Archive for January, 2013

Anime Review: Squid Girl

sgGenre: Sci-fi/Comedy

Creator/Studio: Mashiro Anbe/Diomedea

Distributor: Media Blasters, also streams on Crunchy Roll

No of Episodes: 24, divided into two separate titles.  Because the titles are so similar to each other, (really the only difference is the first has  “!?” in the title, while the second has “!!” in the title.)I’m treating both as the same show.

Suggested Age: 7+

My Rating: 10/10

Summary: One day, a half-human, half- squid girl comes from the sea with plans to–you guessed it–take over the world.

mbisonThere’s just two problems. Firstly, no one takes her seriously.  Secondly, she has severe ADHD. Hilarity ensues.

Review: I chose to review this because I knew with the fact that I was reviewing a dark anime, I’d need a balance.  So I thought this would suffice.

The art style is cute.  Squid Girl won me over with her gleeful expressions. The animation was great.

Squid Girl is hilarious to watch. I love her hyperactive personality and how they incorporate the characteristics of squids into her personality. She spits ink. She can easily be swayed by her favorite food, shrimp.  She’s also scared of her enemies, which extends to even inner tubes shaped like killer whales or sharks.

The beach restaurant that Squid Girl works at in order to pay for wrecking it in the first episode provides for a great supporting cast.  First is Eiko Aizawa. She is constantly irritated by Squid Girl’s antics, but it’s hinted that she does care about her.

Chizuru, Eiko’s older sister, is not to be trifled with.  She possesses unheard-of strength and can actually break Squid Girl’s tentacles.

Rounding out the Aizawa family is Takeru, a spiky-haired boy.  He enjoys playing with Squid Girl, who initially considers him her minion.

There’s also some customers I can touch upon.  Two of my favorites are Cindy Campbell and Goro Arashiyama.  Cindy is a researcher of alien life who discovers Squid Girl early on.  She often comes up with ways to apprehend her for research, but they always fail.  She’s really the only antagonist Squid Girl has.

Goro is the lifeguard for the beach.  He’s dedicated to his job and tends to get riled up at Squid Girl.

I’m really glad I decided to give this a try. I recommend it to anyone who could use a good laugh.

Sub/Dub: I only watched the sub.

Music/Score: Very bright. I thought the first season opener was pretty good.

Violence: (1/10): Some slapstick here and there.

Language: (1/10)

Nudity: (1/10): There’s lots of bikini shots, but this is taking place on a beach, so it’s expected.

Sexuality: (0/10)

Religion: (0/10)

Related Media: This is based on the manga. There is also an OVA.

 

 

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Anime Review: Full Moon Wo Sagashite

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Genre: Fantasy/Drama

Studio/Creator: Studio Deen/Arina Tanemura

Distributor: Viz, also streams on Hulu

No of Episodes: 52, only 28 were dubbed.

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 9/10

Summary: Mitsuki Koyama is a 12-year-old girl who dreams of becoming a singer in order to meet a boy named Eichi, who moved to America.  However, she has a tumor in her throat and if its gets operated on, she will lose her ability to sing.  She is met by two Shinigami (Japanese death spirits) named Meroko and Takuto. Takuto decides to help Mitsuki instead of taking her soul to Heaven, despite Meroko’s objections.  To help Mitsuki, he transforms her into a blonde 16-year-old girl named Full Moon.

Review: I got into this series because many of the moderators at Christian Anime Alliance were fans of it and gave it lots of praise.

The art is adorable. When I saw Mitsuki dancing in the opening, my heart melted.  You almost forget how sad the story is.

Mitsuki is an excellent protagonist.  She knows that her time is short and vows to make the best of it. She rarely lets her condition get her down and I admire her determination.  Here is someone who says “I’m not going to let darkness win.”

Fuzuki is Mitsuki’s grandmother and guardian.  At first, I didn’t like her much.  I felt she was too restrictive of Mitsuki. She wouldn’t even let her listen to music, let alone pursue it.  But as the series progressed, I learned her motivations. I still didn’t agree with her actions, but I could sympathize with her desire to protect Mitsuki.

Mitsuki’s doctor, Keiichi Wakaoji, is a great character.  I loved his devotion to Mitsuki. He almost seemed like a surrogate father.

Masami Oshige is Mitsuki’s manager. I was pleasantly surprised by her.  I was so certain we were going to see a manipulative woman who tries to push substance over talent, like we often see in real life. But instead, we got a woman who was compassionate and cared about Mitsuki.

Madoka is a rival pop singer and I thought she was a great antagonist.  She feels that Full Moon is spoiled by fame and her jealousy is justified because, like Mitsuki, she actually has talent.  Making things interesting is the fact that she is friends with Mitsuki, which leads to great development for both of them.

As for the shinigami, they were great too.  Takuto being a trainee under Meroko caused tension between them because Meroko initially wishes to stick to the mission and has feelings for Takuto.  As I learned more about them, they became my favorite characters.

I have heard complaints about the abundance of filler, especially early on. I disagree with these complaints because I feel the filler is necessary. It doesn’t veer off like I’ve seen many long anime do (I’m looking at you, Naruto!).

I highly recommend this show. It has a bittersweet feel to it and I liked the art and story.

Sub/Dub: I was unable to watch the dub.  Besides, you’re better off with the sub because you actually get the whole thing. So stick to the streaming version.

Music/Score: Very upbeat. It sets the mood and I like the fact that all the songs are actually incorporated into the plot.

Violence: (1/10) There’s a car crash that factors in as a plot point.

Language: (2/10) Mild swears.

Sexuality: (0/10)

Nudity: (1/10) Meroko tends to wear an outfit that shows off her navel. And when Mitsuki changes into Full Moon, you get a typical naked magical girl transformation, similar to Sailor Moon.

Religion: (3/10) While Meroko and Takuto resemble angels, they do not resemble the Christian view of death.  SPOILER! IT’s revealed later in the show that all shinigami are former humans and if they remember their pasts, they become lost souls.

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Anime Review: Casshern Sins

casshernGenre: Sci-fi

Studio: Madhouse/Tatsunoko Productions

Distributor: FUNimation

No of Episodes: 24

Suggested Age: 17+

My Rating: 8/10

Summary: This is a reboot of the classic Tatsunoko anime Casshern. In this version, Casshern is an android suffering from amnesia in an apocalyptic environment. Other robots are constantly pursuing him because they believe devouring him will “end the ruin”, the rust that is plaguing the robots, except for Casshern.

Review: Before I go any further I should mention that I have not seen the original version of this, nor have I seen the previous attempt at a reboot Casshern: Robot Hunter.  So this review will not compare the new to the old.

The art style is very sleek.  It’s not something I’m used to, so I had trouble adjusting at first, but it eventually grew on me.

I thought Casshern was a great reluctant hero.  I’ve always felt that the best heroes aren’t the virtuous types, rather, they are the ones who do not wish to be heroes in the first place.  Casshern would clearly rather put back together what little memories he has, but he is forced to confront his past.

Accompanying Casshern are three allies. (four if you count the canine robot Friender). Ringo (a precocious girl who is the spirit of  childlike  innocence), Ohji (an old technician who acts as Ringo’s guardian), and Lyuze (an android who wants revenge because Casshern murdered Luna, an android who could have saved the world). Ringo does a great job of keeping the story from getting too bleak. Ohji was very down to earth and I liked his friendship with Casshern.  And Lyuze was a great companion as well. Yes the idea of a companion who starts out as an adversary is nothing new to anime, but I liked her inner conflicts and eventual loyalty.

Braiking Boss is the main villain. He is very tyrannical, and spends most of his time watching from afar.  He will do anything to maintain his base, even attempt to manipulate the one being who could save the world.

To sum things up, I enjoyed this story.  I felt that everything was paced well. It was a compelling story and I liked the feel of it.  This is worth a look, whether you’ve seen the original or not.

Sub/Dub: The dub was pretty good.  I thought Eric Vale was great in the title role.

Music/Score: Not bad. The opening and closing songs weren’t exceptional, but I didn’t think they were bad.

Violence: (7/10) Some graphic violence throughout, mostly involving androids.

Language: (2/10)

Sexuality: (0/10)

Nudity: (0/10)

Religion: (0/10)

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Best Anime Themes

You’ve all probably noticed by now that I love to include the opening themes in my reviews. This is mostly because I feel that because they are part of the show, I should comment on them. There’s lots that I feel are the best. So, let’s take a look at some of them. This is in no particular order, and narrowed down to 10.

1. “Obsession”

Anime: .hack//sign

I think this is the first series that really made me like an opening. I just sat back in awe. The music was very atmospheric.

2. “Tank”

Anime: Cowboy Bebop

Of course I have to include this theme. My fans would just go nuts if I didn’t.

3. “HT”

Anime: Trigun

This just makes me want to crank out the air guitar.

3. “Just Communication”

Anime: Gundam Wing

Really sets the mood and gets you pumped for the show.

4. “The Light Before We Land”

Anime: Gunslinger Girl

One of the saddest anime I ever watched also has one of the saddest opening songs ever.

5. “Soramimi Cake”

This is just pure insanity, much like the show itself.

6. “Heroes Come Back”

Anime: Naruto Shippuden

Back when I actually cared what happened to that orange jumpsuit-wearing ninja, this was my favorite opening from the show.

7. “Battle Cry”

Anime: Samurai Champloo

This was the most unexpected opening for me. I’d heard that this show was about samurai, and hip-hop was the last thing I expected. But then, this whole anime was like that. One of these days I’ll get around to reviewing this.

8. “Sailor Moon Theme” (note: I don’t know the name of this one)

The show that turned many a kid into an anime fan in the 90’s. Why won’t Toei let us see it the way it was meant to be seen?

9. “Inner Universe”

I loved the melody, voice, and imagery. Guess what? I’m reviewing both seasons of this later this year.

10. “Hemisphere”

I think this was a great mood-setter. Its tempo and mystifying melody seemed to signal something great. I’m still glad I tried out this show.

This is only 10 of my favorite opening. I will do more of these some other time.

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