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Jun 28, 2015
‘Right here, I can’t tell you what I’m thinking and what I feel. I want you to see my world!’

SAO was a one trick pony. Its death game premise burdened the already heavy task of climbing Castle Aincrad’s 100 floors. But the illusion of the unconquerable castle would often break, as the anime proper would skip floors at the story’s convenience. Halfway through, the show lost the sense of scale it needed to cover for what the characters lacked. In many ways, we saw their world, but not their feelings. SAO was a lukewarm experience.

Which makes me proud to say SAO II is actually quite read more
Jun 28, 2015
I’ll admit I’ve never been keen on anime with a strong sense of art house artistry. I’m talking about the visually strange shows with unnaturally colored objects, settings designed like an abstract picture, or characters who move and look like something from a manga instead of anime. They give a sense of arrogance that they need nothing else so long as they have unique aesthetics.

Mononoke does not have this arrogance.

The show follows an enigma known as the Medicine Seller as he wanders feudal Japan and exorcises evil spirits known as mononoke. To do so, he must uncover the mononoke’s Shape, Truth, and Reason. Despite its read more
May 22, 2015
X (Anime) add (All reviews)
Around 2007, I watched a few episodes of this show before circumstances pulled me away from it. I always meant to watch it, but it faded from memory until recently when I had an urge to watch something older. Much of what I felt from that brief glimpse back then, is the same as my full gaze right now. Despite how unbelievable some parts of the story are, I still knew I was watching something a little special.

X is mostly Kamui Shirou’s story, faced with the decision to become a Dragon of Heaven or Dragon of Earth. Should he become a Dragon of Heaven, one read more
Apr 4, 2015
There’s a splash of racism in Aldnoah.Zero (AZ) from the Versians toward the Terrans, and considering how bland the Terrans are, I really can’t blame them. Despite the screen time between both factions being roughly even, we learn almost nothing about the Terrans beyond their own brand of racism; what are each of the characters like? How do they fit into the story beyond the fighting? What are they thinking? All of this and more…are never addressed proper.

It’s especially egregious with the main character of the Terrans, the tactician Inaho Kaizuka. The good news is he’s a breath of fresh air from the folks piloting read more
Mar 15, 2015
My time with Love Live! is much like the few members of its nine strong cast who were reluctant about being school idols. I wonder how a pushy, narrow sighted girl managed to rope me into this crazy gig, and then I wonder if this idiot turned friend will drag me to another adventure that was more fun than I ever thought possible. The nine strong cast is μ's (pronounced ‘Muse’), named for the Nine Goddesses of Music. Gods don’t die, and neither can my love for their antics, their struggles, and their story.

But Umi Sonoda would suggest I explain everything before acting sentimental, and read more
Feb 2, 2015
Somewhere in me is a cynic that I refuse to give in to, because I don’t want to make the mistake of judging shows by their cover. And every so often, I have reason to be optimistic, as a number of shows I’ve doubted have proven to be not just pleasant surprises, but fantastic works in their own right. But damn it, Japan, when you release shows like this, it’s very hard to stay positive.

‘The Mangaka and His Assistants’ focuses on the daily lives of manga artist Yuki and his all-female assistants. When he’s not drawing manga, he’s usually trying to subject them to his read more
Oct 19, 2014
Games come in many forms. Some take the shape of a guy in a horned helmet that shouts people off cliffs and talks to knee injured guards. Other types involve moving a bunch of pieces to capture a specific piece called a King. But no matter the kind of game being played, what’s most important, is knowing how to boost that gamerscore. After all, nothing beats having a stupid high number and being called Godlike.

Well, except for becoming an actual God. And as far as No Game No Life’s setting—Disboard—is concerned, a really high number isn’t needed either, because the magic number is 16. There read more
Oct 19, 2014
Losing friends is not an easy process. And when I say friends, I don’t mean the people whose exiting your life would make you go ‘awww’ or ‘that sucks.’ I’m talking about the people whose absence from your life leaves you speechless, only for your voice to come back as heart wrenching stutters after your mind has caught up with the fact ‘this person is gone.’ It’s a feeling we don’t want to experience.

Unfortunately for Kuroi Mato, she shares this sentiment a little over halfway through this tale. Yomi Takanashi is suddenly missing, and no matter where Kuroi looks, she’s nowhere to be found. Not read more
Oct 19, 2014
Redline (Anime) add (All reviews)
Redline is an odd film to think about. At its very well-presented surface there are racecars with rocket launchers that seem to fulfill a base desire for wanton destruction. But with such bombast in the film, it would be easy to assume the writing is shallow, isn’t great, or is even bad. That Redline actually has solid storytelling to go along with its senseless action is as much of a surprise to me is at might be to you.

But yes, the film does indeed have racecars/mechs/boats/whatever with rocket launchers as the first few minutes will prove. But the race the contestants are in isn’t the read more
Aug 5, 2014
Girl Friends was one of the first manga I read when I started getting into yuri. Strangely, rereading it made me realize I lost my passion for a romance with no guys. I don’t dislike yuri, but I can’t be bothered to read something anymore just because it’s a girl-on-girl romance. I say this because my mistake reading it the first time was expecting yuri right away, leaving me disappointed. Don’t do that.

Part of the reason Girl Friends can disappoint impatient readers who expect yuri right away is its story. It’s the classic tale of a popular fashionista—Akko—bringing an unassuming bookworm—Mari—out of her shell. But read more