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Sep 20, 2016
Stiff and inconsistent animation with 90's quality computer graphics; monotonous, boob-obsessed fanservice; vapid characters who yell and clinch their fists a lot to create the illusion of emotion where there is none.

Masou Gakuen HxH is an uninspired clone of better anime that was produced with an appropriately low budget. It takes the premise from Infinite Stratos about the one guy with an ability to help attractive female fighters, and mashes it with the master-slave relationships from Shinmai Maou no Testament using a big tit-shaped sledgehammer. HxH lacks the fun of the former, and the sex appeal of the latter.

On the positive side, Kizuna, the main read more
Mar 25, 2016
“Ruin is the salvation of man and machine.”

Beneath the flamboyant exterior of fast action fight scenes and fancy shot compositions are some deceptively introspective conversations and themes. The director of this series, Shigeyasu Yamauchi, also headed Kimi no Iru Machi, which stylishly explored the psychology of love. In Casshern Sins the central themes are death and hope.

The first episode establishes the premise with a satisfying level of badassery. In the distant future, Robots have evolved sentience, and can feel emotion like humans can. A global "Ruin"—with a capital R, implying that it's more than an action—was prompted when Casshern, a highly skilled and gaudily dressed read more
Sep 5, 2015
Planetes is a preachy anime about politics, terrorism, and the power of Love with a capital L. For a large portion of the show, characters are expounding ideals or schemes that are entwined with jarringly cartoonish comedy—a lot of yelling, slapstick, etc—and contrived scenarios that distract from its message.

Episode 5 is a good example of just how contrived this show gets. A pickpocket thief and parents who plan on killing themselves and their daughter are introduced. The thief unknowingly steals the case with their suicide pills—thinking there was money or some other valuables inside—which thwarts their plans.

Meanwhile, a guerrilla film crew is filming in the read more
Aug 23, 2015
Our journey with Ginko, which started 9 years ago, draws to an end with an adaptation of Drops of Bells (Suzu no Shizuku), the last arc of the acclaimed Mushishi manga by Yuki Urushibara.

In the first half of the story, a girl leaves her family behind when she's summoned to be the next lord of a mountain. Thriving lands, called “Rivers of Light”, require the presence of a lord to maintain the balance of life around that area. Choosing a human as a lord is an unusual move, however. Such a task is usually delegated to animals since they live with fewer emotional attachments.

Several of read more
Aug 21, 2015
A person falling in love with an attractive werewolf or vampire is a familiar theme in shapeshifter stories, but it’s less familiar for the story to extend beyond their relationship and tell the story of their children, detailing the hardships of raising “half breeds” in a prejudiced society adverse to the unordinary.

On the surface, such a premise may seem absurd, but Wolf Children works thanks to the decision of writer/director Mamoru Hosoda to take a fantasy story and package it as a coming-of-age drama. There's a lot of wonderful humor to be found in this film, but the characters and their experiences are taken completely read more
Aug 10, 2015
There’s some debate about whether or not Bakemonogatari (pr. bah-keh-moh-no-gah-tah-re) is an ecchi/harem. A mere six seconds into the first episode, one of the female leads is introduced with a panty shot, and several shots of panties, boobs, and butts are dispersed throughout the series. Aside from two characters that appear in a few episodes, Araragi, the main character, is the only male, and he’s usually surrounded by females who’ve developed a fondness for him after he helped them in some way.

Is it an ecchi? Most likely. Is it a harem? Probably. Nevertheless, what distinguishes this series from other ecchi and harem anime is that read more
Aug 9, 2015
“I wish I was dead.”

These are the opening words of Mardock Scramble, spoken by 15-year old prostitute Rune Balot, that set the downcast and existential tone for the rest of the series.

The story is set in Mardock City, a futuristic world where the skyline is filled with skyscrapers, cars glide on fluorescent green roads, and everything sparkles like champagne. It’s a stunning place to look at, but it’s also a savage place where cruelty and crime are often left unpunished.

Homicide has become so rampant that the government has authorized a controversial procedure to resurrect victims so that they can testify against their assailants. This is read more
Aug 3, 2015
In case you’re one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t already know of Anne Frank, she was a young Jewish writer—born 10 years before the start of World War II—who was forced to live in a cramped hiding area with her family to avoid persecution by the Nazis. During her stay there, she documented her life in a now famous diary, which has since been adapted into movies, plays, and even an anime.

Anne no Nikki was brought to my attention by a fellow MAL user. I was surprised to hear that an anime of Anne Frank's diary had been made—by Madhouse, nonetheless, read more
Jul 31, 2015
Texhnolyze is a show about heavy breathing, grunting, and a pissing contest between a group of gun and sword wielding alpha males in suits who speak in bad mob movie cliches. If you force your imagination enough, you may be able to find something deep in the recesses of this art, but the same could be done if you stared long enough at the textures on a rusty frying pan.

There's a subplot about "texhnolyzation", a procedure to repair or upgrade a person using technologies such as mechanical limbs. The transhumanist ideas herein, which have potential, are unfortunately enveloped in a lot of empty atmosphere. Most read more