The Seven Deadly Sins

Type: “A Netflix Original”

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Synopsis: Giant! Fairies! Fan service! This is a tale set in a time before the worlds of human and magic were rend asunder, when Netflix was trying to get into the anime business. Crappy for normals trying to watch anime dubs in one convenient place (cough Funimation cough), but great for corporate petiness. That is the greatest sin!

Pros: Now this is an adventure anime! None of that unwanted preachy message that bogs down some other anime whose name shall not be mentioned (its Magi guys, I’m complaining about Magi). In this charmingly funny anime, a princess is on the run from Holy Knights that have taken over her Kingdom. Her only hope is to find the 7 Deadly Sins. Now, this isn’t a tale of a young woman’s spiral into hedonism (sorry pervs). The title “7 Deadly Sins” refers to 7 legendary warriors who were used as scapegoats by the Knights to take over the Kingdom. We get about 6 of the 7 sins, and the show does the smart thing of not giving them a real challenge until the second half of the season, emphasizing their skills and power. It also states that they aren’t even fighting at full strength due to missing their “sacred relics,” which allows these OP characters the possibility to lose. Th second half gives the Sins more of a challenge, and you get to see the sins fight more as a unit. I loved the whole “get the band back together” vibe of the show, and the writing was good enough that you got a sense of the personal dynamics between the group. And believe it or not, but an anime based on a manga actually ties up its story at the end!

Cons: While I loved the Sins and their fighting scenes, their powers sure do fluctuate for the sake of story convenience! One minute their beating the unbeatable enemy with no sweat, the next minute their near death against some jobber. On the topic of the Sins, the anime does the anime/manga things where the Sins aren’t actually guilty of their “sins.” The only thing they’re guilty of is feeling guilty about what their friends did. But being super cool guys, they take the punishment anyway. In fact, the worst thing they’re guilty of collectively is petty theft. And the show also does that thing where 99% of the bad guys aren’t bad guys at the end, despite killing a bunch of people (and it only really pulls it off for one of them). On a spoiler note: the show also did the thing where none of the good of bad guys died. So while I’d would argue that Magi tried a little too hard to be edgy, this anime tried a little too hard to have a happy ending. (oh! I forgot: quiet a but of groping here. At least at the start).

Watch it: I’d rather watch this on Netflix than that other thing (4/5)

MVP: Diane

nanatsu0702

The Friendly Giant

Best Episode: Ep.13 “Apostle of Destruction” (Giant Hammer!)

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Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Type: Arabian Nights starring Jake Gyllenhall!?

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Synopsis: In a time long ago before, there was a movie franchise of movie franchises called Aladdin, of Studio Disney. So popular was the story that it sprang forth two direct to video sequels, a cartoon show, and some pretty good video games. It’s also the reason why this wasn’t just called the “Adventures of Aladdin” or something. Copyright is a scary thing. Anyway, this stars a little magician called “Aladdin” with a non-talking Genie and “Alibaba,” a thoroughly not old woodcutter. Oh, and sometimes it also has a slave girl named Morgiana, but according to the show, she’s not super important.

Pros: I’ve said this before, but I always find anime adaptations of non-Japanese stories really fascinating. In this case, the anime borrows heavily from One Thousand and One Nights, one of the definitive bedrocks of modern fiction. Having never read the collected works (It’s on my list), I can’t really speak that much about the allusions the anime uses. What I can say is that the Magi anime itself is pretty good. It sets itself up as an adventure story, but quickly becomes a sociopolitical tale with social inequality as it’s main topic. The villains used in this are often drunk on other own power, either because of owning slaves, or holding titles, or simply being powerful. A lot are simply bullies, which irritated my a lot, meaning that they work as villains (because you’re not suppose to like the villains!). And because most of the story arcs boil down to the harshness of inequality, something that has stayed consistent throughout history, the plots often pack an emotional punch. Just look at Morgiana, a slave from early childhood with the mental scars to prove it. The use of the colorful world was a great juxtaposition with the ugly actions of some of it’s inhabitants, as well as the power source of the true antagonists being hatred and negativity. I should also mention that the openings for this anime are really good. Not artsy, as they mostly use scenes from the upcoming episodes, but they were really fun to watch.

Cons: A story set in the Middle-East, and you couldn’t give one character a tan? For reals!? Hollywood gets a lot of flack for white washing its films (deservedly so), but anime ain’t exactly innocent of this either. Like, why is Morgiana of the “Dark Continent” (cough Old 1800’s Racist English Name for  the continent Africa cough) a pale girl with red hair? Why does Alibaba have Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes? This is almost as bad a Gods of Egypt, which I’m sure will stay a topical reference…Anyway, there are other problems. For a story whose opening sells itself as an adventure series, Aladdin and crew don’t really do a lot of traveling together. And despite all this talk of Dungeons, you only get 2 in the show. A lot of the story arcs just have them hanging out in one city at a time. You never see them hit the road as a group, which would have been fun. Speaking of groups, I feel that Morgiana gets short changed, probably because she’s “the girl.” The anime is more of the Aladdin and Alibaba story. Spefically, Alibaba’s hero’s journey with Aladdin as his wizard advisor. Morgiana’s just there for the ride. Story wise, this is a meaty anime. Some arcs drag, like the Balbadd story. Ultimately, my biggest problem with this anime is that I feel that it sells itself as a fun adventure story, but the levity never arrives outside of a few boob jokes. It’s really more like a disingenuous Fullmetal Alchemist.

Watch it?: Yeeeeah, but do realize it does feel long. (4/5)

MVP: Morgiana

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Always has the best fights

Best Episode: Ep6 “Warrior Tribe Fanalis” (showcase of the anime’s story structure)

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Space Pirate Captain Harlock

Type: Should I count a 3d movie?

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Synopsis: So a bunch of jerks fly around in space being jerks while a bunch of losers rule humanity by being losers. In this movie, the losers send a baby loser to infiltrate the jerks, then the jerks go back home and start fighting with the losers, then the baby loser gives everyone a flower so they’ll stop fighting.

Pros: The 3d animation is gorgeous. I can’t say that modern gaming consoles aren’t catching up, or already there, but the movie is still very pretty. The backgrounds and space ships are the real winners here. The faces, well, let’s keep this positive. Speaking of needing to keep things positive, here’s the thing about the plot: it’s told backwards. By that I mean that the key motivations for the characters are reveled around the middle of the film in flashback. This kind of narrative structure usually works really well in tv and comics, but its a bit trickier in film. Due to the time limitations, keeping information like this hidden seems more forced than in other mediums. In the film, you meet Harlock and Yama before you know their backstories. As such, Harlock comes off as a brooding-egotist, and Yama comes off as whiny. Then you learn their about their past and you like them more because their motivations make sense. But until this information is reveled, it’s hard to like the characters in this film. For example, this review is based on my second attempt at viewing this movie. A few years ago iIn my first attempt, I quit halfway, right before backstory dump, because I could not stand any of the characters. But those backstories are worth it, and I kinda wish they had been the focus of the film. They’re that interesting, particularly Harlock’s. The whole political story involving Earth, Harlock, and the powers that be would have made an awesome origin film.

Cons: I’ve mentioned my problems with the structure of the film. Animations wise, the only real issue is with the faces. One of the reasons why a lot of movies with 3D animations tend to lean more towards the cartoony side is because they can play around with the faces more. But in cases such as Harlock, movies try to mimic humans expressions more realistically, and fail. The faces here are stiff. Not bad, but stiff. I should so mention that for die hard Harlock fans, this is a whole new backstory and set up. Now plot wise, theirs only one big thing I have a problem with. Spoliers ahead. In the film, the big turning point is when Yama discovers a flower on a barren Earth, which cases Harlock to change his plans and fight again. But how did Yama get to Earth? He was on a ship with his brother on board, so he couldn’t have just walked off. He may have stolen a ship, but why go to Earth? What possible motivation did he have? To die? Maybe. But we get no indication. No inner thoughts. In the end, the big deus ex machina revolves around the seemingly random actions of some kid. Like a lot of things with the story, this was really sloopy. (P.s. Does the ending imply that Yama is the Harlock of the old anime? Does that even make sense?)

Watch it?: Pfff….nah.

MVP: Isola

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His motivations were clear from beginning to end.

Best Moment: The final scene between Nami and Isola. (the most emotional moment)

 

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Ghost Hunt

Type: Ghost Facers!

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Synopsis: Based on a Light Novel that ran for 2 years, which inspired a manga that ran for 12 years, is this anime that ran for 25 episodes. Its about, you guessed it, a group of Ghost Hunters. You get a little bit of everything. You get a Paranormal Researcher, a Monk, a Shrine Maiden, a Priest, an Onmyoji, and even a teenage girl for good measure.

Pros: Ghost Hunt is an anime comprised of several different “cases,” each involving some sort of paranormal activity. Some involve Ghost, while others involve Psychics, or Demons, or etc. One thing I really liked was the use of different specialities when dealing with the paranormal. A lot of different cultures and faiths are represented, from Buddhism, Christianity, Shintoism, to  modern technology. It’s a nice representation of the quirky fact that people all over the world have developed different ways to ward off evil spirits. The characters of the show end up using “real world” methods for fighting ghosts. So if your interested in paranormal activity, this is a quick primer. Some of the cases do get good, though they quality fluctuates. I loved the character of Mai, as her often overemotional delivery brought much needed energy into the show.

Cons: Honestly, its a little long. The show covers 8 different cases, and with 25 episodes, that’s about 3-4 episodes per case. And outside of Mai, none of the characters are well executed enough to warrant such attention. The problem is that the support cast are all outside contractors. The main characters are Mai and Naru, the latter running a paranormal research agency. Naru brings in the support characters to help out on cases. Every case in fact. Makes you wonder why he doesn’t just put them on staff. As such, there’s always this distance between the audience and the supporting characters. You pieces of personal history here and there, not that’s not much. Then there’s Naru, whose a really unlikable. He’s the stereotypical “cool” character, whose quite, prideful, and keeps things to himself. To quote Naru himself, he uses “strategic secrets.” Narratively, this is used to create situations that make Naru look evil, only to reveal after the fact that he’s actually super nice you guys! See, he wasn’t going to curse 600 students, that’s crazy talk. He was just going to make it look like he was and not tell anyone his plan, even though he had no reason not to tell the truth. Isn’t he the best and cutest?! Sadly, the brunt of this plot structure comes at the expense of Mai, who is often used to call Naru on his bullshit, only to be proven wrong at the end. Story wise, it has a monster of the week vibe, kinda boring at times, the animation doesn’t hold up, and the Opening, OH MY GOD, that was the laziest thing I’ve ever seen.

Watch it?: Overall, kind of bland. (3/5)

MVP: Mai Taniyama

mai[2]

The Liveliest Hunter

Best Episodes: Ep18-21 “File 7: The Bloodstained Labyrinth Part 4” (scary, and the first anime I’ve encountered to mention Japan and China’s harsh history)

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Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade (OVA)

Type: A sequel, apparently

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Synopsis: So funny story. I thought this was Little Witch Academia 1. Well, that’s not so funny.

Pros: Once again, I continue my real life tradition of entering a franchise at a sequel by mistake. In this case, Little Witch Academia, released by Trigger. Trigger, of course, known for Kill La Kill. The animation is stellar, the characters are likable, and I am genuinely surprise this entire franchise isn’t the biggest thing in anime, because every0ne can watch this. It’s all age friendly, and easily appeals to westerners. And yes, there are a ton of references to Kill La Kill, other Trigger shows, Disney, Harry Potter, and Attack on Titan if you want to stretch it. I really liked Little Witch Academia. It’s basically about a school of witches. In this installment, the characters are forced to organize the school’s entry into the annual town parade. Akko, the protagonist, gets a little gun ho about portraying a more positive image for witches, which leds to some friction between for BFFs. Though, this does allow for the introduction of 3 new witches, Amanda, Constaze, and Jasminka.

Cons: I’m not ganna lie, it felt more like a TV show than a movie. For more than a moment, I though I was watching the back-door pilot for a series. I think Trigger thought so as well. Story wise, I think that Akko’s conflict with her friends was simply put there to thin the herd a little, so that the 3 new witches could be used instead. Weirdly, the 3 girls warm up to Akko right away, dispute not knowing her a few days before. They get so close, in fact, that I found it odd that they didn’t contribute to the friendship is magic blast at the end.

Watch it?: I hope this franchise blows up!

MVP: Akko

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Keep reaching for the stars kid.

Best Moment: Passing around the wand at the end (beautiful)

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Amnesia

Type: Huh? What am I doing here?

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Synopsis: Wait, this seems…familiar. I feel like, like I’m suppose to make some sort of comment on an anime that only vaguely connects to the actual source material. It’s meant to be, funny? No, that’s not right. Nothing seems that funny here. Let me think! Ugh, I feel like a college girl who lost her memories and keeps bouncing around parallel worlds that have me dating different pretty boys in Kingdom Heart cosplay.

Pros: Amnesia, the anime, is based on Amnesia, the dating sim, which is based on Amnesia, the mental condition. While I’ve never played the game, the anime looks like it follows the framework of a visual novel game very well. I could actually see where the game would make you make decision, reach checkpoints, and start over. My particular favorite aspect was the premise. The protagonist (no name ever given) has lost her memories, and keeps waking up in different worlds where her love interest changes. What I liked about this was that this is the perfect justification for the “route” set up in visual novels, where you choose to be romantic with one character. In the anime, this manifest in 1-2 episodes where the heroine “dates” each of the male love interests. I love this, because one of the things I’ve always wanted to see from a harem show, and this is a harem show, is seeing how the protagonist and a love interest would interact as a couple. You get exactly that in this anime, and because the protagonist is always sent to another world, you get to decide which paring you liked the most. The anime does what it should, it makes you feel like your playing a visual novel dating sim without having to actually play it. And the characters are all out of high school, which helps. (P.s. I liked the running joke of the manager changing personality every quantum leap).

Cons: Oh, my, god, what are these boys wearing!? Seriously, the look liked rejected Kingdom Hearts character designs. Is that dude wearing a chocker!? What’s with that guy’s multitude of useless straps!? Is that…is that just the bad guy from Pokemon Black and White!?But seriously, there outfits were very distracting. Not only that, but I think this show also stole a music clip from Kingdom Hearts, specifically from “Dearly Beloved.” Seriously, you compare. Outside of possible plagiarism, the fact that I could tell some of the story points makes the anime a bit predictable. I feel that the fairy subplot was too much, but only towards the end. Oberon’s inclusion in the first 3 episodes was a great way to ease into the premise, and he does disappear for most of the show, only popping in here and there. Which is good, because he gives horrible advise (why not just go to the hospital? What possible negatives could there be?). In terms of characters, the show is meant to make you pick which character you would like the protagonist to be with. I liked Kent because he seemed invested in putting effort into the relationship, as well as keep communication open. But you can like who you like (except that the anime said that Kent is the best, so he’s the best, #OTP, I was right–no, you shut up!). The protagonist herself is an interesting case. On the one hand, she can come off as very passive, and mostly lets other people, usually the men, tell her what to do. On the other hand, having lost her memory and being sent to other worlds, she came off as more observant to me. Like she was simply adapting to her surroundings, getting as much information as she could about her new situation. But maybe that’s just me. That being said, and OVA about the “original” protagonist would have been interesting.

Watch it?: Good pacing. Interesting story. And a killer English dub. (4/5)

MVP: Kent

Kent_anime

Best Husbando

Best Episode: Ep. 7 “VII” (literally the only guy who would listen to her story. Again, best Husbando)

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Wanna Be the Strongest in the World

Type: Idol’s becoming wrestlers exposes the business!

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Synopsis: The angle is that An idol decides to become a wrestlers after one of the veterans insults a fellow idol. Classic babyface run, and the idol’s celebrity helps draw a pretty huge crowd. The only real drawback is that the idol is green as grass, but she’s given a mega-push because she’s semi-well known. BECAUSE ONCE AGAIN THE COMPANY DECIDES TO BACK SOMEONE THEY WANT OVER WRESTLERS WITH ACTUAL SKILL AND TALENT THAT THE FANS CHEER. #IF HAGIWARA WINS, WE RIOT.

Pros: This got me excited, because I am a HUGE wrestling fan. The anime follows the struggle of Sakura Hagiwara, a Japanese Idol who turns into a Pro Wrestler mostly out of pride. Believe it or not, the depiction of wrestling in this show is fairly accurate. Wrestlers are very defensive about their sport, which makes the set up of the anime feasible. And wrestling training is fairly intense, with many a pro-atheletes naming wrestling work outs one of the most grueling in the industry. And there is a lot of pride in wrestling locker rooms, which makes what Hagiwara goes through, from the 100 man throws to having to earn her first win, pretty indicative of the actual wrestling industry. In fact, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the 100 man throws test is an actual thing in Japanese wrestling. The story is surprisingly engrossing, as Hawigawa is given a “babyface,” or good guy story of the never-say-die fighter. She loses quiet a bit, which makes sense considering that she starts off as a singer, not a wrestler. The whole thing is played straight, and is a standard sports drama. And the actual action is made to look pretty good, though Hawigawa’s inner monologue does get repetitive. I liked it.

Cons: This is a boob anime. Which is fine in and of itself. But the show does its best to give you those crotch close-ups. And of course, a lot of the holds have the female wrestlers make a weirdly suggestive expression, blushing very much included. Perviness aside, the show has a lot of wrestlers that are sadly not fleshed out due to the short length of the series. So this anime become yet another fighting girl show with one-dimensional characters. The story follows 4 arcs: Sakura’s road to victory, a fight with the world champ, the introduction of Moe Fukuoka, and the battle with the mysterious Blue Panther. The Moe arc was the only one I wasn’t crazy about. Moe’s another rookie who want to become a wrestler, and is given the same treatment that Hawigawa was given, making it a bit repetitive. Not to mention that’s she’s more of a natural than Hawigawa, being a Karater champ, so there’s not real motivation to cheer for her growth. That’s another thing. Unlike in real life, the wrestling in this show is a shoot, meaning that the punches and grapples are very much meant knock out the opponent. This is kinda a shame, because I would have loved to see a show that talks about angles, and working ‘heel,” and putting guys over. But I that kind of show really would expose the business.

Watch it?: Even if I stifle my own bias, it’s still a solid show (3/5)

MVP: Sakura Hawigawa

DTU9u

Sakuramania is running wild!

Best Episode: Ep.3 “Give-up” (I marked out for this one)

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Golgo 13

Type: The Man with the Constipated Face

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Synopsis: The series follows the mysterious assassin Golgo 13…who has a passport, introduces himself as Duke Togo, only kills with a sniper rifle, and is clearly identifiable with his unique broad frame and Japanese features. His only companions are gunpowder and death…and a personal gunsmith, a network of contacts, a few children here and there, and a number of one night stands. Huh, in retrospect, he’s not a very good assassin, is he?

Pros: Golgo 13 is one of the oldest franchises still going. It’s based on a manga that first published in 1968. Which you can tell by protagonist, a silent hulk of a man with big sideburns. He’s the stereotypical masculine archetype of the 60’s and 70’s. He’s non-emotional, highly skilled, quiet, and seemingly irresistible to women. However, since his not much of a talker, and has the personality of a block of wood, the anime revolves around a random assortment of characters involved with Golgo’s latest case. The whole show is a story of the week. Sometimes, Golgo doesn’t show up until the very end. And his stories can very from gritty crime stories to Golgo having to shoot a violin string. It’s a great episodic show modeled after a western drama. High tension, subtle action. In fact, except for all the sex, you could easily make this into a live action TV show here in the states.

Cons: Golgo literally could not emote if his life depended on it. I know that in the old days, men weren’t suppose to show emotion, but damn dude. The only time you ever see Golgo lose his composure is when someone tries to walk behind him, and when someone reaches into their breast pocket. But that’s it. He could be facing a hundred men, or in bed with a beautiful woman, and he’ll always have that same stony look. On that note, there quiet a few sex scenes in this. They’re not bad, and the female characters always the ones to initiate. But most of the scenes are still images of women in the throws of ecstasy as Golgo just stares blankly. But they happen often enough that they get repetitive. In fact, if a woman is the main character, there’s a good chance they’re going to sleep with Golgo. The size of the show, 50 episodes, is a positive and a negative. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but some of the episodes start to blend together. I only remember a handful myself. And because all the episodes are stand alone, you aren’t really given an incentive to watch all the episodes. And this is more of a personal nitpick, but is Golgo really that good of an assassin if he has to A) Meet his client in person, B) Only has one way to kill, and C) is so well known by the underground and authorities that they both try to kill him at one point?

Watch it?: Good to watch in a long stretch of time, but don’t marathon it. (4/5)

MVP: Golgo 13

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The textbook definition of an “ice-cold” killer.

Best Episode: Ep 4. “Pretty Woman” (a typical Golgo story)

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Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The Movie (1978)

Type: Bird Power Rangers

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Synopsis: Gatchaman, the Science Ninja Team (no, really) are the world’s best defense against Galactor, a terrorist organization with an absolutely fabulous commander. Bonus points for groovy 70’s attire.

Pros: I caught this movie at an anime con while trying to kill some time. I’ve been aware of Gatchaman, or as I always referred to them as, those weird bird themed people. Now I know what they are: there the power rangers! Well, not really. Well, kinda really. They’re a Japanese superhero group. They’re composed of a leader, a girl, a kid, a big guy, and a rebel. They have bird themed weapons and fly in planes that combine into a bigger plane. Classic superhero group. The thing looks pretty old school, which was fun for someone who likes noticing cost cutting animation tricks. I also really loved the era appropriate clothing. Long hair, bell bottoms, numbers on t-shirts. It had pretty good action, though the Science Ninja Team sure did kill a lot of people. But hey, it was the 70s. And, I can’t lie, I loved the old school story telling and overly dramatic dialogue.

Cons: If you can’t get past the dated animation, then your obviously not going to watch this. The “film” is split into two stories: one involves Ken’s dad and the other involved Joe. If you where watching the show from the beginning, then I can imagine the two stories told being a big deal. But the don’t really connect in the movie itself. One story ends, and the other begins. It really two OVA’s edited together. And, I can’t lie, years of watching Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim make fun of this style of animation prevented me from taking the plots too seriously.

Watch it?: It’s a good way to see what this whole “Gatchaman” thing is about

MVP: Jun the Swan

Jun_Civvie

Science Ninja, Business Owner, and Guitarist. Woman of the 70’s.

Best Moment: The Doctor holding the UN hostage (all to let his Teenage heroes attempt to save the day)

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Danganronpa: The Animation

Type: Like Hunger Games, or Battle Royale, or whatever reference you prefer.

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Synopsis: It’s a survival game with high schoolers…hey! Don’t go yet. You didn’t hear that it’s also based on a visual novel….hey! Give it a chance at least. This one has a sadistic teddy bear in it!

Pros: Danganronpa is a visual novel series based around the theme of “despair.” This anime is based on the first game, “Trigger Happy Havoc,” and is a murder mystery. The set up is that 15 students are trapped in an elite high school and forced to kill each other. Its a mystery because the rules state that once a body is found, the students have to figure out who the killer is. If they fail, the killer goes free while the rest die. The last person surviving wins and is rewarded with fame and fortune. The anime follows a set formula: A murder happens, an investigation happens, and then a trial happens. One of the first things you’ll notice is the art style. The colors are vibrant and each of the characters are given unique designs, which helps make their death a bit more meaningful. The trial scenes, which are usually just the characters talking to each other, are spiced up with cool video game style animations and transitions, masterfully blending two mediums together. Ditto for the executions. And at only 13 episodes, the show moves at a very brisk and meaningful pace. Overall, the show has a unique look, an interesting cast of characters, an intriguing mystery, a sense of humor, and a cool set up. Well worth a watch.

Cons: The anime does get a but troupee. Its a survival game anime where a boy and girl form an alliance early one, the characters each betray each other for no real reason, a suicide occurs, and it all ends like you’d think it would. Even some of the mysteries and twists are cliche, though the show does call itself out on a few of these. In term of characters, a lot of the designs, while unique, also come off as overdone.Their meant to give you a quick visual summary of the character’s traits, as the show doesn’t have time to give depth to all 14 students. So some come off as one dimensional. The show is also very back heavy, meaning the the last episodes, particularly the finale, are stuffed with revelations and lore (and a weird lack of budget). My only real gripe that during the trials, when the murder has been accused, the characters tend to break down and admit it, turning into weird caricatures of themselves. Which again, was on purpose from a creative standpoint. Interestingly, I think this show does recognize it’s weaknesses and addresses them, or at least owns up to them. Everything the show does feels intentional and confident, so these are more nitpicks than anything else.

Watch it?: A strong recommend (4/5)

MVP: Kyouko Kirigiri

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Super High School Level Detective

Best Episode: Ep2-3 “Not Normal Arc: Kill and Live” (though I like other arcs better, this one is a good intro to the formula of the show)

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