13 of 13 episodes seen
Haibane Renmei depicts a town whose whereabouts, or even if it is in this world is unknown. In this town exist humans as well as creatures known as Haibane adorned with wings and a halo above their heads. They are born from cocoons at various ages with no recollection of who they once were or their names. Instead their names are representative of whatever dream they had while inside of the cocoon. The story itself follows Rakka, a girl who hatches at the beginning of the series with no recollection of the dream she had except that she remembers falling.
Haibane Renmei has a rather slow start using the first six or so episodes to introduce characters and give a detailed interpretation of the world of the Haibane. These episodes had a quite peaceful feel which served as a brilliant contrast to the events that occur later in the story. Around episodes six or so things begin to change in the world of the Haibane and the peaceful happy-go-lucky attitude that was built up in the previous episodes is quickly torn apart by a rapidly developing, but logically paced plot. This is when the series really begins to shine, all the development that we sat through in the first few episodes now has a purpose in the grand scheme of the series and the way in which every aspect of the plot begins to come together towards the end of the series is nothing short of beautiful. It is well constructed and emotionally impactful in a way that is rarely seen in anime. The problem is, it ends. The story is way too short as there are really only the final six episodes that affect the plot as a whole. Upon its conclusion I just had this feeling that there was so much more that they could have done with the series but never got around to actually doing it and made the conclusion feel weaker than it should have been. Not to mention that the list of unanswered questions as a result of the short length is astronomical in length.
This shortened length also has a great effect on the character development as only the two main leads (Rakka and Reki) were legitimately layered as characters and the rest just seemed to take on very static character tropes. I feel that if more time was granted to the series, these characters could've been explored to the same degree that the main two were. The series seemed to establish these grand backstories for each of the characters that were just waiting to be explored but then really only explored a single character which made the other characters to seem weak in comparison. The shortened, length which drastically affects both the characters and the overall plot of Haibane Renmei is my only real fault with the series though it is a very major one that is extremely difficult to ignore.
Probably the most noticeable thing about Haibane Renmei would be the soundtrack which has quickly become one of my all time favourites. It isn’t just that the soundtrack is good, it is also used at the exact time in which it is needed in the series. There is not as single second of music that feels in anyway out of place and overall it really makes every single scene much more emotionally impactful than it would have been if it were to be silent. It can carry both the emotional and peaceful sides of Haibane Renmei perfectly on its shoulders and always keeps the emotion of the series flowing in a very effective manner.
The art is good though sometimes is a bit overly simplistic and at other times a bit overly complex. The art really doesn’t have too much consistency in terms of complexity which allows the art style to shift depending on the mood that the series is taking. The simple character designs really help to complement the very peaceful part of the series, particularly the first half and the more complex designs compliment the emotion of later episodes very well. I occasionally noticed a few odd animations but they were few and far between and were never able to take away from the immersion factor of the series.
In conclusion Haibane Renmei is an extremely good series that is brought down by an depressingly short run-time. Had the series made more money there could have been room for a sequel but sadly it was the not the most popular series out there and remained stuck with what it got. That being said the plot is interesting and very well presented and the main the characters have a degree of depth to them that you rarely ever see. Combine this with the mind-bogglingly good soundtrack and you have yourself and great series with one crippling fault.
8.5/10 read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, or Humanity has Declined is a post-apocalyptic comedy in which the human race is on the brink of extinction. Taking humanity’s place as the dominant species are tiny creatures known simply as fairies. The story itself follows a nameless woman who acts as an arbitrator between the humans and the fairies to help preserve humanity’s place on earth. With that synopsis the show sounds rather depressing, and in a very small way, it is. What it does however is hide this tiny bit of depression and darkness behind a colourful facade of craziness. This craziness is supported excellently by the very bright art style which really helps you take things lightly and laugh at what would otherwise be a very depressing situation. The episodes themselves are divided into two episode arcs each focusing around different characters and time periods, with only the protagonist remaining consistent.
When examining a comedy you have to ask, what makes it funny? For Jinrui it is its characters. The characters in Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita always felt varied and each of them have their own unique traits and there is always more to them below the surface. The most interesting being the protagonist who is easily one of the best protagonists I have seen in general. What made her so interesting is that she was far from stupid and far from cute. By that I mean that while she was visibly cute, she had this maturity about her that allowed me to enjoy her much more as a character. She always gave off this vibe of being very strong as a character and as the series goes on, you begin to learn more and more things about her. The other characters on the show are interesting and varied as well, by that I mean they are not simply “One gag characters” as I am so used to seeing in comedies. I often find that anime characters, especially in comedies seem shallow and are only placed in the show to retell two or three select jokes throughout the entire series. The characters in Jinrui are not like this, they tell jokes that fit their personalities, instead of having personalities that fit their jokes. This allowed the characters to remain vibrant and never become dull throughout their respective story arcs. Hell, even if you don’t like a character, aside from the protagonist you know that you will only have to spend 2 episodes with a character before their arc ends.
As a safe warning I will tell you that this show is quite weird. For me that was no problem as I thought it really did add to the fun of the show and really helped to explain that none of the content in the series should be taken too seriously. However, if you are the kind of person who thinks that headless chicken crime bosses are a little outside of your comfort zone then you may want to think twice before going into this with the belief that it is just another comedy. As well this anime can be rather confusing as the episodes are told completely out of order. At first I was against this style of storytelling as it seemed rather pointless and it felt like they were telling it out of order for the sake of telling it out of order. I still treat it as a fault as it was rather annoying in some areas but it was still somewhat fun for me to examine each arc and try to figure out exactly when it takes place.
One thing that deserves special recognition in Jinrui is the art as it is very colourful and very different from what we are used to seeing in anime. As I said before, I believe that this art style was put to use brilliantly in order to lighten up a depressing world. It made things seem very cheerful and it made you ignore the fact that you are witnessing the dying days of an entire species. For me the art style, while a little too bright at some points really did fit the show perfectly and I know that it would be far less enjoyable if it did not have this candy-coated look to it. As for the music, it is not the most noticeable out there, but it is far from bad and it does have one of the best ending themes I have ever heard.
In the end this show is nothing if not fun. Yes it is weird, yes it has its faults but I still enjoyed every minute of it and it left me wanting more which for a comedy is all it really needs. If odd situations and overly-bright art are not your things, then feel free to stay away. However, I do need to recommend this as it is by far the most enjoyable comedy that I have ever seen. For that I give it a 9/10. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Every once in awhile you get an anime with a very simple premise and very simple ambitions. Sometime these animes will exceed these ambitions and become something special. In the case of Natsume’s Book of Friends, or Natsume Yuujinchou, it exceeds its meager ambitions and then some to become one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen.
The plot at its base level is actually quite cliche. It follows Natsume Takashi, a boy who has just started high school. Takashi can see spirits who are invisible to almost all humans. One day he ends up inheriting an old book from his recently deceased grandmother. Inside the book is a collection of incomprehensible and random scribbles. The next day he is attacked by a spirit who is asking for the “Book of Friends”, Takashi is used to being chased by these spirits so he does the natural thing and runs. While attempting to escape he accidentally releases a seal that has been placed on a spirit. This spirit turns out to be a rather, shall we say, rounded cat. Surprisingly this cat is actually a very powerful spirit. This spirit tells Takashi of the Book of Friends, the book that he received from his deceased grandmother. When his grandmother, Reiko was young, she would challenge various spirits to duels. If they won they could do whatever they want with her. If she won they would write their name in the book of friends, which would give her control over them if she desired. She never lost a single duel, as well she never made any of these spirits do anything. Many spirits find this book desirable as they would want to be able to control a large number of powerful spirits. Takashi takes it upon himself to return every name that is included in the Book of Friends and, in repayment for undoing the seal, the cat, now dubbed Nyanko-sensei by Takashi agrees to be his bodyguard under the condition that if and when Takashi loses his life, Nyanko-sensei will receive the Book of Friends.
This anime is an episodic anime, and there is no specific plot. Despite that there are 50 episodes of this show to date and I feel that all of them have their own unique purpose. This has been the first time with an anime of this length where I still felt that I needed more, not because I need to know what happens, it’s just that every single one of these episodes felt unique in their own way. There are similarities between episodes however and I feel that the episodes can be, more or less divided into three tiers, the episodes in these tiers share similar themes and overall quality with each other.
The first tier and definitely the worst tier is the Takashi and spirit episodes. These episodes consist of Takashi helping a spirit with their problem and may or may not run into one of the two exorcists of the show. The problem with these episodes is a result of Takashi’s character. In a sense he acts as a bridge between the humans and the spirits that he can see, and in these episodes, without being able to interact with other humans he seems to lose a bit of his humanity. On top of that these episodes are actually quite predictable. It basically ends with Takashi floundering about doing seemingly nothing until Deus Ex Machina a, b, or c decides to show up and save the day. That is how the majority of these episodes end and it got old for me real fast. They aren’t bad, they are just extremely average and predictable though there are a few in this category which i would consider special.
Now we move on to the second tier, and respectively the second best type of episode. These episodes are what I like to call the human spirit connection episodes. Unlike the first tier this one takes Takashi’s role as a bridge between the humans and spirits and makes good use of it. These episodes are designed to show the relationship and major differences between the world the spirits live in, and the world that we as humans live in. It shows how while both parties are able to think and feel emotion, they are worlds apart at the same time. These episodes made for some of the more thought provoking episodes as the themes they showed were generally quite interesting to think about.
Finally we come to the third, final, and best tier, the flashback tier. surprisingly, the best episodes of this anime were definitely the flashback episodes. This is due to the way that Takashi develops as a character over the course of the series. Takashi’s past is well, a bit depressing to say the least. Both of his parents died at a very young age and as such Takashi has been passed to his distant relatives. However because of his ability to see spirits, he would often get scared and scream at what appeared to others as nothing. Other children regarded him as a freak and eventually his relatives would decide he was too much of a hassle and send him off to another family. This happened until he ended up with the Fujiwara family just when he began high school. As he begins high school, he has a fresh new start and this time makes some friends. It starts off as few at first but the number gradually grows and grows, and his friends help him to develop into a better person. Sometimes Takashi will revisit something from his past, it may be a person who hated him, or one of the few people who treated him with kindness but every time he revisits these moments as a better person, it is unimaginably heartwarming.
I would just like to put this in perspective, I have never cried in an anime. I have been sad, certain animes have definitely made me depressed but I have never cried. For this anime to make my first anime tear a tear of joy, it had to do something special. On multiple occasions this show made me cry, it was never a depressing cry it was always a cry because of how heartwarming it was. The way that Takashi is able to come to terms with his past and live on really helps to show how he has grown up as a character and you have to admire the careful thought they put into each second of his development. In my opinion, the real strength of this anime is its character development. In Takashi’s case, there is no point where you can say “this is where he changed in this way”. It is a very slow but very obvious development, you won’t notice a difference between episodes but if you watch an episode at the beginning of a season and one at the end it is as clear as day how he has grown. It makes every episode enjoyable as you watch it to see exactly what Takashi will learn in any episode.
That is what I think lets the show get away with its length. It is not a tense, nor emotionally high show to watch. You can watch this show over the course of a couple months and you still won’t get bored of it. It is simply a relaxing and heartwarming show to watch and you only need to watch one episode to put yourself in a fantastic mood. This show is like some anti-depression drug. If you are feeling down and just want to be happy, cry a few tears of joy, and feel great about life then this show works perfectly. That is what i believe this show did right, and why it is so deserving of large runtime that it received.
In my opinion this anime is fantastic, sure there are a few episodes that I would consider to be just above par in direct comparison to others and the animation is only average but this show is simply beautiful. It is by no means perfect but I would consider it a must watch for anyone who enjoys something that is truly heartwarming. As such I give it a 9/10.
12 of 12 episodes seen
I don’t think there has ever been a time before where I have experienced such highs and lows in an anime. Sometimes this show was brilliant and possibly the best humour I have seen in anime. The other times, through either cliche situations, or lackluster writing, fell far below the other episodes. I wanted to love this show, and there were times when I definately did. However these times were few and far between. Episodes such as the rugby episode, or any of the Bonta-kun episodes, were brilliant and some of the most fun you can have anywhere in anime. But in a twelve episode series, there are only four or five that I would consider to be good.
Unlike the first series, this show has next to nothing to do with war, mechas, or anything that Full Metal Panic is synonymous with. Instead this focuses on Sousuke’s and Kaname’s school lives, and while some of the “School Life” episodes were good, it was the ones that broke this mold that were spectacular. Episodes that really involved something happening, rather than just dicking around in school were the episodes that I really stuck around for. I think this is because of how I wanted Full Metal Panic to be, and what I was expecting of the franchise before I started to watch it. I thought I was going to get a mecha based comedy. I wanted to laugh while the action was unfolding. Rather than what Full Metal Panic actually was, which is extremely serious action briefly interrupted by light-hearted comedy. In a way I wanted both at once, rather than one and then the other. After finishing Full Metal Panic I believed that the series would never get to do this, and left me questioning whether I should actually keep watching.
Surprisingly enough, there are episodes in Fumoffu that capture this situation, and gave me a true view of what this series could have been, what I really wanted it to be. Some episodes do have some pretty good action, particularly when Sousuke pilots the greatest mecha ever invented, Bonta-kun, a kickass, bullet stopping teddy bear who can only communicate through various alterations of the sound “fumoffu”. When Bonta-kun appears, we get a perfect blend of kickass action, and laugh-out-loud comedy. This is when the series is at its best, with episodes that are funny, and different from any other anime comedy I’ve seen.
The comedy also causes one large problem, the lack of character development. Many of the characters in this show, the most important being Kaname, rely on those little moments to look deeper into their personalities and with that, make them likeable characters. The original Full Metal Panic, as much as I disliked its plot, it was able to do this, and by the end of the show I liked Kaname as a character. Fumoffu is the exact opposite, as I counted three moments in the series that tried to make Kaname likeable, and one of them failed in doing so. This show made me re-hate Kaname as a character as most of the time she comes off as abusive, stubborn, and rude. I had to ask myself, why doesn’t this show have those moments? The answer is simple, because it is trying to be funny. It is trying to push a laugh out of you all the time and thus takes out the moments that make you like the characters, because let’s be honest, the funny part of Kaname is the abusive, stubborn, and rude part.
The reason I really wanted to love this show is because when I first had it described to me, it sounded exactly like how I wanted the original Full Metal Panic to be. I had it described to me as a “more comedic take on Full Metal Panic”, this could not be farther from the truth. I feel this to be more of a high school comedy that happens to include the characters from Full Metal Panic. It felt like it had nothing to do with Full Metal Panic and all the problems from the original show just felt so far away.
In fact, I don’t think I would have really minded a light plot somewhere in Fumoffu. I know this sounds weird coming from the person that hated the plot in the original, but it’s true. I don’t think the plot to Full Metal Panic was bad because it was bad, I think it was bad because it was nowhere near as good as it thought it was. It didn’t realize the right times to stop being serious and would often keep a dark tone for episodes on end until it could be separated by a light-hearted funny episode which in the end, just felt awkward. Fumoffu could have fixed this by using its comedy. If it had a very light plot, nothing too serious, just robots, explosions, and the odd bit of character development. Combine this with the kooky comedy we have seen from these characters and we would have had something absolutely spectacular.
I think I just dislike the Full Metal Panic franchise because it is not what I could see it being. If you want a high school comedy with the characters of Full Metal Panic, then I could see how you would love this. The problem is, it did not have what I wanted to see in a comedic spin-off of the franchise. Full Metal Panic is synonymous to action and mechas, something we do not get from fumoffu. It lost what Full Metal Panic had to make room for dicking around at school, which while fun, was not what I could see this franchise being and as such, I can only give it a 7/10. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
The setting was the major selling point when I heard about this show, and by setting I don’t mean the place because that is not interesting in the slightest. What is interesting however is the time period. This takes place during a time that is never explored in anime, and if it has been, I have not heard about it. Sakamichi no Apollon takes place in Japan during the 1960’s. I know Japan is kind of an overused setting when it comes to anime, but this show portrays such a setting in a completely different manner. I personally found it refreshing to see such a take on a popular location.
The plot itself focuses around Kaoru Nishimi, a high-school boy who is also an excellent pianist, after certain events took place, he was forced to move in with his extremely wealthy relatives. On his first day at his new school he ends up meeting Sentaro, your stereotypical delinquent/nice guy who we find out is an excellent drummer. He also meets Ritsuko, a cute, nice, and friendly girl whom, big shock here, Kaoru falls in love with. We also have Junichi, the father, or rather “brother” figure to Sentaro as his own father left while Sentaro was still fairly young and he didn’t have anyone to look up towards, and Yurika, the women who Sentaro convinces himself he is in love with. Kaoru and Sentaro have a unique friendship that they develop through Jazz in a basement owned by Ritsuko’s father.
And as such we begin a fairly generic romance, but here’s the thing. I would not like to believe that this show is really about the romance. Really it is about the friendship between Kaoru and Sentaro. I am still amazed they can convey a scene that is the equivalent to a couple minutes of dialogue with a just a few songs. These “jam sessions” with Kaoru and Sentaro are the highlight of the show for me as just their playing is able to express their emotions perfectly, whether it be anger, hatred, love, reluctance, forgiveness, or just simple bliss. All of these emotions are conveyed perfectly through song, and I was excited every time one of these scenes popped up. In fact two of these scenes are absolutely brilliant and I really don’t want to talk about this as I would rather spoil the plot than spoil the pure happiness that is delivered to me though these scenes.
However, while the “bromance” section of this show is brilliant, the show tries to play itself off as a romance. That means there are scenes that do try to convey a romantic theme, and more often than not, fall flat on their face in doing so. These romances don’t seem to be based off of anything and start to appear really out of nowhere. The Kaoru/Ritsuko romance is especially guilty of this later on, when it flops around for almost no visible reason. The romance section of the story also brings out Kaoru’s other personality, and by other personality I mean his prick side. That is my biggest problem with Sakamichi no Apollon, Kaoru, our protagonist, is an asshole. He is selfish, judgemental, and quick to accuse others of trying to get rid of him. He is the kind of person that believes that his friends have to be around him constantly and if they move away from him one tiny bit, he attacks and insults them. As well, he also never really graduates from being a prick, there are times when you think that he has finally learned his lesson, but then he goes on to find another thing to be an absolute prick about. Even in the final episode he has one of his largest prick moments when acts like a selfish, egotistical asshole. Even when he does act like this people seem to brush him off and forgive him immediately afterwards, which I simply cannot understand.
But, with that section, I have exhausted everything that I do not like about this show, because as I have said before, this show is excellent and there are many things that I found to let me forgive the faults. For starters, there is no fanservice to speak of in this show. Even the most subtle of fanservice techniques, the kind of thing that you have to be deliberately paying attention to find have no place in this show. This allowed me to treat the show for what it is, view the romance as a love story rather than clipped together scenes of the human body. In a way, it made the story feel a lot more real and was a refreshing aspect of the show compared to the troves of fanservice we find in anime today.
As well I enjoyed the simplicity that came with this show. This show does not really have any dark themes to speak of. It does not have complex story or any crazy plot twists. I find a lot of plot based shows today try to see how much they can stuff into their series, thinking that the more elements they have, the better it is. This show seemed to be packed with the right amount of elements, there was never really a moment where you felt as if nothing at all was happening, and there wasn’t really a time where it felt like I was overloaded with information. The show was paced in such a way that just felt natural and fluid.
On top of that the art is gorgeous, it is quite different from normal anime and feels quite a lot older but i felt that it complemented the themes of the show and the time period perfectly. The art is heavily airbrushed which complements the simplicity of the show excellently. The animation, while mostly good has a few moments where you can tell a lot more focus was put into them, when the animation picked up, it became perfectly fluid and had an excellent feel to it. It was kind of a shame that this only happened once in awhile however as it made the other scenes feel slightly rushed in comparison.
But then we move onto the music, it would be an absolute sin to mention this show without talking about the absolutely brilliant soundtrack that came with it. When I heard that an individual person was hired to play each of the characters instruments in the jam sessions, I knew this was going to be something special. Not only that but none of this music was licensed. Even the songs that do exist in real life were re-recorded and if you listen to the two side-by-side you can notice the clear difference between the two. Sometimes I even felt as if the Sakamichi no Apollon version was actually superior to the previous version. I can safely say that this is my favourite anime soundtrack of all time, it was good music, wonderfully played, and perfectly used in the show.
To reiterate, I love this show. It has its obvious flaws, but it is petty compared to the things that were great in this show. That being said, it was easily my favourite show of the season. It just felt so awesome to watch, I would wait a week, twiddling my thumbs waiting patiently for the next episode. This truly was a great show, and I hope to see more like it. It has faults, so I can only give it a 9/10 but I cannot hesitate to recommend this show to you. Oh, and before you get all upset that I didn’t give it a 10 seeing as I talked about how awesome it was, keep in mind I have only given two shows a perfect 10, because that is what a 10 is, perfection. This still ranks as one of my top 10 anime. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
The plot follows Teiichi as he finds himself wandering in the deserted old section of his school. He vaguely recalls a story in which a ghost haunts whoever looks in a certain mirror. Needless to say, he finds this mirror and looks into it, he is definitely haunted, but not in the way you would suspect. The ghost is a surprisingly attractive girl named Yuuko. Yuuko has amnesia and Teiichi promises to help Yuuko get her memories back, as such he begins the “Paranormal Investigations Club” which is used to help Yuuko learn about her past, and how she died.
What pisses me off is that this show opened up great, with one of the most clever opening episodes I have seen in a long time. This episode had the ability to make the exact same scene infinitely more entertaining by changing a few details and airing it twice. As well we got introductions to all the characters and leaves us with some important questions that need to be answered, needless to say this first episode was brilliant, it had everything it needed and was supported by a wonderful art style that fit the style of show perfectly. After this episode I was hooked, thinking that this show was going to be amazing.
From there on it just gets worse, instead of answering the questions we were left with, it decides to launch a barrage of comedy episodes at us, whose only purpose is to make us laugh. It does this until episode eight in which it decides to switch back to the theme that they were conveying in the first episode. These episodes finally began to answer the questions we had, I only felt that it was a little late. I had forgotten the questions we were left with due to the many comedy episodes before episode 8 so to finally get a plot now felt a little dull. That being said, these episodes were good, and I would have really enjoyed them if they happened sooner, but sadly they didn’t.
The show seems to try and please everybody, it switches themes erratically in order to make sure that everybody has something they could enjoy. The problem comes when this makes that you can’t enjoy every second of it, no matter what side of the fence you are on. If you want a upbeat comedy, then I am sure that you will enjoy episodes 2-7. However, you will feel that there is too much going on with the other episodes and that may turn you off. On the opposite end, if you are looking for an emotional mystery/romance then you will be turned away by the series of episodes that blocks you from this theme.
These alterations in themes are no more prevalent than in the final episode, where I can only assume there was an argument over what the theme really was. Usually an episode of the show sticks to its own theme and doesn’t really change it, but this episode alters the style it is going for many times. It’s happy, then it’s melancholy, it proceeds to switch to a romantic theme, before switching to the emotional and bittersweet ending... Except it would be the ending if it were actually the ending, but it’s not. In an unneeded twist it switches theme once more to a happy-go-lucky comedy that we saw in episodes 2-7. This ending was simply weak, it was hard to tell which emotion it wanted me to feel and overall made me feel none. If it had ended at the bittersweet part where it felt like a natural ending, then I would have been genuinely depressed and it would have left a much larger impression on me. Similarly if it had skipped the bittersweet part and moved straight to the “everything is happy” part, I would have been laughing and smiling like an idiot. However, in the way that it toyed with my emotions it made it impossible for me to enjoy the ending at all.
All this said, there were a few episodes that I really liked, some of them were just enjoyable, and some experimented with the way that they could show a story. Episodes 10 and 11 were my favourite episodes in the series, even above the opening episode. These episodes showed Niiya viewing Yuuko’s past through her own eyes. This was clever, and showed a unique art style that you don’t see in anime often. Because of the situation, the entire episode was told from a first person point of view. We see life through one person’s eyes and this kept me intrigued throughout these episodes. As well these episodes heavily played into the plot and finally answered the question that we all had from the very beginning, how exactly did Yuuko die?
I would also like to point out the art style, which works almost half the time. When it is a comedy it falls flat as the art style is just a bit too dark. However it really works perfectly when it goes for the supernatural mystery/romance tone. When this happens the art style perfectly complements the tone of the story and makes it much, much more enjoyable. I think it was the art style that made me want the darker side of the story more as it just fit better. If the art style were to be adapted into something a bit more cheerful then perhaps I would have enjoyed the comedy episodes the most.
This anime is an anime that tries to be everything, but fails with deciding what it really is. It could have been really great if it had picked one theme and stuck with it. It did not and the plot and overall enjoyment suffered greatly because of this. The plot was intriguing and I was interested to find out what really happened, but it decided to put off the plot in favor of cracking some jokes. This show had a ton of potential but in the end gets only a 6/10. read more
11 of 11 episodes seen
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Bakemonogatari, I loved it for its amazing art and its clever writing but I hated it for its... use of the female body. The fanservice in Bakemonogatari always walked a thin line between annoying and creepy and sometimes it was hard to tell which side it was leaning to. In the direct sequel, Nisemonogatari the series seems to have fallen off this line and face planted straight into the realm of creepy. In the first episode alone we get, mild incest, mild loli on two occasions, and full high schooler nudity. This ends up developing into legitimate incest, full loli nudity, and more boob shots that you can count. Koyomi, the protagonist ends up developing from a weird perverted teenager, into a terrifying, sister kissing, tooth brushing, child molesting creep. Do I hate this show, no. Could this show have been much, much better, yes.
The weird thing about Nisemonogatari is that it starts off great. Koyomi is at a point where he is not too creepy to watch and we have none of the haunting incest. On top of that we have an interesting plot involving the only good female character in the show, Senjougahara. This set of episodes is wonderful as we get a lot of insight into senjougahara’s past and why she is so distrustful of others. In fact, the first episode drew me in during the very first minute in which we have Senjougahara kidnapping Koyomi, only leaving us to wonder how this incident got started. From there we get a series of quite well thought out plot elements that bring more characters into this mess and develops Koyomi’s relation with others quite well.
The first seven episodes are called into motion when a mysterious, ill-omened man named Kaiki Deishu appears. Further development leads you to discover that Senjougahara had once sought this mans help in the events prior to Bakemonogatari. She did this only to discover that he was a con-man who was only after her parents money and indirectly caused her parents divorce. She decides that she must hunt down Kaiki and make him regret what he has done. It gets more complicated when Karen, Koyomi’s sister contracts a mysterious illness that was supposedly given to her by Kaiki himself.
That is as much as I want to give away without providing major spoilers because these first episodes are brilliant. The writing is engaging and clever, the characters and their motives, both clear and unclear are interesting, and overall it’s just fun. The first seven episodes were a complete blast to watch. Honestly, if it had ended at the end of the first arc, then I would have loved this show. I would have placed it far above Bakemonogatari and possibly into my top ten, that is how much I liked the beginning. Sure there was fanservice, but it was all pretty mild, and it wasn’t to the point where it was creepy. But it will get creepy, very soon.
Episode 8, just everything about it just makes me ask “Why?” Why does this episode need to exist. It ruined such a good streak of great and thoughtful episodes with one that can be summed up with one word, incest. In this episode we get one of the most disturbing scenes in anime. period. I will never, ever look at a toothbrush in the same way again. I’m sure if you have been following anime of any kind for long enough you would have heard of this scene, in fact I heard about it well before I watched Nisemonogatari, in fact well before I watched Bakemonogatari for that matter. It is something that those who have watched it will never be able to forget and will be prevalent in our nightmares for years, if not decades to come. This entire episode is creepy, it is not entertaining in the slightest, just creepy. I did not laugh, I was not pulled into the clever dialogue, I was simply disgusted.
From there on, it does get less creepy, but it is still creepy nonetheless. The image from episode eight is still in the back of your mind and we still have the incest, oh yes the incest. Koyomi seemed to realise that he has a taste for his sisters and wants some more, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. As such, Koyomi has passed the realm of weird and passed into the realm of creepy and disgusting. Please note that these episodes after number eight are not bad, they are just less mind blowing than what I saw before episode eight. These episodes still have an interesting plot, but it just seems less fun. Perhaps that is because they had a darker colour scheme for this section as a lot of it seems to take place after dark, but I never got that feeling of “Wow, this is really cool”.
While I am on the subject of colour schemes, I guess it would be a crime not to mention the art, because let’s be honest, that is the real reason we all started watching this. This anime, is gorgeous, more so than Bakemonogatari in my opinion. This is due to one thing and one thing only, the set design. Words cannot describe how good it looks. It is a mix of surreal environments and abstract minimalism that makes you look at every scene in awe. The indoor environments are especially stunning that it sometimes causes you to stop looking at the characters and at the backgrounds instead. Whether it be Koyomi’s house which looks like a cross between a hollywood set and a medieval church, or Kaiki’s hangout which put me in a hypnotic trance just from looking at it. In fact I can safely say this is the only anime and will probably be the only one in which there can be a scene of the protagonist taking a bath with me in awe of how beautiful it is. Not only that but they use the environments to convey the messages of the characters. This can range anywhere from road signs reading out characters emotions, to a small detail in the environment relaying what happens in a scene. This pretty much forces you to pay attention and think more about the events that are unfolding. Nisemonogatari may actually be the best looking anime I have ever seen.
What it all comes down to is, do I like it? Well, yes but that does not mean I love it. It could have been much better and even with the amazing visuals, the final half still creeps me out. The first half however is absolutely brilliant and holds up the entire series. Overall, this show evens out to be completely meh. It is not as good as Bakemonogatari, though it is not much worse. It serves its purpose and as such gets a 7/10. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Our story follows a perverted highschooler. (Our hero!) Who seems to have the unnatural ability to make almost any girl want to fuck him. He is also a zombie. (Because apparently romance with a zombie is hip right now in Japan.) As well he is joined by Tsundere, Tsundere-er, and Tsundere-est. Later he is joined by Tsundere 2.0 AKA, The Easy Button. With this one-dimensional group of a pervert and four Tsunderes they go to fight monsters and what-not. Why? Fuck, I don’t know.
That’s the thing, these characters have no depth. There is a little bit here in there, but with the exception of Eu AKA, Tsundere 1.0, we never get any insight to their personalities. I mean seriously, look at some of these characters. We have Haruna, she is a magical girl and a Tsundere... That is all. Then we have the Holy Grail of bad characters, Sera AKA, Tsundere-est. Her character is a vampire ninja. Yes, a fucking vampire ninja... What were they on when they made this? Her personality, is a rock. A rock, with tits. Scratch that, a rock with tits who thinks the protagonist is a pervert, and rightly so. The writers seem completely aware of this as they introduce her with a lone that pretty much says she has no personality.
Speaking of Tsundere-est’s tits, let’s talk about the fanservice. which there is a lot of. It seems self aware of this too. It’s not like they are trying to sneak it past us for some attention. No, they pretty much have a big sign that says, “we have tits, watch our show.” I mean, Tsundere-er is naked after she transforms out of her magical girl transformation. The protagonist points this out blatantly, trying to call your attention to the screen by pretty much saying, “Hey look, Tsundere-er is naked. Isn’t it neat?” This fanservice continues until the very end of the series, with the last episode ending with the entire cast in thongs. Really, is that really an acceptable way to end a series? With one giant fanservice explosion.
Early in the plot, the protagonist ends up stealing Tsundere-er’s magical girl abilities and has to become a magical girl himself. Which calls in another form of low-wit humour, crossdressing. Not only does it creep you out, this plot point also makes for one of the most disgusting transformation sequences possible. I mean, it’s creepy enough when ribbons are tightly wrapping around a girls rear, but when it’s a dude, just... ugh. Also the protagonist seems to switch from being creepy and perverted to being selfless and heroic and I really don’t know when he switches. He can be imagining other people thinking sexual thoughts about him at one moment, and then saving the fucking day the next.
But somehow, and trust me, I don’t know how, this show is hilarious. I’m trying to think if there is an episode where I didn’t laugh out loud multiple times, somehow there isn’t. It is just so random that you can’t really help but laugh. But matching the laughs equally are the disgusting moments. From the protagonist getting tentacle raped, to Tsundere-er getting tentacle raped. it is full of moments that just made me want to hurl. It’s gross and that is all, it is not funny, it’s completely repulsive in every way.
Well then, if the comedy is weighed down by disgusting scenes, then it must be the plot that makes me like it. Well no luck there. This thing about this plot is that it may have actually been good, I don’t know. You see, there are some points that are actually suspenseful and somewhat emotional... That is until the writers realize that they are being suspenseful and emotional and quickly remedy that with something completely stupid. Keep in mind this stupid stuff is funny, but it is used at a point which may have actually been interesting if it had not been included.
Not to mention that this anime is gory as hell. Once again to the point where it disgusts me. Just because the protagonist is immortal, it does not mean that he has to become a fucking pincushion being torn limb from limb every bloody episode. and yes I meant bloody in the literal sense. This show has enough blood to rival Baccano!, but unlike Baccano! it is not the good kind of gore. It is the “why did you need to do that” kind of gore and frankly is something that the show could have done without.
I may have found why I like it, it is just so stupid and random. I mean, I like random shows, FLCL is one of my favourite shows of all time, but then again you can tell that some thought was put into it. It’s the way that this show is, it’s so stupid it’s funny. The fact that the protagonist can get his arm cut off in a fight but can win the fight by whipping the loose arm at his enemy, it’s stupidly funny. The fact that there is a restaurant called “Mask-donalds” where the staff is wearing luchadore outfits, is again stupid, but so stupid it’s funny. It’s funny in the same way that a video of someone falling on a bike is funny. It’s stupid, it has no substance or wit, but that kid just fell off a fucking bike, you’re gonna laugh. That’s the thing you do not need to think while watching this show, providing you have the sense to completely turn off your brain then this show becomes absolutely hilarious. However, if you are looking for substance, turn away now.
And there we go, I just wrote a review about a show I liked without actually saying that I liked about it. It’s gory, disgusting, poorly written, with a jumbled and messed up plot. It is a trainwreck on all accounts but I just can’t stop myself from laughing at it. As such I give it a 7.5/10. Why? Because I just feel like it and honestly, I had hoped that writing this review would lead to discover why I liked it. However, it just lead me to more confusion. Maybe it’s because it is random, maybe it’s some other weird phenomenon. Sadly I don’t think I’ll ever know. read more