Tag Archives: horror

Ghost Hunt

Type: Ghost Facers!

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

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

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

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

MVP: Mai Taniyama

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The Liveliest Hunter

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

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Tokyo Ghoul

Type: Sigh, alright, so this is happening

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Synopsis: Kaneki is dating this smoking hottie, until she decides to make him a smoking hottie, by literally cooking and eating him. Well, technically, she wants to eat him raw, but you get the ideal. She’s a “Ghoul,” which is basically a cannibal with super powers. She dies, Kaneki becomes Ghoul, and he spends the next 11 episodes being a big cry baby about it.

Pros: Tokyo Ghoul was apparently one of the big anime of 2014. It got all the good review for it’s impressive animation and gory fight scenes. It deals with things like violence, and survival, and the moral grey that make up human souls. In the show, Ghouls semi-hunted down by humans, and Ghouls semi-hunt down humans for food. We’re suppose to sympathize for the “vegetarian” Ghouls who try their best to live in peace. All well and good.

Cons: KANEKI IS A B#$%. He’s always crying about something. STOP CRYING! Another character I hated was Nishiki Nishio, a real asshole of a ghoul that the show refuses to kill. Kaneki had a chance to kill the monster, but REFUSED. GOD KANEKI, WHY DO YOU SUCK SO HARD. I know Kaneki changes, but the entire show reeks of the nihilistic “nice guys finish last” mentality. As usual, I liked the moral grey between humans and Ghouls, but it was nothing new to the Human vs. Monster troupe. I’m also unclear about how well known Ghouls are in this world. The human’s have an extermination squad, but the Ghoul community seems healthy enough to build an underground society. Thinking about it, I would have preferred for Touka to be the protagonist. She’s seemed more competent.

Watch it?: Man, this was not my type of show (4/5)

MVP: Shou

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He’s so delightful

Best Episode: Ep.1 “Tragedy” (actually, not that sad)

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Supernatural: The Animation

Type: Killing Monsters. Hunting Things. Forming Harems. Wait, what!?

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Synopsis: I still can’t believe they got the rights to “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas. It plays at the end of every episode! Ah, anyways, the show is about two brothers who hunt down ghosts and demons (and a bunch of crazier stuff after Season 5). Their mom was killed by a demon, and their dad went a little revenge crazy. The anime is a retelling of the first two seasons of the popular (?) American TV show that shoots in Canada.

Pros: Seriously, the anime somehow got the rights to “Carry oN My Wayward Son.” I think Eric Kripke may own the song or something. As you can tell, I’m a big Supernatural fan. So finding this anime was a special treat for me. The anime covers the first two season of the show, which depicts the hunt for the “Yellow-Eyed” demon. Trust me, this was the era of the show to cover. Season 1-5 is Supernatural in its prime.. Like the real show, the anime is mainly comprised of stand alone ghost stories, some of which are pretty scary, so newbies shouldn’t feel lost. It also covers some ground that the show didn’t, like giving Sam’s girlfriend Jessica a bit more character, and showing the boys visiting their old home. Veteran fans should like the fact that Jared Pedalecki did the voice for Sam in the English version, and Jensen Ackles joins him for the last two episodes as the voice of Dean.

Cons: I say this as a Supernatural fan, but there were a lot of little things that bugged me. Dean, for instance, felt off in the anime. While Jensen Ackles does voice him in the end, the majority of the show has someone else do the voice for him. Add to this the weird character model they gave him, as well as a tweak in his character. In the show, Dean is a cocky bad boy, but in the anime, he’s more of a happy-go-lucky goof. You could sorta tell that they anime writers preferred the more sensitive Sam, who takes the lead in most of the anime. Speaking of characters, the show also redesigned the boy’s father, as well as Bobby, despite coming out well after both characters were introduced. I think they might have had a image licensing issue. Also, in classic Supernatural tradition, women get the short end of the stick in this one. If you’re a woman in this franchise, you better invest in some life insurance, because you’re either dead, or evil, or both.

Watch it?: I mean, when are you going to have the opportunity to watch an actual anime version of a real American show? (4/5)

MVP: Dean Winchester

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Still my waifu.

Best Episode: Ep.9 “The Spirit of Vegas” (Anime!)

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Trinity Blood

Type: I was expecting Hellsing, boy, was I disappointed.

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Synopsis: History tells us that after the fall of Rome, the Empire was divided in two. The west evolved into the Holy Roman Empire, while the east evolved into the Byzantine Empire. Both claimed to be the “true” Roman Empire and Head of the Faith, and they was some heated tension between the two for a few hundred years. But what history doesn’t tell us is that both Empires were full of Vampires, Gun-Priests, and Bad Writing.

Pros: I liked the general allusions to real world history. I liked the idea of a Vatican lead Human Empire fighting a Vampire lead Byzantine Empire. The show does a fair job at making the Vampires seem sympathetic, and making the some of the Humans seem aggressive. No side is perfect, and that’s exactly what this type of story needs. Both sides have people who have their own political agenda, and it’s those who want peace that have to work the hardest to achieve their goal. This is especially hard when their a “third power” that tries to play both sides off each other. I even liked the depiction of a weak-willed Pope, because history is riddled with weak Popes who often acted as puppets for cardinals. The socio-political themes of the show are it’s strongest points.

Cons: OK, maybe I just watched a bad copy, but I remember this show being a lot better looking. But now it looks cheap. The animation is not impressive at all. The story is not impressive at all. Certain plot points are glossed over or omitted, certain characters show up and leave, the pacing is all over the place, and the dialogue is embarrassing. Abel’s a pretty cool goofy repentant bad-ass character, unless you count the times where me melodramatically scrams for god to “FORGIVE ME.” And his entire backstory is given the briefest look at the very end of the series. He has brother named Kain (because of course he does), a sister named Lilith, another sister named Seth, and is some sort of super vampire from Mars. There, now you know. Ester started off strong, as a would-be assassin, but she just turns into a scream queen when her story arc is over. Their are several priests that are introduce, but nothing is really done with them once their intro episode is completed. The show generally has 2-3 episode arcs. And their is an excruciating middle arc involving this whiny little brat named Ion. SCREW ION. The show also alludes to some sort of big-war that resulted in the regression in history and birth of vampires (or “methuselah”), but the show never once explains it. Not even as a two minute thing at the start of the series! You have to gather it through osmosis. This anime is a blatant “you like the anime? Then you’d better read the light novels!” kind of deal. Luckily for me, I don’t have to do neither.

Watch it?: No. no. skip. skip. (3/5)

MVP: Ester

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She’s apparently funner in the manga

Best Episode: Ep.3 “The Star of Sorrow I. City of Blood”  (Ester appears)

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Elfen Lied

Type: Oh, geez anime!

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Synopsis: With the gore, and the nudity, and the child nudity, and the people with the horns and crazy invisible hand things, yeesh!

Pros: So yeah…I watched Elfen Lied, an anime with one of the most well known reputations for being disturbing. Its, ah, an honest assessment. The anime is about a mutant species that can kill people semi-telepathically. One of the most dangerous ones, Lucy, escapes and makes it back to her childhood friend. So one half of the show is about an evil corporation trying to kill Lucy with other mutants, or Diclonious, and the other half is about Lucy living an innocent life with her friends. Now, this thing is Violent. Gore fans will probably get a kick out of it. Its not as over the top as Blood C, or even Gatz, but its high up there. That’s kind of its selling point.

Cons: Let’s be real here. If you’re ganna watch Elfen Lied, its for the ultraviolence, not the story. The plot is not impressive in the least. We get it, humans are the real monsters. It also never explains where exactly diclonios originated from, or why they all look alike. This Dark Anime Drama covers such uplifting and totally predictable topics like: child molestation, torture, psychological trauma, dual personality, schizophrenia, child murder, and lots of nudity etc. Nothing innovative, nothing great. Its icky, but also kinda superficial. Part of this is because the anime still adheres to other anime troupes, and they mainly all happen in the Kohta household. Like when psycho killer Lucy, under a second identity, messages someones breasts from behind. What is this, a harem!? (p.s. Elfen Lied is kinda a harem). These moments fell really inconsistent with the rest of the show. I get it, these scenes are trying to juxtapose the cruelty of Lucy’s world with something more innocent, but the should could have been more subtle. Then again, a show where a little girl is amazed by giraffes one minute, then kills an entire family the next, probably doesn’t do subtlety.

Watch it!?: Eh, I’ve seen worse. God, I wish I hadn’t seen worse. (3/5)

MVP: Lucy

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That first scene is still pretty good.

Best Episode: Ep. 08 “The Beginning ~ Beginn” (Those kids deserved to die, right? I’m not the only one who thinks that?”)

 

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Blood-C

Type: It’s all a big scam!

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Synopsis: So this is one of those shows were the twist makes it a lot more interesting in hindsight. Saya, a half-demon (I think, they don’t really make it clear), is captured an put in a slice-of-life Truman Show that happens to have man-eating demons. So Soya and the audience is tricked into thinking she’s just a normal small town girl who kills demons at night, until halfway through the show, when shit goes crazy!

Pros: Right off the bat, the fight scenes are the strongest aspect of the show. Go look these up if you can. Saya is a bad-ass, and the demons she fought were pretty cool. In addition, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really liked Saya’s school uniform. I normally don’t notice clothes designs, but the red and black really stood out. On that note, I also liked the contrast between the shojo-like character designs (pale skins, long limbs, stylish hair) and the show’s bloody core. It worked nicely with the plot of the show.

Cons: If you’re not a fan of gore, then you are not a fan of this. It’s called “Blood-C” for a reason. Even my censored version viewing was a bit much. The early episodes of Blood-C are kinda slow, because the first half is dedicated to showing Saya’s school life, and the second to her monster of the week. It’s not until episode 6, when her friends start getting attacked, that that show really gets into high gear. It has a slow manga-esque beginning, which doesn’t really work for an anime with only twelve episodes. As stated above, this is the kind of show that get way more fun to watch if you know the big twist before hand, because you can see how exactly Saya is being tricked. I feel that the show would have been elevated if the events of the entire series had been condensed into eight episodes, with the rest dedicated to the aftermath instead of separating that part into a movie. I really would have liked to spend more time with the “real” Saya.  Also, there’s a talking dog in this and I’m still unclear as to why.

Watch it?: It’s a mess, but its a mess with potential (4/5)

MVP: The Character Design

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These people look way too cool for this type of show

Best Episode: Ep.11 “Whom Then are There Now” (The cake is a lie!)

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Dusk Maiden of Amnesia

Type: I Am Afraid of All Ghosts

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Synopsis: Japan once gain prove they have the best ghost stories. No only are their ghosts smokin’ hot babes, but they can also change clothing, touch you, and mess with your friends. Sure, this particular spirit, Yuko Kanoe, may or may not have a dark past that keep her eternal soul trapped on the mortal plain. But she’s really positive about it and starts dating a freshmen, so it’s cool.

Pros: First, amazing animation. Simply stunning. It was produced by Silver Link studios, who seems to have been inspired by Shaft studio’s work on Monogatari and Sayonara, Zatsuno SenseiQuick paced, creative, and in-synch with the story. Again, amazing. It had one of the strongest first episode I’ve ever seen, which basically depicts the same scene from two different perspectives. And was it just me, of did Kirie starts posing more as the series went on?. The humor was top notch. Despite appearances, it’s really wacky at times. My particular favorite joke was Yuko’s embarrassment over her skeleton, stating its “as naked as she could get.” But it can also get really dramatic. Towards the end, Teiichi and Yuko’s relationship really drew me in, touching on a wide range of emotions. An absolutely stellar anime.

Cons: It’s an intimate story, meaning that it only concerns about 4 people. All the other characters are just blank figures, which is fine. Although, given the first episode, I would have liked more scenes showing Teiichi talking himself, or being fed by floating chop sticks. I also feel that Yuko’s backstory is a bit convoluted, and would have worked better with a more personal motivation. Finally, and this may be nit picky, but the tears used for when Teiichi cried looked off. A bit too thick for my taste.

Watch it!?: This show did everything it needed to do and more in 12 episodes, a rare feat. (5/5)

MVP: Momoe Okonogi

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A part of me kinda wants , a redo of the show, but from her perspective.

Best Episode: Ep.1 “Ghost Maiden” (A great harbinger of things to come)

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Zombie Loan

Type: Non-interest bearing loan

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Synopsis: Well it finally happened, pretty boy zombies are walking the Earth. I knew Warm Bodies was a harbinger of things to come. Or is it the other way around? Any who, a girl with glasses can see the dead and become the indentured servant of two undead zombie hunters who survive through borrowed time. Because debt follows you everywhere, even beyond the grave…

Pros: The character interactions of Zombie Loan were really top notch, and most definitely the highlight of the show. The lead Michiru, Akastuki, and Shito played off each other very well. They made Zombie Hunting seem fun. Their banter during non-action scenes was sorta like if Ghost Busters had starred anime people instead of comedians (Big ups to Harold Ramis).  The heavy shadows and lanky body artstyle also fit very well with the macabre story elements.

Cons: The action is not great and the story plot is uninteresting. The show was building towards a conflict between Zombie Loan and various organizations, which doesn’t really pay off because the show only had one season. You can obviously tell that this was based on a manga. Some things are overly complicated, like Shito’s backstory. I just couldn’t get into the actual plot scenes as much as the throwaway character scenes. If you’r not too worried about being a bit lost, I’d say skip around a little to get to the talky bits. They’re usually the best parts.

Watch it?: There are hints of greatness, but overall its pretty average (3/5)

MVP: Michiru Kita

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She’s the viewers’s eyes (get it?)

Best Episode: Ep. 3 “Dead Man’s Tongue” (It got the story going)

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The Severing Crime Edge

Type: Hair & Murder

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Synopsis: Everyone has a fetish. This one weird things that society may judge them for. Some people like feet. Others like leather. Kiri Haimura likes hair. A lot. Like, its a sex thing. Luckily, he meets Iwai Mushanokoji, who’s basically anime Rapunzel. The two have a cute romance that’s sometimes interrupted by people trying to kill Iwai because their haunted utensils told them to.

Pros: Hands down, the highlight of the anime was the relationship between Kiri and Iwai. They were the cutest couple ever, and had the funniest scenes. I especially liked the fact that the two actually became a couple, a declared boyfriend and girlfriend, well before the season was over. Since most anime tend to drag this on till the very end, I found it extra charming. The premise was also fairly interesting. Iwai is the “Hair Queen,” who’s cursed with long hair and is the center of a killing contest. Anyone who possesses a “Killing Good,” a murderer’s cursed tool, who kills Iwai will get their wish granted. Bad part is, the most you use a “Killing Good,” the more addictive it becomes. Thus, the show has a nice love story coupled with an interesting psychological-action drama.

Cons: The pilot really threw me off. The episode itself isn’t bad in the least, it’s actually ever endearing, but it didn’t do a good job at setting up the rest of the show. Based on the pilot, this anime is about a girl with long hair and a boy that really likes to cut hair. The whole “Killing Good” thing isn’t introduced until the second episode. The pilot really felt more like a prologue, or even an OVA, than an actual first episode. In fact, this is kinda the show’s core problems. It’s sightly unbalanced between being a love-comedy and drama. So it’s weird when characters that were murderous psychopaths in one scene hang out with the main characters in the next.  “Killing Goods” also have a strange sexual understone to them that was very iffy. I’m also not sure if this was just me, but some of the action scenes had a weird colored screen put over them. Maybe it’s a censoring thing. (P.S. Scissors, not the most exciting weapon)

Watch it?: A pretty solid, if morbid, show (3/5)

MVP: Iwai Mushanokoji

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Long live the Hair Queen!

Best Episode: Ep. 10 “—Standing Babe-ation—” (A showcase of the entire show)

 

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Corpse Princess: Kuro

Type: Finally Getting to the Point

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Synopsis: The dead continue to walk among us in the shortest skirts imaginable, but you get use to it. With his older brother dead, protagonist Ouri has finally started to put on his big boy pants by joining the secret Buddhist cult that got his brother killed. At least he’ll finally gets that super hot zombie girl partner, that is to say, if he can prove he’s man enough to earn her respect/not-disgust. There’s also a bad guy with balloon powers. He’s not important, I just wanted to point that out.

Pros: The second part of Corpse Princess alleviated almost every problem that I had with the first part. It focused more on the inner workings of the Kougun Sect, the secret Buddhist cult that makes the Corpse Princesses. It also builds the relationship between Ouri and Corpse Princess Makina into a believable one by using the memory of Kensei (Ouri’s brother and Makin’s former partner) as the major obstacle but ultimate bridge between them. Kensei’s death keeps the duo apart for half the season, largely because of Makina’s loyalty/love for Kensei.  This was the one time that the show’s use of slow plot progression was actually beneficial to the whole story overall. This second part also had better villains and an overall better story arc, which delved into the true nature of Corpse Princesses and Ouri’s personal history. I wish the whole series had been more Kuro and less Aka.

Cons: As stated above, I really wish the the first season of Corpse Princess had been condensed into six episodes, and that the remaining episodes had been used to explore Ouri’s time as a monk. Parts of Aka felt so slow in constrast to Kuro, which seems to go too fast. While Kurodid a good job at maturing Ouri and forging a bond between him and Makina, we’re only getting a look at the beginning of their relationship. It would have been better if more time was spend exploring their paring in contrast to other priests/corpse princesses instead of focusing so much time on the pre-Kensei death timeline. As it stands, the whole series is left with pacing issues and a somewhat stunted ending.

Watch it?: Better than the first part. (3/5)

MVP: Toya

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Balloons. No really, balloons.

Best Episode: Ep.9 “The Value of the Living” (zombie cat suit)

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