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Sep 21, 2016
—WARNING: SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW—

If there was ever an anime to truly be classified as pretentious, it would be this one. Re:Zero tries to be some kind of deconstruction of the isekai genre, but all it really ends up being is another bland addition to the list. It's got an attitude that says, "We know what this looks like, but ACTUALLY we totally get it. Now, watch as we subvert all these tropes!" Subaru will certainly remind you every time they do—and I mean every time—but it's more obnoxious than anything clever.

This series undergoes a pretty sudden change in tone around the halfway ...
Sep 14, 2016
Akitarou Daichi: a man who has spent his entire directing career working primarily on shoujo manga adaptations, comedy anime, and countless other long running gag series. Many could be familiar with his work on the Kodomo no Omocha anime where his influence was hard to miss, as the comedy had been ramped up to absurd levels when compared to the source material. You see, comedy was kind of his thing. So, what in the hell compelled him to create such a grimdark reimagining of a Miyazaki work? That has got to be one of anime's greatest mysteries.

Now and Then, Here and There is arguably ...
Sep 7, 2016
Makasete Iruka wastes no time as it spends its first three minutes showing you the concept of the show rather than explaining it. The Irukaya is a group of three girls who'll help anyone in town who asks for it, so we see each member doing just that, right from the get-go.

This is a very tightly written show, with every scene flowing logically to the next one without skipping over anything important or focusing on anything unimportant. It's also quick-witted, making good use of well-timed jokes that sometimes even call back to earlier events. That's a sign that the creators were actually thinking ahead and ...
Sep 2, 2016
Mixed Feelings
Green Legend Ran is an interesting little OVA from the early 90s that's probably too ambitious for its own good. It's got ancient aliens, a post-apocalyptic earth, opposing factions consisting of religious extremists and their corresponding resistance, a revenge plot, a love story, and some kind of environmental message. Taking place in such a detailed setting with such a detailed lore, it doesn't quite know where to start and where to end.

And that's a major problem for Green Legend Ran: It has lots of interesting ideas, but it doesn't spend the appropriate amount of time on each one, and in that way its two ...
Jul 29, 2016
Here we have an anime that's all about subtlety and creativity. Preferring not to make any big grandiose statements, Haibane Renmei instead tells a simpler story without too much pretense or ambition. It's simply there for the viewer to absorb, and what you'll get out of it is entirely up to how you interpret its themes and how much value you place on those interpretations.

There's a lot to like with this series because there's a lot to explore. The sheer amount of detail put into Haibane Renmei's setting alone is impressive, and it's a very specific kind of detail that focuses on the smaller side ...
Jul 27, 2016
Buddy Complex (Anime) add
Mixed Feelings
Buddy Complex is yet another addition to the string of near-indistinguishable mecha series that Sunrise seems to have no problem effortlessly churning out year after year alongside their usual Gundam installments. It's a pretty standard mecha show that on closer inspection has both standout qualities and heavy flaws.

Right from the first episode alarms were going off in my head; this was going to be another time loop story. I really didn't have faith that the creators could successfully pull one off here, and to put it bluntly: they couldn't. It makes absolutely no sense and is barely understandable even once things are explained. The sheer ...
Jul 22, 2016
Before Summer Wars, there was Bokura no War Game, the unsung masterpiece of Mamoru Hosuda. Ill-fatedly tied to the Digimon brand, it was never to be taken too seriously by anyone other than the Digimon fans who grew up with it. Hosuda himself seems to lament that fate, as he has continually attempted to recapture its magic: First, in a Loui Vuitton ad of all things and later in the aforementioned Summer Wars—a film that's pretty incredible in its own right, but one that owes almost everything to this film.

Summer Wars had nearly two hours to work with, so it made sense to fill ...
Jul 20, 2016
Miyakawa-ke no Kuufuku is a nice little side-story for Lucky Star fans. It's not the season two that many have been hoping for—though, the OP would suggest otherwise—but there's no reason you wouldn't enjoy it if you enjoyed Lucky Star.

Despite not still being produced by KyoAni, Miyakawa-ke retains the overall feel of Lucky Star, most likely due to the number of returning staff members: Yamamoto Yutaka is the director, having previously directed the first four episodes of Lucky Star, of which he did a fine job, episode one's infamous first half notwithstanding. Rest assured, you won't be sitting through five minutes of meandering food discussions ...
Jul 18, 2016
Paprika (Anime) add
Paprika, the last film of the late Satoshi Kon, is in a league of its own when compared to his other works—a league that is far, far below the rest. Satoshi Kon is, of course, a very talented director, and in that regard he still delivers for this film. The visuals are every bit as detailed as expected from him and his team, and the sheer amount of technical skill on display here is mind-blowing at times. Unfortunately, that's about where my praise for it ends.

Satoshi Kon films typically take you on a psychological ride that explores its characters' inner thoughts in visually inventive ways. ...
Jul 8, 2016
Jubei-chan is an anime that probably fools most viewers at its start. What appears to be a stereotypical show about average high school kids who must save the day from evil bad guys is actually a clever satirical comedy. This is hard to realize at first because it plays so many of its cliches straight that it can easily be mistaken for one of the very shows that it mocks. And, if you've seen enough of those kinds of shows, this one may already turn you off by the intro scene; after all, it involves the played out scenario of two rival samurai battling to ...