What I Liked: The way it plays with the magical girl formula by utlising tropes and themes from classic fairy tales, plays and ballets. The beautiful soundtrack. Nanae Katou is great as the excitable Ahiru, and Takahiro Sakurai gives one of his better performances as the stoic Fakir. Characters are nuanced, with clear motivations and fears. The remarkable character and set designs that add to the fairy tale motifs. A strong plot that starts simply enough but builds to a dramatic crescendo. What I Didn't: Cat-sensei's schtick - it was tone-deaf at the best of times and overused every other time. Final... See full review
What I Liked: The cute relationship that blooms between Sawako and Shiori. The humour, while mad-cap and nonsensical, gives equal time to poking fun at both ends of the fan spectrum - those "filthy casuals" who want to look like they know it all and those "superfans" that do while admonishing the "casuals". Infodumps offer some interesting literary recommendations.
What I Didn't: YMMV on the show's use of literary info-dumps - especially if you don't have quick access to a pause button. Sumika and Endou really offer nothing of value to the show... See full review
What I Liked: Great character designs. Good use of colour to evoke ambiance, with a nice contrast between the cool bar scenes and the warm flashbacks. Love the exuberant design of the bar. Story is cohesive and well-constructed, and screentime is used effectively. Avoids the glaring pitfalls of the Survival Game genre. Solid animation.
What I Didn't: Yuuichi Nakamura's performance as The Man was a bit too aggressive at times. YMMV on the rather ambiguous ending.
Final Verdict: As engrossing as it is stylish, Death Billiards is a rather well-crafted short... See full review
What I Liked: The character and set designs, which are a delightfully surreal mix of Superflat motifs and nostalgic Tezuka-style curves. The muted yet colourful colour palette that lends itself to the overall unnerving tone of the world within the show. The minimalist electronic soundtrack. Episode 5's use of off-model animation to mirror the dystopian utopia setting. The wistful Opening Theme. The world-building is immaculate, and the whole memory chip technology is interesting. Even the side characters are well fleshed out. Vanilla. What I Didn't: As awesome as the soundtrack is, it does get a little... See full review
What I Liked: The characters are simple but charmingly designed. The whole movie is gorgeously atmospheric, with some brilliant set designs that are as dreamy as they are unsettlingly surreal. Animation is excellent for an 80's production, if not slow at times, with nice uses of imagery, light / shadow and colour. The themes of death, faith and one's legacy are handled with a surprising amount of sensitivity.
What I Didn't: Characters suffer from blank face syndrome. The soundtrack not only dates the film dramatically, but ends up being tonally inappropriate some of the time (e.g... See full review
What I Liked: The ballad-like OP and ED. The soundtrack, which is a mix of jazz staples and great ambient pieces. Animation is generally consistent, really shining during the performance portions. Character chemistry is fabulous, with a complex relationship web. Pacing is spot-on for the most part. Episode 7, and the cultural festival medley. The way that romance / "young love" is treated, and the fact the show gives space to the idea of falling out of love with someone (and it being okay).
What I Didn't: Sometimes doesn't feel as grounded in time / the time period as I'd have hoped... See full review
What I Liked: Having a disabled protagonist who was well-realised (and well-acted). The soundtrack, which was a great assortment of beat-filled jazz that added a nice cool factor to the series. The fact that the Opening and Ending themes were animated in the same selective colour style. The whole super-soldiers / drugs causing birth defects aspect was unique and interesting, if not a little confusing at times. The Opening Theme, despite the awful Engrish. What I Didn't: The animation quality dips around episode 8, as does the writing and pacing. Alex felt poorly characterised with most characters reducing... See full review
What I Liked: Nice use of a cyclic format to convey a sense of futility and despair. The strong cast of secondary characters. Ozu's characterisation. The fact that each character becomes developed gradually through each "timeline" as they come in and our of narrative focus. Brilliant use of colour, texture and mixed media elements. The simplistic but fluid free-form animation. Each episode is fast-paced but enjoyably easy to watch. The final two-parter was an interesting way of connecting all the story arcs and strong way to end the narrative. What I Didn't: Narration feels overly fast at times... See full review
What I Liked: The excellent sound design and casting of the English dub. The lovely background art and set designs. Despite my qualms with the animation, the whole thing is still decently animated. Soundtrack is charming in every way. Haru is a great character to watch, and the denizens of the Cat Bureau have great chemistry between them. The little details given to the Cat Kingdom (e.g. the bodyguard-cats). What I Didn't: Character animation sometimes lacks tonal depth, meaning that characters end up looking a bit flat. Haru is a bit light in the characterisation department, leaving some of the themes... See full review
What I Liked: The Kakashi designs and sound effects, as well as the in-plot reasoning behind their creation. Fight choreography isn't bad and is usually engaging. The soundtrack, and Chiaki Ishikawa's contributions. Animation is passable for the most part. What I Didn't: Episode 7. Miss Senou. The characters feel completely undermined by their own emotions, and the series spends a lot of time jumping between frivilous comedy and dramatic moments. The series feels overencumbered by all its subplots that offer no real interest or much connection to the main plot. Hibino's treated as something for the main... See full review
What I Liked: The lucious yet wistful theme song. Sound design and soundtrack are both perfect, cute and playful when they need to be, and the insert songs aren't too intrusive. The insert song "Tori wa Tori ni". Chibi-neko and Raphael's designs are lovely, and the whole "cats look like humans to themselves, but look like cats to humans" thing was an interesting choice. All the different little plot points, such as Tokio's guilt and the search for Persia, that seem to be as wandering as Chibi-neko herself. What I Didn't: Tokio's mum can seem abrasive and hysterical (a by-product of the... See full review
What I Liked: Toshihiko Seki is perfect as Count D. The soundtrack, which is equal parts pulpy goodness and soft ambience. The show does a good job of building a dark, unnerving atmosphere through its use of colour and imagery. The design for the Kirin is hands-down beautiful. There's some really nice scenery throughout, with nice attention to detail where it counts. What I Didn't: The soundtrack firmly keeps this show in the 90's, and can feel a bit melodramatic at times. YMMV on the episodic format of the show - it's very much a collection of horror-themed moral tales with a very loose subplot connecting... See full review
What I Liked: Both the OP and ED. The fact this series practically screams "experimental" at times. The final act is quite nicely handled. Has a interesting mix of ideas and themes, using Pinocchio-style motifs to deconstruct Idol culture and hint at the intersection between mythology and science. Pacing is good, if not slow, until the final two episodes. Visuals are solid for the most part, especially when it comes to the robots, the cityscapes and the concert scenes. What I Didn't: The fact this series practically screams "experimental" at times. Viewers may be deterred by the fact... See full review
What I Liked: The beautiful watercolour backgrounds in the Jukai scenes. Characters feel more detailed than their given stereotypes / roles let on. Action scenes are well-choreographed and suprisingly minimalistic, with great intergration of 3DCG and SFX elements. The Mankai designs are super pretty. For a cliche Beach / Onsen episode, Episode 7 is surprisingly inoffensive and cute. The world-building is really interesting and detailed. What I Didn't: The weird obtrusive fanservice in some of the transformation sequences (Togo's is the worst offender). I was a bit divided on the soundtrack - it's good, but... See full review
What I Liked: The focus on different kinds of Otaku that were prevalent in the 80's and 90's (Military Otaku, SF Otaku etc.). Nice lampshading of "MC looks dramatically up at the sky" cliche. The amazing soundtrack full of bravado. Animation is quite impressive for an early 90's production. The cross-referencing of Kubo / Gainax's story with historical moments (oddly, they're mostly conflicts like the Falklands War or moments of upheaval like the death of Emperor Hirohito). What I Didn't: The jump between the anime and Portrait of an Otaku segments can feel a bit jarring at times, and take some... See full review
What I Liked: Forte. Normad. Voice acting is great all round and sounds nicely diverse; I especially love Ryoko Shintani as Milfeulle. Great character designs, even if Forte's and Ranpha's are a little… oddly ventilated. The fact that the show restrained itself to its half-length format instead of resorting to multi-episode arcs. The OP and ED are super catchy without being overly cheesy. What I Didn't: The show's not very good at mixing serious moments with silly ones. The last three episodes are (almost) complete mood-killers. The main characters tend to fall into particular stereotypes... See full review
What I Liked: The opening credits and designs for the title cards. The soundtrack, while dated, is a mix of pure early-2000's techno gold and discordant jazz pieces. Animation is good for the most part, and I liked how the Boomer characters and the human characters often moved differently. It's rather philosophy-light. Characters feel surprisingly amicable for the lack of development and nuance they're given. There's some great cinematography throughout, especially at the end of Episode 2. No prior knowledge of the Bubblegum Crisis franchise needed. What I Didn't: YMMV on the technology - as with most... See full review
What I Liked: The sound design isn't half bad. The visuals are quite gorgeous (but didn't really scream "sci-fi" so much), and animation is generally fluid with little technical issues. What I Didn't: The fact that it was a tone deaf rom-com dressed up (badly) as thought-provoking sci-fi. The show relies on clichéd romantic-comedy stereotypes that stick out like sore thumbs and reduce the characters to moving cardboard cut-outs that change to suit the whims of the plot. None of the interesting concepts like Android Children or society's view of Giftia are ever explored, and are only... See full review
What I Liked: The soundtrack, while sparse, was mostly well utilised and I loved Sakamoto's theme. The Opening and Closing themes nicely complimented one another. Nice mix of character designs. Most of the skits are quite enjoyable, and the fact that there's slight character "development" in the side characters (i.e. they don't entirely remain static) is a nice touch. The skit involving the kids in Episode 6 was a highlight, especially due to its sound design. Sakamoto himself is an interesting take on the Gary Stu concept. Sera. Animation is, for the most part, spot on with good use of colour and... See full review
What I Liked: All the many references to old school (70's and 80's) anime and action movies, from subtle things like the teacher's character design mirroring that of Creamy Mami's to scenes that directly take off Macross. Combat choreography is smooth and fluid for the most part. The English dub as a whole is passable, with Julia Brahms giving a great performance as the obnoxious C-ko. Brilliant, energetic soundtrack with good insert songs dripping with concentrated 80's magic. Animation and set designs are high-quality considering the time period. What I Didn't: YMMV on Julia Brahms' performance as... See full review
What I Liked: The character designs were quite pleasing. Sally-chan-sensei. The Yosakoi shop owner, who was woefully underutilised. Backgrounds and set-designs are all gorgeous, and the show has this wonderfully soft and relaxing colour scheme to it. The subtle character development for all the main girls, especially Naru and Yaya (even if she did start of as a bit of an arse). What I Didn't: There was a lot of needless clichéd melodrama in the show, especially in the later half, making the whole thing tonally inconsistent. Some episodes jumped multiple times between dramatic and happy scenes. A lot... See full review
What I Liked: The minimalist Flash animation that mixes simple cel-shaded figures of varying detail with semi-photo-realistic backgrounds. The character designs were interesting and full of personality. Nice use of classical music as the score. The Ending Theme, which was as catchy as it was nice and rocky. Episode 3. Voice acting was perfectly over-the-top and suited the silliness of the show. The run-time was perfect for the kind of humour the show was presenting - any longer would have risked the show feeling like a one-trick pony. What I Didn't: It's rather obvious when previous assets are used... See full review
What I Liked: The varying dynamics in the fratello relationships. The ending theme suited the series down to a T. Generally well-animated, with fluid action scenes and beautiful set designs. The premise of preteen assassins and political tension in late-90's Italy is a great hook. Sound design is great, especially in regards to the guns. The muted colour palette, which is admittedly a hallmark of its time, works nicely here. Most of the girls get a considerable amount of development. What I Didn't: The pacing is as slow as watching paint dry, but does suddenly speed up a little in the final third. The... See full review
What I Liked: The wonderful, fantastical visuals and set designs. Great sound design. Soundtrack is (mostly) lovely, even if it is sparse for the most part. The character / monster designs were imaginative, and the pen staves were a nice touch. The story surrounding the OSs and humanity was interesting, if not a little old-hat. What I Didn't: The insert songs were both awful J-Pop nonsense, and detracted vastly from the general mood of the movie. The fact that the second act consisted of two inane montages back-to-back, including a poorly-done "characters shocked by devastated worlds" scene... See full review
What I Liked: The art style seemed more solid this time around (aside from some strange cinematography choices). Nagi the ninja lady was an interesting addition. What I Didn't: Everything else. The first three episodes were completely superfluous. The switch to a more action-oriented plot did not benefit the show, as the minimalist animation could not keep up and the plot felt like a more farfetched and clichéd re-do of S1. Honma's villainous plan is just Kimura's plan from S1 but with extra inspiration from Dr. Robotnik. The Ending Theme sounds exactly the same as S1's Ending Theme. The soundtrack... See full review
What I Liked: The character designs were simply cute yet diverse. The Closing Theme is spacey and adorable. The set designs, especially the missile-strewn landscape of Ogikubo. The character development in some of the later episodes genuinely impressed me, as did the general unfolding of the plot. It was perfectly cast in every way - Mayumi Shinitani is great as the nasily delinquent Midori and Testu Inada is brilliantly hammy as the General Manager Over Justice. Nova. What I Didn't: Some viewers may be put off by the sheer amount of jokes and throwbacks to previous Trigger works. Lalaco Godspeed's... See full review
What I Liked: The basic but fluid and unique art style. The quirky sense of humour throughout the show, exemplified in nutty characters like DJ Oily. Agetarou. Character designs are simple but colourful (mirroring the characters themselves). The fact that Agetarou was often able to link his newly-acquired DJ knowledge to stuff he learned at his parent's shop. The perfect, catchy soundtrack that fits so well with the vibe of the show. What I Didn't: The atypical art style may take a bit of getting used to for some viewers. The soundtrack does fall back on the same one or two tracks. Characters lack much... See full review
What I Liked: It's cheesy as all get-out. The character designs, especially for the Goddesses. The plot is enjoyable enough, even if some of the more dramatic moments come off as narmy. Urd. The soundtrack, despite being incredibly dated, was great and had nice variation to it. Story is mostly well-paced. The romance between Belldandy and Keiichi is kind of sweet (in a very bubblegum 90's way). Both the super-catchy Opening Theme and saccarine-sweet Ending Theme. Lanelle Markgraf is great as Urd, as is Juliet Cesario as Belldandy. What I Didn't: It's cheesy as all get-out. Suffers from... See full review
What I Liked: The soundtrack, for the most part, portrayed a great sense of adventure and wonderment. The character designs. The designs for the inventions and mechs were creative. Set designs were perfect for the genre. Action scenes were well done, with great integration of 3D elements. Cinciho, despite his wobbly characterisation. The first episode was intriguing enough. What I Didn't: Heavy use of convenient plot points. While things seem to just happen, it never feels cohesive. Constant Mood Whiplash and pacing issues. The grating and unremarkable Opening Theme. Episode 6, for going heavy-handed with... See full review
What I Liked: The character designs, particularly for the monsters and the Conquest Club. Gero. The boys of the Earth Defense Club, and their very quirky personalities (which the show does a great job of playing on). The running gag surrounding Mr. Tawarayama. The soundtrack was perfectly poppy and energetic. The ending, while not at all original, was still amusingly done. The Opening Theme, at first. What I Didn't: The Opening Theme. Animation was average-ish. Some episodes are quite forgettable due to it's fomulaic and episodic nature. Most of the characters are pretty flat, with not much character... See full review