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1 of 119 chapters read
The story follows the popular manga gender bending concept with a twist: What if the girl actually accepts a young man as a woman AND her boyfriend?
This isn't just a story where a man cross dresses sometimes for fun, but rather, it is a part of his personality and he is compelled in his heart to take on a female identity. He still likes women and must struggle with his female identity pushing them away. Luckily, he meets Hinata, who is able to see past this. The two begin dating while both are dressed as women in public.
I find this manga more interesting than your typical gender bending series because it appears to examine gender identity in depth rather than turning it into a cheap plot device or a gag. It shows the struggles that a young person who defies their gender identify goes through both internally and externally.
So far, the characters are what drives Usotsuki Lily, and for good reason. Our protagonist Hinata is not your typical flowery self insert. She is a strong willed, independent woman with a big heart and an open mind. The lead male En is also very interesting and courageous despite his delicate demeanor. You can't help but wonder what fuels his hatred for men and why he chose to get close to a girl like Hinata. The two play reverse roles, with her as the protector and En as the lovestruck heroine.
I had been waiting to read this series for about a month now, and not only was every page of it thrilling and adorable, but deeply enjoyable and a pleasure to read. The art is stunning and the story is coming together well. Hopefully this is a series that will not only manage to go on for a long time, but gain many more fans in the west.
Since this manga is coming out slowly, im going to be updating my review as I get farther through it. read more
Grand Guignol is the latest of her installments, and it does not disappoint. Smart, emotional, and elegant, this manga is definitely the best take on the new trend of zombie manga; and most certainly the most original. The plot is a bit fragmented and isn't clearly started, but eventually develops itself slowly around the characters that are introduced.
The zombies in Grand Guignol are interesting because they are also somewhat tied in with plot elements of "magic". Those afflicted by the virus can be temporarily cured through forbidden music and sounds. Different human villains find different ways of manipulating the Guignols (zombies) into performing tasks for them. Sometimes, human characters find themselves unable to let go of their afflicted and the focus turns into the madness that stems out of seeing your loved ones turn into monsters. the monster and zombie threat almost presents itself as a secondary to the threat of human error and human nature.
The characters are well developed and interesting to follow, though unfortunately the first volume focuses so much on only two of these characters that one might pick it up and find themselves unhappy with the presentation of the rest of the cast. This changes as the series picks up. In true Kaori Yuki fashion, a major character trait is androgyny and gender issues. Besides two of the five main characters appearing to be a gender they are not (and one that could very well be considered transgendered), some characters with vocal abilities also have the ability to throw their voice and bend it to sound like a man or a woman. Yuki approaches these gender issues in a very mature way and gracefully avoids turning it into a political or overdramatized plot device.
The art is drop dead gorgeous. I have to admit, I am absolutely giddy for Kaori Yuki's art style and it's never let me down. While her art for Grand Guignol is far more simplistic than some of her earlier works, it suits the story well and is incredibly appealing to the eye.
The one single drawback to the series is that it's a bit detailed for such a simplistic plot line, and can be a bit of a messy read at times. It is a great manga and this slight issue can easily be overlooked. It's a very refreshing read , especially for a shoujo manga, where school life romance cliches reign supreme. read more
120 of 120 chapters read
There are two reasons why people put this series down, and many people do. The first is based on the reader's maturity. This is a manga that deals with blood, incest, transgendered issues, rape, homosexuality, religion, and death. I have spoken to several people who's knee jerk reaction to Kaori Yuki's approach on these issues as "ewwwwwwww". To be frank, not every reader is mature enough to read a story that presents these topics in an open minded way.
The second reason is a bit more easy to understand, and that is that In Angel Sanctuary's early volumes, it went through a bit of an identity crisis. While still being excellent and gripping, it also jumps around in it's focal point and doesn't clearly lay the story out for the reader. Volume 1 in particular is guilty of this and leaves one wondering what exactly the focus of the story even is. However, if the reader is willing to work past this, they will find themselves pleasantly surprised.
Angel Sanctuary is divided up into three arcs. The first few volumes are known as the Earth Arc. The middle is the Hell arc. The last leg is known as the heaven arc. These are all based on the primary location of the main character Setsuna. All three shed a different light on Angel Sanctuary's incredibly complex world; from the deadly depths to the hypocritical and morbid politics of heaven.
Beyond our main character, the primary cast of the series consists of about 20 characters, who are all given equal face time, and their own unique backstories. This is part of the elegance of Angel Sanctuary. Normally, such a large cast of characters offers little chance of development, leaving most of the characters as cliche shells for the main character to interact with.
In Angel Sanctuary's case, every single character is touched with perfect detail. They are all given a task or something to overcome, and each of them are given the chance to grow and develop in such a way that you end up caring just as much for the side characters as you do the main character himself.
Most of these characters are incredibly morally ambiguous, and the line between good and evil is absolutely invisible in this manga. Characters that you believe to be good act unforgivably, and characters that may seem like the most horrible monsters in fiction can become great victims. Redemption and corrupted innocence are both major themes that come into play repetitively. This series also raises great questions about the divinity of God and heaven, the origins of evil, and of course, the limitations (or lack there of) of man's love.
This is one series that has the ability to touch just about anybody as long as one is willing to take it on with an open mind. It is bloody and actioned packed, so though it is a shoujo series, it could also easily appeal to men as well as women. Though it has slight faults within it's first few volumes, those are not nearly serious enough to take away from the value of the series as a whole; and even those first few volumes are quite good by manga standards. This is one manga that everybody should take a crack at at least once just to see if they can handle the ride.
Yaoi can be a bit tricky because like other forms of hentai, it's purpose is to arouse rather than to present the viewer with a complex plot and fascinating characters. This is actually one of the best yaoi I have ever had the pleasure of watching because it did a very good job at being subtle and sexy while avoiding the tired uke and seme stereotypes that typically bog down the experience and give the viewer almost a sensation of watching straight porn. Both of the men involved in this series are masculine, attractive, and aggressive in their own way, and their struggles with each other for power out and inside the bedroom add greatly to it's appeal.
A key point to this review for those who have not yet seen the series is that **this is a rape fantasy yaoi** with the rape presented in a more light hearted way. If you have experienced some sort of sexual assault in your past, you may want to pass this one up to avoid possible triggers. Moreso, if you don't find rape fantasy arousing or disagree with the concept, you will not like this show.
The art is very impressive compared to many other yaoi anime I have watched, in which the cover art is very good while the inside is lackluster. This is not the case with Koi Suru Boukun. What you see is what you get, and the art is consistently very nice through out the course of the show.
Not much can be said about the sound though. It's a porn, so having an elegant background score probably wasn't a huge priority for them.
If you want to compare this show to anime outside it's genre it probably wouldn't fare too well, but inside it's genre it shines. Koi Suru isn't exactly a unique yaoi, but it gets the job done in all of the right places and it should definitely be placed on the to watch list of every fan of the genre. read more
22 of 52 episodes seen
However, if you like magical girl series and cute character driven stories, I believe that Mermaid Melody might just be right for you. Keep in mind that the target audience of the seres is very young, but an older person can still enjoy it.
The baseline story isn't very complex, which is fine. It is essentially about mermaid princesses who are temporarily living on land who fight the evils dwelling below the sea....with music. For some known reason, singing drives just about any bad guy crazy, so these mermaids transform into super soldiers and put on musical performances to defeat the bad guys.
What really makes the show worth watching is the character interactions. Each girl meets certain people on land that help shape who she is in different ways, and some of these interactions result in love, heartache, etc. There are a lot of "fillers" in the show, but I would argue that a lot of these fillers often have something to do with the lives and personalities of the characters, and in that way, I believe Mermaid Melody has some very slice of life qualities. Most of these episodes unrelated to the plot are actually fun to watch, and usually used as a device to set up romantic turmoil between the main character Lucia and her love interest Kaito.
Beyond this, every single character in the show (no matter how small the role) is given episodes to develop her character. Even the bad guys have episodes/scenes created to humanize them and make them likable. Since Mermaid Melody is a kids show (targeted at kids between 6-15 I'd say) most of these villains arn't very threatening and it is overall an incredibly non violent and light hearted show.
My one real issue with the series is that the music is recycled every episode. Since the girls sing to defeat their enemies, they often use the same songs over and over again. While these songs are cute and catchy, you get sick of them fast. I'd say the best thing you can do at that point is fast forward when you see the girls ready to go into j-pop mode. It's really not a big deal.
The art is simply adorable, and perfect for a young girl's show. I am surprised how clean it looks given that the show is fairly old. It's nothing special at all, but it is nice.
Mermaid Melody is a show best enjoyed if you want to watch something simple, light hearted, and fun. It's never going to be one of those universally respected anime, but it has some great qualities that should not be overlooked. read more
11 of 12 episodes seen
Let me explain. The setup is awesome. Zombie apocalypse+ a renegade group of kids + anime? It's pretty much every nerd's wet dream. Unfortunately, the writers decided to focus on the "wet" part much more than the dream.
A lot of people have been debating over HotD's overuse of fan service. Is it justified? I personally don't think so. Here you have a perfectly awesome setup for the apocalypse. People grabbing their guns, moral dilemmas, false messiahs, etc. HotD sets this up in a fairly realistic way and creates an immersive world that terrifies and fascinates the viewer. Then they give you episodes where 90% of the screen time is decided to naked women touching each other. Other episodes are more toned down, but the fan service isn't very subtle and it is very distracting and at times annoying. Shizuka, One of the main characters (who really isn't a character as much as she is a walking-talking fetish provider) has boobs that are literally larger than her head and does absolutely nothing besides acting stupid. She provides absolutely no other value to the show, and one has to wonder how she even gets out of bed in the morning.
Some of the other characters also have the same kind of one demential personality. Then you have characters like Saeko, and Takashi, who end up being dynamic and very interesting to watch. These two characters provide the show character development, constantly walking the line between hero and killer. They are fairly fascinating to watch, especially given that the series never promoted itself as being thought provoking.
The artwork is tough to describe, because while it is a visually impressive show, some of the character designs are incredibly awkward. As I mentioned before, the breast proportions on the female characters are insane. Rei and Saya have very edgy and unattractive hair that makes their characters look a bit cheaper than the rest of the cast. Despite this, most of the illustrations are very beautiful and it's generally top notch animation.
The best way to enjoy HotD is to expect very little from it and just go along for the ride. It has some terrible faults that might really ruin it for a lot of people, but watching the group survive the apocalypse is incredibly entertaining. It's a great mindless anime that is far better than any ecchi I have ever seen. If you are looking for a show with well developed characters and tasteful character interactions, find a different show. I would say that its worth making the exception for HotD though. read more
3 of 3 episodes seen
Unfortunately, from an objective point of view, I couldn't have been more wrong. It was childish idealism at the time. Angel Sanctuary the OAV is impossibly hard to review because it is based on what is in my opinion, one of the greatest and most beautiful pieces of artwork of all time. Kaori Yuki's Angel Sanctuary manga is a stroke of pure genius. Angel Sanctuary the OAV is a twisted, broken, unfortunate piece of nonsense that will turn off anybody who has standards for anime. The real tragedy is that such a horrible piece of animated trash was based on something so beautiful.
I rated the OAV a 5 overall because I had to be fair. It is entertaining and watchable. It just isn't good. It is the equivalent of watching a bad soap opera that you know isn't very good, but you can't get your eyes away from the screen.
My main issue with the OAV is that it is pretty confusing. They attempted to cram the first 3 Angel Sanctuary books into 3 episodes. That is 3 out of 20 by the way. To do this, they not only had to cut corners in explaining a ridiculously confusing and complex plot, but they had to cut some characters out or change them completely (poor, poor Katou) Furthermore, the story never actually comes to a finnish, and the viewer is left wondering what the hell happens to these characters. Unless you are willing to invest your time in the manga...heck, that is if you know the manga exists, you will be spending a good 2 hours watching a ton of drama that never even gets solved. Add on a few dozen plot holes and some pathetic dialogue and you have Angel Sanctuary's OAV.
Something else that I noticed is that Kaori Yuki's famously elegant sexy style just seems creepy in this show. This is an author that is known quite famously for her very obvious hoe yey overtones and extremely liberal opinions on human sexuality. The Angel Sanctuary manga is littered with men lusting after men, incest, transgender characters, etc. All of this is done in a very natural and respectable way. In the anime, the portrayal of these characters can best be described as dirty/creepy. Watching the main characters struggle with his feelings for his sister makes him seem more like an out of control, horny teenaged sex offender rather than a young man in love. The character Rosiel who acts as one of the series antagonists looks and sounds like a rapist. It's somewhat unsettling to watch.
As for the aesthetics, the art is very etchy and old fashioned. I think some of the art they used to advertise the OAV is actually very pretty, but it does not look very nice in show. You can tell that it was done on the cheap.
the AS OAV might be worth the watch if you are a hardcore fan of Kaori Yuki, but even then, it might just make you rage. It's not a horrible show, but it has some major faults that really demolish any value it could have had. My advice to everybody thinking of watching this is to skip straight to the manga that it is based on. You won't regret it. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
The yaoi fangirls are going to hate me for this. Back when this series came out, it was a runaway smash hit with American fans, especially on the internet. I had never bothered watching the series, but did so on the recommendation of a friend while looking for something to fill my yaoi needs.
I am a pretty dedicated fan of yaoi, but Sukisho is the genre done wrong. Ordinary I am fairly forgiving when it comes to yaoi anime because I understand that the prime focus isn't much different than that of a soft core pornography. The idea behind most shounen ai/yaoi series is to give the girls (and boys) something to gush over. I believe my main problem with Sukisho is that it attempted an actual plot line only to fail miserably.
So what make Sukisho's intriguing sounding plot line so horrible? The fact that most of it was so out of the realm of possibility. The two main characters grew up as test subjects. Where exactly was child services? Why are they so ruthlessly testing kids?
While these kids are being tested, one develops an alternate personality after seeing the other one walking into the room after a test. His personality develops instantly, and evidently, he teaches the other boy how to have an alternate personality of his own. So thus, ran and Yoru are born. To be fair, this kind of hollywood psychology is acceptable. What strikes me as odd is that the alternates not only have totally different voices than the characters themselves, but when Yoru (alternate 1) appears, he also comes sporting bandages that fly elegantly through the wind after coming out of nowhere.
This kind of overdramatic device is common through out the entire series and used mindlessly.
The characters are likable enough, but lack substance of any kind. [Characters] got my highest rating of 4. i am mainly talking about the two main characters, as the rest were not much more than empty token side characters used for the purpose of goofy antics and "developing" the plot. Despite my distain for the story, I was at least looking forward to some emotional man X man scenes, only to find that whenever one of these scenes came, they were very stereotypical.
To be blunt, half of the cast is so cliche gay that she should have just changed them into women. Suano (lead) Matsuri (the dorm leader) and Kai(the school nurse) all look unquestionably female. This might be making up for the fact that there are literally no women pictured in the show. Sukisho takes the idea of a seme and an uke to an extreme in which i have never seen before, and the romances between these feminine men and their masculine counterparts more resemble a strange sexual fantasy rather than real homosexual relationships. Adding on to this weirdness...apparently every man in the show is gay. No exceptions.
The positive points to these characters all go to the main character Sora. He doesn't take a stereotypical role in any sense. He is just an average, decent guy who happens to caught up in this strange gay fantasy land. Sunao also has his moments, and I liked that despite him being the clear submissive, he was still cheeky and didn't always act like a delicate lady flower.
The worst aspects of these series were the art and sound. If you are an art junkie, Sukisho will drive you crazy. The main complaint I hear even from Sukisho fans is that all of the characters have absolutely wild hair and are in despite need of a haircut. I can't think of a word to use better than "puffy". Most of these guys looked like they belonged in an 80's rock band rather than an anime. It was bad even by anime standards.
Beyond even that, the art was just amateurish and made far too many attempts to be cute. Topping that off with our "so feminine they are androgynous" cast and you have a recipe for disaster.
The background score reminded me a lot of a American television shows from the 1980's. It wasn't very diverse and sounded like it popped off a midi keyboard. Considering almost all anime these days has at least a decent instrumental/j music soundtrack, I would put Sukisho's background score at the bottom of the barrel.
Overall, I would recommend this series to only the most hardcore of yaoi/boys love fans...especially those who like pretty boys. For those of you looking for a series with a developed and realistic plot line, I would look further than Sukisho.
10 of 12 episodes seen
Kuroshitsuji II starts off where season one left off.....sort of. The series begins with a a new butler/child combo, Alois and Claude. From the summery of the series, one would assume that this isn't so much a second season as it is a successor. However, we quickly learn that the story begins to jump around from the first episode as this pair is introduced alongside the more familiar Ciel and Sebastian. Not much can be said beyond this point to avoid spoilers, but the basic premise of Kuroshitsuji II revolves around the developed rivalry between Alois and Ciel, as well as the rivalry between Sebastien and Claude. The story develops at a fantastic pace and mostly avoids the silly fillers and unless episodes that slowed season 1 down so much.
And of course, fan service is back with full force. The obvious tension between..oh..every male in the show is amplified ten fold. I would go so far as to say that Kutoshitsuji II almost treads into slight shounen ai territory. Alois and Claude are especially guilty of perpetuating this.
As great as the story is (and it is very, very good) a major problem I had with it was that it is sometimes a bit unbelievable. The motivations of the characters sometimes seems slightly unrealistic and forced. I found myself questioning these sometimes over dramatic and silly motives, but ultimately no caring because I was enjoying the show so much.
Like the first season, the art in Kuroshitsuji II is top notch and beautiful in every way.
Very catchy opening and ending themes, though what really pleases me about Kuroshitsuji's sound is the background score. It remains elegant and classical; with some jazz and opera numbers thrown in occasionally. At times, it can be over the top, but the flashy and in your face opera tracks really do add quite a bit to the mood of the show.
I feel like this series does a good job making highly emotional music that compliments the scenes very well and helps you connect better to them. It was one of the rare OSTs that I hunted for right away on the internet after hearing it.
All I can say is that things really get shaken up in this season. Ciel and Sebastian as a team have developed quite a bit from last season, adding a strong emotional flair that may have been lacking before. I much preferred their dynamic in this season, as it seems like they legitimately care for each other beyond using each other for revenge/a meal. Of course, both of them still retain their cynical and sinister natures as well.
As for Alois and Claude..they are intense. Alois is by far the shows most emotional character, however borderline he may be. Watching him in action brings chills down my spine. He has some of the most raw and pure emotion I'v seen in any anime character to date.
His butler is just the opposite. Claude is a cold, calculative scheme, but that in itself makes him interesting on screen. Both are immensely terrifying, and their interactions between Ciel and Sebastian will have you at the edge of your seat.
Kuroshitsuji II starts off with a bang, gets weak for a few episodes, and then just straight shoots into a wild ride.
This show is very worth watching assuming you have seen the first season. Once you start, you won't be able to take your eyes away from the screen until the very end. The very few flaws it has are completely forgivable and overshadowed by it's amazing characters and rich plot. Fans of Kuroshitsuji won't at all be disappointed by the second season, and many may very well find themselves enjoying it more than the first. read more
13 of 26 episodes seen
That being said. This series is blowing my mind. I was always a bit of an Inuyasha critic. The recycled story lines and sub plots turned me off a lot. I watch this out of pure curiosity and found myself deeply emotionally involved in it. Several episodes nearly made me cry for characters that I had pervious lacked interest in.
The series was definitely a massive improvement from the original seasons, and it is refreshing to fans and non fans alike. It is highly character driven, though there is still a ton of action and a few goofy side stories to keep you fully entertained. The plot progression is much faster than the original series, and in some ways, you see the story/characters develop more in The Final Act then they did in the entirety of the original series.
The art was also a bit improved and glossed over. There are a few times when you want to sit back and just admire the back round and some of the magic. It looks as though they have incorporated some 3D elements in it.
Like all of the Inuyasha season, the music does not fail to impress. The opening/endings are catchy and easy on the ears, and the backgrund score does a lot to compliment the personality of what is going on at the time.
It is *very* worth watching, especially for those who had given up on Inuyasha.