2 of 2 episodes seen
The story can't decide if it wants to be apocalypse fighting, high school in an apocalyptic setting, or a hentai. It's delightfully terrible at mashing these together, which results in hilarious fight scenes against a hentai monster at a run down high school in the post apocalypse. A lot of people found the series boring, but since I could never tell how they'd next attempt to mix these awful genres together next, I was entertained the whole time.
The characters all look like they were beaten with an ugly stick, simple as that. And if your innocent school characters are that fugly, you can bet the monsters are even worse. Because seriously, why not? I guess the only thing I can recall not being hilariously awful was the passable soundtrack and english voice acting (though some of these people do some of the most recognizable characters in other series that hearing them is just an added layer of funny).
But seeing just how stupid this thing can get in only two episodes is a lot of fun, it's almost certainly a classic terrible anime that should be compared to things like The Room and Birdemic. read more
Firefighter Daigo follows (surprise) a firefighter named Daigo. He's fresh out of high school, and due to being rescued by a firefighter as a child, wants to become one. The series opens with him passing his test and joining the Medaka-Ga-Hama fire station, known for having absolutely nothing happen in the vicinity. Obviously, because this is a shonen, that won't do, and thus the most crazy yet somehow plausible scenarios are going to immediately crop up in this fire station's area. Now this place can't even get through a basic training exercise or demonstration without something blowing up. Hospitals will blow up, tigers will get loose, and entire mountain sides will catch fire. It's like watching a katamari grow in terms of badassery, it ups the scenario each time.
FFD almost certainly follows a pattern: something highly unlikely happens, Daigo's badassery and sixth sense for firefighting/rescue saves the day, and he winds up in the hospital for a few chapters because he will do his job at great personal injury to himself. Rinse and repeat. To some degree, there's still a love interest and it takes a break from the formula when Daigo wants to take his career further. Yet it still somehow feels fresh for the entire 20 volumes and is always exciting. Part of this has got to be the art, clean, easy to follow, and addictive as all hell. It's honestly hard to stop reading as one arc just leads right into the next. Every scenario is unique and exciting so it never feels like you're reading the same material over again. The other thing is that Daigo, being a shonen lead, never seems to follow the rules, and yet he rarely gets punished for it. This is because he's damn successful and he saves lives, and it's hard to get sick of seeing people thank Daigo from the bottom of their hearts for saving their lives/their kids lives/etc. It's absolutely the most heart warming experience I've had with any shonen manga ever and it makes the manga feel truly rewarding to read. Not only that, but I learned a little bit about fire safety too! Which isn't to say FFD makes firefighting look glamorous, it looks like damn hard work and some of the characters are horribly scarred and burned. And Daigo ends up in the hospital with several broken somethings after almost every arc (I've just assumed he has some Wolverine blood in him at this point, though the world is nice enough to not have anything crazy happen while he's recovering). But damn if it didn't give me a new found respect for first responders!
This is a good manga. Not because it clearly came out due to 9/11's "Firefighters are cool" rush, which was temporary at best, but because it's got great action, heartwarming conclusions, it's fun and exciting to read, and it just does what it does so well. Any fan of action shonen needs to read this oft overlooked, and frankly lame looking based on description, epic epic shonen. It's got all the shonen tropes you'd expect (including a rival, naturally), but it does them so well you might as well be reading them for the first time. read more
197 of 197 chapters read
The heart of Hikaru no Go is clearly the characters. They all love the game of Go, yet they somehow don't spend lots of time boring the audience with intricate strategy detail talking. While in many sports manga, games will last volumes at a time, most Go games last only a few pages while highlighting the internal monologues of the characters and making them look badass while placing down a Go piece instead. The longest game is maybe 4 chapters and only because it is very pivotal, but even that's not showing the game played step by step, but going into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. As a result, the pacing is just right, lots of things happen and lots of time passes in the series. Also, the audience isn't expected to know about Go in order to enjoy the manga. They're linked to Go through every fiber of their being, yet to the audience, it's not a problem. One problem I have with many sports manga is that I am a nerd, and thus do not care about sports. I don't know the rules of baseball, so when something happens and all the characters react, I'm not sure why they're reacting. Since character reactions are a large part, it's always clear to me. At the same time, it never feels either repetitive or like I'm being talked down to. The result of this is simple perfection on the usage of the games within this series. And there are little end chapter single bonus pages talking about the basics of Go, so even if you come into this as clueless as everyone else, it'll help you pick up on some basic things. And damn if this manga won't make you want to try out Go at least once anyway.
Characters are, as I said before, the most important aspect. The cast is very large. Hikaru meets lots of other players of all skill levels, and every one of them is distinct looking. They might not show up for several volumes at a time, but you'll immediately remember them by their looks. Not only that, but the younger characters will age during the series. Because this is a sports series, there's not exactly a bad guy here either. Thus, having a game of Go against your best friend always stirs up emotions in everyone and makes for fantastic character development. There aren't any one-note single dimensional characters here, there's no pointless business suit bad guys out to screw over people for no reason, there's just a lot of passion. And Hikaru isn't always the focus, lots of characters get spots in the limelight, sometimes for volumes at a time. Yet they're just as interesting so you might not miss Hikaru during that time, and that's not a bad thing. The characters and the setting are also realistic. I know this starts with a kid getting possessed by a Go obsessed ghost, but supernatural is hardly the focus here. The set up also isn't "here's the next bad guy, defeat him", lots of games are played and there's never just one adversary. It's a game between two people, so even when they're cheering for the friend they're currently playing against, it's every man for himself. Fortunately, this does not make everyone a jerk like it could in a lesser series, they play seriously when it's time and hang out together on the weekends. The characters are friends and it's a lot of fun to see them wether they're doing Go related stuff or not.
Anyone who perhaps isn't into traditional shonen or wants a series with strong focus on characters need look no further. People who need lots of action scenes might not find what they're looking for here, but that won't stop it from being the best shonen I've ever read. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Ok, so the story is basic enough to make sense for sure, it's just really stupid. Perhaps the dub is inducing problems, but they constantly changed one girl's age from underage to of legal age for no apparent reason. Even then I can barely remember the story, something about finding a diamond and the one guy's sister so the other guy can go back to dating her in opposition of her brother. It ends with a pool party and an exploding helicopter. No, it doesn't make sense and no one who was working on this seemed to care because this was just made as a tie in for a Neo-Geo game that no one probably played anyway (especially not in America where that system didn't exactly sell).
Even for a 90s anime where everything was still cell animated and they couldn't just ask the computer to do everything, you can still tell they put minimal amounts of effort into this. Animation appears to be minimal during action scenes and the laws of physics were broken on a regular basis. It only ads to the enjoyment though! And oh yeah, you'll see some loop animation, don't worry. Ok, so the special effects and animation aren't Gundoh Musashi bad, but it's nothing to be proud of.
Well, the voice acting is terrible, this was dubbed at a time when companies snatched up cheap licenses and just shoved stuff out the door before it could brush its teeth, but the sound effects are sub par and the music is annoying and stupid too. I suppose it's no nails on a chalkboard, but my god is the sound suck. Even for it's time, you could tell they had better voice recording technology than they used for the dub.
The characters are just terrible, and I partly mean that they're terrible people. On more than on occasion, not to spoil anything, the two main characters stand and watch as some random guy is killed [i]before[/i] jumping into action in the opposition of physics. Not that they're well explored either, not in this short amount of time. And the two characters, despite being friends, attempt to do playful banter with each other but it more comes off as them just hating each other's guts, who the hell wrote these characters?
Yeah, everything is so bad here that it becomes enjoyable. It's one of those things! Awful dub and script add to the enjoyment of a terrible story with two terrible lead characters who break into apartments and drink random people's scotch and go "oh we broke into try and find this cat we were chasing", an awful story, and the great animation with moments of Engrish to complete the whole package.
Here's how you play the drinking game, take a drink every time:
-someone defies the basic laws of physics
-everytime someone laughs a horrible scripted and stilted laugh, take two drinks if two characters laugh in unison like this with each other
-the two mains act like blatant jerks to each other
-you see a word of blatant Engrish or misspelling you see on the screen
-everytime the viewing audience all bursts out laughing
And there you go, you'll be good and drunk with your friends in no time! Enjoy! read more
20 of 26 episodes seen
The main problem with the series comes from the fact that the story uses its basic structure as a crutch for damn near every episode. Every time it gets anywhere near leaving its crutch behind, it suddenly gets scared and races back to the crutch and clings on to it with dear life. This might not be a problem if the stories themselves were well written with interesting characters, but half of the time I was just yelling at the unbearable stupidity of the characters for maybe not trying to go to the authorities with their problems because half of the time that would have worked just fine. For the times where I could understand why the use of the Hell Girl was necessary, it was still laziness on the part of the writing because every single episode ended the same way anyway. Even after going to the authorities, one girl still pulled the string to summon Hell Girl even though by the time she did it it was too late to change anything and the person she pulled it against was already going to jail for life. Most of the villains are only moderately evil and not a single twist occurs where someone admits they were wrong. The story introduces a father and his daughter (who oddly enough refers to her father by first name) as they try to discover who Hell Girl is, but it basically amounts to them watching the episodes occur around them because nothing they seem to do prevents the Hell Girl from being summoned. After having nothing but the same thing happen for 20 episode, it's really hard to want to continue. I expected to care about the character of the episode and look forward to him or her (mostly her and they're pretty much all young adults or high schoolers) pulling the string, but I was just looking forward to the end credits because the series failed to convince me his or her reasons for pulling the string was completely necessary. As a result of not writing the characters in a way to make me care, every episode made me wish I'd gotten a nice calming tooth filling instead.
To top it off, the stories themselves as individual episodes just aren't very interesting. I'm assuming it wants to be a horror genre show, but it comes off as more cheesy than anything else and as a drama, it's just too rushed to be properly dramatic. There's really no other genre it could fall into, it's not just "average" in its genre, it's pretty damn bad.
Ridiculous amounts of footage are reused, and it's not particularly interesting footage, it's ritualistic footage and once you've seen it once, it's boring. Brina Palencia is a voice actress I normally like, but either she was terrible as the Hell Girl herself or Hell Girl really was written to sound as boring and wooden as humanly possible in which case Palencia nails it. Nothing else in the dub stands out, but the Japanese seemed just as uninteresting, it's not very good at engaging the audience either way.
There is no good reason to watch this show, it wants to be so much more than it is and it's nothing shy of painful to watch instead. Avoid this at all costs or watch a few episodes online first to see for yourself why this is a title to be avoided. read more
4 of 4 episodes seen
A 6th grader gets picked for the one class job she doesn't want: the alien hunter. Why she wouldn't this job is beyond me, there are two other people who also do the jobs from other classes who will do all the work for her and they don't have to do homework as a perk. So the episodes mostly show them fighting some alien that is heavily implied to have been put there on purpose just so they could kill it while we see the main girl, Yuri Ootani (as they will repeat 10 times in a row before the opening credits so you damn well know) cry and whine the entire show about how unfair it is that she has to fight these aliens and someone else can't do it instead. It only gets worse when the story tries to pretend it's deep but we're still watching a main who is actually more of a whinebag then Shinji Ikari himself whine. Anything it tries to imply to be deep is incredibly obvious to begin with so we're just left watching incredibly annoying characters for 4 episodes. It's hard to care about a story that wants to be all mature and dark when it fails it so clearly. Not to mention that the story just....ends, no closure or anything, it basically tells you to read the manga if you gave a crap about this as is.
Character: also a 1
Yuri Ootani is the main and dear god does she whine the entire time and I mean the entire time. She cries when playing a recorder, when taking a bath, when trying to fight aliens in which she stands back and cries the entire time while her teammates tell her to stop crying, it's like this entire show revolves around her crying. The other two teammates....not quite as bad. There's the normal girl and she's pretty much unremarkable. She neither adds much nor subtracts much to the show and she's obviously the best character if only because she doesn't flat out suck. Then there's the other girl who reminds me of Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, an overachieving little smart alec who is annoying because she spends most of the series making strange noises then she rather turns her brain off and starts acting weird. You'd think this might make her interesting as she's acting a bit odd, but it only serves to make her look incredibly pretentious. The borgs...not that bad I guess, they just never bother to explain them or any of their motives. Much like the normal girl, they're just kinda there as characters, although they're supposed to sync up with their partners and act as attack weapons of some sort, but they don't really do all that much as characters per se.
Art: 6, Sound: 7
Sound is pretty good, I won't lie, the OP is a bit addicting. The art is...ok, I can say putting cutesy characters on "darker" material is new, Osamu Tezuka has been doing that for ages and now we've got better darker material drawn cutesy with Kaiba anyway. It's nothing terribly standout, it's just kinda there.
This is just torture to watch. You hear so many decent ideas above and every single one of them falls flat on its face thanks in no part to a terrible cast of annoying and boringly infuriating characters. And I've heard arguments this is deep, it really isn't, it tries to be pretentious at best in trying to force meanings that really aren't there and having only 4 episodes just made it a cocktease for a manga that I sure as hell don't want to read (and in fact haven't). At least I wouldn't have to hear Yuri cry every 3 minutes for the entire show in print format. Don't watch this, not ever, I'd sooner cut my own limb off then watch this again, but if anyone is in that stage where all anime is automatically good, watching something terrible like this to set your standards of good and bad back on track. read more
21 of 21 chapters read
But it would seem there are some slice of life series I can get behind and Flower of Life is one of them. The reason? The mains are manga nerds and even the non-totally manga nerds have some of that in them too. Of course, this would probably make you question why I would just do the same thing but at an anime or manga club and the fact of the matter is that we tend to start talking about the Pokemon games or things that we’ve seen or read but here, there is no direct parodies or mentions of anime or manga that you’d need to know to be able to follow the conversations (they do put in some rather similar names that will make you smile if you get it or not be lost if you don’t, but they don’t happen too often). The other thing about this manga is that it also parodies yaoi and manga gay couples hilariously, I was honestly not expecting the plot twist I got on that one. It lampshades its tropes in a good way and especially likes to parody yaoi from time to time without ever taking away from the overall plot, which is really special because a lesser series would have done just that.
Fumi Yoshinaga is popular for a reason and this manga shows why really well for me, she has the ability to switch from drama to comedy or vice verse in just two panels without feeling rushed nor forced and then she does both of them equally well and incorporates them together well. I enjoyed her drama in this series which was usually one of two things: the main’s past battle with Lukemia or the teacher-student yaoi-like thing going on but at the same time entire chapters were never devoted to it, but enough time was given that I got what I needed to know really well and could still get into it. The other part is mostly slice of life or comedy which as I said before involves a bunch of manga nerds and takes up a lot more of the page space here but I quickly felt myself drawn to the characters here and really enjoyed them and whatever quirks they had but I also liked the integration of Majima, a massive jerk who likes to ignore other people but doesn’t necessarily like being ignored himself (that part reminded me of myself for one) but everyone stills interacts with him for what he is and no one tries to really change him to fit in with more normal people.
So, this is a wonderful little slice-of-life with nerds and character trope lampshader with good use of drama to drive character development. Any Fumi Yoshinaga fan should read this right away and anyone unfamiliar with her should start here or Antique Bakery. I think the ending was a bit weak though, I would have liked to seen more perhaps? But for how it ended, I think that was good too. It’s a real treat to read and I feel any manga fan worth their salt needs to read this one. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
The plot is the strongest point in the show, it has a few time skips as important characters grow up to become more important to the plot and situations will change over the course of many years. It’s a distopian type future, not the worst place to necesasrily live, until you find out that the Big Brother Is Watching trope is in effect. Everyone is trying to get back to the original planet Earth for reasons that become a tad more evil as the series goes on. I wouldn’t dare spoil it though, it’s a sci-fi series to the core with emphasis on character relations more often found in shojo series, giving a good flavor when it mixes with sci-fi.
Now, remember those time skips? Sadly, this is where the bad part of the time skips gets pushed off onto: the characters. My complaint is that while some characters are developed perfectly well (in part because they might not be in more than one time chunk), the time skips seems to have developed characters while we weren’t looking, which makes for some rather annoying character development plot holes so to say. The character this will affect the most is, unfortunately, the designated main himself, Jomy. I say designated because as the series goes on he feels less and less like he’s supposed to be the main main. He seems to go from being freaked out to being perfectly fine with the situation and while It’d be expected after 4 or 5 years for this to be the case, I’m just upset that I didn’t get to see what happened in particular, did he just get used to the place or what? None of this will stop you from enjoying the fantastic story though and the story more than makes up for a few shortcomings with the characters.
The visuals here are good, spectacular in most cases with some key scenes animated just beautifully. The character model update from the 1980 movie is massively appreciated too. It’s overall good, just not the most memorable thing ever. The music on the other hand is one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a while, save for my not caring much for the 1st ED, but the battle theme just plays in my head over and over again and both OP are great. I don’t think it’s the best voice acting I’ve ever heard, but it’s still pretty good.
The characters really do bring this series down a bit, but don’t let it stop you from getting into the addicting well paced story that remains interesting the whole way through. There’s not many big plot twists, but it’s still some of sci-fi at its best, be sure to check it out. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
The plot can be a bit tricky to pin point, half the time it’s going all sci-fi on you with aliens and intergalactic police, the other half of the time it’s going slice of life with students on you. They’re both interesting parts that actually mingle pretty well with eachother. Upon going through this series a second time, it becomes more impressive that there really aren’t any wasted scenes either, they either go to plot or to characters. The balance between these segments is good too and leans a lot more towards sci-fi as the series goes on.
This series could be considered to have two mains as defined by the series: Hajime, whom the story is told from, and Muryou, whom the series is more or less named after. These two aren’t particularly interesting though, they’re not bad, but they just kinda feel...there. Hajime takes everything a bit too laid back for me, like everything and everyone is normal, and even though Muryou is the main mystery in the series, he’s just a little bit dry. The rest of the cast is all great fun though with varying quirks and personalities. They make the series worth watching and show up in both the more slice of life segments and the sci-fi segments. Both adults and children characters are interesting and believable.
The good part is the animation, which was one of the last cel drawn series, it just has that nice hand-drawn feel to it we don’t get quite as much today. Given that Madhouse animated it, it also looks and moves well. The soundtrack on the other hand....well, it’s like someone stole the soundtrack to an elevator and the track had precisely one and a half good songs on it. The soundtrack is pretty awful, it really interferes with the OP and ED, they’re damn near unlistenable is you ask me, but they don’t really disrupt the rest of the show either, so I suppose I can give it a pass, but it’s pretty crappy if you ask me.
It might not be for everyone, but people who want more laid back slice of life need look no further and people who like slice of life who don’t mind sci-fi mixed in there should check it out. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
What can I say? The plot isn’t all that complicated, there’s a race and for 22 out of 26 episodes, half the focus is on winning the race and the other half is on building character relations, backstory, or setting. The first two episodes don’t concentrate on racing and neither do the last two, but for just about every other episode, you can expect a race. That’s not to say the races feel like boring filler either, the creativity in the racers, whose vehicles range from a cat face with a DDR style control pad to a giant flying bug, make every race interesting because you’re not just watching two standard cars or spacecraft squaring off all the time. Not to mention that opponents can attack each other and sometimes races have special goals in mind other than “finish first”. When the story does veer off from just watching a race, it’s still good and tends to focus on Molly and why she wants to win the race. As simple as the premise might be, it still comes together to be more than the sum of its parts. It can, however, be a tad predictable at times. Usually not the races, which keep you guessing from start to finish, but the half of the episode that deals with the plot progression and character development can be a tad easy to guess at at times. It shouldn’t stop you from enjoying it though, it’s still told really well.
The characters are quite good, a lot of the one shot opponents are going to be best remembered for the interesting race they give us, but a few linger on a bit longer and all have interesting customs which might surprise our mains a bit at times. The characters really go hand in hand with the plot here though as everything somehow gets connected through racing, but watching them develop is still great. I think the romance aspect came in a tad forced though, like it got switched on during one episode at tad too suddenly for me. If you like being on the fence for ___X___ pairings, you'll be getting some of that here too by the end.
This series easily has the best blending of CGI and 2D animation I’ve seen before or since. It’s only obvious a very few times that there’s any CGI at all, CGI is usually on screen more than half the time and I couldn’t usually tell. Character designs though take a bit of getting used to and may be slightly off-putting. Music is a big plus though, the composer for the OP and ED is none other than Yoko Kanno and the series composer is Taku Iwasaki, who would later do equally great music for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Sound effects are great too, they went all out, each and every vehicle has a distinct sound all its own made from blending other sounds.
It’s a great series, even if the excellent sound and visuals don’t bring it up to a 10 for me, but it’s still worth checking out to learn how to properly mix “of the week” with an overall continuing story plot. There’s not much else quite like it, racing, sure, girl who’s a semi-orphan main, sure, but the way the story is told more than makes this worth checking out. read more