Tag Archives: Manga

Love Tyrant

Type: It’s amazing how quickly they abandon their original premise.

Synopsis: The show is about a notebook that makes couples, not corpses. No! It’s about three new angels how have to foster love or lose their souls. No! It’s about a generational divide between mothers and daughters. No! It’s about a socipath corrupting a young cupid. No! It’s a harem. Wait! It’s all these things and more!!!

Pros: Love Tyrant is a manga based anime with a bit of a muddled plot. The gist is that the cupid Guri creates a love contract with a boy named Seiji, which eventually includes the yandere Akane and her obsessive sister Yuzu. The humor comes from the mixing of these four very different personalities, with Seiji playing the straight man. The show emphasizes the “comedy” part of love-comedy more so than other shows. It gives Love Tyrant a bit more of a unique taste than it’s fellows in the genre. My particular favorite running joke was the characters forgetting what the premise for the show was (i.e. that they have to make couples or lose their souls). I also liked it when Akane violent rage played off against Guri’s playful personality. In fact, Akane and Guri’s over the top personalities make them some of the strongest characters I’ve seen in any harem. Each of the females main cast have interesting backstories involving a struggle between heaven and hell and a family drama, with Seiji acting as an audience inaugurate whose along for the ride, which is what a good harem show should try to shoot for.

Cons: As stated above, you do forget what the original premise is. It’s not crucial to the show, but still. The only episode that really follows the premise is episode 2, so of course it’s the weakest episode. I highly recommend skipping that episode (it involves a student-teacher relationship, which makes it unfunny and icky). And the show doesn’t really break the love-comedy mold. It just stretches it to add more irreverent humor. Stabbings, parodies, boys-love, the show is just a very funny harem show. Oh! And I forgot to mention one of the best characters in a show of great characters: Shikimi. Shikimi is the primary antagonist of the show, and is so delightfully evil, it’s great! Shikimi is Akane’s cousin, and almost always steals the show with her manipulative personality and sadistic nature. The show makes you feel scared of her, but also strangely attracted. The only real bummer is that the show may not get a second season, which sucks because the next story arc fully introduces and explores Akane, Yuzu, and Guri’s mother.

Watch it: The manga’s great too! (4/5)

MVP: Shikimi

While Akane is best girl, Shikimi can’t not be the best.

Best Episode: Ep.10 “I’m Here to Stay the Night x I’m… Growing Up, Too” (slumber party!)

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Masamune-kun’s Revenge

Type: The kind you shouldn’t think too hard about

Synopsis: Because really, a show where our hero’s mission is to essentially seduce a girl for the purposes of cruelly breaking her heart is something a sociopath would do for sexual gratification.

Pros: Ok, to be fair for what is stated above, our protagonist Masamune has a reason for doing this, immature are it may be. When he was younger, Masamune was “rejected” by his childhood crush Aki “because of his weight.” I use quotation marks because we all know this is a big misunderstanding. And if you didn’t, well, sorry. Masamune dedicates himself to becoming physically attractive in order to launch his “dead of love” plan, where he’ll make Aki fall in love with him and then dump her like she did him. Two interesting story points come from this. One, Masamune’s reactions to being treated differently because he’s good looking, which the show doesn’t really play with enough. I know that this is because Masamune doesn’t really blame others for his previous appearance and unpopularity (he was a bit of a snob), but a little social commentary would have been nice. And two, Masamune’s incredible inexperience with girls makes him flustered every time he gains a step forward in his seduction plan. That were the comedy in this love comedy comes from. So while this in no way revolutionizes the genre, it’s a funny little show with a novel gimmick.

Cons: The show has pretty typical light novel slight ups, which is weird because this is based on a manga. Are we finally reaching the convergence points where light novels and manga become one!? By saying this, I mean that characters aren’t really explored all that much. For example, we don’t really get to know a lot about Aki despite technically being the main heroine. All we know is that she’s rich, eats a lot, is a mega tsundere, and hates all men because her childhood crush left her without saying goodbye (I’m sure that’s in no way related to our main story, let’s just forget I mentioned it). She’s know as the “cruel princess,” because she enjoys rejecting all would be suitors harshly, but the show also tries to make her out to be a kind girl at heart. Like, she’ll call your penis small, but she’ll also pay for your therapy bills. She’s portrayed inconsistently is what I’m saying. And at 12 episodes, the show only really covers one story arc, the Neko Fujinomiya arc, were a pretty girl comes to vie for Masamune’s affections while not being completely honest with him. Masamune’s suspicious of Neko’s true intentions are suppose to mirror that of Aki’s towards him, but he doesn’t really learn anything from it. In fact, by the end he decides to double down! Which is weird, because in the dub he literally says “if this girl wasn’t such a liar, we could have had something real.”  Of course, being a girl in an anime, Neko’s motivations are more innocent than Masamune’s (she was sick, which is why she was so secretive). Still, it’s a funny light show if your in the mood for that.

Watch it?: Yeah, but never forget that this is a show were a teenage girl is being emotionally manipulated into having feelings for a boy for his own selfish satisfaction. (4/5)

MVP: Masamune

You’re a psycho, but your misadventures entertain me.

Best Episode: Ep.8 “It’s Not You” (Does Masamune go for the busty girl who totally wants to jump his bones, or stick to his plan to traumatize a chick that dumped him with he was 10? Anime is sometimes exhausting.)

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Tsugumomo

Type: When your mom’s friend starts to hit on you.

Synopsis: In Japan, there’s this myth that if an item is possessed by a spirit, it gains self-awareness, often with the caveat that the item has to be 100 years old. In anime, characters often use anthropomorphized items as weapons/lover, especially when their human form is a cute girl. However, this become a bit awkward when the demon items are passed own the generations, and they start to tease you with their naughty bits.

Pros: Tsugomomo is what you would call a great commercial for the manga. I say this with no malice. In 12 episodes, the anime sets up the plot, the world’s rules, and provides you with enough sizzle to want more. In the show, a young man inherits his mother’s obi, a sash, that is actually a demon possessed item (a tsukumogami). They end up fighting together against the recent increase in evil tsukumogami and spirits. Of course, the obi takes the human form of a cute girl and Kiriha, whose power level determines her body shape. So she can become a mature beauty, or loli jail bait, but either way she’s still a flirty hot head. The protagonist, Kazuya, is surrounded buy spiritually inclined women, from a chibi-God to a well-endowed servant, to a thirsty child hood friend, making this a harem show as well. And boy, they do take advantage of that. And it always, ALWAYS, caught me off guard. I mean, just don’t expect that many blowjob jokes in a anime manga series, yet here we are.

Cons: In 12 episodes, you only get an introduction to the world. In a lesser show, the “read the manga” ending would be irksome. But this show is of a quality that it can get away with that. It has the right mix of action and comedy to keep you entertained. The only this it doesn’t do well is drama. Because the show is pretty light hearted, both in tone and art style, the more dramatic moments don’t land. For example, in one episode Kazuya and Kiriha have to stop a wig tsukumogami from attacking students. The big reveal was that the tsukumogami is possessing the dead corpse of a young girl who killed herself after her friends mercilessly bullied her for liking a boy. Pretty dark stuff, but none of it has any impact because you still have Kazuya and Kiriha bickering like an old married couple. So don’t watch this for the stakes. Watch it for the fun stories and characters, serviceable action, curb ball episodes, and moments that make you say “did I just see that!?”

Watch it?: I’m probably ganna read the manga later (4/5)

MVP: Kiriha

I loved that her speech patters where so formal, yet so rude

Best Episode: Ep.8 “A Certain Day in the Kagami Household/The Super Popular Fragrance” (a silent episode and and echii episode, what more could anyone ask for!)

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Dagashi Kashi

Type: A show about nothing, nothing but Penny Candy!

Synopsis: Candy shop. Check. Manic Pixie girl, check. Manic Pixie girl with big boobs. Check.

Pros: Maybe not that simple, but come on! The opening sets the tone for the entire series. How is Hotaru, the resident pixie girl introduced? First doing a backwards bow, second by hugging her breasts. That’s kinda how the show treats Hotaru, as a sexy weirdo. She’s not a bad character. In fact, she’s a super fun character. All manic pixies are. She’s an over the top candy fiend and her English voice actress plays her to perfection. I just wanted to point out what were dealing with here, because the anime is also super fun. It’s a slice of life anime that’s really light hearted and silly. Every episode explores a scenario set up by Hotaru using candy as a catalyst. I’m not sure if the penny candy is real or not, but if it is, it really reminds me of Mexican penny candy, down to the wrappers! But Hotaru’s antics only work if she has someone to play off of. Enter Kokonotsu, the male protagonist who Hotaru is trying to convince to take over his father’s dagashi shop. What I liked about Kokonotsu is that he’s very much a teenage boy. While he can play the typical “nice guy” protagonist, he’s still very well aware of Hotaru’s beauty, and would love to be more popular with girls, and goofs off with his best friends about pervy stuff from time to time. Both Kokonotsu and Hotaru make a good comedic pair, which all you need in a comedic anime.

Cons: On the surface, this show seems like a funny show with candy as a gimmick. But it’s actually a little pervy. Some of the jokes are definitely NSFW. Hotaru’s physique aside, they throw some dirty jokes at ya. Kokonotsu staring at Hotaru see through shirt I can understand. Hotaru being covered in “yogurt” is something else. A lot of verbal and visual innuendo going on here. So if your not into that type of humor, maybe look elsewhere. There are some sweet moments though, like when Kokonotsu’s dad complimented To, implying that maybe To’s dad isn’t round? Because you don’t really see alot of characters outside of the main cast. The only other thing to look out for is the fact that the anime doesn’t really “End.” It finishes. Whether or not Kokonotsu stays at the shop or leaves is not resolved, nor does he become a couple with Hotaru or childhood friend Saya. It’s a “read the manga” ending.

Watch it?: Almost as good as actual dagashi (4/5)

MVP: Hotaru

Dagashi-Kashi-04-7

How is candy so arousing?

Best Episode: Ep.4 “Fugashi, Fugashi, and… / Glico, Glico, and…” (the essesnce of Hotaru)

 

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Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007)

Type: At least the title is honest

Synopsis: Get ready for some implied cuckolding! After escaping a hellish warzone in favor of a futuristic utopia, our heroes Deunan and Briarieos must face an even greater challenge: a cute boy! Enter Tereus, a cloned copy of Briarieos before he was turned into a cyborg, genitals and all. Can Briarieos possibly live with the fact that Deunan will probably instantly fall in love with Tereus because her feelings only run skin deep. That despite all their time together in the battlefield, all the trust they’ve built, and the love they share, that she’ll still run off with someone who has his old hair cut. Welp, ignoring the fact that Deunan repeatedly says she’ll only partner with Briarieos as he’s her one and only, let’s trade her off to Tereus. That’s what she obviously wants.

Pros: For a sequel, Appleseed: Ex Machina does a better job at setting up the world right off the bat. It opens with a quick summary of the world, which did a lot better job at explaining the lore than the entire first film. Post Apocalyptic. Utopian city. Cyborgs, clones, and humans. Done. While there is some plot involving collective consciousness or whatever, the real draw is the love triangle the film establishes between Deunan, Briareos, and Tereus. Well, to be honest, the actual high point is the relationship between Briareos and the other two. This is every much a Briareos movie. It defines his feelings towards himself and Deunan very well. This film does a much better job at showing that Deunan and Briareos are in a romantic relationship, which the first film only really implied it. It’s only pretty organic. A quick peck here. A quip there. When Tereus is introduced, we see Briareos insecurities pop up, not only concerning his relationship with Deunan (the whole, “would she love me more if I were still “normal?””) but with himself. This type of thing happens in most relationships, where it’s because someone loses use of a limb, or gains weight, or ages, or just feels that way one day. And like Deunan, a partner could try to reassure them that they love ’em anyway, but like in the film, it’s may not be enough to be convincing. So what happens? The person with insecurities pushes their partner away, the partner finds someone else, and the whole things becomes a self-fulling prophecy. In my opinion, this relationship based story was way better than a conspiracy about computer or whatever.

Cons: I kinda don’t like the fact that Deunan is basically ignored or disregarded when it comes to her relationship with Briareos. Like, no one takes her at her word that she’d rather have Briareos than Tereus. I get that this film is set from Briareos’s perspective, and that his insecurities makes him distance himself from her, but you can’t just give her away, man. She’s not pokemon card. The film does propose that their is some romantic tension between Deunan and Tereus, which is fine. She’s human and he looks exactly like her boyfriend whose being a jerk at the moment. And I do like the fact that she admits that Tereus confuses her, because it demonstrates some ownership of female sexuality. Besides this, the actual plot involving a computer overlord is largely unimportant, and rather trite.

Watch it?: Better than the first!

MVP: Breareos

Why do you have my face!?

Best Moment: Deunan kissing Breareos (the casual pecks do a lot of establish a relationship)

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Appleseed Alpha (2014)

Type: Weird name, cause it’s the third movie

Synopsis: In a story that makes way more sense, two soldiers are traversing the wasteland after a horrible world war. They in the search for “Olympus,” a mythical city said to have escaped society’s collapse. Along the way they must fight those who wish to restart the war that ruined the world. There, doesn’t that make much more sense than cloned robots or whatever?

Pros: I chose to review this movie instead of Appleseed’s direct sequel for two reasons. First, since this was a reimagining, I felt it was prudent to watch it to increase my level of investment in the franchise. Second, I didn’t know that this was the third movie and watched it by accident. Oops! Anyway, being made in 2014 gave this movie some major advantages over Appleseed (2004). Obviously, it’s computer animation improved tremendously. I’d compare it to Red vs. Blue season 10 in quality. The quality of the voice work has also improved, with quips and overlapping dialogue even inserted here or there to give off the sense of realistic  speech. And the story is much more straighfoward, giving you a better idea of Deunan and Briareos as a unit and as individuals. Keeping the story in the wasteland instead of Olympus was a nice touch too, as it kept everything down to Earth. Overall, I’d say watch this version of Appleseed if your curious at all about the series.

Cons: The animation is still janky. Not as janky as before, but you will notice a few lims moving unnaturally. The antagonists aren’t that interesting. They’re your typical fanatics trying to “reinvent the world” by using a big killer robot. In this movie, the real draw are Deunan and Briareos, and the colorful people the interact with in the wastes.

Watch it?: This is probably the only one you should watch.

MVP: Deunan and Briaroes

I finally bought them as a team

Best Moment: The verbal jabs (whoever was the English Voice Over director did good work!)

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Appleseed (2004)

Type: Finally, an anime about Johnny Appleseed!

Synopsis: Thank you. I’ll show myself out.

Pros: Appleseed is a sci-fi computer animated anime movie about humans and their relations with clones, or “Biroids.” A main conflict stems from the old human vs another species troupe. Sometimes it’s androids. Sometimes it’s clones. Sometimes it’s apes. Humanity is just not a friendly animal when it comes right down to it. The idea is interesting, and the movie does show glimpses of the discrimination the Biroids face, such as forced sterilization. To bad the whole story is a mess.

Cons: The whole story is a mess. The movie tends to cut between the past and the present, making it hard to determine what is happening when. The setting is also confusing. From what I gathered, a big war broke out, and some humans managed to build a Utopia called Olympus outside the carnage. One of the last soldiers fighting the war, Deunan Knute, it taken to Olympus becuase…reasons? I mean, I know it’s because her mother created the Biroids and owns the movie’s Mcguffin, but the film doesn’t do a good job at explaining that. Like, how can Deunan be a legendary soldier, but also be like 18? 19? Why was she still fighting a war that ended 2 years ago? Are we just going to ignore those weird mutants at the start of the movie? If everything is in 3 dimensions, then how come everyone moves awkwardly?…At the end of the day this movie can best be described as a starter anime. Ya know? Like, an anime you may find by accident at a video store or Youtube. You watch it because it looks vaguely cool, but later on you discover that Ghost in the Shell exists and just chalk up your previous enjoyment to a rookie mistake. What I’m trying to say is that this is the kind of movie you find at the $5 bin. It’s a movie your Uncle gives you to try to prove he’s with it. It’s the kind of film that low tier internet anime reviewers try to call bad without saying it’s bad because they don’t what to sound mean. Ya know?

Watch it?: Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

MVP: Anime face in 3d

Anime eyes know no dimension

Best Moment?: That time a Bioroid randomly asked Deunan what it’s like to fall in love (those dumb artificial creatures and their feelings)

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Manyū Hiken-chō

Type: or “Magic Breast Secret Sword Scroll” (I’m not joking)

Synopsis: Think equivalent exchange, but with boobs. In Tokugawa Japan, a young kinoichi steals her clan’s boob stealing technique in an effort to change the world. A world where a person’s boob size determines their social rank. Except for men, who are still lords and heads of families under this system. A system that would logically only benefit women. Huh….Well, whatever, BOOBIES!!

Pros: Magic Breast Secret Sword Scroll, because why not?, is a fairly serviceable boob anime. The set up has out main character, Chifusa, traveling Japan as she tries to outrun “assassins” sent to get back the scroll she stole. Except that instead of dying, she runs the risk of having her boobs shrunken. For about six episodes, Chifusa uses the scroll’s technique to not only shrink boobs, but also absorb their power. Meaning that every episode we see Chifusa’s boobs get bigger, with sexy results. The show stays fairly consistent with it’s main gimmick: the show revolves around boobs because it’s world revolves around boobs. And it takes many instances to point out the silliness of such a world, often with ridiculous fan service. Bouncy bouncy indeed.

Cons: I mean, it’s kinda a one joke series, isn’t it? Throughout the show, we will see boobs bounce, jiggle, and even twirl. We see them get grouped, sucked, ties up, measured, weighed, etc. The joke gets a little stale. Then there’s the plot, which has an identify crisis. While it’s mostly a boob comedy, the show tries to throw in some clan intrigue in Chifusa’s feud with the Manyu clan. The clan’s head is Chifusa’s father, who coldly and ruthlessly sends assassins to ruin his daughter. But having a male villain in a show that focuses so much on breasts and women’s relationship with them feels incongruous.  For example, towards the end of the show Chifusa learns how to give breasts, not just take them. The secret to the technique is maternal love, a fundamental form of femininity. So it would have made a lot more sense if Chifusa’s main villain was a Woman who lacked maternal love and took breasts, and therefore femininity, away. It would have set up a nice metaphorical conflict between the positive femininity and negative femininity. I guess masculinity could also be interpreted as a lack of femininity, but it would be too simplistic to frame this argument through gender binary–What the hell am I doing!? This is a dumb anime about about big boobs! If you likes boobs and moaning then watch it, if not, then don’t!

Watch it: Oh, and the opening is terrible. (3/5)

MVP: Chifusa Manyū

Boobs are cool.

Best Episode: Ep.8 “Chifusa Imprisoned” (Lord Hatomune is the best!)

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My Hero Academia (Season 2)

Type: Also known as That 2017’s Show

Synopsis: You get it, because the television program That 70’s Show was a thing in the 2000’s, and My Hero Academia was really popular in 2017? Yeah? Well…I-I thought I was being clever and, ah, let’s just move on. This is My Hero Academia, also know as HeroAca, Boku No Hero, HeroAcademia, season 2. It’s still pretty good.

Pros: It’s still pretty good. With the season bumped up to 24 episodes, My Hero Academia covers about 3 story arcs. The Sport’s Festival Arc, the Hero Killer Arc, and the Final Exam Arc. While the first season focused on exploring the setting from our protagonist Deku/Midoriya’s point of view, this season focuses on fleshing out the extended cast. Instead of talking about my favorite characters (Froppy is best girl, and Tokoyami is surprising top tier) I’d like to point something out. What this season did very well was establishing a clear and shared goal for each of the supporting characters. Each character want’s to be a “hero,” for their own reasons. While their motivations may differ, they each have the same goal that audience can understand. Who didn’t cry when we learned that Ochako wanted to be a hero to help her family out? Or Todoroki’s whole deal? Hell, I even sympathized with Hitoshi, the guy that wanted to be a hero even though he looks creepy. Normally, a lot of shonen stories reserved having a “dream” to the main characters. And while, realistically, not everyone would want to be King of the Pirates or Hokage, it’s nice to see such a distinct class of characters all striving for the same goal. It makes the comradery between the characters seem more natural. A lot of episodes were about pairing characters together, or contrasting characters against one another. This even happens with the antagonists, as the show introduces fan favorite, Stain, a “hero killer” who’s more of an anti-hero, which is why he clashes with the show’s main villain group. The show also explain more about the power One-For-All, and some implied multi-generational lore, but that’s going to have to wait until season 3.

Cons: The only real not great thing about season 2 was a 10 minutes segments detailing Froggy’s internship in episode 19. It felt filler-y to me. But outside of that, nothing particularly wrong with this season. The intro’s were good. The comedy was on point. The action was well handled. The character moments were incredible. As one of the “it shows” of 2017, don’t expect an artistic masterpiece, or a watershed series or anything. But My Hero Academia continues to be a stellar shonen series.

Watch it?: Yes. Yes you should. (4/5)

MVP: Ochako Uraraka

She really is a good kid.

MVP: Ep.13-18 The Hero Killer Arc (Internships, Team Work, Anti-Hero, it has it all! Plus, I didn’t really talk about it in the review)

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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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