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25 of 25 episodes seen
Before you guys click the "not helpful" button, let me clarify my position before you shower me with criticism and disgrace: SAO wasn't inherently bad. It had its flaws and certainly did not meet expectations and hype, but honestly, what did you guys expect? "Perfect" anime come once a generation - and though I may have rated more than one 10 myself, that does NOT mean it's perfect, far from it. It's what MY "perfect" opinion is. But truly good titles, one that the hivemind agrees on, comes rarely, and if you guys are pasting YOUR idealistic 10 to SAO and trying to figure out why it doesn't fit, then your opinion is more than biased, it's just plain skewed.
I feel like this anime deserves more credit than it has at the moment. Everyone says this, everyone says that - if "everyone" dropped off a bridge to fall and die, would you follow without so much as a thought? Of course not. You may teeter on the edge, yearning to follow, but ya don't. So try and take all the hateful responses and think lucidly, as if you had just freshly finished the anime and don't know anyone else's opinions. Hard, I know, but you're more inclined to believe in tandem with the crowd unless you take a step back and breathe your own air.
Now that that is out of the way, let's get down to the review. SAO wasn't bad; far from it, actually. It had its WTF moments, but honestly, the people producing anime can't please everyone, and try to direct the show to be in line with their ideals. The storyline, one has to admit, is (decently) unique: by putting on a helmet called the NerveGear, one can be completely (and sensorily, as well) immersed into a virtual world, where sight, touch, sound, smell and taste are all created for your enjoyment. A young guy named Kazuto Kirigaya comes online, and then finds out he cannot log out and reenter reality. That's when all the 10000 gamers realize that they are stuck until the hundredth level is cleared, else you die in the virtual world, your physical body also ceases to exist. Now if that doesn't open up the show quite shockingly, I don't know what does. It's a clear shock moment, one to hook you and drag you into the story.
And boy was I hooked. Usually action anime take a little while to develop and find its way, to develop the protagonist, to create the arch enemy and sprint towards the climax. SAO skipped all of that and headed straight into the action. What fun! No fillers, no sidestories, no pointless waiting for something to happen - the first episode had me by the fingertips! I was ready to marathon it right then and there.
But whaddya know, all good things must end, eh? The main quest, the fight or die, the survive against the elements and overlords became the sidequest. Kirigaya falls in love, yes, but also does petty missions and rescue events to help the "damsels in distress." What. Honestly, this doesn't further the story other than show how awesome the protagonist really is. But we already knew that. Why do we need reinforcement? Sure bits and pieces of the game were brought into the light, but at the cost of these stupid little fillers. Bleh. It detracted from my earlier mood.
Kirigaya has a constant romance with Asuna, and it gets pretty intense. Except it doesn't. It waxes and wanes, like the battle scenes (which were few and far between, despite this having SWORD in its name). Kirigaya has to juggle a bunch of things at once, women, Asuna, his battles - yay? I guess? It got kind of old as well. When there were action sequences, they were brief, albeit intense moments. But that's all they were, short, abrupt little fight scenes. I wanted a grand battle, a grand climax. Boy, was that hoping for too much?
And when the derailed train of a plot decides to come back onto the tracks, the first arc ends abruptly. What, why, when, HOW? It was just getting good! Things were happening, the ball was rolling towards the finish line, and BAM. It's like right before the winning goal in a football game, some asshole decides to change the channel, then switch back. Sure the end result we see, but we didn't see what led up to right before the climax. I was a little miffed. Surely, after half the series was over, there would be no more mishaps, right?
WHY WAS I WRONG. The second arc put me off. Another game? Another trial? What was wrong with the original story? And then the sister comes into play....that was more unnecessary character development. Why was she even mentioned, let alone play a bigger role than the what the true romance story is? JEALOUSY? This is SAO, not lovey-dovey universe 2 or something like that. And the end was....I can't even say. It was something I didn't expect, nor wanting to expect.
But there were good elements as well. The entire world was well-propagated the entire time, and there were moments of humor where I chuckled aloud. Humor, if used right, can diffuse otherwise high tensions within the story and SAO attempted it, but its effectiveness was limited. The original arc was (counting out those fillers) tense and what I wanted: different. The beginning had me hooked, and the way the characters used menues and the dueling system were all very cool and such. The various guilds and the in-depth research the anime makers used was obvious (I mean, everyone has played an MMO at one point - Maple Story, WOW, even Runescape) and well incorporated into the theme.
I think if the artists and storymakers switched places, this would have been a FANTASTIC anime, but weird and boring artistic style. Because dang, that art was sexy. I can't even begin to describe the stunning visuals I experienced. The environment, the virtual fantasy world, was brilliantly designed. The colors, gorgeous, the scenery, exquisite. Even the food looked too good to be true; everything, visually, was top-notch. The battle scenes, like I said I would have liked to see more, not just for the mere action or testosterone pumped yells, but because it was beautiful. SAO made fighting look like a graceful art, dancing against the enemy, dueling rather than simplistic fighting. The characters were drawn pretty plainly, but the hair styles of the girls was a little unique, especially Asuna's hair styles. The uniforms and variety of people and their clothing was shockingly diverse, and each town, the floors shown, the items in the game, everything was drawn perfectly and had its functions clearly designated for them. The art, in its own sense, was beautiful.
Also a saving grace. The music was written for something epic, and SAO delivered decently well. Though not used that effectively, I found it very accurately portrayed and through it all, used well in conjunction with the various going-ons the entire time. The fight scenes had zest, the romantic scenes with trepidation, and simply music when one character was strolling through town all were well-rounded. I should have paid more attention to the voice-actors, something many forget, but this takes into account even them. Each character portrayed his or her emotions well - if I had watched SAO with my eyes closed, I could probably accurately tell each and every one of their facial expressions and whether tears were rolling or not. Simply great stuff. Also, the sound effects were a touch one shouldn't forget, either. The sounds of battle all the way up to when the wind whistled through the trees was varied and accurate. Good stuff.
This, unfortunately, was why it fell so flat so quickly. While likable, the Kirigaya stayed mainly the same throughout, and changed only when he really need to...and it wasn't really a change. Though he did have the talents and characteristics of a hero, I feel like his entire character dynamic was pretty static, and he needed something really crazy to change who he was. Asuna, the next big character, showed potential early on, but then became a sideshow, and eventually the princess locked in a tower thing. Her role, at best, was minimal save for the beginning, parts of the middle, and the end. Not minimal to the main character, but minimal for the watcher. The various other characters (the swordmaker, the cutesy girl, Sugu) all kind of....were pretty one-faced too. And the other character arcs seemed only to reconnect whenever it was convenient. Whatever happened to the first friend he made? He showed up maybe twice before the series ended. That friendship should have been stronger. But like I said, what was great potential turned into a huge disappointment, and this is where an anime is supposed to shine: in characters one can relate to.
Now this seems a little higher than what it should be, and no I'm not averaging all the numbers I have. I feel like this deserved credit because it was a "good" anime, just not "great" nor "fair." It deserves a higher title for the music and artwork, voice acting, attention to detail, but loses its sheen and luster to lack fo storytelling, some stupid plots, and random character intrusions by people who are simply not needed. Like a plain cheese pizza that at first tastes delicious but loses its flavor after the first slice because it's so uniform, SAO was good, but not terrific. And people are slamming it harder than it needs to be, because it didn't live up to some ridiculous standars. I went in with no bias, and came out as honest as I could, but an opinion is an opinion. But for me, this is enough MMOs for me. I need to disconnect, run outside, and breathe in reality. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
First, some background: it's a simple enough story. Spike and Jet, two oddities that somehow coexist inside the same spaceship, are partnered together in the pursuit of so-called bounties (fitting the western theme), and thus are called bounty hunters. Along the way in the beginning, they pick up some more companions to put the word "rag-tag" to shame: Faye Valentine, a debt-ridden woman who has forgotten her past, Ed (Edward), the pre-teen genius girl with computers, and Ein, the genetically enhanced and intelligent Corgi. The five travel the stars, attempting to gain bounties, but the results are....somewhat mixed.
I was skeptical. I truly was. I never liked western films, and I never cared for the themes and such of the Ol' Wild West. But the meld of science fiction with modern amenities really hit home. I could actually relate to the story, and oh what a story it was. Besides being such a motley bunch, they often were never agreeable and seemed to barely hold the peace in Jet's ship Bebop. But something about the way the story was told, how each character's mysterious past seemed to interfere with the present. Half of the series wasn't really fighting for bounties, but trying to bury or avoid their individual past without notifying or effecting the other persons aboard the ship, to no avail. It was interesting, then, when the past comes back to haunt you: nothing is as it seems on the surface, and when the past scratches at its coffin, you better be there with a nail or sig-sauer.
I must say, at first it was hard to....understand and perceive the old-style animation. This made me want to turn it off and watch the anime of today. But you got used to it real quick. And I must say, for something almost two decades old, it's gorgeous. The lighting, the style, the drawings, the shades, the colors, the environment...It was hard not to notice the variety of places the art alluded to, and of course the western touch with the deserts and saloons and gunfights and such. I loved every bit of it, and remember, I hate the west. The spaceships juxtaposed next to the average car and the old-fashioned lighters lighting old-fashioned cigarettes created this interesting mood and ambiance, one I hadn't felt....ever. It was surreal.
Alright, before you blast me with why it isn't perfect, it wasn't. But it was damn near perfect. Jazz? Blues? Fast-paced music? Are those ENGLISH lyrics? Yes they all are here, for you, the watcher, to enjoy. Every major scene had a fast-paced song, and many a time it was in English. The producers and editors and such probably drew much of their inspiration from the American West, and it showed well in the sound. The OP was fast-paced and well executed, and the ED was nostalgic sounding and epic. But I didn't get too focused on the petty ending and beginning; it was the background music I'm talking about. Beautiful, beautiful salute to the American west and native American music. I couldn't get enough, especially when the main characters are so motley, the odd choice of music just made the mood that much better. And why stop there? The voice actors should be praised, no given medals, their acting was so good. It wasn't even the way each character spoke, but when each character decided to show his or her true nature to the viewer before quickly covering it up; beautiful just beautiful.
Oh how I would rate this higher if I could. I've never had such deep characters before, such amazingly portrayed people. Pretend each character is a book: Spike would be a carefree one, its leather new, its polish gleaming. Jet would be gruff and rough on the edges, worn from time. Faye's would be delicate, with an evil-looking cover that betrays evil, and so on. But as you delve deeper in the story and therefore each character's secret past, the books become much different: Spike's becomes worn and rough, like Jet's, frayed on the outside, with a hole punched straight through the middle. Jet's would be more worn, yet have a soft spot in the middle. Faye's would have a huge question mark from chapter 1 to somewhere around the middle, then soften into a golden hue. Seems stupid, but I ain't spoiling anything. But honestly, each of these characters deserves his or her own biography; each story, so different from each other, yet they all come back to haunt them in the present. And as each character deals with their ghosts, they must make a tough decision: to let the ghost keep haunting them, or to finally put it all to rest? If you don't like extended analogies, then go watch Cowboy Bebop and skip my review. Time's a wastin'.
When I think of Cowboy Bebop, I don't think of old, garish, rubbish pictures of grainy animation and slipshod storylines made to fit the mass audience it tries and fails to appeal to. What I see now is a masterpiece that will last the ages - and I should have known better if an anime gets a English adaptation and is shown in America for over a decade it should be pretty freaking good. And I finally digress; if I am not able to convince you to watch the show by now, I have failed as a reviewer because, if anything, this was the best show I've ever watched. I can't say that for anything else, because I'm one of those people that says everything is his favorite show. But this easily trumps all that. See you later, Space Cowboy. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
WHAT HAPPENED HERE. This isn't a second season; it should be the first season of a different show in the same universe. The main character is now a side character and is replaced by a Russian girl?? I don't understand. I wanted to like the direction the story went, but it was just....bleh. And not to mention nothing was memorable. No scenes, no places, no plot twists - it all melded together like a gushy banana. No one wants a crushed banana. Besides the fact that nothing really stood out, the story chugged along anyway, grinding my nerves down to dust.
The artwork was, as expected, gorgeous. There never really was a time where I doubted what world this was, and how depressing everything is. Happiness is as rare as safety, and they kept the artwork stellar the entire time. This was where the show really shone; from here, it goes downhill very quickly.
The sound was good as well. The intro and ending were both fresh and new from the first season instead of recycled, and it was a nice addition. Still, the original soundtrack was better. This one wasn't bad, however; the moments where epic music was needed, there was epic music. The voice acting, was, as usual, stellar.
I....I was disappointed here. Hei becomes this.....this pitiful excuse of what he used to be. Mao...what happened to you? The main character was whiny. And her power was so unorthodox from what everyone else had. There were hiccups and random unnecessary scenes here and there, and the characters themselves seemed static and unchanging. No one was memorable enough to really remember if and when they stopped appearing in the story, and continually I had trouble trying to remember the minor characters because there seemed to be so many of them. Overall, it was a disappointing cast.
This fell far flat from my expectations and I was thoroughly disappointed to where the story led to and eventually ended on a weird note. The storyline seemed to stray far from the original, and the characters remained flat and irritatingly normal most of the time. I was expecting bigger and better - but I got a slimmed down version of what should have been something extraordinary. I stand by my score. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Alright, so the story was complete trash. But that's because it's a PARADY of a serious anime; after all, every huge fight and build up turned into something comedic. But that was the point. This wasn't supposed to be some deep, symbolic story where you'll fall to your knees, begging God or Zeus for forgiveness; no, it was supposed to be funny, to blow it off as if nothing. But that doesn't mean it was good, either. It was annoying, really, to have such intergalactic conflicts blown off as trivial. I mean honestly, give me one good villain! Perhaps the story arc, bland and straight as an arrow, could have been reworked to include elements to give the story, well, a story to follow and hold on to. But for whatever reason they didn't. Eh.
Obviously, this is where the production costs went. The artwork was flawless. Almost. The environments were kinda....bland. There were certain times, when the story LOOKED like it was going somewhere, when the artwork excelled - but most of the time, it was flat and, well, nothing special. But the characters were drawn nice, and everything seemed cutsey and too good to be true kind of drawings. The aliens and monsters were nicely drawn as well, but once again, nothing special. So, I'll give it a decent score.
I'm not going to berate the sound either. It was actually quite good. The theme song was typical of comedic animes, catchy and, well, funny. The background music at critical times wasn't the typical orchestra, but opera-sounding voices, which was a nice deviation from the typical drum rolling and whatnot. But here, everything seemed to be in order. So, this deserves a decent score as well.
They really shouldn't have messed this up. I would have forgiven the studio for the lack of storyline, but you can't have static, stereotypical, almost perfectly archetypal characters that bore the audience. I mean come on, have SOME character change in some way. And really. Take out these lovey-dovey characterizations of Nyaruko and Ctchuko. I was intrigued, though, when these Greek references to gods and stuff were first introduced; but Hasta don't act like no God of Wind all the time. Sigh. And a tsundere as a main character: where haven't I seen THAT before? It wasn't awful, though, because there was SOME development, albeit almost nonexistant. But it wasn't there.
Ok, it wasn't horrible, but it wasn't stellar, either. Where does that put us? Somewhere in the middle. It was entertaining, but not particularly engaging either. The rewatch value would be extremely low and I would not recommend this to other people when asked to name a few anime, but that doesn't mean to completely skip it, either. It was entertaining, and funny. But I cringed several times where I shouldn't have, and certain points....well, I'll stop there. Don't completely discount this anime, though, because of the reviews, nor go into it with a heart of gold - keep a cautious distance, but don't be shy in embracing what this anime has to offer. Oh, and Merry Christmas! read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
After watching (naturally) Aria the Animation and Aria the Natural, I was in no way in high hopes for this last part of the series. Those two were just ok, slow-moving like the currents of the ocean, but rich with focusing on the character and how they slowly are growing up in the beautiful realm of Neo-Venezia. Interestingly, this series paced MUCH quicker, and continued to do so until the bittersweet end. Besides pacing, the story in general became fluid, picking up speed and continuing with its momentum. Akari, Aika, and little Junior (or you will soon found out, not so little anymore) each have their own little tales of growing up. The other two preceding prequels were more there to build up to Origination. Natural and Animation seemed to focus on Neo-Venezia as a whole and what goes on in this beautiful planet, while Origination zooms in on the characters and builds them up to its bittersweet climax.
Each scene was rich with color and texture, I could almost picture Italy as it is today. The background music was bright and cheerful, full of spirit and wonder and happiness. The intro song was beautifully connected to each episode, and followed a character as they went through town or prepared for the day ahead. The scenery and environment was gorgeous; I don't think I ever saw a reused environment or backdrop once. If it was, it was drawn at a different angle at a different time of day.
Comparatively, to the other two series, the animation in my opinion stepped it up a notch. Now the environment has always been something I keep my eyes on, and the beautiful scenery captured the lighthearted mood perfectly. In fact, almost every place Akari and the gang visited in Natural and Animation seemed to come up again, or at least be hinted at. Their other friends, like Woody or Al or Akatuski, and their acquaintances like the guy who owns that old coffee shop, come up frequently, but in matters more serious. It seemed everyone knew something big was coming. Pasts were dredged up, history was told, and stories flew.
I especially loved each and every character. Akari was an airhead, but only when it seemed appropriate; her comments that Aika had dubbed "too embarrassing," were actually insightful and used great literary rhetoric, but apparently no one noticed. She kept the fuel going beneath their three muskateer mindset, and she frequently seemed to be the center of not really attention, but of notice to others around her. Her likable nature and charisma hit off with the town, and she steals attention away from Aika, he gets jealous sometimes. I loved her character. Never have I had such a lighthearted character be useful to the plot so much; in other series like K-ON! or Lucky Star, the attachment was forced upon the watcher. Now, however, Akari's general likability was contagious, and soon I was spewing how great Neo-Venezia was to anyone who would care to listen.
If Akari was the sun, Aika was the moon. She seemed the opposite of Akari in almost every way, as in afraid to share her feelings (Akari just blurted them out whenever she had so much as a thought), boastful and proud, and argumentative and sneaky where Akari or Alice would be up front and personal. She seemed to fit the tsundere role....except she didn't. She wasn't the prime example of that at all. But she came closest, and yet I came to love her character, because she seemed to balance Akari and Alice so well. She was the rational mind of the group, leading talks or encouraging them on. She was the driving force of the trio, and continued throughout.
Alice was the quiet girl, a year behind them, and talked in a certain way. Very formal, very unobtrusive, and yet when need be, the perfect critic. Her comments were (pretty obviously) thought out or had weight behind them; she wasted no words, so every spoken sentence was critical to understanding her character. She was the follower, but in some cases, the leader when it came to basic skill or singing, just like her mentor Athena. A child prodigy at the gondola, her skills become more salient as the series moves on, so much even the arrogant Aika takes notice.
Alicia, Akira, and Athena are all the mentors of Akari, Aika and Alice, respectively. And each one was critical on the development of their juniors. Akari became lighthearted and happy from Alicia's lack of scolding. Aika became driven and determined to succeed from Akira's scolding and badgering. Alice became quiet, reserved, and thoughtful, and can sing, under Athena's not that wary guidance. But because of them, history was made; the Three Water Fairies patrolled the oceans of Neo-Venezia, bringing good cheer and happiness to the entire planet.
Why am I taking so long to describe the characters? That's because I've never had a cast of characters I liked so much. Every anime, not matter how good it is, seems to have someone I positively hate, whether it be because of personality or general traits. But here, I loved every characters. Every. Single. One. They all fit some sort of role, like a jigsaw puzzle, and fit together oh so perfectly it hurt to see them apart or to not catch a glimpse of them throughout the episodes. They drove the story, and by the end, I was tearing up....
I could gush for hours. I really could. This was something I needed to say. I'm an action junkie; check my anime watched if you do not believe me. But this really hit me in the heart, just like Akira's confidence. Each character needed pages to describe their characteristics, but I could only give them a paragraph or a simple allusion. Everything was perfect; the artwork, the characters, the voice actors - everything could not have been possibly better. I recommend this heavily, even for those who don't like slice of life. But start with Aria the Animation. Let the waters of Neo-Venezia take you away on a beautiful journey....Oh sorry, Aika-Chan. Embarrassing remarks are prohibited! read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
I really, really wanted to label this as "slice of life" and move on. But honestly, I couldn't - not because there actually was a crazy, flip-flopping story you'd normally expect, but because every episode was fresh and had meaning, not just some slapstick humor and that was that. There were several heart-warming moments; nothing so sad it left you depressed and nothing so happy it seemed fake, but lessons like enjoying the little things in life really hit home here. This wasn't an anime of plenitude, but instead one of deeper meanings below a facade of happy, go-lucky trio of girls. The constant references to Italy, Italian mythology and beliefs, as well as traditional food and drink kept the atmosphere lively and had a unique sense of familiarness, despite this being on a completely different planet. In general, though, I loved every last bit of every part of the story. There wasn't a plot point I didn't enjoy. The warm feeling inside after each episode made me think that this really hit the spot.
Now this is slightly older than I would have liked, but the animation was excellent. Nothing was skimped, from the beautifully recrafted Venice (hence the name Neo-Venezia) to each character's uniform ornamental arrangements. I couldn't find anything wrong with the animation style; everything was beautifully crafted and honed to near-perfection. There were frequent changes in style, such as when a character said something sarcastic, their faces become much simpler, to reflect such humor. In my book, any sort of simple, yet elegant art gets a darn good score anyway. Plus, nothing was ever an eyesore, and every scene generally had something new in it, reflecting the continually entertaining and changing environments the characters interacted in.
The characters really shine in this anime as well. There wasn't too much of an airhead, too much of a tsundere (kind of) or any sort of typical anime characterizations; no, this was something much more special. Each character fit the role laid out for them almost too perfectly. Every personality was represented, albeit in a toned-down and subtle sort of way. I found it hard to find a character I hated, for crying out loud. Every anime has that one character you wish were dead or flying into another dimension, forever forgotten and alone. But this was something unique, something I found vaguely comforting that I wasn't willing death, but life. Their daily interactions, though very wistful, belies a childlike tone and lessons of life, things rarely found in anime nowadays.
Anyway, this was n interesting amalgamation: a blending of whimsical, steampunk-like science fiction, slice-of-life, some slapstick humor and genuine life lessons really impacted my heart. I kept feeling all warm and tingly inside, something you should be prepared for with plenty food items, because the food on here looks dang delicious. Generally, though, this deserved a high-ranking score, because of the lack of things I had problems with. I never had to pause for effect, never had to stop watching it because of boredom nor because it was too much; but it floated along at its own pace, never quite hurrying, yet never becoming tedious. It was interesting to say the least; I highly recommend it. Embarrassing remarks aren't allowed, sorry, I was getting all gushy. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
A little background: Sugisaki is one lucky man. The student council at Hekiyou Gakuen are chosen by popularity vote, and it so happens that all 4 of the members are girls. There's a fifth slot, however, for one student with the best grades in the school: and that happens to be Sugisaki. It's his dream come true, literally: he openly discusses his desire for a true harem, often inviting the girls to make his dreams come true, but of course that never happens. What may seem like a happy, carefree, go-lucky student council quickly changes as certain pasts are revealed and conflicts arise...
It's weird, though, honestly: I expected this to be complacent, slice-of-life I could sit back and enjoy thoroughly. There were subtle hints here and there, showing that their pasts couldn't hide forever under their seemingly implacable demeanor. Student council life is tough: it requires work, determination, skill, people skills, and other notable traits. However, the council generally goofs off while Sugisaki, the stupid one, the one that obsesses with adult games and harem fantasies, stays after and does the council's work all by himself. The girls don't take much notice of this until later, when they realize the reasons why.
Nothing special here, but nothing bland either. There was enough detail to please the eyes, sometimes much more than needed. That's never a bad thing; usually the art never disappointed me. However, I couldn't give it a higher score simply because since the anime mainly stayed in one room, nothing much changed. Also, the art never went above and beyond, so I can't give it a superior score because it simply didn't impress me. I did enjoy the OP and ED a lot, especially the chibi animation in the ED. Cute. The characters were drawn short-ish, differently, with wide eyes and child-like expressions at most times. Lovely.
The sound wasn't anything crazy either. I didn't see anything insanely amazing, but there wasn't anything horrid either. The background music was pleasant, soothing. The OP was catchy and fast, making the lighthearted mood seem even more lighthearted. The ED was similarly bright and cheery, but it makes the underlying serious theme a little dumb-downed. The voice-acting, though nothing special, satisfied me immensely and solidified the characters well. I loved the sound-effects and other little things, like Sugisaki's adult games or the sounds of them in general.
Here we have a classic set-up: a tsundere, a serious one, two sisters that are nothing alike, and a guy that loves women of every caliber and trait. However, as the anime progressed, their interactions melded in such a way that it was different than the norm. I thoroughly enjoyed the backstory and how it was slowly revealed. Loved it. However, many of the characters stayed static and didn't change all that much. Though that was disappointing, there was also the fact that there were only 12 episodes, so there wasn't much time to even develop different personalities. But in that short amount of time, Sugisaki, Kurimu, and the others really grew on me.
Overall, this wasn't a bad anime, and I was very entertained for the ridiculously short 12 episodes. Loved the way it was presented, loved the way the characters interacted, and loved the music. I was entertained and satisfied, though not to an "ZOMG THIS IS AMAZING" but just extremely content and I wouldn't want this any other way. It was presented well, kept me wanting more, and made me happy the entire time because the comedy was pretty stellar (as well as making frequent references to other anime - those were gems). Remember, never, ever judge a book by its cover; give the book a chance and you might just uncover something that'll change you forever. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Background: Otonoshi dies. He wakes up to find this mysterious girl aiming a gun. All hell breaks loose as he tries to figure what is going on and why he doesn't remember how he died, only that he died. Is this the afterlife? Purgatory? Hell? He sets out to find out.
Reading some other reviews, I noticed the story received a rather low score for some people. I, personally enjoyed the questions about the afterlife and each character's back-story. It made the anime feel more personal, as if you can feel their pain and empathize their suffering. Each character has a flaw in some way, and is paramount to each of their personalities. Otonoshi, the main character, interacts with others just like him and comes to terms with himself throughout the anime. Oddly, there seem to be a ton of supporting cast, many who barely appear for a couple minutes, then fade into oblivion. They don't seem to contribute much to the story, other than to offer a distraction or comedic relief for a couple seconds or minutes. Also, the story begins markedly slow, yet picks up pace much faster than it ought to (think a e^x graph for you math people). Overall, though, the story was enjoyable, funny at times and made the viewer wonder where the next plot twist would come from.
Visually, this anime was stunning. Beautiful backgrounds and settings, detailed characters and multiple camera angles offered a wonderful amalgamation of visually appealing sensations. I continually made mental notes of how the water sparkled or the hair fluttered just so - it added to the surreal mood of the anime. Everything was drawn to near-perfection, and when needed the art become dull and drab to reflect foreboding or light and colorful to indicate happiness or comedy. I couldn't find a flaw anywhere within this beautiful artwork. The school uniforms were pretty, yet the members of the SSS had different clothing on, symbolizing their differences with those NPCs.
The OP was incredible. Beautiful and nostalgic sounding, it perfectly matched the mood of the anime. The ending hit home even more, sounding like a good-bye, but a tearful good-bye. Paired wonderfully with each other, they both foreshadowed and epitomized the underlying theme of the anime. The voice-acting was decent, never getting too crazy but not too dull either. I wasn't much impressed with the background music, but the sound effects were astounding. The gunshots and clashing of metal were accurate; I've shot many weapons before, and those guns sounded exactly realistic.
Ok, here's where it gets iffy. I definitely loved Otonoshi and his story, as well as Yuri and especially Tenshi. These three characters drove the story to its climax and beyond. They never faltered in their personal quests, and became a foundation to the overall success of this anime. Then there were the supporting characters. I mentioned before that they did little to enhance the storyline, other than to offer some humor and jokes. Sometimes they became pretty fundamental, but there were so many useless characters I kind of got tired of seeing them appear. I mean, sure I loved their little sound-bites and humor, but I think this anime would have flowed much better if it focused more on the big three (not Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, mind you). I wanted more interaction with those three characters; their development, I feel like, was cut short. There were not enough episodes to fully develop them. The ending seemed rushed and stressful. So, no, it wasn't perfect. But it had potential.
I could have given this a 10/10. It was within my grasp. I loved almost everything: story, drama, action, guns, romance, comedy. It had every tool in the arsenal to make this a perfect story. But alas, it became too much like something else and failed to meet all my expectations; however, it still amazed me and continued to impress me throughout the whole story. It kept me riveted and piqued my interest, but it wasn't perfect. The animation and sound quality were above average, and overall I thoroughly enjoyed most characteristics of this wonderful anime. However, it wasn't perfect and its execution wasn't great. But nonetheless, it is one of my favorites already. Remember: life is beautiful. The afterlife, not so much. read more
15 of 15 episodes seen
The story background is vague. Very vague. The past is hardly dredged up except a few subtle comments made by Araragi-San, interestingly enough. Just know that A. his life is beyond normal and B. there are vampires and other mysterious and metaphysical beasts that live among humans like you and me.
Overall, though, the storytelling is FANTASTIC. Told from one point of view but flitting from various characters many times, it never leaves anything out. Usually, the episodes are labelled on what that particular episode, but not in the way you would normally imagine. Also, right after the OP, there are a creepy string of "though messages" which perhaps, if you are to read them all (I did. Like the loser I am), you would realize something distinct. Annoyingly, however, one of the main critiques I have for the story in general is how it tends to stray from the story-line and focus on humor and pointless bantering between characters. Of course, this being so high-class, there was a ton of play on words and generally it elicited a laugh every now and then. But seriously, when you spend 10 minutes of back and forth circular arguments, it gets old. Fast. Overall, though, there were enough plot twists to keep you entertained for the majority of the episodes. Otherwise it was sometimes uneventful.
Here's where the anime just NAILS it. The art was stunning, no: perfect. Really, it was beautiful. The general theme was that of remorse, guilt, loathing, jealousy: and the art reflected that perfectly. The characters were drawn skinny and tall, with large female body parts and perfect curves. Eye-candy; but when those characters were interacting, the art did something dramatic I've never seen before. Instead of drawing two characters talking one on one, it would switch: maybe just the animation of a mouth, or a close-up of an eye, or a fade-out to the background. I've never seen something so perfectly executed. Instead of being bored to death with the average conversation, I sat there, mesmerized, as an ordinary conversation became a beautiful conflagration of colors, random angles, and astonishing precision. The emotions were never skimped on. The characters' various facial expressions changed quickly, and the art nailed that as well. This, of everything else, deserves a perfect score. It made this anime unique and definitive, drawing away from the crowd and going out on a tightrope to try something new.
Grand, epic music of fantastic proportions. I loved the music. It was never stale and never conflicted with the mood. I loved listening to the background music, even. It always matched the mood and continued throughout the story. The OP changed depending on what the episode was about; it was amazing. A little foreshadowing, which was good in and of itself. The ED was great and serious, as usual. Typical stuff. But seriously,the voice acting: astounding. Great. I mean, you have such a wide cast that covers a range of personalities and every character played their role with gusto and perfection. Amazing, amazing acting.
Dang. These were some quality characters. There were a variety of characters with crazy personalities. None which usually exist in real life, which made for some interesting ways of interaction. However, the main character, though seemingly weak-minded, came out actually a little more forceful and had a beautiful character arc. Though he seems annoying at first, and though everyone along the way he meets seems too good for him, he ends up changing for the better. He meets various odds and ends throughout the anime, so you're never really disappointed with the character selection. The usual sort of people. But honestly, the way these characters interacted made it pretty worthwhile. Also, it was surprisingly dramatic and suspenseful at times, throwing me off guard. Especially since the light-hearted mood came bare minutes before a crazy drop to seriousness. But overall, amazing characters, great interactions, and fantastic way to put them together.
Though going above and beyond the call of duty in terms of animation style, sound and some character development, key characteristics were missing, and the storyline became sort of repetitive after awhile. It lacked a certain finesse and grace that would have made this anime much smoother. It became focused on a person rather than the qualities that make him who he is. However, there were many pros that definitely outweighed the cons, and I would immediately recommend this to anyone. It had an interesting enough story line to pique my attention, as well as indiscriminate (and often inappropriate) humor that kept me yearning for the next episode. Who knows who you'll encounter in the world? And remember: Your best friend isn't necessarily just a friend.
Apr 18, 2012Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shi... (Anime) add
11 of 11 episodes seen
When you experience something earth-shattering (that's awful) isn't the first thing you want to do is forget about it? To bury it with something, anything to get rid of those horrid memories? Don't you just want to curl up in a ball and forget reality for maybe, ever? Years have passed since a tragic accident happened between what used to be five really close friends. How do they interact? How will they react to one another if they become forced in close proximity? Isn't something so terrible it's hard to speak of it without bringing up memories supposed to be left buried? Yadomi and the gang struggle to make peace with their past, all the while finding out who they are and what they mean to each other in the present.
I was shocked, more like flabbergasted, when the series laid out. It opened up faster than expected and completely caught me off guard. Where I thought there was a continuity, it turned out to be a broken link in the old rusted chain of the past. Maybe there weren't many plot twists; maybe the story got a little repetitive; maybe it was just a little too short. However, the anime moves fast, and you have to keep up. It really was beautiful story-telling; the truth is a dark, dark secret many are willing to risk their lives to keep hidden. Many times, it's to protect people you love or to have the burden of it on yourself. Yadomi and the gang have to learn: is it worth it to keep your true emotions hidden? Or are you actually hurting those around you for your own individualistic needs? This anime delves deeper than simple human or friendship or even love relationships. It answers questions much deeper that pervade the subconscious.
Interestingly enough, many a time the art wasn't gloomy. In fact, it was almost like a juxtaposition of light and dark: when Yadomi was happy, sometimes the colors flitted about between midnight and sunshine. However, the majority of the time, the colors stayed neutral; but there were key moments where light had an interesting role in keeping up the story.... The characters were drawn normal, skinny, not too flashy and not to dull either. The animation wasn't disappointing in the least. I didn't see many flaws; however, nothing really jumped out at me. However, I do want to mention the facial expressions. They were accurate and went anywhere between lighthearted laughter to deadly serious in seconds. Each character had their moments, and what fantastic moments they were.
The score is high, not because of the OP and ED, but because of the voice acting. My goodness, I have never seen such raw emotion in a voice before. The pain is almost tangible; you can literally almost empathize with every fiber of the being, even if you weren't there and this isn't your life. It was beautiful, really, to hear the sounds of human emotion, of raw pain, pleasure, or sadness, to creep into the voices of each character. Normally, the voice acting is pretty sub-par, but that's because nothing compares to the depth at which these morals and lessons pierce through one's fragile childhood heart. The OP is upbeat, a little slow; the ED is sad and depressed, almost like a love song to a deceased wife or husband. It's not like I didn't like them, it's that I thought they were pretty plain, considering the weight this anime carries.
Character: a perfect 10/10
People have blasted this anime because of how "static" or "inflexible" these characters are; how they don't change throughout the anime, and how each of them is surprisingly bland. Who in their right mind would drastically, completely change because of a trauma? I know it sounds wrong to judge others so harshly, but the reason people go into depression or turn to alcohol or drugs when they experience such trauma isn't because they changed as a person, but because they want to get out of the past. But it haunts them, day in and day out, never ceasing to be erased from the curse and blessing that is the human memory. Yadomi exhibits this through his attachment issues; Anjou through jealously; Hisakawa, through belongingness; Atsuma, through clinging to a hopeless past; Tsurumi through learning to let go; and Homna Meiko? You're going to have to find out.
This fantastic anime takes average kids, high schoolers, and really brings out basic qualities of a person that can't be changed from the past. Interestingly, it does so with accuracy and gusto, with plenty drama in between. The character score is a perfect 10/10 because they followed the human condition with such perfection I tend to never see. Maybe this is my opinion; maybe you are supposed to change after a series of events happen. I personally have experienced trauma; maybe not in this sort of way nor in the magnitude, but it has happened. And you don't change. That's simple and plain. You slowly turn into a shell of yourself if you don't let your emotions out from time to time. Externally, you may lose friends, become antisocial, or turn to other forms of relieving yourself. But inside, you stay who you inherently are, reliving that experience for the rest of your life, afraid to change because change is what made said event happen in the first place. So coming from personal experience, these characters really nailed that topic. Hard.
Overall, I was more than astounded at what this had to offer. Originally recommended by friends, I only agreed to watch it because it was barely 11 episodes. Trust me, you won't be disappointed in the least. There was enough drama to keep you riveted in your seat, enough emotions to keep your head spinning, and even some metaphysical references that keep the story interesting as a whole. I loved every juicy bit of this wonderful show; it took the worst out of people, and could turn it around so quickly to show the best of humanity. So if you know where to look, hide and seek is a really easy game to win.... read more