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25 of 25 episodes seen
Our story opens with some minor league players at a training camp. After an injury destroys their pitcher's ability to throw balls at a guy with a stick, two of them go on a search for a new one. At this point they get lured to a gambling arena where people bet on whether or not a guy can hit a ball with a stick. The two lose a large amount of money and their friend, Kojima, who has won a bunch of awards with names that are meaningless to me, returns to challenge the pitcher who beat them, Tokuchi. He loses, but returns for a rematch, if he loses he'll retire, if he wins he'll take Tokuchi's hand so that he can never gamble using baseball again. Because a game that requires people to hit a ball with a stick and run in a square is serious business and not some kind of game.
In spite of a rather serious hand injury, Kojima wins, but instead of inflicting violence to take Tokuchi's hand, he recruits him as a pitcher to help his team, the Lycaons, win the championship. So, the basic plot is that a low ranking team aims for the championship? I haven't seen that plot since... every piece of sports media ever made, I think. To be fair, One Outs isn't typical in its execution. It uses Tokuchi's unusual contract with the game's owner as the primary source of tension instead of whether or not the team will win the big game. It also puts the focus, not on whether or not the Lycaons will win since basic pattern recognition gives it away, but on how they're going to win. Which is more interesting than it sounds since Tokuchi uses a lot of psychological manipulation and has to think of ways to outsmart his opponents while thwarting the owner's attempts to sabotage him.
The strategic aspects are pretty well handled in this anime, in spite of the rather trite plot. The series is also good at keeping the viewer's attention with various new elements and twists as well. However, the story telling isn't perfect. The biggest problem is the narrator. His entire job seems to be to give exposition. Which isn't so bad when it's used as a tool to skip through the boring bits, but it's also pretty unnecessary. You could cut out the dialogue for almost all of these scenes and lose nothing. There's also the issue of the plot itself. Even if the execution is unique, just about everyone knows exactly where it's going to go which does limit how much tension the series can have.
The characters of One Outs are mixed. Tokuchi is a pretty interesting “magnificent bastard” type of character. The Lycaons' owner makes for a compelling antagonist as well. Ideguchi and Kojima are two-dimensional characters. They get some personality and develop a bit, but not a whole lot. The rest of the characters are pretty one-note. They're around and you might remember their names, but there isn't anything that really makes them unique or compelling. They're just “that guy who runs fast” or “that guy with glasses.”
One thing of note is that a lot of the antagonistic teams that Tokuchi and the Lycaons have to face are shown to have foreigners as their big guns. I'm not sure whether it's a demonstration of Xenophobia in which the great all-Japanese team has to face off against those foreign players who came from some unspecified location or it's just a coincidence. That being said, they do make it a point to bring the foreign players to the viewer's attention so the former seems more likely.
The art is pretty good, overall. The character designs are distinctive. The backgrounds are nicely detailed as well. That being said, there are some questionable art decisions. There are some ridiculously exaggerated expressions. For example, a “shocked” character might just open their mouth so wide they could fit their own head in there. Tokuchi also has an absurd hairstyle that makes him look like he's gone half super saiyan. I know, an anime with silly hair what an original concept.
The acting in this is okay. It doesn't stand out in any way, but it's passable. The music is really effective when it comes to atmosphere. The tense moments have a score that perfectly emphasises the tension as do the victorious moments.
There is none in this series. 1/10.
In some ways, One Outs is a typical piece of sports media. Underdog team pushing for victory. In others, it's not at all typical. The battle of wits aspect works pretty effectively and the main protagonist is an interesting character, even if most of the side characters are really flat. Still, it has quite a bit of intrigue and I do recommend checking it out for the battle of wits, if you don't mind watching grown men act like hitting a ball with a stick is a pastime of dire importance or a predictable plot arc. Final rating, 6/10. Next week I'll look at Shining Tears x Wind. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
Our tale opens in the far future. Our protagonist, Saki, has just advanced to the next level of education, a school that teaches kids how to use their psychic abilities, but there's something wrong. Students disappear from the school and are promptly forgotten. Saki and her friends go on a camping trip that will lead to them learning a great secret about their society.
That's how the first arc begins. Yes, the series has multiple story arcs. One thing the series does really well is introducing intriguing ideas. The problem is that most of those concepts end up going absolutely nowhere or are just executed poorly. You think that the various ideas that are touched upon are going to eventually have a point, but they never do. It's like Kishi introduced them planning to integrate them into the plot eventually, but couldn't figure out how and let them drop, or briefly mentioned them in some minor scene in the hopes that he could validate having them in the first place.
There are quite a few other issues with the execution of this anime. The series tries to explain several facets of its world with science, which it gets wrong consistently. To use an early example that won't spoil anything, the series talks about bonobos. It says that they're peaceful, preferring sex to conflict and that they'll only engage in sexual activities with the same sex when they're young. The first half is true, the second is an outright lie and the bad part is that a half-true scientific statement is about the best the series ever gets in terms of its science.
The crowning moment of stupidity is definitely the ending. It starts by using a huge logical fallacy in the major climax. Then it segues into a plot twist that hinges on bad science and just to make things even worse, the series ends with the same lazy, stupid, cliché that Blue Gender ended with. Except that the execution is even worse. At least Blue Gender had some build up going into it, Shin Sekai Yori has a five minute montage at the very end to justify resorting to this tripe.
The characters are similar to the story. The writing teases you with hints that these characters are going to develop and get fleshed out, but then it never delivers. In spite of the story spanning over a decade, the characters never grow or develop. They remain pretty stagnant throughout.
The only attempts to demonstrate growth for the characters are done with informed characteristics. For example, there's a character who talks about Saki's great leadership skills but she never demonstrates any leadership abilities whatsoever. She follows other people's plans or gets told what to do by the voices in her head. Yes, she has deceased people talk to her. No, this is never explained it's just used as a deus ex machina device.
The issue with informed characteristics like this is that the audience isn't going to believe them. You can tell us the stormtroopers are precise marksmen, but if we see them miss virtually ever shot we aren't going to believe it. Likewise, you can tell us she's a great leader. You could also tell us she gained magical girl powers from a talking dog and saved the world from goo monsters during one of the time skips or that she's the world's greatest detective. We not only aren't going to buy it, but we aren't going to care unless you actually demonstrate it within the narrative.
The art is really good. Everything is nicely detailed and the character designs are nicely done. That being said, there is one problem with the art. The action sequences are drawn very oddly and they can be difficult to follow. Especially the early ones. For the sake of argument, let's say that this was done to provide a sense of chaos and make things seem hectic. That would be fine, but it still doesn't flow well or look good.
I have no complaints about the voice acting. Every actor gives a capable performance, in spite of not having much to work with. Hanazawa Kana (Akane from Psycho Pass) and Hirata Hiroaki (Benny from Black Lagoon) are particularly good. The music is largely forgettable, but not bad.
The ho-yay factor is going to be a 4/10. The series has a bit early on. It has some yaoi between Shun and Satoru, as well as some in the background, and some yuri between Saki and Maria, plus some more in the background. Then it transitions into having nothing but het.
On the positive side, Shin Sekai Yori has strong art and good voice acting. Unfortunately, the writing is just inept. The story suffers from major plot holes, terrible science, dropped plot aspects, a horrendous ending and characters who are less interesting than the random nameless bad guys you fight in a Fire Emblem game. As a result, the narrative is just terrible and I would not suggest sitting through it just for the art and acting. My final rating is going to be a 3/10. Next week, One Outs. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
This is one of those comedic works without an over-arcing story. The basic setup is that our titular invincible delivery girl, Miki, is working as the poster girl of her family's ramen restaurant. Miki has to juggle her work with combat challenges and various hijinks. The humour in this is a mix of parody, targets include super sentai shows, romantic comedies and action anime tropes, physical humour and zany craziness. The comedy is very effectively handled. Virtually every joke in the series is genuinely funny. The series likes to divide each episode in half, generally starting both with the same basic setup or having them be somehow related. You would think that this would lead to the second half of each episode being predictable and less entertaining, but the execution is very clever and the directions that these episodes go aren't what you would anticipate. Which leads to a lot of uproariously funny moments. The series even manages to keep its running jokes fresh throughout the series. Partially because it doesn't over-use any of them and partially because it constantly finds new and unexpected ways to deliver them.
The characters in this are goofy. They aren't particularly fleshed out or three dimensional, but they do interact very well for comedic purposes and they all have their share of comedic moments. For an absurd comedy, the characters are just about perfect.
The art is highly stylised. Some scenes will look pretty ordinary but most of the time they do something bizarre with the facial expressions or there'll be something odd thrown in. There are quite a few jokes that rely on the visuals and they're executed very well. The art can be outright bizarre, but it's honestly a perfect match for the series.
This series has a really good cast. Miki is voiced by Nabatame Hitomi, who also voiced Cyndi in Ika Musume and Kanade in Gokujou Seitokai, so she's no stranger to comedic works. You've also got Koshimizu Ami (Claes from the first series of Gunslinger Girl), Hiyama Nobuyuki (Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho) and Nakamura Yuuichi (FMA Brotherhood's Greed) to name a few. The entire cast does a really good job of putting a lot of boisterous energy into their performances, which is what the series calls for most of the time. They also do well in scenes that require them to pull things back and sound more serious. The music is fairly effective.
The ho-yay factor in this one is a 2/10. There is a scene in which two women encourage a third to remove her clothes. And even a scene as ordinary as that is executed in a weird way in this anime.
So, how is Muteki Kanban Musume overall? It's a bizarre series. The situations don't make a lot of sense and it's glorious. In terms of zany comedies, this one comes pretty close to perfection. It's thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end with a lot of really memorable, really funny moments. If you enjoy high energy zany comedies, give it a watch. My final rating is going to be a 9/10. Next week, Shin Sekai Yori. read more
110 of 110 episodes seen
The basic story is that two forces, the Imperial Empire and the Free Planets Alliance, have been at war for centuries and the plot follows their conflict and struggles with a focus on the politics and stratagems. So, how competent is the execution? The short answer is it's not but allow me to extrapolate. The first issue is that the strategies used in this shouldn't work. They're really basic and rely on the other side being incompetent. The first strategy you see is “get all our ships together and hope that their fleets are far enough apart that we can take each one out individually before they can meet up.” It only works because the enemy is stupid enough to disperse their units far enough that it can work. There's another strategy that basically comes down to putting on enemy uniforms and using one of their ships. So, these guys have been at war for centuries and no one has ever tried disguising themselves before? For that matter, they don't keep track of their lost ships or have any kind of code words to identify their own soldiers? The future is dumb. That leads to another issue, since the strategies are pretty much all ones that shouldn't work you can usually tell which ones will or won't based entirely on whether it was one of the main characters who came up with it rather than based on any merit in the strategy itself. If either side had a single person who had read and understood Sun Tzu's Art of War this would be over in five episodes.
The political “intrigue” also falls pretty flat. Its big downfall is the narrator. Yes, this series has a narrator. The narrator likes to tell you what the impact of any political discussion is going to be and even spoils death scenes. Just to make sure they leave as little impact as possible. Even putting the narrator aside, a lot of the political points they make are either stupid or get contradicted by the series. To give an example of the first, they have a criticism of the Alliance's leaders that “they aren't going out and fighting” and the series acts like it's a brilliant and poignant point, but it's not. Any war effort needs people to take care of getting resources, oversee distribution and hundreds of other administrative details that you couldn't do while also fighting. Furthermore, you don't want your leaders going into the fray because of the potential for social disarray if a bunch of those leaders were to just get killed all at once. Do they really think that social chaos would be good for the war effort? The future is dumb. This series also advocates the idea that war leads to societal advancement and society stagnates under peace. That's another particularly stupid one. Society doesn't stagnate in times of peace. It advances technologically and socially. Quality of life goes up and social problems are gradually taken care of. Frankly, the societies presented in this series could use some social justice advancements given that their gender roles have regressed back to roughly the 1950s. The future is stupid. Moving onto a contradiction, towards the end when it looks like peace is coming one of the characters discusses how “if only they'd been able to just talk so many lives could have been spared” which is fair enough but not even five minutes later he says that he's going to return to being a soldier and fighting. Yes, if only your sides could just talk, you know, rather than planning for the conflict to resume. Why is the future so stupid? Even putting the major issues with the politics aside, it's just dull. The scenes drag on far longer than they need to, especially since the narrator has already told you how it's going to turn out in most cases.
The characters in this are pretty flat. Most of them are defined by a couple basic traits or an archetype. Like the guy who doesn't talk or the aggressive guy. Even with over a hundred episodes to work with, none of them ever get around to becoming fleshed out or developed in any substantial way. The female characters have it even worse since they get to be defined by their relationships to the men around them, usually their love interests. If the characters were compelling the series could have at least had some emotional investment but they aren't. They're boring.
The art in this is really badly done. The characters tend to have these flat, emotionless expressions or look dully surprised. I remember one death scene in particular where one of the characters was looking at a dying loved one and their facial expression was what you'd expect from someone who had been staring at a computer screen too long and was tired, not the expression of someone losing a loved one. The action scenes are really bad too. The space combat scenes can be summed up as “phallic ships fire at each other. Some get destroyed. Cut to one of the major characters standing in their bridge and either giving orders or reacting while looking strangely emotionless.” After a while they all start to look the same and kind of blend together. The land-based battles are even worse, somehow. You get a lot of scenes where soldiers are firing shots at people who are charging with melee weapons and somehow miss every single shot. Cobra soldiers are better marksmen than these clowns. Making one side incompetent because you want the soldiers on the other to survive doesn't make the surviving squad look bad-ass. It just makes the action sequence look lazy. Characters will also go cross-eyed for no reason and a lot of the movements just end up looking stilted and unnatural. The art is also a problem when it comes to death scenes. There are quite a few that are supposed to be dramatic but end up being done in such an over the top way that they end up being humorous instead. Like Toga Guy's. (That isn't a spoiler. He dies very shortly after showing up and it's obvious from the moment he appears that he won't survive.)
The voice acting is the best part of the series. It's not the best, but the actors do a good job of emoting and delivering their lines. If the art actually gave the characters expressions that matched the dialogue it would be far more effective, but at least the actors were putting an effort into it, even if they were the only ones involved in the OVA who were. The music is pretty mediocre. It's not bad, but it's not good either.
The ho-yay factor is a 2/10. There are some scenes where Kircheis and Reinhard look like they're more than friends. There's also a scene about the Empire's history that involves a gay Kaiser, but that's the extent of the homo-eroticism. There really isn't much.
That's Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu. It's actually pretty painful. Sure, you get the occasional scene that's over the top in a funny way, but most of the time it's just slow and boring. Any potential for dramatic tension is lost thanks to the narrator, the strategies are idiotic. The politics are asinine. The characters are flat and the art is really bad. My final rating for this is a 2/10. I would not recommend slogging through this one. Well, that's the last review of March. The request queue going into April is: Shinsekai Yori, One Outs, Doki Doki Precure, Sword Art Online and Shingeki No Kyojin. Next week I'll look at none of the above and check out Muteki Kanban Musume instead because I really need a laugh. I'll get back to the queue after that. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
The film furthers the misadventures of Lina Inverse and Naga the Serpent. A young woman named Saleena finds them and requests their help to save her village, which has been taken over and the villagers forced into labour unearthing some strange device. Lina agrees, much to Naga's surprise, when she hears the village's name and remembers tales of elven treasure. The humour in this is highly effective and enjoyable throughout. The story itself is much better paced than Perfect's. It does a good job of building up some suspense and the climax is both funny and interesting.
The characters don't have much depth. That being said, they are very effective from a comedic standpoint. They're ridiculous, absurd, and quirky. They all have a lot of comedic potential and their interactions are really funny.
The art is a lot better than it was in the first film. It's more like the actual series in that it looks like time and effort went into it as opposed to looking rushed. Its bright, vivid and the characters have interesting designs. The action scenes are really well executed and the backgrounds look nice.
The vocal cast remains excellent. Hayashibara Megumi and Kawamura Maria, both amazing actresses, are joined by Hiramatsu Akiko, Ootsuka Akio and Utsumi Kenji, all of whom are masterful at their craft. The music is really splendid as well.
The Ho-yay factor is a 2/10. There are a few moments where things between Lina and Naga look a bit homo-erotic, like Naga telling Lina to pay for her meals for the rest of their lives, but nothing substantial.
That's Slayers Return. It is an improvement over the first film, with a lot of that film's problems being absent. It has a lot of really funny moments, the art is great, the voice acting and music are excellent. If you want a good comedy, check it out. My final rating is a 9/10. Next week I'll finish up March with a look at Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu, unless something unexpected happens. read more
8 of 8 episodes seen
Our story takes place in a not too distant dystopian future. There's a rise in crimes involving robots called Boomers and there's a corrupt multi-national corporation called Genom, because dystopian stories always have to have corrupt corporations. I wouldn't be surprised if Genom sent an ordinary worker into space for no reason and forced him to watch cheesy movies while monitoring his mind. Genom may very well be involved in many of these crimes for their own purposes. Unfortunately, the AD police force charged with handling Boomer crimes isn't quite adequate to the task. Fortunately, the Knight Sabres, a female vigilante group, is there. Possessing powerful technology and highly skilled, the Knight Sabres take up the fight against Boomers. Each episode tells the tale of one of the Knight Sabre's adventures, either fighting Boomers or taking on tasks for money. The story isn't particularly unique, but it is compelling. Those episodes that do tie into each other directly do so in a clever way, the world is fascinating and I like that there are positive aspects of Genom instead of it being just another needlessly evil corporation in a dystopian cyberpunk story. The basic premise has been done a huge number of times, but this does provide a creative and unique take on it. There are some issues with it, however. The most obvious being that the Knight Sabres are kind of crap at safeguarding their secret identities. There are several cases when they should be found out, but aren't. For example, there's a scene early on where they go in their armour to hear about a job from a military group. After leaving they notice a satellite's tracking them. So they meet up with their mobile base under a bridge, ditch the armour and exit out the other end. In spite of no one else being near that bridge or having gone under it, they are not found out. No one watched the footage and thought it was strange that these two women mysteriously appeared right when the Knight Sabres vanished? There are also quite a few episodes that focus on a situation involving someone who just happens to coincidentally be closely connected to one of the Knight Sabres. This is a group of mercenaries/vigilantes, you don't have to give some contrived reason for them to get involved.
The characters in this are mostly really well handled. All of the Knight Sabres get episodes focusing on them and all of them get character developing moments. The characters are largely complex and interesting. They also have some great interactions with one another. There is one notable suggestion, Mackey. Mackey is the younger brother of the Knight Sabres' leader, Sylia. To call him incredibly obnoxious would be an understatement. He's a perverse little worm who's there to serve as an errand boy and perv on the Knight Sabres, including his own older sister. In fact, she's the one he pervs on the most. Fortunately, he isn't a major character, but the few scenes that feature him are frequently downright unpleasant.
The art is very meticulous. It's a bit dated, but you can tell a lot of effort went into getting all the details right and making the world expansive. The action sequences are suitably epic, the tech is really cool. It just looks excellent. That being said, there is one issue with the art. That's right, there's excessive fan-service. There are semi-long scenes of the ladies changing into their suits for the sole purpose of getting some nudity into the OVA. Frankly, they could have done one changing scene and had it make sense since it does show you something about the way the suits work, but it isn't something that needed to be seen multiple times. There are also some fan-service costumes at several points and some other scenes that have little purpose aside from titillating the heterosexual male portion of the audience. Because that's totally worth interrupting the fluidity of the narrative for. Wait... what?
The cast in this is really good. Hiramatsu Akiko, Sakakibara Yoshiko, Oomori Kinuko and Tomizawa Michie are all great in their roles as the Knight Sabres. The music is excellent. Each episode has about three or four songs and they're all really damn good.
The ho-yay factor is a 5/10. The relationship between Priss and Sylvie is pretty homo-erotic. Nene admires other girls' beauty on multiple occasions, as does Linna. There's also some flirtation between two men in the AD Police, Leon and Daley.
That's Bubblegum Crisis. All in all, it's a really good OVA. The voice acting and music are top-notch, the story is really good, the art is great and most of the characters are really well done. Its biggest issues are Mackey, the occasional story element that doesn't work, Mackey, excessive fan service and Mackey. Still, it is a great cyberpunk series and I do recommend checking it out. My final rating is an 8/10. Next week I'll take a look at Slayers Return. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Our story opens with a fairy named Syrup looking for strong people to join her Aquafall Defense force to protect the world from invading alien bug creatures. Naturally, she seeks out the silliest trio of girls she can find, Leviathan, Bahamut and Jormungandr. Okay, she doesn't try to recruit them because they're silly people, that's just a happy coincidence. The problem is that neither Bahamut nor Leviathan is interested in the position. The series mainly revolves around the misadventures of the three girls while Syrup tries to get them to join her in protecting the world. The series mainly revolves around two things comedic moments and action sequences. So, how well does the comedy work? Well, the series certainly has some really funny moments. In general the comedy is quite effective, actually, but there are also some jokes that fall flat and some that are just predictable and not all that amusing as a result. Putting the humourous elements aside, the story is rather mediocre and predictable and, unfortunately, the series does try for some serious story moments.
The characters aren't very well developed. The four main characters do have somewhat fleshed out personalities, but they aren't particularly deep ones. That being said, they are functional for comedic purposes. They interact well with one another which does lead to some good moments where one plays off of another. The familial relationships are decently handled, for what little you get of them.
The art is pretty mixed. On the positive side, the character designs are really nice, in spite of Bahamut's cap of +10 tomfoolery. The action sequences are also put together pretty well, for the most part, and have good intensity. Onto the negatives. The transformation sequences are fan-servicey, which you should never be able to say about a series that features characters who are designed to look roughly twelve. The series also makes use of fan-service in several other scenes because... the art design team was obsessed with Nowi. The backgrounds are also kind of lazy and the side character designs vary quite a bit. Jormungandr's family suffers from recycled designs with minor differences, for example. They also incorporate more traditionally CG designs for Fire Drake and Yurlungur, which are interesting but also look completely off when contrasted with the rest of the art in the series. It would be like taking Vincent as he appears in Advent Children and randomly throwing him into an episode of A-Channel. The styles simply don't work together.
The voice acting is pretty good. The main cast consists of Kitamura Eri, Taketatsu Ayana, Hayami Saori,and Hanazawa Kana, all of whom are good voice actresses who occasionally end up cast in something really terrible that requires them to pretend they aren't. While this isn't a series that requires them to be at their best, it is a series that allows them to show their skills. The music is okay.
The ho-yay factor is a 3/10. There are moments where you can envision them going that route, but nothing substantial.
So, how is Zettai Bouei Leviathan when taken as a whole? Well, the comedic elements are mostly effective and the characters are fun, the voice acting is good and there are some real positive aspects to the art. However, the fan-service is pretty bad, there are some other assorted art issues and the attempts at being more serious outright fail. That being said, if you're looking for a light-hearted fantasy story with some good action sequences you'll probably like it. My final rating is going to be a 6/10. It's decent, but nothing spectacular. Next week I'll look at the Bubblegum Crisis OVA, because why not? read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
The story takes place shortly after the second film, but before the first or third because the first four are out of order for no apparent reason. It opens with Shiki being taken to hospital, hopefully they don't forget about that protocol at some future point and leave someone lying on a couch in a comatose state for several days because that would be stupid, unconscious and bleeding. She spends two years in a coma before waking up, but something has changed within her and she can never go back to the way she was. The main narrative focuses on Shiki's own existential crisis. It uses both imagery and dialogue to make the struggle as poignant as they can. And it is incredibly effective. The build up is strong, the conflict is powerful, in spite of the first and third films giving away how it's going to ultimately turn out, and the climax is really strong. I will also give the film credit for having excellent, albeit short, build up for future films.
This film is really carried by its characters, particularly Shiki since she's the one going through an identity crisis. The film does an excellent job of showing you all of her inner turmoil, much of which it illustrates without dialogue, and just putting the viewer in a position where they can understand her on a pretty deep level. This is also the first film that really develops Touko's character and she is freaking awesome. She's both funny and badass. The interactions between her and Shiki are amazingly written and very effective at both developing their characters and keeping the audience engrossed. Kokutou takes a minor role in this one but his personality still manages to shine through in his scenes.
The art is excellent. This is especially true for the scenes that delve into Shiki's mind and the supernatural elements, but it also holds true for the regular scenes. The scenery looks good, the backgrounds and characters look good. The film just looks very pretty in general.
The voice acting is strong. Honda Takako gives a very powerful performance Sakamoto Maaya is also at her best in this. The only weakness is Suzumura Kenichi's musical number. Basically there's a scene where he sings “singing in the rain” and it's not the least bit good. Not because his English isn't great, but because he constantly emphasises the wrong syllables and the song just sounds disjointed and stilted. Even giving the film the benefit of the doubt and assuming that Kokutou is supposed to be tone-deaf, it sounds like he's trying to sing a song he's never heard before from a sheet with the lyrics written down. Aside from that, he does a good job and the music is excellent.
The ho-yay factor is a 3/10. Touko does flirt with Shiki a little bit.
That was Kara no Kyoukai 4. How does it compare to the rest? Really bloody well, actually. The story is interesting and really well executed, the characters are great, the art is amazing and the sound, aside from that one scene, is top-notch. This is definitely the best film in the series thus far. My final rating is a 9.5/10. That's going to be the last February review. The request queue going into March is: Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu, Shinsekai Yori, One Outs, Doki Doki Precure, Sword Art online, Shingeki no Kyojin, & Zettai Bouei Leviathan. Next week I'll take a look at the only one short enough to finish in a week, Zettai Bouei Leviathan. read more
3 of 3 episodes seen
I'll try to talk about the story without spoiling anything major, but it's not going to be easy. Basically, the narrative is cut into three time periods, separating it into three parts. The story opens with our protagonist, Takaki, receiving a letter from his best friend from elementary school, Akari, whom he hasn't seen for half a year. The first part focuses on them keeping in touch and culminates in him taking the train to meet with her. After that it skips ahead to the end of secondary school and from there it skips to adulthood. The story is about the way their relationship changes over time with an emphasis on the challenges of time and distance on that relationship. And I have to give Shinkai credit, it is really well done. The drama is very natural, very relatable. It never feels contrived or forced. Another aspect I appreciated was that it's not predictable. The course of events it goes over is completely realistic and makes sense, but it's not what a work in this genre would usually do. The way they transition from one time period to another is a little odd, but effective. The film's tone is absolutely flawless. The only real problem with the film from a story perspective is that some of the dialogue is kind of stilted and exposition heavy. The most obvious being from early in the film when one of Akari's letters goes something like “I don't know if you remember me. We last saw each other at our elementary school graduation. As you know, that was six months ago.” The first part is fine since people do talk like that, but the second is just forced.
This film has about three really well developed realistic characters, fortunately they're the important ones, and a bunch of side characters who don't do much but still feel like actual people from what little you see of them. A pretty substantial part of why the film works is that the characters are relatable. Their situation is familiar to just about anyone and the way they change over time is very natural. Even with the story skipping large periods of time, the character changes make sense and never feel like they were dictated by the plot.
The art is really stellar. The backgrounds are nicely detailed. The characters look good and the various miscellanea are all really well drawn. The film is very appealing from a visual perspective.
The voice acting is well done. Kondo Yoshimi, Hanamura Satomi and Mizuhashi Kenji all give good performances. As do the actors who voice the side characters. The music is used effectively to add to the atmosphere.
Th ho-yay factor is a 1/10. There is none in this.
That's 5 centimetres per second. It's a beautifully drawn movie with great drama, good acting and magnificent tone. Final rating 9/10. Check it out for a well done, but melancholy tale. Next week... you know, it's been a while. Next week will be Kara no Kyoukai 4. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Our story opens with Kiri, our protagonist, going to the house of a rumoured spirit with long hair because... that's his fetish. I'm not even kidding. He goes because he has a hair fetish. When he gets there he finds a petite girl roughly his age with hair down to her feet. He decides to stare at her, scissors in hand while breathing heavily. Contrary to common sense or basic survival skills, the girl, Iwai, decides that the best way to handle the situation is to invite him inside. Because in the land of poorly written characters, actions don't need to remotely resemble what anyone with a single functional brain cell would do. It turns out that Iwai has cursed hair that can't be cut. In spite of Kiri trying several pairs of scissors from her drawer. But that's okay because his pair is magical as it was a murder weapon at some point and it can cut her hair. The worst part is that that isn't even the stupidest aspect of this series. That's right, my friends, the idiocy escalates. It turns out that there are lots of people out there with magical murder weapons called authors and if any of them manages to kill Iwai, the “hair queen” they can get any wish they want and escape the spirit of the original murderer that still possesses the weapon. Kiri decides to protect her because she's surprisingly uncreeped out by him. The series from there follows the pair as they try to fend off a bunch of “authors” who either want to kill Iwai or Kiri. There are many problems that plague the narrative. The most obvious being that the premise is really stupid. Even if it was well-executed, which it isn't, it would still be just an absurdly stupid premise. Which might work in a parody but they play it seriously and try to play up the “drama.” Which is terribly written and the romance is cringe worthy to the point where it would fit into a Stephanie Meyer novel. I have nothing positive to say about the story. It starts out as mind-numbingly stupid and only gets worse eventually ending on an expositional onslaught about how much more there is to come.
The characters in this are horribly written. Their actions and motivations have no verisimilitude whatsoever. Kiri has a hair cutting fetish and protects Iwai because he's in love with her based on her hair. Iwai is an archetypal damsel in distress who spends her time either fixated on her love interest, crying or yelling for help. Most of the characters are defined entirely by exaggerated fetishes and the rest are just one-dimensional. The best characters are the dogs that appear briefly in two or three scenes. Just because they're the only characters who never do anything grossly stupid or incredibly annoying. To make things even worse, character motivations and actions change quite a bit in this for really flimsy reasons. They really couldn't use actual character reasons since the characters in this have less personality than a half leaf of lettuce so they have to resort to the tired “characters change because the plot says so.”
The art is meh. It's not as bad as the rest of the series, but it's nothing special. The character designs are pretty standard. The action sequences tend towards the slow, dragged out and uninteresting. They also mute the colours when things get violent. Having fetishy characters, including a pedophile, running around is fine, but showing blood would just be going too far. (Facepalm) There's really nothing visually interesting about the series.
The voice acting is pretty bad. Not because of the cast, I've heard most of them deliver good performances before, but because the characters have nothing to them. And actors can't make something out of nothing. As a result, the performances are pretty flat and the actors frequently just sound dis-interested. The music is okay.
The ho-yay factor is a 3/10. There are a couple homo-erotic scenes between two girls. Unfortunately, those girls are twin sisters. So it just ends up being disgusting. What is with creepy terrible writers and adding romantic subtext to relationships between twins? Looking at you too, Bendis.
This anime is horrendous. There's really nothing I can recommend it based on. The writing is terrible, the plot is stupid, the characters are bland at best and downright unpleasant at worst. I could only recommend this one to someone I hated and you're all such lovely people that I couldn't do that to you. Final rating 1/10. Next week I'll take a look at 5 centimetres per second. I know, it's not on my request queue, but I'm trying to finish Legend of the Galactic Heroes and it's quite long. Unfortunately, I don't have anymore requests that are short enough to watch in the meantime. Thank you all for being patient with me. This Friday I'll do a little something special for all of you. It's something I've wanted to do for a while and now seems a good time. And no, it's not images of myself in lingerie for Valentine's. I'm sure most of you would not be interested in seeing that anyway. read more