Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Legend of the Legendary Heroes

Type: Redundant Title

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Synopsis: Ryner Lute and Ferris Eris are on this really rad adventure to collect “Hero Relics,” super cool artifacts that were used to kill the demon gods of ancient times. Their story proved to be so Metal, that the show was legally obligated to dilute it with a lame side-plot involving some sissy looking King and his political battles. I mean, its cool that he hates the aristocracy, because Fuck The Aristocracy, but he goes from Elizabeth the First to Richard the Third a bit too quickly.

Pros: The show is at its best when it focuses on its Medieval Adventure aspects. I really enjoyed the journey of Ryner Lute, a lazy but powerful magician, and Ferris Eris, a beautiful swordswoman with a dumpling obsession.  They made a great pair and had excellent comedic timing. I particularly liked when Eris made up stories about Ryner’s supposed “lecherous” personality. Every time they show up, you know your in for a fun and action-filled time. I was also intrigued by the show’s magical history, especially concerning the Hero Relics and Alpha Stigmas. And was it just me, or does a show about The Mad Hero and Lonely Demon sound awesome?

Cons: About 60% of the show doesn’t actually deal with Ryner and Eris, but with Sion , his royal staff, and the Roland Kingdom. Sion is a King and Ryner’s best friend, and he predictably goes to the dark side to “save the world.” This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to happen, but the way it was executed was disheartening.  We as the audience aren’t given enough access to Sion’s thoughts and feelings about the decisions he makes, so his ultimate fall from grace is left anticlimactic.  As such, Ryder and Eris are left doing the heavy lifting enjoyment wise. I should also point out that sometimes the show goes a bit too far in depicting the harsher aspects of Medieval societies such as child soldiers, rape, Aristocratic Incest, superstitious bigotry, etc. The ending was also confusing and unsatisfying, using the whole “secret badguy” trick.

Watch it?: Yes, but feel free to skim past Sion’s parts (4/5)

MVP: Ferris Eris

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Dango, Dango, Dango….

Best Episode: Ep.1 “The Napping Kingdom’s Ambitions” (I wish it had been like this all the time)

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Upotte!!

Type: The NRA’s wet dream

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Synopsis: Do guns kill people? Guns kill people right? I’m only asking because all the girls in this show are guns. Literally. They are anthropomorphized guns that for some reason also use real guns. If they get sick, their guns break. If their guns break, they get sick. I’m still not sure if the girls are supposed to represent individual guns, entire gun models, or the horrible result of a gun-nut’s one too many lonely nights.

Pros:  While I’m still not 100% sure about who the whole “guns that are girls” thing is supposed to work, the premise was pretty interesting. All the girls use gun jargon when describing themselves, and use factual gun history as their own life story. For example, Ichiroku is an M16 and the most popular girl in school, paralleling the gun’s popularity around the world. Every girl’s personality traits are also based on the gun they represent. This can range from being clumsy and unreliable, to being able to endure extreme temperatures. The show also had fairly exciting actions sequences, especially for a slice-of-life comedy show.

Cons: Since the main protagonists are all in middle school, the show’s use of double entendres was uncomfortable to watch. For example, the character Funco has a crush on her teacher, and dreams of his “big hands on her trigger.” Gross right? The show also didn’t do a good job at explaining what these girls were. I initially thought they were in military school, and was horrified at their irresponsible use of live ammunition. I’m also left with a lot  of questions concerning the girls themselves. Are they spirits? Are they robots? If they are guns, why do they use guns? When they graduate do they become real guns? Are they born or made? Do they age? It might be best not to think about the logic of this show too thoroughly.

Watch it?: A gun freak’s paradise (4/5)

MVP: Ichiroki

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USA, USA, USA!

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “Go for it! Pass it!” (man, guns are dangerous)

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Corpse Princess: Kuro

Type: Finally Getting to the Point

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Synopsis: The dead continue to walk among us in the shortest skirts imaginable, but you get use to it. With his older brother dead, protagonist Ouri has finally started to put on his big boy pants by joining the secret Buddhist cult that got his brother killed. At least he’ll finally gets that super hot zombie girl partner, that is to say, if he can prove he’s man enough to earn her respect/not-disgust. There’s also a bad guy with balloon powers. He’s not important, I just wanted to point that out.

Pros: The second part of Corpse Princess alleviated almost every problem that I had with the first part. It focused more on the inner workings of the Kougun Sect, the secret Buddhist cult that makes the Corpse Princesses. It also builds the relationship between Ouri and Corpse Princess Makina into a believable one by using the memory of Kensei (Ouri’s brother and Makin’s former partner) as the major obstacle but ultimate bridge between them. Kensei’s death keeps the duo apart for half the season, largely because of Makina’s loyalty/love for Kensei.  This was the one time that the show’s use of slow plot progression was actually beneficial to the whole story overall. This second part also had better villains and an overall better story arc, which delved into the true nature of Corpse Princesses and Ouri’s personal history. I wish the whole series had been more Kuro and less Aka.

Cons: As stated above, I really wish the the first season of Corpse Princess had been condensed into six episodes, and that the remaining episodes had been used to explore Ouri’s time as a monk. Parts of Aka felt so slow in constrast to Kuro, which seems to go too fast. While Kurodid a good job at maturing Ouri and forging a bond between him and Makina, we’re only getting a look at the beginning of their relationship. It would have been better if more time was spend exploring their paring in contrast to other priests/corpse princesses instead of focusing so much time on the pre-Kensei death timeline. As it stands, the whole series is left with pacing issues and a somewhat stunted ending.

Watch it?: Better than the first part. (3/5)

MVP: Toya

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Balloons. No really, balloons.

Best Episode: Ep.9 “The Value of the Living” (zombie cat suit)

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Corpse Princess: Aka

Type: Submachine Gun Zombie

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Synopsis: The dead are walking among us in the form of cute girls with the shortest skirts imaginable. It was either that, or returns are crazy ghosts who like to kill people. These “Corpse Princesses” all work for a secret Buddhist cult, and one of the members happens to have a brother named Ouri. He’s our super uncool protagonist, as shown by the fact that he does not have a super pretty zombie girl that can fight his battles for him.

Pros: I’m a sucker for ghost stories, and the early part of the season was basically a “case of the week” style show, with lead Corpse Princess Makina gunning down different ghosts/zombies called “Corpses.” Her constantly pissed off demeanor was a somewhat refreshing change of pace. All the corpses where grotesque and disturbing, exactly what we’ve all come to expect from a Japanese horror show. As the show progresses, more attention is shifted to the actual Corpse Princesses themselves, which was also very interesting. A few of them turn out to be pretty tragic figures, so your left wondering how and why each individual Corpse Princess became the way the are.

Cons: While the corpse fighting was cool, and the Corpse Princesses where intriguing, the actual plot was very underwhelming. Nothing really enticing. Most of this season was just an introduction of the main concepts of the series, proven by the fact that the last episode was a 20-minute recap of every event and concept so far. It should also be pointed out that while the Corpse Princesses where interesting, their Monk partners were not, even Keisei. The inner working of the Buddhist cult seems like something that will be explored later on. The animation also seemed to fluxuate in terms of quality and style. Lastely, the protagonist Ouri often came off as too soft and naive, though this admittedly made him a good medium for the audience.

Watch it?: It’s good if your in the mood for ghost/zombie fighting (2/5)

MVP: Minai Ruo

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Punching zombies is way cooler than shooting them

Best Episode: Ep. 8 “Serenity” (damn girl)

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C: Control – The Money and Soul of Possibility

Type: Confusing Name

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Synopsis: Once again we are shown the folly of our economic structure. For years we all thought that our financial instability was caused by unwise and short-sighted businessmen. Well, it turns out that the actual cause is the mysterious “Financial District” where people fight one another for money using their futures. On second thought, isn’t that exactly how the economy works now?

Pros: The central theme of this anime is the economy. Fights are for monetary gain, attacks are named after financial phenomena, special moves cost money, battles are called “deals,” and participants are called “entrepreneurs.” Hell, the major conflict in the show comes from the fact that people are required to put up their future as collateral in order to enter the fights in the first place. If a person loses too many fights and money, they go “Bankrupt,” and lose their future. Since the future starts in the present, this usually translates as a failed job exam, ruined company, or even a lost child. So the question becomes whether we should risk the future the ensure the present. This is all of course a giant metaphor for the current economic climate, where people in the financial world make decisions that have major ramifications in the real world (something that the show also portrays). There are a lot of other great things I could mention, but I think this should sum it up: Watch It.

Cons: First off, the show sometimes mixes 3-D models with it’s 2-D animations, which I always hate. Second, the main protagonist Kimimaro Yoga becomes less interesting as the show progresses. He is initially introduced as a college kid who could really use more money, a position that most of the audience can relate to. But once his money problems go away due to his success in fights, his major conflict becomes more philosophical, and thus less interesting He’s not totally passive, and he does act as a good medium for the audience, but he portrays a tad too much indecisiveness to be truly admirable. (p.s. The use of English dialogue was a surprising and occasionally hilarious addition).

Watch it!?: A part of me think this should be mandatory viewing for Econ classes (4/5)

MVP: Jennifer Sato

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I hope she gets her own spin-off series

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Complication” (it’s neat that every episode title starts with the letter “C”)

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Honey and Clover (Season 1 & 2)

Type: The kind with no actual honey or clovers

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Synopsis: The series follows five friends who mask their feelings of dread and sadness over choosing to Major in Art by falling in love with weird partners. Two of the friends love an underdeveloped artistic savant. Then the one with the glasses stokes an older widow instead of going for the totally down girl with legs for miles. Their’s also the old guy, who hangs out with all the young people because he only had one friend his own age, and she’s crazy.

Pros: Honey and Clover is a romance anime with some funny bits here and there. Any fan of romance anime’s will love this series. It had melodramatic self reflecting. It has love triangles. It has somewhat quirky characters that all have depressing inner selves. There were also a few relationships that should have been played with more, like between Morita and his brother, the history of Rika and Shuji Sensei, and the friendship between Hagu and Yuta. I really liked what I saw in each paring, and my desire to see more between them speak to the quality of the show. There are some genuinely romantic moments, and well as some genuinely funny ones. I would go so far as to say that if the ration of melodramatic to funny was tweaked more to the comedic side, this would have been a pretty fun anime. The animation also reminded me of From Me to You, which is never a bad thing.

Cons: Everything I listed above could be considered a negative anyone who doesn’t like romantic anime. Melodrama I can somewhat stand, but the sheer amount of self-reflecting. Sheesh! There are two main love triangles. The one between Hagu, Morita, and Yuta (later to be replace by Shuji) was actually pretty good. The one between Takumi, Yamada, and Rika, however, was not. Despite beings a secondary triangle, the damn thing seem to take up 70% of the story. I just did not care about Takumi’s quest to bag a pretty widow. He just came off as too self-centered, and made Yamada look like a pathetic loser.  In fact, I just did not care for Takumi period. His side story with the architectural firm bored me to tears. I wish Yamada had just had her own side story, sans Takumi. The opening intros also sucked (life action and animation do not mix).

Watch it?: A good romantic anime for those with a heart (3/5)

MVP: Morita

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Maybe he has the clover?

Best Episode: Ep. 25 “I face a legend…” Romaiya-sempai Special” (Sempai!!!)

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