What I Liked: Beautiful picture book-esque backgrounds. The animation has a nice fluidity to it, expressing the surreal feeling of war and invasion from a child's perspective. The use of Night on the Galactic Railroad as both parallel to the movie and its themes, and as a motif for escapism, childhood innocence and loss. The two choir scenes. The soundtrack is understated, yet perfectly matches each scene.
What I Didn't: Older Sawako and Junpei in the English dub sound deathly bored. Character animation could've benefited from some more shading - it's awfully flat at times.
Final Verdict: A... See full review
What I Liked: The cute, simplistic but colourful art style. All of Tapio's nicknames for Kuehiko. The nutbag bosses were all distinctive, not only through their character designs but through their quirks. What I Didn't: YMMV on the Animal That Must Not Be Named - he's probably the most jarring aspect of the show, or the most befitting. Episode 13 was utterly superfluous. Final Verdict: For a show about working, Working Buddies! is surprisingly fun, silly and kind of endearing. The characters all have a charming quirkiness about them, and the main pair play off each other very well. The Animal That Must... See full review
What I Liked: The show uses a diverse range of animation styles (3DCG, digital, stop-motion). The UchuPeople skits were always standouts in quality, especially their musical numbers. Some episodes are hilarious the second half around, as some skits play out differently and many of the male VAs go full ham with their performances. The Hellshake Yano skit. The mixture of Western and Japanese pop culture references and bizzaro, almost absurdist humour works suprisingly well. The opening theme. What I Didn't: The Bob Team Epic skits, which were a different type of comedy from the rest of the show. Having the... See full review
What I Liked: The two leads (as well as number of the minor characters) are surpisingly complex, with ample time given to their joys and their fears. For an age-gap romance, Kondo and Tachibana's relationship only occasionally tips into morally / ethically uncomfortable territory. Visually stunning, with gorgeously detailed cinematography and enough symbolism to write a hundred analyses. What I Didn't: The plot does suffer from pacing issues towards the end, especially in the final episode. The conflict with Kase could've been better resolved. Final Verdict: After the Rain is less a traditional age-gap... See full review
What I Liked: The opening theme. The concept of Stasis and the Handlers. What I Didn't: The insane amounts of expository dialogue. The soundtrack is overly dramatic to the point of ridiculousness. The ending theme feels like its trying to appeal to the wrong audience. The colour palette has an early Xbox "brown = realism" feel to it. The little tone-deaf bits of comedy. All of the concepts that the show introduces are never explored in any meaningful way, with most ending up discarded or poorly realised. Character motivations are weak, with minor characters mostly being nothing more than blank... See full review
What I Liked: The retro style of the first and second opening theme, and the majority of the soundtrack. The sub-plot involving Airi trying to get to the wedding. What I Didn't: Animation is very plain, with a henious lack of dynamic shots. Spoken exposition out the wazoo. Those who are only familiar with the Ryo-Ohki canon might be confused by the sudden onslaught of new but established faces from GXP. The fact that Tenchi's aunty tries to join the harem. The soundtrack, as good as it sounds, is very limited with the various opening and ending themes a mixed bag. The pacing is absolutely terrible - the... See full review
What I Liked: The soundtrack is this eclectic mix of genres and styles that makes the show feel modern and unique. The rockin’ Opening Theme. Hiroshi Kamiya is perfect as the cheesy Yato, and Aki Toyasaki brings a wonderfully cheery air to her performance as Kofuku. The character designs are varied and eyecatching, and the series uses colour and light to great effect. The relationship that builds between the three leads. What I Didn't: While the plot is straight-forward, the series as a whole feels a little unfocused – some storylines remain unresolved or are hastily abandoned. Felt like the... See full review
What I Liked: The fact that the overall story was split up into little vignettes. Pacing is good, if you keep in mind the segmented nature of the storytelling. Asumika Nakamura’s characters are translated well to the screen. The delicately gorgeous animation and scenery that doesn’t hide the fact that it’s adapting a manga. Hiroshi Kamiya does a excellent job as the jovial Kusakabe. The gentle yet awkward relationship that builds between the two leads. Sound design and soundtrack are spot-on. What I Didn't: Uses “Uke Gets Hit on by Ephebophilic Gay Teacher” cliché. The... See full review
What I Liked: Stylishly animated – gore is rendered in shocking detail and fight scenes are fluid. Hawk. Plot is appropriately pulpy, with lots of opportunities for swordfighting. The Ending theme, which sounds like a moody but bombastic Bond theme. Sound design is more than serviceable, especially when it comes to the clang of cleaver-on-sword or the roar of a motorcycle engine. What I Didn't: It feels odd having Lupin and Jigen basically playing second-fiddle (and blantant exposition dumpers) to Goemon’s story. While the ending resolves Goemon’s personal conflict, the overarching plot... See full review
What I Liked: Sanae Kobayashi does a great job of voicing the polar opposite personalities Lucy and Nyu. The lore behind the Diclonius (Diclonii?) and the differences in each “generation” is interesting. General pacing and building of tension is spot-on. What I Didn't: It hasn't aged well - the gorefests, weird character relationships, the fact that every second character has amnesia of some kind, the rocky Ending theme, overabundance of random German and superpowered, barely dressed Diclonius (Diclonii?) just seem so naff over a decade down the track. Animation is somewhat middling, ... See full review
What I Liked: The fact the show had a survival angle, with the little details like dealing with degrading clothing or the finality of death. The fight scenes, which feel more like messy street fights than graceful choreography. Character development and characterisation is well done, and it's nice to see dynamics shift and change as characters learn more about themselves and their party members. The art style, with its soft tones and nice use of contrasting styles between foreground and background. The fact the show focuses on less where the characters came from and more where they are now. What I Didn't... See full review
What I Liked: Blends some seemingly disconnected and slipshod ideas into a rather coherent story about the importance of communication. Nice use of dramatic cuts and overflowing dialogue. The simplisitc and alternate animation style. What I Didn't: The dated and junky animation style. Sound and music is nothing to write home about, and feels rather early-00's "cool". Final Verdict: While it has the kinetic visual and aural style of a monochromatic 00's Adult Swim show (and the rough ameteurish feel of one too), Aquatic Language is still a curious little oddity that manages to utilise its limited... See full review
What I Liked: Voice acting is excellent all around. The time-travelling sequences are gorgeously abstract and vibrant, contrasting well with the soft tones of the rest of the movie. Excellent cinematography and framing. Character movement is nice and smooth. Auntie Witch, who serves as a nice link to the original novel (even though this fact's not made explicit in the film). The film manages to balance comedic scenes and dramatic moments well (aside from the last third). What I Didn't: The simple character animation really suffers when it comes to characters in the far distance. Some viewers may find the... See full review
What I Liked: Both the jazzy Opening Theme and the goofy but catchy Ending Theme. The series' overall grey morality. Tessyo Genda is spot-on as the creepy but absurd Moguro. The "modernised adaptations" of Fujiko Fujio A's character designs are clean with a nice contrast between "beautiful" and "normal" characters... and Moguro too, of course. The nameless, mute Bartender of the Ma no Su. Episode 12B is the most visually out-there segment of the entire show. What I Didn't: The series' overall grey morality means that sometimes the punishments that Moguro dishes out can feel... See full review
What I Liked: The contrast between the simple-minded Hige-san and his pursuer, the straight-laced but strange Wakabayashi-san. The animation is clear and consistent. Episode 9's ending theme "Watashi wa Idol... degasu." fits Mioko's character to a T. What I Didn't: Everything about it is so average and possibly forgettable. It's easy to interpret Hige's character as another cliched fat man, considering half the comedy is based on his love of marshmallows. The post-credits live action scenes, while cute, were severely underutilised. Final Verdict: Sweet and fluffy like its namesake, Ojisan to... See full review
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