What a cute short! I really enjoyed Tonari no Seki-kun! Seki-kun sits next to Yokoi in class. She always notices him playing around (and the ridiculous games he invents are dee-lightful), and thinks she should be scolding him...but then she gets sucked into his games and ends up being just as distracted as him. So, yeah, hilarious. And not long enough to become annoying. If you like shorts and comedy, this one will be a solid choice.
If I had to use one word to describe this anime, it would be, "Delightful." Story: Uchouten Kazoku did a great job of showing rather than telling its story. It has a "chaotic comedy" appeal which is underscored by sad and serious moments. The story has an intricacy that reminded me of Baccano!, although the genre is completely different. Lots of characters, interacting at various points throughout the story, gradually revealing a bigger story. It does well with bringing up past events by focusing on the parts of the past that are relevant to the story without using drawn-out... read more
This will just be a brief review to kind of collect my thoughts about Kin-iro Mosaic. Light on content (a la K-On or Tamako Market), thin on plot, and heavy on high-pitched moe and friendship, Kin-iro Mosaic is a fairly average show. There's no overarching plot except developing the girls' friendships, but even that seems light and full of silly jokes. I think my biggest complaint though, is that I never really believed that Alice and Karen were from Great Britain. Sure they had blonde hair, but they never really acted like Europeans. I can't criticize this point too much, because the show never... read more
UtaPri is an extremely light series. It was very pleasant and easy viewing, and didn't have any glaring flaws despite its very stereotypical reverse harem nature. Basically, a plain girl with no obvious talent makes it into prestigious school for idols and entertainers, actually has lots of talent, makes friends with a bunch of hot guys who all try to get her to be their exclusive composer, eventually causing them to form a 6-man idol group. Story: I ranked the story 4/10 for predictability and cheesy moments, the kind where I rolled my eyes and said, "Am I really watching this?" Don't let that... read more
In comparison to some of the other works to come out of the Young Animator Training Project, Ryo's story is somewhat vague, takes place in a historical era (which probably requires prior knowledge of Japanese history [which can be assumed when writing for a Japanese audience]), and doesn't really have a lot of meat or development. I was kind of surprised by how weak the story was, and I didn't really think the animation itself was all that special. I wouldn't go as far as to call it a waste of 25 minutes, but if you're not a history buff, you might consider skipping this one.
This installment of Oto na Joshi no Anime time brings us 3 episodes and 3 stories, each about a Japanese woman and her life. We are shown a day or two in the life of each one, and watch her interact with the people around her, while we listen to her thoughts, which are often different from what she says and does. Through each story, we touch on social issues, all of which are of pressing concern for contemporary Japan and particularly women. Story: Fabulously done, the stories follow each woman through her daily life. We are shown how their life seems normal, and as the episode develops, we find out that... read more
An otherwise boring high school boy, Kasuga, is tempted by the left-behind gym clothes of his crush. Startled by a noise as he picks them up, he runs off, only to find that he has inadvertantly stolen them. Terrified, he hides them at home. Shortly thereafter, he finds out that Nakamura, a rebellious member of his class, saw him steal them. Using his secret as leverage, she blackmails him into a "contract," though what it is or what she wants remains ambiguous until the end of the series. Story: Basically involves Nakamura continuing to be a busybody, Kasuga trying to normally date the girl... read more
I keep waiting for a confession, but Chihayafuru 2 is a big huge tease. The focus, as in the first season, was on the competitive karuta aspect--making it more or less a sports show--with just enough hints of developing relationships between characters to string you along and leave you wanting more. Gah! Story: Chihayafuru's story is typical of any other sports show, highlighting aspects of training and spending a lot of time battling weird opponents. The only distinguishing feature (and the feature that puts it solidly in the shoujo category) is the romance, but it's so light it's barely... read more
RDG: Red Data Girl: the story of a shy girl with a goddess living inside of her. Suzuhara wants nothing more than to be normal, but the goddess' powers keep making that difficult to achieve. And she has a crush on her protector, who only seems to dislike her. Story: As you can see from the above synopsis, the plot isn't terribly interesting. With more interesting characters, there would be plenty of potential here, but the characters were timid and more willing to hide their emotions than give in to them. Animation & Sound: Pretty standard, and the pretty art enhances the light-on-content feel of the... read more
It really doesn't get much better than this. Makoto Shinkai has knocked this one out of the park--every time I watch one of his movies, I wonder if his art can get any better. Hold on to your hats, because somehow, every time, he manages to produce a work of quality that completely overshadows his earlier works. And that, my friends, is no easy task. *Spoiler Alert* Story: Keeping it simple, the story is a bittersweet romantic tale of a boy who meets a stranger in the park on rainy mornings, when it is his rule to skip first period. He has a dream to become a shoemaker; she drinks beer, eats... read more
Mayo Chiki is about a boy who is afraid of touching women who discovers that the butler of the richest girl in school is actually a girl masquerading as a boy. He is forced to keep their secret, and ends up growing closer with both girls. Story: Not terribly original, standard fare, typical run of beach/school festival/hot springs/etc episodes. The plot is never annoying, and what really keeps you going is wondering if Konoe and Jirou will ever confess to each other. Animation: Nothing special, nothing terrible. Characters: Very solid and entertaining. Definitely the driving force of the show. In... read more
Marie & Gali is about a young girl who finds herself transported into Galihabara, a magical land where famous scientists of days past are alive and thriving. She meets Galileo, Madame Curie, and others, learning about science in order to go home. Story: The story provides a frame for Marie to learn about some scientific principle or another. Usually involving a ridiculous problem which must be solved, the comedy manages to be both clever and stupidly slapstick. Don't watch this one for a complex plot. Animation: I gave this a slightly higher score because I love love love Pet and Marie's character... read more
I almost gave up on this one because of the characters' propensity for making long-winded speeches about Exodus/Genesis/time travel/twisting logic/bizarre Shakespeare references. Ultimately, I would consider Zetsuen no Tempest very, very average. The characterization is fairly strong, but the particulars of the world ending are annoying vague and feel contrived. Too much in the story exists because you know the author thought it was cool. Take it or leave it: it's not a drop-it-like-it's-hot show, but neither is it a must-watch show.
This was a trainwreck of an anime. All-around epic fail. The one exception was the character design, which was simply sumptuous and was the only thing that kept me watching. Utimately, the art was completely a waste given the content. Wait, was there even content? But I digress. Story: The story didn't make sense at all until the last episode, and even then it made hardly any sense anyway. The characters were flatter than cardboard and about as flavorful. The main character was a nameless airhead and couldn't even make a decision without relying on the (male) characters around her. Characters... read more
This is a very typical KyoAni piece. It is light and enjoyable, fairly average with just enough quirks (aka talking bird) to be interesting. The premise is completely silly, and if you take it seriously, you are doing it wrong. Haters gonna hate, but there's really nothing bad about Tamako Market. Recommended for K-On! fans, and fans of other light slice-of-lifes.
Sakurasou was an anime which managed to hold my interest despite its fairly average storyline. It never made me bored, but I never went beyond feeling lukewarm about each week's episode arriving. Something was missing in it for me, and I'm not quite sure what that was. Not a bad show by any means, though. Story: Basically, a school/slice of life story about some pretty crazy characters, most of whom have talents that set them apart from "normal" people. It utilizes typical plotlines [school festival, foreign friend arriving to take someone home, threat of their home being shut down] to explore... read more
This OVA is a short snippet of Natsuiro Kiseki's four main characters four years after the events of the TV series. It shows them meeting up at Rin's shrine for the first time in a long time, where they have a short conversation about what they've done since the events of the main series and what they will be doing with their futures. I hate OVAs that are purely fanservice or are unrelated to the original storyline--this is definitely not either of thoes things. It is short'n'sweet, and adds to the storyline by giving us an idea of what came after.
Natsuiro Kiseki is about four childhood friends who get involved in a series of strange events (including flying and bodyswitching) after they accidentally wish upon a sacred stone at the local shrine. These events serve as the backdrop to the main conflict, Saki's imminent move to Tokyo, and allow the girls to explore the depths of their friendship while making new memories over summer vacation. Story: The story is episodic, and is driven by the four characters who each have a very distinct and strong personality. It goes through many typical "summer vacation" events, but also adds in some... read more
I watched 10 minutes of this movie and decided it was showing more or less the same events as the TV series, and didn't feel like watching it again. I liked the TV series a lot (and I'd encourage you to check out my review of it) but suspect I would prefer the show to the movie. Either way, it's worth your time.
Suki-tte Ii na Yo is a very simple shoujo anime with a mellow and realistic setting. A lot of people compare it to Kimi ni Todoke because of the very similar premise for both shows, but by the end, I felt that KnT took an entirely different direction, focusing on the chase, rather than the post-formation relationship dynamics. Also the side characters are completely different and make the atmosphere completely different, but I digress. Story: A basic story about a shy, plain girl with no friends, Mei, and a popular boy, Yamato, who fall in love with each other, Suki-tte Ii na Yo has a very... read more
I almost dropped this show after the first episode, due to Sakura's exceedingly awkward behavior. What this show had going for it was the whole "limits of justice" theme, and I was hoping it would develop more strongly in that direction. After all, first episodes are tough to pull off (a good example of a good first ep would be Ouran HSHS). Story: Well, I definitely wished I had dropped it early on (and the only reason for continuing was hope and the fact that the subbers released it during my few slow days for the season). What a crock of crap. In fact, it was so hokey and fakey and... read more
What seems like a simple movie about a trio of homeless people trying to return a baby to its mother is actually a very complex piece of work with layers of meaning. Story: The story is characteristically Satoshi Kon, in that it hops, skips, and jumps through unrelated elements. I find that his style of storytelling adds the realism of chaos and points out the humor of coincidence in the unorganized nature of the plot. However, the random events also serve to unravel the facades that our characters have built up, and we come to discover their pasts, as well as see them wrestle with their ghosts in... read more
I'll admit to being a pretty big sucker for shoujo, but what really endeared Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun to me was Shizuku's startled reaction, the one where her pigtails stood straight up in the air, as well as Haru's hilariously random behavior. Even better, I think this show is an example of Shoujo Done Right, and is free from a couple obnoxious tropes I will mention later. Story: Lighter on plot and heavier on character development, although it wasn't the huge or meaningful type of development; mostly just looking at the difference between Shizuku in episodes 1 and 12. I thought event sequences/timing were... read more
Btooom! is a lot like the move Saw. It is (yet another) video-games-become-real-life story, and the premise is that "bad people" are chosen by someone who knows them to get dumped on an island for a life-or-death survival game wherein everyone is armed with bombs. Except that Saw took the scenario to an uncomfortable extreme, thereby much more interestingly making a point. I'm not sure Btooom! even had a point to make. Story: Anyway, the story was weaksauce, containing no clear thematic direction, and coming to very little resolution at the end. We supposedly see the main character come to grips... read more
I first encountered Busou Shinki when a Japanese friend (who loves mecha) brought me a Murmeltier as an omiyage from one of his visits. He said something like, "She had an eyepatch and a hat with cat ears, and was kind of gothic and cute, but also robot and weapons. She's like a cross between you and me!" You certainly could take this anime adapation of a game and toy line as a thinly disguised ecchi show watered down to be appropriate for "children" and pandering to doll-joint-loving-otaku by creating and perpetuating an image of women as dumb, weak, helpless because of their... read more
As shorts go, this one was pretty good. It managed, through a very small amount of action, to hint at a much bigger plot. The animation quality was high, and it very succesfully left me wanting much much more.
When I heard that there was going to be an anime adaptation for JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, I was pretty excited. I'm not sure if the phrase "cult classic" is quite right, but people seem to really like it, and as I've said before, I'm not a huge manga reader. Anyway, I figured if everyone liked it, so would I. Well I didn't. And I tried. I finally ended up dropping the show after realizing that I was watching it out of a sense of obligation to a well-known thing. I'll admit I feel bad about not finishing it, but I just couldn't make it through. Here are my reasons: Reason 1: It looks like a... read more
This is Ghibli the way I like it best, sans weird fantasy monsters (I'm looking at you, Ponyo), and heavy on the historical slice-of-life, which always rates high in my book. Story: I liked the story. I've seen some complaining that the drama wasn't dramatic. I guess if you're over-focusing on the romantic drama, that's true. "OMG we're siblings but we're in love?! Ooops, just a misunderstanding," is admittedly not anything revolutionary, however, I would argue that because Shun's adoption occurred on account of historical events, it's not as fluffy as it would seem. Remember how the adults... read more
This is a cool show I watched a loooong time ago, and for some reason today I discovered that it wasn't on my AP list. The following review content is edited from a review I wrote on Crunchyroll. I would like to start by mentioning the fact that I find Japanese history to be convoluted and generally boring, involving rice, taxes and land laws. This show, much like any other historically-based show, made me wish that I had paid a little bit more attention to my History of Japanese Civilization class because I would find it much easier to follow. You probably haven't heard of this show because it is one... read more
AO will never escape comparison to the original season of Eureka 7. As I tried to stand it on its own and evaluate it, I really didn't get far, and I actually came away with a better opinion of the original (despite that show's propensity for dragging things out way longer than was enjoyable for me). Overall, I thought that AO's "plot" was much less coherent and its characters less quirky and lovable, with the notable exception of the main character. A lot of my dislike of Eureka 7 stems from how downright obnoxious, whiny, angsty, and pathetic Renton was throughout most of the show. Ao was much... read more