12 of 12 episodes seen
I finally understand why one should not judge a book by its cover. To be honest, I never liked the design of the characters in Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica and I’m sure there are those out there (like me) who may be skeptical with this show due to that fact alone. I mean … doesn’t the swollen, flattened, wide, and overblown faces turn you off? It sure did for me. But boy, I cannot describe how glad I am now after marathoning Madoka★Magica in two days (despite all the assignments, projects, and exam deadlines)!
So what can you expect out of this show? Certainly not the typical magical girl story one would be expecting. Taking place in a futuristic world, the story started off like most other magical girl series. School setting, bunch of young girls hanging around together, the typical “happy care-free” life. But that quickly changed as the pace of the story drastically increased as well as the mood darkens at the same time. Soon the viewers are engulfed with deep hatred and sorrow and a wide range of emotions that will only leave one hanging and lust for more. To say Madoka★Magica is an emotionally driven show is not an overstatement.
The sound department is just as brilliant as the story itself. With the new junior high duo ClariS doing the opening theme and Kalafina doing the ending theme, that should automatically ring some bell for some hardcore anime followers. But putting the fame of these singer groups aside, both the opening and ending theme songs for Madoka★Magica are just splendid in itself. You know how some songs have to grow on you; where you need time to get used to it and even then, it might not be catchy enough for you to fell in love with? Rests assure there is no such problem with neither the opening nor ending themes for this show. As if that is not enough, Yuki Kajiura-sama herself is responsible for the BGM, theme song lyrics, and composition! We all know how emotionally driven her music can be, certainly one of the greatest musician in the industry to date.
Character. Can’t really say there is a lot of character “growth”, BUT, I can safely say they have enormous depth making them more believable and lovable. The depth mainly comes from the background stories of the girls. Viewers will find out why each girl chose to become a magical girl and how they live with their choice afterward. If you are a keen viewer, perhaps you may even be able to see through what each girl represents symbolically and relate their experience throughout the show with our own daily lives. On that note, I have to give the production studios (SHAFT and Aniplex) credit for a job well done as well as finding the appropriate seiyu to voice cast the respective characters.
On to our last topic, it’s also one that I have briefly mentioned in the beginning. Yup, it is regarding the animation of Madoka★Magica. Surely most of us are familiar with SHAFT and its style of production, but not everyone accepts the way SHAFT handle its own anime. While one can argue that SHAFT is being creative with their work, which certainly differentiates them from other studio, but for the everyday norm like my humble self I cannot say I appreciate their work of mixing reality into anime to create something nightmare-ish. By that I do not mean the incorporation of real city sceneries into the anime, but rather, I am referring to the infrequent random usage of flowers, candies, or butterflies that takes away any seriousness to the show. Perhaps I just don’t understand “art”.
Lastly, I wish to say that as an anime original work (not adapted from light novel or manga like many anime these days), Mahou Shoujo Madoka ★Magica certainly deserves some praise. If I were to describe the excitement level of this show, the closest I can think of is a mathematical exponential curve. The early episodes serve as the typical story foundation blocks, but right after that is done, you can sure as hell expect an emotional rollercoaster ride =D read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
It breaks my heart to see such horrible overall ratings and reviews on this anime that, for all intents and purposes, was fairly accurate and stayed faithful to the manga if one were to ignore the anime original contents (eg. mostly fan service and one useless episode). While it is fair to say there are multiple flaws in the anime series that could have been improved on (or unnecessary contents that could have been done without), the anime as a whole has served itself quite nicely considering it is only a one-cour series. Covering nearly 60% of the available manga materials at the time the anime finished airing, there really isn’t any way for the production staffs to wrap up the story without ruining any chances for a second season. For the record, the manga material is only two measly arcs ahead of where the anime finished at the time this review was written and the actual plot did not proceed very far.
I fully understand the complexity the anime brings to the new viewers who have no background knowledge from the manga. Numerous terminologies coupled with even more numerous unfamiliar faces does prove to be quite difficult for one to digest at first. Additionally the anime added tons and tons of boobs and nipples sprinkled everywhere in the show from the dormitory room change scenes to intense battles scenes. In short, there are bound to be boobies for the unprepared! Thus this served as another excuse for viewers (even loyal manga readers) to detest and despise the show. Even I have to admit it would have been better if the staffs can use those boobies air time to produce something more constructive like elaborating on certain flashback stories or further develop some characters and their personality or background. So let this be a fair warning to all you potential viewers, only watch this show IF you can stomach the fan services and accept the fact that the story is a work in progress!! With that said, let us finally turn our attention to introducing this anime for those of us who are still interested.
Set in the near future, roughly 50 years from now, the world we know today has already been invaded by an alien race known as Nova. Normal military is powerless in the face of this new threat and thus the world can only rely on girls with special tissues implanted into their backs (called Stigmata) to fight these unknown aliens. These girls, known to the outside world as Pandora, fight in pairs with a younger boy, in order to neutralize a special effect cast by the aliens (called Freezing which freezes anything within the cast radius). Now don’t quickly jump to conclusion just yet. While this may sound like a military action genre to you, the story in actuality takes place in an academy where Pandora are being trained. Following the school life of a second year sophomore, Satellizer el Bridget, the story introduces the problems and threats of the reality very (and I mean very) slowly to the point where one may end up asking more questions than there are answers to. Thus to be fair, I would categorize the anime as ecchi, school life, romance with a fair bit of action, but nothing dramatic nor is it deep in plot (though the manga is getting there). Without a doubt, the story department is the weakest one of all as all the emphasis so far is placed on the characters interaction.
Characters. Many many lovable girls with great looks and even better body proportions, albeit with a nasty attitude. Yes! This is certainly not for the average female viewers! In fact, the anime was never meant for the female audiences as evident from the trailers and even more evident as the series progress with all the boobie attacks on the screen. With that said, the one major downside in the character department for this show is the fact that there are too many girls with not enough time to introduce them properly. It will come as no surprise that you will likely be introduced to a new character in each episode and that the old ones will be brushed aside until close to the finale. On the bright side, our main hero and heroine does have their own lengthy flashbacks and character development for us to “know them better”.
As a manga reader, seeing this series get animated with voice was wonderful. Unfortunately it was not quite to my level of expectation in a few ways. Firstly and perhaps the most obvious is the fact that the broadcast of the uncensored version is at a horrendous 4:3 aspect ratio (and please don’t bother with the censored version, you won’t understand a single thing). Though it remains a mystery as to why the opening and ending animation are in 16:9. The second disappointment, coming from a manga reader perspective, is the altered character looks which may or may not discourage some readers, but it was a disappointment nonetheless. Lastly, and this I am sure is a common sentiment among all viewers, is the miscast voice acting role for Aoi Kazuya. This voice will surely cause some damage to your eardrums. However, other than that one miscast role, it is fair to say this anime has a lot of strong seiyu in the cast. Additionally, both the opening and ending them songs are extremely catchy and are few received by fans in general.
Overall I have mixed feelings for this anime. It was a pleasant surprise when the news that Freezing manga was to be animated. While the fan service ruined some enjoyment of the show for me, I must confess that in the short one-cour time frame I am quite impressed by the production studio with the amount of manga content they were able to include in the series. Most notably the inclusion of certain subplots that really makes certain characters much more realistic and likable. Staying faithful to the original material and introducing some anime-original contents as enhancements to the overall story made me very pleased particularly with the fact that the production studio did not opt for an anime original ending. With that said, I still cannot recommend this series to those who does not enjoy watching ecchi series as this show clearly relies on boobies as its major selling point. However, if the premise of the story does intrigue you then I highly recommend giving the manga a try. Afterall Dall-Young Lim’s manga are quite well received in Korea, Japan, and even Taiwan. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Macross Frontier: The False Songstress is an excellent example of bringing a two season long TV series to the movie theater. Unlike many recent TV-to-theater adaptation in which a large portion of the movie is nothing but recycled scenes from the TV original, the staffs behind this Macross movie has dedicated their time in rewriting the story, revising the character relations, composing new songs and OST, and most of all, using completely new animation and scenes on ~90% of the movie. In other words, there are no more than a couple of minutes of reused materials from the TV series in this 120 minutes movie! So don’t be fooled if you are told this movie is nothing but a retell/summary of the original because that is far from the truth.
While the movie is paced so that a first time viewer with no prior background from the TV series can still follow the story at ease, but at the same time it will not bore those who have already watched the 25 episodes original because the story is so immensely different on so many different levels. However, with that said, I personally still recommend watching the TV series first before proceeding with this movie so that one would have more time to get accustom to the terminologies in that universe (ie. Deculture!). To fully appreciate the skillful remake of the story, one would need to have a solid understanding of the original creation.
The Macross series has been well known to many as a futuristic action-packed, mecha, sci-fi space opera with a healthy dose of romance and lots of aliens in the mix. But what really make this series differ from other mecha shows are the superb songs, soundtracks, and OST. In other words, the music. Music is an integral part of each and every Macross title dating back to the first series aired in 1982. Following this old tradition, Macross Frontier and its first movie have set numerous sales records in the anime music industry. In fact, it is not an exaggeration when it claims that its success is nearly unmatched in the history of anime music industry. Many of its albums reached Oricon’s weekly chart top three positions and maintained those positions for weeks! Of course it is always possible to argue that the successes of the albums are thanks to the skillful J-pop singer, May’n and to a lesser degree, Megumi Nakajima, the winner of the “Best Musical Performance” award.
Character growth/development tends to be lacking in recent TV-to-theater adaptations and before watching it, I sincerely hoped Macross Frontier: The False Songstress will allow me to write something positive for a change in this category. Fortunately for me (and for all the viewers), the main casts are quite realistic albeit the girls seem a bit more moody than their TV counterpart. While not on the level as its music production, the main characters do show enough depth and personality to make me view them as something more than a 2D character with voice (2.5D?).
Much like the music compartment, the animation of Macross Frontier and its movie has been highly regarded as top notch in their respective category. The fluidity in mecha motions during intense battle scenes must have struck many unprepared viewers like an intense thunder. It is rare to see Cel-shaded animation used so well that they seem natural to be part of the environment. What makes the animation more praise-worthy is the fact that the studio did not neglect the other aspects of the show (ie. not just the battle looks great). Simply put, the animation is without doubt THE selling point of the show. Even if you are not interested in mecha or galactic warfare or singing diva, the animation alone is enough to persuade you that this movie is great in its own way.
This two hours long movie is certainly a thrilling ride and well worth my time. There were moments that threw me off my seat, moments that I cheered for certain heroic deeds, and a particular moment that I thought was slightly awkward. But all in all, the “pros” of this movie heavily outweigh the “cons”, or perhaps I was being a bit unreasonable with my expectations. For the action-minded, both the introduction and climatic ending will not be a disappointment. For the music-minded, there are enough new and old songs in the mix to tease you into buying the albums. For all other viewers whether you are new to the Macross franchise or a diehard fan, the combination of beautiful divas, awesome looking mecha, and a love triangle fighting to save the galaxy should be a pretty good recipe to stir up your appetite.
13 of 13 episodes seen
“The following story depicts the downfall of my quiet and peaceful life.” – Tomoki Sakurai
If someone is telling you this anime has flying pantsu (underwear), what will come to mind? People throwing pantsu at each other? Or if you are a bit more creative, perhaps you may be imagining them using the pantsu to wrap around a volleyball for practice? (I really got that as a response before). But will you believe me if I say the underwear in this show can really fly like a bird (heck, they even fly in a wonderful formation in the sky). Furthermore, what if those pantsu can explode? Yes, they can go KABOOM! How’s that for a change? Assuming you are still hanging around, let me give this one final piece of advice. Stop reading right here if flying and exploding pantsu is not what you want to see because it only gets much more exciting and chances are you won’t like it (ie. you can drop this show from you list).
Now for the rest of us, where should we begin? How about the ordinary lifestyle of the young man, our protagonist of the story, Tomoki Sakurai? All he ever wished from his small town was to live a peaceful and quiet life where he can eat, sleep, and play. He even made a motto for himself, “peace and quiet is the best”. One night under a cherry tree, a pretty angel came falling down toward our hero and that is how his quiet and peaceful life comes to an end. Who might this girl be? Where did she come from? What kind of past did she have? All these questions will propel the story forward and eventually develop into something much more than what anyone would have initially thought possible from this type of show.
Unsurprisingly a great deal of character developments, in terms of personal growth, lies with the fallen angel. As the series progresses, she not only begin to show depth as a character, but at the same time get involved in a funny four-way romance. Various characters’ past have also been revealed which explains a lot about their current self, particularly their behavior. This also made them more real and believable as a whole.
The sound department really deserves special recognition for this show. Not nothing does it have a special, one of a kind, ending per episode, but each ending also features the aftermath of what happened at the end of the episode (think of it as some form of epilogue). As an example, I strongly urge you to look up the second ending (flying pantsu ending). In addition to the various endings, the unique background music (BGM), that does not often repeat itself, also deserves honourable mention. Often times I feel that I was nearly going in tears thanks to these BGM. They make a strong compliment to the already excellent series.
Sounds come in many different forms. Music obviously counts as one, but voicing is another, especially in the anime industry. Some voices can make a character seem like a lifeless zombie or can totally repel viewers from watching further. Others can bring life to a character, making them more lively and believable. Fortunately, Sora no Otoshimono has a large group of talented casts that helped make the characters come to life and also aided the comedy aspect of the show. If I were to select one seiyu from the group whom I believe have performed the best, it will have to be Souichirou Hoshi (Kira from Gundam SEED, Keiichi from Nigurashi no Naku Koro ni). His ultra hilarious performance as Tomoki, the protagonist, played a key role in the overall success of the series in my opinion. Though his voice may be hard to get used to at times, his role as Tomoki is certainly refreshing, highly different from most of his previous character voices.
You may think that there is probably nothing else that is good about this series. You are dead wrong. The ultimate selling point of Sora no Otoshimono lies in the animation. While it does not have the unique animation techniques like those we often seen by SHAFT, this series cannot be taken lightly either. Production quality is top notch. With smooth fluid-like animation, great scene transitions, and consistently level of high quality production by the studio, all made this show an eye candy to watch. Of course this is especially true if you are into ecchi-fan service. But even if you are an action fan, you will not be disappointed as the series totally shines with its animation. You have to see it to believe it. Certainly one of the best quality anime (animation-wise) of the Fall 2009 season.
To be honest, I am not an extremely big fan of ecchi comedy. But Sora no Otoshimono completely changed my view on this genre. I was really drawn in by the emotional scenes multiple times throughout the series. Similarly, I was also captivated by the very sad, yet powerful, scenes toward the end of the show. It certainly showed us that Sora no Otoshimono is not just about pure ecchi humour, but actually have a strong background story to back it up! I would also like to applaud the production studio, AIC A.S.T.A. for a job well done in adapting the original material from the manga. Lastly if you have read the entire review, do yourself a favour and watch the series now. It is only 13 episodes long, so why not give it a shot? read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
“… I am Kaicho (president), I am KaichoO! By the way, does the president do anything?” – excerpt from episode 11’s ending theme.
What happens when four pretty girls and one handsome guy spend most of their school time everyday in a confined room? Naughty thoughts aside, if you were thinking “oh my god, not another harem” then you were right! Seitokai no Ichizon is NOT a harem, strictly speaking (though our male protagonist tries very hard to make it so). In reality the poor dude gets bully by his female mates more than he ever deserves. So who might this anime be good for? If you are looking for a parody that pokes fun at itself and the entire anime industry in general, then Seitokai no Ichizon will surely meet and most likely exceed your expectation! In fact not only does it do a good job with the too-frequent parodies, but with high quality animation, and impressive new ending themes every episode, Seitokai no Ichizon is a great anime for all ages.
The story of Seitokai no Ichizon centers around the everyday “adventure” of the student council in Hekiyou Gakuen high school. Its setting primarily consists of one place, the student council room, although exceptions do occur in the show from time to time. Now you must be wondering, what can a show that limits itself to one cramped room has to offer? Surprisingly the answer is, plenty. With plenty of jokes and plenty of parodies targeted at other recent well known anime, there is never one boring moment in the show for viewers to complain about. Even if the story itself does not attract the viewers enough due to its random episodic events, but by combining the story with the character interactions, nice consistent animation, superb voice acting, and addictive soundtracks and theme songs, Seitokai no Ichizon has some of the deadliest combination to make it stand on its own ground.
It was interesting for the characters to repeatedly admit that “nothing ever happens” in their show. And yet they never fail to entertain the viewers with what they can do to make the show appealing solely by chatting. In fact, it is hard to judge these characters in any normal anime standard because they are out of the ordinary. As the casts themselves have put it, “This is where we end after airing twelve episodes? … The main character is supposed to mature after a time (but) … nothing changed.”. They poke fun at their own lack of character growth, but in actuality most characters have had their fair share of developments through learning about each others’ past or family problems. The characters certainly made a positive impact to the overall success of Seitokai no Ichizon due to their unpredictability.
The animation is nothing but greatness. The characters are very nicely designed and even the one and only classroom is very detailed in design with a large variety of decorations and hidden rooms. Fluid scene to scene transition, consistent high quality animation, and a great choice of “scenery” also made Seitokai no Ichizon very attractive to the eyes. Additionally, comedic-like faces on the characters whenever a random chat start appearing also helps crack people up. The animation definitely is another strong point that makes up for the lack of story.
At first I was very skeptical with the seiyu in this show because all the main female leads are apparently voiced by rookies. Yes, they are ALL rookies. New to the anime industry, these female seiyu all tried exceptionally hard to make themselves stand out as a bright star. Unfortunately they were all excellent in voicing their roles so I could not say who seem to be the most talented (unlike in other shows where one can clearly tell some seiyu just don’t go well with the particular role at all). It is, however, quite clear that these voices bring life to the characters in the series and bring entertainment to the viewers.
Special honorary mention goes to the ending themes. Whether they are good or not, one must admit it was creative of the producers to make a unique ending song (same rhythm different lyrics) for each episode thus resulting in a total of TWELEVE ending themes. Even without the lyrics (and I strongly urge you not to miss them), the songs in itself is tremendously addictive. In fact, I could dance around my room all day with the song set on repeat in my computer. The opening, while less catchy, is still very pleasant to hear and once again it showed us the talents these new seiyu possess.
Seitokai no Ichizon is a wonderful addition to the anime industry and made itself stood out among the mist of millions of other similar anime largely due to its parody at poking fun at itself and everything anime-related. The jokes are never too old or too repetitive throughout the show and the references are relatively simple to grasp (provided you are semi-familiar with recent anime). Keep in mind the show is made in Japan and is intended for Japanese viewers who most likely have a more knowledgeable database of the anime series in Japan than we do. If you don’t seem to be able to spot a parody or two in an episode, chances are, you have already missed out on some of the jokes they are making fun of. In that case, you should reconsider whether to continue watching the series or not. Lastly I would recommend anyone who have trouble at school, whether it is your grade or having trouble making friends, to try playing love simulation games (ie. harem games)! read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
If you were like me, not sure whether to try watching a show about talking cats, then rest assure because Nyan Koi is more than your average pet-talking anime! Produced by AIC, it should come as no surprise if Nyan Koi manage to remind viewers of another “semi” AIC production known as Seto no Hanayome. Both are considered rom-com harem and they share many common traits in my humble opinion. Thus it is very tempting to make comparisons between them, but I will restrain myself to the best of my ability to not do so too often in the review.
Although the talking cats may not be the most adorable pets you have ever seen, but they are significant to the anime as they are used to push forward story events and in some cases, help develop character relations. While cats obviously do not talk like human do, but due to a curse on our protagonist Junpei, he gained the ability to communicate with them (hence the talking cat you have heard about). The story follows Junpei with his daily struggle with school, friends, love, and helping cats in need. While the plot may sound a bit generic, but what makes the show entertaining is the interaction among the characters.
“Misfortune-moe” is a silly term used to describe the character behavior of one of the twins in the story. As one can probably imagine, those who finds misfortunate (or sheer bad luck) to be something liked about is pretty sick and cruel as far as their character is concerned. But viewers will often find themselves helplessly laughing at the cruelty of the “misfortune-moe” twin. Nyan Koi is the type of show that can bring out the funniness in even the weirdest of situations. Another entertaining character, who sadly did not have as much impact to the story as I would have liked, goes by the name of Nagi Ichinose. Here is the one flag that should make all Seto no Hanayome viewers go “ah, that looks (and the background music sounds) familiar … now where have I watched a similar show like that before?”.
All in all, characters in Nyan Koi all contributed in their own unique way. However one thing that seems lacking is the character growth for the “slightly less important” characters. We certainly witnessed development to Junpei as a character, but other equally important characters like Kanako could have had more screen time for development. Anyhow, I understand that it can be very difficult for a short 12 episodes series to have much development for its second class heroes, but it has been done before in many shows. Thus in that regard, Nyan Koi may be a bit unsatisfactory.
The animation style is mostly refreshing and unique, but once a while there will be scenes that look rather similar to Seto no Hanayome (not the art, but the technique used to create certain atmosphere). Although not a masterpiece level in terms of animation, there isn’t much that one can truly complain about. Smooth scene transition? Check. Non-repetitive scene usage? Check. Consistent animation quality? Check. Well drawn, well animated characters and pets? Check. The animation certainly is one of the stronger points of the show.
The OP and ED both are pleasant to hear; just don’t expect anything catchy that could stay in your mind for more than an hour. The music department deserves some credit for matching hilarious scenes with funny BGM and so on, but they pale in comparison to the hard work of the voice acting screw, the seiyu. With great talented seiyu like Yuu Kobayashi, Ryoko Shiraishi, and most of all Jun Fukuyama, there are enough big names in the anime to attract a large number of fans (yes, in Japan seiyu are practically celebrities and have their own fan clubs etc). These skillful voice actors/actresses give life to the characters and made them much more enjoyable to watch.
Nyan Koi certainly brought a great deal of joy and entertainment to the viewers. The one thing AIC could work on to improve the anime is the somewhat simple, linear plot. Otherwise, the animation and characters, combined with skillful seiyu, makes this show a worthy candidate to spend your time.
12 of 12 episodes seen
Gender bending not your cup of tea? Harem is too redundant in the anime industry lately? Well then perhaps having one more of such show might not hurt too much. As the saying goes “there’s always an exception to everything”, and Kampfer might just be that one exception for you! Blessed with nice animation and huge plot twists (for better or for worse), Kampfer sure surprised many viewers towards the end of the show...in a negative way.
Let us start with something that is very lacking in Kampfer, the plot. Excluding the plot twists that contributed to some much needed “excitements”, the story was pretty non-existent. Viewers first find themselves thrown into the mist of a pre-planned battle between the red Kampfers and blue Kampfers, staged by some mysterious force only known as the “moderators”. Part way through the anime, any hint of potential story will be replaced by random fan service. Not only was the ending poorly made, but the lack of conclusion also made Kampfer not very satisfying.
Special emphasis should be placed on Shizuku, the student council president and the only character with a brain in the group of Kampfers. She almost single-handedly saved the character category from total destruction in my eyes. In fact, recently there have been comparisons made between Shizuku and Hitagi Senjougahara (a very well liked character among otaku) from Bakemonogatari due to their tsundere nature. Another note worthy character is Akane. She can be seen as a masochist, but due to her transformation as a Kampfer, one can also argue that she somewhat a tsundere character as well. These two characters showed the most growth and seem to be the most developed out of all the main characters. In fact, they are like two bright candles lit in a dark room.
Although there are some likable characters, the overall characters development/growth for the majority of the casts is very minimal. They start and end the show practically the same way. It seems like they did not learn a single thing during their little “adventure”. What hurts the anime most is perhaps the lack of uniqueness from our gender flopping protagonist. He/she does have the looks, but at the end of show the one that will likely have the most impact on you will not be him/her.
Perhaps I am giving a little too much credit to Nomad, the studio that produced Kampfer, but the designs on the characters (ie. their looks, their facial expressions, their Kampfer transformation, et cetera) were quite nicely animated. The animation quality also seems to be rather consistent (which is always a plus). They could have obviously improved on the details of the characters and the backgrounds, but for an ecchi/harem type show I strongly believe having your “merchandise” (ie. girl) looks good is way more crucial than anything else. And in that respect, Nomad was profoundly efficient.
The sound department in Kampfer is average in many ways. The OP may require some time to get accustom to, but the ED will surely get you hooked. However the BGM within the episodes were nothing outstanding. They may suite certain scene or event relatively well most of the time, but they never gave me the feeling that they are amplifying the scene through my ears. Sometimes BGM can make you feel all hyped up or ready to cry a river, but the music in Kampfer did not deliver to that level.
Kampfer fails as a romance anime. Kampfer fails as an action anime. Kampfer, however, delivers ecchiness and harem in a moderate level. Nothing too extreme and nothing too exciting. Its selling points are without a doubt the good and consistent animation quality, and interesting characters like Shizuku and Akane. Overall depending on what you are seeking for enjoyment, Kampfer can be a great source of entertainment or a total waste of time. Personally I liked Shizuku so much that I can ignore all the glaring faults from the show, but that is just my preference. By the way, did anyone tell you Kampfer is a show for Christmas with a story about Santa Claus?
*edit* 2nd Revision read more
27 of 27 episodes seen
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is one of the most watched, most rated, most talked about anime series on MAL. Have you ever considered whether you should give this show a try? Just why do people keep calling it “epicness”? If you are curious enough to look up this show but is undecided (or unsure) if it will turn out being a complete waste of time for you, then look no further! You have found the missing piece to your puzzle.
Imagine. Life in underground caves where the sky is blocked off by thick layers of dirt, where no trees can ever grow, where no wind can ever blow. Imagine. Life as a digger whose sole purpose is to endlessly dig and drill as there is nothing better to do. To top it off, let us further imagine that life are constantly under threat by an unknown source of earthquake from above. This hell hole is precisely where the story begins.
Our teenage protagonist, Simon the digger as he calls himself, has absolutely zero talent of being a hero-type guy to begin with. In fact, he was more likely to be viewed as a loser. His eventual success of being “the man who saves the universe”, in part, is thanks to his best friend whom he often regards as his older brother known as Kamina (*and no my name was not derived from him*). Brother Kamina, along with a cute long hair sniper girl called Yoko helped transform the loser Simon into a “GAR” Simon.
While the story, to a large extend, focus on the character growth of Simon and how he cope with various issues in life, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the story itself is very plot driven. This is especially true in the latter half where viewers will notice an onion peel effect in the battles. One can find a story buried within another story, yet buried still within another story. There may also be people out there who will tell you the story can be basically split into two parts. Where the first part totally owns in terms of character growth and overall sanity of the show and the latter just totally transform the plot into something not recognizable but any sane person. Guess what? They have a point.
Although the battles in the first half of the story pales compare to the latter part (as far as actions are concerned), at the very least there was a sensible goal and sensible way to deal with the problem. However, the second half literally takes things to the edge of the universe. Hardcore action fans will most certainly scream with joy seeing the most unbelievable action in their lifetime, but to the everyday norm like the rest of us, it may seem a little unexpected (some extremists called it unacceptable for ruining all the hard work built up from the first half). Anyhow, at least it was a nice change from the predictable monster of the week cliché.
The soundtracks, by and large, are extremely well made. A few particular BGM played during the key moments of the story just make things all the better. Both the OP and various ED fit nicely with their corresponding animation counterpart. The seiyu have done a wonderful job as well, acting out their roles with great passion and pride. Surprisingly, a few seiyu used such a unique voice that most people (even fans) don’t even recognize them (see if you can identify their voices without spoiling yourself).
Certainly TTGL is not just another one of your average anime. With intense battle scenes, a decent amount of character developments, and creative plot (note that I acknowledge its creativity and originality, but I am not necessary saying the plot make sense nor reasonable … that my friend, will be decided by you once you have watched the series) it will deliver beyond your expectation. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
"When magic and science crosses path, what will happen?" is how I would have liked to start this review. However the answer to that would have simply be "nothing" since, although both sides exists in the same place, there were hardly any interaction between them. So instead, I will begin by asking Index what she meant by accompanying her to the depth of hell. She was hardly present for half the show and during the rare occasions when she is in an episode, she gets sidelined and become a minor character with absolutely no impact to the story (beside biting Touma on the head).
So what happened to those 103,000 magical texts? With the exception of the first few episodes and the last episode or two, where Index as a character actually matters to the plot, there is practically zero reference to the 103,000 magical texts for 80% of the show. Granted the production studio (J.C. Staff) wanted to follow the novel as closely as possible (and they did a very good job at it), it is understandable for the abrupt ending to the story thus far. But it still makes no sense for the story’s centerpiece to be dangling here and there with no sense of purpose in the various story arcs.
If one were to ignore the problems mentioned above, then the overall production quality of Toaru Majutsu no Index is actually quite good. Decent animation from J.C. Staff (though sometimes the distant shots seem lacking in detail) plus a great cast of seiyu make this anime a pleasant watch to those who don’t really mind a poor storyline. Don’t get me wrong though, the mini arcs throughout the show which introduces and help create character developments are great in themselves. However, once the dust settles, it always makes me wonder what happen to the story that was suppose to center around Index.
Character-wise, most were introduced to compliment the particular story arc (with the exception of the main protagonists). Afterward, they will tend to “fade” to the back sometimes making a few seconds appearance here and there with no significance. In terms of character development, not much observable changes occurred for the male protagonist and Index which can be attributed to the faithful following of the novel (since there wasn’t that much matter to talk about at the time of the anime production). On the other hand the co-heroine/main protagonist, Mikoto, of the Railgun series (a spinoff of Toaru Majutsu no Index) did show considerable character growth which makes her shine like a bright star among the group of relatively static characters.
Those familiar with Shana will instantly ring a bell in their head as they watch the first OP of this series. If the OP does not make you go "OMG, this sounds similar to Shana’s OP!", then perhaps watching the daily interaction between Index and Touma will help ring some bells. To be more precise, one can even replace Index with Shana and voila, you have yourself Shakugan no Shana III. The point I am trying to make here is the similarities between the two anime.
1. From the same production company.
2. At least one of their OP theme is sang by the same singer (Kawada Mami).
3. Shana = Index, Yuji = Touma.
So what am I trying to say here? It means that if you enjoy watching Shakugan no Shana, feel free to give this anime a try. The magician (magic) vs esper (science) theme advertised by Toaru Majutsu no Index does have its selling points, but I just think it desperately need a sequel to really link the various bits and pieces together. I enjoyed the mini arcs (whether they are filler or not), those irrelevant mini stories were very entertaining and they help keep my mind off Index. But once I start thinking deeper into the character ties and relationships, there is just something missing about the purpose of Index. Perhaps a hopeful sequel will fill in the missing puzzles, but as things stand right now the story really hurts the show. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
As foreshadowed by the prequel OVA, Spice and Wolf II focus heavily on the romance aspect between our protagonists. By and large, this second adaptation has been regarded as equally successful as its predecessor (if not more successful). In terms of the light novels adaptation, it has been widely accepted for its accurate following of the “actual” story, unlike most anime adaptation. While previous knowledge of the series is not absolutely required to enjoy the show, it is highly recommended for viewers to watch the first season as well as the OVA, which act as the prelude, before watching Spice and Wolf II. For those who wish to try this series with no previous background, here is a little summary of what to expect. Wordy. To be precise, the show is filled with dialogues from start to end, from episode one to episode twelve.
One common question people tend to have for this series often relates to the balance between romance and (merchant) trading. While there are still a decent dose of merchant-like business talks that may confuse viewers from time to time, the spotlight for this sequel seems to land on the character developments over anything else. Hence Horo and Lawrence fans will most likely enjoy the show much more than those who seek for nothing but story content (ie. business trades in medieval times).
The world of Spice and Wolf can often serve as a history textbook (that focuses on the medieval era in Europe). This is once again proven in the second season as viewers are exposed to the corrupted nature of the slave markets and the power of churches at the time. Although the inspiration of merchant trade has been greatly diminished, the believable surroundings of the medieval setting make this anime still interesting to watch even for those who are not too into the romance aspect of the show.
The character department, without doubt, is the selling point this season. Lawrence, for once, no longer seems like an undefeatable merchant. While viewers may remember him as a successful businessman, particularly when it comes to negotiation during trade, in season one. Many of us will be surprised to see that Lawrence, ultimately, is still a human being and thus he must also have his illogical and “stupid” moments especially when it comes to something he has no experience with. Something called love.
The animation this season is by Brains Base (as oppose to IMAGIN which was responsible for the previous season). There are some very minor changes in the character facial expressions and sometimes their looks at various angles, but overall the quality is similar to the first season and there is no reason for one to be disappointed with it. Re-using a quote from my review on the OVA, “For the most part, one can safely say Brains Base did a great job in taking over the series”.
Seiyu are the same as before with Jun Fukuyama being Kraft Lawrence and the lovely Ami Koshimizu acting as the equally lovable Horo (can’t get enough of that thick “Horo-only” accent). Other notable great seiyu that took part in this season include Romi Paku, and Saeko Chiba. In terms of music, the OP and ED are quite enjoyable and the BGM generally suit the particular scene in the question reasonably well. On the whole, this anime is still unique just like its predecessor. However, the big twist this season is the more intense character relationship developments rather than the merchant trading. In hindsight, there seems to be a certain lack of cleverness in plot development. But then again, the various Horo x Lawrence moments are enough to make up for that. read more