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26 of 26 episodes seen
Been a while since i last did a review around here, think some people pretty much missed me, anyway after i came across this "hidden gem" titled as Da Capo i was abit amazed, impressed of how good this show was. Yeah, i admit, i do love harem animes, even though they are not so realistic (and this show lacks it all) i was pretty much impressed of how good this one was, all this stuff were tied out together in such a nice way, that it made me marathon this show until the end (my god, i dun even wanna remember, i spent almost 10 hours in a row watching this show, without taking breaks, only going to bathroom, still remember how pissed were some people, however i think it worth it). The story is centered on a teenage, high school student named Jun'ichi Asakura. He lives together with his sister Nemu Asakura on an island named Hatsunejima, a mysterious island, having cherry trees that bloom and never wither. The story follows Jun'ichi as he interacts with other people, such as his friend Suginami and socializing with other girls such as Mako, her older sister Moe, the school idol Shirakawa Kotori, the energetic, cheerful banana addict Amakase Miharu and his childhood friend Sakura Yoshino. At first glance, Jun'ichi seems like a normal high-school student though actually he has the power to wield magic, but he is refered to be a failure, he inherited the blood of the Yoshino family yet he did not succeed in becoming a true magic user, like Sakura. As the story goes on, Nemu and Jun'ichi grow closer, becoming more like lovers, one thing that is not mentioned is that actualy Nemu and Jun'ichi are not blood related siblings, which is a relief, just the though that this might turn into an incestuous anime, kinda made me dislike it anyway because of this fact i continued watching it. The mysterious island of Hatsunejima has a lot to offer, from a tree that always has cherry-blossoms and never withers, that grants wishes and can understand the pure hearts of people, this tree actualy plays an important role here mainly because most of the people that Jun'ichi interacted with, including the closest ones such as Nemu and Sakura, made a wish at that tree, and not only them. As Nemu and Jun'ichi grow closer to one another, Sakura becomes more and more eager to end their relationship. Like i said this is probably one of the most unrealistic romance stories i ever watched but its one that i truly enjoyed, lets be serious who wouldn't love (pointing especially to guys) to have a harem of girls around him. The first half of Da Capo starts as an romantic comedy, funny as hell, entertaining, that draws a smile on your face, but the second half turns into a serious drama, so dramatic that you might think that this will actually end tragically (there is a second season as well though so nothing to loose).
Animation and Sound (8'5/10)
Not bad in terms of animation, as expected from an anime that is inspired from visual novel even though its an erotic one actually. I pretty much liked how the characters were designed, some with funny looks other with appropriate looks. In terms of sound, the opening and endings are more orientated for an female audience, did not really like them as much as i did like the background sounds.
Surely, Da Capo shines in terms of characters. So many characters, with such different personalities, this is one of the things that makes Da Capo worth watching. All and i mean all of the character were developed more or less, giving some details about even though they were not that accurate, it gave a better taste to this show. Jun'ichi is not really my type of favorite character and still i wonder how come he managed to create his own harem, considering that he is such a boring guy. The shy Kotori, the violent Mako, the slow and cheerful Moe, the energetic Miharu, the annoying Sakura, all of them are like one of a kind, so different personalities yet they were able to get along, however all of them started to grow feelings towards Jun'ichi.
In one word, amazing, Da Capo surely impressed me, and i recommend this show to everyone, making abstraction of anime tastes and stuff like that, this is entertaining, funny, cute, dramatic, it has all the stuff that an anime should have tied toghether. Anyway at how good this first season was it would be ashame to stop at it, the other ones are even better, with much more story/character development. Fans of Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka should definitely try this one out. read more
11 of 11 episodes seen
I imagine the executive meeting that inspired this dull, jabbering insult to my intelligence went a bit like this.
Director: I’ve been thinking lately we should do something deep and relevant about today’s global financial situation. It’s been all over the news and I think the kids would appreciate someone really bringing it down to their level.
Exec: Uhh, really? But finance is like so BOOOOOORING.
Director: Well, of course we could spice it up a little, you know, give it a representational hook or gimmick. I have one or two ideas that I think would really -
Exec: Oh oh oh! I’ve got it, I’ve got it! MASCOT BATTLES!
Exec: Write this down! It’s not often I get such inspirational flashes. I can see it now - economic conflicts figuratively enacted through pet monsters! ‘Cause everyone likes Pokemon, right??
The result, ladies and gentlemen, is this show, the worst possible marriage of everything that shouldn’t exist in anime. Dry, abstract exposition about money combined with utterly mindless battles between metaphorical creatures that have no real-life relevance. Burrow deep enough and C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control appears to contain a human tale about taking huge financial risks for the sake of loved ones. That this is mere veneer becomes clear the moment we ask why the characters don’t just work overtime, get a second job, or aim for promotion, considering any of these require less effort for more guarantee. The financial battles are vehicles for an impending apocalypse caused by some… thing that gets no explanation. All we know is, at some point, a digitised whatsit begins to sweep through Japan and the hero has to do stuff in the ether to make it go away.
Not that the fights are any good either. Occurring without reason or logic, they generate about as much friction as a limp dick. Just as one combatant summons giant balls of fire, the opponent blocks with an inexplicable beam of sparkling blackness, all the while an electronic voice yells nonsensical financial jargon not even the Wall Street folk would enjoy piecing together (how to counter sensibly when your enemy has just thrown a hail of MACROFLATION!!?). There are no recognisable dimensions to the battles, no identifiable limitations that tell me ‘this person is highly skilled compared to that person’. Thus we must take for granted that Souichiro Mikuni, the cool, mysterious rich guy, is unbeatable because everyone says so; when he fights, I can’t actually tell.
I’d like to put a message out there for the kids growing up on a diet of C-like atrocities: animated backgrounds full of feeling, atmosphere, and texture do exist. For evidence, look to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica or Eden of the East. The polygonal edifices we get in C bring to mind the artistic sensibilities of a McDonalds restaurant - cold, garish, and above all cheap. Effects happen, shapes and colours and patterns zoom past but none of it serves any discernible purpose except to distract us for another five seconds.
In moments when the plot wholly eluded me, the score managed to restore some of the potency of the situation. Unfortunately, sandwiched between unmemorable opening and closing themes, and voiced over by a crap script, the courageous cinematic soundtrack gets entirely lost.
If there’s anything anime needs more of, it’s teenage boys trying to get stronger. I’m being sarcastic, of course. What anime needs more of are characters I can tell apart from all the others. C’s cast melts into a giant pot of tokenism and archetype that effectively abandons the audience to apathy. I’m surprised, for instance, that the bland, pineapple-haired protagonist (had to look up his name, Kimimaro Yoga) was thought qualified to be one when his only notable features are being nice and harbouring angst about his long-lost father. The only vivid performance belongs to Masakaki, the guide of the alternate dimension in which the battles take place; he is a nod to Willy Wonka that strips away all the child-friendly veneer and replaces it with a chilling pitilessness.
Colour me spoiled if you will, but I like to spend my time watching things that I understand. I like characters for which I feel empathy doing things I could imagine myself doing if I were in their situation. Most of the financial jargon the target audience will struggle to relate to and anyone who does will snooze simply at the banal abstractedness of it. Instead of a poignant metaphor on the dangers of economic risk-taking, we get a discombobulated mess that farts a host of vague concepts. The only emotion this show inspires in the process is boredom.
By the way would of been a three and was really willing to as well, but seems its an overall and the overall comes to a total of 4.5, I have to round it up to 5, so C got lucky this time. C you round! read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Takumi suffers from intense delusions as a result of his apparent schizophrenia and the extremely secluded lifestyle he lives as a hikkikomori. One day he accidentally stumbles upon a gruesome murder scene, a part of a chain of events called "New Generation." After this, his life gets caught up in these events, and he meets a bunch of increasingly insane anime girls with swords.
Story & Characters
Alright, admitedly, looking at the first couple of lines, my first impression was, "This sounds like a rehashing of 'Welcome to the NHK'," with some crazy NEET at its center that I could quite easily not give a dang about. Well, alright, I watched it anyway. My first impressions from the first few lines, part right and part wrong. To those of you that are NEET-allergic, sorry to dissappoint you, but that was spot on. To those of you that didn't like NHK or are hoping for something different, you should be happy that it's nothing like NHK.
The Story progression was spot on to make a great show. They always provided enough information in one episode to get you to start thinking it would go one way, then out of the other side of the field throw you off next episode. (At least, they really landed that home on me and my roommate.)
In terms of shock factor behind the characters, they did everything spot on. And as I have said earlier they kept me (and my roommate) guessing right up until the end, even about the characters and their motives. The complex nature of entangling affairs that brought everyone to together prior to the final episodes was carefully concealed until the rise into the climatic final battle.
But the real kicker of Chao;Head, for me, was the use of perspective in the beginning of the series to create this very intimate feeling of who Nishijou Takumi was as a person, and ultimately, how they used that initial feeling and plunged the viewer into a very dark and disturbing story of the different sides of the human heart and both the conscious and unconsious minds we all have.
And, alas, we all have to admire the use of Takumi's delusions as both a story device at cementing our understanding of Takumi and his character and the create venue it created for fan service for all audiences and preferences.
Considering the harshness and splendor of this show with the sheer power of its story and implications for our world, throw in some originality, and I can find no better way to have told this modern day scifi mystery thriller with a little spice of ecchi and romance. There was enough of everything. Eat the 10!
And on a side note, with a fair backing in modern science, one only realizes that all those spiels that the characters gave throughout the story were pretty accurate and were well depicted. Side note now over, kudos to the staff who added those in to that detail. Power to them!
As an exercise to grading whether the art work style was appropriate for the series, I often think about if other studios had been in charge of everything. And I also compare it to, in cases like this, to the game. I can think of no better studio to have done this and the anime images are on par to those of the game, so they not only did the story justice with them, but they also did the game justice.
I have to say that the use of line art style artwork on the Di-swords when normal peopel weren't supposed to see them was quite good, although I tend to think that there must have been some better way of doing it. Yet, for my talk, I can think of no better way to show their presence and maintain the aura that they aren't visible to normal people. Ah! Gotta love conflictions such as these.
Some of the most powerful images in the series came from Takumi's delusions, thankfully, and they should be more memorable than the normal day in the area around Shibuya.
The vocal cast was diverse and talented and really played up their parts well. Those that were weak-kneed (aka Takumi) and those that sounded strong (aka one of the girls at one time or another) sounded their respective parts. And I didn't sense any inappropriate tone-age that sometimes comes across in some shows.
The insert song "Haritsuke no Misa" is perhaps one of the most memorable songs in the world of anime. And has the sound of a metal song that would get even the most avid Rammstein fan's attention while it's playing. A great song, by a great artist. And...as a bonus, the lyrics are as disturbing as some parts of the series.
The BGM is just that BGM. It's not meant to stand on its own, but as an enhancement to the story.
And a note on the OP/ED, absolutely wonderful songs that really, and I mean really, match the series' intents and mood. Although, at first, one's eyebrow will reach for the sky when hearing Seira Kagami's "Super Special" (ED). And one's eyebrows will have no ready made expression for the lyrics of the Itou Kanako's "F.D.D." (OP). Eyebrows excluded from the initial stage, they are great songs.
That kind of leads us with an 8 in this area.
As you can tell, I love the way they told this story. If they had a 20 in this section, I would give it. Now, I will tell my reasons.
You already know that this was a great thriller, as it keeps one guessing right up until the end. And your interpretations of the characters change on a pretty constant basis as the story progresses. Here's an example: I first hated Takumi, but at the end of the series, one could only feel jealous of the ------- with a certifiable harem of great women and the powers of a god. Perhaps this is all a little exagerated, but I think my point was made rather readily with that.
Thriller anime are either great or they suck. This was one of the great ones that came with a few bonuses, including some pretty good backstory and backworkings within the story. Another bonus not often seen. So in all due fairness. I recommend this anime. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
While I would have liked to begin with a witty, intellectual line about how great Berserk is, I just couldn't find the right words to do it. For some reason, Berserk defies any attempts at clever analysis, meaning that I'm left with no option but to say it how I feel: Berserk is hands down one of the best anime around. It may not turn out to be one of your top favourites; it may put you off with its dated appearance; and heck, its final episode is likely to leave you royally pissed. Regardless, I'll bet you any amount you name that it will still knock your socks off.
As unfair as it seems in hindsight, Berserk's opening scenario of innocent tavern girls getting bullied and monsters terrorising villages reminded me too much of some of the demon hentai I've come across. Needless to say, my expectations of Berserk thereafter hit rock bottom; by the end of the first episode, however, I had changed my mind all over again. What I discovered was that while the setting looked like a shit idea, the character and plot developments were something else altogether. Gatts' encounter with the demon lord in the first episode instantly raises the question of how a man could be so remorseless, and the subsequent flashback begins the epic story that provides the answer.
What is surprising about Berserk's plot is how well its various elements come together: take the story of a man who wants greatness at all cost; add a corresponding tale of a man who thinks of nothing but fighting his next battle; stir vigorously with demons and gore; sprinkle some ingenious military-political manoeuvres on top, and what you get is a potent blend of fantasy action. Moreover, Berserk has a knack for pacing and structure; just when I think the messianic plot themes and cataclysmic battles couldn't be more melodramatic, Berserk presents a touching flashback during which the characters reveal something interesting about their pasts. I'm not usually a fan of flashbacks since they interrupt the flow of a story, but in Berserk's case, they feel more like a vital part of the experience than a convenient plot device. For example, the story of Caska's first encounter with Griffith had me glued to the screen as intently as any of the scenes of clashing armies and monster fights. In fact, Berserk had me so engrossed that every episode felt like it ended ten minutes too early.
This only leaves one glaring problem, namely the fact that it doesn't end. I can't emphasise this strongly enough, but Berserk comes to the kind of screeching halt that could feed a rant for pages and pages. The anime covers perhaps a quarter of the manga's plot, and to make things worse, it stops halfway through an arc! Even pre-warned I still wasn't prepared for just how abrupt the ending turned out to be. For many, the disappointment will be acute; and for that kind of pain, I can only recommend the manga as a cure, which continues with the same (if not better) level of quality.
Apart from the extravagant monster designs, Berserk's concept looks lifted straight out of some generic high fantasy novel; with knights in full armour, moats and castles, shining fairies, and swords aplenty, there is really nothing too exceptional about Berserk's European universe.
At its worst, Berserk suffers from an impoverished budget, which is evident considering the frequent use of still shots and the low number of frames in some of the action scenes. I have never been particularly bothered by either of these flaws if the story is good enough, and in that regard, Berserk more than compensates.
Problems aside, some of the character concepts are pleasantly surprising; Griffith's icy appearance, Caska's unusually dark skin, and Gatts' rippling build and oversized sword are instantly eye-catching. Also, while the action sequences may not be much more than adequate when compared to more recent anime, I do like their gritty approach to violence.
Berserk's soundtrack is not particularly varied; almost all of the intense scenes with a score use only a slight variation of the same theme. However, the little there is makes for a pleasant listening experience and never gets old despite the repetition. Besides, the lack of variety is probably due to the fact that Berserk relies far more on natural background noise to create tension.
Although faced with a script that is occasionally laden with cheese, Berserk's Japanese voice actors still manage to deliver some truly emotional dialogue. For instance, the villains issue macho threats and chuckle with nefarious delight, but the protagonists tend to have serious tones which are full of subtle nuances. Notably, Griffith has a softer voice than I expected, although it fits his cool, intelligent demeanour like a glove and even makes him seem doubly sinister on occasion. Predictably, the American cast are only half as good; I could only stomach a few episodes of their daytime drama acting. If possible, avoid them at all cost.
What is impressive about Berserk is that it has no weak cast members to speak of; not one of them falls short of delivering a convincing performance. Granted, the stock characters such as Princess Charlotte remain far less developed than the protagonists, but they still manage to fit the story to a tee. As for the central characters, they are unexpectedly complex and emotionally engaging on every level:
Gatts is a traditional tortured hero type who carries the burdens of a dubious origin and a disturbed past. What makes him a great lead character despite being a stereotype on the surface is that he embodies, in the bluntest way, what makes a person likeable; he has a raw, honest personality which, despite his reticence, still comes across as touchingly vulnerable. Besides, he may not be people-friendly, but he kicks a lot of arse and he saves people, and he does it all with a sword twice his size.
Griffith, as far as the anime is concerned, is probably Berserk's strongest standalone element (in the manga, Gatts is definitely more interesting). He is beautiful like an angel and radiates the kind of charisma that moves armies and topples kingdoms; what's more, he is inhumanly cunning and generally the kind of character you can fall for over and over again. However, the guy is also undeniably fucked up. As Griffith leads the Band of the Hawk to glory and wins hearts as well as minds, there is always an element of doubt concerning his true intentions; of course, this only serves to make him all the more engaging.
As the only female to have a significant role, Caska exceeded my initial expectations; she doesn't have big tits or bare long legs, and she has both common sense and superb fighting skills. Intelligent, a leader within the Hawks, and harbouring an intense loyalty to Griffith, she is a character with a distinct purpose. Caska's only downfall is that, as the series progresses, she gets forced back into a predictably misogynistic role.
With regards to the supporting cast, the members of the Band of the Hawk are easily the most memorable, with Judeau ranking as my favourite; whilst he may be young and have relatively little screen time, his wisdom and perceptiveness when it comes to his comrades is refreshing. Corkus, on the other hand, is another great character whose relentless dislike of Gatts provides for some much-needed comedy; I also like the fact that he adds a more pessimistic nuance to the Band of the Hawk dynamic. All in all, these are the kinds of characters for which I harbour deep nostalgic feelings; their strong personalities and intricate development makes them difficult to forget.
The villains can be cheesy; almost every scene involves someone getting gutted or having their limbs chopped off; and the demons tend to eat people just for the heck of it. All of this would usually result in an anime that is mediocre at best and probably doomed to obscurity. However, Berserk's superb character development and uniquely messianic plot makes it not just an accomplished piece of fiction that somehow survives its terrible ending, but an undeniable masterpiece at that. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Story & Characters (1/10)
In the near future Japan, teenagers learn to be a Butei, an elite force that specializes in arms and hand-to-hand combat, at Tokyo Butei High. Toyama Kinji is a Butei, but he doesn't want to be. Just as he makes up his mind to leave, however, he stumbles across an anti-Butei Killer and needs a rescue from the fiery, gun-toting Aria. She's tiny, she's skilled, yet she has the temper of a little brat, and after seeing Kinji "transforms" into his hysteria mode, which is a flirtatious, damsel-rescuing prince, to turn the table and rescue her, she wants him to be her partner. Together they battle the Butei Killer, go to school, and get tangled up with other forces who have evil plans.
A little hope can be a dangerous thing. Take Aria the Scarlet Ammo. Its first episode had a few glimmers of interest, so we spend the next six hoping that something will come of them, only to be crushed at every available opportunity by brainless fluff plots and excruciating harem capers. Genre tropes aren't bad by nature, but the way a few series carry and blow them into something unexpected is worth watching. Bad ones use tropes as crutches, to allow them to hobble without doing the work of manufacturing their own appeal. This anime is one of those. One minute Kinji declines Aria's offer of partnership, then a childhood friend who hopelessly mewls over him bursting in to create one of those must-have-harem-comedy, then the next Aria's spouting she's a direct descendant of some badass historical figure. Wow, talk about another facepalm. Wait a few moments and Kinji playing a center idiot in the harem, and suddenly he's a retro hero with the allergic cool look and professional womanizing skills. The entire anime is littered with the corpses of failed harem adaptations; Aria isn't making canny use of its tropes; it simply is them, blown up until they can't be ignored... or enjoyed.
And then there's the main characters; like any show that names itself after its main character, it's fair to say that everything should be laying on the shoulder of its main character. However, Aria isn't a tactical role. She has a frail moe look contrasts to the great skills she possesses, and is indeed indeed to any of Kugimiya Rie's many diminutive tsunderes, but only a resemblance. She has none of the genuine traits or any of the depth of Kugimiya's heartbreaking character; she's a parody, and not a funny one. Her anti-Kinji personality is a typical trait to reveal the insecure, cute and cuddly girl tacked onto the end like a particularly phony afterthought, and somewhere in there there's a few scenes in which she's desperately in need of rescuing despite she claims to be the best Butei at school helps absolute nothing.
Aria is clearly an action series mixed with harem, which itself should sound a warning bell. Kinji is a straightforward harem lead, who has the personalities of one and acts like one. His hysteria mode, though is a funny one, is still a cheap trick. The other two heroines are shy miko Shirayuki and lust-addled (gentlewoman?) thief Riko. They're all superior martial artists, and all hopelessly smitten with him. Turns out they're all descendants of some historical figures like Aria, and lousy ones, too. Each represents a superior harem trait, and they aren't just a string of pointless rumbles, but an oddball of tale.
It's the strategic focus of the fights, however, that really gives one hope. They're part of a battle, which despite its controlled nature and lethal weapons, still has many of the opportunities for strategy, betrayal and trickery that a real battle would have. Aria and Kinji's battles are good action showcases, pumped up with nice visuals to portrait the daily battle in the life of a Butei. Unfortunately it isn't all there is to the episode. There are characters to introduce, which generally involves a big dramatic entrance and a quick survey of each girl's loli-flavored character design.
The only sign of life is the show's dumb slight of gags, which is admittedly spotty but also contains hints of fanservice. When Riko makes her escape by using her own uniform as parachute, revealing her busty body, or a matter of concern about Aria's flat chest or screeching at Kinji for being a pervert, are all a silly joke and a mean to pique the interest of the people who would enjoy things like, well, small girls with big eyes.
Tsundere specialist Kugimiya Rie returns to voice the character type that she specializes, but she was just simply reprising her role for Shana, and to be paired with Majima Junji, who she has chemistry since Toradora! and whose characters are just a mere copy of the old one proves to be weaker. They are veterans enough, however, to confine them mostly to invisible supporting roles, so you're unlikely to notice unless you're specifically listening for them. The music score does try its best to pump up the pace and energy, but it feels worn-out like a half-hearted effort.
You hear it a lot, you watch it a lot, and you facepalm because of it a lot. It takes a while for the series' amusement at its own genre-pandering, trope-plundering ridiculousness to register, though. There's very little in the way of humor during the first episode, and the way it lunges from one cliche to the next, taking little care to properly connect them, makes it much easier to cringe at the towering derivation of it all than to laugh at it, much less laugh good-naturedly. Oh, and just to kill things a little more dead, the villains are both random and really, really annoying.
Some series fail because of a lack of anything fresh to work with; others fail because of deficiencies in execution. Aria the Scarlet Ammo squarely falls into the former category. It doesn't have any good ideas and does not do anything to make a new start, and is not sexy enough in the way it does them, to be entertaining as anything more than an ignorance.
24 of 24 episodes seen
Victorique is a mysterious, brilliant girl who only leaves the library to sleep. Hidden from the outside world by her family since birth, Victorique is as physically and emotionally small and fragile as her brain is huge and complex.
As the third son of an Imperial soldier of Japan, Kazuya has always lived in the shadow of his father and his brothers, wondering if he will ever have enough strength and muster to protect anyone.
Kazuya relies on Victorique's mind to solve difficult mysteries. Kazuya has to keep both of them alive long enough to solve the mysteries and present the solution to the authorities.
Story & Characters (9/10)
Among the divergent genres and plot elements, Gosick looks like a bizarre fever. Seriously, Sherlock Holmes and Gothic Lolita? The enduring popularity of Sherlock Holmes has led to hundreds of works based on the character – both adaptations into other media and original stories - so it's not new anymore. But Gosick actually works better than that, it isn't all just about solving mysteries to satisfy any Holmes fan, the brilliance lies in its lead. And even if Holmes is a runty Gothic princess and Watson is a troubled Japanese teenage boy, it proves to be one of the most potential.
In the year 1924, young exchange student Kujo Kazuya comes to the French-speaking fictional country of Sauville to attend the exclusive St. Marguerite Academy, where urban legends and horror stories are all the rage. Much to his displeasure, the local students refer him as "Black Reaper" based on his Oriental appearance. In an attempt to understand the local legends, he visits the school library. There he finds Victorique, a doll-like girl who speaks oddly about a "fountain of wisdom" within her but also soon proves very adept at sorting out the particulars of mysteries. Though initially skeptical of each other, the two form an important bond and begin struggling to solve cases while being hindered by various figures related to Victorique's past and the upcoming World War.
Now having a Gothic Lolita as the lead character, anyone would confirm it's an anime fandom's fascination of blond-haired Goth loli character, but this is an entire different concept; in fact, it determines to show it will be different. The first case plays smoothly enough, and the second case seems to prove Gosick is an episodic mystery series, but if so then the entire first twelve episodes look to be more akin to mini-arcs. This is good, while at first they seem to be only vaguely related to each other, there are clues and hints about Victorique's past given throughout the series that there are more than meets their eyes. On the down side, Gosick completely features the spoiled parts of criminology, introducing the first episode with mystery oldies like locked-room murder followed by phantom thief or such.
On the plus side, the second half washes out the retread solving mystery elements and becomes more intense. Loses some of the detective feel of earlier episodes and focuses heavier on plot involving political schemes, personal cult and masked alchemist; there's still the Victorique/Kazuya pair travel around solving cases which strongly show some nice further character development and provides hint about both short-term and long-term story elements. The suggestion that we're going to see a fuller picture of the past and future events which set this story up also helps keep it from being dulled by its episodic nature.
Blessed, this series has an interesting duo. Unlike many detective/sidekick combinations, Victorique and Kazuya genuinely work well together. There's the obvious utility of their relationship, Kazuya gathers and provides a considerable amount of evidence which required Victorique's brain. His naturally tolerant nature allows Victorique to act out as much as she wants, revealing the insecure girl under her proud personality and genius mind. Victorique tends to test Kazuya's best, uncovering his utmost loyalty and courage. Together, they are a formidable team no matter how much of a tsundere/nice guy pair they may look and it's a grant to see their relationship strengthen.
Gosick is a faithful treatment to the eyes. Gorgeous landmark and forest of St. Marguerite Academy elaborate Victorian unique architecture as well as foggy, apparently abandoned Gray Wolf village show its ugliness, yet affections like inspector Grevil's ridiculous hairdo and a matter concerning luggage are clearly designed to keep the story from taking itself too seriously. Blond, dresses in black Gothic clothes, Victorique's adorable character design will undoubtedly make her highly popular.
Voice acting is another treat, Victorique's seiyuu, Yuuki Aoi did an excellent job at this young detective, giving her many spotlights: her weird laughing laughs off the seriousness given by her opponents, sadistic tone when toying Kazuya's feeling and several tsundere vibe make her irresistibly lovable. Eguchi Takuya's Kazuya shines with his good nature, Avril simply sounds too playful and inspector Grevil's change of tone depending on mood are credible.
The typically excellent music score helps too. It handles action, creeping horror, incremental tension, and even light humor with pretty much equal skill. The only used OP "Destine Histoire" is just cuddly gentle while the other two ED sound more depressing. Supported with visuals, the first ED "Resuscitated Hope" by Kosame Lisa would cover Victorique's embodiment of her own mystery before the second half which replaced by "unity" - a bit more folksy and opera-like theme. The singers are not very well-known artists, but they know how to go over-the-top, and frequently does, with occasionally beautiful results.
BONES makes a sharp production with the artistic effort here, and being a mystery series mixed with humor like Darker than Black, Gosick was given the same treatment, the series has solid fun and murder factors going for it. Victorique's charm is much tied up in her cute habits: rolling on the floor while making hapless noise, laughing her sadistic monologue laugh, chomping down her ceramic pipe (with no tobacco) are animated with care. The library, a marvelously improbable maze of spiral staircases and walkways built in what appears to be the remnants of a medieval tower, is a particular treat. And the nastiness is even nastier through the surprise attack and frightfulness that registers on corpses, puppets and patterns.
As a pretty diversion, you can enjoy Gosick without hesitation. To think that Gosick isn't a great mystery series because it debuts with Victorique clears the first murder of the series too quickly could jeopardize its own merit. Still, nearly every episode features its own mystery story and folklore, too, and a classic one at that, but it is still cast within the overall context of a larger story. In addition to being cute as a button, Victorique also has an immediate and adorable rapport with the hapless, though not helpless, Kazuya, who in turn provides a light counterpoint to the often grim events surrounding them.
The sleuthing is ultimately a sideshow though. Gosick is a thriller at heart, and thrill it does. Standout sequences include a study in suspense involving a rotund counselor and a very shady patient. Not that much of a loss, it contributes a satisfying ending more dynamic than the outcome of its own WWII, which is so awful as to be unwatchable—in a good way. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes or these kinds, you owe it to yourself to check Gosick out.
- As intelligent, punishingly suspenseful, and morally relevant as ever.
- Plenty of terrifying Victorique/Kujo cuteness.
- Music score and artistry are as beautiful as ever.
- Loves old detective cliches a little too much. read more
51 of 51 episodes seen
Let's talk for a moment about pacing. Pacing is the rate at which a story progresses; the speed at which the plot develops can make or break any narrative effort, but appears to me to be an acute issue in anime. The deft, non-linear approach of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni keeps its viewers on the edge of their seats. Conversely, the plodding half-formed yarn of Aoi Hana withers when almost nothing happens (even by the statue-speed standards of yuri romance, that anime fails). Of all anime, shounen shows tend to embody the worst practices of uneven storytelling: Dragon Ball Z is so ponderous that the remastered Dragon Ball Kai manages with 1/3 the original's air time; Naruto, an otherwise fun and action-packed romp, stuffs its final EIGHTY episodes with filler. EIGHTY--and don't even mention Bleach. Then, comes Soul Eater. The series' tight, energetic approach stands out despite the show's heavily derivative feel. Fifty-two half-hour segments rarely yields as satisfying experience overall. Especially in this genre.
That said, Soul Eater offers little original to anime as far as its story goes. A special school devoted to training warriors? Naruto. A virtuous organization of supernatural fighters trying to prevent humans from turning into demons? D.Gray Man. And the writers stuffed the cast with tropes borrowed from well-known horror works. Mad Doctor? Check. Zombie? Check. Werewolf? Check. Witches? Double-check. In the end, the series' execution sets it apart from its copycat foundations. After a brief set of explicit introductions, the story gets on the rails to placing the its child protagonists outside their comfort zones. The powerful cast gets more in over its head with each passing episode, which helps maintain tension in the anime and adds to the believability of the villains' repeated escapes.
If the viewer stops to think about the story, things start to unravel a touch. The twists and turns of the series' second half are hardly surprising, and the simple fact that the faculty leaves the fate of the world to a group of students seems implausible at best. BUT Soul Eater's plot lacks adequate breathing room for these doubts to ruin the experience. As each entry snaps seamlessly into the one that came before, even the over-the-top climax makes perfect sense when it arrives in context. However, the breakneck pacing paints the show into a bit of a corner, and the final episode comes to an end in a manner so disappointing and abrupt that it borders on impressive. In retrospect, however, the sting of the dismal finale fades--the juddering mess only comes as a terrible shock because everything that precedes it fits so tightly together.
Soul Eater sports a stylish look ripped right out of a Tim Burton movie. The dark background palette, unnatural angles, and stark scenery set the mood perfectly for the horror themed show. But moreso than the overal art direction, the details bring the effect home. Whether it be the creepy, anthropomorphic sun and moon, the graveyard feel of Shinigami's room, or the subtly concave perspective in Soul's mind, the animators spare no opportunity to add character to every environment. Consequently, every location feels like an organic part of the anime's world. In addition, the three primary leads maintain the series' feel by embodying the three pillars of goth style: Maka in her plaid skirt, dark greatcoat and tie; Black Star decked out in zippers and steel-toed kicks; and Kid in a plain black suit. Just like in the backgrounds, little touches like the stars on Black Star's shoes, or Kid's skull bolo-tie and rings give the characters a concrete feel that seems to say "personal style choices" instead of "designed by an artist"; these considerations extend into the villains' wardrobes as well, from Free's canine facial features to Arachne's preponderance of spider symbolism to Eruka's spotted cheeks and amphibian eyes (am I strange for finding her cute?).
In the end, however, the quality of a shounen anime's visuals depends on its action sequences, and here Soul Eater delivers with mixed results. When the series wants to, it offers up kinetic action that feels fluid and engaging. However, the overly-dramatic angles cause more than a few issues with characters deforming and also results in more than a few instances of still-frame posing in each conflict. The little details again help the effort along, whether it be the lithe motion of Medusa's Vector Arrow or Black Star's Shadow Star, or the variable forms of Crona's Black Blood.
Gusto. That describes the Soul Eater audio in one word. Each episode starts with one of the two solid opening themes, and ends with one of the fantastic endings. While in this reviewer's humble opinion, Diggy Mo's "Bakusou Yume Uta" stands out as the best, the fourth song, "STRENGTH" fits the mood of the series best--its mournful strains form the ideal compliment to the darker content at the series' end. In between the OP and EDs of each episode, the hard rock soundtrack matches the gothic visuals to a "T", making use of guitars to communicate emotion in places normally reserved for pianos and strings.
Strangely enough, no one voice actor stands out above the crowd, because everyone turns in a solid performance--unusual for a shounen show. While the series' protagonists bring nothing remarkable to the table, the rouges gallery and side characters provide ample opportunities for interesting voice work. Koyasu Takehito (Excalibur), Uchida Yuuya (Franken Stein), and Koyama Rikiya (Shinigami) all bring texture and humor to the otherwise straightforward proceedings.
Since a good deal of its material appears derivative, Soul Eater goes to great lengths to set apart its characters from their source material. For every "been there, done that" entry like Mifune (samurai bodyguard--how novel!), the writers supply a quirky member like Joe Buttataki. The construction of the cast demonstrates an acute sense of self-awareness that helps to carry the whole effort. At its best, the show sinks deeply into self-parody in pursuit of originality with the horribly OCD yet undeniably cool Death the Kid, the painfully peculiar Excalibur, and the font of fan-service, Blair.
Too add some extra oomph to the series' less original characters, Soul Eater peppers its cast with interesting interactions and relationships which help add dimension to each person. From Black Star's friendly rivalry with Soul to the creepy sexual tension between Stein and Medusa, the show bristles with tiny moments of interplay that either brighten plot-related pauses in the action or ice the delicious combat cake with moments of development. Much like the stylistic enhancements in the visuals, these interpersonal moments help the actors in the anime feel like whole people and less like typical shounen protagonists.
With a good ending, Soul Eater would have jumped from "good" into "great" territory. While the show borrows heavily from other works, its execution and verve carry it off as a memorable shounen series. Unlike its brethren that tend to cut costs and pump up the episode count to maximize revenue, this anime maintains a focused agenda for two action-packed seasons, and that helps its cause. Anime like this one raise the bar for "average" by demonstrating how even a derivative effort can engage and entertain. If you're interested in seeing how fun action story with a real end and sense of urgency comes together, check this one out; You won't be disappointed. read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
I had thought that Kanokon ~Manatsu no Daishunikusai~ would be the most lackluster anime that I'd see during 2009. Given that Kouta and Chizuru graced our screens in November, that assertion seemed likely to hold. Oh, how wrong I was. After the delicious melancholy of Blue Drop, I fired up Itsudatte My Santa! looking for something short and funny with a slight zest of holiday cheer. Unfortunately, however, it proved too long on stupid and too short on functioning humor for my needs. Good thing it was a mere two episodes, as otherwise I might have set fire to my monitor in disgust.
Much like Mai, Itsudatte My Santa!'s overenthusiastic protagonist, the OVA tries too hard to please. Straight from a melodramatic voice-over wherein Santa (yes, you heard that right) muses on how children come to stop believing in Santa Claus, the story jumps right into a trainee-Santa Claus attempting to cram happiness down the poor boy's throat. At this moment, any sense of pacing flies out the window, and the "story" careens from gag to gag without pausing to reflect on whether or not anything works. The rest of the uninspired episode consists of an off-brand imitation of A Christmas Carol cheaply bolted onto a half-formed love story. The second portion jumps forward into summertime to provide one of the worst beach sequences in the history of anime: little or no fan-service, a weak riff on Mai's "I can only create things with 'san' in their names" power, and jerky animations of the gang eating watermelon, and finishing off with a montage of Shirley trying to orchestrate some alone time for the two hopeless lovers. That this segment derives most of its humor from Maimai biting Shirley's backside demonstrates the series' puerile wit at its finest.
Of course the OVA wraps up nice-and-neat in the finale, but the fact that the narrative never goes to any length to introduce significant tension or conflict makes the whole thing seem frivolous. However, since Itsudatte My Santa! isn't strange enough to elicit a massive "WTH?" (think Puni Puni Poemy). I--like most viewers I imagine--have to ask, "Ken Akamatsu took time off writing manga for THIS?"
Itsudatte My Santa! has to be one of the most cursorily animated OVAs out there. For most of the two episodes, viewers can feast their eyes on boring pans, nearly-still shots of people talking in front of static backgrounds, and action scenes that play out like flip-books written in the corner of high school texts. In 54 minutes of video, only one scene has any kind of visual flair and the director uses it TO END BOTH EPISODES. Famed moe champion Ken Akamatsu CLEARLY intended these two scenes to be identical. The repeated actions and events serve to reinforce the unchanging and therefore nonthreatening nature of Santa and Mai's relationshi... No. Reusing footage is just plain lazy, and placing it at the end of the boring second episode feels more like a slap in the face than an inspiring end to the story.
No, this OVA doesn't ear-rape you, but it sure-as-hell tries. While Santa, Shirley, and Maimai all have bland, reasonable voicing, Mai bounces immediately into the high-obnoxious register and stays there so long as she's not in Santa Claus mode. Whiny, shrill, and always shouting, her voice actor, the talented Aya Hirano, should be ashamed of this performance, deeply ashamed. Luckily, Mai's magical girl transformation into a holiday avatar lowers the pitch of her voice, and this, coupled with the spare minutes when the character keeps her mouth shut offer some respite.
Underneath all the action, an innocuous score wends its way through the anime. A standard synth affair blends in bells and faux-choral themes to enhance the anime's "Christmas" feel, but the music's low volume means it serves more as layer of frost atop the more offensive aural elements than an active participant in any scene; this is unfortunate, as louder music might have drowned out Mai's grating exhortations.
A foursome of cardboard cut-outs forms the main cast of the anime. Santa himself starts out interesting, but the OVA wastes no time in reducing him to a shallow romantic stand-in by the second episode. But of course, this is a Ken Akamatsu anime, so it's the girls that are interesting, right? Nope. Mai shows less depth of character than your grandmother's silver and nowhere near as much history. She flits between mopey, bubbly, and confrontational with no apparent motivation, which further damages the already frayed plot. Add to the mix her loli sister imaginatively named Maimai and a non-descript rival in the form of Shirley and you get... Well, I've seen mad-libs with more personality.
I know what you're going to say. "DeSwitch! You scored less than the sum of its parts!" to which I have to reply that this anime is the single most insulting thing I have EVER watched. The short OVA tries far too hard to make the most of its meager content and comes across as scattershot, insincere, and rushed. This drivel wears its three jokes thin within the first ten minutes and then follows up with a tired attempt at romance in its second installment--should you care to stick around that long. The fact that Ken Akamatsu believes you'll watch this or that this is what you're WAITING to see it is tantamount to violence against his fan-base in my mind. Do yourself a favor and skip this one. Also, consider burning your Negima collection in revenge. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
As an eternal optimist, I really wanted to like this show; random humour and the otaku nod to fans usually have me lapping up any serving of amusing antics. My kind nature was instead bitch-slapped into submission by one of the biggest heaps of god-awful unfunny trash I have seen in a long time. Even before the closing credits of the first episode rolled, I anticipated a humongous disappointment. It wasn’t until six episodes in, with no shining moments of redemption, that I realised quite how bad this show was going to be. Praying for the finale to finally arrive, I found it an uphill struggle via an impossible incline to get to the end of Paniponi Dash!. The episodic nature was hard work, and consistent repetition of mildly amusing jokes soon killed off any humour that may have lingered.
Parodies only work if you’ve seen the target subject matter, and much of the show’s shtick is based on bizarre Japanese shows and culture that only a native or an infatuated weeaboo will recognise. From the blatantly obvious that may raise a smile (Indiana Jones and Super Mario Brothers) to the little-known (poking fun at an insurance company called Aifu..?), nothing is sacred in the eyes of the writers. Some puns are understandable, and can be funny as a result, but the entertainment was killed for me as I struggled to keep up with the never ending nuggets of information about the current joke. I never thought I’d say this, but it was too fast and too much all at once....
One of the things that really irked me about Paniponi Dash! was a lack of situational background. The adorable Becky just arrives at the Peach Moon Academy, but there is no build-up or explanation to how she actually got the job. Seeing an eleven-year-old-girl being interviewed to be a high school teacher could have been very amusing, but the script writers chose to ignore this amongst other prime opportunities. This kind of omission just gives the whole show a flailing and deficient feel: like running the wrong way up an escalator, the legs are pumping furiously, but it essentially is going nowhere, fast.
Maybe it was because I didn’t “get” the obscure Japanese satire used, or maybe it’s because the entire show feels like recycled trash that I’ve seen before but in a successfully humorous show. Either way, I am glad to have finally expunged this woeful offering from my watching list.
Fulfilling their reputation for quality, SHAFT deliver a slightly above average offering that encompasses multiple visual styles. The cutesy girls are satisfactorily drawn, but the real outstanding animation comes from the varied appearance designed to complement the episode subjects. Switching the setting to a retro computer game, or paying tribute to Patlabor in one of the opening sketches, the artwork has some solid moments. Sadly, like many interesting gemstones, there are a multitude of imperfections; in what I can only describe as visual rape, there are scenes that need to be paused to read subtitles, footnotes, and a deluge of extra character information that flashes past at warp speed.
One of the only things I looked forward to in Paniponi Dash! was the surprisingly amazing kick-ass soundtrack. Seamlessly blending together numerous contrasting musical genres, from a swinging sixties style opening to a tuneful magical girl spoof, the whole audio medley works extremely well. A polished seiyuu cast also perform admirably, giving depth to a tender young Becky and an excitable charm to the hyperactive Himeko.
Along with the story, I find characters are extremely important in overall enjoyment of an anime. Consistent with a dreadful script, the imperfect characters feel as if they are designed to disappoint. Part of the problem stems from an unrelenting recurrence of stereotyped jokes for each girl, resulting in the initial humour dying on its ass before the show’s midpoint. Underage teacher Rebecca is either being a bolshie tearaway, or an annoyingly tearful brat and her flip-flop personality results in her being jarring rather than lovable.
The rest of the class consists of a handful of forgettable characters that will definitely appeal to some, but feel like the result of too much spoofing for others. The shy moe, an aggressive tsundere... originality means nothing in Paniponi Dash!, and I struggled to find anything likable about a translucent supporting cast. Of the wide-ranging personalities featured in the show, the relationship between the abused bunny Mesousa and a peculiar god-cat who lives in a vending machine was bizarrely the most believable. For something with so much potential, this felt like a complete waste of what could have been a priceless sister sorority.
I know there is a huge section of the anime community who love Paniponi Dash!, but it just didn’t excite or interest me. A host of two-dimensional characters and hit-and-miss puns made 26 episodes drag out over 4 weeks, and with no urge to pick it up each time, it quickly became a visual chore. Someone made an interesting comment that summed up the entire series for me: this is reverse plagiarism. You feel like you’ve seen much of the content before in more recent shows, such as Lucky Star or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, but the newer offerings do it with certain indulgent aplomb. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
Story & Characters (8/10)
This series is your basic slice-of-life romance story, but not with your typical "ugly" loves "beauty". In fact both main protagonists are labeled delinquents of the school. While the main female protagonist, Aisaka Taiga, is a "true delinquent" of sorts, the main male protagonist, Takasu Ryuuji, is only labeled as one because of his eyes. Oh before I forget, yes Taiga is a pun from the title where "tora" is "tiger" (Taiga being pronouced as it looks; "tai-gah", more puns in the series but thats the obvious one). Now being a deliquent doesn't necessarily mean the protagonists are ugly per se, its just the other students wouldn't exactly put these two characters on their "top people to date" list.
Now the series starts of with Ryuuji's first day of the start of his second year in high school. He comes to school with some good fortune, not only finding himself back in class with his best friend, Kitamura Yusaku, but also with his crush Kushieda Minori (also called Minorin). Now when there's something good, there's always something bad and word gets around about Aisaka (she being called the "Palmtop Tiger") and after an incident, Ryuuji gets knocked out by Taiga herself. Now to sum it all up, from there thats when the story really begins, Ryuuji somehow finds himself a "leashed dog" with Taiga has his owner. Also come to find out Kushieda (Ryuuji's crush) is best friends with Taiga. So from all that, if you're not confused already, shows how complicated things just got for Ryuuji.
Well the story itself starts out pretty predictable for about the first 7 episodes. Actually some could say the outcome of the entire series was predictable, but what made this story stand out more was the execution and characters. Stepping away from our two main characters, we get a character list that's pretty impressive considering the fact. Going with my favorite first, Kushieda Minori. She is the "athletic" character who is the type to take charge and very active. In fact at times you wonder if she even has a life, let alone wondering where the hell she gets her energy from. Fortunately enough, just like alot of the characters in the series, she's more complex than she looks. Without straying from the main plot, they allow for plenty of moments to show her "other side". She's one of those that puts up a front with people but will only show her true self amongst those she really cares for. She's not the outspoken-type despite being very ambitious. One could say all of her activity is her way of escaping her sorrowed life (however don't think its tragic or anything because its really not, just typical teenage angst).
A couple other characters who get some significant screen time are Kitamura Yusaku and Kawashima Ami. Its plainly obvious what position these characters play. Kitamura plays the "best friend" while Kawashima supplies the "rival" aspect in the love triangle. Surprisingly enough, after the halfway point, everything that made the typical "character sheet" gets thrown out the window. What I mean is, every anime story kinda follows a set format on characters (more true in slice-of-life series than anything else). Like for example, you have the best friend that provides the needed advice, or you would have the childhood friend (who in some cases can be the best friend or love interest) or maybe you might have the dense main character who can't tell when a girl/guy likes him/her. Now what Toradora did was start out with your basic format (i.e. Ryuuji = dense, Kushieda/Kitamura = best friends), but halfway through started juggling these traits around through everyone. No longer do we have the static characters that, unlike other slice-of-life shows where no matter how much their interests change, they're personality traits don't, they encompass all traits at one point other another. A good example of this is, again, at the halfway point (about episode 13 or 14, something like that), Kawashima Ami goes from being a "rival"-type to more of the "good friend"-type. Their traits change with the rest of their personality.
This story and character list were well written and really starts to blossom after the first 7 episodes or so. If you're one of those that got bored with it during the first couple episodes and stopped watching it, I suggest picking it back up again.
Definitely a step up from alot of shows over recent years. This is one of those series that really does its best to show off the good animation and direction but keeping the sharpen and bright look of the series. Its like when, say, you watched something like Beck, where you want some of the good animation to be accompanied by some clearer and more detailed art? That's not to say Toradora is extremely detailed or anything, but it does supply the feel that it is. I guess one could say Toradora is like the jack-of-all-trades in art. It wasn't the best in any one area, but it did good enough in all aspects of the art that you can't say its average or worse. Its supplies exuberant amount of bright colors that it gives off the right impression of a light-hearted, comedic yet romantic-at-times anime.
It has its faults however in the fact, as said before, it doesn't excel in any particular area. In every average to above average anime, there's always something that it excels at. Unfortunately for Toradora, Art wasn't where it shines the most. For me it was the story, not the art that charmed and made me come back for another dose. Yes its a step up from other shows in recent years, but there are definitely a number of series that excel better in the Art area than this series.
Ah, always my favorite section because music in anime have generally been nice to me. The series surely doesn't disappoint but it does have a number of insert songs that probably sounds better to others than it did me. Now the opening and ending songs were good for this series. "Pre-Parade" was a energetic song that really symbolized how energetic the first half of the series was. Bouncing off of that you head into the ending song for the first half which was "Vanilla Salt". I can safely say I haven't really listened to that song much because it just doesn't hook me enough. Good lyrics is one thing, but if the music itself doesn't compliment the lyrics well enough, you're going to have problems. For me, I just didn't get good vibes from it. Going into the second half of the series, you have "Silky Heart" for the opening and "Orange" for the ending. Probably the most listened to song out of all of Toradora is "Orange", followed by "Silky Heart". When watching the ending video and listening to "Orange", it made more sense to me for the tempo the second half of the series kinda followed. "Silky Heart" felt more in tune to the feelings of the characters and how they felt when you came up to the end of the series. I had the unfortunate experience of watching the official music video for "Silky Heart". Problem there is the dance steps and direction for the video really did nothing for the song. It felt like everything in the video sucked away all the energy that the song had in it. Warning for you all, don't watch the official music video for "Silky Heart", it does nothing good for the song in my opinion.
The insert songs are a different story however. They enhanced and played well in the anime, but when I listened to them full-length, outside of the anime, I didn't get the same feelings. Its like they lost all emotion when set on their own for me. Prime example is the "Holy Night" insert song. Played great and greatly improved the episode it was played in, but outside of it, I felt it lacked. Songs like these really shouldn't be put on CDs but again, when dealing in the anime world, fans just want to have everything from their favorite shows (yes I am one of them, heh). A completists' dream.
There's not much to say for the VAs. They were good as to be expected for their roles. I will say they have an impressive cast list. Not just for the main set of characters but for the supporting list as well. They had some up-and-coming VAs along with some established VAs in the industry. For example, just a couple seconds ago, while I'm writing this, I was taking a look again at the cast list for this show (been about a year and a half since I've seen the show) and I saw that Nonaka Ai (who played Ibuki Fuko from Clannad, a prominent character in the series) played the role of a supporting character known as Kihara Maya. Reason why I didn't know this is because I didn't see Clannad until the summer following the ending of Toradora (Toradora ended in March of 09, watched Clannad in the summer). To see such a cast list is really promising. There's nothing to be worried about in the VA department of this series.
This series was slated as a 25-episode series, but I guess they wanted to maintain the 26-episode length that the anime world is notoriously known for, so they threw in a special as the 26th episode. Its obviously not an episode needing to be watched in regards to the main story so no need to bend over backwards to see it. Any how, there's a lot of good things to say about the series but for a change of pace, I'm ma head straight into the bad first.
Fact is there's nothing really standout-ish about this series aside from some pretty well written characters. Now some would say that's a good thing and why others would list this series as "perfect", but that's not correct. For a perfect series everything would stand out and make for a long discussion about each part. So far the only portions I've elaborated on were the characters. I talked a bit about the sound but that's only for tidbit information I thought was interesting to include. Unfortunately its a pretty hard stretch to sit here and talk about Toradora for more than maybe 10 minutes before you start repeating yourself. That's pretty much how long this reading should be, give or take a couple more minutes. If it was up to me, this entire overall section would've been put up in two sentences but I figure I'd be better off explaining myself a bit more.
This series' re-viewability is extremely small. Once you've seen it once, you remember everything. I stated earlier that its been year since the ending of Toradora and I haven't re-watched it since, yet I was still able to give you a pretty good summary of what happened in the first 10 or so minutes of the first episode. I could literally sit here and tell the entire story, episode by episode, without having to re-watch any of it. That's a good and bad thing.
Toradora was a well executed series and has a charm to it that makes watching it fun and interesting, yet one could say the charm was too strong. Take your favorite movie for example. You get drawn back into because not only did you not catch everything the first time, but you enjoy it enough to watch it over and over again without getting tired of the same ol' stuff. Toradora on the other hand was too strong where you loved watching it, but paid too much attention to all the details which makes you lose the need to re-watch it. I will give this series credit though, the jokes were pretty funny and I found myself laughing time and time again.
Overall, definitely one to pick up and watch through. In fact I urge people to at least give it a shot for the first 14 episodes (second half starts at episode 15), after that make your decision. However don't be surprised if you decide to include this in your DVD collection, that you never watch it more than once more for a long time.