Archive for March, 2014
Genre: Fantasy/Slice of Life
Studio/Creator: JC Staff/Norie Yamada
Distributor: Sentai Filmworks
No. of Episodes: 12
Suggested Age: 7+
My Review: 8/10
Summary: Yume is a girl who moves to Tokyo from the suburbs to be taught by Masami Yamada, a trained wizard, in order to obtain a mage’s license.
Review: I know what you’re thinking after reading the summary: this sounds similar to Kiki’s Delivery Service. Yes and no. It’s the same scenario, just a more modern setting. And yet it actually works, mostly because Yume actually gets to do elaborate magic.
The animation is great and I really liked the relaxed feel of the story. There were no villains, no wacky adventures. Just a pleasant story with nice pacing that was only slightly slow.
If you like Kiki’s Delivery Service, I highly recommend this series.
Sub/Dub: I only watched the original sub.
Music/Score: Very pleasant. The opening theme was beautiful.
Violence: (1/10) Just magic-based stuff.
Related Media: This is based on a manga that was originally published in the US by Tokyopop, but that company has folded. There’s also a series called Someday’s Dreamers II: Sora, which has a similar setup.
Studio/Creator: Gainax/Hideaki Anno
Distributor: FUNimation (note: also available on Blu-ray)
Suggested Age: 17+
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Summary: This movie continues from where You Are (Not) Alone left off. It introduces the Second Child, Asuka Langley Soryu, a red-headed girl with a fiery temper. We also meet Mari Illustrious Makinami, who is new to the story.
Review: I guess now is the best time to say it: if you are going to watch Rebuild of Evangelion, forget everything you know from the TV series. While You Are (Not) Alone changed very little from the original story, it is You Can (Not) Advance that marks the moment the story truly begins to deviate. Asuka is still the same fiery pilot who refuses to cooperate with Shinji (and my favorite of the three), but now there’s a whole new character as well. Mari is a puzzle we know next to nothing about. She seems very willing to sacrifice her mech, if not herself, for the fight. I’m hoping the next movie, You Can (Not) Run Away, gives us more info about her.
The animation is astounding. There’s some great CG-designed Evas and backgrounds.
I found nothing I didn’t like about this movie. I eagerly await the next one.
Sub/Dub: I was only able to watch the dub. I liked it.
Music/Score: Pretty good.
Violence: (8/10) SPOILER!
There’s a pretty gruesome fight near the end with blood actually coming out of an EVA unit.
Nudity: (3/10) There’s a scene where a freshly-showered and nude Asuka attacks Shinji.
Religion: (10/10) I’m just going to go ahead and use this as my standard rating for the religion in the Rebuild movies. That hasn’t changed.
Related Media: There’s also the original TV series, and the two movies that followed it: Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion. This is the second of the four Rebuild of Evangelion movies. There was also a manga made of the TV series.
Studio/Creator: Production I.G./Mamoru Oshii
Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Distributor: Discotek Media
Suggested Age: 17+
My Rating: 10/10
Summary: This anime is set in an alternate history version of Japan in the 1950’s, with Germany having taken over. Riots are common, and a special forces unit called Kerberos is formed to deal with them. One night, a little girl dressed in a red hood is carrying a package that is actually a bomb. Kerberos officer Kazuki Fuse fails to stop her, but she commits suicide. After being reprimanded for his failure, he meets Kei Amemiya, a dead ringer for the girl. In so doing, he slowly learns of a conspiracy.
Review: As I mentioned in my review of the Evangelion TV series, I’m a fan of Bennett the Sage’s web review series Anime Abandon. This is Bennett’s favorite anime ever, the one he feels none will surpass. This intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try.
The concept is very interesting. I have often wondered how different our world would be in WWII had ended differently. I like the fact that all the necessary exposition is actually told right at the beginning and is never seen afterward. This anime knows just how much to tell.
Throughout the story, there are numerous parallels to the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, which is retold throughout the anime by Kei. The little girl and Kei both wear red, and the Kerberos is known as the “Wolf Brigade”. We even hear the famous dialogue between Red Riding Hood and the wolf (“What big eyes you have!”, et al.) I thought that this was a unique way to tell the story, especially since I consider Little Red Riding Hood to be one of the darkest fairy tales. I also found it interesting that even though Kei claims that the little girl was her sister, she bears no ill will toward Kazuki.
Kazuki is a well-written protagonist. I pondered how I would have acted in his place. Would I have just followed orders? He says very little throughout the story, even to defend his actions.
The artwork is very nice. Despite this being made in the late 90’s, everything is still hand-drawn and there is a very realistic feel to it. Mamoru Oshii deserves every ounce of respect he has received. This is on par with Ghost in the Shell.
Sub/Dub: I prefer the sub, even though the dub is well-done. The girl and Kei sound more innocent in the original.
Music/Score: Accents the story and provides the right atmosphere.
Violence: (8/10) The opening narration and scenes depicting it are very unsettling.
Related Media: This is the third adaptation of Oshii’s Jin-Roh manga. The other two adaptations were live action.
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Action
Studio/Creator: Wit/Production IG/Hajime Isayama
Distributor: FUNimation, streams on Crunchy Roll and Hulu
No. of Episodes: 25
Suggested Age: 17+
My Rating: 10/10
Summary: One hundred years ago, a race of giants called Titans terrorized humanity, devouring on any they could find. These giants lack reproductive organs and wander naked, resembling male humans. Their only weakness is a small spot on the back of the neck. The military developed Vertical Maneuvering Equipment, allowing soldiers more agility to defeat them. To stave them off, three walls were erected, named Maria, Rose, and Shina. However, a Colossal Titan, which is stronger than the normal Titan, managed to break through the walls, allowing the smaller and weaker Titans through. Our hero, Eren Yeager, was present when this occurred and joins the military with his adoptive sister Mikasa and a friend named Armin.
Review: I’d heard from friends online that this was a good show, so as soon as it finished, I decided to check it out.
I liked how the world was set up. The Titans were great monsters and the story captured how it would feel to learn that humans are no longer at the top of the food chain. Eren is a well-written protagonist, whose determination and anger towards the Titans work well as motivation. Mikasa provides the heart and compassion, and she became a favorite character.
The artwork is very good. I liked the detail on the Titans and the walls.
My only beef is that the story went to quickly and didn’t really reach any sort of conclusion. I hear a second season is in the works, so that might be the cause. (Also, I hear the manga is unfinished.
Sub/Dub: I only watched the sub, as this was before FUNimation got the license.
Music/Score: The theme song for the first opening was very good. The others were okay.
Violence: (10/10) This is a very bloody story. And because the monsters are cannibals, there are scenes where they are devouring people.
Sexuality: (2/10) In one episode, we learn that prostitution is practiced by the surviving humans.
Nudity: (5/10) The Titans resemble naked male humans, but lack reproductive organs.
Related Media: This is based on the manga. There is also a light novel and a forthcoming movie.