Monthly Archives: January 2013

Vampire + Rosario Capu2

Type: Student spends his second year at Monster High School

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Synopsis: Tsukune Aono survived his first year of Monster High School (Yokai Academy) more or less intact. Now he gets to enjoy a relatively calmer school year with his vampire, succubus, snow fairy, witch posse. That is, until his Vampire Girl’s little sister comes into town. She has this crazy idea that her sister is actually two different people. Oh wait, she is!

Pros: Compared to the first Vampire Rosario, this new season is funnier, more self-referential, and overall lighter in tone. The show makes more use of gags (Tsukune! Moka-san!), breaking the fourth wall, and misleads. The series has moved away from the whole human-demon relations thing, and moved closer to it’s harem aspects. Since the harem has already been established, the show can play around with group dynamics a lot more. Most of the episodes focus on one of the girl’s efforts to improve their relationships with Tsukune in relation to the rest of the group. Overall, its just a lot more fun.

Cons: Again, their is nothing original about this anime. If you’re not a fan of harem anime, this won’t in any way change your opinion. The actions scenes from the first season seemed to have been diluted in favor of the humor. There is a lot of panty based fan service, like a lot, like one episode even revolved around pointing it out.  The new character Kokoa was really not needed. She was just their for strawberry panty shoots really.

Watch it!?: Its better than Vampire + Rosario. A pretty serviceable harem anime. (3/5)

MVP: Mizore Shirayuki

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I’m rooting for you, Stalker-Girl!

Best Episode: Ep. 7 “Bathroom and a Vampire” (its time to meet the parents!!)

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The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

Type: The type that lasts three hours

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Synopsis: Nay-sayer Kyon is still going with the motions, trying not to let the fact that his friend Haruhi Suzumiya can destroy reality itself if she gets too bored. That is, until he wakes up one day to a world that is totally different, with Haruhi no where to be seen. Now Kyon has to try to get to his world of psychics, aliens, and time travelers, or decide if he even wants to.

Pros: Obviously, fans of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya are going to like this. It felt way more like a new season than a film. The stakes are actually pretty high for Kyon, who has to decide if he wants his regular life or a normal life. If was fun to see Kyon deal with a problem all by himself, since he usually has the rest of the S.O.S. Brigade to help him. Another notable character was Yuki Nagato, who went from a logical robot to a shy and easily embarrassed teenage girl. Her interactions with Kyon were definitely the most emotional scenes, making her the most sympathetic character in the film.

Cons: The film definitely demands some level of familiarity with the the original series. If you don’t know what the main characters are all about, then you’ll feel lost watching this. Its also three hours, so it might be better to watch it in chunks. The ending wasn’t as good as it could have either, but it was still a pretty satisfying.

Watch it?: A must see of Haruhi Sazumiya fans.

MVP: Yuki Nagato

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I’ll join your club!

Best Moment: Any scene with Kyon and Parallel Nagato (so cute!!)

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Freezing

Type: Boob-based fighting

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Synopsis: Earth is currently at war with inter-dimensional beings, so obviously we needed to send pretty teenage girls with short skirts to fight them. Each girl, called “Pandoras” must choose a younger male partner as her “Limiter” in order to unleash both their full potentials. The pair consecrate their partnership with a ritual known as “Baptism” (spoiler: it’s actually sex).

Pros: I’m a real big fan of one-on-one fighters (though more so with fists than weapons), and the fights in Freezing didn’t disappoint. It’s got unique weapons, power-ups, shared techniques, ultimate forms, all that good stuff. It may take a while, but the characters do grow on you. You even buy into the whole premise by the very end.

Cons: This show has a very complex relationship with the issue of sex. It seems to be the underlining theme for the show. The “Baptism” ritual is discussed in the same manner as losing one’s virginity. When a girl activates her powers, it appears that she gets slightly aroused. Every fight will end with exposed breasts (there is entirely too much breast targeting in these fights). Hell, the main character’s whole shtick is that she was sexually abused well into her early teens, leaving her with an intense disdain for physical touch and vulnerability of any kind. I could have lived a very happy life without that last plot element thrown in. The issue with sex isn’t reserved for the ladies either, as the male protagonist has a real hard on for the memory of his sister, even partnering up with the female protagonist because she looked like his dead sibling. Outside of all this, I felt that the girls in the combat academy were really mean, the terminology for the show got confusing at times, and it would have benefited with more episodes to flesh out the story and characters.

Watch it?: Nah, unless your a fan of boob-punches. (2/5)

MVP: Satellizer el Bridget

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Respect her personal space, or else.

Best Episode: Ep. 12 “Satellizer VS. Pandora” (My moneys on Satellizer)

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Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (Season 1 and 2)

Type: Epic

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Synopsis: Ever imagine what would happen if the United States ceased to exist? Well, it turns out that the Empire of “Britannia” would have conquered half the world and made Japan a colonized state that treated the native population as second class citizens. This would lead to a rebellion led by the the exiled Prince of Britannia in the disguise of the masked hero named Zero with the help of a mind controlling power called Geass. Also, there would still be Pizza Hut.

Pros: Their are so many reason I could give you, stellar story telling, sympathetic and evolving characters, heart wrenching moments, entertaining action scenes, historical parallels to pre and post WWII Japanese fears, thematic issues involving independence vs security, the lose of innocence, the price of altruism. But THE best reason the watch the show is for the protagonist Lelouch. He is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever come across. The best way to describe him is as a “Dark Hero.” A genius and master manipulator who believes that the ends justice the means. A man who has to continuously juggles so many identities at once that even those closets to him can’t discern his actions. Is he the kind brother? The lazy student? The miracle maker? The hero? The villain? He’s guilty of many evil deeds, but he always takes responsibility for them. He lives in the shadows to protect the light. He is a contradiction. Lelouch, the man who could control peoples minds became the champion of free will.

Cons: I lot of the things I didn’t like about the show stemmed from my own hang ups concerning mecha anime. I liked the geopolitical elements and all that, but I’ve never been a real keen fan of warfare tactics. So I found any scene that discussed battlefield strategy kinda boring. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the school scenes either, though I do understand that they helped to establish Lelouch’s personality and introduce new characters. I’m also still not clear as to where “Geass” (the thing that lets Lelouch control minds) comes from, or why Lelouch was so willing and able to accept that power, or why he had to do weird anime poses,  like a bunch of times. Then there’s the character of The Emperor and Rolo. The Emperor, the main antagonist mind you, was waaay too generic. And Rolo was just plain weird. Not silly weird, just uncomfortable weird.

Watch it?: Watch it. Live it. Love it. (5/5)

MVP: Lelouch Lamperouge

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Checkmate.

Best Episode: S1, Ep 22-23 “Blood Stained Euphy” and “At Least With Sorrow” (it hurts my soul!)

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Cat Planet Cuties

Type: Hot Cat People

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Synopsis: One day nice guy Kio Kakzu meets an alien cat girl names Eris who turns his house into an intergalactic Embassy. Then he finds out that two of his friends (Aoi and Manami) are basically soldiers for hire. But the most amazing thing about all of this is that Kio is insanely cool with all this, when he really should not have been cool about any of this. Aliens are using your house as a homebase! Your friends have killed people on a regular basis! Where the Hell is your Perspective Man!

Pros: It’s actually pretty funny in a sort of harem meets alien girls kind of way. Lots of fan service. Fairly adequate action scenes. The characters are all likable and the plot keeps you going at a good pace. I really enjoyed Aoi and Manami’s story arcs that were kept sort of separate from the main plot, as it made them the most compelling characters (even if they felt out of place a few times).

Cons: As I said, the action is good enough, but don’t expect many pulse pounding moments. Its not a funny action series. Its more of a love comedy with action in it. The pilot doesn’t really do a good job at making this distinction, giving you a false impression on what the show’s really like (it starts out way too serious). There’s also this one plot hole involving the Dog antagonist. It’s never really explained why the Dogs are on Earth, or why they try so hard to stop the Cats (outside of just being dicks). And no matter how many naughty jokes or action scenes you put in, its still a show about freakin’ cat and dog people.

Watch it?: If you got the time and can deal with Cat people, then sure. (3/5)

MVP: Assist-A-Roids

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I wish I had one!

Best Episode: Ep.3 “I Came To Stay” (the cat people are coming!)

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Black Lagoon

Type: Imagine if Cowboy Bebop and Quentin Tarantino had a baby…who was Awesome.

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Synopsis: Tell me if you heard this one before. A Japanese salary man is kidnapped by three American pirates off the coast of South East Asia. The Japanese man decides to join them, and starts running jobs for them in a criminal city run by the Chinese, Italian, and Russian mafia. He then almost dies a few times due to run-ins with a crazy helicopter, Neo-Nazis, a maid, twin psychopaths, an army of assassins, and a yakuza with a samurai sword. Pretty Funny, huh?

Pros: Black Lagoon is a seriously well made show. It feels like a Hollywood action flick, but it also feels like an anime. The action scenes are high on adrenaline, the dramatic scenes are heart wrenching, the the funny scenes are gutbusters. The thing about Black Lagoon is that it never stops being fun. It’s a testament to its quality that it manages to incorporate extremely bleak real world issues without taking away from its humor or thrills. Show’s like Black Lagoon show why Anime is King.

Cons: First and foremost, Black Lagoon is a solid M for Mature show. The imagery and themes are not suitable for children (or some adults). Its also an action show, so you will have to pay attention to the plot, unless you wanna get lost. One nitpicky thing that turned out to be pretty funny is the issue of language. The show has an international cast, but you don’t realize how international until the the Japan Arc at the end, because it turns out none of the cast except the protagonist speak Japanese (making you realize they’ve probably been speaking English this whole time!).

Watch it?: F@#$ Yeah! (5/5)

MVP: Revy

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Bang

Best Episode: Ep.7 “Calm Down, Two Men” (p.s. Watch the Omakes!)

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