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May 6, 2009
Clannad: After Story (Anime) add
I laughed...
I cried...
I experienced something that changed my life...

In a nutshell, Clannad ~After Story~ influenced the way I will live for the rest of my life and not just in some half-assed way like any other show would. It legitimately moved me to make certain decisions, for better or for worse. In that sense, no other anime can compare, as no other anime has provided an equivalent reaction on my part.

Before you continue, you should know that Clannad ~After Story~ is a continuation of the story from Clannad and an adaptation from the original Visual Novel by KEY. Although knowledge of the first season is not necessary, it is highly recommended if you want to get the most out of ~After Story~ as well as this review. That being said, this review is tailored to all readers, and can be understood without knowledge of the first season. Note that there may be very minor spoilers. Now then, on to the meat and potatoes.

I won't spend much time on the individual components of Clannad ~After Story~ (or Clannad ~AS~ as I will call it now) like I have with my other reviews. At first glance, there is nothing notably outstanding about it as a whole. For those who are interested in the individual components, here they are and the reasons behind them are available at the end of the review:

Story: 8.7/10
Art/Animation: 8.4/10
Sound: 7.8/10
Character: 9.7/10
Enjoyment (in this case influence): 10+/10
Overall: 9.8/10

| Main Review |
It is difficult to convey the emotions that went through my mind as I watched Clannad ~AS~. For those of you who watched the first season and dropped the show, I urge you to pick up ~AS~ and give it a chance. The first few episodes run almost identically to those of the first season, but the true After Story part branches off in a manner that is unique only to ~AS~. What Clannad ~AS~ gives the viewer is a story of life. A story of despair. A story of forgiveness. A story of hope. Through this story, Clannad ~AS~ can powerfully change the way you perceive the world around you. I am well aware that not everyone enjoys Clannad and ~AS~, especially since the magical light orbs are outlandish to some, but for me it was a bit of a godsend among anime.

The concept of Clannad ~AS~ is neither truly unique nor breathtakingly wonderful. What the viewer gets when watching it is the story of a man. Nothing less and nothing more. What Clannad ~AS~ really excels at, however, is the way it tells the story of that man. While it may be classified as a romance or even a harem anime by some (at least the first season could be), I really classify Clannad ~AS~ as a slice of life. A slice out of the life of a delinquent who can’t seem to do anything right and struggles to protect what really matters to him as the world comes crashing down.

However, “slice of life” can read more
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Feb 28, 2008
One Piece (Anime) add
There are two responses I get, without fail, every time I try to get someone new to watch this show. "I don't like the art style," or "I've seen the dub - NO THANKS." I'm guilty of both of these myself. But if there's one thing I need to stress before even getting started on this review, it's that the 4Kids dub is NOT One Piece. For the love of god, PLEASE do not think it is. If you've suffered the misfortune of seeing some of the 4Kids episodes, just erase them from your mind and start fresh. They butchered it, there's really no other way to put it. They cut episodes, changed the dialogue to fit a MUCH younger and apparently far less intelligent audience (almost insultingly so), gave the characters RIDICULOUS voices, and pretty much watered down the entire series. FUNimation has done a much better job so far from what I've seen, but regardless, watching it in its original Japanese form with subtitles is really the way to go.

As for the art style, it's true, it's completely different from almost anything else I've seen. Much more "cartoonish" and maybe not what you'd expect from an anime. Despite that, you end up loving it. I wouldn't even say that you have to "get used to it" because it's not something that detracts from the rest of the series in any way. It didn't even take me two episodes before I was thoroughly enjoying it and seeing it as a fresh, new style, exciting almost and unlike anything I'd experienced before. Now, some 300+ episodes later, I can't remember ever NOT liking it, or even why I would have. Especially now with One Piece being aired in high definition, the art is crisp, clean, colorful - VERY sharp and wonderful to look at.

Now that we've got those two points out of the way...

One Piece is actually one of the best shows I've ever seen, anime or otherwise. The plot is pretty basic at first. Monkey D. Luffy has just set out on his own to find the legendary treasure 'one piece' and become Pirate King, and he's looking for a crew to sail with him. You'll find yourself falling in love with each and every new member as Luffy finds them. They're all extremely well developed, with interesting backgrounds and unique, fun personalities. They form one very quirky crew that's always discovering new adventures and somehow getting themselves into trouble as they strive to achieve their dreams. Each main story arc introduces new minor characters as well, and they're just as much fun and easy to fall in love with as the Straw Hat crew. Not one character is left out or feels like they're there for no reason. Everyone has a purpose and adds to the storyline, and one of the really cool things about One read more
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Dec 30, 2009
Mars of Destruction (Anime) add
This is by far the anime medium's magnum opus. Mars of Destruction is the best animated movie I've seen in years, if not ever. In terms of science-fiction related media, this blows other greats such as Heinlein's works, Battlestar Galactica, and Neon Genesis Evangelion out of the water. Truly an experience I will never forget, and oh, what an experience it was!

Story: 10/10
This film is highly philosophical. I actually felt regret when the Big Bad Ancient Guy told Random Armored Cop Dude that the humans were the true invaders of Earth. This plot twist was stunning and, on the whole, thought-provoking. It was like something written by Kafka.

Art/Animation: 10/10
This movie is so amazing that it actually makes DEEN's animation look like Madhouse by comparison. It gave me more appreciation for other anime titles! I love you, Mars Of Destruction!!!

Sound: 10/10
The voice acting is absolutely perfect. When the characters yell each other's names repeatedly you will FEEL the emotion. The OST recorded by Beethoven himself is also marvelous. He did an excellent job, as always.

Characters: 10/10
The characters are all equally well-done, from Green Hair Girl to Blue Hair Girl; it's so easy to tell them apart! I especially enjoyed the doctor's dialogue, as I would not have known that the girl whose head exploded was dead without his helpful reminder that "she won't make it."

Enjoyment: 10/10
This picture is absolutely riveting on every level! I could watch it over and over and never get bored!

Overall: 10/10
Run, don't walk, to your nearest YouTube to catch this masterpiece as soon as possible! You won't regret it!
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Feb 26, 2013
Sword Art Online (Anime) add
I don't really want to go into too much depth, but I'd like to give an overview of the series and give my opinions it. If you haven't noticed yet there are many negative reviews out there for this anime, and while many of them bring up some pretty fair points, I think some people are being a bit too harsh on it. Let me explain.

Yes it's a popular anime, yes it has flaws, no it's not perfect, but at the very least in my opinion it is enjoyable. The pacing is off, the beginning particularly feels rushed, there were moments where I thought I skipped an episode because of the time skips which made it difficult to really connect with any of the characters in the beginning, and there were some less than stellar instances where it felt like the anime was trying to make me care but failing hard.

Some characters felt to be completely forgotten throughout most of this series too. For example in the beginning we are introduced to a character named Klein who is quickly pushed aside after the first episode and barely seen again and doesn't really make much of an impact at all on the story later on. This seems to happen a lot throughout this series where there might be some emotional moments where a character dies, or something dramatic happens but there is really no emotional impact from it, and the main character seems to not really care that much about it or it doesn't really effect anything significantly.

I really felt this series shined from around episodes 4-13 and I wish they would have kept with that pace instead of rushing an ending midway and throwing something new at us. The second half just felt completely unnecessary and forced.

Pushing the negative aside, I found the overall theme and atmosphere of the series to be great, and being an avid lover the MMORPG genre obviously a lot of things in this series appealed to me. I really enjoyed the idea of being stuck in a game that was impossible to escape from without winning and having real consequences, it really made everything much more dramatic and meaningful in the story. Sadly this quickly goes away midway through the plot.

If I had to pick two of the best things this anime did well for me it would probably be the animation and soundtrack. They both were really well done, and honestly without them being as good as they were this series would have gotten a much lower score from me, and when I say I really enjoyed the soundtrack I mean that I loved it, it was superb.

I think what it really comes down was just the fact that I enjoyed watching it. I can look at the flaws and pick the anime apart pretty easily, but those flaws never really stopped me from enjoying this anime.I really do feel though that it had a lot of potential to read more
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Nov 21, 2007
School Days (Anime) add
School Days is a psychological anime, number one, so do not think it is about cute children playing in school and having happy days. School Days is an anime about how cheating on someone can really end up messing with their head and lives and how the human heart and mind are very fragile and how friendship is very precious and when destroyed in the worst way, it can have the worst consequences.

The main character is your seemingly typical anime guy in high school that listens to music and has a bunch of perverted thoughts about girls all the time, but who turns out to be quite different than your usual main character guy and he has a crush on this girl that he sees on the train all the time and he ends up taking a picture of her and putting it in his phone. In class, another girl who he happens to sit next to, named Sekai, sees the picture in his phone and tells him her name and then, from there goes about getting him and the girl on the train to know each other so that they can try and start a relationship, all the while falling for him herself.

This anime is very much a psychological anime and deals with relationships and what happens when someone cheats on someone, but not only one person, many people. The main character is one of the most despicable characters I have ever seen, if not my MOST HATED character and cares nothing for the people around him, it seems, but to be able to hate him that much and to have so much passion for his pain and wishing something bad would happen to him was an exciting feeling because I really felt he would have to get what was coming to him. He hurts basically every single person he meets and cares nothing about how they feel when he is done with them, only to use them again in the future. He walks all over every girl in the anime, save one or two, and they all basically sit around begging for more mainly because they want to know what it's like and why the others are doing it, so they do it, too.

The majority of the anime the main character is, in my opinion, a sociopath, as well as a sex-addict, but there are moments here and there where you see that his actions actually do bother him and these are very important in this particular anime because if they did not have them, he would truly seem to be a monster. It is sometimes scary that the most evil people are not demons or supernatural at all.

The ending is something that is perfect, though, in my opinion and it is something I ABSOLUTELY saw coming, but the way that it was done was really something creepy and gave me chills - I really enjoyed it! It was an awesome turn, but something I saw coming the read more
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Nov 26, 2008
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (Anime) add
Watching Higurshi is like locking a group of happy people in a test chamber, only coming back to find they've hacked each other into a bloody mess. Its horrific, its shocking, and yet a part of you, cannot help but wonder, how did it happen?

The curiosity takes over... and so you repeat the experiment, knowing full well that those cute looking teenagers you just sent are going to end up as bloody pulps. But hey, at least each time they die, you're one step closer to figuring out why they died, it's all good.

Higurashi essentially places you in the role of the scientist. It divides itself into several arcs, each of which begin exactly the same. A teenager moves into a remote countryside village, and befriends a group of sweet fangirls that could have come out right from a harem rom/com. Then, explicably, thing go wrong... very wrong.

The pacing is excellent, the suspence pulpable. You know terrible things are going to happen, but you don't know exactly what. Higurashi would appeal to two types of people. The maglomanics who cackle madly in seeing a happy community descend into the depth of oblivion, and the curious scientist who watched each arc with intense interest... for they want to know exact *why* everything goes wrong (though they can also cackle madly just a little).

The true draw of Higurashi is the mystery. The series will leave you guessing, postulating all manner of reasons why the sweetest girl in the class is now butchering every child in sight with a giant cleaver. Each experiment you run (arc you see) reveals a few more clues, and you formulate a new theory, only to find it shattered by another totally unexpected horror in the very same arc. The beauty of Higurashi is that a mystery of such grand scale, every detail is meticulous, and while every bloody event seems random at first, they all eventually fall into place

Not only are the characters are memorable, and filled with interesting secrets, and unlike school days, they're actually also extreme likeable. This is no small achievement, given what they're portrayed doing to each other.

Higurashi is really the pinnacle of a dark mystery. You'll start off the mad scientist, watching those innocents in the test chamber with morbid curiosity. Yet, slowly, that morbid curiosity will be transformed into sympathy, and as you fall in love these victims, that initial curiosity will into turn a genuine desire to figure out whats going on so that they can be saved.


As always, I welcome feedback!
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Mar 21, 2008
Elfen Lied (Anime) add
Elfen Lied: Infamous for its bloody mess of gore, cruelty and nudity. A combination that could make many a person turn away. Yet, a huge number of people watch this, knowing (to some extent) what they're going into, and it's one of the more popular and well-rated series here on MAL. Some people call it a 'masterpiece', people some call it 'perverted', some people don't know what to say, and some call it 'horrible'. The first is true, the second is an exaggeration, the third is understandable, and the fourth is so wrong.

The first episode starts off with what is the bloodiest and nuditiest 10 minutes of any show I've ever watched, and I'll tell you this: If you live through that, you'll live through the series. And vice versa. Lucy, a naked girl of the Diclonius race, a species of mutant humans with invisible 'arms' called Vectors, is escaping from a facility (more like assaulting her way out), killing countless guards and whatnot on her way out (all in the nude). When she's finally outside, she's sniped, but she doesn't die. Instead, two teenage cousins (the two other main characters), Kouta and Yuka, discovers her on a beach. She has lost her memories, and is only capable of saying "Nyu", which is what Kouta and Yuka names her. They also decide to take her home, and

The story suddenly drops severely in its gore level there, and slowly builds up again throughout the remaining twelve episodes. Along with the gore come cruel events upon cruel events, as more Diclonii and their sad pasts are revealed. Nyuu 'awakens' as Lucy more frequently as the story progresses, in the end completely reverting to her old self. However, there might be an obstacle preventing her from going completely psychotic...

The characters are all okay, though they do act really stupid at times (if you find a girl with horns lying drenched in blood on the beach, you don't just take her home and decide to keep here there, do you?). They've all got some back stories, which contents are mostly those of cruelty, blood and relationships. Especially note the latter; relationships. It's an important aspect of the series, as they are the main factor as to why the Diclonius are so "cruel" as they are. "Cruel" because they aren't the real cruel ones; that dubious honor goes to the humans. Treating the Diclonius as mere research subjects, being shunned by the very people who should take care of them, and being killed off for stupid reasons. Among the main characters, their love (there is a love triangle between Kouta, Yuka and Nyu/Lucy), broken promises, lies and "lies" have all had their effect on how they are in the present, and what happened some years ago is connected to their development in the present day.

The series is only 13 episodes long, and in that short time quite a lot happens, which may make it seem rushed at times; it does move forward at a read more
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First of all, I have seen the original FMA and although it was very popular and original, the pacing and conclusion did not sit too well with me. Brotherhood is meant to be a remake of the original, this time sticking to the manga all the way through, but there were people who thought it would spoil the franchise. That myth should be dispelled, as there's only one word to describe this series - EPIC.

I admit that as I've seen the original and read the manga, the pacing of Brotherhood seems to start off being VERY fast (I finally got used to the pacing after watching the first fifteen eps or so). Events that took up half a volume of the manga and had spread though a few episodes of the original anime were now shown in just a single episode. However, after trying to look at it from the perspective of someone who's new to FMA (not comparing it to the manga nor the original), I believe that the pacing works and it manages to tell an intriguing story effectively with little confusion. The plot is full of clever ideas and unpredictable twists that link various parts of the story together. By the final episode, all loose ends are neatly tied up and what's left is a hugely satisfying epilogue.

The animation in FMA Brotherhood is crisp and very well done (although it does sometimes dip a bit in quality). Compared to the original FMA it's a bit simpler but that's just because the original set a very high standard to follow. The facial emotions of the characters are also perfectly presented. The action scenes are brilliant and VERY well animated, with a variety of alchemy techniques and other talents being displayed nearly every episode. The various battles are consistently exciting to watch, but somehow get even better towards the end of the series.

The voice acting is of an excellent and consistent quality, and I think that pretty much all the characters have voice actors which suit their personalities. The majority of the openings/endings are a pleasure to watch due to fantastic animated sequences and theme songs. The background music which play during the episodes usually fit very well with the situation, although some tracks seem to be overused a little at first. This becomes less of a problem as the series progresses, with plenty of new music being introduced to support the story as it reaches the finale.

Moving on to the characters (best thing about this series), the original FMA focussed mainly on Ed and Al and on their struggles to regain their bodies, whereas Brotherhood also explores other characters to great detail at the same time. The majority of the spotlight is still on the two brothers, but it highlights their interactions with new characters which were not present in the original anime. New characters include a group of people from Xing (a neighbouring country), another person from the Armstrong family (who I think has become one of read more
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Sep 13, 2008
Byousoku 5 Centimeter (Anime) add
From Makoto Shinkai (Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days) comes 5 Centimetes per Second, a movie that tells the story of two childhood friends in love, and how they try to keep their relationship going through hardships that life throws at them. Throogh three small stories, or episodes as they're called, we're told the tale of how they grow up and farther away from each other.

The movie tells of a love that's slowly torn apart because the lovers move further away, both in heart and home. It's underlying themes are beautifully incorporated into the story; about growing up, letting go of an unreachable past, and taking control of one's own life. Though they're not necessarily very obvious throughout the movie, the final scene symbolizes these themes, and what the main characters decided on in the end.

The character we follow through the movie is Takaki Tohno, and we get to see how he looks on the events that unfold as a child, a teenager and finally, and adult. We see how he develops through these stages of life, and how it all relates to his childhood friend and love, Akari Shinohara.

The emotions are protrayed in an incredibly beautiful and realistic way; how they portray the love between Akari and Takaki, how they portray the girl who has a crush on Tohno during his high school years, Kanae Sumida, and finally, how they portray their development from children to adults all makes them characters you'll place your heart with. They're characters you'll love, feel sad with, and you'll wish for them to live happily.

The animation quality is astounding, from the detail in backgrounds to the astounding ligthing effects and camera angles that help bring the mood of the scenes to a level different from mostly anything else. The only beef I have is that the characters' faces lost a bit of detail from time to time, but aside that the movie is a visual pleasure that goes beyond pretty much everything I've ever experienced.

Tenmon, who's made the soundtrack to other Shinaki films, does an astounding job on the soundtrack for the movie, with piano pieces that effectively and beautifully amplifies the mood of the movie, be it melancholy, calmness or nostalgia. However, if you don't like piano soundtracks, chances are you'll not like it, since it's mostly the piano that's used throughout the movie (I love them though, and that's what made me give it a 10).

The seiyuu also do a marvelous job of portraying the characters, their emotions and age. I've only watched the Japanese version of the movie, so I can't say anything about the quality of the English voice acting. But I'd recommend it in Japanese anyways =)

5 cm per Second is a movie that takes a story of growing up and makes it into something that cannot be described as anything less than a masterpiece, with astounding themes, storytelling, art and sound. If someone told me I could watch one movie read more
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Oct 18, 2009
Gintama (Anime) add
Over the years there have been a multitude of comedy shows that have graced our TV screens, from the surreal stylings of Monty Python and sarcastic wit of Blackadder, to the sci-fi tomfoolery of Red Dwarf and the strange antics of The Fast Show. There are numerous notable series that have taken their rightful places in our DVD collections, and in an age where comedians are treated like rock stars, maybe it's fate that comedy anime would also come of age.

It's strange to say this, but humour has never been a strong department for the medium, partly because of the cultural differences between East and West, but mainly because the majority of anime comedies rely more on parody than anything else. The problem with this is that quite often the viewer is left without a frame of reference, so the humour simply goes over their heads. Some shows manage to get away with it purely by throwing out an almost constant stream of gags in the hope that people will understand enough of them to be entertained, while others like Seto no Hanayome and Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu have a slightly more careful approach.

The area where anime is weakest is where situational comedy is concerned. There are plenty of shows around that could invariably class themselves as sit-coms, but the penchant for studios to base their stories in some sort of school setting severely limits the quality of the humour. In essence, the industry's blind adherence to what they think is a winning formula has resulted in the dilution of just about every single joke that could be told in a school setting, so much so in fact that these days studios have fallen to relying on fanservice based comedies in order to make ends meet (pardon the pun).

Comedy anime isn't dead though, as there are some rays of light shining down on the wreckage of red noses, bladders on sticks and giant shoes. Nodame Cantabile insane otaku heroine and her long suffering boyfriend introduced many people to the world of classical music and the usage of otaku power when learning French. Genshiken took a slightly rose tinted look at the multi-layered world of the Japanese otaku, while Moyashimon payed homage to the classic American frat comedy National Lampoon's Animal House.

One series has, however, defied all the conventions, and has become one of the greatest comedy anime of all time. Incorporating elements from some of the best comedy of both East and West, the series has an anarchic streak that, at times, is more reminiscent of Monty Python, The Simpsons and Family Guy.

I am, of course, talking about Gintama.

The concept of a samurai sit-com isn't new to anime and manga, however it wasn't until the serialisation of Sorachi Hideaki's manga in 2003 that anyone actually realised the potential in this type of story. Set in a quasi-historical Edo, Japan (and possibly the rest of the world), has been conquered by an alien race known as the Amanto. The read more
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Apr 6, 2014
Sword Art Online (Anime) add
Since I've seen a plethora of scores of 10 for this show, I thought I'd write what I feel is a more realistic review for this show. Sword Art Online is more or less the equivalent of a fanfiction in it's writing and quality. Whether people want to overlook it or not is up to the individual, but I believe it fails at the fundamentals for writing a good story. This review will go into details as to my opinions on why I feel this way.

1) Story - This is first major problem is the show. Let's start from the beginning shall we. The first arc consists of 14 episodes. The first 2 episodes are honestly pretty good and set up the plot of the show that should follow. You're introduced to the main characters and it shows mmo style of play. I mean with 2 episodes that are amazing, surely what follows will be more of the adventures of the main characters and these mmo boss fights...right? Wrong. What follows are 5 completely irrelevant side character episodes and unnecessary terrible time skips that ruin any sense of a story the first 2 episodes set up. So due to some illogical reason, we're now down to 7 episodes to tell the rest of this story. Still doable right? RIGHT? Wrong again. The series wastes another 2 1/2 episodes on pointless filler garbage. So there you have it over half of first part of the story has nothing to do with the overall plot. Well what about the other episodes you ask? The remaining "plot" episodes are filled with deus ex machina in its purest form. Even the finale of the first season makes absolutely no sense. This isn't a fantasy world, it's a freaking video game, you can't have miracles here. So that concludes my issues with season 1, which the majority of SAO fans consider to be the best part....Yeh you heard me, the 2nd part is even worse.
Without going into spoilers, the 2nd part of the series takes place in a different setting, with a mostly new cast aside from our main hero. This part of the series probably deserves the award for most unnecessary story in the history of anime. This arc is pretty much a mario game. Our hero must save the princess in the castle. Not really much to say about it. Oh yeh deus ex machina finale here too...oh and there's an incest subplot...for some reason. This concludes the plot section. I think I'm being pretty generous with a 4 here.

2) Art - The art is fantastic. Colorful characters, bosses (the few we see), and settings are all here. It's easily worth an 8.

3) Sound - Again fantastic. Nothing wrong with it at all. 8.

4)Characters - Here we go...This is easily the worst part of the series. I'll separate the main characters and lump together the not so main characters.

Kirito/Kazuto - The main read more
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Aug 19, 2010
Highschool of the Dead (Anime) add
High School of the Dead is about a group of breasts trying to avoid getting eaten by zombies in whatever way possible. Tagging along with these breasts are 2 of our heroes, Kouta and Takashi. A couple pairs of breasts are even in on the action part when they're not bouncing across the screen like jello filled balloons hiding behind incomplete articles of clothing.

But in all seriousness, High School of the Dead has actually been very enjoyable overall. And I'm not a fan of fan service.

Story: Here are some breasts, here are some zombies, and here are 2 guys to enjoy and protect the breasts pretty much sums it up. With a show like this, do you really need a complex plot? Do you watch The Simpsons in the hopes that the characters will change and mature as time goes by? God no. Homer's still an ignoramous (all be it tainted by the Family Guy brand of humour) and Bart's still causing trouble. High School of the Dead operates in a similar fashion. You don't really expect much in terms of character development or plot. You expect a lot of fan service, and some action whilst fighting zombies. HOTD delivers on both. It's the "how" that sets it apart though.

Art: So HOTD is well animated. Just putting that out there. The animation is clear, it's well done, and it's eye-catching. The way they animate action scenes is high quality stuff. And they made sure that boobs would jiggle at every opportunity. So there's a good framerate going, and crisp clean artwork.

Sound: I like to think of the sound section as more than just opening and ending tracks. When we're talking about sound, we're talking about background music, sound bytes and effects, voice casting etc... HOTD has no characters whose voices don't suit them, and the voice acting is well performed. The drone of zombies does it's job. To be honest, I haven't really noticed background music in the episodes during action scenes. I can't tell you if the background music fits well or not, cause there may not be much. But what I can tell you is that what they're doing sound-wise in the show works. Where they choose to put music blends so well you won't be able to distinguish it from the animation. Where there is no music, it adds a suspenseful effect to help bring you the realization that we're in a zombie-infested wasteland of a city. So the sound department is definitely solid.

Character: Here are some boobs, sometimes they show butts too. Honestly, character is underdeveloped in HOTD. We've got a ditzy nurse, an egotistical girl, a somewhat selfish and reliant girl, a strong girl displaying leadership qualities, a macgyver who can work with any scenario, and the male leader. But most of that can be summed up as such. " We have 4 pairs of breasts, one is useful, a Macgyver and a typical male lead. I don't mean to demean it or anything, read more
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Sep 30, 2007
School Days (Anime) add
This anime is great, great for one thing which I truly believe is its sole purpose of existence - opening pickle jars. This anime will help you with the opening of jars and various other tasks requiring brute strength. You'll feel like the Hulk after you've watched half the series. And the very reason for all of this is this anime's amazing ability to piss the viewer off like no other series I have ever seen. If you want to be angered, please, please watch this series.

Jokes aside, this anime might be considered a decent series to other people, but I seriously hated it. It started off fine, a few laughs, a somewhat interesting love triangle between Makoto, Katsura and Saionji, resulting in the typical 'idiot girl helps guy she loves to get another girl' thing. ... and hey, although the whole love triangle story wasn't very unique or anything, it entertained... It was fun at first to see this clueless pervert fail at getting a girl. The problem was when it became more of a love hexagon - And things went downhill from there. The story became predictable and difficult to watch due to the idiotic and retarded main character who must have been the luckiest sped to walk the earth. The only good thing I can say about this series was the theme it presented to its viewers: to cherish what you have. 1/10

Characters: The characters in this anime are seriously some of the dumbest people I have ever seen. Makoto especially - after watching about 5 episodes I wanted to smash his face in. His idiotic expressions, his whiny sped voice, everything about him. I hated it all. I hated the way he looked, the way he talked, and everything he did. My hatred for this character is unparalleled to any other characters I might have ever hated in my life. The only props I can give to the people who dream t up this character was that we got to see him go from a selfish idiot to a selfish asshole by the end of the series.

That rant out of the way, I don't have much to say bout the other characters which was mainly composed of idiotic girls that for some reason or another couldn't get enough of this whiny faced idiot. The characters in general, didn't have much of a background. We didn't learn much about them or their past, and they just kind of came and went. Again, my only props here is the character development. 1/10

Sound: The opening sounded great, but it didn't really suit the series considering how dark and idiotic it became. The opening was way too happy in contrast to the story. Otherwise, bgm was decent, even good at times. No big comments here: 8/10

Animation/Character Design: I thought the animation and character design was pretty good, one of the series stronger points. All of the character designs although not unique, were nice, and the colors read more
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Apr 7, 2010
Fairy Tail (Anime) add
Those that are done raging between anime/manga adaptions feel free to read. Those who still don't understand why books and movies will ever be the same feel free to go away. With that being said, Fairy Tail is easily the best Shounen anime to date! Take this from a non-hardcore shounen fan. Granted, i do enjoy shounen as a casual viewer (despite me seeing over 3000 shounen eps) but I stand by my statement 100%

Sounds a little bit shallow but please let me elaborate. There have been countless shounen anime throughout the decades. Some lasting a few dozen episodes, others spanning 100's of episodes. Ever since Astro Boy, children all over the world have been enjoying cartoons such as these, but they all had one thing in common, countless flaws. If you are watching any of the big three, you know what they are. Long fights, long story arcs, long recaps, long explanations, annoying characters... basically tricks to extend the length of an anime series.

Fairy Tail takes all those ideas and throws them in the trash. You want short, awesome fights that does not last for weeks? Check! You want story arcs that are full of action, comedy, and a little seriousness? You got it! Most importantly, aren't you tired of characters explaining/chanting their fighting moves every time they use it?!?! I'm looking at you Bleach and One Piece~! Fairy Tail takes all the things that makes watching shounen anime great and throws out all the junk that that makes shounen ...well, junk.

In the beginning, it looks like it is an atypical shounen story of a boy/girl trying their best to improve their skills. Although it has that element, it is all about being part of a team. This team is the mages guild called Fairy Tail. A motley crew of mages with their own unique fighting styles, personalities and looks. There are so many characters in this show, one would find it hard not to like 3-5 characters out of the lot. Watching only 22 episodes, and you will be introduced to over 2 dozen members of fairy tail. Even the way they introduce all of their characters and their powers is awesome. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, such is the case here. It's a shoot first, ask questions later style, which how it SHOULD be.

Since that is the case, less time is taken to explain things you already know and actually put toward story and character development. Another amazing feat done by this anime series... episode recaps last LESS THAN 30 seconds! Talk about innovative! I know purists complain that it "doesn't follow the manga to the word!" but really, what manga does? I may sound like a broken record but if you keep an open mind, you can see this series is a cut above the rest. All arcs are told in typical anime fashion, problem arises and the team must stop them. But I'll be damned if you cant read more
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Aug 6, 2013
Boku no Pico (Anime) add
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened" -Dr Seuss

Boku no Pico is a thrilling story about the adventure of a weak boy, Pico, and how he struggles to become stronger. In this sense, it is very much like Naruto because it is about how our main character overcomes the challenges presented to him. Naruto overcomes his curse and accepts his fate as a human and likewise Pico overcomes the bonds of sexual taboo and dives into the deep depths of homosexuality.

At times, it will have you laughing.

At times, it will have you crying.

At times, it will have you shuddering.

At times, it will have you enveloped into the sharp folds of the powerful, compelling storyline of this masterpiece - Boku no Pico

Story - 10

This is one of the most extravagant and well-written stories I have ever seen. You really need to pay attention to experience it all, small details may have you puzzled over the overall plot.

Well, what is it about?

This story is about Pico, our main character, and his travels. He meets many people on his journey to overcome the overshadowing darkness of heterosexuality.

The story is incredibly well-scripted and paced. Each individual scene is crafted with such elegance that it's hard to believe that this was originally a low-budget anime. However, I shall warn you - it is written by none other than the butcher himself, Gen Urobuchi.

Art - 10

The artwork in Boku no Pico is simply eye-dazzling.

Such detailed and bright, colorful artwork contrasts with the deep storyline of Boku no Pico to create a brilliant blend of excellency, as opposed to Starbucks, which is shite.

I fail to see how anyone couldn't like this art style.

One of the outstanding points is that there is no QUALITY. Faces are all drawn extremely accurately and with care and effort. Laziness is not a factor which you will find in the artwork of Boku no Pico. I would even say it rivals the results you get from typing 'futa bara rainbow dash' on DeviantArt.

Sound - 10

There's not much about Boku no Pico's soundtrack that I can say that hasn't already been said.

The voice actors are extremely talented and the emotions they portray are so realistic that you would almost think that the VAs were living the story of Boku no Pico in real life.

Boku no Pico's voice actors are nothing you would find in an amateur animation like any Ghibli movie. From teary solemn to absolute bliss, each voice actor displays a wide array of voice dynamics, and they're a pleasure to listen to.

The OST is astounding. The background music is crafted with various instruments to create the stinkiest beats you will ever hear. A lot of piano and violin is used to play perfected melodies which will have you downloading the whole OST just to listen to it over and over again. It also features various audio samples from artists such as Death Grips, namely songs such as 'Sandstorm'.

Character - 10

Each individual character is unique and cliche read more
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Oct 1, 2007
Death Note (Anime) add
Death Note is definitely one of the best anime series of all time, for it presents a deeply unique and compelling story rivaled by few. I can truly say it is one of the best, if not the best anime I've watched.

Story: The story is unique. A notebook falls from the sky, and the human who writes a name in it is capable of killing the individual pictured in his mind (I left out the details that you don't care about). This presents the viewers with a highly debatable theme based on morals and justice. Yagami Light, who obtains this power to kill, utilizes it in hopes of creating a utopia in which he is god. Criminals, and only criminals, are to be punished in hopes of a perfect society. Is this however, right? Is it right to kill individuals who have done wrong, and will do wrong again? Can they be reformed? Death Note presents the viewers with questions such as these, questions which cannot be easily answers. This series challenges the viewers morals and for that, it deserves highly.

But this debatable topic isn't the series strong point. Death Note gets a 10 in the story department, because of the way the plot unravels. With great and power and ambition, Yagami Light is forced to play a chair gripping game of cat and mouse with those who seek to detain him. The way L attempts to persecute Light is something I have never witnessed in an anime. The first 15 episodes will magically draw you closer and closer to the scene as suspense hangs over their individual methods for identifying the other. You will not be disappointed.

The flaws begin once it is apparent that there will be a second arc. This to me, seemed like an unnecessary way of drawing out the anime, although arguably a change in situation was required to break the dead lock between Light and L. Anyhow, the series being to lose some of its luster at this point, and if I were to rate both arcs separately, the first would receive a 15/10 and the second a 9/10. Anyhow, this intelligent story deserves an overall 10/10 in my books.

Characters: Light and L are the most interesting and intellectual characters I've ever seen in an anime. Although both are geniuses, they each possesses that certain something that will make you root for one of them to win the game. Light's charismatic, yet extremely demented character gives you reason to watch his conquests and failures. L's quirky, yet highly intelligent qualities does the same for him. They are both unique and likable in their own ways. Character development is also seen, particularly with Light as you witness his calm, calculating figure being to crack into a maddening and reckless mess. Obsessed and overtaken by his dream of conquest with the Death Note, he changes greatly from the beginning of the series. This change can be seen in various other characters as well, read more
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Sep 13, 2013
Mirai Nikki (TV) (Anime) add
Notice: this review will contain a few spoilers. I'll mark them but if you haven't watched this yet, proceed with caution. Sorry about that.

Survival games have always been one of my favorite kinds of stories. I just love them. So naturally, when I heard about Mirai Nikki's premise, I was greatly looking forward to it. Unfortunately, after an excellent first episode, this series began to get worse and worse; by the end of it all, it had become nothing but a huge disappointment.

Let's begin with the positive aspects of this show. The art and animation in Mirai Nikki are, for the most part, rather good, but nothing very impressive. As for character designs, it's pretty hit-and-miss. Some characters look OK, while others are so ridiculous it makes the anime seem/feel less serious than it should be, which is NOT a good thing for a thriller/mystery.

The music is great. Most of the tracks are somewhat memorable and fit their scenes well. The OPs and EDs are also very nice, with the first OP being particularly awesome. I never skipped them. Voice acting-wise, everyone does a solid, consistent job, except for Yuno's seiyuu. I'm sorry, but her voice was annoying and hearing that infamous "Yukki!" every god damn minute was painful.

Now let's get to the bad stuff. While the premise is amazing, the story & script are very poorly written. Thing is, Mirai Nikki is a shounen trying (and failing) to be a seinen; thus, it lacks the maturity and depth needed to handle the kind of story it offers. Many questions are left unanswered, some of the writing choices are just plain stupid, half of the characters have a very low IQ and, for a mystery, there aren't that many twists, and those the anime DOES have are often predictable.

The whole concept of using Future Diaries to outsmart opponents in deadly, tense battles is BARELY explored, plus the battles themselves seldom involve complexity. When you've got tools as powerful as those, you'd think there'd be gambits just piling up on each other, but no. Many battles are over within a minute and are so basic it's insulting. Speaking of insulting, this show has a nasty tendency to have its world just forget about some of the big events related to the diary holders. Normally the media would be all over a series of bombings, massacres, etc... but here? Nah, it's just Tuesday again. It's astonishing how everyone can easily get away from anything.

Another problem with this anime is its bad habit of throwing in bits of humor in the middle of serious moments. It really kills the atmosphere and it's not funny. Even in the more lighthearted scenes it's not funny. Since we're talking about the atmosphere, have I mentioned that some details in crucial moments are overlooked, which obliterates the immersion? Empty hospitals, incompetent cops, silent's the little things that can make or break the mood. A shame, really, because the anime IS able to create a good, creepy read more
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May 27, 2008
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu (Anime) add
This series is overrated on this site. That is to say, with 110 episodes, your vote only counts after you've seen 22 episodes, almost a full season, and those who don't like this show probably won't wait for 22 episodes to decide.
Which is a shame, as it's only after about 20 episodes that this series progresses from something that is slow, somewhat overly bombastic, and hinting at more to come to show itself to be one of the most intelligent pieces of anime that's been made to date.

When I say 'intelligent', I don't mean it to be cunning, surprising the viewer with unsuspected plot lines or new angles to view something. Nor does it delve deeply into some obscure theory of science or arts, bombarding the viewer with ideas he couldn't have come up with himself. In fact, there's absolutely nothing in this series that is wholly unexpected or very deep. What it has, though, is a sense of scale that's unsurpassed in any anime - or, for that matter, any television show - I've seen.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes centers around - you guessed it - a bunch of people who, according to populace at large that inhabits the fictional future this series plays in, are of heroic proportions. That is to say, heroic in a very classical sense, being possibly a negative thing as well as a positive.
The series is set in a future wherein the universe known to man is divided into two camps, the aristocratic and absolutist Galactic Empire, and the democratic Free Planets' Alliance, who have been embroiled in a war for some time, seemingly
being evenly matched. This balance is shattered when a military genius with a far-reaching ambition rises on the Imperial side, prompting the Alliance to, somewhat grudgingly, give ever greater backing to the most capable officer on their own side. Both men surround themselves with able staff, who become legends in their own right.
It sounds like your average hero of freedom-versus-tyrant story, but it turns out to be anything but. First of all, the heroes do have a sense of their own importance, but also the sense to question whether they are all that special, or whether the circumstances of their times have just brought them to a spotlight which people equal to them could never have aimed at. More importantly, the main question on which the whole series hinges remains an open one. This question is the age-old one of which is better, autocracy or democracy, the problem being that a good autocracy is usually better than a good democracy, but a bad autocracy being worse than a bad democracy. Within the happenings of the show, it becomes apparent that, militarily speaking, at least, a good autocracy has an edge over democracy in terms of speed and decisiveness, and this shows in how the series progresses.
A large part of the series is devoted to showing the war and its subsequent smaller-scale rumblings. The war is fully shown from read more
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May 14, 2008
Bleach (Anime) add
Bleach is one of the three so-called "mainstream shonen animes"; together with Naruto and One Piece these three are immensely popular, and the topic of endless comparison among their fans set out to prove that their favorite is the best out of them. They simply refuse to exit their fanboyism to view the series in an objective light, which is a shame, because they are probably missing out on great adventures, which is the case of Bleach in many ways. If you want my review short and good, give Bleach a try no matter what people have said, as it, despite a lot of shortcomings, presents a most interesting and enthralling universe.

The concept seems pretty basic at first; there's the Soul Reapers (Shinigami), empowered souls who guide departed human souls to Soul Society, the afterlife deimension, formed after a Feudal Japan. They also fight Hollows, evil and malevolent spirits, to protect living humans and souls alike. So, I assume you have read the plot summary, which covers the basics of the first story arc, which is basically the arc where we are introduced to the main main cast of Bleach; the standard, headstrong, rash and protective teenage shonen hero, his voice of reason in the form of a girl, his arrogant beglassed rival, the ditzy klutz girl with big boobs, and the large, stoic type.

Towards the end of said arc however, a real plot appears, events are set into motion, and before long, it has escalated into an assault on said Soul Society a rescue mission from our team of 4-5 heroes, who fight their way through shinigami of all kinds trying to reach their goal, conveniently placed in the middle of this Society. In this arc, you'll get lots of great action and meaningful fights, bottled together with an extremely large and colorful cast of characters, flashbacks and an interesting plot. It all builds up one hell of an end to the arc, 60 or so episodes into the show, where a most intersting twist takes place. And said arc ending is in each and every way the climax of Bleach.

Which is its problem. From there it goes steep downhill to two arcs of slow-paced filler, which lowers your excitement a great deal of levels, and from there the show never manages to get you hooked as much as it did during the Soul Society arc. It does get some interesting new aspects and revelations durign the following Arrancar arc, but it never gets really exciting, nor does it get that much greater during the Hueco Mundo arc. It's just too much fighting, and a re-used "save the damsel in distress" plot. The colorful cast is not seen as much anymore, and aside some interesting emotional developments courtesy of the former klutz girl, there's not a lot to it, and most fights don't have the same enthralling depth to them which made the fights in SS so unique. Now it's more a display of unique powers, and read more
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Jun 27, 2010
Bakemonogatari (Anime) add
"To be blunt, I just enjoy talking to you... so I want to talk with you more."
"If our opinions clash, let's talk it over." (Dialogue from episode 5)

'Bakemonogatari', cleverly translated as 'Ghostory' or 'Monstory', is about five not-so-normal girls that Araragi Koyomi, a vampire himself, encounters and attempt to save from oddities possessing them.

The main characters of 'Bakemonogatari' are among the most unique and complex I have yet to encounter.
Heroine Senjougahara Hitagi is a tsundere like half of all modern heroines in anime, but she is also 「ドS」, a sadist to an extreme degree, which is more common for side characters and rare for heroines. Our protagonist, as expected, is rather on the masochist side who takes constant verbal abuse from Senjougahara.

What makes the couple extraordinary, is that Senjougahara is often boke while Araragi is tsukkomi. Traditional Japanese stand-up comedy consists of a duo: One takes the "boke" role who says something stupid while the "tsukommi" role points out the flaws in boke's argument, often with a violent slap in the head.

Yes, that's right. Boke is masochist by nature and often not very intelligent, while tsukommi is sadist by nature and often more observant.
The leading couple in this series, on the other hand, take turns with the roles. It is particularly interesting when the sadist and intelligent Senjougahara purposefully take on the boke role and overwhelms tsukkomi. Such as making insulting statements that sound flawed, but when Araragi tries to make a comeback, he realizes what she said was true. Or Senjougahara makes a blatantly flawed statement just to hurt Araragi, and his comeback fall into deaf ears. And of course, plenty of intentional boke or tease spoken with so much authority that Araragi just gives up and let it slide.

The unlikely toggling of comedy roles were delivered extremely well, and this back and forth interaction between the leading couple is a key part of this show's appeal.

The remaining four main characters are not as complex as the leading couple, but they all have their own unique issues that drive the story,each with distinct personalities that made them memorable.
There are 6 main characters in this series, and total of only 5 side/peripheral characters (Meme, Shinobu, two sisters, and Senjougahara's father) in the whole series. The limited character headcount made thorough character development possible despite being an arc-based series.

Simply put, half the show is about the romantic relationship between the Senjougahara and Araragi.
The other half is about a constant argument between two values: The rational vs the idealistic, with Araragi as Mr. Nice Guy seeking happy end for everyone. Solution of supernatural oddities as the topic of the argument.

Hachikuji, Kanbaru, and Hanekawa's arcs developed the relationship of leading couple while offering new topics to the story.
The only flaw in the story in my opinion, is that Sengoku's arc was pretty much by itself, and contributed very little to the whole series other than loli and moe fan service.
Each arc is an incident focusing on a different girl, but all the arcs read more
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I'm not going to mince words here, gentlemen. This right here is what is commonly referred to as an "orgasm of excellence". This series is so good it'll probably kill you by the time it's done. As in, this thing Gainax has made here can roughly fall under the definition of autoerotic asphyxiation. But that's just a summary of the show's quality as a whole, let's break this shit down:


To put it plainly, the entire point of this show is to take the illusions otaku have surrounded themselves with for the last 10 years and annihilate them through a wanton, infinite assault of sex and Western style. This show is not Sora ga Otoshimaru Hime Desu Beats! or whatever the hell it is you people watch nowadays. This is about a gun-toting whore and her diabetic goth friend slashing and shooting giant monsters literally comprised of shit, armies of dead sperm soldiers and their especially polite and well-mannered rivals, and when they're not doing something like that they're getting into some other shenanigans which may or may not involve parodying Transformers. Oh yeah, they're Angels or something under the command of Black Dynamite and have Gir as their sidekick and have to collect coins by killing monsters to get back into Heaven. But honestly, who cares? There are panties in this show that turn into guns and it's funny as fuck.

Behind all this exquisite and sophisticated comedy is probably one of the most feminist morals ever, another thing that separates P&S from your average animu. Through the entire series, the female main characters do what they want, when they want, how they want while the male lead is useless, flaky and gets captured a lot. This motif boils down to "It's okay to be a bitch. Live free and if you screw up have a man clean up after you." As you can see, this show's driving message has all the modesty of its main duo. It's fantastic.

Also, that token Gainax ending. It's there and as wonderful as ever.

It's entirely episodic like a US cartoon, but with an overarching point. There are actually 26 episodes, but they're all 12 minutes long. Each episode is two episodes. That's right, this show has a 2x Quality Multiplier.


This show oozes with style that has pretty much never been tried before in the Eastern world. Think Dead Leaves (if you haven't seen this, take 40 minutes away from that time vampire Korean MMO I'm sure you have minimized in the corner and watch it. Dubbed only. It'll be the best thing you'll see all month) meets Power Puff Girls. The art and animation quality are as incredible as they are unique, using a potent blend of patented hand-drawn Imaishi scribbles, CGI and actual, real-life explosions at the end of each battle. The comic-styled on-screen sound effects from Dead Leaves also make a return here in full force, and they make the whole thing such a cool and unique experience. Another, read more
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Sep 14, 2011
Steins;Gate (Anime) add
"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbley ... timey wimey ... stuff" - The Doctor

When it comes to entertainment, one of the easiest things to get wrong is the concept of time travel. Part of the reason for this is because our scientific understanding of "reality" is still in its infancy, and this means that the writers for shows like Doctor Who, Quantum Leap, even Star Trek, must apply their imagination and creativity in order to resolve some of the inherent paradoxes that will occur whenever a narrative decides to hop, skip or jump.

In other words, they make it up.

More often than not the implausibility of any sort of time travel is camouflaged with pseudo-science, techno-babble, and a good smattering of conversational quantum-hokum. These add a veneer of believability so that the average person can achieve the suspension of disbelief required to buy into the storyline. When it comes to anime though, the concept of travelling through time has generally lacked in substance, delivery, and even narrative relevance.

Until now ...

Originally a visual novel by 5pb and Nitroplus, Steins;Gate tells the story of Okabe Rintaro (the self styled mad scientist known as Hououin Kyouma), and his "colleagues" at the Future Gadget Laboratory, Hashida "Daru" Itaru and Shiina Mayuri. Okabe spends his days making strange inventions with Daru, and the oddest one so far is the Phone Microwave [name subject to change]. At first it seems as though this device does nothing more than turn bananas into a green, jelly-like substance, but it has a hidden side effect that no one knows about. Everything seems placid and normal until the day that Okabe and Mayuri decide to attend a lecture given by the eminent Professor Nakabachi on the subject of time machines and time travel.

For the most part Steins;Gate is a surprisingly well thought out series that applies the notion of cause and effect in a reasonably intelligent manner. The plot follows a logical, if somewhat timeworn progression, and while there are numerous recycles, repeats, reboots, and "do overs" that form an integral part of any time travel tale, these are handled in a way that would have turned Endless Eight from tedium incarnate into an arc that was at least watchable. The show throws around a number of concepts and theories to explain or justify certain aspects of the science fiction, and on quite a few occasions these have been woven into the main body of the plot very well. Ideas like the Butterfly Effect (which, given the visual cues, should be obvious to anyone), the Observer Effect and Schrödinger's Cat have been used to support the problems caused by time travel (and their resolution), and in that respect Steins;Gate deserves a good deal of praise for trying to use science to support the science fiction (and it does it far better than the likes of Puella Magi read more
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Jan 31, 2008
Naruto: Shippuuden (Anime) add
After an endless wasteland of filler, Naruto returns! Joy! Happiness! Frowns turned upside down! I couldn't believe it when the fillers ended. I was ecstatic.

Now I'm ready with a pillow whenever I tune in every friday. Question mark? I'll tell you why I'm prone to falling asleep while watching Naruto:Shippuuden - it just isn't Naruto anymore. It just isn't the same series.

Story: Don't get me wrong, Naruto didn't just magically start stabbing me with disappointment because the story started to totally go downhill. In fact, the first episode's preview with Naruto's future encounter with Sasuke had me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't believe it: Naruto was back! No, the story continues and follows through adequately as a continuation of the original Naruto. The great elements of the original story are still here: the theme of an everlasting friendship, the importance of maintaining hope, the need to endure and persevere .. these themes are all still there! Naruto is still a great guy and he still strives to protect his friends and 'save' Sasuke while taking on Akatsuki at the same time. So what happened to Naruto? Well, story-wise, nothing. I still love the story. I love the world of Naruto, the ninjas, the techniques, the weapons, the themes, the plot. Although the story doesn't present the viewers with anything deep or complicated, I still like it. But the story isn't the problem. The story as it is and as it continues, gets a 7.5/10 from me.

Characters: It was great to see how much the characters changed from the original Naruto. Character development in this aspect, was great. Pretty much everbody had a new design and they all looked great. In terms of personality, well, they were the same loveable characters, unique in their own way. In terms of Naruto and Sakura, they really developed. Although he still acts like it, Naruto isn't the same happy loudmouth he used to be. He's been deeply scarred from Sasuke's betrayal, and despite all thats happened, he's still obsessed with saving him. Of course, Sasuke's betrayal affected Sakura too and she's really toughened up. She isn't the useless twist she used to be, and shes really grown to respect and care for Naruto. Character development is great, the characters are great, old and new. Sai for example, is an interesting add on, he brought the funnies and kept the comedic aspects of the show alive. The characters aren't the problem either: 8/10

Art / Animation: Here is where Shippuuden starts going downhill. In terms of the new characters and their new character designs, I love em. But Naruto just isn't animated as well as it used to be. There is a lot of repeated animation in Shippuuden. This ranges from terribly animated tree jumping scenes (it actually looks more like they're flying instead of jumping half the time, lazy much?) to staring faces and overused flashbacks. I can understand the need to repeat the frames from things like the tree jumping read more
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Oct 12, 2014
Sword Art Online (Anime) add
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a brave young boy. He was the best swordsman in the land and the manliest man of all. He overcame countless trials with little effort and won the hearts of many fair maidens.

Yes, it's time for Sword Art Online, the origin of many angry rants.

The premise doesn't sound too bad. Ten thousand players of a virtual MMO are trapped in the game and forced to complete it to escape, except that death in the game leads to death in real life. Just think about it: this could be a tragic story of struggle where death is behind every corner. A story of sacrifice and despair. A story of alliances and betrayal. A story of the struggle to retain humanity in front of impossible conditions.

...But why have any of that when you can have romance and harem?

That's right; the survival game is just for show. Don't expect deep interpersonal or political conflict. Don't expect psychology or moral dilemmas. Don't expect tactics or mind games. Actually, don't expect witty dialogue of any kind.

And that is the biggest problem with this show. It is bankrupt in substance. It's mostly just uninspired romance and harem, with a bit of action here and there. There isn't much thinking involved. A few plot holes I could forgive, but if the show isn't about anything worthwhile, there isn't much to do. What makes this problem all the more apparent is that the premise promises something entirely different than what it delivers. The show has thrown its hands up in the air and said, "We don't care." So why should the viewer?

It doesn't help that the show has grown infamous for glorifying its protagonist, who in the eyes of many has become the epitome of a Gary Stu. He can defeat anything, he can solve any problem, and he gets all the girls. It's almost like this show was meant to be a propaganda piece in his favor.

Story: 3

The first two episodes are decent, building up the premise. We are introduced to the protagonist Kirito and the concept of the death game. Soon enough, we are told that a month has passed and two thousand players have died offscreen. ...Wait, not even a short montage or anything? Apparently not. Anyway, these two episodes are pretty much the only decent ones, so savor them while you can.

The third episode begins to show more serious problems. We are supposed to form an emotional bond to new characters in a few minutes, and we have to go through over-the-top angst over irrational actions. But there is also optimism in the air; of course we can revive someone whose brain has been fried, right?

What follows is an abrupt leap to harem and romance antics. The next few episodes are about various girls suddenly falling for Kirito, often the same day they met him. This typically involves uncontrollable blushing, fanservice, and people acting Tsundere. You probably get the picture. read more
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Dec 31, 2012
Sword Art Online (Anime) add
Once in a while comes along a title (be it movie, book or anime) that takes the audience by storm, sweeping numerous off their feat, leaving several with a bad aftertaste in their mouth and making a few pass the work off as ‘average’ or ‘mediocre’. Online communities, forums, chat rooms and every other nook and corner of the internet known to the man turn into arenas of debates, discussions, fanboyism/fangirlism and flaming. It’s apparent that when something is popular, it doesn’t always get to bath in praises. With the acclaim, comes a sheer amount of criticisms. Also, it goes without saying that popularity doesn’t necessarily equate to quality.

Sword Art Online, abbreviated as SAO from this point on, is no exception.

SAO, the anime adaptation of a series of light novels of the same name by Kawahara Reki, has been the much talked about show of the Summer and Fall 2012 seasons, and taking into consideration the incredible hype surrounding it with reviews of mixed sorts, it’s likely to stay that way for quite some time. Keeping in mind the vogue of MMORPGs and the demand for something ‘captivating’, the team behind SAO attempts to bring an enticing work to the table by executing the intriguing premise of ‘players trapped in a VRMMORPG where death equates to death in real life and the only way out is to clear the game’. Unfortunately, SAO fails at many levels which is a shame because when the anime kicked off with the highly anticipated first episode, all seemed well and it gave the vibes of something truly worth spending your time on but then it does a flip and from this point, things go awry. And here we have it— one of the most controversial anime of the recent years.

Before proceeding with the review, let’s get one thing straight. I have not read the original source material— the light novels, that is. Hence, I’m not going to draw any comparison between that and the anime. With that out of the way, let’s keep the ball rolling.

SAO on the surface has a fairly interesting premise, no doubt, and it’s executed well to some extent or so did it initially seem. The very idea of a large number of people logged into a VRMMORPG with the intention of embarking on a virtual reality adventure but only to be struck with utter horror as they’re faced with the shocking truth of the game has been put into effect quite satisfactorily in the first episode. It’s pretty much what I’d call an excellent start. However, SAO effortlessly manages to send all my expectations and enthusiasm down the drain for it takes the show only an episode or two to reveal its true colours followed by the disappointment it has in store.

So, what goes wrong? Well, many things.

Following the Great Beginning, the first arc decides to take a detour and invests on a few episodes dealing read more
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Aug 24, 2008
D.Gray-man (Anime) add
On the surface, D. Gray-Man sounds like just another shonen anime with an organization of good guys with special weapons fighting evil monsters. Yeah, that's the base of it, but DGM turns into something more, something deeper than many other shonen anime series. In fact, I feel that it sneaks around seinen territory.

While the setting is standard shonen all the way, you'll find yourself surprised when watching this show. It starts off a bit slow, with many fights, small arcs (~1-4 episodes) and nothing special to it. However, it quickly picks up, and some way into season 2 or 3, DGM starts to show its qualities. The story soon blends in action, emotions and last but not least, realistic power-ups. The story is overall more deep and serious than most shonen anime, and builds up and only gets better towards the end, where it meets it demise with an unfortunate canceling, which, together with its slow start, may ruin the experience of the show for many.

The characters are without a doubt the strongest point of DGM. I mentioned earlier that DGM is sneaking about in seinen territory, and the reason for this is the characters. They don't think "You bastard! I need to suddenly get stronger so I can defeat you" and get stronger and defeat the bad guys. The characters here aren't all about brawling against the evil guys. They have emotions. Emotions which they have to face. And that's what makes it into a semi-seinen series; it's a bit more character-driven and not so much plot-driven.

The animation quality of DGM is also astounding. There's a lot of detail put into the environments, and character designs are great too. Special effects are really great, and the same can be said about lighting effects. When you consider that DGM is a bit dark and serious, the coloring is really great too; it's just as dark as it needs to be to fit in with the series.

The soundtrack is definitely the weakest point of DGM. The background music isn't especially memorable, and not really great. I hope they decide to get a new soundtrack soon so I can get something better. Also, using the same stuff for 100 episodes is a lot. OP and ED themes are okay though, and I like the more heavy style of the OP themes - it fits with the tone of the show. Voice acting and sound effects are great though.

Final thing which I should mention is that the fillers in DGM are actually good. "What fillers?" you may ask if you've watched the show. To be honest, I asked the same question when I first heard that there was a lot of filler in the show. The thought never even came close to my mind. So that's a plus.

All in all, I feel that DGM mixes shonen and seinen into something special and unique. It may not appeal to all shonen fans, but those of you who like more serious action anime read more
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Aug 24, 2008
Cowboy Bebop (Anime) add
People who know me know that I'm not a fan of episodic anime series unless they're either one season (12-14 episodes) long or a slice of life series. Why? They have a tendency to get boring, or repetitive. But all rules and preferences have exceptions. You know what? Cowboy Bebop is that exception.

The story is set in a space western setting - a genre and setting I'm loving more and more for each show I watch that falls under the genre. We follow two bounty hunters, Spike and Jet, who own a ship called the Bebop. They travel the Solar system, chasing wanted criminals to earn money. Along the way, they also pick up two women; the debt-laden Faye Valentine and the playful kid and computer genius Edward (yes, Ed’s a girl).

Each episode brings about a new bounty which they chase after, and while that doesn't sound too exciting to watch 26 episodes in a row, you'll end up loving the show. All the different events makes for a certain degree of unpredictability, and you'll sometimes wonder how things will end. However, that alone is not enough to give the story the rating I've given it. So why have I given that rating? Let's continue...

One of the things that elevate the show a bit above the rest is the manner in which the main cast's pasts are explored. It's not like one flashback episode and you understand everything about how they are today. In one episode you might get one piece, and then the next one in another episode, and it's not until the final three episodes of the show that everything falls in place. This way of executing it makes you want to watch another episode, so that you can find out more about the characters (some may say that this falls in under "Character", but the manner in which the pasts are explored are more "Story" than "Character", IMO). Now, that's so far a 9 for the story. Why did it deserve a 10?

The answer is easy: the way they executed many scenes in the show. The contrasts which you get to see between, music, the setting of scenes and what's really happening just gives the story that extra edge deserving of a perfect score.

The characters are all really good and interesting fellows. Though they every now and then reminded me of characters from other shows, they preserved that originality which gave a feel that they were, if not completely, then at least a little bit more real than most characters out there. The way their pasts intertwine with the future and how everything ends with them confronting and settling open ends from their pasts is also something that's impressive to watch. I don't really have anything more to say than "perfect".

The animation is, for a 90s anime, stunningly good. The detail put into backgrounds and surroundings is really good, and I also love how good lighting effects and shading are at times. All of Ed’s strange read more
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Sep 12, 2008
One Piece (Anime) add
One Piece is by far the best shounen anime out there that I have watched.
But not all share the same views as I do, lets remedy that, shall we?

A long time ago, there live a fearsome pirate king who goes by the name of Gold D. Roger. He was able to attain everything. But alas he was captured and sentenced to execution. In the brink of death, he proclaimed that he left the great treasure, One Piece, somewhere in the Grand Line and it is for anyone to claim. This event ignited the Great Pirate Age.

In the world of One Piece, there is such a thing as a Devil Fruit. A devil fruit is a fruit bearing some supernatural ability and whoever devours it will get a unique ability however its origins are unknown. There are three types of Devil Fruit, Paramecia, a fruit that can materialize your body into a property. Zoan, a fruit that gives humans the ability of a certain animal, but if its an animal, it gives the ability of humans. And the last but certainly not the least Logia, is a fruit that makes the consumer manifest a certain element. But of course nothing is perfect. If you eat any of the Devil Fruit, you will be rendered immobilize when submerge in the water.

And where is our protagonist? The anime revolves around our mentally impaired boy, Monkey D. Luffy or a.k.a The Straw Hat Pirate(title came from his worn-out straw hat that he always have on). When our boy here ate a devil fruit that turns the consumer's body into rubber, he sets off to find Shanks, his pirate idol to return his straw hat as promise and find One Piece to be able to earn the title of Pirate King. Along the way he gathers all kinds of oddballs for his crew, The Straw Hat Pirates.

Now how exactly is One Piece different from the hundreds of shounen out there. Well, it isnt. It is exactly what a shounen should be. It follows the lose-train-win formula. So how is it any better? Bingo. Because it incorporates the formula into something fresh and simple.

One Piece arcs can be surprisingly good. There were even times that I was shocked at some plot twists and revelations. It has a very interesting setting as well. And what might that be? The World. The whole world is One Piece's oyster. It varies from vast, scorching deserts to cold snowy mountains, the concept of adventure here is well defined, it really makes you feel that world isnt small after all. And that my friend, is what an adventure anime should really be.

One Piece knows how to pull it off, be it comedy or serious, and believe me, One Piece knows how to be serious when it needs to be. But it never forgets its roots at the same time, and that is the emphasis of friendship and the bond of Nakama/Friends that glues the whole crew together.

Most shounen anime's read more
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There is a scene in Watamote where the main character, Tomoko, experiences what she believes to be public molestation. She panics, unable to even breathe or call for help. The train suddenly stops, and the passengers begin to take their leave. Tomoko then realizes that the object pressing against her is simply a bamboo sword belonging to the girl behind her. After much public embarrassment, she finally breaks free, and moves on to yet another miserable day of her life.

To say that Watamote is an uncomfortable anime would be an understatement. Every minute involves Tomoko failing at something in the most awkward way imaginable, to the point where you can't help but pity the poor girl. It's not even amusing. It's just depressing.

Tomoko is a high school girl that simply wants to be liked by her peers. She wants to be seen as attractive by the opposite sex. She is so lonely and socially inept that even hearing a "goodbye" from a classmate is seen as a massive success. Her younger brother doesn't care about her problems, her parents think she's a pathetic pervert, and her only friend (who she rarely even sees) is oblivious to Tomoko's blatant emotional issues. She is alone with nobody to help.

Does she bring some of these problems upon herself? Maybe. Does she try too hard to be somebody that she's not? Definitely. But who can blame her? The only time she had anything even remotely resembling a normal life was when she was a toddler. Of course she's angry. Of course she's fed-up with her lifestyle.

Unlike the source material which presents itself entirely as a gag manga, the anime teases us with signs that Tomoko might actually be changing for the better. But nothing ever does change. She squanders all her opportunities, leaving both her and the audience with a bitter sense of hopelessness. What's the point in enduring so many embarrassing scenes when there is no payoff at the end? Are we meant to be masochists?

The humor of Watamote is akin to kicking a kitten, and worse - a kitten that you sympathize with. It's a punchline where there is no punchline. The goal is make us laugh at somebody in a pitiable situation, to feel happy that our lives are not quite as bad as Tomoko's. Is that comedy? Is that entertainment? For others, perhaps, but all it did for me was bring back awful memories and remind me of everything wrong with teenagers. Some scenes were so uncomfortable that I had to take a break or avert my eyes for a few moments. That's not what a comedy is supposed to do.

Some of the jokes can be quite funny, though. If you've ever listened to porn or something equally embarrassing on your computer, only to realize that the headphones weren't actually plugged in, well, Watamote will remind you of such times. The best moments are when the humor is restrained and situational. The dialogue between Tomoko read more
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Apr 9, 2010
Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu (Anime) add
To say that the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for fans of the show would be an understatement. The first season hit the anime world like a storm, and huge numbers of people immediately swore their devotion to Haruhi and the SOS Brigade. The second season though, sorely tested the patience of many fans with the lesson in tedium known as "Endless Eight", and many were left wondering where it all went wrong. The ups and downs of the franchise are well documented and commented upon, and while Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (2009) had some great moments, the lacklustre storyline left many diehard fans dejected and despairing that the promise of the first series had seemingly fizzled out.

Well, it seems someone was listening.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu begins on 16th December, a month after the cultural festival in the first series, and all is seemingly peaceful. It's not long though, before reality gets put through the wringer, and it's up to Kyon to fix everything.

The thing that most surprised me about this movie is how closely it tries to follow the light novel of the same name. Granted there are a few liberties here and there, but nothing near the number used in both TV series. The benefit of this is that the story has a solid base to begin with, especially as the plot is mainly based around Kyon's thoughts and actions.

The movie begins at a farily placid pace with nothing untoward or suspicious occuring, but one of the problems with the story is that it never really shakes off the languidity of the first 20 or so minutes. While the story itself is actually very good, there are occasions where there is a marked lack of urgency about the plot, and it's these occurences that upset the flow of the movie.

There are some plusses though. The fact that much of the movie is based around Kyon's motivations makes it a more interesting piece than the majority of TV episodes, as he is now the engine by which drives the plot rather than a reactionary element. Another big plus are Kyon's numerous monolgoues which reinforce the direction of the story, but also offer some insight into his character, especially towards the end of the movie.

The design is exactly what one would expect from the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise and follows that of both TV series, but it's when things go to hell that KyoAni really begin to flex some of their creative muscles. The alterations in the character's appearances and actions are extremely well managed, and the characters are generally more expressive here than they are in either series. The animation is crisp and smooth for the majority of the movie, however there are the oddfew blips here and there with character actions (nothing that's really worth worrying about though).

The music used throughout the movie is actually very good, even though the majority of Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu lacks any thematic pieces. The read more
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Nov 14, 2007
Neon Genesis Evangelion (Anime) add
Since so many people have requested this over the years and as there's a new system in place I'm adding my 2009 review for this series which was originally posted on my blog here on MAL. The 2007 one was written in response to the obtuse fans that were here at the time, and it will remain after the review as removing it completely would serve no purpose.

It's also a reminder to me of something important.


Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most debated animes in history. Some would argue that there are numerous hidden messages in the show, while others argue that it simply plays up to a certain puerile idealogy of the world. Whatever the case may be, NGE established itself as the hot topic in anime for well over a decade.

NGE first saw the light of day as a manga by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, and was published in Shonen Ace magazine from February 1994. It's purpose was to raise awareness and public interest in the anime version that was to be released in October of the following year.

The anime was directed by the famous Hideaki Anno, and is hailed by many fans as his masterpiece (although there are numerous people who disagree with this point of view).


The animation in NGE is actually very well done considering the time it was made (and the fact that Gainax was running out of cash). The colour palette used for the show was decidely bright in many ways, and at the time it contrasted well with the serious tone of the story.

The characters were well designed for the most part, but the real breakthrough in terms of design were the EVA units and the Angels. NGE pushed the boundaries of mecha design in anime to a new level, something which no other show of the time could achieve. It also wasn't afraid to show an enemy who had no visible relation to humans - something that was a rarity in those days (although Anno had used a similar technique in Top wo Nerae).

The animation in the show is generally very fluid, and although there are some notable flaws, they don't actually impede on the enjoyment of the show.


The sound in NGE is very good in general. The VAs in the japanese version are very good, and are able to deliver a greater depth of emotion than their american counterparts. The effects used are also quite good but never really stood out as much, partly because of the overwhelming visuals, and partly because they were generally stock effects. The music is generally good throughout the show, with a mixture of classical and other styles scattered here and there.

One of the most memorable things about the music in NGE is the theme tune. Anno had originally wanted to use Borodin's Polovetsian Dances as the theme music for each episode, but was overruled by TV Tokyo, who felt that this would confuse and alienate the audience. Instead he settled on what has become one of read more
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Jan 11, 2012
Another (Anime) add
Another was one of those series which had me waiting eagerly for Mondays to arrive and wishing that the weekend would end sooner. For twelve weeks, it was my priority above all else to watch this amazing series, and to be honest, I'm already awaiting the release of the OVA in May. If I had to say what makes it so incredible, I would cite the short series length, the clever plot with a brilliant resolution, and outstanding animation as the main contributing factors, although the promise of blood will probably be enough for most people to decide whether this show is for them or not. Although the violence means that this is not for the faint of heart (or weak of stomach), I would nevertheless wholeheartedly recommend watching it, as it is well worth your time.

Story- 9/10

Have you heard of Tantalus? (No, a knowledge of Greek mythology is not essential to watch Another, I am simply at my wits' end with trying to describe the story without giving anything away). Tantalus was a man condemned by the gods to eternity in the underworld, immersed to the neck in a pool of water which he could not drink from, and underneath a tree laden with fruit which he could not reach, no matter how hard he tried. Now, if this is not too swift and broad a leap, this is how the storyline of Another will make you feel; every time you seem to be tantalisingly close to the answer, a new development occurs, and you have to start all over again. This series never goes where you expect it to, but it manages this without being a particularly complicated story, which is quite an achievement. I've read and watched many mystery stories, and I have found that nothing ruins the story more than confusion caused by an overloaded storyline and a huge ensemble of characters. Here, it is simple: one tightly-written, carefully thought out storyline involving a relatively small number of characters, which proves surprisingly durable as a twelve episode series, having avoided the trap of the same cliff-hanger ending every time; they always manage to throw in a new and interesting variation. The resolution of the storyline was amazing; it managed to bring all the strands of information which we had gleaned and wrap everything up in a style which was paced exactly right; fast, but not hurried or rushed. I certainly didn't see the final twist coming- not many people did- but it was masterful. It was also the most emotional moment of the series; even those of you who have laughed like maniacs throughout the entire series will suddenly become sombre during the final five minutes. Being mindful of the strict limits on what I can actually say about its specifics, I shall merely say that it was a perfect ending to a brilliant series.

Art- 10/10

The art is simply beautiful. This might actually be quite near the top in terms of the best series I have read more
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Jan 15, 2009
NHK ni Youkoso! (Anime) add
Outstanding thing. Some times it was amusing to watch, sometimes it was painfully.

"Welcome to the NHK" is a kind of collection. Collection of troubles and problems we can meet in our life. It doesn't perceive as anime. It doesn't perceive as something fictitious. It is life. Hateful everyday life gets emotional colors and draws a wide reaction with slowly walking real life on the our side of screen.

In "NHK" everyday events are not shown grotesque and mockingly as in parodies and not weightly depressed as in psychological thrillers but somehow chaotically and tragicomicly — you want to weep, smile, think ironically and philosophize simultaneously. Every joke provokes not a roar of laughter but the sad smile as you recognize yourself and your troubles in "fictional" heroes.

Even if you have a job, relatives, interests, it doesn't change anything. You aren't able to get rid of solitude if you feel your purposelessness and pettiness. If you laugh, you laughter is insincere. If you cry, you wail. Problem of self-concept and fear of the life is urgent for many people, but the feeling of hopelessness and despair appears only when there is nobody to support you. You've got tired from struggle along on your's own not at once but gradually. It happens little by little but it does. There are no N.H.K., there is no god, there are only nonchalance, loneliness and despair. You think that people around get everything easier and live merrily and sociable but you simply can not see the same as you as they also are dissociated from the world. It is impossible to meet for such humans but only they can understand each other. It is very hard and cruel. In "NHK" it is shown somehow exaggeratedly but the inner life is described entirely faithful. Psychology is described as much as possible faithfully, all the reasons are named correctly, emphases are placed where they needed.

Art and sound do for this work and don't have any serious shortcomings. All the aspects of this anime are high qualitative.

Such masterpiece anime must be a conspiracy... Conspiracy against what?
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Mar 6, 2011
Naruto: Shippuuden (Anime) add
I am a big anime fan and I have to say that Naruto: Shippuuden is one of my absolute all time favourites. There are probably so many people that would disagree with me and tell me that Naruto and Naruto: Shippuuden are a waste of time and that the story is a bunch of fillers put together. I strongly disagree and will tell you all why with this review of mine.

First of all, the biggest difference between Naruto and Shippuuden is the darker tone, the maturity and the depth in Shippuuden. In Naruto, the whole series was about him wanting to become the Hokage, being clumsy and always working hard to become better than Sasuke.

I loved Naruto's dorkiness but in Shippuuden he becomes serious. The series as well. Now the friendship and loyalty takes over. The mysteries get their answers and new questions take form.

Akatsuki, the moon plan, Madara, war... the thrilling surprises, the horrifying reveals, the cliffhangers... these things are what makes Shippuuden one of the best animes I know. Kishimoto has built this massive foundation for us to walk on during the first half, and now he slowly digs into the core of the story. It keeps you on the tip of your toes. That's why the story itself gets a 10/10 from me. Story (10/10)

Of course the art is much better than Naruto. Shippuuden has much more attention for details, the characters' outfits are much better made, the colouring and effects are so much better animated. The landscapes are beautifully drawn. Fighting scenes and emotional scenes are something I've noticed myself are paid much more attention to. The characters movements flows better.The realistic feeling is all over Shippuuden. Great! Art (9/10)

To be honest, I prefer not to notice the sound at all. Sound in movies and series shouldn't be noticed. The music is there to strenghten the mood. And since I don't notice the sound and it makes me feel what I'm supposed to feel, I guess the sound is well picked. I really liked the piano pieces in Naruo. Grief and Sorrow is an extraordinary piece. But I especially enjoyed the Pain soundtrack with the choirs and dark pipe organs in Shippuuden. Sound (8/10)

In Naruto and Shippuuden, Kishimoto is very focused in telling all characters stories. All characters have their backgounds and special personality. They all feel like real people that you know and they all grow throughout the series. You follow their Changes and that's what is so great and important about a series that is this long. The character development. (10/10)

So, to justify and defend Shippuuden...
First of all, you have to understand the use of fillers. With an anime this long the writer can't keep up with the pace. For every episode they use about 2-3 chapters of the manga. When the anime has reached too far, they have to buy time for the writer to write more. Or, they could make it like many other animes... read more
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I usually try to give a fair, as unbiased a review as I possibly can. But not this time. This is the 0.01% of the time where I'm going to purposefully express my hate for a show. And today that show is The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya 2. Or as I like to call it, "The Melancholy of The Fans of Haruhi Suzumiya".

In case you didn't know, "melancholy" refers to sadness or depression. Only instead of Haruhi being the sad and depressed one (as the show is about those around her trying to keep her spirits up), this time around it's our turn: the fans who supported it financially (if you bought the first series or any other merchandise), increased its popularity (by recommending it to friends), and who even created a sort of "Haruhi-ism" pseudo-religion.

This abomination of a "second season" is a slap in the face to all of the fans who have waited so long to see Haruhi return after all this time. I don't say this as a rabid fanboy, in fact, I'm one those out there who never saw the Haruhi franchise as anything more than another "somewhat entertaining" time-killer. I say this as a fan who empathizes with my fellow anime fans who were waiting with excruciating patience for a great second season, only to be handed a steaming pile of cow dung. Which, strangely enough, is probably the impression KyoAni was aiming for. How? Why? No one knows. Maybe they're just trying to kill their name, and the Haruhi franchise. Maybe they're trying to go out of business. It's beyond my comprehension. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!?!?

In case you didn't know (but chances are you probably do if you're reading this), the last couple of episodes of this "second season" (ugh) covered the story arc where the gang becomes caught in an endless time loop, that can only be resolved if Haruhi helps Kyon with his homework before Summer ends. They could have done this in two episodes, one episode to show one of the loops, the next episode to dedicate half for the realization of the occurrence of the loop, and the next half of the episode to resolve it in yet one last loop, leaving the next episode open to the next part of the story. They could have even stretched it to three and I'm sure it still could have turned out wonderfully.

But no. Here's (likely) MORE THAN HALF THE SEASON DEDICATED TO THE SAME DAMN STORY ARC. Not only that, but said story arc involves showing the SAME EPISODE OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER (etc) for God only knows how many times (yet to come as of this writing). Forget new content, it's rehashed content for half a season, if not more. Oh, but I guess technically some scenes were redrawn due to being shown from different angles... But that DOESN'T MAKE IT ANY MORE INTERESTING.

Here's my advice. Watch the first episode of the season. Then the read more
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Mar 24, 2013
Psycho-Pass (Anime) add
I feel so sorry for anybody who missed out on this anime this year because it was absolutely brilliant. Likewise, I also feel sorry for anybody who didn’t, because Urobuchi Gen ripped their hearts out.

The series is set in the near future in which it is possible to instantaneously quantify a person’s state of mind, personality, and probability of committing a crime, all recorded on an individual’s “Psycho-Pass”. When their “Crime Coefficient” index becomes too high, they are pursued and apprehended by police officers known as Inspectors, and their ‘hunting dogs’ the Enforcers; in this way, order is maintained. Unit One of the Public Safety Bureau’s division of criminal investigation, navigate the system to uphold justice in their seemingly Utopian society.

Before anything else, let’s address some reasons the show received heavy criticism early on, and was subsequently written off because of it.

Inspector Tsunemori Akane: As a frequenter of tumblr, I saw so many people dismiss the protagonist of the series immediately after episode 1, and to that I say shame on you. She got a lot of flack for being naive and idealistic, but that was the whole point of her character development. Even more egregious was how much hate she got because of her design, and again, shame on you. Both the director and the writer explicitly stated that “moe” would be completely omitted from Psycho-Pass; there’s a lot of back and forth between whether Akane is or isn’t moe (though the pink jellyfish comes close), but you don’t hate on a character because of their haircut. And personally, I think she’s cute.

Too slow: I understand, the series does take it’s time in the beginning. Psycho-Pass doesn’t really reach the heart of its story until about episode 10. However, everything before this is time spent establishing the cyberpunk setting, the relationships between the characters, and setting up for an unbelievable payoff later. Every reveal in the series speaks to something that was established earlier (yes, even the HyperOats) because the writer is a master at foreshadowing and bringing his stories full circle. It is well worth wading through the cases in the beginning to reach the core of the story later.

Psycho-Pass is a ripoff of Minority Report: a 2002 film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise based off a short story of the same name written by legendary science fiction author, Philip K. Dick. And honestly, to this I have to say… so what? Having only seen the trailer, I could just as easily say that Pacific Rim is a rip off of Evangelion, but that doesn’t say anything about its merit on any level. So even if the series is derivative (and what material isn’t these days?), the two focus on different themes and tell totally separate stories; Minority Report is a commentary on human free will and choice where Psycho-Pass is a revenge story at its core and an examination of justice, taking place in the same kind of setting.

And the joke is on you, read more
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Jun 14, 2010
Durarara!! (Anime) add
This anime is... for lack of a better term, the most freaking amazing thing I've ever seen. At first I was a bit worried, since I usually hate anime with the whole gang war theme and all, not to mention the first episode was a little bit slow, as well as the whole 'headless rider' seemed a bit silly. The characters (namely Izaya, Shizuo, Celty, Shinra... hell, all of the,) were what got me. Even the protagonist, who may seem like an average, boring male protagonist had some of his own secrets. But I'll explain in detail.

Story: Like I said, I had my doubts, but when it started actually revealing itself, the blend of the modern and fantastical and sci fi ended up blending perfectly. With the whole Dullahan concept, the mythology, in addition to the Slasher, plus the modern-ness of it being set in a big city, as well as the Namie plotline in the beginning... It may seem like those would clash a lot, but they really don't. There's a fair bit of action in it, but nothing overwhelming to make it be called an action anime for me. LOTS AND LOTS of plot twists, but it keeps you surprised even to the end, and keeps you interested in what's going to happen next. Not predictable.. at all.

Art: Not much to say, I really liked the animation of it. It's quite refreshing and smooth compared to the Naruto and the Bleach type of animation; it's different and the city was animated beautifully.

Music: I adored the music in this anime, although I felt that the soundtrack could be a bit more diverse. You'll hear the same themes and songs a lot, but so far (And I've rewatched this about 6 times) I still enjoy listening to the music. The openings and endings are epic as well.

Character: The most intriguing and amazing part of this anime, by far. It starts out with Mikado, who, though he may seem like the generic awkward male protagonist, has his own secrets that will shock you. His friend, Kida, is one of my favourites... he's adorable, first of all, although he also has lots of his own secrets and he'll surprise you... a lot. Anri gets kind of annoying since a lot of the plot is centered around her, but I actually did come to respect her once her character was really revealed. Izaya is my favourite, though. He pulls the strings with everyone... even in the beginning, he's introduced as a psycopath with no concern for other humans, although he loves them. His constant messing with peoples heads and being an awful person to everyone.. was just hilarious a lot of the time, especially since he does random adorable things like when he was walking next to Celty on her motorcycle and was all "Vroom Vroom! Vrrrrrroom!" But he also brings up psycological issues and concepts during the show, which actually make you think-- which is just amazing in an anime, read more
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Mar 19, 2015
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Anime) add
Hers was a white lie built on a grain of truth that snowballed as one lie after the other piled up. At first it was only hers, but then it became something that the two of them shared together – like a secret, a world upon which no other could encroach. He may have been “Friend A,” and she “the girl that loves my best friend,” but they were masquerading around a truth that neither one could openly admit because ultimately, the truth was much more painful.

Your Lie in April is a deceitfully masterful series that initially appears light-hearted and colorful, its palette boasting pastels that lend to the idea of it being another romantic comedy. Yet the moment we step past the disillusionment that it casts upon us by its false prefaces, we quickly realize that what we have immersed ourselves in is actually a tragedy in the making.

Tragic not because of a single element but because of all of its parts, and yet at the end of everything, this isn’t a series about tragedy. It is a series about learning to heal, learning to move on, and learning to accept the parts of ourselves that we’d rather pretend aren’t there. Part of that is accepting that sometimes we need a helping hand to take that first step. Part of it is learning to say goodbye when the time comes.

What is so compelling about the storyline is that it’s not merely an adventure into first love, it delves into the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood abuse, and chronic illness. It doesn’t paint any of these as artistic or tragically beautiful—they are horrible, they twist people, they ruin the best moments, and they have a long-lasting impact.

No one is completely black-and-white; everyone has their short-comings, fleshed out in full before our eyes. They have their hang-ups, their strengths, their struggles—and it’s in these characters that this series really takes off in full stride. It would be enough for them to be multifaceted with equal amounts of depth, but they take it a step further in painting the reality of youth.

Older anime fans may critically analyze the series as an unrealistic approach to young teenagers, but that pessimism overlooks the reality of what it was like for us to be that age. We were all that point when we found our first love, when we thought it was forever, when we poured our passion into something that ultimately would not come to fruition or last. That’s what being young is about—and that’s what Your Lie in April gives us.

Granted that it may veer a bit over-dramatic at times in its representation of youth; there are moments of symbolism or hyperbole so overt that the cheesiness makes you shift a little uncomfortably in your seat (but I promise it’s not enough to gag you). Given that this is, however, a rather common trope that runs in series with heavier themes, it’s not necessarily a huge setback for an otherwise solid read more
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Oct 15, 2012
Sword Art Online (Anime) add
Sword Art Online, aka The Twilight Saga for Teenage Boys.

In the beginning, Sword Art Online (SAO) looked like it could have turned out to be the best show of the year, no exaggeration. The premise of being stuck and unable to log out of a virtual reality MMO with the condition that dying in the game means you die in real life and the only way out is to clear all 100 floors was set up extremely well in the first episode. The second episode continued this with the first boss fight, supported by well-done animation and Yuki Kajiura's amazing-as-always score. At this point, hopes were high.

But it didn't last.

The following few episodes were side stories from the original novel that have little to do with the overall plot. On their own, none of these are all that bad, but together they become rather tedious and ridiculous, especially when you realize that the focus of each one is the main character, Kirito, befriending and helping a cute girl (despite the fact that the female playerbase is said to only be 10%), and in more than half the cases, said girl getting attached to Kirito in more than a "friendly" way. And these characters, if they appear later at all, never again play a significant role.

These episodes would have worked better if they'd been placed throughout the series between story arcs - though it later becomes apparent that this would not actually work - or released separately as OVAs or DVD specials. The best thing to be said about them is that they help to give the game world some more depth since they explain some game mechanics and show viewers how the various groups of players are going about playing the game, but the information is mostly superfluous and could have easily been given to us through the main story. Not that any of it ever gets used again anyway.

Then the main story continues and things get...worse.

It's at this point that an idea starts developing that perhaps the writer of the novels merely had a good idea for a story but didn't know what to do with it past the premise. The above-mentioned side stories were included when they were because the show is being broadcast in chronological order; when the main story picks back up, it's been two years since the last main story episode. Bonds between characters have been formed off-screen and over the half the game has already been cleared.

What a rip-off.

Before continuing with the story, let's look at the characters. We have our protagonist Kirito, a solo player who knows his way around the game fairly well as a result of having been a beta tester for the game. Okay, this is cool. We don't need 12 episodes of training to become the best in every show, a strong-from-the-start MC is fine. But that's not quite what Kirito is. Kirito is portrayed as essentially perfect in every way; he never loses a (fair) fight, he always read more
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I was incredibly skeptical about Code Geass at first, but I'm very pleased to say that I was greatly surprised.

STORY - Before I saw this series, it was described to me on multiple occasions as "Death Note with mechas." After seeing it, however, I am inclined to disagree. The similarities between the two series are superficial at best, and though I can see why people would draw the comparison, I don't really think that dis/liking one means that you'll dis/like the other. But anyway, unlike Death Note, I wouldn't say that the story in Code Geass is particularly notable or unique. It's actually rather straightforward and even a little cliche, but that's exactly why this is such a well done series -- the barebones storyline is handled in a refreshing and new way that grabs the viewer's attention. There are enough twists and turns involved to keep you on the edge of your seat. The pacing is excellent and nothing feels rushed or drawn out. Indeed, the progression up to the conclusion is especially brilliant. (It's a cliffhanger "ending," but oh, it's just a fantastic cliffhanger.)

The series is also appealing in its uncanny ability to mix genres. Yes, this is a mecha series, but it really doesn't have to be. Yes, CLAMP did the character designs and there are some very shoujo elements (read: homolust), but there are very shounen rivalries and some pretty epic battle scenes too. Everybody wins! Additionally, because of the number of characters, the story allows for a number of small subplots. I was very happy with how this was handled in particular because all of the subplots relate and affect the main plot directly, whether by revealing some bit of information to both the characters and the viewer or by pushing forward interesting character development. Everything is well thought out and wonderfully executed, so despite the fact that "strong-willed person with plans to change the world receives mysterious power that helps facilitate his goals" isn't a very unique storyline... Code Geass makes it work.

Also. Code Geass utilizes the "best friends trying to kill each other" plotline, and I'm a sucker for that plotline.

CHARACTER - The characters in this series are rather varied. Some are very plain and one-dimensional, while others have an amazing complexity to them that makes them very life-like. I'll be honest. I've become somewhat infatuated with Lelouch as a character (and am rather biased as a result). To me, he is very much a human character -- he has emotions, opinions, a unique point of view, and some very serious flaws, all of which make him incredibly easy to relate to and to sympathize with. He is easily the most complex character in the series, and he feels real to me, even with his supernatural powers and his genius-level intellect. This ability to make the audience relate to him is also probably the series' greatest strength and the main reason why the story is able to remain relevant and interesting despite the read more
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Oct 2, 2014
Hunter x Hunter (2011) (Anime) add
The lack of popularity surrounding Hunter x Hunter (2011) has always confused me, especially after catching up to it six months ago. For an anime that seems to do everything right, it isn't talked about a lot at a popular level. Neither has it been successful in garnering a fan base similar to that of SNK or SAO. I decided to write this review to do the show justice. If a show this good is still flying under your radar or if you are discouraged from watching this because of its "childish appearance" then reading this review is a must.

HxH is about a young boy named Gon who embarks on a journey to find his father. After learning that his father left him at a young age to become a Hunter, Gon decides to follow in his footsteps not only to find him, but also to see what was so special about the profession that made his father choose it over him. Although a story of finding one's father is simple, it is the path that is taken towards this end that makes the series truly special. HxH is made up of several arcs that are all extremely well-written, which brings me to the best part of the series, the writing. Hunter x Hunter (2011) boasts one of the finest writing in the world of shonen; the depth and flow of the story, enthralling characterizations, strong dialogue and impressive world-building are all crafted into a fascinating tale that can absorb viewers into lengthy marathons.

The amount of variety that is packed into HxH's story is also very impressive. HxH successfully dabbles in several genres in six story arcs tackling survival, fighting tournaments, crime thriller, virtual realities, war and politics. Not only that, the series is also able to undergo significant tonal shifts with ease (light to dark and vice versa). Sometimes, these shifts in tone occur after an arc ends though other times, it even occurs mid-arc. Another thing about HxH is that its arcs are connected with one another, with each arc naturally following the one before it. This creates a natural transition that highlights what the series really is, a journey. As for pacing and development, they are excellent. For the most part, HxH is very well paced. The series does a fantastic job at keeping its viewers engaged, time will fly by as you watch most episodes and you'll find yourself breezing through the show. Excluding two recap episodes, HxH has no filler episodes. Due to this, story progression is solid with the plot moving forward with each episode.

Although HxH initially gives off a light hearted impression, it gives off a good one. Not the kind of “light heartedness” that makes you say “this is childish and below me” but the kind that appeals to everyone. HxH gives off that classic and charming shonen vibe that has been lost in recent years, and it does so with its head held up high. Eventually though, the series takes read more
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Nov 3, 2012
Sword Art Online (Anime) add
After examining forums, comments, and reviews on Sword Art Online, it doesn't take a genius to recognize that this anime adaptation is one of the most controversial, disputable TV Series of the year. Thus, it'll be understandable if you disagreed with me at some point in this review, but please take the time to actually read it before deciding "oh, just another fan boy" or "gross, just another hater." Because, in my opinion, Sword Art Online doesn't deserve the amount of crap it gets or the amount of praises; essentially, it's mediocre.

First and foremost, the Sword Art Online TV Series is an adaptation of the light novels under the same name. People who have witnessed this pattern unfold before know the difficulties in the adaptation process. For those of you new to the community, when a studio announces an adaptation it usually means two things: fan service, and fillers. Sword Art Online is a perfect victim for the studios these days that desire the big bucks. What derived from a romantic, unique concept was transformed into an utter construction of unoriginality and clichés.

Other words, all the significant features residing in the original light novels were compacted down into seemingly unimportant bits and the wrong things got emphasized.

= Story (3) =

What the studios completely ignore first is the purity of the story, scripts, and chronological order of events. It doesn't even matter to the producers if positive/negative attention is given to Sword Art Online as long as the work gains popularity, discussions, and trends. Well, if you just watch anime collectively and only for enjoyment, it doesn't matter too much if the dialogues sound cheesy or unrealistic. However, there are too many clichéd story narratives, the dialogues require better writing, and [insert more heedless blobs of complaints you can read elsewhere].

The premise and first half of Sword Art Online actually poses an intriguing concept of survival of the fittest, which just isn't elaborated on enough to continuously track the audience's attention. In the actual light novel, there's much more emphasis on action-based themes than what's presented in the anime. Execution of the script definitely has problems, the pacing embodies inconsistencies which could've improved, and the story does contain some questionable timeline eclipses. However, it wouldn't exactly be the source material's fault if a parody of their work is bad.

= Character (5) =

The main protagonist Kirito and his companion Asuna both illustrate essentially perfect beings. Kirito is a beater whose masculinity cannot be touched by anyone vincible. Comparatively, Asuna strives for a taint of sexiness with her slender yet untouchable body, and she can cook perfectly--somewhat misogynistic but inevitable. As a couple, Kirito and Asuna are both interesting subjects due to their fair share of intimate interactions with each other and other characters at first.

However, the chemistry between the two main romance interests, in the anime, quickly devolves into little or none at all. Events are laid out too bluntly, at a false pace, and Kirito's dedication for Asuna appears read more
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Mar 28, 2014
Kill la Kill (Anime) add
It's been said by many veteran anime watchers that anime is dying. In the old days we had our Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Wolf's Rain, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Akira, FLCL, Berserk, Fist of the North Star, and Miyazaki; we had Space Captain Harlock, Lupin the Third, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Ghost in the Shell. Even if you haven't seen these, you've likely at least heard of them and the impact that they've had on anime as a whole. Anime was an intellectual, creative medium that reflected flair and pizzazz. It wasn't just silly entertainment for kids, like many Western cartoons, and people of all ages could enjoy it. As of late it seems that anime has been stuck in a rut of moe, harems, rom-coms with unrealistically dense male MC’s, and onii-chan/imouto obsessive garbage. Lately there's been a lack of courage to sack up, step outside of the box, and say, "Hey, let's try something new." After you peruse season after season of the same regurgitated genres you might find yourself wondering if anime has lost its way... And to answer that question Trigger will look down and whisper: "No."

Watching the story of Kill la Kill unfold was confusing, exhilarating, comical, lively, and goddamn refreshing. What began as a simple revenge story, with a shaky plot direction, overabundance of fan-service, and obnoxiously flashy fight scenes, ended in a surprisingly competent and satisfying fashion. Although Kill la Kill is entertaining, it is still a series that prioritizes style more than substance. This isn’t to say that the series is shallow in the slightest, but it’s often difficult to overlook the abundance of panty shots, suffocatingly tight and revealing outfits, the FLCL-esque action, and all their allure.

While there is a lot of wild enjoyment to be had in Kill la Kill, it's also easy to disregard what makes this series so brilliant. Part of the genius behind Kill la Kill is the fact that the show itself is a parody of many overused tropes in recent anime. Over-sexualized, provocative clothing and fan-service for no reason? Check. Student council is overpowered? Check. School system that emphasizes uniforms? Check. Story about revenge? Also check. Not only does the series poke fun at commonalities in anime, it also fires shots at the oppressive nature of the Japanese education system. The most astounding part about all of this is that Kill la Kill doesn't just adhere to the common tropes itself for shits and giggles; it actually takes these tropes and literally makes them its plot. Even if you don't take the stance on viewing the series as a parody, you'd probably still find the series entertaining and fun to watch on a different standard. That's ingenuity, ladies and gentlemen.

Trigger did something interesting with its characters in Kill la Kill that you don’t see in anime too often, adding to the fresh factor of the show. They took a series that banks on testosterone-based, over-the-top action and made the main characters girls. It's read more
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Adaptations have long been a thorn in the side of anime viewers, but not because they are inherently bad. No, the main problem has been that many studios have regarded the original work almost as an afterthought, and there are a number of shows that could have been wonderful if the writers had simply stuck to the original story.

One of the issues at hand seems to be ownership as producers, writers and directors all seem to want the work to be reflective of their style and perception, and in order to stamp their mark on a show they will makes numerous unnecessary changes or additions. Admittedly there are times when the adaptation supersedes the original work, but more often than not the result is at best a decent anime, and at worst utter twaddle.

And then there's the other side of the coin, where the anime adaptation sticks to the storyline set out in the original work. Normally one would expect these to be superior works, but in a strange irony this is not always the case. The problem with these types of adaptations is that the original work may not have been very good, or even have a suitable narrative, to begin with, and turning them into anime only seems to exacerbate their inherent flaws.

Fortunately, the Full Metal Alchemist franchise manages to steer clear almost all of these pitfalls. The problem is, there are no other anime that have so evenly split the viewing public's opinion between the two versions of the series. Unlike the 2003 adaptation, Brotherhood is a faithful representation of Arakawa Hiromu's hit manga, and while many fans of the franchise laud it as the best thing since sliced bread, there are a number who consider the original anime version to be the superior tale.

But we'll get to that in a bit.

Many people will already be familiar with the particulars of the story, and in a very real sense the common perception is well formed. Unfortunately, one of the problems with liking something too much is that one becomes blinded to its flaws, and while Brotherhood has very few noticeable ones where the narrative is concerned, this also serves to make them stand out.

The story is told in a very straight forward, no nonsense manner that is kind of refreshing given the penchant for filler episodes. The issue though, is that the content of the tale is much lighter in tone, much more typically "shounen" in its essence, than that of the first adaptation. One of the reasons for this is because the undercurrent of obsession amongst the main characters peters out towards the end of the story - a stark contrast to the ending in the first adaptation. Instead, these obsessive behaviours are effectively "de-humanised" by pushing them on to the non human characters.

There is a very clear sense that the plot is geared towards a more typical shounen standpoint and mentality, and while the whole still works very well as a story, one does read more
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Dealing with the death of a friend or loved one isn't easy, no matter how old you are, and everyone comes to terms with their loss in different ways. Adults can drink themselves into a stupor in an effort to dull the pain, take off on a journey of self discovery, bury themselves in their work, or find some other coping mechanism. Unfortunately the same isn't true for children, and all too often they are unable to truly deal with the emotional turmoil that occurs.

Now it may seem a bit odd to talk about death, grief, and learning to deal with the loss of someone close, but essentially that's what Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day), is all about.

The story opens with Yadomi Jinta, a seemingly grumpy teenager who is playing a game in his room on a hot summer's day whilst his childhood friend Honma Meiko (Menma), pesters him repeatedly. Having had enough of the game, Jinta decides to make lunch, but only for himself and his father which annoys Menma no end as she also wants to eat the ramen he has made.

It all seems like a fairly normal, everyday scene that one might see in anime, but not everything is as it seems ...

On the surface AnoHana looks like a fairly straightforward tale of teenagers learning to deal with a past trauma and maturing in the process, and for the most part that's a fairly accurate perception. The plot is well constructed and takes a measured, almost methodical approach to events which is reflected in the often placid tone of the narrative. Unfortunately this leads to a degree of predictability as certain events in the storyline are clearly foreshadowed, and while the series promotes a degree of empathy for the characters and their situation, there may be occasions where viewers want the story to get to the point.

One surprising aspect is the manner in which flashbacks are used to punctuate specific occurrences or emotions, whilst adding historical context to the relationship between Jinta, Menma, and the rest of the "Super Peace Busters". These sojourns into memory act as a nice counterpoint to the current state of relations between the characters, and highlight just how much has changed for each of them over the last ten years.

This contrast is also reflected in the visuals, and while there is a marked difference in the appearance of almost all of the Super Peace Busters, it's actually the subtle contextual setting that makes the change much more pronounced. The key thing to remember is that people often romanticise personal history and memories, especially if one has undergone some kind of trauma, and AnoHana plays on this by sharpening the focus and darkening the tones on the present day, which contrasts with the soft focus flashbacks that are often filled with "light".

The design itself is well handled, but while efforts have been made read more
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Mar 8, 2009
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu (Anime) add
This is Star Wars. Lucas's franchise should be renamed to something else.

If any work of entertainment in our history deserves the title of 'Star Wars' then it is this anime, and not George Lucas's franchise. This is more star wars than Star Wars ever was, is, or will be. This is star wars. Epic wars among the stars, grand vision with something to say, something to show, all the while consistent narratively, thematically and audially, never pandering to a clamouring fan base, this is 110 episodes of pure sci-fi operatic drama of the highest quality. This is star wars.

Preferably experienced after watching the prequel movie My Conquest Is The Sea Of Stars, the story of the LotGH OVA pits two systems of living against each other. Two charismatic men. Delving through politics, military, religion, philosophy and media, it is a detailed anime that rarely ever takes short cuts. This means that we see everything play out and are never expected to just fill in large gaps with our imagination. We don’t just see ships blowing each other up, we see the tacticians inside them planning their moves, we don’t just see armies invading planets; we see them deal with the aftermath of restructuring society. There are no short cuts in LotGH, only one long and very entertaining path.

LotGH is like the anime equivalent of Michael Mann's Heat when it comes to the two protagonists of Reinhard Lohenngram and Yang Wen-li. They are not in each other’s faces with conflict; they are at a distance yet always on each other's minds. Human civilisation as their chess board. They are not protagonist and antagonist. They are figureheads who are almost comrades in their strong resolves to end a terrible war. They are like magnets drawing fate towards them by their personalities alone; then they back it all up with action and propel humanity into a new century.

Yang Wen-li. The great irony of Yang is that he is the historian-wannabe who is destined to make history himself. The anime speaker for Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller's voices. Those two great literary giants of scathing wit and nonchalance. One of Yang's best quotes is the following: "People may need societies, but they don’t necessarily need 'nations'” He is beyond patriotism or nationalism. He is a conscientious, self-deprecating, charming and laid back man with the humility to feel intense burden and guilt at his actions, even though he tries to take the path of least violence, he is part of a war machine and is directly responsible for millions of deaths. This fact is not lost on the man, and it makes him that much more of anime's greatest characters.

Reinhard Lohenngram, the more romantic fairytale character, with flowing blonde hair, unparalleled achievement, aided by his unwavering childhood friend to rise through the military ranks of the empire with the sole purpose to rescue his sister from the clutches of the emperor, with the additional task of reforming and uniting the entire galaxy as a peripheral read more
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Sep 27, 2013
Fairy Tail (Anime) add
You should probably read the review, before you hit the down vote button.

Fairy Tail ~ Another battle shounen anime to join the glorious world of anime. Adapted from the manga written by Hiro Mashima of the same name.
Now before you continue reading I must warn you that if you haven't seen all the episodes or are a huge fan that can't take criticism please refrain from reading this review. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
For those yet reading this review please keep an open mind about what you are going to read.
Initially I did enjoy fairy tail but in the end i started disliking the series. Here are a few reasons why

First of all the arcs are short. Which means there's a lot of things they can't do, bigger story, adventure or exploring, showing more of the side characters, etc. Every arc ends up boring to me and not memorable. The arc size also makes it so predictable. They have to go there without knowing much, be beaten by the enemies easily, get back up and run after them, beat them, a little talk afterwards, then go home.

The fillers, Fairy Tail has horrible fillers. Like the Daphne arc and the Starry Key filler arc. Just unbelievably bad. ABove that the filler arc is the second longest arc in the whole series. For those who might argue that fair tail has "less" fillers let me point out that FT has 38 filler episodes out of a total of 175. That's 21% filler, which is quite a lot.

Lisanna~They took a nice little cute backstory that helped multiple characters and ruined it. Brought her back without a good explanation and then afterwards nothing has changed. She barely talks to Natsu, she isn't important in the story. It was better when she was gone. Her being back and doing nothing basically ruins the whole flashback which was supposed to show how much she thought of Natsu, he thought of her, how Elfman decided to get stronger after losing her, Mirajane changed to be nicer, etc.

There's no training neither any foreshadowing. None of them really change. They were only going to train once but then Mashima said screw you, they're going to instead get powered up in 5 minutes. Natsu had a chance to grow with his powers near the beginning. He learned that he could use his flame to hold things or whatever. He forgot right after, lost a good chance and it hasn't showed up again yet.

Natsu's a horrible character. He's a main protagonist of the worst type, cocky yet can't prove it. Always runs ahead and gets beaten easily by the enemies, then he gets up and is able to beat the main boss of the arc. He needs a power up every fight or he loses, he sometimes has to get insulted until he's angry enough to beat him. Why the hell can't they give him a fire lacrima to use in a fight, he always has to get fire from some read more
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Sep 4, 2007
Mushishi (Anime) add
"Mushishi" is an episodic anime that has only one main character~ Ginko. Ginko's purpose is to travel from town to town, researching a phenomenon called "mushi" and their effects on humanity. He also helps the different villages deal with any mushi "problems" they may encounter.

This is the SINGLE MOST beautiful and original story I have ever seen, both inside and outside the anime community. The concept of "mushi"~ an entity that is neither human, plant, or animal, that affects the daily lives of humans is intelligent and thought-provoking. How Ginko deals with these phenomenon, whether he is just researching or "treating" them is even more compelling. Mushishi's stories have great life lessons hidden within them, and they are brought to life beautifully.

Beautiful. Gorgeous. Breath-taking. What else is there to say? The scenery art for this series is some of the best I have ever seen. My only complaints about the artwork in this series, is the character art (other than Ginko's). The different characters who appear episode after episode seem to be drawn identically, but just with new clothes and a name tacked on to differentiate them from the last episode. However, this is easily over-looked because of the characters themselves (which will be discussed later.)

Well, I'm afraid my review will fall short here. I'm afraid sound is not usually something I really pay attention to, typically. I will say, however, that the OP song is one of my favorites (if not my favorite) among all anime I have seen. Yes, it may be my age saying this, but it is reminiscent of the old 70's folk music that I love so much. It really is a beautiful song. I'm giving the sound a 10, though, based on this song, and the music I did notice through the series, which was quite appropriate for the scenes.

Aaaaaahhhh... the BEST part of the series. Ginko... Ginko... well, he's just awesome. Sometimes he may come across as one of your old "monotone" teachers/professors, but you get the feeling that he truly LOVES what he does, and the interest he has in researching the mushi is undeniable. The way he sees mushi as neither "evil or good" ... they "just exist, like we do" is a testament to his character. Another great thing about this series is the episodic characters. Other than Ginko (and a doctor that shows up in 3 episodes), all characters are only present for 1 episode. But as someone states in the forums, you come to care MORE about some of these 1 episode characters than you do for some recurring characters in other 26+ epi series.

Well, if it isn't obvious by now, I enjoyed/am enjoying this series immensely. I was not sure if I could enjoy an episodic anime with new characters introduced each episode, but I was pleasantly surprised. This series has read more
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May 18, 2012
Guilty Crown (Anime) add
Many people are aware of the financial problems faced by the anime industry, and one of the methods that studios have adopted over recent years to try to shore up their crumbling foundations is to adapt popular manga, games, and more recently, Western comics. This approach has become a tried and tested moneymaking endeavour for the majority of studios, but in many cases this is simply due the fact that the source material caters to the lowest common denominator - which usually means fanservice. Unfortunately, the relative success of these shows have allowed them to become the norm rather than the exception, and with that comes a number of problems.

The sad fact is that while it's okay to find inspiration from other sources, the industry has become so used to the adaptation that studios and writers find it difficult to produce work that could be considered "original". Instead, what passes for a unique story tends to be nothing more than a collection of concepts and ideas from other tales that are thrown together in the vain hope that people will rush to buy the end product because ... well, because someone tells them to.

But rather than dwelling on such things, let's take a look at Guilty Crown.

Set in Tokyo in the year 2039, a decade has passed since a mysterious outbreak known as the "Apocalypse Virus" killed thousands of people and brought Japan to its knees - a disaster that would later be called "Lost Christmas". Since that time Japan has lost its independence, and has become a martial state governed by an international organisation known as GHQ. The story opens with a pink-haired girl and a small robot escaping from a futuristic-looking facility, but security forces injure and corner her until she falls off a bridge. The next morning is just like any other day for highschool student Ouma Shu, an awkward young man who is a fan of the pop-group Egoist, whose lead singer just happens to be a waif-like girl with pink hair.

And then everything gets ... weird.

Guilty Crown is a bit of an odd duck as it attempts to blend several disparate themes, but doesn't quite manage to finish the job. The plot has clearly been influenced by several popular franchises - which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the execution is where the writers have let themselves down. The narrative is often disjointed, and many events in the storyline appear to have no logic behind them other than to put Shu through an emotional wringer. In addition to this, the writers appear to have taken a rather nonchalant approach to reasoning and rationale, one example of which is how GHQ's repeated massacres are never covered by any sort of media outlet. This seemingly lackadaisical attitude is apparent in several areas of the plot - which is littered with "coincidences" - and these cause the narrative to have a mechanical feeling. In many ways it's almost as if the story was nothing more than a collection read more
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Sep 28, 2007
Neon Genesis Evangelion (Anime) add
Note: this review is spoiler free.

Hugely experimental and wonderfully unique, Evangelion is a roaring success.

The basic, initial, plot goes thus: a 14-year-old boy named Shinji is called to NERV (an organization charged with defending mankind from extinction, no less) by his estranged, seemingly cold and calculating father. There, his fathers' first words are an order to pilot an immense robotic machine, the titular Evangelion, and fight against the monster that's attacking Tokyo-3, the city under which NERV has it's headquarters. These illusory 'monsters' are called Angels and are seemingly invincible - traditional weaponry, even in the year 2015, has minimal effect upon them. Only the Eva 'biomechs', which can be piloted solely by certain selected 14-year-olds can stop them. This is merely the basic, initial premise of the series. As it goes on, everything gets a lot more complicated; There's a metric ton of mystery, suspense, twists and turns in Evangelion's plot, all routinely thought-provoking and intensely interesting.

The characters are excellent. This is an important point as the series is more about them than about the Angels or NERV. Shinji Ikari is one the most believable and genuinely sympathetic character ever conceived in anime. Though some would complain that Shinji is overtly emotional and annoyingly so. But, really, no one wants Shinji to become the 'Hollywood hero' and save the day with a smile on his face - no such human could ever really exist, and studio Gainax understand this and apply it perfectly to the series. Shinji's mental struggle is dealt with effectively by Hideki Anno, through the use of complex monologues and largely successful experimental cinematic techniques. Asuka and Rei, the other chosen children, are both polar opposites and ingenious characters. Both develop a great deal in a very interesting way throughout the series, and this character exploration and growth is at the heart of Evangelion.

The design aspects are wonderfully unique - the Evas themselves are strikingly colourful and the Angels are attention grabbing and memorable with many towering over Tokyo-3's skyscraper. The Angels appear in many different forms (one Angel takes the form of a gargantuan, blue diamond while another is too small to be seen with the naked eye and acts as an organic virus, crippling NERV's computer system) which helps Eva avoid the repetitve "Monster of the Week" format and keeps the action aspect of the series consistently fresh and enjoyable. Judeo-Christian references are famous (or rather, infamous) in Evangelion and despite widespread condemnation, I am of the firm belief that the symbolism is never obnoxious, and always evocative and visually shocking. It must be noted these references are usually fairly shallow, but they make you sit up and take notice of the deeper meaning in the series as a whole. Animation is crisp and clear for the platinum re-mastering that I watched, and I hasten to add that this re-mastering is only version of Eva worth buying. Visuals are regularly stunning and scenes from this series will surely stay with you forever. The read more
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