Tue 30 Apr 2013
Thu 27 Dec 2012
My friend Landon from Mecha Guignol turned out to have been by Secret Santa, and he recommended the classic Genshiken. For all intents and purposes, it was an excellent recommendation; Genshiken is a major gap in my anime corpus, and I enjoyed the spinoff Kujibuki Unbalance more than I expected. The excellent is well-written, well-paced, and presents relatable and realistic characters in interesting situations. I am thus guilty as charged of terrible taste because I didn’t love the show. So where should we plug this chair in?
Thu 25 Oct 2012
As I’ve said previously, the first movie brings a faithful retelling of the popular story and provides a completely new experience for fans and newcomers alike. Can the second movie meet the same expectations?
The first movie covers the first eight episodes and the second movie covers the final four. Just like the first movie, Shaft added extra effort to ensure fans are treated with a visual tour de force. Subtle tweaks and greater attention to details build upon the drama created by the story. Combined with an excellent cinematography and an amazing soundtrack (which includes a couple brand new scores), viewers will experience a beautiful, yet haunting masterpiece. Yet no matter how stunning the art may be, these cosmetic enhancements cannot mask the underlying story and pacing issues. Caution: Major Spoilers.
Wed 24 Oct 2012
The Puella Magi Madoka Magica franchise is a juggernaut. When it first aired in 2011, the series quickly became popular, appealing to fans around the world with its amazing visuals and suspenseful story. Riding on the success of the original series, Shaft decides to expand on the franchise with a movie trilogy.
Yet, was it needed?
Let’s set the record straight: the first two movies cover the same story of the original series. However this is not a simple rehash of the original. It’s a bit unfair to use the term “recap” simply because most fans know the story; the movie contains the same events, but everything in the film has been revamped. Newcomers will be treated with an amazing experience, and fans will be delighted by the subtle changes. Mostly.
Mon 8 Oct 2012
Koi to Senkyou to Chocolate wasn’t about the elections, the love, nor the chocolate: it was about Yuuki’s growth as a protagonist. Yuuki wasn’t being dense, and although character development wasn’t particularly clear, it did happen. Instead of being a typical dense protagonist, we have a normal character exhibiting events outside of his daily shell. And through these experiences, he learns to love the school and the students. He goes and does something meaningful and something that gives him a new perspective instead of being lazy and laid back in his food club.
Yuuki is a normal high school student; there is nothing particularly special about him, he is just a good guy wanting to do the right things. He is also realistic about situations beyond his control. Although he had been carried throughout the adventure, he had also presented a non-dense attitude that shows his keen awareness as well as his potential capability. What impressed me the most was that the show revolved more around him, despite it not being about him. He delivered real-time solutions to problems that do not have a clear distinct answers. He displayed leadership, despite not really being a leader. Instead of being a character with the qualities worthy of being the student council president, he showed character that earned the trust and respect of fellow students that earned him the said position. (more…)
Mon 23 Jul 2012
I have a couple of issues when it comes to movies based on TV series. One of them is the standalone format, where the movie wastes time on some unrelated subplot that has a faux connection to the main story. The other is when they do a high budget recap of the same story found in the TV series with only minor changes, or even use the same TV segments with additional footage to fill in supposed blanks. The latter scenario is still better than creating ridiculous plots to show off pretty visuals without much substance, but it doesn’t solve the issue of ending up with a dull and less than optimum experience. Here, I’m going to address how the K-ON! Movie found its way to fix these issues, and therefore became a valuable product and a rich addition to the K-ON! series.
The movie kicked off right where the anime ended, so it’s a direct continuation to the series rather than a made-up prequel or a forced side story. By doing this, it was able to steal my attention and got me totally invested from the earliest moments. I had a number of sweet flashbacks back from the TV series while peeking into the everyday life of the girls from the light music club again. Things felt as if the keion-bu members were frozen in time patiently waiting for us to come back for more. And for whoever did, they returned the favor with a bang! (more…)
Sat 31 Mar 2012
The much anticipated Shounen Maid Kuro-kun came out a few months ago, and recently I had a chance finally to watch it. Natural High has always been one of my favorite anime studios. Similar to Kyoto Animation’s key trilogy of Air, Kanon, and Clannad, Natural High is famous for its own trilogy of Boku no Pico, Pico to Chico, and Pico x CoCo x Chico (my favorite one). I was eager to see what the studio could produce outside of its iconic trilogy. Takayama Katsuhiko (Ga-Rei: Zero, Mirai Nikki, and ef: a Tale of Memories) returns to write the script in this epic 30 minute OVA.
When the episode starts with a message from the fansubbing group actively condoning what you’re about to see, you know you are in for a good time. Kazamiya Kuro is a young boy who has his father’s massive debt thrust upon him — at this point in the episode I paused and made sure I did not accidentally start an episode of Hayate no Gotoku. Anyhow, Kuro is escorted in a huge mansion and we’re introduced to the master of the house: Akuryuuin Miisu. Miisu informs Kuro that his father has sold him off in repayment for his debt. Miisu then produces a contract that says that he can do whatever he wants with Kuro. I assume that such contracts are absolutely legal in Japan.
Thu 5 Jan 2012
The last few months, I think I’ve been quite clear on my general opinion of Mawaru Penguindrum. I don’t just have issues with this anime, I have the whole goddamn subscription. Today I will “review” Penguindrum, but let me say this first: Mawaru Penguindrum is a fine show that I believe everyone should check out and see for themselves. Though the anime became especially frustrating and meaningless for me, I admit that it’s impossible for me to be objective about it. After all, there’s a reason that Mawaru Penguindrum has a legion of people gushing over it — it’s probably pretty good.
Mawaru Penguindrum is the story of brothers Takakura Kanba (cv. Kimura Subaru) and Shouma (cv. Kimura Ryohei) and their task of finding the mysterious “Penguindrum” to cure their chronically ill little sister Himari (cv. Arakawa Miho). At least that’s how the show began. You immediately get this feeling that this anime isn’t “normal”. From the strange visual aesthetics to the bizzare “seizon senryaku!” scenes to the developments in the plot itself, Penguindrum draws you in with its curious flair. There are plenty of abstract elements in the animation design, such as depicting background characters using generic symbols and transitioning between scenes with a subway motif. As the plot progresses, more characters are introduced and it’s revealed that the plot is infinitely deeper and more intricate than it seems. The show throws you curveballs and plot twists all the way until the end, making Penguindrum a rather addicting watch. It’s a great concept, and the general layout of the show holds water, but it’s the execution of Mawaru Penguindrum that I have problems with.
Mawaru Penguindrum is a show that seems to be in love with itself. Its pretentiousness and narcissism resound off the walls of the Grand Canyon and echo across the amber waves of grain. The plot is well paced and really intriguing at first, but around halfway through the show there are so many developments that I had trouble figuring out just what was going on. Fans of the series love the complexity and thematic elements in Penguindrum, and view the show as an entire entity. For me, I see Penguindrum as more of a Jekyll and Hyde act: a show that is smart and promising for the first half, but nearly unwatchable in the latter half. (more…)
Thu 22 Dec 2011
1/2(out of 4)
Review: Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo (spoiler-free)
Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo is about the magical journey of young Asuna (cv. Kanemoto Hisako), who wanders into the mythical realm of Agartha in search of the boy she loves. She embarks on this journey accompanied by Morisaki (cv. Inoue Kazuhiko), an aged mercenary who has dedicated the latter half of his life finding a way to be reunited with his deceased wife. The first thing I sense from Shinkai in his latest project is this profound sense of ambition. I feel like he wants to break the mold that he’s created with 5 Centimeters per Second and Place Promised, and take himself to the next level. From the more sophisticated plot-lines, to the sense of grandeur in the film itself, to the involvement of some well-known voice actors, it all feels like Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo was meant to be the big breakout for Shinkai. Unfortunately, truly unfortunately, this film was let down by its writing.
Fri 9 Dec 2011
(out of 4)
Review: Astarotte no Omocha!
“Astarotte no Omocha is about a succubus princess who has just turned 10 years old. Voiced by Kugimiya Rie, the titular character must start a harem, because for succubi to maintain their beautiful appearance, they must consume a substance only found from males: semen. The only problem? Lotte hates men! ” This is more or less the synopsis everyone who was looking at spring anime got to read. Needless to say, expectations were not high. When I set aside preconceived notions and actually watch the show, however, I found a robust and functional romantic comedy with surprisingly good writing and a dynamite soundtrack. The show is barely ecchi at all, and its filled with a slew of effective characters. So while I went in expecting a complete drag, I had the most unexpected good time with Astarotte no Omocha!. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a light emotional show with some pretty funny humor written in.
You really could not hire someone to write a worse synopsis than the one you find here (bottom left). Not only does it not make the show sound appealing, but it’s not representative of the show at all. If Astarotte no Omocha was in fact an endless service-fest for lolicons (something I would have probably watched anyway), at least you will entertain the crowd that the synopsis attracts. Not only do you drive potential viewers away, but now you’re playing to the wrong audience. (more…)