Mobile Suit Gundam-San

Type: Will this horribly cute war never end!?

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Synopsis: Gundam is about the horrible ramifications of was on the human spirit…but it can also be about a moron’s escapades in space!

Pros: Mobile Suit Gundam-San is a parody anime. It makes fun of the original Gundam series in small 4 minute segments. Great for Gundam fans with busy schedules. There’s plenty of fan service, juvenile jokes, and a weird subplot involving a bird dressed like Char.

Cons: It’s pretty stupid [I mean, I loved it, but lets be real]. You also really need to have seen the original Mobile Suit Gundam series to get any of the jokes.

Watch it: It’s only 4 minutes a piece. It’ll take about 30 minutes to get through. (4/5)

MVP: Char

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Is he really the red comet?

Best Episode: All of it (its really short)

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High School DxD BorN

Type: Capitalization ErrORS

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Synopsis: In a series that has survived way longer than anyone thought it would, we see Issei Hyodo continuing to live the good life. He’s got a dragon armor powers, he’s attached to a very powerful demon family, and every girl he knows are smokin’ hot babes that like to sleep with him naked. This season, he gets a power boost, a fight with the god Loki, goes a little aggro, and gets another kiss from his demon king. All in all, par for the course.

Pros: Yet another season of High School DxD is upon us, and I’m OK with that. As stated before, I’m a fan of this series. It’s a perfectly harmless boob-comedy. This entry continues the series tradition of breast centric humor, some demon fighting, and generic melodrama. The season is divided into about 4 story arcs. The first is a training arc, where Akeno and Koneko get more backstory. This results in Koneko becoming yet another member of the “We love Issei” club. The second story arc involves fighting the god Loki. The third story arc involves Asia getting kidnapped and Issei going a little crazy. And the last story arc involves Rias. Each arc is serviceble, and I did get emotionally invested in the third and fourth arc, since they involved arguably the two main heroines. I watched the English Dub, and by this point, you can tell they’ve given up any semblance of seriousness, its amazing. As for characters, well, the only real standout moment was when Issei noted that he know the girls all liked him, but he’s still afraid of getting close to anyone after the events of Episode 1, Season 1. I thought that was a nice touch, and is something that’s stayed consistent throughout the series.

Cons: The thing about High School DxD is that it doesn’t get any better or worse. It must be popular, because it got an English Dub the same year it was released. The boob jokes are still front and center, the pacing is still wonky, and the show simply has too many characters to explore properly. I honestly forget some of their names. This season adds more characters, which doesn’t help. It also adds the norse mythology into the plot, which I’m sure won’t muddle anything. Story wise, my one real complaint would be the Koneko arc. Mostly because she falls for Issei way too fast. She goes from relative annoyance to undying love like someone flipped a switch or something. I feel that the series is drawing dangerously close to crossing the harem threshold of “girls chasing the main character” to “sister wives.” For me, that’s when most harems go from campy fun to problematic.

Watch it?: I wonder if they’ll be a fourth season? (3/5)

MVP: Rias

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I keep misspelling it “Rise”

Best Episode: Ep.7-9 The Asia Kipnapped Arc (Gotta save the Demon Nun!)

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Infinite Stratos 2

Type: Mecha Girl’s School continues

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Synopsis: So apparently, the totally unique anime about a battle school full of girls and the one guy they all like got another season. Did not see that coming. This time, the waifu allies spend most of their time competing over their boy and are joined by two Russian sisters. There’s also this subplot involving an evil organization, but they aren’t that important. There’s fan service to be had!

Pros: I find myself still liking this show. Now, it’s been a minute since I’ve seen the last one, but I feel that the fan service was ramped up a little. With all the main players already introduced, I think there was more time for sexy gags and what not. This season is about 80% love comedy, and 20% action, so the whole thing has a light tone.  I watched the english dub this time and loved the use of accents, expect for Charlotte, who sounded more swedish than french. The season introduces two new love interests in the Sarashiki sisters, and they get a pretty solid arc around mid way through the season. Story wise, a new villain group called Phantom Task are introduced. They usually attack the group during some sort of activity, like a play or trip. While their story is not concluded, they are presented as a viable threat to the main characters. The actions scenes are good, and the series has blended 3D models very well in their fights. I also forgot that this is the rare light novel battle school anime where the male protagonist isn’t a powerhouse mary sue character, which was refreshing. I mean, he’s still kinda generic, but still.

Cons: The entire season sort of felt like a nothing season. It’s not that nothing didn’t happen, its that it didn’t happen enough. There was no real pay off at the end of the season. Three important things were introduced this season. One, the Sarashiki sisters, which was the only plot point with a beginning, middle, and end. They are introduced, their core drama is explained, and their story is resolved. Hell, the conflict wasn’t even about the male character! (It was about a sibling rivalry) though I do feel he got off super easy considering what transpired. The second was adding Phantom Task as antagonists, whose story ends in a “you should probably read the light novel” kind a way. And the third is about Ichika’s training, which is dropped half way through. Character wise, too many are present to explore properly, especially with the new additions.

Watch it?: Good fun, lackluster story (4/5)

MVP: Charlotte

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No waifu, no laifu

Best Episode: Ep. 7-9 The Kanzashi Arc (good conflict. I also recommend Ep. 5 for silly fan service)

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“Must See” Anime of the Last 10 Years [4 Years Anniversary]

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Another anniversary, and another struggle to think of something neat to do. I can’t do my favorite anime again, and I’m not desperate enough for “Top 10 Side-Boob in Anime” (that’s the 13th anniversary). So instead, I’ll talk about something I’ve noticed in my years  of anime viewing. And that’s those “must see” anime that seem to pop up every year. Now, is this just me naming well known anime for an easy list that’s mostly click-bait? You bet it is. Enjoy! Continue reading

Mobile Suit Gundam 0079

Type: I watched this while playing Xenogears

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Synopsis: It’s War! The Principality of Zeon (who are totally not evil, pinky swear) has declared its independence from the Earth Federation (who are totally not corrupt you guys!). With heavy casualties on both sides, Zeon begins to take the advantage with their devastating new Mobile Suits. Luckily, Earth has the one thing Zeon can never beat: a merchandising empire based on a severely anti-war story!

Pros: When you think about it, the Gundam franchise is like the Star Wars of anime. A clearly influential mega franchise that forever changed the course of world wide pop culture. It also premiered 2 years after Star Wars, which I’m sure is a big pink laser sword sized coincidence. I know that Gundam has gained a reputation as a home for whiny teenage pilots, but I wondered how much this was a result of a post-Evangelion world. Turns out, Eva borrowed heavily from Gundam (which is pretty obvious when you think about it). The original Mobile Suit Gundam is a strict anti-war anime with a whiny teenage protagonist. But without spending an entire thesis analyzing this show (which you could totally pull off), I’ll just say that the show does a great job justifying all the troupes that it would birth in the “Real Robot” genre. The premise is that humanity is at war with itself. The protagonist, Amuro, is caught in the middle of a battle. His escape ship, White Base, is attacked and is threfore severely in need of able bodied men and women, which is why so many of the crew are young volunteers. The first third of the anime is like the modern Battlestar Galactica, a skeleton crew trying their best to get back to Earth while being hounded by the enemy. Amuro is more or less drafted because he’s got the most experience with the new experimental “Mobile Suit Gundam.” He’s whiny because he’s not a trained soldier but everyone expects him to pilot Gundam and keep everyone from dying. That’s a lot of pressure. But by the second third, Amuro becomes a soldier after experiencing the horrors of war. The last third delves into more sci-fi mind reader stuff. The beauty of the show is that every story “arc” is an exploration of the cost of war, either for families, couples, or the individual. People die. A lot. And except maybe the people in charge, there are no “bad guys.” In several instances, the “evil” Zeon soldiers are portrayed are regular folks. Look, its really hard to talk about something this influential. It’s a good show. Watch it.

Cons: This show was released in 1979. The animation might be a big obstacle for a lot of people. Which is a shame, because this show stands up extremely well. I admit, I did not expect  a continuous plot line from a show from the 70’s mainly known for selling toys. But this thing is quality (except for those kids that are allowed to stay on the ship for some reason). Maybe, maybe, it drags a little at the end, and I kinda wish the Mobile Suits weren’t so brightly colored, but that’s a minor gripe.

Watch it?: I’m annoyed that I didn’t watch it sooner (5/5)

MPV: Amuro

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I heard this guy doesn’t get the happiest of endings

Best Episode: Ep13. “Coming Home” (the cornerstone episode)

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Monthly Girls Nozaki-Kun

Type: Right up my alley

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Synopsis: Do you remember what it was like telling the person you liked that you liked them. The amount of courage that took. The Hulk-sized butterflies in your stomach as you approached them? Then, when you finally get the nerved to talk to them face to face you blurt out the wrong thing and end up getting their autograph. No? Well, it happened to Chiyo Sakura. Instead of getting a date with talk, dark, and handsome, she winds up helping him draw his published manga.

Pros: So this is the kind of anime I gravitate towards. It’s a funny romantic comedy with zero melodrama or mush. Chiyo likes Nozaki, Nozaki has no idea, hilarity ensues. Don’t get me wrong, I like melodrama and mush to a point, big ups to My Love Story!, but I also like goofy romance. And this anime is pretty goofy! Basically, Nozaki is a shojo author who takes any opportunity to think up new stories and characters. His friends help him finish his manga. Chiyo is our protagonist, and she becomes Nozaki’s assistant in the first episode in her heroic quest to win his incredibly dense heart. We also have Mikorin, the wanna-be playboy whose actually really shy and helps with the flowery background you see in shojo. Hori, the exhaspurated president of the drama club whose helps with background. Then there’s Seo, Chiyo’s rude best friend, Kashima, the school’s “prince,” despite being a girl and the bane of Hori’s existance. And finally Wakamatsu, who plays basketball. Its a good group. Oh, there also an editor obsessed with tanuki and another editor who Nozaki worships despite the feeling not being mutual.

Cons: I wish it was longer. That could be a con. I found Hori’s design weird. The blue shirt and tie made him look a lot older than the rest of the cast. And with all this talk of a shojo manga, I wish there had been an ova depicted what Let’s Fall in Love was like. There’s also no real ending, but the ending that is is place is adequate. And as you read above, I didn’t find Wakamatsu all that interesting. But overall, a pretty solid series.

Watch it?: Wish I watched it sooner. (4/5)

MVP: Chiyo

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I just love her Minnie-Mouse bows!

Best Episode: Ep. 11 “Let’s Rice” (umbrellas are hard, man)

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I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying

Type: To be fair, not all husbands quote anime that much (just the cool ones)

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Synopsis: Kaoru’s a straight laced woman. Hajime is an eccentric otoku man. What happens when these two kookie kids get married? Nothing much really. Their a cute couple who do married stuff.

Pros: For one, its short. Every episode is 3 minutes long. You can watch the entire series in a little over an hour. It’s also very funny, since the show packs in a lot of sketches within every 3 minute episode. The source of the humor is the seemingly oddball paring of Kaoru and Hajime. They’re a fully realized couple with individual quirks and worries that work very well as a unit. Kaoru is more of the “normal” one, but also someone who never imagined herself getting married until it happened. Hajime is a comedic otoku, but fully realizes that some of his kirks may be odd to Kaoru. I loved their interactions, as well as the more introspective moments each character had. The show really captured those moments when you think “this, this is the person I’m with?” and those moments when you think “I’m so glad I get to be with this person.”

Cons: The more I think about it, the more I feel that the supporting cast is superfluous. They do allow the characters, mainly Kaoru, the voice her feelings, but this could have been done though a voice over. With 3 minute shows, the show could have easily just focused on Kaoru and Hajime. I’m saying this because the show doesn’t really take advantage of having 2 other couples to explore. I also found it odd that in the second season, the show chooses to ignore a big plot point until the very end. I almost thought the show was simply ignoring it.

Watch it?: A great love-comedy (4/5)

MPV: Kaoru and Hajime

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I also love them in the manga!

Best Episode: The First Season (though the Second Season is also very good)

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No Game No Life

Type: No comma, no grammar

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Synopsis: Two nerds who are really good at playing games and totally not blood related guys! are unexpectedly sucked into a world that revolves around games. All games. Board Games, Gambling Games, Video Games, Mind Games and Athletic Games, I assume. I mean, that makes sense right? As long as no one gets physically hurt, all games are allowed. So what if Sora and Shiro accidentally accept to participate in a race? Or a Javelin throw? I mean, they have the habit of accepting games before actually knowing the rules, and I doubt that their shut-in lifestyle allowed for much exercise.

Pros: The animation just attacks you with its color pallet. The world that Sora and Shiro are sucked into, “Disboard,” has a lot of blues, purples, pinks, yellows, etc. I loved this aspect of the show, as it made the alternate world of Disboard even more abnormal. Not only is it a whole other word, a magical world, but a world with a unique set of rules. 10 rules in fact, designated by the Gaming-God Ted after an ancient war between the 16 races. The rules basically say that not one can physically hurt each other, and all conflicts can be settled with a game or contest, as long as both players agree and no one is caught cheating. Key word being “caught.” Throughout the series, almost every player Sora and Shiro play cheats. So Sora’s and Shiro’s goal isn’t to beat the game, it’s to beat the player. Luckily, both characters are really, really, really smart (almost too smart). Sora is the strategist, usually taking the lead in dealing with an opponent, while Shiro is more logical, taking care of calculations in the game itself. Together, they are unstoppable, which allows them to quickly rise through the ranks of their new world. Their interactions with other opponents and friends were always fun to watch, as they can range from sheet arrogance to panic attacks.  You get the sense that they’re playing the long game. And that’s the thing about this anime. I had fun watching it. I was never bored, and am very curious about the larger world.

Cons: Predictably, the relationship between Sora and the 11 year old Shiro verges on creepy to being full on creepy. That’s because Shiro has the habit of sitting on Sora’s lap and is very soft spoken, often coming off as more of a doll than a human. And of course, we gatta get those underage panty shoots in there. The show does have fan service, which isn’t too overdone, except when dealing with Shiro. Moving along, Sora’s motivation for helping Humanity (Imanity) came out of nowhere. He doesn’t really like people, and hes agoraphobic, so why is he so willing to be Humanity’s champion? I mean, outside of some vague personal philosophy. Both Sora and Shiro suffer from “Overpowered Hero” syndrome. They’re the best at gaming, which makes some of the results from their contest come off as narratively convenient. But since their overall tactic is manipulating their opponents and long term planning, the show kind of has an excuse. And, in all honestly, I love how fast they go from strangers in a strange land to world power who plan on challenging GOD.

Watch it: I burned thought this show, and hope there’s more (4/5)

MVP: Sora and Shiro

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Incest aside (I can’t believe I said that), they are a great team

Best Episode: Ep9 “Sky Walk” (showcase of humor, emotion, and audacity)

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Agami Brilliant Park

Type: Walt Disney meets P.T. Barnum meets Kanye West

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Synopsis: A run down amusement part is so desperate for money that they hire a former child actor to be their manager. They need 500,000 visitors by the end of the Summer, or they’ll be closed FOREVER. Not 500,000 ticket sales mind you, just visitors. I’m beginning to understand why their business model was failing them.

Pros: Right off the bat, the intro song screams at you. I love that. One of my favorite parts of the show was putting an episode on and getting “LOOK AT THE SKY, ITS MAGIC HOUR!!” It got me pumped for show. I wonder why more shows don’t have musical hooks like that? Like the intro suggests, this anime is about the inner workings of a amusement park. It’s not as dry as it sounds, as the its a humorous take on the industry, right down to the 3 comic relief mascots. Out of Moffle (totally a Bunta-Kun rip-off), Macaron, and Timari, I enjoyed Macaron’s brand of cowardice the most. So what you have is the main character, Seiya Kanie, dealing with a cast of eccentrics as he tries any ploy to get more people into Agami Brilliant Park. Every episode is almost a stand alone story, dealing with things like maintenance, hiring new staff, crazy promotions, but again, all done in a comedic, almost gag strip way. The jokes and situations are all very well thought out, and you can tell that real effort and thought where put into the story. The subplot of the Agami Brilliant Park actually being populated by magical creatures also helped justify some of the zanier moments. By the end I was invested in the characters and the park itself, and found magic in a self described “not a fairy tale” setting. I wish I had seen it sooner.

Cons: Saiya never wears his cool jacket. In the intro, you see Saiya in a blue military-esque coat, giving he impression of a showman. But he never has that jacket in the show, which sucks. It would have sold his “narcissist” gimmick more. Because I liked the idea that Saiya was basically faking his way through his job, but that his outward confidence helped boost morale. This wasn’t really the case, as Saiya was actually very competent and firm, but still. For once, I don’t actually mind the large cast of characters, as the Amusement Park setting helped justify the amount of people, and why some weren’t as fleshed out as others. Some plot points did feel tacked on though. Isuzu’s crush on Saiya sorta came out of nowhere (ep. 6), with no real set up. I also felt that the idea that Latifah (the princess of the park) would die if the park closed was superfluous, mostly because the park closing was stakes enough. Latifah’s supposed death takes the tension away from the ending, because the audience knows theirs not way they’re going to kill the lady-like small princess. I did however, enjoy the “Latifah’s curse,” which states that she will lose her memory every year. We get to see this happen in the last episode, and it was tragic enough to make my eyes water, but did not affect the overall outcome of the story. On that note, I forgot to mention that magic is a thing in this show. All the mascots are magical creatures. Latifah is a straight up magical princess. The show even suggests that all amusement parks are outposts for different magical dimensions. Which I loved, and does explain a lot, but the show tended to forget that it had magic. Whenever Saiya turned on his magical powers, I was liked “oh yeah, he can do that.”

Watch it: A great, great show. (4/5)

MVP: Muffle

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I can see though his punches!

Best Episode: Ep.6 “Not Enough People!” (Hmm, should we hire another Luchador?)

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Jitsu wa Watashi wa

Type: Apparently “My Monster Secret” in America

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Synopsis: When a boy likes a girl, he usually tries his hardest to show her his affection. This could come in many forms: gifts, small gestures, large gestures, dates, compliments, taking a blood oath to keep her unholy existence a secret. At least, that’s what Asahi “Eromine” Kuromine did when he accidentally found out that his crush is actually a vampire. It was either that, or letting her drop out of school. Blood-sucker or not, a fella can’t let his best gal miss out on an education.

Pros: This anime is based on one of my favorite manga’s. I’ve actually been following Jistu wa Watachi Wa (Actually, I am) for a while now. It has a unique art and humor style that really appeals to me. While it is basically another high school romantic comedy, the gimmick is that all the players are some sort of abnormal person. Shiragami is a vampire. Aizawa is a tiny alien piloting a fake body. Mikan has haunted glasses. Shishido is a gender swapping self proclaimed Pervert. And those are just the one’s in the show! Don’t get me started on the time traveler, angel, and other alien. Each character add a little bit of a twist to the typical rom-com anime recipe. For example, one episode revolves around Aizawa needing help getting back to her human body. And all the episodes with the Principle were awesome and perfectly captured the magic of the manga. It also occasionally uses a song cue for the really romantic scenes, which, while manipulative, works.

Cons: As a fan, I was happy that one of my manga’s got an anime. As an objective observer, I cannot ignore the fact that his is a very generic anime. You can pretty much predict what happens: Boy meets Girl, they bond, more girls are introduced, hijinks, a love triangle develops, misunderstanding, a self-doubt episode, and then the cast goes save the girl. I can’t say for sure that this isn’t how it went down in the manga, but I remember it happening a lot better.  The anime felt rushed, and in the end, nothing was really resolved. For example, a lot of Mikan’s original story is mushed into the anime, and doesn’t really go anywhere. The whole thing just felt a bit off, too mainstream, and failed to capture the real charm of the manga (just look at the intro to see what I mean). It all felt hollow, with inconsistent signs of it’s true greatness, and ultimately a disappointment.

Watch it?: Yes, Shiragami and Asahi eventually get together, and it’s adorable (3/5)

MVP: Akane Komoto

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Always an evil delight

Best Episode: Ep. 8 “Let’s Save the World!” (Now, this is what I’m talking about)

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