Favorite MangaNo manga favorites added
26 of 26 episodes seen
Speaking of dubbing, Silent Mobius has one of the worst dubs Iíve heard in a while. Some of the characters are alright (not great, but alright) such as Kiddy and Katsumi, but other characters are so painful to listen to that it almost temps me to drop my final score of this anime down a few notches. The one voice actor who got on my nerves the most was Barry W. Levy who provided the voice for Robert (Roy) DeVice. I donít know who his voice coach was, but he had this horrible habit of putting a period after every word he said (so.he.talked.like.this.), which got annoying quick. And donít even get me started on his weak display of emotions. Every time there was an emotional scene with Roy (especially a crying scene) I wanted to close my eyes and pretend it wasnĎt happening. How this guy gets to play alongside Matthew Perry in an upcoming movie is beyond me, but since Silent Mobius came out nearly ten years ago Iíll give him the benefit of the doubt. If all you have to do to escape Barry Levyís voice (although granted heís not the only crappy voice actor here, just my pick for bad tomato) is put up with reading subtitles Iíd say itís well worth it. Japanese audio is the way to go with this series, trust me.
One thing I found rather interesting was how the setting of the series was like a character all on itís own. Itís very distinct and memorable. Itís almost like a futuristic post-apocalyptic version of Gotham, where governments have pretty much turned their heads away from the state of the city and have essentially helped in making it the mess that it is. Also much like Gotham the city has two sides to itself. It has its rather nice residential areas where people of higher class can live respectably, and then it has the broke down and poor parts where nobody (especially cops and AMP members) should ever go. One of the early episodes had our heroine-in-training Katsumi Liqueur and her soon to be boyfriend and fellow police officer Roy get trapped in the worst part of town after their vehicle crashes (with the help of a little sabotage, of course), and they had to make their way around without drawing attention to themselves, which meant they needed to change into something a little less ďcop-likeĒ. This is probably the first episode that really pulled me in because it gave so much life to the city depicted in the series. Later episodes further expand upon this, but they donít forget about the cast members either.
Each of the characters of Silent Mobius have at least one episode almost entirely devoted to them, which is always a welcomed aspect when in need of a little character development. When the series first started it felt a lot like my first day of school. I didnít know any of the characters, and certainly wasnít able to remember any of their names, but by the end of the series, much like the end of the school year, I knew all of the characters by name and face alike. This is all thanks to some great character development and nicely spread screen time between them. The progress of the series is nicely paced as well, and just when you think youíve got it pegged it throws at you an Alice in Wonderland tie-in and an episode about time travel to grab your attention incase its lost it. Itís true that Silent Mobius can be very predictable at times and some episodes do feel as though theyíre dragging along, but for the most part it knows when to change it up by tossing in a couple of huge plot twists and killing off a character here and there that you probably didnít expect to die.
The audio and animation quality of Silent Mobius are both equally as good. Not all of the music is something I would have on my MP3 player anytime soon, but the OP and ED themes (aside from the second ED, which Iím not a big fan of) both do their part respectively. The animation was overall very good but there are some recycled scenes here and there, and for an action anime I guess it would have been nice for things to be a bit more fluid, but itís not something to complain too much about. One thing is for certain though: if youíre looking for blood and guts and/or sex this isnít the anime for you. There is a little bit of mild violence sprinkled around throughout the series but nothing even close to excessive. And I think I can recall one sex scene with possibly some brief nudity, but nothing gratuitous at all. I also don't remember hearing much profanity. Also, if you're looking for a Sci-Fi anime with one of those deep philosophical and extremely technical plots I suggest avoiding this one and turning to something along the lines of Neon Genesis Evangelion instead. Silent Mobius is for younger teens and above, with an interesting Sci-Fi storyline that doesnít go over viewers heads for a change, and has a nice dosage of romance, comedy, and mystery on the side. If youíre in the mood for a little Sci-Fi action that doesnít require you to dust off the old Websterís Dictionary, then I suggest giving Silent Mobius a try.
My Score: 8.5
Version Watched: English Dub read more
3 of 3 episodes seen
Steel Angel Kurumi Zero is a tale about love and how much of a struggle it can sometimes be, but there is clearly a bigger plot swirling around underneath it all. What it is, exactly, isnít something I can put my finger on. Steel Angel Kurumi Zero seems to have some fairly strong philosophical undertones, and the extremely strange--almost biblical--ending supports this theory. One problem I had with Steel Angel Kurumi Zero was that its short length made it hard for me to understand the potentially interesting storyline to the fullest. The anime didnít make many things clear, and simply used visual markers and character expressions to help emphasize some of the bigger plot points. This doesnít work too well in my opinion, and once itís all done and over with youíll probably be left with a lot of questions that seemingly have no answer. For instance, what is a ďHolderĒ and what do Angels have to do with it? I have made plenty assumptions as to what a Holder might be, but I canít be sure if any of them are right because the anime doesnít take the time to explain it. From the way Zero describes it, I think a Holder sounds like nothing more than a person suffering from clinical depression, but itís obviously a much bigger deal than that. The term Gamma is also used without explanation, and is only said to be the one thing that can cure a Holder. So, does that make Kurumi a Gamma? I donít know, so donít ask.
Steel Angel Kurumi Zero is about as short in length as they come. Sticking to the old ways, each episode is only fifteen minutes long. This makes it one of the shortest animes Iíve ever seen, and easy to squeeze into your schedule. One thing I should mention though is that Steel Angel Kurumi Zero takes place in the same room for the entire running time. This could bug the hell out of Kurumi fans and sci-fi fans alike who want to see more of the futuristic outside world. The only thing that bugged me though, was how little the new girlís character got developed. Excelia seemed like a rather interesting female computer nerd that I wouldnít mind getting to know more about, but sadly there wasnít enough time to even give her a proper introduction.
If there is one thing I loved about Steel Angel Kurumi Zero it was the music. Iíve always been a big fan of piano melodies, and Zero is full of them. The music throughout the series can only be described as beautiful. The ending theme (Miracle's Start) is strangely uplifting, and at times I found myself helplessly humming along to it. Since Zero is currently unlicensed outside of Japan I had to settle for the Japanese audio, and mostly due to Kurumiís new attitude I preferred it this way. The animation in Steel Angel Kurumi Zero is also pretty good, but doesnít take much advantage of the futuristic setting. Since the entire anime takes place in the apartment during cloudy skies, you can forget all about the colorful palettes that Steel Angel Kurumi is famous for. This works perfectly for the kind of anime Zero is though, so you canít very well knock it down because of it. Character designs are essentially the same as before, but with the trademark costumes gone itís easy to feel like youíre looking at a totally new cast of characters.
While watching Steel Angel Kurumi Zero I was reminded of the movie Bicentennial Man. When watching a series like Steel Angel Kurumi and seeing time progress hundreds of years with the Steel Angels being the only cast members to remain, you have to wonder how much loss Kurumi, Saki and Karinka have had to deal with over the span of their lives. By the time of Zero, everyone that theyíve encountered previously is dead. Nakahito, Nako, and everyone that had a significant role in their lives are nothing more than memories. These three girls will be forced to walk the Earth practically forever as everyone they love or come close to dies over and over again. Depressing? Iíd say so, and maybe thatís why I had no choice but to respect the new dramatic tone that Steel Angel Kurumi Zero was sporting, even if the anime itself wasnít nearly as good as its predecessors. After the first episode I had chills. After the second episode I had goose bumps. After the third episode, however, I had a headache. Steel Angel Kurumi Zero works well as an atmospheric anime that gives you a feeling thatís hard to duplicate, but when it comes to storytelling and answering questions it fails miserably. As a stand-alone anime, Zero isnít even worth watching on your lunch break. Unless youíre a huge fan of Steel Angel Kurumi, I see little reason to check out Steel Angel Kurumi Zero. Itís not a horrible anime, but it serves little purpose by itself and to the Kurumi series.
My Score: 6.0
Version Watched: Fansub read more
6 of 6 episodes seen
Photon is probably the strangest main character I've ever seen in an anime. He's typically not the type of guy you would want as your main character. He's cute and has some amazing abilities, but he's borderline mentally retarded. Despite all of his amazing super powers Photon just never stood out as the main character to me. In my opinion that title should go to Keyne Acqua, as she's the real standout character in the series. But enough debating who gets to bask in the glory of the spotlight, back to the issue at hand; the anime. Since I haven't made myself very clear on how I feel about this anime thus far, let me just say I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I read some reviews on it and saw some screenshots before watching it, and it just didn't really catch my attention, but after watching the first episode I realized it's actually quite entertaining. Now this doesn't mean it's something I would find the time to watch again, but it is certainly something I would recommend to a friend. It's a fairly simple and straight forward series with not too many surprises or confusing plot twists, but I guess this is a given when a series is only six episodes long.
One thing I took notice to is how Photon suffers from the same thing Abenobashi suffers from. At times it tries to be a drama and a comedy all at once, and something about it just didn't agree with me. See, I'm a pretty picky guy when it comes to genre mixing, and comedy and drama are two genres that can't be mixed unless there are certain conditions for it. Photon does not meet these conditions. No anime where characters can survive un-survivable situations and come back without a scratch on them like Wiley Coyote can have a serious plot arc taken seriously, at least not in my opinion. I don't care if it's the last episode, when an anime aims for something like silly comedy it should just stick to it and not look back. One other thing that bothered me a little bit is Keybe's engagement to Photon. It's quite comical how they got engaged (by having 'Idiot' on each others foreheads), but it's a little hard to stomach at times. Now I'm not too sure how old either of the two characters are, but Photon looks no older than eleven or twelve. It's a little bit creepy to see an older woman acting like the wife of a little boy, but I guess I have seen stranger things in animes.
Another drawback in the series is the disappointing anticlimactic ending. It all happens far too quickly and it really manages to take you out of the experience. If you weren't sure how you felt about the series up until that point I'm sure you'll be shaking your head in disgust once it ends. I really hate to sound like I didn't enjoy this anime, because like I said above I did actually enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would, but I can't help but point out the problems that this anime has. It's not a bad anime by any means, and with only six episodes it won't take up much of your time to view it, but you can't forget the fact that Photon is nearly ten years old. Since Photon's release there have been hundreds of animes similar to it that arguably do everything Photon does better. When you have that many years of comedy/adventure to choose from I see little reason to go out of your way to watch Photon. Go check out Magical Shopping Arcade: Abenobashi, KO Beast, or even Excel Saga instead. But if you really want to see Photon I won't stop you. Like I said, it's not a bad anime and I'd recommend it. I'm just afraid it hasn't aged very well over the years.
My Score: 7.0
Version Watched: English Dub read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Gantz is about as close as youíll ever get to a love it or hate it anime. Itís littered with so much gore, profanity, nudity, and sex that itíll either immediately turn you off or immediately glue your eyes to the screen. Being a person from the latter group I have to say I absolutely loved Gantz right from the start. Well, okay, not exactly right from the start. Gantz starts out in the life of Kei Kurono, an angst ridden teenager who has nothing better to do but think negatively to himself and get boners in class. Heís always worrying about something, and doesnít care about anyone else except for himself. To put it simply, heís like an emo kid on acid. He complains about everything, but mostly dwells on the fact that heís never gotten laid. HmmÖwonder why. Ten minutes of listening to this punk whine and cry while so eloquently squeezing in the occasional F-word and I dare anyone to not want to turn this anime off and forget all about it. Thankfully things pick up from there, albeit with all the whining and crying still intact.
After we get acquainted with our main protagonist we get to meet Katou. Katou is an old time friend of Keiís who used to look up to him. You see, before Kei was a whinny little punk he was actually a really cool and adventurous kid. Lack of character development doesnít exactly show why Kei went from hero to zero, but Katou tries to emulate the Kei he once knew throughout the series, starting with attempting to save a homeless guy who fell on the subway tracks, with the help of Kei of course. Here is where the feces (and blood, guts, and various other nasty things) really hits the fan. Kei and Katou successfully aid the drunk homeless guy to safety, but soon realize that a subway is coming their way. Their plan of avoiding it? Run up the tracks passed where the subway should stop. Bad plan? You bet. I donít know about you, but Iíd much rather try my luck at climbing back onto the platform rather than outrunning a damn subway train. But thatís just me. It turns out that Subway isnít going to stop at the station after all, and both Kei and Katou are royally screwed. They get hit, and heads go flying.
Welcome to the true start of Gantz. Here is where things go beyond the boundaries of typical anime. Here is where things get fun. Kei and Katou wake up in this room with a number of random people who all seem to have died. They canít leave the room, and trying to make sense out of it all is only a waste of time. Introduced into the story next is who I like to call the third wheel. Her name is also Kei, but like everyone else in the series Iíll just call her Kishimoto. Kishimoto serves little to no purpose other than for Kei to obsess and angst over, and as fan service, but with her flakey and often times clueless personality I donít think sheís doing anyone a service. Luckily Gantz isnít about character depth; itís all about violence, nudity, and all that juicy stuff. Thatís where the true main character of the anime comes in: Gantz. Gantz is probably one of the coolest anime characters to come around in years, and he doesnít even have to say a word. Heís psychotic, yet fully in control. Heís evil, yet lovable. Heís the gears in the machine.
Gantz is a game of survival that you canít help but love. Everyone in the room is soon transported to an area of town and canít leave until they have eliminated the targets selected by Gantz. These targets are as wacky as they are terrifying, and while many of them look harmless or relatively easy to dispatch of that is rarely the case. Part of the excitement of watching Gantz comes from not knowing what everyone will have to go up against next. Itís also worth mentioning that this isnít your typical ďbad guy of the weekĒ series. Each time our reluctant cast is forced into battle it usually lasts for a lot more than just a single episode. This is good, because Gantz is one anime that will probably have you thinking ďSo many characters, so little time to kill them all.Ē Gantz sets its characters up like dominos. Very few of them are ever developed, and very few survive long enough to see the last episode. There is a lot of death in Gantz and plenty of gory scenes to cringe at and watch over and over again, trust me.
Gantz does suffer from one major flaw, or at least I thought it was major: the ending. For an anime that is so straight forward and brutal right from the start it sure did have a weak and vague ending. Maybe the writers just didnít know of a good way to end it. The movie The Cube had a very similar ending and plot, so I must wonder if that is what inspired Gantz in the first place. I would have liked to get a little background info on Gantz before it ended. Like where did he come from, and what was the purpose of these ďgamesĒ. Either way, there is a lot to love (and hate) in Gantz. Itís lack of character development, almost completely unlikable protagonist, and strict R rating is sure to turn many viewers off, but if youíre a fan of the brutal and nasty stuff I see no reason why you wonít like the fun little rollercoaster that is Gantz.
My Score: 9.0
Version Watched: English Dub read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Anyways, The Warrior isnít all bad. Some scenes that were thrown in were actually quite interesting, such as the brawl between Marlene and Yuji. Also that when Yuji wakes up after 22 years of sleep his hair is actually long and has to be cut. Good job there. But so many other things are missing that itís hard to fully appreciate the story for what itís worth. The character development and ultimate destiny between Yuji and Marlene generally stay the same, but because this movie sums everything up in just a little over a hour and a half it feels very weak and synthetic. To make matters worse, a lot of the most necessary plot arcs are nowhere to be seen in the movie. The introduction of the Sleeper Brigade and their eventual fall from grace, and the scientist who decides to take over Second Earth by overthrowing its government are two of the most important plot devices that never come into play in The Warrior. Simply put, The Warrior doesnít feel as alive as its series counterpart does. It just doesnít do a very good job at summing up the entire series (if that was even what it was trying to do, as itís hard to tell with all of the reused animation from the series), and quite frankly if you watched this after watching the series (like me) you would probably be pretty turned off (like me). Itís not entirely bad on its own, but fails at being anything more than just average. A few things are improved here and there, but not nearly enough for me to suggest you watch this instead or before the series. If youíre a die hard Blue Gender fan then I guess you can appreciate this more, but if youíve never touched the series before then Iíd recommend you just stick to the episodes and stay away from this flick.
My Score: 6.5
Version Watched: English Dub read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
Blue Gender starts out simple enough. The Earth has been overrun by creatures known simply as Blue, and the remaining human race is struggling to take their planet back from them. For the first couple of episodes itís the atmosphere and how the characters interact within it that really makes the show stand out. Everything feels as dead as it looks, and the characters all have this very emotionless way of going about themselves that is actually quite frightening. The main heroine (Marlene) especially. Sheís this tough ass soldier chick who doesnít care about anything except for the mission. She doesnít care if her comrades die, and civilians are nothing but obstacles to her. In a way sheís more machine than she is human, mentally programmed to carry out her duties and nothing more. Yuji is one of the few cast members in the entire series that shows emotions and personality outside of the soldier, but it pretty much falls to deaf ears for more than half the series. Since I enjoy making comparisons, Iíd consider it safe to say that fans of films like Aliens and The Thing would enjoy Blue Gender quite a bit. While none of those movies were post apocalyptic in any way, they both have a very similar feel to Blue Gender. A very dry, dead, scary and rather depressing feel, and where characters are very two dimensional only due to the fact that they donĎt know how to act otherwise, constantly in fear or ready for combat. This is the world of Blue Gender in a nutshell.
Like I said earlier, Blue Gender is a pretty depressing anime. It doesnít pull any punches, and doesnít leave too many characters alive for very long. But besides that, itís also rather sad to see mankind forced into outer space to live in some space station they call ďSecond EarthĒ all because of some giant bug infestation. I find it pretty far fetched that mankind, as stubborn as it is, didnít just nuke the hell out of Earth before letting the Blue take it over and multiply even more in a sort of ďif we canĎt have it then nobody canď type of deal. Or at least dropped a few tactical strikes on the locations with the most Blue and then sent in an assault team to take out the rest. But, what do I know? Itís not like Iíve ever been in a post apocalyptic reality before. Without nitpicking too much though I will compliment the series on its cultural diversity. Besides Yuji and a few others, the characters all seem to range in nationality. This is a problem I always had with most post apocalyptic stories regardless of it being an anime or some other form of media. The main characters would all come from one country, and the major threats would all seem to center around one location, which doesnít make sense with it being a global event. If Blue Gender does one thing perfectly, itís making sure the Blue are all over the world and not just in Japan or some other part of Asia, and also making sure that many characters of the story come from different places. Itís not often I watch an anime where names like Yuji and Rick can coexist.
Although I did imply something about the characters being very two dimensional, that doesnít mean there isnít any character development throughout the series, but it is rather limited. The only characters that really have any development are Marlene and Yuji, our two main heroes of the show. Itís interesting to watch these two characters slowly evolve throughout the series, especially early on when they are so different from one another. Yuji wants to save the world and everyone in it, while Marlene just wants to eradicate the Blue and doesnít give a damn about collateral damage. These two characters grow rather fond of each other, and by mid/late-season actually begin falling for one another. What is strange (and actually quite annoying in my opinion) is how the writers decided to use these two characters during the later half of the show. Without spoiling too much, lets just say Yuji and Marlene have a bit of a personality shift. Luckily things donít stay like this for the rest of the series, but it was a tad bit infuriating to see more than a dozen episodes worth of character development get flushed down the toilet in a single episode.
The audio and visuals of Blue Gender are not what you would call high quality, but they get the job done I suppose. On the audio side, itís all actually very good at setting the mood, but there just isnít a whole lot of it. One tune in particular seems to play throughout the entire series. Iím also 99% sure I heard the song ďAngelĒ by Massive Attack in one of the later episodes (during the orgy scene with Alicia and Yuji) but it was only the opening of the song and nothing else so I canít be completely certain. But if so, then that was probably just something FUNimation threw in since I know they like to use ďrealĒ bands in their productionsÖ The animation in Blue Gender is often times pretty cheap. The blood effects for example should have been a lot better when you consider the year it came out. Another thing I found funny was how the Armor Shrikeís (the mechs piloted throughout the series) had wheels attached to the bottom of their feet as a way of moving around. This probably made things easier to animate since they rarely had to animate the movement of the Armor Shrikeís legs and could easily just slide them across the screen (which also looked pretty cheap, since I doubt giant mechs would glide almost silently across rocky badlands). To be blunt, some of the movements of the Armor Shrikeís looked like they were done using a Macromedia Flash motion tween. With that said, I really donít think this is an anime mech fans are going to want to pick up if itís for the sole purpose of seeing some hot mech on bug action. Blue Gender has its flaws and certainly isnít something I can guarantee youíll enjoy, but if youíre ever in the mood for yet another post apocalyptic anime then I donít see how it could hurt to check out Blue Gender.
My Score: 7.5
Version Watched: English Dub read more
4 of 4 episodes seen
Even though the stories in each episode were short, I enjoyed every last one of them. It was just plain fun to see all of the characters back at their typical routine of arguing with each other and pining for one another. This is what I thought Steel Angel Kurumi should be all about. Forget the storyline; this is a robot maid anime we're talking about. Just give me humorous situations and quirky characters for my enjoyment, and I won't say a word. Steel Angel Kurumi is just the kind of anime that even if you could take seriously, you don't want to take seriously. Encore helped Steel Angel Kurumi feel fun again, so in turn I was able to have fun again. Episode four--or twenty-eight, depending on how you look at it--was easily my favorite episode of Encore. It was entirely nonsensical, but it was also entirely fun to watch. Seeing a bunch of women compete for a kiss from the shy and young Nakahito was a lot more enjoyable to watch than you would think. Kurumi trying to become a traditional Japanese woman was also rather interesting. I found it funny how the most powerful Steel Angel on the planet--faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound--has a total meltdown when she tries to become a prim and proper Japanese housewife. Now I know Kurumi's limits, and I also shed a tear for Japanese housewives everywhere. Like I said before, none of the stories really felt like they could fit into the storyline of Steel Angel Kurumi, but that's part of what makes Encore worth watching. It's too bad that, with Encore being so short, it had the misfortune of ending abruptly and leaving a bad taste in my mouth because of it. I was thirsty for more Steel Angel Kurumi sweetness, but I was left high and dry.
Audio and animation-wise, Encore is on the same level as Steel Angel Kurumi. The intro song is the same as before, Kiss Kara Hajimaru Miracle, but the ending song is a new piece called Suki-suki-suki-suKisu Shite! and is a welcomed change from the original, as it better compliments the primarily comedic subject matter of Encore. Unfortunately I was forced to stick with the Japanese audio while watching Encore because I didn't have access to the English dub. This wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't already gotten used to the English voices, but I have to admit it hindered my experience a little bit. The Japanese audio isn't bad by any means, but I still prefer the English cast over the Japanese cast. Animation in Encore is exactly the same level as Steel Angel Kurumi. Lush scenery with bright colors, and very smooth animation. Character designs also haven't changed, but it is nice to see characters wearing different outfits from time to time throughout Encore. I especially liked the old fashion dress that Saki wore while on the set of her movie. Minor adjustments here and there perhaps, but nothing really noticeable in the audio and video quality of Encore when compared to Steel Angel Kurumi.
There are few animes out there that are as short and sweet as Encore is. Most short animes leave you wondering what the hell just happened, while others make you ponder as to why such an anime needed to exist in the first place. However, Encore survives as being just another installment to a popular series, and it's sure to be a welcomed addition for Kurumi fans. Steel Angel Kurumi Encore is just what the doctor ordered if you're a fan of the first twenty-four episodes of Steel Angel Kurumi. Its short length and basic comedic content make it an easy watch for even the busiest of people. It's short, sweet, and fun to watch. If you can't get enough of Kurumi's trademark squeal, Karinka's constantly running mouth, and uh'Saki's incestuous obsession with her sister, then be sure to check out Steel Angel Kurumi Encore.
My Score: 8.5
Version Watched: Sub read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
All of your favorite Steel Angels return in Steel Angel Kurumi 2 and retain their trademark personalities. Kurumi is still the clingy love struck servant of her master, Saki adores her sister Kurumi just like the good old days, and Karinka is a, well'a bitch. Even though the Steel Angels have the exact same personalities as before, there does seem to be something off about them. Mostly I have to ask whether or not Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is canonical with Steel Angel Kurumi 1. The Steel Angels seem to have all but forgotten one another, and what they have gone through together in the course of the first series. I know a lot of years have gone by, but enough for Karinka to revert back to being a power hungry animal, and for all of the Angels to forget about Nakahito? There isn't even so much as a mention of Nakahito or the family connection that Nako Kagura shares with him. I was hoping that--alternatively--Kurumi would have become Nako's servant because of Nako's heritage, and would say something about how ever since Nakahito she has served the Kagura family. But, I won't be too picky. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is what it is, and you can't really fault it for doing its thing. However, before you start asking where the exit is, let me assure you that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 isn't a complete waste of time.
Steel Angel Kurumi 2 can get away with just about anything and still be enjoyable simply because it doesn't take itself too seriously. For example, how many cute rich girls do you know that fantasize about coupling with their younger female neighbor? It's this kind of logic that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 throws at you constantly that forces you to forget about everything that's so clearly wrong with this anime. Once characters start being put in wacky situations and giant mechs begin to land at Nako's school, you'll forget that you're watching an anime about same sex coupling, but not for long since Steel Angel Kurumi 2 shoves it in your face every chance it gets. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 manages to be extremely funny at times, but once in a while it goes overboard with the mushy stuff and blows things so out of proportion that you'll be rolling your eyes at a record pace. The anticlimactic series finale, for example, had me wishing for an extra set of eyes because one set of rolling eyes just wasn't enough. This is typical in just about any romantic comedy though, so I'm sure fans of the first series are used to it.
As I'm sure you've already guessed, Steel Angel Kurumi 2 doesn't have much of a story. For the entire series it's all about Uruka trying to get Nako all to herself, no matter what the cost--which includes killing Nako, of course. Uruka calls daddy to lend military support to get rid of Kurumi so she can have Nako all to herself, and like the old Loony Tunes cartoons Uruka is defeated over and over again, easily. Not only am I amazed that Uruka never gives up, but I'm amazed that Nako stayed friends with such a crazy bitch for most of her life. I don't know, but if my best friend ever sent a giant robot to my school targeting my girlfriend I'd probably be rethinking where our friendship stands. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 does the best it can do with the little bit of storyline it does have, but that's not always enough to keep things going. When an animes biggest plot arc involves a bunch of obsessive lesbians crashing a cello playing contest it pretty much speaks for itself.
So, if you're not planning on watching Steel Angel Kurumi 2 for the storyline, why would you watch it? You're either a Steel Angel Kurumi fan, or you love romantic comedies--possibly both. The problem with being a Kurumi fan though is that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 doesn't really do the franchise justice, and depending on what it was you liked about the first series there is a chance that you'll absolutely hate the second one. The one thing that irks me the most about Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is how little it feels like a sequel to Steel Angel Kurumi 1, even though that's exactly what it's meant to be. Yes, all of the Steel Angels return, but it's as though they've forgotten everything from the first series, or at least never bother talking about it.
I guess that makes sense in a way, since Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is more comedy focused than it's predecessor, but it's hard for me to believe that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is the direct sequel that it claims to be. This isn't entirely a bad thing, though. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 can be enjoyed even if you've never seen the first series, and to be completely honest with you I would actually suggest you watch the sequel first if you can. I say this for several reasons, but mainly because the sequel should work as a nice way to ease you into the more polished original. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is also a pretty short anime, so it's not terribly difficult to complete it in a single sitting. Once again, Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is all about those fifteen minute episodes. This time around, however, there are only twelve episodes, which is equal to about six standard anime episodes in length. With the anime being that short you can't really complain too much about its subject matter. It does help to have a tolerance for mushy lesbian romance, though.
The audio and animation of Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is of similar quality as the first series. The opening song is a remix of the opening song from the first series, and I absolutely love it. The ending song Beyond the Clear Blue Sky, however, I'm not too fond of. I guess it fits the series good enough, but I've never been a fan of that form of J-Pop. The voiceovers in Steel Angel Kurumi 2 are great, especially the English ones. What I will say though, is that I was surprised when I found out that all of the cast from the first series returned for Steel Angel Kurumi 2. I had to look it up because I wasn't entirely sure if it was the same voice actors as before, or if ADV just got some people that sounded similar. I say this because for some odd reason it seemed like the voice actors had a lot more fun working on the first Steel Angel Kurumi--especially Kelli Cousins (Kurumi)--and sounded slightly different. With that said, English audio is still the way to go. I found myself switching between English and Japanese audio just to see what changes were made in the English translation, and believe me when I say that the changes alone are well worth it. References to Star Wars, Colin Powell, and lots of hilariously placed swear words make the English Steel Angel Kurumi 2 much funnier than its Japanese counterpart.
The animation is also great yet again. Back are all the bright colors, smooth animation, and superb character designs. I'm actually going to go so far as to say Steel Angel Kurumi 2 has better animation than Steel Angel Kurumi 1, but I'll need to watch them side by side before I can make such a bold statement. One thing is for sure, though, and that's that the scenery in Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is a lot better. This is mostly due to the fact that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 takes place 75 years in the future in modern Japan, and cities and buildings are all well drawn. You really can't ask for too much more when it comes to animation.
Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is an interesting piece of work. On one side, it's actually quite funny and enjoyable, even to people who've never watched an episode of Steel Angel Kurumi in their life. On the other side, it takes everything left over from the end of the first series and turns it into a complete joke, which could be bad or good depending on how you feel about the series. It's hard to suggest Steel Angel Kurumi 2 to anyone but fans of Steel Angel Kurumi, but since it doesn't even bother to tie itself in with the first series it's just as easy to suggest this anime to people who simply like romantic comedies revolving around young gay/bi females. The bottom line is that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 isn't as enjoyable as Steel Angel Kurumi 1, and for obvious reasons. It never builds itself up as anything more than what it begins as, and thus it's not an anime I can see myself sitting down and watching ever again. The lack of story/character development in Steel Angel Kurumi 2 can easily wear on your patience, and that's saying something when you consider how short it is. When you cease to take this anime seriously and simply accept if for what it is, you may find yourself having a good time watching it. On the downside though, after you're done watching it you may find yourself asking 'what the hell did I just watch?' I'm still trying to figure out the answer to that question myself.
My Score: 7.0
Version Watched: English Dub read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
The first half of Steel Angel Kurumi is mostly sugary cuteness oozing out onto the screen in every other frame. You're either going to love it or hate it, and if you hate it chances are you're not sticking around for when things shift into a more serious tone. On the flipside, if you enjoyed everything in the first half of the series you might not be too thrilled with the sudden mood change that happens in the second half. Things don't get extremely dramatic to the point that tears are forced out of your eyes, but it's definitely a noticeable change in content matter, which includes two main characters deciding to sacrifice their lives to save the world. A lot of animes go from funny to sad in the latter episodes, so it's nothing new, but Steel Angel Kurumi seemed to be in a real hurry to shock the audience--I'll assume that the fifteen minute short episodes had something to do with this. Towards the end of the series our two leads are separated from each other, and one of them go into a ridiculous transformation that gave me Dragon Ball Z flashbacks. All of this goes down in a matter of about two or three episodes. The conclusion felt a bit over the top in my opinion, but I can't blame an anime for trying to wrap itself up with what it has to work with. Steel Angel Kurumi's charm is in the sum of its parts, which doesn't even piece together fully until about halfway into the series. Saki, another Steel Angel just like Kurumi, is one of the first to join the cast. She's calm, collected, and has an obsession with her master (and sister) Kurumi. Her obsession isn't exactly a sisterly love kind of obsession, either. Saki lusts after Kurumi on a regular basis, and it's right around that time when Steel Angel Kurumi will probably lose a few viewers and gain a few perverts. Then there is Karinka, the final member of the Steel Angel threesome. Karinka is the brat of the bunch, who doesn't answer to no one. She basically acts as the comedic relief of the show, swearing like a sailor and getting under everyone's skin. There are also two very entertaining female agents who spy on Nakahito and gang throughout the series, one of which has an inappropriate crush on the much younger Nakahito. These two colorful characters compliment the series well, and it's always nice to see side characters that entertain you rather than distract you--something that I don't see too often in most of the anime that I watch.
Bouncing back to the whole time travel plot arc, it's slightly annoying that the anime didn't have enough time to explain it in a bit more detail. All we learn is that some kind of life form known as The Demonkind practically destroyed the Earth in the distant future, and Steel Angels were built to combat it. However, scientists needed to go back in time to harness the power of a Mystic in order to give the Steel Angels enough power to defeat The Demonkind. It's simple enough, but with so little time for it to all be crammed into the last few episodes it felt forced, and managed to leave a lot of questions unanswered. Where did this Demonkind come from? How far in the future did this take place? Since you can obviously travel through time easily enough, why is this infinitely superior futuristic human race struggling to survive on their own? But I digress. Steel Angel Kurumi's biggest flaw, in my opinion, is that every episode is wrapped up in fifteen minutes--twelve if you cut out the OP and ED. Even though the series isn't exactly dialogue heavy or story driven, fifteen minutes per episode isn't really enough to establish the kind of character development that Steel Angel Kurumi seems to aim for. I still managed to grow somewhat attached to Nakahito, Kurumi, Saki, and Karinka, but the rest of the cast was barely memorable, which is a shame since some of them came off as quite interesting. Dr. Ayanokoji, for instance, is someone I would have liked to get to know a little better throughout the series, especially since he's the man behind it all. In the end though, I think Steel Angel Kurumi carries itself surprisingly well with all of the time restraints it has.
The audio in Steel Angel Kurumi is quite nice. The opening theme (Kiss Kara Hajimaru Miracle) is as sugary as expected, full of pink hearts and bright colors. It is a bit of a mood killer though, since when an episode begins with a serious mood and this song comes up you'll no longer be able to take the anime seriously. Regardless, I enjoy it. The ending theme (Eien no Kotetsu Tenshi) works great, and had me wanting to jump to the next episode immediately, but not until the credits were done. Okay, so it's not THAT good, but it's strangely catchy. The voiceovers are also pretty good, but I opted to stick with the English dub. I just love the way the English voice actors play their roles in Steel Angel Kurumi. ADV Films has done another fine job of casting, which I have to admit isn't always the case with them. The Japanese audio is good as well, but when it comes to characters like Kurumi there is only so much I can take of their Japanese voice actor before my ears turn into pudding. Animation in Steel Angel Kurumi is also pretty nice. I'm a big fan of bright colors, where the greens are really green, and the blues are really blue, etc; and Steel Angel Kurumi is about as colorful as they come. All of the scenery and character designs help enforce the early 1900's setting this series takes place in. The fight sequences are done nicely as well, with smooth animation and detail. Steel Angel Kurumi isn't exactly eye candy heaven, but it's not hard to look at, that's for sure.
Ultimately, I enjoyed Steel Angel Kurumi much more than I thought I would. I originally imagined that it would be along the lines of something like Love Hina meets Chobits, and while it does share similar traits of these two animes, it's totally different and able to stand alone on its own two feet. I could confidently recommend this anime to pretty much anyone who enjoys anime like Chobits, not just because it's a series about a robotic girl serving a male master, but because it's a romantic comedy with a lot of heart. Some people will undoubtedly be turned off by its oddly short episodes, and by Saki's lesbian crush on Kurumi, but that is little reason to stray away from such a cute series. Unless, of course, you don't like cute--in which case, you may want to drop my final score by about five and then run for the hills. Steel Angel Kurumi tries its best to come off as cute as it does funny, and for the most part it pulls it off. With only minor blemishes here and there, Steel Angel Kurumi should make for a nice addition to your anime collection.
My Score: 8.5
Version Watched: English Dub read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Unlike many spoof animes out there, Miami Guns chooses to be a bit more subtle when making references to other franchises. For example, in one episode they introduce Bruce Tsuji and refer to him as a real 'die hard.' Obviously this is a reference to Bruce Willis in Die Hard, but while other similar animes would more than likely have this character running around screaming 'Yippie-ki-yay, motherf****er!' every chance they got, Miami Guns just leaves it at that. I think this works well, and it helps from making the comedy in the series feel forced. My main gripe with a lot of the comical animes I've seen over the years is that they try to be too crazy for their own good, and once you've seen one anime like that you've pretty much seen them all. Miami Guns is far from sane, but it seems to have an intelligent method of laying out the funnies. This is a welcomed change.
Miami Guns has an interesting setting. I assumed it would take place in Miami, and while the city is called Miami it seems like it's the only place left on the Earth. Not to mention it is revealed in the second episode that the Earth was destroyed and Miami City was built from scratch, but in animes like this I take every plot arc they toss at me with a grain of salt. Either way, the scenery is very nice with its southeastern vibe. Even though Miami Guns is mainly a parody of the Hollywood action genre it doesn't mind getting its hands dirty and cracking fun at other clichÃ©s and animes. Seeing how it was released in 2000 you just know there is going to be a Matrix reference thrown in there somewhere, but I don't know if you'll be expecting the Astro Boy one. It's all in good fun, and even though the series doesn't really follow a main storyline I couldn't help but get attached to some of these characters over time. Miami Guns isn't without its blemishes though. The opening episode was rather weak, as were a few of the last episodes, and this is something that can really hurt an anime as short as Miami Guns. For the most part the series redeems itself when it's all said and done since I was craving for more, but there are some episodes and plot developments I wish they would have just gotten rid of. The Yao, Lu, and Nagisa triangle for example only helped slow the series down for me. Nagisa is evil, Lu knows, and Yao is too blind to see it. Okay, I get it, you don't have to keep beating the dead horse. Nagisa becomes the evil side villain of sorts but none of the cast members really do anything about it, so ultimately we just have a wasted character and, due to her numerous appearances throughout the series, a lot of wasted time that could have been spent on something more entertaining.
Animation and music in Miami Guns is actually pretty good. I liked the OP and ED themes, and all the music throughout the series really got me into the whole police action movie theme it was trying to develop. I love the character designs and I love the general design of Miami City. It's all good stuff. Once again, this is a series I ended up watching the English dub of and I must say I am happy with that decision. Some of the voices can get on your nerves, especially given the character they're coupled with, such as Yao who is almost as annoying and hyper as Excel, but after switching over to the Japanese audio and listening to how high pitched the female voices were I was forced to switch back to English. Julio Peacemaker's voice actor alone makes the English audio my personal pick. I don't think any Japanese voice actor can pull off that kind of Hispanic accent. Seriously, this guy is pretty damn talented. It's sad that his only credited role seems to be for Miami Guns. A lot of U.S. distributors could really use a talented voice actor like him, and it's obvious from sifting through the piles of anime with crappy English voice acting.
Typically, animes can become one of two things: 1) Instant classics that everybody clings to and makes a big deal about, or 2) forever lost in obscurity. Miami Guns seems hopelessly destined to be the latter. The series has the workings of a really fun comedy, but it just hasn't been able to really catch a fan base large enough to put it up there with other comedies like Excel Saga and Azumanga Daioh. This is unfortunate, but it's not surprising. While the main cast members of Miami Guns are likable and memorable, they are hardly stand out characters that draw in fans. Besides Al the talking alligator and his master Julio Peacemaker (both supporting characters only featured in a few episodes), Miami Guns doesn't exactly have what many would call a 'crowd pleaser.' Also, this series doesn't have a very strong Japanese theme to it and takes place in 'Miami.' This too is something that could very well be the cause of Miami Guns not getting the exposure it deserves. Or possibly this anime just flat out sucks and I'm one of the few people who enjoyed it, but I'll try to hold onto my dignity and pray for the former.
It's really hard to review a comedy, arguably harder than any other genre simply because comedy is a lot like music in the sense that It can never be perfected. People all have their own idea of what's funny and what's not, and, well, I think Miami Guns ranks up there with some of the best. It's not about the quantity of humor that really matters to me, or about how edgy and groundbreaking it is. If I laugh then that is all that matters, and is all that should matter. I have to defend this anime after a lot of people were telling me how crappy it was. Yes, it has its flaws and doesn't always hit its mark, but that is something that can be said for literally every comedy out today. Comedy has always been hit or miss, trial and error, but it's all about the miss/hit ratio that determines whether something is comedic brilliance or cheesy garbage. Miami Guns manages to hit far more than it misses, at least for me. While there are other animes out there that serve the same purpose as Miami Guns I argue that this series stands alone on its own merits. Miami Guns is no FUMOFFU by any means, but it doesn't have to be in order to get my seal of approval. I suggest you check this anime out if you ever get the chance.
My Score: 9.0
Version Watched: English Dub read more