Monthly Archives: December 2014

Ai Yori Aoshi

Type: Literally means “Bluer Than Indigo”

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Synopsis: Once upon a type there was a boy named Kaoru, who grew up in wealthy but unloving household. After making the resolve to live by himself, he one day bumped into a young woman. This young woman turned out to be Aoi, his childhood friend and arranged fiancee. Though Kaoru resented every part of his upbriging, he still fell in love with Aoi, who never stopped thinking about him. And they lived happily ever after, proving that obsession and near psychotic devotion is the true path to fufillment.

Pros: This is one of those anime that I started years ago, quit, then rewatched later. In this case, I watched the show in Japanese and did not dig Aoi’s extremely traditional character and the general melancholy of the first four episodes. Little did I know that after rewatching it in English, I would find the drama to be my favorite part of the show. The show is basically a harem anime, but it’s strongest plot element is the relationship between Kaoru and Aoi. There moments alone are very sweet, which was strengthened by the fact that the show got through their romantic hardships early on and focused more on their day to day lives as a couple (secret though they may be).  Fiction in general tends to glamorize the act of falling in love (or out of love), but often times, the strongest couples are those that share the little moments. And although I doubt I’ll ever see an anime couple watching junk TV on the couch together in their pj’s, I still enjoyed Kaoru’s and Aoi’s private moments.

Cons: If you break down the show, its heavy melodrama in the beginning, light on the end, and general harem comedy in the middle. The middle part is what drags the show down. While you may think this show is about two people, it’s actually about a group of girls living in a dorm-esque mansion with a guy. It’s basically a blander version of Love Hina. I did, however, appreciate that most of the characters were of college age, because that made the fan service a lot more understandable (we all do dumb stuff in college). On a personal note, I really disliked Aoi’s character traits. She was very much the traditional, kimono wearing, soft spoken, “ideal woman” type that dreams of nothing more that cooking and cleaning for her man. In theory, there nothing wrong with having marriage as one of your life goals, or wanting to take care of your significant other. But having that be your defining characteristic of your main female protagonist is very sexist. What’s I’m saying is, I wish Aoi had some sort of habit outside the home. Maybe fishing.

Watch it?: Watch the first four episodes, and the last three, your call on the rest. (3/5)

Best Episode: Tina Foster

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Always love an American girl in my anime, especially if she’s immediately ticked off at an English person

Best Episode: Ep. 1-4, “Fate, Supper, Separation, Living Together.” (good stuff)

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Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I, II, III

Type: Egg of the King, The Battle of Doldrey, The Advent

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Summary: So these three movies are based on an anime which is based on a manga that’s been going on for over 20 years. Before you start being impressed, note that it publishes irregularly, so there are only about 300-ish chapters. It’s not One Piece, but maybe quality beats quantity? But for those of your still too lazy to read, these three movies summarize the best part of the story, the one with gross demons, gross humans, and generally gross turn of events.

Pros: Berserk, specifically this part of the Berserk story, is basically Game of Thrones made in Japan. Evil knights, scheming friends, sex and nudity, magical subplots, intriguing tragedy, the whole magilla. You follow Gutz, a loner mercenary who gets charmed by the beautiful Griffith to join his band of mercs, The Hawks. That’s part 1. Part 2 deals with the Gutz’s growing relationship with Casca, the only female Hawk. Part 3 is largely about the downfall of Griffith and the Hawks, and the dark events that lead to the rest of Berserk. The ultimately tragic tale of Gutz, Griffith, and Casca is at the very heart of this show.  A solid dark fantasy story with surprisingly striking art work. Fans of Hard-R medieval stories will get a kick out of this.

Cons: Everything wrong that’s wrong with Game of Thrones is wrong in Berserk, but with an even more Japanese kind of way. Ultra violent (though not a much as the manga), truly horrific demons, rape, incest, a general cynical view of the world, and even worse roles for women. At least Thrones has Aria, Brienne of Tarth. I mean, Casca’s strong (sometimes), but she ain’t taking down no Hound anytime soon. Plus there’s the whole…maybe I shouldn’t mention it…fuck it: Casca get brutally raped by demons. That’s a thing that happens in the story, she become a simplistic invalid, and it’s disgusting. Like I said, it’s Japanese dark fantasy. The anime also uses a mixture of 3-D and 2-D animation which gives its a unique look and works…sometimes. Mostly for scenes involving the main characters. Then there’s the fact that this is just a retread of the original anime instead of exploring some of the other arcs in the manga, though this is admittedly the most interesting.

Watch it?: Only if you have a strong stomach

MVP: Puck

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He’s not in the story, but I love that little guy

Best Moment: Making references to the rest of Berserk in the opening title was a nice touch.

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The Devil is a Part-Timer

Type: The kids are down with the Devil!

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Synopsis: Satan, not the biblical one, just some demon king from another dimension, escapes to Earth after losing a battle. Now powerless, he makes ends meet by working at a fast food joint alongside a very healthy young woman. A few of his enemies manage to track him down, but eventually become cool with the idea of the devil working for minimum wage. Beats retail.

Pros: I saw the dub. The dub is hilarious. Watch the dub. They sneak in a “yolo.” This show does an interesting thing in that it veers away just enough from the cliche and predictable. For example, the implies romance is between the Hero Emilia and Satan, but they spend the entire series bickering. The girl that likes Sata, Chiho, is a jealous girl despite being the implied “pure character.” And despite the opening implying otherwise, a large chuck of this show is a comedy. I mean, mythical beings work as part-timers for chripes sake! My only real complaint is that this show wasn’t about the actual Morning Star, Prince of Darkness, May His Rule Never Come to Pass, Devil, if only because I think it would be funny if he kept trying to spread evil while working a 9-5 shift.

Cons: The opening is really misleading. It suggest a hell of a lot more melodrama and Ente Isla story than is actually provided. I think that since is based on a light novel series, that stuff may come later. Satan may one day have to go back home, and the divide between his supposed past evil deeds and current non-chalant character may be explain. But that ain’t happening here. Weirdly enough, a lot more character development happens to the people around Satan than to the demon himself. So your only getting a small portion of a surely larger story, but since this is the fun part, I’ll take it.

Watch it?: Dub. dub. dub. (4/5)

MPV: Hero Emilia

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A pretty solid hero. Morals and everything.

Best Episode: “The Devil Climbs the Stairway to School” (take that science!)

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Blood-C: The Last Dark

Type: Yet another scam

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Synopsis: Ok, so after a few hours of research I think I got the gist of this series. Saya is some sort of demon that can’t kill humans because of a curse. A man named Fumito captures her and makes a wager. He bets that without her memories, she will become a different person. If he wins, he promises to figure out a way to let her kill humans. That’s the premise of the anime series. In this one, Saya goes to the city and does stuff with computer nerds or whatever. We also learn that Fumito is actually obsessed with Saya. Still not sure about the talking dog though.

Pros: This movie clear up a few things about the original series, mainly Fumito and Saya’s relationship. Though nothing is ever stated outright, we can infer that the two had some sort of relationship that possibly dates back decades. Saya can’t kill humans and must feed on demons, but the demon population is dwindling. Fuhito’s family had made a  magical deal with demons to cut down on the human eating, which reduced their population over the years. Saya’s blood, however, can somehow break the deal. So most of the series events were Fuhito’s misguided attempts to ensure her future survival by making more demons. At least, I think. Aside from that, the fights are pretty good, and I like Saya’s new cold and serious personal.

Cons: Even though this movie does clear up a few things, the fact that I had to look it up is a bad thing. A lot of questions and topics are left unanswered (like what’s the deal with Saya’s red eyes?). It almost feels that the creators just assume that the franchise is going to produce more entries and are holding off given too much information. Don’t get me wrong, I like Saya, but franchises come and go, especially in anime. Blood-C just doesn’t have enough substance yet to truly become great. Had this been the last few episodes of the tv series, sure, but since this is a movie, it does little in hindsight. I also miss her much cooler red and black uniform.

Watch it?: If your going to watch it, do it immediately after Blood-C

MVP: Saya

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She’s way more bad-ass now

Best Moment: Fuhito vaguely explaining his motives

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