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  • polymetrica 9:22 pm on May 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Ga-Rei -Zero-   

    【Anime】 喰霊-零- / Ga-Rei -Zero- 

    More old anime.

    Title: 喰霊-零- (Ga-Rei -Zero-)
    Studio: AIC Spirits and asread
    Director: あおきえい (AOKI Ei)
    Original Creator: 瀬川はじめ (HASEGAWA Hajime)
    Episodes: 12
    Genre: Seinen (Drama, Supernatural, Action)
    Status: Completed, not licensed.
    My Rating: 9.3/10

    Ga-Rei -Zero- is set in an alternate version of Japan riddled with destructive supernatural spirits which regular people cannot see. In order to protect its citizens, two factions of the government have set up specialized teams dedicated to fighting against these spirits, and the most elite teams employ members which have the natural ability to perceive spirits, fighting against them with unique exorcizing weapons. The series follows the missions of the elite teams and explores the relationships between the members. Ga-Rei -Zero- is the anime-original prequel to the original manga Ga-Rei by HASEGAWA Hajime. -Zero- does not assume any knowledge of the manga on the part of the viewer.

    Review: This is a series which the viewer should start watching without knowing anything, as its main appeal, in my opinion, is in its unpredictability and shock factor. The first-time viewer only needs to know that the series is good to incredible and is worth a watch, and should not be given clues as to the series progression. I highly advise against looking at anything related to Ga-Rei -Zero- (besides this post, maybe) if you have not seen it before. Also, try not to read any episode summaries (especially avoid Episode 1 summaries) or look at reviews which detail parts of the plot. Perhaps hold off on reading the manga as well. I also do not recommend marathoning the series in one or two sittings. I did so in a single sitting, and it was not to the best effect. I believe I could have had an even better experience had I paced myself and watched 1-2 episodes at a time to give myself more time to think about all the things that happened.

    Because of my firm belief in not disclosing anything relevant about the plot in Ga-Rei -Zero-, I will not mention any character names or specific events which happened in the series. This will be a spoiler-free review about the general elements which I found noteworthy.

    I highly recommend this series to anyone mature enough to cope with relatively brutal and graphic violence, and to those looking for a compact but substantial and exciting series. I especially recommend this to those who like unpredictability and like to have their expectations destroyed. As this is a relatively heavy series, I do not recommend it to those looking for quick entertainment or those who are currently in very low spirits.

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    • Shin 9:13 am on May 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The shock factor sort of wore out for me after the first episode. It then all felt like pseudo yuri thriller bullshit.

      In case you’re wondering, I have not watched Ga-Rei Zero past the 4th episode.

      • TheBigN 6:36 am on May 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Your giving me to be disappointed in you for many reasons, Shin. :P

        As to the topic at hand, Ga-Rei -Zero- is one of the better series to come out in the past couple of years, with how they balance genres and elements well, like you’ve said, as well as in doing a good job telling the story of an inevitable end.

    • Ring2 2:40 pm on June 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I really2 like this series..:D..one of the best. for me..nice to see you gave it high rating.

      and yeah..off topic: i noticed that your tweets count has been reduced by thousands. Did you delete them or they just simply….loss?

    • suzushirou 7:55 pm on September 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      yeah, even the most vehement Minorintards (myself included) would have a hard time defending most of her voice work… Touka from Saki was probably her best role and even that got annoying after a while :/

    • Cyuu 10:15 pm on January 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Yes! 黄泉 was my favorite character!!

    • MkMiku 5:52 pm on April 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the review. This reminds me of how awesome this anime was. From the very first episode to finding out its a prequel, this anime brought plenty of surprises. The CG didn’t bother me that much, since the rest of the animation was so darn good. The OP theme is still one of my favorites.

    • RiyaButler 8:56 pm on May 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hello,
      I’m an American. I wish to Put in place an Animation Studio in India. Right now i’m researching for animators. I preferred India considering it is more cost-effective as compared with U.S. I want to learn the steps for setting up a company in India, primarily an animation studio.

      Can you fellas please guide me out?

    • dakuro 10:38 am on October 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      For me it was a great anime i don’t know why it was so short and never a prequel and sequel about this anime.

  • polymetrica 10:01 pm on March 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Directors   

    【Anime】 Ani*Kuri15 

    Old but good.

    Title: Ani*Kuri15
    Studio: GONZO, Production I.G, GAINAX, Studio 4°C, MADHOUSE, Comix Wave Film, Satelight
    Directors: MAEDA Mahiro, YABUTA Tatsuya (with Murata Range), TAKEUCHI Atsushi, HAYASHI Akemi, OSHII Mamoru, Michael Arias, KON Satoshi, ODA Tobira and SHIMIZU Yasuyuki, SHINKAI Makoto, NISHIMI Shoujirou, NAKAZAWA Kazuto, KAWAMORI Shoji, SOEJIMA Yasufumi, KIMURA Shinji, and KOBAYASHI Osamu.
    Episodes: 15
    Genre: Short experimental animation
    Status: Completed, not licensed
    My Rating: 9.0/10

    Ani*Kuri 15 was a short animation series which aired on NHK from 2007 to 2008. Each episode was one minute and was directed and animated by different directors and studios. There were a total of three seasons, with 5 episodes each. These shorts have no recurring theme due to the differences in producers, but they were all meant to showcase a sample of the variety of styles and themes found in Japanese animation.

    Wikipedia: Ani*Kuri15

    Review: This covers all fifteen episodes, but some “reviews” are shorter than others. Majority of reviews do not include summaries. The episodes and main producers are listed as “director name” x “production studio name”. Click on the title to see a frame from the short. Recommended ones are asterisked.

    I (highly) recommend this series to anyone interested in exploring the different styles present in the Japanese animation scene, and it’s a very good starting point for getting to know all the studios and directors showcased here.

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    • TheBigN 2:15 pm on April 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Ani*Kuri15 is a solid experience and experiment, and it’s one that I will be replicated again in the future. That being said, I really enjoyed the opening music to the work itself, and I wish I could find it. :P

    • nxia 8:31 pm on April 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      This page has been around my browser more a month now and I was very hesitant to close this tab.
      I was finally convinced to watch it and so far i’m still on episode 2 but i’m totally loving the series. thanks for the very informative review! :)

  • polymetrica 1:19 pm on December 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amano Yoshitaka,   

    【Artbook】Coffin: The Art Of Vampire Hunter D (Amano Yoshitaka Illustrations) 

    Probably one of the best artbooks ever published in the world(?). It’s so good that the local library has a copy of it, which I borrowed and am reviewing here. And happy new year, I guess. GTFO 2009

    Coffin: The Art Of Vampire Hunter D is a standalone artbook first published in Japan by the name of かんおけ―吸血鬼ハンターD (Kanoke – Vampire Hunter D), and later published in North America by Dark Horse Press. This supersized artbook collects the illustrations and artwork, all by Amano Yoshitaka, from the Vampire Hunter D series of novels (authored by KIKUCHI Hideyuki), and exhibits approximately 190 pieces of artwork from a span of 14 years. Despite initially being published in North America, this version is currently available for purchase worldwide on all Amazon divisions except for China. As well, the artbook is written in two languages, Japanese and English, where all instances of the original text is placed beside the translation.

    Order at Amazon: USA (US$26.37) | Canada (CAD$27.55) | UK (£21.85) | France (Marketplace only; €22,50+) | Germany (€28,99) | Japan (¥3,730)

    The contents of the book, in order of appearance, include

    1. Short introduction by KIKUCHI Hideyuki (1 page)
    2. Vampire Hunter D-Portrait of Ixobel- by Kikuchi Hideyuki (6 pages; Exclusive Vampire Hunter D Short Story)
    3. Illustrations from Vampire Hunter D by AMANO Yoshitaka (190 pages)
    4. Painting Data (2 pages)
    5. Notes by Amano Yoshitaka (1 page)
    6. Profile of Amano Yoshitaka (1 page)

    Opinion: This print publication is so amazing that I don’t really know where to start. Just picking it up and seeing its sheer size had already left an impeccable first impression on me, and it further reinforced that perfect impression by amazing me with its complete contents and high print quality. To be honest, I wasn’t much of a fan of Amano’s illustrations – I thought that they were unique and slightly eerily cool, but they weren’t exactly my favourite. However, this book completely changed my opinion of Amano’s work because it really showed off his versatilty and skill as a true artist. There are so many different styles that Amano uses here (not at all limited to the “usual” wispy, thin style!), and this book can be quite aptly described as successfully representing the “many styles of Amano”.

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    • Merun 12:33 am on January 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Concerning the black and white art, it’s true that I usually dismiss them, but that’s mainly for those illustrations which already have a colored version. I think that Amano is fitted for both colored and monochrome.

      I only know of Amano thanks to old Final Fantasy ( before 7 ), and I find it nice. The sample you show is really good at showing the diversity of style and the skill of Amano. Now if I had to get this, I think that I would put it on another shelf as I feel like it’s going to clash with the rest of my collection ^^;

    • Kitsune 11:14 am on January 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, great stuff! Amano is one of my favorite artists :)

    • Bethany 6:07 pm on March 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks so much for this! I’m a D fanatic, and really, REALLY want this art book. :D

    • Alejandro Suárez 6:50 pm on May 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The review of this art book is all I could ask for and even more.
      Here in México, it’s hard to get a hold of this kind of books, but if I need to invest more money in shipping, I’ll do it just because this deserves it.
      Thank you.

  • polymetrica 10:32 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Sou at Kunisaki   

    【Illustrator】Sou 

    Finally!

    Sou is an amateur illustrator and doujin manga artist from Indonesia. Also known as Kunisaki on Deviantart, she is currently studying in college, is fluent in English, likes The Little Prince, and seems to prefer drawing with pencil than with her Wacom Graphire 3 tablet. Her birthday is on December 2nd, and uses SAI, Photoshop CS, and Painter X for digital illustration. She also releases her own short original manga and sells it at conventions, usually in Singapore or Malaysia, and participates in anthologies and other doujin publications with other artists on Deviantart.

    Sou’s illustrations are very easy to recognize as they all have vibrant and lively colours, an incredible amount of detail, very elaborate and elegant clothing designs, and a lot of original accessories that go with the clothing. Her subjects are usually of female or young male characters, and draws mainly original art, sometimes fanart. Her style is mostly of the anime-type style, where characters have relatively large, glossy eyes and undetailed faces, but Sou is capable of diverging from this and can also detail actual noses and lips. She usually draws solid lines (usually in pencil first) with lots of detail, showing actual strands and layers in the hair and many folds in clothing, and she usually colours in the lines digitally. The detail on Sou’s pencil drawings are astonishing as even her supposed doodles (or scribbles) look absolutely lovely, complete with light shading and distinct lines.

    Her colouring style never sticks to one palette, and even uses normally clashing shades in many pieces of her artwork, but are always extraordinarily well-coordinated. The colouring for hair is usually smooth, has quite a few of highlights, and is clearly layered, but the rest, like clothing, are coloured with coloured, rounded spots that give it a bubbly and floaty look. It’s really hard to describe, but the result is very pretty and unique. Unlike a lot of artists nowdays, though, Sou doesn’t abuse those white spots to add shine, and instead skillfully places and slightly blends the lighter colour shades with the darker ones, giving it a natural and more gradual shine. The general composition of her artwork is really incredible too, as it’s always varied, has different themes, and her characters seem to have a wide array of expressions and poses, which I immensely appreciate since it really gives life to her work and distinguishes it from the work of other artists. This attention to composition seems to apply to her sketches too! Furthermore, she can also draw really nice backgrounds as well as design monsters, in addition to the usual humanoid subjects.

    All in all, Sou is definitely an artist to look out for, and is fast becoming one of my favourites, if she isn’t one already. I really wish that she was more popular on Pixiv as I honestly never tire of seeing her art, and that she would be as well-known in the Japanese illustration scene as other international artists such as kl and Kurot. Just really superb work. Please take a look, and comment on her art blog if you like her work! The descriptions above will never do her artwork enough justice.

    Art blog: http://community.livejournal.com/papermachina/
    Deviantart: http://kunisaki.deviantart.com
    Pixiv: http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=236775

     
    • kaye 10:58 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Ahh, I really love her illustrations! *___* I follow her on deviantart and livejournal, so I’m always excited to see something new posted there haha. Her work is just way too pretty! (She’s super nice, too. |D)

    • Kitsune 11:13 am on January 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great post! :) I like how you describe the qualities of an artist you want to highlight and link them – it is easy to browse the pictures this way :) She is a good artists, especially I like her colors and composition :)

  • polymetrica 5:23 pm on December 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    【Novel】闇の守り人 (Yami no Moribito) / Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness 

    How do you review a practically perfect book anyways? Here’s my (very lengthy) attempt at trying. The review for the first book in the series is here. Sorry for all the book-related posts lately, I’ve been kind of on a reading spree since I reserved a million books from the library.

    Title: 闇の守り人 (Yami no Moribito) / Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness
    Author: 上橋菜穂子 (UEHASHI Nahoko)
    English Translator: Cathy Hirano
    Illustrator: 二木真希子 (NIKI Mayuko;JPN ver), 清水裕子 (SHIMIZU Yuko;ENG ver)
    Volume: 2nd out of 10
    My Rating: 9.8/10

    Summary: The second book of Uehashi’s Moribito series features again Balsa as its protagonist, but is set in a different fantasy country than the first book, and have no other recurring characters from the previous volume. This time, Balsa revisits her home country in order to face her past, and eventually entagles herself in a series of events that may result in the collapse of a country. Since this installment barely refers to the events of the first book (and when it does, a brief recap of the previous one is given), the two books are mutually exclusive in content.

    Review: Wow, where should I start? I read this book with a critical mindset, enjoying everything that the novel had to offer while asking questions and looking for holes along the way, but even with such vigilance, I was wholly unable to find any plot holes, incoherent explanations, unanswered questions, or needless plot devices. Uehashi really, truly weaved an airtight illustration of her intricate fantasy world, and as a result this second book is even better than the first one. It’s really hard to believe that an author can provide such a lush picture of their own imagination while still taking the care to address every matter and leave nothing unexplained, and also provide plausible, fitting, logical and complete explanations for everything as well. Nasu should learn from this book, seriously. Compared to the other fantasy children/youth novels I’ve read before, such as Deltora Quest or Harry Potter, Moribito II surpasses both so much in intricacy, depth, and maturity that it’s going to make it really hard for me to go back to reading less substantial books than this.

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  • polymetrica 12:31 am on November 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Maeshima Shigeki, Manga Artist   

    【Illustrator/Manga Artist】前嶋重機 (MAESHIMA Shigeki) 

    Part Six. The more I write about this artist the more I love his work, which is why I guess I wrote so much. Sorry.

    Sara from Dragon Fly. Click for full version. (Ages 16+!)

    前嶋重機 (MAESHIMA Shigeki) is a professional illustrator and manga artist best known for his artwork and character designs in the 戦う司書 (Tatakau Shisho/Armed Librarians) series of light novels, as well as for his full-colour manga, Dragon Fly, serialized in the Robot and Gelatin full colour comic magazines. Maeshima is married to manga artist 伊藤悠 (ITOU Yuu), was born on February 6th, 1974, and usually draws his artwork by hand then colours and finishes it on a PC. He is also part of an illustrator+publishing unit called 42, along with three other professional artists.

    Maeshima’s style is mature, slick, super-sexy, and kind of violent. All his female characters exude womanly vibes, with narrow eyes, thick eyelashes, actual lips and mouths, and very generously proportioned bodies clothed by provocative, well-designed attire. As well, they all give off a high sense of strength and independance, and most look as though they’re not to be messed with. His male characters number few when compared to his female characters, but they are also just as mature and strong, and all seem to have quite a bit of muscles. His character designs are unique, recognizable, and distinctly Maeshima-esque, thanks to how incredibly creative he is with hairstyles and costumes, but even though they all look like his work, they don’t look repetitive or recycled at all. There’s so much variation that they all look truly individualistic. As well, facial expressions usually quite varied in his manga since Maeshima knows how subtleties, like wrinkles, in the human face works to express emotion, but in his illustrations, his characters just usually pose for the picture and put on a pretty face. Another part that makes me love Maeshima’s work is how he actually draws noses and lips, and colours them realistically. Most of the lips on his female characters are luscious and full, a feature that I very much appreciate. Vague lines for mouths just doesn’t cut it sometimes, and even his teenage female characters have actual lips and nose.

    Artwork from the novel 蟲忍 (Mushinin). Click for full version.

    His colouring style also significantly adds to the cool nature of his artwork, but is slightly hard to describe. Although at first it looks like he lays his colours on thickly, he actually only has sharp, deep shading in the hair (Which gives it a thick, solid look) and some types of clothing, but for everything else, he does quite a bit of blending to make the shine look natural and more realistic. The lighting in most of his pictures is dark and muted, and the overall effect is somewhat similar to taking a photo without using flash in a softly lit environment. He is also very good at colouring skin, especially on faces, and they always have a shine that is similar to an actual person’s face under differently lit settings. He can even make faces look practically realistic as well. The colours he usually uses are whites, dark greys, cold blues, deep browns, and soft purples, but he can definitely do lighter colours as well. Another thing to add is that his work is really detailed, even in his full-colour manga, and his compositions and planning in both individual illustrations and a full manga is action-packed, well coordinated, and fully completed.

    In short, Maeshima Shigeki is a superb illustrator and manga artist who solidly defines his own style and shows a real grasp of all the fundamentals of art (depths of field, anatomical proportions, lighting, cropping, etc) not seen enough in the highly stylized world of anime-type art, and the few, low-quality example pictures I provided above really, really don’t do justice at all to Maeshima, whose work (especially the manga Dragon Fly) is best seen on paper and at the highest quality. I understand that his style isn’t to everyone’s preference, but Maeshima is the real deal, in my opinion.

    Maeshima Shigeki at Wikipedia: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/前嶋重機 (Japanese)
    Interview with Sync Future: http://p2.pixiv.net/2009/05/13/1582.html (Japanese)
    Brief profile at Sync Future: http://www.lpei.co.jp/sync_future/profile/#creator19 (Japanese)
    Dragon Fly Website: http://www.wani.com/dragonfly (Japanese; At Wani Magazine Press)

     
    • Ningyo 12:15 pm on November 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hm, this artist actually reminds me of chinese manhwa, and how bodies are full and lips are slight yet defined and luscious in that general genre – also the shading and darker colors. I still prefer more moe tilted works, but I do reckon that darker/moar srs themes just call for this style.
      I’m really here though to say great work touching on redjuice and huke in posts a while back. Simply two of the greatest. huke’s I.BRS right now is intense.

      • polymetrica 12:06 am on November 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Maeshima’s stuff actually reminded me more of American comics at first, but I guess that’s because I haven’t had much contact with manhwa.
        Thanks so much for reading those posts (and this one!). I really appreciate the comment, and I’m happy that you like their works. huke and redjuice are practically at the center of attention in the JPN anime-style art world right now, and deservingly!

    • kyouray 3:08 pm on November 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Great artist indeed. I discovered this artist in Robot but I begin to really like his art since his work on Tatakau Shisho. Then I expect some Tatakau Shisho artbook release someday…

      • polymetrica 5:01 pm on November 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        I’m really glad that you like him as well! I also had my first contact with his work through the Robot series. Absolutely stunning. Hopefully they do release a Tatakau Shisho artbook someday…and ideally not only of the anime artwork, but of the novel artwork too!

    • Yi 9:51 pm on November 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      The characters have a very sensual look almost a bit reminiscent of graphic novels. Everything so full and voluptuous; it’s sexy.

  • polymetrica 11:28 am on October 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Takamura Maya   

    【Illustrator/PV Animator】高村真耶/MAYA (TAKAMURA Maya) 

    Artwork of the main characters from Zektbach's Blind Justice~Torn souls, Hurt Faiths ~. Click to enlarge.

    高村真耶 (TAKAMURA Maya), also known as VJ MAYA, is a professional illustrator who also does video work, and is best known for her animated videos in Konami’s beatmania IIDX games, such as PVs for Zektbach’s Ristaccia and kors k’s smooooch・∀・. She resigned from Konami in 2008 and now works as a freelance illustrator, though she has recently made two videos for beatmania IIDX 17 SIRIUS. Takamura’s birthday is on March 30th and is a graduate of Osaka University of Arts.

    Takamura’s artwork is of quite the anime/manga style, with many large eyed characters, undetailed faces, and beautiful, almost extravagant clothing designs. However, her artwork, even outside of the fantasy-themed Zektbach videos, seems to be influenced by things such as 17th century fashion(?), Middle Eastern costumes, and other western clothing in general (dresses, ribbons, jewelled hairpieces). Of course, Takamura is also capable of executing many other styles and themes skillfully as well, outside of the themes mentioned above. Her artwork is mainly drawn with impeccably clean black and white line art and then coloured in, and she usually shades parts of the hair and details with black lines as well, giving them a intricate and solid look. Her colouring style varies a lot depending on what kind of tone she is trying to achieve, but everything that she does colour is very colourful, vibrant, and extremely well-coordinated. She seems to like using bright, almost neon colours if she gets the chance, and her mastery of colour is made apparent by this as they are just bright enough that they don’t look garish or difficult to look at.

    As for her videos, they are, to put it in one word, incomparable, especially for the heavily animated Zektbach videos. All animations were drawn by Takamura alone, and the fluidity of everything is incredible. I can’t even begin to imagine how many pictures she had to draw for each video (or even every few seconds) in order to show that kind of detailed motion. Composition of videos are perfect as well, with a lot of creative effects for both changing scenes and connecting objects. Despite being obviously 2D, videos like Turii ~Panta Rhei~ have animation that include panning and zooming, making the videos even more immersive. Takamura’s video work is probably the pinnacle of hand drawn PVs. Please watch them.

    Essential Works – beatmania IIDX videos:
    1. Ristaccia
    2. smooooch・∀・
    3. Turii ~Panta Rhei~ **Personal Favourite**

    Website: http://maya.vc/ (Japanese)
    Wikipedia Entry: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/高村真耶 (Japanese)
    RemyWiki Entry: http://vjarmy.com/wiki/index.php/Maya_Takamura
    Youtube Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9C16845C60947851

     
  • polymetrica 12:24 am on October 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: PV,   

    【Touhou PV】 Bad Apple!! 影絵 (Bad Apple!! Shadow Art PV) 

    I try my best to avoid posting insubstantial material, but this is far too incredible.

    Posted on October 27th, 2009 by an anonymous uploader (with an account name of あにら/anira), this is an entirely black and white PV with the silhouettes of moving 3D models choreographed to Alstroemeria Records’ Bad Apple!! Touhou vocal arrange song, sung by nomico. The PV maker used the storyboard drawn on MS Paint by someone called MMM, who posted his story board video in June 2008, and fully fleshed out the whole video, making incredible sense of a mostly poorly-drawn, vague plan. The video is currently 1st on the hourly rankings at the time of posting.

    The fluidity of this PV is nothing short of impeccable, and might as well have been a professional work, though I guess that’s what Touhou seems to elicit a lot from its super large fanbase. I’ve watched this about 3 times now, and I will probably keep watching it a few more times. I’ve embedded a Youtube video on the bottom of this post, but don’t forget to take a look at the comparison as well if you have a niconico account. (Links below)

    【東方】Bad Apple!! PV【影絵】
    Nico | Youtube
    Original Storyboard | Comparison (Both are niconico only)

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