1 of 1 episodes seen
Also be warned that if you are planning to watch X, you should /not/ watch it as someone who has never /read/ X. You should read X first, then watch the movie. Otherwise you will not be able to understand or appreciate it at all. This review is, by the way, written with the assumption that you /have/ read X – but never fear, for there are very few actual spoilers for the manga and you may still read this review even if you haven’t read X. Now, let us get on to the actual review…
The majority of you are angry that X the Movie doesn’t follow X. But that’s because the majority of you are looking at the movie from the perspective of people who have read all eighteen volumes. You see, when I first started watching the movie, I went into it angry. I was ready to point out all the flaws I could possibly find.
“No! No no no no no! Seishirou, Subaru, what are you doing!”
“Subaru, you don’t walk around in shifuku! I think the animators confused you with Hokuto. Who has been dead for nearly a decade by this point so I don’t know how they could confuse you with her…actually…”
“/No. What are you doing. Stop it. You’re both idiots/.”
“No no no no no no noooo. Subaru, that is not your wish. And Seishirou, you’re just being downright rude. And stupid. Have I mentioned how stupid I think the two of you are?”
“Whoa they turned into dragons!”
~incomprehensible complaining, sobbing, raging ten minutes into the movie~
“W-where is Kakyou?! Who is this brat?”
“Whoa Yuzuriha, you’re pretty…forceful. I remember you being much bubblier and friendlier in the manga!”
“Hey, Kusanagi. /What happened to you/. When did you become such a horrid brute?”
“/What happened to your relationship with Yuzuriha/?!”
“Well Fuuma…you’re just going on a rampage, aren’t you…”
Half way through the movie, I realized something. And started laughing.
X the Movie was released in 1996; by that time, the X manga was only up to about eight volumes. CLAMP is not about to spoil all their developments in a movie. How Subaru and Seishirou’s relationship resolves is one of the reasons a majority of people read X – how do you get that out of the way? /Especially/ since we don’t learn how their relationship ends until, oh, over five years later! The sensible way is to kill them off ten minutes into the movie, of course. Can’t get your hopes up too much, can we? While my heart aches, I can’t blame the directors or CLAMP since it was a rather grandiose move in order to keep X’s sixteenth volume a complete and, I might add, devastating surprise.
Kusanagi is portrayed as a bastard, not because he is one, but because they can’t show what sort of relationship Kusanagi and Yuzuriha have later on. That would be spoiling it! As for Kakyou – I don’t think he was even introduced by the eighth volume, so they simply had to replace him with someone else. To be fair, whoever they replaced him with (I apologize, I already forgot his name, yes I know I’m horrible) looked quite similar to Kakyou. Another red herring, if I may say.
So, basically, X the Movie is one gigantic troll.
Distance yourself from X and you can see it. Even I, who loathe it when manga are taken and dissected into pieces and consequently abridged for anime format, managed to become objective and viewed X as simply…something separate from its manga counterpart. If you so desire to see it as such, you could even call X the Movie a really long trailer for X – or a “what could have been” version of X. You could even see it as a parody, if you want. A really bloody, messy parody.
That aside, X the Movie is truly breathtaking. The art is beautiful. Here are the /real/ CLAMP characters – not the stiff, and, quite blatantly, often ugly art of the television series. The animation is wonderfully done and fluid. Now if only an anime series – true to the manga – could be released with this sort of quality! The character designs are completely and utterly true to their original counterparts. Seishirou is dashing as usual, Subaru is beautiful, Arashi is utterly gorgeous, Yuzuriha is adorable, Hinoto is stunning. I’d go into the other characters but that would take too long – I’m simply mentioning the ones that struck me with awe. The soundtrack is also quite solid; I can’t remember having any complaints about it. In addition, the seiyuu were quite fitting for all their characters.
The visuals are very dark and mystical, as is fitting for X. Be warned, for there is…quite a bit of gore in X. In the television series, there was almost absolutely no blood, which was one of the major things that irritated me. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a fan of gore at all. But X is filled with blood and guts and bones and pretty darn painful deaths, and if you’re planning to censor that, why make an anime series at all? The movie, written and released before the anime series, makes up for that.
Those of you who, despite my warnings, will be going on to watch X the Movie (and have made it this far into my review) without reading X the manga must be warned – the characterization in the manga is different. The character development is different. The events displayed in the movie either did not occur or are not in chronological order. As I stated earlier – it is best if you read X before you watch the movie. Distance yourself. Know the characters. Know who they are. Watch, watch without getting angry – watch it the “right way”, and you will enjoy it.
I know I did. I watched it and I don’t regret it in the slightest. I might even watch it again, if only for that beautiful art. read more
4 of 4 chapters read
Love Letter is a one volume manga by Seo Kouji, and is somewhat a deviation from his other works. While a lot of Seo-sensei’s manga are high school romances with ecchi on the side, Love Letter is a tragedy based on real historical events. Mochida Chieko and Anazawa Toshio, two teenagers, fall in love during the events of World War II. Fate, however, does not allow them to be together, for Toshio enlists into the aeronautical army and joins the air force. Later on, he is assigned to the special force – otherwise known as the Kamikaze, those who go on a trip from which they will never return.
Love Letter is predictable. But that does not make it bad. That is precisely, perhaps, why it is so beautiful. You know what /should/ happen, and the manga does not deviate from that. It does not give Toshio some miraculous way to escape from his fate. Love Letter is, first and foremost, a realistic and poignant romance that manages to wrap itself around your soul. You /will/ be crying by the final chapter, and that is a guarantee. Seo Kouji knows exactly how to manipulate your emotions with words and drawings, and he does it well.
The art itself screams Seo Kouji’s style. It’s very typical of him. Clean, pretty, and well-drawn. Chieko looks somewhat like a cross of Suzuka from “Suzuka” and Yuzuki from “Kimi no Iru Machi”. Thankfully, though, he is capable of varying his character designs enough to avoid having his characters look like clones of each other.
All in all, there is precious little to say about Love Letter, other than it is a heart-tugging, lovely romance that is sure to bring tears to your eyes. It's short and sweet. If you have a little time, read it. You won’t be disappointed. read more
27 of 27 chapters read
As far as CLAMP’s manga go, Angelic Layer is pretty average. And that’s all there is to it. /Average/.
For our basic premise, we have Suzuhara Misaki, a young girl who has just moved to Tokyo to live with her aunt in order to go to middle school there. Upon arriving in Tokyo, she is swept up into the game called “Angelic Layer”, where you raise your own “Angel” from an egg and fight with other Angels. Along the way, Misaki makes a couple friends, a few enemies, some rivals, and learns new things about herself. She also discovers that she is naturally martial arts oriented, and uses her capabilities to fight better in Angelic Layer.
Angelic Layer doesn’t really teach us anything new, except for, perhaps, reinforce the ol’ saying “size doesn’t matter”. There were a few emotional moments here and there, but all in all, Angelic Layer is five volumes mostly comprised of fights. Fights between the Angels, that is; detailing how they battle with each other and the strategies Misaki and Hikaru – her Angel – must use against them. The art is fairly typical CLAMP fare and will probably remind a lot of people of Chobits. Not only is Chobits also written by CLAMP, it also contains a similar theme: the relationships between people and toys (or robots). Misaki is shown to have a high amount of regard and care for Hikaru, a trait that most of the other Deus (people who control Angels) lack.
Plot twists? What plot twists? Most of them were fairly easy to see and read – I’ll eat my hat if no one guessed that Misaki’s mother was the one who controlled the white Angel, Athena, at the end. The characters weren’t particularly memorable. None of them really stay with you at the end. As is the norm for CLAMP’s works, sharp-eyed people will be able to catch references to CLAMP’s other manga – one of the most obvious being Hikaru, who is named after and looks like Hikaru from Magic Knight Rayearth.
Angelic Layer isn’t deep. It isn’t meaningful. But if you’re looking for a few volumes of cute characters and battles between Angels, here’s your manga. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
Aihara Kotoko is in love with the unattainable Irie Naoki. Fate intervenes when one day Kotoko’s house gets ruined by an earthquake, forcing Kotoko and her father to move in to Naoki and his parents’ house. Does Kotoko have a chance with Naoki after all? The romantic comedy begins! Itazura na Kiss is one of those few anime that go past the main couple’s high school life and transcends into their adult life – their marriage, honeymoon, and university/college experiences. The manga which this anime is based off of is unfinished due to the tragic, untimely death of the author. It is said that the anime ended the way the author truly wanted it to finish.
Oh my gooood. This is such a beautiful anime. The relationship with Naoki and Kotoko is wonderfully developed, and it’s so heartwarming and beautiful and I love it. I would love to have a husband like Naoki – he’s my dream man, you know – and this is an anime that every person should watch because it’s so beautiful. I had tears in my eyes during the last few episodes, it was that lovely.
Excuse me while I rip this crap to pieces.
Itazura na Kiss (“Mischievous Kiss” in English, or ItaKiss as it is commonly known) is not the best love story ever. It is also not romantic in the least. Unless, of course, you’re a masochist. If you want a good love story, go watch…hmmm…I actually don’t watch too many romance anime. Ah, I know. Go watch Kimi ni Todoke, or Wolf and Spice, or Fruits Basket, or even Toradora!. Heck, even School Rumble is a better romance than this. I think I need my brain checked, because /I don’t understand why this anime has so many followers and girls screaming “oh my god I love Itazura na Kiss!”/ Please, someone help me understand why this anime is so popular. Seriously – if you Google “Itazura na Kiss anime review” (or even a manga review) over 98% of reviews are positive. /And I don’t understand./
Wow, I’m so pissed off that I can’t even write this review in the way I originally intended. So let’s go straight to the good stuff, shall we? Itazura na Kiss’s female protagonist is Aihara Kotoko, who is one of the stupidest students in her high school – no joke, she’s been in class “F” (the lowest class) all throughout high school. Unfortunately, the guy she likes is Irie Naoki, the most intelligent boy in school (a TENSAI!!1one! or genius) who happens to be in class “A”, which is the highest class. Naoki also happens to be a total jerk. None of their personalities change throughout the series, which goes on for twenty-five torturous episodes. I—I can’t even get a good synopsis out because I hate this anime so much, ughh. I promise that once I regain my composure, I’ll try to write a “redux” of this review.
Episode seventeen is when the anime actually starts to get good. For no other reason than they introduce Kamogari Keita. Ahh, Keita, you are the only reason I actually kept watching this anime. No joke. Keita is probably the best character in this entire series, if you ask me. For reasons that I will leave to you to find out, if you ever want to check out this anime. Actually – I’ll spare you the pain of doing that. Keita happens to be the only character (that I can remember, anyway) that tells Kotoko to break it off with Naoki because he’s a bastard that doesn’t care about her. You should have listened to him, Kotoko. I’m disappointed you didn’t.
On the plus side, though, this anime has some psychological merits, even if it doesn’t mean to have them. Kotoko is dumb as a rock, and Irie is a genius. Irie uses this blatant gap in their intelligence to use Kotoko and keep her with him, mainly utilizing the carrot-and-stick method. Based on this, we can conclude that Irie has a very low amount of self-esteem, and hides it by being with a stupid girl. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
For those of you who don’t know what Mirai Nikki is, it means “Future Diary” in English. It’s about a boy, Amano Yukiteru, who isn’t very interested in many things. The one thing he does like to do is record daily events in his diary in his cell phone – he calls himself an “observer”. He also has an imaginary friend, aptly named Deus Ex Machina. One day, Deus decides to make Yuki’s cell phone into a “Future Diary” (Mirai Nikki) which records his future for the next consecutive ninety days, as if Yuki had already made entries for them. At first, Yuki thinks he is the only one with this mysterious diary, until he has a near-freakish encounter with Gasai Yuno, the most popular girl in his school. Suddenly, Yukiteru is plunged into a dangerous survival game where having your cell phone broken or destroyed means that you yourself will die as well.
Getting back to the OVA, it’s quite obviously aimed at people who actually read Mirai Nikki, which makes sense considering that it was bundled with volume eleven. As stated before, I was pleased with the OVA in general – the scenes were adapted accurately, the animation was pretty good, and the seiyuu were good as well. I’ve always imagined Yuno’s voice a little deeper for some reason, but it’s passable as well. The only thing I’ll nitpick at is that Deus’ CGI looked a bit weird, but that’s really all. All in all it is a good OVA for the manga, although I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who hasn’t actually read it before. In all honesty, it seems more like a long trailer than an actual anime episode (which is what it was probably meant to be, anyway). I really do hope that Mirai Nikki gets a chance to become a full-fledged anime series, since it has a lot of potential and, judging by the OVA, it’d look pretty good, too. And with the manga having just ended, I hope that an anime series is in order.
(Coincidentally, as I post this review, the anime is nearing its end.) read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru, more commonly known as UraBoku for short, is a shounen-ai anime recently animated by J.C. Staff. For some reason, writing a review for this anime was hard – I actually meant to write this about a month ago. Maybe it was because of the ending, but we’ll get to that later.
We are first introduced to Sakurai Yuki, a teenage boy who lives in Asashi Orphanage, who has been having very strange dreams, but cannot remember them when he wakes up. We learn that he has several supernatural powers, including healing and being able to read peoples’ minds and empathize with them by touching them. Yuki likes taking care of the children at the orphanage and telling them stories; one night he tells them a story about a prince and a princess who, although having never met before, somehow inherently know each other. As Yuki is leaving the children to go to bed himself, he gets a text from a boy at school, asking him to help him. Yuki, naturally, runs toward where his school is; he sees the boy, Uzuki, in the middle of the street just as the lights turn “red” (meaning there shouldn’t be anyone on the street). Afraid that Uzuki will get hurt, Yuki rushes to push him onto the sidewalk, only for Uzuki to disappear and for Yuki himself to be stuck in the middle of the street, unable to move. Just as a truck is about to run over him, a (very very very pretty) mysterious man rushes over to save him (whose name, we learn later, is Luka), which sets off the chain of events that lead into the plot. Although Yuki has never met the man before, he feels as if he does know him and has met him before, similar to the princess and the prince in his story. (Like my awfully convoluted summary of the first episode?)
UraBoku is one of those anime that are predictable. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; but for people who know a lot about literature (or watch a lot of anime), this anime is very predictable. But, oddly enough, it’s good, although that might be my bias since I like the subject the anime covers. One of the recurring themes of the anime is reincarnation – that a person is reincarnated a number of times until their duty or goal is reached, and then some. In this case, we have the Zweilt guardians (guardians meant to protect Yuki) who are resurrected every lifetime in order to fight against the so-called “evil” Reiga and his Duras minions (Duras are basically demons). The reason the Zweilts protect Yuki is that he is their “God’s Light”; he can remove pain from them, although by doing so he transfers their pain to themselves. To that end the guardians try to become as least injured as possible to avoid harming Yuki, their Light. An interesting thing to note, while we’re still on the reincarnation subject, is that Yuki is actually supposed to be a girl. In every lifetime, Yuki was born a girl, except for this one, the “current” one – and in all the previous lifetimes, Luka and Yuki were lovers. Actually, they’re still in love – it’s very obvious. No, I’m not being hypocritical. I’m stating the truth. Every single gesture, facial expression, and scene between the two are meant to emphasize the affection and love between them, even if they don’t actually kiss or outright say, “I love you”. In the anime, there are also a couple more shounen-ai pairings (Shuusei and Hotsuma, Kuroto and Senshiro). Oh, wait, I can’t forget the Luka-Yuki-Reiga triangle.
With that out of the way – it’s predictable, but it’s still a good anime. The themes are covered nicely, and everything fits into place very well. Most characters’ pasts are delved deep into enough to make you interested – especially interesting is the fact that Reiga, the “evil antagonist”, was reincarnated in Yuki’s best friend, Kanata-san. (Why am I using an honorific? Because Yuki yells, “Kanata-sannn!” all the time, so it stuck. Seriously. I can’t just call him, “Kanata”.) Another interesting thing to note is that the anime has a Jewish reference – the Book of Raziel, the book that Kanata-san/Reiga carries with him near-constantly. That’s really the only thing I caught. The seiyuu and the animation were good – well, of course the animation was good; this is J.C. Staff we’re talking about. The art is wispy and pretty, very similar to Vampire Knight, although I’d definitely say UraBoku’s is better (again, possibly some bias since I was never all that interested in VK.) The only thing that I found weird was the CGI – but that doesn’t really detract from the viewing experience. The soundtrack was good too.
I can easily say this is a good anime – except for the ending. THE ENDING. I hate the ending for this anime. Ugh, I might pick up the manga after all, because the ending was horrible. Don’t watch the ending. The last episode is great except for the ending – so don’t watch the ending unless you want to wonder what, exactly, the anime was even about. The ending manages to singlehandedly destroy and nullify any sort of reincarnation and true love aspects the series was trying to depict. Therefore, the ending does not exist. Hah! The last few minutes of the final episode have successfully been pulverized and expelled from my brain. What? The Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru anime ended? When? read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Ah, Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai. A mouthful of a title that means “My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute”. At first, I was wary of touching this anime – precisely because of the incestuous implications of the title. But, when the anime ended, several nice reviews of it popped up, assuring that there was no incest in the show, so I decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised.
OreImo, as it is more commonly known, is basically an anime of how a brother and sister grow closer in their relationship, from having virtually none at all to becoming closer siblings. Seventeen year old Kyousuke, the older brother, is a high school student with absolutely no interest with anything anime or “otaku”-related. Kirino, his fourteen year old sister, however, is a total and utter otaku – specifically for little sister eroge (erotic games). The anime is mostly meant to be a comedy, as Kyousuke is introduced to the “otaku” lifestyle; and it mostly succeeds at what it does. Ultimately, the anime attempts to shed a bright light on the “dark” life of the otaku, both open ones (such as Kuroneko and Saori) and “closet” ones (such as Kirino). Most of the characters are fairly well-developed (as well-developed as you can get with a comedy such as OreImo) and relationships are consistent and well played-out.
Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai is a good anime. Its main problem is that it is simply not interesting. It is not one of those anime that make you think, “Noo! The episodes are way too short! I have to see what happens next!” It’s one of those anime that make you think, “Oh, it ended” or possibly, even worse, “When is this episode going to end?” The anime lacks a gripping plot. While it is a tad original, and while the situations and characters are easily identifiable to, it is simply not interesting enough to render a rating over five stars. I practically had to push myself to watch all twelve episodes. Sure, it is funny and has some comedic moments, and yes, I did empathize with Kirino a lot (particularly with her obsession for Meruru – ahahah, Nabariii~!), but, and I stress this, it isn’t interesting enough to watch in a mini-marathon. Maybe you can keep up with it for two or three episodes in a row, but after a while you just get bored and look for respite in either a more interesting anime or an entirely different activity.
I really don’t understand all the hype this anime received, as I can point out several better anime from the 2010 fall season. Then again, I suppose it all comes down to taste. It /is/ a decent show, though. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Black★Rock Shooter has taken the Internet (and most animanga fans) by storm. First, there was the song (by the same name) by Supercell. Then there were the drawings by huke. And now there is the movie.
Well, technically it’s an OVA, but since it’s fifty minutes long, I’m calling it a movie. Sue me. (Actually, please don’t.)
On her first day in junior high school, Kuroi Mato makes friends with a girl called Takahashi Yomi. They become closer as the year passes, soon becoming best friends. In the second year of high school, Mato meets a girl named Yuu, who she begins to spend a lot of time with – they both like basketball – and Yomi gets jealous of Mato’s new friend, likely assuming that Mato doesn’t want or need her anymore. In between these “slice of life” parts of the OVA, we have scenes of Black★Rock Shooter – walking, at first, and then fighting with Dead Master. While this may seem rather erratic and confusing, let me tell you how I interpreted these scenes. Black★Rock Shooter is Mato, and Dead Master is Yomi. The clips show you how Black★Rock Shooter tries to get closer to Dead Master, who rejects her out of anger.
Since the plot is fairly simple, and covers a single theme – friendship – many B★RS fans were rather disappointed with the lack of action. Most people who had any expectations at all assumed that the OVA would be of the action-action-action-killing-action variety, and it seems as if they were wrong. I actually rather liked it – it was very simple, but managed to really strike a chord. I think it’s mostly because Mato reminds me of me – I’d probably go to those types of lengths for a friend. The fact that she even reminds me of me at all means that the movie is easily relatable to – most people should be able to relate to it and the scenes depicted, mostly the slice of life ones.
I can’t say much for art, although I liked it much better than I thought I would. The slice of life parts had an art style comparable to K-ON! – while I haven’t watched it, I do know that the art is very similar. The art during the B★RS parts is beautiful and the fights are very well-choreographed. The animation in the entire OVA is very fluid and well-done.
While Black★Rock Shooter managed to disappoint some people, I found it touching and moving. It isn’t the most original or the best OVA/movie in the world, but it is very good for what it is – and I can only hope they’ll make a sequel, what with that damn cliff-hanger.
(And, evidently, our prayers have been heard with the B★RS TV series. I'll be watching and reviewing that next.) read more
18 of 18 chapters read
Lock On! is a short manga by Tsuchida Kenta. It was first serialized as a one-shot in Weekly Shounen Jump in 2009 and later began serialization as a series in 2010.
The premise is simple – Utsuru Sanada is a professional photographer at age seventeen. He likes girls, and he likes taking pictures of girls. Not those kind of pictures – he actually dislikes people who make the assumption that he takes dirty pictures. The thing he really enjoys is seeing girls smile; not fake smiles that girls pull off in front of the camera, but “real” smiles that he knows are genuine. The secret to his power of seeing “genuine smiles” (as well as other things) is his “Shutter Eye”, which he normally keeps covered with an eye patch. His Shutter Eye functions similar to a camera, giving him superb memory.
He meets Kurihara Niko, a beautiful girl who is a martial arts master and hates men, believing they are all dogs and should not be taken seriously. Sanada makes it his goal to take pictures of Niko when she really smiles. Niko, of course, has a best friend, named Yuki, who is the typical happy airhead you always need in a manga. However, Yuki, and the rest of the characters as well, grow and change throughout the story – Yuki becomes more intelligent and a bit less naïve by the end of the manga. Another character introduced is Yamato Takeaki, a “delinquent”-type character who has an enormous crush on Yuki.
The art of the manga is surprisingly good for a weekly one; the art is original and has a rather distinct style. The quality does go down a bit near the end, but it is still very good. One thing I will point out is that it’s rather obvious that the author is being suppressed. He wants to focus on more serious subjects, but it seems to me as if his editors were constantly forcing him to pull off gags and make the manga less serious than he wanted it to be. This is especially prominent in the one-shot – it was a bit different in that Niko was the target of “dirty pictures” by other boys at the school which gives it a more serious feel. Even the serialized manga itself has a bit of this serious tone – while it is mostly a romantic comedy, there are a few chapters in which Yuki is kidnapped by two men who say they want to take pictures of her, while hiding their true intentions.
Since it is a shounen manga, there is some fanservice, but only a bit and nothing that I can really complain about. Actually, the fanservice manages to be funny when it does appear, and isn't explicit or particularly erotic in the least. From what I can remember, there is only a panty shot (which, as stated before, manages to be funny given the situation; read the manga and you’ll see why) and a scene where girls change in the locker room – although that part wasn’t emphasized. It was just…there. It wasn’t racy or fanservice-y in the least.
Lock On! is a very cute, romantic, shounen comedy. Some people say it has clichés, although I didn’t notice them, probably because I was too busy laughing or simply enjoying the storyline. The manga has enormous potential – I really, really wanted to see where it would go. And then…out of nowhere, it was discontinued. I think it has in part to do with the “romance” of it, and also the way the author couldn’t truly send the message he wanted to. It is a very good manga – it’s just a shame that it ended so soon. I look forward to Tsuchida-sensei’s next works, because Lock On! was really a very enjoyable (albeit a tad short) read. read more
4 of 4 episodes seen
The DOGS Bullets and Carnage manga/four episode OVA are a prequel to the ongoing series DOGS. The manga contains six chapters, and the aforementioned anime contains four episodes. Each episode/chapter revolves around a particular character.
The first chapter, “Weepy Old Killer”, introduces Mihai Mihaerrof, a former assassin/hitman who must confront someone from his past, specifically the son of a mob boss whom he had tutored. This boy, Ian, killed Mihai’s lover, Milena (who, notably, was a prostitute). The chapter reaches its high during the final argument between Mihai and Ian. The first episode of the anime adapts this chapter very well, sticking with everything to the letter. As far as I can remember, there were no additions or subtractions based on the manga. Everything was followed very well. The second chapter, “Gun Smoker”, introduces Badou Nails, a chain smoker and a freelance journalist/photographer. I believe he also sells information for money, making him an informant, although I might be mixing up my animanga a bit. Badou takes a rather convicting photograph of a mob boss, causing him to become a wanted man by the rest of the mob. He is saved by Mihai and later on singlehandedly defeats the mob boss’s army simply because he lacks nicotine. (Take Badou’s cigarettes away and you die.) The anime adaption handled this very well.
Chapters three and four, Blade Maiden Part One and its Sequel, centres on Fuyumine Naoto, a sword-wielding young woman who seeks revenge for her parents. As a young girl, an assassin murdered her mother and father, and branded her with an X marking on her chest. She was saved by an elder swordsman who she begins to consider her father. Later on, she finds out that she was named after the assassin who killed her parents – “Naoto”. The anime combines these two chapters into one episode, episode three, entitled “Blade Maiden”. The adaptation of Naoto’s story is done quite well, just as the other episodes were. In the last two chapters of the manga, five and six, entitled Stray Dogs Howling in the Dark Part One and its Sequel, the main character is Haine Rammsteiner, an albino man who was experimented on and genetically altered. He rescues a fourteen year old girl with wings from two men who would have forced her to become a prostitute. The head of the brothel hears of this and sends men to kidnap her. The anime also compounds this into one episode, the fourth and last one. There is one small alteration in the way they kidnap the girl (whose name, we find out later, is Nill), but this is so minor it can go unmentioned.
The setting is obviously post-apocalyptic. Genetic manipulation, violence, crime, and other cruel things have become rather common and almost an aspect of everyday life. All the characters (Naoto, Mihai, Badou, and Haine) are antiheroes, a refreshing change from the stereotypical goodie-two-shoes that tend to dominate the protagonist role. In fact, many of the characters (even “good” ones) were involved in crime, violence, and underground groups at some point in their lives. From what I remember, Nill is really the only truly “good” character, and is the only woman/girl Haine is not afraid of. (He has gynophobia.) The animanga is more mature than most others, in the range of Wolf’s Rain, mostly because of the genre, “seinen”, for men, which WR is also a part of. There are many German influences, particularly in characters’ names, and this is even more prominent in DOGS.
The animation overall is a tad choppy in some places, but otherwise good. The adaptation is very well-done – I was quite pleased with the way they followed the manga. The only thing I’ll really nitpick at is the fact that Nill has a seiyuu, when she is mute – but perhaps it had to be done. Said seiyuu is reduced to making affirmative noises when Nill is being spoken to, or gasping in shock/horror at the appropriate times. I can’t help but wonder how the episode would be affected if she had no seiyuu at all.
The animanga, as stated before, is a prequel to the manga DOGS – the art changes slightly in the sequel (primarily a lack of screentones), but is otherwise very much the same. It is important to mention that the OVA/manga has no real ending, as it is merely a prologue to an ongoing series. Therefore, if you’re looking for a short, one-volume manga with a solid ending, this is not an anime or manga you can turn to. If, however, you intend to delve deeper into the world of DOGS and learn how all the characters are connected, feel free to watch or read DOGS Bullets and Carnage. read more