12 of 12 episodes seen
I think my disappointment started in the first episode when I found myself reminded of “Noir” in a manner which made me feel “Akuma no Riddle” was unoriginal. After that I found myself reminded of to many other series. “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni”, “Dangonropa” and quite a few others which I can't remember off the top of my head or couldn't quite place. There is nothing wrong with using other peoples work as inspiration, but in this particular case nothing new came from the series. The plot and characterization was to flat.
This particular series falls under the “Deadly Game” trope. The plot for this particular trope is very straight forward. If you lose you die, and the main character must find a way to beat the system. A good series for this kind of plot relies on two things to draw writers in. The first tactic is to create some kind of puzzle the main character must solve which also gets the writer thinking. Said puzzle also needs to be unique. The other tactic is to have a strong roster of characters to work from.
“Akuma no Riddle” fails in both aspects.
The puzzles the main character needs to figure out are simple compared to many other series. The only two characters given development over the course of the series are the main couple. Series like “Dangonropa” and “Btooom!” happen to have the characters they used fully developed prior to the series starting. So what then is the draw for this particular series?
I can't say it's the art work. The actual character designs for the characters in this particular series don't make up for the lack of character development. The design might be good for a slice of life Anime series, but not really for a series falling under the action genre let alone comprised of a “Deadly Game” trope. And that right there is the odd charm of this piece. The characters would actually fit better into a different story scenario.
Another charm is the secret revealed at the end of the series. This in itself has execution problems and in reality there could have been more hints dropped for this particular series in regards to the secret which ends up finally revealed at the end. This series is also odd because of the number of yuri pairings worked into the series. The class size is rather small for the numbers shown, and normally when one sees this many the cast has a higher.
This isn't a bad thing, but truth is this element could have been worked more into the secret revealed at the end.
Despite my disappointment in this series I did find myself enjoying the series quite a bit, nor does it stop me from liking the series. In part I enjoyed seeing the potential of what this particular series could have been as I watched said series, but I also found said series relaxing to watch. read more
1 of 1 chapters read
The place with the most improvement is the art work. The art work is much crisper then the prequel one-shot, and the characters facial features are more defined. In some ways though one might not recognize the characters as Ayumu's hair style's changes since the first one-shot. I'd normally wonder why the style change occurred, but I also recollect how Ayumu looked to much like a character I saw another writer design and thus Ayumu's style is actually now the writer's own.
Characterization wise there are still problems. In this one-shot Ayumu and Yuu end up switching roles. Chipper Ayumu ends up with the angst ridden personality and Yuu ends up with a more perky personality. Yuu's attitude change can be explained by Ayumu becoming her friend, but Ayumu's is a bit harder to pin down. Her stalker attitude becomes quite manipulative and she shows a darker side. The way Yuu accepts the truth she finds out as well as the way Ayumu treats her after she rejects Ayumu's confesion.
This one-shot continues the mess from the prequel one-shot and makes it worse. read more
1 of 1 chapters read
Ayumu's behavior is honestly creepy. I'm not talking about how she's interested in girls, but how she comes across as a creepy stalker. On the positive side we at least see Yuu not being stereotyped as a creepy emo stalker in regards to Ayumu, but stalking behavior is stalking behavior and in no way is it romantic. If Ayumu's behavior simply stuck to glomping Yuu things might not be a problem, but she eventually starts following her despite not being very welcomed as if she were a complete ditz. For her voice I kept imagining a really squeaky sweet voice dripping with gross optimism. I also felt her design was a badly rendered version of another artists character.
Yuu on the other hand takes the act of pessimism to the extreme. She has some kind of social disorder, but the one-shot never goes into any depth beyond having her whine about how her father abandoned her and then her mother and thus she doesn't even try making friends. Social disorders aren't that simple, and in reality her attitude seems off with her having a loving grandfather. Her character design is flat as if the writer didn't use an actual reference.
My enjoyment for this particular piece was low. There were to many things making me bang my head on this one. read more
8 of 8 chapters read
The art work is rough around the edges and yet the roughness adds to the plot as there is a dark edginess to the piece. For some readers some of the art will be to much as there is mature material, but the art style is also unrefined compared to other artists. In some ways the latter though is part of the charm.
“Deep Love: Ayu no Monogatari” also features a wide range of characters. Each character has their own depth and each of their lives intertwine. Ayu is the character given the most depth and for the most part she is a rather realistic characters, but at times her characterization and the things which happen to her ends up exaggerated for the sake of shock value. Despite the draw of shock value there is still a plot running through the entire story as well as character development.
As for personal enjoyment... here's where things get sketchy. I enjoyed having a good cry. I enjoyed getting to know the characters. A few parts of the story pushed my willing suspense a little to much, but they weren't to the point where I couldn't believe the storyline possible. I also found myself mad at the fate of certain characters and asking why they couldn't get their happy ending and felt two of the characters could have received a happy ending with the way the plot progressed.
Note - Readers should be warned about "warning triggers" in the series. read more
5 of 5 chapters read
I think the main problem with the series is the relative shortness as there was honestly so much more the creator could have done with the theme in question. On the other hand the creator may not have wanted the series to become a “monster of the week” series just so the readers could in fact find out the fate in relation to the “white akuma”, and whether or not the world ends up being saved from the wheels of fate. Instead we get a short piece that focuses more on the psychological element as well as inter relations between the characters. The story also falls into many cliches as well that may have brought it down had the writer made said series longer.
The characters are ultra important when it comes to this particular series. This short series is after all about how people interact with each other, and how people act towards others in prejudicial ways because of fear. Sometimes fear is justified, but in other times said fear is not. This is a theme that is explored along with how those acting in prejudicial manners and those being prejudiced act towards each other, and why conflict does occur in real life.
The art work for this particular piece is also nice. The artist takes the time to fill every frame with important information in regards to the story line, nor is there any confusing action poses that a person can't read the movements of. Luca's design embodies the persona people would expect of someone labeled a demon, while his sister is the personification of pure innocence. The artist went out of his way to personify these attributes to each, and for good reason.
Ultimatly I enjoyed this short series a lot. Not only was it short, but I could feel empathy towards the characters. I enjoyed the plot twists for the stories. I also liked making the connections to “Naruto” and comparing the two on a critical level. While it is true that the two are their own pieces of work I think a person can also appreciate “Shuumatsu no Laughter” even more with a knowledge of Naruto. Or one could have it soured if one is to much of a fangirl/fanboy. read more
1 of 8 episodes seen
That is one of the charms of this particular short – it manages to capture the complicated feelings of a tween as they start the transition from being a child to being an adult. The work also covers other subjects that result from that including many of the peer issues this age group does in fact have to deal with, and it manages to do so in such a short period of time. I felt more drawn to that, then I did the actual romance aspect. The ending for the piece wrapped everything up nicely as well.
The art work on the other hand isn't much to write home about. I think one of the things that stood out to me was the fact I've seen this style used in so many shows that I didn't feel it stood out. The only time it did was when the artists depicted the characters feeling bummed out, and I personally feel there is a better way to portray that feeling then the way they did. On the flip side it's not ugly art except for that point either.
The sound for the music fit the piece as well and was pleasant to listen to. Again though it didn't stand out. The voice acting though had a nice blend, and worked for the characters.
I felt the characterization was spot on – this is how kids in their tween-years act. In some ways it is sad as some of the behaviors are bothersome, but it also reflects the fact they are growing up. I think that this is a major pointer for the piece. There is also the fact they don't over exaggerate the stereotypes used. Hamana Kokoa for example could easily have ended up being like Koshiro Miya from the Yumeiro Patissiere series.
Ultimately I enjoyed picking up the piece despite the fact I expected it to be a typical fluff piece. The reason for this is because the characterization was accurate for the age group, nor was I forced to suspend my disbelief for this piece. There is also something heart warming about the piece as well. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Normally that is...
Pupa's the first I've personally watched that I felt was a waste of time. I watched the entire thing hoping that there was some point to the entire series, but there was none. Well... the creator may have meant the work to be satirical in nature about how depraved incest between siblings happens to be, but if it was meant to be satirical it crossed the line of no return into a gory slasher film. So... if you happen to like slasher works, then go ahead and pick it up. Otherwise though it isn't worth the time. I personally feel that once you've seen one plotless slasher film, you've seen them all. The only redeeming thing is the art work. The plot... non existent. The characters... well, there are major plot holes. You take your pick. read more
1 of 1 chapters read
On the down side the art isn't that great. You could say that it is dry. It's dry not because the character designs aren't interesting. There are times the background ends up washed out. These are flashback scenes and in some ways this is good, but sometimes it feels like the pictures are a little to hazy and to be honest the detail of the artwork doesn't meld well with the faded out flashback where the background is lighter.
The real reason to read this particular one-shot is for the nice surprise at the end. The story is unique. On top of this the characters are really sweet. read more
4 of 4 chapters read
For the most part all four stories are of the historical, romance and fantasy genre, but one of them has no supernatural elements at all. The settings are beautifully drawn as are the clothing that the characters wear. There is no real link between all of the stories and yet they have an over all unifying theme. One of the major theme is true love. By this I don't mean soul mates, at least not in the sense that others have come to understand soul mates. By this I mean the two characters truly do love each other. It's also about coming to understand ones romantic feelings for another person, told in a soft manner. read more
1 of 1 chapters read
As for the plot, I love how the manga opens up like many of my favorite mystery series and the suspense is nice as well. The interactions between the two main characters is also interesting and the plot flows nicely from beginning to end. It isn't just the pacing of the plot that was good in this particular one-shot but also the unfolding of the romance. The story could have used a bit more fleshing out, but was also quite good for a one-shot.
I also enjoyed the characters. Without going into much details, it was nice to have a feminine character who isn't moping about not having a romantic interest, or even thinking about how she doesn't need a romantic interest because she isn't that kind of girl. Instead, she focuses on what is going on around her and reacts accordingly.
The one-shot was also a nice, quick read. read more