Review: Shokugeki no Souma

There are barely enough food series out there, and I could count the ones I’ve seen with only one hand. I’m glad this one came out since there’s one thing I’m certain every time I watch an episode, I salivate. One can’t deny that the food presented in this series look so good you can’t help but dream of wanting to taste it yourself someday. I have to applaud Morisaki Yuki (co-creator of the manga) as the mastermind behind the recipes. I’m not sure how close they are to the actual ones, or if it’s modified or not for the exaggeration of the story, but by the explanation of each meal shown, it was obviously well-researched. It wasn’t some amateur presentation of cuisines around the world because that would be one boring show for sure. The main plot itself is quite typical though: an underestimated protagonist with cooking potential, who wants to be on top, but he needs to climb the food chain (no pun intended) in order to do so. Honestly, if it weren’t for the detailed recipes, it would be quite generic. So I think the combination works of Tsukuda Yuuto and Morisaki Yuki was great.

The characters would have to improve though. The cast seems very large—your eyes are immediately taken away from the newly introduced character to another new character; you don’t have much time to ponder whether you like that character or not. Very minimal character developments (only Megumi, it seems), and the supporting characters are there as obstacles. I suppose that is indeed their purpose, but it’d be great if they had a solid backstory or the like. My thinking goes like: if a character doesn’t make you feel anything—love or hate—just impassiveness, then that character is basically pointless. Our main protagonist, Souma is very likable, very shounen-esque male character, which will definitely fit the bill for mainstream shows. Personally, his personality is quite endearing because of his very “boyish” acts and almost apathetic attitude.

The art and animation was impressive most especially on the meals. Each plate and narration of it was detailed. Although I don’t appreciate excessive fanservice, it is almost understandable when the mangaka drew their food reactions as such. When you think about it, eating your most favorite food you can’t help but squirm in your seat and shout in ecstasy. (You can read however you want too, lol.) I also didn’t notice too many weird character animation in different angles or distances.The character designs were on-point with the manga, if not better. Seriously, JC Staff can be good when they want to. Great main VA cast too. I’m not particularly fond of the second half of the series’ opening theme song though. I almost laughed out loud when I saw their font choices—very outdated. Of all the font families, they had to pick one in serif. On the other hand, I found the ending theme songs more pleasant, especially the first one.

Overall, it was a pleasant show. My eyes were definitely full. This is like a combination of Yakitate!! Japan and Koufuku Grafitti, I suppose. Only I think this has managed to grasp my attention more since the script and direction was nicely done, and it truly was more entertaining.

Animation/Art: 4/5
Story: 4/5
Characters: 2.75/5
Sound/VA cast: 3.5/5
Enjoyment: 3.75/5
Overall: 3.6/5

Note: This post was written on October 6, 2015.

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First Impression: Comet Lucifer

It seems that this show has getting a lot of negative feedbacks based on the first episode. Truthfully, the episode to introduce us to the series is typical and very uncreative. I’ve known all these scenes all too well in other shows—the only difference (but not really, if you get what I mean) is the AU setting. Their world seems pretty advanced when it comes to technology especially with the incorporation of hoverboards and robots. I, for one, wasn’t impressed by the stale introduction, but it is just the first episode so far. However, I did enjoy the small battle between the robots. Its CG and SFX wasn’t that bad, in my opinion. I thought the set designs were neat, but the character designs and animation was mediocre. I particularly liked the animation and songs on the opening and ending theme performances. It seems there are four-five main characters we’re bound to see each episode, and I think their seiyuu did fit their roles.

Honestly, there’s not much to say since the only thing we know of is that there’s a mysterious girl that will bring forth adventure to the protagonist. I’ve read from others that it isn’t “mecha enough,” but shrugs, I’m not too particular with that. After all, we will see on the next episodes to come how the story progresses. I’ll probably do a quick mid-season reviews for the shows I’m watching right now.

A quick side note also is that I’ve minimized the frequency of my reviews to twice a week to keep my blog busy as I will be gone for the month of November. Each posts from First Impression: Gakusen Toshi Asterisk and onwards were scheduled posts done in advance.

Art/Animation: 2.5/5
Story: 2/5
Sound/VA cast: 3/5
Enjoyment: 2/5
Overall: 2.38/5

Note: This post was written on October 7, 2015.

Review: Kekkai Sensen

Two words to describe this show would be “absurd” and “madness.” I don’t usually compare shows to another because to each their own. However, the final episode has dawned me a confirmed realization—it felt like a mixture of K and Baccano!, and I like it. The craziness of this series is what attracted me to it. The pilot episode it self had me repeating a couple scenes to understand the possible premise, but even then, the real plot of it became more obvious on the next few episodes when it was later revealed that William Macbeth has somewhat a split personality since he has two people in one body. The other being “King of Despair” is our villain. The actual plot follows through the later half of the show, while the initial episodes focused on getting to know the Libra organization where Leonardo Watch is a part of. Even though we have these “down episodes,” it was a little enjoyable seeing the interactions between the members of the organization. It didn’t fail on the humor it came with. Its comedy wasn’t forced, and Leonardo’s dry humor definitely fits his character. I would say though that it doesn’t have a solid plot, and the show didn’t wrap up with all the answers, even though other individual episodes not related to the main plot was really good (episode 6/11, people; got me too emotional).

Speaking of characters, personally, I think everyone was written well! I’ve read some reviews saying they’re personalities are generic/typical. Yes, that may be true, but not all “generic” characters can be written good that it feels so natural that that is character’s personality. No outstanding character development but I thought it wasn’t really needed because the supporting characters’ personality balanced very well in the chaotic premise. Generally, the characters were very likable and not awkward. Each of them were given enough screen time that didn’t make them forgettable considering the cast is quite huge for a 12-episode show. The strongest element I thought was how they portrayed the family bonds between the Macbeth siblings as well friendship between the members of the organization. Despite all that though, I am not a huge fan of the VA cast. There are really some notable people here that they’ve acquired, but they just don’t fit some of the characters they play (personally). Probably the one that irks me the most is Nakai Kazuya as Zapp. I do like some of his works, but this one… not too fond of it.

Quite honestly, I almost forgot about this series because the final episode took such a long time to air that they excitement kind of died down. Correct me if I’m wrong but I heard because they got more prominent people on board to give “better quality animation.” The animation was pretty consistent until the last episode, and I didn’t particularly notice anything major. The action scenes, I’m sure, were hard to do and I think that’s why they needed more people; it was pretty decent, in my opinion. Overall, the animation was good—Bones-tier—albeit the awkward character animation in different angles is still ever-present in anime shows. The thing about it is that it fits the overall aura of the show and its background and settings, that’s why the other animation didn’t look weird in frame. The character designs were quite bizarre considering it is a supernatural setting. I particularly like the details on William Macbeth’s outfit, especially the New Balance shoes (lol). Personally, I love NB shoes. Not sure if sponsored.

I’m not gonna lie but there’s a lot of things that I’m confused about even after all that. Mostly about Leo’s past and his sister, as well as how this “King of Despair” fit into their world fueling even more mayhem. The plot may not be a 5/5, but it had its own charm that made me enjoy this show a lot especially with its strange premise and sense of humor. Plus, I deem it as having the best soundtrack ever of the spring 2015 lineup.

Animation/Art: 3/5
Story: 2.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Sound/VA cast: 5/5
Enjoyment: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Note: This post was written on October 6, 2015.