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13 of 13 episodes seen
Kannagi exemplifies how brilliant humor and characters may polish even the most cliched plot devices into a worthy gem. The premise of Kannagi is almost capable of inducing many facepalms. A magic girl/god (Nagi), due to some ridiculous circumstance, lands into the house of some teenage guy (Jin), who despite his complete lack of experience with the opposite gender, manages to score himself a harem within the next 6 episodes. By now, you can probably fill in the rest of the plot.
Its the details that make Kannagi special.
Almost every joke in Kannagi appeared somewhere, but few of them have ever been executed so well. From the sheer hilarity of an Otaku who gets offended when anyone assumes that he loves anything remotely anime, to the Art class seniors who speak of forming a `balanced party' of adventurers (artists) to to a boss (cleaning the antic). While the animation and voice acting isn't spectacular, it support the humour perfectly. Its enough to get you drunk with laughter, enough to forget, and forgive, the rather contrived circumstances that make up Kannagi's plot.
Kannagi major weakness is in Episode 11, as it sets up the drama for the final arc. Suddenly that shield of humor is removed. The experience is akin to screaming with an excitement on one of the best rollercoaster rides you've had, only to have it suddenly slow down to 5 miles/hour and transform into a museum tour of ancient Greek literature. The drama isn't bad per se... but the experience is so discontinous that you begin to wonder if you're still watching the same anime.
In the end, Kanaggi isn't without faults. The plot is thin, the situation cliched, and the final ending, while heart warming, leaves many questions unexplained. Yet, you're unlikely to care given that it is a show that will certainly make you laugh.
Kannagi may not be perfect, but it is a perfect execution of an imperfect story.
25 of 25 episodes seen
Normally, art is a minor detail for me, but the atrocious art in Yamato cannot be ignored. While there is a lot to blame, the bland backgrounds, the sub-par animation, the dreary colors, and the overly constant use of chibi characters, one particular feature completely stands out.
The four main male leads are suppose to be some of the hottest men on the planet, and yet half of them make Golum look like a stunner. While I understand the typical trend of attending feminine characteristics to male leads in shoujo shows, and many shows like Host Club does it well, Yamato has taken the trend to its utterly grotesque extreme.
Toyama and Ranmaru come across as grotesque drag-queens who've spent the last 48 hours covering their eyes with dark eye-liner.It is hard to imagine how anyone could find such characters attractive. Every girl who showed Toyama to so far has shook her head in disdain, and every guy had a pulsing sensation hurl my notebook off the 5th floor balcony.
This is a real pity, given that animation aside, Yamato has potential. While there was little plot development, each character has some depth, and there are some scenes that can draw genuine laughs. The story itself also holds unique premise, telling the tale of a girl who dresses and behaves hideously, and four guys who try to make her realize her own hidden beauty and become a lady. It's just too bad that you don't tend to laugh very much when you feel like someone's sticking hot pokers in your eyes.
In the end, Yamato is an above average shoujo comedy, save for its abysmal visual design. Perhaps the creators were trying to make a deep metaphor between the anime and the main female lead. Alas, they would probably be better off redoing the anime in Flash with each male character replaced by a color coded stick figure. At least that way the comedy would come through, without the visual torture.
7 of 12 episodes seen
Note: If you have not see the Tale of Memories, do not read this review. It'll be rather meaningless.
Make no mistake, Tale of Melodies is definitely not a mediocre sequel. Judged by itself, Melodies would fit the true hallmarks of a classic. Watching episode after episode is akin to surfing upon waves of pure emotion, there will be scenes that are guaranteed to even make terminator a little teary.
Like its original, Melodies is an utter masterpiece of both visual and melodic artistic direction. The visuals accentuate the emotions in every scene, the speech often feature rhythmic and even poetic undertone; when you watch Melodies, you do not feel like you're just watching an anime, but rather appreciating an awe-inspiring piece of art.
Where's most anime are content to have the animations fluidly and attractively portray an event, Melodies goes five steps further. Each and everything scene, including even the placement and subtle variations of the OP, are the way the way for some subtle purpose. There's little else to be said but to experience it. If Clannad for a 10/10 for art, Melodies surely deserves an 11.
In terms of technical and artistic talent, Melodies arguably surpasses its original. Yuuko's suffering in Episode 6 for example, ups the ante even in comparison to the famous phone messages of Miyako in season 1. So what keeps Melodies from rivaling memories?
It's certainly not the art or the music, nor is it likely the characters. The dialogue and characters remain strong, with a subtle since a humour that'll be familiar to anyone who enjoyed memories. The story, at outset, looks to have at least equal potential. On the one side, you have Mizuki, whose must find a way to bestow her love (Kuze) with the will to live and fight against a terminal disease. On the other, you have Yuu, who must save Yuuko from a history of abuse.
Yet, in watching the entire series, one can't help but feel something's missing. In the final episodes, there was just not quite the rush of anxiety one experienced when Chihiro tore out the pages of her diary. Perhaps some of the sudden twists in Melodies was too sudden and lacked the anxious suspense the original; perhaps it was the lack of something to rival the powerful metaphor delivered by the tale of the only girl in the world. The episodes of Melodies, while individually excellent, didn't appear to quite to weave together as flawlessly as the original.
Or perhaps it is just inspiration, or soul.
Just as Leonardo developed better skills after painting the Mona Lisa, SHAFT's technical capacity only improved after memories. Yet Melodies just has that little bit missing...
It's not quite the masterpiece memories was, but remains a brilliant piece of art. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
You won! But what's the feeling? Elation? Disappointment? Or a weird mixture of both?
Whatever that emotion is, that's what'll you feel upon completion of Higurashi Season 2. Brilliant twists, unparalleled suspense, the series builds to a full crescendo as the true devils behind the horrors of this countryside village is revealed is stunning fashion. All that is left is for the final confrontation, the one that will end it all...
You brace yourself. You know what the characters you've grown to love are up against, you know it'll be an uphill struggle. Yet, you know that with their sheer brilliance, they'll likely succeed. The three final episodes are finally here, and you prepared yourself to wowed, just as you were for the past 26 episodes... eager to see just what ingenious plan Kiechi and his group of resilient girls have brewed.
Then... suddenly, you're watching something the looks like came straight of Home Alone. The antagonist's forces, always so powerful, so disciplined, and so deadly, has magically transformed into a mob of bumbling fools. The comedic, idiotic and pathetic ways in which the villains appear totally out of place.
Its like watching Terminator, where after surviving massive explosions and shot gun shellls to the head, Arnold suddenly got killed by a Knife in the gut. You scream `WTF?'? Where's those snipers? Where those silencers? Did all the villains just drop themselves in a a barrel of toxic goo and had their IQ reduced by 50?
It seemed like he writers just run out brilliant ideas something so powerful could be defeated... and decided to take the easy way. This a true pity, given that the second arc was a true masterpiece, one-upping everything in both seasons combined.
In the end, a final rating for Higurashi ni Ki difficult to give. Up till the final episodes, the series deserves a 10/10. The meets, and even surpasses the incredible standards set by the season before. They have managed to construct a mystery that is unpredictable, and yet fits naturally with all clues given before, creating that elusive `Eureka' moment that is almost magical.
Yet, Higurashi fumbles at the critical moment, where the protagonists must use this knowledge to change their hellish destiny. The ending episodes are not bad (They deserve 7/10), but look immeasurable weak when compared to the hand standards set before.
Is it worth watching? Absolutely! Is it an masterpiece? Almost. But just like seeing Terminator die to a knife wound, one just cannot help but feel a little disappointment at the ending and endings tend to have a last impression. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
The curiosity takes over... and so you repeat the experiment, knowing full well that those cute looking teenagers you just sent are going to end up as bloody pulps. But hey, at least each time they die, you're one step closer to figuring out why they died, it's all good.
Higurashi essentially places you in the role of the scientist. It divides itself into several arcs, each of which begin exactly the same. A teenager moves into a remote countryside village, and befriends a group of sweet fangirls that could have come out right from a harem rom/com. Then, explicably, thing go wrong... very wrong.
The pacing is excellent, the suspence pulpable. You know terrible things are going to happen, but you don't know exactly what. Higurashi would appeal to two types of people. The maglomanics who cackle madly in seeing a happy community descend into the depth of oblivion, and the curious scientist who watched each arc with intense interest... for they want to know exact *why* everything goes wrong (though they can also cackle madly just a little).
The true draw of Higurashi is the mystery. The series will leave you guessing, postulating all manner of reasons why the sweetest girl in the class is now butchering every child in sight with a giant cleaver. Each experiment you run (arc you see) reveals a few more clues, and you formulate a new theory, only to find it shattered by another totally unexpected horror in the very same arc. The beauty of Higurashi is that a mystery of such grand scale, every detail is meticulous, and while every bloody event seems random at first, they all eventually fall into place
Not only are the characters are memorable, and filled with interesting secrets, and unlike school days, they're actually also extreme likeable. This is no small achievement, given what they're portrayed doing to each other.
Higurashi is really the pinnacle of a dark mystery. You'll start off the mad scientist, watching those innocents in the test chamber with morbid curiosity. Yet, slowly, that morbid curiosity will be transformed into sympathy, and as you fall in love these victims, that initial curiosity will into turn a genuine desire to figure out whats going on so that they can be saved.
As always, I welcome feedback!
13 of 13 episodes seen
Elven lied is not for the faint hearted.
There will be innocent puppies bludgeoned to death. There will be bodies exploding left and right. There will be naked girls chained to walls, their limbs dismembered one by one.
Despite this initial appearance, the goal of Elven Lied is not to revel in it own nudity and gore. Rather, the director exploits these scenes to paint a powerful story of a world twisted by enough racism, prejudices and hatred to make George Bush look like Jesus.
The main premise of Elven Lied poses the question, what are the terrible consequences when the world abandons a young girl because she is different, and what that very difference allows the girl to ability to inflict the pain she has experienced back onto the world tenfold?
In this.. Elven Lied generally successful, though not without its flaws. The music is effective (The OP is quite amazing), the animations smooth, and the character designs bot cute and chilling as required. The final episodes of the anime feature some truly remarkable revelations, that elevates the story into true classic.
The only weakness, and a significant weakness, is that certain characters experience so much physical violence with relatively little emotional trauma that the violence loses its ability to shock. The mediocre voice acting is partly to blame. It takes a special someone to effectively speak out their lines as their limbs are torn off one by one... and unfortunately that special someone is not in Elven Lied.
Add this to the fact that people just don't seem very bother losing all their legs and arms. A character who suffered this traumatic experience would be back a couple of episodes later, all happy and without a care. This has the undesired effect of reducing the edge of some scenes designed to shock the viewer, as they appear almost comical.
The anime is not everyone. Open the first episode, and watch the first 10 minutes. Consider the dismembered arm and the decapitated waitress as a test for the darkness of your soul. If the scenes trouble you, then you're better off watching Chobits. Otherwise, you'll be rewarded with one of the most unique and controversial anime's ever released, that despite its flaws, is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
Whatever the case, leave Elven Lied on your desktop, so that when someone tells you animes are for kids, you can boot up the first episode and shock them into a stupor. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
The premise of Tale of Memories isn't exactly original. It details the story of two guys. One who helps a girl who can only remember events for 13 hours achieve her dream. The other who must get over his indecisive nature before his love triangle becomes School days (i.e, deadly). But then, the Mona Lisa is just a picture of some chick smiling. The devil is in the details, and Memories tells these stories so flawlessly that you'll likely experience the joy and despair that each character faces first hand.
The second half of episode 7, for example involved a girl whose phone calls went unanswered for a day. While this likely gets a standard 2 minute treatment of a girl acting moe is any other anime, memories combines astounding voice acting with unprecedented symbolic visuals to form a portrayal of mental breakdown so powerful that it'll likely send Chuck Norris into a stunned stupor. Given that I have already given Clannad 10 for animation, memories deserves at least 11.
The artwork in Memories is astounding. While most anime are content to simply use animation to show what is happening on the screen, Memories goes several steps further, playing with everything from color saturation, transparencies, to background abstraction and non-standard cropping to convey powerful emotions in every scene.
This attention to detail permeates through all aspects of the series. The minor differences between episodes in the OP, the sudden scenes without color, everything has a purpose. Memories is one of those rare shows that deserves a immediate rewatch, for it is a joy to notice all the meaningful details you missed the first time round.
Memories only weakness is that like any piece of serious art, it is not friendly towards casual viewers. The first episode, with its unique presentation, and multiple intertwining characters, is likely to confuse. However, anyone who watches past episode 3 will be awarded with one of the most powerful and moving series they'll likely to have ever watched.
Just like the Mona Lisa, Tale of Memories isn't for everyone. It is not light hearted, it is not a romantic comedy, but it is a work of art. While the series is easy to be ignored on first glance, the closer you look, the more impressed you will be. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
Erotic visual novels... or Hentai games are they're better known, are not exactly Shakespearean work. They typically feature some hopeless wuss boy, with way too much porno magazines under his bed and and a nose that donates vast amounts of blood whenever he seems some cleavage that's vaguely PG-13.
And yet, for some unfathomable reason, this same hopeless guy would not only the object to sexual desire for a hot girl of every archetype, but also the school teacher (who happens to have very large breasts), and his kid sister (who looks like they'll only hit puberty in the year 2099). Needless to say, Anime adaptations of such visual novels are generally not aimed for the Oscars.
Kanon, while not perfect, is an unexpected gem that breaks all such traditions.
Sure, there's still a guy, Yuuichi, surrounded by many cute adoring girls. But for once, this is guy that actually *deserves* to be adored. The dialogue in Kanon oozes with charm, and Yuuichi is the master at cynical humour. Mix this with a dash of selflessness, and you've got a guy that you can actually see girls getting attracted to. For once, for the guys out there, this is probably one the only harem animes might improve your interactions with the opposite gender when you watch it.
This, combined with stunning visuals, a slow but serene soundtrack, a cast of memorable female characters, each with a story that can potentially bring out a tear, makes Kanon reign supreme as the king of animes featuring 5 different beautiful women adoring one man.
And there lies Kanon's more problem... at its heart, it is still an adaptation of a hentai game. In these games, a player would make decisions, and end up with one girl. Once the girl's decided, there's very little interaction with any other. The anime adaptation attempts to details the story of every girl, and thus comes across as being a little disjointed.
Whenever the story of one girl ends, she mysteriously vanishes from the series, as if the director fired the actor on the spot. What's more, with every girl pouring their heart out for Yuuichi, and squealing at the chance for a date, you would think that they'd get a little upset when he ends up with someone else. I'm not talking about school days here, but everyone getting along happily like 5 overly cute puppies around their master is a little far stretched.
Despite this gripe, which in fairness, us hard to avoid. Kannon delivers. Not only is this the cream of hentai game adaptations, its also an hentai game adaptation that you can use to introduce a girl to anime, without them making up excuses like having to go dancing with their grandma the next time you meet.
12 of 12 episodes seen
Akane-iro certainly had potential. Attractive character designs, famous voice actors, a decent sound track.
Sure, like the desire to go out with blond bombshell, the story of a girl forced to move into the house of his future fiancee... who *happens* to be a your average anime guy who just also* happens* to have a hot sister is not exactly original. But you think
"Hey, the voice actors and animations are good, and such stories, no matter how cliched, can be fun."
Too bad that after a few dates (episodes), the shallowness of series reigns supreme. Spas, School Festivals, Guy and girl landing in awkward positions... they're all here. While any anime featuring an over abundance of such scenes will not be a masterpiece, some can execute them well enough to at be pretty good.
Unfortunately, Akane-iro fails more than it succeeds, each filler episode is a cliches of cliches, with as much unexpected events and funny moments as watching your cat drink a bowl of milk. The visuals are cute, but nothing's going to make you stare at for 30 minutes straight.
Are there any redeeming qualities for Akane-iro? It may be worth watching for the few scattered non-filler episodes that are surprisingly good (Episode 5 and 11 on their own would score a 9), but these only serve to highlight how abysmal most of the filler episodes are , (say 4, 6 and 7), which land firmly in the 4 - 6 category.
Akane-iro's deserves only to run as a small window at the bottom corner of your screen, whose only purpose to provide a minor distraction as you try to finish that blasted assignment.
12 of 12 episodes seen
The entire anime is essentially a social experiment taken to extremes. What happens if you take a horny teenage guy with little self-restraint, and give him the temptation of almost unlimited sex? What if you add into the mix a group of fangirls, who tend to always regard sleeping with the guy who sleeps with the most girls as a sign of social prestige?
School days takes this scenero to its shocking conclusion... and in doing so, has created some of the most despised anime characters ever known. In this goal, School days succeeds brilliantly. The insert songs, ending themes are some of the best in any anime, the story's dark twists will eat at you, and the characters are capable of invoking the most primal emotions of hate and disgust.
That's not say that school days achieves that goal flawlessly. Animations were medicore, relying on more stills that it should. Meanwhile, the second to last episode that portrayed the protogonist final descent to oblivion was rushed. Had the director cut out the 5 wasted minutes devoted to blatant upskirt fanservice per episode and fleshed out the story development, I would have scored the story a 10. Nevertheless, despite the shortcomings, School days achieves what it aimed to do.
If you're the sort of person who wants to throw your notebook off the balcony whenever some guy on TV does something dumb or evil, this ain't the anime for you. However, if you're more the sort that want to watch the downfall of a community with morbid curiosity... then there's really no better anime for you. read more