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Dec 5, 2017
It can be a bit trope-y, but Kids On The Slope is a well animated and scored anime drama.

STORY

The story is nice, but at times it feels like it's trying too hard to be a drama. Certain key events don't feel entirely natural. The last couple episodes suffer from this issue in particular, where the cast makes a series of emotionally charged but not completely believable choices to keep the tension up. The ending is still nice, but a part of me is left wondering "there had to have been better ways for these people to go about this".

ART & SOUND

The highlight of this show read more
Dec 5, 2017
STORY

The subtitle may be A Worker's Graphic Account of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, but they meant 'graphic' in the graphic novel sense, not graphic in the violent or shocking sense. The biggest surprise to the story may actually be how low key it is. There are undoubtedly dangers to working at the Fukushima reactor site, but the place is hardly a nuclear hellscape and rigorous safety standards mean only the most flagrantly careless will be affected by radiation. If mangaka Kazuto Tatsuta has any beef with anyone in his memoir, it's with media outlets who constantly sensationalize the Fukushima clean-up to push their agenda read more
Dec 5, 2017
Boredom can do some interesting things, like make a derivative piece of candy colored fluff like this palatable.

STORY

The story is largely episodic, but it does follow a basic plot of a fictional game studio working to release the next installment of a popular franchise. The real point of the plot is simply to set up various scenarios for the cast members to bounce off each other for comedy (and occasionally fan service). There's a limit to how serious a series can be when half the plot of one episode centers around one character accidentally eating another's pudding.

ART & SOUND

The art and sound are read more
Dec 5, 2017
Preliminary
A delightful little cooking manga that's remarkably re-readable.

STORY

Sweetness and Lighting uses a highly episodic structure, so it's fairly easy to pick up at any point. Gido Amakure definitely went for a light tone here, we're talking Full House levels of drama. Yet while this manga clearly leans towards cute and happy, it never quite crosses the line into a full-blown unreadable saccharine glob of pandering. It knows what it is and sticks to that.

ART

Most of the effort goes into drawing the characters (particularly Tsumugi and Kotori's cute eating expressions) and the food itself. Backgrounds are quite basic and often minimal, with little more detail than read more
Dec 5, 2017
I finally find a fantasy anime with genuine depth and complexity in 12 Kingdoms. I just wish they had finished it...

STORY

I'll give this anime major points for consistency. 12 Kingdoms establishes its tone and story world rules and sticks to them. The 12 Kingdoms are heavily influenced by classical Chinese philosophy (particularly the Mandate of Heaven, which governs the entire political system) and stays with these influences even when it means making good guy characters act in ways that don't fit with more modern worldviews- everyone doesn't simply act like 21st century people in medieval costumes. The anime is also consistent in its willingness to read more
Dec 5, 2017
I can't say this anime did anything particularly wrong or misrepresented its source material, but it still feels like a textbook example of 'just OK'.

STORY

The plot follows several stories taken from the first few volumes of the manga. There are few changes beyond occasionally combining two storylines into one. A good job was done in picking a fitting last episode for this show so it still feels like there is a climax and wrap-up, even with the episodic story structure.

ANIMATION & SOUND

There may not have been any significant slip-ups, but this animation looks very basic for a 2016 show. Backgrounds look minimum standard at times, read more
Dec 5, 2017
Sword of the Stranger is one of all-time great anime action movies.

STORY

It's a simple story, but it does its job to set-up a series of cool fight scenes and doesn't insult my intelligence. I can't say there are any particularly deep themes or philosophies discussed, but SotS is still willing to take its time between action sequences to establish its characters and emotional stakes- rather than race from spectacle to spectacle like some lesser action films I've seen.

ART & SOUND

Production values are top-notch in Sword of the Stranger. The animation is highly fluid and very consistent, particularly during the fight scenes that are read more
Dec 5, 2017
The Vision of Escaflowne is a 1996 shojo fantasy mecha series that continues to hold up more than 20 years later.

STORY

Escaflowne is a good adventure story. It doesn't cover the deepest or most complex themes, and at times it can get a little dopey in ways that make it clear they were trying to appeal to teenage girls, but the plot keeps you engaged as the cast jumps from one dangerous situation to another. Perhaps I just had the bad luck to re-watch this series shortly after seeing the staggering amount of worldbuilding in '12 Kingdoms', but the world of Escaflowne seems rather standard. Still, read more
Dec 5, 2017
An infamous studio adapts a world famous novel... and it works? Gonzo's The Count of Monte Cristo takes Dumas' acclaimed novel of treachery and revenge and gives it a fascinating twist.

STORY

The story of Gankutsuo: The Count of Monte Christo differs from the novel in two major respects: 1) The story is told from the perspective of Albert de Morcerf, thus cloaking the Count in a layer of secrecy that doesn't exist when the point-of-view character is the novel's Edmund Dantes 2) A critical character in the Count's past is changed from benevolent to malevolent. This second change is particularly intriguing as the Count of Monte read more
Dec 5, 2017
STORY

A relaxing, low-key slice-of-life drama about dictionaries and the people who make them. The image of a Ferris Wheel is used quite often, because just as a Ferris Wheel is fun but always in motion, a dictionary is in a never ending process of preparation and revision.
It's definitely a 'sit back and chill out' rather than an 'on the edge of your seat' type of show. The one big issue comes a little after the halfway point when the story makes a time skip of several years without any warning and it can take a minute to readjust if you're not paying attention.

ART & read more