Dagashi Kashi

Type: A show about nothing, nothing but Penny Candy!

Synopsis: Candy shop. Check. Manic Pixie girl, check. Manic Pixie girl with big boobs. Check.

Pros: Maybe not that simple, but come on! The opening sets the tone for the entire series. How is Hotaru, the resident pixie girl introduced? First doing a backwards bow, second by hugging her breasts. That’s kinda how the show treats Hotaru, as a sexy weirdo. She’s not a bad character. In fact, she’s a super fun character. All manic pixies are. She’s an over the top candy fiend and her English voice actress plays her to perfection. I just wanted to point out what were dealing with here, because the anime is also super fun. It’s a slice of life anime that’s really light hearted and silly. Every episode explores a scenario set up by Hotaru using candy as a catalyst. I’m not sure if the penny candy is real or not, but if it is, it really reminds me of Mexican penny candy, down to the wrappers! But Hotaru’s antics only work if she has someone to play off of. Enter Kokonotsu, the male protagonist who Hotaru is trying to convince to take over his father’s dagashi shop. What I liked about Kokonotsu is that he’s very much a teenage boy. While he can play the typical “nice guy” protagonist, he’s still very well aware of Hotaru’s beauty, and would love to be more popular with girls, and goofs off with his best friends about pervy stuff from time to time. Both Kokonotsu and Hotaru make a good comedic pair, which all you need in a comedic anime.

Cons: On the surface, this show seems like a funny show with candy as a gimmick. But it’s actually a little pervy. Some of the jokes are definitely NSFW. Hotaru’s physique aside, they throw some dirty jokes at ya. Kokonotsu staring at Hotaru see through shirt I can understand. Hotaru being covered in “yogurt” is something else. A lot of verbal and visual innuendo going on here. So if your not into that type of humor, maybe look elsewhere. There are some sweet moments though, like when Kokonotsu’s dad complimented To, implying that maybe To’s dad isn’t round? Because you don’t really see alot of characters outside of the main cast. The only other thing to look out for is the fact that the anime doesn’t really “End.” It finishes. Whether or not Kokonotsu stays at the shop or leaves is not resolved, nor does he become a couple with Hotaru or childhood friend Saya. It’s a “read the manga” ending.

Watch it?: Almost as good as actual dagashi (4/5)

MVP: Hotaru

Dagashi-Kashi-04-7

How is candy so arousing?

Best Episode: Ep.4 “Fugashi, Fugashi, and… / Glico, Glico, and…” (the essesnce of Hotaru)

 

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Harem Anime: An exploration of Anime Sexual Cooperatives in 20th Century Social Consciousness [6 Year Anniversary]

Or, “Why anime nerds like shows about one dude getting with a bunch of hot chicks, and what makes for a good never-in-a-millions years, grow out of this adolescent fantasy, visit Utah: it’s not that great, harem show.” Continue reading

Koro-Sensei Q

Type: From the makers of Dragon Quest (not really)

Synopsis: Did you know that Dragon Quest was originally known as “Dragon Warrior” in America? It wasn’t officially called it’s original name until Dragon Quest 8 in 2004. Speaking of that, did you also know that Nintendo released a version of DQ8 for the Nintendo 3DS? I head it has a few new features, and it’s a great way to experience the game if you didn’t get to it back in the day. Definitely one of the best entries in the series. YES, even better than Dragon Quest 5 and 7….oh right! The review. The anime is Assassination Classroom if it was a comedic RPG.

Pros: As stated before, I have a soft spot in my heart for comedic anime spin-off parodies. And this one was no different. The premise is exactly as stated before: Assassination Classroom if it was a comedic RPG. It’s Assassination Classroom without any of the drama. Aside from the setting and tone, everything else is the same. Koro-Sensei still “teaches” the misfits of Class-E under the idea that they will one day kills him. Only instead of being an alien, he’s a Demon King. Karasuma is a knight instead of a government agent, and Irina is a seductive witch instead of a seductive assassin. The show itself is fairly short, 10 minutes, with interstitial to break up the scenes.  Fans of the original series, or RPG spoofs, will get a kick out of it.

Cons: Like most parodies, viewers will need a passing familiarity with the original source materials to get the full experience. The jokes are mostly funny, although I do feel the rely more and more on boob jokes as the series goes on. Two characters get more of a spotlight this time around: Okajima and Ristu. Okajima’s lewdness is played more for laughs, and Ritsu is allowed to be more comedic this time around instead of cutesy. And, yeah, that’s about it.

Watch it?: It’s pretty solid overall. Funny and quick. (4/5)

MVP: Ritsu

If you ever have a question about continuity, a wizard did it.

Best Episode: Too short to really pick (but ep8 was a freaky friday riff!)

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Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007)

Type: At least the title is honest

Synopsis: Get ready for some implied cuckolding! After escaping a hellish warzone in favor of a futuristic utopia, our heroes Deunan and Briarieos must face an even greater challenge: a cute boy! Enter Tereus, a cloned copy of Briarieos before he was turned into a cyborg, genitals and all. Can Briarieos possibly live with the fact that Deunan will probably instantly fall in love with Tereus because her feelings only run skin deep. That despite all their time together in the battlefield, all the trust they’ve built, and the love they share, that she’ll still run off with someone who has his old hair cut. Welp, ignoring the fact that Deunan repeatedly says she’ll only partner with Briarieos as he’s her one and only, let’s trade her off to Tereus. That’s what she obviously wants.

Pros: For a sequel, Appleseed: Ex Machina does a better job at setting up the world right off the bat. It opens with a quick summary of the world, which did a lot better job at explaining the lore than the entire first film. Post Apocalyptic. Utopian city. Cyborgs, clones, and humans. Done. While there is some plot involving collective consciousness or whatever, the real draw is the love triangle the film establishes between Deunan, Briareos, and Tereus. Well, to be honest, the actual high point is the relationship between Briareos and the other two. This is every much a Briareos movie. It defines his feelings towards himself and Deunan very well. This film does a much better job at showing that Deunan and Briareos are in a romantic relationship, which the first film only really implied it. It’s only pretty organic. A quick peck here. A quip there. When Tereus is introduced, we see Briareos insecurities pop up, not only concerning his relationship with Deunan (the whole, “would she love me more if I were still “normal?””) but with himself. This type of thing happens in most relationships, where it’s because someone loses use of a limb, or gains weight, or ages, or just feels that way one day. And like Deunan, a partner could try to reassure them that they love ’em anyway, but like in the film, it’s may not be enough to be convincing. So what happens? The person with insecurities pushes their partner away, the partner finds someone else, and the whole things becomes a self-fulling prophecy. In my opinion, this relationship based story was way better than a conspiracy about computer or whatever.

Cons: I kinda don’t like the fact that Deunan is basically ignored or disregarded when it comes to her relationship with Briareos. Like, no one takes her at her word that she’d rather have Briareos than Tereus. I get that this film is set from Briareos’s perspective, and that his insecurities makes him distance himself from her, but you can’t just give her away, man. She’s not pokemon card. The film does propose that their is some romantic tension between Deunan and Tereus, which is fine. She’s human and he looks exactly like her boyfriend whose being a jerk at the moment. And I do like the fact that she admits that Tereus confuses her, because it demonstrates some ownership of female sexuality. Besides this, the actual plot involving a computer overlord is largely unimportant, and rather trite.

Watch it?: Better than the first!

MVP: Breareos

Why do you have my face!?

Best Moment: Deunan kissing Breareos (the casual pecks do a lot of establish a relationship)

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Appleseed Alpha (2014)

Type: Weird name, cause it’s the third movie

Synopsis: In a story that makes way more sense, two soldiers are traversing the wasteland after a horrible world war. They in the search for “Olympus,” a mythical city said to have escaped society’s collapse. Along the way they must fight those who wish to restart the war that ruined the world. There, doesn’t that make much more sense than cloned robots or whatever?

Pros: I chose to review this movie instead of Appleseed’s direct sequel for two reasons. First, since this was a reimagining, I felt it was prudent to watch it to increase my level of investment in the franchise. Second, I didn’t know that this was the third movie and watched it by accident. Oops! Anyway, being made in 2014 gave this movie some major advantages over Appleseed (2004). Obviously, it’s computer animation improved tremendously. I’d compare it to Red vs. Blue season 10 in quality. The quality of the voice work has also improved, with quips and overlapping dialogue even inserted here or there to give off the sense of realistic  speech. And the story is much more straighfoward, giving you a better idea of Deunan and Briareos as a unit and as individuals. Keeping the story in the wasteland instead of Olympus was a nice touch too, as it kept everything down to Earth. Overall, I’d say watch this version of Appleseed if your curious at all about the series.

Cons: The animation is still janky. Not as janky as before, but you will notice a few lims moving unnaturally. The antagonists aren’t that interesting. They’re your typical fanatics trying to “reinvent the world” by using a big killer robot. In this movie, the real draw are Deunan and Briareos, and the colorful people the interact with in the wastes.

Watch it?: This is probably the only one you should watch.

MVP: Deunan and Briaroes

I finally bought them as a team

Best Moment: The verbal jabs (whoever was the English Voice Over director did good work!)

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Appleseed (2004)

Type: Finally, an anime about Johnny Appleseed!

Synopsis: Thank you. I’ll show myself out.

Pros: Appleseed is a sci-fi computer animated anime movie about humans and their relations with clones, or “Biroids.” A main conflict stems from the old human vs another species troupe. Sometimes it’s androids. Sometimes it’s clones. Sometimes it’s apes. Humanity is just not a friendly animal when it comes right down to it. The idea is interesting, and the movie does show glimpses of the discrimination the Biroids face, such as forced sterilization. To bad the whole story is a mess.

Cons: The whole story is a mess. The movie tends to cut between the past and the present, making it hard to determine what is happening when. The setting is also confusing. From what I gathered, a big war broke out, and some humans managed to build a Utopia called Olympus outside the carnage. One of the last soldiers fighting the war, Deunan Knute, it taken to Olympus becuase…reasons? I mean, I know it’s because her mother created the Biroids and owns the movie’s Mcguffin, but the film doesn’t do a good job at explaining that. Like, how can Deunan be a legendary soldier, but also be like 18? 19? Why was she still fighting a war that ended 2 years ago? Are we just going to ignore those weird mutants at the start of the movie? If everything is in 3 dimensions, then how come everyone moves awkwardly?…At the end of the day this movie can best be described as a starter anime. Ya know? Like, an anime you may find by accident at a video store or Youtube. You watch it because it looks vaguely cool, but later on you discover that Ghost in the Shell exists and just chalk up your previous enjoyment to a rookie mistake. What I’m trying to say is that this is the kind of movie you find at the $5 bin. It’s a movie your Uncle gives you to try to prove he’s with it. It’s the kind of film that low tier internet anime reviewers try to call bad without saying it’s bad because they don’t what to sound mean. Ya know?

Watch it?: Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

MVP: Anime face in 3d

Anime eyes know no dimension

Best Moment?: That time a Bioroid randomly asked Deunan what it’s like to fall in love (those dumb artificial creatures and their feelings)

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Tenchi in Tokyo

Type: Not, ah, my favorite entry.

Synopsis: I was going to try to make a long point about people moving new places, dating new people, and how this sometimes means losing track of your old friends and family. But that was taking so long, so screw it. What this show is really about is Tenchi trying to escape his crazy life filled with alien girls by moving far away and shacking up with the most IRRITATING girl you could think of…only for her to be a psychic projection of another alien girl.

Pros: For all it’s faults, Tenchi in Tokyo does a good job at staying true to the characters of the Tenchi Muyo Series. There’s no real point that in the show that the characters act in a way that isn’t believable to them. The essential plot is that the bad guy tries and succeeds in separating Tenchi and crew, and each react to this in a way I can buy into. Mihoshi and Kiyone leave after getting a reassignment from the Galaxy Police. Ryoko goes on a violent rampage in space after having her heart broken, and goes through the best story arc she’s ever had in the franchise. Plus, it was cool to see Ryoko as a proper space pirate for an extended period of time. And Ayeka tries her best to keep it all together since, as a lonely princess, she most likely never had many friends. What’s also interesting is that this iteration of Tenchi may be the most unlikable he’s ever been, but arguably the most realistic. The catalyst for the show’s plot is when Tenchi decides to leave for Tokyo to further his studies. While there, he meets a seemingly normal human girl and starts to date her, leading to the group slowly drifting apart. What made Tenchi unlikable was his efforts to keep the girls away from him and his life in Tokyo. At first, it starts as him comedically trying to stop Ryoko and Ayeka from interrupting him from starting a new life. But as the show goes on, Tenchi starts to outright ignore his former friends. Almost as if he’s willing to abandon his friends if it means living a stereotypical normal life. The plot even revolves around this, as it’s Tenchi’s bond with the girls that the antagonist is trying to severe. What’s especially interesting is that Tenchi wasn’t tricked into doing this. Not really. All he did was move and meet someone. But that was enough to make him move one from his hometown life.

Cons: While the character work in this entry in the show was fascinating, and probably the best exploration of each member of the cast, or at least Ryoko and Tenchi, this show is a mess. The tone of the show is also all over the place. This show contains both the sillies jokes that Tenchi Muyo has ever broadcast, as well as it’s most dramatic moments.  It’s starts off way to slow. The first six episodes are basically an unfunny farce that do nothing to keep the audience’s attention. If I wasn’t for my commitment to the series, I probably would have stopped watching. Well, that’s a lie, I watch no matter how bad, cause I’m RIDE OR DIE. But I probably wouldn’t have payed as much attention. The real meat of the show doesn’t come until 7, when the show reveals how this version of Tenchi and the girl’s first met. From there we get Ryoko’s Date, Ayeka trying to hitch hike to Tokyo, Tenchi starting to date Sakuya–the real story basically. Then there’s Sakuya…OK, I don’t want to be that fanboy, but I’m gonna be that fanboy. Sakuya is a horrible character who forced me to skip every scene that she was in (which included the majority of Tenchi scenes). She’s a homewreaker. Literally. She was created to distract Tenchi and keep him away from the other girls. The other more interesting girls, like the bad-ass space pirate, or the alien princess, or the two space cops. The show tries really had to make the audience like her, but I don’t think she really added anything to the existing cast. Tenchi, like most harems, is build on troupes. Ryoko is the rude girl. Ayeka is the princess. Sasami is the cute one. Mihoshi is the ditz. Mihoshi is the exacerbated career woman. But no, Tenchi’s first kiss in the franchise had to come from Sakuya, another in a long line of cheerful school girls who makes boxed lunches every day and dreams of nothing more than being a beautiful bride, because Anime. Goddam it Anime. I think this whole thing would have worked better as a movie. It would have at least tightened the plot and reduced Sakuya’s screen time. That being said, I guess I can’t call this show terrible if it caused me to feel this strongly about it.

Watch it?: Man, for a average show, I sure had a lot to say about it. Heck I have more, like how Ryoko was the only one who trusted Tenchi with Sakura, but her trust was broken. Anime men are dogs! (3/5)

MVP: Ryoko

It was great to see Ryoko cut loose

Best Episode: Ep17-19 The Separation Arc (it’s like when your favorite band breaks up!)

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Manyū Hiken-chō

Type: or “Magic Breast Secret Sword Scroll” (I’m not joking)

Synopsis: Think equivalent exchange, but with boobs. In Tokugawa Japan, a young kinoichi steals her clan’s boob stealing technique in an effort to change the world. A world where a person’s boob size determines their social rank. Except for men, who are still lords and heads of families under this system. A system that would logically only benefit women. Huh….Well, whatever, BOOBIES!!

Pros: Magic Breast Secret Sword Scroll, because why not?, is a fairly serviceable boob anime. The set up has out main character, Chifusa, traveling Japan as she tries to outrun “assassins” sent to get back the scroll she stole. Except that instead of dying, she runs the risk of having her boobs shrunken. For about six episodes, Chifusa uses the scroll’s technique to not only shrink boobs, but also absorb their power. Meaning that every episode we see Chifusa’s boobs get bigger, with sexy results. The show stays fairly consistent with it’s main gimmick: the show revolves around boobs because it’s world revolves around boobs. And it takes many instances to point out the silliness of such a world, often with ridiculous fan service. Bouncy bouncy indeed.

Cons: I mean, it’s kinda a one joke series, isn’t it? Throughout the show, we will see boobs bounce, jiggle, and even twirl. We see them get grouped, sucked, ties up, measured, weighed, etc. The joke gets a little stale. Then there’s the plot, which has an identify crisis. While it’s mostly a boob comedy, the show tries to throw in some clan intrigue in Chifusa’s feud with the Manyu clan. The clan’s head is Chifusa’s father, who coldly and ruthlessly sends assassins to ruin his daughter. But having a male villain in a show that focuses so much on breasts and women’s relationship with them feels incongruous.  For example, towards the end of the show Chifusa learns how to give breasts, not just take them. The secret to the technique is maternal love, a fundamental form of femininity. So it would have made a lot more sense if Chifusa’s main villain was a Woman who lacked maternal love and took breasts, and therefore femininity, away. It would have set up a nice metaphorical conflict between the positive femininity and negative femininity. I guess masculinity could also be interpreted as a lack of femininity, but it would be too simplistic to frame this argument through gender binary–What the hell am I doing!? This is a dumb anime about about big boobs! If you likes boobs and moaning then watch it, if not, then don’t!

Watch it: Oh, and the opening is terrible. (3/5)

MVP: Chifusa Manyū

Boobs are cool.

Best Episode: Ep.8 “Chifusa Imprisoned” (Lord Hatomune is the best!)

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SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist

Type: NSFW

Synopsis: In a world, where smut has been outlawed. Where phrases like “putting your yogurt tosser into the butter boat” is blaspheme. A world of prudes. A world of abstinence. Only one person will be able to bring back the raunchy. Follow our heroes on their trip towards an uncertain end. THIS SPRING, STAY TUNED FOR HIGH SCHOOL KIDS DISTRIBUTING DIRTY PICTURES AROUND SCHOOL CAMPUS AS A FORM OF PEACEFUL PROTEST.

Pros: Where has this been all my life. Why was I not informed of this anime sooner! What am I…what am I even doing here!? Shimoneta is half brilliant, half stupid, and all parts entertaining. The basic premise is that Japan has outlawed lewdness in all forms, forcing our protagonists to rebel through pervy behavior and inappropriate language. And I mean INAPPROPRIATE. I watched the English Dubb, because sometimes this world is a beautiful place. The words that came out of Ayeme Kajou might be THE filthiest collection of saying that I have ever hear. I did not know that the English language was capable of making that many euphemisms for sex, penises, or vaginas. Aside from the admittedly sophomoric charm of the show’s content (sex, masturbation, etc), the program does have a good message. Kajou’s group, SOX, fights in the name of personal freedom and sexual education. They don’t necessarily want to bring the government down, they just want to be explore the subject of sex without punished. Which is a good thing to say. Sexual education is important. And while issuing every teenager a box of sex toys and a porn subscription isn’t necessarily a good option, neither is pretending that lust doesn’t exist. The show argues as much. You have characters like Fuwa who are so ignorant about sex that they need to study the reproductive habits of bugs to better understand it. Or you get extreme cases like Anna, who becomes a sexual deviant after her first taste of physical romance because she has no background knowledge to help moderate her new urges. And as a side note, I liked the organic relationship that developed between Tanuchiki and Ayeme, especially since it’s based on comradery  and not idealization.

Cons: I mean, this is basically smut. Well, that’s too harsh. I’ll downgrade to softcore porn, not unlike American Pie or Not Another Teen Movie. You know, the classics. Aside from Ayeme’s amazingly dirty dialogue, a lot of the jokes come from Anna. After episode 3, Anna becomes a sex maniac who constantly tries to share her “love nectar” with Tanichiki after an accidental kiss. This girl is so turned on whenever she even sees Tanichiki that she immediately undergoes vasocongestion, causing her to secrete a combination of carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, and other acids produced by the normal lactobacillus bacteria. Clean up in aisle 3, am I right! Normally I would say this goes overboard, but given the context of the show, it actually fits right in. I do kind of think that it’s messed up that Tanuchiki losses interest in Anna after her “pure image” is shattered, but the exaggerated nature of her character change makes it work. Story wise, I feel that the last arc involving Gathered Fabric is not very strong, and I didn’t really like them as antagonists. I would have been perfectly happy if the show had followed a scheme-by-scheme narrative.

Watch it?: Does a footlong taste better with mustard on it? (5/5)

MVP: Anna Nishikinomiya

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L-O-V-E  N-E-C-T-O-R.

Best Episode: EP. 1 “Whom Public Order and Morality Serve?” (I have my own favorite [ep4], but I feel that this one tells you everything you need to know about the show)

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Lord Marksman and Vanadis

Type: Vanadis also means Freyja, the sexy war goddess.

Synopsis: In an anime that I thought was based on a game, but is actually based on a light novel series, we see, well we see a bunch of stuff. To keep it simple: Lord Tigre is the count of a peaceful but valuable region who grabs the attention of many people, including several War Maidens, powerful female warriors chosen to wield mythical weapons. Through a bunch of medieval warfare, Tigre and crew are able to defeat an evil count who tries to usurp the throne.

Pros: You know, for a series that mainly portrays women, powerful women at that, I talked a surprising amount about the only male lead. The patriarchy is a funny thing…Anyway, one of the best things about this anime is the level of competency that all the characters show throughout the series. For example, the War Maiden’s Elen and Mila are portrayed as skilled and powerful warriors with tactical minds for battle. And they rarely, if ever, need Tigre to “rescue” them, even in the mist of battle. In fact, the the Elen and Mila  fight alongside Tigre, often back to back or shoulder to shoulder, and never really lose their sense of purpose. Elen and Mila never abandon or consider abandoning their posts to live with Tigre. I really appreciated this character trait, since it gets really tiring to see characters give up their current goals all for the sake of an infatuation. On the flip side, I also really liked that Tigre has actual skills and goals as well. He wasn’t just a “good, average guy” harem protagonist. He was incredibly skilled with a bow (usually portrayed as a female-only weapon), and a avid hunter/tracker. These skills are consistent throughout the series, and explain why most characters would be initially impressed by him, and then grow to admire him after getting to know him. This made Elen and Mila’s predictable romantic interests for him feel organic. He also loses his fist battle with Elen, which was a good way to define both their skill sets. He held his own for a little bit, but smartly lost to the supernatural war maiden.

Cons: Boob anime. This is a boob anime. Look at Elen. Look at her lieutenant. What are they feeding these girls!? Aside from that, this anime is only a small taste into the light novel series. Sorta like a very long commercial. It’s not like the show shills the rest of the series with annoying references to “that man” or tries to foreshadow the next story arc at the finale of the anime. But there are a lot of things we never see. For example, there are said to be about 8 War Maidens, but we only get to see 5 in the series. Two are main characters, one’s a cameo character, one’s a brief villain, and one shows up here and there to be all menacing. The other 3 are shown in the opening, but nowhere else. The looked cool, but too bad! Learn to read pleb! Outside of that, the story is also a bit hard to follow. Things tend to move from one battle to another, as different factions are fighting for the throne, with Tigre caught in the middle. (P.s. One interesting tid-bit: In the show, Tigre is given a magic bow that allows him to have power equal to, or possible greater than, the War Maidens. I just found that to be a bit…interesting).

Watch it?: Give it a go (4/5)

MVP: Tigre

He also tends to grab boobs when he’s asleep. Some sort of hunting instinct.

Best Episode: Ep.2 “The Return Home” (Tigre and Elen join forces!)

 

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