1 of 1 episodes seen
The original Fullmetal Alchemist anime was constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed to stand on its own. It was given its own movie to continue where it left off but also conclude its story. Fullmetal Alchemist was also given a second adaptation which was Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It was more faithful to Hiromu Arakawa’s Masterpiece than the first series ever was. After Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood finished its run, it was announced that the franchise would get a second movie. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was a great reward after the success of the original FMA anime, but there is no equivalent exchange when it comes to Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos
After a mysterious prisoner with only a few weeks left on his sentence breaks out of prison in Central City, the Elric brothers happen to be around and they attempt to track him down. The search leads them to Table City in the southwestern country of Creta, where Alphonse rescues a young lady named Julia from the very man they are trying to capture. In the thick of the fight, they end up in Julia's home turf, the slums of Milos Valley, and are involved in the grassroots rebellion of her people.
As you might be aware, the character designs do look drastically different from the character designs of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Just so you know, this production of the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise is not done by a different studio. The Sacred Star of Milos is a BONES production and right from the promotional artwork to the first few scenes of the film until the very end of the film, Allow me to ask this question. Even though movie counterparts of an anime series have higher production values, why change the character designs? I really do not understand the reasoning behind this but I know for certain that the animation factor does not sit well with everyone when it came to the final product. It certainly moves pretty well during its action sequences but the action scenes tend to be hit and miss. I will try not to compare this film to Conqueror of Shamballa too much but what worked with The Conqueror of Shamballa was sticking to the design that the 2003 series had and since it was a theatrical production, it was understandable that the animation quality would have been increased. The Sacred Star of Milos could have done just that. However, looking past the character design used in The Sacred Star of Milos, there lies another problem or two. The character modeling is inconsistent at times and this lies mostly during the action sequences, but the character designs during the entire film does look lackluster for something that is a theatrical anime production. To make matters worse, there is only one or a few action scenes that look nice. Most of the action looks really sloppy. Surprisingly enough, the animation is this movie’s strong suit
The music this time is not by Akira Senju. The music for The Sacred Star of Milos is done by Taro Iwashiro who has done musical scores for a number of Japanese films and this is the only animated film he did the soundtrack, making The Sacred Star of Milos the only anime he has done a soundtrack for. The soundtrack is rather fitting for the movie but I am afraid the soundtrack is not that memorable. Miwa is responsible for the opening credits theme “Chasing Hearts” and it’s an okay song I suppose. The closing theme “Good Luck My Way” is done by L’Arc-en-Ciel and it’s a decent song. I don’t have much to say on the soundtrack because even though it is fitting, there is just not much I can say about it.
The Japanese cast of The Sacred Star of Milos is mostly good. Romi Park and Rie Kugimiya are fine like they always been as Edward and Alphonse Elric. I have already mentioned some of the other seiyus when I reviewed Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood so I will go over the exclusive characters for this film. Julia is played by Maaya Sakamoto and it’s just her typical performance. It’s not a bad one but it’s not too memorable of a performance. Toshiyuki Morikawa is fine as Melvin and that’s pretty much it. As for the English Dub. Vic Mignogna and Maxey Whitehead are still great to listen to but as for the exclusive characters. Alexis Tipton is not too bad as Julia but like Maaya Sakamoto, it’s a pretty average performance. Matthew Mercer is a little bit more enjoyable than Toshiyuki Morikawa when it comes to Melvin. Even though I strongly prefer the Dub between the two versions of this film, I must admit there is one voice in the dub that really felt a little misfitting when compared to the original Japanese voice. That would be Patrick Seitz as Colonel Herschel. There was a reason why Colonel Herschel sounds a certain way in the Subtitled Version. Patrick Seitz is not a bad voice actor but I feel like he was slightly mis-casted as Colonel Herschel. This is only a nitpick with the dub because a little of the original Japanese intent is missing but it really doesn’t take a whole lot away from the experience if you watch the Dubbed Version anyway. I kind of prefer Hidenobu Kiuchi as Colonel Herschel more in this case but the Dub is what it is. You can’t go wrong with either version in this case.
The characters in this film leave things to be desired. Ed and Al are fine, Mustang and Hawkeye feel sidelined for the most part which leads to the movie-exclusive characters. Julia is a little disappointing. Sure, we get some backstory about her. But other than her role in the film and what she goes through, she is not really all that interesting and she is just not written all too well. But she’s the least of my problems because Melvin’s role in this movie makes no damn sense. He can use Alchemy to make Ice and he can even shoot Lightning. What is he, The Avatar Alchemist? Even though his alchemy skills are great, he still has his goals that he wants to achieve. I do believe that his entire role was poorly executed. Well, that’s all I can really say about the characters. There are things that I really wanted more out of when it came to the characters, This film did focus on the exclusive ones for the majority of the movie but the writing to them is really not all that good, this leads to my major problem with The Sacred Star of Milos.
Kazuya Murata is the director of this film and Yasuhiro Irie has nothing to do with this production of Fullmetal Alchemist. That’s fine and all but there really is no reason why this film should be made. I have had my fill with the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise and I don’t need the franchise to get milked anymore. But for whatever reason, BONES decided to make a desperate attempt in milking the franchise some more, even though it was just one movie after Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ended. The story and the entire film does not add anything to the franchise. In comparison to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, how the movie explains one thing about the Philosopher’s Stone does not connect at all in the entire series. even though I did not like how the Conqueror of Shamballa ended the 2003 series, it did serve its purpose. It continued the story that was left open in the 2003 series and it did finish its story. With The Sacred Star of Milos, any continuity with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is shot out the window, the movie makes no sense for the most part, the writing is awful, and the entire plot is the reason I consider The Sacred Star of Milos to be an insignificant addition to the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise.
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is available by Funimation.
Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is a mixed bag with its animation but its soundtrack is nice. However, with characters that are not written all too well as well as a very meaningless plot to go with it, It makes the viewing experience rather hard to enjoy. The only way I can see anyone viewing this movie is if they are curious to see how it holds up to the viewer. I could enjoy it more with a RiffTrax-esque commentary if one is made.
I give Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos a 3.8 out of 10.
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16 of 16 episodes seen
Well… I went over Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and it’s OVA’s and it turns out I got another thing to talk about before I go over a certain anime movie. I am referring to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Comic Theater
I have no reason to give a synopsis about this one because this whole entire thing is a self-aware parody of the series. This anime is inspired by the manga omakes that were at the end of a volume of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. Interestingly enough, 99% of the segments are parodies of some of the events that took place in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The first segment is the only one that was based on the manga omakes (extras). Also, it should be made clear that the Comic Theater is not meant to be part of the series canon. It is a parody of the series after all.
There is no need for me to go over too much on the animation but I must say that I do appreciate the change of character design to make the self-awareness obvious. There is no need for me to bring up the soundtrack or the characters. Hell, there is no need for me to bring up the plot.
I do have one last thing to say… This Comic Theater parody is worth the time for bonus material. Some of the segments are funny as hell. I would like to add that The Japanese cast is alright but how the English Dub handled some of the dialogue made me laugh my ass off. I recommend that you watch this Comic Theater after watching the entire series of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood because they are parodies of key moments so… keep that in mind. I had some good laughs.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Comic Theater is available by Funimation through the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVA Collection.
Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Comic Theater is a hilarious addition to one of the best modern animes out there. It is self-aware of what it does and even though some segments don’t really work. Most of it is guaranteed to give you some laughs.
I give Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Comic Theater a 9.6 out of 10 read more
4 of 4 episodes seen
I remembered that the original Fullmetal Alchemist had some OVA’s. One of them was some comedic in-joke on the people that worked on the series as if the characters were actors. Another was a little sequence that feels like the epilogue to the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime. Then there was a Live-action OVA, an Interactive OVA, and then a Recap OVA. To be honest, these OVA’s don’t really add much to the original Fullmetal Alchemist and I found most of them pointless. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was fortunate to have OVA’s that actually add to the experience. I am talking about The OVA Collection of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD.
I usually give a brief synopsis to my review, however… This is a review of additional material to an anime I just reviewed so… No need for a synopsis here. I also made my statements on Studio BONES and the animation quality of the series so there is no need for me to repeat myself because these OVA’s look just like how they looked in the TV series. That being said, I will just go over the 4 OVA’s that were given to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
The first OVA “The Blind Alchemist” is essentially filler but not necessarily a bad case of filler. If you want to include it ias Canon, It should be viewed after Episode 3. I won’t into much detail but how this little story plays out could have been explored for just a little bit longer. It is not an entirely pointless OVA to Brotherhood but it really depends on how you perceive it.
The second OVA “Simple People” gives some insight on Winry early on that was never brought up in the TV Series. In terms of chronology, it would be easier to view this right after watching The Blind Alchemist and then Episode 4. Other than that. I like this OVA for adding something to Winry’s character.
The Third OVA “The Tale of Teacher” gives some insight on Izumi Curtis which actually does get mentioned halfway in the series. It explores what Izumi went through during her alchemy training and it Even though it is taking place much before the series, it would be fitting to view this OVA after Episode 12 (which is the episode that introduces Izumi) as a way to co-relate the alchemy training from Master to Students. Besides, I would not want to view this OVA while in the middle of the show when The Elric Brothers are at Fort Briggs when this tale is mentioned.
The fourth and Final OVA is “Yet Another Man’s Battlefield” is set during the time that Roy Mustang joins the Military. This also leads up to The Ishval Civil War and considering that there are a few moments with Roy Mustang and Maes Hughes. I would view this OVA after Episode 9 because Episode 10 starts off with Mustang reminiscing about The Ishval Civil War. I consider it to be a pretty good OVA considering we get more character insight of Hughes (even though his time was short).
As for voice acting, The Japanese Cast is fine but I strongly preferred the Dub like the TV series.
Even though I don’t have any intention of revisiting the OVA’s of the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, these OVA’s are actually pretty good for being bonus material. Even though I have given my perception of where I would place these Bonus Episodes as if they were canon, I will say that these OVA’s are not really required viewing in order to fully enjoy Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. They are nice additions and all I can say is…viewing these OVA’s are optional. That being said, I must say that I really enjoyed these OVA’s. I remembered watching some Specials or OVA’s that really don’t add to the experience, they are just… there. Some series like Darker Than BLACK, Naruto, and Black Butler have these OVA’s where they are essentially based on the series but has no continuity whatsoever. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s OVA’s are adapted by Manga chapter’s of the same name which they were not in the Manga Volumes for whatever reason. These Manga Chapters are not available in the U.S. Regardless, the reason I consider viewing these episodes optional is because even though these episodes were made during the show’s run and after the series, these episodes are not missing parts of the story. They are essentially additional material if the fans want a little more out of the series. I like these additional episodes because they give a little bit more detail about a few characters. If you ask me, these OVA’s are best viewed while re-watching the series and if you want my advice on my viewing order of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood with these OVA’s, here you go.
Step 1: Start with the first three episodes.
Step 2: After watching Episode 3. watch “The Blind Alchemist” and “Simple People”
Step 3: After “Simple People”, watch Episodes 4-9.
Step 4: After Episode 9, watch “Yet Another Man’s Battlefield”
Step 5: After watching “Yet Another Man’s Battlefield”, then watch Episodes 10-12.
Step 6: After watching Episode 12, watch “The Tale of Teacher”.
Step 7: After watching “The Tale of Teacher”, enjoy the rest of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
By the way, I am not counting The Sacred Star of Milos because it adds nothing to the series. There is barely any continuity when it comes to that movie.
The Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVA’s are available by Funimation
Overall, The Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVA’s are welcome additions to one of the best Modern animes out there. The animation is consistent with the TV Series. The music is also consistent. A few characters were given some light shed to them, and the stories contained in these bonus episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood are just as good as the show itself, even if that first OVA feels like a filler. Keep in mind that I am viewing these OVA’s as additional material to the series since it proved that it has continuity connections. That being said…
I give the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVA’s a 10 out of 10! read more
64 of 64 episodes seen
Anime… it is a medium that continuously constructs, some of them deconstruct certain genres (or deviate from the source material), and some of them are reconstructions (in other words... remakes and retellings). But it is not a flawless medium. In order for an anime series to succeed, effort of equal value and money must be given. That is how the Anime Industry works, but what could equal the value of a Masterpiece?
The time is at hand for me to review… FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD!
Two brothers lose their mother to an incurable disease. With the power of "alchemy", they use a forbidden art of alchemy to resurrect her. The process fails, and the Elric Brothers pay a toll for performing the ultimate taboo, the older brother, Edward Elric loses his left leg while the younger brother, Alphonse Elric loses his entire body. To save his brother, Edward sacrifices his right arm and is able to attach his brother's soul to a suit of armor. With the help of a family friend, Edward receives metal prosthetics (which are known as “Automail”) to replace the limbs he lost. With that, Edward makes a solemn vow to search for the Philosopher's Stone to return the brothers to their original bodies, even if it means becoming a "State Alchemist", one who uses his/her alchemy for the military, thus beginning the journey for the Elric Brothers.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a BONES production and this is not a remake of Fullmetal Alchemist. This is the second adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa’s Manga Masterpiece. The 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist series was based on the manga but as the second half came around, it deviated from the source material and went its own direction and had its own conclusion.. Now the synopsis I gave is pretty much the same synopsis I gave when I reviewed the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, that is because Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has the same premise as the original anime. I should note that in Japan, the series is simply called FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST. The “Brotherhood” subtitle is actually added for international purposes to prevent confusion. The animation in the original anime still holds up, and it was a solid effort by BONES at the time. With Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, there is obviously a different character design style used here. The character designs in the original FMA anime look nice and still look good. However, the character designs are more polished in Brotherhood. I think it’s nice for both series to have distinct character design styles. The animation as a whole is another different case. Because of the huge success of the 2003 series, it looks pretty clear that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was given an insane budget. This was also a production made for television, not an OVA production. If this was an OVA Series, it would look about the same due to its high budget. Hell! I think the animation quality in this anime is on par with the usual Madhouse television production. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood looks phenomenal. There are very few shortcuts made but I have to address the only nitpick I have with this series. The “Chibi humor” moments. There are times where the characters suddenly look deformed in any shape or form. This is an issue that a number of people have with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I see where they are coming from but I am aware that the original 2003 anime had some humorous moments in some episodes when some of those episodes had serious moments in them too. If you ask me, Brotherhood feels a little excessive on the “Chibi” effect while using comic relief, then again. The manga had its own sense of humor. This kind of humor is typical in anime and it is used more often with the Elric Brothers than other characters and The Elric Brothers are teenagers. Even though that sounds like an excuse. I forgive this oddly timed humor because it decreases as the series progresses. The animation as a whole is consistent, it remains some of the best looking animation when it comes to Modern Anime, it also had incredible animation when it came to its action scenes. This anime is also subdued when it comes to scenes of dialogue. It is still nice to look at and the animation is well-balanced. Even though great animation alone does not constitute a great show, I consider Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood to be BONES’ greatest achievement to date. Most of today’s anime are nowhere on-par with the production values of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood because like I said before, it looks phenomenal as a television production for an anime.
The music by Akira Senju may take a little getting used to. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is completely orchestral from start to finish (save for the opening and closing themes). I looked up Akira Senju to see what he has worked on before or since this show and he’s not really well-known in the anime community except for this one and still to this day, he’s not really a big name when it comes to Anime composers. Even though I like the soundtrack from the original 2003 series, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s soundtrack is just as good and a lot more fitting. Sure, there were some great stuff from Michiru Oshima in the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, but when it came to the soundtrack to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, it is not just epic but it has its emotional elements that make the soundtrack stand out. Most of it is instrumental of course but when some themes have lyrics, they are all in Latin. Anyway, the soundtrack fits the series and it is nice to know that not only did Akira Senju compose the music but he did it with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra has recorded music for animes like Cowboy Bebop, The Vision of Escaflowne, and Hellsing: Ultimate. They don’t disappoint with their involvement with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. As for openings and closings. “Again” by Yui is a damn catchy song that is a nice opening to start the series. “Uso” by SID is a nice closing considering it fits the early stages of the series. The second opening “Hologram” by Nico Touches the Walls is a great too. “Let it Out” by Miho Fukuhara is a closing which does look and sound great. “Golden Time Lover” is an opening I originally did not care for but I grew to like it after a while. “Tsunaida Te” (Tied Hands) by Lil’B is a closing theme that I don’t much to say about but as a closing that is right in the middle, it’s fitting. “Period” by Chemistry is a great penultimate opening and “Shunkan Sentimental” (Sentimental Moment) by Scandal is a great penultimate closing. The fifth and final opening “Rain” by SID is a very effective opening because what happens at the last 14 episodes really fit the opening. As for “Ray of Light” by Shoko Nakagawa, it is a good swan song for the series. The soundtrack is well-balanced, that is all I can say about the music for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
With the Japanese Cast, Romi Park and Rie Kugimiya return as Edward and Alphonse Elric and they are both fine as always. There are a lot of good seiyus such as Shinichiro Miki as Scar, Keiji Fujiwara as Hughes, Kenta Miyake as Scar, Hidekatsu Shibata as King Bradley, Hiroyuki Yoshino as Kimblee, Mamoru Miyano as Ling Yao, Unsho Ishizuka as Van Hohenheim, and others seiyus that make the series fascinating to watch this series Subtitled. However, as good as the Subtitled Version is… I must confess that I strongly preferred the English Dub with this one. Vic Mignogna returns as Edward Elric and even though he was great in the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, this performance is what I consider to be his greatest. Enough said, Aaron Dismuke originally played Alphonse in the original FMA anime but thanks to him going through puberty, he is unable to play Alphonse in this series. Instead, Alphonse was voiced by Maxey Whitehead and though I understand the situation, I actually like Maxey Whitehead’s portrayal of Alphonse, so I have no complaints here. Caitlyn Glass is just as good with Winry in this series like when she voiced her before in the 2003 series. Travis Willingham did a phenomenal performance. Colleen Clickenbeard is just as precise as Hawkeye and Chris Sabat is awesome as Alex Louis Armstrong. J. Michael Tatum is terrific as Scar. Todd Haberkorn is also terrific as Ling Yao. You wanna know who else is terrific in the dub? Ed Blaylock as King Bradley, his performance is phenomenal. Laura Bailey, Chris Cason, Wendy Powell, and Chris Patton return as Lust, Gluttony, Envy, and Greed and they are just as good since the first series. John Swasey was spot-on as Hohenheim, and Kent Williams is great as Father and he is not that bad as a narrator. Also, Troy Baker is in the dub and he’s great too. I may have skimmed through the Subbed Version but I am not holding back on how well-casted the dub is in this series. Maxey Whitehead can take a little getting used to for some but she stood out pretty well as Alphonse. Even though Cowboy Bebop has what is considered one of the greatest Dubs ever made, I consider Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood to be Funimation’s greatest Dub and I also consider it to be Mike McFarland’s best Dub he has ever worked on.
What really makes Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood such a strong series is its characters. The Elric Brothers, Edward and Alphonse were great characters in the 2003 series but what they did at the end of the original anime was touching but a little less rewarding (and the Conqueror of Shamballa didn’t help). In Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I really was engrossed in the journey that the Elric Brothers took without the slow pacing and backtracking that the first series did early on. As for the military side, Roy Mustang may have been a tragic hero in the first series but his character feels more believable in Brotherhood. plus… He was awesome. Hawkeye is nearly identical, but with more insight. Alex Louis Armstrong is still awesome, and Maes Hughes… Well… he serves a great purpose to the plot. Scar was fine in the original but the plot in Brotherhood really makes Scar an understandable character. Ling Yao is a great comic relief character but he also has a rather interesting character arc to boot. Last but not least is Hohenheim. In the original series, he appeared for only 3 episodes and only has a small timeframe in The Conqueror of Shamballa. I found Hohenheim’s role to be lackluster in the original. I might as well state the obvious that Hohenheim was fleshed out and much more detailed in Brotherhood. Then of course there is the Homunculi. Lust was interesting in the original series and well… she’s not the same way in Brotherhood but she does live up to her name. Gluttony lives up to his name. Envy’s role is executed better in Brotherhood whereas his role in the original felt rather anticlimactic. Greed’s character arc is a lot more fascinating in Brotherhood, I was not impressed with Greed in the original. Sloth made no damn sense in the original, Sloth lives up to his name, then there are Wrath and Pride… Well... Let’s just say that they are played out much better than the original series because I felt there was a bit of a mix-up in the original with those two. Then of course there is the main antagonist. In the original, it was Dante (a woman) and even though she had some interesting insight, I was not impressed with her as a villain. The main antagonist in Brotherhood was an interesting case but I would rather remain silent and let you figure out for yourself. The reason I mention all these characters is because there is an incredible level of dynamics that I really don’t see much in anime. There are a lot of characters that have a purpose in the series and the payoff is worth it. These characters develop, these characters have depth, these characters are three-dimensional, and these characters do mature. There is great amount of catharsis, and The character writing is phenomenal.
Not only is the characters written so well, but so is the story. Before I go about the story, let me clear this out right away. The first 3 episodes of the original are fantastic and this is something I wish was repeated in Brotherhood. However, I am not fond of how Episodes 4-9 of the original take up 6 episodes of backstory (after the “Mother” episode) just to get back to the main story. Also, there were a couple filler episodes that really didn’t add up to the story. In Brotherhood, the first episode may be seen as an awkward start but I actually grew to like the episode. It may be an anime-exclusive episode but it distincts itself from the original anime. Sure, some events in Brotherhood play a lot faster when compared to the 2003 series but I also had my minor dislike for the chronology plays out in the original series. Brotherhood does not have any of that although there are backstories that take up a couple episodes here and there and they do not take away from the main focus of the story. What made Fullmetal Alchemist a wonderful franchise was addressing its themes. Family still plays a part in Brotherhood but I see some camaraderie often with this one. I will say that the Brotherly love between Edward and Alphonse remains one of the more endearing elements of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. There is definitely a lot more focus in relationships which actually do feel natural as the series progressed. Like the original series, Brotherhood has some Philosophy in it and it has some nice philosophical touches. Another thing it does touch upon is Religion. When I watched the original series, I found the topic of Religion to be painted with a negative light and there was never a positive side to address alongside it. Heck, even Christianity was directly referenced and it was referred to as an ancient religion. I did not like this for two reasons, I felt it was a little offensive for some viewers, and two... It feels really strange that Christianity was brought up in the series considering the plot twist near the end of the 2003 series. With Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the only negative view on Religion is the Liore event with the example being Cornello. Even I know not all churches are perfect. I would even argue that there is a positive view on Religion but not in a Religious way but rather a Spiritual one. I am referring to “Truth”. Who goes by many aliases such as The World, or The Universe, but the key name I would keep in mind is “God”. Truth is Omnibenevolent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent, Truth punishes the unjust, and upholds the Law of Equivalent Exchange and gives those that are arrogant, prideful, and boastful, proper despair. After reading into the description of Truth, I am going to take a wild guess that Truth is meant to be Fullmetal Alchemist’s representation of God. I do like how Truth’s role is kept vague throughout the series but I always found this part of the series fascinating. There are many facets of Life that are addressed and even the phrase “survival of the fittest” plays a part in this series too. There is a lot of interesting subtext in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Although Christianity was directly referenced in the original series and on a negative light, there is some Christian imagery in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood that actually fits some of the symbolism in the series. Especially considering that the Seven Homunculi are named after The Seven Deadly Sins and the main antagonist can be viewed as an analogue to Satan if you really think about where the main antagonist comes from and his motives and goal. The Flamel Cross is a little vague on the subject but I am glad that the Christian symbolism isn’t used to throw in at the viewer’s face… like Neon Genesis Evangelion for example. Even if there is some Christian symbolism, it is nice to see a balance of complex themes and imagery as well as showing many facets of the human condition to make the story of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood relatable to the audience. I really do not want to delve too deep in the plot because this is a series that you really need to see for yourself. I will say that it is a satisfying experience. Yasuhiro Irie has not done much in terms of directing and this happened to be the second series he directed. What made this anime great is largely thanks to the writing but even though a barely known anime director undertook the task of directing the second adaptation of a well-written manga and he managed to direct a Modern Gem. This journey all started in 2001 when Hiromu Arakawa created a world much like our own and the world she created was filled with memorable and timeless characters. It took her 9 years to finish her Magnum Opus and gave BONES the opportunity to make an anime based on that Magnum Opus.
There is no such thing as a perfect anime, it doesn’t exist. The same goes with other mediums, anything made by human hands is flawed. Mistakes do happen but they can be corrected or excused. Although, if you can understand that principle and appreciate something for the good and bad while it remains focused and true, you’ll find that you now have a mind that can be refined to have a better understanding in appreciating what you enjoy. Yes… A mind made fullmetal.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is available by Funimation, The Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVA collection is also available by Funimation which also includes the “Comic Theater” extras which are worth watching if you want a good laugh. Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is also available by Funimation. Last but not least, Hiromu Arakawa’s magnum opus Manga is available by Viz Media.
Well, I sure have said a lot about this one and overall… Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is phenomenally animated for a Television production in Anime. It has an orchestral soundtrack that fits the series as well as having good opening and closing themes. The Japanese cast may have some great casting but the Dub is also phenomenal too. It also has timeless characters that are dynamic and unforgettable, Not many well-known anime staff worked on the series and yet it has an unforgettable journey contained in its plot. This anime is a miracle with how it all turned out. Now that I look back, I am thankful for the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime because thanks to it… an Anime Masterpiece was made possible. I am also happy to tell you that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is my all-time favorite anime.
That being said, I am giving FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD a 10 OUT OF 10!!!
Feel free to leave a comment and All is One, One is All. read more
3 of 3 episodes seen
I must say that I was not aware of the Specials for The Tatami Galaxy and I will just make this quick.
The first Special “Land Submarine, to the South Pole” is very strange and it really is not as visually appealing like the series.
The second Special “Land Submarine, to the Women’s bath ~Bed Chamber Investigation Team’s Rose colored search~ looks sloppy and it is pointless.
The third and final Special “Land Submarine of Love and Fishing” is okay I suppose.
Gee, a short review this was… Well, even though these specials were made after The Tatami Galaxy’s run… These specials add nothing to The Tatami Galaxy. The soundtrack may sound the same which is fine and the characters remain their normal selves. The animation is a little inconsistent and the whole “Submarine” thing has nothing to do with the show. You are not missing much if you skip these specials but if you really liked The Tatami Galaxy, trying these specials would not hurt.
The Tatami Galaxy Specials are unlicensed. The only way to experience these Specials is to watch it Online.
I give The Tatami Galaxy Specials a 5.2 out of 10. read more
11 of 11 episodes seen
Masaaki Yuasa was born on March 16, 1965 in Fukuoka, Japan. He is an Anime Director that many consider to be unique in the Anime industry. His style is unique indeed. He is known for titles such as Mind Game, Kemonozume, Kaiba, Ping Pong, and the anime I am reviewing. Sadly, almost all of Masaaki Yuasa’s work are unlicensed in the United State, this one on the other hand did get licensed but not much has been done to it in terms of a home release in the U.S.
Here is my review of The Tatami Galaxy!
A second year student from the Kyoto University finds himself entrapped amid an overabundance of unsatisfying possibilities to change his life. Accompanied by, his mischievous best friend Ozu, and Akashi, a firm engineering student, the nameless student and protagonist trudges through each path as he tries to grab the opportunity that seems to dangle right in front of his eyes.
The Tatami Galaxy or “Yojō-Han Shinwa Taikei” (meaning “4 ½ Tatami Mythological Chronicles”) is a Madhouse production which means a high chance of Good Animation. The Tatami Galaxy is different than what you would expect from Madhouse. The animation is both simplistic and unorthdox in how it moves most of the time. There are also some shortcuts here and there but they are put to good use. There is also some live-action shots that are filtered to add to the artsy nature of The Tatami Galaxy. I am also aware that it is very colorful in its aesthetics and the use of color really does give greater emphasis to the show’s substance. This series is both vibrant and melancholy with its artwork and it is at times a visual mindfuck. You know what? This should be expected from Masaaki Yuasa, As I write up this review, this is the only anime I have seen that is directed by Masaaki Yuasa and I am aware that this is not the only show with his own unique style. The anime that Masaaki Yuasa directed before The Tatami Galaxy was the 2008 anime Kaiba. I have not seen that series but I did see the opening and I after seeing the opening and doing my homework on some of Masaaki Yuasa’s other work. I am certain that what The Tatami Galaxy shows from start to finish is another example that Masaaki Yuasa is a unique anime director. The style in The Tatami Galaxy does not show in Kaiba, or even his more recent work which is Ping Pong. Pretty much every Anime that Masaaki Yuasa directs has its own design. The Tatami Galaxy is colorful, unique, and artsy. It also can look sloppy and bizarre at times but it is intentional considering some of the things that occur in this show. The animation in a nutshell is “Style with Substance”. The art direction is flawless.
The music of The Tatami Galaxy has some great orchestral pieces and the person behind all this is Michiru Oshima who is greatly known for her work on FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST (the original anime). I loved the soundtrack to the original FMA series but if you ask me… The soundtrack to The Tatami Galaxy is my favorite when it comes to Michiru Oshima’s work. The themes may not be as memorable as Fullmetal Alchemist but the sound and instruments in The Tatami Galaxy’s soundtrack is far more fitting than what she used for Fullmetal Alchemist. The music in The Tatami Galaxy is both classy and beautiful. The Opening theme “Maigoinu to Ame no Beat" (The Beat of a Stray Puppy and the Rain) by Asian Kung Fu Generation is pretty groovy and I never skipped this opening. The opening is rather good for showing every character in the series that will have their purpose in the show. Another nice thing about the opening is how for almost a minute is that live-action effect that makes the show intriguing to look at. The Closing theme "Kami-sama no Iutōri” (As God Dictates) is a catchy theme as well and even though the opening and closing theme are not on the same page as the soundtrack, they are still good themes that do compliment the series well. The soundtrack is good stuff.
On the vocal department, No English Dub exists for this series and you know what? I am okay with that to be honest because the show starts by having the show’s protagonist (who is unnamed) talking really fast. There would be no bloody way that an English Dub could replicate this in the same way. Shintaro Asanuma really does deserve props for having a unique performance. Even though half or most of his dialogue is narration, it is fitting considering that The Tatami Galaxy is all about its main protagonist. The voice stuck to me and I think it’s a pretty good performance overall. Hiroyuki Yoshino as Ozu was great as well. Then there’s Akashi played by Maaya Sakamoto. What can I say? I like her as a voice actress. As for The Tatami Galaxy, she’s not bad in it. This anime also has Keiji Fujiwara who plays Higuchi and he is a voice actor that I like because he has a cool voice and even though Higuchi isn’t a cool character, he still plays Higuchi well. Junichi Suwabe is also in here as Jougasaki. The voice is fitting. Then there’s Nobuyuki Hiyama. He is really over-the-top but for good reason. The voice acting is superb in this series. Even if there was an English Dub, I think the original voices are fitting.
When characters are concerned, The (Unnamed) Main Protagonist is the center focus of the series and his whole purpose of the series is finding this “rose-colored” campus life and he wants to meet this raven-haired girl of his dreams. There is actually more to him but it requires me to go as deep as I am willing to go. He goes to different social circles to achieve what he is searching for. However, his opportunity is often right in front of him and he misses his opportunity and tries again with something else. Even though The Tatami Galaxy is not strictly a Slice-of-Life anime, this aspect of the series is actually quite relatable for the viewer to understand where the main protagonist is coming from. Ozu is… good for character study. I am afraid I can’t delve too deep with him but he is a great character in contrast to the Main Protagonist. Akashi is a good character in the mix of characters in The Tatami Galaxy but I feel like she was sidelined in the middle of the series considering her role. Higuchi is nonchalantly amusing, I will leave it at that. Jougasaki is a douche, but not a bad character. He’s great for comic relief. There are other characters in the show but I decided not to delve in anymore on the other characters since they play a part in later episodes, but I will say that each character has some significance to the plot, whether it be the big points of the Tatami Galaxy or the really small but ingenious hints that the show offers. The characters in The Tatami Galaxy are great and it sounds crazy as I say this considering the conditions of the plot of The Tatami Galaxy.
The Story of The Tatami Galaxy is a rather fascinating topic. First, I would like to refer to the 2009 airing of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Somewhere in the middle of the airing came the infamous episodes known as “Endless Eight”. The Endless Eight was infamous for having the first part set things up but the following 7 parts repeated the same episode but with minor significant differences. The Endless Eight arc was so bad that even one of the staff apologized for it. The plot of The Tatami Galaxy has a similar approach but it's more like that movie Groundhog Day and none of the repeating bullshit like Haruhi Suzumiya’s Endless Eight. Even though the plot resets itself with time loops, the scenarios do differ from episode to episode, and this series actually ties things together. I can’t say why but some might be turned off by the time loops so I am at least hinting on what the show is like without going into much detail. Still, there are some moments that really make sticking to the series rewarding. I will say that I only had one issue with the series, The ending… I cannot say too much but even though the show was great up into the climax, the ending was rather odd and I wish there would have been more closure than how the whole series wrapped up. Even though the ending is odd, It is still worth seeing even if you do not understand it completely after the first viewing all the way through. It may require some repeated viewing but given the amount of episodes… I’d say that isn’t a difficult task to consider. The Tatami Galaxy is a unique and colorful experience.
The Tatami Galaxy is available by Funimation, however… This series is only available by the means of Streaming. The Tatami Galaxy to this day has not received an American Home Release and shame on them because I seriously would love to get my hands on a Blu-ray release of this anime. The Tatami Galaxy is available by Beez Entertainment if you reside in the U.K and if you live in Australia or New Zealand, it is available by Siren Visual.
Overall, The Tatami Galaxy is a very interesting show with a rather fascinating plot, a classy and beautiful soundtrack, interesting character insight, and skillful visual direction. This is the only series by Masaaki Yuasa that has gotten licensed in the U.S. which is a crying shame since I hear he’s a pretty good director when it comes to Anime. If you have not seen any of his work, The Tatami Galaxy is not a bad place to start.
I give The Tatami Galaxy a 9.6 out of 10.
Feel free to leave a comment… read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
Since I reside in the United States, I am fully aware that some people enjoy watching an Anime dubbed for specific reasons. I have a bilingual preference when it comes to Anime. I like watching Anime subbed and dubbed. When I do rewatch a certain Anime, I would go with the version I enjoyed the most or the one that I think that was the better version. There are some Anime that are good in either version. When it comes to English Dub Voice Actors, Men tend to favor Steve Blum, maybe it’s because he’s got that cool distinctive voice. When it comes to the ladies, they tend to favor Vic Mignogna. Even though Steve Blum is one of my favorite voice actors and being one of the reasons that Cowboy Bebop has a dub that is considered one of the greatest dubs ever recorded, Vic Mignogna has been voice acting since 1999 which is roughly around the time that English dubs were starting to increase in quality. Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist was his career-defining role and my favorite role of his. However, there was also another early fan-favorite role of his when it comes to Vic Mignogna’s fanbase… and it is in D.N. Angel.
Daisuke Niwa is just an average teenager, He turns 14 and He tries to declare his love to the girl of his dreams, but like any average teenage protagonist in an anime, he... fails. Suddenly, whenever he thinks about this girl he turns into the legendary phantom thief known as Dark Mousy. Daisuke's mother is aware of this and she makes him turn into Dark so he can steal valuable works of art for a purpose that Daisuke doesn’t even know…
D.N. Angel is a Xebec production and this series looks fine for the most part but there are glaring and painfully obvious flaws in the animation department. There are times where it recycles some of its animation and there are some times where the character design looks a little sloppy. Much to my surprise, the animation is actually not too bad when it counts. However, the one thing that never aged well was the 3D animation effect. It really sticks out like a sore thumb. I am just going to go out on a guess that D.N. Angel was a low budget production. It would probably explain some of the animation recycling and the cheap looking 3D effects. I do give Xebec some credit for making the character designs mostly consistent. The character design in D.N. Angel may not be suited to your liking but I actually had no qualms with it. It looks pretty average for a Shojo anime and I am okay with that.
The music by Takahito Eguchi and Tomoki Hasegawa sounds pretty average for an anime made in 2003 but at the same time, it is minimal to the point where a theme or two will be used over and over and OVER. The music itself isn’t that bad considering the show’s tone. The stringed instruments sound fine, the piano sounds beautiful in this anime but the soundtrack to D.N.Angel is just poorly utilized with no direction at all. There are a few times where insert songs come in and they are forgettable in this show even though Shunichi Miyamoto is not a bad singer. In fact, he made a great first impression with his singing debut which happened to be the opening theme “Byakuya ~True Light~”. Not only is his singing great and the song itself is catchy, it is the highlight of D.N.Angel’s soundtrack. Oh and the added sound effects for the second half of the series was a nice touch. You wanna know what else is catchy? The first closing theme “Yasashii Gogo” by Minawo. The visuals in the closing may not be much but the song did grew on me even if it’s forgettable for some. However, the second closing theme “Hajimari no hi” sounds boring and the closing visuals are the same since Episode 1. That is just lazy. Good thing it is only a minor complaint on the music department of this series but still, I don’t think the soundtrack was utilized all that well. Had D.N.Angel been given more themes made, the soundtrack would have been decent in the long run.
The voice acting will take me a while to go over, I should note that Miyu Irino was 15 years old when he did the voice of Daisuke. Say what you will but the Japanese voice of Daisuke really makes me cringe. For some reason, when I hear him shout “Dark!”, it really gets on my nerves. The voice just never clicked with me. Masumi Asano is okay as Risa but nothing too special. Sara Nakayama as Riku… Well, it didn’t impress me and I found the voice to be off. Gee, I sure am not thinking highly of the Japanese cast of D.N.Angel. I will say that the highlight of the Subbed Version is Akira Ishida as Satoshi Hiwatari. Then there’s Ryotaro Okiayu as Dark. I cannot say that his performance was bad, I just don’t think it was a stellar performance either. I am not sure what to make of Ryotaro Okiayu’s Dark. I mean, it’s good but I have to credit the other voice of Dark which I will get to after I start going over The English Dub. In the Dub, Daisuke was played by Kevin Corn. Now I never heard the name since he doesn’t have many roles. He also has not done anime voice acting for years so it appears that he is no longer voice acting and I must say that even though it took me a while to adjust to Daisuke’s English Voice, I have gotten used to it and have grown to like it. Sure, there are some awkward moments where Kevin Corn gives some awkward deliveries when Daisuke freaks out by saying “Oh No!” or “Ah! Miss Harada”. In spite of that, Kevin Corn isn’t really that bad in the long run and his voice really never bothered me. Luci Christian on the other hand warrants an apology. I think Luci Christian is a great voice actress where credit is due. Out of all the work I have heard her in, Risa Harada is one performance that did not sit right with me. I found Risa’s English voice annoying. Sure, this may have been from her early days and I forgive her for playing Risa the way she did. Hilary Haag is fine as Riku. John Swasey is fine as a kooky old man, I mean Daiki. Illich Guardiola sounds somewhat cool as Krad but I can’t say it was great due to the character’s short amount of screentime compared to Dark. Then there’s Jessica Boone as Mio Hio, The English Voice of Mio is both hilarious and annoying. The way she talks in the Dub is funny because she has some accent which made it hard for me not to laugh. On the flipside, it’s annoying because she sounds like an attention whore. Greg Ayres is great as Satoshi Hiwatari and one of the highlights of the dub. Then of course, there is… the unanimous highlight of D.N. Angel’s dub. Vic Mignogna as Dark Mousy. Something about Vic Mignogna felt right when it came to Dark’s voice, it was more memorable than Ryotaro Okiayu’s performance. Dark’s flirtatious moments, Dark’s cool moments, and Dark’s down moments were all well-played by Vic Mignogna. I should note that I am not saying this to please any fangirls, Vic Mignogna in my opinion was the best part of D.N. Angel’s dub.
As far as characters go, Daisuke is just a typical teenage protagonist. Granted, he technically develops in time by… well, I can’t say because that would give away a few things about the plot but seeing as he goes through some complicated events and seeing the outcome of his character, he’s got some decency in terms of writing. Risa is probably on the same page as Daisuke except that Risa takes longer to develop. Riku managed to be a character worth watching, and Satoshi is the one that got a lot going for him. He may not play a huge part to start with but he did get character development as the show progressed down the middle and onwards. Dark and Krad are nice but I have some issues with one of them. Dark is actually somewhat interesting through flashbacks and he actually has some relevance in the series. I just have one question, What the hell is with the name Dark Mousy? Dark alone is fine by me but... Mousy? That's just a nitpick I have with Dark. Krad on the other hand was sidelined until near the end of the series after two appearances, seriously... Krad? You know... "Dark" backwards. (another nitpick). Towa is a pointless character, then there’s Mio Hio again. She’s annoying but there’s more to her than meets the eye, which felt forced to me. Granted, her good side is her redeemable factor. The characters in D.N. Angel don’t necessarily leave much to be desired because this series isn’t too sophisticated. It is geared towards older kids and teens. I just have one major problem with D.N. Angel
The Story to D.N. Angel is monotonous in the first half of the series with all the burglary missions, but as the series switches gears… It does pick up but it doesn’t go very far. The reason I stated that I found the first half of D.N. Angel monotonous is that the story doesn’t go too far after Episode 1 and the show decides to go off track for a little while. Some of the episodes early on don’t advance the plot whatsoever. The reason that it does pick up is that after it switches gears around the second half is that stuff becomes more relevant and stays that way throughout the rest of the series. The outcome really isn’t all that much. D.N. Angel just did not impress me all too well. I haven’t seen many anime where the character writing goes from average to decent and the story writing is mediocre. The Direction by Koji Yoshikawa and Nobuyoshi Habara is lazy, and Naruhisa Arakawa’s screenplay is not even worth comparing to the manga of the same name by Yuriku Sugisaki. the Manga has been on hiatus since 2005. That means Yukiru Sugisaki has not done jack shit to the D.N. Angel manga for 10 years, that is just not good news. Either way, this series is pretty forgettable with some exceptions.
D.N. Angel was available by ADV films in the past, but this anime was rescue-licensed by Diskotek Media. If you live in the U.K. It is out of print since ADV Films also released it in the U.K. D.N. Angel is also available by Madman Entertainment If you happen to live in Australia or New Zealand. The D.N. Angel Manga by Yukiru Sugisaki is available by Viz Media. A PS2 Video Game “D.N. Angel: Kurenai no Tsubasa” was only released in Japan. A manga called “D.N. Angel TV Animation Series” (which is essentially animation stills in the manga format) was also only released in Japan.
Overall, D.N. Angel is a series that will vary with some people but if you are just looking for a random anime to watch, give this one a try and see for yourself whether you like it or not. The animation’s not too bad, the characters are decent, and the music is fine but poorly utilized. It suffers greatly with a plot that goes nowhere until the middle of the series and yet the plot progression does not make up for the early stages of the series and I still find the overall plot of D.N. Angel to be mediocre even though the characters are not the cause of it. D.N. Angel is cursed with bad directing.
I give D.N. Angel a 4.6 out of 10.
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25 of 25 episodes seen
Critic’s Log – August 10, 2015. Review #97: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2.
I was listening to Radiohead’s fifth album “Amnesiac” and I only liked a few songs in it. Why do I bring them up, because Britannia has awesome music Wait, what am I talking about? Oh that’s right! Here’s CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2!
One year has passed since the failure of the Black Rebellion. Britannia has assigned Area 11 to a "correctional education" status, where the Japanese people are made an example of by brute force, to try to prevent any future uprisings and suppress rebellious intentions. Unsuspecting high school student Lelouch, oblivious to his rebellious past as Zero, stumbles upon a scheme on his life and the life of a mysterious woman known as C.C., who reveals to him his forgotten purpose and his "true" self. Lelouch gets rid of his assailants and declares himself Zero once again and he sets out to finish what he started.
Did you get that premise clearly? Well allow me to break the reviewing formula that I go with to address this. The first season of Code Geass ended in a cliffhanger, and it would have been ideal to start the second season where it left off. But no, This season starts by taking the plot to a different direction, turning 180 and shitting on the cliffhanger that assured a second season. That is bullshit.
Code Geass R2 started in April of 2008 until September of the same year. It is a Sunrise production and I noticed that even though the animation is pretty much the same, it seems that the quality has gone up just a little bit. I suppose that is a nice thing. There are a little few bumps on animation quality and visuals but it is mostly good except for the distracting Pizza Hut product placement, Again… if you reside in America, any scenes using the sign is taken out in the American release. CLAMP comes back to do character designs for this installment and I still like them. As for the openings, The first opening looks energetic and the second opening is a good opening to send off the series. As for closings, Both closings have great artwork. That is all I can really say about the animation, not much has changed and it has been mostly consistent with the first season.
The music by Hitomi Kuroishi and Kotaro Nakagawa is still good but I have noticed there was a couple tunes used a lot during this season’s runtime. Like I said in the previous Code Geass review, the soundtrack is often energetic, light and epic, The lighter themes are not as occasional as the first season. This is nice considering the second season’s tone is not the same as Season 1. The first opening theme “O2” is a decent listen, The second theme “WORLD END” is a fitting opening to properly send off the series. There are newer themes playing around this season, so that is another good thing about this particular season.
The voice acting is also another thing that has remained consistent from Season 1. Jun Fukuyama remains excellent as Lelouch, and I am already used to Takahiro Sakurai as Suzaku at this point in the series. Yukana is still great as C.C., and Ami Koshimizu is still fine as Kallen, and of course… Norio Wakamoto is epic as Emperor Charles zi Britannia but I am going to just say this now… he is over-the-top in this one.The Japanese voice cast is fine in this show but I must say that the English Dub remained consistent (for the most part). Johnny Yong Bosch took a little getting used to in the first few episodes of Season 1, but he delivers exceedingly in R2. Yuri Lowenthal is also consistent in his performance like Season 1. Kate Higgins is great as C.C. and Karen Strassman is still just as good as she was in Season 1 with Kallen. There are some additions to the dub such as David Vincent as Xingke, and Dave Wittenberg as Gino as well as Spike Spencer who plays Rolo. There are some notable voice actors and voice actresses that return such as Kirk Thornton, Laura Bailey, Liam O’Brien, Michael Lindsay, Stephanie Sheh, Peter Spellos, Steve Staley, Travis Willingham, Troy Baker, Crispin Freeman, and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. Also, Vic Mignogna somehow gets a part in this one. Also, Michael McConnohie has improved but Rebecca Forstadt still made it hard for me to get used to her voice as Nunnally. Like the first season, The ADR director is the late Kevin Seymour and he does not disappoint with this dub.
Now we get to the characters and they are well-established in the first season, but as for this season…We are going to be here for a while. Lelouch is mostly consistent except for a few questionable character moments here and there. Kallen could have had more development but she still manages to stand out in some way. The supporting characters such as the Black Knight characters are still decent characters, the Britannian side is a lot more likeable (Well, for some that is) One fine example is Jeremiah Gottwald who I am glad to see how he plays off in this season. Also added to the cast are the Knights of the Round. Yes, there are references to King Arthur in this anime. Even the cat is named “Arthur”. Gino is a bit too optimistic and he doesn’t really fit the whole “Knight” thing for some reason. Anya is one-dimensional and forced. Some “Knights” get a few seconds of screentime and there are a couple that are never shown. The only “Knight” that was actually worth a damn was Bismarck Waldstein. Now there are some characters that I just could not stand throughout the run of this season. One of them is Nina, but wait…Did I mention that I did not hate her? That was during Season 1, I actually did not like her when Season 2 came around. Why? Her actions when she reacts to “Zero” was predictable and even though she is smart when it mattered most, how she deals with her repercussions at a later point really felt forced. THE TABLES HAVE NOW BEEN FLIPPED! I do blame bad directing on this. The second character is Rolo. I did not like this character that much. Why? Even though he has his wants and needs. His “wants” are understandable. His motives and “Needs” are what really bugged me about Rolo. Last but not least, there is Suzaku Kururugi. Where do I begin with this asshole. Well, he was established well for the most part in the first season. In the second season, his character turns a 180 and now his motives have drastically changed because the plot said so and this character change was so poorly executed that I went from feeling sympathetic for Suzaku to feeling annoyed towards Suzaku. I will not give away much here but I found him to be a douche for most of this second season. The characters had so much potential but it is wasted because of bad directing. Speaking of bad directing, I was also annoyed by the close up ass-shots that involved a female character or two.
What do you know, Code Geass R2 to this day is considered Top 10 material by Anime fans, what a bunch of bullshit! How it starts is a cop-out to the cliffhanger left from the end of Season 1, it takes a while to get moving, It even had an episode involving students making a giant fucking pizza… AGAIN! Oh and that Hat contest episode… Where do I begin with that one? Oh yeah… two words: FUCKING STUPID! It did manage to get back on track in the middle third of the series but that’s when the series got even more ridiculous. It went from twist after twist after twist. Code Geass R2 almost went into Shyamalan Territory. The twists later on in this season took away the quality of the story. Oh but the damage was already done by all the cliffhanger resolutions being handled through flashbacks. Come to think of it, Code Geass R2 was not as great as I remembered it since 6 years ago. The animation and music stayed consistent for the most part. The character development and treatment is awful in this season (save for a few) What I liked in the first season of Code Geass was how Lelouch and Suzaku played out between eachother. I hated Suzaku’s character change and how he interacts with Lelouch at first. What else did I like? The tactics that were emphasized in the first season, Some tactics were emphasized in R2 but that gets blasted to hell later on. Screw Tactics! Some pilots got the most powerful Gund…. Uh… Knightmares in the battlefield! I like how well-paced the first season was, The pacing was fast but I think it was too fast with all the shit that was crammed in during R2. There was even great talk about the ending. Even though the final episode is memorable, The ending all together just felt rushed and I did not find it all too satisfactory with the conditions of how the show caps it all off (save for a memorable moment). Here is what I don’t understand, Goro Taniguchi did fine with the first season and Ichiro Okouchi’s writing for the most part was acceptable. How in the Nine Circles of Bloody Hell did they fuck up with Code Geass R2? The plot is a clusterfuck there is no bloody way I would acknowledge this season as a good one. Although, I must confess, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 was available by Bandai Entertainment. It did go out of print till Funimation came along and rescued it.
Oh…It turns out that I did point that out in my previous review.
The first season of Code Geass was a good run, flaws and all. The result of Code Geass R2 was in my opinion… Disappointing. The animation and soundtrack are just as good for what they are just like its previous season. The character development and plot may not sit well for some and the directing was just awful, but what made this season a guilty pleasure for me despite major issues I have with it is thanks to the actions scenes. They made the show not boring. Also, the ending was not complete garbage and it was memorable. However, I can’t hold back any longer but Code Geass R2 is… OVERRATED.
I give Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 a 6.5 out of 10.
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25 of 25 episodes seen
7 years have passed since I first watched this particular anime, this was a fond memory of my high school days. Well, it is time that I review this series at last. This is CODE GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion!
The Empire of Britannia has invaded Japan using giant robot weapons known as the Knightmare Frames. Japan is now referred to as Area 11, and its people are called “Elevens”. A Britannian , Lelouch, vowed to his Japanese friend Suzaku that he would one day destroy Britannia. Years later, Lelouch is in high school, but regularly skips out of school to go play chess and gamble on himself. One day, he gets himself caught in the mix with terrorists who've stolen a military secret who happens to be a young girl, and she gives Lelouch the power of Geass, which makes anyone obey any order.
Code Geass ran from October of 2006 until July of 2007 and this is a Sunrise production and the animation is not half bad in this anime. There are some little flubs such as miniscule use of recycled animation, some odd effects, but the animation still holds up. It may not be on par with the animation quality of Death Note, but the animation quality in Code Geass still holds up today. The openings look fine, the closings are nice to look at, and the Knightmares’ design are unique. Speaking of unique, the character design is done by a well-known Manga group known as CLAMP (known for titles such as Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, xxxHolic, X, Magic Knight Rayearth, and Cardcaptor Sakura). Some may not like the character designs because the characters in Code Geass look like anorexic figures. I actually never had a problem since the character design was unique in the series. By the way, Code Geass is not the only series with this distinct style. Some of CLAMP’s other works have that so-called “Anorexic” design. I should point out that CLAMP had no involvement in writing the plot, all they did was the character designs. Now if there is one issue with the animation, it would be the product placement of Pizza Hut. I am aware that Pizza Hut sponsored the show but it is a little distracting when product placement is used in the way Code Geass shows it. Now if you reside in America and have watched it on DVD or something, you might not get what I mean. For those that are not aware. The American release took out the Pizza Hut sign whenever it was shown in the series to likely prevent legal issues. Look on the bright side, at least Coca-Cola didn’t add to this… You know… Coca-Cola Zero. Anyway, The animation’s excellent.
The music by Hitomi Kuroishi and Kotaro Nakagawa is worth noting, No matter what they did before and since. Code Geass will be their high note. They may have been involved in titles like Gun x Sword and Planetes, but Code Geass’ soundtrack is often energetic, light, and epic. The soundtrack is used well but it does have some moments where it is used on bad timing. What I mean is that there are some scenes that the viewer can tell that something is going to go down and a scene that sounds calm and carefree is not really the best time to use in a scene that is building up to a big sequence. The soundtrack is well-done, but it has some odd placements at times. As for openings, the first one which is “COLORS” by FLOW is probably the most memorable in the series because of its catchy tune. “Kaidoku Funo” by Jinn took me a while to adjust but it is also catchy but I liked the first opening more. Now this anime had a third opening but it was only used in the last two episodes. “Hitomi no Tsubasa” by Access sounds cool but vocal-wise… it’s okay, I don’t have much to say on this opening. As for closings. “Yukyo Seishunwa” by Ali Project is catchy, but I actually like the second closing “Mosaic Kakera” by SunSet Swish. I should note that the last episode of this season originally had the first opening theme “Colors” as its ending theme but if you reside in America, The closing theme in the last episode would be Mosaic Kakera. I don’t know why this is the case but I would assume because the epilogue doesn’t really add much. The epilogue was contained in the DVD release but as an extra and it was never dubbed. Oh well.
Now we get to voice acting. Starting with the original Japanese cast. Jun Fukuyama got a lot of praise for this role and I cannot deny that this was a big role for him. He did win best Male lead in the first Seiyu Awards in 2007. Even though his performance was award-winning, I still remember Jun Fukuyama best as Lelouch. Takahiro Sakurai may have hundreds of roles and I never found him to be a bad seiyu but I found his performance overacted at times. Yukana is great as C.C. (pronounced C2). Ami Koshimizu is fine as Kallen. As for the English Dub. Johnny Yong Bosch took me a while to get used to. This is due to how much I did enjoy Jun Fukuyama’s performance but Johnny Yong Bosch might not sit well with everybody at first. He is a good voice actor, don’t get me wrong. Johnny Yong Bosch sounded like he took a couple episodes to really get into the role, he does improve much greatly as the series progresses. As for Suzaku Kururugi, he is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal in the dub and he is terrific here. I enjoyed his part in the show. Karen Strassman does fine with Kallen, as for C.C., Kate Higgins may not be as pitch-perfect as Yukana but for the Dub alone, Kate Higgins is great. Amy Kincaid doesn’t do much voice acting but she captured Shirley’s character well, just as well as Fumiko Orikasa. Now the Dub of Code Geass has a lot of big names in Dubbed Anime. Code Geass’ dub included names like Kirk Thornton, Laura Bailey, Liam O’Brien, Michael Lindsay, Stephanie Sheh, Michelle Ruff, Peter Spellos, Sam Regal, Steve Staley, Travis Willingham, Troy Baker, Crispin Freeman, and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. They even got Steve Blum in the dub. Truly, this cast did make it an awesome dub… However there are a few exceptions. Michael McConnohie is a good voice actor and his performance is good but it was not as epic as Norio Wakamoto. I got to be honest. I enjoyed Charles zi Britannia’s Japanese Voice more than his English voice. There is one performance that I did not fully enjoy, and it was Rebecca Forstadt as Nunnally. Kaori Nazuka was great but Rebecca Forstadt sounded like she had a mocking-like tone of voice and I know that was not the intention but the voice never did sit well with me. The person responsible for Code Geass’ dub was the late Kevin Seymour, the man responsible for dubs such as the Ghost in the Shell film, The Pioneer Dub of AKIRA, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which are terrific dubs in their own right. Both versions are good, but they both have 1 role I didn’t like. The English voice of Nunnally and the Japanese voice of Jeremiah Gottwald, let’s face it. Crispin Freeman fits the role much more than Ken Narita. That being said, both versions are watchable.
When characters are concerned, it is interesting to see how Lelouch and Suzaku were playing out and they are fine here, Kallen is okay, C.C. is a good for the show’s mystery. For the Japanese side, they are given a more sympathetic side because of the anime’s premise. That is fine and all, as for the Britannian side, some are rewarding to watch, some are not. Shirley is fine, so is Euphy, Lloyd is silly, Cornelia is fascinating, Jeremiah Gottwald is cool, and I am about to flip the tables for some of you because I actually don’t hate Nina… Well, during this season that is. If there is some characters I don’t like. Viletta and Diethard are the two I did not like. Why Viletta? I can’t say but I did not like how she played out in the midway point. As for Diethard, he was a stereotypical Media man. The characters are mostly played out fine, some nitpicking here and there but I didn’t have much to complain about the cast of characters here.
As for the plot, I would like to say that I enjoyed 85% of the plot, there are some areas I absolutely hated in this anime but first, I need to address Goro Taniguchi’s directing. There is some flash-forwarding used in this anime and they are sometimes used after an episode cliffhanger. I really did not like it after the second time, it really cheapens the cliffhangers. The humor was fine, except for Stage 6. There is one character I did not mention that I did not like, but let’s just say Stage 16 was unnecessary. Another unnecessary episode was Stage 21 because it focused on Students making a giant pizza. Now I don’t want to ruin a big plot point but I would like to at least mention Stage 22. There is one thing that got overlooked considering how it was caused. I will leave it at that. I did enjoy most of the plot but there are some questionable directing moments. For example, How the hell did Kallen and Suzaku not recognize Lelouch’s voice when Lelouch assumes his secret identity? What I enjoyed greatly was the tactics that were shown in this series. I don’t want to give away much but I will say Code Geass was an engaging series, it was worth my time, and I do recommend checking this out if you have been living under a rock because this is one of the animes that still gets talked about today. However, I got more Code Geass to talk about but it will have to be said in my review of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2.
Code Geass was available by Bandai Entertainment, it went out of print till it got rescued by Funimation. They have not re-released Code Geass at this time but I am hopeful for not only a re-release, but a Blu-ray release would be nice too. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 is also available in the same situation that the first season is under. The two OVA “Special Editions” were never licensed and trust me, they are condensed versions of the two seasons. The Code Geass light novels were available by Bandai Visual and my guess is that they are out of print. The Code Geass video game “Lost Colors” for the PS2 and PSP never made it out of Japan. The light novel “Red Tracks” was never released outside Japan as well. The Code Geass R2 light novels never gotten an English release, The Code Geass Manga as well as other mangas called “Suzaku of the Counterattack” and “Nightmare of Nunnally” were available by Bandai Entertainment but are now out of print. Two mangas called “Tales of an Alternate Shogunate”, “Renya of Darkness” and “Oz The Reflection” were never released outside Japan. An OVA called “Nunnally in Wonderland” was also never licensed. The OVA series “Code Geass: Akito the Exiled” has been picked up by Funimation, and the manga “Oz the Reflection O2” has not been licensed.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is an anime with good animation, unique character designs, a nice soundtrack, some standout characters, and a plot that could have had some points directed better. In the long run, I really enjoyed this series (flaws and all) and I did view it as an excellent series and the end of this season did make me want to watch its second season immediately. It also has a good cast on both the Japanese version and the English Dub. You can’t go wrong with either version. Give this series a try if you haven’t seen it after all these years.
I give Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion a 9 out of 10.
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40 of 40 episodes seen
When it comes to World History, The French Revolution was always a fascinating subject to me. There happens to be one anime that is a portrayal of French History and even the French Revolution, even if the whole thing is a build-up to the French Revolution. The anime I am referring to is… THE ROSE OF VERSAILLES
Oscar Francois de Jarjayes was raised as if she was a boy, she would later command the palace guards at Versailles in the years before the French Revolution. Her beauty as well as her strong noble spirit makes her a shining figure in the eyes of both men and women but she is torn between her chosen life of service and duty to class and country and her own heart and desires. She lives in nobility amidst the luxuriousness of Versailles but her keen senses and compassion are not blinded to the poverty of the French people.
The Rose of Versailles is a TMS Entertainment production and ran from 1979 to 1980. This anime may be old but do not let its age fool you because this series is what I would consider a “vintage anime”. The animation may look awkward at times but this was made in 1979 till 1980, of course the aesthetics are going to be older than what we have now. I actually never had an issue with the animation although there are a couple visual effects that never really aged well. The one thing that made The Rose of Versailles age extremely well is the overall design. The hairstyles, the clothing, and the Palace of Versailles all look marvelous in this anime. I did some research and saw pictures of French art, sculptures and even the architecture of the Palace of Versailles and I have no reason to doubt that the French are known for their exquisite taste in art because of how well detailed French art often is. It is no surprise why France is one of the most visited countries in the world. The exquisiteness of France is translated well in The Rose of Versailles. Not only is the artwork marvelous, the character designs also stand out for the time it came out. Like I said, there are some visual effects that don’t age well but that is only the bare minimum of the entire animation aspect of this anime. There are some animation quirks but even after 30 years, it still looks remarkable.
The music by Kouji Makaino is an interesting case. There are some stringed instruments used, a harpsicord, and even violin. In other words, considering the historical account and how dramatized and romanticized it is... this soundtrack is very fitting even if some tracks are a little overused. This was made in 1979 till 1980 so it’s excused. I will say that as much as I liked the opening to Neon Genesis Evangelion even though it is considered one of the most iconic and beloved anime openings, The Rose of Versailles has a wonderful opening. I never skipped it when I was watching the show and I really liked the opening a lot with each passing episode.It is sung by Hiroko Suzuki and she also sang the closing theme which is also is a nice closing theme to the show. I however recommend skipping the closing theme for this show in its first half because for some unknown reason, there is a quote that is spoken in the closing theme that SPOILS a big plot point that happens near THE END OF THE SHOW. Good thing the quote is omitted in the second half of the series. Like I said, the music is fitting in the show.
Now since The Rose of Versailles was never licensed till 2012, it would be very odd to have a recent dub on an old series. For those that often watch English Dubbed anime, I am sorry to say this but this series is only available SUBTITLED. That should not be an excuse to pass on a series with great storytelling such as this one. Reiko Tajima was excellent as Oscar, Taro Shigaki is fine as Andre. Miyuki Ueda is not too bad as Marie Antoinette, and the late Nachi Nozawa is fine as Fersen. The main lead seiyus may have not done too much since (with the exception of Nachi Nozawa) they did excellently in The Rose of Versailles.
Some of the characters are fictional but there are portrayals of Marie Antoinette, Hans Axel von Fersen, Rosalie Lamorlière, Madame du Barry, Louis XVI and so forth that are in The Rose of Versailles. Marie Antoinette is romanticized in this series but her actions are dramatized in a way that I would feel somewhat sorry for her even though she was an infamous figure in French history. Now I may sound like I’m spoiling The Rose of Versailles but I don’t think I am because this anime is based off historical events leading up to the French Revolution. Hans Axel von Fersen makes the series interesting but I would not rather go in much detail on that since he does interact with some fictional characters… Rosalie had the most liberty taken with the historical portrayal since not much is known about her except she was the last servant to Marie Antoinette. Most of the things that happen with her are mostly fictional, but she is a nice supporting character in The Rose of Versailles. Now there’s Oscar François de Jarjayes. Oscar’s father wanted a male heir but it turned out that the child was a girl. So Oscar’s father decides to raise his newborn daughter as if she were a boy. Oscar is admired by both men and women because of her demeanor and elegance. Now looks aren’t everything because Oscar Francois de Jarjayes is a well-developed character in this show and she is one of my favorite female characters. Lady Oscar was not the first “of her kind”… you know, the lady taking on a typical male role. Osamu Tezuka’s Princess Sapphire had this similar concept where Princess Sapphire pretends to be a male knight for a specific cause. Also, Revolutionary Girl Utena is also another series with a similar concept. Even though Oscar is physically female, she is identified as Gender-fluid. There is no Identity crises addressed in this series and Oscar is a very believable and she develops extremely well in this series. Not only is Oscar well-developed, but so is André Grandier. I won’t say much about Andre because he is not as much of a special case than Oscar. I will say that Andre’s purpose in the plot is rewarding to watch. All the characters make The Rose of Versailles intriguing to watch.
Another fascinating aspect of The Rose of Versailles is the story, I did state early in the review that it is based on historical accounts leading up to The French Revolution and for those that are into French history should not miss out on this series. It may be romanticized in some areas but the historical aspect is still kept true to the turbulent spirit of the events that are portrayed in this fictional telling of French history. The show may be slow at first but the slow pacing is excused since it fleshes out the characters. The first half of the series does focus more on Marie Antoinette and this is fine since Oscar served for Marie Antoinette, the focus did later turn more to Oscar in the second half of the series. Even though the focus is different in two points, I have no problems with this because Oscar was still treated as the main character throughout the entire anime’s runtime. There is also another thing that I should note is that the first 18 episodes were directed by the late Tadao Nagahama, he passed away during the airing of The Rose of Versailles and the remainder of the show was passed down to the late Osamu Dezaki who was known for his distinct visual techniques at his time and the pastel freeze frames are a good example because they are used in this show. I remembered the Berserk TV series had the pastel freeze frames which was kind of hit and miss except for an end of an episode. The pastel freeze frame technique however works well in The Rose of Versailles and I am glad this isn’t used a whole lot but I like how it is used in this series.
Now as excellent as this show was, I had a couple issues with the story. First off, the finale had some odd pacing in the last 10 minutes and even though it ends with a nice touch… the second thing that bothered me was one scene that the narrator of The Rose of Versailles is to blame for. The narrator did hint events such as The Affair of the Diamond Necklace and the French Revolution and this is acceptable since they did happen, but near the very end of the series, the narrator blurts out something that will happen before it even happens. The Rose of Versailles is not all sparkles, sunshines, and rainbows. This is no surprise since The French Revolution is involved but I must ask myself this… Why the hell would someone think that a narrator telling the viewer things in advance sound like a good idea? I am so glad this only occurs once, but this also took place in the final stages. For a series that was so good for the heavy majority, this only narration-spoiler felt out of place. I will look on the bright side, at least it wasn’t as annoyingly infuriating as the Narrator from LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES. I also found the last 10 minutes underwhelming thanks to the odd pacing but I am not saying the conclusion is bad, it is just had some things left to be desired. Even though I have a couple issues with it, it was still a truly excellent series overall,
The Rose of Versailles is available by Nozomi Entertainment, The movie “The Rose of Versailles: I’ll Love You As Long as I Live” was never licensed and I don’t see the point in watching it because it is a 90 minute compilation. The iconic shojo manga of the same name by Riyoko Ikeda was just recently licensed by Udon Entertainment and will at last have an official English Translation.
And now…My final verdict! The Rose of Versailles has a compelling story with believable characters as well as taking liberties of historical French figures without taking too much of what is recorded in history. This masterpiece also has a great soundtrack for its time and the animation has aged extremely well. This anime has not withered in time, it has an aroma of excellence.
That being said, I give The Rose of Versailles a 9.7 out of 10.
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