4 of 4 chapters read
The story is relatively simple. Claudine de Montesse is the daughter of a French nobleman and the first child to truly resemble his father. He began identifying as a male at the age of 8, claiming that he was born in the wrong body, much to the surprise of his family. His well intentioned but confused mother takes him to a doctor, not knowing quite what to do. The doctor and Claudine become friends, though they hardly ever spend any time together. The only people who truly accept his sexuality are his father and his clingy childhood friend Rosemarie. Unfortunately, even with their support, Claudine's attempts to find love and be accepted as a man wind up ending in tragedy one by one, especially when he discovers certain secrets about his family and his loves that he may not be prepared for.
You may be surprised by the rating I gave this. You may be thinking, "If you really think this manga deserves a 7 out of 10, why are you gushing about it? Don't you like it?" Well, the reason I ranked this manga rather low is because there are quite a lot of things in this that sort of felt really forced or turned me off. The first of them is the melodrama. It places a bit too much emphasis on certain scenes, making them come off as very forced, especially the characters' reactions (though I think that's because of the way they're drawn). But then again, this was drawn in the seventies after all, so melodrama was the standard at the time. The second thing that really irked me were some of the twists that were revealed. I won't go into detail about them and the melodrama, as these twists happen to be VERY FULL OF SPOILERS and have a HUGE affect on the story afterward. What should be a good manga about the transsexual main character is somewhat overshadowed by a strange, convoluted, and unnecessary love dodecahedron that's much too complicated for even me to keep track of, and the actions of some of the characters really made me cringe. I feel that if the manga was a bit longer, it could have developed these things more and made them a lot more subtle. I wonder if the subject matter is why the manga is so short? Maybe Ikeda wasn't able to go beyond one volume?
However, even with the manga's huge and glaringly obvious flaws that keep me from rating it much higher, I still respect it wholly. Why? There's just so many little details about this manga that I really appreciate. For one thing, Claudine's father actually accepts her sexuality even though in the 19th century, transsexuality or homosexuality were considered mental disorders and maligned by everyone back in that time period, and he conveys this with this line: "God made an error in not giving him a male body." If that's not a true sign of love and appreciation, then I don't know what is, even though he has his own issues later on. Normally, the fathers are the ones who are the quickest to hate their children if they decide to be homosexual or transsexual. It's just SO UNGODLY refreshing to find a fictional father figure who still loves his child regardless of what they decide they are! And in a manga taking place in the 20th century, no less!
Another thing I truly appreciate is Claudine himself. From what I'm hearing from other places, transsexuals have been portrayed in manga and anime as flamboyantly gay or just acting gay for the sake of showing off their sexuality, which is rather insensitive. Wandering Son is an exception to this rule, along with Claudine. Claudine is a wonderful and well-rounded character. He's not flamboyant or flirty or any other poorly executed gay stereotype. He's simply a human being who has flaws, makes some mistakes, is easily saddened by tragic events in his life, and who deserves as much respect, love, and acceptance as everyone else does, but most people he meets don't like him because he's "technically" a girl and not a man, which he claims to be. However, I will admit, the final thing about this manga that irked me was the ending. Not because it was rushed or not well done or anything like that. In fact, it's very well done and well worth it. But it's just plain sad. Sad sad sad. I won't spoil it, but let's just say that what Claudine does at the end is sadly reminiscent of what young gay and transsexual kids are doing after years of bullying drive them over the edge today. I wish it had a happy ending, but still, this ending is well done so I'll give it some slack.
Despite all of this manga's problems, this is definitely a guilty pleasure manga that I'll definitely keep reading. If the forced twists and love triangles were removed, it'd be a masterpiece. But I can wholly love it for what it does do absolutely right, and more people should too! read more
1 of 1 chapters read
What's the story? Well, the so-called angels of heaven are actually people with wings of light, who evolved because humanity has declined considerably, and people who are wingless are a rarity as a result of an apocalypse (or something). The people with wings are light don't consider themselves to be angels, and their home, Heaven, is what they call the City of Clouds. There's a legend that if a child is born without the wings of light or the powers that come with them, they are a child of God destined to go on a journey to the stars by way of a very old tree. Mimia is one such child. Thanks to the love she receives from her parents, friends, and other kind souls, she grows into a kind, loving girl, though is unsure about whether she wants to be a God or not.
Now, one thing I think might turn people off about the actual manga series is that Mimia might come off as a bit of a Mary Sue. She's nice, she's kind, she has pink hair, she's a God child, everyone loves her, etc. But less than two volumes are scanlated so this might change later on. Here in this one-shot, however, she's a bit more flawed, occasionally attempting to pull of feats that are not possible for a normal human but are for the winged people, much to the chagrin of her sister and servants. However, since this is a one-shot, the author does try a bit too hard to get its story out, which does come out as a BIT convoluted, but not so convoluted that people can't understand what's going on. They say that it's not the destination that matters, but the journey. But in this one-shot, Mimia doesn't go on her journey until the end, and she isn't ready for it in the series, so we don't know the full extent of what happens. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as some things are better off left to the imagination. But it does become a little jarring if we don't see her develop or go through occasional hardships that go along with said journey. Plus, the setting isn't nearly as developed as it is in the series, so it may come off as another typical fantasy world to others.
Despite my opinion of this one shot, however, I still LOVE the heck out of Mimia Hime, and as of now, despite it being so underrated, I consider the series to be an absolute masterpiece simply because of how sweet it is and how far and away it strays from the norm. The manga has a mission, and it wants to fulfill it at any cost, while taking great pains to show us beauty in the little things and oversee the life of a young girl who has to fulfill her own mission with the support of the people behind her. I wish the manga would get scanlated faster. I want to read more of the series. But this review is JUST for the oneshot. A review of the actual manga series will come later, once it gets scanlated to its entirety. For now, I'm going to re-read the series and bask in its cuteness, fluffiness, and sweetness. You should, too! read more
46 of 46 episodes seen
Our main character, Usagi (known as Serena in the English dub, which I only saw one episode of and don't plan on seeing any more), is...not the best person in the world. She's ditzy, woefully clumsy, dumb as a brick, a glutton, greedy, and a hopeless crybaby who freaks out over little things. She is regularly late for school every single day (seriously, doesn't she ever have an alarm clock? Being late every single day? That's just not healthy!), she's always being scolded by the teacher for said tardiness, she always fails her tests, never studies, is always under her family's fire, and wants nothing more to do than eat junk food, go to the arcade, gossip with her friends, and talk about cute guys. Basically, she's the girl nobody really wants to be but is anyway. But one day, on her way to school, she saves a cat from being abused by some rowdy kids. When she gets back, the cat, Luna, turns out to be anything but normal. Luna is a familiar from the moon, and an organization called the Dark Kingdom, currently run by an old hag named Queen Beryl, wants to revive their ruler, Metalia, and take over the world, and Luna thinks Usagi might be one of the sailor soldiers, a group of people who defend the peace of the Earth. Usagi then becomes Sailor Moon, and she's not too keen on the idea of fighting monsters and saving the world when she can't even get up in the morning. But she's not the only sailor soldier. She is soon joined by sweet and smart Ami (Sailor Mercury), beautiful and brave Minako (Sailor Venus), fiery and easily irritated Rei (Sailor Mars), and strong and supportive Makoto (Sailor Jupiter). Together, they must defeat the Dark Kingdom and thwart their evil schemes.
For a magical girl anime that supposedly caused an epic Blitzkrieg in it's homeland and overseas, it's animation is really nothing to write home about. It hasn't really aged well. It's colors are a bit messy at times, the eyes get out of place at times, there's so many still frames it's not even funny, and at times things just look a bit too sketchy and kooky. Even when the characters move, they seem to be a little stiff at times (except for the opening, but all openings are like that so who am I to judge?). Plus, I have to admit, I don't like how the characters' legs look. They're a bit too long for my tastes. No person I know has legs that long, even for super model standards. Seriously, what is it with anime and designing all characters with ridiculously long legs? But then again, considering how short their skirts are when they battle, the anatomy here is a bit more considerate than other anime. The music isn't really much to talk about either. It's generic, pretty much no different from other anime music you'd hear in any 90s anime, and I've heard my fair share of soundtracks from anime in the 90s. Sorry, but Homeless Girl Remy has a much better soundtrack than this. But the music in their assigned scenes DO fit their assigned scenes (happy music in happy moments, scary music in scary moments, sad music in sad moments, etc.) and not once do they feel out of place, unlike some shows that play the wrong music in the wrong places (Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, anyone?). It also does a decent job of forming the correct atmosphere for their assigned scenes so I won't fault it for doing that. The opening is nice and serene (and yes the English version is pretty catchy too). However! If you ask me, I prefer the Spanish version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30vuUMTJLiE It totally trumps both the Japanese AND English versions, even if it's just the Japanese version with Spanish lyrics and a different singer who, in my honest opinion, sings the song MUCH better than the original singers. Don't kill me!!!
The characters...well, I can see how they'd be revolutionary for their time, but nowadays, they're still a bunch of character archetypes that have been used over and over again. We have the ditzy and dumb idiot who doesn't grow into her role as the leader, the brainiac, the person who always berates the leader for everything they do well-intentioned or not, the brawny strong one, and the beautiful one who's just kind of there. Ugh, I seriously couldn't stand Usagi. I know she has her moments, and she can be awesome when she has her shining moments, but her shining moments are very few and far in between. The rest of the time all she does is whine with that screechy voice of hers and act like a brat and have everyone do everything for her. She's definitely NOT leader material and doesn't improve when the situation calls for it, nor does she display any awareness or responsibility for any of the roles she's placed in. Seriously, I wanted to bash her head in whenever she opened her mouth and said or did something stupid! Her first English dub voice and her Spanish dub voice sound more convincing than her Japanese voice! Heck, if you ask me, I think Rei or Makoto should have been given the leader role and not Usagi, and they're the ones who do most of the attacking while Usagi just runs away whining and crying 90% of the times she's in a battle! However, my complaints aside, Usagi IS a realistic character, and definitely has more than enough flaws to justify what she does, and while she may have a bunch of flaws, she definitely has a good heart and will do anything for her friends and family, even if she approaches situations in a stupid and impulsive manner a lot of the time. You have to admit she's a HECK of a lot better than certain other characters from other shows (Tagiru from Digimon Xros Wars: Hunters, anyone?) Plus, I wish Tuxedo Mask did more than just throw roses, say inspirational (mostly expository) speeches, fling his cape, save Usagi, and run away a lot of the time. He's just a silly exposition fairy who doesn't really do much other than what I just listed, and even in the end, his role is rather silly and cliche. He doesn't grow as a character nor does he gain any new powers. The other characters don't get much development either, but that'll get rectified in later seasons. Out of all the characters, my favorites are Ami, Rei, and Makoto. They actually do way more in the show than Usagi did, and are much more interesting and likable in my honest opinion. Yeah Rei gets mad at Usagi a lot of the time, but wouldn't you do the same if you were paired up with a dim bulb idiot who constantly does stupid things, even in the face of grave danger? I know I would! Finally, the villains are cliche and uninteresting, with not much personality traits other than "I wantz too take over da world for the evulz!! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!" save for anyone after Jadeite, and of course the Monsters of the Week aren't very interesting either.
This review is entirely based on the Japanese version, NOT the English dub. From what I've heard, the English dub sucked really hard and cut out a lot of important things, so I decided to spare myself the agony and not go anywhere near it other than the 1st episode (Seriously, people hate the dub and NOBODY talked about the shameless Star Wars parody at the beginning of the first episode?! For shame!!). Now, personally, I think Sailor Moon is rather generic, cliche, and silly. It has stereotypical characters, stereotypical villains (albeit with SOME personality), the monster of the week format, and vice versa. Normally, this would be a recipe for disaster, right? With my honest review, you'd think that I'd give this anime an F for being an epic cliche storm. But...I won't? Why? Because I like Sailor Moon. I like Sailor Moon. Yes it's silly, yes it's cliche, yes the characters aren't entirely three dimensional, yes the villains aren't that interesting, yes the monster of the week storytelling is repetitive and silly, yada yada yada. But despite all of this, I found it to be sweetly charming and endearing, and it really made me remember what it was like to wake up on a Saturday morning and watch exciting cartoons that branded themselves into our memories. Yes, Sailor Moon has made me embrace my inner 10-year-old girl, and I'm proud of it. It's not the best anime in the world, but it definitely has a lot to like about it if you aren't too cynical. It's definitely the kind of anime you'd want to watch after a hard day of school or work and when you just want to sit back, relax, grab a bag of cheese curls and a bottle of water, and watch a bunch of pretty girls kick monster butt. Yeah, I can see why this was the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic of the nineties.
While it did cause a revolution, it's not as good now as it was back then, but it's still a nice little anime to watch when you want to. Also, would anyone like to join me in giving Usagi the job of taking care of twin baby ponies like Pinkie Pie had to go through? Maybe that'll teach her some responsibility and awareness of her situation! read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Okay. Forgive me for sounding rude and blunt, which I don't mean to be, and I'm not trying to look down on fans or people who actually used to pretend to be fantasy characters when they were young. I understand this is fiction, and I'm not trying to sound like I take this a little too personally. However, there is SO MUCH wrong with this anime it's not even funny. I'm surprised other people haven't pointed these things out yet, so I'm going to no matter what people say to me! Let me start off with the single worst thing about this show: the way it portrays these fantasies. Now, it's not uncommon for people to pretend to be anime characters or something like that. Heck, sometimes I like to pretend I'm Dilandau from Escaflowne or Usagi from Sailor Moon. Heck, when me and my friends were young, we would pretend to be Pokemon trainers and play pretend battles back when we had recess in elementary school! Of course, that was mostly because I'm autistic and because we were young kids back then who wanted to have fun instead of deal with boring stuff like school or homework. Plus, we actually knew when to be lost in our fantasies and when we had to deal with reality, even though we didn't want to deal with the latter. But our main character, Yuuta, a perfectly normal and NOT physically or mentally flawed high schooler AT ALL, suddenly decided he was some Dark Flame Master and completely took on this persona. In middle school. And acted like that. IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. EVEN DURING CLASSES. IN PUBLIC!! Do you see what's wrong here? It's one thing to be a little kid and pretend to be anime characters when we're alone, but...a middle schooler?! Acting like that every single day?! In plain view of other kids, teachers, and authority figures?! Seriously, this kid SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!! So should everyone else, despite having their reasons for deluding themselves in fantasies! Yet what does this anime do?! It tries to give it some fancy name called Eighth Grader Syndrome, or Chuunibyo as they call it. Come on people!! This isn't some phenomenon! It's just stupid kids acting out their fantasies and acting like complete idiots when they SHOULD know better! What also appalls me is the way other people react to them! They just watch looking all weird and let them do their thing! It's probably more of a cultural thing, and I'm in America so Japan probably has a different view on this than Americans, but...seriously, if someone did stuff like this in real life, they'd be bullied relentlessly and be reminded of it for the rest of their lives, possibly to the point of making them commit suicide! I'm surprised the kids who saw Yuuta's Dark Flame Master gig didn't laugh at him or bully him or record videos of it and put it on YouTube so they could ruin his life completely!! I know that if I ever did that stuff in public, it'd most certainly happen to me since I'm not the most popular person in school! We all know what happened to Tyler Clementi here! Seriously, Yuuta should have known better than to do embarrassing stuff like that in public all the time!! Just the way the show portrays all of this as if it's the most normal thing in the world by making light of it and using it for comedy...how can any sane person even approve of such atrocities?!
Well, if there is one thing the show does well, it's the fact that it DOES show characters who DO feel embarrassed by their past selves and flinch whenever they even run into someone they knew from those days, and that's how the show starts. Yuuta, ashamed by how audacious and retarded he acted back in middle school, even by his standards, manages to go to a new school and hopes to start anew...but then he meets some random girl named Rikka who is so lost in fantasy it's not even funny. Even Yuuta agrees with me. But unlike him, Rikka only does it outside of school (smart move!). But her antics drive Yuuta up the wall and he wants nothing to do with her. He tries to get her off his back, but she keeps on coming back no matter what despite actually telling her multiple times to back off and leave him alone. However, Rikka makes him join her "society", along with a bunch of other people including a personal friend of hers, and form some stupid and pointless club whose name is so stupid I can't even remember it. Only two of said members are lost in their fantasies, Rikka and her friend, while Yuuta and three others, Shinka, Kumin, and Isshiki, just go along with their antics without really caring much except for Yuuta and Shinka. But soon, Yuuta starts to discover the real reason behind Rikka's yearning to be lost in her fantasies, especially when her older sister, Touka, also refuses to get off his back.
Let me get the other ridiculously bad part out of the way: the characters. Other than Yuuta, Shinka, and later Rikka, all of the characters, even some of the adults who aren't directly involved with Rikka's life, act like such retards it's not even funny! I especially couldn't stand Rikka's ridiculously pig-tailed friend Dekomori and her constant emphasis on "DESu! DESu! DESu!" all the time! Every time she said a word I seriously wanted to duct tape her mouth shut! Isshiki's nothing but a girl chasing cheapskate (though admittedly he DOES actually decide to go after one single girl later), and Kumin...oh God. She has to be the single most stupid and annoyingly bland character in the ENTIRE cast. Why? All she likes to do is sleep and act forcedly cute with her squeaky voice! That's it! And even in the end she acts stupid but for a different reason entirely! The only characters in this show who actually have their brains even remotely in tact are Yuuta, Shinka, and members of Rikka's family, and the former two only act normal AFTER they get over their silly fantasies! I actually applaud Yuuta for being strong-minded and saying what's on his mind, not being totally bland and indecisive even though he gets dragged into stupid stuff against his will. At least he MAKES IT CLEAR that he hates what he's being dragged into. Yeah, he's loud, brash, selfish, insensitive and does treat Rikka badly in the beginning, but in this case, I'd find it rather justified, as no normal person acts the way she (or he did when he was young) does in real life! I hated every interaction between them, especially the time where Yuuta shaves Isshiki's head with very pointless and melodramatic screaming and crying, and when Shinka and Dekomori fought like cats and dogs. Now, one reviewer I read about was disappointed by Touka blackmailing/threatening Yuuta into helping her fix her problems with her sister instead of doing it herself. I don't think this is the case. Maybe she DID try to help Rikka out offscreen but her attempts didn't work no matter what, so she decided to go the extra mile. That's how I think of it. But that's pretty much it.
It may be KyoAni and all, but I'm going to be upfront: their animation here looks really sloppy. Tamako Market looked better than this. The music is rather bland, the theme songs were annoying, and the insert songs were used in the wrong places. Ugh. Now, the only reason I watched this show was because of one reviewer's interpretation of it, and how the final episode shows a strong moral about being true to yourself, embracing the weirdness within, and not being happy with conforming because other people say so. Now, these are themes that I love to see explored in anime. Heck, right now, I'm in a situation where I do do things people think as strange, but I do them in moderation and I do them to be happy, not to cause anyone trouble. Why else would we watch anime and read books and play video games than to take a break from the tiresome world around us? We want to have fun, and in a way, I understand why the characters in here do the things they do. My sister and I don't really see eye to eye since we have very different views on the world and we clash a lot. I'm convinced that because of my disability, she believes I'm someone who will throw a tantrum if I even remotely do anything she deems rude and inappropriate, like accidentally say the wrong thing, and who she has to watch over every single second like I'm that kid from the movie Problem Child (y'know, the one with Gilbert Gottfried). I may have a disability, but I KNOW what to do when I'm out in public. I know how to be polite and say thank you and be appreciative and when to do something and when not to. I know all of this, yet she seems to believe that I don't and constantly reminds me of how stupid I am and seems to believe that anything I say or do, well intentioned or not, is always rude or out of malice. I don't show her the anime I watch because I'm convince she'll question my motives for watching them and completely get the wrong ideas about said shows, and I LOATHE being misunderstood more than anything. I bring this thing with my sister up because later in the show, Rikka and Touka get into a similar situation which I think IS rather understandable, and even justifiable to a degree, but I won't go further for the sake of spoilers. Sure, we all love a little fun and games once in a while, especially if it's to unwind after a hard day at work or find happiness after a really bad day. I used to be bullied in school, yet anime and manga have saved me from doing stuff like doing drugs and cutting myself. I don't mind pretending I'm in my safe little fantasy world and being lost in it for a short while when I'm alone, and I know when to keep it in moderation. But...if it's taken to this extent, then it's just plain annoying and insulting.
Now, I'm NOT trying to start any backlash or flame wars or anything. I'm not trying to bash the disabled or the mentally ill or anyone like that. I'm not even trying to imply that the characters in the show are disabled or mentally not right in the head. Why would I do that when I myself have a disability? That's the last thing I'd ever do, and I'm not that kind of person, especially since I explained why I don't like this show, and I'm not trying to make it sound like I still can't distinguish fantasy from reality. I know better than that, even though I do let my emotions get the better of me sometimes, not that I mean to. We all have our strange sides here and there, and we should do what makes us happy, even though society claims it's not normal and that we should act the way they want us to act, which is basically to obey everything they say, even though it feels more like they want to put us in a box because we're flawed. So what if we want to burst out and be ourselves? That's what people should do! Be themselves! Don't hold back! Do whatever makes you happy, and don't be what others want you to be just so they can feel good about themselves. Don't be poisoned by the selfish wishes of others. I love being myself. We should embrace our weirdness and enjoy it, no matter how hard people try to drag us down. But this anime approaches it in such an insulting manner it's not even funny. I KNOW for a fact that if I wanted to write a story about an anime about being true to yourself if it makes you happy despite the opinions of others, I'd be able to execute it better than this! It's one thing to actually have people who pretend and play act for fun, and then there's having people do it ALL THE FREAKING TIME AND IN PUBLIC IN FRONT OF OTHERS, and the latter is just plain wrong on so many ridiculous levels.
This is fine for entertainment, but if you really want an anime about being true to yourself, stay far away from this. This has ridiculous written all over it. Sorry if I sounded too personal. Just throwing my opinion out there. That's all.
EDIT: It seems I've caused some confusion in regards to the message my review has been giving out. It seems people have mis-interpreted my review as hating the show for not being realistic even though it's just a cartoon. I GET that it's a cartoon and I DO NOT hate the show for not being realistic. Did anyone even read my review word for word? I don't judge shows for realism. That's not why cartoons exist. Heck, if you look at my top 3 shows, they're anything but realistic! I despise Chuunibyou simply because I hate the insulting and downright comically insensitive way it portrays kids having vivid imaginations and taking them to a ridiculous extreme, even going as far as not having people laugh or shake their heads in contempt. Is that really so hard to understand? read more
Dec 9, 2012Pokemon Best Wishes! Season 2: Kyurem vs. Seikensh... (Anime) add
1 of 1 episodes seen
Yeah yeah, we've all heard this story before. It's old as dirt, and this movie is no different. However, I must sing lots of praises for this movie, as it's very VERY different from the other Pokemon movies. The best thing? Keldeo himself is the main character, and only he gets the spotlight! Ash doesn't hog the glory or become some sort of chosen one or dumb stuff like that! Nope nope nope! Not in this movie! Ash and his friends are just supporting characters, and the movie is basically Keldeo's character arc. None of the movies before this one pulled such a daring move, and I love it! What a breath of fresh air, as usually the main character in the show/movie always has to hog the spotlight according to the creator's wishes, which really sucks, as there's no need to focus more on the characters in the show when there's plenty of time for that in the actual show. But here? This movie's all about Keldeo, and he receives a lot of character development (and very convincing development at that) here, and believe me when I say here, he's a VERY well-developed Pokemon. Probably the most well developed in a very long while. What also makes this movie drastically different from the rest of the movies is that FOR ONCE it is NOT ABOUT SAVING THE WORLD!! There's no villain out to destroy the world, there's no prophecy, or anything like that! Kyurem may look and act like a villain, but he isn't really a villain. He's just a Pokemon just like the rest of them, and he actually has some sense! There's no pointless saving the world plot. The movie is simply about growing up, confronting fear, making mistakes and fixing them, and overcoming obstacles. It's as simple as that...and simple is exactly what this movie needed! Finally, everyone here has a purpose to serve, and they serve their purpose well!
While it definitely is great, it does have it's flaws. For me, the most jarring flaw is in its animation. For some reason, the humans' faces looked really distorted, particularly Iris when scenes focused on her. She looked like someone tried to draw a face with a paralyzed hand at various points. The CG can clearly be seen in this movie, and it's rather intrusive. Plus, one nameless character who only appears in the beginning has REALLY WEIRD hair, and it just freaked me out to no end. But that character didn't appear again, as she isn't important to the story. Yes! This is also the first Pokemon movie in which there's no movie-only human supporting character! What a huge breath of fresh air, as I was getting tired of those! But while this movie does subvert a heck of a lot of traditional Pokemon movie cliches, as its own standalone film, it's still a big cliche storm in itself, and the story it tells isn't something original. But considering that this is a huge subversion of Pokemon movie cliches, I can forgive it. Also, Swords of Justice? Really? What kind of cliche and redundant name is that?! Plus the trio themselves aren't really swords, and I don't think they should be called swords from the way they use their attacks! They're more like glowing horns!
I've recently been watching Suede, Linkara, and JewWario review the Pokemon movies on That Guy With The Glasses, and a lot of things they point out are things I never noticed before when I was a child watching them. Well, it's been a long time since I actually saw the movies, and I do have few memories of the earlier movies, so I guess that could be it. But man, they're totally right! The morals in the early movies are so ambiguous and hopelessly confused! But that's because of 4Kids Entertainment's adaptations of them, trying to make them more accessible to kids. The morals in this more are simple, subtle and aren't shoved down your throat, even though they're still there lingering in the background, the dialogue, and animation, and it didn't need some pointless and extraneous save the world from a great evil villain plot to convey these messages. Heck, this is the kind of movie we should be showing to our kids to teach them what's really important, not the earlier Pokemon movies and their ham-handed morals and messages!
All in all, while it isn't anything new, it breaks away from the stereotypes associated with Pokemon movies and tells its own simple story without trying too hard, and it stands on its own hooves with gusto, and I love it for that! Also, Vic Mignogna voices Keldeo. Can you believe it?! But I think it makes him all the more adorable! He's voicing a cute little unicorn pony who shoots water from its hooves and break dances while attacking! How can you not love that?! I want to hug that little unicorn! read more
4 of 4 episodes seen
The story's nothing special. Basically it's about a girl named Haruno who envies her friends for having dreams and ambitions they want to pursue and thinks she'll never be able to leave the rural town she lives in. Her jobs mostly consist of helping her parents at their restaurant and collecting eggs from chickens. All of a sudden, out appears this random, badly voiced Australian named Cynthia (who I swear to God is a rip-off of Cynthia from Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. Look at their character designs! I'm not even kidding!) who does nothing but shout bad English and shove her cleavage into people's faces. You may think me saying that Haruno's life changes after that might be great, but...trust me, it's not.
Is it just me, or is the animation for this anime really blurry? The backgrounds look a lot more faded than crisp, like it was done by someone who couldn't afford money to buy glasses. Not only that, the movement that's there isn't very fluid. But ugh, I need to get this out, I HATE the character designs! Cynthia because she looks like a rip-off of Cynthia from Pokemon, which should be fairly obvious, but the girls' designs I don't like because....one: they look too much like rip-offs of other characters (I swear, Sayo looks almost EXACTLY like Tsuruko from AnoHana, right down to her seiyuu, who does the voice of Tsuruko as well!), two: I hate how anime over exaggerates and glorifies female legs! They always make it look like the top part of the leg, above the knee, is longer than the lower part of the leg, below the knee. You can tell just from looking at the promotional pictures alone that their legs are too odd-looking, which is especially exacerbated by the fact that they all wear skirts so short that if done in real life, you'd be able to see their undies no problem, and...that's NOT a compliment. I mean, look at the way the pig tailed girl is positioned in the promo art! Her legs are obviously too long, and she could be showing off her undies as we speak considering she's wearing a really short skirt and she's in a rather promiscuous position if you take it out of context. I'm not a thin person, and I never wear skirts, but I've looked in the mirror and pictured myself in short uniforms like this while taking human anatomy into account and quite honestly, if people actually wore uniforms like that in real life, then they'd be showing their undies off 24/7 considering the length of the skirt and how ungracefully exaggerated the legs are. And look at the way the blue haired girl is lying on the ground! Her rear end is right in view! See my point? And even her legs don't look right! Then again, none of them do! I wish anime would stop over exaggerating female body parts and making girls wear short skirts and actually respect realistic human anatomy already! It's driving me up the wall!
The only remotely good thing about this show is the music. I definitely liked the opening theme, as it's nice and soothing, and the ending themes are nice too, even though they're both a little dull. The rest of the soundtrack...eh, dull. Nothing ground-breaking or bad. Just...dull. I honestly don't remember. The soundtrack in itself is pretty bland and forgettable. I honestly don't remember one spec of it.
Ugh, the characters. I won't lie, these have to be the most blatant and most shallow stereotypes I've ever seen. None of the characters are properly or appropriately developed, they follow their assigned gimmick way too much, the very little pieces of personality they do have are obviously ripped off from characters from other anime I've seen before, and they're overall shallow and uninteresting. This is made worse by the absolutely abysmal voice acting! Haruno's seiyuu is trying way too hard, and that blue haired girl just refused to shut her freaking mouth! I wanted to mute the audio every time that stupid, annoying as heck blueberry head opened her mouth! All she did as scream and moan about not having a motorbike and squealing over how hot Cynthia is! Someone cut this character out of the show already! She's too much of a rip-off of Ritsu from K-On! The other characters are just bland and uninteresting. Cynthia has to be the worst Australian portrayal I've ever seen. I've never met an Australian before, but none I know talk in such bad English as she did, and none I know go around showing off their boobs (AND SHE DOESN'T EVEN WEAR A FREAKING BRA!!! WHAT THE ACTUAL FREAKSHOW?!?)! What especially appalled me is that despite her flaws, everyone suddenly likes her! WHAT THE FREAK DID SHE DO TO GET THEM TO LIKE HER?!? Show her boobs, of course! Oh God, even the characters' reactions to Cynthia are inappropriate and unrealistic! If I saw a woman like her showing off her boobs, I'd call the police and get her arrested for public nudity! It appalls me how anime characters love downplaying the flaws of a clearly problematic character and make them into a straight up object of desire for everyone! That must be why the trope Draco In Leather Pants exists. Heck, if anything, I consider Cynthia to be the very in-show embodiment of this trope!...AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY!
The rest of the show is just bad, bland, and downright boring. Even the supposed moral of the story is shallow and dumb, even cheesy because of the way it's executed. Everything else is just bad. The way the characters react to certain events: bad and unrealistic. All the coincidences: totally contrived and convoluted. The characters' voices: UGH MAKE THEM STOP TALKING! The whole girls riding motorbikes in the future. I can't see that. But from what I'm hearing, car sales are decreasing in parts of the world, so I guess it was to be expected that advertising companies would go to drastic measures to sell a product. But can we do it in a way that doesn't involve churning out stereotypes and beating dead horses PLEASE? I'm taking a class called Effects of Media on Children and one of my assignments involves analyzing how advertisements rely on gender stereotypes to sell a product and how they affect people of all ages. This is NOT a proper way to advertise a product.
Just watch this to consider buying a motorbike. Other than that, give it a miss. It's dumb, contrived, and really not worth your time. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
I'm not going to tell about the plot because everybody and his freaking DOG knows that this kind of plot is as old as dirt. The characters are old as dirt, and it's ending is kind of old as dirt. I've seen a lot of people praise Escaflowne for it's awesomeness, and I do agree it is definitely awesome, but people are saying that it's a perfect balance of shounen and shoujo tropes, and how it's the greatest thing ever. Unfortunately, I have to disagree. Escaflowne is NOT a masterpiece. Why? Well, as I watched the show, I'm kind of surprised by not what people mention, but what they DO NOT mention, and Escaflowne has some pretty jarring flaws, a lot of which so many people actually overlook. What flaws? Well, if I could compare Escaflowne to something, it would be to a bullet train and an automatic machine gun that shoots bullets every second. It's pacing is so fast it's unbelievable! I feel like Escaflowne just throws stuff at you and expects you to take it all in without any question whatsoever. Basically, the show just DOESN'T CALM THE HECK DOWN! It's like it really really wants to show you this amazing, epic story so they throw it in your face and shove it down your throat without giving you time to swallow it. There are hardly any quiet moments in the show (except for the first episode and some parts in others), and the ones that are there don't last long unless stated otherwise! Not only that, there's little to no proper transition from scene to scene, and even from episode to episode! I watch an episode, then another episode pops up and doesn't even reference what happened in the last one and goes on like it expects you to go along with it without question! Everything just explodes at you and leaves a bunch of scars. Well, I can kind of see why it's execution and pacing are so chaotic. This was originally planned to be 39 episodes, but apparently due to time constraint issues and funding problems, they had to cut it down to 26, and even then the animators came up with too much animated material, so they had to cut quite a few scenes out before broadcast, and, really, IT SHOWS!! Maybe the episode extension would have rectified this problem. Well, a lot of people say this is a good thing because there's no filler. I can understand why they think this is great, and I agree. Every little frame of the show focuses on it's story and it is dead set on telling it, without any pointlessness (and I should also mention that the animators were strictly told not to give Hitomi any underwear shots. THANK GOD FOR THAT!!!) or extraneous material, so that I can praise...but maybe a little quiet, soothing, turn-off-your-brain-and-relax kind of filler wouldn't hurt.
Now I must speak of the animation. Honestly, when it can be, it can be wicked awesome, especially in that part of the opening sequence when you see Escaflowne sword fighting with another guymelef (is that one supposed to be Dilandau's? They never say)! But yes, since this was made in 1996, it IS pretty outdated, but it's definitely aged a heck of a lot more gracefully than other shows in the nineties. Another thing I notice about the animation is that it's very distinct. It's different from other anime of it's time, and it shows. The noses are kind of big, but this never bothered me because I always thought noses were supposed to look like that in real life too. Not only that, every single character has their own look. No character looks exactly the same, unlike vice versa, which is becoming more and more apparent. Facial expressions are very distinct, but at times they can be very exaggerated, in the case of one character I'll mention later on. I love the way Gaea looks, as it's very European and Indian-based. According to some sources, Shoji Kawamori was inspired to make this after a trip to Nepal. You can really see the effort that the animators and art directors put into the setting, the art, the castle designs, everything. Heck, the empire of Zaibach just SCREAMS industrial revolution, and considering it's backstory, the whole industrial revolution thing going for it really fits it to a T. But at times the animation can be a bit static, and there are quite a few still frames, but hey! This was the nineties! Those were standard back in the day! The character movement is pretty good for it's time, too.
The music...oh sweet magna carta, I simply MUST sing all kinds of praises for the music! Remember how I said once that I thought 07-Ghost had one of the most Godly, non Kajiura music in all of anime? Well, Escaflowne's soundtrack blows it out of the water here! Seriously, this was one of Yoko Kanno's first soundtracks for any anime (her actual first being Please Save My Earth). It's so hard to believe that even back then, Kanno had such an awesome knack for music, especially in terms of booming, classical, 1940s-esque orchestras and choirs, and I LOVE big, booming classical orchestras and choirs. Yoko Kanno pretty much fulfilled my musical wishes here, as every single piece of music fits every scene in show wonderfully. The epic choirs really bring out the epic in various fight scenes, though sometimes I do think some BGMs play in the wrong places, but that only happens once or twice throughout the series. I kept on wondering why everybody liked Yoko Kanno so much. Now I see the reason why, and I happily agree with them! This is a soundtrack I seriously MUST OWN!!
There's been a lot of debate about the characters lately, especially on places like TV Tropes. I'm just going to tell my personal opinions about the characters. To be honest, as much as I liked a majority of the characters, I really didn't connect to them personally. For me, in order for me to truly love an anime and put it in my top lists, I'd have to connect with the characters on a personal level, particularly a majority of them, whether it's because I relate to their personality or the problems they face or feel sympathy for them, it all has to come down to whether I connect or identify with them or not. I didn't feel that with most of the characters for Escaflowne. Now don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean I hate them. If there's one thing I love about the characters in Escaflowne, it's the fact that every single one of them is flawed. Nobody's perfect. Even the characters who even look and act perfect have secret flaws they don't want others to see out of fear that they'd be hated for it. That's what made me really like them, and I think the staff behind the show knew this. Unfortunately, despite this, I didn't find most of the main characters very interesting. Oh God, I seriously hated that Mole Man. I don't see why he's in the show! However, I do like Hitomi. Not very many people like her, but I find her to be very realistic. She's not some overly perfect Mary Sue character, a violence prone angry chick, a big-boobed bimbo who throws her privates in a guy's face, a clumsy thick-headed ditz, or other dumb female stereotypes. I think she's a strong character and if you really take the time to imagine yourself in her situation, you have to admit her actions in the show are pretty reasonable and even plausible and understandable, though I can see why people don't like her much. I mean, seriously, she's a heck of a lot better than Miaka from Fushigi Yugi, right? I also really like Folken, one of the villains. Why? Watch the show and see!
However...there is ONE character that I not only connected with on a very personal level for very weird reasons, but I actually identified with to the point where I almost relived my childhood memories from 4th grade when I still had my childish crush on a Yu-Gi-Oh character. I really like this character, and apparently so do a lot of other people! This character alone made me persist in continuing with this series despite the show's very jarring and obvious flaws. Who is this character, you ask? It is...Dilandau. Yeah, I'm a sophomore in college, yet I somehow not only strongly connected and identified with a completely psycho pyromaniac who likes abusing his compadres on a regular basis and setting things on fire and blowing stuff up for the fun of it, but am actually developing a fangirl crush on him! I know it sounds stupid, but it's true! Heck, other people had crushes on him in the 90s when the show aired! Yeah, I know, Dilandau's obnoxious, cocky, cruel, homicidal, completely off the ball, and acts like a spoiled brat throughout 90% of the show, and is basically everything that I HATE in a person, yet...once you learn about him and see him suffer horribly (even if it's for a little bit. The show doesn't go into too much detail about it for some reason), you feel your heartstrings get yanked and you want to save him once you realize he's no different from any other disturbed, lonely, scared teenager who just wants a friend, especially considering how young he is! He's basically the best and most developed anime villain that ever graced the silver screen. He's a villain, yet he's so relatable and in a way so human that you can't help but identify with him! He makes you laugh, makes you cry, scares the living crap out of you, he does it all! Why can't more anime villains be like him?!...if only his English dub voice were better! Seriously, I made the mistake of watching the English dub first and...oh my God, Dilandau's English voice is UNGODLY HIGH AND SQUEAKY!!! He sounds like he hasn't even reached puberty yet, and his voice actor was 15 back when the dub was made! How can a 15 year old still have that high a voice?! He sounds so chirpy! I mean, his actor does a great job at capturing his brattiness, arrogance, and his craziness in his really scary moments, and in other scenes the voice increases his cuteness (if he has any) in some areas, but I just CANNOT take Dilandau seriously with that BABY VOICE, especially in the creepy moments ("Cheek...cheek...cheek...")! Wanna know the freakiest thing of all? Dilandau's voice actor does the voices of Shining Armor and Braeburn from My Little Pony, both of whom have deep voices! I can never look at them or listen to them the same way ever again!!! Seriously, Dilandau's Japanese and German voices are waaaaay better!...though the German dub actually ADDs to his creepiness and brings it up to so many disturbing levels it's not even funny...AND I LOVE IT!!! I need to rewatch this show in German sometime, even though I know NO German whatsoever.
Okay, enough of all that random babbling. I already talked about this show's flaws so I see no need to go through them...though I do admit the ending is a little weird. But I've seen worse anime endings so I can give it a pass, that and it's not nearly as jarring as the rest of the show's problems. Escaflowne in itself deals with a lot of mature and heavy themes like magic, war, missing and illegitimate children, love triangles, and the concept of fate and playing with it. Unfortunately because the show is so compressed, I wasn't able to comprehend a lot of it. I do, however, definitely give Escaflowne credit for being a fun, epic, thrilling adventure show with a lot to love (I still can't get that soundtrack and Dilandau out of my head! Also, Prince Chid and his dub voice are SOOOO CUTE!!!) and it definitely deserves it's place as a classic. I just don't agree with a lot of people on WHY it should be a classic. Do I think it has perfect pacing? No. It's way too fast for me to fully comprehend. Do I think it's perfectly balanced? No, it needs more quiet moments, more polishing, and more development. Do I think it has great characters? Well, while some definitely stand out (Dilandau and Folken for me), the rest of them don't strike a chord with me. Do I think it looks good? Yes, definitely. Do I think it's groundbreaking? For it's time, yes. Do I think it has a great soundtrack? YES.
While in my eyes it's not perfect, this is definitely an anime that should not be missed by anyone, and...come on! Who else agrees Dilandau is the best anime villain ever?! read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
To be honest, it is rather easy for people to overlook this little gem, and I can see why. I mean, with a title like Fancy Lala, how can you not think "Ugh. It's gonna be a G3 My Little Pony-esque kids show about idols having endless tea parties, giggling over nothing, and basically acting like stuck-up brats"? Well, never fear, for this show is not like that at all! Though this show doesn't exactly have a premise that screams "Watch me!!" and you really have to watch the show in order to understand it's strengths. Fancy Lala is instead about a young, carefree girl named Miho who aspires to become a famous mangaka or model since her mother is a drama producer and her father is a paleontologist who studies dinosaur fossils. One day, after an unpleasant incident at a local store, she finds herself with two stuffed animals, which are actually little dinosaur fairies from another world. The two dinosaurs, Pigu and Mogu, give her a magical sketchbook and pen that not only allows her to bring her drawings to life, but to turn her into a 15-year-old version of herself, and upon transforming, she gets recruited by Lyrical Productions to become the next big thing! But is becoming a model/singer really worth it, especially considering all the trouble you get into to do it?
Now, for those of you thinking this is going to be some kind of clone of Bratz or Hannah Montana or something like that, prepare to be proven wrong, because Fancy Lala is NOT that kind of show. Yes, it's a children's show. Yes, it's aimed at young girls. Yes, it has magical girl elements. Yes, it has cute little animal mascots. Yes, our lead character becomes a model/singer to meet up with a man she admires. But Fancy Lala is NOT a dragged out toy advertisement (heck, considering how the episodes play out, it's not even trying to promote any toys since none exist!), NOT a glorified idol show, NOT a teen-girl popular stuck-up brat fest, and, most importantly, NOT a show that's so cutesy and saccharine that you want to shoot yourself. Well, technically, yes, Fancy Lala DOES have some cutesy moments, but like I said, they're not overly sugary and sweet either. Not only that, this was made in 1998, BEFORE all of those dumb idol shows began flooding the market! Let me tell you: Fancy Lala is a polished gem in the anime world. No magical girl anime or shoujo anime I've seen has even come CLOSE to holding a candle to Fancy Lala's awesomeness. No, it doesn't have action. No, it doesn't have an evil overlord trying to steal the joy of life and destroy the world for cliche reasons. Nobody said that all magical girl anime needed to be about saving the world! If anything, you can consider this another way to deconstruct a magical girl anime.
Let me start with the animation. This anime was produced by Studio Pierrot, the guys behind Naruto and Bleach. Long ago, in 1983 to be exact, Studio Pierrot hit it big when they produced a magical girl anime just like Fancy Lala called Creamy Mami, only it was 52 episodes long instead of 26. Lots of people loved it, so much so that it prompted Pierrot into making more magical girl anime afterward! But it didn't last long. Fancy Lala is actually a remake of an OVA called Harbor Light Story: Fashion Lala, which I did watch (and I really need to finish my review of that). But Fancy Lala is, in my opinion, a HECK of a lot better. It's animation is, for it's time, surprisingly detailed. I'd even be so bold as to say that the animation here is a heck of a lot better than even CardCaptor Sakura, which aired in the exact same year, and that's saying a lot! The show tries to make use of a lot of subtle drama by making the characters express their feelings through facial expressions instead of angsty dialogue and contrived coincidences or through cheese and melodrama, something that is a huge and oh-so-common pitfall in most shoujo anime nowadays. The character art in itself is very expressive and tries its best to convey even the smallest of emotions, whether it's through facial expressions or movement. Nothing important is said, but you don't need words to convey your emotions, and Fancy Lala does this great! Though I do admit, the transformation sequences are a bit generic, but hey! It does what it's supposed to do and nothing more.
The music...oh, the music! The opening and ending songs are nice and catchy, since they're performed by Miho's voice actress, who was back then a fledgling actress/singer as well. Don't worry, they're not overly sweet and saccharine like most magical girl anime theme songs. But in my opinion, it's the soundtrack that really steals this anime for me. For those of you who don't know, the soundtrack was composed by Michiru Oshima, whom many of you know did the soundtracks for the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, Nabari no Ou, Le Chevalier D'Eon, X'amd: Lost Memories, and So-Ra-No-Wo-To. She also did the osts for My Sister Momoko, The Glass Rabbit, and 5-tou ni Naritai. She is steadily becoming one of my favorite anime composers next to Yuki Kajiura and Two-Mix. She's known for her normally orchestral sounding music, but her best work is definitely here in Fancy Lala. Her pieces fit soooo well in every single scene, and they have her name written all over it! There's light-hearted music in the light-hearted scenes, and when there's a sad scene, the mellow but beautiful background music tugs at your heartstrings. Often times in anime, music isn't always thrown in the right places, but here, nothing is mismatched! The music matches the scenes, sets the mood, and creates a fitting atmosphere for each scene. I wish I could buy the OST somewhere!
The characters are just wonderful. They're not carbon copies of typical stereotypes, they look, sound, and act like real people you often run into in real life, from the kids to the adults. Everybody has their own set of problems whether it's their job, their background, their decisions, their actions, etc. Nobody's perfect nor overly flawed in this show. That's what makes the characters so great. Nobody's problems are over exaggerated or overly complex. Miho herself is a great character. Despite the fact that she has a lot to deal with in the adult world with her newfound magic, she still manages to remain an innocent child despite being burdened with the task of carrying the weight of both being an idol and the whole series. We get to know her through and through, and it's because we get to know her so well that the theme of adult problems going on around her works extremely well. Her voice actress only makes it better. Children in this series really do sound like children instead of squeaky 30 year old actresses who try too hard to sound overly moe, and I have to admit, Taro's Japanese voice doesn't sit well with me. I think his English dub voice sounds much better.
Now, this isn't the kind of show everyone will like, and I can understand that, but I want to explain why the show won me over. Instead of trying to do something big, Fancy Lala focuses so much more on small subjects, like the downsides of using magic and parting with things that have a lot of sentimental value, and IT WORKS SO WELL HERE. It works so well here that the above episodes regarding said subjects actually made me cry! Episode 8 especially! Just watch it and see for yourself how wonderful it is, and the message it conveys...holy shrimp, I don't think anything will top Fancy Lala's genuine and poignant way of showing us that magic isn't eternal. By focusing on something simple, the show saves the trouble of trying to do too much and blow up in the end, something a lot of modern anime tend to do, and, according to most anime fans, it happens about 85% of the time, and it's not pretty. Fancy Lala manages to accomplish so much even though it's such a simple story, and the ending, which happens to be the very best thing about Fancy Lala as a whole (why don't more magical girl or shoujo anime do this?!), is a result of that. And surprisingly enough, even though Fancy Lala looks innocent and sweet, it actually takes quite a lot of risks. Heck, I watched the entire anime subbed, and in episode 13 they mention the word sex! But it's only used once (ONLY once. Never again after that), and I don't think Miho heard it, so I can let it slide. I don't know if it's present in the dubbed version, but if it is, then I don't know if it'll sit well with other people.
While it is a nice show, it does have some flaws. For one thing, we never get an explanation from where Pigu and Mogu come from. Miho just ran into them by pure coincidence. We never learn much about the Mystery Man or why he has access to magic in the first place, and admittedly, Miho does become talented at acting and singing a little too quickly, but I've seen worse examples of this so I'll let it slide. Besides, the show makes up for it by showing an accurate portrayal of the idol scene, and by not trying to glorify it either.
Don't be fooled by this show's premise or looks. Fancy Lala is a sweet, genuine, and wonderful little anime that will leave you so fulfilled you feel like smiling at the whole world. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Upon first glance, people thought that Natsuiro Kiseki was about a group of idols, since the producers hardly ever gave out any solid information. Instead, we're given the story of a group of childhood friends who are forced to cope with the fact that one of them is moving away. They discover a rock in a shrine that can grant wishes, and they experiment with it a little...though the results aren't exactly pleasant, and they get a little more than they bargained for. To be honest, I went into this with no expectations, but as I watched more episodes, my expectations had been surpassed! More times than I expected! This isn't a bunch of concerts in animated form, nor is this an ecchi fest, nor is it moe moe kyun fodder. Natsuiro Kiseki is actually a very touching, somewhat realistic, and heartwarming tale of friends who don't want their friendship to end.
If any of you are thinking this anime was produced by companies like Xebec or Silver Link, then prepare to have your mind blown, for this anime was produced by none other than Sunrise! Yes, Sunrise, the company behind Gundam, Cowboy Bebop, and about a million more mecha anime! You'd think they'd be the last company to ever produce a supernatural slice of life anime of this tier, or at all for that matter! While their animation is very good, I have to admit, some parts did look rather weird at points. Not only that, while the songs are good, they're still rather generic. The soundtrack is kinda blah as well. I don't remember much of it.
The characters are what make this anime really great, and I mean it. They may look like moe stereotypes, but I assure you, they're anything but! Though I have to admit, going into detail about them may spoil things for future episodes, so I'll just leave you with that very vague description up there. But I WILL tell you all this: their chemistry is just amazing. The way they interact, the situations they face, and the things that happened around them. Everything about them is just wonderful when they're together. Sooner or later, you'll find yourself saying, "Hey! She's going through exactly what I'm going through!" I know I certainly feel that way with Saki right now, considering I'm on the same boat as her right now.
Unfortunately, the anime DOES have it's hiccups, and they're pretty blatant. No, this is NOT a fanservice series, but it does have one slightly ecchi scene (emphasis on slightly), but it doesn't last long (Thank God it didn't, because I read a post by someone on a forum saying that they wanted that scene to be dragged out more instead of the chase scene. Well, I say screw that! They dragged on the chase scene anyway, so that's good), and there are boob jokes, but they only appear in one episode. That's kind of about it, really.
One anime that a lot of people like in terms of their favorite comedies is Azumanga Daioh. To them it's the kind of series where overtime you really do feel like they're real friends and get moved to tears by graduation and by the normal situations they face. I didn't watch Azumanga Daioh so I never got that reaction. But for me, that reaction belongs to Natsuiro Kiseki here. It may not look like much from the promotional art alone, but trust me. If you really give this show a chance, you'll be surprised at how wonderful it really is, especially if you analyze the problems they face. You'll find that they're surprisingly true to life despite the supernatural elements of this show. I certainly know I related to it on a personal level. If this anime showed up last year, I wouldn't have related to it so much as I do now, but nope! It just had to hit me in the heart, and boy did it ever!
Don't judge it by it's looks. Natsuiro Kiseki is NOT a commercial idol promoter, nor is it fanservice. read more
59 of 59 chapters read
The thing about this manga is that it takes place in more of a fantasy setting compared to the anime I watch which are mostly historical fiction, and this is the first time I've seen this subject taking place in a fantasy world. The story's about four young children who are part human and part animal, and they become part animal due to bad experiences that nearly killed them. Humans who are part animal are called +Anima. Cooro is your sweet and fun-loving boy with the wings of a crow, Husky is your grouchy little snob who hates girls and is part mermaid (or in this case, merman), Senri is silent, innocent, and absent-minded with a sickeningly slick bear claw, and Nana's your nice little girly girl who ironically enough has bat wings and REALLY big and weird-looking ears. Through many strange encounters they come across each other, go on a journey through their countries Astaria and Sailand, and try to find a place they can call home, since +Anima are often feared and hated among normal humans.
One thing I love about this manga is the fact that it's often hard to find manga or anime about discrimination and social prejudice, and the ones you find often have annoying characters who whine and angst and don't do anything to fix their situation (not that I know of, of course). +Anima manages to avoid that stereotype wonderfully, and with great detail too! The characters ALWAYS prepare for whatever journey lies ahead of them, be it having enough food, money, clothes, resources, etc. And if they don't have money, they go to whatever town they go and find jobs so they can get whatever they need for their next round of travels. Plus, they think about what might lie ahead and sometimes plan things out and stay calm (in some situations of course) and find out what'll happen next. It's always like this in EVERY chapter! I love anime and manga that go into detail about little things like this! It's rare nowadays, isn't it?
The artwork is just soooooo nice! I really do mean it when I say nice! It's slick, smooth, it doesn't lose it's edge, everything from small objects (like food crumbs and jewelry) to the characters to the big castles and villages and cities all just look amazing! Plus, no page feels overly extravagant or overly bland. The artwork really takes you into the story, into their world! The author has obviously had lessons (I don't know that for sure, but one can speculate, right?) in art because this is one of the best drawn manga I've ever read!
Another thing that's awesome in this manga: the attention to detail in just about EVERYTHING, from the characters' back stories and pasts to the customs and culture and currency of the places they travel to, I mean it's just superb and AMAZING! Normally fantasy manga and anime just show off people fighting monsters and going into castles and palaces without paying much attention to it's setting. +Anima is the best exception since it's a story about traveling, and of course the characters would need to know things about the places they go, like the food they eat, the money they have to use, the jobs they do, the clothes they wear, everything! The attention to even the smallest, most irrelevant details are just exceptionally awesome! Not only that, they always try to give the various places the characters' visit a history, and the best example of this is in volume 4.
And the characters! I'm sorry guys, but I just can not shut up about the characters! They look like stereotypes, but they're soooo much more! And they're kids for that matter! For those of you expecting to go into this manga thinking Cooro's gonna be some shounen anime lead brat (*coughcoughNarutocoughcoughTagirucoughcough*), worry not as Cooro does NOT have ANY of the cliches that the typical shounen manga/anime brats have. He's sweet, childlike, curious, friendly, and just plain adorable! Best of all, he's actually SMART. Sure he does do some dumb things, but there's always a good reason behind it! Plus he doesn't force himself on other people and respects people's decisions to a point where it's just REALLY weird, but it's cool! I love that kid to death! Husky, although he's sort of my least favorite character, has his charms as well. His somewhat brash attitude towards everyone (especially Nana since she's a girl and he hates girls) has somewhat made him popular. He reminds me of Kazune from Kamichama Karin. But underneath his tough exterior is a young, polite princeling who knows what he wants, cares about other people when he needs to, and is willing to do anything to make sure nobody gets hurt. He's smart and always tries to think things through and focus on what's really important on their travels, and not to a point where he yells at everyone for everything they do. Senri...yeah, he's adorable. Silent and strong-looking (and a FREAKING BEAR for that matter!!), but innocent and absent-minded on the inside...how can you not love him!? My friend loves him a lot. He's like a gigantic fluffy teddy bear that needs hugging and cuddling! He looks like a scary fellow, but he's really a gentle soul who loves the smallest things in life, even though he has a troubled history. Nana's pretty much the most normal character in the entire cast. She's your typical girl. She loves dolls, flowers, and pretty things (especially pretty clothes and accessories), is used to living in a house with people, and prefers being with people in a town than in the wild, but she's NOT annoying. Sure she does complain about some things, but she knows that some things have to be done in order to survive, and she accepts that. Plus she even helps her friends on occasion, though her antics are a bit misunderstood at times. She's the character who learns a lot of lessons on her journey and puts them to good use near the end. But really, you can't help but love the entire cast of characters here! They all have their charms that you just can't resist!
For those of you who are interested, I've actually known about this manga's existence for a while. Since 6th or 7th grade even. But back then I wasn't interested in it because I was still getting into other manga and anime (and becoming quite ambitious about it) and trying to find my favorite genres and subjects. It wasn't until about two years ago my awesome friend Miki told me a bit about it and lo and behold I read a bazillion chapters of it online in a whole week! I was on an epic high! I even made a +Anima themed get well card for my friend's mom! I think she still has it, but we don't talk much anymore since we're going down different paths in life, so I don't know what's going on. But I'm glad to say I'm a proud fangirl of this sweet and lovable manga! Plus, the ending is amazing! I loved the end too, even though I wish it'd continue a bit more. I can't seem to get enough of the adventures of Cooro, Husky, Senri, and Nana! One thing I want though: AN ANIME ADAPTATION!!! Why isn't there an anime for this!? This manga's like 11 years old now! The age I was when I first discovered anime in Japanese! Why can't wonderful manga like this be animated!? I'm tired of all the moe and ecchi and harems and incest and crap like that!! We NEED more wonderful stories!!!
To conclude, +Anima is a wonderful, great, and amazing manga! I love it! Are you human? Then GO READ IT!!! read more