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Dec 28, 2008
o get the most out of Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~, or even just to fathom why it could possibly need to have such a confusing title, you really have to have a vested interest in its lineage. Much like how the baby-boomer generation are able to enjoy ABBA only after “growing up with it”, you can only appreciate these later OVA entries in the franchise if you've been groomed into a state of meek compliance by its more charismatic forbears. If you were to just pick it off a shelf and watch it without this crucial requirement of already being a fan of its origin, then you read more
Nov 15, 2008
Allison and Lillia has a rather unusual flavour to it for an anime series. While you can see from a mile away that it is an action/adventure series with an underpinning romance subplot, it carries itself very differently from all other anime I’ve seen in this broader genre, and deals with a lot of themes that aren’t regularly explored in this medium. Perhaps this is to be expected from any anime that comes along with Keichii Sigsawa, original creator of the successful and remarkable Kino’s Journey. Kino’s Journey really tackled a whole array of social and human themes with depth and subtlety that I have read more
May 5, 2008
Sword of the Stranger is both unusual and refreshing in the way that it seemed to come out of nowhere and prove to be a remarkable anime. It seems, lately, that anything warranting a large budget and a lot of effort from a studio is either a sequel, an adaptation based on a successful manga or novel, or the next dull addition to a creatively stagnant franchise. None of these things, Sword of the Stranger is an unexpected big-budget film, which leapt instantly to the forefront of my favoured anime movies with exhilarating action sequences, captivating visuals, raw, evocative music and simple but affective characterisation. read more
Mar 21, 2008
A certain expectation arises for an anime series such as this, which takes the effort to build a unique premise and story. Without the telltale signs of pervasive cliché, like a harem or giant piloted robot, I had good hopes for Kaleido Star. The show wasn’t even approaching flawless or astonishing on any technical level, or even in the way its story was written and reared, but what I found is that it had an intoxicating charm and that it was far more vibrant and ‘energetic’ than most anime. When I say energetic, I don’t mean just a cast of genki characters relentlessly talking quickly, read more
Feb 7, 2008
I decided to start watching the anime The Twelve Kingdoms more out of convenience than genuine enthusiasm - the character designs and the general look of the show lulled me into dismissing it as a generic fantasy anime - an uncharming mix of demon-slaying and silliness (like the terminally unwatchable Orphen). But I was proved wrong, as the show quickly enthralled me, with a beginning that may not have promised a sophisticated story, but which was loaded with hooks to capture its audience: immediately interesting characterisation, a sense of urgency and bewildered excitement, and some original fantasy ideas and elements. Firmly hooked, I embarked on read more
Jan 27, 2008
Watching Le Chevalier De’on ended up being quite a saga for me. Back when it when it was initially airing, I was really enthusiastic about the series and was watching it as fast as possible - until AnimeYuki’s “as fast as possible” became slow enough to hamper my interest with signs of limping plot development. So I put the show on hold and recently decided to watch through it with a friend from the start again. At first, beyond the stunning first episode, I thought the show had some significant flaws. From the start it was immensely pretty, Production IG going all-out on the production, read more
Dec 15, 2007
Where Evangelion revolutionised the mecha genre, and perhaps inspired melodramatic experimentalism in modern anime, Gasaraki made a quieter step in a different direction for mecha. From the very outset, I’ll just say that one of the main draw points for this series is the mecha design, and the high degree of thought that was put into the functionality of the bipedal machines as effective tools of war in near-future combat. But there is a lot more to the show than that; Gasaraki is one of those rare anime that manage to rise above what could easily have become a convoluted mess of a plot. With read more
Nov 12, 2007
This movie caught my attention way back when it first came out, due to the interesting premise of a high-school drama played out to the tune of quirky time travel - a fascinating combination of genres and concepts. Where time-travel is usually limited to the geekdom of science-fiction, and as such is used as a platform for (often overly) serious storytelling, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time whacks it onto an otherwise basic drama story to create a fresh, accessible movie with a gratifying romantic plot, and a zany, time-leaping twist. The protagonist, Makoto, has as much fun with the idea of time-travel as her read more
Oct 26, 2007
For a show with so much promise, Darker than Black is remarkably unremarkable, with a production as insipid as it is polished, and plot that tries so hard to be original that it ends up being turgid. I know there are hordes of fans of the show who will no doubt line up to disagree with me but, if the show had lived up to the expectations the names “Studio BONES” and “Yoko Kanno” conjure, I wouldn’t be here expressing my disappointment. But irrespective of expectations and potential, I couldn’t help but think of the show as dressed-up mediocrity, with only an added dash of read more
Oct 21, 2007

Seirei no Moribito was one of those rare anime that I commenced with an unshakeable sense of anticipation and with high expectations. I can never resist the urge to assume a show will be spectacular based on the staff or studio involved, even if my hopes have all-too-often been crushed (as was the case with Darker than Black). So, when I heard that Kenji Kamiyama, who is largely responsible for some of the finer creative inputs for both seasons of Gits SAC, was going to be heading this show with Production I.G, it instantly became my single most anticipated series of the year. By the read more