Tag Archives: 2011

Maken-Ki! Battling Venus

Type: I can’t believe this has a second season.


Synopsis: Part of it involves a guy with glasses going to a school where all the students have superpowers. Possibly secret superpowers, but that bit was confusing. There’s also this background story involving the Yamata no Orochi, that eight-headed snake dragon that pops up every now and then. There’s also a lot of boobs, and panty shots, and, well, a lot of boobs and panty shots.

Pros: This anime is terrible. Let’s get that straight. But the animation is surprisingly good. Too good for a shitty harem show. The quality of the animation (by which I mean lighting and certain shots) is either a sign that anime has embraced digital coloring and HD to the extent that even low-tier shows are reaping the benefits, or that some pitiful fool thought it was a really good idea to pump money into this franchise.

Cons: Jesus, do I even have to point it out? The story is confusing, the characters are one-dimensional, and the fan service is gratuitous to the point of nausea. Every character is at least a D-cup, and sometimes is seems like their panties serve more like a flag proudly waving with the breeze than as underwear. You know, sometimes you can argue this point, but there not getting around it, this show is god damn sexist. But weirdly enough, it sometimes calls out characters on their own sexism, like Takeru’s refusal to fight a girl. So this may actually be an incredibly sly metacommentary on gender dynamics in story telling (whisper It’s totally not whisper). There’s also not a lot of quality fighting in this show called Battling Venus.

Watch it: As stated above, this anime is terrible. (2/5)

MVP: Azuki Shinatsu


At least she looks cool…

Best Episode: When you find one, let me know.

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Hayate the Combat Butler! Heaven is a Place on Earth

Type: In my day, movies were a lot longer

Hayate no Gotoku Heaven is a Place on Earth Movie DVD

Synopsis: Hayate and crew go on vacation. It’s hot. The ghost of Hayate’s grandmother shows up. I’m not really sure why this was called a movie, but hey, just go with it.

Pros: I like Hayate.

Cons: What constitutes a movie? Websters defines a movie as a recording of moving images that tell a story. But by that definition, commercials and television shows are movies. We could limit the definition to recordings that only show up in theaters, but that would still count trailers and teasers. To me, a movie has to be longer than an hour, and it has to tell a story you can’t really tell in any other medium. The Hayate movie fails on both counts. It feels more like an hour long special to an especially dull episode of the anime. It’s very slow, and the story is practically non-existent.  It lacks any of the original humor of the show in favor of a semi-emotional story that never really takes off. Yes, it was interesting to meet Hayate’s grandmother, but it was more interesting to believe that his entire family were just his comedically greedy parents. I know that anime movies traditionally like to break out and explore new story conventions, but this definitely felt like a step in the wrong direction.

Watch it?: No.

MVP: Someone


I’m pretty sure someone was it.

Best Moment: The scenes between Hinagiku and Hayate were still cute

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Type: From Dark Phoenix to Legion Quest


Synopsis: The X-Men, a team of super-powered mutants dedicated to protecting a world that hates and fears them. Disbanding shortly after the death of Jean Grey, the team reunites to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young girl in Japan. So not only do you get to see your favorite X-Men in anime form, you also get a few troupes thrown in for good measure. Sadly, there are no Tsundere in this series. Oh wait, Cyclops is here. So kawaii.

Pros: I love the X-Men. A lot. So it was a treat to see them in an anime style show. Since Marvel worked closely with the animation studio Madhouse and had writer Warren Ellis supervise, the dialogue really seemed like it was written for an English speaking audience. It was a lot smoother than the usual English dubs, which sound a bit awkward at times. Impressively, most of the X-Men are true to character, particularly Cyclops. Since Cyclops is my favorite X-Men, I appreciated how well handled he was, especially because that doesn’t happen a lot (cough The Animated Series cough X-Men movies cough). The addition of Armor was also surprisingly well executed. I originally though she was just the token Japanese character (and she kinda is), but she filled that crucial young X-Men role pretty well and I’d hazard to say this is the best portrayal of the character in any media, including comics.

Cons: Since I’m such an X-Men fanboy, I’ll refrain from being too nitpicky. But I have to say, two characters really bugged me, Storm and Wolverine. I said that most characters were true to form, but Storm wasn’t one of them. At least, her personality wasn’t. She was too generic, and didn’t match the dignity and gravitas needed to pull off Storm. Wolverine, on the other hand, had a bad character design. Anime Wolverine should be the coolest mofo in history, but in this he was really scruffy looking. Almost like an actual walking wolverine. The antagonists are also pretty boring. Some are just random monsters, and the other are the Hellfire Club, but for some reason the members were original characters instead of actual comic villains. No Donald Pierce, Selene, or even Sebastian Shaw. The story was also subpar.

Watch it?: Better than X-Men 3, not as good as Days of Future Past (4/5)

MVP: Cyclops


Honestly, even I was surprise at how good he is.

Best Episode: Ep. 05 “Power-Unity” (the most X-men episode ever)

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Heaven’s Lost Property the Movie: The Angeloid of Clockwork

Type: 1 hour of original footage


Synopsis: One day a poor girl named Hiyori secretly declares that she likes local pervert Tomoki Sakurai…then a busty angel/robot falls on top of him. She begins to stalk him from afar, afraid that this boob crazy maniac won’t like her or her big boobs. She does manage to start hanging out with him, even starting this strangely convenient relationship with Tomoki. Then she dies.

Pros: I didn’t know how much I missed Heaven’s Lost Property until I saw this film. It actually made me skim through the last parts of the manga. Most of the shows gags are still in place. Tomoki is a perv, people hit him for it, etc. The emotional core of the film was Hiyori, a hard working and earnest girl that has a crush on Tomoki. While not an original concept, you do feel sympathy for Hiyori, if for anything, developing feelings for a guy who once made panties fly in the sky.

Cons: This isn’t really a “movie” in the truest sense of the word. The first forty percent of the film is a recap of the show, with a few scenes put in from Hiyori’s point of view. This is Hiyori’s movie, so don’t expect to see a lot from Ikaros of the other angeloids. The rest is more like an hour long TV special, or OVA. The animation is also about the same as some of the better looking episodes of Heaven’s Lost Property. As I said, don’t go expecting to see an actual “movie-movie.”

What it!?: Skip the first third, then enjoy the rest

MVP: Hiyori Kazane


A girl who likes plants

Best Moment: Tomoki’s purity challenge (so dumb, I love it)

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

Type: I think I’m in Love


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


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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The Mystic Archives of Dantalian

Type: The Adventures of Library Girl and Her Trusty Companion


Synopsis: For years, Huey Disward thought his grandfather was a complete recluse who obsessed over books for the majority of his adult life. This turned out to be untrue. He actually obsessed over a young girl. That’s…better? Anyway, it turns out the girl is a magical library, a glorified Kindle really, and Huey agrees to help her collect forbidden books that are supposed to be secret, even though everyone in Europe seems to have one.

Pros: Right off the bat I have to point on The Mystic Archives of Dantalian’s theme song. It’s beautiful and perfectly set the tone for a post-WW1 show. That’s what I really loved about the show. It had the premise of magic spell books set in the backdrop of 1920’s Europe. There’s something classically romantic about that, and the show in general.  Most episodes are stand alone cases, where Huey and Dalian investigate a new rumored book, most of which end in tragedy. I loved this type of storytelling, because it had adventure, mystery, drama, and humor. I think this is the fist time an anime has made me feel like I was watching something based on a book. That’s a good feeling.

Cons: Whenever Huey and Dalian have to fight an evil book’s spell, they do this ritual where Huey physically extracts a book from Dalian and recites some nonsense incantation. That’s cool, but the anime used the same animation every this happened, which was a problem because  a lot of the episodes ended like that. There was also this mystery girl with silver hair that Huey seems to know, but it’s never really explained. The last episode implied that she was Pandora, but I would have liked an actual name rather than an indirect allusion. I also had a problem with the use of photorealistic backgrounds, but you get use to them.

Watch it!?: Like a good book, I couldn’t pull away. (4/5)

MVP: Huey Disward



Best Episode: Ep. 4 “Book of Soul Exchange” (Have you ever watched Misery?)

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Aria the Scarlet Ammo

Type: Lt. Murtaugh the Anime


Synopsis: That mysterious entity know as the European Union has finally made its move! The E.U. has assembled the descendants of their greatest citizens for their nefarious purposes, from Jean of Arc to Count Dracula. They even got Arsene Lupin! (the French one, not the anime one). Luckily, we got Sherlok Holmes the Fourth and sort-of Watson on our side. Even more luckily, almost everyone involved is a cute teenage girl.

Pros: I really liked a lot of what I saw here. I was particularly intrigued by the protagonist’s Kinji’s unique power. The ability to transform into a super cool guy whenever sexually aroused may possibly be the most useful superpower ever. The show was really at its best when it played up its action side and comedic side. The detective/police action elements in Aria the Scarlet Ammo really made me yearn for more anime of that genre. Having the first story arc end with an improvised plane landing brought back flashes of Die Hard 2 in the best possible way.  I also laughed out-loud whenever the show delved into its love-comedy gags. Rei Kugimiya kills it once again in her role as a Tsundere teen.

Cons: This anime came close to being everything I didn’t know I wanted from an anime, but then it decided to add supernatural powers. I could accept Kinji’s Hysteria Mode, but I draw the line at moving hair and ice people. Why couldn’t the characters just be really good at shooting? Hell, I was even digging the whole descendants of historical figures fighting one another gimmick. Now that had potential. Apart from that, the whole show felt rushed. In the span of 12 episodes, it packs in 3 story arcs that delve into a lot of characters we didn’t have proper time to invest in. The reveal of the Buntei Killer was particularly anti-climactic. But I still hope it gets another season.

Watch it?: Yes, but as three parts instead of a whole (4/5)

MVP: Shirayuki Hotogi


I found her wife/stalker approach towards Kenji delightful.

Best Episode: Ep.4 “Butei Killer” (jumping the gun too quick, but still pretty cool)

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C: Control – The Money and Soul of Possibility

Type: Confusing Name


Synopsis: Once again we are shown the folly of our economic structure. For years we all thought that our financial instability was caused by unwise and short-sighted businessmen. Well, it turns out that the actual cause is the mysterious “Financial District” where people fight one another for money using their futures. On second thought, isn’t that exactly how the economy works now?

Pros: The central theme of this anime is the economy. Fights are for monetary gain, attacks are named after financial phenomena, special moves cost money, battles are called “deals,” and participants are called “entrepreneurs.” Hell, the major conflict in the show comes from the fact that people are required to put up their future as collateral in order to enter the fights in the first place. If a person loses too many fights and money, they go “Bankrupt,” and lose their future. Since the future starts in the present, this usually translates as a failed job exam, ruined company, or even a lost child. So the question becomes whether we should risk the future the ensure the present. This is all of course a giant metaphor for the current economic climate, where people in the financial world make decisions that have major ramifications in the real world (something that the show also portrays). There are a lot of other great things I could mention, but I think this should sum it up: Watch It.

Cons: First off, the show sometimes mixes 3-D models with it’s 2-D animations, which I always hate. Second, the main protagonist Kimimaro Yoga becomes less interesting as the show progresses. He is initially introduced as a college kid who could really use more money, a position that most of the audience can relate to. But once his money problems go away due to his success in fights, his major conflict becomes more philosophical, and thus less interesting He’s not totally passive, and he does act as a good medium for the audience, but he portrays a tad too much indecisiveness to be truly admirable. (p.s. The use of English dialogue was a surprising and occasionally hilarious addition).

Watch it!?: A part of me think this should be mandatory viewing for Econ classes (4/5)

MVP: Jennifer Sato


I hope she gets her own spin-off series

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Complication” (it’s neat that every episode title starts with the letter “C”)

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Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls

Type: Amorous Female Warriors


Synopsis: Yamato Naoe belong to a school full of would-be samurai lords and warriors. He is extremely popular, with four really hot girls trying to win his hear. Sadly, his heart only belongs to Momoyo, the strongest and prettiest girl at the school who has rejected him twice. Then a bunch of stuff happened involving terrorist or revolutionaries, or something. I manly just remember the fan service.

Pros: For a 13 episode Action-Comedy show, Majokoi had some very impressive fighting scenes. But the show really shined in the comedy department. The show almost made making dirty jokes and delivering fan service an art form. Having the pervy Miyako open every episode was a masterstroke. It also implemented the use of half-segments, dedicating half an episode to Yamato’s relationship with a specific girl. It’s an effective way to showcase the cast dynamics in a harem-type show with only 13 episodes. I wish more harems would adopt this method.

Cons:  Half the episodes are pure sexy/funny harem episodes. The other half are pure actions episodes. The show doesn’t do a good job at mixing both genres. It’s disjointed.  Most harems try to focus all the plot in the first season, and then go crazy with the comedy in the second, but this show tried to do it all in one season. I wish it had just stuck to one genre, preferably comedy. There were also a bunch of secondary characters that I just did not care about. Most of these characters where part of the action episodes. The main plot was also weak, and involved a lot more Japanese social and political criticism than I would have liked.

Watch it: Only watch the comedy episodes (ep. 3, 4, 5, 6, and 11) (3/5)

MVP: Miyako Shiina


Down girl.

Best Episode: Ep.6 “Seriously, Carry it With Me!!” (the mushroom scene!)

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Infinite Stratos

Type: Mecha Girls School


Synopsis: So apparently, the trick to a female dominated world and universal peace is creating mecha suits that are incredibly powerful and can only be piloted by women. This will lead to a world wide non-aggression treaty, and make all other modes of warfare obsolete. All potential mecha pilots are then trained in quasi-military schools to keep that balance of power intact. This will of course all shatter when a man is finally able to use mecha suits, as his manly manness will distract the female pilots. Because girls, right?

Pros: I really liked this show, and could easily image myself watching it on main stream TV. I was able to get into this show relatively easily. Maybe I just really like the concept of “battle schools,” since that’s basically what this show is. Well, to be honest, its a harem love-comedy with a battle school as the background. But the actions is pretty good. If I was younger, I could easily see myself buying toys or playing games based on this show. I also really liked the pairing of protagonist Ichika and Charlotte. I thought they made a cute couple.

Cons: This is a somewhat quick harem. By this I mean that every potential love interest gets 1-2  introduction episodes, and is then set aside to the background. The only girls Ichika properly bonds with is Charlotte and his childhood friend Houki. If the show ever gets a second season, they may expand on Ichika’s relationship with each girl, but as it is, your left feeling a little rushed. I also felt that Ichika was a bit dense, even for a harem protagonist.

Watch it?: Yes, I thorougly enjoyed it (4/5)

MVP: Charlotte Dunois


France’s Best Export

Best Episode: Ep. 9 “Ocean’s Eleven!” (not the movie)

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