Monthly Archives: October 2015

Monster Musume

Type: This will save Anime!

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Synopsis: It’s exactly what you think.

Pros: This anime is about a group of monster girls living in the same house with a human as part of a cultural exchange between humanity and monsters. According to the premise, Humans and Monsters are allowed to live with one another, as long as they do not harm one another. This premise actually justifies a lot of the classic harem troupes that pop up in the show. The girls all fall for the main character, Kimihito, because he views them as people first, and is neither disgusted nor overly fascinated by them being half-monster. The shows does a great job showcasing some of the discrimination or unwanted gawking these girls get just for being around “regular” humans. Some critics even argue that this is an allegory for people with handicaps, or even immigrants. What I’m saying is that the show is much smarter than people might initially think. The girls all live under the same roof because the government wants to use their house as a control group for a new marriage law they are trying to pass, which also justifies the Kimihito pursuing a relationship with each monster girl. The animation is also astounding, to a surprising degree. I’m guessing that the “Monster Girl Harem” gimmick convinced the studio to sink most money into the budget. Each of the girls move differently due to their unique designs, with particular care going to Miia, the lamia with a very active snake body. And eagled eyed viewers may notice that Kimihito becomes more handsome whenever he does something kinds or generous, almost as if we’re seeing him from the girl’s point of view. The show also condenses a lot in one episode, something using a two-segment model for story telling. The show even managed to make The MON squad interesting (I usually just skip their chapters in the manga).

Cons: This is ECCHI as F!@$. There is no getting around that. Though not as ecchi as the manga, but this may change in the DVD release. This may very well be softcore hentai from a certain perspective. Because each of the girls is a different type of monster, a lot of pervy stuff derives from their unique physiology. For example, Miia the Lamia sheds her skin like a regular snake, which cause her to make…sounds….when she sheds. Papi the Harpie lays eggs, which causes her to make…sounds….when she’s ready to lay. Cerea needs help cleaning her horse body, causing her to make….sounds…when someones scurbs her backside. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Of course, the regular boob centric jokes are here as well. So the show’s biggest obstacle is that it’s totally NSFW. But I still consider it one of the strongest Harem shows in a long while. (p.s. I also don’t think Mera is a particularly good addition to the crew).

Watch it?: A 5/5 in my heart (4/5)

MVP: Cerea

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I like shy knights

Best Episode: “Everyday Life Under Dangerous Circumstances” (Basically the entire show)

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Supernatural: The Animation

Type: Killing Monsters. Hunting Things. Forming Harems. Wait, what!?

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Synopsis: I still can’t believe they got the rights to “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas. It plays at the end of every episode! Ah, anyways, the show is about two brothers who hunt down ghosts and demons (and a bunch of crazier stuff after Season 5). Their mom was killed by a demon, and their dad went a little revenge crazy. The anime is a retelling of the first two seasons of the popular (?) American TV show that shoots in Canada.

Pros: Seriously, the anime somehow got the rights to “Carry oN My Wayward Son.” I think Eric Kripke may own the song or something. As you can tell, I’m a big Supernatural fan. So finding this anime was a special treat for me. The anime covers the first two season of the show, which depicts the hunt for the “Yellow-Eyed” demon. Trust me, this was the era of the show to cover. Season 1-5 is Supernatural in its prime.. Like the real show, the anime is mainly comprised of stand alone ghost stories, some of which are pretty scary, so newbies shouldn’t feel lost. It also covers some ground that the show didn’t, like giving Sam’s girlfriend Jessica a bit more character, and showing the boys visiting their old home. Veteran fans should like the fact that Jared Pedalecki did the voice for Sam in the English version, and Jensen Ackles joins him for the last two episodes as the voice of Dean.

Cons: I say this as a Supernatural fan, but there were a lot of little things that bugged me. Dean, for instance, felt off in the anime. While Jensen Ackles does voice him in the end, the majority of the show has someone else do the voice for him. Add to this the weird character model they gave him, as well as a tweak in his character. In the show, Dean is a cocky bad boy, but in the anime, he’s more of a happy-go-lucky goof. You could sorta tell that they anime writers preferred the more sensitive Sam, who takes the lead in most of the anime. Speaking of characters, the show also redesigned the boy’s father, as well as Bobby, despite coming out well after both characters were introduced. I think they might have had a image licensing issue. Also, in classic Supernatural tradition, women get the short end of the stick in this one. If you’re a woman in this franchise, you better invest in some life insurance, because you’re either dead, or evil, or both.

Watch it?: I mean, when are you going to have the opportunity to watch an actual anime version of a real American show? (4/5)

MVP: Dean Winchester

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Still my waifu.

Best Episode: Ep.9 “The Spirit of Vegas” (Anime!)

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Trinity Blood

Type: I was expecting Hellsing, boy, was I disappointed.

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Synopsis: History tells us that after the fall of Rome, the Empire was divided in two. The west evolved into the Holy Roman Empire, while the east evolved into the Byzantine Empire. Both claimed to be the “true” Roman Empire and Head of the Faith, and they was some heated tension between the two for a few hundred years. But what history doesn’t tell us is that both Empires were full of Vampires, Gun-Priests, and Bad Writing.

Pros: I liked the general allusions to real world history. I liked the idea of a Vatican lead Human Empire fighting a Vampire lead Byzantine Empire. The show does a fair job at making the Vampires seem sympathetic, and making the some of the Humans seem aggressive. No side is perfect, and that’s exactly what this type of story needs. Both sides have people who have their own political agenda, and it’s those who want peace that have to work the hardest to achieve their goal. This is especially hard when their a “third power” that tries to play both sides off each other. I even liked the depiction of a weak-willed Pope, because history is riddled with weak Popes who often acted as puppets for cardinals. The socio-political themes of the show are it’s strongest points.

Cons: OK, maybe I just watched a bad copy, but I remember this show being a lot better looking. But now it looks cheap. The animation is not impressive at all. The story is not impressive at all. Certain plot points are glossed over or omitted, certain characters show up and leave, the pacing is all over the place, and the dialogue is embarrassing. Abel’s a pretty cool goofy repentant bad-ass character, unless you count the times where me melodramatically scrams for god to “FORGIVE ME.” And his entire backstory is given the briefest look at the very end of the series. He has brother named Kain (because of course he does), a sister named Lilith, another sister named Seth, and is some sort of super vampire from Mars. There, now you know. Ester started off strong, as a would-be assassin, but she just turns into a scream queen when her story arc is over. Their are several priests that are introduce, but nothing is really done with them once their intro episode is completed. The show generally has 2-3 episode arcs. And their is an excruciating middle arc involving this whiny little brat named Ion. SCREW ION. The show also alludes to some sort of big-war that resulted in the regression in history and birth of vampires (or “methuselah”), but the show never once explains it. Not even as a two minute thing at the start of the series! You have to gather it through osmosis. This anime is a blatant “you like the anime? Then you’d better read the light novels!” kind of deal. Luckily for me, I don’t have to do neither.

Watch it?: No. no. skip. skip. (3/5)

MVP: Ester

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She’s apparently funner in the manga

Best Episode: Ep.3 “The Star of Sorrow I. City of Blood”  (Ester appears)

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Senran Kagura: Ninja Flash

Type: Flashing what, I wonder? (hint: its their boobs)

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Synopsis: There are five girls. They are ninjas. They have big boobs. There’s also five other girls. They are evil ninja. They also have big boobs. They fight, sometimes they’re friends, and other times they like to grope each other. You know, classic shinobi story telling.

Pros: The animation is real nice. Not just because extra care was put into the breast bounces, but the actual action was decent. I watched the English version, and the narrator had fun pointing out that the show was clearly fan service central. The gags are fairly solid, in a sexy/dirty kind of way. Nothing spectacular, but not horrible either.

Cons: So this is a fairly standard fan service show. Let’s get that straight right now. THEY LOSE CLOTHING IF THEY ARE ATTACKED. If you’re not into that, then you can live without this show. Even as a occasional fan of fan service, the show didn’t impress me. The jokes weren’t that funny (except for one pretty solid one in ep.3). The story was bland, with the ultimate lesson being friendship. I did find the “distinction” between the good and evil schools of shinobi being pretty interesting, since the good seemed pretty strict on rules, while the evil seemed pretty non-judgemental. I also would have bet money that the annoying innocent girl would have turned out to be super evil, but alas, that was not the case.

Watch it?: *shrugging shoulders*  (3/5)

MVP: ??????

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You try finding a clean image on Google for this. Go on.

Best Episode: Ep.3 “Moonlight Intruder” (Surprisingly good fan service joke)

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Watamote

Type: No matter how you look at it, it’s her fault she’s not popular

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Synopsis: La, la, la, la, Tomoko is not popular, she has social axieties. La, la, la, la, this girl won’t get guys, she hardly ever talks to others, possibly never bathes. But at least she tries, even if people wouldn’t notice if they were standing on her neck. Standing on her neck. STANDING ON HER NECK.

Pros: Watamote is about an introverted girl named Tomoko starting her high school career. Although she wants to be super popular, her shy nature and unsociable attitude keeps her from achieving her goal. She resents everyone around her for making friends and talking to boys, even though that is exactly what she dreams about. Most episodes involve her comedically botched attempts at becoming more sociable or fulfilling her romantic desires (she is a teenager after all), often because of her own misinterpretations of the situation. Luckily, these failure are entirely her fault, as no one is ever mean to Tomoko. Most of the people she briefly talks to are polite. Tomoko, on the other hand, can be quite petty and small, but this eccentric demeanor allows her to be relatable and carry the show mostly on her own. Being a loner means that every episode focuses solely on Tomoko, with only the slightest cameos from the supporting characters, who get as much screen time as tertiary characters in other anime. But you never really miss them, because Tomoko is a hilarious mess of a human being, but one that we can all see ourselves in. (p.s. animations is stellar, and comedy is spot on).

Cons: Watamote is somewhere in between Lucky Star and Welcome to the NHK. It follows a smaller than average girl, but one that is a extremely lonely. The tone switches between silly and cringe worthy, but never to the level of either of the above mentioned. People looking for an exploration of an introvert shouldn’t look here, nor those looking for a fluffy comedy. The show is episodic, and Tomoko never really advances in terms of personality or social position. She’s still as unpopular and as shy as in the beginning. There are some hints at her social group expanding, but that doesn’t happen here. Interestingly, this show is rare in exploring the anxiety a girl may have over her own sexuality. Tomoko is very sexually curious, and one of her fears is lacking enough femininity to attract boys. She often refers to other girls as “sluts,” (including her best and only friend), partly because she resents their relationships with the opposite sex. The show may arguably go a bit far with this, but the only time it ever crosses a very clear line is in Ep.4, when Tomoko wishes she would be molested in public. Comedic anime or not, that is not O.K.

Watch it?: Hell, some of us have lived it (4/5)

MVP: The Opening

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Made my Top 5

Best Episode: Ep. 7 “Since I’m Not Popular, I’ll Enjoy Summer Vacation” (does no one in Anime have locks?)

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Inuyasha: The Final Act

Type: MIASMA. ALWAYS WITH THE MIASMA.

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Synopsis: In the ancient time of 2006, the anime Inuyasha premiered their final episode in America. This unfinished tale of a middle school girl and her half-dog demon companion was forever banished to extremely early morning time slots, fit for angry loners and joyful stoners. Little did anyone know that for some reason, someone decided that Inuyasha of all things would be the one to be given a proper final season. Not Rurouni Kenshin, not Rave Master, not Bobobobobo. Inuyasha. Weird.

Pros: I have a particular relationship with Inuyasha because I happen to be awake when it aired its reruns early in the morning. So I happen to have seen all of the original series. I knew that, again for some reason, the show was given a proper final season. I only just got around to it, however, because I found a dubbed version. Overall, while a lot stays the same, e.g. random monsters of the week, convenient deus ex machinas, and an admittedly linear story line, I really liked The Final Act. Given only 26 episodes, the anime doesn’t have time to drag its feet with fight scenes or plot points. This thing moves, so much so, that I almost wish every Shoen anime was given such limited time. It make some story events feel more important, and I think it may have actually made me like the main characters more. Shesshomaru and Sango in particular. It also benefits from updated animation, making it look crisper and glossier. And while this isn’t the anime I would have done this for, its nice to see Inuyasha, Kagome, Sango, and Miroku get a deserved farewell.

Cons: Even though the anime fixes the biggest Shoen problem of streeeeeching its scenes, Inuyasha still has a lot of its original negatives. Their are still so many random demons, new characters, and bland story lines. Every story line basically boils down to: they gatta kill Noraku, Miasma, they can’t, Miasma, Inuyasha learns a new fight move, Miasma, he hurts Noraku, Miasma, oh no! Noraku still escapes, Miasma. Rinse and repeat and Miasma. However, I feel that the story is helped tremendously by its relatively short episode count, which forces certain important plot points to manifest about every 2-3 episodes, which helps to cover up some of the work’s trademark flaws. On a less objective topic, apparently, the a lot of the original cast was replace for this dub, so you purist might not dig that (though I couldn’t tell the difference). Also, and obviously, if you haven’t watched the original, you will have no flipping clue what the hell is happening in this thing.

Watch it?: If you saw Inuyasha, Miasma (4/5)

MVP: Naraku

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Spamming Miasma since 1996

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “Kagura’s Wind,” and Ep.24 “Naraku’s Uncertain Wish” (One for a sad death, the other for a verbal slap in the face, ouch!)

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Log Horizon

Type: Sword Art with a smile

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Synopsis: What if you were suddenly stuck in a virtual reality, constantly surrounded by monsters and greedy players, and forced to join prudo-military forces just to survive? Would you wander around in a melancholy haze, forever waving away any potential affection? OR, would you go on rad adventures with your pervy friend and ninja side kick? I’d go with the latter myself.
Pros: So there’s no real way to talk about Log Horizon without comparing it to Sword Art Online. They both have the same premise, being stuck with a MMO RPG, and both follow the life of a highly skilled player how refuses to join a guild. But the biggest difference is also Log Horizons biggest strength. Its not melancholy. If focuses on “living,” not “surviving.” Players in this game can’t die, which makes their situation much less dire than in Sword Art. Instead of being about one guy trying to escape the game, Log Horizon focuses on fleshing out the world by exploring different facets, like guilds, NPCs, and their respective group dynamics with one another. (P.S. The English dub is stellar)
Cons: Log Horizon has a bit of a generic feel, mostly because it appears that the budget was less than, say, Sword Art. There’s no fancy shading, no clever use of shadows, and no incredibly amazing fight scenes. Presentation is definitely B-level. This means it’ll probably be in SAO’s shadow for a while. Its divided into story arcs, which the intro gives away. After a certain point, you’ll start to notice that there’s no such thing as a sad ending in this, which is kinda the opposite problem that Sword Art had. But that’s not a bad thing, especially if your more inclined to that kind of story.
Watch it?: Liked it better than Sword Art (4/5)
MPV: Minori
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She grows
Best episode: Ep.22  “The Swallow and the Baby Starling” (Group date!)
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D-Frag!

Type: disk fragmentation?

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Synopsis: When school started, three girls and one teacher decided to start a vaguely defined “game club” to slack off and not do much. But then, a few of their enemies (because high school, lol) tried to get their club shut down. After the desperately exhaustive search of a brief afternoon, the girls managed to blackmail the first slightly nice guy they encounter to join. Now it’s mostly up to him to keep the Club he never wanted to join afloat.

Pros: Really funny, great parody, killer side-characters. The anime is the type of comedy show that has random and unimportant side characters show up from time to time, and it works every time. My personal favorites are the son and father team that can read ki for some reason. Aside from this, the key comedy comes from Kenji having outrageous straight-man reactions to the girls’ eccentricities. For example, each have a chosen element, like the electricity elemental, who uses a taser. The plot, as described, is about various forces trying to close down the club, mostly because of feelings, and not the actual reason that the club does nothing and is a complete waste of resources. Though, it is a great scam.

Cons: Even though this isn’t technically a harem, quite a few of the girls do fall in love with Kenji. The main triangle is between little Roka and big boobed Takao. Takao is unsurprisingly the subject of the only pervy jokes in the show. Kinda lazy. Aside from that, I wish it was longer. I want more.

Watch it?: I’m hunting down the manga as we speak (4/5)
MPV: The Scramble for Porn Mags in Space Table-Top Game
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How do you play, exactly?
Best episode: Ep.5 “What?! Your Little Sister Makes Your Lunches?!”  (high stakes RPG!)
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