Tag Archives: private school

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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Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere (Season 1 & 2)

Type: I think I’m in Love

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Synopsis: Let’s try to keep this simple, shall we? In the distant future, Earth has become uninhabitable except for the islands of Japan. The country has been divided between outside nations, while the native population is forced to constantly travel on the ship Musashi. In addition, in order to restore the world’s civilizations, every country has decided to reenact history. Oh, and there’s also magic, ghosts, mechas, a perv that tries to save a robot that’s being inhabited by his dead girlfriend from future pope, a ninja that fall in love with Bloody Mary who may or may not be an actual fairy, and a Spain that seems to have a baseball-based military. It’s basically amazing.

Pros: I did mention that this was amazing right? This anime is visually vibrant, it’s action packed, it’s funny as hell, and knows the right ways to utilize music cues to get you hear racing and fist pumping. Seriously, I almost always to energized after watching an episode. It’s fun from the word go. The pilot is a battle-race that does an inspired job in introducing the rather large cast. Every character has their own personality and fighting style, and you honestly can’t wait to see one of them in a fight. I was also very cool to see how different historical figures where interpreted. Shakespeare was a particularly interesting choice. The first season focuses on rescuing the titular character Horizon from the Pope and Spain, while the second season focuses on the ninja Tenzo falling in love with a very blonde and very ample Bloody Mary, plus fighting England and Spain. It’s also has a tremendous sense of humor, with one of the characters straight-up being naked for the entire second season. I truly, truly hope we see more entries in this franchise in the future.

Cons: No matter how much I enjoyed this series, I cannot overlook the quagmire that is the plot. Seriously, I double checked on Wikipedia and still  cannot for the life of me tell you what’s going on. There’s just too much thrown at you to remember. The actual politics of the world itself are what lost on me. Like, why create doomsday weapons from the emotions of a dead girl? And why is society being run by student governments? And why repeat the bad parts of history at all, because you’ll really be wanting to skip all of 1913-1945. I can’t really say this was perfect if I didn’t understand what was going on half the time. Some of the girls also have what I like to call “balloon breast” that just came off as silly (though that may have been the point).  On a personal note, I know that there’s a game based on this show, and it sucks so hard that it’s only been released in Japan.

Watch it?: The most fun I’ve had watching an anime in a while (4/5)

MVP: Tenzo Crossunite

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Where can I get that hat!

Best Episode: Ep.1 “Those Lined Up Before A Horizon” (I don’t what’s happening, but I love it!)

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Special A

Type: Not to be confused with Abnormal B or Strange C

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Synopsis: Hikari Hanazono is the 2nd Best in the World in the PHA, which I assume stands for the Pacific Headlock-Wrestling Association. Her only real competition is Kei “Nature Boy” Takishima, whom she has never beaten in a big match situation. She had thus become obsessed with gaining what I again assume is a pin-fall or submission victory over him. Before we get to that, however, we have to contend with the other top 5 contenders, or “Special A,” consisting of Psycho Jun, Miss Megumi, Tornado Tadashi, Akira “The Snake” Toudou, and Sin Ryu.

Pros: This show has some pretty solid gags. I especially liked Hikari’s reactions whenever she loses to Takishima and Takishima’s own jealousy/annoyance towards Hikari’s denseness. I’d say the show is at it’s best when it’s trying to be funny with each of the character’s unique foibles. I could have done with way more “Inner Jun” stories. I also liked the pairings that each character eventually get into, and wish they had been introduced way earlier in the series. The comedic potential of these people trying to figure out how to date each other is staggering. In fact, any anime about two people trying to figure out the mechanics of dating sounds enticing.

Cons: Nothing this show does will surprise you. It’s fairly generic and in-line with most romantic high school comedies targeted at girls. Some of the boys are even prettier than the girls. You can gloss over most of the anime without missing much. The show doesn’t distribute it’s attention evenly, putting a disproportionate amount of time on Akira. Just because she’s the only other girl that can talk is not an excuse. I had a bit of a hard time sympathizing with the “Special A” rich people classroom, though to the show’s credit, it does address this fact in the very first episode. As I said above, I would much rather watch a show about 7 weirdo’s love lives rather than a show about rich people having tea in a green house.

Watch it?: If you’ve never watched a High School Love-Comedy aimed at Girls, this is a good place to start. (3/5)

MVP: Hikari Hanazono

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Hakari-Mania is Running Wild!

Best Episode: Ep. 11 “Boyfriend-Girlfriend” and Ep. 19 “Singing Voice-Bad Guy” (It should have been just this)

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Aesthetica of a Rouge Hero

Type: Aestherica means Aesthetic

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Synopsis: It’s sorta like a blind date, where the person seems to be kinda interesting at first, but as the evening goes on, you realize that they are utterly boring. This is especially annoying because you know that they have the potential to be great, but they’re just too lazy to go for it, and instead rely on too much cleavage and not enough interdimensional medieval story telling.

Pros: There were two sides of the premise that I really liked. First off, I was intrigued by what the idea of a school for children who came back from another world. The idea of young people getting accidentally lost in a strange land is a very old one, so basing a story around all these children being gathered under one roof had promise. On the other hand, I was also interested in the the protagonist Akatsuki’s adventures in the world of Arezard, where all the children seem to have gotten lost in. I would have loved to see his initial travels in Arezard, whether or not he met other Earth kids, and how he gained the title of “Maverick Hero.” Some of the fan service was also surprisingly racy, if your into that sort of thing.

Cons: If you noticed, everything good about the anime was based on the idea of the premise. The actual execution, however, was very weak. The show actually starts off at the end of Akatsuki’s adventure, and I actually had to check to see if I watching a Second Season (I wasn’t.) Too much of the story was being left purposely blank to create artificial mystery. This made the rest of the show feel largely unimportant, and I just couldn’t force myself to care about anything happening at Akatsuki’s school, of for Akatsuki in general. He came off like an arrogant jack-ass, whose gimmick of stealing girl’s underwear and harassing came off as more disrespectful than anything else. The show was just too generic, the characters came off as bland to unlikable, and the story felt half told.

Watch it?: No. Go watch something that feels less forced. (2/5)

MVP: Phil Barnett

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I like the idea of a Knight being called Phil

Best Episode: Ep. 9 “On A Night With Such A Beautiful Moon” (A good villain tends to add some interest)

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Aria the Scarlet Ammo

Type: Lt. Murtaugh the Anime

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Synopsis: That mysterious entity know as the European Union has finally made its move! The E.U. has assembled the descendants of their greatest citizens for their nefarious purposes, from Jean of Arc to Count Dracula. They even got Arsene Lupin! (the French one, not the anime one). Luckily, we got Sherlok Holmes the Fourth and sort-of Watson on our side. Even more luckily, almost everyone involved is a cute teenage girl.

Pros: I really liked a lot of what I saw here. I was particularly intrigued by the protagonist’s Kinji’s unique power. The ability to transform into a super cool guy whenever sexually aroused may possibly be the most useful superpower ever. The show was really at its best when it played up its action side and comedic side. The detective/police action elements in Aria the Scarlet Ammo really made me yearn for more anime of that genre. Having the first story arc end with an improvised plane landing brought back flashes of Die Hard 2 in the best possible way.  I also laughed out-loud whenever the show delved into its love-comedy gags. Rei Kugimiya kills it once again in her role as a Tsundere teen.

Cons: This anime came close to being everything I didn’t know I wanted from an anime, but then it decided to add supernatural powers. I could accept Kinji’s Hysteria Mode, but I draw the line at moving hair and ice people. Why couldn’t the characters just be really good at shooting? Hell, I was even digging the whole descendants of historical figures fighting one another gimmick. Now that had potential. Apart from that, the whole show felt rushed. In the span of 12 episodes, it packs in 3 story arcs that delve into a lot of characters we didn’t have proper time to invest in. The reveal of the Buntei Killer was particularly anti-climactic. But I still hope it gets another season.

Watch it?: Yes, but as three parts instead of a whole (4/5)

MVP: Shirayuki Hotogi

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I found her wife/stalker approach towards Kenji delightful.

Best Episode: Ep.4 “Butei Killer” (jumping the gun too quick, but still pretty cool)

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A Certain Scientific Railgun

Type: School Days vs. Science

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Synopsis: Mikoto Misaka lives in a world were super powered psychics called Espers really exist. As a cute electric girl, Mikoto is obviously one of the seven strongest Espers in Academy City, where she goes to school/beats up thugs. Most her time is spent either hanging out with her friends, consisting of a stalker, a kiddie cop, and a zero level loser, or epic fighting. It’s your average story of a typical teenage girl facing typical teenage girl problems.

Pros: What I liked about Railgun was how different it was from it’s predecessor,  Magical Index. Railgun establishes it’s own tone and style, using standard slice-of-life story telling and splicing it with the franchise’s trademark sci-fi action. It was funny and emotional, while never losing the A Certain series flair for action. The brilliant part is that it never felt out of place from the franchise universe. It was smart to focus on Esper characters instead of the original Magic vs Science conflict. It’s use of a small consistent cast and singular plot really accentuated Railgun’s status as a more intimate but totally optional spin-off show. It was a very fun way to reunite with everyone’s favorite railgun.

Cons: Everything I stated as a positive could be argued as a negative for some Magical Index fans. Railgun has nothing to add to the main series, it’s not particularly action packed, and the actual plot only shows up at the end of the seasons. The show itself largely consists of typical anime stories involving things like friendship, kindness, and love. There was even a bikini episode. This is a stark contrast to the story arc heavy Magical Index. While I liked it, I cannot say with confidence that fans of Magical Index with automatically be fans of Scientific Railgun. They are just too different.

Watch?: I say give it a try. It’s a stellar series in its own right. (4/5)

MVP: Mikoto Misaka

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She’s electric, yeah!

Best Episode: Ep. 24 “Dear My Friends” (awesome, if grammatically incorrect)

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Upotte!!

Type: The NRA’s wet dream

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Synopsis: Do guns kill people? Guns kill people right? I’m only asking because all the girls in this show are guns. Literally. They are anthropomorphized guns that for some reason also use real guns. If they get sick, their guns break. If their guns break, they get sick. I’m still not sure if the girls are supposed to represent individual guns, entire gun models, or the horrible result of a gun-nut’s one too many lonely nights.

Pros:  While I’m still not 100% sure about who the whole “guns that are girls” thing is supposed to work, the premise was pretty interesting. All the girls use gun jargon when describing themselves, and use factual gun history as their own life story. For example, Ichiroku is an M16 and the most popular girl in school, paralleling the gun’s popularity around the world. Every girl’s personality traits are also based on the gun they represent. This can range from being clumsy and unreliable, to being able to endure extreme temperatures. The show also had fairly exciting actions sequences, especially for a slice-of-life comedy show.

Cons: Since the main protagonists are all in middle school, the show’s use of double entendres was uncomfortable to watch. For example, the character Funco has a crush on her teacher, and dreams of his “big hands on her trigger.” Gross right? The show also didn’t do a good job at explaining what these girls were. I initially thought they were in military school, and was horrified at their irresponsible use of live ammunition. I’m also left with a lot  of questions concerning the girls themselves. Are they spirits? Are they robots? If they are guns, why do they use guns? When they graduate do they become real guns? Are they born or made? Do they age? It might be best not to think about the logic of this show too thoroughly.

Watch it?: A gun freak’s paradise (3/5)

MVP: Ichiroki

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USA, USA, USA!

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “Go for it! Pass it!” (man, guns are dangerous)

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