Archive for November, 2013

Anime Review: Ponyo

ponyo

Genre: Fantasy

Studio/Creator: Ghibli

Distributor: Buena Vista

Running Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

Suggested Age: 7+

My Rating:  8/10

Summary: A boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish and names her Ponyo, unaware that the goldfish is actually a mermaid and that her father is a sorceror. Ponyo falls in love with Sosuke after licking a cut on his thumb, causing her to desire to become human.

Review: If this sounds familiar, it should. Ponyo is Miyazaki’s modernized version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. I found this spin on the classic story enjoyable and adorable. The story has a whimsical quality and I recommend it for anyone with very young children.

Sub/Dub: Either version works, but I prefer the dub. Oh, and I want to get this out right now, since I’ve heard some outcry: Frankie Jonas was just fine as Sosuke.So what if he’s a Jonas brother? And yes, the ending song was kind of annoying, but I guess children would like it.

Violence (1/10): There is hardly any violence in the story

Language (0/10): No bad language. It’s rated G

Nudity: (0/10)

Religious: (1/10) For the most part, the magic in the story is of the typical fairy-tale variety. Ponyo’s mother is actually the goddess of the sea. Ponyo tastes human blood when she licks a cut on Sosuke’s thumb, which gives her the ability to become human (although she has to revert to an in-between chicken-like form to perform magic). There is a slight environmental theme, but it’s not as pronounced as Princess Mononoke or Pom Poko.

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Anime Review: Black Lagoon

lagoon

(note: This review covers both Black Lagoon and Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage, treating both as one show.

Genre: Action

Studio/Creator: Madhouse/Rei Hiroe

Distributor: FUNimation

No. of Episodes: 24

My Rating: 3/10

Suggested Age: 17+

Summary: This anime follows the adventures of the Black Lagoon, a band of mercenaries. The members are Dutch, (a big black guy), Revi (the anti-heroine), Rock (the main focus), and Benny (the brains).

Review: I didn’t much care for this one. I’m not much into stories where there seem to be no heroes.  The members of the Black Lagoon are mercenaries who work for whoever will pay them, and have no qualms about what they do. For this reason, I could not enjoy the series.  However, I did enjoy the banter between Rock and Revi, the main focus of the story. Rock was an idealist who tried his best not to let the underground horror he was experiencing taint him and Revi is his polar opposite.  It was fun to watch them interact.  Sadly, neither of these were enough to save it from the low rating.  I can’t really recommend this one.

Music/Score: The opening theme is excellent. It’s one of my favorite opening themes of all time.

Sub/Dub: I didn’t watch enough of the dub to get a full idea of it, but I should mention that the woman who voices Revy also voiced Gilda in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode “Griffin the Brush Off.”

Violence: (8/10) As you may expect with this kind of program, the violence is almost non-stop. I don’t mind ultra-violent shows that have a reason for the violence, but this was a bit much.

Language: (7/10) Quite a lot of F-bombs in this one.

Nudity: (1/10) Revy wears Daisy Duke-style shorts.

Sexuality: (1/10)

Religion: (1/10)–Revy is an atheist.

Related Media: This is based on the manga of the same name. There is also a spin-off called Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail.

 

 

Rei Hiroe

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Anime Review: Cowboy Bebop the Movie

cbm
Genre: Sci-fi
Studio/Creator: Sunrise
Distributor: Columbia
Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
My Rating: 10/10
Summary: The crew of the Bebop hunts down a terrorist named Vincent who wants to blow up a Martian city. They are assisted by Elektra, a former comrade of Vincent’s. Vincent plans to release a virus that will infect everyone “right down to the marrow”, and is assisted by a hacker named Lee.
Review: Even if you’ve never watched this series, you can still enjoy the movie. The movie is quite humorous, especially the sequence where Ed tracks down Lee by trick-or-treating. The characters are just as funny as you remember them (if you watched the show of course). It’s almost like meeting with old friends. The cinematography is magnificent.
Sub/Dub: Both versions are done well. Steve Blum really brings out what makes Spike so cool. Ed’s English VA does a great job with her unique personality, and ditto for the Japanese version (for some reason, the Japanese version seems funnier).
Music/Score: The music in the series was definitely its best feature -the movie is no different. It has a great soundtrack throughout, especially the closing song, “Gotta Knock a Little Harder.”
Violence: (7/10) Some pretty graphic moments here. About on the same level as the show.
Language: (2/10)
Nudity: Actually, there is none, not even with Faye’s usual attire.
Sexuality: Faye’s usual attire definitely qualifies here. Vincent cuts open Faye’s shirt and intentions of rape are implied. And there’s also a scene where Ed encounters a drag queen. But it’s humorously dealt with.
Religion:(1/10) Vincent thinks Purgatory’s doors are opened on Halloween. Halloween figures into the plot quite strongly, so if you don’t subscribe to it, this may put you off.
Related Media: There is also the very popular TV series, which has just been re-released by FUNimation.

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Anime Review: Tenchi in Tokyo

tentok

 

Genre: Fantasy/Harem

Creator/Studio: Kajishima Masaki/AIC

Distributor: FUNimation

No. of Episodes: 26

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 4/10

Summary: Tenchi is now in college, studying in order to take over the family shrine, and the girls now have to adjust to life without him.  But now a new girl named Sakuya has entered the picture, as well as Yugi, a supernatural being who has mysterious plans for the two.

Review: This series is the first nail in the coffin for the Tenchi Muyo franchise, but you’ll notice I rated it a wee bit higher than the next debacle, which was Tenchi Muyo GXP, because at least it had a better ending than GXP.

At first, it seems so promising because it’s a good concept. We’ve seen the girls and Tenchi living in the same house for two series before this, plus three movies, so there is potential for the new direction. But it doesn’t take long to realize something is off.  The girls seem more annoying than they should be. Then, not too far in, I saw something that really ruined things: the whole concept had been retconned once more.  Why? I’m sure the story would’ve worked had they kept the continuity from Tenchi Universe. And why is Ryo-Ohki a giant rabbit mech instead of a spaceship? It’s just not right.

Unless you’re curious about this, it’s almost worthless. I have no problem with Sakuya, she’s an interesting character.  What I have a problem with is what happened to the rest of the cast.  It’s almost like they made the characters weaker to make Yugi a stronger villain, which wasn’t necessary.  FUNimation brought this back from Geneon’s archives, but I feel it should’ve stayed buried.

Sub/Dub: Not bad. The original dub’s cast is back, and the same for the sub.

Music/Score: Pretty good here too, except for the closing theme.

Violence: (4/10) Just magical violence and slapstick.

Language: (2/10)

Nudity: (3/10)–Surprisingly not as heavy in the nudity as the rest of the franchise.

Sexuality: (2/10)–Light here too.

Religion: (1/10)–Yugi is a demon and Tenchi’s family practices Shintoism.

Related Media: There is the original OVA, Tenchi Universe (The first TV series), a manga, and three movies.

 

 

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