Tokyo Ghoul Root A
I’d read so much malign about the second Tokyo Ghoul season my expectations for this were relatively low. So when I picked this up at MCM ahead of its street date, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised – powering through the episodes in a single day, much as I did the first season. Yes, the pacing feels highly condensed and some of the character work a little limp compared to season one – but beyond that I found far more to love here than hate. Except the animation quality – which felt shockingly cheap at times, verging into scrappy shonen-level stuff at times that suddenly seemed to verify all the anti Studio Pierrot vitriol. But no, for the most part, I was immensely satisfied with my second Tokyo Ghoul outing, lapping up the one thing that remains at its core in both manga and anime formats – the story itself.
Ping Pong – The Animation
My second pick-up from MCM – wonderfully early on its forthcoming proper ‘release’ date’. I haven’t sampled much of Masaaki Yuasa’s work before, but this had me rushing through the episodes like nobody’s business, spurred on by frenetic pacing and one of the finest Funimation dubs I’ve heard in a long time. It goes without saying the aesthetic is mindblowing – but the more you watch of it, the more it worms its way into your brain, dazzlingly you in ways you didn’t even think were possible. Much like my perennial go-to reference Space Dandy – this is one to really restore your faith in current anime output. Oh, and the soundtrack is ace too.
My manga pick for this week. I previously read the first volume back in January but decided to finally plough on with volumes 2 + 3 this week, and am heartily glad I did, as the title character herself is a real gem at the heart of this. A neat twist on the classic Tsundere, the art style paints her with a wonderfully puffy gloss – all ample chest and Chaika-esque dark eyebrows that set off her blonde curls. Expect simmering shojo hijinks, sugary treats and borderline creepy antics from one of the male love interests, who likes to get a little ‘bitey’ at times…
I’d followed this up to episode four while it was airing last season, but finally got round to finishing it this week, and found my impressions of it improving considerably the more I watched. If I could sum up the appeal – it’d be that of pure, pop corn spectacle. Michael Bay style widerscreen bombast, via the medium of weirdly charming CG character models, hot mechs and some outright bizarre comedy skits. I’m serious – the episode where the American team is introduced has some of the weirdest comedy ‘animation’ I’ve seen outside of RWBY. It must be the CG… If you dropped this the first time round though, like I did, I’d urge you to give it another shot, if only to chuckle at those more humorous touches that come to the fore in the series’ mid-section.