vivafruit's avatar

vivafruit

  • Boulder, CO
  • Joined Jan 1, 2007
  • 30 / M

Texhnolyze

on Nov 29, 2004

Story
Serial Experiments Lain, which Yoshitoshi Abe has also been involved in, shares a very similar story structure to Texhnolyze. Both start with a relatively unfulfilling storyline that explains nothing and expects the audience to infer much of what is going on. In the final half, the anime will leap off of the foundation that it has so painstakingly created and go in a totally unexpected direction, resulting in an ultimately satisfying experience. Unfortunately, this approach is inevitably what turns people off... read more

9.5/10 story
9.5/10 animation
8/10 sound
5/10 characters
8/10 overall

Macross Zero

on Nov 30, 2004

Story
Macross Zero is an undeniably huge undertaking; this clearly has one of the biggest budgets to ever be granted to an OVA. Bandai has fairly deep pockets, but I’m sure even they must have been a little antsy about the huge capital investment involved in such a project. Thus, my primary concern when I started up the first episode was that the OVA, in the interest of "playing it safe," would create a relatively ambitionless plot that strayed little from what other animes from the Macross series have already done. My worries were not... read more

7/10 story
9.5/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
4/10 characters
7.5/10 overall

Uninhabited Planet Survive

on Dec 30, 2004

Story
The storyline is undeniably the weakest part of Uninhabited Planet Survive, and is the main contributing factor for why the show never quite seems to break mediocrity. There were numerous points at which the anime looked like it was improving, but the formulaic and predictable plot would always kick in and prevent this from actually happening. One of the major problems lies with the basic premise. At its heart, there are really only two major ways to execute a shipwrecked-on-random-piece-of-rock storyline like this one: a Lord of the... read more

4/10 story
5.5/10 animation
6/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
5.5/10 overall

Hi no Tori

on Jan 16, 2005

Story
When a director decides to eschew the standard glitz that plagues contemporary anime, the quality of the story is really all that matters. In the end, the creator must trust that the tale they are telling is a good one, and that it alone will be able to keep the viewers' attention. As luck would have it, Hi no Tori has a more than respectable storyline. Narratives that are simultaneously simple and creative are difficult to come by, but this is certainly one of them. The show takes familiar topics and expands on them in a way that makes them feel fresh and... read more

8.5/10 story
7.5/10 animation
6/10 sound
5/10 characters
7/10 overall

One Piece

on Mar 14, 2005

Story
For series of this length, there’s a fairly intriguing piece of conjecture that I occasionally enjoy trotting around. According to the theory, no matter how awesome the original premise, no matter how charming the cast of characters, no matter how competent the studio, every long series will tank after about 75 episodes. As evidence, a myriad of lengthy anime can be cited that begin excellently and then slowly degenerate into recycled material and filler. Kenshin was excellent until some genius decided to deviate from the manga. Kodomo no Omocha... read more

8/10 story
6.5/10 animation
5.5/10 sound
9/10 characters
7.5/10 overall

Earth Girl Arjuna

on Mar 20, 2005

Story
No matter the format, truly effective persuasive literature has usually attempted to simultaneously accomplish two completely different things. As a general rule, each work will appeal to your base emotions while at the same time submitting composed facts to convince you on a purely intellectual level. To work properly, the author must then combine these seemingly opposing forces into a single cohesive argument. For instance, Jonathan Swifts "A Modest Proposal" appears to be using nothing but impartial facts, but presents them in such a way as to illicit an incredibly strong emotional... read more

3.5/10 story
7.5/10 animation
9.5/10 sound
4.5/10 characters
5/10 overall

The Place Promised In Our Early Days

on May 10, 2005

Story
This is the area that seems to be drawing the most contention. Some laud this movie’s story as touching and elegant, while others vilify it as convoluted, leaden and incomplete. However, although the criticisms are definitely understandable, the story is praiseworthy in spite of them (honestly, were you expecting me to say anything else?). The first thing to emphasize is that, regardless of what the plot summary may sound like, this is not and should not be regarded as true science fiction. While there are definitely sci-fi elements in the show, the approach that the director takes uses... read more

9/10 story
10/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
7/10 characters
8.5/10 overall

Paradise Kiss

on Mar 27, 2007

Story
From the summaries I had read, I was expecting Paradise Kiss to basically be teenie-bopping wish fulfillment. Namely, the kind where an average chick somehow stumbles into an easy and comfortable lifestyle through little actual effort on her part, ala Princess Diaries. Fortunately, this is not an air-headed, chauvinistic Cinderella story of some girl swept off her feet from poverty into economic dependence and financial stability. Rather, at its core, this is a simple but compelling coming-of-age story, in which a previously ambitionless and... read more

7.5/10 story
8/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
9/10 characters
7.5/10 overall

Black Lagoon

on Mar 27, 2007

Story
A note: This review covers both Black Lagoon and Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage, and the score is a composite of the two series. If I were to rate the two seasons individually, I would most likely give season 1 around a 7.5 and season 2 around a 6.5. Black Lagoon looks like a mindless action series. It smells like a mindless action series. However, it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a mindless action series. To be sure, Black Lagoon almost certainly has mindless action in... read more

6.5/10 story
6/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
9/10 characters
7/10 overall

Jigoku Shoujo

on Mar 28, 2007

Story
Jigoku Shoujo is the latest in a long and celebrated tradition of "horror/suspense" titles that don't really have either horror or suspense. The anime tend to go for sheer style over things like character development or logic and generally end with gruesome deaths tinged in irony. In the case of some of the shorter works, the formula tends to work: Vampire Princess Miyu, Pet Shop of Horrors, and even the more recent and slightly longer ... read more

4/10 story
6.5/10 animation
5/10 sound
3.5/10 characters
4.5/10 overall

My Beautiful Girl Mari

on Mar 30, 2007

Story
There is a kind of universal appeal to the storyline, which is part slice-of-life and part sheer undiluted fantasy. The two seemingly contradictory elements combine into a heartwarming tale about mismatched romance, dreamy nostalgia, and poignant farewells. For those who have seen Only Yesterday, there are definite similarities between the two plots, and I’m almost certain that those who liked one will like the other. Like Only Yesterday, My Beautiful Girl Mari’s main fault in its narrative... read more

7.5/10 story
9/10 animation
7/10 sound
7/10 characters
8/10 overall

Pita Ten

on Mar 30, 2007

Story
Pita Ten's storyline suffers a fair bit from repetition, which only further reinforces the idea that the anime is an exceedingly shallow version of something better. A good deal of the jokes in the show is reused with little variation, and the episodic plot really begins to drag after a while. Aside from the first and last episodes, the anime is composed entirely of meandering and inconsequential subplots, which is something that Ive never really enjoyed that much. The final two episodes are actually fairly plot-oriented and end up being the most... read more

5.5/10 story
6.5/10 animation
6/10 sound
6/10 characters
6/10 overall

Samurai Champloo

on Mar 30, 2007

Story
Of all the general themes in anime, one of the most thoroughly overdone ones is the “with friends, we shall prevail” motif. In these, the protagonist can only overcome some seemingly insurmountable task with the help of his or her group of friends. Even those who haven’t seen much anime can probably name at least one series that does this; they’re literally everywhere. One trait that sets Shinichiro Watanabe’s work apart is his refusal to accept this Japanese conformity. In his anime, all of the characters define themselves by their individuality, fighting for... read more

8/10 story
9/10 animation
5.5/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
7.5/10 overall

Monster

on Mar 30, 2007

Story
I’ve written about this several times now, but for the sake of completeness, allow me to complain once more on the general quality of lengthy series. The simple fact that long series tend to be filler-ridden, asinine and childish wastes of time is not a difficult one to realize. When it comes right down to it, a profitable 50+ episode series needs a big audience and a small budget, and thus most of these shows tend to appeal to the largest demographic (boys) while at the same time keeping the content per episode to a minimum. As evidence, I point towards the cancellation of ... read more

9.5/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
8.5/10 overall

Kino's Journey

on Mar 30, 2007

Story
For Kino's Journey, a much more succinct praise than anything I can come up with can be found, quite simply, in AnimeNfo’s average score. The series is, in essence, a thinker’s anime. There is no real overarching plot, no fanservice, and very little action throughout the show… and yet, Kino no Tabi nonetheless carries a score of 9.0. That Kino no Tabi can simultaneously have intelligence and broad appeal speaks for how amazing it truly is. In short, this 13 episode series is a brilliant philosophical journey. The plot is... read more

10/10 story
8/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
9.5/10 overall

Mushishi

on Apr 3, 2007

Story
Describing Mushishi to those who have not experienced it is almost completely impossible... and yet, here I am, furiously pounding away, struggling to say something even remotely coherent about this wonderful work. What makes the show so difficult to write about? Well, for one thing, Mushishi is completely different from anything else that I've seen, anime or otherwise. Everything about the show, from its leisurely pace to its beautiful animation, seems to be on a separate wavelength from just about anything else out there. The closest comparison I've... read more

9/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
9/10 overall

Noein

on Apr 9, 2007

Story
Few will deny that the anime begins well. There’s a flurry of buzzwords, well-choreographed action scenes and some genuinely awesome sci-fi themes, thrown at the audience with enough precision and style to suck them right in. It’s in this I-don’t-know-what’s-going-on-but-I-don’t-really-care stage that the anime is at its best. Flash forward to midway through the show, and the story is still quite reasonable. The anime employs the parallel universe interpretation of quantum mechanics to explain its universe, and, surprisingly enough, does so in a way that is both... read more

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

Ouran High School Host Club

on Apr 12, 2007

Story
The strongest episodes in the Ouran High School Host Club are essentially nothing more than character development. In them, the show will take one of the characters and crack his very soul open for all to see. The standouts are by far Kyouya, a self-proclaimed egoist who ends up being anything but, and the identical pair of twins, whose need for personal individuality conflicts with their inability to relate to anyone else. Unfortunately, excluding both the brilliant beginning and the fantastic character-building episodes, much of the... read more

6/10 story
7/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
7.5/10 overall

Azusa Will Help!

on Apr 12, 2007

Story
I seem to seperate myself from most of the anime-watching crowd in that I actually prefer shorter animes. In a TV series, the object is generally to pad the length as much as possible in order to cut costs but maintain viewership. In short OVAs, however, little time is available, and so every minute usually will contribute to the overall experience (as opposed to bloated series like Naruto or Hikaru no Go). Another large perk of short animes is well illustrated by Azusa Will Help!: if... read more

2.5/10 story
4/10 animation
5.5/10 sound
4.5/10 characters
4/10 overall

Gungrave

on Apr 12, 2007

Story
Loyalty. Friendship. Love. Bravery. Trust. Greed. Conceit. Betrayal. Hatred. Regret. What is perhaps most amazing about Gungrave is the anime’s incredibly nihilistic philosophy throughout most of the show. In the first half of the anime, we see the characters striving to build up a metaphorical castle in the sky – an immense, ornate creation with no foundation to support it. In the second half of the anime, we see everything collapsing under its own weight, a house of cards built atop a shaky table. What should we devote our lives to, if nothing... read more

9.5/10 story
6/10 animation
6/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
7.5/10 overall

Haibane Renmei

on Apr 13, 2007

Story
One of my pet peeves is when people imply that a work is good solely because it's allegorical. Pompous assholes will come up with something like, "If you didnt like Haibane Renmei, it must be because you didnt catch all the symbolism!" and then end their argument right there, as if people can be entertained with empty metaphors alone. This is obviously absurd. Ok, you say. If you’re so smart and symbolism isn’t what makes Haibane Renmei so freaking awesome, what is? …good question. I’ll get to that later. The... read more

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

Hana Yori Dango

on Apr 14, 2007

Story
There are many individuals online who seem to believe that all anime, regardless of its genre or general quality, is art. According to them, each and every series is something to be admired from a suitably safe distance, and any sort of criticism is basically heresy. The problem with this theory lies in shows like Hana Yori Dango. The show seems interested in nothing but catering to the lowest common denominator, and throws all manner of clichés into the work to do so. If Hana Yori Dango is "art," so is fast food. The shows... read more

4/10 story
3.5/10 animation
5/10 sound
5/10 characters
4.5/10 overall

Gunslinger Girl

on Apr 18, 2007

Story
The basic premise: dehabilitated, parentless girls are healed, brainwashed and then forced to work as cyborg assassins for a government institution. In my mind, there would have been a far easier way to make this anime. With almost no mental effort whatsoever, one could very easily use its pretext as a jumping board for a lighthearted, mindless action anime. The plot could have been the kind of meaningless, unimaginative action fluff found in animes like Naruto, Noir or Scryed. If one made the... read more

7/10 story
7.5/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
8/10 overall

Junkers Come Here

on Apr 18, 2007

Story
Few people would try to dispute Ghibli’s awesome craftsmanship in anime; the studio has released several animes that easily make it into my top 10 list, and I have yet to see a feature length film by them that wasn’t entertaining. With all of the success that they have enjoyed (Spirited Away is one of Japan’s highest grossing films ever), I’ve always personally wondered why other studios haven’t attempted to imitate Ghiblis undeniably appealing style. The answer could very well lie in ... read more

5/10 story
7/10 animation
4.5/10 sound
6/10 characters
5.5/10 overall

Interstella 5555 - The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem

on Apr 18, 2007

Story
Interstella 5555 - the 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem manages to provide a surprisingly entertaining, albeit simple, science-fiction caper. I was impressed pretty much throughout the show at how well they managed to synch the mood of the song with what was happening in the story (although as mentioned below, the synching of the animation to the music was less impressive). Overall, quality work from start to finish.
Animation
The animation is certainly not bad by any means, but in the end is somewhat... read more

7/10 story
5.5/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
4.5/10 characters
6.5/10 overall

Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play

on Apr 26, 2007

Story
"Soap Opera." For me, this phrase generally illicits only negative responses. If asked what came to my mind upon hearing the term, the result would probably be something along these lines: poorly acted, intellectually devoid, shamelessly manipulative trash aimed at uneducated housewives with far too much time on their hands. While I generally tend to avoid comparing animes to totally unrelated parts of American pop culture (Cowboy Bebop is like Die Hard plus JAZZ!), in many ways Fushigi... read more

6/10 story
4/10 animation
4/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
6/10 overall

Koi Kaze

on Apr 26, 2007

Story
Sexual taboos are a funny thing, aren’t they? To be honest, the incest seen in Please Twins and Angel Sanctuary never really fazed me. My brain was able to recognize these unhealthy relationships for what they were – a gimmick used to make the audience pay more attention. Although from a moralistic standpoint what the characters were doing was definitely pretty skanky, in the end I didn’t really worry all that much; it was all in good fun, after all. Only when Koi... read more

9/10 story
5.5/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
8.5/10 overall

Welcome to the NHK!

on Apr 29, 2007

Story
Note: Nope, haven’t read the manga yet. Almost nothing is better than watching a show that exceeds all of your expectations. I jumped into this series expecting a polished rehash of the same old theme that almost all ecchi shows have: namely, one (or more!) cute girls inexplicably falling for an insultingly spineless Keitarou-clone loser. However, this GONZO work is not, by any stretch of the imagination, your average nerd-meets-girl. On the contrary, Welcome to the NHK! is a remarkably strange series – one that happens to be among the... read more

8/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
8.5/10 overall

Hikaru no Go

on May 1, 2007

Story
If Hikaru no Go is to be credited for anything, it would be for practically teaching me the definition of a love-hate relationship. No other anime has been more successful at making me hate the show while simultaneously making me watch more of it. Hikaru no Go, at its best moments, ranked as one of my top animes of all time (a long time ago, the series had a 9.5 on my animenfo account). However, at its worst, an uncontrollable, irrational desire boiled within me to murder the creator with a sack of go stones (or some other similarly ironic... read more

7/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
7.5/10 overall

Pale Cocoon

on Jun 1, 2007

Story
Most people will find it hard not to compare this 20 minute OVA to Voices of a Distant Star; indeed, in many ways Pale Cocoon is the spiritual successor to the landmark 2002 anime. Each of them has absolutely stunning CGI and an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. Even more significantly, both use science fiction motifs to tell extremely melancholic tales that leave me dazed and breathless every time I watch them. Up to now, I had always believed that Voices was a one time good deal – a unique and... read more

10/10 story
9.5/10 animation
7/10 sound
8/10 characters
9/10 overall