Love Hina

Type: One Conversation would literally fix everything

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Synopsis: 5 girls, 1 guy, and a Hot Springs Hotel in the longest “Self-Doubt” Arc I’ve every encountered.

Pros: Love Hina is considered one of the more influential franchises in Anime. It, along with Fruit Baskets, is often credited for laying the foundation for the love-comedy/Harem genre we know today. The premise is simple enough: a boy named Keitaro is trying to get into Tokyo University because of a promise he made to a girl he can’t remember, and find himself managing a all-girl’s dorm. The comedy derives from the now classic misunderstandings and peep-to-punish jokes, and the occasional cultural reference. Some episodes are even one-offs, like the medieval episode. The conflict comes from Keitaro and Naru’s developing relationship, as they both like each other but can’t admit it due to various circumstances. But still, the anime is very enjoyable in that old school early 2000’s kinda way.

Cons: Without talking about the animation or English voice acting, because this was made in 2000 so take it or leave it, my biggest peeves come from the conceits of the story. Keitaro and Naru are the driving force behind the show’s melodrama. They both like each other, but will not admit it. Keitaro is indecisive and lacks confidence. Naru is unsure of her feelings, but becomes jealous easily. The biggest issue is that this is the central plot, so this doesn’t change throughout the show. What we get is a lot of faffing about, with each character running away at several points after mistakenly feeling rejected. I didn’t like it in the manga, and I don’t like it here. I don’t really feel that every girl got a fair share of the spotlight, as they mostly acted as background characters for Naru and Keitaro. No wonder they always bad mouth him. And the anime doesn’t really get a proper ending until the OVAs, “Love Hina Again.” (PS. I’ve also always found the Tokyo U promise very dumb, because Keitaro made it when he was 3. He, nor anyone he’s with, should take that seriously).

Watch it?: Naru and Keitaro get married at the end (4/5)

MVP: Motoko

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Liked her better in the manga, but still.

Best Episode: “The Case of the Missing Hinata Apartment Money: A Mystery” (A mystery!)

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Tenchi Universe

Type: Nostalgic

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Synopsis: Ah man, now this take me back. The life of an Earth boy named Tenchi is turned upside down by the great Space Pirate Ryoko, the Princess Ayeka, her sister Sasami, the Galaxy Policewomen Mihoshi and Kiyone, and Washu, the greatest mad scientist in the universe! And unlike the original, they get into way more hijinks this time around. Some on Earth, some in Space, some is PARALLEL DIMENSIONS!

Pros: Ok, so its going to be hard for me to review this, because Tenchi Muyo was the first anime reviewed on this site. The entire franchise has a fond place in my heart, flaws and all. Tenchi Univese is a proper 26 episode anime, unlike the original that came out sporadically in OVAs. The story and relationships are largely the same, ending with Tenchi’s battle with Kagato, but it has some minor tweaks. For example, in this show, Mihoshi plays a larger part, and was actually introduced alongside Ryoko in the firs episode. Ryoko is also a lot more mischievous in this iteration. The overall tone is more slice of life, and the inclusion of Mihoshi’s exasperated partner Kiyone opens up some Laverne and Shirley-esque stories. As much as I love the original, anyone looking to see what Tenchi Muyo is about should really start here.

Cons: I felt that the last arc was a bit too long. It depicts the invasion of Jurei, which is cool considering that in the original, Ryoko was on the run for invading Jurei. A nice reversal there. But still, it took a little long to get to the fireworks factory, you know? Some fans may notice characters like Ayeka and Washu getting a bit short changed, and Ryoko no longer has anything to do with Washu, Jurei,or Kagato. But yeah, I can’t really point out any major flaws. Even the mid-90’s voice acting was stellar.

Watch it?: The best Tenchi series???? (4/5)

MVP: MIhoshi and Kiyone

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Even though Ryoko is still boss, these two GXP ladies stole the show

Best Episodes: Ep.11-13 “Time and Space Adventure” (Genre Adventure!)

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Free! Eternal Summer

Type: Deceitful Title

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Synopsis: First off all, the Summer is, in fact, not Eternal. It is a four month period in which the distance between the Earth and Sun is the shortest. It’s also not true in the show, because the season’s theme is about the transition into adulthood, using the end of Summer as a metaphor. Also, a lot a cute boys that for sure make out with each other.

Pros: So this section is going to be shorter than usual, because this season doesn’t really add anything to the franchise, besides an ending. If you liked the Free! franchise for it’s use of handsome boys, muscles, and homoerotic undertones, then you’ll feel right at home. But if you liked Free! for it’s story, or its melodrama, then this season might be a little disappointing.

Cons: One of the reasons I liked the first season of Free! was for the backstory involving Rin and Haruka, as well as the assembly of the Iwatobi Swim Club. It was a classic sports anime. You had your rival character that used to be part of the team, you had your weird MVP, you had your rookie, you had your gay subtext. Beat for beat, it was great. This season doesn’t really have that. There’s nothing really at stake this season. No big competition to win, no friend to win over. The show implies early on that the new big bad is Rin’s friend Sousuke, but nothing really comes of it. He just tells Haru to stop hanging around his totally not boyfriend, and then complain about his shoulder. Every character introduced this season amount to nothing, and the side characters from last season don’t do anything! What’s up with Momo? Do he and Rin’s sister ever hook up? What was Rin’s sister doing anyway? Or their teacher? Or their Swim Coach? The real theme this season is the more vague “end of childhood.” Haru and Makoto are graduating this season, and have to decide what to do. Again, this happens more or less as a subplot. Overall, it’s a disappointing season.

Watch it?: Stick to Season 1 (3/5)

MVP: Momotaro Mikoshiba

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I’ve been told he’s adorable

Best Episode: Ep.13 “The Eternal Summer of Beginnings!” (that one scene. Good job.)

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Makai Senki Disgaea

Type: Hour of Darkness, sort of

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Synopsis: An anime inspired by a video game series that already uses a lot of anime in it. This one loosely follows the plot of the first game, where an annoying would-be “Overlord” and his two female sidekicks travel the tactical rpg world with an army of penguins.

Pros: I love the Disgaea game series. Well, technically I love Disgaea 2, but I respect the rest. Apparently, this anime sorta follows the plot of the Disgaea 1. As a fan, I can sort of see this, but the story clearly works better in the battle-by-battle cutscene flow of the games. The anime itself is ok. Except of a few boob jokes here and there, its the kind of anime what you would see from an old Fox Saturday Morning cartoon line-up.

Cons: This is an anime that tries to translate a video game story into an anime. These don’t tend to work out. Partly, its because anime creators don’t have faith in the strength of the original story and try to add filler. There are some exceptions, like visual novels, but these tend to follow anime troupes. But to be fair, a lot of game stories are bad, but you give them a pass because you get to do all the exciting stuff yourself. Anyway,  I’d wager that I’d enjoy the game scenes on Youtube over the anime. The anime simply flows oddly, having weird stops and warps in the story. The characters are fun, especially Etna and Flonne, but they have to contend with an anime story that’s just not strong enough. Again, the anime is fine. It’s OK. It’s enjoyable at points. But given the source material, it had the potential to be more. Maybe the first game wasn’t the one to adapt.

Watch it?: I’d pass on it (3/5)

MVP: Flonne

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Love will save the Demon World

Best Episode: Ep.11 “A Night Lit Up by the Red Moon” (The only time I could tolerate Laharl)

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Cuticle Detective Inaba

Type: Goat of evil

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Synopsis: I honestly do not know. Something about a wolf, a cute cross-dresser, and the goat that hounds them at every turn.

Pros: Silly humor plus, well, more silly humor. This anime was right up my alley. The premise is technically about a werewolf detective and his band of assistants. He has a cross dressing boy, a non cross-dressing boy, and a cop who’s still in “daddy mode” whenever he talks about his little girl. On the bad guys side, you have a goat mafia don, his faithful servant with a burlap bag over his head, his female assistant, and his doctor helper. The humor come from a lot of things, some of it which is homoerotic (well, in that guys pet each other a lot). Just take my word for it, if your looking for a truly non sensical anime, this is it.

Cons: I for one could not follow the plot. In fact, shame on this anime for trying to have a plot. In the show, their is an organization called NORA, which consist mainly of ex-werewolf cops. It seems that the Japanese government was experimenting with such a thing. Anyway, Nora is equally as silly as the boys and girls at the goat mafia and detective agency. Except for one episode, Ep.8B and 9A, which showcase the backstory for Somei, Cuticle detective’s father. This episode was waaaay too dark for this series, and seriously stuck out like a sore thumb. Again, shame on this anime for trying to have a plot. Shame.

Watch it?: Yes, goat yes. (4/5)

MVP: Yuta

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Her constant attemps to kill Ogino were hilarious

Best Episode: Ep. 3A “The Chocolate Enchantment Case” (chocolate!)

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One Punch Man

Type: Japanese Superman

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Synopsis: After doing the insane training regime of 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and jogging 10 miles EVERY SINGLE DAY, Saitama has become the strongest being in creation. Now bored out of his mind, he decides to become a hero for fun.

Pros: One Punch man is amazing. Even it’s inception is amazing. It started out as a nothing web comic, and now it’s one of the most popular franchises in the industry. I’ve personally read almost all the manga. The premise is pretty much what I described. Saitama is a super strong “hero” who beats all his opponents in One-Punch. The joke of the series is that all the super detailed and overly designed villains get decimated by this one simple looking dude. The series is full of monster of the week villains, but also heroes of the week. One Punch Man is full of random heroes that make up the “Hero Association,” a Justice League/Avenger’s style group that monitors that heroes. The main plot actually revolves around the Hero Association, even if Saitama is the guy to ultimately fix everything. This means that most fights involve other heroes, usually Saitama’s sidekick/desciple Genos, getting beat up by a villain. But that’s actually good, because we get to see that the other heroes are actually heroic, as well as padding out the series a bit. The anime does an excellent job at making the fights look amazing. Plus, it adds to the joke that after all this struggle, Saitama just had to anti-climactically punch something to megadeath. (P.S. There’s also a bunch of superhero troupes, like the constant destruction of a city, the random villains, the fact that everything is resolved by punching, etc)

Cons: The story. Not important. If you came for a compelling narrative, you came to the wrong place. That’s not to say that the plot’s bad, its not. It’s just kinda there. The sets up the world, but the Hero Association is not really crucial to your enjoyment. It just felt a little superfluous is what I’m saying. As such, a lot of the “drama” involving dead or dying heroes didn’t really interest me. After all, this is mostly a comedy show. But on that note, I should mention that some of the humor from the manga doesn’t really translate well to the anime. Particularly, the parts where Saitama is deadpan and has those weird shading likes drawn on him. And I’d skip episode 1.

Watch it?: Best Blank Look in the Business (5/5)

MVP: License-Less Rider

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Justice needs no license

Best Episode: Ep.9 “Unyielding Justice” (shut-up, these aren’t tears!)

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Attack on Titan: Junior High

Type: Comedic Spin-Offs!

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Synopsis: OK Haters, here’s the low down. Attack on Titan: Junior High is a reimagining of Attack on Titan set in a modern Junior High. All the human characters are either students or teachers. All the titans are students as well. They don’t eat people, their just jerks that steal the human students’ lunches. Eren, you know, the crazy kid from the original series? Yeah, he’s wants to commit genocide because a titan stole his “chee-burga.” It’s all wonderfully cute and funny. If you can’t deal with your super “serious” anime taking a silly side tour for a while, then that’s kinda on you.

Pros: So I loved this anime. Mostly because I loved the manga. Even though I understand Attack on Titan’s appeal, I didn’t really get into it until the comedy manga was released. If anything, it helped me remember the character names. So I was super excited with an anime was announced! The loosely follows the plot of the manga, with Eren and the gang becoming slice-of-life comedy characters. I wish the anime adhered more to the manga, but eh. Eren keeps most of his hatred for the titans, but now for comedic effect. Mikasa is now the calm girl with a crush. Armin is the cutesy character. Jean is the arrogant jerk. Krista is the pure anime girl. And Sasha, well Sasha is still Sasha. The characters all translated very well into a new genre, which I guess speaks to their characterization in the main series. In a surprising bit, the anime even throws in a few allusions to future story points in Attack on Titan. So one of two pivatol characters in the manga make their first TV appereance in this show!

Cons: About 20% of your enjoyment will depend on your familiarity with Attack on Titan. I mean, this is kinda a given since this is a parody anime. The show throws in a lot of hilarious references to the anime, like Levi’s intro, Hanji’s titans, etc. I’m hesitant to say that fans who hate spoilers should stear clear, only because you’d need to actually know what the spoilers are to spot them. Well, except the one in Ep8, so maybe skip that episode. And like my intro suggested, if your the type of fan that doesn’t like your favorite thing made fun of, then this probably won’t be your jam.

Watch it?: A good break between S1 and S2 (4/5)

MVP: The Easter Eggs

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I understood that reference!

Best Episode: Ep.10 “Recommendation! Titan Junior High School” (school elections!)

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The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

Type: A Parallel Universe of a Parallel Universe!

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Synopsis: Alien Robot turned Shy Book Girl turned Scatter Brained Gamer Nagato has a crush on Normal Guy turned Normal Guy turned Normal Guy Kyon. Naturally, Nagato can’t just confess her love, and needs the emotion support of her best friend/alternate reality murderer, Ryoko. They go to the beach, visit hot springs, classic anime high school stuff. Haruhi Suzumiya is here too, but with no godly powers she’s just a bossy teenage girl that every has to listen to. Again, classic high school stuff.

Pros: It’s weird to say, the use of Haruhi characters for  a slice-of-life romantic comedy really works. All the characters are on point, and they translate surprisingly well. Aside from Nagato, every other character is essentially the same. Kyon is still a slightly downtrodden straight man and Haruhi is still as energetic as ever. For the show, however, the continuity is based on the movie The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. So Haruhi and Itsuki go to another school, and Asahina isn’t a part of Kyon and Nagato’s club. For story purposes, Nagato has been turned to a more expressive and cutely-shy girl. But the show still finds a way to have them all hang out. It even touches on the possible romance with Haruhi.  It should also be noted that, as the title implies, Nagato is the protagonist. Thus, characters like Ryoko are promoted to regular supporting characters, while Asahina and the like are slightly demonted. But hey, if you liked these characters, comedy in general, and the fact that ALL OF THE ENGLISH VOICE ACTORS RETURNED, then you’ll dig it.

Cons: If your the kind of person that doesn’t like it when a show like Haruhi Suzumiya has a sillier spin-off, then you’re not going to like this. This isn’t a third season of the original series, and it’s ok to be bummed about that if that’s your prerogative. That being said, there is a story arc between Ep.10-13 that might appeal to Haruhi purists.

Watch it?: I approve of this Spin-Off, and would like too see more (4/5)

MVP: The Comedy

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I’m still laughing!

Best Episode: Ep.3 “Haruhi Suzumiya!!” (Even when it’s not her show, Haruhi is great!)

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Snow White with Red Hair

Type: Snow White and Rose Red it is not

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Synopsis: No 7 dwarves. No evil step-mother. No hunstmen. No glass coffin. No magic mirror. Just a girl with red hair that, for some reason, drives all the boys wild. She gets harassed by some rich dude, a handsome(?) prince saves her, and she become his personal pharmacist.

Pros: To be fair, there is a poison apple in the first episode. The anime doesn’t really follow the Snow White legend, or even the Snow White and Rose Red legend. I’m thinking that the title “Snow White” was used more for name recognition. That’s not a negative, because hey, it’s in public domain. But don’t waste your time trying to draw parallels to the Fairy Tale. The anime itself is a medieval slice-of-life romance anime. The main conflict comes from people having problems with Shirayuki being at court, because she’s a commoner.

Cons: Nothing about this anime will wow you. Outside of the “Snow White” name gimmick, it’s kinda on the bland side. Shirayuki is predictably kind, loyal to the prince and dedicated to her craft. The Prince is equally nice, as are his retainers. I didn’t really buy some of the plots involving someone trying to get rid of Shirayuki, mostly because they happened too much. One story would have been enough. The more it happened, the more I asked, “Why are so many people trying to contradict the Prince’s commands?” It seems like the prince didn’t have much respect from anyone outside his close circle. Not a great sign for his leadership potential. The show occasionally goes into the social troubles on the Kingdom, but these aren’t the focus. The focus is Shirayuki and her life in the castle.

Watch it?: Romancy, but forgettable (3/5)

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MVP: Shirayuki

She’s nice, I guess

Best Episode: Ep.1 “Encounter… Changing the Color of Fate” (most interesting than the show)

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Throwback Reviews- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!

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These special reviews were written a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, and were my first attempt at “comedy reviews.” They are written in the voice of a older and disgruntled mother. Continue reading

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