Archive for October, 2011

Lobster Quadrille Anime Review: Slayers Next (Slayers season 2)

Slayers Next

Note: This is a review of the second season of Slayers. It is part 2 of a 5-part review of the whole Slayers series.

Genre: Fantasy/Comedy

Creator/Studio:  Hajimi Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi/JC Staff

Summary (from anime news network): Lina, Gourry, Zelgadis, and Amelia coincidently meet up again and begin to search for the Clair Bible. During their search they run into a mysterious priest named Xelloss who seems to know a thing or two about the passages they’re looking for, but he tends to get them into more trouble instead of out of it. Furthermore, they discover that the Monster race has plans of their own, and as it turns out, Lina and Company just might be a big part of their evil intentions.

Review: I loved the first season, and I’m pleased to say that this series is even better. The animation quality has noticeably improved. The new characters, Xelloss and Martina are welcome additions. I love how Xelloss constantly drops hints but never tells them everything they need to know. Martina is also a good addition. In any other anime, her constant bumbling would be annoying, but because this is a parody, she fits right in.

This season also has a great new villain. What’s great about him is that he’s one of those types who’s really good at playing heroes like pawns.  The ways he manipulates Lina are astonishing. I love villains who can take to the heroes like a chess player and manipulate them as they please. The final battle was just awesome!
Sub/Dub: The dub is still as good as before. Crispin Freeman even gets to sing (and does so very well!) David Moo is hilarious as Xelloss and just the right touch of smart-aleck.
Music/Score: Megumi Hayashibara contributed two great songs again. I’m really beginning to enjoy her music.


Violence: (5/10) If you could handle the vilence in the previous installment, it won’t bother you here either. The violence isn’t gory, but there are some occasionally bloody moments, along with lots of slapstick.
Language: (2/10)Mild swearing at best.
Sexuality: More breast jokes from Gourry in a flashback. Also

spoilerThere is an episode where all the male members had to go in drag because they were entering a village where men are prohibited. (And then they discover that several men in drag live there.)
Nudity: (3/10) There’s a hot springs episode with a little nudity. Also, Martina’s outfit shows a fair amount of cleavage.
Religion: Same as before, with Lina using Final Fantasy-style black magic against her foes.

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Lobster Quadrille Anime Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Genre: Fantasy/Slice of Life

Creator/Studio: Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli

Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

Suggested Age: any

Summary:  Kiki is a witch who has just turned 13, which means she must now embark on her own in order to continue her training. She eventually lands in a small town where a baker lets her stay at her house and tells her she should set up a delivery service. The movie was  based on the novel by Eiko Kadono.

Review: This was the first Miyazaki movie I ever watched and it still has a place in my heart. I love how industrious Kiki is and she captures your heart almost instantly. The movie, like every Studio Ghibli movie, is very beautiful, and I’d recommend this movie to anyone who wants a quiet, relaxing movie. People of all ages will most likely enjoy it.
Music/Score While the original music is fine, I want to point out that the dub has original songs. I feel these songs really capture the spirit of the movie and I really like them, especially the opening song, “Soaring”.

Since I also like the ending song, here’s a link to it as well:

Sub/Dub: The dub is great, mostly because Phil Hartman steals the show as Jiji.

Violence: None

Language: None

Nudity: None

Sexuality: None

Religious themes:  (1/10) Although Kiki is a witch, she does not use incantations in order to fly. Instead she uses her spirit and emotions. The story really feels like a fairy tale, so if you like those, this shouldn’t bother you.

Favorite Quote: “Okay, first of all, don’t panic! Second, don’t panic! And third, did I mention don’t panic?”–Jiji, as Kiki attempts to land inside a train car.

Review Queue:

10/30 Slayers Next (Slayers season 2) (24/26)

11/5 Whisper of the Heart*

11/12 Big O*

Tenchi Universe (19/26)

Chobits (14/24)

Slayers Try (will be starting this one on 11/5)

Last Exile (will be starting as soon as I finish Tenchi Universe)

Ouran High School Host Club (4/26)

Tenchi Muyo GXP (will be starting as soon as I finish Chobits, probably on 12/5)

Note: This schedule is subject to change.

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Lobster Quadrille Review Queue

It has been suggested to me that I should show you my progress in my reviews. Here is my schedule: (* means I have completed the review and finished the show. + means I have seen enough for the review, but haven’t written the rough draft for the review. If incomplete, the number in parentheses indicates my progress on the anime. )

10/23 Kiki’s Delivery Service*

10/30 Slayers Next (Slayers season 2) (22/26)

11/5 Whisper of the Heart*

11/12 Big O*

Tenchi Universe (13/26)

Chobits (12/24)

Slayers Try (will be starting this one on 11/5)

Last Exile (will be starting as soon as I finish Tenchi Universe)

Ouran High School Host Club (2/26)

Tenchi Muyo GXP (will be starting as soon as I finish Chobits, probably on 12/5)

Note: This schedule is subject to change.

 

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Lobster Quadrille Review: Lucky Star

Lucky Star

Genre: Slice-of-life/Comedy

Creator/Studio: Kagami Yoshimizu/Kyoto Animation

Distributor: Bandai, also streams at http://www.crunchyroll.com

No. of Episodes: 24

Age Rating: 10+

Rating: 7/10

Summary: Lucky Star focuses on the lives of several girls attending a typical Japanese school.  There is really no plot and its main character is Konata Izumi a lazy and mischievous girl who’d rather play video games than study.

Review: This is just pointless fun, but I actually enjoyed it.  It was quite relaxing just to laugh at everyone’s antics.  There are two flaws:

1. No real plot. I like stuff that actually has a transition of events, not just random stuff for 23-25 minutes.

2. Halfway through the show, we’re introduced to a whole bunch of characters and I felt there wasn’t enough time to get to know them. The first half had focused on such a small cast that I’d actually gotten used to them.

My main warning is not to watch this show if you know little about Japanese culture.  You really need to know basic stuff like customs and reasons for them. Because of this, many events tend to be difficult to understand.  But if you need a break from a high-energy action series or something to unwind with, I’d say give this a try.

Sub/Dub: I only watched the sub, so I can’t comment here.

Music/Score: The opening theme (which is the only original piece of music. The closing themes are actually karaoke sessions featuring either the characters or one of the voice actors) will stay in your head in no time flat. I found it amusing.

Violence: 1/10: Only the occassional slapstick.

Language: 0/10

Nudity: 1/10–The only nudity I saw was in a scene where the characters go to a public bathhouse.

Sexuality: 1/10–One of the characters is a little hung up on her small breasts.

Religion: 1/10–This is a slice-of-life, so you’ll only see what you’d see if you actually lived in Japan.

Related Media: There is a drama CD, a video game, and the original manga, which is also published by Bandai.

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Lobster Quadrille Anime Review: Gosick

Genre: Mystery/Drama

Creator/Studio: Kazuki Sabara/Bones

Distributor: Streams online on http:www/crunchyroll.com. This title has just been licensed by Bandai.

No. of episodes: 24

Age Rating: 13+

Rating: 9/10

Summary: The year is 1924, the place, Sauville, a small European country neatly tucked beside the Alps…

Kazuya Kujo has been studying abroad at the prestigious Saint Marguerite Academy, where urban legends and horror stories are all the rage. Most Kazuya ignores but the story of the Queen Berry, a mysterious ghost ship, really gets to him. Of course, his brainy friend Victorique is much more intrigued by true stories, and she uses her unrivaled logic to solve mysteries even the town’s famous detective can’t.

Review: This was certainly a surprise for me.  It is a very beautifully drawn story with a splendid Victorian backdrop.  The pacing of the story is slow, but I didn’t mind because the characters developed with it. As their friendship grows, you start to learn about both Victorique and Kujo’s pasts and the country itself.  It seems as though everyone has his/her own story and enjoyed finding out the secrets of each character. My main beef, however, is that Victorique solves the mystery via deus ex machina–you never actually get a chance to see how all the puzzle’s pieces fit. I like to play detective when I watch a mystery, so it kind of frustrated me.  Other than that, I think this is one of Bones’s best titles, right up there with Rahxephon, Full Metal Alchemist, and Eureka Seven.

Sub/Dub: No dub has been released.

Music/Score: All of the music is great to listen to and sets the mood well. I especially like the second ending theme.

Violence: 6/10 Since this is a mystery anime, there are some rather grisly murder scenes.

Language: 2/10: Mild to almost nonexistent.

Sexuality: 1/10: SPOILER: We learn that Victorique’s mother was raped. The rape is never shown, but we do see how Victorique was born.

Nudity: 1/10: Only during the birth scene mentioned above.

Drugs/Tobacco: (1/10): Victorique is almost never seen without her pipe, but we’re never shown if it has tobacco. For all we know, it might be one of those toy bubble pipes.

Religion: (3/10) A convent uses drugs to induce hallucination.

Related Media: This is based on a series of light novels. There is also a manga and a drama CD. Only the first two volumes of the novels are available in the US.

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Lobster Quadrille Anime Review: Mushi-shi

Mushi-shi

Genre: Paranormal

Creator/Studio: Yuki Urushibara

No of eps: 26

Summary: Ginko is a “mushi-master”, meaning that he can interact with nature spirits called “mushi”.  He uses this gift to help others who have come in contact with these spirits.

Review: If I could describe this anime in one word, it would be: gorgeous.  The backdrops are splendidly drawn and vibrant.  I really felt as though I was in another world.  This is almost as good as anything Studio Ghibli tends to produce.

Ginko is an interesting character because even though he is human, he seems very alien due to his gifts. He is slightly unpredictable, but he has the best intentions of his clients at heart.  As the series continues, you want to know more about him and the people he encounters.

What truly makes this show unique is that it’s actually episodic.  Each story is complete in itself and is not connected to an arc like most anime.  In fact, it should be noted that the stories are actually out of order.  Despite this, the stories are not confusing because there is no evidence of the depiction of time and the separation between stories makes them feel independent.  There are no other recurring characters besides Ginko, so it’s more like an anthology.

Sub/Dub: I’d say the dub is really good here.  Travis Willingham is excellent as Ginko and this is one of his best performances.

Music/Score: The music gives the show a very spooky feel.  At times, there is actually very little music at all.  The opening song is sung in English and very relaxing.

Violence: (3/10) For the most part, there is very little violence, despite the show’s spooky feel. In one episode, however, there is a mushi who burns down a house in order to save itself from Ginko.

Language: (2/10) A few curse words, but nothing dramatic.

Nudity: (0/10)

Sexuality: (0/10)

Religion:  (7/10) As I stated, this series focuses chiefly on nature spirits. It’s indicated that Ginko had to sacrifice his eye to the spirits to gain his knowledge, similar to Odin in Norse mythology.

Drugs/Tobacco: (1/10) Ginko is never seen without a cigarette in his mouth.

Related Media: There is a manga and the stories in the anime are from this version.  They are actually in a different order from the manga. Katsuhiro Otomo of Akira fame directed an award-winning live-action adaptation as well.

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