Okay, so I’m not calling it Weekly Wrap-up anymore since I haven’t done one in almost a month—so it’s definitely not a weekly thing anymore. I do think it’s a good place to write my thoughts about the media I consumed without having to create a separate post for each.

Belle

Belle,
Belle has a really pretty design.

Okay, I know I’m in the minority here but I didn’t think Belle was all that great. I don’t know why but it just didn’t connect with me at all.

The animation is beautiful, but it didn’t really leave me in awe the same way it seemed to do with other people. It didn’t dazzle me or anything. That’s probably just personal taste. I guess I just appreciate old school animation more.

I didn’t find the story particularly compelling either. It felt like the movie wanted to do too many things at once. It felt very crowded, especially with all the characters.

Near the end there was a scene where Suzu and Hiroka were on the computer and there were so many people watching behind them—most of whom could have been removed completely and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Like, what was even the point of all of those ladies who apparently knew Suzu’s identity?

I did like the canoe guy though. He was pretty fun despite not really being important for the story. I wish they could have removed the other characters and made more time for him. One unimportant character is enough.

There’s also many plot holes and scenes where you really have to suspend your disbelief. There’s a scene in the movie where a character goes to Tokyo to find someone with only a vague idea of the area where they lived—and somehow they found them!

This one might be a nitpick—and also personal taste—but I don’t think the songs were that great. This one matters to me since Belle is supposed to be singing these amazing songs—and I don’t see that at all.

To be fair, it’s really hard to write songs that people would believably find amazing. If it weren’t, then we wouldn’t have so many bad and mediocre songs in the world. The songs weren’t bad, just kinda underwhelming. It reminds me of how I felt watching clips of Beck where the songs were nowhere as good as what I had in my head when reading the manga.

To the film’s credit though, the climax is really powerful. I just wish the film did a better job of actually making the plot about it. I kinda wish there was a manga or light novel adaptation of this movie that could properly flesh out all its plot points. That worked really well for 5 Centimeters per Second.

Though, I do think the climax might be a bit of a tear-bait. Mostly just because I don’t think the film did a good job of building towards it. It just kinda came out of nowhere. Though it’s nowhere as egregiously tear-baity as, say, the ending of Anohana.

Man, are these some hot takes or what?

Belle isn’t the only beloved Mamoru Hosada film that I didn’t like. I wasn’t particularly fond of Summer Wars either. Again, I know that’s an unpopular opinion since I only ever hear good stuff about it. Interestingly enough, both of them heavily feature virtual reality.

The thing is, I really wanted to love these movies. I think I gave them a fair shot. I love anime and animation in general. Of course, you’re not going to love everything. At the end of the day, we all have different tastes. We all have different experiences and beliefs that affect the way we consume and enjoy media.

I’m going to give Mamoru Hosada another shot. Maybe it’s just his virtual reality stories that I don’t like. Who knows, maybe I’ll like Wolf Children.

Rating: B-


Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls and Danganronpa 3

I’ll try not to spoil anything here since this is a highly spoil-able franchise.

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls

Danganronpa is my favorite video game series ever. Granted, I don’t really play a lot of games so there isn’t really a lot of competition. But until I find something better, it will remain my favorite.

I finally finished watching a playthrough of Ultra Despair Girls (UDG). That’s right, a playthrough. If you haven’t heard of this game before, it’s a spin-off game from the Danganronpa series released after Danganronpa 2. The reason I watched a playthrough instead of playing it is because the game isn’t really that good—particularly, the gameplay.

The story itself is great. It really expands on the world of Danganronpa. It’s the first time we really see the outside world. I know there are also some light novels that were released before this game which may have shown glimpses of it, but I haven’t gotten to reading any of those yet.

It was a bit hard getting through a playthrough of this. Watching the repetitive gameplay got old real fast. I really should have started skipping through the gameplay early on. Near the end, I switched to the English dub so I could leave it playing in the background while I did other stuff.

I kinda wish they had turned UDG into an anime instead though. The gameplay really didn’t add anything to the experience. At least they made the right choice of making the next installment, Danganronpa 3, an anime instead.

I do think it was worth it. UDG gives a lot of development to a character that had previously not gotten a lot of love and attention, and it turned them into probably my favorite character in the franchise so far. It also just has a really interesting story—which I won’t talk about because the very premise spoils the first game. On top that, it also has a fantastic villain. I never would have thought a little girl in a wheelchair could be so terrifying.

Danganronpa 3
I love how Danganronpa 3 combines the cast of the first two games.

After finishing this playthrough, I jumped right in to watching Danganronpa 3 (not to be confused with Danganronpa V3, the video game). I’m about half-way through the anime now and it’s been pretty good. It’s a bit bittersweet watching the segments set in the past and seeing the events that lead up to the events of the games. It was nice to see my favorite characters get animated, but also painful knowing what was going to happen.

The future segments are also really fun. For those who don’t know, Danganronpa 3 is split into two main arcs that you’re supposed to watch in parallel—one set in the future, and one set in the past. It’s a really cool idea, but it makes it a bit of a pain to watch after the anime had concluded since the two arcs actually count as separate shows.

The future segments (actually called the future arc) features a sort of killing game that happens, though not the same type as in the main games. It’s really more of an among us style game where there’s one killer on the loose. This is unlike the main games where each murder case is committed by a different person. I honestly couldn’t stop thinking of among us for a lot of this anime.


That’s really all of the media I consumed this week, apart from continuing the shows and manga I’m currently consuming. I’ll probably wait until the end of season before I make another post about Kaguya-sama. I’m sure I’ll have a lot to gush about in the finale.

I’m still figuring out what stuff I should include in my Wrap-up posts and what I should make a separate post for. I guess if I don’t have enough to say for a post I might just put it here? I know there are people who make short reviews and stuff though. I guess I’ll experiment a bit more. I’m still figuring out this whole blogging thing.