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6 of ? chapters read
There are a lot of problematic things about this series. Firstly being the implications that Ruru merely wants to be in the body of a younger girl for sexual desires, when in reality no one would ever enjoy being in the body of the other sex for mere sexual desire. Than there’s the whole lolicon aspect of Ruru’s character, and perhaps worse is how in order maintain his “dream power” and continue prancing around as a little girl, he has to steal panties from other girls…which Koro asserts is perfectly acceptable for Ruru to be doing now that he himself is a girl; which as I’ll mention whenever the “sexual harassment is okay if it’s girl-on-girl” comes up in anime, is a total trigger for me.
But you know what? Despite all these things that would usually provoke contempt from me, I absolutely love reading this series. It’s the funniest thing I’ve read or watched all week, and the best fanservice series I’ve seen in a while. (You know, for the comedy surrounding the fanservice, not the fanservice itself. I’m not a lolicon.) It’s surprisingly entertaining to see a 30 year old virgin naively explore the world of a young girl in Japanese society, while he interacts with two sexually-budding elementary schoolers, and the whole thing is just full of wonderfully crass humor about lady parts and gender bending.
I was sold on this series towards the end of the first chapter, wherein Ruru starts to inspect his new vaginal genitalia, and just as I started groaning as it seems eminent that this is going to turn into a some bad hentai, Ruru’s friends Riri and Nono burst into the room to witness their friend preparing to fondle themselves–demonstrating a perfect use of comedic timing. And the awkward situations that Ruru gets himself into just gets better and better.
My favorite part would have to be the whole sequence of chapter 3, wherein Ruru naively asks Riri if he could borrow some panties from her. Flustered by the seemingly intimate question this leads to Riri coming to terms with her own lesbianism, which then prompts her to thrust Ruru into a changing booth so that they can swap panties–which then leads to Riri fainting upon seeing a penis sprout on Ruru’s crotch as his Dream Power begins to run out.
It's pretty great. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
The setting relies far too much on the “humans are bastards” trope, wherein many of the characters resort to murder to survive when there really isn’t any need to. The players are simply given a bag of bombs, dropped off on a deserted island, and are told to go kill each other if they ever hope to return home. That’s it. Nothing’s actually forcing them to partake in the game, so why not band together to survive on the island, and use their bombs to combat against the evil corporation facilitating the game? Of all the characters, only two of them are convicted criminals; otherwise it’s just a bunch of average people who were jerks to their family and coworkers.
The characters in general are horribly written. Ryouta is the archetypal chivalrous hero who manages to ward off evildoers and protect his woman each episode, giving us too stark of a contrast between the huge asshole we see in the flashbacks; Himiko is the useless damsel in distress most of the time, and Taira’s character gradually degrades from the brosky sidekick to someone who must be at Ryouta’s side at all times–otherwise he’ll go insane with worry. Most of the other characters are villains who, in accordance to the shows over reliance on “humans are bastards,” are much too cartoony to be taken seriously.
Sometimes the bomb fights themselves can be entertaining, but more often than not Btooom! will focus on the tactics of the fights, and there’s just not much to work with if you’re trying to make this a battle of the minds. Even with the variety of different bomb types, chucking multiple bombs while hiding in the bushes would be the most effective strategy in most cases, and yet the show tries to have to have the characters “outsmart” each other. They don’t even ever outsmart each other; once a character simply catches a bomb before it can detonate, and suddenly everyone acts as if he’s “outsmarted” his opponent. If anything this just makes them look even more unintelligent than they already do
Perhaps worst of all is that Btooom! is a series riddled with sexism and rape culture. There are quite a few scenes where Himiko is violated in some way or form, and although none of these scenes are as bad as they could be–especially in comparison to the pornographic source material–they’re still gratuitous and titillating to the point of being fanservice. And rape as fanservice simply isn’t something that belongs in a dramatic narrative.
The main problem with Btooom! in regards to rape however, is how it depicts Himiko and her virginitiphobia. For one, the writers seem to equate the phobia with misandry, and tries to make a point of how Himiko should learn to be more trusting of men; that alone is reason enough to believe that they don’t have enough respect for rape issues as they should. Yes, it’s obviously wrong to distrust every man you see, but trying to drive this point across with an episode about a woman who is alone, ugly, and crazy because she distrusts men, is pretty unsympathetic to people suffering from virginitiphobia.
Then there’s the several scenes where Himiko becomes suicidal in the heat of battle, either to protect her “purity” or because she’s simply lost all hope of winning. This is understandable seeing how she’s gone through several traumatic experiences, but problematic in how it only serves to make her a damsel in distress, and not to actually make a compelling character out of her.
As a mindless action series, Btooom! succeeds at being mildly entertaining. Otherwise, it’s easily one of the worst animes of 2012. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Binbougami ga! is a very silly series. In fact, it’s a really stupid series–sometimes in the positive ha-ha kind of stupid, and others times in bad sense of the word. In general it’s one of those shows that allows to simply relax and enjoy it for what it is and not vehemently critique it, although there are scenes that stand out as mediocre or subpar.
The dramatic aspects are by the far the shows weak-point, as it’s fairly mediocre all the way through. It’s a predictable action-comedy from the get-go, and pretty forgettable. Initially the execution alone is done well enough to make it enjoyable, but it’s doesn’t take long for the formulaic nature of the plot to override that. More often than not the the comedy makes up for all this, so it’s an enjoyable series for the most part
Much of the comedy relies on the specific quirks of each character. This allows for plenty of quality comedy for quite a while, but towards the end of the series they all start to lose their charm, and everything starts to seem tedious. Ichiko and Momiji are relatively more complex, but every other character literally has their quirk define them; every time Ranmaru shows up, the scene pokes fun at her tomboy demeanor, as with Bobby’s pervertism, or Momoo’s masochism.
Thankfully, the actual ending of the series (episode 11-13) breaks out of the formula, and gives us a satisfying conclusion. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Taking place several months after the conclusion of the first season, it follows Madoka and her two alien best friends, Lan and Muginami who with the power of their magical mechas--the Vox--they try to persuade Lan and Muginami's older brothers Dizelmine and Villagilio (respectively) to stop warring with each other, and prevent an apocalypse that's somehow connected to the Vox.
And that's pretty much half of what I could give as a summary to the plot. The story of Rinne no Lagrange is a confusing one, in that it's a fantasy series where none of the fantasy elements are ever given explanation. What exactly are the Vox? Are they bad or good, and how are they related to the apocalypse? Why are the nations of De Metrio and Le Garite warring with each other? What is with those huge flower things in the sky? None of this is given a clear answer, and since these are the things which the main story revolves around, it causes the whole thing to fall apart.
And yet it's all tolerable to the point where it's actually rather enjoyable in a non-ironic way. Most of the characters themselves are well-written; I wouldn't exactly call them deep or anything, but they have likable personalities, and they're dramatic needs were believable and clearly expressed--even if the plot surrounding these dramatic needs was not. You may not understand why Madoka and the others are battling against the powers of darkness (or something), you still enjoy watching them do so because of how likable they are.
This in part is due to the slice-of-life qaulities of the first season, which allowed you to feel more attached to the characters. The first season also had the problem of infusing these qualities with the more dramatic parts of the story, which consequently made it hard to take certain scenes seriously. Although the straight-up slice-of-life scenes are toned down in Season 2, it still has the problem of having a light-hearted atmosphere when it would probably have done better if it could have taken itself more seriously.
It seems as if the writers put so much focus into the characters and slice-of-life elements, that they never bothered to put much thought into the actual plot. Nothing was really even presented as "questions"--all of the characters just went along with the flow of events as if they already knew the nature of the Vox, or why De Metro and Le Garite were warring.
Despite this, Season 2 still manages to have its share of emotional moments, which only get better as the series progresses. However, sometimes you'll be enchanted by one of these wonderfully presented scenes, only for some other aspect of the plot to ruin it--canceling out what could be seen as a redeeming quality. In fact, the plot pretty much cancels all of the good qualities that the show has to offer, no matter how enjoyable they might have on their own. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Jinrui is a weird series, and in fact the weirdest thing I've seen in recent memory. Yet, it stands out from most of the other "weird" anime, in that there's not really anything stereotypical about it's weirdness (in contrast to other weird shows such as Full Metal Panic or Sora no Otoshimono.) You've got cat-eared androids, suicidal toast robots, and "paradogs" (paradox dogs), among other ridiculous concepts throughout, and you get the feeling that the weirdness isn't simply done for shits and giggles, or just for the sake of being weird; rather it adds depth to the series.
The android-arc brings forth yet another "Do Androids Dream" story, but does so in a way that's both original and thought-provoking (and not simply because the androids are cat-eared,) and the fairy societies of episode 9 and 10 are analogous to how fickle many societies are in the long run. Even the many improbabilities within the setting contribute to this by giving the setting a fantastical and whimsical atmosphere. I imagine there are plenty of fans who love Jinrui simply because of how different it is (i.e., the hipsters,) but coincidentally it's the things that make it stand out that make it so intelligent.
None of this is quite evident until episode 6, however. The first five episodes, almost half of the series, utilize an excessive amount of dialogue and deadpan snarking to the point where it undermines any of the good qualities. The dialogue gives the impression that this is a poor adaption of a light novel, while the deadpan snarking just makes all the wittiness seem snobbish. It's boring, and doesn't engage you. There's certainly thought-provoking things to be found, but you're too distracted by the show's faults to really care.
Ironically, when Jinrui isn't bogged down by dialogue and snarking, it' stands as an anime that showcases all of animations strongpoints as a story-telling medium. The visuals and sound are put to much better use to express the emotions and plot of the story, instead of spoon-feeding it with dialogue; giving the series an atmosphere that only animation can accomplish. Many of the shows weirder elements are also things best told with animation, similar to the likes of FLCL.
Although the plot is nice and well written, the characters themselves are overtly simplistic and uninteresting. They all do well to move the plot forward, but it's never more than five minutes that each character ever becomes compelling in and of themselves. A big exception to this would be Watashi and Y, who both undergo some heavy character development in the final two episodes.
Another thing is that Jinrui presents itself as comedy, and although it may be intelligent, it's just not as funny as it could be. All of the jokes have potential, but more often than not they're not quite executed well enough. This also likely due to poor adaption of the source material.
All in all, Jinrui has its fair share of mediocrity--especially with the first five episodes, and it's not quite a great as people claim it to be. But it certainly has its moments of brilliance, full of wit and emotion. read more
15 of 15 chapters read
The first five chapters mainly focus Mikura’s condition as a sexual deviant, where he experience odd hallucinations, and the misadventures that he gets into with Barbara. Although they’re decent enough in their own right, the majority of Barbara’s problems lie in these chapters. Many seinen artists at the time were utilizing sex and violence to make their stories more mature. You get the feeling that Tezuka was trying too hard to appeal to the seinen demographic with these chapters, there are several instances of unnecessary nudity and violence; there are several instances of Barbara displaying her breasts for no logical reason, a poorly implemented scene of attempted rape, as well as a twisted portrayal of sadomasochistic culture. They’re decent chapters, just a little rough around the edges.
Another problem is that these chapters bare little relevance to the remainder of the story. Most notably is how Mikura’s sexual deviancy is only mentioned once throughout the the rest of the story; swept under the rug so that it doesn’t get in the way of the plot. And the rest of the plot does benefit from this, which is surprising seeing how his deviancy was initially the most interesting thing about the story. Still, it’s a glaring inconsistency.
After a shift in the narrative, the plot improves drastically. A clear focus and direction is given to the narrative, making it feel more “solid;” instead of being a series of separate misadventures, each chapter contributes to the overall plot–perfectly building up to the climax. The nudity and violence are also given reason and substance, to the point where it no longer feels forced. Mikura doesn’t change much as a person throughout the story, but the journey he goes through is captivating and intriguing. Barbara has a rough start, and it takes a while for things to really come together, but it pulls through in the end–eventually giving us a powerful and poetic conclusion.
One thing of note is that the treatment of women can be a little unsettling. Barbara gets slapped around by Mikura quite a few times, and there’s some subtle overtones of objectification. It’s not particularly surprising seeing how this was 1970s Japan, but it’s still worth pointing out. Not that women-beating wasn’t looked down upon in Japan, because it was, but most of the stuff presented in Barbara wasn’t really something that would have bothered its audience. I personally didn’t enjoy the novel any less because of it, but I could imagine someone more sensitive to such things being irked.
Another thing is that Mikura is a total jerkass, which may or may not add to his depth as a character. As Frederick L. Schodt makes clear in his forward, Mikura’s moral ambiguity was probably intentional, so that we the audience could decide for ourselves how much of a bad person Mikura is. The stuff he does throughout the novel is clearly bad, but it’s difficult to assess just how bad of a person it makes him. He’s mentally insane, and there are external forces which continually screw around with him.
Ultimately, Barbara is a story about love, determination, insanity, success, failure, and how all of that applies to the nature of art. I wouldn’t exactly call it a masterpiece, but it’s definitely up there with Tezuka’s better works. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
There seems to be misconception that if an adaption is faithful enough to the source material, than it’s garanteed to be good-so long as the source material was good in the first place. This is incorrect because when a story is written for certain medium, it tends to work best in that medium because that’s what the story was designed for. Persona 4 fundamentally works best as a video-game, because that’s what it was written for. You could still make a good television series out of it, but in order for that to happen you have to actually change stuff and play around with it.
The first of these problems is the pacing. Persona 4 is a game where you live out the player-protagonist’s highschool life day by day, with trips to the TV world every few weeks. It takes about 60-80 hours to beat, and features a very slow pacing. For a 25 episode television series, they of course would need to compress the overall story.
For example, it’s not until a whole hour into the game until the player-protagonist actually gets to fight some Shadows. Since fighting Shadows is apart of the show’s premise, you of course need to include that in the pilot. Therefor, the writers had to rush through the first hour of the game and compress into a 20-minute episode, which results in an overtly fast pacing.
Secondly is the formulaic structure that comprises the majority of the plot. It roughly goes something like this: “Episode A: The heroes find out who’s on the Midnight Channel, and try to gather information on them so that they can save them from the TV world –> Episode B: The heroes go into the TV world, and rescues the victim. The victim then joins their party and helps out in the next story arc–> Episode C: Filler episode –> Repeat.”
The formula was no problem in the game, since the slow pacing made it so you barely even noticed the formula in the first place. However, since the formula goes through a mere three episodes of the anime, the quicker pacing makes it seem more repetitive.
Lastly, there’s Yu’s ability to summon multiple Persona’s, and acquire ”Social Links.” In the video-game, these are only briefly explained, but it’s no problem because it makes sense in the context of a video-game. But with The Animation, they still don’t bother to give an in-depth explanation, and it no longer makes any sense because it doesn’t have the context of a game to back it up. In the game it makes complete sense from a game play mechanic, but in The Animation it serves absolutely no purpose other than to occasionally show off some of the obtainable demons.
This is one of those shows where it starts out rather nicely; even though the first few episodes suffered from such overtly-fast pacing, they were otherwise rather enjoyable and of decent quality. After episode 4 however, the series started to steep deeper and deeper into mediocracry, and it wasn’t until episode 21 (near the end of the series) that it finally started to be of exceptional quality. This is partially due to how the series quickly starts to focus less on the mystery aspects of the plot, and more on the formulaic nature of rescuing people from the TV world and forming Social Links. In other words, barely anything interesting actually happened for a large part of the series.
When each character is introduced in their respective story-arcs, they are indeed compelling characters with a good amount of depth to them. However, as soon as they face their inner selves and are rescued from the TV world, they quickly degrade into flat one-dimensional characters. They’re all still likable to a certain extent, but not enough to make slice-of-life episodes (i.e. the filler episodes) worth watching.
The fight scenes were also underwhelming, usually feeling rushed. They barely have any tension to them, and usually ended far sooner than you would have liked them to. A few times they tried to mix up the fights by adding in some zany element, such as the male characters turning into old men, or the a hot liquid appearing on the floor that impaired the characters movements. Sometimes it worked, but other times it was just added a bit of stupid and unnecessary comedy.
If there’s anything that saves this show from being terribly mediocre, it’s the final four episodes that manage to pull a few plot twists and make the whole mystery plot actually interesting.
Overall Rating: 6/10.
For the most part this is a mediocre series, but it had enough saving qualities for me to rate this as “above average.” For a short while each character was compelling and complex, and the last four episodes were of exceptional quality.
But even so, I highly recommend you avoid this series, and just play the original video-game. I wouldn't call the game a masterpiece or anything, but it's certainly better than The Animation is virtually every way. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
There's nothing particularly good about the story or plot, but that's forgivable seeing how this is a comedy. It's about three highschool girls, A-ko, B-ko, and C-ko, (literally “Girl A,” Girl B,” and “Girl C.”) A-Ko and C-ko are best friends–the former of which happens to have super strength and speed. B-ko is A-ko's rival from kindergarten, and has a crush on C-ko, and thus uses her mad scientists skills to constantly challenge A-ko in an attempt to win C-ko's heart. There's also an alien invasion later on.
The biggest problem with this film is that more often than not, it's unfunny and doesn't deliver as a comedy. Supposedly there is a fist full of references parodying various anime from the 1980s, and a large portion of the comedy relies on these references. If this is true, than that would explain why I didn't really find Project A-ko to be very enjoyable. As far as Japanese cartoons go, I'm not exactly well cultured when it comes to anything prior to the '90s, so most of these references were invisible to me. I did catch the jibe they made at Fist of the North Star, which I found pretty hilarious–so had I been able to understand all the other references, maybe I would have liked this more. I doubt it would have much of a difference however.
Perhaps it's not the best idea for me to criticize for not "understanding" it, but I can at least say this: comedies that rely on parodying other stories tend to not age well. As time passes, less and less people will be able to appreciate the work, until eventually only a niche group of people will be able to truly appreciate it. Some more time later and maybe no one will understand it–which is actually kind of depressing, but hey, that's how it is.
As I said, the story and plot is nothing special, and this in part due to the fact that all of the characters are rather shallow and uninteresting. B-ko is your typical one-dimensional villain/rival, who really wants nothing more but to kill A-ko and win the heart of C-ko–which was probably supposed to be funny, but wasn't. C-ko in particular is rather annoying and unlikable, as all she ever does is act like some sort of seven year old, and cries whenever someone calls her out for being a cloudcukoolander. Which again, was probably supposed to be funny, but wasn't. A-ko would be the best of the characters, but only because there's nothing particularly good or bad about her.
The only thing about Project-Ako that's consistently good would be the huge action sequence in the final thirty minutes of the film. It starts with A-ko and B-ko's final duel, and than sort of escalates once the city is attacked by aliens. It's ridiculous and exciting, and actually pretty enjoyable. One scene that stand outs is when A-ko ascends to the floating alien spaceship by hopping on and off missiles that are being shot in her direction.
Since Project A-ko is considered to be one of the classics, you might want to watch it anyways–just don't except anything to be enjoyable apart from the action sequences. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
This all gives an interesting twist to the “Monster of the Week” dynamic, in that instead of having the main character fight monsters every week, the series has him seduce women.
There's a nice mix of drama and comedy; most of the drama and serious aspects come from the emotional issues that the love interests face–whereas most of the comedy comes from the wacky personalities of Keima and Elsee. The transitions from dramatic to comedic scenes can be abrupt, but most of the time it doesn't feel too forced.
During a comedic scene, the characters (particularly Keima and Elsee) often switch to a much more cartoony art style, which helps to add comedic affect. There's also a lot of shout outs to various media, which will probably warrant a chuckle or two if you manage to understand any of the references.
The two protoganists of Keima and Elsee, although actually quite likable, come off as a bit one-dimensional. Keima is a genius boy wonder who considers reality “a shitty game,” and Elsee is an adorable demon who screws-up at everything…and there's not really much else to these characters, as there is barely any character development throughout the series. This is justifiable in that the anime only covers the first 40 chapters of the manga, which as of this writing is an ongoing series with 174 chapters released. So when watching this 24 episode series, think of it as the beginning of a larger story than it's own standalone thing.
The level of enjoyment watching this sort of depends on how willing you are to suspend disbelief to the fact that Keima uses his knowledge to win the heart of a woman not once, but multiple times. The fact alone that Keima uses his knowledge of dating sims to win the heart of women will probably come as a little implausible. Nonetheless, it's interesting to see how Keima strategize, and to see *how* he uses his knowledge of gal games.
With each story-arc by itself, each of the heroine's love for Keima doesn't really feel forced or unnatural–especially when you consider that these are women who have their emotional weaknesses amplified by an infesting demon. Each love interest is quite likable, and goes through a fair amount of character development; its somewhat remarkable considering that none of these characters get more than three episodes of screen time.
Overall The World God Only Knows is a fun and enjoyable series, albeit one that might challenge your suspension of disbelief depending on how you look at it (although only a little.) It has a nice blend of drama and comedy, and manages to make good use of its premise. If you like romance-centered cartoons, you'll probably like this. read more
51 of 51 episodes seen
All around its pretty much your typical shounen fighting anime, but stands from the rest of the herd thanks to its colorful and imaginative setting. The show deploys quite a lot of the tropes commonly-used in modern shounen series, but manages to be well-written enough that this use of tropes does not come off as cliché, and instead creates a fairly enjoyable experience.
The vast majority of the characters come off as at least a little cliché, but again the series is well-written enough that its not really a problem; each character has enough quirkiness and originality that they end up actually being likable instead of annoying.
(As a side note, quite a few characters seem fairly similar to those from Naruto. Seeing how Soul Eater began serialization about seven years after Naruto, I wouldn't be surprised if this were true.)
The best part of Soul Eater would definitely be the artwork and fight scenes. The characters and background art is all consistently well drawn. The setting and background art has is rather surreal and dream-like. The series jumps around a lot from being colorful and upbeat to dark and gloomy, but does well in choosing when to be either of those two contrasts. The majority of the time the fight scenes are fast and highly stylish, and the artwork does well in complimenting this.
The problem with Soul Eater is with its Gecko Ending. I've never actually read the original manga, but I've been told that somewhere around episode 35 is when the anime diverges from the source material and starts to do its own thing. This is when the story goes downhill, and begins to dive into the depths of mediocrity.
For the first two thirds of the series, the actual story and plot isn't too remarkable, but is decent enough and succeeds in providing us some good ol' fantasy violence. During remaining 15 episodes however, a shift in tone occurs and all of the sudden the story is trying too hard be more dramatic, and ends up taking itself too seriously in the process. The characters also ended being somewhat less likable, and the everything leading up to the conclusion felt a tad bit rushed. Mind you, it's not exactly bad, just mediocre. The final three episodes in particular is when the story starts to go bad, resulting in a very unsatisfying conclusion to what was otherwise an alright series.
If your a fan of Naruto, Bleach, or similar shounen series, you'll definitely like Soul Eater, as it has all things you would come to expect from the genre (both good and bad.) However, because of the poorly executed Gecko Ending, it would probably be a better idea to try your luck with the original manga instead. read more