Monthly Archives: October 2012

Death Note

Type: Notebook that Kills People

Synopsis: Light Yagami is good looking, a genius, and pretty well off. But there’s a problem. He’s incredibly boooooored.  Then he stumbles upon a weird looking notebook called a “Death Note.” A death god named Ryuk explains to him that once someone writes a name in the Death Note, that someone will die. Light’s new powers go to his head, and he starts killing criminals in the hopes of creating a new world with him as the New God. (though in hind sight, he could have done all this by playing The Sims instead).

Pros: Death Note’s biggest positive is the cat and mouse game the develops between Light and the detective hired to bring him down, L. Both are geniuses, and both are isolated from the real world in their own way. Light adopts socially revered traits like cleanliness and charm to mask his true self, while L disregards most social conventions (like sitting properly) in order to mislead everyone around him. The anime itself is very suspenseful, as you never really know how Light is going to wiggle his way out of a situation.

Cons: This show is pretty serious, which I enjoyed, but anyone looking for a laugh should walk right along. Same goes for anyone looking for fighting action or fan service. This is a true drama whose story could imaginably be set in any other country if tweaked a little.

Watch it?: Pretty much, yeah (5/5)

MVP: Ryuk

The Real Winner

Best Episode: Ep. 12 Love (though, the whole is greater than any one part)

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FLCL

Type: Something to do with Space Guitars

Synopsis: Naota is a kid from Japan whose jealous of his brother’s baseball career, confused over the feelings of a seventeen year old girl, and physically in pain when he’s being run over by a space detective who now doubles as his live in maid. His bouts with cynicism aren’t helped by the fact that a war between robot, space pirates, and galaxy police has designated his forehead as a gateway to use Earth as a battlefield. Bummer bro.

Pros: How does one explain FLCL? Visually, its stunning in an erratic sort of way. For example, the town depicted has a blue collar feel, but at the same time, you can accept that its from the not too distant future. The show’s crazy plot involving space robots and detectives that fight with guitars mask a coming of age story that’s rather touching at some points. This show is more like a prolonged anime movie than an actual anime show proper.

Cons: Again, its hard to explain. The show throws a lot at you, but you sort of have to accept it. Pirate kings, robots, flying guitars. Its the type of show that you may need to see more than once to get the full meaning. Its weird. (p.s. I’m also not crazy about all the full grown women feeling up Naota, cause he’s like only 12).

Watch it?: Hell, rewatch it (4/5)

MVP: Haruko Haruhara

All guitar chicks are crazy

Best Episode: All of it (it only has 6 episodes)

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Gungrave

Type: Mobster anime Story

Synopsis: Two best friends (Harry and Brandon) live a life of leisure until their group of friends are caught in the crossfire of a mob war. With no place to go, the two friends join Millenium, the largest crime syndicate in the city. The syndicate eventually divided the two friends, climaxing in Brandon’s murder by Harry’s hand. Years later, “Bloody” Harry has become leader of Millenium, and Brandon raises from the grave to defeat him. So basically, its Clint Eastwood’s version of Goodfellas.

Pros: This show is pretty cool. It’s basically a mobster movie in anime form. Harry and Brandon’s rise to power and eventual split feels natural and fluid. Harry is more of a confidence man, the brains, so its obvious that he would have ambitions. Brandon is strong and silent, the brawn, so you buy into him becoming more loyal to the mob than to Harry. The story of these two best friends is what makes this show compelling.

Cons: As stated above, this mobster story is in anime form. So naturally, there are some crazy plot elements to it. Specifically, the advent of zombified soldiers. The real strength of the show comes from the private war between Harry and Brandon. The zombie thing is more for show (though I must admit, it makes the fight scenes cooler). I’m also not hyped about Brandon’s outfit when he returns as “Gungrave.” (mostly because I’m not sure why a Japanese mobster would come back from the dead in a cowboy suit).

Watch it?: It’ll give you a viewing experience that you can’t refuse (5/5)

MVP: Gungrave

He’s like the Man with No Name, but with a name

Best Episode: Ep. 26 “Dusk of the Destroyers” (Coppoloa couldn’t have done it better)

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Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Type: Breaking Through to the Heavens anime

Synopsis: Simon (the digger) and Karima (the loud mouth) live in a cave city, find a little mecha, use it to fight a bigger mecha with the help of Yoko (the scantily clad). Together they escape the underground and form a rebel band to fight against the evil beastmen that have taken over the world. After that, they rebuild the world and have to defend it against the anti-spirals, civilization’s greatest enemy.

Pros: Aw shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! This show is so great. Its got insane macha fighting. Its got an inspirational message, its got a girl that never wears a shirt. What more could you want? The show has a bravado fueled by its own moral that you can’t help but admire. Its style, its action, its plot, all of it has a bad-ass attitude to it. (P.S. “Spiral power” means evolution)

Cons: No much to be honest. There are a few instances here and their where it gets corny on you (partly due to its inspirational nature). And for a 27 episode anime, it goes kinda fast, so be sure to watch ’em in order. Other than that, I wish Simon’s ending was happier. Its more bitter sweet that I would have liked. But eh, can’t win ’em all.

Watch it?: Do it. You’ll thank me later. (5/5)

MVP: Kamina

Kick Logic to the Curb and Do the Impossible!

Best Episode?: Ep. 27 “The Lights in the Sky Are Stars” (fight the power!)

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Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi

Type: Every type

Synopsis: Childhood friends Arumi and Sasshi are trying to get back home, but they seem to be stuck. Every time they capture a demon imp and perform the ritual to return home, they end being transported to a strange world. The only constant is a big busted girl with glasses and pink hair.

Pros: Oh man, so many things. Every episode of Abenobashi is set in a different world, each themed after a particular geek sub culture. The worlds they visit are: fantasy, sci-fi, Kun-fu, Jurassic, Noir, High School Love Comedy, Fairy tail, War, and Hollywood. The show is wildly funny and fun, but knows how to insert serious moments organically. Its an ambitious show that actually manages to pull it off magnificently.

Cons: My biggest pet peeve with the show is its lasting message. Not to spoil much, but the ending left me dissatisfied. It’s not a bad ending in terms of logic or execution, but it seems to negate any form of character growth. Its a “happy ending” within the story for all involved, but not the one I would have chosen.

Watch it?: Its a must see! (5/5)

MVP: Satoshi “Sasshi” Imamiya and Arumi Asahima

The best duo since Lucy and Ricky

Best Episode: The entire series (12 awesome episode!)

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Is This a Zombie?

Type: Zombie Magical Girl Boy

Synopsis: Ayumu Aikawa is killed one night by a serial killer. Lucky for him, he had entertained a cute girl with his break dancing skills a few hours earlier. That girl was a necromancer, who revives him as her slave. Then, about a month later, he accidentally absorbs the powers of a Magical Girl for himself. He later gets accidentally engaged (married?) to a ninja vampire, thus making him a Zombie Magical Girl Boy member of a Vampire Ninja clan.

Pros: Man, this show is awesome! When its On, brother, it is On. First, Ayumu is a zombie, so he’s always killed in some hilarious way. Second, he’s a magical girl, and ends up fighting his enemies in a cute magical girl outfit. Third, he has three vampire ninjas crushing on him, two of which refer to him a a piece of shit. Fourth, he deals with all these stresses mentally by imagining that the necromancer, Eu talks like a love lore little sister. So not only is he a Zombie Magic Girl, he’s also an extremely rare interesting harem protagonist.

Cons: This first season is weaker than the second season. The first season deals with Ayumu’s death, then follows up with the Necromaner’s back story. Whenever the “plot” shows up, it drags the show dangerously close to generic waters. Ayumu’s murderer is crazy, but Ayumu gains victory. Eu is “kidnapped” and Ayumu has to save her while simultaneously affirming his feelings for her. Luckily, the second season manages to insert the plot more organically than the first.

Watch it?: Do you even have to ask? (4/5)

MVP: Mael Strom

School Wives are the best kind of Wives

Best Episode: S2, Ep.4 “No, Get Lost, Good Sir” (Cosplay Cafe Tournament!)

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He Is My Master

Type: Two broke girls resort to manual labor

Synopsis: These two sisters, Izumi and Mitsuki, run away from home because their parents won’t allow them to keep their alligator. As luck would have it, the local child millionaire, Yoshitaka, is in need of a few maids after his parents died and left him all their money. Better yet, Yoshitaka is a huge pervert with a costume fetish, and Mitsuki is an evil genius, thus ensuring the that the well developed Izumi never has a dull day.

Pros: Very gag oriented. This show never really relents on its comedy aspects. It’s the type of show that employs the classic mislead technique. No matter how many times it happens, you always think that the show’s sweeter moments are real. Because aesthetically, it screams cliche. But ever single time, it pulls the rug from right under your feet by turning the sweet moment into a funny one. Its all thanks to the duo Yoshitaka and Mitsuki, who constantly torment the protagonist Izumi (her own sister even started a naughty fan page behind her back).

Cons: The endings are repetitive. It always ends with Mitsuki looking at images of that weeks show, and Yoshitaka maliciously designing sexy costumes for next weeks show. This show borders on cliche. Heck, in some lights it may already be too far gone. The animations not impressive and the jokes rely on physical humor and wacky situations (conflicts are usually resolved through Contests). But the core characters manage to save it though their two dimensional selves. Izumi hate perverts, but has a crush on Yoshitaka. Yoshitaka is shallow, but doesn’t want to replace his new maids. Mistuki looks sweet, but is actually a master manipulator. Even innocent looking maid Anna is actually a crazy sex maniac (which is very funny by the way).

Watch it?: Yes, especially if you’re missing that old school anime feel (3/5)

MVP: Mitsuki Sawatari

Would you like to play a game?

Best Episode: Ep. 4 “Couples Formed Under Extraordinary Circumstances Don’t Last Long, You Know” (live free, die hard)

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A Dark Rabbit Has Seven Lives

Type: Zombie + Vampire = Love

Synopsis: One day, a dude gets hit by a truck. Then he finds out he’s a zombie (sort of). Then he remembers that his childhood vampire girlfriend (because those exist) is being held prisoner somewhere. Reunited, the couple have to contend with crazy twins, alternate personalities, feminine kidnappers, and desperatly pathetic love rivals. Bet the dude wished the truck had done a better job.

Pros: It takes a while, but by the end you warm up to it. What begins as a comedy then transforms into a romance, but finally ends up as an action show. Once you know what it is, you enjoy it a whole lot more. The final cast is someone you can imagine following for 50 or more episodes. It leaves you wanting more.

Cons: It takes a while to warm up to it. When you fist watch the show, you get the impression that its a comedy. Zombie guy gets killed alot, that’s awesome. Then it morphs into a romance story. Then you’re like, O.k. The main couple Taito and Saitohimea are bland, but the supernatural stuff gives them some flavor. Then after seven long episodes, it finally clicks: “Oh, this is an action anime!” By then, the main cast has formed into a solid team that makes sense. Less emphasis is put on Tainto and Saitohimea (because they will get on your nerves). The show needs more episodes to wash away the taste of the first seven, or else it’ll be tainted by the bad romantic subplot.

Watch it?: Not Yet (2/5)

MVP: Gekkou Kurenai

Must be hard to be a Genius in a room full of Idiots

Best Episode: Ep. 8 “The Student Council of Remedial Students” (when it finally starts being watchable)

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Hatsukoi Limited

Type: First Loves

Synopsis: There’s this group of teenage girls walking down the street. Being teenage girls in an anime, they talk about their love lives. One has to deal with two brothers, another with an ugly person, another with incest, and the last with, well, nothing really. The last one doesn’t really have any hang ups. Now the other three, man, do they have problems. Scary problems.

Pros: Its funnier than it should be. This show is basically a love comedy in the truest sense. It stars teenage girls dealing with relationship issues. Each one has to do with getting a boy to like you. So your enjoyment goes by the couple. I personally liked Ayumi’s dealings with Misao Zaitsu, a giant delinquent whose really just a big softy. I also really enjoyed Kei and Kasuda’s evolution, and felt it was the strongest story overall.

Cons: Like I said, this is a pretty pure love comedy. No action. Lots of melodrama. Your enjoyment goes by the couple. One deals with crushes on an older girl, self-consciousness over your body, intimacy issues, and incest (everybody’s favorite!). I found that unless it dealt with Misao Zaitsu or Kei/Kasuada, I just skipped the episode entirely. Their your meat. Everything else is just filler.

Watch it?: If you like lovey-dovey stuff, than yeah. (3/5)

MVP: Misao Zaitsu

Whenever you need me, I’ll be their

Best Episode: Ep.1 “Beauty A and Monster Z” (its like Beauty and the Beat, but in anime world)

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Final Approach

Type: Federally Enforced Arranged Marriage

Synopsis: So apparently, all those loud mouth old people on TV were right, the government is out to get you. At least that’s the case for Ryo Muzuhara, whose forced into a marriage by his elected officials in order to increase his country’s net population. Enter Shizuka Masuda, whose incredibly psyched at the idea of manufacturing babies by the barrow full. Now that’s patriotism.

Pros: Short, sweet, and usually to the point. Each episode runs under 15 minutes, so anyone with a busy day can still get their anime fix. Its also gag oriented, using cartoony figures and actions to convey the jokes. Shizuka Masuda’s probably the best argument for watching the show. Her aggressive lovey-dovey nature is explored and explained in a manner that makes you sympathetic to her story.

Cons: Despite being made in 2004, this show looks a whole lot older. The character models look like they were designed from a “How to draw Manga” book. It also has a lot of old school anime episode troupes, being a lot more wacky in nature. This means that despite being only 15 minutes, you’ll find yourself skipping some episodes because you already know whats going on (basically the whole Ehimo arc is cookie cutter old anime). Something weird also happens with the protagonist. At the start, you find yourself liking Ryo more than Shizuka. Your can empathize with  Ryo’s reluctance to the government-arranged marriage. He’s not a jerk to Shizuka, which is why you like him. But you warm up to Shizuka when her backstory is explored. So ironically, this short show takes a bit to grow on you (story wise, not humor wise).

Watch it?: Yeah, but feel free to skip as much as you want (3/5)

MVP: Shizuka Masuda

She wore me down

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Panic Visit!! Pretty Girl of Love and Destiny!” (one of the stronger anime pilots)

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