Tag Archives: private school

Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade (OVA)

Type: A sequel, apparently

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Synopsis: So funny story. I thought this was Little Witch Academia 1. Well, that’s not so funny.

Pros: Once again, I continue my real life tradition of entering a franchise at a sequel by mistake. In this case, Little Witch Academia, released by Trigger. Trigger, of course, known for Kill La Kill. The animation is stellar, the characters are likable, and I am genuinely surprise this entire franchise isn’t the biggest thing in anime, because every0ne can watch this. It’s all age friendly, and easily appeals to westerners. And yes, there are a ton of references to Kill La Kill, other Trigger shows, Disney, Harry Potter, and Attack on Titan if you want to stretch it. I really liked Little Witch Academia. It’s basically about a school of witches. In this installment, the characters are forced to organize the school’s entry into the annual town parade. Akko, the protagonist, gets a little gun ho about portraying a more positive image for witches, which leds to some friction between for BFFs. Though, this does allow for the introduction of 3 new witches, Amanda, Constaze, and Jasminka.

Cons: I’m not ganna lie, it felt more like a TV show than a movie. For more than a moment, I though I was watching the back-door pilot for a series. I think Trigger thought so as well. Story wise, I think that Akko’s conflict with her friends was simply put there to thin the herd a little, so that the 3 new witches could be used instead. Weirdly, the 3 girls warm up to Akko right away, dispute not knowing her a few days before. They get so close, in fact, that I found it odd that they didn’t contribute to the friendship is magic blast at the end.

Watch it?: I hope this franchise blows up!

MVP: Akko

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Keep reaching for the stars kid.

Best Moment: Passing around the wand at the end (beautiful)

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Negima!?

Type: A remake, who knew?

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Synopsis: In what I’m pretty sure is just a Harry Potter rip-off, a young wizard from England takes a teaching job at an all-girl’s school. While there, he makes semi-romantic pacts with his students and makes them do various favors for him. In a good way.

Pros: Negima!? is an alternate remake of Maho Sensei Negima! a manga and anime about a young wizard and his class of school girls. The manga was actually made by Ken Akamatsu, creator of Love Hina! As such, both series have a similar brand of goofy humor and love comedy. You have a girl with crazy pink tales and obsession with Chupacabras, a robot and vampire, a Blond girl who keeps calling another girl a failure, a samurai whose way too in love with her charge, it’s great! This particular version, however, was also made by SHAFT and director Akuyuki Shinbo, who worked on such anime as Medoka Magica and Nisemonogatari. So like a lot of SHAFT and Shinbo work, Negima!? is full of easter eggs (The Black Rose Baron), ranging art styles, match-cuts, short skits, etc. Just think Monogatari, or even Zetsubou-Sensei. In fact, the only reason I know about Negima!?’s production background is because it reminded so much of Zetsunou-Sensei that I had to double check. So while I was expecting a very generic looking love-comedy/harem, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the show.

Cons: Let me put it this way, having SHAFT and Akuyuki Shinbo saved the show. At its core, Negima!? is still a fairly generic harem anime. Its actually kinda weirder because he protagonist is a 10 year old boy, and all his love interests are about 14-15 years old. And the fact that all the girls have to kiss the child doesn’t help in the gross factor. Just imagine if it was a 10 year old girl and 14-15 year old boys. Ewwwwwww. But SHAFT and Shinbo’s style makes it sort of work. Now, its not perfect. The story arcs aren’t really that interesting. A lot of the early episodes are repetitive, with all the problems being resolved with Negima kissing a girl. Sometimes the animation and story don’t mesh, and the opening intro doesn’t really match the tone of the show. The central plot revolving around the “Star Crystals” and “The Darkness” are mediocre at best, but the gags and character interactions surrounding it are great. These two elements manage to balance each other out, and you’ll end up remembering the good over the bad.

Watch it!?: It takes a bit, but you’ll get into it (4/5)

MVP: Asuna’s Pink-Tails

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Officially the only anime girl I like with Pink-Tails

Best Episode: Ep.14 “‘Frankly speaking, in the face of magic, scientific theory might as well be nonexistent.’ by Hakase” (I just love that falling out of the sky scene)

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Prison School

Type: Boys are Gross

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Synopsis: Five boys enroll in a previously all-girl’s school. Awesome right? Really puts the “not if you were the last boy on Earth!” excuse to the test. Well, think again! Because the boys, in classic boy fashion, fly a little too close to the sun and get caught peeping at the girl’s bath. Now they must serve their punishment by being kept in the school’s questionably legal prison for a month.

Pros: Kinda like Shawshank Redemption, but if all the prison guards were replace by a busty girl who cannot physically button up her blouse. The entire show is about the 5 male protagonist being in “prison” while the Underground School Council think of schemes to get them expelled. What I loved was the character work, as each character has their own motivations and characteristics, and the small cast of 8-9 characters allows the show to utilize them efficiently. The show does a great job capturing the prisoners vs. guards aspects of Prison-centric fiction. In terms of story, the first arc is Kiyoshi trying to figure out a way to escape to go on a date. The second arc involves the student council using a snitch to set the boys up for expulsion. And the third arc is the boys getting out of their expulsion. Now, the original manga is famous for its gratuitous fan service, which is still in the show. What really surprise me is that for a show that exploits a lot of the kinkier aspects of humanity, like the fluids, I still found myself rooting for the boys. I bought into their brotherhood, and reminded me that male friendship is a beautiful thing, even if it means getting a stick up your butt from time to time.

Cons: The series adopts what I can only refer to as “awkward realism.” You know, the type of show that allows its characters to be pathetic, sexually desperate, and kinda sticky. Every episode has an “anime is weird” example. The fan service skews more towards the kinky S&M side, with some waterworks thrown in. Hell, one of the subplots is the protagonist and one of the Underground School Council members being stuck in a cycle of fate and urine. So proceed cautiously. I also wasn’t crazy about Meiko’s design, because I felt her boobs were a little too big. Like “how can she function?” big. I know she’s the mascot, but what looks good in print may not always look good in animation.

Watch it?: It will get weird on you (4/5)

MVP: Takehito

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The most noble of tacticians!

Best Episode: Ep.7 “Meiko’s Delicious Restaurant” (it was hard, but I think this captures a little but of everything)

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Blue Exorcist

Type: Damien ain’t go nothin’ on this

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Synopsis: My children, the Devil walks among us! Or should I say, his kid does. His name is Rin. Good guy. His goal in life is to kill Satan and avenge the death of his adoptive dad. Their was a custody battle involving blue flames and such, you know how these things go. But the only way to kill a demon is to become an exorcist, so Rin resolves to become the strongest exorcist alive, believe it!

Pros: In some aspects, the show surprisingly goes against shoen expectations. When your introduced to Rin in the show, you expect him to be an angsty teenager with a chip on his shoulder, like so many half-demon protagonists (Inuyasha, I’m looking at you). But by the third episode, Rin turns out to be a pretty positive and kinda ditzy dude. He’s kinda the male version of Sailor Moon. Not really arrogant, more empathetic than you’d think, and a little dumb. I point out ep.3 because the first two episodes are just Rin’s origin story, while the actual setting and premise are at the True Cross Academy. The world of Blue Exorcist is interesting, and I found the division of exorcist battle styles intriguing. In fact, the school elements where the most enjoyable. I liked Rin’s interactions with his crew of exorcists-in-training, and the instances where they had to work together were often my favorite parts.

Cons: I’d say that the worst parts of the show are when it dips into shoen stereotypes, or when it deviates from the manga. I’ve never read the manga, but you can tell which episodes and plot points are filler. In fact, the entire last section seems like the show was told midway that it wasn’t getting another season, so they decided to make their own ending. I fell that this show should have been 13 episodes, not 25. In terms of stereotypes, you have the big bobbed badass, the one teacher that’s actually a bad guy, mild sibling rivalry, and the love interest that’s all lollipops and rainbows. These aspects of the show really drag it down. I’m also not sure whether I should like or dislike Yukio. He seems like a tool, but I tend to give him a chance because Rin likes him. Same with Mephisto. Is he good? evil? chaotic neutral??

Watch it?: If you really want to know that the show’s about, skip to episode 3 (3/5)

MVP: Rin

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Who new the spawn of evil would be such a cool dude?

Best Episode: Ep.9 “Now a Certain Man Was Sick…” ( a good showcase of characters)

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Girls und Panzer

Type: Tank Girls

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Synopsis: It’s like Bend It Like Beckham, but with tanks, and a different characters, and unrelated plot.

Synopsis: The anime is another entry into the sub genre that I like to call “moe-military.” In Moe-Military, cute girls participate in military war games as part of their high school life. So obviously, the best part of this anime are the military tank battles, which are a great blend of action and music. Very golden age of Hollywood stuff. In this, tankery is treated more like a sport than anything else.The main cast, Oarai Girl’s High School, compete against other schools in Tank battles. Each school are allusions to different countries, with the standouts being Russia, the United States, and Germany. Not only are these fun depictions, but they also allow yet another look at how Japan looks at other countries. Outside of the tanks, each girls has their own mini-backstory that each resolves themselves. Since this is a moe anime, the main focus in on friendship. Friendship and tanks.

Cons: Ok, lets get this out of the way. It cannot believe they used LIVE AMMUNITION in these tank battles. I know this is just a cartoon, but that really took me out of this show about high school girls fighting each other in panzer tanks. Also, despite not having any, this show had this weird focus on boys. Like, the main selling point for the tank club was that it makes girls more graceful and feminine, which will make them, in this order: better wives, better students, and better worker. I just found that kinda weird. The humor is…good enough, and the conflicts are pretty average. Again, the tank stuff is fun, but the school stuff? Not so much.

Watch it?: Maybe catch the tank battles on Youtube (3/5)

MVP: Kay

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USA! USA! USA!

Best Episode: Ep.6 “The First Round Reaches Its Climax” (cheat to win)

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Haganai NEXT

Type: Protagonist with Selective Deftness

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Synopsis: After a group of lonely people gradually gravitated towards one another to form a “friends club,” they noticed that this was an anime and there was only one boy in the group. So they pretend to play erotic games and film independent student films, while each girl secretly falls in love with their male member. Of course, its only secret because the dude doesn’t want to risk breaking up his group of friends. No one wants to be Yoko.

Pros: Man, I really missed this show. It’s just so damn funny. Once again, Rika gets the best dirty lines, but the rest of the cast still contributes the occasional “bitch” and “fuck” here and there. The show has progressed from the introductory first season, so a slow burn story arc is introduced, involving Sena, and funny enough, Rika. The group dynamic is still the strongest point of the series, as are the hilarious situations they get into (ex: BL Gaming). Part of this is because each character has more depth than your typical harem cast. This stems from the fact the the characters joined the “Good Neighbor Club” to make friends, not because they all fell in love with a random boy. The does happen, because anime, but it felt a lot less forced than in other shows. I could actually imagine any one of the girls ending up with Kodaka.

Cons: Maybe it’s because I haven’t watched the first season in a while, but did they ramp up the fan service or what!? I also feel that Yozora was a bit underwritten this time around. Throughout the season, she is clearly in love with Kodaka, but can’t express it, making her very jealous and angry when he get female attention. This is her only storyline throughout the season. It makes it easy to forget that she was the one that started the club in the first place. The characters of Kobato and Maria are still pretty annoying as well. There was also a slight twist involving Yukimura that irked me a first, but didn’t really change much overall. The season ends of a cliff hanger, and I really, really, really hope the show gets another season to tie up loose ends.

Watch it?: Dude, I still think you have to (4/5)

MVP: Rika Shiguma

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A perv, but hey, still has a heart of gold.

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “Homo Game Club” (exactly what it sounds like)

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Maken-Ki! Battling Venus

Type: I can’t believe this has a second season.

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Synopsis: Part of it involves a guy with glasses going to a school where all the students have superpowers. Possibly secret superpowers, but that bit was confusing. There’s also this background story involving the Yamata no Orochi, that eight-headed snake dragon that pops up every now and then. There’s also a lot of boobs, and panty shots, and, well, a lot of boobs and panty shots.

Pros: This anime is terrible. Let’s get that straight. But the animation is surprisingly good. Too good for a shitty harem show. The quality of the animation (by which I mean lighting and certain shots) is either a sign that anime has embraced digital coloring and HD to the extent that even low-tier shows are reaping the benefits, or that some pitiful fool thought it was a really good idea to pump money into this franchise.

Cons: Jesus, do I even have to point it out? The story is confusing, the characters are one-dimensional, and the fan service is gratuitous to the point of nausea. Every character is at least a D-cup, and sometimes is seems like their panties serve more like a flag proudly waving with the breeze than as underwear. You know, sometimes you can argue this point, but there not getting around it, this show is god damn sexist. But weirdly enough, it sometimes calls out characters on their own sexism, like Takeru’s refusal to fight a girl. So this may actually be an incredibly sly metacommentary on gender dynamics in story telling (whisper It’s totally not whisper). There’s also not a lot of quality fighting in this show called Battling Venus.

Watch it: As stated above, this anime is terrible. (2/5)

MVP: Azuki Shinatsu

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At least she looks cool…

Best Episode: When you find one, let me know.

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X-Men

Type: From Dark Phoenix to Legion Quest

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Synopsis: The X-Men, a team of super-powered mutants dedicated to protecting a world that hates and fears them. Disbanding shortly after the death of Jean Grey, the team reunites to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young girl in Japan. So not only do you get to see your favorite X-Men in anime form, you also get a few troupes thrown in for good measure. Sadly, there are no Tsundere in this series. Oh wait, Cyclops is here. So kawaii.

Pros: I love the X-Men. A lot. So it was a treat to see them in an anime style show. Since Marvel worked closely with the animation studio Madhouse and had writer Warren Ellis supervise, the dialogue really seemed like it was written for an English speaking audience. It was a lot smoother than the usual English dubs, which sound a bit awkward at times. Impressively, most of the X-Men are true to character, particularly Cyclops. Since Cyclops is my favorite X-Men, I appreciated how well handled he was, especially because that doesn’t happen a lot (cough The Animated Series cough X-Men movies cough). The addition of Armor was also surprisingly well executed. I originally though she was just the token Japanese character (and she kinda is), but she filled that crucial young X-Men role pretty well and I’d hazard to say this is the best portrayal of the character in any media, including comics.

Cons: Since I’m such an X-Men fanboy, I’ll refrain from being too nitpicky. But I have to say, two characters really bugged me, Storm and Wolverine. I said that most characters were true to form, but Storm wasn’t one of them. At least, her personality wasn’t. She was too generic, and didn’t match the dignity and gravitas needed to pull off Storm. Wolverine, on the other hand, had a bad character design. Anime Wolverine should be the coolest mofo in history, but in this he was really scruffy looking. Almost like an actual walking wolverine. The antagonists are also pretty boring. Some are just random monsters, and the other are the Hellfire Club, but for some reason the members were original characters instead of actual comic villains. No Donald Pierce, Selene, or even Sebastian Shaw. The story was also subpar.

Watch it?: Better than X-Men 3, not as good as Days of Future Past (4/5)

MVP: Cyclops

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Honestly, even I was surprise at how good he is.

Best Episode: Ep. 05 “Power-Unity” (the most X-men episode ever)

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Qwaser of Stigmata

Type: It’s Basically Porno

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Synopsis: So…much…boob sucking….

Pros: There’s a solid action series here. Don’t give me that look, there really is! The whole story is about semi-religious organizations fighting for holy relics using elemental powers based on the Periodic Table. I love that stuff. Iron, Mercury, Gold, I think Helium makes an appearance. And I will admit that some of jokes are pretty funny. Breast Puppet Theater has some serious potential.

Cons: This is so sexual. It’s fucking too much. It is so offensive towards women, it makes Larry Flint look like Gloria Steinem. This show literally has weaponized breast feeding. That’s a thing. That’s a thing in this show that people use as a power up. Something that characters violently crave. That’s not fan service, that’s straight up smut. Everything has an uncomfortable SVU undertone to it. I’ve seen a lot of anime, but this is one of the few that’s embarrassed me.

Watch it!?: I’m either incredibly objective or really generous. (2/5)

MVP: I don’t know. Boobs I guess.

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There are a lot of them.

Best Episode: Ep.14 “The Melancholy of Miyuri Tsujido” (except for the ending. Goddam it Qwaser)

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Love, Election & Chocolate

Type: Poli Sci, The Anime

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Synopsis: Somewhere in anime land, theirs this school where its student body takes a very hard core stance towards their extra curricular activities. So what starts off as a students attempt to save the Food Research Club by running for school president turns into freakin’ Chinatown, with politically motivated assaults and honest to goodness labor bashing. Again, these are high school kids doing this. I can’t even name my city’s major, much less my high school student body president, but these legally recognized children are willing to kill for the position. Rich people are crazy.

Pros: At times, this is a good comedy, at other times this is a good drama. Not every show can juggle both genres that well, but this one did. I’d rank the humor right up there with shows like Student Council’s Discretion and other student club based shows. The cast had a good dynamic and funny gags, my favorite being Oboro’s shameless remarks towards Yuki. On the drama side, this show hits that particular soap opera character groove that really shines in anime. The plots involving Hazuki-Sensei’s backstory,  Ojima’s plight as a financial aid student, and Chisato’s relationship with Yuki were personal standouts. The show really shined in terms of characters, who were able to range from serious to goofy with ease.

Cons: This is a pet peeve of mine, but any anime that takes a mundane subject way too seriously without a hint of self-awareness gets on my bad side. It happened once with tennis, then discount store food, and now with student clubs. The characters in this show are in fucking high school, they should not be taking things like student government so seriously. There were at least three death threats related to the election. On a more objective note, the opening scene sets up a mystery that distracts from the rest of the show and doesn’t really come up until late in the series. The humor can sometimes be a little flat. And despite my personal biases, the election plot is largely unimportant compared to the other side stories. It acts largely as a framing device. In fact, you could effectively skip most of the election scenes and still find the show very entertaining, maybe even more so.

Watch it?: It may have bugged the hell out of me, but I can’t deny it’s quality (4/5)

MVP: Oboro Yumeshima

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Undescribable

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Disbanding the Club” (The PTA is disbanding!)

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