The Quatermass All-Purpose Media Review Thread

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

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,246
11
2,850
REVIEW: Tokyo Ghoul √A Episode 6: Thousand Paths, Episode 7: Permeation, and Episode 8: Old Nines by Chuuji Mikasano, from the manga by Sui Ishida

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: TGRA1.6-1.8, 3X25 minute episodes


So, having recently finished the original manga run of Tokyo Ghoul, I find myself watching more of the second season of the anime adaptation. Given its departure in many regards from the manga, I hoped it would get better, at least further on. But would it?

Ken struggles with his kakuja, struggling against his inner Ghoul instincts which are raging out of control. Meanwhile, Koutaro Amon and Akira Mado manage to reconcile, while Shinohara, accompanied by Juuzou, begins an investigation of his own, leading him to Anteiku. However, Ken, seeking answers, talks to Yoshimura, and even though he has a bad encounter with a hurt Touka, he soon has his answers: Yoshimura’s own daughter is the true One-Eyed Owl…

The story itself is filled with nice character moments and has some good adaptations of the manga. However, it is clear that the writers didn’t think things through with Ken becoming part of Aogiri Tree and the consequences thereof. In addition, Touka’s attack on Ken during the bridge scene doesn’t have quite as much lead-up to it, and while not unprovoked, doesn’t paint Touka in quite as good a light as the manga. Ken’s choices also seem baffling, even though we finally have the reason he joined Aogiri Tree.

That being said, the performances are all well-done. Austin Tindle as Ken, Brina Palencia as Touka, these are just some of the many enjoyable performances in the show, making do with a script that isn’t quite working, even if the emotional moments do work for the most part. Indeed, they are amongst the best things in this adaptation.

Production values are pretty good, with many great moments. True, there aren’t really that many fight scenes, but the direction works with many of the emotional moments, as well as the horrific moments. I have pretty much no complaints about that side of things.

These episodes of Tokyo Ghoul √A, while enjoyable, nonetheless lack substance and show the problems with deviating so sharply in some regards from the manga. A shame, really, as they’re still quite good…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,246
11
2,850
REVIEW: Tokyo Ghoul: PINTO by Chuuji Mikasano, from the manga by Sui Ishida and the light novel Tokyo Ghoul: Days by Shin Towada.

TYPE: Original Video Animation

DETAILS: TG2, 25 min OVA


The first of the Tokyo Ghoul OVAs didn’t appeal to me as much as it could have, but given how short it was, well, that was part of the problem. I decided to give the second OVA, Tokyo Ghoul: PINTO, a shot, to see whether it was any good. Time would tell if it is…

Shu Tsukiyama: Aesthete. Epicure. Ghoul. But during one of his hunts during his high school years, he’s surprised by a fellow student, an eccentric photographer called Chie Hori. A strange friendship of sorts is struck up between the two, but Chie should be wary, for Tsukiyama has strange and sadistic tastes, ones that might lead to her demise…

The story is a short one, and lacking in substance. However, the themes that are there are pretty good, with the development of Tsukiyama’s strange friendship with Chie the focus. There’s a nice, if very dark, touch in an elderly hospital patient and a nurse with a dark secret that adds just the right thing to the story.

Being as character-driven as it is, this short but sweet story runs on its characters. Tsukiyama’s childhood is shown, as is his complexity, and Mamoru Miyano does well with the flamboyant and intelligent Ghoul. Chie Hori is endearing and interesting, despite her scatter-brained ways, and Megumi Han plays her well.

As for the production values, well, they are good. Sadly, there aren’t any fight scenes, and the one action scene at the end, while good, doesn’t really get to show off much. However, this is made up for by the cinematography, adding to the mood of this character piece.

Overall, while a shorter and more character-driven piece than the previous one, this actually works to PINTO’s benefit. A shame it isn’t longer…

***½
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,246
11
2,850
REVIEW: Tokyo Ghoul √A Episode 9: City in Waiting, Episode 10: Last Rain, Episode 11: Deluge of Flowers, and Episode 12: Ken by Chuuji Mikasano, from the manga by Sui Ishida

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: TGRA1.9-1.12, 4X25 minute episodes


So, here I am, at the last episodes of Tokyo Ghoul √A. While many elements of the adaptation were spotty at best, and at worst, a complete derailment of the manga’s themes, it was still compelling enough to watch until the end. And now, the end has come…

The CCG have decided to launch an assault against the 20th Ward and Anteiku, hoping to wipe out the One-Eyed Owl for once and for all. Ken and Touka make their separate ways to the 20th Ward in order to help their friends. What follows is a bloody, deadly battle, where not everyone will survive…

For all my issues with this adaptation, it’s still a good one, with many of the best moments from the final volumes of the first manga run preserved. Others, unfortunately and annoyingly, are gotten rid of, including the climactic battle between Ken and Arima. However, the final episode, for all its faults, is pretty tearjerking, though the final, long walk does take too long, and it just feels like too many threads were left up in the air, and not addressed as satisfactorily as in the manga.

Austin Tindle as Ken and Brina Palencia as Touka do pretty well. Plus, we have some pretty heartstring-tugging screams and lines from Maxey Whitehead as Juuzou after the character comes to a realisation about his superior. And finally, we have a chilling performance from Lindsay Siedel as Sen Takatsuki…revealing herself to be Eto.

The fight scenes are pretty good, at least in many parts. However, as brought up earlier, I feel that, while the emotional content of the final episode hits the right spots for the most part, the pacing of the final long walk ruins it a bit by going on for a bit too long. They try too hard for the symbolism, and the story suffers for it.

Overall, while excellent for what it is, the finale of Tokyo Ghoul √A was a disappointment in some key areas. It had many of the emotional moments down and great fights, but the story didn’t quite survive…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,246
11
2,850
REVIEW: Future Diary Episode 1: Sign Up, Episode 2: Contract Terms, and Episode 3: Initial Failure by Katsuhiko Takayama, from the manga by Sakae Esuno

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: FD1.1-1.3, 3X25 minute episodes


The Fate franchise revolves around a lethal tournament with the stakes being ultimate power, set in a dark fantasy universe. A not wholly dissimilar franchise is Future Diary, infamous for providing one of the archetypal yandere or crazy stalker characters in modern fiction. But would I enjoy this dark fantasy thriller series?

Yukkiteru ‘Yukki’ Amano is pretty much a nobody, and content to remain that way, observing his days’ events in a diary on his mobile phone. His only friends are supposedly imaginary, the Lord of Space and Time known as Deus ex Machina, and Deus’ diminutive assistant Murmur. However, Deus is very real, and gives Yukki a Future Diary, whereby events of the future are predicted on his phone. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one with such a diary: Yuno Gasai, a girl who is obsessed with him, has another, and Yukki soon learns that they are amongst a dozen contestants in a survival game held by Deus ex Machina. The winner, the last Diary Holder left alive, will gain Deus’ throne. And soon, the other Diary Holders are gunning for Yukki, including misotheistic terrorist Minene Uryu…

The plot, at least initially, seems like many that have gone on before, and already goes through some established tropes for the protagonist. It also seems, at times, a bit gratuitously dark and violent. However, for all that, it nonetheless has many enjoyable plot and character moments, and we have some disturbing foreshadowing of what’s to come. It succeeds way more often than it fails.

Josh Grelle is great as the wimpy Yukki. However, I’m more ambivalent about Brina Palencia as Yuno. While she sounds more like a realistic girl, giving a more subtle unsettling nature to the character, it doesn’t provide as much dissonance as the Japanese voice actress being cutesy and thus contrasting greatly with her actions. However, the character of Yuno herself is a very interesting one. So too is misotheistic mad bomber Minene Uryu, with Emily Neves hamming it up, as does Kent Williams as Deus ex Machina.

Production values are pretty good. I have to admit, though, while the CGI used for Deus gives him an unsettling and alien air, it doesn’t succeed for other parts, particularly with the theme park scenes in the third episode. I also feel that the first episode was a little rushed, though the second and third episodes have some pretty good pacing and, in the former, some enjoyable action scenes.

Overall, the first three episodes of Future Diary were an enjoyable start to a dark and twisted series. Hopefully, it’ll retain my interest…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,246
11
2,850
REVIEW: Fate/Apocrypha: Episode 13: The Last Master, Episode 14: Prayer of Salvation, and Episode 15: Differing Paths by Yuichiro Higashide

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: FA13-15, 3X25 minute episodes


At long last, the second half of Fate/Apocrypha has been released on Blu-Ray in Australia. Therefore, I decided to jump right in where the series left off. But how would things go?

Astolfo’s Master Celenike makes an attempt to have her Servant murder Sieg, but a timely intervention from Mordred saves Sieg. Meanwhile, Jeanne has discovered the truth behind Shirou Kotomine: he is actually a Ruler Servant like she was, summoned in the previous Grail War. His true identity: Shirou Amakusa Tokisada, Japanese folk saint and martyr. And he now has all of the surviving Red Faction Servants, save for Mordred, under his control, and intends to use the Greater Grail to wish for the salvation of humanity, whether they want it or not. And what’s worse is that the Caster of the Black Faction, Avicebron, turns traitor as well, and will soon have what he needs to complete his massive golem: his own Master, Roche…

The story of these episodes is enjoyable enough, managing to conclude some story arcs, particularly that of Celenike and Avicebron, as well as setting up Gordes for some small redemption. Plus, we get some more insight into the pasts of the Forvedge siblings as well as Kairi. That being said, I do have to wonder how the hell Mordred managed to get to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, meaning there’s some sort of continuity issue or else bad story logic at play here, and it feels more like the conclusion to the long, long battle-filled episodes that preceded the mid-season break.

The performances are all quite good. Patrick Seitz and Erica Lindbeck as Kairi and Mordred are on fine form, as is Zach Aguilar as Sieg and Erika Harlacher as Jeanne. Cam Clarke does well for Avicebron’s final story moments as well, really letting loose with the Caster’s misanthropy and bitterness.

Production values are still pretty good. True, there is only one truly spectacular fight scene in these episodes, given the fight against Avicebron and his golem, but that is really enjoyable. However, it’s not quite as spectacular as some of the previous fights, unfortunately.

In any case, these three episodes of Fate/Apocrypha promise much for the beginning of the end. Here’s hoping it goes from strength to strength…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,246
11
2,850
REVIEW: Future Diary Episode 4: Hand-Written, Episode 5: Voice Message, Episode 6: Silent Mode, and Episode 7: Answering Machine by Katsuhiko Takayama, from the manga by Sakae Esuno

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: FD1.4-1.7, 4X25 minute episodes


So, now the time has come for me to return to Future Diary. This dark supernatural thriller series has managed to suck me in. But how would it progress from here?

Yukki is terrified. He has learned that Yuno may be a murderer, having a room with bodies in it. And unfortunately, she may be his best chance of survival when they, along with Fourth Diary holder, detective Keigo Kurusu, are summoned to the Omekata Cult by Tsubaki Kusagano. Tsubaki, a nearly blind girl, is the Sixth Diary Holder and the figurehead leader of the cult, and not only does she have Minene Uryu captive, but she’s worried about her own fate, and begs for Yukki’s protection, to Yuno’s fury. But Tsubaki is right to fear, for the Twelfth Diary Holder, a blind vigilante called Yomotsu Hirasaka, is on the attack. But Yukki and Yuno can’t rest easy, for Tsubaki has ambitions of her own, and another Diary Holder, the precocious child genius Reisuke Hojo, has them in his sights too…

The episodes are full of incident and action, and are certainly enjoyable in a tense, dark way. There’s also a lot of psychologically disturbing things, and some humour (particularly from Hirasaka). I do think some elements are too grotesquely gratuitous, like Tsubaki’s past, or Reisuke being unnaturally intelligent and malevolent for a child his age, though, and I found the scenes with Yukki’s mother too cringe-inducing.

I have to admit, Brina Palencia is actually growing on me as the psychotic Yuno, though I have to wonder why the hell Yukki even trusts her. Katherine Bristol as Tsubaki and Ian Sinclair as Hirasaka do very well, though. And Lindsay Seidel, whom I know better as Eto from Tokyo Ghoul, does a scary job as Reisuke.

The production values still manage to remain quite high. We’ve got some interesting choices of cinematography, and the action scenes present work fairly well, though I feel a little more tension was needed for the hide and seek sequence in the seventh episode. Overall, quite good, and the instances of CGI actually work. Hell, there’s even a crude stop motion animation scene showing how Murmur gave Hirasaka his Diary that’s rather charming.

Overall, these episodes of Future Diary manage to maintain the standards for the series. I just hope it gets better…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,246
11
2,850
REVIEW: Fate/Apocrypha: Episode 16: Jack the Ripper, Episode 17: Träumerai, Episode 18: From Hell, and Episode 19: Dawn of the End by Yuichiro Higashide

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: FA16-19, 4X25 minute episodes


So, I’ve just watched more episodes of Fate/Apocrypha. These ones mark a turning point for many characters, with a lot of disturbing stuff. But would I enjoy it anyway?

With the Greater Grail taken by Shirou Amakusa Tokisada, the remnants of Yggdmillennia, along with Jeanne d’Arc, Sieg, Kairi and Mordred, make their plans to assault the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. But they have another problem they need to deal with: Assassin of Black, aka Jack the Ripper, and her Master, Reika Rikudou, have become too much of a problem, murdering any mages in their sights. While trying to deal with them, they soon find, along with Atalanta, the Archer of Red, that Jack the Ripper has more power than they thought, a power that seemingly comes From Hell…

The story itself is at a rather pivotal stage, and this part of the story reflects that. While I think it does gloss over some elements, like Jack the Ripper’s full origins and the background of Reika, it’s still an enjoyable romp, even with the more horrific elements of the episodes. Plus, we have some wonderful development of Jeanne and Sieg’s relationship, as well as other character moments, like those involving the Forvedges, as well as Sieg struggling to see both the better side of humanity alongside the darkness.

Zach Aguilar as Sieg and Erika Harlacher as Jeanne do well as their relationship develops. However, the particular stars of these episodes are Erica Mendez as Jack the Ripper, and Allegra Clark as Atalanta. Both of them get some pretty good performances, with the former making Jackie adorable, freaky, and frankly tragic, while the latter showcases the stern huntress’ spiral into madness thanks to Jack the Ripper and Jeanne’s exorcism of the Assassin Servant.

Production values are mostly quite good, though I have to confess, there were a few off moments for Episode 17, where some of the animation of mid to long range characters were noticeably less detailed. The nightmare sequences from Episode 18 were very creepy and atmospheric. Overall, it was a fairly good set, even if there weren’t that many actual fight scenes.

Overall, these episodes form some of the most harrowing in the series, and are all the better for it. The end is now approaching…

****½
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,246
11
2,850
REVIEW: Doctor Who: Resolution by Chris Chibnall

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: Serial 11.X, 1X60 minute episode


I have to confess, the 11th season of the new series of Doctor Who hasn’t really felt that much like the actual series anymore. Despite this, I decided to give the New Year Special Resolution a go. But would it be a return to form?

New Year’s Day, and a pair of archaeologists, Mitch and Lin, are excavating the site of a man who may have been Alfred the Great. Or he may have been a survivor of a deadly battle that took place nearby over a thousand years ago. In truth, he was the latter, one of three victors of a battle against a deadly alien foe, who tried to separate the pieces of the creature. But it has awakened. The Doctor and her companions investigate, not knowing that Lin has been turned into the creature’s puppet. But as Ryan struggles with meeting his father Aaron for the first time in years, the Doctor soon realises that the alien is a Dalek. It may be without its armoured casing, but this Dalek, a Reconnaissance Scout, is cunning, vicious, and it is set on annexing Earth for the Dalek empire…

While people could say this is an also-ran of Dalek, the first new series Dalek story, I actually beg to differ. While the premise is a bit contrived, and I don’t like how UNIT has been unceremoniously taken out of the series, I also believe that this is the first Doctor Who story of Chris Chibnall’s time as showrunner to actually feel like a Doctor Who story. Whether this is because the series has found its feet or because a familiar monster has been put in, I don’t know, but it works, and Daleks have rarely been as scary or menacing as they have been here, with oodles of psychological horror with the Dalek controlling humans as if they were puppets.

Jodie Whittaker is on fine form as the Doctor, further proving that the Doctor is still the Doctor despite the gender change. Mandip Gil, Tosin Cole, and Bradley Walsh are also damn good as Yasmin, Ryan and Graham, with Tosin in particular getting some good scenes with Daniel Adegboyega as his father Aaron. Perhaps the biggest stars of the show are Charlotte Ritchie as Lin and regular Dalek voice actor Nick Briggs. The former shows the pain and anguish Lin is going through, as well as making a very scary ‘human Dalek’, while Briggs gets to chew the scenery as a particularly sadistic and menacing Dalek.

Production values are good. In fact, it feels like this is how the new series should be, even up to the beginning of the new series over a decade ago. The CGI of both the Dalek mutant and its casing are very well done, with the former feeling more like a puppet than a CGI creation, and the action scenes are well done too. In addition, the Dalek ray effect gets a subtle upgrade, making the X-ray glow that the new series has embraced more real-looking, with parts of the visible skeleton faded out of view.

Resolution, perhaps fitting given its title, fills me with resolve about the new series. It’s a brilliant revival of the Dalek, and perhaps it could signal that for my enjoyment of the series as a whole…

*****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,246
11
2,850
REVIEW: Fate/Apocrypha: Episode 20: Soar Through the Sky, Episode 21: Antares Snipe, Episode 22: Reunion and Farewell, Episode 23: Going Beyond, Episode 24: The Holy Grail War, and Episode 25: Apocrypha by Yuichiro Higashide

TYPE: TV series

DETAILS: FA20-25, 6X25 minute episodes


So, at long last, I come to the conclusion of Fate/Apocrypha. But would it be worth the wait? Let’s find out…

The last remnants of Yggdmillennia, along with Kairi Sisigou, Sieg, and their respective Servants launch an assault on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon via the air. While Achilles has a long-awaited showdown with his teacher, Chiron, Astolfo and Sieg work to penetrate the defences Semiramis has in place. Meanwhile, Atalanta, obsessed with revenge against Jeanne for her actions against Jack the Ripper, undertakes a dangerous metamorphosis in her madness, one which may overwhelm the Ruler Servant. And in the depths of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Shirou Amakusa Tokisada ventures into the Greater Grail. His goal is to achieve human salvation through materialising their souls using the Third True Magic, Heaven’s Feel. Even if those opposing him were to prevail, it would come at a high cost, for not everyone will survive, and victory is not guaranteed…

Wow. What an ending to the series. It was great and satisfying, with all the right emotional moments touched. To say much more is to spoil the series, but I do feel that there were a couple of moments that seemed to be pulled out of thin air, like the ability Sieg uses to defeat Shirou during the final battle, as well as what Kairi uses to save Mordred (both of which were apparently foreshadowed better in the original novels). Otherwise, very enjoyable, and with a lovely ending and coda that mirrors the very beginning of the series.

The actors do their damned best with the material, and to single out a single actor is to do a grave disservice to them. Each of the remaining characters, particularly the Servants, get their moment in the spotlight, with Mordred finally realising what her wish is, Jeanne being forced to confront her feelings for Sieg, Atalanta, Achilles, Karna and Chiron getting some well-done farewells. Overall, a splendid effort.

It’s with the production values, though, normally so high, that things start to fall down. True, the animation, for the most part, is actually excellent, as is the choreography of the fight scenes. But, and this is a very noticeable flaw, Episode 22 has VERY noticeably different, if not outright poor animation for the fight scenes, specifically those Atalanta is involved in, and the fight between Karna and Sieg. That is so disappointing, given the high quality the series has maintained so far…

Overall, while marred by a noticeably big blip in production values partway through and some shoddy adaptation, these episodes of Fate/Apocrypha mark an excellent end to an excellent series. I wish there were more Fate series for me to watch…


****½
 

Book of the Month

Moving Pictures

"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