9 of 10 chapters read
- Story -
Alright, I didn't expect a 2 volume manga to have any sort of story. I just expected a cute fairytale romance that would end even before I felt like it started. I was in for a small surprise. Dice plays out its story at a good pace, and because it's short it doesn't try to repeat the same stories again and again. There's something in every chapter that will keep you going until the very end. Although it does follow the pattern of pretty much every other high school romance shoujo manga you may end up reading, it does it well. I particularly like how it ended as well. Normally, I don't expect short series to end on a satisfying note but I don't think it needed more then the 2 volumes this series got.
- Art -
It's Shiina Ayumi! Her style is very easily identifiable. I think she does have the problem of making her characters look different from series to series but I think most artists have this same issue. I like to think of Shiina Ayumi's style as plain yet still extremely cute. She has the standard large eyes and cute hairstyles - I also think her female characters have this slight 'manly' charm to them. Sometimes she tends to leave her panels really empty but this is also a strength as some mangaka tend to overdo their tones and patterns and it blinds my eyes. Compared to some of her earlier works, Dice has improved art that still retain her trademark style. In general, for a shoujo manga reader I don't think art here is something to complain about. I would pick up this series from just staring at the art.
- Character -
So you have the main character, her love interest, the one who likes her and her friend who is after... actually I don't know this series sorta makes its love triangle a bit on the confusing side. A 2 volume series isn't exactly gonna have the most fleshed out characters but I think it does a decent job at introducing 4 mains and sticking to them. Sometimes the development between each of them iis a bit cheesy and forced. But either way, the good thing is that the main character is pretty strong so if you can't stand those whiny heroines in shoujo manga that can't do anything on their own... well, you won't see that here.
- Enjoyment -
As far as whether you will enjoy it or not, you get what you should expect which makes it great. It's a 2 volume shoujo series - so expect some cute art, some romance, some drama and some forced and somewhat rushed plot development that comes with every short series. What may surprise you is a strong heroine, decent set of characters and a satisfying ending (in my opinion).
- Overall -
I enjoyed this manga, I thought it had wonderful art, a good set of characters, an admirable heroine, an engaging story that will keep you going through the 2 volumes and a satisfying ending that won't leave you hanging (but you might still want more if you liked it that much). You can't complain when everything is done well even if nothing is done mindbogglingly fantastic. read more
4 of 22 chapters read
The manga has (from up to the beginning of volume two) followed the same format of Ageha basically helping other girls get what they so desire through the use of beauty and makeup. Emphasising the importance of makeup in producing any average looking girl to become a beauty. From what I’ve read so far, ‘conflicts’ arise mainly due to disbelievers in the “Legend of Ageha”, and imitators of Ageha’s work. While these conflicts serve to extend the storyline, and perhaps a lesson in learnt between the leading characters after these conflicts conclude, there is not much else pulling the plot, nothing to give the reader a reason to flip each page in excitement.
The art ranges from so-called ‘good’ to ‘bad’. Standard shoujo elements appear in the artwork, big eyes, blushes, interesting hair styles. There is quite a huge contrast between Rin and her ‘secret’ persona in terms of appearance. In the end, I could easily say that the art is not anything special, nor is it poorly done that it detracts from a reader’s experience. As the manga emphasises physical ‘beauty’, the artist completes and a satisfactory performance in showing how makeup can ‘transform’ normal looking girls into beautiful women.
One of Ageha’s poorest elements arguably, the characters are rather flat and only serve to continue the initial role in the story they are given, so far not even appearing to detract from their chosen path. As the only common returning characters are Rin and Riku, other appearing characters receive not development or interesting characterisation. While Rin’s objectives are explained, there is nothing else behind what she initially believes. Riku’s decisions in assisting Rin are a muddle of confusion, although perhaps this may be explored in later chapters.
I picked Ageha 100% up out of boredom. There is nothing behind it that could ever put this title onto my favourite’s list however it served to entertain me for the hour I spent reading this title. Any shoujo fan may like to pick this up for a short read, but don’t expect any mind blowing artwork or plotline.
Summarising Ageha 100% strongest points:
A straightforward plotline that follows the story outline initially set and explained in the first chapter.
Artwork ranging from good to bad, but satisfactory in supporting this title.
There is not much else to say besides the fact that I would recommend shoujo fans to pick this up if they have nothing else to find. While I would not specifically recommend this to people looking for recommendations of shoujo manga, it is not per se the worst thing I’ve ever read. read more
26 of 26 chapters read
Likely to be this manga’s weakest link, Demon Diary begins with a simple plotline of Raenef’s education to become Demon Lord. Slowly, characters are introduced and relationships are established. This all turns to hell halfway through when ‘revelations’ are made which are about as believable as claiming that pigs could fly. The change in authors appeared to have resulted in a plot that does not flow smoothly as we would have liked, as we are left with mysteries and hopeful aspirations for potential events that could and did not ever appear. Much depth and story could have been pulled from the series, yet we’re left with a premature finish that may leave some satisfied, and others bitterly wanting for more.
Arguably one of the strongest points in this series (next to characters), Demon Diary gives to us eye candy to the extreme as Eclipse and Raenef fulfil the requirements of “What makes a bishounen”. The manga brings to us an interesting mix of ‘chibi’ art, action, violence and those scenes that attempt to melt one’s heart, overtaking the story in importance and becoming one of the most prominent reasons for many individuals love for this title.
The characters are a mixed bag. We are likely to start off loving them, yet by the end we may be left with a notion of dissatisfaction as we realize that many characters hardly received the development they so deserved, crushing our hopes of what we may have expected. The backgrounds of certain characters are only explored lightly, and this may give anyone difficultly in sympathising or at least comprehending their actions or decisions throughout key events in the story.
On a personal level, this series appears to have a huge following, with good reason. Despite the apparent flaws in the storyline and characterisation, we are given an attractive combination of good artwork, loveable (to the point of potential disappointment) characters and a comedic upbeat storyline of the development of Raenef as a Demon Lord. We may also have much disappointment radiating from the series, as we slowly wish that initially developments had widen to become something much more then what reality gave us, but perhaps if we drop this outlook we can fully embrace this series for what it is.
Summarising Demon Diary’s strongest areas:
Beautiful artwork with elaborate character designs and bishounen that will may keep your eyes glued to the screen (especially if you are female).
Lovable characters that may have lacked development in some cases, but still remain lovable nonetheless.
Change of writers truly made this series suffer on the whole. But if we overlook all of this we may be able to fully enjoy what this title offers to us. As mentioned earlier, this title has a huge fan base. And it is important to emphasise the fact that this has a huge fan base “for good reason”. At the very least, it is a series that can be recommended to all those looking for some comedic fantasy, bishounen or another take on the master and servant relationship. Some may feel disappointed at the developments in this series, but many will most likely not regret giving Demon Diary a try. read more
68 of 77 chapters read
Spiral's storyline is one of the decisive elements that keep it apart from your usual run-of-the-mill manga. While it begins on a rather lackluster note, seemingly appearing to be a murder mystery, the plot quickly develops into one that leaves you with many questions asked, and begging for the answers to come quick. The mystery behind the existence of the 'Blade Children' is the most pivotal plot element, one that you'll only find out from reading this title.
Obviously, if you ever notice the various pieces of Spiral artwork, you'll realise that this series has excellent artwork throughout the entire manga. While the art itself does develop as the series progresses (it appears to be cleaner if not even more super-deformed or 'shoujo-like' during later volumes) you'll most likely love it from the beginning to end. The existence of bishies and bishoujos are also rampant in Spiral, so you won't miss anything out in that department. Obviously if you're looking for a more realistic art style, Spiral may not deliver.
Most likely Spiral's strongest point is it's wide variety of characters, many that you'll probably love rather then hate. Unlike many titles, who is good and evil is even more ambiguous in Spiral, there is no clearcut 'good' or 'bad'. Because of this, the protagonists and so-called antagonists are all individuals you may grow to love. Character development, especially for the protagonist, Ayumu, is something you will most likely look forward too. Besides that, most of the characters are both humorous yet attracting, you'll probably end up hoping they will all sincerely receive a happy ending.
What can I say? Spiral was seemingly one of the most enjoying reads that I've ever laid eyes across on. The mysteries can be rather irritating at times, but you feel satisfied when you finally know the truth. The art is plain eye candy (which is a benefit I hope), and the characters are ones I think anyone can grow to love. After reading numerous titles, I can safely say that Spiral is able to tower above many of them. The mix of mystery, logical and physical (and violent) battles puts this series into being one that can be read by any type of person almost.
Summarising Spiral's strongest areas:
Excellent artwork for those who seek this type of eyecandy (that is, cute girls and boys that may not be on the realistic side).
A gripping story that keeps you on the edge of the seat for the entire time. Next to the mysteries, Spiral also brings in much comedy, action and even slight bits of romance.
Likeable characters you can grow to love.
It can be safely be said that Spiral is a series that deserves its 10 in this review. Spiral's mix of story, art, character and enjoyment is not something that can be easily overlooked. While they are various minor irritations one may find with this title, it can most likely go unnoticed as you stare in awe as the mysteries and events unfold in front of you. read more
KKJ doesn't exactly provide anything ground breaking story-wise. It's standard mahou shoujo material. Like many other thieves you may find in other anime, Jeanne oddly enough tells the police beforehand she actually plans to steal something, and magically completes her missions successfully, foiling the police each time. While there is an obvious plotline, majority of the anime is fairly episodic. It follows a monster of the week pattern, so each week (or should I say each episode) Jeanne seals another artwork, normally helping non-returning characters that have problems most likely due to the demons. The second half has the plot picking up, with new (and returning) antagonists as well as development of the romance between the two main characters. It's fairly standard, but interesting enough if you don't mind standard to begin with.
Unfortunately, the infamous reused transformation scene is used in KKJ, and is quite frankly an annoyance to watch after the first time. Animation is also reused a lot when it comes to the demon sealing. The animation is bright and colorful, and this being based off a manga by Tanemura Arina of course means awesome character designs, at least for the thieves' costumes. An irritating number of still screens are also often used in KKJ, detracting enjoyment at times, simply because nobody likes to stare at a still screen when something else could be done. Anyhow, if you're looking for amazing animation, look no further, because it certainly isn't here.
Nothing too special can be found from sound either. The opening and endings are fairly catchy, although perhaps a more slow song would have been more fitting for the first ending. Background music is quite forgettable, but at least there's nothing that ruins the scenes, proving that the BGM does its job. Voice acting is fairly satisfying, with Maron's VA doing an excellent job showing her strength, will and loneliness. Fin Fish's VA, while befitting her role, is fairly annoying to listen to however, probably due to the extremely high pitch.
KKJ's characters would have to be its strongest point. Most of the characters develop throughout the series, especially the leads. Maron is a seemingly happy person, but behind it all is one who suffers from extreme loneliness. Chiaki is a somewhat trouble male who has a reluctance in engaging in any serious romantic relationship with another girl. The developing romantic relationship between her and Chiaki is pretty much the highlight of the show for the romance lovers, but it's quite predictable from the start how it would all turn out. There's more to Miyako then what appears at first, with this and the history behind some of the antagonists, make up for a fairly interesting cast of characters.
Did I like it?
If you're wondering whether I actually enjoyed Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, I didn't really. I'm a fan of the manga and thought the drama especially portrayed in it was brilliant. I was disappointed when I saw the anime had taken the mahou shoujo approach, with long and tedious transformation scenes, and pointless clashes between Jeanne and the police. I also hate monster of the week setups, as they prove to be far too boring and repetitive.
Overall, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne is your everyday mahou shoujo. Complete with transformation scenes, flashy (and unrealistic) action, and a bit of romance here and there. Take that with some of the drama and twists presented in the show, an interesting cast of characters, and we have an anime the mahou shoujo lovers could waste their lives on for a while. read more
Tantei Gakuen Q is episodic, with each episode mostly focusing on different crimes that occur around Kyuu and his friends. There are a number of multi-episode mysteries in the show, which in my opinion are much more interesting, witty and detailed compared to the one-shot mysteries. Majority of the mysteries are fun to watch, with some crimes containing tricks that are incredibly complicated. Occasionally the story may drift to cheesiness, and certain parts may be quite predictable. A plotline runs throughout the entire series, although the main focus of the show is still on the specific crimes in each case. The ending of the anime, unfortunately, is rather unsatisfying, with the previously mentioned main plotline finishing off rather unresolved.
The animation is rather plain, and contains nothing special. Occasionally, characters may appear disfigured, but with the focus of the viewer on the mysteries occurring in the show, animation is most likely the last thing on everyone’s minds. Character designs are simple and more or less unappealing. It is a wonder with the logical nature of this show why the main character has green and white hair (even as a child).
For the sound, voice acting is satisfying. No character really stands out with an incredible voice actor although you may find one or two characters with a VA that you would rather not have to listen to. The background music is rather enjoyable to listen to, if not overused in the show. You’ll most likely not complain if you like it enough that you wouldn’t mind the same piece to be played over and over again. The openings and endings are rather unmemorable. Especially with the cliffhanger endings in the show, a lot of people would probably rather skip through the opening if they could. With that said, the openings and endings are not bad per se, and I find the first opening to be excellent.
Characters are not really the strongest point in the show. Character development is near non-existent, from the beginning to the very end; characters more or less still act the same (with an exception of a few individuals). Each of the main characters have their own specific traits and talents, and help out in each of the cases using these traits. The teachers in the show are hardly ever seen, and are pretty much forgettable. The criminals are rather generic, with their weak revenge driven hearts, anger, greed, selfishness or tragic upbringings or events that lead them to do their crimes.
As for why I like Tantei Gakuen Q, the tricks used in the show were fascinating. I did not really care much for any other aspect of the show; the mystery was pretty much the only thing I found really going for it. The drama in the show was frankly rather annoying and cheesy to watch most of the time. I also wish the show wasn’t aimed at kids.
Overall, Tantei Gakuen Q is pretty much an anime that the mystery and detective lovers would probably like the most. It doesn’t have much else going for it except for the specific stories in each of the cases. If you would like to give your deduction skills a try, go ahead and watch Tantei Gakuen Q. All hints are always given and fully explained in the show. Be warned though, some of the tricks are complicated and not exactly the sort of thing an average person is going to suddenly think up. read more
At first glance, Kare Kano is your average high school romance story. Thankfully, the odd personalities of the two leading characters break the idea of this just being another romance story. Kare Kano does contain the usual shoujo romance story elements when it comes to the trials for our main couple (jealous outsiders, temporary separation). But originality is able to come through with the way the leading characters handle their problems, often ending in a comedic resolve to their troubles. Besides the usual love trials, Kare Kano also features a number of interesting side stories about the support characters, so if you’re not a fan of the main couple, fear not, there are other amusing couples in the series as well. Unfortunately, Kare Kano’s story takes a nosedive with the lack of an ending. The last few episodes continue to build the plot up, but the series simply ends before anything can come out of the previous events. This is one of the greatest annoyances when it comes to Kare Kano, especially if one is not a manga reader.
The animation is more or less quite poor in Kare Kano. Taking into account this show is from 1998, anyone can easily see the budget was definitely not allocated to producing good animation. The first half of the show had its moments, the animation in this part of the series were acceptable. One of the techniques that the producers used was to cut out still images directly from the manga, which can be both a good and bad thing. Obviously this saves the producer a lot on cost of actual animation and some may think it is quite cheap of them. But I would think majority of people feel the black and white manga images added to the atmosphere of the show, especially in the moments they were used (which were when things became more serious). The second half of Kare Kano was when the animation began to lose its charm. More still images were constantly being used. Episode 19 of Kare Kano had the entire episode made up of cardboard cut outs, which were stuck on sticks and moved around (like a puppet show). The last five episodes were horrendous, a lot more of the manga pictures were being used, but rather then adding to the atmosphere, it just made the entire show feel cheap. The final episode barely had any animation at all, simply still images.
The sound in Kare Kano is one of its stronger points. The opening and ending have catchy pop songs that some may or may not like depending on their taste in music. There are also a number of enjoyable piano tunes in Kare Kano. All in all, the background music fitted well to the mood in this anime. A good pat on the back for the Japanese voice actors of Kare Kano as well. The VA for Yukino (the leading female) did a wonderful job in bringing out Yukino’s two faced personality, as did the VA for Arima (the leading male). If anything, the only complaint I have for the Japanese VAs was the one for the supporting character Tsubasa. I only felt her voice did not feel right.
Perhaps Kare Kano’s strongest point would be the characters. The leading couple is two somewhat eccentric two faced people (particularly the female) who pretty much break out of the stereotypical shoujo couple. The leading female, Yukino is an absolute riot to watch. You will witness her stressing over the smallest of things, unbelievable for someone who at first glance seemed to be the most perfect person you could find anywhere. Supporting characters such as Asaba and Tsubasa are also equally enjoying to watch as their odd personalities fit in perfectly with Kare Kano’s quirkiness. Character development is very thorough in Kare Kano, with even Yukino’s parents having screen time to develop their back stories. The only negative feature when it comes to the characters is that even towards the end of the show the characters are constantly built up with development, only to have the show end before anything could happen.
For why I enjoyed Kare Kano, I was previously a fan of the manga already. My favourite character would definitely have to be Yukino for her weirdo personality and decisions to solve her problems. I also really like the ending song, which I thought was perfect. Albeit I was definitely frustrated with how the show ended. The terrible animation was just painful for me to watch (especially the last 6 or so episodes). And I thought it was a poor decision on the producer’s part to end the show like it would end every other episode, and slap on a “The End”. I mean, nothing ended at all.
Overall, despite its obvious flaws Kare Kano still manages to be a favourite amongst the shoujo lovers for its interesting array of characters and somewhat unique storyline for the main couple. If you aren’t normally fond of stereotypical high school love stories, try giving Kare Kano a try. It’s recommended though to continue with the manga after watching the anime if you want to see how the story ends, since you won’t find any ending from here. So yeah, If you like comedy, romance, weird characters and high school settings then Kare Kano will probably be for you. read more
The story in Utawarerumono is somewhat simplistic at first, with a majority of the anime following a simple formula of battles, battles and even more battles while introducing new characters. One may find that the way the story unfolds in this show is quite repetitive. However, if you're a fan of war stories with occasionally comedic situations and intelligent strategies to undermine the enemy you will most likely overlook the lack of variation. Despite what has been said, Utawarerumono also has a number of twists and turns (especially in the second half of the show) that should keep the viewer glued to their chairs long enough to see the story through.
Animation is both a positive and negative point in Utawarerumono. While the animation actually animates the characters in combat (compared to other anime that may just use still images and lines to indicate action) with a good amount of detail, recycled animation occurs. The reused animation is unfortunately quite noticeable (although not too frequent) and may detract one's enjoyment of the battles. The CG animation present in this show is a mixed bag. Some may like it, some may not. Either way, the CG is only used occasionally so it shouldn't be a huge issue. Character designs are more or less consistent, detailed and interesting, albeit one (or more) episode(s) may have the characters looking slightly more odd then usual due to different animators.
Sound is also quite a mixed bag; you may like it or hate it. The opening song is quite catchy, although there is nothing particularly memorable about it. The ending song also proves to have a unique flair to it, with the overall tone of the music befitting the ambiance of this anime. As Utawarerumono contains a number of battle scenes, the background music does well in giving out the proper mood that is needed to set atmosphere of the show. The voice acting is decent, with no one really standing out but with everyone befitting their character.
Utawarerumono being a harem anime contains the usual female stock characters that you would find from other harems. The serious one, the flirtatious one, the cute one, the shy one and etc. However, due to the majority of the show focusing on war, thankfully most of the female characters are not just part of the harem and play a role in the story. Not every character is developed, most likely due to time constraints (although I'm not sure whether the original game developed the ones missed out in this show). Thankfully the main character and a number of other major characters are given some development and time to flesh out their backgrounds.
As for why I enjoyed Utawarerumono - I have natural bias against anything that would be considered a harem anime, but the nicely animated action scenes and character designs won this series over for me. Storywise I thought most of the show didn't really offer much, but I was quite suprised towards the second half of the show where a number of twists were thrown in, making the overall story of this anime much more interesting. I also found almost all the characters to be likeable, except for the certain few which are obviously meant to be hated by the viewers. I only wish some other characters besides the ones given time were developed more properly.
Overall, Utawarerumono manages to deliver an enjoyable package to the casual anime viewer. One may desire to watch this show more then once due to the presence of foreshadowing and a good amount of the background story told in different episodes. Either way, Utawarerumono has a little bit of everything for everyone. It has fan service-like scenes and characters, a large amount of intense action scenes and an intriguing and somewhat deep plot for those seeking something less mindless and profound. It may not prove to be strong in any given area, but it delivers a show that should leave most anime fans somewhat satisfied with what they've just seen. read more