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Dec 24, 2022
Chainsaw Man (Manga) add
Mixed Feelings
Preliminary (97/? chp)
Chainsaw Man is torn between being seinen and shonen, while failing to be adept at either.

It's as violent as seinen with its body horror, but with nothing remotely meaningful to say or thematically explore that you can't read in stories aimed at young children (killing's bad m'kay? Humans emotions are good m'kay?). It's as creative with its battles and abilities as a shonen, but without the coherent rules of the genre.

The author regularly pulls undeserved plot twists and powers out of his ass during battles, making it seem like we've just seen a pay-off. But pay-offs don't work without set-ups. Visit the forums to see ...
Aug 29, 2022
Bamboo Blade (Anime) add
Mixed Feelings
This has the worst structure of a show I've ever seen. Despite that baffling aspect, Bamboo Blade is a lighthearted irreverent comedy maybe worth your time.

Let's get the negatives out of the way.

First off, the show's premise is that a school's kendo sensei, Ishida, makes a bet with his friend that his team of girls can beat his friend's, with the reward being a year's worth of eating at a restaurant.

This weak hook to the show is resolved in a handful of episodes. Let me repeat: the reason for this show existing is resolved in a handful of episodes.

After some meandering, the show comes up ...
Aug 19, 2022
Akira (Manga) add
Mixed Feelings
Oh boy. Re-reading this was eye-opening. It's been on my personal favourite list for decades, it was the first anime and manga I ever saw, so it'll always have a special place in my heart. I rewatched the movie on 4K bluray recently and it holds up well. The Akira Club artbook is also gorgeous. The manga though...

I'd recently bought all 6 volumes (the long-selling English ones by Kodansha), and was excited to re-read them for the first time since the late 1990s, but after reading one volume I was shocked to feel that nothing meaningful had happened. Despite the fact that the story is ...
Aug 18, 2022
Inuyashiki (Manga) add
Hiroya Oku's follow-up to Gantz continues his exploration of nihilism in a hyper-real Japan, with an enticing premise and promising protagonist. There's not enough older folk utilised as main characters in manga, and Oku relishes the chance to shove Mr Inuyashiki into excruciating scenarios and to pull him out in cathartic fashion. He's joined by a malevolent antagonist who has a heavy presence all throughout the tale.

Which is a problem. But more about that later. Let me get some positives out of the way.

Oku really nails the banal cruelty of internet comments that you see everywhere online, from 2chan to reddit to MAL itself. We ...
May 30, 2022
Mixed Feelings
How far the mighty have fallen.

The Ghost in the Shell franchise used to be pioneering. It created new visual iconography, new visual language and cyberpunk tropes. In SAC_2045 we witness a franchise flailing about in a last gasp attempt at being relevant. It's a show that has nothing to say about anything. I found the many references to the Wachowskis Matrix series during the 2 seasons of this show profoundly pathetic.

As mentioned above GitS used to create iconography that influenced cinema and animation, and now it has devolved into blatantly ripping off the Matrix, with no grace about it. Instead we just get straight ...
Apr 3, 2013
I caught Samurai Champloo as it aired back in 2004, and though I liked it enough, it didn’t impact me as much as I hoped it would. Though maybe that’s not entirely true, as the soundtrack did indirectly change my life, thanks to the composer Nujabes introducing me to instrumental hip hop and providing a soundtrack to my life for the next few years.

I recently re-watched the show and felt compelled to write a retrospective/review of the series. While watching Jin, Mugen and Fuu traipse around 19th century Japan getting into ridiculous adventures, I realised Shinichirô Watanabe’s follow up to Cowboy Bebop is one of ...
Jul 22, 2012
Mixed Feelings
Well that's two lacklustre Ghibli movies under Goro's belt. On one hand I can understand Hayao supporting his son in his career, yet on the other hand this blatant form of nepotism is doing nothing but showing that the Miyazaki magic will disappear when he does.

Goro doesn't deserve to be making Ghibli movies just yet. Maybe gaining more experience doing other things would prepare him for that special of roles, but instead what we're left with is his experimentations and learning process stamped with the Ghibli logo. It's diluting the brand. His two films aren't even pandering to mainstream audiences; that’s ...
Jan 13, 2010
Kijin Gahou (Manga) add
Preliminary (1/9 chp)
Shintaro Kago is renowned for his frank and disturbing tales of sexual perversion. There is a dark wit running throughout all of his manga. I have personally read around 200 manga and 'Suck It' is by far the most disturbing I have ever read.

I didn't know whether to give it a 1 for making me feel disgusting, or a 10 for the balls of getting it published. I settled for a generous score due to its hilarious climax.

To analyse it would take a thousand words and make many assumptions about the author. The premise does it no justice. To talk about ...
Oct 10, 2009
Macross (Anime) add
Aired just two years after the end of Mobile Suit Gundam, a show which defined the mecha/space genre in anime, Macross takes the 'humans attacked and on the run in a super ship' template and blazes forward a new path of its own.

Macross is the sexier version of Gundam, the carefree serenading romantic. There is an air of enthusiasm and happy-go-lucky charm to its characters that the Gundam franchise rarely ever allowed on its unlucky downtrodden crew. Whereas Gundam grinds Amuro and company through the emotional wringer from episode one, Macross lets Hikaru and gang regularly let off steam in the interior city ...
Sep 30, 2009
This is the story of how one young kid has everything taken from him, but vows to take it all back and then some. With the loyal childhood friend Kircheis backing him up, Reinhard Von Musel's rigorous climb to the top of the empire food chain begins in this OVA; a prequel to the 110 episode Legend Of The Galactic Heroes OVA.

The setup, as fans already know, is epic defined. Having had his sister sold to the empire's ruler by his deadbeat dad, Reinhard has vengeance in mind, but coupled with his genius intellect, it’s a vengeance that spans the galaxy, rather than ...

It’s time to ditch the text file.
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