Favorite AnimeNo anime favorites added
Favorite PeopleNo people favorites added
8 of ? chapters read
Despite that, the story is pretty good so far, much better than I generally expect from a series like this, in which it's generally just an excuse to get the women naked all the time. Not that that doesn't happen, either. The historical setting, except for the all-women lesbian antics, is surprisingly plausible, being based on real events although the ships themselves are wholly fictional. The creator is clearly a military geek who knows his stuff. Of course, implausible stuff happens for story reasons, but the creator obviously knows it. I'm hoping that as the series continues the storyline manages to be the serious foil to the rest of the goings-on, to give things some depth; it's already taken steps in that direction.
The art is pretty damn good and gets better. In the first chapter, the ship is often illustrated with photos of a plastic model the creator made of it, but this stops pretty quick. The characters are all easily distinguishable and sharply drawn, the perspectives good, the linework sharp and the shading competent. Again, hoping the improvement continues! Action sequences are pretty clear, which is unfortunately something rare in manga in my experience.
Characters? Definitely to begin with, many are cut from stereotypical cloth, but well put together - the stereotypes just help the reader know something of the character instantly. Heroine Commander Kuki is in many respects a typical shonen action hero type, but gender flipped and devastatingly, boyishly cute - which she's completely unaware of, of course. The only thing that defeats her is the sexual advances of the more confident girls who are after her, which leave her all flustered and helpless - again, SO shonen-hero-like. Her XO, Mamiya, resembles e.g. Motoko of Love Hina; a ludicrously capable swordswoman with long black traditional hair, fairly reserved most of the time except for her complete obsession with Kuki, in whose defense she'll endure and defeat anything. Many of the others fall down similarly stereotypical lines, but I like that none of them is weak and none are without their weaknesses or tender moments, either; they seem reasonably well-rounded characters.
In my opinion, though, the dark-horse standouts of the cast are the crew of the Unebi's seaplane, tiny, cute and hyperactive pilot Kurushima and tall, reserved navigator/gunner Nojima, who bonded over their both feeling freakish about their size and whose mutually caring relationship is very real and sweet.
I've enjoyed this series a whole lot so far, and am anxious for more. It helps the enjoyment if you're a military history nerd who still doesn't mind the girls getting in the way of the military hardware, though! Noticeably, in series like this, there are often tables of vital statistics about the girls (measurements, blood type, and all kinds of other stuff); not here. In this series, the stats panels are about the ships and planes, which should tell you a lot.
HIGHLY recommended. read more
137 of 363 chapters read
I liked that this series has an emotional breadth. It's sometimes a comedy, sometimes full of action, and will then turn round and wrench your heart out with its emotional side. Ex-assassin Shanin is as mature as her backstory would suggest, but then something happens to remind one of just how young she is (sixteen at the beginning of the series). Ryo Saeba, the protagonist of City Hunter, plays a major role here too, as he finds himself feeling responsible and even parental toward Shanin, and has trouble reconciling that with the dirty-minded immature teenager persona he's become so used to playing in public. Everyone has a lot of character development to do, and it happens, believably.
Most story arcs involve cases that Saeba and Shanin take on as private investigators, and often they don't appear at first to be actually advancing the main plot of the central characters, but generally in some way or other they do move things along. The pace is slow with the central plotline, yes, but realistically so - one gets a feeling that, like in the real world, things can take sometimes years to work out.
Recommended as long as you can cope with probably having to wait a number of years for the story's conclusion. read more
31 of 35 chapters read
As in many good romances, the man and woman are not instantly attracted; she thinks he's essentially a slick, irresponsible man-whore (before she even finds out about the vampirism) and he thinks she's a tediously conservative and boringly professional secretary. Of course (since this is a romance) things change, but with a rewarding lack of ease and many difficulties on the way.
Heroine Kaya is an admirable young woman, and her character makes the story work. She's capable, brave, and stubborn, and most certainly not just sitting there to be rescued and swept away by a dashing hero. Said hero is proud and arrogant, but not in the end enough of a jerk to turn off the audience or leave Kaya's reactions to him unrealistic. read more
12 of 12 chapters read
The series features no men in other than background, and little angst about the characters' homosexuality. There's a certain degree of fanservice, but given the genre, surprisingly little; we always cut away before anything remotely racy is shown, and a lot of things are left implied rather than explicit.
As a short series, there's a little disappointment that there's not more; one gets the feeling of caring about the characters by about the point where the whole thing comes to an end. I was especially left wanting more of Iono's driver and the noodle girl, and other supporting cast.
Within limitations this series is a lot of fun although not all that serious or believable. read more
88 of ? chapters read
The premise and overall theme are great. It's a quite different take on the whole ugly-duckling-becomes-a-swan storyline that should be familiar from things like "My Fair Lady", "Pretty Woman", and all the other stories that have a man turn a girl into a lady. Here, even four highly motivated pretty-boys have a heck of a time with just one very difficult young woman. She doesn't want to change, not in the least, and while the boys can often find a way to persuade her to play the part of a lady for a particular reason, she pretty soon snaps back into her reclusive, horror-movie-loving, not-taking-care-of-herself nature.
It's these snap-backs that make it a little hard, sometimes. Quite often, they're used as a method of hitting the reset button so that the next episode can start from the exact same place the previous one started with, like your average saturday morning cartoon. Real character development is agonizingly slow, and all too often an episode is "Let's have the boys cart Sunako off to some other place where nobody knows her, so that she can freak out, scare everyone around, and totally ruin the boys' plans before it's all resolved at the end with a heartwarming moment."
It feels to me that the creator is dragging out the story much more than it really should be. On the other hand, Sunako does manage quite a bit of character development over time, as do the boys - especially main interest Kyohei. I like that acceptance of Sunako's weirdness becomes as much the theme as her changing; she grows and evolves, but doesn't simply get remade into something different.
The art is mixed. When the artist could be bothered to actually draw the characters properly, which tends to be in more dramatic scenes, especially fights or contests, or opportunities for the boys to look hot, it's excellent. However, Sunako especially spends much too much time being rendered as a chibi (perhaps because this is supposed to be Sunako's own self-image) which gets a bit tiresome.
Overall, a flawed execution, but for me the good episodes were good enough to recommend it strongly but with caveats. read more
39 of 58 chapters read
I also like that neither female lead (Karin) nor male lead (Kenta) is a loser or an idiot (although both are capable of a lot of idiocy nonetheless, being teenagers in love). They're both responsible young people; Karin is made to pay her own way by her parents, while Kenta keeps a roof over his mother and himself by working extremely hard. No, the difficulties between them are the consequences of crossing between two worlds, of the nature of Karin's physical needs as a vampire, albeit a weird one, and both characters' feeling that they're not good enough for the other and trying to "do the right thing" on a regular basis.
Stories like this live or die on the characters and the reader's ability to empathize with their situations and feel for them, and in this Karin succeeds remarkably well, while the comedy is joyful and keeps the overall feel lighter despite the bittersweet nature of it all. read more
40 of 40 chapters read
On the surface, Rosario+Vampire is a lot of why I never got into Japanese manga & anime before; it's chock-full of clichés. The school setting, the unwanted harem, the monster-of-the-week common plot, etc etc. I was pointed to it by friends who told me "It's better than it sounds", and indeed it is. For one thing, it gets better with time. The art improves, the stories improve, and the characters improve.
The story does get darker from about half-way through this first run, and in my opinion it's a turn for the better. Tsukune undergoes significant character development because of it, as does "outer-Moka"; "inner-Moka" not so much in this first series (more so in Rosario+Vampire II)
There is a fairly large degree of fanservice in the manga, though I hear the anime has more. Most of the time, it's not enough to harm the story. It's noticeable that Moka tends to be treated with a little more respect by the artist than the other girls (perhaps because she's the main girl) read more