8 of 8 episodes seen
The plot of Final takes place, I'd estimate, roughly 6 to 12 months after the final events of the original series. I'd spoil the whole thing if I delved even into the slightest detail, but let me just say this: The story resembles that of the original's second half, totally getting rid of the "Villain of the Week" formula. You should know what you're getting yourself into. Let's just say the main antagonists were to be activated after the Zondars and the 31 Primevals had been defeated before hand.
The design and art of Final have vastly improved over its predecessor. Not only that, but the animation has been revamped and is superior in fluidity. The mechas are colorful and detailed, though some transformations could use a bit of work. As for the environments, they are superb, especially if you consider when this was drawn. You're taken to India, China, France, and multiple real life areas where (oh my god) real life monuments are seen! Overall, a vast improvement over the original, which was subpar even in the color department.
Musical scores are spot on with the tone of the episode. They managed to fit it well with the scenes. My major complaint is that I felt the background music could have been more varied instead of rewashing the same one over and over. You have to consider they use mostly the same background music from the original, but I guess that could be considered a plus to some people. Sound effects have improved, but not dramatically. Most of the robot movements have been given the "UC Gundam" startup sound, if that makes any sense. You'll hear it when you hear it. I don't recall it being in the original, but regardless they're in Final. As for the voice acting, most of them were great (Guy, Soldat J, Renais, etc.) but some were just outright annoying. Atleast Mamoru definitely improved.
The cast of characters is EXCELLENT. Shishio Guy is very hot-blooded and proves himself time after time after time. Soldat J is heroic as usual, and yeah you get the idea. All of the returning characters have the same thought processes from the last few episodes of the original. As for the new characters, well they're outstanding. Renais is a cyborg similar to pre-final Guy, who was raised to be some sort of human weapon (literally.) Her owners were part of a criminal organization called BioNet, which was the antagonist of the first episode. Her personality resembles that of a tsundere to some extent. The two new "Ryu" robots are awesome! First off, they're female! That's right, female robots! Really, that's all you need to know.
Enjoyment? It has the word "gar" in its title so you know it's going to be a joyride. It's action packed and filled with courage and heroes. The King of Braves is definitely enjoyable.
Overall? 10/10 easily. With the inclusion of Renais, who might I add is a great female character, the two new mechas, and returning characters and spirit, I'd say Final is a great watch for anyone wanting to fill there "gar" void.
HIKARI NI NAREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE read more
276 of 276 chapters read
Basis: Slam Dunk is a manga about the great sport of basketball. It is filled with comedy, fast paced action, and even teaches you basketball history to an extent if you're unknowing to the given material. As old as the manga is, it is still incredible.
Plot: The story follows a new high school delinquent (previously a junior high breed), Sakuragi Hanamichi. As Sakuragi is much taller (Around 6'2" ~ 6'3") then the average Japanese male, he sticks out easily and his red hair doesn't help that at all. He is being constantly denied a girlfriend wherever he goes until he meets Haruko Akagi (Will she be his girlfriend?). Haruko notices his height and asks if he plays basketball in a cheerful manner. As Sakuragi agrees and attempts to impress her with a dunk, everything falls into place. The story's school rivalries and drama were all there, I even found myself cheering on the team I wanted to win at one point. It's good but it's, overall, the same thing rewashed with a different team.
Visual: This is where the manga shines. The cover art of each volume tend to be drawn in a realistic fashion and amazing detailed it is fantastic. Even the pages, for their time, are amazingly well penned. If you've read Inoue Takehiko's other popular manga, Vagabond, you can see the resemblance in some characters; particularly Musashi and Sakuragi. The basketball poses are top notch, from form to release. It's easy to tell that these fictional players are extremely talented. It may seem meh to some people, but you have to consider when this was drawn and written. I have no bad things to say about this category really.
Cast: The characters are another standpoint in this series; perhaps even better. Sakuragi has the one comedic personality mixed along with his seriousness. Each member of the basketball team of Shohoku (The school Sakuragi goes to) brings something to the table. Rukawa, the arrogant silent bishounen chicks drool over, Akagi (It's Haruko's older brother) the tall (6'6") team captain who leads his pack to victory, and many more as they are introduced. Rival teams also have aces up their sleeves that add to the cast. Again, they are all unique and likable to some extent. My personal favorite outside the Shohoku roster would probably Sendoh Akira. Sendoh is somewhat of a genius at the sport, and is also quite tall himself (6'3"). His personality is that of "I want a challenge, but let's have fun." I've even considered buying a jersey of his! (Of course, along with Sakuragi's.) The cast is great, can't go wrong.
Enjoyment: Obviously I enjoyed this a lot (I personally gave it a 10 overall), and I'm sure you would get at least some excitement out of the read as well. The victories and losses give you a satisfying feeling no doubt. It may be hard to get used to the height of the characters (Japanese over 6 feet, one even nearing 7!) or the sport of basketball (maybe you might ponder why the court is shaped differently) entirely. This may not be for everyone though; but even then I still recommend it to the curious.
Overall: An excellent read. No need to summarize, read it.
12/10 (Biased, that's right. Sue me. It's a joke people.) read more
6 of 6 episodes seen
Lets get down to it. Top wo Nerae! 2, or Diebuster as I prefer, is the indirect sequel to Top wo Nerae/Gunbuster. I enjoyed this short OVA substantially because how it presented itself was outstanding. Plus Nono is love.
The story follows a girl called Nono who wishes to be a "Topless," which is basically an ace mech pilot to put it simply. Instead of dragging the story out with pointless episodes and scenes you often see in 26+ shows, Diebuster goes straight to the point and sticks with it. Most of the scenes show multiple different conflicts (whether they are big or small) which are tied together with the main plot quite nicely. Pacing is great, but since it's so short you might forget some of the smaller details as the series goes on.
The animation and art in this series was substantially well done. The fights were all very fluid, everything in the scene seemed like it was flowing together. The characters had very strong emotions that showed greatly. Not only that, but character design was excellent, they managed to turn a basic style suit into each character's individual style, and personality wise, none of them (at least to me) seemed to follow the stereotypical route. Like I said, the emotions they emitted out were pretty memorable.
Diebuster had a good OST when it comes to sound. The BGM's were nice and, all though not Gurren Lagann-type memorable, they stood up there with some of the good ones. The voice acting was pretty good too (see emotions being memorable). Some might argue Nono's voice was annoying, but I liked it. Even the enemy grunts/noises, those were superb, for grunts and noises anyway heh. Everything that had a distinct sound keep that sound though, for example beams sound like beams or explosions sound like explosions, but when tied with Diebuster's BGM, it sounded better. Lets not forget the OP and ED, both of which totally owned face. Groovin' Magic stands to be one of the best songs, at least in my opinion, to match this series (plus it was done by Round Table feat. Nino, who are one of my favorites). ACKO's Hoshikuzu Namida is a catchy single as well, pair it together with the slideshow ending, it's perfect.
The reason I enjoyed this so much is because of the memorable scenes and the similarity between the original Top wo Nerae! and this (see first sentence). Gainax seemed to keep the trend of hotblooded epicness going after they finished Diebuster with Gurren Lagann, which doesn't relate to Top wo Nerae at all, but they all share the same principles. Plus, the ending to Diebuster was zomg-awesomeness, I surprisingly didn't see it coming.
All in all, I give Diebuster, rather Top wo Nerae! 2, a solid 10 out of 10. The catagories may not be all 10 out of 10 quality, but it was made up by the sheer enjoyment this series provided me. Watch it. read more