12 of 12 episodes seen
School Days is the story about a boy named Makoto struggling with his undying love and affection in a cruel world trying to take advantage of him. A cast of predominantly crude females trying to erode his incredible spirit, you'll smile every time he manages to come out on top; I won't spoil it here, but the understanding and sheer consideration the main character possesses in the face of adversity is inspiring to say the least.
Of course, that's where the show's story shines, it also has some less sightly aspects. For instance, this is an inspiring drama, which means it moves slow, and if you couldn't tell by the title, it takes place in a "School" during "Days", which is as exciting as it sounds at times. It's easy to be bored before getting to know the illustrious depths of our male hero's goals, but once invested, you may weep with passion.
It doesn't help that the art is rather dull as well, being barely passable as something to look at. Some characters look nearly identical and rather misleading. They seem cute and bubbly, which may be an artistic decision, as it's quite a dark world our innocent Makoto inhabits.
Sound isn't much to write home about, but what you can write is one of Makoto's amazing, heart-felt speeches to his adversaries. It wouldn't surprise me if the script for this show was written by a politician, this character knows how to move a crowd.
Overall, if you want to experience an enlightening, warm character come out on top of it all, with a will to triumph against all odds, you must watch this show, even through it's slow, uninteresting bits. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
The world of Moribito is a fantastical one, but the kind of fantasy that is grounded in reality enough to be believable; you're going to see strange things, odd lifeforms, and some light magical elements, but that's about as far as it takes you from reality. It's a tantalizing taste of the abnormal that keeps a sense of mystery throughout the story. All of the characters feel very real. This is important, as it creates immersion with the setting and characters, both of which feel alive, tangible. This is part the world-building that Moribito does so well.
During the journey you are introduced to a wide cast of characters from both sides: the side of the female warrior Balsa who has ended up shouldering the burden of the empire's supernaturally cursed Prince Chagum, and the side of the empire itself which seeks to hunt them both down. By following everyone, you rarely feel like one is unjustified or one is more righteous, even as they clash. In most ancient, medieval Asian settings, such conflict is usually portrayed with brutal intensity and gore. Moribito takes a different approach, providing still-furious fights with less gratuity, leaving a more mature experience overall with a respectable moral ambiguity usually in-tact.
However, most of the story's focus is on the characters motives and personalities, not the conflict at hand. Episodes rely much more on the dialogue, character, and immersion. There is little comedy to speak of in these exchanges; a generally subdued tone pervades the show. Make no mistake, though, heart and spirit are still extremely plentiful in Moribito, but light-hearted moments are more often warm than they are uplifting.
Here is where most viewers will find their issue. Short attention spans be wary: it is not uncommon to go three or more episodes without an action scene or without a main event. That said, pacing is a considerable flaw, leading to its nickname "Boribito". Thankfully, the more patient will likely find a fondness for the compelling characters. The stalwart and kind Tanda, the tactless and humorous shaman Torogai, the dignified and persistent Shuga, and the deadly band of pursuers on the protagonists' trail are just a few. That is, of course, if Balsa's quest and past or Chagum's predicament does not capture you first. Generic anime cliches be damned, as well. There is no fan-service or pandering to speak of, political intrigue is kept at a level that minimizes petty dramatics in favor of character relations, and characters act in a way that is logical. This may lack some crowd-pleasing pay-off, but it weaves a satisfying story beginning to end. After a dozen episodes, these characters feel like family, which should be the aspiration of any good story.
Artistically, I would say that this is most likely the most gorgeous anime I have ever seen, and is worth watching entirely on this merit if you crave eye candy of the landscape or natural variety. Mountains, streams, everything is rendered in extremely lush, vibrant detail. It doesn't end there. Everything looks incredible, characters in the background look incredible. Fight scenes are so fluid, well-choreographed, and dynamic that your heart should race along with them. Colorful and moody, with such meticulous detail, it makes me question art I've praised in the past. Enough gushing, I think it's beautiful.
Sound is almost as great as the art. It takes a lot to make characters talking seem engaging and atmospheric, or a marching platoon of soldiers seem like a momentous event. The music accomplishes this with great compliment to the art. As for the voice acting, I watched the dub, and aside from the problem of hearing the same actors from every anime ever made, it was superb aside from some of Chagum's more exclamatory emotions. Sounds receive equal praise, rarely using what I could detect as standard stock.
Moribito is a type of show that's a lot like having a well-written fantasy novel read to you. The more you put into it, the likely more you will get enjoyment out of it. It's certainly an acquired taste, but if you're looking for a mature story, a medieval/fantasy fix, or something to wash away that generic shounen malaise, give this show a try, just don't judge too soon. read more
12 of 21 episodes seen
The story is where this show immediately falls apart. Without giving too much away (there isn't much to give away), A big nasty empire comes and destroys a smaller nation, and of course, it's up to a small resistance to stand against them and find out what they're really up to. Our protagonists, a few very young girl sky pirates, commandeer enemy ships for the resistance and the princess of the small nation. Gone is the first episode with a full-on sky battle between two puppet nations, with rows of musketeers firing from the decks. Gone are the two interesting protagonists, who may or may not have a relationship, scraping by with just their fathers' van-ship, caught up unwillingly into something big, something they were destined for. Gone is the mysterious "Guild" from the first show, too.
The story's only merit being that it's entirely standard, we must continue on the story's flaws: it's filled with childish and completely unbelievable scenarios. Last Exile had some of this, but it never strayed away from showing the horrors of the politics and wars at hand. In this sequel it isn't uncommon for a tiny ship to fly through a fleet unscathed simply because protagonists are on it. Actually, it happens in nearly every episode. Twelve episodes in, you will only know the three things you knew in episode two: Empire bad, little girls are good, and moons are magic space-ships. It does nothng new, and it does everything old extremely poorly. Storytellers should understand the basics of nature, warfare, the human condition, and conquest before writing about it. This show throws a big empire at you, makes them do bad things, and they're just automatically the villain. Past 12 episodes this may change, but after that duration most stories have fully developed political backgrounds. Last Exile had reasons for why the nations were at war, and made it clear resources were scare. This sequel, like it's cast, is childishly written.
On to the aforementioned cast. Characters in Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing, are among the most forgettable, uninteresting, motive-less husks of human beings and not-human beings ever put into an animated production. They even insult past beloved, central characters of the first series by shoving them into side roles where they barely appear in favor of these far less interesting newcomers. This is particularly infuriating, as Dio, Tatiana, or Vincent would have all made incredible main characters. Fam is your typical happy-go-lucky, fearless-by-stupidity, loli protagonist who just likes capturing ships, it seems. She's committing theft, why should I be rooting for her? Is smiling and doing random reckless acts identifiable to anyone at all? Her navigator is Giselle, a much better character who is at least smart, but spends most of her time, like Fam, just being cute for the camera. Neither of them show empathy, struggle, or reveal anything other than vague cuteness and plot-defiant heroism. These characters never make an attempt to rationalize the war, which is understandable, considering that there really isn't anything to understand about it. How many children do you know that would just casually accept being involved in a war with a huge empire, still smiling at every instant?
Are ships characters? Because in the original Last Exile they were. The Silvana was one of the coolest ships ever, with a bad-to-the-core, funny, and enigmatic crew. This show's substitute, the Silvius, is a perfect reflection of the show: it pales by comparison in every way. It's boring, with a largely nameless, skinny, short-haired male archetype crew. Why do they blindly follow this princess (who is no longer a princess, of course) to re-build her nation? It is never explained why, it's just accepted. Where is this show's Alex Row, the tortured captain with secret ties to his crew? Where is this show's battleship-with-chainsaws moment? Most of all, where is the personal, human element? The entire atmosphere of Last Exile came from it being a colonial steam punk style, but there's no musketeers or soldiers, just commanders and little girls who can do anything.
The artwork is still admirable for the most part, comparable to the first series, but with a markedly lazier and less creative design for the mechanical side of things. It still has that special aesthetic that demands merit. The colors in some scenes are beautiful, the architecture of cities is breathtaking. Costumes and character designs are also easy to admire, if only they had as much care put into their insides. The art can't be faulted, its integration of CG modeling even more seamless and enjoyable.
Sound, like the art, is good, using a lot of the same songs and sounds of the first Last Exile. It's nostalgic, almost like it's trying very hard to say "This IS a sequel, remember, see?". The intro is artistically valuable, too, though cant compare to Last Exile's Cloud Age Symphony. Gun-battles between metal sky-behemoths sound chaotic, you know, like battles, and that's all one can really ask for. The voice cast does it's job, nothing spectacular, as there really wasn't one emotional scene in 12 episodes.
Overall, Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing, is a cash-in of the worst kind, capturing none of the essence of the first show by slapping a boring, over-used plot on an original series. It then proceeds to tease old fans with returning characters, shadows of their former selves, to play background while loli's giggle in the forefront. As a fan of the original, and as a fan of many of Gonzo's works when many are not, this is a highly disappointing venture on their part. A little wisdom and care would have gone a long way. The awareness that someone will say "you only watched barely over half the series, how dare you criticize it!" haunts me, so let me rebut: a good show is good throughout its majority, a good sequel is comparable to the quality of the former in all respects. Last exile was, indeed, called LAST Exile for a reason.
65 of 110 episodes seen
As you can already tell, nothing good can come from me writing this review. Legend of The Galactic Heroes is beloved on this site, a great deal call it a classic, and here I am writing about it being only "average". I have not finished the series: I can't, and this review is intended to tell you why I can't, but moreso, why others like me, who bought into the hype, shouldn't waste their time (a LOT of time).
The story of Legend of the Galactic Heroes follow the protracted war between the The Galactic Empire and Free Planets Alliance with a stunning degree of depth. You will know why the war started, who started it, why they started it, and why it mattered to the characters. What you might wonder is: why does it matter to you? This is where the main problem with LoGH arises, and the first problem with the story: this is a series of details, not entertainment, not development, not provoking ideas, but details. This is where LoGH gets its staggering 110 non-filler episodes. It is a slow crawling assault of information, mostly useless. If you enjoy fictional history, this will not be a problem for you. You'll even be treated to several episodes of literal fake history lessons, in a documentary-style format, with interviews from fake historians and everything. Having fun, yet?
The second problem with the story is actually a problem with its characters. They fall into only two categories: Mary Sues and trying too hard. The main characters, Yang Wenli and Reinhard Lohengramm, can twist probability and reason in such ways that would make the characters in Gurren Lagann blush; they can do no wrong. Yang Wenli is outgunned to some astronomical degree like 1 to 100 most of the time and he wins because of "superior strategy" or "morale". Julian, Yang's boy servant, can also do no wrong. He'll commandeer warships with little or no effort. They don't try to disguise this, as every character who loves Yang, Reinhard, or Julian will survive, and everyone who hates them, regardless of how justifiable their reasons are, will die. This is where trying too hard comes into play. Look no further than the character Poplan, where you'll notice it first. He's horny, and he will appear in no scene without reminding you he likes women. Oberstein will go through every scene looking suspicious. We get it, these are one-note characters. You cannot care about them.
How does "morale" make a difference, anyway? Does morale make lasers stronger or weaker? Everything you heard about the tactics in LoGH is a joke. They use simple ideas like "Circle around behind them" or "Don't tell them about our main fleet", and apparently, that's very impressive. You won't need to worry about this, though, action is sparse in LoGH: They prefer to drink, eat, stare out windows, converse, and philosophize for most of their screen time away. You ever wondered how Yang feels about democracy? You're gonna know. You're gonna know over and over again.
The third issue with the story is that it's entirely implausible. There's only two ways for the enemies to cross into each other's territories, and they never really explain why other than "we'll die". Also, in the future, wars are waged with battle axes and armor in space ships, lasers are less lethal than bullets, and everybody lives and looks the exact same way that they do now. LoGH exists in some strange mindset of the future where we got into space, developed some very limited mass-communication, and all other technology stayed in the Middle Ages. The show Star Trek did it better in the 1960s, and even changed the world we live in with its ideas (like the wireless communicator AKA cell-phone), what is LoGH's excuse? It doesn't have one, it's just not creative.
While the creativity and story of LoGH is sickeningly weak, its artistic merits were more worth my viewing. Classic and orchestral music scores carry the scenes well, though the scenes themselves look bland. Characters are barely animated, even compared to other anime of this era. It's very stiff, not that it needs to be extremely fluid for characters to sip drinks and talk. It lumbers monotonously on the dance floor, but it does it to a wonderful sound-track.
The main attraction of this show is, apparently, the dialogues between the Mary Sues. Admittedly, they are pretty entertaining for a good 50 episodes. They touch on a lot of subjects that are relevant even more in today's world than they were then, which is surprising and delightful. If you keep up on current events, or even politics in the slightest, there's a lot of meat for you here. This raises the question, though: why aren't you just reading about politics?
Let me sum up, and re-phrase that last part. The main attraction for Legend of The Galactic Heroes is the ability for one to say "I watched something from the 1980s that nobody's heard about or cares about". Then one can say "It was mature and intelligent, despite the fact I learned nothing". This show is a waste of time as entertainment, this show is an example of what NOT to do with a show about the future, space, philosophy, politics, and the human condition. There's a reason only MAL and hipsters care about LoGH, and everyone else knows Star Trek and Star Wars. Star Trek and Star Wars had vision and creativity that inspired generations and scientists. LoGH has 110 episodes nobody watched, flat characters nobody would recognize or identify with, and a literal universe of wasted potential.
26 of 26 episodes seen
Story 7: The story here is basically getting to know the history and eccentric characters of the Sohma family. You'll be surprised, but you'll never hit that emotional break down or emotional soaring.The story is not this show's strongest feature, in fact, there's a dearth of any real plot at all, riding mostly on the intrigue of romance and mystery, both of which feel weak at their finale. However, if you've got a sense of humor, you'll probably be laughing through it, not caring, anyway. It's very funny.
Art 7: A fairly basic style that skillfully switches to the typical silly, goofy chibi antics we all know and...sometimes hate. Eyes are bubbly, strange colors just like the hair, which makes even many of the male characters look feminine. Overall, there's nothing wonderful about the art, but it's stylish enough to be good to look at.
Sound 6: This is my biggest beef with the anime, actually. I always listen closely to the sound-tracks of my favorite shows; a quality sound track can make the difference between impressive and epic. Fruits Basket never realized this. You'll frequently hear the same tracks over and over again. If you're keen enough, you can even call the next track that's going to play! I did it at least twice!
Characters 9: Finally, this is where the show really grabbed me. Every character in this show provides a necessary element to the show, and they're ALWAYS charismatic in some way. Most of them are laugh-out-loud funny, and the ones that aren't still have a charm that compliments the others. The only annoyance is the constant pep-talks of the female protagonist. All the males look androgynous, but we're used to that, aren't we? Favorite character's got to be Kyo and his "girlfriend", providing a much-welcomed comedic conflict. It's simply great to watch him take everything way too seriously and flip out; the lack of chemistry is a running gag.
Over all, this show is extremely funny, but only moderately interesting in the serious-portions. It feels pretty incomplete and unsatisfying on the storyline front, but if you're looking for light-hearted laughs, unforgettable characters, and a pretty entertaining mysterious romance, give Fruits Basket a try, won't ya? Don't worry about your masculinity, it'll be fine. read more