- monthly subscription or
- one time payment
- cancelable any time
"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
Anime blogger and dedicated otaku/fanboy! RSS this for a constant stream of WIN or your money back.
Hyakka Ryouran SAMURAI GIRLS
Motto To Love Ru
Ore no Imouto Konna ni Kawai..
Otome Youkai Zakuro
The World God Only Knows
Yosuga no Sora
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
Megane na Kanojo
To Heart 2
Un-named GONZO 2011 anime
Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka
Oniichan no koto nanka zenzen suki janai dakara ne
● I've been pretty pumped for this show ever since the staff were announced, and yet it still topped my expectations! You've basically got great pedigree here: Takahiro Omori heading a Brains Base series (i.e Baccano and Durarara), and for the coveted timeslot, noitaminA!
● Takahiro Omori is an impressive director, especially in terms of his storyboarding. I was a little let down by the production standards of Durarara, but he seems to have raised the bar for his noitaminA premier! He directed and storyboarded the first episode, and it was a polished and striking piece of work, layered with oddities and clever humour. And it was bought to life well with good animation. It seems Brains Base pulled their A-team for this one! I just hope Takahiro Omori directs more than one episode. He only directed one Durarara episode, and several for Baccano.
● The various obsessions of the girls are so strange! Especially the jellyfish thing. But after a while they began to feel believable despite their strangeness.
● Kana Hanazawa is perfect in this lead role, and it's the kind of demanding role I've been wanting to see her in. She doesn't just have to sound cute, but she has to swing between series-business Jellyfish exposition and high-strung nervousness.
● The OP is based around movie references for .. no reason? I don't get it. But it's a fun OP nonetheless. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpDZ9PhDknY
● I just gotta say, I'm loving this new season of Index so far. J.C Staff was at their higher-tier standard for the first episode, with some great animation, art and BGM.
● Well the great BGM is sill there, but the storyboard from Michio Fukuda , who did a lot of Working!! and whose directing abilities are on full display in Mayoi Neko Overrun episode 5 (one of the weaker episodes), wasn't as inspired.
● There wasn't much action this episode, but I loved all the really awesome fanservice thrown in to make up for it!! I have to say, I respect J.C Staff and the director for preserving these fanservice moments from the novels (and for making them almost as sexy!). Of course, if it wasn't for the station Tokyo MX, we might not get to see it all. I have concluded that Touma's ability magnetises him to lolis. Either that or Kugumiya Rie's voice just caused ecchi things to happen~
● I love the new nun! She's daaamn fine, and it's nice to see Kugumiya Rie still getting roles XD
● Maika spins me right round! When is she going to get a spin-off? GET IT!?
● I can't say I'm enjoying this show more and more, but it's holding my interest amid the general confusion of the plot, somehow. The vibrant visuals probably have a lot to do with that.
● I don't think the Utena writer's approach to storytelling agree with mine, because his scripts so far have been heavy on the weird and light on the compelling. Yoji Enokido has done some good stuff before, but I dunno.
● Once again BONES proved themselves still able to pull off a good unusual mecha battle. In Eureka 7 it was surfin mechs, this time it's fencing, flambouyant mechs. but the important thing is that they showcase some really good 2D animation. Star Driver has some good talent involved, and the mech battle this week was pulled off well by several animators.
● Jun Arai's cuts during the mecha battle stood out glaringly, with his dense and crazy shading and sharp angular movements. He did lots of similar stuff for NEEDLESS. I really don't like that style of "animation", but in short doses it adds a little variety~ (check his segment out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD9ZA-gP7JU#t=1m08)
● Alligator in the pool .. that's classic super-rich, married Japanese high school girl!
● That little Pokemon thing is even more annoying than it is pointless.
● Thank God we didn't hear any "It's a PINCH!" this time.
● Why the hell didn't he dual-wield from the start?
Even I'M surprised how much I'm loving this series, and that's coming from someone who's been anxiously waiting for this anime to be made for years. Ever since I first heard about the release of the first LN, I felt an instant connection with Kirino, the part-lolicon otaku fiend with terminal moe-fever! It's the modern otaku story that had to be told! My fascination with female otaku has been around since Ogiue leapt out a window in Genshiken, but Kirino is a special case. She not only has that otaku streak, but a full-bodied appeal that can only be described as cute AND sexy. Kirino's appeal is a big draw card, but the rest of the show doesn't let her steal the spotlight.
The dramatic elements of her having to conceal her passions around her friends and family, even if I can't wholly relate to them, feel very real and bring you closer to the characters. Knowing how great it is to have friends who share your hobbies, I was really feeling for Kirino when she was trying to make friends at the otaku meetup. This time it was Kyousuke I was feeling for. When he took the fall for Kirino's eroge, I was almost screaming at the screen, "don't do it!". Of course, he's the better bro than me, so he went through with it and earned an adorable moe moment from Kirino.
This episode was really well directed. Veteran, Tetsuya Watanabe was credited with director and storyboard, and his talents in framing the episode really came through to extract that extra intensity and entertainment. I thought, in terms of the visuals, it was the best executed episode so far. Unfortunately the crap BGM was a bit of a let-down and took me out of the moment a couple of times.
This week the ending drawing was done by Na-ga, who you should know as the artist behind the Angel Beats character designs. Frankly though, I'm not a Na-ga fan.
Stupid, cliche fun is a pretty good phrase to describe Strike Witches, and it's never been more appropriate than in this final episode of the second season, when the forced tension and farfetched action finish are dished out. It was pretty much the same in the first season, but that climax had more oomph to it, and featured some genuinely impressive animation. I'll give this one credit for a pretty good storyboard, and 3D visuals, but the lack of captivating 2D animation was as much of a weakness here as it has been in AIC's whole season of Strike Witches. GONZO did a better job.
Production aside, the ending didn't really do much for me. There weren't any shocks, twists or moments of tension, it was just a predictable by-the-book dues ex machina wrap-up ("we can't defeat it, we have on magic!" "oh wait, yes we can, hooray!"). But I guess it was kind of sad to think that this could be the last Strike Witches season following the 501st (if there is more, I don't think even these writers would want to have them regroup yet again). I feel little more than ambivelance toward this episode, and it's much the same for this season. I appreciated the fun, fanservice moments, and LOVED the intensified yuri themes (Sanya X Eila ~kyaa), but otherwise it was pretty average. I guess that's kind of what I expected, but I still think GONZO's efforts imbued Strike Witches with more charisma.
A lot of people would say this episode was a bit of an odd way to finish of the Ookami-san series, and I'd have to agree with them! After a more climactic and dramatic finale last week, what's the point of regressing back to the episodic format for the final episode? I do see the point, the idea was to finish off on a poignant, romantic tone by giving one final test of Ryouko's love in the form of a new rival. And this would almost justify the time spent introducing a new character for the final episode, if it had actually progressed their relationship. If I'd heard Ookami-san come out with "I love him" instead of the "I don't dislike him" cop-out, I would have been more satisfied. Sure, it's in character for the wolf-tsundere, but something's gotta change - she can't stay dishonest with herself forever!
I did like the scene with the "fireworks", which had a nice romantic aura to it, but the rest of the episode just felt too out of place to be in the final. I didn't mind the new girl's character design, but her character was .. very odd! At least she gave us the second panty-shot of the anime so far! But why'd she have to ruin it by writing her name on her panties like that!? More importantly, this episode really wasn't executed very well from an animation production stand-point. Animation direction was poor, with many off-model drawings, and the key animation in the fight sequences was ugly. According to the japanese wiki, this episode had a whopping 6 animation directors, which, given the lack of demanding cuts, leads me to believe they were behind schedule for this episode.
Even though it feels like we've now left behind some of the best, most suspenseful parts of the show, and even though this isn't quite the episode I'd hoped for to see me through the 3-week break before episode 12, my love for Shiki is still just as strong! This was a good episode, but not stellar. It definitely didn't have the same production issues as last week, but, at least until the last few minutes, it definitely lacked the kick that the earlier arc of both Natsuno and Ozaki finding out about the vampires had. It was a fascinating episode, full of ambiguous and confusing morality.
Good stories are challenging and can deliver a powerful sense of irony. This week, we follow the old superstitious woman who's known around town for being a superstitious nut. She's deeply unlikeable, and her attempts to whip the town people up into a frenzy of fear over the town's newest family are selfishly motivated, but the cruel twist is that this time she's actually right! Even though she's someone you'd never listen to in real life, knowing what we know as the audience forces us to uncomfortably support her. It's just one example of Shiki's layered and devious storytelling. A second example is the dynamic between Muroi and Sunako. This episode Sunako came about 3 centimetres away from sticking her fangs into the sullen priest, but she hesitated as he wooed with with words. Sunako strikes me as someone whose philosophical mind leads her to question her purpose, and where she can fit in the muddled world of good and evil.
Yeah, this was an interesting episode, but my one complaint would probably be the fact that it delivered a lot of really big moments and plot progressions within the ending credits! Why save up all the stuff we really wanted to see just for the credits? Like what happened to Natsuno, or Ozaki experimenting on one of them. It seemed like those important scenes should have been included in full..
So I'm left a bit frustrated as we begin the three week wait for more Shiki, but I'm pretty sure the show has lots more awesome in store for us!
Yet another average episode of Strike Witches II, which is entertaining enough to hold your attention, but which doesn't really go much beyond that. Well, I guess the first season was quite like that, and this season has done well with the moe-fanservice scenes and scored extra points for turning the yuri dial up a notch. But when the first season wanted to pull of something really awesome, it did. This season often feels like it wants to do something really big and impressive but can't afford it. It lacks charismatic animation and often uses 3D awkwardly (although I'll admit there were some good 3D effects in this episode's battle). The emotional stories are generally hit and miss, with this week's tale of a weakened and distraught Sakamoto falling onto this miss side of things.
Like the series overall, this episode was fun but mediocre.
Wow, this weeks' outing really felt like the final episode of the series, which kind of caught me off guard. I actually hadn't stopped to think about how long Ookami-san was going to be, I simply took each episode as it came with a growing fondness for the series. And now that I really love the show, I suddenly have to face up to the fact that it's a 1-cour, 12-episode series!! It's a real tragedy, especially because JC Staff are known for doing 2-cour anime, why the exception for Ookami? At least I'll still have Shiki, and the prospect of more Ookami-san to come. While this episode was a sudden rush towards a climax that did a pretty good job and wrapping up most of the emotional stories of the last 10 episodes, it was still open ended. The villains are still at large, and the core romantic story of Ryouko and Ryoushi is yet to be finalised (it's like another Spice & Wolf!).
But Ryoushi did get to prove his worth by taking on the arch-villain and Ookami-molester, Shirou, in an epic hand-to-hand showdown. That was the action climax of the series (as well as the brawl between the Otogi Bank alliance and the deliquents), and featured some good animation. I'd like to find out who animated that scene. Without reading into it too much, it looks like it could've been the person who animated that famous Toradora fight sequence, the rough lines during fast movements seem similar. Anyway, it was a nice touch, and one of many well-animated moments of Ookami-san.
I was surprised at how quickly the Otogi members were able to unwravel the predicament they were pulled into at the end of last episode. In some ways it felt a bit quick and easy (and hard to believe). But it was all in good fun, so you have to forgive a bit of missing realism! Again, some of the perversity of the girls came through, with Majou-san trying to get Otsuu to dress up in sexy costumes, and then there's Ringo's suggested reward for Ryoushi~ Ookami-san has been a good series, with a mix of fanservice, laughter, profound character stories, and action. I'm looking forward to the final episode, and I hope there's more to come!
For her first year of high school, Fu Sawatari moves to Takehara, a scenic old town near Hiroshima, on the Inland Sea. Her father, who has passed away, grew up in Takehara. She loves taking photographs with his old film camera, a Rollei 35S. This "healing" slice-of-life anime from the director of ARIA follows her and the friends who gather around her as she comes to love her new home.
Tamayura is a new OVA from famous anime director, Junichi Satou (Sailor Moon, Aria, Kaleido Star). The DVD is yet to be released, but this episode aired on AT-X yesterday. At 15-minutes long, I can't be sure if it's the full version that will be on the DVD, but it still tells a nice self-contained story.
This anime is pretty low-key, but if you're looking for something with a cute tone and slife-of-life tempo, it definitely delivers. This genre usually isn't my thing, but for Junichi Satou I made an exception, and it paid off! I found Tamayura really enjoyable. The character designs are really nice, and the cast imbue them with an infectious degree of cuteness. Kana Asumi stands out as much as ever, but Ayane Taketatsu (Azusa) plays the main character really well. The pleasant, warm aura comes with a complimentary soothing soundtrack, and charming production. The framing/layout work is really well done, and the animation has just enough vitality in it. At times, the cuteness borders on forced, but it didn't really seem to matter. It's so innocent, that the moe-levels go down just fine.
The the photography theme is really good, and adds a unique angle to the slife-of-life story. I found the expression behind the photos kind of poignant, actually! But at the end of the day, this is a good anime to sit back and get radiated with moe power!
This episode felt much too forced and lacked the sincere and compelling character drama of last week. This was like a pit-stop, as the group take sanctuary in Saya's massive family home. But for some reason this resulted in a lot of pointless angst and argument being thrown around, none of which seemed to actually develop any of the characters or make them more believable. Actually, I did really like the scene where Komuro stops Saya from ranting selfishly about how she wasn't saved by her parents right away. That was nicely scripted, but the rest...
Zombie slaughter and fanservice are two of this anime's greatest assets, so when an episode comes along that doesn't have much of either, it doesn't feel right!
This anime has passed the first test! Episode one entertaining enough that I wasn't bored at all while watching, and it wasn't bad enough for me to feel the need to switch it off before it damages my brain.
It's the latest in a long line of fighting-ecchi anime, so you can't really expect anything too sophisticated from Samurai Girls, but I think this series breaks the tradition a little bit by not being terrible (so far)! There's plenty of fanservice, but the series doesn't get completely bogged down in it. And not only is the quantity just right, but it's also quality service! Instead of just a barrange of pointless nudity, the characters still have a sense of shame that makes the ecchi sense a lot more fun. Feudal Japan was apparently populated by girls in bloomers, school swimsuits, school girl uniforms and maid outfits, and I wouldn't have it any other way! How can you not love a prideful Kugimiya Rie loli-character with a complex about her flat chest (even if we have seen that character type a million times)!?
Actually, the characters seem like they'll be an interesting lively bunch, with the aforemention loli, her fundoshi-wearing partner (also a girl, you'll be happy to know), a perverse and probably masochistic maid, and a male protagonist who doesn't suck. You can see why I didn't get bored. So the entertainment value is covered, but that's not what makes Samurai Girls stand out. It's the art style that gives this show a unique footprint in the anime industry. It's rendered with a gritty aesthetic, and the character cels all have bold outlines (but not the inner lines). It's not often that a TV-anime will come along and pull off something so different. I have to hand it to the director, Kobun! I like the originality, and I think the art works well and the episode had a pretty good storyboard (from Kobun). The animation was at a pretty good quality too.
In other words it finds a nice balance between eroness, fun characterisation and plot. I hope AT-X will air an uncensored version, or it'll be a long wait to see those ink spatters gone!
Sorry, I haven't had much variation in my Shiki ratings for a while now. The 'Amazing' rating basically describes my feelings for the show right now. Shiki has really taken hold of me, like one of the vampire's victims. It's one of those series were I just can't wait to see the new episode! Again, this episode is packed with suspense and even borders on the horror genre at times with some genuinely creepy scenes, such as Muroi and Ozaki seeing their first vampire in the window after hearing the scratching on the glass.
This week swung the focus back on to the doctor and the monk duo trying to protect a patient from more supernatural blood suckings. It felt a good time to revisit these guys, even if it's cruel to leave the cliffhanger of last week still hanging in the balance. Having the story move forward on two fronts like this means you can extract more from the story without losing the sense of momentum (like how both sides had to go through a process of reaching the vampire answer to the mystery). Quite honestly, Shiki has been paced almost
perfectly. The first episode was a little off, but after the third or so it's been utterly riveting.
The music was fantastic, the story fascinating and the characters compelling. Natsuno, Muroi and Ozaki make great heroes, while the spikey-eared Tatsumi is an awesome villain. There were also hints at a broader story:
⚫ Tatsumi saying that they aren't allowed to kill Ozaki yet suggests that there's some plan at work, some reason why the vampires are doing what they're doing.
⚫ Muroi's story is explained, and it seems to have some kind of abstract significance (or is it just me with that feeling?).
The episode had a fantastic storyboard and was directed really well, and this is thanks to the fact that veteran Shinsuke Terasawa directed, storyboarded and supervised the animation.
Yep, I'm still loving this show! I love the way it swings from pure hilarity like episode 8, to really poignant emional stories like episode 9, and then over into serious mode to deal with the ongoing conflict between the Otogi Bank and the deliquent gang, led by Ookami's past abuser. I don't think anyone predicted just how brutal the twist at the end of the episode would be, after a carefully planned attempt by the evil gang succeeded in capturing most of Ookami's friends. It was really quite shocking (especially the threatening phone call to Ringo), and left the episode on a thrilling cliffhanger! The animation didn't really stand out for me either way this week, so I won't try and comment on it. It wasn't an episode handled solo by a talented animator or anything this time.
I think I'm too tired at the moment to comment further!
So this was the obligatory beach episode! While there were plenty of nice butts and cute girls in swimsuits running around, it didn't really feel very sexy like a good beach episode should. But that's probably because we're used to seeing the witches in the underwear anyway. On the plus side, they tried to do a little more than just swimsuits for 20 minutes by incorporating a character story revolving around Perrine. The sentiment was nice, but the whole premise felt a bit too silly for me to enjoy. I just couldn't bring myself to care about the bridge, and it just felt like Perrine was being needlessly emotional about the whole thing. So the passable fanservice was really all the episode had going for it, and the yuri kiss between Mio and Mina. Alchohol does wonderful things, right? In this case, it feels like it let out some dormant sexual tension!
But the episode gave the very striking impression of being CHEAP. Low-framerate animation, crappy-looking in-between drawings, and glaring budget-saving tactics. It was kind of fun, but lacked the usual Strike Witches spirit!
Curse you, SHAFT! This OAD series is supposed to be the good anime adaptation of Negima!! This episode certainly wasn't good. Sure, the content it was based on wasn't exactly the highlight of the manga, but what really ruined this for me was the horrible production qualities. Storyboard, layouts, and even the animation itself was really poor. It looked and felt rushed, with some odd-looking drawings and jitterish animation. Some parts of the Negi and Evangeline training scene were handled well, making for a pretty cool fight, but everything else was just lame.
Konoka panty-shots and loli Chisame and Chachamaru couldn't make up for this (but they helped ^^).
Ah. this brings back memories! It's funny that Mahoromatic isn't really all that old, and yet this reintroduction to the series still feels really nostalgic. Even if it was released in the 00s, it still feels like a product of the 90s in a lot of ways. It's a simple and chamring story of maids, love, combat androids and fanservice. Everything good about the Mahoromatic TV-anime was bought back for this 2-part OVA, and amplified again. It still has the nipple-inclusive bath scenes, the tiresome banter between the big-breasted slutty teacher and Mahoro (By the way, I support Mahoro's chest in that battle), the occasional awesome action scene, and the absorbing romantic element. It's just as good as it used to be, and is a refreshing change from the slew of new anime.
Half the fun was spotting the various GAINAX animation motiffs thrown about. It was also good to just generally appreciate some nice animation in the action sequences, with excellent contributions from sakuga greats such as Hiroki Tanaka, Yoh Yoshinari, old-school Keisuke Watanabe, and Imaishi Hiroyuki. You have to love an anime that can entice with moe and fanservice, and also please fans of animation!
There's some excitement to be had, but the core of Mahoro lies with its moe power! And the blast of moe that these 2 episodes hurled my way was impossible to avoid! If you're looking for maids, this serves as a reminded that Mahoro-san does it best! There were a range of lovely maid costumes, and we got to see the whole female cast get in on the maid action! "Welcome, Master!" ♥. Then there's the character-moe as Minawa starts to become more human.
The director is the same as for the original TV-anime, Shouji Saeki, who is impressing me more and more these days. A GAINAX staffer who's worked on many of their greats, he's also recently to thank for the stand-out episode 4 of Strike Witches II.
This episodes follows the exploits of Saeko and Komuro as they are forced to spend the night together before regrouping with the others. Saeko was always my favourite of the female characters, and her and Komuro have an interesting chemistry that this episode took to new levels, opening up a physical and romantic relationship between them. This was an unexpected twist for me, as I'd assumed we'd get a Komuro/Rei pairing before anything else. Unexpected, but also really interesting! By exploring the depths of Saeko's dark and twisted character, this episode definitely made it harder for people to say it's totally shallow. It's shallow in the sense that it doesn't mind pandering with panty-shots, and bouncing breast, but now I can see that it's still able to deliver a bit of emotion and depth. Saeko's character is certainly unusual for anime (the closest thing being Revy, but she doesn't have the guilt complex), and I'm not sure where I stand on her. I don't think unleashing her sadistic mania is for the best, ultimately.
As usual, the production values were good, with some nice flashes of animation dotted throughout the action sequences.
Ah, Shiki always leaves you thirsty for more! As the show progresses it also becomes fast-paced and intense. When you're watching Shiki it always feels like you're on the cusp of some big new development, and we're now at the point where episodes are able to end on potent cliffhangers. While the vampires have had their way with the village so far, this episode marks an important swing to the human population as Natsuno and his two allies uncover the truth behind the recent spate of death. But as they move closer to the truth and become more aggressive, they're placed in increasing peril. This trend is making the series move slowly towards its horror label. Their vampiric enemies are becoming increasingly unsettling. At times creepy, always absorbing, and with the spark of resistance lit within Natsuno and the doctor, more and more gripping, Shiki is great, sophisticated entertainment.
The music and sound design this episode was especially impressive!
Natsuno is one of the best young male protagonists to come out of recent anime. He started off as cool and distant in a very indifferent kind of way, but now he's earned his place as one of the main characters.
It's almost like a story within a story, but the dark and strange relationship between Sunako and Muroi is last streak of genuine intrigue this series has left. The conflict with the vampires is heating up, but it's now been largely explained. Sunako's motives and how she fits in with the murderous intentions of her relatives remains a fascinating unknown. I foresee Muroi and Sunako becoming key to how this story will play out in the end.
The little girl with the doll wasn't exactly creepy, but it was unnerving! I think my reaction would have been similar to Natsuno's father's. I got a kick out of devious smile when he invited her oniichan into the house! Judging by her manner of speech, I'd say she's quite an old vampire (obviously residing from somewhere that no longer exists in name..). I wonder how Natsuno will get out of this one!?
The uproarious fun of the previous episode was bound to cast a shadow 0ver this week's Ookami-san instalment. It kind of did, but this episode carved out a good place for itself in the overall series for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it did for Ringo what episode 6 did for Ryouko, really gave her an emotional backstory and an insecurity that makes her much easier to sympathise with. Once again, I almost teared up when Ringo cried after being consoled by her older sister. Ookami-san can be crazy and hilarious one week, then touching the next! The other quality of the episode came from the technical side of things.
The episode featured some wonderful moments of animation, certainly the best since Hiroki Tanaka's key animation in the third episode (Ringo's fight scenes). Like that episode and the fourth one, this episode showcased a particular animator. And this time it was Sayo Aoi, whose career is still only just getting started. Sayo storyboarded, directed, supervised the animation and contributed several cuts of key animation (in other words, completely responsible for it). As a sakuga fan, I was excited for the episode since I read that on the Japanese wiki. The first episode didn't deliver much in the way of the animation, but when Sayo's cuts started coming into play in the B-side, it turned out to be a really well-executed episode with a good storyboard.
It's nice that JC Staff give animators the opportunity to truly get behind the wheel like this, and it produces some really great results. Sayo Aoi is an animator to keep an eye on~
Oh yeah, and SWIMSUITS! Or at least that's what I would be saying if it hadn't been trumped by waifu-Ookami in the epilogue. Moeee~ Ryouko-chan would make an interesting bride!
"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
"Basically the price of a night on the town!"
"I'd love to help kickstart continued development! And 0 EUR/month really does make fiscal sense too... maybe I'll even get a shirt?" (there will be limited edition shirts for two and other goodies for each supporter as soon as we sold the 200)