Tag Archives: Anime

Overlord II

Type: Lizard men and Bandit killing

Synopsis: We have two main campaigns here. First is the Lizard Men campaign, where our noble heroes have to defeat a united lizard army. Can our heroes’ vast armies and infinite strength stand up to a bunch of reptiles with pointy sticks? You’ll just have to watch to find out! Second is the 8 Fingers campaign, a side-quest for a butler, a damsel in distress, a couple of bumbling swordsman, and one shade throwing maid. Can they ever get along? You’ll just have to watch to find out!

Pros: Overlord season 2 is a protagonist-less story arc. Think the Shikamaru arc in Naruto, or the Doctor-lite episodes in Doctor Who. This means that our mmorpg nerd/underad lord main character, Ainz Ooal Gown, doesn’t really show up this season. He’s more of a supporting character in these stories. The first half of the season involved a group of Lizard Men who have to deal with Ainz’s forces invading their lands. I liked this arc because it was very reminiscent of older fantasy stories involving alliances between warrior tribes, magic swords, and outcasts heroes. The second arc revolved around Sebas, Ainz’s head butler, as he makes gets caught up in fighting an underground crime syndicate after saving a slave from death. This story was way more of a modern fantasy story: you have a young knight, a weary swoardsman, a sly princess, political games, and a gentleman hero who I may or may not have developed a crush on. Overall, a solid season.

Cons: I forgot to mention, but whoever did the English dialogue deserves a raise, because I loved the proper manner that all the character’s spoke in. It really helped convey a lot of their status and upbringing, as well as they’re regard to certain other characters. That being said, the action, while there, isn’t really something to write home about. It’s pretty generic fantasy fighting. A few swords slashes, a magic spell here and there, but nothing amazing. I can also imagine that some people won’t be syked that Ainz takes a back seat this season. I think it works really well, but people do watch this show to see the Overlord, not a bunch of lizards of their butler. In addition, the story doesn’t to a great job transitioning between story arcs. One episodes ends one arc, another begins the next. It’s a little jarring. However, this show does an incredible job of juggling new characters and giving them each a personality you can care about.

Watch it?: It’s would be an afront to the great Ainz Ooal Gown not to! (4/5)

MVP: Sebas

Daddy. (D-Did I do it right?)

Best Episode: Ep. 5 “The Freezing God” & Ep. 8 “A Boy’s Feeling” (one has the best joke’s I’ve seen in a while, and the other makes me want a spin-off)

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Overlord

Type: A horrible nightmare for some, an opportunity for others.

Synopsis: A complete nerd that spent 12 YEARS on an online MMORPG has to sadly say good-bye to his friends as the servers are being shut down. As he closes his eyes to feel the sweet relief of digital death, he discovers the he is now stuck in the game. The game where’s he’s an over-leveled sorcerer, and commands other over-leveled characters, some of whom are hot babes that want to literally jump his bones (he’s a skeleton). Man, if I wasn’t such a huge nerd in other areas, I’d give MMORPG’s a try. According to anime, there’s no downside!

Pros: So this is an Isekai series…sit down DAMMIT! Or I’ll never give you the launch codes! Anyway, this one’s gimmick is that the character is stuck in a non-human body and is in charge of a crew of boss tier NPCs. Since the main character, Momonga, is the only player character still in the original game, the story takes him to another country. Kinda like an expansion pack map (or DLC for you kids out there). The two main plots are Momonga slowly gaining influence in the new country, while also trying to discover if any of his friends are also in the game. What I liked about this Isekai show is that Momonga is stuck in his player avatar, which is a huge skeleton, and how he basically starts to become his character, like become more indifferent towards other humans, and how something or someone is preventing him from losing his temper. And since he’s a character that’s been leveled up over 12 years, it makes sense that he’s so overpowered. Plus, Momonga’s tendency to reminisce about his past friends gives his characters an extra layer of sympathy.

Cons: Momonga’s general’s aren’t anything to write home about. They’re basically a mix of different troupes that, in fairness, seem like a group made by a bunch of MMO junkies. Even Albedo, the poster girl, isn’t that deep. Just your basic devoted demon. The best part of the anime are the first 1-4, which serve as an introduction to the series and help flesh out Momonga’s character. Episode 5-13 sadly move away from Momonga’s palace and deal with a local adventurer’s guild and church baddies. It ends with a battle against one of his generals (who’ve been brainwashed). Not bad, but nothing to write home about. Literally. And obviously, any fight involving Momonga has no stakes because you know that he’ll win, but sometimes having a show like isn’t a bad thing.

Watch it?: Depends on your tastes. (3/5)

MVP: Momonga

All hail the overlord!

Best Episode: Ep. 4 “Ruler of Death” (battle!)

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Girls und Panzer der Film

Type: How can my murder machines be so cute!?

Synopsis: It’s like Bend It Like Beckham, but with tanks, and different characters, and an unrelated plot. Maybe this analogy doesn’t work anymore.

Pros: This is a moe-military anime that I had no idea was given a film. Well, I say “film,” but it’s really more like a long OVA, or a pseudo-second season. The story is that the girls at Ooarai Girls High School are on top of the world, until the MAN tells them that the school that lets them use live ammo to attack each other in war games will be closed down. Kill joys. The girls then go through a sort of graduation/splitting up story, where we get to see our cute main characters act cute about leaving behind the only friends they’ve ever had. Aww, their lives are breaking apart. How kawaii. Any who, they girls get a change to win their school back competing against a college war tank team. It’s pretty unfair, but it does give us a pretty awesome 20 min skirmish that included the multi-national characters introduced during the series (clearly the focus of the animations team’s time and money). I feel that I’m underselling this. If your a fan of this series, then the return characters, the interactions between the main cast due to the threat of splitting up, and the final battle are all for you.

Cons: It doesn’t feel like a movie. It feels like a long TV episode. This is partly because a lot of the events happen close enough to each other to feel rushed, but not spaced out enough to build mood. It basically goes: The girls are told their school is closed, the girls are given temporary lodgings and feel sad, they spend a day doing nothing, they get the news they have chance to save their school, they have a competition and win. The end. The antagonist, or rather the big challenger in the film, is also underdeveloped. She’s a loli/quiet character whose mostly used as the focus of personality for the college tank team, who are severely lacking in charisma. It’s almost like the writers have no interest in physically developed grown women and would rather focus more on young, sometimes underdeveloped, high school girls….

Watch it?: I was this during Fanime 2018! So maybe.

MVP:The Italian team

Clever tactics.

Best moment: The Italian team’s battle scene. (what a maneuver!)

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KonoSuba (Season 2)

Type: “It hurts so good!” – Dustiness Ford Lalatina

Synopsis: We’ve all been in this situation. You have a great job, are surrounded by beautiful people, and are generally successful at what you do. Only to have the job basically kill you. Have all the beautiful people have terrible personalities. And have all your success lead to an arrest warrant, major debt, and religious arguments. At least you house wasn’t taken away (just the furniture).

Pros: KonoSuba season 2 follows almost immediately after the first season. Kazuma and the gang are put on probation for suspicion of working with the Demon King, and have to pay off all the damages they caused while saving the city at the end of the first season. That’s the first half of the season. The second half revolves around a trip to a hot springs city that worships Aqua, and the predictable trouble that causes. The benefit of watching KonoSuba this time around was that I got a better appreciation for the characters and their stories, mainly because I got to interact with them more. The first season went by so fast and had to much hype surrounding it, that it fell a little flat for me. Not so with season two. The first half gives you a nice, weekly adventure that doubles as spotlight episodes for the characters, thus allowing yourself to re-familiarize yourself. The second half gives you a more traditional arc. Overall, this second season has the advantage of having all the characters already established, thus allowing it to do more with them. It left me wanting more in a good way, so I hope it gets another season, or else I’m going to have to seriously consider breaking with my own habits and start reading the light novel.

Cons: There are a few little things I don’t think land. The characters of Yunyun and Vanir aren’t especially funny. Yunyun’s kinda meh. And Vanir feels derivative. I also think the Darkness jokes are kinda lazy. Not the sadism ones. Those are always gold. But her spotlight episode, Ep.4 “A Betrothed for this Noble Daughter” focused too much on fan service and came off as lazy. We get it, she’s the blond with big boobs, can we move on now? I also feel that maybe the whole season ended a little anticlimactically. The battle with another demon general was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but everyone just going home to have some tea without a punch line was maybe to the ideal way to end it. Just my opinion.

Watch it?: A solid sophomore effort. I burned through it rather quickly. (4/5)

MVP: Kazuma

Yes, he’s Kazuma.

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Give Me Deliverance from this Judicial Injustice!” (I mean, he did steal those panties…)

 

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Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer

Type: From the director of Ghost in the Shell.

Synopsis: Like for real. The guy’s name is Mamoru Oshii. Man, the anime industry is a small world sometimes.

Pros: Finally! I got to experience Urusei Yatsura. Or should I say, the first time I got to experience Lum. The original magic pixie magical alien dream girlfriend. She was…fine. Cute, I guess. The story overall was pretty funny. The cast is trying to get ready for the school festival, but then realize they’re stuck in a time loop. There experiencing the same day over and over again while the city around them ages. How long have they been in the time loop? Who can say. But its clearly been a while. The characters were all fun, and I got interested in finding more Urusei Yatsura material for the future. But the real selling point is the animation. As the film goes one, you could just tell that the animators were flexing their creative muscles. We got shadows, tracking shots, long shots, looping scenes, high speed movement, intricate body work, small but noticeable twitches, etc. It a great movie to make a trailer with. A great movie to make a slide reel out of. And it was made in 1984! If you’re an animation geek, you’ll enjoy this one.

Cons: So it turns out that the time loop is caused by a dream demon who wants to create his own world. He uses Lum’s ideal world as a foundation. What kinda sucks is that the finale focuses on the dream demon and Ataru, the male protagonist of the manga series. But he’s a protagonist who doesn’t really do much in the movie. He’s more of a side character, with Mendou and Sakura acting more as the driving force of the film. I found Ataru move annoying than endearing, so his showdown with the demon didn’t land for me. That being said, I wouldn’t mind watching more of this.

Watch it: An enjoyable 100 minutes or so.

MVP: The animation

The school scene or space scene. Both amazing.

Best moment: The school blackout scene. (just show off why don’t you!)

 

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Tekkonkinkreet

Type: Street Rats. Well, Street Cats technically.

Synopsis: It’s basically about orphans beating up gangsters.

Pros: Well, there’s like more to it, but yeah. There are two orphans, Kuro and Shiro (black and white). They get into trouble with some Yakuza, and Kuro gets targeted by assassins. For his own good, Shiro is sent with the cops for protective custody, which throws off their whole Ying-Yang/Co-Dependent relationship. This gets explored in their senses of reality being distorted and what not. Real emotional stuff handled well via animation. Outside of this, we get spliced-in stories of life in an inner city. Frought with crime, tragedy, and a never ending cycle of violence. Kinda like if Elvis’s In the Ghetto was an anime. Though I do appreciate the more street level urban story.

Cons: It can get kinda messy. There is a lot of imagery thrown at you, and you may not get the significance of it all. That’s not me being pretentious. I don’t what half the weird stuff I saw meant! The cuts between the Kuro/Shiro plot and the Yakuza plot can be a bit confusing. And like a lot of anime movies, some of it’s scenes hang around a little longer than they should for the sake of “mood.” There also not a “happy ending” resolution to the stories. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, but Kuro/Shiro are basically in the same boat they were in at the start. You could argue that because of certain actions in the film, they’re home free, but are they? Who knows. The whole film is a very “International Anime” film, if you catch my drift. It’s not solidly Japanese (hell, the director was American). It’s made to appeal to a broad audience of film buffs. It’s more of a “Film” than a “movie.” Of at least it wants to be.

Watch it: Pretty nifty story about children beating up adults.

MVP: Kuro

Angry. Angry young man.

Best Moment: Kuro flying out of the sky (for some reason).

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Trigun: Badlands Rumble

Type: Mostly a story arc

Synopsis: In this story, Trigun saves a bandit whom he crosses paths with years later. The bandit wants revenge on someone, but an innocent village is in the way, so Trigun and his new lady friend have to try and stop him. Then Trigun saves the day and walks into the sunset.

Pros: This “movies” is really just a long Trigun story arc. That’s a good thing, because Trigun is great. I didn’t remember how much I liked Trigun until this film reminded me. It’s got this old anime vibe that’s been lost. It’s a little slower, a little quieter, a little more lived in. The gang’s all here, and their roles make sense. The insurance girls are working a job, as is Wolfwood. The main theme is “revenge” and “living in the past.” The main character of the film, Amelia, wants revenge on the antagonist for the death of her mother. The antagonist, Gasback, wants revenge on the partner’s that betrayed him. Gasback’s an example of revenge’s pitfalls and costs, and Amelia’s struggle with revenge is the film’s emotional focus. Overall, a fun return to Trigun’s universe. (p.s. This movie was made is 2010, so good for Trigun fans!)

Cons: This “movies” is really just a long Trigun story arc. That’s a bad thing, because it’s largely forgettable. Movies adapted from existing anime tend to fall under a few different categories. There’s a film adaptation of a story arc. There’s a side story exploring a supporting character. There’s an origin story or prequel. There’s the rare film sequel. And then there’s the expendable side story. Trigun: Badlands Rumble is the latter. It has a movie only villain, a movie only protagonist, it neither adds or detracts from the source material, it ultimately didn’t matter. Trigun doesn’t learn anything from this. Hell, he doesn’t even do much. He was kinda just there. The film had the audacity to imply that Trigun died in this, but we all know he didn’t. And worst of all, the film doesn’t try anything new. The setting is still a desert and Trigun is still Trigun. There’s a few things you could have done, like explore Trigun’s early years, do a movie from Woofback’s perpective, or Trigun’s brother’s perspective, or put Trigun is a jungle or city or something. As it stands, this is a serviceable movie, but not must-see.

Watch it?: Maybe for that Trigun inch.

MVP: Amelia

I would also get goosebumps if creepy Trigun tried to touch me.

Best Moment: Gasback’s booby-trap walk (some pretty fancy animation there)

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Black Jack: The Movie

Type: Real medicine doesn’t work this way…

Synopsis: Except in E.R. But E.R. is good.

Pros: I’m be honest. I’ve never watched E.R. I just wanted to sound smart for all of you. But we’re here to talk about Black Jack: The Movie. This was my first introduction to Black Jack, created by Osamu Tezuka, who also made Astro Boy. I didn’t make this connection until about 30 minutes into the movie and though “boy, these guys sure look like robot children.” According to the Wikipedia, Black Jack is a medical mercenary who charges an insane amount of money for his services, despite not having a medical license and wearing a garish opera cape. And hes allowed to do this in a world and legal system to is fully aware of his existence as an illegal surgeon. In this story, he’s hired to deal with a string of superhuman who seem to be dying for no reason. Most of the film is just an excuse to draw highly detained medical procedures, but it’s a serviceable medical drama.

Cons: Also according to the Wikipedia, Black Jack’s face is explained as a skin graph from his half-african best friend. So I don’t know if he’s “Black Jack” because his face is half black (which is therefore racist), or because of his reputation as a cold hearted doctor. But he’s evil in the whole “he’s actually a kind doctor” kind or way. That being said, this movie is really just a basic medical drama. It looks nice, but nothing about is is super special. The only real element that rising above being average is Joe Carol Brian, how hires/blackmails Black Jack to help fix the superhuman death problem. She was interesting because she was the total opposite of the Black Jack character. Outside of her brilliance, she was a corporate puppet who used human experiments to further her ambitions, and was a prisoner of her own making. There was also magic bacteria found in desert stand. But that’s about it.

Watch it: It’s Fine.

MVP: The animation

People love to draw medical agony. They love it!

Best Moment: The brain surgery. (gross).

 

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Armitage III: Dual-Matrix

Type: A sequel no one asked for

Synopsis: A know that a lot of people complain about entertainment industry giving us sequels to decade old franchises that no one asked for, but this ain’t a new thing. Case in point, this anime movie is a sequel to a at best serviceable cyber punk anime. The first time around, Armitage III has the unfortunate luck of coming out the same year as Ghost in the Shell. But will this new movie revive the franchise!? No. No it will not.

Pros: And surprise, surprise, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex also came out in 2002. And AGAIN, Armitage was released earlier in the year, but was overshadowed by Ghost in the Shell’s first anime series. You just can’t win, can you? It’s like when Civil War came out before Batman vs Superman. Except that Civil War ended up making a billion dollars, while BVS didn’t. I mean, it made it’s money back. The critics didn’t like it, but I think they were being overly harsh. And as a DC fan, I enjoyed it. It set up the characters well, Ben Affleck as Batman was awesome, and that scene at Lex Luther’s party? Amazing. Plus, we got to see Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman for the first time. Weirdly enough, BVS has become a bit of a cultural touchstone, though usually with negative connotations. But no one really talks about Civil War anymore. I mean, that airport fight sure. Still, given time, I think people will begin to appreciate BVS more. I’ll freely admit that Superman was a downer, but that a bigger issue with the entire franchise (though they did fix Superman in Justice League, another misunderstood film). Yet as a whole, BVS told a story about what happens when a man defined by fear gives into it, and a man defined by hope starts to lose it. Apart their dangerous, but together they’re the World’s Finest….Oh s#$t, right, Armitage. Her kid was cute.

Cons: Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’ll call it like I see it. Suicide Squad was not good. It had a good aesthetic, but that don’t replace competent writing. The thing is that–alright, the bit’s gone far enough. Anyway, Armitage Dual-Matrix takes place seven years after the original. Armitage has a kid, but goes to Earth to stop more Third Type androids from being created. The villains master plan is to use the Third Type androids, androids that can reproduce, to make a slave race. Stuff happens and the day is saved. Here’s the thing, on the one hand I liked that Armitage seemed more mature, which was reflected in her less revealing outfit. One the other hand, she was less fun. Her character seemed to be reduced to angry or sad. All the conflict about her being android seems to have been resolved. There was an interesting bit when her daughter is scared when she find out that her mom’s an android. Maybe if this had happened earlier, as in being the catalyst that shattered Armitage’s idyllic life, then we’d be talking. But with what it got, it’s yet another attempt that was overshadowed by Ghost in the Shell, only this time with it’s personality lost.

Watch it?: Give Batman V Superman another shot. It’s better than it’s reputation.

MVP: Armitage’s outfit

Shorts and crop top. Easy, attractive, but not over the top. Though the clevage was a little much.

Best moment: Armitage’s daughter’s reaction to her mom’s metal arm (My mother’s a horrible robot in a forgettable series of stories!!)

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Armitage III

Type: Is this a rip-off?

Synopsis: Because this OVA came out in February 1995, while the Ghost in the Shell movie came out in November 1995. BUT, the Ghost in the Shell manga was published in 1989. So I don’t know if Armitage is a omage to the GTS manga, a product of the cyber punk trend in the mid-90’s, or a desperate cash grab at a more popular movie coming out 8 months in the future. Either way, it’s not that memorable.

Pros: Armitage III is a cyber punk story where an android questions what it means to be alive. Super original, I know. The basic story starts with a murder of “The last country singer in the Universe,” who turns out to be a robot. This starts Armitage, a cop and android, down a path of intrigue and philosophical questions of technology and society. This is all pretty by the numbers by now, but what I actually really liked was the setting of this OVA. This story takes place in Mars, where a “Third series” of robots who could give birth were secretly introduced to help with the low birth rate in order to increase the population and make Mars more autonomous from Earth. But then Earth pressured Mars to get rid of the robot women for moralistic and political reasons. Whether these robots who look, act, feel, and can reproduce just like humans deserve this type of treatment is what the anime ask you to decide. That type of political sci-fi is right up my alley.

Cons: I mean, in a world where Ghost in the Shell exists, is this OVA even worth paying attention to? Apparently not, given that I found this anime on Funimation, while Ghost in the Shell got a live action American adaptation starring Scarlet Johansson. So I guess the real winner is Armitage III. The story itself was fascinating, and I loved, loved, LOVED the old school cyber punk animation. But the characters really bring the story down. Armitage’s too cutesy, and Ross is too boring. And the 90’s English dub is…the 90’s English dub. Still, as an artifact of 90’s anime, it’s an interesting watch.

Watch it?: I still haven’t watched Ghost in the Shell! (3/5)

MVP: The backstory

I really should watch Ghost in the Shell

Best Episode: Ep.4 “Bit of Love”  (I’ve just been delaying it so long, it’s starting to get a little awkward).

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