24 of 24 episodes seen
Sakurasou tells the story of a basic, bland-haired male who has to take care of a genius, empty-headed bishoujo. Around him are fellow Sakurasou members, friends, family, and enemies. OK, maybe not that last one. The story isn't groundbreaking, but what it unfolds into is what makes Sakurasou a bit better than average.
Since the story is set in a school setting, there isn't much Sakurasou brings to the table. I'll admit Sakurasou does a neat job at forming arcs that are unparalleled, though only a handful of them are remotely interesting.
Sakurasou's strongest trait lies within the cast. The main and supporting cast blended well; sometimes I would forget that some characters were not main characters. There were a plethora of quote-worthy scenes, such as Mashiro Shiina's "I belive in pantsu" quote. It was a pleasure to observe the many different interests and character flaws collide together like one big painting. Many of the characters' decisions were heavily influenced by their relationships with others, which sets the ground for its drama. The cast consists of a seiyuu-to-be with a dialect, a shut-in computer wiz, a crazy, perverted senpai, and... a basic, bland-haired male with a boring personality.
The artwork for Sakurasou is simply pretty. The character models are all very appealing, and the backgrounds complement the vivid artsy themes of Sakurasou. In terms of music, the first OP is bouncy, while the ED is catchy. The latter OP and ED are also beautiful songs, and match the drama fairly well.
The voice cast did a fantastic job. Kiyano Ai as expressionless Mashiro Shiina, Nakatsu Mariko as dialect-heavy Aoyama Nanami, and Takamori Natsumi as the playful Kamiigusa Misaki were splendid. Their voice work, along with the other voice actors/actresses just added to the already delightful cast.
Sakurasou had a handful of flaws, however. It should be noted that the latter, dramatic half of the season was mediocre at best. The drama felt forced often times, and was boring to watch after the ground was laid out. The notion of having a pet girl at Sakurasou seemed to have been dropped in the latter half as well; stories of taking care of Shiina are all overwritten with the dramatic romance. Some of the characters developed way too late, or didn't really develop at all. Others seemed to pop out of the sky (Akasaka Ryuunosuke). Unfortunately, these character development flaws fell onto a majority of the main cast, especially Mashiro Shiina.
Another glaring problem is the bland story to Sakurasou. It certainly grasped the nichijou (daily life) of students with career goals, but it didn't do so in a way that made the viewer feel compelled to care. It's great to see students try hard for their dreams, but it isn't entertaining, especially in Sakurasou's case. The backstory presented for a number of the main cast did a poor job of drawing sympathy for their cause (at least for me, anyways).
Despite Sakurasou's many problems, it still stands as a satisfactory anime. It's a fairly fun watch, but unfortunately, it does not stand out very well. The story is adequate, the cast is up to par, and the overall execution ranges from suitable (first half) to mediocre (latter half). Sakurasou isn't exceptional, but I would say it is a tad above average. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo does not pass with many flying colors; it only passes with a few. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
Shakugan no Shana III, the long awaited third and final season of Shakugan no Shana, has finally made its way into light. After a cliffhanger ending from Shakugan no Shana II, SnS III picks up some time after the cliffhanger and presents the audience some shocking details that have the possibility to make or break the conclusion to this beloved anime series.
The huge shift of Sakai Yuji's disappearance takes a toll on the romantic aspect of the story. In fact, it runs all through the season. No mushy lovey-dovey moments between Shana and Yuji that would be expected from the first two seasons. There are very few "urasai, urasai, urasai!" moments and the ones that exist do not resemble those of the previous seasons. The changes made to the story have deeply changed the relationship between the flame haze and the torch; and to some fans, it may be too much.
Not all is lost with the romance of the story, however; it simply took a different form. The conflicting views of a new world between Yuji and Shana separate the two, each unable to find a compromise. Shana yearns to discover Yuji's motives behind his actions while Yuji refrains from spilling the beans, claiming it is for the future of him and Shana.
While it sounds like the basis of the story would expand much further, it sadly does not. Shana having her most important person as an enemy is quite an intriguing situation, but it is crushed by the lack of common sense within the quarrel. Shana and Yuji go back and forth, with Yuji leaving Shana and the audience in the dark as to what is really going on. It's a disappointing flaw in the story, as the grounds of the plot had so much more potential to branch out. Instead, SnS III presents viewers a overly-complicated, unnecessarily dramatic lover's quarrel.
The reason why this story of love is so poorly executed is due to the fact that there is simply too much trying to go on all at once. There are a significant amount of new supporting characters as well as the return of a majority of the older supporting roles. Many of these supporting roles have intents that add spin to the already complicated storyline. There are numerous loose ends in the story, many of which go unsolved at the end. While the new cast is somewhat appealing, the focus on Shana and Yuji greatly overshadows the new crew which cuts the character development to a "hey, here's a new character; enjoy!" kind of deal.
The older cast proves to have developed more, but the time gap and little explanation other than a few scenes of recap make the changes a little shaky. Shana herself has become more powerful, able to use her flame haze powers to spawn wings, a giant fiery hand, and other flame tactics. It is said that Shana went through rigorous training to prepare for the return of the infamous Sakai Yuji. Speaking of which, Sakai Yuji has taken a new role as a villain, and a trashy one at that. It seems as if the old, incapable Yuji has grown a pair and comes up with an absurd idea that the world now is not cutting it. It truly is aggravating to watch these two dispute, and the ulterior motives of Yuji carry many degrees of ignorance.
The animation of SnS III is about as good as SnS I and II. The visuals and fight scenes (which were severely lackluster compared to Shana I and II) maintained a fluid and clear presentation. The details such as Shana's flames remain just like they did in the past. While the art and animation was nice, the big problem with this is that this season did not do a good job on capitalizing it. The season was dialogue-heavy and the dialogue was painfully boring. The fight scenes were few and not as suspenseful or long as Shana's previous feats.
Despite these glaring flaws, the music of SnS III does not disappoint. The excellent performances of Kotoko and Kawada Mami bring some nostalgic feeling to this foreign-feeling season. The OST remains constant to the previous seasons which still suits the mood well. The voice actors also brought their A-game this time around, showing a wide array of vocal range to differentiate the huge cast of supporting roles a bit better.
While SnS III's score was a delight, it is not something that can save the plot's execution. The notion of two lovers wanting to be together but holding their own pride between them is a probable situation, but completely irritating the way Shana III went about it. Throughout the whole season I was questioning the point of Yuji's motives while still holding hope that the explanation would be an acceptable one.
The new face of Yuji does not mask the idiocy he already had within him. The excuse for Shana and Yuji to be together was one that simply could not cut it.
This final season of Shana III was not a very enjoyable one. There were too many irritants within the grand scheme of things that distracts from the great Shana fans have come to know and love. This whole season seemed very foreign when compared to the first two seasons. It's as if this season was all a dream. Many things were lacking or gone while many new things came into play. It certainly was a new world for Shana and co. and I can't exactly say I liked it.
The attempt to go very deep into a story was very possible for 24 episodes yet the writers refrained from adding the most crucial step: an explanation. Watching Yuji and Shana's plans unfold becomes dull and dry too quickly when viewers are left in the dark. A similar feeling would be watching a movie in a foreign language with no subtitles or ways to make out what the actors are saying other than through body language.
Shakugan no Shana III has finally made its course. It had a great pile of potential but that pile was sadly trampled on. Explanations to the vast number of changes could have easily been gifted, but they were held out until the very end. Shakugan no Shana III had multiple things going for it, but there were too many bumps along the road to bear. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
On paper, that plotline sounds somewhat intriguing, but it is easily destroyed by loads of useless fillers, borderline fanservice, and ultimately, appealing to the male masses. Although it has some plot, TLR does not go too deep into it, straying away from the main focus multiple times to gather up happiness in a certain part of the human body. The whole story and conflict is really just a facade and honestly, if one was looking for great story in an ecchi harem, they might as well give up.
One strong point of TLR is its artwork and animation. Things run pretty fluidly and the characters are designed with many eye candy aspects. The art compliments the fanservice moments very well. The music is extremely catchy with many upbeat tunes to hype up the mood of the anime. The OP and ED are both pleasing to listen to and the animation isn't too hard on the eyes either. *wink* *wink*
TLR had one of the most appealing harems I have seen. There are many females to please the tastes of the viewers, from little sister all the way down to the teacher/nurse. There are also many types of fanservice which is TLR's strong point. Their personalities are dreadfully static, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the viewer's preference. There is very minor character development, as TLR simply seeks out to present the character, show them off, and move on. To be blunt, the character development that is there ultimately serves no purpose.
Yuuki Rito as a harem can be defined in one word: disappointing. He's weak, scrawny, horrifyingly dense, indecisive, and doesn't take advantage of nearly all of the situations he's in. There is usually some sort of special trait or power that the harem lead receives, but for Rito, that's not the case. Instead, the writers gave him this idea that he must do his best to protect everyone, but really, it's a cliche and an uninteresting drive. It's even worse to see him try to accomplish something when he's only fooling himself. Many refer to him as one of the luckiest men alive but he's obviously too dense to realize it. It makes one wonder what in the world these women see in harem leads.
There is much to enjoy when watching To Love-Ru depending on what the viewer wants to see. TLR is a huge guilty pleasure; there is no real excuse to watch this anime other than those appealing moments. There are plenty of mushy romance parts as well but they are easily made impure and irrelevant by the ecchi moments which is the meat and potatoes of this anime.
As a harem, To Love-Ru is one of the best out there. With such a wide array of females in the harem and plenty of ecchi, TLR proves to be a solid harem. Having this many borderline scenes isn't necessarily a negative although there is a little something called too much. However, I felt that TLR didn't cross over that line very often and did a fine job with what it's real intent was. This season of TLR is just one big filler full of guilty pleasure, and it would be shameless to expect anything more. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
I don't think I could have found a more suitable quote for this anime. Hanasaku Iroha is an anime that takes a break from the supernatural anime and takes a more realistic approach: one that depicts what, when, and how to let go.
The story of a 16 year old girl being sent to work at a hotel may not seem very realistic but the events that happen because of it actually do. Leaving a best friend and a hometown is tough and very difficult to let go. Ohana experiences this tough change in life and begins to find a home in the hotel she works at, Kissuiso. Accompanied by her co-workers, she blooms into a more independent girl who shoulders the responsibilities of work, love, friendship, family and balance. The story may seem a little dull but it's fair to say that it's original and a great break from all of those harem anime with alien women or slice-of-life school girl comedies you've been watching.
The drama genre in my opinion should be before comedy. Looking back, I found more drama moments than comedy but that's certainly not a bad thing. Love triangles, family relationships, and the state of Kissuiso make up the drama and while the drama wasn't all too flashy but it certainly satisfied that realistc approach. While there isn't an overwhelming supply of comedic moments, the ones there are mildly entertaining. It's not split-your-gut funny but you may find a good chuckle here and there. Some may feel that it distracts from the drama but I didn't see it that way at all.
I usually don't talk about art much but I feel that not talking about Hanasaku Iroha's art is an insult. The backgrounds were stunning. The shading, the scenery, and the animation were simply beautiful and pleasing to look at. There was clearly a lot of effort in making the scenery and I must say the art was one of HanaIro's strong points. I've seen a blog about the sites in Japan that they based off of and everything looked realistic. The character designs had a good balance and were adequately implemented in the backgrounds. Some characters look like they fit with the backdrop, like Enishi and Sui, and others fed off the anime/manga art style, looking pasted on compared to the psuedo-3D scenery, like Ohana and Yuina.
Since this is a standard 26 episode season there is plenty of time for character development. In many anime lots of the supporting characters don't have enough screen time to grow on the audience. Sadly, HanaIro falls into that category. Even though this story is centered around Ohana Matsumae, I feel that the OTHER main characters were neglected enough to the point that they felt almost like supporting roles. Nako and Minko had a few episodes early on in the season dedicated to them, but after that they slowly faded into 2 minute segments. The other supporting roles shared a similar fate. Ultimately I felt like the different character arcs were pasted on.
HanaIro has an assorted mix of character types. We have the general slice-of-life archetypes like the cold tsundere, Minko Tsurugi, and a more original wise old woman, Sui Shijima. The cast has a vast array of personalities which outweigh the general character types by a long shot. I haven't seen an anime with this diverse of character types in a long time. You'll have to see it for yourself to see how unique each character is. However, the characters aren't favorite material. Sure, they're very original but they don't have enough pizazz to make them stand out from other anime characters.
All of the events in HanaIro have excellent background music. Many people don't notice it or forget about it, but this one in particular had stellar tracks. The OST complemented the story segments very well. None of it sounded too extreme or too toned down for the situation. The EDs were very fitting and presented a calm, cleansing feel to end the episode. The OPs, on the other hand, may make you want to skip ahead to 1:30. The voices of nano.RIPE are unusually screechy and might not be the most pleasant to listen to. I loved the OPs, but I find an equal amount of fans and haters of it.
The love aspect of the anime constantly pops up but never seems to satisfy completely . I felt like the love triangle characters were progressing very well in the episode right until the end where it ends in a cliffhanger that shortly continues in the next episode only to be brushed aside and finished with a void. Many have ranted at the romance for many different reasons such as the pairings, development, and execution. However, I think HanaIro's romance did its best to accommodate the realistic side of the anime. Each character that participates in the romance think deep about love and take the outcomes of their actions into extreme consideration. It's not just "I love so-and-so so I must do my best to confess my love and make them love me as well so we can be happy together!," it's "I love so-and-so but if I really confessed my love would we truly be happy?"
Aside from the romance, HanaIro does great as a slice-of-life. It's not your usual school girls' comedy; it's a dramatic comedy that touches upon real life problems. HanaIro has the most story progression in any slice-of-life I've ever seen. Every character runs into the simple theme of "letting go and holding on" in their own way. During the hardships and testing decisions, the cast unfolds together as a family which gives HanaIro such charm. The rest of moments in the anime seemed awkwardly organized. It seemed like HanaIro was trying its best to hit all of the anime standards, like beach episodes. In trying to do so, HanaIro loops into a useless arc that ultimately had no purpose. Also, the latter half of the anime seemed to drag and it felt like it was trying to create more story that had no use.
Ignoring all the nitpicking, HanaIro stands firm as a slice-of-life. Since most slice-of-life have little to no story I can easliy cut this anime some slack at attempting and mainly succeeding one. Hanasaku Iroha isn't a top priority watch, but watching it isn't something you'd regret. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
There's usually a very thin storyline that's used as an excuse to bring the harem together. In Maburaho's case, that lies within the desire of strengthening the family heritage with a very powerful magician that could only come from the genes of our male lead, Kazuki Shikimori. Accompanied by a decent array of women with similar intentions, the harem unfolds and evolves into a more dramatic love story where Kazuki is fought over time and time again. The characters are very dynamic and you will see the change towards the middle of the season when... ah, never mind. That's a huge spoiler. Anyways, it's a very basic storyline to get the harem together and I didn't go too much into it since there is already a description of the story.
Since this is an ecchi anime you will see a good amount of ecchi moments (kind of a no brainer, actually). However, these ecchi moments aren't ridiculously made and there aren't many of what I like to call "forced ecchi moments" where the anime throws in a very unnecessary panty shot which makes this ecchi harem a more refined piece of work. The ecchi aspect isn't all too distracting but it still should suit your fancy if you happen to like what they show, like the school festival.
The background music was very catchy and very fitting from what I remember, but since it has been quite a while I'll just leave it at that since background music isn't exactly the first thing people look at when deciding anime. The voice actors (Japanese) were very well fitted to the character and I didn't have any problems listening to them. The dub (English voice actors) gave me ear-bleeding moments but I think they did a decent job dubbing. It's just that dubs usually aren't my cup of tea.
The OP is a love-it-or-hate-it OP (I loved it, if you were wondering). Ichiko has a very... unique way of singing so it's up to you whether you want to listen or hit that 1:30 mark. The ED, however, is a beautiful arrangement and will get stuck in your head after you've finished an episode. I myself stuck around to listen to the ED and it's a very calming yet emotional way to end the drama.
Right off the bat you will see there are 3 main heroine to claw each other for Kazuki. There are other females that will join the harem, each satisfying the general standards for harem females. We've got most of the dere types, childhood friend, and the sexually provocative type. Overall, the females hit the mark on the character types but since these characters are dynamic you might see your favorite female change into something you hate. Despite that there's enough of the harem types to suit your harem needs.
So... how about the male lead, Kazuki? In my opinion, he's one of the more acceptable harem leads. He's not incapable of handling the harem nor is he dreadfully dense that he can't sense emotions or drama. Helpless is also one of the furthest things from the list due to his powerful yet limited supply of magic uses. His only problem is that due to his limited supply, he's very hesitant and usually when he uses it you may find yourself smacking the screen at the reason why he used it.
In regards to the supporting characters, they were generally acceptable. I think the supporting characters had a very huge role in the drama and it's very pleasant to see that they're not just tossed away like yesterday's cleaning rag. Again, we have the standard archetypes in harem anime such as the perverted best friend(s), elegant motherly figure, and the mysterious sensei. I applaud Maburaho's use of supporting characters and I believe this is a prime example of how to accurately execute supporting roles into the main story.
Despite the pros, there are still many cons. There were numerous cliches in Maburaho such as "I will always be with you/protect you." At the time I didn't mind it too much, but nowadays there is enough anime that revolve around this theme that it could make you sick. The pacing of the story seemed to drag heavily towards the end. Speaking of the end, Maburaho took a very disappointing one and one of the sorriest excuses to end an anime. Since there wasn't much of a final goal in the anime it was very aggravating to see how flimsy the ending was. If you're willing to get past the bad ending and enjoy everything else, go for it. If you're one of the types that will linger upon endings, don't watch the ending. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
Spiral focuses less on animation and much more on the dialogue and the events going on. It becomes more apparent as the show progresses, showing some nice art but static motion. That is not really a problem. If this were some action fighting shounen, then yeah, Spiral would have been very poor. This isn't the case, however. The point of Spiral is to drive home thoughts about key topics in the anime, such as the infamous question that goes on in Spiral which is, "what are the Blade Children?"
A key to an enjoyable mystery is to have the audience stumped, but not to the degree of impossibility. Spiral finds a nice little spot in between impossible and the possible. In Spiral, the world functions at a higher mindset level, having the characters aware and smart enough to predict their opponents options, motives, and actions. It acts similarly in a way of chess, where the player must actively keep track of what their opponent can do and what the player him/herself can accomplish. One glaring thing about this game of chess in Spiral is that it often times unclear or completely unreasonable. Honestly, the cast often times overcomplicated things to unrealistic circumstances and attempted to justify them with keeping the strategic mood of the anime.
While there are many mysteries to Spiral, unfortunately, many of them are never solved in the ANIME. In fact, the anime stays true to the manga to a certain point and then strays into some BS trail that spits on the face of the viewer. It's as if the preludes and foreshadowing of the anime were in vain which is very disappointing. Nonetheless, the anime on its own not contrasted with the manga is decent, but definitely could have done better.
The characters each have their own traits unique to them. Hiyono is a very bubbly girl which is made funnier by being acquainted with the antisocial Ayumu. The heavy-logic characters were made to have a "badass" feel to them, similar to a challenging boss in a video game. However, because the anime didn't answer many things, these characters' character development is severely stunted or it simply drifted in the wrong direction.
The main characters of the anime all have similar goals (except maybe Hiyono...) but contrasting ways they plan on accomplishing them. The Blade Children are testing Ayumu for some salvation of some sort while Ayumu is trying to pry more knowledge out of the Blade Children to track down his missing brother. It's a simple matchup and both sides are too stubborn to give up their part of the bargain which causes much more drama. Overall, it's executed well and is very entertaining. Their little "games" are one of Spiral's highlights; they're captivating and fun to predict what will happen next, just like in any mystery.
One thing I have to applaud Spiral for was its very fitting music. This is a mysterious and dramatic anime so it would not make any sense if they played some upbeat song. No, Spiral's score includes some ambient tunes to harmonize with the suspenseful scenes. Sometimes there was no music playing at all! There are some catchy, upbeat songs as well, such as Hiyono's song, Twinkle My Heart, and they don't feel out of place.
Ultimately, Spiral had lots of potential but fell out of tempo towards the end. When compared to the manga, it's obvious that the anime fell far from its grace, but on its own, it is a little more than mediocre. The mystery and drama is sufficient enough to keep the viewer watching but it does shy away from a satisfying conclusion. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
The story revolves around male lead Kazuma Hoshino and is pretty much your usual slice-of-life romance although there are its little differences here and there. For one, the cast are in a small town rather than a large city bustling with all sorts of things to do. Rather, their town is quiet and very open with forests and other nature-like things.
Kazuma Hoshino and his little brother Ayumu Hoshino are moving to a small country town to settle in before their parents do. However, as shown in the beginning, this is not Kazuma's first time in this town. He went there for a day as a child and befriended a purple haired girl and promised they would always be friends.
Since they're from a large city it causes many rumors to spread around amongst the people, mainly all the females. His accidental kiss with Ui in the first episode doesn't help with the rumors much either. Kazuma later befriends the cast and enjoy activities with them. It's a very basic slice-of-life romance and the you will see that it will revolve around the same scene time and time again.
Unfortunately, because it is only 12 episodes it suffers from the lack of character development time. I found myself disappointed at how they rushed the ending and hoped they had more episodes. I felt that the ending was very forced due to the lack of relationship development as well which really brings the score of the story down.
The art is excellent. The characters are very easy on the eyes, have fluid motion and the scenery details are beautiful.
The opening and ending are very catchy and although I didn't fall in love with them at first like I do with most openings and endings, I grew to like them. I didn't really notice the background music but I didn't find any tracks annoying. Overall the sound was pretty decent but nothing special.
The characters are very one-sided. Once you see their personality that's all you will get. Ui loves food, Ibuki is protective and doesn't like perverts, Hina obsesses over cute things and Tsumugi acts as the motherly figure. There's nothing particularly memorable of any of these characters and it becomes a little boring how many times they rinse and reuse the same jokes or events. As mentioned before, there is hardly any time for character or relationship development so what you see is what you get.
To be honest the only reason why I kept watching was to kill time. It's not a bad anime, but it's not that great of one either. I mildly enjoyed it but I can't be sure everyone else will. There's not much of an incentive to keep watching other than the very small plot device they implemented in the first episode which I will not go into too much detail of.
Yes, overall... it was below average. The entire time I found myself ranting in my head about nearly everything. The forced ending just fueled the fire and it's a shame things turned out they did in my opinion. If you see the ending you may feel the same disappointment I feel. This anime felt like an RPG where right from the start everything is unlocked. There's nothing really fun in that, now is there? I'd only recommend this anime if you're looking for a quick sol romance harem. If you decide to watch it, don't expect much. read more