5 of 12 episodes seen
If you're fan of the caliber of anime like Kimi no Todoke, Sukitte Ii na yo. and ... well, basically any shoujo ever made, you're going to enjoy Ao Haru Ride for what it is. Cliched but nonetheless sweet and funny love-ride with occasional glimpses of brilliance and actual insights into human relationships. I am not disputing that Ao Haru Ride is appealing or realistic, but it's something you've seen before. A numerous times if I may add.
You have synopsis if you want to familiarize yourself with the basic plot of the anime, so I'm not going to touch on that - instead, I'll focus on the story itself and the progress thus far. The story is set up nicely, if that's even a compliment - transfer student, or rather one of the many variations of such stories, mystifies our young heroine and she embarks upon a quest to get to know him. I know ti sounds quite epic and poetic, but ... well it isn't. I'd personally say that the story is the weakest point of anime. Rarely any shoujo has a decent story to provide a backup to their characters and relationships, and Ao Haru Ride isn't one of those. It's rather simplistic, straightforward story about kids in high school. I've read some of the manga so I know some things further ahead, and I can already tell you - what you see now won't change. Like any shoujo story it has and will have its dramatic moments, but in the vein of Kimi no Todoke. You feel no danger for the characters; their decisions ultimately will lead to a better end, and you just know it. You know how each episode will round up, and you expect those random sweet moments between our characters even though they make as much sense as me eating a banana while standing on my hands and doing buggy dance ... or whatever. Inspired by CinemaSins, I memorized some of the "sins" I've found during these five episodes - and these are only those I can remember thinking about.
"Why did you talk to her only after two semesters have already passed? What was the point?"
"Is it an accident or did you purposely ran into her during the brake? If it's first, then no, and if it's second, you're an asshole."
"A guy I used to love has completely changed cliche."
"Let me guess, her two friends won't matter squat after two episodes."
"Things I say sound inspirational but make absolute zero sense cliche."
"I'm having a hard time figuring out Kou. And by "hard time figuring" I mean why would anyone do things he does. His mood swings occur as often as the sunrise."
"Just a minute ago you told her she's annoying. And now you're spilling your guts to her because ... she cried? According to have you have been developed, you really should give a flying fudge that she's crying. Plus, in the first episode you bumped her head and walked away. One episode is not enough to change that."
"Random people grouped up by chance will ultimately become best friends cliche."
"Sigh ... they just had to get lost ..."
"Convenient river rocks that appear nowhere else appear in front of our heroes when they're in dire need of crossing the river."
And so on ...
Production of Ao Haru Ride stands strong on its own. Art is colorful, crisp, occasionally wallpaper worthy, but nothing to praise. Also, animation oftentimes looks flat out amateurish. Character designs were well translated into anime, backgrounds oftentimes do lack, and ... well, that's about it really. It's pretty much Kimi no Todoke with kind of less "aww sudden realization" freeze-shots. Sound on the other hand has its moments but also its downfalls. I just couldn't get into Kou's voice. It doesn't match his looks, his personality ... his anything really. It's just too silent and 'brooding'. Music often controls the tempo and tone of the scene, varying from "oh it's so sad! sob!" to "this is so epic! be inspired!" and so on and so forth. Nothing that will stick to you for a long while.
Characters are ... meh. They're not bad, per se, but they're just ... repeats. They're washed out carbon boxes you've already thrown into thrash like hundred times. You have insecure girl, cute girl, mysterious but nice dude, outgoing and stupid dude, and solitary girl. Well ... they're all kind of solitary. Oh, are hot studs and girls in high school really isolated in Japan? Because, where I went, there were rising them temples and stuff. Just sayin'.
Because of this solitary attribute, their personalities just seem too similar, even if they've got their establishing basis. I guess you could say it was done so that their sudden BFF moments will make sense, but regardless ... (their sudden BFF moments don't make sense). Without wasting anymore time on this, the characters are, in a nutshell, cardboard copies of things you've seen in practically every shoujo anime ever. Are there any twists? Well ... in majority of others, girl's trying to be cute, here .. .she's trying to get ugly? Because, trust me when I say, unless told directly by the characters, you would never, ever actually think like that.
Am I enjoying Ao Haru Ride? Relatively. Romance aspect isn't nothing new but it's okay, comedy can hit the spot at times and it does have its sweet moments, as cliched as they are. So, yeah, it might sound as if I really hate the show from what I've written so far, but I really don't. If anything, I'm just kind of disappointed that it's just another shoujo. Quite literally. Do I recommend it? Sure. I mean, if you're expecting some class-A story telling and humanized characters, you won't find it much here, but the anime has its moments. I know 7 is like that number when you're "well ... it's bad but it's not that bad ... it has it moments but also it has some of the stupidest shit I've seen in my life ... ugh, whatever, 7" but this is what Ao Haru Ride is. Classic 7 really. 6 on a bad day. 7 on a good day. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
Shinsekai Yori tells a story that spans over the fourteen years in total, with two time-shifts in its entirety. Both time-shifts occur after some meaningful events so to keep this review spoiler-less I'll try avoiding the talk about them. The story is told from the perspective of Saki, a young girl with friends and family like any other. It basically starts with their little group having a camping trip and learning something they should have not - as well for us to being exposed to acts of foreplay between two twelve year old kids. Oh well. In essence, if they had never learned what they did that day, they would have never really been caught up into story THAT much - we'd still have some conflicts which had affected the world, but the story this way is quite personal.
Since the story in itself has numerous twists I cannot go into detail, so I'll try and go roundabout. In a sense it's a fantastical story but extremely realistic at the same time. It's put a thousand years into the future of today, with humans living seemingly peaceful lives full of love and care. The story consists of several twists and turns - some expected, others not as much - with some certain "hey, what about that? That's not the way you said it was!" moments. These moments, albeit rare, do somewhat take away from that episode - but not from the entire series. It is a story more turned towards mature than kid side, having several twists which are extremely thought-provoking all through to the end and beyond. It starts as extremely slow-paced establishment and basically nothing happens until episode 10 or so - only world building. For some, like me, who really appreciate world building this has come as a breath of fresh air. Before the story essentially kicks off, you're pretty much familiar with world - its origin and its present, which helps a lot when trying to accumulate thoughts as to why certain things are happening. Extremely well done and crafted story - that's all I've got to say.
The first thing you'll most-likely notice is imaginative art. While it may not be spectacular and ever-evolving, it is certainly different. It's extremely well done and oftentimes it shifts as the mood of the scene changes - gradient hues take over, coloring the world green/purple or any other dimming color. It has it's bright moments of course, but most of the major events occur in dark spaces. Another thing I must praise this show for are the backgrounds - they are absolutely breathtaking. I'd take a bet that in each episode you can extract at least 4-5 beautiful, completely different wallpapers for your desktop. While animation may be lacking sometimes, some scenes are extremely well done (like Saki falling through the sky, or Saki and Satoru running through the tunnels etc.) and worth a praise. Characters are all unique when it comes to art department, each having its own distinguishing trait but also quite some symbolism in the very character department - Saki, throughout the entire series, remains as one character (out of main ones, to be precise) who is most-likely to be present in real life. For instance Maria has extremely long, red hair and blue eyes, Shun and Satoru have hard-to-make hairstyles as well as that kid no one really remembers. In that sense it helps us to relate to Saki from whose perspective this story is told.
On the other side of production team we have sound. I've got to say - if the soundtrack of "The Fountain" is my all-time favorite movie OST, this Shinsekai Yori wins in anime department. "Kage no Denshouka Dainibu" to list one of many is simply shiver-worth soundtrack which befits each scene it's placed into. It's quite grappling and, even when listened outside the context of series, is extremely beautiful - to an extent where I'd put it among my favorite themes ever (probably just after "Death is the Road to Awe" from Clint Mansel). Voice actors (and actresses) put up an virtuous effort in delivering their characters. I especially must give credit to Namikawa Daisuke, a man who gave a voice to the character of Squealer - probably the most amazing performance among amazing performances. So yeah ... production ... much wow.
Now we come to the character department. It's really hard to label these characters - not because they're not developed or anything but because they're just simply ... humans. All of them (oops). They all deal with certain issues in their own ways, each tackling a certain problem the best way they see fit. That's what makes each of them unique and fun to observe and even relate to. For instance, Saki has qualms about dealing with at-the-moment perilous situation, but she has easier way of moving on. Satoru on the other hand handles the present situation which requires quick answer easily but has a harder time of moving on. And so on and so forth. All these things make each character you see in the series developed and ... relate-able. Regardless of whether you like them or not, when their story comes to fruit, you can feel for them all the same. That's one of the greatest strengths of Shinsekai Yori - characters are not badass stereotypes who go round spouting badass one-liners. They're all humans - they can act though, but that's all there is to it - an act.
This has been my longest review since ... well, ever. The reason being is that I tried to deliver Shinsekai Yori to those who hadn't watched it the best way possible without spoiling anything - which is actually extremely difficult. All the juice of Shinsekai Yori lies in the spoilers. But oh well. I managed to slip one or two in there. I'm a monster.
I quickly understood that Shinsekai Yori won't be for everyone. Aside from two frame yaoi and yuri moments we have in the 8th episode (man did a lot of people drop the show because of it. Why? Beats me.), Shinsekai Yori starts extremely slowly. And the pace never really goes over-the-top-full-of-action. It always takes its time to establish things and characters, without simply rushing head-on to the conclusion (well, aside from first 4 minutes of last episode ... BADASS MOMENT!) . At times it has weird art-style and the story is simply sometimes hard to follow. It's quite thought-provoking and I can see why some people would simply get bored of it. All I'm asking of you is to give it a chance. Watch an episode per day if you find it boring and if you keep tackling the issues the show is, I promise you you'll have a great time.
Now, do I recommend Shinsekai Yori? Well ... isn't that kind of obvious? I do. I may still seem biased (probably because I am?) but that does not take away anything from the show - if anything, it should help you decide whether to pick it up or not. Pick it up. It actually just might surprise you. read more
9 of 13 episodes seen
The very first true sentence in the show goes "If you don't want to die Rintarou, survive." Now, here already, I knew this was going to be one hell of a ride.
Black Bullet bears a whole lot resemblance to "Shingeki no Kyojin", a whole lot more popular counterpart. First and foremost, the main characters are practically identical, both having suffered a terrible tragedy of losing parents, and having one female sidekick by their side, all the time. The reason why this doesn't work as well in Black Bullet is because we literally get 5 seconds montage of how they met, and ... well, that's about it. Secondly, their relationship might be disturbing. Remember - Enju is ten years old and she oftentimes says incredibly obvious sexual remarks as well as constantly hit on our main character. But let's stick to the story for now.
You have the main plot in the synopsis, so I'll dwell a bit deeper. The story is composed of short arcs, each having a new enemy our main duo (trio, quadro ---?) must face. One thing you must know about the story is that it's EXTREMELY predictable. It quite literally goes by textbook when it comes to "twists" and the story itself. There's this one episode early on where our main character witnesses injustice in his world, where Cursed Children (little girls who embody the wide-spread virus but contain it under 50% ...) are thrown aside as thrash, despite their importance in securing peace within contained area. Then after that there's short, unnecessary scene after which comes the meeting of our Bad Guy 1 and our MC, where the Bad Guy 1 asks him: "Did you ever witness things you would change in this world?" (paraphrasing). And this isn't just one time. This keeps on happening over and over and over again until eventually you literally know what's going to happen next. And not next episode, next scene. Also, the story as odd shifts in the tone. It's as if the creators weren't quite sure whether they'd go "true dark" or "true light" so they kind of met it in the middle and ... well, it didn't work out well. These shifts feel weird, unnatural, even forced (which they are). The story itself is far from being spectacular: you've probably seen it in dozens of other anime. Main guy and his sidekick are world's only hope of salvation. Even though the "power-ups", or rather ranking increases, our MC gets are completely unjustified seeing as he's exactly the same as he was in the first episode. Oh well, I guess everyone else suddenly just got weaker.
Two redeeming parts of this show though are Art and Sound. Art is quite crisp and can be extremely detailed from time to time (CGI is unappreciated though) and I especially liked the ED's first 10-15 seconds. First OP is quite good while the second one is just far too generic to care. The soundtrack can be badass in the badass moments but it's oftentimes too generic for you to even notice. Voice actors wage from the most annoying pieces of voice on Earth to okayish. Props to the production team.
Characters are ... all over the place. Our main character, Satomi Rentarou, is probably the most generic loud-mouth of shounen genre. He's like every other. He's the embodiment of them all. You'll often hear lines such as: "I WILL SAVE THE WORLD BY MYSELF!" (caps lock intended) or "ENJU IS AS MUCH OF A HUMAN AS YOU AND I ARE! WE ARE ALL HUMANS!" or "STOP SCREWING WITH ME!" or "DON'T WORRY, I'LL PROTECT YOU."
Yeah, our MC yells a lot. And I mean A LOT. So, if you're into that, good for you but I, personally, find it extremely annoying that every second line character spits out is a scream of sorts.
Our other MC, Enju, is ten year old girl with constant thoughts about male-female relationships, weird ideas about how to interact with far older dude and, quite frankly, disturbing remarks about sex. For heaven's sake, she's TEN YEARS OLD. I'd understand if you made her look ten, but she looks ten and IS ten. She's your classic hyperactive loli who's in service of the main dude because he cooks well (no, I swear. According to flashbacks, that's the reason). Then we have a lot of other characters (majority of which appeared only in the like last 4 episodes or so). We have Tina, blonde, erm ... clumsy? loli who's lost in all sense of that word. Then we have Kisara, our MC's love interest. And of course all the cockblockers (gotta have those).
All in all, even though cast seems varied and huge and interesting ... it's too generic. There's no unique spin to the characters, and while you may like some of them due to their quirkiness or humor, they won't stick to you so much that you'd cry if they die. (I crid evri tajm)
Black Bullet is a mixed bag. In one hand, you've got pretty decent visuals, fights and animation overall, and the other hand you've got ... well ... mess. It's like "Guilty Crown" but with far less production value. A lot of characters are annoying, for other you don't really care. and even if you find one or two that are likable, chances are they'll die or be destroyed.
So my final verdict: Flashy flashy, BUT NO MUSTASHY! Only watch if bored. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
So, where do I even begin? It's quite hard seeing as I'm still kind of thinking about the anime. I'll just begin by saying this: do not let title or the synopsis drive you off. If you think that this anime is filled with cute girls (it kind of is) doing cutesy things (it kind of is) and that's all it is, then you're wrong. Not blaming you though, I only decided to watch this after seeing a short, hilarious clip on YouTube. So yeah ...
The story is surprisingly good. Where majority of anime comedies fail, Love Lab managed to go up a notch. Almost nothing in the anime happens just so "you can have a couple of laughs". Somewhere, somehow, it all kind of ties up to the end of the story and the conclusion. It starts in a light tone which continues all throughout. Yeah, there's some drama, but it's not over the top. It doesn't try to shove tears into viewers eyes or anything. It's simply there to give more depth to already great characters.
The story follows Riko and Mika, two seemingly total opposites when it comes to ... well, everything. Mika is a perfect girl, nicknamed even "Princess", while Riko is a tomboy, nicknamed "The Wild One". They're both admired by other girls in the school but for all the different reason. Fate (and by fate I mean teacher) has its hands in them meeting one another and then the adventure begins. Along the way they're joined with some other (equally hilarious) characters and you're bound to like at least one of them, if not all. To be quite frank, the story is not deep, but it's extremely well executed. It's a story about friendships and how lies sometimes make it hard. Nonetheless, everything that happens is a part of the story. It's not just a sidetrack business trying to make you laugh.
Another impressive part of Love Lab are the characters. There are five main characters (seven if you include guys), and they're all enough unique to have their own charms and likeness to them. Mika is a delusional perfectionist who does everything on her own and wants desperately to have a boyfriend. Riko is her straight counter-part, who's "Master of love", and never fails to make you laugh with her comments. She's not as smart as Mika, but you admire her for what she is. Then you have Suzune, shy and timid but equally enthusiastic about their quest to learn how to seduce boys. There's also another duo of hilarity, Sayori and Yuiko; Sayori being composed, seemingly cold and detached person with quirky remarks and affinity for money, and Yuiko being not-so-annoying tsundere. All of them have distinct personalities and they all bring something to the table when it comes to comedy.
You see them grow closer and closer as friends, and you actually believe in their friendship and you feel worried when it feels as if it's going to collapse. There are some over the top moments, but most of the time it's down to earth funny.
When it comes to the production department, it's nothing amazing but it's good enough looking to the eyes. Anime-only-comedy was done extremely well, and I really loved most of the expressions of the characters. They were cute when they were meant to be cute, and they were extremely ugly when they were meant to be ugly. Backgrounds were lacking but that's to be expected from character-focused anime so no complains there. Soundtrack was lacking as well but, from what was there, it fit solidly.
Overall, Love Lab was extremely well done, definitely above average and on sub-par with some other hilarious comedies. Its drama wasn't there to suddenly shift the tone to dark and try to appear more mature, but to give more depth to already established characters. I really do recommend Love Lab if for nothing else but its hilarity. read more
23 of 23 episodes seen
The major fault in Clannad is that it's ... Clannad. It's a laughable comedy, at best, but not even close to some of the actual comedies. Clannad is a story about, I guess, growing up and beating the life ... kind of. Okay, I know there's a sequel, but I'll touch on that later on. The story in Clannad does not exist - no, I don't consider short, mini-arcs about random high school girls that look as if they were just born from an alien but to be stories. It relies on its characters to be the backbone and, that's fine, don't get me wrong, but the characters suck. It's kind of a harem story, but it's not, but also kind of a straightforward romance story, but it's kind of not. See where I am going? If you're coming into Clannad, specifically, for the good story, you won't find one. I'll explain this at the end of the review, where I'll connect it to its sequel.
The art irked me. The art annoyed me probably the most in the entire anime. Just the fact that I had to get accustomed to those big, TOO BIG eyes was bad enough, without having the looks of a eight year old kids, voices which are, at best, superbly annoying, and overall tone of the childish anime. For an anime that sells as a deep, dramatic story of growing up, there sure as hell fucked up with the visual impact. The worst part is this: male characters look more appealing than the female ones. When that's the case, you know you screwed somewhere along the line. I know it's not the fault of the anime, considering the VN has pretty much the same style, and I'm not against moe, but there should be a fine damn line somewhere in-between. Sadly, the best part of this anime is probably the sound. And even that's below average. The voices of the characters, especially female ones, are so dreadful and annoying, that it's impossible to un-hear them once you hear them. Their high-pitched voices will be stuck with you long after, without any redeeming quality. Another major 'dafuq' of the anime is the soundtrack. You can pretty much say when the show wants you to laugh and smile and when it wants you to cry. There's a huge contrast between the tone of the music, that you, literally, say to yourself, when the 'sad tone music starts': "Oh, I'm supposed to feel down here". It's bad enough when the story, clearly, wants you to cry, but to add pain to injury, the soundtrack wants it even more.
The characters are a major train-wreck. Tomoya is probably the only relateable character (relatively) in the entire cast of Clannad (and it's bloody huge). Beside him, you have shitone of side characters that don't really matter and are there just to be another annoying archetype, and you have Nagisa. Nagisa is a specific kind of annoying. I am a fan of strong-willed and strong-minded female characters, and Nagisa is pretty much the opposite. She's never raised her voice the entire damn anime, she never opposed anything, she never as much questioned what others have been doing - she just kind of 'rolled with the flow'. She was there ... to be there. I guess. Something like that. She's a perfect example of an awful character, without any redeeming quality to it. Now, as I've mentioned, there are countless of other characters there (mostly moe girls), and the story tries really, really, really hard to make you care for some of them, but ... I can't care for some unrealistic character I know does not exist in this world. No.
Did I enjoy Clannad? Hell no. It had some funny moments here and there, but that's about it. No, seriously. If I chuckled a few times during the 23 episodes of a show, and kept screaming in my head "WHEN WILL THIS SHIT END?" for the rest of the time, you know something's wrong. It's just ... it's just bad.
Now, to please those that say 'You have to watch AS to fully understand Clannad', here's the further review WHICH DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS FROM THE FIRST SEASON - you've been warned.
I'm currently halfway through the second season of Clannad, and I've stopped at the 13th episode mark for awhile now. From what I've witnessed, it is, actually, CLANNAD. It's completely the same, with only Tomoya and Nagisa dating. And what the hell? Dating? Is that what's considered dating in the Japan? Like, we'll talk once in awhile, maybe touch each other here and there, but subtly, and stare at each other from time to time? Tomoya and Nagisa are like Marshal and Lilly from HIMYM, but without sex (well), kids (well), and all the kissing. They're simply being showed in your face as a perfect couple, when you can clearly see they're not. Nagisa is like a subdued dog, with its intelligence barely enough to support the thought "I shall follow Tomoya everywhere", and Tomoya ... is pretty much the only half-normal human being the series. I also understand that the "real show" (I wonder how many fucking times did I hear this) starts in the second part, but I already kind of spoiled myself and still failed to feel any impact. Should I really care about Nagisa and what happens to her? Why? No ... I simply don't care what happens to either one of these people.
I understand that this anime, I guess, and its sequel changed the lives and perspectives of certain people. Hell, AS is in the top ten anime of all times according to MAL, but I simply failed to see any appeal. Compared to FMA: Brotherhood, for instance, it looks like a pile of dog crap that was digested from human crap. Thanks for reading and the negative feedback. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
That being said, I started watching Chihayafuru solely because of its endless good reviews. I had to reach third/fourth page before I found a review that scored it below 9, and that kind of says something. Unfortunately, I did not see the massive appeal as other reviewers did.
The story of Chihayafuru is simple - far too simple. It's as basic and as standard and as cliche as any sport/competitive manga/anime are nowadays. If you ever watched Boukman or KnB, it's pretty much that - only with karuta instead of drawing manga and playing basketball. It follows the story of trio (mostly duo), Chihaya, your classic tomboy and airhead, Arata, mysterious, brooding-to-develop guy and Taichi, tomboy's standard, jealous childhood friend. The story itself mostly focuses on Chihaya though, especially in the latter episodes, with occasional moments devoted to Tachi and some of the side characters.
It's a story about wanting to be the BEST! What I didn't like about the story is that it used the very same cliches found in any similar anime/manga - pumped up beginning, sudden wall, sudden new revelations about the game, sudden new techniques which improve our main character, rivals he/she encounters that teach her things unwillingly but joyfully, the OP characters our main duo/trio is dying to reach ... you get the point. It has everything any other manga/anime of similar genre has. Nothing new - there are no twists, compelling story or some innate depth. The only times where the story shines are the same as any other - when there's a big match, and everyone's on the edge. Nothing new. Mediocre, at best.
Art and sound, on the other hand, are wonderful. From the very first episode, I was hooked onto the art; although it was quite shoujo-ish, it wasn't filled solely with hot guys and girls (even Arata isn't that hot), and the surroundings were immensely satisfying to look at. Animation was lacking from time to time, with pictures sliding over one another during "unimportant" matches, but it also had its shining moments. Soundtrack had some beautiful compositions, some that were extremely tense and satisfying to listen, and voice actors did a fantastic job on their characters - one of the best I've recently had a chance to witness.
There where everyone told me I'd find a gem, I didn't. Characters ... oh the characters. I didn't mind having them start off as your basic, over-the-top cliche standards (even the side characters). However, the issue is that they never really change, and, if they do, it wasn't that appealing to me.
I'll start with Chihaya first. Although I always had a "thing" for tomboy-ish girls, especially in manga/anime, since they're fun to watch, Chihaya kind of rubbed badly on me. She started getting on my nerves the very first episode, which was never a good sign. I understand a certain level of un-logical events is required for a story to set off, but no one sane would throw away years of friendship for a random stranger. Maybe I'm just thinking too much into it, but that's my opinion. Throughout the episode, we see Chihaya grow - but only in tears of her karuta strength - not in terms of her character. From the very first episode, until the very last, SHE'S EXACTLY THE SAME! And no, there are no facts to prove otherwise. She's still sulking over Arata, is still completely ignorant to Taichi, is still an stupid airhead (beauty in vain), is still shouting and making the same calls she did at the beginning. I understand there's another season, but I'm fairly certain twenty five episodes are quite enough for at least a small amount of character development.
As for Taichi, he was my favorite character since the episode one. Not that he's the best character, far from it, but I was always fond of the characters like him. Ironically, he gets probably the most development throughout the series, both in terms of character and karuta strength. Taichi is your "original" jack of all trades but master of none; he has amazing grades, always at the top of his class (you never see him study though - maybe in 1 or 2 pictures), has a room filled with trophies, is so rich he just has a "small TV" in his bedroom, has a strict mother ... you know the type. However, the growth in his character is noticeable, and, besides Chihaya, he gets the most screen time, often even more than Chihaya. Still, I never liked the cowardice part of him - and I'd like that gone.
There's not much to say about Arata though. He barely gets any screen time until towards the end. He's your typical best-in-business who got struck by a sudden tragedy and needs his friends to pursue him to do the thing he loves the most in his life (?). Plain and uninteresting character.
Did I enjoy Chihayafuru? Relatively so. It has it's moments, especially during the intense karuta matches (Taichi & Porky still the best match). However, besides that, it doesn't have much going for it. It terms of story, it's completely lacking, being as cliche as one could get. With characters, it can be so-so, depending on from which perspective you look at things. However, twenty five episodes seemed far too dragged out without nothing important besides a few growths in rank happening. The good, saving graces are the art and sound, however, I wouldn't recommend it if you're not SOLELY into competitive sports (no matter what it is) and if you didn't like the types of Koruko no Basket, Bakuman etc.
Overall, Chihayafuru, in my humble opinion, is far from deserving its current score. In terms of both, story and characters, which should be the most important aspects in these types of anime (especially the characters), it offers nothing special. It has occasional wry and quirky humor, but even that fades out during the second half. read more
Dec 14, 2013Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukou... (Anime) add
13 of 13 episodes seen
To put it off my chest, I loved first 4-5 episodes. They really hit the point with me since I love the detective stories. They were well executed, they actually had SOLID pacing (I KNOW!) and weren't as ... well, as bad as the rest of them. As for the rest of them, they suck - flat out suck.
The story of Danganronpa is simple - you have sixteen (fifteen) students stuck in a school and only one of them will graduate. How? By killing others and not being found guilty, of course. The anime instantly opens the question of moral, self-indulgence and various other things concerning oneself in regards to others. We have a large range of characters, and a great setting. The rest is simple: some drama and dialogue, murder, investigation and trial - hence and repeat. No, seriously. The story skyrockets in speed in the last five episodes. You are constantly being fed enormous amount of information and you don't know whether you're supposed to remember or not. And the last two episodes (especially the last) ... oh gosh ... think of it as the entire Sauske/Itachi arc done in one and a half episode. Yep.
All in all, story is half-assed at best. It opens solidly and creates decent foundation, but then is skips through itself so quickly you forget what the hell is actually happening. It has no tools other than constant, constant, CONSTANT, boring dialogue and monologue to resolve all the questions, so yeah.
The saving graces of this anime are probably art and sound, and even they are not great. Art itself is nothing special; animations can sometimes (often) be so stiff you can barely look at them. Not to mention 5 minutes of talking where no one moves a limb. Eyes blinking and mouths opening and closing. Yeah. However, animation somewhat shines during the executions; they're quite well done, all unique in their own ways, flashy and disturbing of course. However, what killed the art for me was that bloody, pinkish blood. I detest the censorship, especially in anime where blood actually matters. Executions seemed as unicorns taking a crap rather than bodies being mutilated and dismembered in the most awful ways. Characters designs are also quite good, I might add. All characters look fresh, unique and distinguishable enough. It's their personalities that make you forget about them. As far as the sound goes, music is your standard tense stuff which is actually not half-bad. The voice actors vary; even in the last episode, I still couldn't stand the MC's voice, but it's just me.
Now, the character department. Considering there are sixteen (fifteen) students, and thirteen episodes, you know it's going to be a train-wreck. Only two characters receive mild development (Kirigiri & Naegi) but not in the true sense. From the very first episode, they all have established personalities and they stick to them (well, Nagei kind of receives a new one by the end). There are two or three interesting character, including the bear (which is probably the most interesting) and the psycho-killer-schizophrenia-amnesic-catastrophe. Kirigiri will be okay for some people, but I found her character ... just plain boring. The characters are not memorable. Let alone their names. Not that you even bother to remember, or need to remember. Just ... bad characters overall.
In the enjoyment department, for the first 5 episodes, I give this anime 10. For the last 6 episodes, I give it 0. And we find in the middle. First two-three cases are relatively fun, but the formula quickly runs out. And then they tip of a twist which just couldn't make any sense unless they pulled out some really weird crap (which they did) but hey, I lived through it. The anime has A LOT of twists. Are they good? Some of them. However, after the number of people clears up a bit, it's rather easy to predict who killed whom, and even that mystery aspect kind of disappears. And then the last two episodes. Complete and utter train wreck.
What I hated the most about Danganronpa are those last five episodes. Up until then, HOPE and DESPAIR were never found in the same sentence and were mentioned once or twice in an episode. But then writers took some acid and decided to go nuts. They invented a new drinking game. Whenever you hear the words HOPE and DESPAIR in the same sentence in the last 5-6 episodes, take a shot. You won't live through one. For some reason, the writers decided to go full-out-pretentious (never go full-out-pretentious) and not in a good way. They constantly kept throwing around the subjects such as despair and hope, and characters (especially MC) kept giving the old same speeches how "... as long as I can hope, I can change the world with my hope ..." (yea, I'm looking at you Naruto) and you just want to close your eyes and forget you're watching it because you're embarrassed.
Do I recommend Danganronpa? Well, unless you're sucker for extremely fast paced anime with so many plot twists that will make your head twist (and not in a good way), go for it. However, it is obvious that this anime needed far more than 13 episodes. Even someone who never played the game realizes that. read more
34 of ? chapters read
Watashi ni xx Shinasai! (Watashi in further text) starts of as an intriguing idea which a lot of ways to develop itself. Unfortunately, it takes almost all the wrong paths. In a sense, the story goes around in circles and, whenever you think there'd be some major development, BAM, something new happens and you're left hanging.
The story is about Yukino, a cellphone novel writer for whose glare the tales have been written. After she overhears some comments about her novel lacking true love, she forces a "picture-perfect" guy, Shigure, after learning his dirty secret, to certain "Missions" whereas they hold hands, "embrace each other" and ... well, that's about it. After you've read first 3-4 chapters, the story, up until 34th barely progresses. There is certainly some character development but, again, unfortunately, it's lacking in a sense that it feels pasted rather than actually developed. After the interesting premise, Watashi slowly decays all of its merits and takes wrong route after a wrong route.
On the other hand, though, the art is quite good. The characters are drawn in a standard shoujo way where you have hot guys and cute girls. As far as the backgrounds go, they are often lacking but are satisfying to look at nonetheless. It's easy to read and follow through although there are some weird perspective choices and misses regarding proportions here and there. The biggest complaint I have about the art is the emphasis on the characters rather than anything else, but that's to be expected.
As far as the characters are concerned, you have your standard (and I mean standard) main characters. Yukino, sort of naive, inexperienced girl that knows shit about love and is trying to figure it out. Then you have Shigure, this perfect guy with daunting past and reasons behind his fake smiles, then you have Mami, cute, aloof girl that's always clinging onto Shigure and Akira, the let's-cross-that-line kind of cousin. Anyway, the characters are NOT interesting. As much as Yukino seems interesting in the beginning, her character development actually ruins her more than it helps. As for the others, I dare not even begin to be honest.
Did I enjoy this manga? First 3-4 chapters, albeit there are some moments when it can be fun. I can certainly see the appeal in which this manga is done, but it's not a good and noteworthy appeal nonetheless. The enjoyment of reading this manga arises with people that love "hanging in the air" kinds of relationships, odd formations of love triangles (and then some), constant undeniably awkward decisions of the main characters and occasionally good usage of humor.
If you're a dead-heated fan of shoujo, you should check it out; it might be of your liking. However, if you want to read a shoujo with actually a good story, a good character development and interesting characters, Watashi lacks quite much in those departments. I've always stated this regarding the shoujo manga: if, by the thirtieth chapter, they have only held hands and still feel awkward touching each other, you know there's something wrong. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
Still, while reading some recommendations, people said they had a blast of laughter throughout with a dash of romance so I decided to pick it up. I kind of regret it, but, at the same time, I kind of am not.
To be honest, story is tragically bad, at least in my opinion. It never actually moves anywhere until the last 2 minutes of last episode, so it's kind of an annoying segment of anime. It's basically about four beautiful (...) guys trying to convert an ugly girl into a lady. The story does seem kind of ... stupid, but it had potential. The first couple of episodes were actually quite good, possibly leading to something great, but, in the end, it never really gotten anywhere. If you want to go into this anime for its amazing storytelling, don't. We do get bits and pieces of the background story from two characters, but overall, not much.
Aside from the story, YNSH has a lot of humor. For the first half of anime, I was laughing my ass off; still, in its latter half, the jokes became old and repetitive. Constant nosebleeds, kidnappings and dazzling quickly grew old and plain and it barely got me to finish the series, hoping for a satisfying ending (nothing there though).
Art ... art is annoying, to be honest. Even after watching all 25 episodes, I still couldn't bring myself to accept those freekin' lips on the guys. They just seem out of place (REALLY OUT OF PLACE) and quite ... freaky to be frank. Also, the fact that Sunako spends 80% of the anime in her chibi form doesn't really bode well with me. Still, her scary faces and whatnot were quite well done - I was actually impressed. However, most of the time, backgrounds are plain and uninteresting with little to no imagination put into them. As I said, I couldn't get used to the art even after finishing anime. Sure, there are some pretty girls here and there, but since the main focus are guys, it's quite unbearable to stare at them for longer than 2 seconds because you want to puke.
While we are at the character department, I also have some complaints. The characters lack ... any kind of development - I mean ANY KIND. The way you see the characters in episode one is the exact one you'll see in episode 25 - even our beloved Sunako, to whom this "transformation" is directed. We have bookworm, playboy, "cutie" boy, loud and annoying mouth-worm, annoying but lady-like aunt, goth-loli (don't ask), cute but love-struck girl, scary, ugly and overall plain girl and ... oh, it's enough. First of, if you're looking for the characters you can relate to, move on. It's impossible. Either they're super-uber-dazzling or they're just plain ugly. Of course, this servers quite well for some comedic moments, but ... it gets annoying after awhile. Even Takano, the only character that gets more than two lines of his past, is impossible to relate to since his "sad past" is derivative of utterly impossible circumstances.
If I say that I enjoyed this anime throughout, I'd be lying. Sure, I had my share of laughs of course, but a lot of times I was just withering in agony, waiting for SOMETHING to happen. If you're into massive, impossible and CONSTANT nosebleeds, sparkling men and ugly goth-loli girls, you will have a kick out of this series. I swear, it's impossible to count the number of nosebleeds in this anime. And they're not the simple ones; just the ones that can manifest the pool of blood.
Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge is not a bad anime, don't get me wrong. However, the bits and pieces that are fun, original and hilarious are often overshadowed by its ridiculous setting, situations out of this world which are impossible to relate to, characters that are definitely not human and non-existent story. Still, it's worth the watch if you have nothing else major to complete. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
Mawaru Penguindrum is a lot of things, but first and foremost it's an unique anime, unraveled in its sense of storytelling. Not to say it's masterful by any means, but it is rather refreshing and, indeed, at times quite good. It's a story that takes its time to be told and requires attention from viewers. All in all, it is not that complex; it rather has a lot of elements that need to tie each other up in order to make sense - and there's where the first flaw, for me, comes with this anime.
The story needed some absurd turn of events in order of everything to make sense, meaning that the last episode looked like deus-ex whilst not being one. You know that these are the things they talked about throughout, but they suddenly just pop out, leaving you with kind of a bitter taste. I can't say that it's bad, though. It's actually pretty decent storytelling, having a lot of symbolism and underlying messages with its prospers of family, struggle and different beliefs. Still, when it all ties up, it felt rushed for me and aftermath didn't seem all to reasonable.
First half of the series has a lot of comedy and it slowly indulges you into the story. It sets its primary aspects, starts with the character development and, then, suddenly turns dark. Not that I mind it, to be clear, but for some viewers it might be too sudden and unexpected of a turn. The entire story is basically tied up to a certain event, and while there are some loopholes here and there and some questions unanswered, it has a solid conclusion in what could've otherwise been a disaster.
The first thing that jumps out on you, though, is the art. First half as one of the most colorful art-styles I've had a chance to witness but it all fell together somehow. Still, as the tone of the story shifted, so did the art. Gradually, the colorfulness was lost and was switched with more serious colors and lesser pallet. There are some breathtaking scenes and landscapes all throughout and I was often left in awe to gaze upon this beautiful world. The quality of animation is consistent and rather good, to be honest, which surprised me a lot. There isn't a lot of action but there's always something happening on the screen. The character designs were really appealing; they seemed as colorful as the rest of the art, distinguishable and easy on the eye while not being all too simple. What I liked a lot is that not every single female/male character had the same type of the eyes but rather the ones that suit their personalities the best.
As well as the art, the sound score took me by surprise as well. There's some beautiful music lying here and, more often than not, it really emphasizes the overall feeling of the certain scene. The characters had suitable voices, each giving powerful performance and providing another means of connecting with the character.
However, as much as I praised art and sound, I can't say the same for the characters. While there are some interesting ones, a lot of the characters seemed dull while being developed which is not a good sign. There's a lot of characters and they all seem connected, one way or another. Their personalities differ but their goals sometime overlap. There are some unreasonable choices, insane decisions and selfish actions from pretty much every character in the series and sometimes their interaction can annoy you a bit. Himari played a role of the "perfect little sister" which really didn't pan in with the story that well. Kanba played the role of the strong, decisive male lead and older brother which sometimes went a little bit too far - and so on. There's definitely a lot of relate-able and real characters, characters you can love and root for, but, nonetheless, their actions will sometimes annoy you not just because you disagree with them but because they're flat out stupid.
When it comes to the enjoyment, it's so-so. It really depends on whether you're "into" this sort of the anime or not. The story takes its sweet time to be told, the characters also take a sweet time to get developed and the overall enjoyment will probably decrees in the later half, nearing the end since the comedy aspect gets lost and story starts to shake up without telling you anything of importance.
I had a debate in my mind - should I give Mawaru Pengiundrum 8 or 9. However, giving 9 would mean that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and that would be a flat out lie. Mawaru Pengiundrum does a lot of things - some of them good, some of them bad. It offers an unique experience and you should surely check it out if you have a free time, at least for a couple of episodes. read more