The Quatermass All-Purpose Media Review Thread

Welcome to the Sir Terry Pratchett Forums
Register here for the Sir Terry Pratchett forum and message boards.
Sign up

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,339
15
2,850
REVIEW: The Saga of Tanya the Evil: Episode 1: The Devil of the Rhine, Episode 2: Prologue, Episode 3: Deus Vult, and Episode 4: Campus Life by Kenta Ihara, from the light novels by Carlo Zen

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: STE1-4, 4X25 minute episodes


Having read the first two volumes of the light novel series The Saga of Tanya the Evil, I decided to make a start on the anime adaptation. But how would this infamous isekai series fare as an anime? Let’s find out…

1923, in a world where the First World War is being fought with mages alongside machine guns and artillery. A ten year old girl called Tanya Degurechaff is a prodigy, a ruthless pragmatist who is feared by both the enemy and her allies. What they don’t know is that she was once a Japanese HR manager from our world in 2013, who was murdered by one of those he fired. Harangued for his atheism by an entity claiming to be God, but which he dubs Being X, he is forcibly reincarnated in a world ruled by conflict and magic, in order to force him to believe, and if he dies, he won’t be reincarnated ever again. But Tanya refuses to go down without a fight, but hopes that success on the battlefield will lead to a peaceful one are dashed, time and again, by both the misunderstandings of her superiors, and the machinations of the malign Being X…

The fact that this story has been adapted at all speaks to its quality, for it is one of the better isekai novel series. The story adaptation is pretty good, with more insertions of Being X’s meddling to help clarify a few things, and the dialogue is good too, as is some much-needed comedic moments. I do think some elements were omitted, much to the detriment of the series, though, including insights into the main character, and there are times, especially with the first episode, where the tone of the series is rather unrelentingly grim. Then again, it is a series set during a war.

Tanya in fact feels a lot more malign than she was in the novels, with her brutal pragmatism not as offset by little moments of kindness, though a few (albeit pragmatic ones) are still there. That being said, Monica Rial is a delight as Tanya, playing the role of a brutal and somewhat sociopathic adult speaking through the lips of a child rather well. The other characters are interesting, though it is more J Michael Tatum as Rerugen, Jeannie Tirado as Viktoria, and Bill Jenkins as Being X (when Being X isn’t speaking through others) that are best.

The production values are, for the most part, excellent. The aerial dogfights between mages are well-choreographed, the animation of Tanya’s expressions are scary and interesting, and there’s significant world-building here with lots of little touches to sell the fact that this is technically another world and another culture. It also does not shy away that much from the brutal reality of war. However, there are a few blips here and there, with the animation of Zettour and Tanya leaving the library using a rather unnecessary and really clunky CGI background being a particular example.

Overall, while not quite as good as the book it was adapted from and missing some nuances, this series is nonetheless a good, if grim, look at war…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,339
15
2,850
REVIEW: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Episode 25: Doorway of Darkness, Episode 26: Reunion, Episode 27: Interlude Party, and Episode 28: Father by Hiroshi Onogi, from the manga by Hiromu Arakawa

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: FMAB25-28, 4X25 minute episodes

So, here I come, to one of the bigger turning points of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, where the villain of the series is finally revealed. But how well would it do? Let’s find out…

Edward, Ling Yao, and Envy are all trapped within a horrific dimension within Gluttony’s bowels. As they struggle to break free, Envy revealing his true horrific form, Alphonse persuades Gluttony to take him to his leader, Father, a search that inadvertently draws in Scar and May Chang. Meanwhile, Mustang realises that the price for his sticking his nose into Fuhrer Bradley’s secrets will mean his comrades are scattered and kept as hostages. All of which leads to a confrontation in the lair of the mysterious Father…who looks exactly like the Elric brothers’ own father, Von Hohenheim…

The story of these episodes are good, for the most part, with the reveal of Father as well as Bradley’s past and Envy’s own actions being well done. Unfortunately, a noticeable fly in the ointment is the 27th episode, which is mostly a clipshow based around a dream Von Hohenheim is having, and while it does shed some light on his psyche, it also breaks the flow of the main story, much to my annoyance.

Vic Mignogna and Maxey Whitehead are, as usual, enjoyable as the Elrics, while Todd Haberkorn has grown on me as Ling. Wendy Powell gets to go all out as Envy, and Troy Baker makes a good show of playing the new Greed. Finally, Kent Williams gets to show off as Father, showing him to be even colder and crueller than Von Hohenheim.

Production values are still pretty good for this series. However, one pretty big flaw is the rather conspicuous CG used for Envy’s monstrous true form. While the design and animation is nightmarish and well done, the CG does look a bit clunky at times.

Overall, these episodes could have been great, but were hampered by a clipshow and dodgy CGI. A shame, really, given the impact of these episodes…

****
 
Last edited:

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,339
15
2,850
REVIEW: Game of Thrones Series 3: Episode 1: Valar Dohaeris and Episode 2: Dark Wings, Dark Words by David Benioff and DB Weiss, and Vanessa Taylor, from the novel by George RR Martin

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: GOT3.1-2, 2X60 minute episodes


Earlier, I began rewatching Game of Thrones from the beginning, but I decided, after the first season, not to review episodes I had already watched. I dithered and dallied, before finally embarking on the third season, the first season of which I hadn’t watched, even if I had read the book it was based on, A Storm of Swords. So, how would I find it?

Beyond the Wall, the survivors of the White Walker attack on the Night’s Watch expedition begin the long trek home, while Jon Snow tries to inveigle himself into the good graces of Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall. Meanwhile, Robb Stark and Catelyn have to deal with divided loyalties within their allies, problems they themselves have caused, while Bran sees visions not only of the Three-Eyed Raven, but of a mysterious young man. In King’s Landing, Joffrey’s new fiancé, Margaery Tyrell, manages to pry the truth about Joffrey from Sansa. And Daenerys Targaryen heads to Astapor, looking to find an army as her dragons grow…

While the story is still as superlative as before, a lot seems to be in transition after the events of the previous season. No real major exposition or true plot development is given, save for the reveal of Mance Rayder and the arrival of Jojen Reed. Plus, some of the harsher bits of violence seems to be becoming a touch gratuitous, like Theon’s torture.

The cast, however, are still stellar as usual. Peter Dinklage, Charles Dance, Michelle Fairley, Richard Madden, Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke all do well, as usual, for the returning cast. Ciaran Hinds makes an interesting debut as Mance, as does Thomas Brodie Sangster as the mysterious Jojen. Another interesting debut is veteran actress Diana Rigg as the sardonic and sharp-tongued Olenna Tyrell, perfect for the role.

Production values are, for the most part, superlative. The opening episode of this series begins with a well-done nightmarish sequence of Samwell Tarly running into the aftermath of a White Walker attack, and the direction, for the most part, only continues to go from strength to strength. A massive disappointment, though, are the CGI used for the dragons and especially the manticore used to attack Dany at the end of the first episode. While the effects for the dragons were good, they weren’t superlative, and the manticore looked blatantly CGI.

While disappointing, these episodes of Game of Thrones were still very enjoyable. I hope to see more with future episodes, though…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,339
15
2,850
REVIEW: Castlevania season 1 by Warren Ellis, from the video game Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse.

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: CV1, 4X25 minute episodes


Castlevania, one of the most seminal video game series of all time, chock full of horror clichés, and yet popular for its exploration-based gameplay. Video game adaptations to film and TV have had mixed results, and yet, noted comic book writer Warren Ellis was called in to write what became an animated adaptation of the third main game of the series. So, how would this adaptation fare?

Wallachia, 1455. A woman called Lisa meets with Dracula, searching for knowledge, and manages to win the misanthropic vampire’s heart. Twenty years later, Lisa, accused of witchcraft when in truth she was using advanced science to help people, is burned at the stake by a corrupt and ambitious bishop. A wrathful Dracula appears before the people who murdered his wife, and warns them that he will gather a diabolic army to lay waste to Wallachia. Even his son cannot dissuade him from this plan. A year later, Dracula’s wrath is unleashed upon the land. And unfortunately, the Church has been persecuting those who may be their best hope of saving the people of Wallachia. While Trevor Belmont, an embittered scion of the excommunicated Belmont clan of monster hunters, makes his way through Wallachia, the Speakers, a group of holders of forgotten knowledge, are pursued by the Church’s agents. And soon, Dracula’s wrath will force them to make a choice, to fight, run, or die…

For all that I enjoy Warren Ellis’ work, I find myself a bit underwhelmed at the quality of the writing. True, it was originally intended for a feature film, and there’s some good dialogue and such. But the plot, being a sort of prologue to the third Castlevania game, is pretty thin on the ground, with more incident than structure, and it feels like it’s trying way too hard to emulate Game of Thrones in some regards, minus any sexual parts. Plus, it’s over just before the good bits happen, at four episodes long.

That being said, the cast is stellar. Richard Armitage plays the reluctant Trevor quite well, a marked change from his previous roles, while fellow The Hobbit co-star Graham McTavish gets to show both the human and inhuman sides of Dracula. Matt Frewer lays on the viciousness of his fanatical Bishop, while Alejandra Reynoso as Sypha and James Callis as Alucard round out the main protagonists.

Production values are on the whole pretty damn good. The animation is, with a few notable exceptions, quite good, with some enjoyable battle scenes. However, it seems like a lot of the violence is rather gratuitous, especially when it doesn’t directly relate to the horror. Some parts could have done better being implied rather than shown, and then there’s the bit with an eyeball being literally whipped out of someone’s head, which feels completely unnecessary, put there for schlock value only.

Overall, though, the first season of Castlevania, while not quite reaching the potential it could have and filled with somewhat more gratuitous violence than even a horror series needed, was nonetheless an enjoyable romp. I’m looking forward to the next season…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,339
15
2,850
REVIEW: Game of Thrones Series 3: Episode 3: Walk of Punishment and Episode 4: And Now His Watch is Ended by David Benioff and DB Weiss, from the novel by George RR Martin

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: GOT3.3-4, 2X55 minute episodes


Having recently tried to get back into Game of Thrones, I decided it was past time to continue the third series of the dark fantasy show. But how well would these episodes do? Let’s find out…

In King’s Landing, Tyrion is appointed the Master of Coin, and is forced to unravel the mess of the finances. In Astapor, Daenerys embarks on a drastic course to gain the Unsullied. Theon, Jaime, Brienne and Arya have to deal with their own respective captivities. And beyond the Wall, a disaster is about to befall the last survivors of the expedition of the Night’s Watch…

After the mild disappointment of the first two episodes, these two feel more like a return to form, like the plot is actually going somewhere. Plus, these episodes also have some of the better moments, with a particularly great moment being the climax of And Now His Watch Is Ended. There’s also some nice moments not in the books that add to it, like with Theon’s escape, aided and abetted by a character later revealed (later in the series) as the vicious and sadistic Ramsay Snow.

What can I say about the cast that I haven’t already? Not really that much, only that they keep up the superlative work. Particular note should go to relative newcomer Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow, showing his manipulative side in manipulating Theon, with Alfie Allen also showing his regret at betraying the Starks. Another is Emilia Clarke, especially in her powerful scene as Daenerys at the climax of the fourth episode.

Production values are still quite excellent too. True, the CGI dragon does seem a bit off, but otherwise, it all works. It feels immersive, and I have to admit, I can find little fault with it.

These two episodes of Game of Thrones feel like a return to form for this superlative series. Here’s hoping for more…

*****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,339
15
2,850
REVIEW: Kara no Kyokai- The Garden of Sinners: Remaining Sense of Pain- ever cry, ever life by Masaki Hiramitsu, from the light novel by Kinku Nasu.

TYPE: Film

DETAILS: KNK3, 60 minute film


After the disappointing first sojourn into the film adaptations of Kara no Kyokai, I wondered whether I should continue with it. I decided to do so, skipping ahead to the third film in the series. But would that prove wise?

Mikiya Kokuto finds a girl he knows in an alley, the usually stoic Fujino Asagani. He helps her, unaware that she was recently raped by a gang of thugs…and that she massacred most of them with mystic powers, a brutal form of telekinesis that warps and distorts its targets through her Mystic Eyes, like Shiki Tohno’s. Soon, Toko Aozaki, Shiki Tohno and Mikiya are given a mission to deal with whoever’s behind the killings…not knowing that it will force a bitter battle to the death…

Unlike the previous movie I watched, thankfully, the story is more coherent. True, there are some parts left unexplained properly, annoyingly, and I felt the rape scenes were rather gratuitous, with telling rather than showing a better option. It also lacked a few character moments of the previous film I watched. But overall, it was a more coherent experience, and thus more enjoyable.

Maaya Sakamoto is good as the stoic Shiki, and the rest of the cast do well. I have to give a particular shoutout to Mamiko Noto as Fujino. Having heard her voice as the Japanese versions of Altera and Scathach in the Fate franchise, it’s a refreshing change to hear her as Fujino, who is by turns stoic, sorrowful, and psychotic. Still, I felt this movie to not get into her character, or indeed the others, as well as it could have.

As for production values, well, what can I say? Even before they tackled Fate/Zero and the latter two adaptations of Fate/Stay Night, Ufotable was doing some fine work. While the climactic battle isn’t quite up to the usual standard for their later adaptations, it’s still pretty impressive, with Shiki and Fujino caught in the middle of a bridge collapse Fujino caused in desperation. The quieter moments are stronger too.

Overall, this instalment of Kara no Kyokai was a more enjoyable one than the previous instalment. Maybe there’s something more to this series after all…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,339
15
2,850
REVIEW: Game of Thrones Series 3: Episode 5: Kissed by Fire, Episode 6: The Climb and Episode 7: The Bear and the Maiden Fair by Bryan Cogman, David Benioff and DB Weiss, and George RR Martin, from the novel by George RR Martin

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: GOT3.5-7, 3X55 minute episodes


So, now I’m making my way through more of Game of Thrones’ third season. But how well would it turn out? Let’s find out…

The Tyrells plan to wed Sansa Stark to Loras, but Tywin Lannister forces Tyrion to wed Sansa, and Cersei to wed Loras. Meanwhile, the Hound’s trial by combat doesn’t go as well as Arya hopes it will, and she finds herself soon disillusioned with the Brotherhood Without Banners. Robb Stark’s own bannermen in the Karstarks kill his Lannister hostages as revenge, and Robb’s punishment of Lord Karstark may rob him of the men he needs. Jaime and Brienne find themselves the dubious guests of Lord Bolton. And Jon Snow is forced to accompany the Wildlings on a dangerous climb up the Wall…

After the past couple of episodes, these episodes feel a bit like a dip in quality. True, some interesting events actually happen, and there’s some great scenes and dialogue, including one where Tywin puts his grandson in his place, as well as Littlefinger’s speech about chaos being a ladder, and, of course, Jaime’s confession about why he killed Aerys. But it doesn’t quite feel as good as the last couple of them, which is a real shame, and there’s some moments, including a couple involving Theon and his tormentor, that feel unnecessary.

I can’t really say anything about the characters that I haven’t already in prior reviews. Many have their moments, a few mentioned above, and others have them elsewhere. So I won’t really bring them up.

Production values-wise, well, the series is pretty damn good. True, some CGI elements do look a bit dodgy (the titular bear of the third episode of this little arc is a case in point), but the climbing of the Wall is brilliant. What else can I say?

While not as great as the last couple of episodes, these episodes of Game of Thrones were nonetheless enjoyable enough. Here’s hoping the season finale turns out well…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,339
15
2,850
REVIEW: Tokyo Ghoul: re Episode 3: fresh- Eve, Episode 4: MAIN- Auction, Episode 5: PresS- Night of Scattering and Episode 6: turn- In the End by Chuuji Mikasano, from the manga by Sui Ishida

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: TGRE1.3-1.6, 4X25 minute episodes


So, here I am, coming back to Tokyo Ghoul: re. But how would I find the series after something of an absence from the anime version? Let’s find out…

Increasingly haunted by his past life as Ken Kaneki, Haise Sasaki begins heading up an operation to take down a Ghoul Auction, using members of his team as bait. However, the man heading up the operation is the cold and pragmatic Matsuri Washuu, known for allowing for high casualties of his underlings in operations. What’s more, Aogiri Tree and the Clowns have teamed up to provide security for the Auction, and combined with the Nutcracker, their mission is going to be difficult. But there are complicating factors. Kanae von Rosenwald, dedicated retainer to Shu Tsukiyama, has decided to bring about Tsukiyama’s happiness at any cost, while Juuzou confronts a figure from his past. Torso wants Mutsuki, Hinami wants to help Kaneki, and then there’s a mysterious Ghoul, once one of the CCG’s own, now a thoroughly deranged monster…

At this point, I have to say, the story is not quite as abridged as it was in the previous episodes. However, I still feel a little dissatisfied, though this is admittedly due to most of these episodes being a series of running battles with little actual plot development. There’s some twists that would be certainly shocking if one hadn’t read the manga, and it’s exciting, but not really meaty in terms of plot.

As usual, Austin Tindle is brilliant as Haise, giving the character the complexity needed. Lara Woodhull shows more of her ability as Hinami off, while clearly, Micah Solusod is enjoying chewing the scenery as the now-deranged Takizawa, and Maxey Whitehead giving her all as Juuzou. However, I’m still finding it hard to give a damn about most of the Quinx Squad, especially Urie, who I hope, in vain, will die a nasty death.

Production values are nothing to sneeze at. While it’s a bit annoying that they cut out many gory elements, particularly where Takizawa is concerned, the various fight scenes are actually very well done. The art direction and choreography work well together, giving these episodes a great polish.

Overall, while not as great as I hoped, these episodes of Tokyo Ghoul: re were good enough. I just hope for more with later episodes…

****
 

Book of the Month

Good Omens

"Pratchett’s wackiness collaborates with Gaiman’s morbid humour; the result is a humanist delight to be savoured and read again and again."

Latest posts

User Menu

Newsletter