Monthly Archives: February 2014

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia

Type: I Am Afraid of All Ghosts

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Synopsis: Japan once gain prove they have the best ghost stories. No only are their ghosts smokin’ hot babes, but they can also change clothing, touch you, and mess with your friends. Sure, this particular spirit, Yuko Kanoe, may or may not have a dark past that keep her eternal soul trapped on the mortal plain. But she’s really positive about it and starts dating a freshmen, so it’s cool.

Pros: First, amazing animation. Simply stunning. It was produced by Silver Link studios, who seems to have been inspired by Shaft studio’s work on Monogatari and Sayonara, Zatsuno SenseiQuick paced, creative, and in-synch with the story. Again, amazing. It had one of the strongest first episode I’ve ever seen, which basically depicts the same scene from two different perspectives. And was it just me, of did Kirie starts posing more as the series went on?. The humor was top notch. Despite appearances, it’s really wacky at times. My particular favorite joke was Yuko’s embarrassment over her skeleton, stating its “as naked as she could get.” But it can also get really dramatic. Towards the end, Teiichi and Yuko’s relationship really drew me in, touching on a wide range of emotions. An absolutely stellar anime.

Cons: It’s an intimate story, meaning that it only concerns about 4 people. All the other characters are just blank figures, which is fine. Although, given the first episode, I would have liked more scenes showing Teiichi talking himself, or being fed by floating chop sticks. I also feel that Yuko’s backstory is a bit convoluted, and would have worked better with a more personal motivation. Finally, and this may be nit picky, but the tears used for when Teiichi cried looked off. A bit too thick for my taste.

Watch it!?: This show did everything it needed to do and more in 12 episodes, a rare feat. (5/5)

MVP: Momoe Okonogi

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A part of me kinda wants , a redo of the show, but from her perspective.

Best Episode: Ep.1 “Ghost Maiden” (A great harbinger of things to come)

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Zombie Loan

Type: Non-interest bearing loan

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Synopsis: Well it finally happened, pretty boy zombies are walking the Earth. I knew Warm Bodies was a harbinger of things to come. Or is it the other way around? Any who, a girl with glasses can see the dead and become the indentured servant of two undead zombie hunters who survive through borrowed time. Because debt follows you everywhere, even beyond the grave…

Pros: The character interactions of Zombie Loan were really top notch, and most definitely the highlight of the show. The lead Michiru, Akastuki, and Shito played off each other very well. They made Zombie Hunting seem fun. Their banter during non-action scenes was sorta like if Ghost Busters had starred anime people instead of comedians (Big ups to Harold Ramis).  The heavy shadows and lanky body artstyle also fit very well with the macabre story elements.

Cons: The action is not great and the story plot is uninteresting. The show was building towards a conflict between Zombie Loan and various organizations, which doesn’t really pay off because the show only had one season. You can obviously tell that this was based on a manga. Some things are overly complicated, like Shito’s backstory. I just couldn’t get into the actual plot scenes as much as the throwaway character scenes. If you’r not too worried about being a bit lost, I’d say skip around a little to get to the talky bits. They’re usually the best parts.

Watch it?: There are hints of greatness, but overall its pretty average (3/5)

MVP: Michiru Kita

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She’s the viewers’s eyes (get it?)

Best Episode: Ep. 3 “Dead Man’s Tongue” (It got the story going)

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Today in Class 5-2

Type: Kids continue to do the darndest things

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Synopsis: A bunch of kids in fifth grade are acting like a bunch of kids in fifth grade. They’re slowly entering that awkward stage, which strangely makes them just as mature as the majority of anime characters. Though, since the cast is still in elementary school, it’s totally understandable to feel like a skeeve watching them.

Pros: Much like the OVA before it, I found myself laughing more than once at Today in Class 5-2. This, once again, makes me conflicted because the best gags were dirty jokes. Luckily, since the episodes are now full length, there is a lot of different humor diversify the show. The stone face moments always cracked me up.The series used segment based scenes, giving you about three different stories within an episode. Not only is this an awesome way for slice-of-life comedies to present themselves, but it also allows you to skip over some of the more uncomfortable moments.

 Cons: Call me a prude, I don’t care. Having fifth graders in fan-servicy jokes was gross. It also doesn’t say much for the medium when little kids can pull off the same humor and dialogue as the usual teenage anime cast. Some of the OVA scenes were also incorporated into the series. That being said, it is a damn funny show. And for a show with children, there are refreshingly no moral lesson moments.

Watch it?: Still funny, and still makes you feel weird (4/5) 

MVP: Ryōta Satō

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Rare two-time winner

Best Episode: Ep. 9 “32nd Period ‘Typhoon’ / 33rd Period ‘Fashion’ / 34th Period ‘Dozing Off’ / 35th Period ‘Eating'” (Good Luck Virginia)

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Love, Election & Chocolate

Type: Poli Sci, The Anime

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Synopsis: Somewhere in anime land, theirs this school where its student body takes a very hard core stance towards their extra curricular activities. So what starts off as a students attempt to save the Food Research Club by running for school president turns into freakin’ Chinatown, with politically motivated assaults and honest to goodness labor bashing. Again, these are high school kids doing this. I can’t even name my city’s major, much less my high school student body president, but these legally recognized children are willing to kill for the position. Rich people are crazy.

Pros: At times, this is a good comedy, at other times this is a good drama. Not every show can juggle both genres that well, but this one did. I’d rank the humor right up there with shows like Student Council’s Discretion and other student club based shows. The cast had a good dynamic and funny gags, my favorite being Oboro’s shameless remarks towards Yuki. On the drama side, this show hits that particular soap opera character groove that really shines in anime. The plots involving Hazuki-Sensei’s backstory,  Ojima’s plight as a financial aid student, and Chisato’s relationship with Yuki were personal standouts. The show really shined in terms of characters, who were able to range from serious to goofy with ease.

Cons: This is a pet peeve of mine, but any anime that takes a mundane subject way too seriously without a hint of self-awareness gets on my bad side. It happened once with tennis, then discount store food, and now with student clubs. The characters in this show are in fucking high school, they should not be taking things like student government so seriously. There were at least three death threats related to the election. On a more objective note, the opening scene sets up a mystery that distracts from the rest of the show and doesn’t really come up until late in the series. The humor can sometimes be a little flat. And despite my personal biases, the election plot is largely unimportant compared to the other side stories. It acts largely as a framing device. In fact, you could effectively skip most of the election scenes and still find the show very entertaining, maybe even more so.

Watch it?: It may have bugged the hell out of me, but I can’t deny it’s quality (4/5)

MVP: Oboro Yumeshima

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Undescribable

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Disbanding the Club” (The PTA is disbanding!)

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Inu x Boku SS

Type: Right on Time for Valentine’s

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Synopsis: A young girl named Ririchiyo Shirakiin moves into a high security hotel because her bad attitude and smart mouth have isolated her from the rest of society. This was mostly caused by years of psychological scarring due to neglect and bullying, but that’s beside the point. Actually, that’s totally the point because in this story Ririchiyo meets Soshi, her new bodyguard and first person to sincerely care about her. Oh yeah, and everyone’s a demon. That’s kinda important.

Pros: This show has some solid gags and gets pretty romantic at times. I’m specifically referring to episode 11, which really caught me by surprise. I never thought a butler’s backstory would be so engrossing, and I’ve read the comic where Alfred the butler fought Nazis during WWII. Since the show mostly takes place in a hotel, we get a menagerie of different characters. My particular favorites were Nobara, who always shouted “Maniac!” at cute things, the deadpan Karuta, and the self-proclaimed sadist Kagero. Ririchiyo and Soshi were no slouches either. Ririchiyo’s haughty attitude was hilarious, and Soshi’s over the top duty towards her always mad me laugh.

Cons: The show can be kinda slow at times. It can get a bit “slice-of-life” at times. A lot of this is to reiterate the important plot points. Or really the one important plot point about Ririchiyo’s self-imposed rude behavior. It seems that in order to protect herself from being hurt emotionally, Ririchiyo developed a sharp tongue, something she hopes to rectify. So, as the show points out, she’s not a “Tsundere,” but a “Tsunshun” (someone whose rude on purpose). The demon aspect seems a bit superflous, it actually becomes really important later on in original manga story.

Watch it?: Liked where it was going, looking forward to another season (4/5)

MVP: Nobara Yukinokōji

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Maniac

Best Episode: Ep.11 “Kagero” (It’s like The Lake House)

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Good Luck Girl!

Type: Hard Luck Woman’s Bizarro Twin

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Synopsis: Ichiko Sakura is the luckiest girl in the world. Literally. She’s so fortunate that she has actually begun to drain the luck of everyone around her. In order to fix this, a God of Misfortune named Momiji is sent to take Ichiko’s blessing and redistribute it to the world. Because everyone deserves to be a big breasted rich girl with good looks and high intelligence. I know I do.

Pros: I have to give Good Luck Girl! props for making the protagonist Ichiko into a real person. Being the luckiest girl in the world, Ichiko could have easily been made into a stereotypical nice-girl character. But instead, she’s pretty selfish and conceited. This makes for some pretty funny scenes with Momiji, the God of Misfortune sent to steal Ichiko’s luck. You actually side with Momiji at times because when you think about it, Ichiko is kinda a villain, considering that she doesn’t care that she’s stealing people’s fortune. The show is also incredibly funny. There’s a straight-up song to fan service in this thing.  My personal favorite gags where the parody skits. Dragon Ball Z, Death Note, Lupin, nothing is safe.

Cons: The show is about 30% generic anime drama. Part of the premise is that Ichiko is lucky in everything except the things that really matter. She has no friends because of her stuck-up attitude. So throughout the show, Ichiko has to learn to be a more empathetic person. This results in episodes where she saves a kid, tearfully accepts someone’s friendship, etc. I found these moments boring, even if one of them involved a Toilet God.

Watch it?: I am stoked for the second season (4/5)

MVP: Ranmaru Rindo

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I demand a spin-off!

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “There Sure Is a “The Battle Between God and Girl Now Begins!” Feeling!” (Vs.)

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To Love Ru Darkness

Type: Really selling me on a Golden Darkness prequel series

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Synopsis: Lover boy Rito is still trying to balance a life where every other girl is in love with him. This is made more difficult by Princess Momo, a SVU villain waiting to happen. She takes it upon herself to get create a harem by getting Rito laid, either by her or someone else. As far as evil plans go, it’s no poisoning the town’s water supply, but eh. We also learn about one of the character’s mysterious past (hint: her name is in the title).

Pros: To Love Ru Darkness traded in the rapid fire comedy of it’s predecessor Motto To Love Ru in exchange for a more dramatic atmosphere.  You can tell by the improved camera work and addition of shadow, both of which look exquisite, that this entry in the To Love Ru franchise is trying to tell a more sophisticated story.  Well, as sophisticated as you can get in a show where the main conflict in where or not the male protagonist should consider forming a harem. The character of Momo was the perfect female protagonist for this season, as her devious nature played a nice contrast to Lala’s always cheerful demeanor. And if anyone new was going to carry a plot, it would be Golden Darkness. I should also point out that in contrast with most harem shows, some of the fan service scenes where downright sexy, I’m talking Barry White levels here. (but don’t worry, there is still plenty of panty shots and boob grabbing for you traditionalists).

Cons: First off, you will really have had to have watched To Love Ru and Motto To Love Ru to understand anything that’s going on. While this season puts more focus on Momo, Golden Darkness, and Nana, every other possible love interest for Rito gets at least an episode to spotlight their relationship. I should also note that anyone who loved Motto To Love Ru’s style may be disappointed at To Love Ru Darkness’s, well, darker tone. It’s not Shakespeare tragic, but there where time when I did get a bit anxious. The some of the fan service scenes in particular were unsettling. Momo was at times too sexually aggressive, but Episode 12 and the To Love Ru OVA do clear up her motivations.

Watch it?: Good in a different way, though does require some research (4/5)

MVP: Momo Belia Deviluke 

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This girl could seduce Satan himself

Best Episode: Ep.10 “Past ~Memories Leading to Tomorrow~” (too a while to figure out)

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Chrono Crusade

Type: Kinda like Fullmetal Alchemist, but not

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Synopsis: The year is 1928, see? The Church of Mary Magdalene fights demons in the mean streets of New York, see? One of their star members is Sister Rosette, see? She wears a highly inappropriate high-cut skirt for a nun and teams up with a devil named Chrono, see? Their looking for Rosette’s brother who was taken by this guy whose basically Satan, see? At some point they also team up with a cute apostle and busty bounty hunter, see? I hope you were reading this in an Edward G. Robinson voice, see?

Pros: This is a very solid action anime. I was particularly partial to the American setting, since I had a reference for the scope of the conflict. When they mentioned Denver, I knew their problems were for real. The version I saw was in English, and I must say, Chrono Crusade had some very stellar voice acting. Sometimes dubs are just phoned in, but you could really tell that the actors where giving it their best. The voice actresses for Rosette and Satella impressed me in particular with their wide range of emotions. The relationship between the eventual foursome of Rosette, Chrono, Satella, and Azmaria was very fun, and the eventual romance between Rosette and Chrono felt earned.This show also had a particularly slimy antagonist in Aion, whose smugness really made you want to punch him.

Cons: Well, you see, that is to say, the thing is….there is nothing particularly wrong with the show. It was honestly a solid manga-based anime. But there was just something missing that kept it from being more memorable. This thing really reminded me of Fullmetal Alchemist, especially with Rosette being such a hot-head, while Chrono was so calm. But I can’t really call Chrono Crusade better. I enjoyed it for what it was, but it didn’t wow me. The anime actually diverges from the manga, so maybe that’s what made it feel vanilla. The ending was also kinda a downer.

Watch it?: A good show with great voice acting. Not a must see, but still entertaining (3/5) 

MVP: Aion

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He’s such a sleeze!

Best Episode: Ep. 11 “Hellhound” & Ep.18 “Photograph” (one’s funny, one’s sweet)

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Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere (Season 1 & 2)

Type: I think I’m in Love

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Synopsis: Let’s try to keep this simple, shall we? In the distant future, Earth has become uninhabitable except for the islands of Japan. The country has been divided between outside nations, while the native population is forced to constantly travel on the ship Musashi. In addition, in order to restore the world’s civilizations, every country has decided to reenact history. Oh, and there’s also magic, ghosts, mechas, a perv that tries to save a robot that’s being inhabited by his dead girlfriend from future pope, a ninja that fall in love with Bloody Mary who may or may not be an actual fairy, and a Spain that seems to have a baseball-based military. It’s basically amazing.

Pros: I did mention that this was amazing right? This anime is visually vibrant, it’s action packed, it’s funny as hell, and knows the right ways to utilize music cues to get you hear racing and fist pumping. Seriously, I almost always to energized after watching an episode. It’s fun from the word go. The pilot is a battle-race that does an inspired job in introducing the rather large cast. Every character has their own personality and fighting style, and you honestly can’t wait to see one of them in a fight. I was also very cool to see how different historical figures where interpreted. Shakespeare was a particularly interesting choice. The first season focuses on rescuing the titular character Horizon from the Pope and Spain, while the second season focuses on the ninja Tenzo falling in love with a very blonde and very ample Bloody Mary, plus fighting England and Spain. It’s also has a tremendous sense of humor, with one of the characters straight-up being naked for the entire second season. I truly, truly hope we see more entries in this franchise in the future.

Cons: No matter how much I enjoyed this series, I cannot overlook the quagmire that is the plot. Seriously, I double checked on Wikipedia and still  cannot for the life of me tell you what’s going on. There’s just too much thrown at you to remember. The actual politics of the world itself are what lost on me. Like, why create doomsday weapons from the emotions of a dead girl? And why is society being run by student governments? And why repeat the bad parts of history at all, because you’ll really be wanting to skip all of 1913-1945. I can’t really say this was perfect if I didn’t understand what was going on half the time. Some of the girls also have what I like to call “balloon breast” that just came off as silly (though that may have been the point).  On a personal note, I know that there’s a game based on this show, and it sucks so hard that it’s only been released in Japan.

Watch it?: The most fun I’ve had watching an anime in a while (4/5)

MVP: Tenzo Crossunite

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Where can I get that hat!

Best Episode: Ep.1 “Those Lined Up Before A Horizon” (I don’t what’s happening, but I love it!)

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