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Sep 2, 2018
"Why do you build me up buttercup, baby just to let me down?"

Is it just me or do those old song lyrics describe this anime quite aptly? It's a show that seems to promise to break all the conventions of a typical romance anime in its opening episodes, only to end up in the same place.

"Tonari no Totoro-kun" is the story of this furry monster named Totoro who lives next to… oh hang on, wrong anime! *leafs through the notes* Ahh yes, here it is: "Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun" is the story of this non-furry monster of a human named Haru who strikes up an unlikely read more
Aug 23, 2018
Yawara! (Anime) add (All reviews)
Naoki Urasawa's an interesting fellow. An award winning mangaka, he's probably best known in the English anime fandom for "Monster", a dark, psychological manga from which sprung an anime of the same name, an anime that critics often trot out when compiling their "Best Anime" lists. (Disclosure: it's also on mine, though whether I count as a critic is debatable.) Given Urasawa's crendentials, you probably wouldn't expect him to have also written a manga that gave rise to a bright and chirpy long running sports anime adaptation about a young girl doing judo. That anime is "Yawara!", or to give it its full title, "Yawara! read more
Apr 30, 2013
The success of "Spice and Wolf" probably came as a surprise to most. Who'd have thought a dialogue-heavy fantasy anime about economics on the surface but powered by the character chemistry underneath would sell, right? But sell it did, and some people must have extrapolated that there's a under-tapped market for such an anime, because the next thing you know, along comes "Maoyu Maou Yusha", a show so blatantly similar to "Spice and Wolf" (the fantasy settings, the economic lectures, moe heroine sporting ginger hair and unusual strength of character and intelligence, etc etc) that people immediately started labelling it "Spice and Wolf with Tits". read more
Mar 31, 2013
Originally a series of novels about a vampire hunter who is half vampire himself, Vampire Hunter D's first transition to the anime world takes the form of this self-titled OVA from 1985. At the time of writing, the ever reliable Wikipedia describes this OVA as "a cult classic among English-speaking audiences". Amidst the lavishing praise - the effect of which is spoiled somewhat by the clumsy prose - there's a bit which notes that the OVA featured "memorable voice acting performances in both English and Japanese". Now, aside from struggling to recall anyone lauding the original "Vampire Hunter D", I've also watched "Vampire Hunter D" read more
Feb 28, 2013
Urda (Anime) add (All reviews)
Firstly I have to say: "Urda" could have been great. Set on the western front of the second world war, a landscape relatively unexplored by anime, "Urda" threw together a bunch of random plot elements like Nazis, UFO and time travel ... and ends up with a surprisingly intriguing sci-fi tale. But alas, the potential went to waste, as the end product felt more like the result of someone experimenting with CG from his home PC than a proper anime. With its short length and undercooked story and characters, watching "Urda" is about as satisfying as getting served a starter when you're hankering for a read more
Jan 31, 2013
Trigun (Anime) add (All reviews)
"I'm just killing the spiders to save the butterflies."

1998 saw three popular shows going down the unusual route of combining futuristic sci-fi and cowboy-filled westerns as the backdrop to their story. "Cowboy Bebop" stands out as the biggest name amongst the trio, while "Outlaw Star" has all but faded into distant memory. Sandwiched between them is "Trigun", which made a big splash, but never quite achieved the evergreen status of "Cowboy Bebop".

I'd heard about "Trigun" being similar to "Cowboy Bebop", but personally I don't think the similarities stretch much beyond the marriage of sci-fi and westerns settings. If anything, it's "Rurouni Kenshin" that "Trigun" share read more
Dec 5, 2012
"Tokyo Underground" is your typical mindless superpower action flick. A boy skilled at fighting encounters a mysterious girl one fine day. One thing leads to another; he soon discovers his inner superpowers, and ends up trying to protect the girl from the army of bad guys who wants her for their own evil purposes. Sounds pretty generic right? There can't possibly be much originality in this show, right? Right. There really isn't anything special going on here.

The animation and action are bog standard, with everyone's superpower being elemental in nature; there's nothing that's not been seen many times before. Likewise, the sound and the voice read more
Nov 12, 2012
One series that needs no introduction in anime fandom is "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (or just " Evangelion" for short). Infamous, influential and controversial, it's probably the most well known anime equivalent of marmite, with opinions on it being extremely polarised - it's usually considered either as a brilliant masterpiece or a pretentious piece of crap. As for which side of the fence I'm on, the answer is neither. I'm straddling it, and I have to say it's quite uncomfortable having a piece of fence stuck up my arse, but I'm digressing...

At the time of this writing, I've watched "Evangelion" twice. First time round, I liked read more
Oct 17, 2012
The original series, the highly rated "Clannad", was one painful viewing experience for me - not because it's full of tragic tales, but because of how dire it is. Female characters sugary enough to induce diabetes in a lump of rock, combined with atrociously forced "drama" fast tracked it to a lofty position on my "Overrated Shite" list. And yet its ratings pales in comparison to that of its sequel, "Clannad: After Story".

Given my experiences with the first series, I hadn't originally intended to watch "Clannad: After Story", but people kept telling me how much better it was and how different it was compared to read more
Sep 30, 2012
"Tokyo Godfathers" is a Christmas film. Tradition dictates that these films should contain elements such as light hearted comedy and family oriented themes. And that exactly the kind of film "Tokyo Godfathers" strives to be.

Does it succeed? Most certainly. But the crux is that "Tokyo Godfathers" is the work of Satoshi Kon, a man famous for his dark, twisted mind fucks such as "Paranoia Agent" and "Perfect Blue". He's probably the person you would least expect to make a conventional Christmas film.

For the most part, "Tokyo Godfathers" doesn't feel like a Satoshi Kon film - it doesn't even have the mixing fantasy with reality read more