Site Updates 5/2/2015

Doesn’t everyone look like this when they blog?

Hey everyone, Fiddletwix here giving a brief site update. I have added a few new pages to the site as well as a shiny new poll section off to the right. Here’s a quick breakdown of what these pages are;

AniManga Clash! – Throughout my time watching anime, I’ve noticed a very popular trend of complaining that anime is always inferior to the manga version, if one exists. This is far from a new trend as movies commonly get that from being adaptions of books, games and even TV series. However, is that really the truth? It’s been my overall experience that manga do indeed tend to be ‘better’ but what makes certain manga better than their anime counterparts? And most importantly, I’m on a search to see what series do their source material justice, or hell even do it better!

Episode One-Derland (Both anime and cartoons) – The way that I watch anime is rather sporadic. I will start watching a series, set it aside and not get a chance to talk about it full out for a while as I’ll have other shows ahead in my watch queue. Plus, some shows I drop very early on because of how terrible the first episode was. This series will hopefully allow me to share my initial feelings on a show without needing to review the entirety of it. Full reviews will likely come later down the road.

I am doing the same thing with cartoons, because I really just love animation, however, I will likely not get around to doing full reviews of them and instead update previous posts with my final thoughts.

Shounen/Shoujo Step-by-Step – Lots of shounen shows, especially fighting and gaming anime are particularly long and some are downright goofy on an episode by episode basis. Shows like One Piece and DBZ need to be broken down by arc for me to give my full thoughts while other shows like Bakugan and Battle B-daman deserve more of an episode by episode analysis in the same vein as my Pokemon episode reviews.

Shoujo shows sometimes last for long periods of time especially magical girl shows and romance dramas.

My criteria for this series is that it has to be particularly long (50+ episodes, though there is wiggle room and exceptions) and they have to give me at least something to poke fun at or something that I can more critically analyze.

Other than that, I hope to fix up my reviewing formats to make things a little cleaner in the future. On that note, my blog’s skin is a bit screwy when it comes to any posts that have pages. The page selections are at the very bottom of the post, a little out of sight, so if any review seems cut off, such as my Itsudatte, My Santa! Review, be sure to keep that in mind.

Here’s hoping you guys enjoy the new series, and thanks for reading!

One-Year Blog Anniversary!

Today, it has been exactly one year since I started The Anime Madhouse!

Come on, reader. Don’tcha wanna party with us?

While this may not seem like a huge deal, I have started many a website, blog and forum in my life, and they’ve all usually been abandoned and died of neglect a mere month or two after creation. Many never got off the ground at all. So, I’m pretty excited that I’ve been able to keep a fairly steady stream of updates for this place over the year, if not just for the achievement in relative consistency. It’s not the most popular spot in the world, but I have had several great conversations and comments with interesting people, learned a lot and I’ve discovered plenty of great blogs around here too! That’s all I need to enjoy the fun of blogging. 🙂

Here’s to another year of anime insanity!

FLCL Review

FLCL

Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: Naota lives in a boring town where nothing special ever happens. He spends his days simply going through the motions, going to school, spending time at home and sometimes playing baseball. He frequently spends time with his pseudo-girlfriend Mamimi – the girlfriend of his older brother who went to the States to play baseball.

Naota’s boring life is turned upside down when a crazy woman named Haruhara Haruko comes bursting into town (literally) on her moped and runs into Naota (again, literally.) After a quick smack to the head with her guitar, he later finds a robot springing forth from the wound. Haruko is really an alien that has used her guitar to open up an interdimensional portal in Naota’s head in order to find the thing she’s been looking for for a long time.

Breakdown:
In case you didn’t get it from the synopsis, this series has a very insane premise. But just because a show has an insane premise doesn’t mean it can’t work and FLCL shows this greatly.

The characters are all (for the most part) likable if not lovable, the story’s confusing as hell, but an insanely fun ride, the animation and art are unique and fun, the music’s amazing – it’s just great. It’s definitely one of my favorite anime.

Haruko also stands as being one of my favorite anime characters ever.

That being said, to be fair, I do have to point out some bad points.

For example, this may have been intentional, but the story’s very confusing and many things simply aren’t explained. I’ve watched the series several times over and I still don’t understand all of it.

Some of the characters aren’t entirely likable, like Ninamori and Mamimi. I don’t, by any stretch of the imagination, hate them or even really dislike them, but I could never like them in the same league as Naota, Haruko and the others.

Ninamori really just seems like Naota in girl form with slightly more passion and forwardness. Mamimi’s….gotta have mental problems. And not like 90% of this series’ cast has mental problems in in they’re crazy. I mean she spends half of the series in this deep depression that really drags everything down. She can be funny sometimes, but she’s really annoying during those last few episodes.

I also don’t like how she uses Naota as a replacement for Tasuku (The aforementioned brother) and leads Naota on. She’s constantly making out with him, groping him, jumping all over him, yet when he tries to insinuate that their feelings are mutual she looks at him like he grew a second head.

Another thing that bothered me is we never really learn of Amarao’s backstory. It’s hinted that he had a backstory very similar to Naota’s, and it’s obvious that Haruko has a past with him. However, details are never gone into.

From what I can gather, Haruko showed up in his life just like she did with Naota and tried to open a portal in his head, but was disappointed when the guitar she pulled out was tiny. (It’s also a semi-running gag that the size of the guitar = size of your penis) And I guess she just ditched him because she couldn’t get what she wanted from him.

Finally, there’s the length and ending. The show ends on a cliffhanger, for the most part, and is only 6 episodes long. I would’ve loved to have seen this go on for just a little longer.

Art: The art is perfect for this kind of show, and it’s great that they change up the artstyle every now and then. The animation is also very well done – it’s very fluid and pleasing to the eye during the action scenes.

Music:
This show has one of, if not is my most favorite anime soundtrack ever. Most (all?) of the music is done by the band The Pillows, and they are awesome and a perfect fit for this show. All of the songs seem perfectly placed, matched up well with the scenes and none of the songs get on your nerves after repeats.

Voice acting: English – Some of the greatest I’ve ever heard. Everyone does a great job and seems to really enjoy their roles, especially Haruko’s voice actress.

Bottomline – Despite being short and sometimes confusing, this is a wonderful, funny anime that I think everyone should watch at least once. You won’t regret it.

Additional Information and Notes: FLCL/Furi Kuri/Fooly Cooly was directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki, director of Nadia: Secret of Blue Water, His and Hers Circumstances and Rebuild of Evangelion. Written in collaboration between Yoji Enokido and Kazuya Tsurumaki. Produced by Gainax.

Episodes: 6

Year: 2000—2001

Recommended Audience – There is some sexual content in this series. Some characters, mostly Haruko, wear pretty risqué clothing several times and, despite being censored, Naota’s dad gets naked on some occasions during the manga scenes. I’ve found that the TV version shown on Adult Swim actually has this scene more heavily censored than the DVD version, but the DVD version really isn’t that bad. Furi Kuri in itself is supposed to be a sexual innuendo I think. There are a couple iffy scenes, but nothing really happens. 13+

3000 Leagues in Search of Mother Review

3000 Leagues in Search of Mother

Rating: 9.5/10

Plot: Marco Rossi is a young boy from Italy who is happy, hard-working and deeply loves his mother. One day, Marco is shocked to hear the news that his father is in debt due to his experimental medical procedures and constantly working with poor people who can afford little to no health care. What makes matters worse is that, in order to repay the debts and keep their heads above water, Marco’s mother must move to Argentina to work for extra money. Despite his frantic pleas, she is forced to go.

Two years go by, and Marco’s been trying to find work in Genoa to work off his father’s debts to bring his mother back sooner, but has no luck. Marco’s mother has been sending him and his father and brother letters over time, but her letters eventually hint that she’s become slightly ill. Despite her claim that’s she’s perfectly fine, the letters suddenly stop arriving. Marco is so worried that something’s happened to his mother that he tries desperately to build up money from odd jobs to buy a ticket on a ship to Argentina to check up on her. When he eventually makes it to Argentina, he finds that finding his mother will be the most harrowing journey of his life.

Breakdown: Despite not having a terribly long episode run (52) it actually took me quite a bit of time to finish watching this series. One of the reasons that it took me so long to finish this show is that it tends to drag, especially towards the end. I swear I was starting to get angry with so many instances of:

“I have to go here to find Mama!”

-gets there-

“Sorry, never heard of your mama, but here’s a vague clue to where she might be.”

“Okay, then, I must go there!”

-goes there-

“Anna Rossi? She moved 213721347 miles away 67 years ago. You’ll never find her now! But here’s the address anyway!”

Okay, I embellished a bit on that last one, but you get my drift.

It became a constant cycle of going one place and being led to another then another then another. The storylines were good enough to get your through it, but it was still partially annoying to sit through.

It’s especially irritating and somewhat heartbreaking in the middle of the series when Marco’s all excited because he knows his mother’s somewhere and you’re like “Well, it’s 30 episodes from the end, so I kinda doubt that she’s at the place you’re heading to.”

Though the series was trying my patience fairly hard in last stretch of episodes, the pay-off was more than worth it.

I dunno if this is a sad fact about my life or maybe my personality, but I’ve never cried because I was happy. The ending of this show got me dangerously close. I could feel the tears in my eyes forming.

This show has wonderful ups and heartbreaking downs. This is the epitome of an emotional roller coaster anime.

Marco is a great kid. He does everything and anything to get to his mother. He works his hands to the bone, he travels through snow, rain, wind and even injury to get to his mama all while doing his best to help the people that he meets along the way. That kid is going to make an amazing adult.

In terms of other characters, none of them got on my nerves at all. They were all very believable and enjoyable to watch.

One more thing I want to address. This is slightly spoilery, so skip to the specific technical information if you want to remain unspoiled.

Look at the poster. That poster is a very common scene in the opening credits. The opening credits always showed him with that poncho and the donkey. The end credits even show a donkey. Well, we were getting close to the end and I was wondering where the donkey was when we’re introduced to Old Lady. That name alone should give a tip-off as to where this is going.

Long story short, Marco needs to travel through the countryside on his own, so some people in a wagon caravan give him an old donkey of theirs named Old Lady to travel faster. This thing appears in maybe three episodes tops. Guess what happens to her…..Yeah, she dies. And you know what, despite this seeming like a big rip-off for a character that’s in the opening and ending credits, I still had my emotions ripped to shreds.

They had a whole episode where you know that she’s slowly dying. She keeps getting tired. She’s too hungry. She’s older than most donkeys. BUT we’re given a glimmer of hope when a farm worker looks at her and says she’s in great health and should be plenty to get him to his destination.

Not but five minutes later she collapses, won’t eat, won’t drink, nothing. The next morning, she dies, Marco starts crying and he buries her with what sand he can muster in the road. COME ON. Leave me some emotions for the finale, will ya!? This donkey was a three episode character that didn’t even really do anything, but my inner animal lover wanted an extra tissue box for that.

Art: The art and animation are very dated. You can spot all sorts of animation errors throughout this show, but that never really mattered to me. It looked rough at times, but it never looked bad. The art is very similar to Studio Ghibli work, which is very understandable given the director. It has a unique and immersive style to it.

Music: The music is great. The opening is wonderful for the tone of this show and the ending is one of my favorite endings ever.

Voice acting: Japanese (Don’t believe this show was ever dubbed) The voice acting is wonderful. The VA for Marco can really emote and act very well. During the emotional scenes, this is very key.

Bottomline: If you have the means, I sincerely hope you’ll watch this series. It’s a bit old, yeah, and the show drags a bit around the end almost to point of annoyance, but I promise you that the ending is well worth the dragging.

Additional Information and Notes

3000 Leagues in Search of Mother was directed by Isao Takahata, co-founder of Studio Ghibli and long-time collaborator with the almighty Hiyao Miyazaki. And it was produced by Nippon Animation.

Year: 1976

Episodes: 52

Recommended Audience: This show is very kid-friendly, but there are some hard to watch scenes like a boy gets beaten badly for trying to sneak aboard a train, an animal gets whipped cruelly for entertainment and some other things, but nothing too bad. 7+ with parental guidance, probably.

Sacred Seven Review

Sacred Seven

Rating: 2.5/10

Plot:
Alma Tandoji is a normal teenager living a normal life until a girl named Ruri Alba knocks on his door to recruit him as a warrior. She reveals that he holds the power of the Sacred Seven within him. He is the only one able to save the world from the power of the Darkstones. Despite being reluctant, he eventually joins her and her butler in their fight to save the world.

Breakdown:
Please note that I dropped this show due to sheer mediocrity. Nothing is notable or memorable in this anime, at least from the three episodes I watched. This plot is overdone enough as it is (kid finds out he has powers and needs to save the world. Blah) but they add nothing to the table to make it unique.

They even have the random comic relief animal/object in the form of a small statue/mask thing. He even has the oh so unique name of Hellbrick. Because he’s made of (evil) darkstone. Dark-evil/Hell, stone-brick….Get it?

Even Tandoji in his powered up mode just looks like some weird mix between a Power Ranger and something out of S-Cry-ed.

We have a rich loli-esque character (Complete with cliche giant ribbons!…..What is with loli characters and giant ribbons?) named Ruri who makes a fine living providing exposition, being a love interest, and being stupid or useless besides buying stuff. Oh and she has a sister trapped in crystal or something.

It’s disturbing that she’s seemingly the love interest in this story. I don’t care how old she’s supposed to be, there’s no way she’s older than 10-12. Look at the poster! She only comes up to Tandoji’s butt!

Tandoji is your average lead from fantasy action anime. ‘I have powers? No way. I actually do? Holy crap! I don’t want to help you. Oh fine, I guess I will. The end.’ He doesn’t even go through the trials of learning his powers. Ruri unlocks them with her necklace and suddenly he knows how to do everything.

The butler is the only one who seems remotely memorable, but his character design is a little too close to Sebastian from Black Butler. Seriously, tell me I’m crazy. Look –

This is Makoto (The butler for Sacred Seven)

Makoto (Sacred Seven)

This is Sebastian –

Sebastian (Black Butler)

As for the enemies, they have the also oh so original names of the Darkstones. These powers come from stones/gems and the dark ones are bad. They’re about as memorable as they sound. I’ll give you three guesses as to what the good guys are called. I’ll give you a hint – the absolute first thing that comes to your head will be the correct answer.

The more I write this out, the more this seems like some ten year old’s project for a fiction writing class….

On the upside, the art is pretty nice. Some of the designs are awkward, but the lines, animation and coloring are eye-grabbing and crisp. The CGI’s fairly fake looking, though.

The music ranks from mediocre to awful. The opener’s music is on the worse side of the spectrum. The background visuals for it are creative, but the scenes being portrayed are as clichéd and mediocre as this series. Ooh the hero fights bad guys. Ooh action scene of him punching. And, of course, we can’t forget the main girl looking up into the sky and seeing the hero come down with his hand extended, then she grabs it, jumps into his arms and they fly off together. Why I haven’t seen that since Aladdin, Eureka 7, and every superhero comic book and/or movie ever made. The ending theme’s as mediocre as you can get.

Voice acting is okay, but again it’s nothing memorable.

Bottomline:
In the end, I can’t recommend this. It looks pretty. That’s about it. There are many more average boy-turned-hero stories that are way better than this.

Additional Information and Notes: Sacred Seven was produced by Sunrise, directed by Yoshimistu Ohashi and written by Shin Yoshida.

Episodes: 12

Year: 2011

Recommended Audience: There’s violence, might be moderate swearing. No nudity or sexual stuff that I could see from the first few episodes. 10+?

A Wind Skimming the River’s Surface Review

A Wind Skimming the River's Surface

Plot: See Review for details..

Rating: 7/10

Breakdown: Ya know how you’re watching something and really enjoying it then something happens that just makes you go WTF? and you can no longer enjoy it anymore? That’s this anime.

This is a oneshot anime out of four for a series of shorts called Otona Joshi no Anime Time that starts out with a woman and her son returning to Japan after living in America for five years. The woman is narrating while remembering her past in Japan. We learn that she always admired her sister because she knew she would be someone great someday, but her sister ended up getting married and pregnant which, in her words, made her no more noticeable than any other woman. (Yeah. Haha! You’re in a loving marriage with great kids – your life is nothing! Har!) Despite her sister having a great life with a wonderful family, the fact that her sister never pursued ‘greatness’ or a nice career freaked her out and she was determined not to end up that way.

In high school, she started working in her father’s sweets shop where an old classmate of hers, Hisao, also worked. She barely ever talked to him, and he was very stoic and never spoke much to anyone. However, she was always entranced by the way he made sweets.

She was planning on leaving for Tokyo University right out of high school and was soon to depart for Tokyo when she ran into Hisao again. In addition to getting a custom made sweet from Hisao, he also walked her home and talked with her.

After she had been gone a while, she returned to find that Hisao had his own sweets shop and that he no longer made the special sweets he gave her, but gives her some fruit jellies.

Later, she goes back to his shop and asks for one night with him. He obliges and they have sex. He asks her to stay with him afterwards instead of leaving again, but she leaves anyway because she was planning on getting married and moving to the States.

Back to present time, she takes her son to Hisao’s sweets shop and we learn that he has gotten married and has a child that is almost a year old. When he asks her son, Motoki, how old he is (when he’s been proudly proclaiming through the whole show that he’s four) she stops him from answering and says three years old.

BOMBSHELL

Yeah, Motoki is Hisao’s son, but she doesn’t want Hisao to know. Hisao gives her some fruit jellies and asks her if she’s happy. She says she’s very happy despite the fact that her husband didn’t go to Japan with them, probably never will go, and she was thinking about a divorce since they’ve grown apart.

She departs from Hisao once more. After a scene at the river with her son, the anime ends.

I’ve been remaking my old reviews and posting them here and some of them I have slightly changed the rating and review for because, well, hindsight is 20/20. This is a prime example of this.

I gave this anime before a 4/10. Why? Because the fact that she never actually got with Hisao made no sense to me. If it was because she didn’t want to end up like her sister, she failed epically because she got pregnant and married practically right out of high school and holds no notable job. In fact, she was worse off than her sister because her sister at least was happily married with a great family while she’s planning her divorce and is damned to lying to her kid and the love of her life for the rest of their lives. At least that’s the way the show leads us to believe it will go.

If it was because she was getting married to someone else after finding out she was pregnant, then…hi? Wouldn’t going back to the real father that she loves with all her heart be better than going to the other guy and living a lie? She’s even putting her son through a lie.

However, after thinking it over, I think it was meant to be seen as a tragic (emotionally) romance. She desperately didn’t want to end up like her sister, married to someone with no important job while just being a stay-at-home mom, and maybe she believed going with Hisao would lead to that. The guy that she ended up with seems to hold a very good position in some office, and maybe she thought going with him would mean that she’d also focus more on a super-important career instead of fading into the background as a stay-at-home mom just living a boring life.

At the end of the anime, she realizes that she made a mistake in her life, but she can’t go back and fix it now. Going back to Hisao would either do nothing or tear apart his happy family. This is a sad situation where you didn’t realize what you truly had until it was gone and there’s no way to get it back. It sucks, but she still has her son and her whole life ahead of her. Still, makes you wonder how much she truly loved Hisao if she was willing to let him go just to ‘be important’.

On a final note, about fifteen minutes in, it goes from interesting to downright creepy. You’re just sitting there enjoying the anime when, out of nowhere we see her go down the stairs and attack everything in the kitchen like a wild raccoon, eating everything in sight then blowing chunks in toilet and apparently never cleaning up the mess in the kitchen. Even the music playing in the background was freakin’ creepy. I am not lying when, while watching that entire scene, I was actually saying “WTF?”

Art and Animation: The art was…Interesting…It was a weird mix between live action, semi-poorly done CGI and regular 2D art. The taxi might as well have been made out of Legos. The live action scenes seemed completely out of place, but the rest of the art was really good.

Music: Pretty good, no qualms though nothing particularly memorable.

Voice acting: Japanese – Wonderful. No one was annoying at all, even the kids. Motoki had a very believable American accent when he was singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Bottom Line: Better than I remember, but still not amazing. It’s a very short one-shot that I see no harm in watching.

Additional Information and Notes: A Wind Skimming the River’s Surface was directed by Tooru Takahashi, who did the storyboard work on Nana, and it was written by Reiko Yoshida, who also wrote D.Gray Man, Ghost Hunt and Jyu-Oh-Sei. The anime was produced by BONES.

Runtime: 25 Minutes

Year: 2011-2013

Recommended Audience: No nudity, but there is a brief non-graphic sex scene. A creepy moment or two, no swearing, gore or anything.

12+

Berserk Review

Berkserk

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Set in medieval Europe, a man named Guts, infamous for being birthed from a corpse, teams up with a group of mercenaries called the Band of the Hawk. He forms an especially strong bond of friendship with the group’s leader, Griffith. The story follows Guts and Griffith through their friendship as they bring the Band of the Hawk from a lowly mercenary team into something much more powerful. However, power that great is not easily obtained. Sacrifices must be made in spirit and blood.

Breakdown: Berserk has a wonderfully thought out and gripping storyline. My beef with the story of the anime is the fact that it ends extremely abruptly and lots of loose ends are left dangling.

The entire anime series runs like this – at the start you see Guts in “the present” (for the timeline of the story anyway). He has a fake arm and is missing an eye. He saves a girl in a bar from being harassed by a band of mercenaries. He kills them all except one of them, telling the surviving one to tell his master that The Black Swordsman is coming.

Later, he’s seen defeating a huge demon while the nearby village’s soldiers notice the mark on his neck (Which won’t be explained until the final episode).

Guts basically has a flashback that lasts the entire series and never ends, never even glimpsing into “the present” to see what Guts is currently up to. All the flashback episodes are about who he was as a child, as a young adult, and builds up to why he is who he later becomes in “the present.”

The series sorta comes full circle, as we see how Guts lost his arm, lost his eye, who this “Master” is that he’s looking for, and what the mark on his neck meant. The problem is that it never builds on the present. We never see present Guts meet his goal. In fact, we never see present Guts again after the first episode, and quite a few questions are left unanswered (Some are answered in the manga, but the manga is still ongoing to this day with very, very irregular updating times.)

As a result, the series is only slightly satisfactory, if your main goal was trying to figure out what happened to Guts, but if you’re curious as to what the ending was, or even what the “present” storyline was, you’re out of luck.

To showcase how sudden and cliffhanger-y the series end is without many spoilers, I will say that a huge betrayal is involved, many people die, and just overall bad things happen. Guts is lunging at the camera towards the source of said bad things and the episode ends right as he’s attacking.

The story, like I said, is very well written and interesting. It’s a gripping tale. But the ending was just so abrupt and unsatisfactory that it just ruins everything.

There was a short continuation of the series a couple of years ago that I have yet to watch. Maybe that will hold some answers.

Art and Animation: Berserk holds two kinds of art, sorta like Elfen Lied; the animations and the still frames, which look like paintings. The still frames are wonderful, and the animation is fluid and detailed, but nothing really awe-inspiring. To save on animation budgets, however, there are numerous instances where they substitute animation for still-frames, which can get annoying.

Music: The action music and the tense moment music I love. But there are one or two scores in this series that never cease to get on my nerves. When there’s a “touching” moment the same vocals play and they’re so annoying. AhhhhhhAHHHHHH OhhhhhhhOohhhhhOOOhhhh!! Please stop.

Voice Acting: English – Very fitting voices. From the noble (Almost Kurama-like) voice of Griffith to the gruff manly-man voice of Guts, I have no qualms about anyone’s voice acting.

Characters:

Guts: He’s rough, he’s tough, he was born from a corpse, this guy has slain 100 men by himself at once, and if he gets stabbed in the arm it magically recovers an hour later (Guts vs. Caska)
Guts is a very cool character. I don’t adore him, but he’s awesome and pretty memorable.

Griffith: The noble commoner Griffith is loved by all. His followers look up to and respect him to the point of which they’d happily die for him. The government officials (Well, the ones that don’t want to kill him anyway) value him as a proud member of their forces. Griffith’s character is hard to peg. I love him, yet there are times when I hate him.

Caska: Caska’s initial character personality was a kick-ass female warrior, and though she never really fails to be this, there are times where the sexism kicks in and makes any woman who watches this shake her head.

She cries all the time, is constantly being saved by Guts, keeps almost getting raped, the works…

What’s even worse is that, she’s awesome in regular battles, but when an enemy actually calls her out for being a woman, she can never seem to stand her ground. I also find her to be somewhat stupid. Who falls for the whole “begging for mercy” bit? Especially when the enemy who’s doing it has been nothing but sneaky, underhanded and brutal?

Caska’s great and all, she’s a great warrior and a strong woman, but I wish they had wrote her parts a little better.

Pippin: Who doesn’t love Pippin? He’s the big ol’ teddy bear of the series. Huge and powerful looking, but loyal and kind to his comrades.

Judeau: Probably my favorite side-character alongside Rickert, Judeau is that “best friend” kinda character that you just can’t help but love. His fighting style is also my favorite with knives thrown with deadly accuracy. Shows that you don’t need a huge sword to be an awesome fighter.

Rickert: Rickert Is SO cute. :3

Cute, definitely not a word you use all too often in this series, but he is. He’s the kid of the group. Looks to be about 12 or 13 when the series starts out. Despite all he’s seen, and probably done, Rickert still holds this amazing child-like innocence and never fails to have a smile on his face.

Number 1 thing that bugs me about him, though, is that he never grows up. He’s 12 or 13, like I said, in the beginning, and has a semi-high pitched, scared-little-kid voice. This never changes over the course of almost 5 years. Age stays the same, height, voice all the same. What the hell?

Bottomline: I really wish they’d make one more season to this show. The ending was just too abrupt and unsatisfactory. This anime is truly a great one, but it does fit into the category of ‘shows ruined by crappy endings.’

Additional Information and Notes: Berserk was based on a manga by Kentaro Miura. The anime was directed by Naohito Takahashi and produced by OLM.

Episodes: 25

Year: 1997-1998

Recommended Audience: It is brutally gory to the core. Blood everywhere, people getting killed every which way, beheaded, tortured, self-mutilation etc. There’s nudity for both genders, though no genitals are ever shown (Breasts are shown in full view.) Rape scene, mentions of rape, sexual abuse, regular sex scenes etc. There’s some swearing but it’s never continuous or rampant. 17+

11Eyes OVA Review


Plot: A sorta parody on 11Eyes, this OVA introduces the main characters to the Pink Night; a hot pink version of the Red Night that gives them different powers. Sexually-charged hijinks ensue.

Rating: 7/10

Breakdown:  I thought this OVA would actually be a continuation of 11Eyes since, especially near the end, it takes itself so seriously, but they threw serious right out the window.

This OVA is pure comedy, there’s no seriousness going on. It’s basically a completely random play on their series.

Have you ever dreamed that an anime you watched would just turn into a random, comedic fanservicefest? Well if you’ve ever watched 11Eyes and had those thoughts, the OVA makes your dream come true.

It starts out with Yuka and Kakeru on the roof of their school when they get transported to another world again. They first believe it’s the Red Night, until they realize everything is pink, so they call it the Pink Night. They meet up with Misuzu, Yukiko and Takahisa (Who are apparently not dead since they’re the version that actually remember the Red Night and have powers) and try to figure out what’s going on. They realize that Kakeru’s eye no longer allows him to see the future – it allows him to see through clothing.

To not be completely perverted, though, it’s only down to their underwear. Why a mystical eye can’t bypass underwear, I don’t know, but then again questioning logic in this would be moot.

Shiori and Kukuri arrive (both also not dead) as they reveal that their powers have been screwed up in this world. Yukiko tests this out by taking off her glasses. Her regular powers are to turn into a perfect, immortal killer when she takes off her glasses. In the Pink Night, her alter-ego is a horndog. She proceeds to rub herself all over Yuka and nibble her ear. She later full-on makes out with her before being knocked out by Misuzu.

As cute little “dark spirits” come to the group, Misuzu tries to take out her sword, but it’s not a sword. She whips out it’s an…..Ahem, adult toy.

Kukuri shows up, able to talk, explaining in full, censored detail what the toy is used for, how it’s used and how good it feels. Apparently her powers are either to change into lingerie or being able to talk but speaking nothing but perverseness. Misuzu makes her cover her mouth with a mask and draw and write to communicate like she used to, but only draws perverse pictures that are censored. I do have to say that this was my favorite part of the OVA. Just the fact that she’s prattling on about these topics with no change of expression, being censored every five seconds was hilarious to me.

Takahisa’s power used to be to control fire, but now he spurts streams of water from his fingertips.

Yukiko asks if she can drink the water. Takahisa agrees, and Yukiko gets on her knees. You see where this is going, yeah? It makes it look like she’s giving him…ya know.

As the group goes to find the focal point of the world (the place where Liselotte was kept before) they find Liselotte and one of the Black Knights. Liselotte’s dressed in dominatrix gear, sporting a whip, while the black knight is tied up, being whipped.

The group leaves and see a sign for a hot spring (in the school apparently) They decide to make the best of the world and go there. They find swimsuits and swim in the water…..the water that’s white….and salty. No one makes any other implications beyond the salty comment, but Yukiko and Yuka…drink it….yeah…

Kakeru then tries to find out who made this world by use of his eye of Aion. It singles out Yuka, who promptly screams, triggering her powers. Her powers in the Red Night were to disable other people’s powers. Her power in the Pink Night? To turn males into females (but not vice-versa apparently) Takahisa and Kakeru get turned into chicks and according to Kukuri’s sketch book pages at the end, they lived as women happily ever after.

As a side note, Shiori never shows what her powers are in The Pink Night.

All of the art, animation, music, voice acting and so on are the same as the TV series. No new characters are introduced as well.

Bottom line: If you like when an anime you like goes off canon to be random and fanservice ridden, you’ll love this. I certainly enjoyed it, even if the fanservice for girls was minimal. It was random and just WTF worthy and definitely made me smile after watching 11Eyes. And this is coming from someone who really rolls her eyes at fanservice humor.

Recommended Audience: If you haven’t been paying attention, there’s fanservice a plenty. TONS of mentions, implications and explanations of sex, in addition to more mature themes. There’s a naked breast here and there, but mostly they’re covered by their arms and legs, underwear and bra or a bathing suit. There’s also a girl on girl make out scene, if that bothers you.

15+

11Eyes Review

11Eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rating: 6/10

Plot: A boy named Kakeru and his childhood friend, Yuka, suddenly get transported to an odd version of their world where the sky is red, the moon is black and no one else but a select group of people seem to exist. While they have no idea what’s going on, they manage to survive the ordeal and even believe that the event was merely a dream.

Until, however, the ‘Red Night’ appears again and launches them into a dangerous situation. They soon meet the master swordswoman, Misuzu Kusakabe who saves them with a magical sword of her ancestors. They join up to try to find out what exactly the Red Night is. Joining them is Yukiko Kirohara, an innocent girl whose has the power to turn into a nearly perfect emotionless killer when she removes her glasses, Takahisa Tajima, who controls and creates fire at will, Kukuri Tachibana, a mute girl who looks exactly like Kakeru’s dead sister, and a girl named Shiori.

Breakdown: This show really gives me mixed feelings, but I’m veering towards anger.

All you need to know is that two orphans, Kakeru and Yuka get dragged into a world called the Red Night. Basically, the Red Night is a world in which time stands still, the sky is red and monsters roam. Getting transported to the Red Night happens every so often and usually without warning. Five other people get transported into the Red Night with them every time they go.

First there’s Misuzu, a master of ancient sword arts that are integral to her family, employs the use of six different mystical swords that she can summon at any time.

Next up is Yukiko, an immortal super warrior who has dual identities. There’s the happy peppy Yukiko who is seen as normal Yukiko and the emotionless alter-ego of herself who focuses on nothing but killing. She changes between identities by taking off or putting on her glasses (because prescription glasses are apparently magic.)

Then we have Takahisa, a – Can I just take the time out to ask you guys something? Does he or does he not look like Inuyasha? He even acts like him too. Look.

Takahisa controls fire. He’s a bit of a hothead, pun intended, and his closest relationships lie with Yukiko and his adoptive mother, Kaeko.

Next we have Kukuri, seemingly Kakeru’s dead sister’s doppelganger (Same looks and same name, only difference is she can’t speak.) who controls chains made of light.

And, finally, there’s Shiori who seems to employ the same magics as the Black Knights, who are the main antagonists.

It’s very obvious, even before anything happens, that Kakeru’s power comes from his eye. Rarely is there ever an anime character that has an eyepatch that either didn’t come with a terrible backstory or a power. He is the vessel of the eye of Aion – an eye that allows the user to see the future.

Yuka possesses the ability to nullify powers within her vicinity. However, this power is a bit of a double-edged sword – it nullifies everyone’s powers. So, even if she does weaken the enemy, her allies can’t do anything to combat them.

The story was interesting and original. I really liked the concept of the Red Night and a seemingly random group of people getting seemingly random (barring Misuzu) powers, but it went down so many wrong roads.

For instance, Misuzu goes from being a strong warrior to being a self-pitying lump.

Yuka goes from being an average damsel in distress female protagonist to a freaking psycho.

See, 11Eyes has this dumb Three’s Company-esque “doing something innocent but looking like something bad to anyone watching” BS running fairly frequently throughout most of the show.

This starts when Yuka catches a naked Kakeru and a naked Misuzu in each other’s arms. Thing is, she was healing him because he had overexerted himself using his powers and they both had to be naked to transfer life force (Yes, it’s stupid). Even before they did anything, even before they started ‘going there’ I had that gnawing feeling in the back of my mind that this was going to happen. She hugged him after he woke up because she was happy that he was going to be okay and that the healing worked.

After that, though, Yuka just goes insane. She can’t stand to be in the presence of Misuzu and Kakeru at the same time and then throws herself at Kakeru.

The reason that Yuka and Kakeru are such good friends is because they’re both orphans and they really only had each other while growing up. Thus, when Kakeru seems like he’s abandoning her for Misuzu, it’s supposed to be excusable that she goes Looney Tunes. Okay, yes, to a degree. She has the right to be upset, but definitely not to this level.

After Kakeru refuses to kiss Yuka (I’m guessing he said no because he didn’t want their first kiss to just be some random occurrence because she was upset) Yuka goes even further off the deep end. She runs away from him and starts talking to her stuffed penguin like it’s Kakeru. After a conversation with Yukiko I thought she’d be okay, but damn it all she just got worse. Whenever Kakeru would say Misuzu’s name she’d flinch. Whenever she’d see the two of them together she’d glare. She started correcting Kakeru by saying calling her by her first name (Misuzu-senpai) was wrong and that her name was Kusakabe-senpai.

She eventually gets beyond obsessed, not giving a rat’s ass about anything going on with the Red Night or caring about anyone’s lives.

Shiori told Yuka during a battle that Kakeru would be fine but she could not guarantee the safety of the others. Yuka responded by saying that was fine as long as Kakeru was okay….Even going that far, this would’ve been mostly understandable if it had only been Misuzu and Kakeru out there seeing as how she hates Misuzu at this point yet is consumed by Kakeru. The others did nothing to her but protect her and be nice to her yet she couldn’t care less about their safety.

I haven’t even told you the top three most disturbing things.

At a point Yuka just starts throwing herself at Kakeru whenever she can. She asks if he wants to go sleep with her, walks up to him in her underwear while he’s just sitting outside and asks if they can sleep together. Just trying to casually whore herself out to him.

After seeing Kakeru kissing/sucking on Misuzu’s arm to drink her blood to gain her power (yet another ‘I knew this was going to be bad before we even hinted at going there’ moment) Yuka bursts into the room, seemingly offering a handkerchief to wipe off a wound on Misuzu’s forehead, then Yuka licks the blood off of Misuzu’s forehead……….

1 – She didn’t even know why Kakeru was doing that or what Misuzu’s blood would do to her.

2 – You see Kakeru getting all cozy with Misuzu and you’re insanely jealous, so you lick the forehead of the girl you’re jealous of?

3 – She obviously realized he was drinking her blood since she started doing it too…..so what exactly was her perception of what was going on there? Did she think that was a normal form of intimacy and was jealous?

Finally we have the most screwed up thing this chick has done. As she was making some tea for the others we see that Yuka put a FRIGGIN’ RAZOR BLADE IN MISUZU’S TEA! Misuzu doesn’t drink it and she doesn’t even bring it up, she just asks to drink it in the other room and I presume she dumps it out, but what the hell!? This is seen as an excusable act by fans because she’s sad at the thought of losing Kakeru? That makes no sense to me.

Off the subject of Yuka for now, we also have episode 11 which (Spoilers) is the most interesting episode I watched. Not only does Yuka die (YAY), but the pairing I actually wanted to happen kinda happens as Kakeru and Misuzu have sex to dramatically increase their powers through the Kusakabe blood they now share (It’s still stupid, yes). Despite agreeing to it, Kakeru constantly tells himself that it’s just a ritual and he would never betray Yuka (he believes she’s still alive). Listen up everyone, this is the greatest cheating excuse ever! If your significant other finds you cheating on them, just say you were doing it to gain massive power to save their lives. Works every time.

At the end of the episode Kakeru and Misuzu find out that the battle that was going on in the Red Night as they were giving each other major power boosts (I can make up so many jokes like this) went terribly. Liselotte, the main baddie, later masquerades as Yuka and proceeds to kill Kakeru by stabbing him through the chest with his broken sword. He disappears and Misuzu is eaten by the darkness.

Oh dear god….everyone’s dead! How will episode 12 pan out? Will it be some post-apocalyptic epilogue? Will their spirits meet up and somehow beat Liselotte? Will it all turn out to be a premonition from Kakeru’s eye and make episode 12 a massive SCREW YOU?

If you guessed C, you’re right! That’s right, the bulk of episode 11 was a freakin’ premonition from right before Yuka gets attacked to the ending. So, let’s recap.

-Yuka’s still alive 😐

-Everyone else is too. 🙂

-KakeruxMisuzu never happened 😦

What’s even worse is that, even though you get stung from the whole premonition thing, they do you one better.

Many characters died before the ending. Kaeko got killed by a black knight. Takahisa gets killed by Yukiko after asking her to kill him since the ‘demon’ of his fire powers was taking him over. Finally, Yukiko gets killed by a black knight after trying to avenge him since it was them killing Kaeko that triggered the demon.

How do they handle this? Well, there are six different worlds and all of them seem to be carbon copies of the others. The characters all have the same lives barring or including the Red Night. So, after all is said and done, Kakeru, Yuka and Misuzu go to one of the worlds that has a brand new Takahisa, Kaeko and Yukiko in it. Basically, it’s rebooting the world with a backup copy. The only difference is the Takahisa and Yukiko from this world know nothing of the Red Night, have no powers and don’t know the others.

Cop. Out.

Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Yukiko, Takahisa and Kaeko, but if you’re going to go to the trouble of making dramatic and emotional death scenes, leave them dead. Even if they’re not the ‘real’ characters, it still drastically takes away from their deaths.

What’s even worse is that Yuka seems to be a fairly normal girl again after that, even accepting Misuzu as a friend. (And after one of the black knights makes the observation that Misuzu loves Kakeru too) So what the fuck? She didn’t have an alter ego or anything – it just like the creators of the anime just up and forgot what an insane bitch she was.

Oh, I skipped this part but, what exactly was the point in Yuka throwing one of the fragments to Liselotte so she would be awakened? What benefit would doing that possibly give Yuka? She wants to kill all the fragments AND Yuka’s little boyfriend that she’s obsessed over. But no, she’s just “Derp, I wanna throw this fragment to the imprisoned witch. Durrrr”

It seems like this anime took what could’ve been something awesome and managed to screw everything up while throwing in cliches and annoyances.

There are some cool plot twists (even though I basically ruined the best ones for you) and for all it’s worth, it is only 12 episodes and it seems to be fairly worth the amount of episodes it has. There’s also a one episode OVA that I will be posting the review of after this.

One final note before I get to the individual points are, during the first half of the series, there’s a problem with panty shots. They seem to take any and every opportunity to get a panty shot in, even if the scene is particularly tense or dramatic. It tends to take away from the story and makes it hard for you to take it seriously. In a weird twist, though, later on the panty shots all but disappear, though that might be because Yuka and Misuzu both go down to their underwear at certain points, and almost takes itself too seriously.

Art: The art is actually great, barring the kinda oddly proportioned girls, and the animation is pretty well done. I will say that, despite this being an action anime, there’s a shortage of epic battles. Fighting does go on, but nothing particularly memorable. As another reviewer on MyAnimeList stated, I was expecting some epic awesome battle between Superbia and Misuzu, but it’s like they fight for a second, cut away, some time has gone on in the battle and Misuzu just says she’s too weak to beat her.

Music: The BG music is great and the OP and ED are awesome. I’d definitely buy the soundtrack.

Characters:

Kakeru: He’s too gloomy, but he’s not the worst protagonist I’ve ever seen. He never laughs and hardly ever smiles. His only driving force is protecting Yuka at all costs. In that respect, he’s rather cookie-cutter. There’s really nothing about him that’s all that memorable. In fact, I can see myself forgetting his name in a couple weeks. I’ll just remember him as that anime character with two different colored eyes and a funny looking eye patch.

Yuka: I already explained Yuka. However, she has the same speech impediment as Miaka and Tamahome from Fushigi Yuugi, because if she said “Kakeru-kun!” one more time I was gonna smack someone.

Misuzu: A character who started out as stoic and badass turned into a self-pitying lump who relied on Kakeru through her battles through the rest of the show. I like Misuzu a hell of a lot more than Yuka and wish Kakeru had gone with her, but dammit all if she just didn’t lose her edge entirely.

Yukiko: Yukiko’s rather annoying in her first few episodes. She has this weird habit of grabbing a girl’s boobs for no reason which has sadly become a trope in anime, and she’s really happy and peppy. I like her better later on after she explains her backstory and I like her alter-ego a lot better as well. I just will never understand why those glasses are the reason she changes.

Takahisa: He’s basically Inuyasha if he was a high school student. It was one thing to look like him but he acts just like Inuyasha too. Rude, likes junk food and snacks, has a temper, prefers to be alone, but his weaknesses are the women in his life. I really liked Takahisa and hated that he had to die.

The Black Knights: Your average group of antagonists. Again, nothing special or memorable about any of them. Barring that one of them, Superbia, who is actually Misuzu’s idol, Misao, from the Kusakabe family who was banished many years ago. Their situation with the fragments (The main characters) gets complicated when they find out that the black knights are actually the good guys, and they’ve been killing them. (To quote Angel from…. Angel, they should really start wearing lapel pins or something.) Apparently the black knights never bother to just explain the situation to the fragments instead of all-out attacking them in hopes of killing them.

Shiori: I really like her character design and she’s the one girl fragment that actual seems to be focused on nothing but the task at hand. However, she doesn’t appear as a fighter until it’s so late in the series, you don’t care.

Kukuri: What’s there to say about her? She’s mute and apparently there’s three of her. It’s too complicated and insane to go into details, but she is Kakeru’s dead sister, yet she’s not, but she kinda is, but not from this world, and oh dear I’ve gone cross-eyed. She never talks so I never got annoyed by her.

Liselotte: She’s basically nothing until the last three episodes. For a villain she’s okay, but it’s hard to be scared of someone who looks like lolicon fodder. What’s even more confusing is she seems to be doing all of what she does for her old love, Verard, but even after he randomly appears for 10 seconds to tell her to stop she just brushes it off and continues without any more words from him.

Bottomline: It’s not terrible, in fact it’s pretty interesting and entertaining, but it is a shame that so much potential seemingly went to waste. They ruin most everything halfway through, turn what were once awesome characters into shadows of their former selves, turn Yuka insane and unlikable, and make a plot that’s too complicated and just plain crazy (not in a good way) at some points. I mean, what exactly is the point of having six worlds that are exactly the same barring which one keeps the fragments? It just seems like a plot device to excuse the ending. I do believe it’s worth the watch since it’s only 12 episodes and it is something somewhat different than the norm.

Additional information and notes: 11Eyes was directed by Masami Shimoda, produced by Studio Dogakobo and is currently licensed by Sentai Filmworks.

Year: 2009

Episodes: 12

Recommended Audience: Some violence, gruesome scenes, one sex scene, implications of sex, some nudity (I have to ask. Yuka gets sealed away in a container similar to that of Liselotte’s, she’s clothed when she gets kidnapped, but in her underwear and bra when she’s in the container. Is there any point in that? If she needed to be without clothes she’d have to be fully naked, there’s no point in stripping her of just her uniform. Just seems like the biggest not-even-excuse for more fanservice) dark scenes. 14+

This review was revamped as of 4/10/18

 

 

Kare Kano/His and Her Circumstances Review

Kare Kano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: Yukino Miyazawa is obsessed with getting praise and adoration. Known as the ‘perfect girl’ around school, Yukino finds herself with a rival by the name of Souchiro Arima who is also seemingly ‘perfect’ and matches if not beats her in everything.

While Yukino does everything that she can to beat out Arima, he soon finds out something embarrassing about Yukino and uses it to blackmail her. However, he was just using that as a ploy to spend time with her since he secretly likes her. She eventually admits to herself that she likes him too and they start a relationship. The rest of the show follows their trials and tribulations as a couple.

Breakdown: The show is very well-written and wonderfully acted, but it’s also very dialogue-heavy. There are many sequences with nothing but talking about the character’s past, how they’re feeling and how they’re perceiving the events around them. It’s been my experience that that is a turn-off for many people, so fair warning.

In between the heavy dialogue, there’s also plenty of comedy, funny character quirks, visual gags and slapstick to keep you laughing through the drama. While many of the gags are common in comedy anime, it has its own style and personality which adds even more to the hilarity.

The characters are all very memorable and entertaining. Yukino is a great female lead. She does cry and run away sometimes, but for the most part she’s a very independent and strong woman who is willing to stand up for what she believes in every aspect of her life.

Arima is also a very good character. He’s not a very funny character as he’s pretty level headed, but he gets some funny scenes when playing off of Asaba or Yukino. His backstory is also very sad and impacting, but I’ll avoid spoiling it.

Asaba is a hilarious character, and he stole the show several times. He’s Arima’s best friend and the school playboy. His character design changes several times over the course of the series in the most dramatic ways. Everyone does, which is a very welcome change as opposed to the regular static character designs and clothes that practically every character in other anime suffers from, but his changes are the most dramatic.

Most the side characters are also very lovable and funny. Tsubasa was a bit of a brat, and being voiced in the English Dub by Lisa Ortiz did not help….at all. But she still became a pretty good character once she chilled out a bit.

My main issue with this series is, after about 20 episodes, it seems like the show halts in its focus of Arima and Yukino and directs its attention more on the side characters. Technically, this is okay since Arima and Yukino’s story kinda came full-circle, but there was still more to go on considering the manga version, and none of the side-character stories were that interesting.

In addition, shouldn’t these side-character episodes be spread out over the course of the series instead of mashed into the final episodes? This show is specifically about Yukino and Arima, so it just seems weird that we’d end on side-character episodes.

Art and Animation: The art is great and the animation is fairly fluid during the scenes where animation is actually needed such as in the slapstick sections. They pretty much used their budget when they needed to in this series, especially since it’s so dialogue heavy.

Music: The music is perfectly fine, but there was repetition a plenty going on in this series. They repeat the same tracks over and over and over. It really starts to wane on my nerves, but it’s nothing too severe.

Bottomline: The final six episodes throw me off immensely, and it may be too dialogue heavy for some audiences, but it is very entertaining, funny, romantic and impacting.

Additional Information and Notes: Kare Kano was based on a manga by Masami Tsuda. The anime adaptation was directed by Hideaki Anno of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame and Kazuya Tsurumaki, director of FLCL.

It’s currently licensed in English under Right Stuf International.

Episodes: 26

Year: 1998-1999

Recommended Audience: There is one sex scene in the series, but it doesn’t show anything in the least bit graphic. There was another version released that showed more to the sex scene, but it’s difficult to find, and even that version doesn’t show anything, really. The series also delves into somewhat darker territory with Arima’s past, but that’s also not really anything graphic, just dark in tone. 13+