25 of 25 episodes seen
For those completely unfamiliar with P4, it begins with a high school student, Yu Narukami, moving to Inaba for a year. His arrival coincides with a serial murder case that seems to be tied with an urban legend named "The Midnight Channel." Yu and his classmates find themselves caught up in this case as discover an ability to enter TV's, use summonings called "Persona's," all of which relate to the serial murders.
The biggest discrepancy between a persona game and an anime is the silent protagonist. Its role in a game is to enhance roleplaying, perhaps immersion, but this has no place in an anime. Somehow, Yu actually manages to reprise his role as the essentially silent protagonist. A rare deadpan joke with 1 or 2 lines meant to inspire at ciritcal points are the extent of his verbalizations. His utter LACK of leadership and vapid, almost robotic personality doesn't fit with the respect he gets from his comrades. He is seen as the leader by the group when to viewers, he's clearly a Robin, or maybe even an Alfred. Not a Batman.
The pace is breakneck, and the series suffers for it in the early going. We never get to soak in the creepiness of the murders, the newscasts, the body positions, and the bizzaro TV world. Even the "social links," relationship building sequences between the main character and classmates, feel rushed. Absent are the dramatic changes of tone, or the critical moments that completely change the relationships' course.
It seems this Anime was designed with fanservice in mind. It assumes everyone knows the story and doesn't bother illustrating it properly. Instead, it just tries to cover as many events in the game as possible. Less is definitely more in this case. It's a nice recap of the P4 story for those who have played the game for anyone who needs one, but I wouldn't recommend it beyond that. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Keima is a high school student dubbed “The God of Conquest” due to his proficiency in beating dating sims. He is popular amongst dating sim players on the net, but his classmates find him disgusting. He is issued a challenge by a mysterious sender and as soon as he hits reply, the demon Elsee comes to him telling him he’s already signed a contract. Keima must displace wandering souls (who only take refuge in high school girls’ hearts?) by inspiring love in the hosts’ heart. If he fails, both he and Elsee will be guillotined. To save his life, Keima must become a real pickup artist, even though he’s never even held a girl’s hand. To avoid complications, the girls he picks up promptly forget about him after the climactic kiss that liberates them, allowing him to move onto the next target without breaking any hearts (except maybe his own…awww).
Oddly enough, all his moves in the dating sims work just as well in real life. Keima isn’t a smooth talker, James Bond type. He uses a somewhat creepy, perhaps slightly endearing earnestness. It’s usually an over the top, “that guy is way too into me” kind of thing. He also has a great talent in that he can say the cheesiest, cruelest, or most socially unacceptable things with a straight face. The girls are all overblown cliché’s with comedic exaggerations or twists thrown in. A wealthy, slightly sadistic ojousama, an athletic girl, a pop idol, and a quiet librarian are the primary story arcs. Keima coldly observes them and calculates the best way to wriggle his sleezy self into their hearts. The girls have some burden that they endure, so Keima tests the waters until he understands their issues, then with his love (bleh!), he resolves it.
The climaxes are similar to those of dating sims. In one instant, the girls’ problems are solved, and the romance is sealed with a kiss. The Ojousama and Idol ones were particularly cute, but the highlight is always the journey itself, which is anything but typical. Keima often gets shot down in the most hilarious ways. Unphased and undaunted, he will continue to proceed with his ridiculous plans. On his very first target, the athlete, he hangs banners of love and praise down the side of the school building, and just stands beside them without the slightest hint of embarrassment. She beats him, insults him, ignores him, but he persists.
The animation is usually solid. The character designs are truly generic (as intended no doubt), but the dancing, singing, and soul capturing sequences are all exceptionally well animated. The playful orchestral piece really adds a lot of romantic atmosphere to the climaxes, and the music overall is good. There are several pop songs (some of them quite funny) written just for the series but they often insist on playing them for the full duration. The idol arc itself contains maybe 3-5 music video sequences. They do drag a bit, but that’s a minor complaint.
Kami Nomi is funny in so many ways. The parody of dating sims and Anime girls in general is just the beginning. Keima’s campy cheese (one example: “You don’t have to worry about rank. You’re already first…in my heart”) is ceaselessly amusing as well. The hilarity of the side characters, Keima’s mother, Elsee, and others is just a plus.
11 of 11 episodes seen
none have Kuragehime beat in the sheer absurdity of the fan
community. As the name implies, the main character, the
jellyfish princess, is utterly taken by jellyfish. She lives in
a "nunnery" so named because the residents are female outcasts
that hate all things fashionable and hip, and regularly curse the
existence of men. The other residents are obsessed with trains,
old men, Kimonos, and Romance of the 3 Kingdoms.
Jellyfish girl, Tsukimi, meets a fashionable girl one night who
persistently insists on staying over. Uneasy already with a
hipster, Tsukimi learns in the morning that the girl is actually
a transvestite. He becomes taken with the nunnery and Tsukimi, and
decides to visit regularly to the Chagrin of the other residents. Kuragehime is
always sweet and endearing the way Otaku community stories like
Genshiken or Doujin Work tend to be, but the plot changes focus
from romance to keeping the nunnery safe, and the ending gives an
anticlimactic (though thoroughly amusing) conclusion to both.
Aside from Jellyfish girl, Kuranosuke the crossdresser and
perhaps one other character, the cast is merely gag fodder,
flaunting their ridiculous obsessions constantly. For example,
anytime a location is mentioned, the train girl will mention what
line that location is near. The 3 kingdoms girl will also make
poor analogies of what is happening to events in the epic. You
never get to know their hardships or struggles with their social
Tsukimi and Kuranosuke, in complete contrast, have very
heartwarming stories tied to the loss of their mothers. Their
hobbies remind them of their mothers, and some of the most
touching moments in the series come from both the happiness and
sadness they feel when they partake in their obsessions.
Unfortunately, the romance element is rather weak, and when it
takes center stage the series drags. Tsukimi has a potent
cupid's arrow, love at first sight reaction that somehow gets way
more emotionally involved than a crush. She runs off crying when
she thinks a guy she hasn't shared 3 or 4 sentences with might
not have feelings for her. She may be inexperienced in love, but
it will probably be hard for anyone who's gotten past the 7th
grade to see this as the pinnacle of heart break and romantic
drama. The best romantic moments are the awkward ones that are
touching and funny at the same time, but they are few and far
The animation style is fluffy looking, with light, slightly faded
colors like one piece or Paradise Kiss. The characters have the
full lips but not the sharp faces typical of shoujo/josei Anime.
The fashion choices might be eccentric and odd for real life, but
are beautiful to look at in animation. I'm not really sure how
jellyfish could be any sexier than they are in Kuragehime either.
This is definitely a pretty series.
Kuragehime is stuck somewhere between a melancholic slife of
life, a romantic drama, and a heartwarming otaku expose. The
ending doesn't really tie it all together, but it's entertaining
enough at 11 episodes.
24 of 24 episodes seen
It may be easy to pass off the characters in NHK as severly diseased persons in need of 2 anti-depressants and an anti-psychotic, but they are in every other way relatable human beings. Most of us probably can't see ourselves becoming addicted to ero-ge's after playing them in the name of research (not to Satou's degree anyway), but the characters themselves understand their own flaws, and even hate themselves for it. Were it not for that fault, an inability to socialize for example, they would be perfectly functional members of society. Conversely, with such a fault, it's easy to imagine any normal person in that same predicament. What seems to be a comic exaggeration of Satou's vices reveals itself to be a great draw for sympathy.
There is a gradual shift in the tone of this series from a dark comedy to a dark drama. Misaki's dry speech and rather un-witty sense of humor demonstrate a sweet innocence about her, and when she and Satou's neighbor, Yamazaki, the other bright spot in this Anime, sink into problems of their own, Welcome to the NHK removes humor altogether. Satou's problems, which have been compounding throughout the whole series, explode as the friends that have been such anchors for him reveal pathologies of their own. It can become a little melodramatic, but fittingly so. While a "the world is ending" sentiment might not be suitable for a parting between lovers, it seems natural for these characters who genuinely see little meaning in their own lives, and have been keeping in frustrations for so long.
To note, romance plays quite a role in this story. A high school crush of Satou's gets pulled in with Misaki to form a very traditional love triangle. An alluring and mature woman, an innocent and sweet young girl, both vying for the loser of losers? This sounds like a harem romance, but rest assured, it is so very far from that. To start, neither girl is fighting for Satou. What looks like a cute, perhaps even generic piece of romantic tension actually stems from selfish, pathological needs. Its complexity develops because these feelings, however dark their origins, are no less real. Its dramatic and fitting conclusion, which takes the climax of this series, is at once heartbreaking and heartwarming. This depraved yet sweet romance is my favorite in Anime.
NHK constantly drops hints for you that behind all the humor, it's actually quite a downer. The depressing bits, even in the earlier episodes are not anomalies, so take them as a preview of what to expect further into the series. It gets to be heavy; not suitable for everyone. If you don't object to the deeply depressing, you'll find something special in Welcome to the NHK. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
In the written story, there is a progression of the surreal. It moves from being a rather normal predicament to something vaguely inexplicable, to complete nonsense draped in metaphors and symbolism. The animation though, is trippy from the start. Strange camera angles are used, and bodies are not only out of proportion, but in constantly shifting proportions. It`s not exactly how I would have imagined Country Doctor in my head, but it provides a buffer of sorts that makes some of the more surreal events and images more tolerable, less out of place, in the already surreal looking world. The animation also sticks very close to the text, making sure to visually capture all the little described details. In the longer bits of narration, it adds some unmentioned, original imagery.
In an attempt to create the same effect as the first person perspective of the story that enlightens readers on all of the doctor`s thoughts, two black, mini versions of the doctor are used to narrate. The coldness of this narration, along with a general inability of the characters to express emotions makes this film more confusing than the story, which is already painfully confusing. In the story, it explicitly states that the doctor kicks the door to his pigsty in frustration. In the animation, he just slowly walks up to the door and kicks for no apparent reason, almost as if looking inside was his intention. Similarly, lines of narration are rendered meaningless because the cynicism and bitterness of the doctor is replaced with a completely matter of fact tone.
The sounds and animation bring to the foreground a haunting atmosphere that is very subtle in the original story, and I appreciate this. A discordant clang of triangles is one piece of music the film used. Though it can hardly be called music, it is certainly creepy. Even when there`s no music, the howling winds, and the creaking of the house just gives a feeling of unease.
In the original story, with all the inexplicable insanity that occurs, the one grounding, sensible piece is the doctor himself; the piece that gives you hope of making sense of everything through the confounding events. As ambiguous as his character is in this film, even reading an interpretive analysis of the story will only provide a detached and unsatisfying understanding. It will be little more than animated gibberish without reading the short story first, but the eeriness that pervades the film does make it an interesting representation for those that have. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
I tend to prefer the simple punchlines in the likes of Hyakko or 4 panel mangas. Mariaholic has none of that, but has a nice balance of recurring gags, non sequiturs, references and self deprecating humor. Kanako is a closet lesbian genuinely allergic to guys. She thinks her life has taken a dramatic turn for the better when she steps foot in her new, all girls catholic school. The first girl she encounters strikes her fancy (though you will soon learn that just about any girl will do the same), but to her dismay, Kanako discovers this girl is actually a transvestite related to the founder of the school. Mariya, the cross-dresser, pulls strings to live with Kanako so as to keep her trap shut. Kanako's complacency makes her a nice toy for the sadistic Mariya.
Reading the synopsis, I feared deeply that this would somehow turn into a straight love story, with Kanako eventually overcoming lesbianism as if it were a disease. Thank god that doesn't come to pass. There isn't an ounce of genuine romantic tension between the two leads, that is, if you rule out Mariya's moe play that will momentarily seduces Kanako. The bulk of the series is about Kanako's perversion. Apparently all the girls at her school, teachers included, are shoujo or harem cliche's, and Kanako has a fetish for each and every one of them. Nosebleeds and anemia ensue.
While the long soliloquies she'll bust out on the attractive qualities of each girl grow old quickly, along with the inevitable nosebleeds and nurse visits, the girls she fawns over usually lampoon themselves with sharp, self-aware jokes that are hilarious. One character is socially inept, cold, but honest to a fault. She'll keep her promises regardless of how inane. This girl could easily be in the supporting cast of any cheesy shoujo manga, and Mariaholic highlights just how ridiculous her personality is. She agrees to take care of Kanako, the way you might for any new student, but she takes it to an extreme, throwing herself into each and every one of Kanako's problems with the intention to resolve them, but exacerbates them instead. To further the parody humor, the animation styles will briefly change, momentarily shifting to a look typical of the genre it is making fun of.
The whole series is based on Kanako's suffering. Surprisingly, aside from a few very degrading insults, Mariya doesn't cause much of it. He may set up a situation and watch Kanako's pain with smug satisfaction, but she's the one who digs her own grave.
By the end of the series, the parodies will have run their course, and Kanako's sex crazed nosebleeds will have long since grown old. It may be a novel twist on a harem concept, but the nosebleed joke isn't any funnier for it, especially given how ubiquitous it is in Anime. The non sequiturs though, kick to the end. Mariaholic isn't deluged with them in Excel Saga or Pani Poni fashion, so their presence never becomes commonplace. The dorm mistress who prefers to be called "god" is the primary dealer of randomness. Her hilariously high pitched dog, Wakame seaweed, and a bag with a tentacled alien inside are other examples. The key to non sequiturs in my view is their recurrence; it must be just as out-of-the-blue as their introduction, and Mariaholic nails this. Just remembering the utter left field appearances of the alien bag makes me crack a smile.
Like most Anime comedies, Mariaholic loses some of its luster by the end. If it had continued another 12 episodes, I don't think I could have finished it. 12 episodes though, is a magic number for comedies. By the time I became desensitized to, or even repulsed by some of its humor, it was close to the end, and the remaining bits of amusement carried me through the rest of it. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
The perfect match that the animation forms with the music makes it seem like they were created for each other. When the girl is just standing outside a mall, the music is a bright and somewhat spastic melody. Just as we see the bear, the bass comes in, and just as the girl sees the world inside the bear, the beat and choir are added. Many other dramatic moments in the animation, like a blooming cascade of flowers, are accompanied by a dramatic shift in the music. As the story layers, so does the music. The music itself is a bubbly hodge podge of samples from every instrument imaginable. A single instrument will rarely see more than 3 or 4 notes before surrendering the melody to something else. The techno beat gives some order to it all, but it`s still a wonder to me how in all its jarring disjointedness, this piece of music manages to make sense. It`s quite amazing to listen to.
Superflat Monogram is a simple pleasure. A frolicking little girl to groovy music anyone? Aside from an LV symbol here and there, I don`t really see how this ties into designer fashion, but who cares about that. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Story & Characters:
There isn't a semblance of a central plot, it's not particularly dramatic and its episodes are a bit formulaic. Perhaps it is this simple, and gentle approach to story telling which forgoes the dramatic and melodramatic that makes this series so easy to enjoy. It's safe; you know what to expect, and no pretentious philosophy lessons or painful corny moments pop up to ruin the action-comedy in its simplest form. Of course the trade off is that the episodes become quite predictable, but the characters are amusing enough to make their light-hearted adventures enjoyable despite that fact.
Both Ran and Miao are foolish in their own ways. Miao is quite simply dense. She's often flattered by Ran's thinly veiled, backhanded compliments. Ran on the other hand, is blunt to the point of tactlessness. She doesn't give due respect to anyone except inn managers, and only because they bring her sake. Alcohol is her one worldly desire, and it's a fervid desire at that. Her laid back nature and simple wants hide her incredible skill with the sword, but unlike similar characters in Kenshin or Vash, Ran isn't much of a hero. Her laissez faire attitude extends to her morals as well. She'll punish wrongdoings, but only if it takes place in front of her eyes, and the way she passes off desperate pleas demonstrates her "out of sight, out of mind" stance regarding justice. The rather rigid formula of the episodes are all based on these character flaws. Miao will help anyone with a decent sob story while Ran refuses and looks for alcohol instead. They separate; Miao eventually realizes she's bitten off more than she can chew and Ran will come to the rescue, possibly because she can no longer let whatever evil was taking place slide, but more likely because she ran out of sake money and needs a loan from Miao.
The humor is similarly repetitive; playing mostly off Miao's idiocy and Ran's social impropriety. With only 13 episodes, it manages to scrape by without getting old. The ills of society Miao and Ran stumble upon, from drug dealing, extortion, swindling, amongst others, create enough variety in both situational humor and plot to keep the series somewhat fresh. I wouldn't recommend marathoning Tsukikage Ran though.
Animation & Music:
The 70's Asian pop opening and endings along with its 80's, Rumiko Takahashi look hides its age well. I did a double take when I read it was made in 2000.
Ran's bouts are fast and concise (at times to the point of being anticlimactic), not particularly well animated, but at the very least, fully animated, with no still screens or cut outs. While most of the characters wield the Katana with two hands, Ran only uses one, hacking with it like a machete. It's a nice fit to her unorthodox nature, and her dislike of Samurai. Miao fights hand to hand, but her martial looks look awkward at best, ridiculous at worst, though still commendable for being fully animated.
The music is a complete throw back. Not only the OP and ED, but also the regular BGM's, many of which even sound like they were recorded in old studios. They bear that slight fuzziness in the higher notes that typical of older recordings. To go to that extent for its classic appeal is impressive.
Watching too much Tsukikage Ran at once will exacerbate its repetitive nature. On a sparing watch schedule, Tsukikage Ran is action comedy distilled to its purest form. There are no fetish characters, no social-political comments, just some nice good-guy vs. bad-guy action dealt by a classic boke tsukommi comedy duo. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
A vast majority of Inukami is episodic. Youko and Keita get caught in situations while extinguishing evil at the request of others. Very slowly, a central story line involving Youko`s father and a perverted wizard develops, but it works within the episodic Inukami framework. The smaller subplots all involve Youko and Keita abusing each other. Keita takes advantage of his Inukami`s naivete to hide his unfaithful intentions while Youko, ever the sadist, will often tease Keita into situations where he`s the most vulnerable, only to suddenly humiliate him. She`s not beyond outright delivering simple and straightforward vengeance when she feels wronged either. Youko, unlike most tsundere`s, makes it clear to all that she wants Keita, or rather, she already sees him as her property. Her innocent notions of romance, cuddling, going on dates, receiving courting gifts, gives her sadistic nature a playfulness that makes it easy to laugh at. Her favorite form of torture is teleporting Keita out of his clothing, buck naked in the middle of the street. It may sound harsh, but Keita`s closet exhibitionism keeps him from being traumatized. Youko`s violence doesn`t stem from misunderstandings ala Love Hina. Keita`s punishments are his just deserts. His humorous ambivalence, or even outright aversion to Youko`s tenderness alone warrants a smack. Add to that his shameless sex drive and a pompous chauvinism, and it feels good to see the bastard hurt a little.
For a harem girl, Youko is quite a joy to watch. She`s innocent at heart, mischievous with her lover, but at the same time easy to anger, and frighteningly belligerent. Her abusiveness with Keita is a slap on the wrist compared to the hell she`d unleash if prompted by her jealousy and possessiveness. The gloves are off for people who stand between her and her cozy relationship with Keita. It might sound biploar, a murderous violence with innocent affection behind it, but it all makes sense under her territorial nature; almost like a nurturing beast protecting its offspring.
Inukami is splashed with harem drama, but its sense of humor is its boon. At least half of the scenes that are built like a corny attempt at a tear jerker are, at the last moment, twisted into one of its ridiculous jokes. Aside from the lovers` spats of Youko and Keita, the humor in Inukami is totally inappropriate, and i mean that in a good way. The Inukami world is full of freaks with all kinds of sexual "hobbies". The villain in the first episode is a restless soul who shoots people with a beam from his genitals, stripping them of their clothing, and he`s one of the tamer ones.
The minor characters; the freaks, perverts, Youko`s ridiculous father and the exhibitionist wizard display their rather nasty perversions so openly and proudly, so earnestly that it`s hard not to laugh at how harmless yet disgusting they are. One of them is a salary man, complete with a suit, who spends all his screen time tied up in bondage fashion with ropes, screaming to be punished. He doesn`t even untie himself to walk. Most of the real cast was quite a drag though. Keita`s cousin`s 10 Inukami, which he encounters quite often, are a gang of shamelessly unoriginal harem characters. Keita himself is something of a cliche harem anime lead: perverted most of the time, but unnaturally caring at others. Keita is a functional, if simple character when he is a skirt chaser, but his sex driven mind is so extreme that it`s hard to see him in any other role, much a considerate prince charming that the girls swoon over. The kindness is such a sudden and contradictory shift that it feels unnatural.
As fun as it is to watch Inukami`s twisted humor, it is just as unbearable when it doesn`t have the good sense to stay away from drama. Towards the end, a story that actually takes itself seriously develops, which peaks at a long and melodramatic battle between the heroes, and a real villain. Not some exhibitionist or pervert, but maybe the embodiment of evil itself. Putting aside its unbearable cheesiness, it just feels completely out of place in the established Inukami world. It begs the question why a harem comedy based on perversion of all sorts suddenly wants a Sailor Moon-esque ending.
Inukami is quite long, and eventually Youko`s violence becomes more and more simple. It is too often devoid of the trickery by both parties that made the abuse fun earlier in the series. Keita doesn`t even attempt to escape Youko before setting his lecherous sights on some other girl. In fact, he`ll holler at girls when she`s right next to him, evidently, asking to be burned to a crisp.
It`s easy to recommend the first 2 episodes to anyone who`s okay having a little male nudity with their fan service, but the humor becomes more and more tainted with standard harem fare as the series moves on, and the ending takes an epic turn for the terrible. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
It's surprising the amount of insight Bamboo Blade's silly, gag oriented characters provide on the passion for and the meaning of Kendo. Even more unthinkable is the lack of ecchi in a high school girl oriented cast clearly aimed at males. Bamboo Blade is full of wonderful surprises, but the repetitive comedy and weak action elements do nothing to fill in for its uneventful plot.
An unambitious teacher is the supervisor for Murota school's Kendo club. Throughout the years, his club has been whittled down to one hard working and devoted girl, Kirino, who loves the sport but is miffed that her teacher is always so lazy. A drunken wager with the teacher's former classmate stakes a full year of free sushi on an exhibition girl's Kendo match, and with this, he is suddenly gung ho about whipping his club into tournament shape, to the delight of Kirino. He pursues ex-members and a new child prodigy, Tamaki, to fill the ranks, and in the process, revives his old flame for Kendo.
Story & Characters
The most striking element of Bamboo Blade is how realistic and poignant, yet varied the characters' feelings towards Kendo are. Azuma, a member of the home Kendo club, adores it as a part of herself and a passion she's held since youth while Kirino enjoys the camaraderie it builds. Each of the main characters find a unique and believable relationship with Kendo, and even some of the minor characters shed words of wisdom. Most of the action elements also follow in this vein of realism. Even though many of the characters improve their skills, it's far from a "powerup" scenario. For instance, one of the home members has markedly wonderful aggression, but little skill and focus. Instead of taking the typical shounen route that would have transformed her into an unconventionally powerful prodigy, her lack of focus is a crippling handicap throughout, rendering her unable to win any matches. Just as in real life, the focus and skill is only be attained through painstaking practice along with multiple frustrating failures.
It's a little too bad that the series revolves around the tiny prodigy, Tamaki. She's a robotic character with her desire to emulate the naive heroism of her favorite Anime characters as her only displayed emotion throughout most of the series. Though she does undergo trials towards the end that expand her emotional range, her completely inhuman nature for the rest of the series had already sabotaged any possible empathy from the viewer. Unlike the other characters, Tamaki's Kendo skill goes beyond the bounds of believability; she is essentially invincible. To a lesser degree, the other characters are similarly simple caricatures for a majority of their screen time, but when Kendo gets involved, their genuine elements come through. Only when they reveal their relationship to Kendo are they not generic, run of the mill anime characters.
Many of their gags are funny for the first time, but each character has no more than 1 or 2 that repeat, and by the end they become clockwork. Interestingly, the action is often skipped over, either with a simple still screen, or just an announcement of a winner with no visuals at all. The tantalizing bit of Kendo we see animated ranges from excessive still screen usage to beautiful and accurate animation that captures the explosive, almost spastic nature of the matches. Still, even when the matches are just glanced over, we get the primary reward we desire in the reaction of the characters. Their genuine passion for the sport makes me feel their elation when they win, and their heartbreak or frustration when they lose. Watching the characters express themselves in the context of Kendo is compelling, but I didn't care a lick for the rest of the plot. All the minutia that's supposed to give added weight to the results of the matches, which is the free sushi at first, and then eventually the teacher's job, is a boring filler of screen time
Bamboo Blade is certainly far from a generic, power up sports Anime, but that novelty alone doesn't make it compelling. It's a drag to sit through at times, but the unmatched insight into Kendo, or perhaps competitive sports in general is worth wading through the other junk. read more