Monthly Archives: June 2013

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa

Type: Fullmetal Finale

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Synopsis: Those goddamn Nazis are at it again. Not satisfying with ruining Germany, a secret occult society plan to invade the land of Amestris. It’s up to the Elric brothers, both separated at the end of the original series, to stop them. It’s a good old fashion Nazi ass-kicking, only with super science, parallel worlds, a hot gypsy, and a 13 year old boy who once spent his formative years in a giant suit of armor.

Pros: I love parallel world stories. So it was fun to see Edward Elric meet and interact with alternate versions of people he knew. I kinda wish the whole movie had played around with that more, but the main plot itself if very interesting. Much like in the original series, science is being used to further military goals. Only this time, the story is set in post-WWI Germany at the beginnings of the Nazi uprisings (not a fun place to be). Edward basically has to stop the Nazi’s from entering his world. It was also cool to see where the characters of the original series ended up, thanks to a two year time skip. The ending of the film may not satisfy everyone, but at least it provided a better sense of closure than the last episode of the main series.

Cons: Being a finale to Fullmetal Alchemist, the film requires you to have watched the original series. You will feel lost and confuse otherwise. This movie is very much the story of Edward Elric, so a lot of characters, including Alphonse, lose screen time. I wish we had seen more of Alphose’s growth outside of just his alchemy. The main antagonist is also pretty weak, and her motives seems flimsy at best. And like I stated above, the ending might bother some fans. (P.S. Winry really gets the short end of the stick here)

What it?: A good finally for Fullmetal Alchemist

MVP: Edward Elric

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Fullmetal Alchemist, alternate reality or not

Best Moment: Seeing the Elric Brothers use Alchemy together

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Fullmetal Alchemist

Type: Pseudo-Science Adventures

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Synopsis: You remember that thing that Harry Potter and his friends where looking for in the first Harry Potter book (or movie for you philistines)? The Philosopher’s Stone? Well, if you replace the Potter crew with two cyborg brothers, magic with super science, Britain with Germany, the Horcruxes with Golems, and Voldemort with girl Voldemort, you get…a 51 episode anime that has very little to do with Harry Potter.

Pros:  My favorite thing about Fullmetal Alchemist is that the central characters were two brothers. Edwards and Alphonse’s central goal is to help each other regain their bodies after a failed alchemy experiment. I loved that Edward, the oldest, always tried to take full responsibility for the accident, even if it sometimes meant ignoring his younger brother’s thoughts. That’s classic Big Brother. I also like the use of alchemy as a super powers. This fictional science of transforming matter made everyone’s specific powers understandable. Why does someone have fire powers? Because they create a spark and amplify it with oxygen. Simple, and somewhat scientific. The show revolves around alchemy, and much of the corruption and conflict in the show derives from it. The show explores the consequences of using knowledge in unethical ways. Humanity’s tainting of alchemy is even given physical and symbolic form through the Homunculi, beings created by alchemy and named after the 7 deadly sins.

Cons: Apparently, this anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist diverges from the original manga about halfway through the show. So, fan of the original work may dislike the show. I personally never notice any dip in quality because of this, and the show does a good job at tying up most of  its elements. This show does get really dark at times, to a very surprising degree. War, murder, experimentation, genocide, its all explored here. There will be times when the show slides into the grotesque. The show ends on a semi-cliff hanger, which is suppose to set up a movie finale for the series. It’s an interesting approach, but also a bit unsatisfying.

Watch it?: In exchange for you time, you’ll get a fun series (4/5)

 MVP: Alex Louis Armstrong

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The Strong Arm Alchemist

Best Episode: Ep. 13 “Fullmetal VS Flame” (training day)

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Excel Saga

Type: Quirky Experimental Anime

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Synopsis: For the low, low price of 26 episodes, you get the “Misadventures of Excel,” “Municipal Force Daitenzin,” and “The Pedro Saga.” Act now and you’ll also receive “Menchi, A Dog’s Struggle.”

Pros: Excel Saga is 26 episodes of cartoony anime goodness. Every episode is a goofy spoof on a different genre, from sport anime to Power Rangers. The series itself is split into three different groups of character that mildly intersect with one another, despite half of them living in the same apartment building. Each have their own charms and are fun to watch for different reasons. My personal favorite was the Pedro Saga, because it made the least amount of sense. The whole show is just a good ‘ol fashion pure comedy anime.

Cons: The biggest negative was the animation style. Being aired in 2000, the show was still stuck in that pre-high definition art  style that made the show look generic. It also may be too cartoony for some people. Any show that makes you utter the phrase “what is going on?” runs the risk of losing some people. Even I found myself skipping a few episodes without much hesitation. On a personal note, I hated any episode that focused on the dog. For some reason, I just drew the line at dog comedy.

Watch it?: If your in the mood for an honest laugh, this is the show for you (3/5)

MVP: Excel

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Unnecessarily Enthusiastic

Best Episode: Ep. 20 “The Best of Pedro” (I wish they had done a few more recap shows)

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Deadman Wonderland

Type: Super Fun Prison Time!

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Synopsis: In the near future, a cry baby by the name of Ganta Igarashi is set to prison by a fixed court for a crime he didn’t commit. The boy is forced to survive in Deadman Wonderland, a prison that doubles as an amusement park. Discovering that he’s able to control his own blood like a weapon, he lives only to get revenge against the man who framed him. If you have a strong constitution, if nothing else will do, and if you like albino side-kicks named Shiro, then maybe you can watch, Deadman Wonderland (cue A-Team theme).

Pros: Deadman Wonderland is a story about a boy who is sent to jail unfairly, then discovers that it was all part of a conspiracy. This by itself is very intriguing. You really sympathize with Ganta during that first episode where he’s being set up, though he does cry a lot. It all happens so quick and suddenly, that you know that something isn’t right. Then the show decides to add blood based superpowers, which adds a fun and dark layer to the show. That element is perhaps the true genius of Deadman Wonderland. It’s able to mix levity with drama very well. Every time you’re presented a ray of hope, the show takes it away. It never lets you forget how bleak Ganta’s situation is, but it also provides just enough optimism to keep you watching. I truly hope this gets a second season.

Cons: Like I said, this show gets pretty damn bleak at times. A few of these characters are disturbing. It’s also a bit more gory than it needs to be. Some other elements are a bit hit or miss. I understood why Ganta’s memories of his friends needed to be used, but since these characters only show up for a few minutes, you really don’t care who they are. It’s also confusing as to why Ganta would’t think about his parents. I mean, Ganta’s mother is mentioned, but since she doesn’t show up, I guess she’s dead? Shiro also presented a bit of a problem, mostly because I found it weird that a teenage girl could wander around a high security prison without anyone being at least annoyed by it. But admittedly, that’s nitpicky.

Watch it?: A bloody good time (4/5)

MVP: Senji Kiyomasa

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SLICE

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Death Row Inmate” (Where’s Matlock when you need him?)

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Cromartie High School

Type: Bad-ass high

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Synopsis: The hilarious adventures of the delinquents known as Straight Man, Mohawk Boy, Mr. Motion Sickness, the Comedian, Robo, a Gorilla, and Freddie Mercury.

Pros: I don’t think their are enough grammatical combinations to describe the greatness of this show.

Cons: This show is basically an Adult Swim show waiting to happen. Great dialogue, but lackluster animation. In it’s defense, however, the restrained animation puts more focus on the actual jokes.

Watch it?: If you watch a humorous show, you will laugh. It’s only natural. (5/5)

MVP: Freddie

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Freddie, what are you doing in a place like this?

Best Episode: All of It (Every single episode)

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Colorful

Type: Anime Sketch Show

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Synopsis: A bunch of guys skeev on girls for six minutes

Pros: I hate to admit it, but this show is very funny in its portrayal of the pathetic lengths men will go to in order to sneak a peek. For any ladies reading this, I am somewhat embarrassed to say that about 90% of what happens in this is  accurate.

Cons: After about the two episodes, you get that joke. “Men look at panties and bras a lot, let’s all point and laugh at that.” The humor doesn’t really evolve from that, but every episode is only 6 minutes, so it can kinda be forgiven.

Watch it?: This show has a weird vibe to it, so watch an episode and see if you like it (3/5)

MVP: Panty Shots

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Just Because.

Best Episode: I don’t know (you pick)

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Chaos;Head

Type: Delusional

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Synopsis:…..something to do with…..something. I think it was like….reality, or maybe mental illness. There’s this nerd right? And one day he walks in on a murder. Then all these different girls with swords show up, and sometimes they want to date him, or kill him, or both. Then this evil Corporation shows up. But we’re never really sure, because the nerd may be schizophrenic. It’s all very confusing.

Pros: One thing that Chaos;Head should be praised is for it’s protagonist Takumi’s voice actor. Takumi’s voice ranged perfectly from calm to frantic, without ever seeming to lose it’s core character. You believe Takumi’s anxious reactions to the extraordinary things happening around him. Even though he’s a coward, you end up sympathizing with him because you can imagine reacting the same way. Takumi was the crucial human element in this admittedly bizarre show. I also very much appreciated the recaps at the start of the show. I wish more dramas did that.

Cons: Chaos;Head is confusing. It plays with the premise of reality, and the idea that reality exists because you believe reality exists. But it doesn’t handle this central idea in a satisfying manner. Instead of making us question whether or not everything is just happening in Takumi’s head, it confirms very early on that delusions are real, and are basically like a superpower. No great psychological mystery here. Just another anime involving crazy psychic stuff. It throws together a story involving an evil corporation and girls that use psychic swords without any real explanation as to how or why.

Watch it?: If you value your sanity, I say skip it (2/5)

MVP: Takumi Nishijo

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Dream Boy

Best Episode: Ep.9 “Rejection” (childhood math is heavy stuff)

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Motto To Love-Ru

Type: To Love-Ru Season 2

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Synopsis: Guy named Rito is living with the consequences of having confessed his love for an alien princess named Lala to save the entire world. His life is now host to a myriad of alien and human girls that all seem to want his attention. So be prepared for a lot of misunderstandings. A lot of strange situations. And a whole lot of nudity.

Pros: Motto To Love-Ru seems to have moved away from the traditional twenty minute showing in favor of smaller and more varied  stories. It abandoned the whole “Deviluke” premised and instead focuses on the day-to day exploits of the main cast. Every episode in this new season is divided into two to three skits that vary in purpose. Most of the segments put Rito and the cast in very silly situations, which almost always lead to someone losing all their clothing. The animation had a major upgrade as well, helping elevate some of the stories and gags. The fan-service was also ramped-up to 11, with some scenes even surprising my experienced eyes. All in all, this second season is a much funnier, quicker, and more enjoyable successor to the original To Love Ru.

Cons: Their are entirely too many characters in this show. Not having watched To Love Ru in a while, I had totally forgotten who half these characters were. Since when did Lala have twin sisters? Whose that little green haired girl? What the hell is with that ghost girl? It’s was also kinda hard to keep track on who liked Rito, and who just sort of hung out with the rest of the cast. I will say, however, that my previous reservations about the character Lala where reverse in this season. Lala was more obvious about her love for Rito, and even supported her rival Haruna’s own efforts. She also dressed more like a human and less like an alien, making her all the more likable.

Watch it?: Even if you haven’t watched To Love Ru, you will enjoy this anime (4/5)

MVP: Rito

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The Jimmy Olsen of Harem Anime

Best Episode: Ep.10 “Pollen Telepathy / A Girl’s Feelings / Hear Throbbing Mail” (it’s a triple threat)

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