301 of ? chapters read
Revolving around the last reigns of the samurai era, we are introduced to this new sort of Edo, Japan and world. It is one that includes co-existence with “aliens,” also known as Amanto. The main protagonists make encounters with those who are trying to live their life the way the want to and can, those who are trying to protect the current way of living, and those who want to remove the current situation and return back to traditional ways of life. It’s as though there’s a new sort of “bureaucracy” running amok now that aliens are trying to change lifestyles on the Earth. And so, the story embarks on the many adventures and confrontations that this main characters’ team strikes upon. Beginning from little side, freelance jobs that the team accepts from others to major battles against revolutionists that the team fights for others, the characters and stories develop and change with inclusions of comedy and drama.
The most important aspects that struck my interest were probably the insanely funny moments and expressions put into this series. From chapter to chapter there is some insertion of some sort of theme of fun and/or comedy. And yet, don’t get me wrong; this isn’t entirely something just for laughs. The drama incorporated into this brilliantly devised series is fascinating to read as well. At times, however, one may ponder, “wait, how was this relevant to anything?” That’s the thing. The story is like a maelstrom of randomosity and episodicity. In other words, I’d say that the audience is flung into this mess of small arcs and “filler-like” sequences/storylines and well, into random new “alternate universes,” too. Additionally, the story generally has fairly dreadful transitions; you’re hopping from one story to the next basically after each “mini-arc;” and some times, you may just get altogether confused, perplexed and even angry by the all the hysteria. Moreover, there’s always a tinge of “predictability” in what will surely happen. As unappealing as that may sound, it’s actually still amazingly fun to read. Although the ridiculousness of this series is incredible, I don’t believe that I wasted any of my time experiencing any of it. I thoroughly enjoyed myself just reading about random “philosophies” and so-called “life lessons” from the stories involved in this series. Then even though the small arcs and “real” storylines that the mangaka does work around are actually very intriguing and exciting to read more about, I can’t suppress my anticipation for more of the “main” storyline to continue forward.
Regardless, I believe that the elements of adventure, comedy, drama, suspense, thrill, and tragedy are all thoroughly integrated into this story even if it may seem too randomized and episodic. Nothing is tremendously wrong with something that doesn’t dive straight into a detailed and convoluted or direct and simplistic plotline. One should just appreciate the hearty comedy that is fed directly to him, honestly. Maybe I’m being too obsessive when I say that? Nah, I won’t deny the fact that there have been a couple chapters where I was like, to the mangaka, “Um, Sorachi-sensei, why did you even bother writing and drawing about such plainness?” For example, there have been a couple chapters regarding completely irrelevant topics to the manga story or main characters. But, c’mon really? I still laughed my head off and enjoyed the read thoroughly because of its insight and hilarity. Altogether, the stories that this mangaka expresses and illustrates are of great ingenuity and practicality. Wait, did you catch that? Yes, I did say practicality because, to say the least, I felt like I’ve learned more (about life and its whims) from this series than from all of my exposure and experiences with other anime and manga. Even so, if you’re thinking that there’s still no point of reading something without a solid plotline, you’re mistaken. This is a series that’s perhaps going to inspire you to think about certain matters differently. And, hey, I think that’s an admirable feat and offering to an audience. Thus, don’t feel like it’s going to be an entire waste of your time on this series.
Anyway, let’s move onto another significant factor (maybe not the best “number two” evaluation tool but whatever) when one decides to read manga… The art. Now, this is not at all an issue. I actually find the art-style more unique and clean than most other styles. This isn’t your “typical” Shounen Jump art or something full of GAR-like characters. [[Then again, what’s qualified as “typical," eh?]] This has a great mixture of almost shoujo-like but still shounen-like artistry. Furthermore, the background designs and incorporations of other illustrates besides character designs are very neat and pretty to view. Yet, I can’t say that this series contains the best art ever because it really isn’t the best of the best. Even so, I believe that the imagery and scenery are both illustrated in extremely appropriate methods and styles. There have been a few characters and some random usages of crazy-looking characters but it just adds to the overall hilarity of the story itself. Furthermore, some characterizations and portrayals are probably done for further amusement. I did indeed get some great laughs from some fun character insertions Sorachi provided. Then, the way and style of which he was able to draw out action scenes and also “thriller-scenes” and then “emotional scenes,” and well every other “dramatized” scene were altogether masterful and skillful. Moreover, the flow of scenes in each story was further emphasized and clearly offered to the audience; never was anything too abrupt or confusing. Everything about the art did help add to my enjoyment of this series. In conclusion, the art proved to be impressive and helpful to move the story and interest forward.
Thirdly, about the characters and their personalities… To be honest, I don’t think that there’s a single character that just annoys me to an extremity; and I believe that is important for some who think that a single character can ruin a story. The personalities really do grow on you in spite of the fact that there some initially slightly bothersome persona out in the series… Then again, you can’t really blame people to act certain ways because it’s just in their particular nature to do so… A person can only be so nice and only be so mean? Meh, I’m not trying to say that everyone is perfectly likable at the first introduction; since, you’ve got your typical weak main character who strives to become stronger and then, your fairly strong character that’s always winning fights, then you’ve got your typical random jokers and clowns around, too. Even so, you grow to understand why these characters are these ways and well, at least for me, learn to appreciate each and everyone's existence. The development of these characters is fairly random, but, Sorachi does take the time to give each character almost realistic personality and spirit. All characters also take the opportunity to actually learn and feel from certain experiences that are essentially important to real life as well. Furthermore, no one is extremely dull or boring to further read about. After certain characters are introduced, I personally felt an urge to find out more about that one person. There were a couple folks that didn’t get much of a huge spotlight as well as some who got too much “camera-time.” Nevertheless, I thought everyone was generally described and portrayed in a more or less distributive and fair way. As with most series, once you’ve laid your eyes on one particular character, you’re almost guaranteed that you will enjoy the descriptions and details entailing that character because of the elaborations and creativity of the plot as well.
Finally, the enjoyment factor. Although this series is random as much whatever else random series you’ve probably read/watched before, I have to say that this can deliver greater and heartier laughs. There are also a few of times where you can also shed a tear or two in this series, thus you’re not just enjoying the whirlwind of ridiculousness 24/7. The drama and suspense entanglement also draws one into the series since there are sometimes “cliffhangers” that you just are at a point where you’re struggling to know more. The characters themselves are also eventually lovable as before mentioned. Then, the philosophies and puns spun in every direction towards you are also just exciting and amusing to read. All in all, even with the extreme randomness, the series has practically every element to a so-called “great story” that is possible; with substance or not, this story never ceases to entertain the audience in one way or another.
Lastly, although this sounds like a bunch of tedious ramblings, I do hope that you, whoever, reads this, do give this manga a try. By no means am I saying that this is the most perfect manga ever because it still rivals against a lot of greater epics, but this is a grand treasure chest in the ocean of manga. It’s yet another classic series that deserves more credit than it’s granted. And wouldn’t you want another series “just for laughs?” [ps. I know that this “just for laughs” phrase has a copyright, hence the quote marks. Also, don’t you go thinking, “Oh, the anime was only so-so, so I won’t give it a try.” You haven’t experienced the full Gintama adventure without reading the original manga, my friends. pss. I bet most of you were like “tl;dr.” Then, just read the manga itself; it’s more worth your time.] read more
207 of 207 chapters read
Anyways, to the reasoning why I actually am fanatical over this particular series…
For once, as it is a rare case for many as well as myself, I was hooked onto this series after just reading the first couple of chapters. The plot was already immensely intriguing. I could not help but see the following series of events… From the beginning of just meeting the three “main” protagonists, I just wanted to see what sorts of incidents and encounters they would have to confront later in the story.
I’m not so familiar with the original plot idea or whatever, but basically it seemed to almost revolve around something like the Mythic ages of old Mesopetamia and Mynos and whatnot… The story of Troy, however, was not a major plot factor… What’s somewhat amusing, as it is in many other series, is the usage of anachronisms throughout the plot. Who would have thought the people would dress like they were from the modern age, eh? Anyway, the story initially takes place during this tumultuous era but within a period of peace that several countries experience. Regardless, one finds that the main characters try to join up in the Mercenary squadron of the military… Although, they want to earn money from defeating wanted criminals and bandits, they confront an even more dire situation…
Anyway, from the start… The Adventure that takes place sets off the story. Then, as the plot progresses, drama becomes another complementary factor that stirs in more details and background about characters and settings. Those details along with multiple cliffhanger scenes drive the story forward. Although maybe somewhat subtle and hidden, one can see that the “Fights” and battles that take place for particular reasons. The manhwa artist truly utilizes his characters skillfully in a way to illustrate the themes and feelings which a reader can personalize with. Tension, distress, and joy are all provided with efficient and illustrative details from the art, narrations, and dialogues.
From beginning to end, I felt that nothing could replace the absolute creativeness and appeal that this series demonstrated to me.
To be honest, I was hesitant to start this series because of the fact that I did not particularly find the cover art very attractive. Nevertheless, I sought to try it out since the plot summary was at least a bit alluring, to my tastes. And so, after I became so entangled and fascinated with the plot itself, I don’t know what exactly my reaction was to the art… I either became very accustomed to its unique and somewhat crude style… or, I just started to love it since it really was different. I mean, the details in the “sketching” part of the manhwa are quite amazing. I don’t recall reading any other sort of manga/comic that contained so much detail in Fight-scenarios. I mean like, I personally would have it so tedious to have so many “windows” (I don’t remember the exact term for each scene displayed in a manga) of repeated armor, weapon, wound, and background setting designs. But the manhwa artist actually worked quite thoroughly to make many shapes and figures symmetrical and rather precise. Then, the general layout of characters were more or less proportional and yet somewhat rigid and lanky looking… Regardless, I found that no major distortions were drawn which made the art style appropriate and genuine for reading with the story.
Ah… Well, outside of the art realm, the characters were almost human. I mean, c’mon, there are always exaggerations and other hyperboles that every author loves to use, and well, the manhwa author/artist is no exception. Nevertheless, for the most part, I could see why the characters reacted because of their very “personal” traits. When something really triggers you to just want to punch something or someone, you’d really go and do it, right? Well, that’s the same reaction each character possesses in this story. What truly infuriates certain characters make them go berserk. It’s quite a relief, or maybe just something “good,” to be able to actually “sense” the emotions that the characters possess at certain times. It’s not like every good book has its realistic characters, right? But, this is an exception. Each person in real life has some sort of history and or reason for why he or she does things right? Of course there are those spontaneous people, but, spontaneity is not completely motive-free. And well, in this story, those statements are also true. The character development and character revelation of history and background provide effective information to really understand and appreciate each character. Erm, I don’t mean that the author actually goes around Flash-backing left and right… but, it’s much more integrated with other people within the story.. and then, there are connections to actual events and situations that are perhaps not always relevant to the actual storyline, but at least intriguing and touching to read about. Altogether, I enjoyed reading about the transformations and progressions of characters. Each character possessed entertaining traits that I always loved to read more about.
Ermm… Each chapter ended… with a major cliffhanger… I couldn’t resist to read more. Chapter after chapter… I found the plot developing… the characters revealing their personalities and histories… and well, the art style was just so enticing… Practically everything about the manhwa was amazing. Then again, my Final impression of the story left me slightly sore because of, well, the climax of the second main story… I shan’t spoil it any further… I urge you to read and find out what I mean… Each of the seemingly endless battles reaches a pinnacle point so many times that the manhwa writer finally decides to settle it at the end of the series. Really, once one’s started this series, there’s no retreating away from it.
(P.S. It’s my terrible habit to start off with my extremely random and trivial commentary when writing reviews, as perhaps seen previously… It’s just that I have to show my high interest level in a more personal way in order for me to actually get going on the actual details of why I like a series or whatever. I’m sorry for the Fluffiness, in other words. :P
P.S.S. I do not want you to feel like this load of Fluff was for nothing… Please, do give Ares a try. This is one not so well-recognized series that deserves more credit than it has been thus far granted.) read more
36 of 36 chapters read
Anyway, the story starts off with the central protagonist beginning her new life as a guy. The main motive equals: basketball! She encounters various characters who help her recognize how to deal with phoniness and fakeness and other “ethics.” Naturally, this story being shoujo, romance develops between her and another protagonist… But, leading events make it difficult to discern whether or not to follow through with love at all. Therefore, drama ensues as she becomes confused and lost of what to do. Regardless, throughout the story, intense comical relief comes storming through. For about half of the story, I was dying laughing. And rounding up to the end of the story, some moments seemed rather pleasantly surprising (at least to me) and yet other moments disappointed me. Overall closure is quite well determined, but, it does still stir my interest and desire to see what happens next. Altogether, the story envelops an interesting plot with plenty of comical moments within a rather dramatic, romance high school story.
To the art aspects… I found nothing too “crude” or “unartistic..” And, well, I can be picky at times… but, really I found very few artistic flaws. A few angular sketches were a bit disproportionate, but mostly quite impressive and fine. Movements and sudden change scenes were quite well drawn and organized. Furthermore, the general layout of character and setting were very appropriate. Never too detailed (or difficult to read) nor simplistic (or plain). Nothing truly stands out about the art style, though… It’s quite typical.
The story is not so entangled with more than five or six characters so some of the foil/clown/side characters are never too well-developed but show relatively true personalities. The mangaka apparently made some exaggerations of the character traits of several minor characters, however, the main characters represent relatively real and true people. At least, I can recognize that people would act and feel similarly as the characters of her story in real life. There is enough connection to real life events and feelings that I was able to sense. Furthermore, the characters develop and transform, which is commonplace in stories, but directs a change and brings forth improved personalities.
All in all, I quite thoroughly enjoyed the manga. Perhaps, I am a bit biased, since I like this whole Reverse-Harem idea… Nevertheless, I found plenty aspects of the manga enjoyable. The comedy was just so amazing. The drama was overdone, slightly, but I could feel that the tensions and emotions were realistic enough. Then, the characters were not THAT loveable, but entertaining and genuine enough to follow their lifestyles in the story. Anyway, I encourage everyone who liked Hana-Kimi to give this manga a shot. This mangaka deserves equal credit for coming up with this amusing idea to let other enjoy.
105 of 203 episodes seen
After the second episode and a bit of my own research for random other information and media of the series, I fell in love. I also was VERY addicted. I became current with the series in four days; I even endured a rough night and watched 20episodes in one sitting. Anyways, arhem. Let me go into further detail of how my fanaticism for this series began.
Okay, well, I actually thought the first few episodes were rather ridiculous, still. I kept on watching them, though. I mean, who can turn down a Mafia-based anime, anyway? Episodes, nevertheless, turned out to be so incredibly ridiculous that I just had to watch more and more because of the hilarity and comedy I found within the first twenty episodes. To my surprise, I really could not give up on any of the “Filler” episodes or beginning episodes because I was already hooked on the craziness of the series. And although the beginning got way too episodic and “lame” (e.g. like Bleach, D. Gray-Man, and Naruto), I did not give up hope for the series to improve and for the story to develop. The beginning helped create a very fine atmosphere and background for the lifestyles of the protagonists. Once the plot began to reach its first “arc,” or main story, I was amazed by the sudden turn of events. It was a very pleasant surprise to find the main characters undertaking actions to carrying out a rather “dangerous task.” After the arc finishes, there are a couple “Filler” episodes but, they do not entirely intend to act as such because they do develop towards the next arc. The second arc is full of great action and thrill. As of right now, it is still underway. And, as I write this review, I am very anxious to watch more!
EDIT: Wanted to revise this a bit... since I've watched 42more episodes... my impressions of the anime have slightly changed... I'm still a die-hard fan of the series, I have to say... the storyline has indeed slowed down after the second arc, and well... Filler episodes became a bit more trivial and useless... Regardless, it's been on track again to a third arc for the last few episodes. And yet the annoying thing is that, as some people have said, there's always a flashback to what's happened so far... Like from in Bleach. And so, the plot has slowed down tremendously... The characters are still very original and entertaining to observe in developments, though... All other aspects are still very true, though. :P So be sure to keep with this series for it's uniqueness in many other aspects and well general theme. :P
Another reason why I love this series is obviously because of the character development and portrayal. The characters are all just so amazing and cool in their own special ways. Each character possesses a unique and different personality from every other character. From the first impressions of each character, I was rather disgusted. But upon learning more about each character in time, I grew to love each and every character because they each had a special charm or trait that seemed very personal and almost real. I felt very connected to several characters. Furthermore, the character development was not slow at all. Okay, there were a couple cases where the character flash-backs got a bit tedious to watch, but there were sufficient amounts of information to obtain in the meanwhile, so I was not too frustrated with them. Then, information given about the characters were developed into the story in a rather formal and thorough manner which I felt was effective for letting me know about each character. As for a few characters, I have felt (and sometimes still feel) a bit irked by them and their funky and somewhat “naturally” irritating personalities. However, as the story has progressed, I want to say that the characters have grown on me. And now, I appreciate the existence of every one of the characters, and hope to watch (and read) more about them all.
What also helped me get more into the anime was the animation. Initially, I found it a bit funky, but I watched more and began to realize it was actually pretty impressive. The graphics have been, for the most part, to my standards at least, above par. Everything was quite thoroughly illustrated and never too flashy, abrupt, and messed up. Action scenes were detailed and well scripted and screened. The art styles were well designed, too. I found that the characters and settings did not lack too many details from the original artwork.
Now as for the music… I loved all the sounds! <3
As in, I have listened to the soundtracks and opening and ending theme songs of the series so many times that I think it may be too excessive. I don’t recall too much insert music, but that does not take away from the series since the other sound effects and background music have suited well for all the situations and scenarios of the anime. Sometimes, the music gets a bit wacky, but those are obviously for the funny situations that are in the anime. For the fight scenes, there is more than reasonable usage for action music. Thrills and suspense are well built into scenarios due to the special styles of background music used. Special other sounds are also very appropriated “placed” throughout the series. From the countless times I’ve listened to each and every theme song used, I still cannot get enough of the fabulousness of each song. I enjoyed the opening theme songs so much that I had to watch them all for every episode that I watched in the last four days. Now, yes as much of a waste of time that might have been, I could not get enough of it. The “shot” selections used during the theme songs were neither that great nor that terrible, but I found that they worked fine. And, as long as the songs are good and the shots used are not that revealing nor weird, I could deal with it.
Altogether, I found that the animation company that produces this series was able to pull through every episode very well. I did not feel like they wasted much of my watching time at all because everything seemed at least 25% relevant to the story if not also sparked my interest in watching more. Really, I felt that the plot has moved at a very steady pace that still stirs anxiety and curiosity because of major cliffhangers. I cannot get enough of this series. This is one amazing manga series that has been adapted into an anime that has lead me to enjoy the story in a very wonderful and exciting way. For a load of laughter, adventure, and action, be sure to give this anime a try. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Although everything, in the story, at first seemed peaceful, a major turn in events surprised me. But, once the story unveiled itself after time, the fear of freaky spirits disappeared from my system. I grew interested in finding out what happened with Takaya.
First of all, I want to say that I found the artwork incredibly impressive. I think the animation could have been just slightly better in certain scenes, but the art style was well-designed. Itsuko Takeda's character design has always made, especially in Mirage of Blaze, anime, as a whole, much more interesting to watch. From such amazing art, I immediately grew to love each character. Not only was the art style very appealing but also the character development. I found that each protagonist had complex and almost "realistic" personalities. Sometimes, there were a few forced and cheesy moments that made the main character act somewhat unnormally. But, for the most part, each character had several intriguing characteristics.
Second, the sound added to the effects in a helpful and colorful way. "Suspense" and "horror" were mostly detectable by the sounds used in the anime. Each background music section blended well with each scene and circumstance. As for the opening theme song, I would say it could have been better in ways, but I found that the shot sequence followed reasonably well with the music. The song itself was quite nice. I thought that the lack of an Ending theme song did not take away from the show.
Third, the graphics were not entirely adequate to my tastes, but they were effective and appropriate. The special effects during certain scenes lacked well-timed and flawless animation. But, altogether I found all of the effects unique and useful.
Fourth and finally, the story definitely had a rather wacky concept behind it. But, I found the absurdity of the plot quite entertaining to watch for development. This anime ended up being more than a rather "twisted" love story. There were many moments of drama and action mixed in with some adventure. Really, I found it hard to stop watching because it was so thrilling and interesting to continue watching till the end. The storyline really brought me to enjoy this series very thoroughly. Although a few things were a bit predictable and funky, I loved to watch the story unfold. The finish of the anime left a rather unsettling impression, though, in my opinion. Even so, I recommend this story to all slash/shounen-ai fans. It's a romance story that you cannot miss!
(Meh, I might be a bit biased with my review because I love shounen-ai... But, I still think my ratings were rather valid (inspite of the fact that many people do not agree with such high ratings)). read more