Pokemon Origins

Type: Four Episodes = One Game

262543-1380221474-pokemon-origins-screenshot-3

Synopsis: This anime wanted to be the very best, like no other ever was. To entertain us was the real test, to wow us was the cause. The protagonist traveled across the land, catching all 150 pokemon far and wide. Teaching Ash to understand that he’s rally low tier on the inside. Pokemon!

Pros: Origins is based on the original Pokemon:Red and Blue (Green in Japan) video game that started it all. It does this cool thing where it beings at the start menu, and ends with the “player” saving the “game.” Unlike the main series, none of the Pokemon talk. They instead growl or chirp, just like in the original game. The fights between the Pokemon are also excellent, having more of an edge than the original series. Its a tad more violent, but the basic tenants of treating pokemon with respect is still there. Every episode depicts a familiar scenerio within the game: Beginning in Pallet Town, Lavender Town, Beating Team Rocket, and Becoming Pokemon Champion. Probably one of truest video game to anime adaptations.

Cons: While Origins is very faithful to its source material, it still adds fluff here and there. The interactions between Red and Blue are cliche, and the second episode involving Lavender Tower felt forced and bland. On that note, you should be aware that the series glosses over a lot of the original game. Being only 4 episodes, don’t expect individual gym battles, or accidentally killing your rival’s Raticate. Maybe if this had been 6 episodes instead of 4, the story would’t have felt so compressed. Now that the serious is over, can I saw how weird is was that two character kept being refered to as “Red” and “Blue?” Or that “Blue” is clearly Gary, that guy who had a harem in the original. Or that it just wasn’t as funny as the first series. I still say the original stands the test of time on gags alone.

Watch it?: Is Ditto a failed clone of Mew? (4/5)

MVP: Red

pokemontheorigin

He did in fact catch them all

Best Episode: It’s four episodes. Pick.

Tagged , ,

Maken-Ki! Battling Venus

Type: I can’t believe this has a second season.

tAG_146256

Synopsis: Part of it involves a guy with glasses going to a school where all the students have superpowers. Possibly secret superpowers, but that bit was confusing. There’s also this background story involving the Yamata no Orochi, that eight-headed snake dragon that pops up every now and then. There’s also a lot of boobs, and panty shots, and, well, a lot of boobs and panty shots.

Pros: This anime is terrible. Let’s get that straight. But the animation is surprisingly good. Too good for a shitty harem show. The quality of the animation (by which I mean lighting and certain shots) is either a sign that anime has embraced digital coloring and HD to the extent that even low-tier shows are reaping the benefits, or that some pitiful fool thought it was a really good idea to pump money into this franchise.

Cons: Jesus, do I even have to point it out? The story is confusing, the characters are one-dimensional, and the fan service is gratuitous to the point of nausea. Every character is at least a D-cup, and sometimes is seems like their panties serve more like a flag proudly waving with the breeze than as underwear. You know, sometimes you can argue this point, but there not getting around it, this show is god damn sexist. But weirdly enough, it sometimes calls out characters on their own sexism, like Takeru’s refusal to fight a girl. So this may actually be an incredibly sly metacommentary on gender dynamics in story telling (whisper It’s totally not whisper). There’s also not a lot of quality fighting in this show called Battling Venus.

Watch it: As stated above, this anime is terrible. (2/5)

MVP: Azuki Shinatsu

Ep_278032_6

At least she looks cool…

Best Episode: When you find one, let me know.

Tagged , , , , ,

My Little Monster

Type: Humans are the only animal that go to war, whose the real monster?

minitokyotonarinokaibutc

Synopsis: A girl with dreams and ambition meets a boy with slight manic tendencies, and the two fall in love. Sort of. I mean, he likes her, then she likes him, then he’s not sure if he likes or loves her, then she rejects him, then he says he loves her, then she loves him, then a rooster gets involved, its a whole thing.

Pros: Right off the bat, its really funny, especially for a Shojo show. There are some funny gags, my favorite being the small ones where male protagonist Haru gets happy or excited over the prospect of having friends. In fact, Haru and supporting character Natsume’s comedic desperation for friendship was my favorite part of the series. At these moments, the show felt like a cross between From Me to You and Haganai. I also liked the the protagonist Shizuku’s blunt and rational attitude, and the fact that her story line involves balancing her goals with her love life, instead of having to choose one or the other (I mean, she tried that, but it didn’t go well). And it may not be very gallant of me, but I laughed out loud whenever Shizuku was accidentally hit by Haru.

Cons: Personally, I disliked the more shojo-esque elements of the show. I won’t say that I disliked the moments involving character emotion or psychology, because that would make me sound like an unfeeling robot, but I do feel that these moments are a bit troupy. There are love triangles, personal anxieties, fowl, the works. Haru was also a problematic. On one hand, he’s a handsome loner with a heart of gold. On the other, he has substantial anger issues that he can’t control. At one point, it’s implied he was going to murder a rival for Shizuku’s affections. I feel that the title My Little Monster is implying that Haru may have legitimate psychological problems. It’s also pretty obvious that we’re not getting the complete story, which is a shame, because I’m interested in what happens next.

Watch it?: Possibly the funniest Shojo-Anime I’ve ever seen. (4/5)

MVP: Asako Natsume

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun - 12 - Large 04

I love that she calls Shizuku “Mitty”

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Sitting Next to Yoshida-Kun” (this was a  surprisingly hard decision)

Tagged , , , ,

Trigun

Type: A lot funnier then the artwork suggests

trigun-characters

Synopsis: Set in the distant world of not Cowboy Bebop you guys! A gunman with a broom for a head and red licorice for a body wanders the waste in search of love and peace. Sadly, he’s haunted by his reputation as Vash the Stampede, the humanoid typhoon, despite the fact that he dresses exactly like the description on his bounty. Along for the ride are two female insurance agents, a preacher, and later on his psychotic brother from his plant based species from space.

Pros: I found Trigun to be somewhere between Cowboy Bebop and Rurouni Kenshin. It’s a space western starring around a seemingly goofy protagonist with an infamous past. Though I don’t think Kenshin was quite the lothario Vash was. It even shares a few voice actors with the latter, most notably Dorothy Elias-Fhan, who play Meryl and Miss Kauru in Kenishin. The first half-ish of the story revolves around Vash saving people despite his harsh reputation, and the second revolves around Vash’s inner turmoil over his life and fight with his brother’s henchmen. Vash actually proves to be a pretty complex guy, if a little too quick to tears. Most of the series have stand alone stories, with plots ranging from greedy land owners to fighting would be assassins. A great show through and through.

Cons: I feel that the second half of the show falters. Learning about Vash’s backstory makes things needlessly complicated, and his ultimate showdown with his brother knives, the supposed antagonist of the series, doesn’t feel earned. The thing is, as the show gets closer to the end, the stories become increasingly dark. A lot of characters around Vash die, and we learn that this is all a ploy by Knives to make Vash suffer. The problem is, we only get about two episodes with Knives, so we don’t get enough time to get to know him as a villain. If Knives had been given more screen time, the differences between Vash and Knives would have been more pronounced and their conflict would have been better executed. As it stands, however, it makes the ending feel a bit anticlimactic.

Watch it?: Does a Trigun have three barrels? (No really, I want to know) (4/5)

MVP: Vash the Stampede

right....+every+rec+thread+I+see+now+I+ve+been+reccomend+_216d264d81354599ce7bb95450728abf

The man with a hundred nickname.

Best Episode: Ep. 18 “Goodbye for Now” (now this is a cowboy story)

Tagged , , ,

Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection (OVA)

Type: I don’t even, no.

rurouni-kenshin-reflection_3

Synopsis: Set in a horrible future we’ll call Earth-616, our once heroic protagonist abandons his family because he felt guilty over having a happy life and, and..no. You know what, no. I’m not doing this. SCREW THIS OVA.

Pros: There’s this part were Kauro tries to get Kenshin to give her leprosy by having sex. That’s so stupid that it makes me smile.

Cons: Jesus, where do I begin? This is a big, melodramatic, pile of lackluster storytelling. Everyone looks weird and the trademark action sequences are no where to be seen. And everything looks kinda grey. This thing totally missed the mark on the original source material. Why would Kenshin leave his family over guilt if the last arc of the manga specifically dealt with Kenshin getting over his guilt. That was the entire point of the fucking story. I’m sorry if this sounds like a rant, but it really upsets me that this story is considered canon by some people. Because it’s not. This is not how Kenshin’s story ends. This is not how the franchise ends. I refuse.

Watch it!?: Burn it.

MVP: No

kenshin45

No

Best Moment: The Leprosy Sex Thing.

Tagged , , , , ,

Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (OVA)

Type: God, do you remember when this was called “Samurai X?”

635716-rurouni_kenshin_trust_and_betrayal_1

Synopsis: Set in the not so fun time of the Bakumatsu and Meiji Restoration, a young swordsman named Himurai Kenshin joins the Imperialists as an assassin. Earning the moniker Hitokiri Battosai, or Man-Slayer, the once gentle soul tries to build a better future through steel and blood. His life changes, however, when he meets a woman named Tomoe, who affects his life so much, that his future becomes much less detailed and more gag heavy.

Pros: So, the thing about Trust & Betrayal is that everyone really, really likes it. It’s considered one of the best OVA’s in the medium’s history. Why? Well, it does what the Dark Knight did years later by taking a “realistic” approach to a largely fantastic story. Everything, from Kenshin’s design to fighting style are taken down a notch to appear more true to life. The dialogue is slower and quieter, and emotion is a lot more subtle. It basically stays true to the manga version of Kenshin’s backstory and provides the last missing piece to the anime’s story.

Cons: I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly like Trust & Betrayal. I never have. I don’t like the redesigned character models or the serious tone. If found it way too somber, slow, and totally devoid of the charm of the original anime. Granted, I will acknowledged that it is a good OVA. Even within the franshise, it makes for a nice contrast between Kenshin’s life as an assassin and the life depicted in the anime. The issue really isn’t over the quality of the OVA as much as it’s with the overall enjoyment you get from it. I didn’t enjoy it, but this is one of the very rare franchises that I actually have very strong preconceived notion and thus honest fanboy bias. So my dislike may be in the minority.

Watch it?: Objectively, yes. Subjectively, maybe.

MVP: Tomoe

samurai_x2

The reason for wandering

Best Moment: Revealing how Kenshing got his scar.

Tagged , , , , ,

Rurouni Kenshin

Type: A Personal Favorite

kenshin-group1

Synopsis: The baddest man on the planet starts feeling guilty over his whole “man-slayer” title, and retires to a life of wandering. He starts carrying a reverse-blade sword so his mad skillz won’t utterly destroy the posers who attack him. A few years later, he shacks up with this Dojo Woman who think he killed her father. He didn’t, but you know how these things go. Together, they help defend Japan against the forces of evil, because Meiji Japan knows to respect the legend.

Pros: As stated above, I love Rurouni Kenshin. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I love the fact that the protagonist is this super modest guy who only fights when he absolutely has to. I love that the franchise often injects real historical people and events into a story where one sword style is enough to end wars. I love that one episode where Sanosuke thought that cameras could steal souls. Even though the show stopped one arc short of the manga, I think they made the right decision. The New Kyoto Arc is the story’s high point, and Shishio is a damn charismatic antagonist. There are too many great moments to list, especially because a few are personally special to me, but trust me, this is a good show.

Cons: There’s no getting around it, Rurouni Kenshin is a shonen anime. Granted, a shonen anime where the protagonist is a full fledged adult looking for inner peace and redemption, not power, but a shonen anime nonetheless. There are several non-organic fights, and quiet a few supporting characters looking to become the strongest. Yahiko was particularly guilty of this (though his character does get better in the last arc of the manga). The filler within the anime were also not great, and the fact that the “last” season (ep. 63-95) was entirely filler makes me glad I stopped watching at ep. 62.

Watch it?: Guys, I have Reverse-Blade Sword. I think you know my answer. (4/5)

MVP: Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni-Kenshin-Oro

Oro

Best Episode: Ep.57-60 Shishio vs. Kenshin (So. Damn. Epic.)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Type: More Cowboy Bebop

Cowboybebop-poster

Synopsis: The crew of the SS. Bebop ride again on an adventure involving hacking, terrorism, and that one scene were Faye’s shirt gets popped open. There’s also that great fight at the end and, and…huh.

Pros: Fans of Cowboy Bebop will really like this movie because it’s basically two more hours of the now classic show. The only real difference is that some of the animation gets an upgrade, and most of the music has lyrics in it. Despite the three year gap, the English voice actors (which is the version I saw) didn’t miss a beat.

Cons: This is a great movie based on a TV show in the sense that Serenity was a great movie based on Firefly. Original fans will love it, but newer viewers won’t understand what’s going on, and question why this deserves the moniker “movie.” While it was nice that the movie felt like it fit right into the original TV show, it felt too much like a TV show instead of an independent film.

Watch it?: Mostly for Bebop fans.

MVP: Vincent

831-vv1

Better than Vicious

Best Moment: The Spike-Vincent Fight

Tagged , , ,

Akira

Type: The Really Famous Kind

AKIRA_(1988_poster)

Synopsis: You know what this is about. Or do you? Does anyone?

Pros: Gorgeous. The animation is amazing. This film is almost 30 years old, and it still out shines most animated films with its stunning visuals, bright colors, and masterful cinematography. So yeah, it’s very pretty. You can tell why it went on to inspire generations of film makers. In terms of story, I have to give it props for  making Kaneda likable. In the original manga, I found Kaneda to be the most unlikable character. Too brash, too arrogant, too selfish. But in the movie, Kaneda is actually kind of charming. But again, the animation is really the films strongest asset.

Cons: While the animations incredible, the story may be hit of miss for some viewers. A lot of the original story from the manga is condensed into a 2-hour sci-fi film that involves psychics. Personally, I preferred this version, because the manga had a lot of political themes that I wasn’t a big fan of. However, a condensed story also means that a lot of characters are short changed. I’m specifically referring to Kei, who I felt was the true protagonist of manga, but gets a much smaller role in the film. And if you’re not a fan of sci-fi, you may not be a fan of this.

Watch it?: Historically important, so yeah.

MVP: Tetsuo

tumblr_mvpd32ztyW1r1uj3fo2_500

Heart of Darkness

Best Moment: Any time the camera pans to the city lights (wow)

Tagged , ,

Hayate the Combat Butler! Heaven is a Place on Earth

Type: In my day, movies were a lot longer

Hayate no Gotoku Heaven is a Place on Earth Movie DVD

Synopsis: Hayate and crew go on vacation. It’s hot. The ghost of Hayate’s grandmother shows up. I’m not really sure why this was called a movie, but hey, just go with it.

Pros: I like Hayate.

Cons: What constitutes a movie? Websters defines a movie as a recording of moving images that tell a story. But by that definition, commercials and television shows are movies. We could limit the definition to recordings that only show up in theaters, but that would still count trailers and teasers. To me, a movie has to be longer than an hour, and it has to tell a story you can’t really tell in any other medium. The Hayate movie fails on both counts. It feels more like an hour long special to an especially dull episode of the anime. It’s very slow, and the story is practically non-existent.  It lacks any of the original humor of the show in favor of a semi-emotional story that never really takes off. Yes, it was interesting to meet Hayate’s grandmother, but it was more interesting to believe that his entire family were just his comedically greedy parents. I know that anime movies traditionally like to break out and explore new story conventions, but this definitely felt like a step in the wrong direction.

Watch it?: No.

MVP: Someone

Hayate_movie_screenshot_464

I’m pretty sure someone was it.

Best Moment: The scenes between Hinagiku and Hayate were still cute

Tagged , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 72 other followers