Tag Archives: English Dubbed

xxxHolic

Type: A lot more lore than you think

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Synopsis: A boy named Watanuki visits a mysterious magic shop to because he attracts spirits. The owner of the shop, Yuko, agrees to help him in-exchange for becoming the shop’s part time cook/butler/errand boy. This sounds like a good deal, except for the fact that Yuko constantly sends him on supernatural-related missions Personally, I think Yuko is swindling the kid, but maybe it’s all just a coincidence…

Pros: The anime functions on a case-of-the-week story structure. Every episode deals the Watanuki and Yuko “helping” someone with a minor problem, like being a compulsive liar, or having an internet addiction. Something these people should really be going to a mental health clinic for, not a magic shop. And while these clients sometimes do have a spirit hanging around them, a lot of times it’s because the spirits were attracted to their negativity. They generally aren’t the cause of it. As such, Yuko often had to deal with the person’s personal issues rather an exorcise any evil spirits. The show had good characters to deal with these stories. Yuko is enigmatic and wise, but also lazy with a witty sense of humor. Watanuki is loud and complains a lot, but he’s generally a kind soul. These characters make the show’s predictable pace interesting to watch, and are the real reason to watch the show. (p.s. I’m not super cray about the lanky character designs, but Yuko’s outfits are always on point).

Cons: As with any case-of-the-week anthology show, things get boring and repetitive fast. Every week, some specifically female customer comes in, goes into self-denial over the problem they came to fix, and then Yuko fixes that problem. I actually found myself skipping through a lot of these episodes. And there were a few times when it even felt like a chore to watch the show. This season also has no real ending. It just ends. The only saving grace from the monotony of these episodes are the spotlight episodes with Watanuki and Domeki. The show has a running joke that Wataniki hates Domeki because he’s madly jealous at his popularity, but Yuko keeps finding ways to put them together because Domeki can repel spirits, and thus protect Watanuki. The two make a good comedic pair, with Domeki’s stoic personality contrasting well with Wataniki’s high-strung reactions. Now, the show does have one weird caveat: xxxHolic is actually part of a larger shared universe created by CLAMP, the all female writing group. This CLAMPaverse also includes Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, Card Capture Sakura, and sometimes Blood C. From what I gather, you don’t really need to watch any of these to enjoy xxxHolic, but Tsubasa at least apparently helps.

Watch it?: It’s boring  (2/5)

MVP: Watanuki

watanuki

Complain, complain, complain….

Best Episode: Ep.19 “Unreasonable” (a fun episode! snowball fights!)

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Gamers!

Type: A little like Twelfth Night to be honest.

Synopsis: I understood that reference! (No, but seriously, I burned through this whole show in ONE afternoon. I haven’t done that in years. This show is incredible).

Pros: This anime is about a boy who gets invited to a gamer club by the cutest girl at school, but declines because of it’s competitive nature. This kinda snowballs into the boy becoming entangled in various simultaneous love triangles, with hilarious results. Basically, it’s a love comedy with video games as the backdrop. And. It’s. Amazing. It’s one of the best comedy’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. It’s strength comes from it’s dynamic direction. Everything from the camera work to the character’s faces screams energy and youth. I made the joking reference to Twelfth Night because the running gag of the show is that all the teenage characters think that their crush is in love with someone else. Their reactions to this very thought perfectly captures the high strung emotions of dating at the age. Not only that, but the cast is really strong, and their various interactions and pairing reminds you that this is an ensemble comedy. My personal favorite paring was our lead Keita and the bubbly Aguri, whose simple but funny lunch talks reminds you that yes, in anime, a boy and girl can be friends without falling in love! I could probably say way more (and you could probably write an essay on each episode individually), but I would only be doing the show a disservice. Go watch it! (p.s. I know I wouldn’t say more, but the English dialogue, romantic misunderstandings, and gamer jokes hit me in my happy place. My favorite anime genre is comedy anime, and this is the best comedy I’ve seen all year).

Cons:…I mean, I feel bad for Chiaki. OK, so in order to explain half the stories in the show, you need to create a map with a lot of arrows and circles. But to save time, Chiaki is kinda the fifth wheel of the cast. She was introduced as a possible love interest for Keita, but then became more interested in Keita’s handsome friend Tasuku, but then falls in love with Keita after he starts officially dating Tendo, the blonde girl that invited Keita into the gamer club to begin with. Like I said, there’s a lot of moving parts. I feel bad for her because, well, she’s nice and she technically is a perfect match for Keita. But so is Tendo. This is one of the handful of shows where both of the main character’s love interests are plausible options that I wouldn’t be mad at. Aside from that, I guess that show doesn’t really do much with the Gamer Club, like anything at all, and ep.13, the “last episode,” is just a fan service filler episodes.

Watch it?: Maybe my favorite show of an already strong 2017. (5/5)

MVP: Keita and Aguri

Their scenes were gold

Best Episode: Ep. 6 “Gamers and Wipeout “Game Over” (maybe the best single comedic episode I’ve ever seen?)

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My First Girlfriend is a Gal

Type: The nice translation is “fashionable.” Yeah, let’s go with that.

Synopsis: Basically, Junichi Hashiba asks a pretty girl out on a dare from from his loser friends. Plot twist, the girl actually says yes and the two start dating. Being a high school boy, or “pervy virgin” as everyone he cares about calls him, Junichi mainly fantasizes about his girlfriend’s killer body. And while she may dress a certain way that doesn’t mean she acts a certain way, so Junichi better treat that her right, because that Yukana is a nice girl!

Pros: On the surface this show is a fan service innuendo machine. But look deeper and you’ll find a fan service innuendo machine. With class! Did I forget to mention that? Well, maybe not “class,” but with some respect for themes it covers. The obvious theme is “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” which is typical for a show covering Gals, or “Gyaru” for you nerds. In the beginning, Junichi only judges Yukana by her appearance, thinking that’s probably “loose” because she shows a little skin and talks in slang. Someone he fantasizes about having sex with. But throughout the show, his mentality shifts from “this is a chick with a nice ass” to “I really like spending time with Yukana” (forgive the crassness, but that is how the dialogue is delivered). On the flip side, while Yukana is often the focus of fan service given her design, she’s really just a normal anime girl who happens to like fashion and likes to tease her boyfriend about his wandering eye, but still feels shy and insecure when no one’s looking (i.e. the end credits). And of course, I can’t end this section without talking about the amazing English Dub, which may be the FILTHIEST dub I’ve ever heard. My mouth was agape with what the actors where being allowed to say. It was great!

Cons: This is a T and A show. I’m sorry. I mean Tits and Ass show. Had a brain fart for a minute. The show depicts various sexual acts for at least the first 5 episodes. Most of them are Junichi dreaming about the day Yukana invites him to Pound Town, but two are specifically two other girls trying to hump Jinuchi to their own purposes. I can confidently say that this show is not safe for work, not safe for school, and I’m starting to wonder if I was even old enough to watch this. And while not actual coitus is achieved, if your not a fan of sex comedies, then don’t even bother. I should mention that this show is based on a manga, that I happen to follow, and some things are out of order. The first five episodes basically rearrange things to get the other 3 girls introduced, so it feels rushed. The last five episodes are all the characters doing stuff, which was fun, but felt filler-y. The other characters are fine, but this is the Junichi and Yukana show (except for Minoru, whose a pedophile and his lust for little girls made me uncomfortable). The show is only 10 episodes, but the only one I didn’t like but understood it’s necessity is episode 9. The penultimate episodes addresses Junichi’s insecurities about dating Yukana when her former friend from middle school, who happens to be a cute boy, takes her out for a reunion. Junichi thinks that this qualifies as Yukana cheating on him because he’s A) a teenage boy, B) in his first relationship, and C) and he’s fairly insecure about himself. Of course, the problem is all in his head, Yukana’s not the type of person who would cheat on him, and he learns to trust Yukana and their relationship more. I mean, the show does out the other boy as a creep to sorta justify Junichi, but the emotional growth still has it’s merits. It’s a solid episode, I just don’t like melodrama. Apart from that, it’s never really explained why Yukana likes Junichi, or why she said yes in the first place. But hey, he did ask, and sometimes that’s enough.

Watch it?: For the dub. And for the heart. And I guess for the pervy stuff, for you pervs out there. (4/5)

MVP: Junichi and Yukana

I’m rooting for ’em

Best Episode: Ep.7 “My First Job” (pervy, but strangely honest of sexual harassment in the workplace).

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Type: It was cute, I guess

Synopsis: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is about Miss Kobayashi who one day gets a maid that happens to be a dragon. Later on more dragons come to live in her general area, each attaching themselves to a local human. Sometimes it explores the themes of social discrimination and the existentialist crisis of immortality, but its mostly about a lesbian couple raising a little girl, with one of them acting like a maid. 

Pros: Dragon Maid hits everything I would want from an anime. It’s a cute comedy about silly people doing silly things. The three main draw are Kobayashi, her maid Tohru, and the little dragon Kanna. Kobayashi plays the straight-man to Tohru’s enthusiastic personality, while Tohru is there mainly to be a cute little girl. What the show does really well is portray the effects each characters have on each other. Kobayashi starts off an an emotionally distant office worker, nice but not affectionate, but Tohru helps her make a connection that allows her explore her feelings more, even to herself. Tohru starts off a drifter with trust issues, but after meeting Kobayashi you see that all she really wants out of life is to belong to something and to someone. And Kanna…well Kanna just needed a Mom to look after her. This relationship theme is explored in each of the dragon/human pairing, and is the real core of the series as a whole.

Cons: “It was cute, I guess” is kinda the sentiment I have after watching the show. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but it not revolutionary. It’s a slice of life show where sometimes the characters feel a little down, but then get cheered up by their significant other. Had I watched this a lot earlier in my anime career, I probably would be gushing all over it. Because it is funny. Tohru’s jumps from enthusiastic maid to human hating hell beast is hilarious. And it is really cute. Kanna’s desire to go to school to her obliviousness over her friend Riku’s crush on her is adorable. I do feel that the show maybe has one too many characters, but I enjoy their interactions when they get to be in a scene together. Reviewer bias aside, the one real negative the show has is the last episode. The sudden appearance of Tohru’s father and her kidnapping, then return, then giant dragon fight all felt out of place and way too generic. In fact, I’d say skip the last episode all together.

Watch it?: Maids never go out of style (4/5)

MVP: Kanna

I just found her very cute

Best Episode: Ep.10 “Troupe Dragon, On Stage! (They Had A Troupe Name, Huh)” [a funny ensemble episode]

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Saga of Tanya the Evil

Type: Lil’Hitler, she’s such a scamp!

Synopsis: A cut-throat Japanese salary man is murdered on day by a disgruntled employee. It’s at this moment that he’s confronted by God, who he refuses to acknowledged. This starts a frankly pretty feud between the two that results in the salary man being reincarnated as a cute little blond girl in the middle of Nazi Germany. Well, technically it’s a parallel world where magic exists, but let’s be real here. We’re watching a show about Nazis. Now named Tanya, the young Nazi tries her best to land a cushy military job and spit in “Being X’s” smug face, only the be constantly sent to the front lines because she’s too good at the job. It’s almost like she’s truly blessed

Pros: In defense of a show about Nazis…yeah, ganna have to rethink that sentence. In defense of a show about a psychotic little girl, the title of the show does contain the word “Evil” in it. We are not watching a show about good guys here. The show basically depicts the invasion of France (and possibly Czechoslovakia or Poland) by Nazi forces. But to the show’s credit, we as an audience kinda forget that early on. Each of the Nazi’s shown, or “Imperials,” aren’t cartoonist super-villains, they’re soldiers trying to win a war. Even Tanya, the cruelest character here, would rather be a strategist than relish in the violence of battle. And the show never pretends that Tanya’s side is right. In every battle, we see the losing side’s reaction, and the show often comments on the destruction left in Tanya’s wake. All that being said, this is kinda a fun show. Tanya is delightfully evil, and her exaggerated actions are balanced well by her cutesy design. Tanya is adorable. Murder and all. And her personal feud with Being X, despite her obvious fate to lose, is hilarious. The show’s not “ha ha” funny, but it is entertaining (except for Tanya’s facial expressions, which are always hilarious).

Cons: Again, the protagonists are Nazis…so, yeah. I know it sounds like I’m beating a dead horse, but I’d rather be beating a dead Nazi. That was a little aggressive, wasn’t it…ah well, as long as we got a dead Nazi out of it. Story wise, the show has a cliffhanger ending, so either this gets another season or you’d better read the light novels. It was cool that the respective armies in the show had flying mages rather than airplanes. But I felt that a lot of the battles, and most of the setting for that matter, looked the same. Just a mishmash of grey with some city scenes thrown in. At least, as the show progressed. Early on, we got to see Tanya’s rise through the ranks, which was cool. But once she got her battalion, things become a bit stagnant, as story goes into a target, mission, target, mission, cycle. Such is the life of a solider I suppose. Ironically, Tanya seems to forget her original goal of a desk job once she becomes a leader. The only real consistent plot lines are Tanya’s feud with Being X, and the Sioux family’s feud with Tanya. But still, I hope there’s a second season down the line (especially since Russia and the United States are strongly hinted at in the last episode).

Watch it?: I’ve written the word “Nazi” quiet a lot in this review (4/5)

MVP: Tanya

Who knew evil could be this moe

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “The Devil in the Rhine” (even though it’s a battle episode, it tells you everything you need to know about Tanya’s character)

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Attack on Titan (Season 2)

Type: Second verse, not as good as the first.

Synopsis: Remember the mystery of the titan in the wall? The fate of Annie? The key to Eren’s basement? Our three main protagonists comprised of a warrior, a tactician, and an avenger? Well shut your mouths because none of that is important! Do you love such popular characters as Reiner!? Bertald!? YMIR!? You f#$%ing better! (P.S. Serious spoilers ahead)

Pros: Attack on Titan season 2 is a sequel to the popular Attack on Titan season 1. Made 4 years later, after 4 manga sequels, an anime spin-off, and 2 crap movies where the main heroine was feed apple slices by some creepy dude. And breath….ok, this season of Attack on Titan takes place immediately after the last season’s stinger. But the mystery of the titan in the wall is more or less sidelined in favor of the struggle of Reiner, Bertald, and Ymir. Because guess what, they’re all Titan Shifters! Reiner and Bertald are the damn Armor and Colossus Titans, the guys that cause this big mess in the first place. So if season 1 was all about the protagonist’s call to action, season 2 is all about the antagonist’s guilt. And a big selling point is the emotional and psychological toll that Reiner and Bertald as portrayed as being under. You don’t understand why they’re doing this, but you see that they are not happy about it. They’re antagonists, not villains (except for all the people they killed, but you get the idea). Ymir is only loosely connected to them, but the exploration of her backstory hints at larger story points and start painting a clearer picture of the world at large. You get two story arcs: The Castle Arc and the Eren Retrieval Arc, which both fall under the manga’s “Clash of the Titans” Arc. Oh, and the end credits are amazing. My official favorite end credits.

Cons: After Attack on Titan season 1, a family member of mine got really, really, really into the series, so I’ve more or less kept up with the series through osmosis. I’m caught up with the manga, I know the lore (because I’m a Lore nerd), so it’s hard for me to judge if someone who just watched the first anime would like the second season. I imagine that any casual fans who get into the first season have most likely moved on. But for those fans who stuck around, this season has HUGE revelations. Not only those stated above, but it foreshadows the larger conflicts of the world. It even reveals what the titans actually are (and maybe even when they come from)! But here’s the thing: I had a more or less apathetic reaction to this season. Maybe cause I read the manga, maybe cause I wasn’t that big a fan to begin with, or maybe because this premiered 4 YEARS after the first season, but I just wasn’t that into it. Don’t get me wrong, the show didn’t really dip in quality. Objectively, it still has over the top acting, it still has unexpectedly funny moments (e.g. The Reiner reveal), and the gore seems to have been ramped up, because it hurt to see people get eating way more this time. The action is a mixed bag. You don’t get amazing Omni-Gear maneuvering, but you do finally get the Attack vs. Armor titan fight. The inclusion of the new Beast Titan doesn’t really add much, except another question. And the show’s stop and start story progression is still very present. And really, that’s the basic summary of this season. It’s good, it’s still Attack on Titan, but it’s not the new hot thing anymore, so it’s hard to say exiting things about it. (P.S. The only glaringly bad thing was the 3D Colossus Titan. That was just a bad decision).

Watch it?: This probably would have been amazing, had it premiered in 2014, not 2017. (4/5)

MVP: The End Credits

I never skipped these (and I always skip end credits!)

Best Episode: Ep.7 “Close Combat” (Brawler vs. Mui Thay)

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Interviews with Monster Girls

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Type: Surprisingly realistic

Synopsis: High School is rough. Well, I assume. I was near 6 ft tall at 13 and pretty smart, so I had a pretty chill time. Then again, all I did was play video games and watch TV.  Too poor and shy to date. Never did get to go to prom either….ah, but were veering of course again. This anime is about three monster girls (demi-humans) who befriend their biology teacher. Wanting to help the girls out with their respective situations, the bio teacher becomes they’re unofficial school counselor. He helps create a parent network, allows them to use his office as a safe space, and even tries to use his scientific knowledge to help them out with any physical issues they might have. Sure, he is kind of using them as for xenological/sociological research, but what’s a few research papers among friends?

Pros: Is it me, or are “monster girls” becoming anime short hand for minorities? It’s like with mutants with comics. It’s not a terribly bad thing, as most social messages in fiction work better through metaphor (prevents your story from sounding too preachy), but it’s something I thought I’d bring up. But while were on the subject, the show’s strongest aspect is the very believable way that the monsters girls and the humans around them interact. Basically, three demi-human girls end up going to school together. Thanks in part to their teacher, the form a friendship, though they probably would have naturally gravitated towards each other eventually. It’s not that they don’t have any friends, it’s just that sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone going through what your going through. Their teacher, Mr. Takahashi, proves himself to be a very adept educator who takes a special interest in making sure that these students with, I don’t wanna say disabilities, maybe unique physical conditions?, have an easier time in school. What surprised me about the show it that it didn’t go for the easy plot point of having the girls be openly discriminated against. No one is yelling “blood-suckers!” or anything. What the girls have to face is more of a subtle awkwardness and feeling of discomfort. They get stared at a lot, sometimes their friends try to be nice by ignoring their physical condition, and people ask them a lot of questions about what they are. And the girls, in a realistic fashion, simply give a polite smile and laugh and basically soldier on. This is especially well handled in Ms. Sato, the only adult demi-human and new math teacher. Ms. Sato is given two episodes from her point of view, allowing her to narrate what it’s like to have to be overly conscious about your image and actions in almost all aspects of life. I guess what I’m saying is that I really liked the characterization and themes that were explored, and am really happy that I got to experience this story.

Cons: Even though what Mr. Takahashi did for a group students who needed extra help and guidance was sweet and his actions are a great example for any individual that wants to work with young people, this is still anime. So of course, most of the monster girls have a crush on him. To be fair, he is packing major GUNS underneath his lab coat. And it’s not uncommon for a student to develop a crush on a teacher, but can we not? Having each of the girls ask for hugs and stuff just weirds me out. Luckily, Takahashi explicitly states that he would never reciprocate their feeling on ethical and moral grounds, so he’s not a perv. Just the author. I KID, I kid. Kinda. The only romance I really invested in was between Takahashi and Sato because A) Their both adults and B) They seem to share a level of intellectual comradery. Outside of characters stuff, the show is a slice of life, so it doesn’t really have a deep narrative and sorta just ends after a bikini episode. (P.s. I also found Sato’s status as a succubus with zero romantic skills very cute).

Watch it: I’m glad this exists (4/5)

MVP: Sakie Satō

Yes, she’s obviously designed to be Best Girl. And your point is?

Best Episode: Ep.3 “Succubus-san is a Real Adult” (I’m guessing succubuses aren’t the only type of women who have to worry about how they look and dress around their male co-workers.)

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Welcome to the Space Show

Type: A movie to surpass Star Wars!...maybe not, but it’s still good.

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Synopsis: A good rule of thumb for kids is to never talk to strangers. Especially if that stranger is a talking dog alien from space. Because next thing you know, you’ll end up on the moon and have to travel halfway around the galaxy to get back home because somebody reported Earth as dangerous. Personally, this is why I’m more of a space cat person.

Pros: This movie is stunning. It’s got a stylized version of space that sorta reminded me of Space Dandy of all things. But Dandy this is not. This is an all ages movie. In the same vain as a Summer Wars or Miyazaki picture. Is this movie as good? Kinda. It definitely apes the tone and feel of those movie. At least the first half. Basically, this film is about a group of small town kids who went camping in the local school house during Summer Break (because you can apparently do that), and get accidentally stuck in space. The group is made up of the responsible one, the nerd, the energetic one, the girly one, and the little girl. They have good interactions and feel like real kids. The first half off the film is them simply trying to get back home by taking up odd jobs around the space port. This is were the great visual designs come in, as the show uses the Space Cosmopolitan approach. Everything is shiny and futuristic, with cool looking aliens all around. This is one of those rare anime movies that everyone in the family can watch.

Cons: The first half is fun, but the second half doesn’t quite stick the landing. This is mostly because the movie starts to shift from the kids to the dog, Pochi. You see, throughout the movie, aliens have been trying to steal the kid’s wasabi, which is a rare commodity in the universe. Pochi thinks for something big, and the last half of the movie just becomes Pochi fighting against his old friends while the kids save one of their own. The story didn’t really need a climactic fight between Pochi and is best friend over the ethics of gene engineering. A simple confrontation to save the kidnapped girl would have sufficed. Speaking of story, while each of the humans have their one little character arcs, Noriko does not. She just sorta hangs around and doesn’t really do much. Natsuki has to learn humility and empathy, Kiyoshi has to learn to be more decisive, Koji has a love interest, and Amane is mad at Natsuki. But Noriko doesn’t have anything to learn. She feel more superflous than anything.

Watch it?: Yes. It has Pochi, a talking dog.

MVP: Natsuki

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A hero of justice!

Best Moment: Amane passing the Space Exam (so cute, but so wise)

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Dance in the Vampire Bund

Type: “Bund” means embankment or causeway

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Synopsis: Vampires! Creatures of the Night! Children of Satan that will feed on you very blood! They exist! They set up a city off the shore of Tokyo! Their queen is a totally legal blond girl who is regularly naked!

Pros: Despite having a highly sexualized child character as it’s poster child (which we will get to later), the anime is actually a pretty good vampire show. It has the right mix of gore, sex, and style that should appeal to any fans of this sub-genre. The plot also does not mess around. The first episode sets up the vampire city, and the rest of the series deals with the aftermath. The show tries its best to depict the social impact that Vampires would have on society,  like True Blood. But not all vampires want to integrate, leading to conflict with the protagonists,  like True Blood. And there are werewolfs and other magical creatures…like True Blood. OK, so this is the closest you may get to anime True Blood, at least in spirit. You even have a “forbidden” love between a vampire and non-vampire. The vampire in question is Mina Tepes, Queen of the Vampires.  Her physical portrayal aside, I found her to be a fun character to watch. She is portrayed as prideful and regal, but also kind and childish, and at times even cutthroat. Her best moment is her reactions to a command she gives for the benefit of her people. While necessary, she didn’t like it, but never said she regretted it, even if it cost her what she personally wanted the most. She’s a good addition to that weird group of immortal loli characters. (P.s. The animation is helmed by SHAFT, giving the show a stylish look that compliments the vampire mystique).

Cons: OK, so the first episode does this interesting thing where it’s all set during a talk show that discusses the existence of vampires. The show proper doesn’t start until episode 2. It was an interesting approach, but maybe not for everyone. In terms on character, the show seems to reserve it’s interesting character designs to vampires. Most everyone else if fairly generic. There’s also the main character, Akira, who’s about as bland as a piece of bread. His only real interesting moment is when he disagrees with one of Mina’s decisions, which was legitimately great, but everything else he does is boring. The plot…is actually worth watching, with a few factors in the show explained, from the establishment of the Vampire Bund to Mina’s appearance. That’s right, the show actually has an interesting rationale for it’s pedophilia! Not everything is explain, however, as the show has a “read the manga” ending. But it does have 12 solid episodes.

Watch it?: Every episode is named after other vampire media (4/5)

MVP: Mina Tepes

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Heavy is the head that wears the crown

Best Episode: Ep5-7 “Shadow of Vampire,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and “Innocent Blood” (characters actually having a disagreement based on personal beliefs and actions, not misunderstanding!)

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Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge

Type: A lot less popular than it should be

Night_Warriors_Darkstalkers'_Revenge_Omega_Cover

Synopsis: We  were in the arcade late one night when our eyes beheld an eerie sight, for some dudes began to rise and suddenly to our surprise they played Nightstalkers. It was a graveyard smash!

Pros: Poor references to 1960’s parody songs aside, this anime OVA series is based on the Nighstalkers’ video game franchise. That’s right, it’s another anime based on a fighting game review! I’m starting to think I should add a tag for this. Anyway, the anime has 4 episodes, 40 minutes each, with some slight plot elements. The anime follows three pairs: Morrigan and Demitri, Donovan and Anita, and H-Sein Ko and Mei-Ling. The story takes place in a world where the “Dark” has encroached on the Human World, meaning monsters and humans are living together. “Darkstalkers” refer to creatures of the dark. For once, the fighting in this anime based on a fighting game is pretty good, and some of the story elements are interesting. Anita’s story is predictably the most compelling. The anime did it’s job by getting me interested in the series, and making me wonder why this wasn’t more popular. Seriously, its a game were movie monsters fight each other. How was it not all over the 90s!?

Cons: Even at 40 minutes a piece, the story is all over the place. I think they made a mistake trying to build an overarching story across the 4 episodes. The anime worked best when it had spotlight segments, like the one with Bishimon, the haunted samurai armor ghost, or the one with Felicia, the cat girl. Putting so much emphasis on Donovan was a mistake, because he has as much personality as a block of wood. The world itself is interesting enough. You have humans who fight the dark. You have Darkstalkers who are presecuted by humans. And you have characters who a trying to take over the world. But as it stands, you’d be better off picking and choosing what to watch, or skipping it.

Watch it?: Like the game, it has potential, but can’t quite fulfill it (3/5)

MVP: Anita

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She’s eerie, but interesting

Best Episode: Ep1 “Return of the Darkstalkers” (has a zombie in it)

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