keep going with the manga (especially instead of going with s2 of the anime... how they thought all of this would fit into a single season is beyond me). That isn't to say the story isn't without its faults. While the early volumes are an incredibly strong opening, the story does start to drop off a bit once the kids escape Grace Field and by the time we're in the middle volumes there start to be a lot of pacing problems. Things start playing out way too quickly, characters don't get enough exploration, there is a sudden time skip that just leaps over what would have been an interesting part of the story entirely, things happen in ways that feel contrived because they lack explanation etc etc. It's not like the story becomes a total dumpster fire, but it does mark a notable decrease in the quality of the narrative. That being said though, it does get a lot better in the later volumes and starts picking up the pieces. Does it ever reach the heights of the first three or four volumes again? Not really. But the story does become a lot more gripping and engaging again.
It's been a while since I read Promised Neverland, but I definitely agree with everything you said here. I remember my impression of the post-orphanage arc being mostly that they kind of floundered trying to find their new pacing and focus after they all escaped for a long time before the manga picked up again. If it weren't for the art and my affection for the main characters, I think I would have dropped it pretty early on in the middle part. I kind of wondered if it took them a year or so of essentially working through filler before they decided how they wanted the series to end. But the pacing was much better once they figured it out and they did a great job wrapping up what they'd written to that point.

I never watched S2 of the anime because I heard it sucked and they removed my fave character, but I have to wonder if they kind of saw where the manga was going (no idea when it aired vs when it was published) and were like... "okay we can't make a whole second season out of that middle part even if we adapt it faithfully and have people stick around for a season 3 where it picks up again" lmao. Given my understanding that anime seasons don't really vary from the 13 episode cour or whatever, it would have been pretty hard to split this into 13/13/13 episodes when you don't have the sheer suspense and momentum of the first arc carrying you through. But idk, I did not watch it and never will so who knows what they could have done. (I did just look it up to see when it aired vs when the manga was in publication and apparently they didn't even put the writers in the credits for the last few episodes because the reception was so bad. y i k e s!)

By the way, there's a collection of short stories by both authors that they did early on in order to gauge how well they'd work together before getting into a longer story like Promised Neverland and I think there's a bonus epilogue chapter for the series in it that was really cute.
 
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By the way, there's a collection of short stories by both authors that they did early on in order to gauge how well they'd work together before getting into a longer story like Promised Neverland and I think there's a bonus epilogue chapter for the series in it that was really cute.

Oh interesting. I'll have to have a look.

Damn right about the art though. It's some of the best art I've come across.
 
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