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VivisQueen

  • United Kingdom
  • Joined Jan 19, 2006
  • 30 / F

Kurenai

on Mar 6, 2011

Kurenai’s gist is that teenage secret agent Shinkurou becomes a bodyguard to a little girl, Murasaki, who has never seen the outside world before; and she must learn about society while living with him, develop into a more resilient woman, and return to challenge her oppressive family. But viewers might take a while to discover its essential concept since Kurenai chooses a convoluted path via comedy, musicals, slice of life, and supernatural mystery. Watching Murasaki in a whimsical conversation about romantic relationships with one of Shinkurou’s neighbours, for instance, I started... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
6.5/10 overall

Denno Coil

on Jan 23, 2011

The problem with Denno Coil is that a handful of its episodes are great while the rest are dull as dishwater. Generally, I started an episode filled with dread about which it would be. Would it crawl through the meaningless misadventures of a side character in its blended world of virtual and objective reality, or would it deliver a brilliantly unnerving cyber battle full of disturbing imagery and heartrending loss?

Its world is an admirably rich one full of eccentric detail and inventive plays on today’s world (look how they hold their hands to their ears like telephones as they... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
5/10 overall

House of Five Leaves

on Dec 31, 2010

Sarai-ya Goyou has several things going for it: a cowardly samurai who is actually damn good in a fight; a dubious antihero called Yaichi, who hides in the shadows smiling knowingly; a gorgeous soundtrack that mixes the modern (OP and ED) and traditional (in-episode score); a mature concept design and distinctive-looking characters wearing haunting, mournful eyes; and a ‘rogues against the world’ plot about a ragtag of people who kidnap members of bad families for a living. In the great tradition of bad decisions, however, the show throws these fruitful seeds on a bedrock of bland character... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
6/10 overall

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

on Oct 6, 2010

Hey, do you remember 'the tuna'?! Hahahahaha! High five!Oh wait you don't? I suppose only I and a select few forum regulars might even remember that forum thread, let alone find it amusing. However, this does perfectly illustrate the kind of bafflement I experienced when watching SZS. It is the mother of all in-jokes. At least for the Japanese. Comprising nothing more than a spastic collection of high school sketches, nebulous subliminal messages on a blackboard, and a monkey running amok, it provoke at most a rictus grin of pain. Some people mistake random sequences and peculiar cultural references they... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
4.5/10 overall

Mind Game

on Oct 6, 2010

A coward is not someone who simply feels fear, but whose life chronically stalls because of it. Nishi, the protagonist, is a textbook case whose inner monologues reveal a highly discerning person but whose insecurities also dull him to the point of inertia. He loves his childhood friend Myon but fears the rejection he might suffer if he tells her; he's too scared to react when gangsters point a gun at her and attempt to rape her; and, though the anime never explicitly says so, I suspect he never finishes the manga he's perpetually writing because he fears he lacks artistic integrity. Mind Game's first few... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
9/10 overall

Haibane Renmei

on Oct 6, 2010

Haibane Renmei can be hard work. It develops slowly in meandering scenes of world building and characterisation that usually give the impression none of them connect. Most damningly, its heavy symbolism demands its audience pay attention despite the plodding pace and randomness. I'm just not that kind of viewer. The closest anime to this distilled sort of 'nothing happens' I remember enjoying is Planetes. However, even that defaults back to a serialised narrative fairly quickly and introduces political and scientific themes I feel passionate about. Haibane Renmei sticks to an extreme slice-of-life format... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
7.5/10 overall

Ouran High School Host Club

on Oct 6, 2010

Ouran doesn't just mercilessly poke fun at shoujo cliches and fangirl frenzy, it harpoons them. In a string of merciless parodies and precisely timed recurring gags, it somehow builds a fresh product from the stale remains of a generally vacuous genre. Furthermore, its archetypical characters miraculously showcase all the trivialities and traps of the genre without ever falling into them; they develop instead highly individualised personalities full of nuanced internal conflicts. Fans of bishounen can thus enjoy watching pretty boys submit unashamedly to set anime roles like 'the cool type' and 'the... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
8.5/10 overall

Mushishi

on Oct 6, 2010

Life is a bitter struggle between humans and nature. Of course, it's also completely impersonal. Just by going about our daily activities, we destroy countless organisms, and they in turn must have wrested their space from other life forms in a similar anarchic manner.Mushishi reimagines this Darwinian battle with an extra dimension of beings called Mushi, beings more primitive than microbes. They look like bizarre takes on insects and plants, as if they had really hatched from the natural world but were aborted by nature as failed experiments at the dawn of time. When the protagonist Ginko uncovers a nest... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
9/10 overall

Darker Than Black - Kuro no Keiyakusha

on Oct 6, 2010

With Tokyo trapped behind a looming wall called Hell's Gate and superhumans called contractors running around fighting each other in spectacular acrobatic displays, Darker than Black has undeniably one of the strongest starts of 2007's thrillers. It held my interest the most during the character-focused mini arcs, such as the one about the contractor who lives in fear of regaining the powers she lost. The protagonist Hei's frantic search for his sister and his double-life as the feared contractor BK201 also toss a potent mystery into the fray. Unfortunately, all its threads of intrigue lead to an ending... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
7/10 overall

Claymore

on Oct 6, 2010

It ends in an extended battle with gargantuan monsters and a remarkable death toll. And when I say it 'ends', I mean it 'to-be-continues'. Nonetheless, there is a meaty centre beneath the shallow crust of demons, gore, and flashing swords. Foremost, Claymore accomplishes strong character development, particularly of the intensely heroic protagonist Clare and her fellow warrior women. When all that deep stuff needs a break, in come the fantastical battles with sleek animation and striking choreography. In many significant ways, this is Berserk's spiritual successor, complete with rivers of blood and open... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
7.5/10 overall

Nana

on Oct 6, 2010

Writing this from a post-Twighlight era, I have never more appreciated the value of genuinely tragic soap operas aimed at girls like Nana. I always return to Nana Osaki's wistful narration: 'I wanted you to see me as a strong person. Like a manga heroine who is too good to be true.' Her confession is all the more poignant because she is an excellent character too flawed to be fake. The show goes further than just entertaining; it dares to tell dreamy-eyed young women that life has few absolutes and even fewer easy answers, and that, despite their best efforts, they will make terrible mistakes. Characterised... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
9/10 overall

Death Note

on Jan 8, 2010

Enter the mind of a sociopath, Light Yagami. A remarkable teenager, he's devilishly handsome, twice junior tennis champion, and ranks first in the national exams. In other ways, though, he's quite the simpleton: a textbook megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur. Oh, and he's just been handed the power to kill individuals simply by writing their names in a notebook.Death Note is a cat-and-mouse suspense-thriller with a paranormal twist and hints of schizophrenia in its concept design. It requires that viewers suspend their disbelief and common sense in order to fall in love with it. For example, we must... read more

8.5/10 story
8.5/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
7/10 characters
8.5/10 overall

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid

on Oct 31, 2009

Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid came to me at a time when my love for anime was suffering a most unnatural downturn. I thought its predecessor FMP generic and overhyped and thus harboured low expectations when embarking upon this show. The FMP franchise is beset with chronic disjointedness – while FMP delivers a standardised mecha plot involving various criminals, the side story Fumoffu is a highly successful spastic comedy. TSR, again, is a very different kettle of fish in that it adopts a more brutal narrative style that allows the characters to strut their serious side. I also think... read more

8/10 story
8.5/10 animation
7/10 sound
8/10 characters
7.8/10 overall

Okane ga Nai!

on Oct 29, 2009

I’ve heard of foxes so desperate to escape a hunter’s trap that they’ve gnawed off their own leg in the process. I felt a similar urge of self-preservation to rip out my eyes when watching Okane ga Nai. At the same time, I couldn’t help marvelling at its bottomless supply of sleaze, its total disregard for old literary comforts like ‘plotting’, and not to mention character designs so disfigured that I thought the animators must be closet homophobes. Indeed, there’s something eerily self-harming in the experience; like that deathly vice maiming so many innocent... read more

1/10 story
3/10 animation
3.5/10 sound
1/10 characters
1.5/10 overall

Macross Zero

on Oct 27, 2009

I've heard some people say when an anime looks this good, does it really matter that the plot is bad? As an answer, I put this to you: rape with a truncheon is still rape with a truncheon even if I use lube. Indeed, the animation makes it go down easier, to put it crudely, but that doesn’t mask the fact it’s a painful process.But then I've never believed good animation was a suitable excuse - there is no reason why something ludicrously spectacular cannot also be meaningful. In that regard, Macross Zero is a glowing example to others. This is single-handedly the most beautiful mecha anime I... read more

6.5/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
8.5/10 overall

Monster

on Oct 27, 2009

Events begin humbly with Dr Kenzo Tenma's professional dilemmas appearing soap-opera predictable. Within a handful of episodes the show becomes a polished, sophisticated thriller to catch breaths and churn stomachs. And at the end, a flawless finish. Monster progresses like a serial novel, with each arc not just a gripping tale in its own right, but linking seamlessly into the harrowing journey that Dr Tenma, Nina and many others have to take as a whole. The animation, though far from seminal, is all the better for being timelessly realistic. Such atmosphere, such fantastic use of camera angles and... read more

9.5/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall

Ride Back

on Oct 27, 2009

Action is the spice of life. This fact seems to have passed Ride Back by; instead it reworks the mecha genre – get this – with less epic awesomeness and a lot more teenage moping!!!1! This is indeed deceptive stuff that begins riproaringly well in the first episode with outstanding stunts that only the likes of MADHOUSE could deliver. Only to deteriorate rapidly into a plodding account of the main character Rin being very, very sad. Why is she sad? Because she misses her robot, which has gone off somewhere.Hell, many (excluding me) took issue with Shinji Ikari's (Neon Genesis Evangelion)... read more

4/10 story
7.5/10 animation
7/10 sound
3/10 characters
4/10 overall

Record of Lodoss War OVA

on Oct 27, 2009

There's nothing particularly offensive about Record of the Lodoss War. But perhaps that's where half it's problems lie. It's a perfectly normal, perfectly blueprint kind of high fantasy - only as if written by the inadequate Terry Brooks rather than the seminal J RR Tolkien. It's bad enough when considering that many contemporaries of the show achieve far greater originality, but in light of how far the fantasy genre has come since shows like FMA, I see nobody today finding any redeeming features in this nondescript antiquated work. Everything that happens comes straight out of the Manual Of How to Write a... read more

5/10 story
7.5/10 animation
8/10 sound
5/10 characters
5/10 overall

Blazing Transfer Student

on Oct 15, 2010

Story
Anyone thinking Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann is studio Gainax's first attempt at paying homage to the shounen genre should check out Blazing Transfer Student for some reeducation. Granted, 'reeducation' might be strong language when referring to an anime that thrives on doing everything exactly the same way that all others of its kind do it, but considering its bizarre obscurity (to the extent that Gainax... read more

6/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
2/10 characters
6/10 overall

Bokura ga Ita

on Jan 8, 2010

Admittedly, much of Bokura ga Ita's content is unoriginal, with the usual high school scenarios on offer - from gym classes where bishies display their sporting prowess to summer festivals with yukata dress codes. Apart from that, there's also the painfully generic protagonist, Nanami. Mentally, she inhabits an ideal world where boys protect girls who are vulnerable, confused, and kawaiiii! In light of more progressive characters such as vivacious Kyoko (Skip Beat) and hilariously dorky Risa (Lovely Complex), Nanami looks like something washed up from a parallel universe where women's lib never happened... read more

6.5/10 story
7/10 animation
4.5/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
6.5/10 overall

They Were Eleven

on Jan 8, 2010

Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era. I should have been born in the seventies so that when the eighties and nineties rocked up, I’d be old enough to appreciate some of the greatest anime in their original context.When They Were Eleven aired, I was but one year old. Nonetheless, it has a classic who-dun'-it mystery that feels as gripping today as it must have more than two decades ago. While the sabotaging of the space mission by the mysterious eleventh member is compelling, and even squeezes in an innovative moral subplot (feminism in an anime of the 80s???), what cements the show's fun... read more

7.5/10 story
7.5/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
8/10 characters
7.9/10 overall

Future Police Urashiman

on May 14, 2009

Story
While studios churn out more sophisticated and well-marketed products year on year, too few anime these days successfully combine an easy-going fun style with an involving mystery and traditional ethics about decency, teamwork, and justice. By this I mean, the kind of material that’s perfectly made for bite-sized weekly consumption and provides the viewer just enough amusement to last them the seven days until the next instalment. With the anime scene as it is, Future Police Urashiman’s strength certainly lies in being undemanding and yet disproportionately... read more

6.5/10 story
6/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
7/10 characters
6.5/10 overall

Hikari no Densetsu

on Sep 1, 2008

Story
As an amalgamation of generic romance and a unique sporting gimmick, Hikari no Densetsu is the definitive shoujo sports anime. Take your typical high school love affair with all its ‘loves me / loves me not' teenage angst, add a handful of talented protagonists, and stir vigorously with a distinctive art form to make a wholesome, satisfying drama. Whilst totally unremarkable in content, the protagonists' romantic trials manage to stop short of melodrama (an achievement in itself for most shoujo). I'd even go as far as to say that, in ditching the common love ‘triangle' for the... read more

6.5/10 story
6.5/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
6.5/10 overall

Witch Hunter Robin

on Mar 5, 2011

Having amassed all the necessary ingredients to make a grim, action-packed supernatural thriller, Witch Hunter Robin promptly drowns them in a shallow puddle of Not Much Happens. Rarely have I witnessed such pompous grey tone or such funereal voicing or so many shots of people staring mournfully at what must be the most fascinating middle-distance ever. Any spasms of action quickly default to some nondescript bad guy telekinetically hurling flower pots or dust bins and the protagonist Robin incinerating them in a puff of digitalised fire. But that’s not the worst of its sins - no, that would be the... read more

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
4.5/10 overall

Peter Pan no Bouken

on Jan 8, 2010

Story
I dedicate this review to my five-year old cousin, Adotey. Were it not for his funny way of mumbling Peter Pan no Bouken's opening theme in a made-up language, and the fact that having him beside me reminded me of when I first watched this show at his age, my motivation to review it would have died quickly. The legendary hero Peter Pan whisks three English children, Wendy, John, and Michael Darling, to a magical place called Neverland. They fly there using the power of fairy dust. Unfortunately, once they touch down on Neverland, things... read more

5/10 story
6.5/10 animation
4/10 sound
4/10 characters
5/10 overall

Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie 2: The Sealed Card

on May 25, 2008

Story
As the true sequel to the original series, Card Captor Sakura: The Movie 2: The Sealed Card continues the story of Sakura, Shaoran, and all the rest. As fans will remember, the series left a significant romantic subplot up in the air, which this movie finally attempts to resolve; and having lost none of its unique charm and sweet-natured humour, it does not disappoint in the least.For those afraid that The Sealed Card is nothing more than an excuse for a fluffy romance, fear not: CCS retains its adventurous story-telling style, with scary action and sweet romance alternating in equal measure to... read more

7/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
8/10 characters
7/10 overall

Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie

on May 23, 2008

Story
‘RELEASE!' Thirty seconds into Card Captor Sakura: The Movie, and I already felt I had never actually stopped watching the series. This instalment is fundamentally an ‘extended episode' type of sequel that continues all the good work established beforehand. Once again, Sakura embarks upon a magical adventure involving transformations, acute peril, and lots of card-throwing. In true CCS tradition, as soon as Sakura & Co arrive in Hong Kong, some time is devoted to building the atmosphere; a quarter of the movie is made up of strange recurring dreams and spooky... read more

6.5/10 story
8/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
6.5/10 overall

Zetsuai Bronze 1989

on Apr 28, 2008

Story
My first thought after finishing Zetsuai Bronze 1989 was to mourn the precious hour I lost watching it. I remember I had some washing to do, and my desk, so cluttered with stationary and books and the odd crumbs of cake, definitely could have done with a tidy; I regret not having the foresight to know that doing anything other than watching Bronze would have been a better use of my time. While its predecessor, Zetsuai 1989, has a cheesy sort of charm comparable to a preposterous and yet terribly addictive American soap opera, this awful sequel just bores me to distraction. Opening... read more

3/10 story
4/10 animation
3.5/10 sound
3/10 characters
3/10 overall

Black Jack - The Movie

on Jan 15, 2008

Story
Imagine an average episode of House but without Hugh Laurie providing the sharp wit to compensate for the improbable plotline - terrible, right? But now imagine Ben Affleck dressed up as Two Face from Batman in the lead role instead. Hold that image. Yup, that's how unbelievably daft Black Jack The Movie is. In terms of plot, there is not an iota of imagination in it; weird medical condition killing people, doctor is pulled into intrigue against his will, he finds out what the problem is, there is a twist, the end. It begins well enough, with the opening few minutes cutting from scenes of... read more

5/10 story
5.5/10 animation
5/10 sound
3/10 characters
5.5/10 overall

Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail

on Mar 20, 2012

Story
Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail fully exploits the OVA format to deliver a grittier, grimier ride through Roanapur. While the franchise traditionally splashed more explosions on our TV screens than gloopy ruby-red blood, that trend reverses here as our heroes slice, dice, bludgeon, and even saw their way through a bunch of unimportant nonentities. And that’s probably why we’ll love it despite some of its unfortunate blunders. Broadly speaking, this third outing is Black Lagoon suited... read more

6.5/10 story
8.5/10 animation
6/10 sound
8/10 characters
7.5/10 overall