Tag Archives: Alien

Terra Formars

Type: Get your A@# to Mars!

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Synopsis: Man has always dream of the red planet. Man has also always stepped on cockroaches. So what happens when peanut butter meets chocolate? Well, a whole lot of gore for one thing.

Pros: Terra Formars is about a manned mission to Mars going horribly wrong. About 3 times. This anime is about the third time. In a nutshell, humans tried to terraform Mars by sending roaches to spread algae. This backfired, as the roaches somehow mutated and evolved into super soldiers in the span of 500 years. Humanity, in its infinite wisdom, decides to go back to Mars to get some samples, and kill everything they don’t understand, because humans LOL. Initially, the anime gave off a real Gantz vibe, being ultra violent and leaning towards more “realism” in it’s animation (though really, this just means they did more with shadows). But it has a good sense of levity, and lacks the nihilism of other survival anime. The characters each had cool animal based powers. But what I really found fascinating were the Terraformers. Because you start off thinking their mindless monsters, but when you see one up close, they have, wait for it: clothing. Both functional and ornamental. The bugs have developed culture, and use rudimentary but effective tactics that compliment their superior physical abilities. They always felt like a threat, not just cannon fodder, which was impressive given that they all literally look alike.

Cons: How do I put this…this anime is good, but you can watch it with the sound off in the background of your room and still get the gist of it. It doesn’t require nor grab your attention. It’s not a “deep” anime. It’s animal people fighting roach people. The reason why the plot doesn’t hook you is because the plot hasn’t actually started. This anime only covers the “introduction” arc of a manga, even if seemingly important characters died in it. It’s interesting, but I feel that the really juicy story stuff hasn’t happened yet. It felt like I was watching a really long OVA. But the story even feels thin for 13 episodes. The anime crammed in way too many flashbacks at the expense of the overall story. Works better in chapter by chapter manga, but not in anime. To put it in prospective: the entire anime, from ep3-13, is about 1 day. They stretch this one day of fighting bugs with what felt like filler back story. Stories that weren’t that interesting. The only one that really intrigued me was Adolf’s, because his story actually ties into the effects the Terraformers have had on planet Earth. That aspect was really interesting: how would nations reach to knowing theirs a potentially hostile species on another planet. The rest of the backstories were just about the dudes losing their girlfriends. Seriously. It’s the motivation for 3 flashbacks. Most of the other astronauts are there for money. In all honesty, the interactions between characters told me more than any of the flashback could hope to tell me. The anime should have just focused on the mission. The anime did get me interested in the manga, I admit, but as an anime in general? It’s kinda an easy pass.

Watch it?: The bugs are cool, but the people aren’t (3/5)

MVP: Adolf Reinhardt

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Unfortunate name, but great character.

Best Episodes: ep8-10 The Reinhardt Arc (you poor bastard!)

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Please Teacher!

Type: Someone’s fantasy, I’m sure

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Synopsis: A boy gets marries his hot teacher. Gross right? Except that the boys is totally 18 you guys. For serious. Just ignore the height difference and all the times he calls her “ma’am.”

Pros: Please Teacher! is actually the parent series of Please Twins! That’s a little factoid for ya. The series leans towards the soap opera side of drama, which love triangles and mysterious diseases and what not. But that’s kinda what makes it enjoyable. It hits that sweet spot of melodramatic enough to be engaging, but not melodramatic enough to bum you out. The main conflict stems from the main character Kei having to marry his new teacher/straight up alien Mizuho. I liked that the show depicted the more realistic consequences so such a decision. In fact, the only reason they got married was because Mizuho and Kei were found in a compromising position and Mizuho would have lost her job (cause she’s a teacher, and he’s a student). They can get married because Kei is technically 18 (more on that later), and they begin to live together. From their, we see the growing pains that most couples go through, from dealing with different schedules to feeling of jealousy. Added problems are introduced because of the couple’s age difference and having to keep their marriage a secret. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I really liked the exploration of a couple living their day to day lives.

Cons: Please Teacher! has the problem of having too many plot points. It has a secret marriage, a couple still learning about each other, a love triangle, a second couple, a mysterious disease, a second person with a mysterious disease, an aunt and uncle who can’t stop boning. Oh yeah, and the fact that Mizuho is an ALIEN FROM OUTER SPACE. And weirdly, the show choose to focus on the teacher angle over the alien angle. So it was a little uncomfortable whenever the show reminds us that this student is married to his teacher. When its revealed that Mizuho was an alien, I was expecting a comedy along the lines of Tenchi Muyo. And while there is humor here, it’s more of a subtle humor. Watch the show’s OVA to see what I was initially expecting. But Mizuho being an alien isn’t all that crucial to the plot, it felt superflous. I know it’s used to set up her marriage with Kei, but you could easily rewrite those series of events without the alien gimmick. She was already Kei’s neighbor, and his “stand still” disease could have made her an old friend if you wanted something more exotic. On that front, the show doesn’t do a good job at explaining “stand stills.” All we know is that it’s a condition that causes people to go into temporary comas. Kei was stuck in one for 3 years, hence why he’s 18. But it also appears to stunt your growth? Or is Kei just short? But what about Ichigo? She’s 21, but looks 12. And while we’re on the topic of ages, man Kei, you gatta stop calling your wife “ma’am” and “Ms.Mizuho.” It’s a little weird.

Watch it?: Not a priority 1, but a nifty watch (3/5)

MVP: Mizuho Kazami and Kei Kusanagi

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Once they say “I love you” their marriage becomes kinda cute

Best Episode: OVA “Secret Couple” (Kei, cherry boy no more)

 

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The SoulTaker

Type: I DON’T KNOW WHATS GOING ON

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Synopsis: Well, that’s a fib. I do have some idea of what’s going on. It’s not like I just use these things as background noise, ha,ha,ha….So, a long time ago, an alien from an extinct race arrives on the moon. He makes a deal with a doctor there to save his dying daughter in exchange for releasing a deadly virus that will create another alien by mutating the populous. This results in the doctor’s own grandchildren becoming aliens. Flash forwards 17 years later, where the doctor is desperately trying to kill the aliens he helped make, while his grandson tries to save the life of his twin sister who’s soul was split into fragments to protect her/stop her from killing all of humanity. Yeah, I don’t believe me either about the lying thing.

Pros: This show was very ambitious. Once you get to the end, you get a clear picture of what it was trying to do. Without spoiling much (except for the core twist up above), let just say it gets very Evangeliony. The plot involving searching for different aspects of a person’s identiy was pretty cool, and it’s got very stylized animation, something along the lines of Monogatari and Zetsubou Sensei. Angled framing, heavy shadows, liberal use of color, etc. I also liked the fact that most of the main characters’ motivation was trying to save someone they loved (which is kinda another spoiler when you think about it).

Cons: I’m still not sure what exactly happened in this anime. Something about aliens for sure, and mutants, and…ninjas? Ninjas showed up for some reason. I’m still not sure why. The thing about SoulTaker is that it’s kinda sloppy. It throws you into this weird world without properly establishing what it is. Are we in the future? Another world? The post apocalypse? Is everything science or magic, or both? We know that Kyosuke is looking for his twin sister Runa, and that her soul has been fragmented and is being hunted down. Ok, cool. A little creepy when the fragments hit on Kyosuke, but I can work around that. But then we add mutants, and aliens, and evil doctors, feuding organizations, and a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t make sense because I turned by head for two seconds. It was frankly a little exhausting to watch.

Watch it?: This does spin-off into a magical girl show (3/5)

MVP: Runa Tokisaka

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A pretty interesting villain, until she go too handsey with Kyosuke that is.

Best Episode: Ep. 11 “Demon on a Deserted Island” (the plot appears!)

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To Love Ru Darkness

Type: Really selling me on a Golden Darkness prequel series

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Synopsis: Lover boy Rito is still trying to balance a life where every other girl is in love with him. This is made more difficult by Princess Momo, a SVU villain waiting to happen. She takes it upon herself to get create a harem by getting Rito laid, either by her or someone else. As far as evil plans go, it’s no poisoning the town’s water supply, but eh. We also learn about one of the character’s mysterious past (hint: her name is in the title).

Pros: To Love Ru Darkness traded in the rapid fire comedy of it’s predecessor Motto To Love Ru in exchange for a more dramatic atmosphere.  You can tell by the improved camera work and addition of shadow, both of which look exquisite, that this entry in the To Love Ru franchise is trying to tell a more sophisticated story.  Well, as sophisticated as you can get in a show where the main conflict in where or not the male protagonist should consider forming a harem. The character of Momo was the perfect female protagonist for this season, as her devious nature played a nice contrast to Lala’s always cheerful demeanor. And if anyone new was going to carry a plot, it would be Golden Darkness. I should also point out that in contrast with most harem shows, some of the fan service scenes where downright sexy, I’m talking Barry White levels here. (but don’t worry, there is still plenty of panty shots and boob grabbing for you traditionalists).

Cons: First off, you will really have had to have watched To Love Ru and Motto To Love Ru to understand anything that’s going on. While this season puts more focus on Momo, Golden Darkness, and Nana, every other possible love interest for Rito gets at least an episode to spotlight their relationship. I should also note that anyone who loved Motto To Love Ru’s style may be disappointed at To Love Ru Darkness’s, well, darker tone. It’s not Shakespeare tragic, but there where time when I did get a bit anxious. The some of the fan service scenes in particular were unsettling. Momo was at times too sexually aggressive, but Episode 12 and the To Love Ru OVA do clear up her motivations.

Watch it?: Good in a different way, though does require some research (4/5)

MVP: Momo Belia Deviluke 

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This girl could seduce Satan himself

Best Episode: Ep.10 “Past ~Memories Leading to Tomorrow~” (too a while to figure out)

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Tsuritama

Type: Fishin’

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Synopsis: Yuki Sanada is a complete spaz who goes crazy whenever he’s in a socially awkward situation. He then befriends Haru, a weirdo whose way too energetic for his own good. The two eventually wiggle their way into the life of Natsuki Usami, a complete and utter jerk who just happens to be good a fishing. Together the three, along with this 25 year old Indian secret agent, spend long weekends together on a small boat for hours at a time. They call it “fishing.”

Pros: The first thing you’ll notice about Tsuritama is its animation. The style it uses is incredibly vibrant and bright, almost to the point of carrying the anime by itself. A notable example is the use of drowning to convey Yuki’s social anxiety. I thought this was a clever and accurate depiction of the feeling. In terms of story, the two arcs that stood out were Nastuki’s family troubles, and Haru’s mission. Though one was more intimate while the other was larger in scope, they both proved to be very interesting. There was also a surprising amount of character growth for a 12-episode anime.

Cons: Tsuritama is slow. The show goes for a more subtle approach in terms of humor. This is more of a coming-of-age story than a summer comedy. I almost feel that this would have been better as a movie than tv show. The main characters of the show become friends through fishing, so expect a lot of fishing tutorials. I personally found this boring, but that’s just me. I also found the characters Haru and Nastuki to be grating at times, ironic since I found their story arcs the most interesting. Haru’s whole cheerful and immature thing bordered on the annoying, while Nastuki’s treatment of his family bugged the hell out of me. All in all, a lot of the elements were there, but it never quite gelled for me.

Watch it?: This won’t be for everyone, but maybe you’ll like it (3/5)

MVP: Yuki Sanada

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Don’t drown!

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Panicked Fishing” (we’ve all been there)

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Pani Poni Dash!

Type: Doogie Howser, the Anime

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Synopsis: Someone decided that it would be a good idea to give an 11 year old a teaching position at a local high school because she happens to be a genius. Sure, the entire school is full of unique characters. Yes, aliens are monitoring their very action. And admittedly, the school seems to attract strange events, like robots and talking rabbits,  that seem to parody popular culture. But come on, a prepubescent teacher? That’s just crazy.

Pros: If you love parody anime, then look no further. This show is chalk full of references that span the gamut, from video games to Chuck Norris. Every episode is a little weird, sometimes even random, but their in lies the charm. What better way to stave off the tedium that slice-of-life stories are prone to than adding crazy plot twists. What’s this, a boring episode about a PTA meeting? Well, let’s just add a dash of missing teacher, a pinch of masked parents, and a shake of impersonator!

Cons: If your not a fan of parody anime, then you may be out of luck. Granted, this show adheres more to plot structures than other parodies, but something was off. It never quiet grabs your attention enough. Maybe it was a bit too cartoony, or maybe the animation was a bit too old. It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing either.

Watch it!?: Pure comedy fans may love it, but everyone else probably won’t (2/5)

MVP: Ichijo

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I’m pretty sure she’s evil

Best Episode: Ep. 24 “You are responsible for your own death” (I’m a sucker for period pieces)

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Excel Saga

Type: Quirky Experimental Anime

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Synopsis: For the low, low price of 26 episodes, you get the “Misadventures of Excel,” “Municipal Force Daitenzin,” and “The Pedro Saga.” Act now and you’ll also receive “Menchi, A Dog’s Struggle.”

Pros: Excel Saga is 26 episodes of cartoony anime goodness. Every episode is a goofy spoof on a different genre, from sport anime to Power Rangers. The series itself is split into three different groups of character that mildly intersect with one another, despite half of them living in the same apartment building. Each have their own charms and are fun to watch for different reasons. My personal favorite was the Pedro Saga, because it made the least amount of sense. The whole show is just a good ‘ol fashion pure comedy anime.

Cons: The biggest negative was the animation style. Being aired in 2000, the show was still stuck in that pre-high definition art  style that made the show look generic. It also may be too cartoony for some people. Any show that makes you utter the phrase “what is going on?” runs the risk of losing some people. Even I found myself skipping a few episodes without much hesitation. On a personal note, I hated any episode that focused on the dog. For some reason, I just drew the line at dog comedy.

Watch it?: If your in the mood for an honest laugh, this is the show for you (3/5)

MVP: Excel

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Unnecessarily Enthusiastic

Best Episode: Ep. 20 “The Best of Pedro” (I wish they had done a few more recap shows)

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Motto To Love-Ru

Type: To Love-Ru Season 2

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Synopsis: Guy named Rito is living with the consequences of having confessed his love for an alien princess named Lala to save the entire world. His life is now host to a myriad of alien and human girls that all seem to want his attention. So be prepared for a lot of misunderstandings. A lot of strange situations. And a whole lot of nudity.

Pros: Motto To Love-Ru seems to have moved away from the traditional twenty minute showing in favor of smaller and more varied  stories. It abandoned the whole “Deviluke” premised and instead focuses on the day-to day exploits of the main cast. Every episode in this new season is divided into two to three skits that vary in purpose. Most of the segments put Rito and the cast in very silly situations, which almost always lead to someone losing all their clothing. The animation had a major upgrade as well, helping elevate some of the stories and gags. The fan-service was also ramped-up to 11, with some scenes even surprising my experienced eyes. All in all, this second season is a much funnier, quicker, and more enjoyable successor to the original To Love Ru.

Cons: Their are entirely too many characters in this show. Not having watched To Love Ru in a while, I had totally forgotten who half these characters were. Since when did Lala have twin sisters? Whose that little green haired girl? What the hell is with that ghost girl? It’s was also kinda hard to keep track on who liked Rito, and who just sort of hung out with the rest of the cast. I will say, however, that my previous reservations about the character Lala where reverse in this season. Lala was more obvious about her love for Rito, and even supported her rival Haruna’s own efforts. She also dressed more like a human and less like an alien, making her all the more likable.

Watch it?: Even if you haven’t watched To Love Ru, you will enjoy this anime (4/5)

MVP: Rito

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The Jimmy Olsen of Harem Anime

Best Episode: Ep.10 “Pollen Telepathy / A Girl’s Feelings / Hear Throbbing Mail” (it’s a triple threat)

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Gantz

Type: The Fucked Up Kind

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Synopsis: So apparently the biggest dick in the universe is this thing called Gantz. This big black orb thingy randomly makes copies of dead people and forces them kill aliens for its amusement. To be fair it does give you weapons, power suits, and the target, but that’s about it. No instructions. No tips. If you die in the game, your dead for good. If you try to run away from the game area, your head explodes. Gatnz insults you at the end of the game and gives you points. Your free to live your life in-between games, unless Gantz copied a person that wasn’t fully dead, then you sorta have to avoid awkwardly meeting the original you.  Once you get 100 points, Gatnz lets you go for reals.

Pros: If your a fan of “realism” in anime, then you’ll probably be a fan of this. All the characters in the show act like real people, full of flaws and anxieties. What makes the show interesting is seeing all these “real” people deal with such an extraordinary situation. To makes things more interesting, the show actually allows people to die, no matter who they are. So in every Gatnz Game you get a new set of people and group dynamic. The only constant being the protagonist Kuruno. While I’m not a fan of this type of anime, I was genuienly interested in what was going to happen next, and hope they make more seasons in the future.

Cons: As stated above, this show incorporates “realism. This means that the characters are drawn realistically, which I was not a big fan of. It also doesn’t shy away from issues like abuse, bullying, crime, suicide.  When I used the term “real” people, I of course meant assholes (if I had a dollar for every dirtbag that wanted to molest Kei “big breasts” Kishimono…). The characters in Gantz aren’t very likable. Some are angry, some are crazy, some are losers, some are whiny, some are self centered, some are killers. Gantz tends to revive a mix of people. This show also has a lot of casual nudity and violent gore. So if anything stated above is not your thing, don’t watch it. (p.s. Kato cried waaay too much. That boy had feelings.)

Watch it?: Only your 18+ and have a strong constitution. (4/5)

MVP: Kei Kuruno

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I will survive.

Best Episode: Ep.17 “Is It OK to Shoot Them?” (I gatta be cool guy now)

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Cat Planet Cuties

Type: Hot Cat People

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Synopsis: One day nice guy Kio Kakzu meets an alien cat girl names Eris who turns his house into an intergalactic Embassy. Then he finds out that two of his friends (Aoi and Manami) are basically soldiers for hire. But the most amazing thing about all of this is that Kio is insanely cool with all this, when he really should not have been cool about any of this. Aliens are using your house as a homebase! Your friends have killed people on a regular basis! Where the Hell is your Perspective Man!

Pros: It’s actually pretty funny in a sort of harem meets alien girls kind of way. Lots of fan service. Fairly adequate action scenes. The characters are all likable and the plot keeps you going at a good pace. I really enjoyed Aoi and Manami’s story arcs that were kept sort of separate from the main plot, as it made them the most compelling characters (even if they felt out of place a few times).

Cons: As I said, the action is good enough, but don’t expect many pulse pounding moments. Its not a funny action series. Its more of a love comedy with action in it. The pilot doesn’t really do a good job at making this distinction, giving you a false impression on what the show’s really like (it starts out way too serious). There’s also this one plot hole involving the Dog antagonist. It’s never really explained why the Dogs are on Earth, or why they try so hard to stop the Cats (outside of just being dicks). And no matter how many naughty jokes or action scenes you put in, its still a show about freakin’ cat and dog people.

Watch it?: If you got the time and can deal with Cat people, then sure. (3/5)

MVP: Assist-A-Roids

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I wish I had one!

Best Episode: Ep.3 “I Came To Stay” (the cat people are coming!)

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