Five Numbers! Review

Rating: 7/10

Plot: Four convicts all with life sentences awaken after being drugged to find themselves in an abandoned prison. It’s a race to get out…if they can.

Breakdown: This is a one-shot OVA that came paired with another OVA called Coicent which I will be reviewing later. Right now, let’s focus on Five Numbers!

Five people, four convicts with life sentences, are stuck in an abandoned prison – no guards, no nothing. All they have is each other and a cat. There’s a woman codenamed R21 or Sting who was a gambler and possibly con artist, a man codenamed N35 or Pinch-Hitter who embezzled money and also holds a secret related to the situation, a young girl codenamed R12 or FlashTradeKiller who is a hacker who purposely caused the financial network to crumble, and a teenage boy codenamed N17 or Pokerface whose reasons for being convicted are not stated and me explaining who he is would be a spoiler.

There’s also an old man in the prison who is actually there of his own free will for also spoilery reasons codenamed Enplein or VO and his cat, Coupier. None of their real names are given and they refer to each other by their numbers which I believe are also supposed to signify their ages.

I can’t give too much away as I don’t feel this is one of those titles I want to go through beat by beat, but I will say that the premise is extremely interesting and the OVA has some very cool ideas. However, this is merely a one-shot which means there’s no real building upon these ideas, and that’s a real shame.

That’s not to say the OVA ends on a cliffhanger or anything. There are several twists thrown in that are pretty shocking, especially the one at the very end.

It’s just very disappointing that there’s not more of this. You can easily extend this premise out further into a very short OVA of like six episodes, but it’s over in one episode.

Bottomline: If you like short stories that are both interesting yet dark at the same time, you’ll probably enjoy this very much but wish there were at least a bit more to it.

Art and Animation: This anime is done entirely in CGI, which is, for the most part, fine. It’s done in that kind of way that looks like it’s only half cel-shaded and outlined, which actually works really well. The character models are decent. They look kinda video-gamey though. Also the animation for the humans is a little stiff sometimes, but overall fine.

Music: The music’s also fine. The ending’s catchy and done in Italian for whatever reason.

Additional Information and Notes: Five Numbers! was written by Dai Sato, who has done writing work on Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Wolf’s Rain. It was directed by Hiroaki Ando, CGI director of Steamboy and director of Gambo. It was produced by Sunrise and is currently licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

Runtime: 25 minutes

Year: 2011

Recommended Audience: Eh, the ending is not a happy one. Though you never see anything happen on camera, it’s heavily implied that something intense is about to happen. Other than that, no gore, swearing, nudity, sex, or anything. 10+

3×3 Eyes: Seima Densetsu Review

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Rating: 4.5/10

Plot: Four years after the ending of 3×3 Eyes, Pai is still missing and Yakumo continues to search high and low for her. He eventually finds her living as the high school girl Pai, or Pa-bo, Ayanokoji, and she has no memories of who she really—Oh come on. Amnesia? For the love of crap. Anyway, she doesn’t remember who or what she really is, who Yakumo is or anything else about her life before four years ago. Yakumo and she decide to go off and find a way to unlock her memories, but Benares is still around waiting to resurrect Kaiyanwang.

Breakdown: Pbbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttdisapointmentbbbbbbbtttt.

Damn shame too. I was actually looking forward to some resolution but nope. Just a ton of confusion, the always cliché since the beginning of time plot point of lost memories and an ending that, while being unexpected at least, was just plain stupid and still resolved nothing.

I will give this series some credit. The pacing is at least better than it was in the original series. It plays things out at a fairly decent pace now with three episodes coming in at 45 to 50 minutes long each instead of four episodes with a half hour each, but that is just weighed against the story issues, continuity problems and even the fact that the show is basically ignoring most of the first series.

The show’s main issue of amnesia really does just make you roll your eyes and facepalm, and it negatively impacts this show hard. Even when it’s done well, amnesia stories are just so overplayed in every medium. Oh and let’s not forget the little thing about Pai already having some modicum of amnesia in the last series as she wasn’t able to remember anything before she started journeying to become human. So now she has compounded amnesia. That coupled with the fact that she already has dual identities makes her a head case for the textbooks.

To make matters worse, the amnesiac Pai, or Pa-bo, is extremely annoying. Whereas Pai was very innocent, cute and even funny, Pa-bo just cries and calls out the names of various people when they get hurt. She’s very much your typical whiny female lead, mostly useless, and that’s just painful. I missed the hell out of Pai during this whole show, and she never returned once.

Yakumo used these past four years to get much more badass, and I welcome that change because it was something I really wanted out of the first series. However, since Yakumo went up in badassness and Pai got a major downgrade, he’s now pretty much the typical knight in shining armor who just fights and tells Pai to run away.

We have some new characters to play with this time around.

Jake MacDonald is your stereotypical loud, incredibly rude and violent American character who only cares about money, money and more money. He wishes to enter the Holy Land of the Sanjiyan in order to gain everlasting youth because somehow this will make him a millionaire and not a government experiment.

Neparva is a Tibetan monk who has been helping Yakumo for some amount of time.

Tin Zin is a funny old master monk.

Ran Pao Pao is a feral demon child who has the ability to turn into a giant four-armed crazed demon. While she was initially controlled by some random bad guy named Choukai (who also has the most annoying laugh ever), she befriended Pai because she was kind to her and now acts as her servant.

And no, no old characters besides Pai, Benares and Yakumo appear in this series. No Ling Ling. No Mei Shin. In fact, no mention of them whatsoever is in this series, which is incredibly weird considering they still have the statue of humanity that is needed to turn Pai into a human.

We do learn more about the Sanjiyan (though calling them ‘holy demons’ kinda threw me. In addition to being an oxymoron, they were just called flat out demons in the original) and we learn a little bit more of Pai’s past, such as the fact that her real name is Parvati the Fourth and she was actually engaged to Kaiyanwang before he became all evil. Why he became evil or how child Pai sealed him away when he slaughtered all of the Sanjiyan without issue is never explained, but something’s better than nothing.

The ending was…..so weird. Follow me here. Amnesiac Pai wasn’t even Pai at all. In order to seal her memories (instead of just killing her because Benares wanted to use her power to strengthen Kaiyanwang when he awakened) Benares used a demon snake and turned it into three diamond symbols. During their battle at the end of the previous series, he used his attack to strike her head with the symbols. The snake, or Hawasho, didn’t just seal Pai and Sanjiyan’s memories, the snake became the new Pai that they’ve been conversing with this whole time….

I was side-swiped by this. Not many mysteries end with ‘And she was a snake the whole time!’

Hawasho has two choices at the end – either obey Benares’ orders and forget about all of this yet again in order to live out her life with her friends like she wanted, or she could recite a spell that would release the snake from Pai’s body, unleashing the real Pai and Sanjiyan and simultaneously destroy both him and the altar of Kaiyanwang.

She decides to do the latter after kissing Yakumo, which, considering we now know she was a snake this whole time, is kinda icky. I don’t even know why Benares gave her that choice. Dumbass.

After this, Benares is gone, Kaiyanwang can no longer be resurrected I think and Sanjiyan has returned. Pai’s personality is sleeping for some reason so Sanjiyan is running the body now, and she decides to stay in her holy land to recharge until Pai comes back out.

Sanjiyan is also being oddly kindhearted for some reason. She’s come out twice in this series and both times she was pretty OOC. The first time was understandable because she didn’t remember who or what she was so she was acting like a crazed psycho out of frustration and confusion, but kindness out of her when she remember who she is is just weird.

She tells Yakumo to wait in Tokyo until the day Pai finally awakens, but that’s not all. Sanjiyan has somehow granted Hawasho with the life of Pai Ayanokoji now sporting brown hair instead of black, which is even stranger because Sanjiyan still has black hair when she’s supposed to have brown….And Pai’s eyes are consistently covered up for some reason. She also has no memories, again, of her adventures with Yakumo.

This part was also quite odd to me…..Yes, even outside of the obvious. It’s not like we knew Hawasho before this happened. It’s a non-character that was introduced 20 minutes into the final episode. Sure, we know Hawasho as Pa-bo, but that was the demon snake’s personality while trying to fulfill Benares’ wishes. Hawasho was technically the one with amnesia. We’re basically supposed to be happy that a random snake demon got her happily ever after.

While this ending did end the big issue with Benares and Kaiyanwang, in a really really really unsatisfying way especially considering that Kaiyanwang never got revived, it barely even addressed the main theme of the entire show which is to make Pai human. They didn’t even unlock the secrets of the Statue of Humanity from the previous series. Who knows if they ever did it because it was last in the hands of Ling Ling and Mei Shin, neither of which are even mentioned in this series.

I guess we’re just supposed to assume that down the line Pai becomes human and Yakumo gets his humanity back as well and they live a happy human life ever after, but why waste all of this series on amnesia when you could’ve been addressing the main story all along?

Art and Animation: I actually think both are a step down from the original. It doesn’t look as detailed, Pai’s fang is suspiciously missing, and the animation seems kinda clunky at times. The colors also seem a bit off, as Pai’s eyes look almost pink sometimes, and, like I mentioned, her hair is black for some reason throughout most of the series instead of her regular brown.

Music: I still really liked the music, even if it didn’t seem as memorable as the original.

Bottomline: It was just such a disappointment. Supposedly the manga fleshes out things much better so I’ll probably check that out, but I really wanted the anime to be great. Don’t get me wrong, there were still various cool parts, touching scenes and funny lines, but not nearly as endearing or awesome as the original series.

Additional Information and Notes:

3X3 Eyes Seima Densetsu was directed by Kiyoko Sayama, who also directed Saber Marionette J to X, Skip Beat!! and Vampire Knight. It was written by Kazuhisa Takenouchi, produced by Studio Junio, now known as SynergySP and is currently licensed in the US by Geneon, now known as NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan LLC.

Episodes: 3

Year: 1995-1996

Recommended Audience: Yakumo’s still immortal so he continues to flex his gore muscles. Several other characters also get pretty badly wounded to the point where I have no clue how they survived. There are a couple of instances of bare female chest, one from a mannequin demon and a few more from demonized Ran Pao Pao, which considering she spends half of her time as a small child can actually be kinda squicky. She’s also naked as a child several times. Some mild swearing, no sex. 14+

3×3 Eyes Review

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Rating: 7/10

Plot: A girl named Pai is the last of her race; the demonic immortal beings known as Sanjiyan Unkara, and she longs for nothing more than to become human. Along her journeys, she meets and cares for a sickly man who wanted to help Pai in her quest to become human. However, he died of his illness before he was able to do so and passed on the task to his son, Yakumo.

After searching for him for over four years, Pai finally found Yakumo and he begrudgingly accepted the task. He is soon accidentally killed by Pai’s friend, a demonic bird named Takuhi that lives in her signature cane. In an effort to save his life, she bonds her soul to his. This action not only revived Yakumo, but it also made him a Wu, a completely immortal being whose main role is to protect the one they’re bonded to. The only way they can die is if the sanjiyan they’re bonded with dies. Now they both quest for the statue of humanity in an effort to make them both human again.

Breakdown: I think this show gets a lot of flak because, at most, reviewers tend to give this show middle of the road scores with 5/10’s and 3 star ratings. This is an anime I actually rewatched because I never gave it a proper review before. I remember I really enjoyed it, and I also really enjoyed it this time around, if not more.

The characters are all likable and easy to grow attached to, the plot is pretty interesting and the two main leads are great. I also liked that Pai had two personalities – Pai, the innocent and child-like girl, and Sanjiyan, the cold and focused warrior. The show does have some really intense and epic moments that make this a great ride to sit through.

However, I can’t deny that those reviewers with less than great views don’t have a point in some of their criticisms.

The first episode is very rushed to the point where it’s bordering on ridiculous. Later episodes get better pacing, but it’s still a problem. I would’ve liked to have seen this show have more episodes to space out major events better. I think 3×3 Eyes should at least have eight episodes, but I would’ve hoped for 10-13. It deserves a much longer run outside of four episodes.

Because the manga’s story is smushed into this short OVA, many characters don’t get fleshed out much if at all.

The final episode, while being good, ends on a cliffhanger for many aspects of the story. Where’s Pai? What happened to her? What is the deal with the statue of humanity? Why do so many beings want it? It sounds like it only has the purpose of making beings human, but why is being used for resurrections too? Is Benares dead? Are sanjiyan only immortal in the aging aspect if they’re not immune to murder? It seems silly to me that they have the power to make others immortal from all types of death, but not themselves.

Art and Animation: The art is dated and not that great. I can’t bring myself to dislike it that much. I’m a sucker for the old styles. Still, the facial features are the worst of it as the actual character designs and landscapes are pretty well done. Animation’s decent, but not fantastic.

Music: Only BG music available, and I really enjoyed it, especially the song that usually plays in the opener (but it’s not the OP). It’s very fitting, energetic and impacting.

Voice Acting: Japanese – Pretty great performances all around, except for a few lines here and there. Pai’s VA did an especially good job switching between the high-pitched and child-like voice of Pai to the deeper and more pronounced Sanjiyan.

Bottomline: I have a soft spot for this series, and it really is worth a watch. I am disappointed that it never got a longer series to work from, but there is a three-episode sequel I have yet to see that hopefully fleshes things out further and gives us a legit ending.

Additional Information and Notes: 3×3 Eyes was directed by Daisuke Nishio, director of Dragonball, several Dragonball movies, the first 199 episodes of Dragonball Z and Air Master. It was produced by Toei Animation and it is licensed in the US by Geneon. There was a sequel released in 1995 called 3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu.

Year: 1991-1992

Episodes: 4

Recommended Audience: No real nudity, but a girl who is about to get sacrificed is in barely any clothing. No sex at all, but maybe a grope or two. Little bit of swearing. The main note here is the violence and gore. In order to show off Yakumo’s immortality, he dies several times over the course of the series in bloody and gory ways. He gets impaled with giant talons, gets brutally run off over with a bus, has a bridge fall on him to the point where he’s so injured after that his head pops off like a pez dispenser, hacks off his own hand etc. There’s also a gory scene with a girl who is possessed by a demon (and the reveal of this possession creeped the hell out of me). So……14+.

Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru Review

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Rating: 1/10

Plot: Yori has been in love with his twin sister, Iku, for as long as he can remember. When he finally reveals his feelings to her, Iku is shocked and their lives get increasingly complicated. Does Iku feel the same? Can this relationship ever work?

Breakdown: I want to make one thing clear right off the bat – I’m not against anime or any other form of media that explores taboo subjects. When done well, these features can explore something risque that opens entirely new views on the subject at hand. Even particularly squicky topics like incest can be handled well and made to be interesting.

It’s important to address these topics. They may be uncomfortable to discuss, but they’re a part of life. Learning about and understanding something that many people don’t talk about can be incredibly valuable.

When done wrong, however, they can turn what would’ve been a meh or bad show into a horrible show.

That being said, I’ve been wanting to review this OVA ever since I watched it a few years ago. It is a shining example of how to spotlight taboo subjects in the wrong way.

The biggest issue with this show is the main character, Yori. He is in love with his “younger” twin sister, Iku, and has been since he was a small child.

It was a little sweet to see Yori be so nice to Iku as kids, and even though he obviously had aspirations to make Iku his bride some day, it was still cute because that can really be brushed off as the musings of a child who simply doesn’t understand the norms of society and even, to a degree, nature. When we see Yori grown up, however, basically all sympathy and understanding for the guy falls flat.

He’s a mean, jealous, angry little sack of crap who seems more in lust with Iku than he is in love.

Case and point, he uses some girl that has a crush on him, Tomoka, for sex in order to release some of his sexual tension geared towards Iku. But don’t worry, it’s not an asshole-ish thing to do because Tomoka is fully aware that he likes someone else and even asked to be a proxy for this girl, hoping that one day he’d fall in love with her, just because sex.

In regards to his jealousy, he flies off the handle at even the slightest hint of another guy showing interest in Iku, or Iku even contemplating having a non-descript boyfriend to the point where he’ll go into rage-fueled rants about who she may have in mind for this, even grabbing her and yelling in her face about it. After having a fantasy of him having sex with her, of course.

When he’s not doing that, he’s being overall unpleasant, never smiling and constantly being mean to basically everyone.

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I believe the writers want us to feel like it’s understandable that Yori is such an undeniable douchenozzle because he’s been so frustrated for years that he loves/lusts after his sister yet can’t admit to those feelings. And if he does, not only does he have to worry about rejection, but he also has to worry about changing if not destroying his relationship to Iku because of this incredibly awkward situation.

No.

I understand that loving someone and even lusting after someone for years and not being able to tell them has to be frustrating, but Yori is an unbelievably huge asshole about it. A ‘normal’ person would still try to be kind and friendly to the person to not harm their relationship.

You could say he’s being an asshole for the sake of keeping her at arms length to help stave his feelings, but he’s an asshole to everyone yet especially to Iku. At a certain point, it seems less like he’s doing this to prevent heartache and break, and more like ‘I want to stay as far away from you as possible because I’m afraid I’ll rape you.’ kind of thing. This is only further enforced by the fact that he’s constantly grabbing and restraining her against her will.

It’s possible that whatever love he had for Iku as a child mutated into whatever rape-y person he’s devolved into today, but that doesn’t give me any sense of sympathy for him or connection with him. The exact opposite is true. I severely dislike this guy from practically the first frame of his scowling face, and that turns into hatred before we even get to the halfway point.

You might be asking ‘Well, what of Iku? Surely she’s better.’ You’d think so, but honestly, no. She’s a crybaby and an idiot. She cries every five minutes over every last thing and has a really unhealthy dependency on her brother.

Despite showing zero signs of being romantically interested in Yori during the first fifteen minutes of the show, after he jumps her, suddenly professes his feelings and gives her an ultimatum in romantically loving him or not, a quick clip show of all the times in the show where he’s been a cold asshole to her, which are pretty much the only moments where they shared screentime so far, makes her reciprocate his feelings. Not only that, but when she realizes there might be something between Yori and his FwB, Tomoka, SHE starts flipping out and being an even bigger idiot.

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Even after this, it becomes clear to Yori that Iku doesn’t really love him and that she might be forcing herself into it to make him happy, which pretty much makes her a big ol’ doormat.

Iku offers her body to Yori after she finds out that he plans to go to a high school that is very far away, likely to keep him from leaving. However, when he realizes she’s forcing herself into it for his sake, he stops and says he wants her to love him first.

Okay, this seems better…..but the way he acts when he’s doing it shifted from rape-y to serial-killer-y. He says he’s not content with just her body and that he wants her heart to be his as well when they do it. And then he says:

Yori: “Hurry up and fall in love with me as a man, because there is no man in the world who loves you as much as I do.”

I might be reading too much into that, but this scene really contrasts to everything we’ve seen of him so far. He’s been a complete dick with nothing but sex on his mind. He needed to use some deluded girl as a stand-in for Iku to get his rocks off, which still doesn’t seem good enough, and now he’s all lovey-dovey all of a sudden. It’s jarring and unsettling.

Then they get to a point where they insult their audience. They, now fully involved romantically, go back to a place where they used to always go as children.…

………..a field of little white clovers.

….in front of a church.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

After proclaiming Iku as his lover and not his little sister through a really corny and convoluted breakdown of the word ‘clover’, they go into the church…..to make out. Between attempting to have sex in their own bunk bed while their parents are home and this, they really suck at finding secret places to swap bodily fluids. “Secret sweethearts: Kind of a miracle this is even a slightly a secret”

And yes, for some dumb reason, these opposite gender teenage siblings not only still share a room but they also sleep on bunk beds.

Really, out of all of the places to secretly tongue wrestle, why a damn church? I get it – this is the church their parents got married in and where Yori made the declaration that he’d be Iku’s husband, but still. They both fully understand the social and religious taboos of incest yet they can’t be bothered to find a place other than a church to kiss? A church where they may be easily recognized? That’d be one hell of an awkward encounter with your local priest.

Oh wait, I can tell you why they chose to do this in a church. Because then they can throw a crapton of looming religious imagery at your face to remind you that what they’re doing is frowned upon in the eyes of God. Not only do we get imagery, we get talking statues reminding Iku that what they’re doing is icky.

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I agree, angel statue. This OVA is despicable.

I should mention that it’s never been established what religion they are, if they’re religious at all, but that’s not really the point. Do they really believe the audience is so dumb that we can’t understand that what they’re doing is taboo? They need to chuck talking angel statues and spinning camera techniques at us to make us understand the weight of it all?

Not only that, but, like I said, they needed to remind Iku of how icky this is so she’ll suddenly dump Yori since she can’t go through with this while they’re under the eyes of God.

Just when you think that Yori might actually be accepting of the fact that this can never work and seems ready to give up on it, he dumps Tomoka stating that he can’t accept any replacements as he can only be with the real deal. Tomoka freaks out about it, even though she knew full out what she was getting herself into. Hell, she’s the one who offered to be a stand-in.

After our rapiest scene so far, courtesy of Yori, he admits to Iku what he was doing with Tomoka and that he’s a terrible person. Well, give him credit for owning up to it. But in spite of it all, Iku still doesn’t seem like she can either forgive him or go through with their relationship.

Just when you think Iku might be giving up on this altogether, she brings him to a skeevy love hotel after school since that’s where he and Tomoka had sex. In order to counteract the Tomoka sex, she wants to have sex there too.

…….You remember how I said Yori was the biggest problem I had in this series? Iku earns second place. I know I’ve already explained what was mostly wrong with her character; whiny, crybaby, weird combination of manipulative doormat, but her character just keeps getting worse and worse.

Yori has been in love with her since he was a kid. His creepy feelings likely stem from an idealized and misguided childhood infatuation. Iku’s feelings stem from nothing. They could’ve kept going with the idea that she non-romantically loved her brother so much and she was so dependent on him emotionally that she felt like she needed to reciprocate his feelings in order to make him happy and keep him from leaving. But now they feel the need to make her be in love with him now as well.

I would say this love is stemming from jealousy of Tomoka, but it’s quite obvious that Yori is not in love with her. He even outright admitted that. Judging from how she’s been acting and the way she’s been talking, I’d say that those signs of jealousy of Tomoka are actually more possessiveness for Yori. She’s not jealous that Tomoka is/was dating him, especially considering that she holds no ill will towards Tomoka, she’s offended that Yori was being intimate with someone who wasn’t her. She wants complete claim over him.

The thing is, Iku doesn’t seem sexually charged towards Yori. Every time they’ve been close to having sex, and even in the scene where they actually have sex, she seems scared out of her mind and is constantly crying. Despite the fact that she agrees to have sex with him, she’s completely uncomfortable with the idea of him seeing her even partially nude, which raises a red flag with me. She doesn’t really seem like she wants to have sex with him. She’s either doing this to, again, make Yori happy or to stake a claim on Yori. She was perfectly fine just kissing him and stuff and being with him before she heard that he slept with Tomoka and then, boom, let’s go to a love motel.

As the sex scene goes on, we get talked to like idiots again.

Yori: Narration – “What we have done is taboo.”

NO. WAY. Incest is taboo?

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Yori starts crying because, now that he’s gotten everything he’s ever wanted, he still intends on leaving because their relationship is unnatural and he could never give Iku happiness.

But maybe it’s a good thing that he’s leaving because, even in spite of being a consensual relationship, he still seems to have abusive asshole behavior lying within him with this line.

After he explains to his best friend, Yano, about the situation, Yano asks why he’s still leaving if he loves Iku.

Yori: “Sometimes, my feelings of wanting to protect Iku with everything that I have, clash with feelings of wanting to destroy something.

And that pretty much sums up why this guy is so creepy and deplorable. It’s not the fact that he’s in love with his sister, it’s the rape-y abusive asshole part that makes you want to turn this thing off.

Oh yeah, Yano, let’s talk about him for a minute seeing as how that’s about the amount of time he gets on screen. Yano seems to be a pretty cool guy. Wanna know how cool? Yori admits his feelings for Iku and even tells him that they had sex…..and he’s not only totally cool with it but he’s also not really surprised. He talks about it like it’s any other relationship. That’s about it.

For more on Iku’s possessiveness, we get this next line. At Yori and Iku’s graduation, Yori gives away all the buttons on his school shirt to the girls because he’s….. popular? I think? They never established such a thing, but okay.

In Japan, it’s a tradition for boys to give their second school uniform button to a special girl that they consider their loves at graduation as a means of confession. Specifically the second button down since it’s the closest button to the heart and is said to hold the feelings built up from the years in school. I get the symbolism with losing all the buttons, even though it may just be blatant fanservice with his open shirt, but given the tradition I don’t get it. Best thing I can find for the other buttons is some people give them to friends.

Anyway, she sees his lack of buttons and says this;

Iku: “Why are there no buttons? Don’t let other girls touch you!”

If what I’ve researched is true, I don’t see why she doesn’t assume some of them weren’t given to guys. The second one is the only one meant to be linked to romance. Though that does leave the question of where his second button went.

Iku has a hissy fit about him leaving, and he later tells her that he’s leaving because they can’t be a normal couple where they live now. Since everyone knows them and knows they’re siblings, they can’t do the smallest romantic gestures without experiencing the social stigma of such a thing, which is totally not what he said earlier.

He basically said he was leaving because he was afraid he’d end up hurting someone or Iku because of his intense passion. Now he’s not only giving a totally different reason but he’s also telling her to meet with him again so they can be a normal couple in a different place? Does he no longer care about his “feelings of wanting to destroy something”? What a creepy son of a bitch.

The OVA also start flipping on the comedy switch here. This show has been nothing but melodrama this entire time. Not one comedic moment or joke has occurred until this point and all of a sudden we get surprise puppies, pratfalls, Iku hiding Yori’s luggage, their father hiding his shoes, and cartoon-y art in several places. Just as soon as it started, it stops. What the hell happened?

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Yori leaves for high school, and just Iku touching his arm as he gets in the car makes him say this.

Yori: “Don’t touch me. Mom and dad will think it’s weird.”

Yeah because it’s totally unreasonable for a sister to hug her brother when he’s going to move away, especially when they’re close twins.

Just in case you still felt like Tomoka was a decent character, she arrives at the train station to stop Yori from leaving. As she hugs Yori, she glares at Iku, indicating that she realizes that the girl Yori liked this whole time was Iku and this hug is partially to spite Iku. See? That’s jealousy.

Yori pushes Tomoka away, hugs his father and mother to make it more socially acceptable to hug Iku I guess. They hug, he gives her a kiss on the cheek and then he leaves, the end.

Before I get to the bottomline, let’s explore what this series really didn’t feel like talking about and that’s the psychology of incest. Prepare for uncomfortable education!

Anime is no stranger to incest. It’s…odd, but true. This is anything from heavy incestuous overtones like Shugo and Rena from .Hack//Twilight to downright blatant incest like Yuka and Kouta from Elfen Lied. The difference here is that the incest angle is usually shooed away a bit by saying they’re not fully blood related or they didn’t grow up together. Still icky, but toned down because of technicalities. However, there might be more to at least the second excuse than merely toning down the ick factor.

Incest is taboo for several reasons. It has a high chance of birth defects, religions usually don’t tolerate it, and we’ve all been taught throughout our lives that it’s simply not accepted in society. For the most part, we accept this just fine because people don’t usually have sexual or romantic attractions to people they’re related to. Some of this may be contributed to something called the Westermarck Effect or reverse sexual imprinting.

The Westermarck effect is a psychological theory that suggests that people may become desensitized to sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex if they spend prolonged periods of time with that person as a young child, supposedly from the ages of birth to six years.

People who are related yet don’t grow up alongside each other and meet later in life may experience something called genetic sexual attraction or GSA. GSA occurs when relatives who didn’t spend much, if any, time together as children actually experience high levels of sexual attraction due to their similar facial features and possibly similar interests and experiences. I believe this may be one of the reasons why the go-to incest angles for anime and even some western shows is usually the cousin. Just far enough apart genetically to avoid some of the ick factor while also removing most of the childhood aspect from the picture.

In contrast to the Westermarck effect are the well-known theories of Sigmund Freud whose motto is ‘everything in your life amounts to your desire to bone your mom.’ Freud’s theories, shockingly enough, pointed to natural lust between family members that nearly everyone has yet is covered up due to the taboo of incest. Freud believed this taboo was created to help tamper down instances of incestuous relationships for the sake of healthy reproduction, religious taboos and other reasons. However, the Westermarck effect has even challenged this theory. Taking a note from Wiki, the psychologist Steven Pinker wrote in his book ‘How the Mind Works‘;

“The idea that boys want to sleep with their mothers strikes most men as the silliest thing they have ever heard. Obviously, it did not seem so to Freud, who wrote that as a boy he once had an erotic reaction to watching his mother dressing. But Freud had a wet nurse and may not have experienced the early intimacy that would have tipped off his perceptual system that Mrs. Freud was his mother. The Westermarck theory has out-Freuded Freud.”

In essence, there’s really no worse setup that this show could’ve created in terms of a realistic incestuous relationship. Despite the title, the two siblings are twins, meaning they’re the exact same age. They grew up alongside each other since they were born with no difference in their ages.

Taking the Westermarck effect as mostly gospel and believing that the cutoff for its effects is six years old, the way they could’ve gone about this in a more realistic way would be to have Yori actually be the older sibling. Make Yori at least seven or something when Iku is conceived. That would help account for at least Yori’s lust/love for Iku. And to make it less squicky in regards to loving someone so much younger than Yori, maybe have them both be in their twenties when the attraction starts or at least when they get together?

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I know this still leaves the issue of Iku’s feelings, but I don’t really think it matters much. She’s so wishy washy in what she actually wants. She wants Yori to stay with her and loves him deeply, but she doesn’t show much in terms of sexual attraction to him and her romantic feelings are highly questionable.

Or go the obvious route and head for GSA. Keep them as twins, but make them separated at birth for some reason and meet each other later in life. Yori and Iku can still develop both romantic and sexual feelings for each other while keeping the incest angle intact. If the childhood connection thing is important, have them meet at like ten or something and have Yori’s feelings develop through puberty.

I think this series is so widely known and somewhat well-received because of the fact that it is throwing focus onto a no-holds barred fully blood related, twins no less, pairing that grew up together from birth. And I understand that. It’s nice to give some applause for simply acknowledging that they had the balls to do something like that.

Except for one itty bitty thing.

They’re not 100% blood related in the manga. They’re half-siblings with different fathers. How is that possible when they’re twins? It’s incredibly rare, but it is possible. When a woman has sex with two different men in the time frame of, at most, one week, she can get pregnant from both of them. One egg gets fertilized from one man and another egg by the other, creating something called heteropaternal superfecundation.

After looking it up, this is indeed how they were conceived, but I won’t spoil who the second father is.

Art and Animation: The background art is very nice and detailed. I really love the art and animation for the hair. It’s beautifully done…..however, the faces….ech. I was so distracted by the terrible art for the faces. By all means, it looks like it’s trying to be typical shoujo style but the lips are huge and oddly shaded at points. The noses seem overly big and oddly shaped from the front. The eyes, as silly as it seems to note this in an anime, seem too big and oddly shaped for their heads.

Music: The OP is fine, albeit a bit over dramatic with violin music. The BG music is forgettable. I didn’t care for the ED. It sounded like several songs overlaying each other in the beginning.

Voice Acting: Japanese – A bit overly dramatic, but they were probably directed that way. Everyone was fine in their roles.

Bottomline: This is a terribly written show with poorly written characters that you want to smack with the only redeemable one being Yano, and there’s even a hint of something off about him near the end. He also gets little screentime so it doesn’t matter.

What could’ve been an interesting look at a taboo topic instead of the insipid incest pairings we get in anime purely for the sake of shock value and adding naughtiness to a pairing for the sake of pervs just turned out to be an uncomfortable show about people you will grow to hate quickly with incest thrown in as conflict. Siblings or not, these people can kiss my ass.

The Tomoka conflict, if you can call it that, was basically unneeded. They could’ve done something better with it, like put more focus on him trying his best to use her as a substitute for Iku and trying his hardest to love her, but nope. He bangs her and only a few days later, after 15 years of being in love with her, kisses Iku and confesses his feelings to her just because she started crying after he was being an asshole to her yet again. Then Tomoka turns around and seems to turn into a bitch once she realizes that Iku is the one he’s in love with, despite the fact that she instigated their whole relationship as a substitute deal.

Yori is terribly inconsistent with his character outside of his assholeish behavior, and Iku is basically the same way only replace ‘assholeish’ with ‘whiny and useless’.

This is just a poor story all around. I will be reading the manga for the AniManga Clash and possibly in hopes of finding something more redeemable about this series, but as it stands, it’s just not worth anyone’s time.

Additional Information and Notes: Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru was based on a manga by Kotomi Aoki. It was directed by Mayumi Nishimoto and it was produced by Shogakukan.

In 2007, a live-action version was created and produced yet again by Shogakakun. It was directed by Hiroshi Ando.

Runtime: 50 minutes

Year: 2005

Recommended Audience: The subject matter alone leads itself to a more mature audience, but there are also several sex scenes. Nothing is shown graphically, but they’re still there. Yori can also be somewhat rough during these sex scenes and even crosses the line into assault once or twice. 14+

Tenkuu Danzato Skelter Heaven/Skelter+Heaven Review

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Rating: 0/10

Plot: The world has been visited by a giant flying squid (It’s not a hentai, I promise) and it’s up to some NERV-like organization and a group of girls in mechs as well as one guy in an airplane to take it down.

Breakdown: This OVA….is……..ew.

First of all, this OVA is a mere 18 minutes long including opening and ending credits complete with their own themes, so we’re REALLY pressed for time here. A good anime could come up with something at least decent to show in such a short amount of time, but no…..just no.

A rule of thumb when it comes to series that are so short is that, if the cast is large or hell even moderately sized, it’s best to flesh out one character or at most two to at least get some characterization in there to make us care. Skelter+Heaven decided to tackle this problem by fleshing out absolutely no one.

We have a group of five girls none of whom I can remember the name of offhand. The only info we get on any of them is given in short blurbs in the character descriptions during the theme song. Oh and that the main girl, brown haired chick, is in love with some airmen/captain/whatever guy who also gets no real characterization besides, I guess, that he’s serious about his job.

The girls in question are artificially created humans meant for the sole purpose of piloting the mechs and fighting, I guess. Why do they need to be created for this? What are they really? Never explained!

Since this OVA is so short, I can easily give you the play by play.

We spend the first minute of the OVA watching the sun over earth. Because when every minute counts, waste one.

The military is responding to some disturbance over the radio before we get our OP. Because wasting yet another nearly two minutes on an OP is also smart. That’s three minutes out of this 18 minute OVA that have been completely pointless.

About the OP itself, the song, Naked Heart, is bearable, but terribly generic. However, it loses that title during the final line where the singer seems to huff helium and then stub their toe. The backgrounds for the song are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. We basically just get visual novel cut out pictures of the girls, and most of the shots look like they’re in poor quality for some reason. Not only is this annoying, but it puts you in the wrong mood. It makes you feel like you’re getting ready to play a visual novel, not watch an anime.

We get the aforementioned blubs, which don’t really explain much outside of their names, blood types, height, weight and birthday. You know, the important information.

For those wondering, the girls are Misaki, the kinda pushy one who also seems to like main guy and wants to prove herself, Rin, our main girl whom I already explained, Konomi, our glasses girl, Midori who…..does archery once, and Ayaka whom……You know…I don’t think she does a damn thing during this entire OVA now that I think about it….

After the OP is over, we see a news reporter talking about the strange object appearing in the sky and for some reason, he keeps repeating his two lines about it over and over and over.

Cut to NERV headquarters…..it might as well be that, where we meet main guy, main girl and Gendo Ikari. He’s never given a name and acts pretty much exactly like Gendo Ikari, so he’s Gendo Ikari.

It’s also here where we get our first glimpse of the squid monster. And boy…it is….something.

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Look at that…..thing…..that exists…..That is…..a thing of some sort…….yup.

The weirdest part about this squid thing is that it is insanely still. It never moves unless prompted by attack. Even then, it doesn’t really move. Things on it move, but it never moves. It also never makes any noise whatsoever. It’s such an awkward enemy. And how Gendo reacts to the squid, it’s like it’s a common occurrence for this to happen anyway…..so……the squid is basically an angel from Evangelion….Hm.

They want to call out the girls to fight the squid, so let’s see what they’re up to. Ayaka answers a message, Midori’s shooting a bow that shoots insanely slow arrows and Misaki and Konomi are having the most boring mech duel I’ve ever seen. Not only are they moving way too slow to even justify being practice, but the sound effects during the scene don’t match what they’re doing. She smacks Konomi’s mech’s arms with her mech’s arms and it makes a sound like she’s punching a pillow.

This scene perfectly encapsulates everything that is wrong with the art in this show. The character designs are passable, but the animation is incredibly stilted and seems like it’s missing a lot of inbetweens. You can easily tell this when Konomi turns her head when she’s lying on the ground. It practically jump cuts from looking ahead to looking to the side. The animations in the mouths are most notably awful because the mouths are way too big, oddly shaped and always seem to be missing inbetweens.

The CGI on its own isn’t the worst that I’ve ever seen, if you can believe that. However, when it’s put in scenes with traditional 2D animation, it looks like complete garbage. It’s like someone took the graphics for Reboot and tried to shove them in an anime. Believe it or not, we get even worse art and animation when the girls are piloting the mechs. See, the girls pilot the mechs externally, meaning the traditionally animated girls have to be forcibly merged into the CGI by making them in that awkward cel shaded CGI in mid shots and clashing regular animation on closeups.

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Some shots during this fight aren’t even finished because we see Konomi, or at least who I think is her, in full CGI with blank eyes and pink hair when she pins Misaki.

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That’s not the only shot like that either, because Misaki is fully CGI in a couple of quick shots too, but at least it mostly looks like her.

For reference, here’s how Konomi looked a few seconds earlier.

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Cut to Rin taking a shower and flashing back to five years ago when I guess the girls were first going through the training program. Their training in this specific flashback is to sit on a seat that is propelled up and down while the girls moan and contort their faces.

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But their careers as prostitutes didn’t work out, so they decided to be mech pilots instead.

At headquarters, the girls are briefed on the situation. They devise the brilliant plan of finding the enemy’s weak point and attacking it for massive damage and we cut to the squid….maybe doing something?…..It moved its tentacle! Maybe it’ll destroy something!……Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand….

Nope.

Moving on.

As everyone heads out, Misaki bitches to main guy about being the second attack line instead of the first, which is Rin. She also seems to hint that there is already something between Rin and main guy. When he refuses to change the order, claiming she’s too impulsive and acts too much on her own, she impulsively runs off to her mech to prove that she can do the job on her own.

The girls launch in their mechs and head towards the squid. Misaki disobeys orders and attacks first, so the others are forced to change their plans because of it. They make a slight bit of damage to the squid, but it soon starts slowly moving its tentacle back at the girls who apparently never thought that the damn thing might retaliate if it gets injured.

One of the girls is able to get away, but Misaki is swatted off the squid. They’re in even bigger trouble when the slow as hell tentacle starts coming towards Midori and Misaki. It smashes into Midori and kills her. Hey, maybe it was a bad friggin’ idea to have the girls pilot these mechs without a proper cockpit, eh?

The squid starts growing smaller tentacles from its bigger tentacles…I don’t know why. And main guy gets attacked by them in his plane. He’s thrown but I think he’s saved by Rin. I say that because I can’t see her actually doing it in the animation. We just see her mech on his plane in the next scene and main guy points out that she saved him.

The smaller tentacles rip off the leg on Rin’s mech, which somehow causes her immense pain and as she’s screaming we cut to black without a fade or anything and just as quickly cut to a flashback of Rin being created by Gendo. Apparently, whatever the girls are have intelligence and physical capabilities that far surpass humans. Would’ve been nice to have seen that being practiced because they all seem like they’re no smarter if not less so than your average human. However, he worries about them becoming too smart and strong and is cut off after he thinks about what would happen if they were to turn against them. Then we cut back to the present. Well, thanks for that.

Just a few seconds after cutting back to Rin, we cut immediately to black again to insert another flashback. Editing of this OVA is courtesy of a blind mentally challenged velociraptor.

The flashback is of Rin asking main guy how long her estimated life span is since it’s obviously different from that of a normal human. He doesn’t know. The end.

Back with Rin, her mech’s arm inexplicably comes off in mid-air. Am I watching Discount Mech Warriors?

After some awful lipsyncing where the lips don’t stop moving even after the speaking parts end, we see that Misaki is still alive, perfectly fine and still fighting somehow even though we were lead to believe that she died with Midori before. *shrug*

Now main guy is getting a poorly edited flashback to all the good times with the girls and goes in to attack the squid, but Rin stops him to tell him that she hasn’t been following orders because she has to. She does it because she loves him. Aw. If I cared about this, I would maybe feel an emotion right now.

The girls charge in to attack without main guy’s assistance. They make it past the small tentacles and cut into its head where we get the only time jarring editing actually seems to have a positive impact. The music and sound all cut out and the shot turns to the black and white when they cut into his head. I’ll just assume that was purely on accident.

To Gendo’s surprise and seeming horror, they make it into the ‘core’ of the squid. Seeing as how he’s been smiling at their losing battle this entire time….I’ll assume he actually wanted the girls to fail for some reason.

Rin says she’s going to attack the core. Not for humanity’s sake, but because she loves and wants to protect main guy. That seems like it’s supposed to be romantic or sweet, but it just comes off as dickish. Let me also remind you that Rin is technically five years old or so. Just because she has an adult body and supposedly higher intelligence doesn’t change that fact.

She readies her attack and we cut to black again. (Rrgh) This time it’s merely as an excuse to not show the attack as we cut straight from her preparing to attack to the squid to the squid….inking itself and I guess dying.

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After that, we cut to all of the mechs and everything covered in ketchup—Oh excuse me ‘blood’, and we’re left to assume that everyone died, expect Misaki, who is somehow just getting treatment at the medical bay, and main guy. However, it’s implied that because of the ‘failure’ of the girls (yeah, I don’t understand either) it’s fully main guy’s fault and Gendo deletes him from his phone, which I guess is supposed to imply something bad. Either that he got fired or will be killed. I really don’t know; deleting someone from your phone is more like an angry breakup act.

One year later, we see more news footage about the squid leading into sightings of multiple identical squids above Japan now. Then we cut to seeing hundreds of those squids flying over the city, zoom out on the earth….The end.

Oh no wait, we have to have more visual novel shots for the ED set to a song that is just awful and takes up another minute and half of runtime. The actual end.

So….what? Are we left to assume that the world is doomed now? If all the girls but Misaki died and main guy was let go or killed, doesn’t that mean the squids will take over the world now? Doesn’t that mean this entire OVA was completely pointless then?

Bottomline: This OVA in its entirety was a promotional OVA for the Skelter+Heaven Playstation game; a visual novel and battle simulator game where you play the main guy and get to pick which one of the girls is your romantic interest. I have no clue how good the game is or even if it’s an H-game, but if they thought this piece of crap would improve sales of the game, they must have squids for brains. If anything, I have never not wanted to play a game more in my entire life.

There’s only so many excuses you can get from the fact that this OVA is 18 minutes long, and you pretty much take most of the excuses away because they seem to want to waste time if anything. Four and half minutes were completely wasted just on pointless space shots and the OP and ED when they could’ve been used for at least a little focus on the characters themselves, the world, the organization they work for, these squid things etc.

They pretty much did every last thing wrong. No characterization whatsoever, plot points shot into our faces and backstory wedged into completely unrelated scenes, awful editing, poor organization, a ridiculous story that baffles me with how much it seemingly rips off of Evangelion, bad art and horrific animation, forgettable character and mech designs, poorly integrated CGI, awful textures on the CGI, boring and stupid battles, poorly made OP and ED, bad to passable music, sound effects that didn’t seem quite right a lot of the time, poor sound mixing with the sound effects and music commonly being too loud, lackluster to bad backgrounds, terrible lipsyncing and bored voice acting. I can’t think of one thing this OVA did right outside of being mercifully short.

Even if you did want to check this out, it’s really difficult to find a copy, especially one with English subs, so it’s just not worth it at all.

Recommended Audience: Mild nipple-less nudity, lots of blood but no gore, and that’s about it. 10+

Space Family Carlvinson Review

Space Family Carlvinson

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: A theater group made up of aliens crashes into another spaceship that made a grave error while warping. They head down to the surface of a planet to see if the passengers are still alive, but all they find is a baby in a pod and two bodies that are presumed to be the baby’s parents. The authorities refuse to take the child, so the group decides to make a new life on the planet while raising the baby girl they have named Corona, waiting for the day that someone who knows her will answer their call and reunite with her.

Breakdown:
A fairly rare title, this is a 45 minute OVA, and it’s a pretty cute story. It’s heartwarming to see the lengths that the group has gone to in order to ensure that Corona lives a life as close to the one that she would have on her home planet, which I assume is Earth, but I can’t be certain.

A little purple puffball who could easily be related to Grimace has taken the role of mother, and seems to only have Mother as her name, which suits her perfectly since she’s been the key authority in the theater group. She deeply cares for Corona like her own child, but still sends out messages every day to see if anyone’s looking for Corona so that she can be with her actual family.

Then we have what I find to be the funniest character in the show, Father. He’s a robot with two very funny traits. First, he’s not very intelligent, which is odd for a robot. He takes many things too far and misunderstands a lot, though he’s always willing to do anything for Corona.

Second is his growth capability. Somehow, Father can continuously grow in size and create additional parts on himself to make jets, medium sized mecha and giant mecha. He seems to do this whenever he’s spurred by something involving Corona. Thus, he’s constantly destroying things to make Corona happy, ironically.

Then we have a character who looks human-ish called Beruka. She has taken an odd role as Sheriff, I guess to ensure that Corona lives in a safe place. I thought she’d be somewhat central in this movie, but she’s really not.

This movie is pretty cute, touching and it gets pretty funny at some points. The characters are likable and Corona’s a believable cute little kid.

The only real problems I have with this show are character development and the ending.

Since this is only a 45 minute OVA, none of the characters are developed much beyond Mother and Corona. Father has no real character to develop, and Beruka is pretty generic. We don’t even know what their theater troupe really was.

The ending also kinda weirds me out. Spoilers, of course. An alien sends messages to Mother’s radio saying that they’re coming for Corona, but Mother doesn’t know what to do about it. After getting upset with Corona about being out too late, Corona runs off into the forest where she’s taken into a weird spaceship. She’s given cake and candy by some weird alien who has been sending the messages.

She says she heard the message about Corona not having parents and wanted to have a child around to eat the sweets she makes because she can’t have kids of her own. Either this is creepy in a sad/sweet way or very creepy in a Hansel and Gretel type of deal.

As Mother, Father, Beruka and others search for the spaceship, they arrive just in time to see it leaving. Mother believes she went off with the person from the messages, but sees Corona waving goodbye to it. Corona is reunited with Mother and we see that the alien apparently has a catalog of books containing parentless children to try and kidnap. Okay, she seems to be somewhat sincere about this stuff and she did let Corona go happily, but still, what the hell?

Fear not, though, giant mecha Father blows up the spaceship while looking for Corona, which is alarming seeing as how she could’ve easily been on that spaceship. Way to commit murder on someone who could’ve easily been incredibly nice but creepy, Father!

Corona said she didn’t go with the alien despite promises of candy and treats because she did indeed have a family in the theatre troupe, and she and the others go home.

One other thing that bugged me was the fact that Beruka seems to hint that she has some kind of special power earlier in the movie but we never learn what it is. Her eyes glow and her features get catty for a minute and then she’s interrupted and it’s never brought up again.

Art and Animation: The art and animation are somewhat dated, but it’s still pretty good and holds up fairly well.

Music:
The music is good. Nothing particularly memorable to me, but still good.

Voice Acting: Japanese –  Everyone was great in their roles. Corona didn’t even get on my nerves, and that’s pretty rare for a child character.

Bottomline: It’s a cute family OVA that you won’t regret watching. While the ending is a bit odd, it’s still funny, cute and at times heartwarming.

Additional Notes and Information: 

Space Family Carlvinson was directed by Kimio Yabuki and was written by Michiru Shimada. It was produced by Dogakobo.

Runtime: 45 Minutes

Year: 1988

Recommended Audience: The ending can easily be construed as creepy. Corona’s parents die, a couple of the characters have perverted, but not very perverted, fantasies, no nudity, no swearing, no sex, no gore or violence. 5+