What I Liked: The layered, mixed-media feel to the animation and backgrounds. The Crystalisation Syndrome, which acts as a brilliant visual metaphor for Tamari's social anxiety. The character designs are cute but simplistic. The (admittedly) barely-there soundtrack. What I Didn't: Characters change model frequently and it can be off-putting to some viewers. Pacing could've been better. Mr. Onihara's issues with betrayal (which don't come to light until the second half) make him come off as just being a possessive blockhead. The plot is reletively shallow and corny, and suffers from an... read more
What I Liked: The breakneck pacing never leaves you bored. The character designs were interesting, if not mostly crude or just odd. The flat but fluid and colourful animation, which just explodes with energy. Plot is odd but surprisingly coherent for the most part. What I Didn't: Lots of crude humor for the sake of it to the point that the sheer amount of crass humor in this movie may get old quickly for some viewers. So much violence. Animation felt somewhat ameteurish, like it was one big animation test. The plot goes off the rails (literally) towards the end, almost like it had one-upped... read more
What I Liked: The backgrounds, for the most part, were quite beautiful. The soundtrack was quite emotive, and I liked the slow tempo of the ending theme. Character designs were interesting, especially in regards to the characters from Heaven. Battle scenes are the strongest point of the series, with some great CG and SFX used. Pacing is quick, with lots of things seemingly happening. What I Didn't: Character animation was woefully uneven and made worse by the fact that this "series" is just a padded-out broadcast version of a two-part OVA. The integration of new footage with old footage is too... read more
What I Liked: The dreamy backgrounds and soft, pastel colour palette. Kiryuu, who seemed like the most grounded character of the show. Yamagishi. Kaori's condition seemed interesting and more complicated than the series let on. The relaxed pacing.
What I Didn't: Hase, who I found too immature and shallow to be taking care of anyone. Kaori's condition, despite being nuanced, still felt plot-convenient. It felt like the side characters (such as Kujou) were only there to flesh out the main leads or further the plot. Main characters felt flat and one-dimensional. Generic OP and ED. The relaxed pacing... read more
What I Liked: There was nothing. Absolutely nothing.
What I Didn't: Everything this series had to offer. The formulaic and uninspired formatting of the episodes. The pervasive technophobic atmosphere of the initial episodes. The rotoscoping, which was janky at the best of times and just lazy at its worst. No attempt made at finding out why the ghost was haunting tech-savvy youngsters. Lack of atmosphere or tension. Relied on jumpscares way too often. One episode was devoted to (somewhat) promoting an idol group. Abysmal acting all round (though the rotoscoping probably removed a lot of emotion from... read more
What I Liked: The visuals, which took some getting used to. Episode 3, with its plot of revenge and nauseating atmosphere. Episode 6 was also a stand-out, as it had a great sense of tension and atmosphere. Sound design isn't half bad. What I Didn't: The visuals, which felt like some student's animation project at times. The hamfisted Alien and Tremors references. Many of the earlier episodes were standard ridiculous creature-feature gore porn, with later episodes feeling like lazy attempts at joining the previous episodes together. The protagonist was about as fascinating as watching paint dry... read more
What I Liked: The slow pacing made for a slow-burn kind of series. The grounded character designs. Good voice acting all round, with competent attempts at English from Yasayuki Kase and Yuuko Kaida. The amazing soundtrack. The OP, from the music itself to the choreography. The ED in its entirety. The set designs, and with them the claustrophobic atmosphere of the Magata Lab. The elements of computer science used within the show. What I Didn't: Dr. Magata seemed less like a character and more like a vehicle for pseudo-philosophical nonsense. Lack of exploration of Magata's DID. The constant philosophical... read more
What I Liked: The soundtrack was appropriately modern. Both the OP and ED. Great, exaggerated voice acting all-round. Unique and interesting character designs. Backgrounds and set designs are brilliant, as well as the colour palette used throughout. Shiho, surprisingly. The humour, occasionally. What I Didn't: The open-ended ending. The cookie-cutter characterisation. The fact that all the main female characters felt like they weren't characterised beyond "She's a <supernatural being> and she's in love with Kuromine". No exploration of said supernatural themes aside from the occasional... read more
What I Liked: Great animation, with pleasant backgrounds and the (unique) inclusion of manga-style asides. Every character (even the relatively one-track-minded ones) feels three-dimensional and realistic. Deals with themes such as different forms of love and attraction in a realistic manner. Takeo, for all his awkward and adorable behaviour. Sound design was good, as was the beautiful soundtrack. Both the opening and ending themes. Clear sense of character development, especially among the lead couple. Diverse character designs. Great voice acting all round.
What I Didn't: Character animation is... read more
What I Liked: Good character designs. Animation was average, with fluid character animation. Yui. What I Didn't: Suffers from typical Penultimate Episode Mood Whiplash. Gags such as Chitose's nosebleeds become repetitive rather quickly. Some jokes are essentially harassment / abusive behaviour tarted up as comedy. Chinatsu. Final Verdict: While it doesn't bring anything new to the "cute-girls-doing-cute-things" genre, Yuru Yuri is a light-hearted and pleasant little time-waster - provided that you're unfazed by repetitive gags ranging from boob-envy to forced kissing.
What I Liked: Wonderful, fluid animation. The vibrant soundtrack that matches the theme of the short. Lotte, and her song. The new girls were interesting in their own rights. Great voice acting from the whole cast - Megumi Han is suitably perfect as the hotheaded Akko, as is Youko Hikasa as the haugthy Diana. Good focus on expanding the world outside the academy. What I Didn't: Still just as riddled with cliché as the first, if not more. The kids, even though you were meant to hate them, made the short feel too full of "immature-type" characters. Akko seemed even more... read more
What I Liked: The characters, who were nuanced and given ample room and time to develop. Yuki, and the series' portrayal of anxiety. Colourful backgrounds and character designs. Final "friends and loved ones save the world from the Big Bad" arc manages to help develop characters further and show how far they've come in the show's runtime rather than rely on "because friendship" reasoning. Keito. The soundtrack and sound design were pretty good. What I Didn't: Backgrounds and animation were average most of the time and kept simple to the point of feeling flat occasionally. Haru's... read more
What I Liked: The Beautiful Person - so by extension her first skit and the tennis skit. Animation is simple, colourful and gets the job done. What I Didn't: The soundtrack is incredibly limited and forgettable. The gags mostly miss the mark and rely too heavily on Nee-san's obnoxiousness or on raunchy "jokes". Final Verdict: This short, frantic and silly collection of shorts is an easy way to fill a half-hour. However, the skits are hit-and-miss for the most part, making this series mediocre at best.
What I Liked: Amazing visuals, helped by the "mixed-media" style animation. Engrossing story that goes beyond the bounds of the original novel to create something of a sci-fi opera. Great world-building, that mixes futuristic technologies with 17th Century aristocratic french stylings. Ending manages to tie up all loose ends and even presents viewers with a satisfying epilogue. Great soundtrack, even the OP and ED suited the series. The fact that Gankutsuou spoke only French (in the Japanese dub). Rivetting characters. What I Didn't: The Mechas felt out of place, surprisingly. Car animation was... read more
What I Liked: Cute characters with distinct personalities and designs. Interesting setting and concept. Uses its run-time effectively to tell its rather sweet little story and present its themes (even the fast-forward doesn't feel out of place). Mother. The soundtrack is cute and suits this OVA down to the ground with its poppy opening and ending themes. Animation is clear and backgrounds are quite lovely to look at. What I Didn't: NITPICK: Animation hasn't aged all that well. Soundtrack is also very much a remnant of its time. Final Verdict: Obscure but... read more
What I Liked: Good car animation? Nice (and so very 90's) character designs. Good sound design. Miki Itou as Hokuto, Subaru's bubbly sister. Both episodes are interesting albeit simple stories that blend supernatural themes with crime-drama elements well enough without leaning too far towards the gritty or fantastical (although it has all the trappings of a CLAMP series). What I Didn't: The absolutely terrible insert song in the first OVA, which regretfully turns out to be the first Ending Theme as well. The second Ending Theme is also pretty lackluster. The first OVA feels rather... read more
What I Liked: The mixture of references to Sega and its various franchises. The fact that all the anthropomorphisations have character flaws related to their real console counterpart's hardware / software limitations. Each of the Seha Girls were interesting in their own respect (despite falling into moe stereotypes). What I Didn't: The MMD animation takes a bit of getting used to - and even seems to show its limitations in some episodes. Some episodes started with actionless skits that fail to drive the plot or improve characterisation. Episode 8. The second half drags as it struggles to cover... read more
What I Liked: The animation. The set designs - each setting was vibrant and beautiful in their own way. The character designs. The characters themselves, while typical Ghibli stock characters, were still a delight to watch. Ursula. The two old ladies that befriended Kiki. The whole mood of the movie was quite sweet and charming, even when Kiki was faced with conflict. The soundtrack was nice, but it did take a little getting used to. The sound design was top-notch. What I Didn't: Pacing issues - the middle felt slow, while the ending seemed to come out of nowhere (even though it was heavily hinted at... read more
What I Liked: The character animations and backgrounds were stunning, if not a little less detailed than in The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. The soundtrack really suits the mood that the movie is going for. The character designs. The plot had all the interest and intrigue of your standard Lupin adventure. The villian was interesting and was a great calculated killer-type antagonist (without making him overly pantomime-like). The car chase. Some interesting cameos towards the end. Pacing's good. What I Didn't: This movie's Fujiko feels like a watered-down (perhaps inexperienced?) version. Almost the same goes... read more
What I Liked: The soundtrack is bright and lively, albeit much more dated than the first season's. The character designs are just as great as the first season's. Animation is more dynamic and a little more polished, with more comic-style sight gags. Junpei gaining a catchphrase this time around. The opening and closing themes are almost instant earworms. The fact that the dynamic between the leading ladies changes (albeit briefly).
What I Didn't: The fact that there's a whole episode devoted to potty jokes (literally). Junpei gaining a catchphrase this time around. The last episode is a bit of a dud... read more
What I Liked: Symbolism out the butt. The fact it's framed like an arthouse series, with its incredible imagery and thematic elements holding up the plot. The soundtrack, full of the drama one would expect from Yuki Kajiura. The blurring of reality and delusion. The fact it's not so much a straight horror series and more of a psychological one. What I Didn't: Symbolism out the butt. The fact it's framed like an arthouse series, with an oversaturation of "art-for-the-sake-of-art" style shots. Character animation is under-average. Shaft head-tilts EVERYWHERE. The woefully... read more
What I Liked: The catchy opening and closing themes. The characters are all funny to watch, especially the actress Airi and the hapless elven priestess Celcia. The setting, which has a blend of "real-world" props and quasi-fantasy world tropes that is (eventually) questioned by the characters. The trial. The Ending. Animation is bright and colourful. What I Didn't: Action scenes aren't all that well animated (which is a shame when a whole episode hinges on it). The Ending. Animation is average for its time. Final Verdict: Those Who Hunt Elves is an adventurous and enjoyable... read more
What I Liked: That ending theme. Funny cast of goofy characters that seem to parody RPG tropes. Good animation for the time, with a large amount of shots of super-deformed characters and slapstick comedy. Kotono Mitsuishi as Mink. The humour is spontaneous and occasionally bizarre. Great character designs, even with Mink and Lufa's...um..."revealing" designs. What I Didn't: The second half is much weaker than the first. The fact it has no conclusion: it ends with the MC winning a tournament that has nothing to do with the People Potion plot. Gets weirdly fan-servicey in the... read more
What I Liked: Cute, simple animation and background art. Good soundtrack and sound design. Character designs are sweet. Manages to tell a good little story about childhood and growing up in a little over three minutes.
What I Didn't: Can't place anything wrong with it.
Final Verdict: Everything about this special created for Noitamina's 10th Anniversary exudes a quiet sweetness, from its modest animation to its uncomplicated story of a growing girl and her favourite chair.
What I Liked: Animation is fluid, with lots of pastels and cute characters. The gradual reveal of elements as the girl became aware of them. Nice soundtrack that matches the adventurous feel of the story. The character designs.
What I Didn't: Nothing, I liked it all.
Final Verdict: An absolutely amazing effort from a trio of Arts graduates, this cute and colourful little animation follows a young blind girl on her quest to find her pet dog after someone steals her bag. The way the elements are revealed as the girl becomes aware of them, lovely soundtrack and beautifully fluid animation make... read more
What I Liked: A great mix of CGi and 2D animation with lots of lovely and truly beautiful scenery shots. Good insert song. The sheer quality of this ONA made me almost mistake it for a Shinkai production.
What I Didn't: The banal monologuing made me almost mistake this for a Shinkai production.
Final Verdict: A beautiful tribute to Tokyo Station, this 5-minute short uses the story of a woman looking to repair her deceased father's watch as a vehicle to show off the station's gorgeous architecture. The attention to detail on the background art is amazing, and the insert song's a bonus. Shame... read more
What I Liked: Nice, traditional-style animation. Cute plot. The premise behind the short's creation.
What I Didn't: Sound design's not too great, it consists of Hoppipolla and a unfitting "children laughing" stock track.
Final Verdict: Made for a project that helps raise funds for musical therapy programs for earthquake-affected children, this sweet heartwarming short combines beautiful picture book-like animation and an adorable plot involving angels with Sigur Ros' most over-rated song.
What I Liked: Otose. Pretty character designs. Interesting premise. What I Didn't: Mostly everything. Typical character designs for the genre. Badly-implemented CG. Poorly integrated anachronisms mess with the (attempted) historical feel of the series. The "beautifying" of famous historical figures beyond recognition makes it so the series never capatalises upon the rich histories behind the character's real-world counterparts (or even the period said characters come from). Commits the Cardinal Sin of Rock Music: Auto-tuning. Each band has only one or two songs, making the... read more
What I Liked: The background art. The setting. The attention to detail in everything, from the series' depiction of Chicago to the weaponry used. The soundtrack is an amazing mixture of jazz that invokes some of the classic 80's action flicks. Sound design is great. What little "fan-service" the series has is surprisingly harmless and unobtrusive. English dub has good performances all round. The animation is fluid, with exceptional gunfight and car chase choreography. What I Didn't: NITPICK: Some perspective gaffs. Final Verdict: With a bombastic soundtrack... read more
What I Liked: The English dub is amusing, with great comedic timing - it's practically the only selling point this series has. What I Didn't: Animation is all over the place but always below average, with flat colours and rather standard backgrounds. The plot itself borders on the banal, consisting of formulaic and episodic content that falls to pieces by the end. The CG is way too noticeable, albeit sparingly used. Weird choice in Ending theme. Overly peppy opening theme becomes grating quickly. Soundtrack is barely there. Jokes start to switch to predominately sexual by the last few... read more