Monthly Archives: September 2014

Nekomonogatari

Type: Cat-Girl Ghost Thingy

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Synopsis: Taking place before the original series but not showing the events we really wanted, Nekomonogatari is about a cat spirit. Specifically, its about the time Araragi’s friend Hanekawa. You know, the one with the glasses and big boobs. The one that already go her own story arc in Bakemonogatari. So instead of finally explaining how Araragi became a vampire and was forced to enter the world of ghosts and oddities, we get 4 episodes about a girl in her bra and panties with cat ears.

Pros: By now, fans of the Monogatari series will know what there getting into. The traditional use of cut frames, bright colors, and of kilter conversations are still here. Araragi still runs the gamit of cool guy to spaz to perv. Its four more episodes of Monogatari (or a single movie depending how you look at it).

Cons: Going into this series, I knew beforehand that it was a prequel. However, I failed to read too much into the “Neko” part of “Nekomonogatari” and thought it was going to be about how Araragi became a vampire. So far, this is the only “oddity case” that hasn’t been covered in the anime side of the franchise. Maybe the books or the subsequent series cover it, I don’t know. But it’s staring to irk me. Nekomonogatari is good enough and its still Monogatari in terms of quality, but I don’t think we really needed to have Hanekawa’s story expanded. Her arc in Bakemonogatari was enough.

Watch it?: If you need more Monogatari, then sure (4/5)

MVP: Araragi

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Still a fun character

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Tsubasa Family, Part One” (boob latch)

 

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Sailor Moon (Season One)

Type: O.G. Pretty Soldiers

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Synopsis: I normally don’t do super popular anime, but dammit, I finally know what Sailor Moon is about! A long time ago, the Moon Princess and her friends are sent to Earth after her Kingdom is destroyed by the evil Queen Beryl. Years later, the Moon Princess is reincarnated as a young girl named Serena and given the ability to turn into “Sailor Moon” by a talking cat named Luna. Together, they reassemble the “Sailor Scouts” and fight Queen Beryl and her evil henchmen.

Pros: Although I’m the right age, I missed Sailor Moon the first time around because I didn’t have cable. But I did watch the Power Rangers, and this is basically the same thing. Just look at the story structure: One or more of the Scouts are doing something, the bad guys crash their activity, then someone throws a tiara and the day is saved. This would have made for great after school TV (though I wouldn’t recommend binge watching). It’s funny, in that early 90’s English dubbed anime way. I mean, why does Serena’s school friend have a Brooklyn accent? Better question, why weren’t their more random accents! I also liked that Serana was kinda a clutz and not a natural at the who hero thing. It made her relatable.

Cons: The show is repetitive, though I can’t say whether that’s due to North American editing or not. That’s right, I watched the old-school English version of Sailor Moon, end credit PSA’s and everything. I can tell you this much, Goku never told me that jealousy made people act differently. The more you know, I guess. I should add that this show is pretty girly. I mean, it was made specifically for girls, so that’s not really a negative. But I was confused over the common plot of these–middle school girls? high school?–dating clearly adult men. Maybe that’s a girl thing.

Watch it?: You really need to know what your missing (4/5) 

MVP: Serena

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I refuse to call her Usagi.

Best Episode: Ep. 31 “A Reluctant Princess” (Serena got real for a minute there)

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Battle Girls: Time Paradox

Type: Nobunaga, Tokugawa, Hideyoshi, the usual.

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Synopsis: A girl is sent back in time to the Feudal Japan where she meets all the big named Japanese Leaders that are forever stuck in the anime cycle of death and resurrection. Now there’s a thought. What if the cycle of rebirth also includes fictional worlds? Like, you die, then get recreated in some poor shmuck’s fan fiction. That would suck. Huh? Oh yeah, synopsis time. The girl finds that everyone is also a girl and there are no men in the past, because girls are pretty.

Pros: There’s nothing much to say one way or another. This is a solid mid-tier comedy with only a very little bit of Historical Drama put in. This means that any potential betrayals or attacks are immediately forgiven after the fact. I will admit that the character of Hideyoshi isn’t the most annoying small-blonde character in anime history, but she doesn’t do much. No one in this anime does much. Although, there is one episode that deals with a woman’s love for another woman fairly earnestly. So it gets points for that. A fairly easy watch with some chuckles here and there.

Cons: So aside from the usual slice-of-life stories, the main plot involves Nobunaga collecting this mysterious “Crimson Armor” that will let her take over Japan. This was basically just an excuse to introduce other notable historical gender-swapped characters. The no guys thing is never explained, neither is the talking dog (p.s.There’s a talking dog). Since you probably already get a feel for what this show is, can I say how interesting it is that Oda Nobunaga is usually the central focus in these types of shows. Whenever anime goes to the past, they usually hit up Nobunaga. For those who don’t know, Nobunaga was the first of the Three Great Unifiers of Japan, followed by Hideyoshi and Tokugawa. Just a fun fact.

Synopsis: Total middle of the road show (3/5)

MVP: Yoshino Hide

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I wish her staff skillz had come more into play.

Best Episode: Ep. 02 “Confused Maiden” (Don’t get cocky kid)

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Romeo X Juliet

Type: Juliet X Romeo

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Synopsis: Two households, both alike in dignity until one destroyed the other some 16 years before, In fair Neo-Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, only this time its really the Montague’s fault. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life. Well actually, a crazy magic tree takes their lives, but that would be telling.

Pros:  I’ve said it before, but I love when anime reinterprets well known stories, particularly western stories. So what did they do different with Rome and Juliet? For starters, House Capulet was nearly destroyed by House Montague years before the show. The story actually revolves around Juliet, the last surviving Capulet, and her quest to restore her House and overthrow the tyrannical Prince Montague. As such, we get a lot of stories showcasing the cruelty the citizens of Neo-Verona suffer from Montague and the Noble Class. The best part is that Juliet isn’t just some lost princess. She actually established herself as a Zorro type character who defended the citizenry from oppression well before she learned she was a Capulet. A lot of the story is actually told from Juliet’s perspective, and we get to see her struggle not only with the pressure of reviving her House and the realities of leading a revolution, but also with falling in love with Romeo. Juliet’s personal journey is the core of the show, and ultimately why it succeeds. (p.s. You should also watched this in English, since they actually throw in some actual lines from the play in it).

Cons: I feel that Romeo character was underwritten. Unlike Juliet, Romeo doesn’t really go through a personal journey. He’s more or less that same character from the first to last episode. Fans of the original play may not like some of the character changes. I personally was irked by the personalities of Mercutio and Tybalt. In the anime, Tybalt is this cool and collected character, the opposite in the play, and Mercutio is a conniving power seeker instead of Romeo’s best friend. He doesn’t even die in the end, so we miss his calling out both Houses on their bullshit. I would also argue that Prince Montague should have hated all nobles, not just the Capulets. After learning his backstory, you can’t help but feel he was missing the forest for the trees. Finally, the ending was needlessly complicated. It does the cliche “hidden boss” troupe, where the real antagonist was some mystical being or whatever. This reeked of being an out to kill Romeo and Juliet at the end. Also, not an actual tragedy. In fact, the only tragic figure may be Prince Montague.

Watch it: The only time I actually liked Romeo and Juliet (4/5)

MVP: Juliet

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Hell, even I’d follow her

Best Episode: Ep. 17 “Cruel Tyrant: Darkness, the Origin” (man, do Nobles suck)

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Sword Art Online (Part 2)

Type: Alfheim Online

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Synopsis: Two months after getting stuck in an MMO, but not taking place in another season for some reason, video game nerddddd Kirito signs up for another monthly subscription to save his online girlfriend from a date rapist. This new MMO has a bunch of flying elves, which is…cool? Elves were in Lord Of the Rings, so I think that makes them cool. Kirito basically has a week to save the love of his life and prevent a totally legal marriage while she’s in a coma. Plus, he gets to fly around with a really busty blondy that may or may not be his incestuous sister. Anime everybody!

Pros: You know, the idea of Sword Art taking place in other MMO worlds is cool, and it would have been cooler if the show just bit the bullet and made Ep.15-25 another season. It’s nitpicky, but it would have made it simpler to separate both halves. The show still keeps its quality action scenes and gaming jargon, and I liked that Kirito got a Navi-like figure. Very Legend of Zelda. I also liked Leafa, in that I liked that Kirito traveled with another person for the majority of his time in Alfein Online.

Cons: First off, the incestuous sister story troupe needs to stop. None of this “technically not related” bullshit can make up for the gross factor. Second, I didn’t feel as emotionally invested in the Alfein Online storyline as I did with Sword Art. Kirito can’t actually die in this game, and you know Asuna will be rescued. Speaking of that, why did they have to marginalize Asuna so much? She went from bad-ass fighter to damsel in distress, in the worst possible way. She’s stuck in a bird cage, cries for Kirito to save her, and worst of all, she gets sexually harassed and constantly threatened with assault in almost every scene she shows up in. For a minute, it looks like she was going to escape and maybe work her way down the fortress while Kirito works his way up, but nope. Instead she’s attacked my tenticle monsters. For reals, that’s a thing that happens. The bad guy in this is also just the worst kind of slime. Also, for only having a week, Kirito seemed in no hurry and screwed around a whole lot.

Watch it?: Everyone lives. There, now you don’t have to watch it. (3/5)

MVP: Yui

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“Daddy” was annoying, but she was very helpful when you think about it.

Best Episode: Ep. 19 “The Lugru Corridor” (Giant Summon)

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