Floating on an endless sea of sand, an isolated civilization resides on an island-like vessel known as the Mud Whale. The lives of many of its citizens are short, due to a power they wield called "thymia", and they have very little knowledge of the lands beyond their desert home. Young archivist Chakuro wants to acquire as much knowledge as he can in his short lifetime to pass on to future generations, and an opportunity for him to learn more arises when a lone girl is discovered living alone on a similar vessel. She is the first human being the people of the Mud Whale have ever seen, and she possesses a great deal of information that they do not- about the outside world and even the secrets of the Mud Whale itself. With her arrival, everything in their world begins to change.
Kujira no Kora's first epiosde was quite the hook, it's interesting and unique world where people live on small islands that floats on top sea's of sand. it sounds like a great concept if handled properly, so it's only natural you'll be interested. Then the third episode came and the suspension of disbelief kicks in and it's no longer possible to watch the show without yelling at the screen. i'll be going over some of the writing problems the show has, so this review will have minor spoilers, since it's a show that's impossible to talk about without examples. TERRIBLE EXPOSITION, Characters talking in a completely fake way to explain things they already know. this show also has one of the worst cases i've ever seen of such exposition, as at one point, characters ask another character to explain things they already know while acting like they don't know about them, it's plain stupid and an obvious example of the show's bad writing. not to mention the quality of the dialogue is terribly low. FLAT CHARACTERS AND TERRIBLE DRAMA. The characters barely have any personality or character in them, they are only defined by their conflict, they are killed almost immedietly after they're introduced, and their deaths are overdramatized in an attempt to milk some feels from the audience that it's nauseating, you barely know them or anything about them and there is nothing to remember them for, so of course you won't be able to care about their deaths. The show also keeps ruining it's dramatic tones with out of place comedy, the mood whiplash it creates is immersion breaking and ruins the mood the show has. and it's hard to give a damn about any of the characters who die if the show is constantly messing around afterwards, as if they never mattered. There is also barely any effort in writing the opposition, most of them are faceless mooks wearing the same clothes and masks,, and the one that stands out is the one dimesional pink haired evil guy who likes to kill people just because, and is written in a way that makes it impossible not to hate him after 5 seconds of his introduction. NOTHING MAKES SENSE, logic is thrown out the window in favor of appealing to the emotional side through shocks, and is constantly breaking rules it already established in it's setting. for example, the enemy is supposed to have no emotions, yet some characters clearly exhibit them, like the pink haired one dimensional villain who kills people because... he's evil and likes to murder people and shit. Non of the actions the characters or enemies make any sense either, for example the enemy are here to wipe out the island, and for no reason they stand around waiting for the characters to finish their monologues or crying instead of attacking them, something doesn't align with how emotionless they're supposed to be either. They also have numerical and tactical advantage, yet they leave for no reason and give time for the main characters to fight back. and instead of preparing for them the elders decide to drown the island and it's inhabitants instead of fighting back for no reason. And when they attack again, they lay a trap down in their own ship in case the island inhabitants decide to attack them inside, yet they are standing around asking the attackers where they're from which gives the main characters enough time to kill them, as if there are other islands with people on them around (there are non), and act like they're surprised when they actually learn they're from that island, as if they forgot their own plans. There are also a lot of unexplained things, like why are there marked and unmarked people, why aren't people allowed to cry for their dead if they were the ones who chose to embrace their emotions, why were they exciled instead of eliminated in the first place, why did the enemy decide to eliminate them now, why aren't they eliminating their own soldiers who clearly also exhibit emotions, and many other things. if you're the kind that likes to see everything explained, then you'll be having a bad time. TOO MUCH PLOT CONVENIENCE, things happen just because the plot demands them to, because the writer is incompetent or too lazy to write events in a way that makes sense, or progress the plot in a plausible way. Things like one of the characters being able to fight a bunch of enemies and defeating them easily despite not having any experience in battle. and later one of the main characters magically passes through a wall of enemies and captures their captain as if he can teleport, the same captain is supposed to be emotionless as well yet acts like he's afraid and gives up, and the soldiers with guns are standing around instead of shooting him or the other intruders. An army of emotionless soldiers with guns who have been training all their lifes on combat are being easily beaten by a bunch of kids who have been using bows for a week. said kids appear happy and excited about killing other human beings as if it doesn't matter. enemies not killing the main characters immedietly so we can have some other convenience to save them. a character with deep wounds falls into the sea of sand yet somehow survives despite it being impossible, even though completely fine people not surviving if they did. shameless plot armoring is shameless. if it wasn't for all this bullshit plot armoring all the characters would've been dead from the 3rd episode. The only thing this show has for it is the brilliant art work, it has some really eye pleasing aesthetic, the beautifully drawn backgrounds that feel like they're crayon drawn, the visuals are stunningly beautiful, the sound track really great. there are also some really nice music video's in the show, their placement is random as hell, though. This show is an example of a good concept ruined by bad writing and terrible execution. the best words to describe this show are disappointing and frustrating, it feels like a waste of it's nice aesthetics. this is what happens when a creator prioritizes shocking the viewer and appealing to their emotions over theme exploration, proper characterization, or even making sense of their own world's rules. To enjoy this show you have to be waay too forgiving, must take everything to face value, and throw away common sense, but even then you'll be yelling "STOP STANDING AROUND" all the time.
*spoiler free review* A gold-plated turd Well, shit. All this anime airin fall 2017 and I really had my expectations turned upside down on what would suck and what wouldn't- I really expected this to be an absolute masterpiece, and I expected Houseki no Kuni to fail. BOY WAS I EVER WRONG. And I'm a glass-half-full-humans-are-generally-good-save-the-world-not-before-marriage-gun-rights-optimist over here so I held judgement for a long time for this one but... holy shit does it absolutely fucking take the train directly into hell. And it hopes we don't notice, too. That's the scary thing, an anime that wants so bad to decieve you that it's good, I think i might be losing my vigilance. Anyways here's my review for all the good it will do: I'll start with the bad stuff because it's just so much more prominent than the good. Children of the Whales is an "epic fantasy" about some children on a thing they call a mud whale, although it's really just a floating rock in a desert of quick-sand. as per my style I explain it horribly but it sounds really cool in reality and that's not all that makes the world worth exploring- these "whales" appear to have so much mysticism and mystery to them, like what makes them tick, what goes on with the people living on them, are there more of them at all, ect. Now do they explore all those things? .... yeh technically I guess but it sucks the way they do it. What do I mean? Well for starters there's the story and it turns to ass the second it gets off the ground. In fact it doesn't get off the ground. It just slushes around and drowns really quickly in a pile of its own BS. Thing is good at first though. First two episodes are full of atmosphere, hope, world building, and setup for what could be a great story. Then they suddenly pull every bad trope in the book out and slap you with it from episode 3 on- monologues, people who have no common sense, crying, melodrama, the whole shebang all while making you respect the writing less and less, and remember that bottle of bleach on your shelf more and more. It takes all the wrong story directions it can; setting up backstories at innapropriate times, having people acting like robots, and the worst offender: emotional blackmail when it can't even do its job. It's just bad. The characters in this children of the wails shit are the worst part by far. The main character has no personality except for "i'm a kid and am important", there are the meaningless side characters and incompetent "authority" figures, and then of course the big kahuna, the character this community has lovingly dubbed Jaden "pinkie" Smith "bad writing turns me on!" the rest aren't even worth talking about, a few cool ones with limited to no potential used like black haired sword guy, his friend, the girl, the girl who ends up not evil, ect. There are also a lot of character deaths you can't care about because the characters themselves sucked and it just becomes an utter dump of development that goes nowhere. And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for: where a 3/10 review meets a 10/10 review. The ANIMATION. OH MY GOD IT'S SO GODDAMN BEAUTIFUL The artstyle is perfect and goes absolutely great with the animation styles and world, and it fits the character designs so well and just makes everything pop with color. Some sequences were so brilliantly done my jaw dropped, they were so creatively directed and produced with a lot of love and I could feel that in every frame. The almost pastel shades and textures went great with the backgrounds and provoked just the feeling they were going for. The fight scenes, if better written, would have been beautifully choreographed just with the storyboarding and angles alone. Sound direction improves on it more, going terrifically with a few of those sequences and some of the singing just improves the tone so much. I haven't seen a more harmonious meeting of animation and sound since made in abyss, heck, this might be even better. Now why in the everliving gods of all that is unfair Were those brilliant animation and sound in this piece of crap narrative. Give it back. Overall it's worth watching a few clips on youtube to see the fantastic music and animation at work, but do yourself a favor and don't watch the show just for that. It's worth it for me but it probably won't be for most people.
Children of the Whales was one of the animes that caught my interest during the fall season. I heard rumors about it before it was coming out with episodes so I wanted to give it a shot. More or less I was happy with the outcome. The story isn't mind-blowing, but the world-building is interesting. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the series. Story- Here we are introduced to Chakuro, a 14 year old archivist who lives on the mud whale, a nigh-utopian island that floats across the surface of an endless sea of sand. Nine in ten of the inhabitants of the Mud Whale have been blessed and cursed with the ability to use thymia, special powers that doom them to an early death. Chakuro and his friends have stumbled across other islands, but they have never met, seen, or even heard of a human who wasn't from their own. One day, Chakuro visits an island as large as the Mud Whale and meets a girl who will change his destiny. Animation- This anime looks really good, probably one of the most gorgeous anime to come out this season, or even this year. Although the anime has a sort of generic nature, it meshes well with the art and gives birth to a whole new world of uniqueness. Sound- There are some good soundtracks, more specifically the opening and the ending that fit the tone of the series. But I think for the people of the mud whale music is a huge part of their culture, so hearing some of their songs give an experience you wouldn't find in the manga. Characters- Just to make a point, I think Chakuro makes for a decent protagonist. I would just like to point out that for a boy of 14 years, who sees the death of his closest people and still tries to keep his calm and get all relevant answers from the elders, he's quite strong intellectually. He does his task as an archivist pretty well. So, he's not really a wimp. And for the fights and combats we have Ouni. Chakuro's character isn't supposed to do that. Ouni and Chakuro both are strong in two different fields and they are the main characters here. Each balance each other out in different ways. Overall- This show Is a good to watch show, I watch every moment of it, yes, there are obvious Death Flags, its like you are watching a horror movie and you know when Shit is gonna go to hell and you are yelling "NO, DON'T GO IN THERE", "NO, DON'T JUST STAND THERE", and so on, at your Screen. Getting Past the Obvious Death Flags, Generic Enemies and Goodwill of the MC, You have a good and compelling story which is more suitable to be binge watched than, having to wait a week for a new episode. I personally Loved This show, although this is still only one season so far. J.C. Staff has been known to do good jobs on their animes, I expect nothing less from them. Edit) On another note, I feel as though Children of the Whales was influenced by Nausica of the Valley of the Wind, with how the characters are set in a different universe with unsual forms of life while being invaded by another country set on war. In that sense it makes the story feel relatable.
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