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Dec 9, 2018
Preliminary
Partial review of first two volumes;

Is the final chapter of this epic Sci-Fi adventure good as what came before? Qualified answer: yes, though perhaps not so good as Alita's very best. Although Last Order wrapped up most of its plot threads rather well, allowing the new series to make a fresh start, there's still such a weight of backstory to Alita that I would recommend reading previous series before this one. Moreover, the assumption is that veteran readers will be so used to elements like limb loss, body regeneration and brain chips/necro soldiers, that Mars Chronicles might as well telegraph that they'll be coming round read more
Jul 13, 2018
Preliminary
It apparently falls to me to review this fairly old and very by-the-numbers slasher horror from Korea, of which I've only come across the first and third volume of three. The plot is a decently executed but entirely unoriginal I-know-what-you-did-last-summer affair, bombarding the reader's sympathies with as ghastly an sequences of torments as the author can imagine, including a very nasty thread of victim blaming.

The characters are a mob of pleasingly illustrated but distinctly superficial and unlikable rich kids, with typical emo, ice queen, nice guy, bad boy and tragic beauty stereotypes. Attempt to build sympathy for some murder victims fall flat; I predict that read more
May 13, 2018
Preliminary
The gags in this series are sometimes fairly good, with insignificant cultural features of the Gunma region played up as hugely serious business. However there are only one or two gags, on the same note, in each episode, whereas the best three-minute comedies stuff their run with rapid fire gags. There aren't any memorable characters either. The animation is indifferent, especially the walking girl in the end credits, though the giant Buddha looks rather snazzy. So does the real mayor of Gunma, who somehow found time to put an appearance in, though I don't especially feel like touristing only to Gunma now. Basically, this read more
Mar 1, 2018
Sensational and improbable events come up a lot in anime, and can be very appealing. When an anime starring Japan's first great detective does not include a single real mystery from ep2 onward, but prefers to spout the most lazy and facile justifications for sensational, improbable and vulgar atrocities, while sentimentalising motives of murderers at whole-episode length, what we have is pap. There is not only no mystery, but no tension or suspense, since these would require convincing situations, and no psychology, just vulgar, cynical shocks.

It is a pity; there must have been a good story to get out of the great detective, the phantom read more
Sep 30, 2017
3 minute shorts of warring states period comedy, with a dense but adorable and deadly kunoichi, a very friendly portrayal of Oda Nobunaga, and a cast of other zany characters. This second season is somewhat more serious and focused on history than the first, with the heroes in serious trouble on many occasions. Gags are still a major part of the series, but unfortunately the reliance on repetitive jokes from the first season is even more pronounced. Nobunaga's role also shifts from a serious tsukkomi to a funny-man, with practically every joke sadly based on his love of sweets (though those who don't laugh with read more
Sep 23, 2017
An unconventional war anime, with a small unit of colourful soldiers fighting to heal a post-war fantasy Europe, while combating a corrupt army brass and nobility. The strength of the series is the characters, with a fiery, charismatic heroine, who has flaws to overcome but undeniable strength and spunk. Her supporting officers would do credit to Fullmetal Alchemist's cast. Many stand alone episodes are gems of plotting in a convincing, vibrant world, dealing with serious topics of trauma, unemployment, poverty and corruption. Sadly, the two 4-5 ep story arcs are so slowly paced that I found them almost unwatchable; a shame as they included many read more
Sep 1, 2017
Preliminary
This high-school anime is much more like a drama, which may be refreshing if you're tired of light novel adaptions. A light, youthful love story is portrayed in a very quiet, low key fashion, without outlandish events, fanservice, or the humour that fills real slice of life shows. Howa and Mami's growing relationship is earnest, at times very touching, and exceptionally believable, but sadly not portrayed with much nuance, or originality in the direction. Character types are clear and distinct, but development is slow and shallow. A 'realistic' drama needs much deeper and more original insight into the real world, or it becomes simply flat read more
Aug 31, 2017
Preliminary
This an exceptionally cute little series which sadly loses the bloom from its rose quite quickly. As an anthology of shorts, all on the theme of youthful romantic troubles, every episode has sweetness and hilarity served up on short order, without the need to watch a whole shoujo series for the payoff. A good build-up can make the moment of truth even stronger, but since everyone will naturally root for young love, the briefest stories, with lively dialogue and scenarios, can be sweetly moving.

It's to be expected that segments are of uneven quality and become a little forced and predictable by the halfway mark. read more
Aug 30, 2017
An astonishingly vapid and pedestrian mecha anime, which tries to score points with the yaoi fans, but boasts two males leads with all the chemistry of those two dead ducks served up 'side by side in death'. One is mildly straitlaced, one is impulsive in the miserably predictable way that only bad shonen heroes can be, and all the two have in common is their unwavering desire to protect their friends. The single most ubiquitous trait among male protagonists of cheap action anime.

The female lead is somewhat proactive, but nothing to write home about. Everyone else, we've seen before done a lot better; the straitlaced read more
Apr 2, 2017
This is perhaps the most conventional of the new unconventional shonen series; future installments may well change the score for this young series, but not what it is. On one hand the contrived plots, runaway power up and awkward comedy of other shonen titles is absent. So the journey from zero to hero, the great shonen story, is real and deadly serious as Naruto's never was. The real anguish of power level 0, the competition from a world of top-tier heroes, not a sole flamboyant rival, and the vomit-inducing, bone-shattering labour, renewed at every stage of the series, make this definitely the series biggest read more