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User:FinalRest/Anime and Manga Reviews

From Kingdom Hearts Database

Joined 08 Sep 18
1,371 edits
Posted: 03:04, April 18, 2012 (UTC)
FinalRest  - All right then, I'll put you out of your misery.
TALK - Even if it's a rule...whether or not I follow it is up to me – 03:04, April 18, 2012 (UTC)
Hello and welcome to my Anime and Manga reviews!! On this page, you can find a list of the anime I have seen and the manga I have read, as well as what I thought of each show/book! Please take note that everything on this page is only my personal opinion and I encourage everyone to develop their own opinions on the topics below. If you wanna discuss your own thoughts on some of my reviews, pop on by the talk page and lemme know what you think!

How this works

Every time I watch an anime/read a new manga volume I will post a review. Easy, right? Well, there are a few things to know first:

  • I can take a while to finish an anime. Why? Because sometimes I get side-tracked and forget about a series I am watching. :P On top of that, I don't really sit down much, so I can find it hard to find time to watch anime. I will try my best to update regularly, though!
  • I take VERY LONG to continue a manga. I read a lot, so I'm often reading other books and therefore, not reading manga. It could take me months before I get the next volume of a manga, so these reviews will be very scarce. I plan on reading some manga online eventually, but right now I don't have the time. I also tend to buy groups of manga, so that section will probably be updated not very often, but when it is, it will be a big update!
  • I am terrible at updating things, so I won't be posting which episodes I am up to. I'll simply post reviews when I am finished!
  • I like to split longer series up by arcs/seasons and review them that way. Just because I can.
  • I will write reviews for animes I discontinued, as I think it might be interesting to hear my reasons for not liking an anime and I also want to see if any of you have differing opinions! I will not give them an overall rating, though.
  • I would really like to hear from you about what you think about my reviews on animes. Agree or disagree, I'm always interested!
  • I don't really take suggestions on animes to watch, as I have a big list of 'Anime to Watch' already. XD
  • I also no longer watch or review compilation films because, really, what's the point? Unless the compilation updates things in a visually or plot fulfilling way, I won't bother with them.
  • Finally, I try to avoid spoilers as much as I can, but I still apologise if I let anything slip!

Anime and I: The Facts

Here's a little bit of info about my history with anime and manga, mixed with a little trivia.

  • I suppose my first introduction to anime was when I was a kid and I was CRAZY about Yu-Gi-Oh.
  • I started seriously watching anime on a whim. I had seen anime before, but I thought it was very weird and hadn't continued watching any. One day, however, I decided that it might be an acquired taste, so I went to the DVD store to try some out.
  • The first 'proper' animes I watched were Bleach and Claymore, on a recommendation from the guy at the DVD store. XD Claymore remains as my favourite anime and I am a huge fan of Bleach.
  • I don't like subs. I have a TINY attention span and get frustrated when I have to sit and read the screen. I watch dubs as much as I can, so I can just listen to what is being said while doing something else. A show has to have a very interesting premise for me to watch it in sub.
  • The first manga I ever read was Bizenghast. I can't remember how I came across the series, though.
  • My anime/manga preferences span a wide area and I don't really have a favourite type. However, I'm not really into older animes and I can get a bit bored with harem stories.
  • The number of anime I watch at once varies. Apart from currently running series, I watch 10 extra TV shows each week. Sometimes all 10 of those series might be animes, but more often they'll be mostly anime, with a few J/K-Dramas or Western shows etc. The amount of episodes I watch each week depends on how long the series is. If it's an ongoing show or one with 100+ episodes, I watch 4 episodes a week. If it's got 50-100 episodes, I watch 3 episodes a week. If a series has less than 50 episodes, I only watch 2 episodes a week.
  • I am terrible at remembering character's names. I usually just remember them by an attribute, like hair color or a catchphrase. I often have to look up names to write these reviews. :P

The Stats

Series Read/Watched

Total: 236

Anime Series Watched: 181
Anime Series Discontinued: 26
Manga Series Read: 26
Manga Series Finished: 24
Manga Series Discontinued: 3
Animated Movie Series Watched: 49
Animated Movie Series With an Original Story Watched: 28
Films Counted Individually: 29
Animated Movie Series Based On A Series Watched: 21
Films Counted Individually: 53
OVAs Watched: 33
Live Action Movies Based On A Series Watched: 19
Live Action Dramas Watched: 7
Live Action Dramas With an Original Story Watched: 1
Live Action Dramas Based On A Series Watched: 6
DVD Box Sets Examined: 3

Reviews Written

Total: 583

Anime Reviews Written: 370
Manga Reviews Written: 26
Animated Movie Reviews Written: 79
OVA Reviews Written: 70
Live Action Movie Reviews Written: 26
Live Action Drama Series Reviews Written: 9
DVD Box Set Reviews Written: 3

NOTE: Discontinued and in progress manga series are counted. Multiple seasons are included as one series. Movie series and OVAs for the same show are also included as one. Included in the total are Anime Series Watched, Manga Series Read, Live Action Dramas With an Original Story Watched, and Animated Movies With an Original Story Watched.

Anime Reviews


Title Review Rating
Synopsis in one sentence: The story surrounds the mystery that is Tsukasa: a young boy who wakes up to find he is trapped in a virtual reality fantasy world.
I could feel the desperation this show had to be some mind blowing thriller, but I just could not get on board. Several episodes in I was already prepared to quit and leave behind the bland characters and unexciting world, but, after reading hints that the show had some neat twists, I decided to stick it out.
Recommended for: Fantasy, mystery and adventure fans.
When I stopped: I got to episode 18 before I could not handle anymore because I was bored out of my mind.
Will I go back? Begrudgingly. The future seasons look a little better, so if I return it will be for them.
[C]: Control - The Money of Soul and Possibility
Synopsis in one sentence: Average guy Kimimaro is sucked into the Financial District, where he is forced to battle against other people in order to earn money and protect his future.
C has an interesting concept, but I think it took itself too seriously. I get turned off by shows the over complicate themselves by adding layer upon layer of deception or evil or corruption etc. Eventually there are too many players to keep track of and I've forgotten what the show was actually about. This is what happened in C. I got lost and by the time the final came up, I didn't even know what they were fighting for or why the bad guy was bad, when I thought he was good. It was an interesting idea, but it was overrun with convoluted villainy, which was a shame. On the plus side, the character design was great, as was the world surrounding the MC.
Recommended for: Fans of... finance? I'm not quite sure what genre this fits into. Fantasy, maybe? Politics?
Best aspect: I liked everything outside of the financial district. Kimimaro's friends I found interesting, and I wished there had been more about his day to day life.
Worst aspect: The relationship between Kimimaro and Msyu. SPOILER ALERT One episode he was going on about how he wanted her to be his daughter and the next he was making out with her. What the what? SPOILER OVER
Favourite character: The guy with the crepe cart. I forgot his name
91 Days
Synopsis in one sentence: After his family is killed in a mafia hit, Angelo Lagusa takes on a disguise and seeks out revenge against the family responsible for their deaths.
An exciting premise, but poor execution. I got the feeling through direction and music use that this show thought it was telling a much more exciting story than it was, cause what were framed as "epic moments" really struggled to hold my interest. The problem was that I really didn't care about any of the characters. Most of the cast were so like bad caricatures that any attempts to make them scary or relatable or likeable fell flat. This especially rang true for Angelo, who was so boring and angst overload to me that I couldn't care less whether he got his revenge or not. And when that is the story that's running this whole show, that's a problem.
Recommended for: Gangster film fans?
Best aspect: The ending wrapped things up nicely.
Worst aspect: I watched this dubbed and the performances were AWFUL. Every character has a weird Boston accent that made me cringe every time a character opened their mouths. So freaking bad.
Favourite character: Nero. The only character with a proper arc
A Certain Magical Index
Synopsis in one sentence: In a city where superpowers are commonplace, student Toma, who has the ability to counter anybody else's power, suddenly finds himself in charge of a young nun with exceptional power.
In theory, Index has all the right parts for making a great anime. There are seedy organisations, magic, a dash of harem, and a clueless hero in the middle – what could go wrong? Well, with all those interesting plot devices in hand, I was pretty disappointed that Index never really knew what to do with them. I feel like none of the story set up throughout the series was used properly. Mysterious, robotical twins? Let's knock out their story in a couple episodes. Ooo, an anti-hero trained to be the biggest warrior in the world? Let's build him up then wipe him out in a half assed attempt at giving him a heart of gold. Oh, and let's completely ignore the nun who holds the information of a thousand worlds in her head. Oh, she's a main character? Welp, then let's just pack her full of catchphrases and pull her out whenever we need someone to be annoying. I mean, what the hell happened here? The first 10 (give or take) episodes were so interesting! Different relationships were being set up, important plot points were being outlined, hinting to some sort of explosive ending to a twisty series. But no, instead we get stories about pretending to be someone's boyfriend or Index being hungry. Argh, it's not that I didn't like this series; I'm just super disappointed by it. There's so much potential and none of it goes anywhere! Anyway, the reason I'll keep on with this series is because I have hope that someone will buck up and start making things happen. If the next season is just as anti-climactic, I'm done. >_<
Recommended for: Hmmm, this is a tricky one. It's a standard action/sci-fi/fantasy blend, so you might like it, you might hate it, I dunno. Maybe if you have some spare time, check it out.
Best aspect: The cast was really interesting in both personality and power.
Worst aspect: So much wasted plot.
Favourite character: Kaori. Mostly because she looks awesome. ^^
A Certain Scientific Railgun
Synopsis in one sentence: Set before the events of the first season, Railgun introduces the daily life of electric warrior Misaka.
As you might remember from my review of A Certain Magical Index, I was looking forward to seeing how the story would develop and progress from where things left off.... needless to say, I was pretty bummed when I realised Index and Toma wouldn't be making a big splash anytime soon. In fact, I didn't really enjoy the first several episodes of the Railgun because I was looking for the dramatic plot which just wasn't coming through. But, once I got over that, I started to enjoy Railgun for what it was: a weird, supernatural, action based slice of life. Without the heavy focus on an underlying disturbance, Railgun is able to put the humour and good feelings present in its predecessor at the forefront, which is what the show does best. Although there's a small core cast of four, each girl is given her own time to shine in a way that highlights how brilliantly the protagonists play off each other. There's lots of comedy and fun, which quickly put Railgun leagues ahead of Index in my book. Although the climatic battles weren't as large as they are in Index, I think the stories were kept simple, which made the more dramatic plots much more effective. I also enjoyed the little nods to A Certain Magical Index, which explained some of the goings on of the first season. I found it much easier to love A Certain Magical Railgun, and although it's not the season 2 follow up I was hoping for, it still kept the series running strong.
Recommended for: Fans of the first series, although I think you could watch Railgun before Index without ruining much. If you liked the action of Index, Railgun might be a little flat for you.
Best aspect: Comedy definitely.
Worst aspect: Shirai got on my nerves a lot.
Favourite character: Uiharu. She was the anchor of the group whenever things got tough and I found her incredibly sweet.
A Certain Magical Index II
Synopsis in one sentence: There's a church fight... or something to that effect.
I didn't enjoy A Certain Magical Index, but I really enjoyed A Certain Magical Railgun, so I wasn't sure what to expect for Index II. Obviously, I did not enjoy it. In musing over why this is, I think I have come to a conclusion: serious tones do not suit this anime. You see, when I was watching Index 1, I found it boring. There were fun characters and comedy, but the anime was intent on focusing on shadowy villains and I felt like what I really wanted to focus on (the interesting characters) was ignored. In Railgun, however, they focused on characters first, and story second and I enjoyed it so much more! So, when A Certain Magical Whatever focuses on character, I enjoy it much more! But when it tries to be mysterious and brutal, it fails. Like, you're tryna set up a big dramatic fight in a series where one of the main characters is a child in an overflowing robe who bites people? Yeah, that's not gonna work. Also, the more I see Index, the less I like her.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season and anyone who doesn't mind subs.
When I stopped: Episode 15.
Will I go back? I would love to continue on with Railgun, but it looks like I have to watch this season first, so I'll have to say goodbye to that as well. :(
Ah! My Goddess!
Synopsis in one sentence: The angel Belldandy has to live with human boy Keichi and craziness ensues.
This anime was very cute and harem at its fullest. The characters were all wonderfully designed and I enjoyed the introduction of different levels of power from heaven. Watching the characters develop was very interesting and I particularly liked how bratty Skuld evolved, especially in the final episode, where she matured remarkably. It could get a bit repetitive in parts, which lowered the score, but it was pretty good overall.
Recommended for: Anyone in the mood for a light anime. You'll especially like it if you like lovey dovey stories.
Best aspect: Probably the outfit designs.
Worst aspect: The painstakingly slow development of Belldandy and Keichi's relationship.
Favourite character: Urd. Her snarky attitude was a nice contrast to the always nice Belldandy.
Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy
Synopsis in one sentence: The angel Belldandy has to live with human boy Keichi and craziness ensues... again.
I think after watching the first series, I had sort of gotten the overall idea of Ah! My Goddess and where it was going. In all honesty, this season bored me. The same stuff that happened in the first season pretty much repeated itself, but with different crisis's etc. I did like that some of the supporting characters became more involved with the storyline, which sort of made things more interesting... not by much, though.
Recommended for: Big fans of Ah! My Goddess.
Best aspect: The struggle Urd has with her mysterious origins...
Worst aspect: Repetitive and drawn out.
Favourite character: Urd. Gotta love that girl and her ridiculous potions. >>
Ai Yori Aoshi
Synopsis in one sentence: A girl named Aoi locates a guy who she promised her hand in marriage to when she was child, only to find that he has forgotten her over the years.
This anime is actually quite similar to Ah! My Goddess (see above), minus all the magic and with added character development. The twisted family of Aoi was a good underlying threat to the two lovers and the supporting characters were all easily likeable. But, like most harem, this anime did have its limits and the stories could seem to move a bit slowly at points.
Recommended for: Harem watchers. You also might like it if you like a sort of Romeo and Juliet feel to your animes.
Best aspect: The range of characters. From the traditionally Japanese Aoi, to the over the top American Tina, this anime had a great variety!
Worst aspect: I never understood why Kaoru agreed to be with Aoi. Actually, he never really agreed; she pretty much just told him they were together. Strange.
Favourite character: Taeko. So adorable!
Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi
Synopsis in one sentence: The group returns to do pretty much the same thing they did in the first season.
Hmmm, since the last time I saw this program, things seem to have progressed quite a bit. For example, Kaoru is pretty much betrothed to Aoi. Which makes it weirder when everyone hits on him, because they all know he's there for Aoi. Isn't there some sort of friend code about hitting on another friend's boyfriend? Plus a lot of his admirers are really awkward. I mean, Chika's a child! She shouldn't have a love story with him! The one relationship I do find interesting though is Tina's crush on the ever perfect Kaoru. I feel like that storyline had so much potential, but it didn't develop much. :( In fact, pretty much nothing developed this season. Even the big climax at the end sounded really intense. I was actually really surprised that Ai Yori Aoshi was going to explore something so serious, but then it was concluded with a simple "Haha, it's actually not a big deal and now it's over". Yay.
Recommended for: Fans of the first series. It's on the exact same level as the first season (not any better, nor any worse) so if you enjoyed the first part, you'll like this series.
Best aspect: At least the main couple actually progressed in their love, as opposed to other series where they spend multiple episodes wondering whether they're ready to hold hands or not.
Worst aspect: What the heck happened to Taeko?
Favourite character: Tina. She really grew on me this season.
Synopsis in one sentence: In a world where space travel is run of the mill, a group of teen pop stars are humanity's only hope to save the world from sadness.
Okay, so for those of you unfamiliar, AKB0048 is a series that revolves around a sci-fi version of the popular J-pop group AKB48. If you follow that group, I have the feeling that you'll love this show. There're special songs sung by the girls, the girls fighting bad guys, lots of cute anime dancing and if you watched this show subbed you'll get to hear some of the AKB48 members voice the actual characters! I, however, am not a fan of AKB48, so my view on this show was a little different. To start with, the weird processed idol idea of AKB48 wierds me out a little. The way each member has to act and look a certain way or they run the risk of expulsion from the group is so bizarre and incredibly creepy to me. So when this show takes that concept and wraps it in a "only AKB can save the world, look how perfect they are!" ribbon, it feels a little... well, it feels like propaganda. There are even scenes where the girls fight, only to have it wiped away with "oh, we fight because we love each other, hahaha!", because, again, look how amazing and perfect the girls are, hooray! I just got the feeling that every member of staff on this show did their work with a record label executive breathing heavily over their shoulder to make sure that nothing even remotely less than goddess-like was ever said about the girls. On that note, expect that this show is a total cheese fest. The solution to pretty much every problem is friendship, or something equally as nauseating. My other problem with the show is that nothing was really explained that well. For instance, the whole point of AKB0048 is to perform on different planets, to fight against the ban of entertainment. But why is entertainment banned? And why has no one just found the AKB0048 dorms and blown the crap out of them? I was also thoroughly confused by the group's system. There was an episode where they went to meet a family of girls who train from birth to be copies of one of the groups members. What? Are they clones now? And from that point on all anyone talked about was "I want to be the successor of blahblahblah!/My soul is the same as blahblahblah!". What are they on about? Are the other members dead and you get to posses their old body or something? There are other lacks of explanation, including failure to really introduce new characters, which meant that by the end of the series I pretty much called them all "Singer Girl". I hope this show was made as a gift to the fans, because if it was, then that goal has clearly been reached. I suspect fans will have no problem understanding how the group system works, and the story is jam packed full of moments where fans can squeal because their favourite member just did something awesome/cute. However, if this show's goal was to expand the AKB0048 brand, then I don't think it'll do too well. I was dropped in the deep end of the AKB48 world without anything to help me out, which turned me off both the next season of the show and the AKB brand.
Recommended for: AKB48 fans, or those that like girls with guns, or girls that sing.
Best aspect: The dancing was pretty good.
Worst aspect: Cringe inducing sugary-ness.
Favourite character: Chieri. She was pretty much the only one I could distinguish.
Angel Sanctuary
Synopsis in one sentence: High schooler Setsuna's life is turned upside down when he's approached by a group of mysterious people that claim he is a powerful angel trapped inside a human's body.
My lord.... Okay, I just... I just... *Runs to LA's review page* This this and this. Okay, I'll try to keep a level head through this review. *Takes a deep breath in* So this is my first proper confrontation with the sibling love storyline, and let me just say that I find the whole concept messed up. Who was it that was watching some anime and just randomly thought "Yano, there is just not enough incest in this!"? WHY??? So the main character is pretty into his sister and the whole thing is just weird beyond weird. My creepiness levels have been maxed out. And yano, I tried, I really did. I thought "Well, he's sort of another person in a human body, so I guess they're not really related", but NO. Every few seconds they would bring up the fact that they were siblings in full, not even giving me a chance to get past it. And I could maybe get past the romance side of it, but to actually show them hooking up and striking home runs? *Shudders* Anyway, outside of that mess of a love story, there's some interesting ideas in the plot, especially in the different characters that support the lead. The lead is pretty crappy, but his friends have some good backstory and motivations for their actions. The OVA series isn't afraid to shed blood, which is a good way to keep tension, because I wasn't sure how far the characters might go. So there were some good elements that could've been strung together to form a nice, intense fantasy drama, but instead it was overrun with a icky and pretty sappy romance line that only made the main character seem pathetic and weak. Wasted potential, really.
Recommended for: You've gotta be open-minded, if you hadn't already guessed that from my mini-rant. :P It's an older series, so if you don't like retro, this aint for you. The genre is sort of action fantasy drama, so if you like that then go for Angel Sanctuary.
Best aspect: I liked the general gist of the plot.
Worst aspect: Apart from the obvious, the voice acting was terrible, probably the worst I've ever heard. Not a single voice was tolerable. Then again, it was the early 2000s, so maybe that was the standard back then?
Favourite character: Whatever the main guy's angel friend's name was.
Synopsis in one sentence: Koichi is enrolled at a new class that is haunted by a tale of a dead student from the past, and he is sucked into the strange phenomena that now surrounds him.
One thing you should know about me is that I hate horror films. HATE them. Being aware of this fact myself, I'm not quite sure what made me decide to watch a horror anime, which is pretty much a horror movie that last 4 times as long. Bad move on my part. >_> The point is, the smallest things give me the creeps, so I'm probably more overwhelmed by this anime than a horror movie buff would be. Yeah, this series gave me a major case of the heebie jeebies, but I don't think it's really that scary. Gory? Yes. Eerie? Yes. Scary? No. But, because I wouldn't be able to sit through a crazy scary show, I don't mind that softness of the story too much. ;) Moving on, the story of Another is great. There were some parts, especially in the early stages of the program, where there were some pacing issues, but once things got going, they REALLY got going. The driving force behind each episode was definitely the mystery aspect, as I couldn't wait to find out more and try to put the pieces together. Some parts of the story were a bit predictable, but even then they were smoothed over with a little twist that sweetened the viewing. The big reveal in the final episode is a great example of this, because although I had big suspicions about the culprit, I didn't expect the secret behind their identity, which made it a much more dramatic finish. The little hints through the dialogue and background were also well done, because when a new clue is explained, all those things come together and it was fun to think back on. There were a couple problems with the show, though. First, the wrap up was a bit lacklustre. It was following a huge scene of action, sadness, anger and trauma and it just did not work well after all of those events. The gritty darkness of the show was completely washed out, making the final scene extremely boring and bland in comparison. The other problem was the character development/personalities. Koichi, the main character, has some of the worst judgement I've ever seen in an anime. He knows something weird is going on, but pretty much ignores it, or isn't even bothered. Even when he finds out one of class members is an imposter, he just shrugs his shoulders and moves on. Why on earth would you not try to figure out who that person was? Even during the most dangerous part of the story, he turns to his friends and suggests they all split up. Um, what? There's a fire licking at your heels and a murderer running around and you decide to split up? What is wrong with you??? The other lead, Mei, had a lot of potential to be a much more dynamic character, but she never progresses past emo mystery pal. She's got so many great backstories to her, yet none of them are really utilised in an interesting way. Finally, the side characters aren't managed that well. For the first couple episodes, relationships are set up and personalities and even backstories are subtly woven into the background. During these episodes, the threat of death is much more interesting, as you're attached to who you like or don't like, or you want certain characters to do certain things. However, in the second half of the show, it's like they got bored and decided to start showing random faces once so they had people to kill off. The last scene would've been way more amazing if I'd known who any of the leftover kids actually were. Overall, I did enjoy this anime, because the mystery side of things was great. There was a much bigger opportunity that came with this anime, and I didn't feel like that was taken advantage of, but all the basic points are present, so I am satisfied.
Recommended for: Horror fans. If you are squeamish, walk away now. And if you like horror dark and terrible, then you'll probably be disappointed by Another as well.
Best aspect: It did keep me on my toes. There were quite a few twists and turns.
Worst aspect: Bad character integration.
Favourite character: Naoya! Although he got a little... reckless towards the end.
Aria the Scarlet Ammo
Synopsis in one sentence: Kinji, a student at Butei High which is a training school for future members of a special ops force, is approached by an exceptional fighter called Aria who demands that Kinji becomes her official team partner.
The first couple episodes of Aria the Scarlett Ammo follow Kinji and Aria as they are targeted by the mysterious serial killer that has been dubbed the Butei Killer, after his penchant for killing Butei. This story introduces the bare basics of the show and man what an introduction it is. Both the leads and the support cast are a mix of interesting personalities and the mystery behind the Butei killer is an exhilarating one that ends with a big twist. It's because of this great opening that I was pretty let down by the rest of the 13 episode series. After the Butei killer arc the characters become a drab clump of your stereotypical anime guys and gals. All the fierce strong girls from the first couple episodes become whiny harem fodder. Then the other guys are just pushed to the realm of nothingness altogether. The follow up plots become almost embarrassingly predictable and every time some new threat is dealt to they return to become friends with the protagonists. Yeah, because that makes total sense. Then there's Aria. *Sigh* Oh Aria. Introduced as the deceptively small top fighter of the academy with the pretty cool family background, by the end of the show Aria has entered into a league of anime annoyingness she created all on her own. She's rude, forceful, insecure and kind of stupid. By the end I didn't even care what her overall goal was, because I disliked her so much that her wellbeing meant nothing to me. I found it a real shame that a show I really enjoyed at the start became such a mess. I don't know what the makers of Aria were doing, but they took a wrong turn somewhere. Such a shame, really.
Recommended for: People that like harems with a dash of action.
Best aspect: The first few episodes had a great plot.
Worst aspect: Aria.
Favourite character: Shirayuki.
Assassination Classroom
Synopsis in one sentence: A class of misfits kids is given the task of assassinating an alien that is threatening to destroy the world... while said alien poses as their teacher.
I know, the concept of this is bizarre. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. But worry not, because this anime is fabulous! For such an out there concept, this show really is rooted in character development and relationship exploration, which makes for a touching, interesting, action packed, and constantly hilarious story. The characters are fantastic, and everyone, from the goofy alien teacher to the background characters to the bullies, is given time to shine. I mean, it's not hard to see why I love this show. Character backstory and development, realistic relationships, and ample attention paid to the side characters? Yeah, that's right up my alley. I binged this show very quickly, which I loved, because it's been a while since I watched an anime I enjoyed enough to binge. The first season is packed full of set-up, with each episode adding new characters and pushing the narrative forward, but I won't be able to comment on the overall story until I finish the second season. For now, I'll leave Assassination Classroom with an A+!
Recommended for: Comedy, character development, and strategy fans.
Best aspect: I loved all the little plans that the series played out, from assassination attempts to Koro-Sensei's plays at making the students better people. I love me some strategy and mind play!
Worst aspect: Towards the end, a computer program character was added that I just wasn't feeling. The characters, to me, do a good job of standing outside stereotypes and the usual anime tropes, but this girl was a plain old moe fodder that I don't think adds to the story.
Favourite character: Ah, because of the equal focus on all characters, it's hard to just choose one. So I'll go for the orchestrator of this series, Koro Sensei!
Assassination Classroom: Season 2
Synopsis in one sentence: The class continues on their mission, as new foes hide in the shadows and the students begin to struggle with their futures.
Assassination Classroom continues with more fantastic character development and a lot of very intriguing stories. Unfortunately, I think humour took a bit of a nosedive in this season, and a rise in the "cheese factor" followed. For a few episodes, I was a bit disappointed by the mediocrity of the script, as I've come to expect the unexpected from AC, and when it dips into the slice of life corniness pool, it stands out. What I did appreciate, however, was the very clear direction of the show; the character arcs are some of the strongest I've seen in any anime, and while I was hoping for a different ending, the ending I was given made sense and, in a way, was satisfying. All in all, Assassination Classroom is a fantastic series that I am very glad to have watched.
Recommended for: Fans of the show that want to see how the Class E journey ends.
Best aspect: The finale. Feelings all around!
Worst aspect: The dullness near the middle.
Favourite character: Koro Sensei, of course.
Attack on Titan
Synopsis in one sentence: In a world ravaged by giant creatures known as Titans, a young boy named Eren trains to destroy the menacing monsters.
I don't think I can explain how much I loved this show. Twist after twist after twist! And everything is soooooo brutal! I never knew what to expect! Now, Attack on Titan is not for the faint of heart. You shouldn't get attached to anyone, because they're probably gonna die... or turn out to suck... or both. That's how unpredictable this show is. And, in this case, unpredictable definitely equals fun. There's very little I can say against this show, but if I had to say one thing, I might complain that the characters were a little too... shouty, I guess. But that's only if I had to say something negative. I wish they'd given away more answers, but I suppose some cards have to be hidden so people (like me) can't wait to dive into season 2.
Recommended for: Action, medieval and fantasy fans. There's lots of blood and gore + some triggering themes, so be wary.
Best aspect: Lots of mystery.
Worst aspect: Eren doesn't have an inside voice.
Favourite character: The blonde one. I want to look up his name, but I'm too afraid of spoilers. :S
Attack on Titan: Junior High
Synopsis in one sentence: The cast of Attack on Titan attend a high school alongside the titans.
My past reviews have kind of hinted at this, but I don't really enjoy anime comedy. I find it cheap and often childish. So this show was really not for me. The jokes, to me, are cringey. It also doesn't help that I really like Attack on Titan, so a show where everything special about AoT is stripped to give way to run-of-the-mill jokes annoyed me even more. Nothing much else to say, really.
Recommended for: Slice of Life and Attack on Titan fans.
Best aspect: The drawing style was pretty cute.
Worst aspect: Lame jokes. I also feel like a lot of the senior characters were really unlikable.
Favourite character: Sasha.
Avatar: The Legend of Aang
Synopsis in one sentence: Two siblings discover a long thought dead master of the elements, trapped in an iceburg.
Avatar is split up into four different arcs, but I'm going to review them all together as this is how I watched the series. Anyways, this series was mostly a surprise because it's a nickelodeon cartoon, so I did not have high hopes for it ( sorry if I offend any fans of that network). However, the use of the four elements, mixed with awesome characters and lots of comedy... AMAZING!! The story was long, but totally worth it, because the end battle was... wowza. Really great show, for both kids and adults – highly recommended!
Recommended for: If you want something full of fantasy action. Not recommended if you like more mature, serious animes.
Best aspect: The bending fights.
Worst aspect: Could be a little cheesy at times, but only by a small bit.
Favourite character: Ooo, tough choice. Toph. I mean, c'mon – she's awesome.
Avatar: The Legend of Korra: Book 1: Air
Synopsis in one sentence: The series picks up after the death of Avatar Aang and follows his successor, Korra, as she travels to Republic City to learn how to air bend.
I was so excited when I heard Avatar was getting another series, but was heartbroken to find it was not going to star Aang and his group. How on earth could it possibly be any good? Well, the first book of the series certainly put all my fears to rest! It was action packed, scary, sad and funny. Very funny. The creators did a FANTASTIC job at working as a new series, while also paying great respect to the original. Incorporating the original cast was great, but made me miss them more! Anyway, this is a really good continuation and I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen next!
Recommended for: If you loved the legend of Aang, you will like this. However, if you REALLY loved the legend of Aang, you might miss those characters. :D
Best aspect: Comedy! There were some really great moments and characters.... I'm chuckling just thinking about it. ^^
Worst aspect: The romance wasn't as polished as it was with Aang. Sometimes it was predictable or confusing.
Favourite character: Bolin. He had some of the best lines. XD
Avatar: The Legend of Korra: Book 2: Spirits
Synopsis in one sentence: Korra decides Avatar training is a little stale, so she jumps ship to the Water Tribe to begin learning about spirits from her perfect uncle.
The first book of the Korra series was s rough intro into a world without the comedic antics of Aang, and although I found it a bit bittersweet at first, I grew to love how much grittier The Legend of Korra was than the first series. The story was giant in its limits and each episode packed some sort of heart wrenching punch ranging from intense to nostalgic. For its second season, Korra decides to skip the darker twist on things and instead turn its attention to fuzzy creatures and drama the likes of any high school drama series. The first pulling point for book 2 was finally getting to learn more about Korra's origins. What is her family like? How has living in the big city changed her? Unfortunately, instead of delving into Korra's character, the sporadic trips to the Water tribe only introduce a pretty predictable plot, some background character level family members, and a bunch of annoying voice acting. The second pulling point for this series was the promise of meeting the offspring of some Avatar greats in the form of Aang and Katara's other two children. Sadly, following in the footsteps of the wise Tenzin is no easy feat, as both soldier Bumi and water bender Kya were written as petty annoyances that seemed to have missed out on the charisma and strength that both their parents possessed. The great group dynamics of the Fire Ferrets + Asami was thrown out the window; Korra pretty much did her own thing, Bolin was doing some fun, yet pointless movie work, and the other two had some abysmally tame love story crap. All the intrigue installed in the first season was removed, making Book 2 a really low level follow up. I want the big stories and the almost immortal bad guys! I want the smart cameos from people we know, or people we want to know! Where is all the charm that originally warmed me up to the new Avatar gang? *Sigh* All I can be thankful for is the fact that this show has now been extended, because if this was going to be my last taste of Korra, it definitely would've been a sour one.
Best aspect: The origin of the Avatar. And by Avatar I don't mean Korra, I mean THE avatar. The entire idea of there being an Avatar. It reveals where the Avatar power comes from! Yeah, they went there. O^O
Worst aspect: Almost all of the characters became incessantly annoying.
Favourite character: Bolin. The only one who stayed as his normal idiotic self.
Avatar: The Legend of Korra: Book 3: Change
Synopsis in one sentence: Korra finds herself in the throes of a world inhabited by troublesome spirits and as her popularity drops things only get harder when a new Air Nation appears and a group of dangerous criminals escape to try and kill her.
This season was such a big step up for the Legend of Korra that I'm super glad they got to make another season. The story was intense, new characters were compelling and introduced more fun into the Avatar family and the villains were awesome! The character development was also in tip top shape, with everyone from Korra to the bad guys being treated to great stories. I especially loved the evolution of Jinora, who really stood out this season as a representative of the Air Nation. I wish there had been a bigger focus on the central four friends (Korra, Bolin, Asami and Mako) because nothing really changed amongst them since last season. There were hints at Asami and Korra becoming closer, but that wasn't explored as much as I'd like it to be. The same goes for Mako's insecurities/stress. What really made this season so fantastic though, was the incredible fight scenes. I couldn't tear myself away from the screen and the introduction of new ways to bend only made fights that much more amazing! This was a great season that more than redeemed The Legend of Korra for the lackluster previous seasons. Here's hoping that the closing book is just as much fun!
Recommended for: Fans of previous seasons. If you were undecided on whether to return to the series or not, definitely give this book a chance before making your final decision.
Best aspect: The fight scenes, hands down.
Worst aspect: I wasn't a fan of Lin creating drama.
Favourite character: Tough choice. I think I'll go with Korra because a) she didn't have any lame romance drama and b) she was awesome in the last episode.
Avatar: The Legend of Korra: Book 4: Balance
Synopsis in one sentence: Korra's got some recovering to do as a new rebellion starts to rise to power.
Ugh, I can't believe I forgot to review the final Avatar book! So this book pretty much continues on the fantastic upslope of the Korra story, with the best villain so far, some AWESOME character development, and fair screentime for everyone. It pretty much hit every nail on the head and I don't have much to criticise. SPOILER WARNING: If there's one thing that I was sort of meh about, it was the Korrasami ship setting sail, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only person that had a problem with it. I just feel like they should've spent more time developing that relationship, because the random "officialisation" at the end of the show (although I wouldn't really call holding hands and then the creators confirming the love in interviews that brave) felt like the writers were just tryna get fandom points. Would it have been that hard to grow the relationship properly over the series instead of randomly chucking it in at the end? I like my end games to get proper treatment, please. SPOILERS OVER Final note: The fighting was amazing. I can't think of a show that does fight scenes as beautiful as Avatar does. Despite a rocky start, I'm really happy that the Legend of Korra ends with A+++ quality.
Recommended for: Fans of the Legend of Korra.
Best aspect: Fighting!
Worst aspect: I might've liked it if some of the new characters had given some of their screentime over to the main cast. I feel like some characters (Tenzin, Mako etc) got shafted, storywise.
Favourite character: Bolin. I liked seeing him branch out this season.
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of criminals are somehow connected to each other, but they don't know it...
The first thing to note about this anime is that is does take a while to get into the story. At first it seems like a nonsensical entanglement of storylines, but hang in there and it gets epic! Great twists, lots of action and amazing characters, this anime was great! The slow start does drag it down a bit, but I would recommend this anime.
Recommended for: Action lovers, or those who like a bit of mystery...
Best aspect: Definitely the way that everything comes together in the end. The end theme does come in a close second, though!
Worst aspect: The slow start almost got me to abandon the series. Glad I hung in there, though!
Favourite character: Isaac and Miria! The comic relief of the anime, and so great I can't choose just one!
Baka and Test
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows the lowest ranking class of Fumizuki Academy as they try to defeat their superiors in order to gain better learning equipment.
It took me a while to figure out how to start this review because I couldn’t figure out what opening sentence could express how much I enjoyed Baka and Test. This show is just... funny. Really, there's not an episode that went by that didn't make me laugh out loud! But of course, comedy is just the icing on the already enticing cake that is Baka and Test. At Fumizuki Academy, students have an overall score from their various test results. These scores are translated to little avatar versions of the students; the higher the score, the stronger the avatar. Classes at the school are assigned classroom equipment according to their rank, but students can challenge classes higher than their own in order to gain better equipment. The students fight using their avatars and the winners trade for the better equipment. Obviously, that is an enticing reward for the students of Class F; their scores are so low they sit at cardboard boxes. Over the course of the first season, Class F launches two big campaigns against top class A, which is where Baka and Test becomes something much more than just a laugh. Because serious strategy is involved here, yano. F is led by strategic mastermind Yuuji, who continuously crafts amazing plans to boost his class to the top, despite their embarrassingly low scores. Each battle is incredibly exciting, and I became so engrossed in them I felt like I was watching a RL sporting event! Plus Class F is lucky enough to have their secret weapon Mizuki, a genius fit for Class A who's only in class F because she fainted during the placement test and wasn’t able to finish. Then there's the lead of the show Akihisa, who's, well, an idiot. A REAL idiot. Such an idiot that he's the lowest of rank in the entire school, so his avatar is the only one that can take corporeal form for the sole purpose of working for the teachers ( an ability Yuuji obviously uses to class F's advantage). Akihisa is such an idiot in fact, that the show is named for him (baka means idiot in Japanese for those who didn’t know)! And that brings me to the third thing I love about Baka and Test; the characters. The writers went to great lengths to create a loveable cast that brings the entire story together. Sure, each character could easily be placed into a certain anime character archetype at first glance, but it doesn’t take long to notice that Baka and Test's leads have a little something more. For example, Akihisa is easily the boring-rock-at-the-center-of-a-harem of the group, but he's no flustered shy guy. He's a flustered pervert. And two of the members of his harem are boys. And one of those boys has no interest in him romantically. It's complicated. Buxom beauty Mizuki is the other standard presence, because everyone is familiar with the kind hearted and humble goddess that any good harem needs. But Mizuki is no cookie cutter character for the main character (in this case, Akihisa) to fuss over! Mizuki's romantic advancements are often voided, especially when Akihisa is convinced she is in love with Yuuji. And although Mizuki can memorise an entire test in seconds, her cooking is so terrible it has the ability to kill people. Yeah. My point is, Baka and Test is a slightly simple concept, but it's full of lots of little details that pack it full of fun surprises! I am hard pressed to criticise it because I enjoyed it so much, so I highly recommend you give it a chance if you haven't already!
Recommended for: Comedy fans, or anyone who likes wacky characters and so-stupid-it's-funny scenarios.
Best aspect: Humour, duh.
Worst aspect: SPOILER: I wanted Class F to upgrade at least once!
Favourite character: It's gotta be Akihisa.
Baka and Test Ni!
Synopsis in one sentence: Classes are back in session!
I struggled with this season in the same way that I'm struggling with The World God Only Knows right now. I loved the first season so much because it took something we've all seen before (school romance) and turned it into something fresh! But now the second season has rolled around, all the originality has been lost. You know what I haven't seen a lot of? Idiot high school boys strategizing to battle other classes using avatars that gain power based on their test scores. You know what I've seen a million times? Two to three girls fawning over an idiot high school boy while simultaneously hating everything he does. And that's all the second season is. Even the battles are few in number and the ones that do happen are simple and possess none of the table turning that the first season battles did. So yeah, I'm disappointed in this season. More battles, less harem and I would've been a happy chappy!
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
Best aspect: There were still some comedy highlights, thank goodness.
Worst aspect: The intelligent female cast being reduced to insipid bumbling fools.
Favourite character: Sakamoto. He was nice and consistent.
Synopsis in one sentence: High schooler Koyomi helps a bunch of girls afflicted with strange supernatural oddities.
Bakemonogatari, the first installment in the Monogatari series, was a bit of a confusing ride for me. The first episodes are set up as a creepy supernatural story, spliced together between random cuts of text and pictures to create an artsy mystery. The lead character was a draw, as I found his realistic attitude quite refreshing in a show that was heavily harem focused. I like the interesting afflictions the girls were suffering from (the first character, Senjougahara is cursed to defy the laws of physics by weighing nothing), I liked the slightly estranged interactions between characters and I liked the jerky animation that popped in a way similar to superhero comics. But as the episodes moved forward, the focus switched to a slice of life. The supernatural elements were pushed to the side in favour of romance and daily chores. The rest of the series awkwardly jumped between the darker undertones of the mysteries and the sickening harem junk. And that's why I felt confused. I was enticed by the creepy aura of the first few episodes and when that was taken away, I felt cheated. But if one enters hoping for harem and comedy, then I think the blood splattering horror might be a bit off putting. After concluding the season, I'm just unsure of what the show was actually trying to do. Was it edgy or corny? Was it about harsh realities or pastel painted romance? I have no idea, and that is a bit of a problem for me.
Recommended for: Fans of mystery... with romance? There's a bit of gore, so it might be tough for the squeamish. The atmosphere is also very eerie, so maybe skip this if you don't like creepy. :P Finally, this show is currently not available dubbed.
Best aspect: The oddities were very interesting and original.
Worst aspect: The harem was so unnecessary.
Favourite character: Koyomi
Bakugan Battle Brawlers
Synopsis in one sentence: Pokemon on a smaller scale.
This anime was quite interesting at first, mainly because I was intrigued by the battle mechanics of the brawls. After that though, I got a bit bored.
Recommended for: People who enjoy duelling animes or those aimed at a younger audience.
When I stopped: Episode 34.
Will I go back? Yes, but only to kill some time.
Synopsis in one sentence: An ink artist moves into a country side home to grab some alone time and rediscover his artistic flair.
Pretty good anime, though the story is quite simple. The characters are great, as is their interaction with each other. I quite enjoyed how each of the villagers, in acting only as themselves, helped the main character, Handa, grow as both a person and an artist. A shining point of the show was the adorable Naru, whose energetic, brash personality worked wonders beside Handa's anxiety ridden persona. What set this show back at bit for me was the lack of complexity. The stories are pretty light hearted, and although that lends to an enjoyable story and sense of community, it prevents the series from really standing out.
Recommended for: Slice of life and comedy fans. As of writing, this show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: The humour was pretty good.
Worst aspect: Simple storylines.
Favourite character: Naru
Synopsis in one sentence: Two duelling ninja clans are ordered to pit their best fighters against each other, in an effort to end their feud once and for all.
A really great action anime, infused with romance and lots of fantastic characters. This anime had a lot of interesting ninjas, each with an equally interesting power, as well as memorable characters, each with a backstory that made you feel sympathy for them. It was exciting from beginning to end, although the selling point of Basilisk was the forbidden love between the Kouga clan's Gennosuke and the Iga clan's Oboro. What can I say? I'm a sucker for romance. ;D
Recommended for: Action fans, Romeo and Juliet fans or anyone in the mood for some good old ninja battles.
Best aspect: The different specialties of each ninja. Things like controlling reptiles, or using your hair to fight were original ideas that you don't really see in animes much.
Worst aspect: I didn't really like the over complicated politics of the whole thing; it was a bit much for me.
Favourite character: Hmmm, tough to choose. I'd maybe go with Oboro, just because of the ending...
Synopsis in one sentence: In a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, we follow the struggles of high school students as their daily problems are exacerbated by their animal instincts and the politics that surround them.
The first thing this series invoked in me was discomfort. I'm sorry, but the constant framing of what are pretty much animals as sexy and attractive—complete with cameras panning up and down bodies and all else that anime horniness entails—just made me really uncomfortable. I watched the first third of this show wondering if it was some authors attempt to convince me to be a furry. I know there's a lot of back and forth about this, but for me, just because they have human proportions, sexualising animal beings in that way, including making specific references to them being attractive because of their animal characteristics, just... I'm not here for it. But the reputation of this show is so big right now that I figured I was missing something, so I powered on. And then the second third of the show made me think "Oh, how clever! It's about the difference between love and lust. A comment on obsession being mistaken for loyalty! We're seeing things through this sexual lense to highlight the warped view of the characters misguided interactions!" And then the final third. Nope. Turns out this is just a gangster romance story with animals instead of humans. It’s a story I've seen before and one I'm sure other animes will do again. On top of that, I found the animation very unappealing. The character designs themselves are great, but the movement was so jerky, it reminded me of rotoscoping. And not in a good way. Anywho, I don't get the Beastars hype and I will not be returning for future seasons.
Recommended for: Furries and forbidden romance lovers. Oh, and those who wanted Zootopia to be grittier. As of writing, the show is only available subbed.
Best aspect: The opening theme and titles were really nicely done.
Worst aspect: The lost potential. There's so much to examine in a world like this, but instead it just focuses on an insta love plot. From what I understand, the manga delves further into the world in a more interesting way and it sounds much better than what the anime has shown so far, but as my experience with the show was so abysmal, I won't be looking further into that.
Favourite character: It's sad how long I had to wonder if there were any characters I liked at all. Jack. He's a good boy.
Synopsis in one sentence: A legendary warrior remembers his past as a noble mercenary.
Hmm, this anime was a bit confusing at times, and sometimes things just happened but weren't really explained. However, the devastating end really made up a lot of the anime, and in the end I am glad I gave it a chance. Unfortunately, the anime didn't cover the full story of the manga (which is still on-going), so the overall tale was left a bit open ended.
Recommended for: Action/fantasy fans.
Best aspect: The way the end sort of explained the bits that had left me a bit confused at the beginning. It was a big 'OH!' moment. XP
Worst aspect: Lots of overdramatic scenes.
Favourite character: Judaeu, because of his end. :(
Berserk (2016)
Synopsis in one sentence: A continuation of the 90's anime, following Guts on his quest for revenge.
Ugh. That kind of summarises my feelings on this series. I really liked the original series, I really liked the recent film remakes, I was really excited to finally see what happens next in Gus' tale and then... this. It's basically 12 episodes of torture porn in some of the worst animation I have ever seen. A dull, frenetic story is one thing, but layer that on top of a total eyesore and you have a big nope from me.
Recommended for: Those familiar with either the original series or the film series. This picks up right up after the first arc, so it will be impossible to watch without that context. Oh, and trigger warnings abound.
Best aspect: The hope of the story's continuation.
Worst aspect: Animation. Coming in a close second is the fact that if a woman is introduced, she WILL end up naked and/or sexually assaulted within an episode or two.
Favourite character: Guts, because none of the new characters clicked for me.
Black Blood Brothers
Synopsis in one sentence: In a world where vampires exist freely, a legendary vampire warrior tries to escort his younger brother to the sacred safe zone, which he'll only be able to do if he fights off the threat of an old enemy.
Black Blood Brothers is a great blend of comedy and action, sealed with an interesting mythos. The world building was great, unfolding the complex hierarchies and rules over the course of the series so it's easy to keep up. The characters were interesting and driven by good motive and personality. There's an old mystery that is peeked into through the flashbacks, which adds more intrigue to the way some characters behave as well as raising questions about why certain plans are being put into motion. Unfortunately the series ended without a proper conclusion, so the series left me very unsatisfied.
Recommended for: Shonen/Vampire fans.
Best aspect: I liked the design of the vampire council.
Worst aspect: Everybody else's design. Why does the main guy dress like a bad cosplay wizard?
Favourite character: Kotaro
Black Butler
Synopsis in one sentence: A young earl uses the talents of his strange butler to solve supernatural mysteries.
Awesome show made of awesomeness, that is how I would describe Black Butler. :D At first the show was a little slow, with a generic mystery set, solved, fight, and then all the characters talk about what they've learnt etc formula, but once the plot fully embraced its supernatural themes, it quickly became one of my favourite animes on my weekly rotation. The overall mystery became deeper and more complex and the character development was simply amazing! I think the first big episode arc was one that introduced a certain cross-dressing maniac that has a penchant for red. That mini arc really gave the idea that Black Butler was an anime with much darker undertones than originally thought. From there, things became more and more exciting, with crazy fights, conspiracies and lots of secret motives. Even when I thought I was starting to wrap my head around this show, it blew me away once again with the servant's origin episode. Again, I say it was awesome. The ending was bittersweet, as it was how things were meant to end, but still terribly sad nonetheless. I can't wait to get into the next season! Oh, and before I forget... *DING!*
Recommended for: Supernatural fans or anyone who likes their animes with a dark streak. Sometimes the stories do deal with very dark themes (murder, rape, murder, prostitution, murder... oh, and MURDER), so if you don't like that sort of stuff, stay away. It's not as bad as I might make be making it seem though...
Best aspect: The animation was very crisp and beautifully designed! I give major props to the person who was in charge of clothing design.
Worst aspect: The accents were TERRIBLE! They really got under my skin. >> Also, the whole Indian mini arc was a bit ridiculous. Just because you have an Indian character you make the whole story about curry? Really guys? REALLY?
Favourite character: Eeep, too hard! Um, um, um... *Explodes*
Black Butler II
Synopsis in one sentence: Ciel returns with his memories erased, and as he blindly continues on in his search for vengeance, a dangerous new frenemy appears.
Okay, I wanna start by saying that I started watching this with very low expectations as I had read a certain unfavourable review, so I had tried to prepare myself for disappointment. However, I think that might be the reason that I really enjoyed the second season of Black Butler. At first, I was a little confused at what was going on and I felt they rushed into the story a bit too fast. I didn't like the way Ciel had lost his memories since it felt like they just tried to wipe the slate clean so they could rake some more money in with a new season. A little more cohesion between the seasons would've been nice, yano? As the season went on, though, things got really intense, fast and I loved it! Once again I found myself screaming at the TV about all of the heart wrenching moments. I wanted to jump into the screen and slap some of the characters while screaming "WHY? OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING!!!" Claude was the main reason for the yelling, since he was just so... evil! I really liked Alois and he just toyed with him! Why? The ending was totally perfect and sad and intense and infuriating and... every other emotion that makes up an awesome anime ending. I'm super sad that Black Butler is coming to an end, but at least I now have 6 OVAs to get through!
Recommended for: Fans of the first season. Things also get A LOT darker this season, so if the first season was a bit much, then maybe you should steer clear.
Best aspect: The conclusion was great. Sad, but great. Annoying, but great. Maddening but... well, you get the point.
Worst aspect: There wasn't enough of the side characters. If they had shown a bit of the supporting cast a bit more and injected a tinsy bit more humour things might've been more relaxed and less overwhelming.
Favourite character: Hannah. Her story was so.... Ah, you've gotta see it!
Black Butler III: Book of Circus
Synopsis in one sentence: Ciel is tasked by the queen to investigate a circus and the mysterious disappearances of children that surround it.
I'm very excited to see this anime continued and this first instalment in the Black Butler III series sucked me right back into the world of Ciel and his one hell of a butler. The mystery for this season paved the way for a very intriguing cabal of new characters and the investigation of the children's disappearances was really enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, this did not carry through the entire season, as the final few episodes and conclusion of the mystery felt very rushed. There was a lot of build-up surrounding the circus and then it felt like everyone went "eh, we're done with this" and everything was over in a matter of scenes. It was quite a disappointing conclusion, especially regarding all the time that was put into developing new characters that didn't really matter in the long haul. Still, I consider it a fine continuation of the Black Butler story and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.
Recommended for: Fans of the series.
Best aspect: That Phantomhive Manor battle was amazing.
Worst aspect: The ending was dissatisfying.
Favourite character: Joker
Black Cat
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows the mysterious assassin Black Cat as he starts to question the cutthroat reputation he had earned for himself thanks to the introduction of other, less serious assassins.
The problem I had with this anime is that Black Cat was the least interesting character, but he's the one we're stuck with. If the show focused on comedy bait Sven I would've been much more interested; I liked his attitude, his story and the way he dealt with villains. Because Black Cat, who's just another moody killer type, was the focus, I couldn't get into the show. So on the back burner this show goes!
Recommended for: Action fans.
When I stopped: Episode 6.
Will I go back? Probably.
Black Lagoon
Synopsis in one sentence: Run of the mill pencil pusher Rock finds himself caught up with a group of international thugs for hire.
Black Lagoon stands out from the crowd within its first few minutes. Immediately it sets itself up as the hip hop of the anime genre; chocful of sex, drugs and violence, as well as foul language by the bucket loads. Thrown into the middle of that is Rock, who's set up to serve as the viewer's guide through the gang run world of Black Lagoon. Unfortunately, a few episodes into the series the guidance of Rock is pretty much thrown into the wind, and what follows is a haphazard mashup led by a concept-means-more-than-story delusion. Sure, gun toting nuns are a great idea... but after they feature in half a dozen episodes, with no development outside of the fact that they swear a lot, things get dull. The rest of the interest piques in the show pretty much run the same way: a great intro, followed by a bunch of novelty cameos until they get boring. It doesn't help that any great villain that is introduced is killed off pretty quickly. The other problem is that there's virtually no development of any sort between episode 1 and episode 26. We don't know anything new about the group at the show's center, nor have their personalities developed in any way. There's no resolution to the never ending conflicts of the show, and nobody gets better at any of the skills they were developing in the early episodes. Black Lagoon is basically an anime that goes nowhere, which I suppose can be a good thing if you like violence. Although the brash tone of Black Lagoon can seem inciting, make sure you lower your expectations before you give it a go.
Recommended for: Action fans. This anime comes with a pretty heavy M (or even R) rating, as it features a lot of cussing, violence, sexual themes, alcohol and pretty much all the taboo topics you can think of.
Best aspect: Some of the minor characters were really interesting.
Worst aspect: Two seasons and an OVA and still there's no back info on any members of the Lagoon Company?
Favourite character: Roberta before the OVA.
Black Rock Shooter
Synopsis in one sentence: An intense battle rages in an unknown location, while in another world, Mato Kuroi becomes a Junior High student and makes a new friend.
After watching the original OVA that launched this series I had certain expectations for this series. Would it retain the beauty of the OVA? Would it expand on the story? How much would the characters differ from the original? All my worries were for nought, since Black Rock Shooter was totally awesome from start to finish! The fight scenes were just... gah. That is all I can say to explain their epicness. The characters were both wonderful and terrible (as in their personality, not the design or writing) and made the story much more intriguing. Speaking of story, Black Rock Shooter was nail-biting from start to finish. I can always tell I like a series if it makes me yell a lot and I spent A LOT of time barking at my TV screen. XD The end plot twist totally came out of nowhere and I loved the way it stayed true to the original plot, yet it developed everything further and turned the series up by 10 points. Overall, Black Rock Shooter was totally amazing and I really reeaally recommend it, even more so since it's only 8 episodes long!!
Recommended for: Fans of the OVA for sure. You'll also like it if you like fantasy/action types and the thought provoking plots. Finally, it really reminds me of Puella MMM, so if you like that show, you'll like this one as well.
Best aspect: Just like Puella MMM, I adored the visuals. The alternate reality action scenes were breath taking.
Worst aspect: Some of the characters got on my nerves. And by some, I mean the blondie and glasses chick (Why can't I remember names??? ^O^). Blondie was rude/crazy and Glasses was so overdramatic. I know it was because of their burdens, or whatever, but it still annoyed me.
Favourite character: Yuu. The, um, human girl. Argh, I'm trying to avoid spoilers!
Bleach: The Substitute Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: A teenager who can see ghosts, Ichigo Kurasaki, becomes a Soul Reaper after being appointed by another Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki.
A really great anime that captured my attention immediately. A bit of mystery, added with a bit of monsters and stirred together with lots of fighting! The introduction of the other Soul Society members was a nice twist in the story, although the end sort of left me feeling a bit unfulfilled. Basically, this arc serves as a little introduction to the rest of the epic Bleach arcs.
Recommended for: I think this anime can appeal to a lot of people, actually. Maybe just give it a try and decide whether it's good by yourself.
Best aspect: Learning about the way the Soul Reaper world works. Pretty interesting stuff. :)
Worst aspect: Hard to think of any. I suppose in some parts the story can get a little slow...
Favourite character: Chad. He's so kick ass.
Bleach: The Entry Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Ichigo travels into the Soul Society with his friends, to try and retrieve Rukia.
This arc really catapulted Bleach into the 'Super Awesome' zone. Meeting all the squads was amazing, and learning all their individual abilities was really interesting. The fights were bigger, the characters louder and this arc was so much more epic!
Recommended for: Anyone who watched the first arc. I think it might be a bit tough to jump into this arc without having seen its predecessor, though.
Best aspect: So many new characters = so many more reasons to like this series
Worst aspect: Fillers. I think they were alright, but it was annoying to have to wait for the action till the next episode.
Favourite character: Renji. His backstory... so sad!
Bleach: The Rescue Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The battle continues! Ichigo and co. battle their way through the Soul Society, continuing to try to rescue Rukia.
More fighting!!! The epicness of the Soul Society continues, bringing more characters, new character development and lots more speeches about feelings and stuff. Ichigo's rise to power was super cool and I especially enjoyed learning more about the Soul Society's ranks etc. Another great arc!
Recommended for: Anyone who enjoyed the last arc!
Best aspect: Big twist ending. 'Nuff said.
Worst aspect: A lot of time spent on characters reflecting on things... not a fan.
Favourite character: Aaah, so hard to choose!! Maybe Yoruichi, cause who knew cats were so good at fighting?
Bleach: The Bount Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: A new threat emerges to take on the Soul Reapers that we all know and love.
Hmmm, an alright arc. The new threat is pretty interesting and their individual powers are exciting to discover. The return of some of the awesome Soul Reapers is a great way to keep them in the series. I'm really glad they are keeping Ganju, cause I think he is really awesome and such an underrated character! However, introducing him (along with Hanataro) was pretty pointless apart from a few comedy scenes. I think this arc starts off with a bang but then loses it a bit as it focuses too much on fighting and not on story. There's so much going on it's pretty easy to get confused. >> Oh, and although I really like Noba, Kurodo and Lirin are ridiculously annoying. Also, why don't the mod souls change into their gigai's more often? It seems that it would much more convenient if they were able to fight instead of just riding on someone's shoulder...
Recommended for: Bleach lovers. If you're just wanting a taste of the series, don't start here, or you will probably be disappointed.
Best aspect: The first few fights were pretty intense. Like the who's stealing our friends part, or the big water fight in the hospital.
Worst aspect: Eh, it doesn't live up to the standards of the first couple arcs.
Favourite character: Noba. A smaller, more compact Chad? Yes please!
Bleach: Bount Assualt on Soul Society Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Now that the Bounts have been let loose on the Soul Society, they are ready to start wreaking havoc.
Okay, now this arc has lost me. Every time I thought the story was gonna pick up it dropped the ball again! The first problem was the mod souls. I'm sorry, but if you're gonna bring them to the Soul Society why the hell wouldn't you take them out of the dolls? Plus Lirin turned from a smart alec tough girl to a whiny loser? WTH? And finally, why no Kon love?? He's the original mod, yano!!! My next problem came with the fighting strategy? Everytime a captain went up against a Bount they beat them in a matter of minutes. So why didn't they just dispatch all the captains straight off the bat and stop all the casualties? The next annoying part came with the predictability. For a while I thought that Uryu would step up and be the hero of this arc... but then of course Ichigo has to turn up... and stop the bad guy... again. And once again all the side characters get shoved to the side, not to be seen again until the ending (Why did they even bother bringing Chad and Orihime if they weren't gonna use them?). *Sigh* Someone needs to shake it up eventually! My last problem came with the ending. I sat through this arc quietly, expecting that all the lacklustre story would be redeemed in the final battle. But what happens? A big flash and then apparently it's all over? Whaaaa? That's it?? So so disappointing. The next arc better restore my confidence in one of my fav animes!!!
Recommended for: If you wanna finish the Bount arc.
Best aspect: Yay for Soul Reaper awesomeness!
Worst aspect: I mentioned most of my issues in the overall review, so I'm gonna touch on another one here. Rukia sucks. What happened to the bad ass fighter who never gave up? Now she just mopes around waiting for someone to save her before passing out. >_<
Favourite character: The Kenny/Yachiru combo team. Gotta love 'em. XP
Bleach: The Arrancar Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Aizen makes his first move against the Soul Society, promoting lots of training and fillers.
First I wanna say that this arc was awesome purely because I got to see all the Soul Reapers go back to their original personas. None of that cry baby Rukia junk, no overpowered, invincible Ichigo, just normal Soul Reapers in the world of the living, reaping souls. It was totally refreshing to be reminded of what Bleach was originally about, yano? Even better was the way that the characters were sort of brought to the same playing ground, instead of having different levels of power (aka Ichigo does all the cool fights and the rest do nothing). They FINALLY gave some attention to Chad, and they better keep it up because I am still hanging out for a super awesome Chad boss fight! Make it happen! Sadly, what this arc did not accomplish was any big plot development. Yeah, they reintroduced the evil Reapers, and added in the other good Arrancars (or at least I think they're good), but I felt like they could've added that in a more full arc, instead of dedicating an entire storyline to it. It made the whole thing feel like it's just going on forever. And now... now... there's a whole lot of lame filler stories to get through. *FR starts to snore*
Recommended for: Bleach fans.
Best aspect: The side characters actually doing stuff. Apart from Uryu... where did he go in this arc? O_O
Worst aspect: So much pointless recaps and filler speeches.
Favourite character: Baldie had some pretty wicked moments.
Bleach: The Hueco Mundo Sneak Entry Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Operation Rescue Orihime is in full effect! Go go go!!!
Yano, after all those annoying Ichigo focused episodes, it's nice to see Bleach get back to its roots. Even better was having the supporting characters back in the spotlight! Yay for Chad! Yay for Uryuu! Yay for Renji! Yay for everybody! There was heaps of supernatural folk lore added in this arc, especially in regards to the Arrancars. What was super cool was the special "lessons" at the end of the episodes that made things a bit easier to understand. Plus they were super entertaining. The Arrancars were a pretty interesting bunch. Gin in particular was a bit confusing, cause I completely hated him the last time I saw him, but since he reappeared on the scene he's been really... funny. I want to hate him but I'm struggling! Don't mess with my head, Bleach! Finally, the addition of Nel and her "family" is just amazing. She's so adorable! And her brothers are such idiots! And they have the power of Arrancars, but they're good! How cool is that? In summary, this arc reminded me of why I love Bleach. Comedy, fighting, equal screen time for everyone: 'bout time things started getting good again!
Recommended for: Bleach fans. If you've been doubting Bleach after the last couple arcs, give this one a go at least.
Best aspect: Nel. Adorable and hilarious, every moment she was on screen I was happy.
Worst aspect: This arc starts out with a whole bunch of LAME fillers. Like, even worse than normal fillers. Entire episodes about making cakes, or playing soccer. Yeah.
Favourite character: See Best Aspect.
Bleach: The Arrancar 2: The Fierce Fight Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Fight, fight, fight!
I find it really weird that this is a separate season, because it continues straight on from the last arc, with pretty much no difference in story. It’s pretty basic stuff really; the group continues on and meet bad guys and fight them, with lots of dialogue and dramatic crying and flashbacks to things that happened only moments ago. It’s far from a bad arc, it’s just I don’t know what to say that I didn’t say in the last arc review. Sadly this arc goes back to the old "Ichigo is the best at everything" story, which is getting really old. Please switch things up soon, Bleach!
Recommended for: Bleach fans.
Best aspect: The fighting was pretty intense.
Worst aspect: There wasn’t much story development, just fighting.
Favourite character: I adore Nell, I really do. She’s so ridiculously adorable!!!
Bleach: New Captain Shusuke Amagai Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: A new captain is stepping in to take over Squad 3, while Ichigo meets a bratty girl with a secret...
The Bount Arc was the first anime only arc written for Bleach and this arc is the second. Now, the Bount arc wasn't as good as previous arcs, but I don't think it deserves all the flack it receives. This arc, however, was crap. Crappity crap crap. The first strike came with its timing: the Captain Shusuke arc is placed smack bam in the middle of the Arrancar fight. So we finally get to see them reach Orihime and then you change to something completely different? In what world is that a good idea? The next strike came with the name: New Captain Shusuke Amagai Arc. Not only is it hard to say, but it sounds stupid. Then came the reality shifting: Orihime is fine, everyone's attending school and the other soul reapers that have just moved to the human world are nowhere to be seen. So, not only is this arc interrupting a pretty epic arc, but it's also non-canon? So there's absolutely no point in watching it? What. The. Fudge. On top of that came the completely stupid ending. I got used to the idea of Shusuke hanging around and was wondering how he was gonna be incorporated when the real story came back, but then they just give him a really lame, common and unexciting backstory and motive and get rid of him like that? SPOILER ALERT Why on earth do the Soul Reapers let him kill himself? Since when have they thought that was fine? SPOILER OVER Then there's all that crap where Ichigo was a fugitive. How stupid does everyone have to be to think Ichigo is evil? There's just so much wrong with this arc and I'm annoyed that someone thought they should add it to the anime. I was just remembering why I liked Bleach so much and this arc has completely made me question whether Bleach is even worth my time. You're skating on thin ice!!!
Recommended for: Big fans of Bleach. Here's my tip for the day: Unless you're an anime fanatic and want to see every little piece of a series, you can skip this arc altogether and it won't change a thing. Go on, do it! You know you want to...
Best aspect: God, this is making me think. Oh, the few seconds of happy Orihime at the beginning were good! It's been a while since I've seen her back to her old self.
Worst aspect: Why? Just WHY?
Favourite character: I liked the big bodyguard until he opened his mouth. And I liked Shusuke until he got his crappy ending. So I supposed I'll vote for the other bodyguard guy. Or maybe the Prince.
Bleach: The Arrancar 3: Arrancar vs Shinigami Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Return to the fight and things finally get back to being not crap.
WOW. I can't even explain how amazing this arc was. Everything I could've ever hoped for happened. There was gut wrenching back story, guest appearances from favourite characters and heaps of Nell screen time! Ever since the Arrancar mega-fight started there's been a certain arrancar that I've wanted to square off against Mayuri and then voila! It happened! And it was AWESOME. There was just so much going on and none of it was disappointing in the least. The only downside is that the whole point of Orihime being there has been forgotten. When are they gonna reveal why she's needed??? Anyway, the strongest point of this arc is that it puts the Captain Whatever arc to shame. Please, I beg you Bleach, just stick to the manga story line. PLEASE!!!!
Recommended for: Bleach fans.
Best aspect: BACKSTORY!!!!
Worst aspect: The random two filler episodes that appeared in the middle of a fight. To make it even worse, the filler was related to the last lame arc. >_>
Favourite character: I'm not sure I'll ever find a Bleach character I heart as much as Nell. ^_^
Bleach: The Past Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Flashbacks reveal the origins of the Arrancars, the Visors and even Mr. Urahara and his shop.
BLEW. MY. MIND. I would never have guessed that the history of the Bleach characters was this complicated. Although it was only a few episodes long, this arc just completely redefined the series. At first, I was kind of disappointed because it started off the same way as the Captain Amagai arc did, by interrupting a tense Arrancar battle. The big plan was revealed, everyone was on board for the butt kicking party... and then we're randomly taken back through time and I don't get to find out what happens. However, where things were different from the Amagai arc is that the story was totally worth interrupting for. Secrets I had never even suspected were revealed, rivalries were established that are going to make the next arc ridiculously more epic and friendships were made that completely change my view of A LOT of characters. I just can't rave about this arc enough!
Recommended for: Bleach fans.
Best aspect: A whole arc dedicated to backstory!!! It's like all my anime dreams came true!
Worst aspect: Uhh.... I don't know if I can come up with one. How about Aizen? I hate that guy.
Favourite character: Urahara!
Bleach: Arrancar 4: Battle in Karakura Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: It's finally time for a Soul Reaper V Arrancar showdown!
Could it be? Is Bleach finally going to get to the crazy fights that we've been waiting for? Well, sort of… Things get straight to the point as the intense showdown revs up… and things get awesome, fast. Everybody chips in, from Lieutenant to Head Captain. More Arrancars are introduced, each one with a stronger personality and cooler ability than the last. As with any Bleach battle, there's enough banter to fill a dump truck and then some… almost to the point where it gets annoying. Things are getting pretty serious here; does anyone really think they have time to sit around and match wits? No, I didn't think so. Stop talking, and start throwing punches. >_> The great thing about all the action is that this is probably the first time we've got to see how the Soul Society Squads work together. It's great to learn how Captains organise their members, or who's able to prove their worth to their superiors. The interactions are great, with a particular character relationship strength lying in the interactions between Suì-Fēng and her lieutenant, Ōmaeda. The characters outside of the titular battle aren't forgotten, as those still travelling through Heuco Mundo get some screen time as well. Although their story doesn't move as quickly as I'd like, I love that those characters aren't forgotten, more so because I'm familiar with Bleach's habit of losing track of its full cast. Of course, there can't be all positives, as the arc ends in another one of those random interludes to some past time (aka a filler arc). I'm hoping that this more-than-unwelcome interruption will build up to some great backstory a la the Past Arc, but I suppose I'll just have to wait and see… *Sigh* What does this show have against linear timelines?
Recommended for: Anyone that has followed Bleach this far.
Best aspect: Explosions overload!!!!
Worst aspect: I feel like each episode is 50% new material, 50% repeated scenes. Do the producers of Bleach think all their viewers have short term memory loss or something?
Favourite character: Head Captain Yamamoto! It's about time he shows why he's head honcho.
Bleach: Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Thanks to a mysterious invader all the Zanpakuto in the Seireitei suddenly gain human form and begin attacking their masters.
While I watched this new filler arc I came to a realisation. I don't care about anything that happens fillers. Why? Because I realised that when anything interesting happens, none of it matters. So a Soul Reaper gains an amazing new power? It doesn't matter because none of this is canon so when it gets back to the main storyline that power will not exist. Oh no, a Soul Reaper is about to die? No they're not because none of these fights are real. See what I mean? Why would I care about some make believe story some writer decided to have animated? I don't care, that's the point. And knowing none of the fillers matter sucks when it comes to a filler arc like this that is actually well thought out. It's pretty interesting to see the Zanpakuto come to life, and the mystery side of things is pretty intriguing. For once I was interested in seeing how everything would turn out, which isn't something I could say for the last couple filler arcs. But of course the good could never last as the conclusion was rushed and anti-climactic. And then came the fillers. That's right folks, Bleach has taken things to the next level; fillers within fillers. Closing the arc are several painstakingly boring episodes about the the Zanpakuto's feelings or some crap. So this arc is definitely one of the stronger ones, but, like I said, does that matter in the slightest? The last 10 or so episodes are just as week as any other filler arc, so I suppose this whole story is middle of the road. If the real story doesn't move along soon, I think I could end up walking away from Bleach altogether.
Recommended for: Intense Bleach fans. Or Bleach fans who love the Zanpakuto. Or Bleach fanfic writers looking for more pairings to use. If you're over the Bleach fillers and just want to get back to the Arrancars, skip straight to episode 266.
Best aspect: Zanpakuto character designs.
Worst aspect: The fillers within fillers. Know when to end a story, people.
Favourite character: Senbonzakura.
Bleach: Arrancar 5: Fall of the Arrancar Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: It's the battle everyone has been waiting for as the Arrancars begin to beat the crap out of everyone.
WOW. This arc was just... amazeballs. Finally all the stupid filler crap gets pushed to the back and I once again get to see why I liked Bleach so much in the first place. This arc is basically all my favourite things; awesome battles, cameos from awesome new allies and backstory zooming all over the place. After a couple hundred episodes this conclusion is really satisfactory, although it does come with a bittersweet twist. My only complaint would be that the ending left a lot of unanswered questions about what happened to the survivors of the battle. The show switches instantly to fillers, with no real explanation of what the fallout of the destruction was, other than everything is apparently fine and everyone is back to normal now. That sort of dulled some of the great moments of the arc because one character would appear and do something great then disappear for the rest of the episodes. Other than that, everything was awesome!!! Not a single moment was without excitement and, to top it all off, even the fillers at the end of the season were fun! Applause all around!
Recommended for: Bleach fans.
Best aspect: The battles were soooooo exhilarating!
Worst aspect: Side characters disappeared at random intervals without explanation.
Favourite character: Oh man, I don't think I can choose. How about all of the Soul Reapers and the Visored?
Bleach: Squad 13 Incursion Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: A guy with green hair is making copies of everyone.
<Insert speech about how fillers suck, as stated in pretty much every Bleach filler arc I've done> The Captain Amagai arc was the worst in terms of story, but I think this arc is my least favourite. Why? Because of it's position in the series. Following after the amazingly amazing conclusion of the Arrancar arc, and just before the final season ever, we have this. This ball of stupid, achingly dull, crud. To get an idea of how dull this is, I'll tell you this: Kon is promoted as the hero. Have you ever watched Bleach and said to yourself "Wow, I wish Kon got to fight!"? No? That's because no one has! So why he's pushed to the forefront in this arc is beyond me. >:( And the main villain looks like a weird pope who dipped his head in a swamp. It's bad. Really bad. But mostly it makes me angry because this arc detracts from the greatness of the season before it. Imagine (as it is in the manga) Ichigo defeated the arrancars, but only in the knowledge that he had lost his powers in the name of victory. So bittersweet... Well, thanks to this arc, we instead get Ichigo losing his powers in one heart wrenching scene... only to come back just in time to battles some guy with a doll fetish. I refuse this arc. You hear that arc? You have been officially refused!
Recommended for: Intense Bleach fans. If you want to skip it, go to episode 343. What am I saying "if"? Skip it. That's not a suggestion, it's an order.
Best aspect: God, I sat and thought about this for two full minutes and I got nothing.
Worst aspect: I sat and thought about this for three full minutes and couldn't decide which piece of crap I hated the most.
Favourite character: Everybody was boring in this arc.
Bleach: Lost Agent Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Just as Ichigo is getting used to life without his abilities, he is approached by a mysterious group that offers to get his powers back.
And so we come to the end. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this arc. On one hand, we get to end with the ass kicking Ichigo we all know and love. There's hope at the end of this arc, in the knowledge that the world of Soul Reapers is still flourishing. On the other hand, we're not given much to do with that hope. We don't have a clear idea of what Ichigo's life will be, nor what any of the support cast are up to. I also found it a little odd that for a final season, most of the fan favourites were missing. Even those that were around for most of the episodes (such as Orihime and Chad) got to do very little. It was a good arc, but an odd place for the show to end. I think a conclusion was much better suited at the end of the Arrancar Arc. If the show had ended there, we would have had the impression that Ichigo's life would return to normal, which would have left far less loose threads than the Lost Agent arc.
Recommended for: Bleach fans.
Best aspect: The new characters were pretty cool.
Worst aspect: Lack of Soul Reapers.
Favourite character: Ichigo was the only one that got to shine.
Synopsis in one sentence: A girl named Saya discovers that she is the only one who can rid the world of vampiric monsters called chiropterans.
Blood+ is split into 4 seasons, but because I'm feeling super lazy at the moment, I'm going to condense them into one for this single review. An anime series based around the same world of Blood: The Last Vampire, Blood+ introduces a new Saya fighting against new demons. The difference between this series and the film that inspired it (apart from the story changes) is that in Blood+ the action plays second fiddle to the character relationships. Saya struggles as she is thrown into the world of a killer and told to abandon the human family she was raised with. As if that isn't complicated enough, we also get to know the family she left behind, which results in some really heart wrenching exchanges. The action was brilliantly paced, with lots of character development for easy padding. I was waiting for things to get predictable and fall into a trope spiral, but that never happened! It just got more and more thrilling! The villains were also brilliantly crafted and were easy to both love and hate. Each season raised the stakes and the writers weren't afraid to get brutal with their cast. This was a great show with some of my favourite character arcs in any anime. An exhilarating watch through and through.
Recommended for: Horror, supernatural and action fans. I know this show heavily implies it's got a lot to do with vampires, but I feel like the monsters in Blood+ are very loosely based on those famous creatures and the "vampire theme" is not the main focus of this show. If you're watching for vamps, you might be disappointed. There's also a lot of violence and some sexual themes.
Best aspect: That the Saya/Kai relationship didn't get incredibly predictable.
Worst aspect: The "Saya trying to resist her nature" thing got a bit repetitive.
Favourite character: Kai
Synopsis in one sentence: There's a new Saya and this one is super bubbly and lives in an ancient shrine.
This is probably my least favourite of the Saya incarnations because it's the most unimaginative. Saya's got the personality of any naïve magical girl, her friends all revolve around her, the bad guys are oh so obvious... it's pretty boring. The conclusion came out of nowhere and left me a little confused. It was as if the writers had to come up with a conclusion in one day, so they threw together whatever they could. On the positive, this show's imagining of the vampires (called Furukimono in this series) were the best so far! Each monster had a unique design, which meant each fight presented new challenges and, therefore, each was full of suspense. Oh, and the gore was pretty awesome as well. If Blood-C's creature design and Blood+'s story were merged into one show, I think there'd be very little to improve upon.
Recommended for: Fans of the Blood series. This series has a very different direction to the past versions of Saya, so don't go in expecting more +. This is also a more "average" genre, so if you wanted to get into Blood but were turned off by it's slightly unique tone, you might enjoy Blood-C.
Best aspect: The creature design.
Worst aspect: I was so disappointed in how lame Saya was.
Favourite character: Itsuki.
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Synopsis in one sentence: After a catastrophic event, a hole between dimensions is born and the human and demon worlds have to learn to live side by side.
I think the problem I had with this series was length. It just was not given enough time to blossom. Or maybe it was given enough time, and it just did not utilise it well. Whatever the case, I was underwhelmed by Blood Blockade Battlefront. We see the plot through the view of young Leonardo Watch, a boy who has gained the ability to see demons, but at the cost of his sister's life. He's funny, smart, and his motivation to find his sister, who sacrificed herself to save him, is a compelling one. He's then swept up by a secret organisation, which is filled with endearing, powerful, and curious characters that aim to monitor dangerous supernatural activity. Things only get more interesting when Leonard meets a sickly girl called White, and, later, her strange brother Black. In the first few episodes, the story slowly unfolds, revealing both characters and the world they live in, which was great. But halfway through, the show does what I notice a lot of new shows are doing: it diverts into pointless filler comedy episodes. Why are so many shows doing this? Why drop the story that pulls the audience in halfway through? Why can't you have comedy and plot running alongside each other? It's infuriating! Of course, that leaves the latter half of the show to do another common pitfall: cram the conclusion of the main plot into a few episodes in a way that is neither interesting not satisfying. As you might tell, I was disappointed in another strong premise falling by the wayside. The ending was meh, not much of a climax, in my opinion, because the villain build-up was too sudden. There were some stand out episodes, though, and the characters were very strong, and I don't think any of them were underutilised, so that's good. I would be interested in another season of this show, but only if they upped the ante and kept the story going full steam ahead.
Recommended for: Supernatural fans. This show gave me a Tokyo Ghoul/Blue Exorcist feel, so I'd recommend it to any who enjoyed those shows.
Best aspect: There were some really interesting ideas with the demons. I especially enjoyed the episode with a demon who can alter memory. I won't give the story away, but I thought that episode was the perfect kind of bittersweet.
Worst aspect: The bad guys were the least interesting part of the show.
Favourite character: Leonardo. It was nice to have a main character who isn't a ball of angst.
Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan
Synopsis in one sentence: Student Sakura is stalked by an angel named Dokuro who makes his life a living hell.
Alright, this anime is something else. If you look at pictures of it, it looks all cutesy and like a mini harem. BUT DON'T BE FOOLED!!! There are more sexual innuendos and disgustingly gory scenes than you could shake a stick at. At least there is if you're the type of person who goes around shaking sticks at things. O-o Anyway, the gore in Dokuro Chan makes me queasy. Even just thinking about it now makes me gag. It's got blood, guts and the whole enchilada. On the other side of things, there are so many awkward "mature" themes, if you know what I mean. *Waggles eyebrows* It's made even more awkward cause the girls look like they're ten yrs old. The story itself was pretty much inexistent, 'cause the focus was on the gags and the gags only. The characters are just terrible. There is nothing likeable about anyone, at all. Especially Dokuro. At the end there's a big "you're my best friend, I need you" thing which makes no sense at all. Dokuro is selfish, rude, whiny and kills Sakura on a regular basis; Why on earth would he want Dokuro to stick around? She had no good qualities at all. What does save this series is that it's only 6 episodes long, so what's the harm in taking a little break from longer animes for some ridiculously ludicrous Bludgeoning Angel?
Recommended for: If you like black comedy, this is definitely right up your alley. It's gotta little harem vibe as well, so if you're bored of the typical harem genre, maybe take a look at this.
Best aspect: I loved Dokuro's little song when she wanted to bring Sakura back to life. Pipiru piru piru pipiru pi!
Worst aspect: Dokuro is probably one of the worst characters in an anime I've ever seen.
Favourite character: I liked that punky looking guy, Yeah, I dunno his name, but he was really weird and funny.
Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan 2
Synopsis in one sentence: Dokuro is still hanging around, doing pretty much nothing at all.
Okay, I understood why they wanted to make another season of this. The first season has the makings of an anime version of a cult classic, what with its love it or hate it vibe. What I don't understand though, is why they decided to make this 'season' 2 episodes long. Yeah, 2 episodes. What is the point in that? It's like an OVA, but made longer and then abandoned halfway through. There is absolutely no story at all and I have no idea what was the point of anything that happened in this season. Plus the "mature" *Waggles eyebrows again* themes are so ridiculous now that they're actually pretty disturbing. Pretty inappropriate, actually. On a similar note, all the angels are under 12 years old, right? Okay, then why are all their chests so big??? Especially Dokuro's sister! She's only 9 yrs old and you're supposed to be perving at her? Ew. The whole story is about preventing Sakura from becoming a lolicon perve, but unfortunately, I think it might be too late for the creator of this series. :(
Recommended for: Fans of the first series, or those with dirty minds.
Best aspect: Ummm.... Ah..... I got this, hang on....
Worst aspect: It's a completely pointless watch
Favourite character: I don't even know...
Blue Exorcist
Synopsis in one sentence: Rin Okumura discovers that he and his twin brother are actually the spawn of satan, so he enrolls in a special school to train to become an exorcist who can get rid of Satan once and for all.
At first it might seem like a typical supernatural action series, but in its one season Blue Exorcist wraps itself in so many layers of emotion and plot twists that by the end of the series its at a whole new level. It's an amazing balance of comedy, really dark ideas and all the typical angst that comes with any show where the core cast are a bunch of teenagers. If I have one complaint it is that the side characters could've been developed a bit more, but they do all get a back story episode and some maturing, so it's not something I'm too cut up about. Blue Exorcist is a great show and one that I would recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it.
Recommended for: Fans of the I-just-found-out-I-have-superpowers anime and those that like paranormal high schools.
Best aspect: That the main character wasn't front and center all the time, and often shared the spotlight with his friends.
Worst aspect: The side cast had back story introduced, but it wasn't explored much.
Favourite character: Yukio.
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of middle schoolers are tricked into piloting a robot that fights other robots that are trying to destroy earth.
Oof, what a devastating show. It starts off with an already intense concept and then every episode just ups the emotional drama from there. Each episode focuses on a different member of the group, which means that the show does a great job of juggling such a large cast and getting you invested in each one. I did think it was a shame that they didn't save a more interesting/likable child for the finale, which made it a little less impactive than it should have been. In fact, the whole finale was a bit hit and miss for me, as it was kind of abrupt and left me with a lot of questions. If you're looking for a traditionally happy ending, Bokurano is not giving you one. All in all, this show had me constantly on the edge of my seat. It's very riveting but terribly grim, which can make the overall story seem a little dissatisfying—it's not unusual to want a little bit of hope, is it?
Recommended for: Fans of dark mysteries. This is also a bit of a subversion of the gundam genre, so watch if you're looking for a twist on the robots v robots tale. There is also violence and sexual abuse, so be prepared for some rough concepts.
Best aspect: Seeing all the different stories of the children.
Worst aspect: No answers for some of the questions. It's even more disappointing, because I don't think the show even needed to bring up said questions; there was a real problem with dead end subplots.

Favourite character: Daiichi

Boogiepop Phantom
Synopsis in one sentence: 5 years after a mysterious light appeared in the sky, some people are starting to gain strange and sometimes dangerous powers.
This is a very eerie anime, where the story flips through different points in time and follows a collection of both related and unrelated characters. The stories can be a bit hard to follow and the lack of character differentiation made it hard for me to figure our who was who, but the stories were quite interesting. It's sort of like a Twilight Zone type of thing, but all the stories are kind of depressing. The conclusions were a bit hit and miss, with some really grabbing my attention (the police conversation and the murdering brother) while others I didn't really care for. The first half of the show focuses on a single story, with the next episode focusing on a different story that fills in some of the gaps from the previous episodes, which I enjoyed, because I love overlapping plots like that. The second half of the show shifted into a singular plot, which is when I started to lose interest because I found the storytelling muddled and the leads dull. The conclusion to the series wasn't that satisfying, but Boogiepop Phantom did have its moments, so it wasn't a total drag.
Recommended for: Thriller and mystery fans. Like I said, this series also has a bit of a Twilight Zone feeling to it, so check it out if you like those kinds of stories. This series is also full of mature themes, so watch at your own risk.
Best aspect: When twists went right.
Worst aspect: I was very disappointed in the story of the butterfly girl, because I was interested in her the most.
Favourite character: I didn't really have one, since the characters shuffled around a lot.
Synopsis in one sentence: Video game addict Ryota finds himself stranded on an island in the real life version of the bomb heavy game he spends all his time playing.
With only 12 episodes to play with, Btooom! wastes no time in setting the scene. The start is explosive and fast paced, and within just a few episodes we've been introduced to multiple characters, heard about their horrid backstories and seen them struggle to fight for their lives. Btooom! is an action series as heavily laced with strategy as it is mystery, that follows the survival of Ryota as he makes allies (and enemies) and eventually falls for the buxom Himiko. Does that sound like Sword Art Online to you? Well, it's not hard to make comparisons. But if SAO was just not gruesome enough for you, then have no fear, Btooom! is here! This short series is gritty, gritty, gritty. You name a taboo topic, Btooom! features it somewhere. This is a no holds barred video game, where the romance plays out right alongside the acidic gases and man eating lizards. All in all, Btooom! is a thrilling adventure, packed with people equally as awful as they are wonderful. If you like your stories hard to swallow, then this just might be the story for you.
Recommended for: Action and video game fans. This will also be enjoyable for those who like strategic anime. Like I mentioned earlier, this anime is very brutal, so steer clear if you don't like blood, torture (mental and physical) or sexual abuse.
Best aspect: The backstories were great. Well, not great, because most of them were horrible, but interesting. Yeah, the backstories were interesting.
Worst aspect: The unresolved end! Also, the size of Himiko's chest. That girl's back pain would be too overwhelming to allow her to run through those forests so aptly.
Favourite character: I'm not sure. The ones I did like I liked because they were so horrible I couldn't wait for them to die. :P
Synopsis in one sentence: After killing a god, Kusanagi Godou earns himself the title of a Campione, as well as all the trouble that comes with that new moniker.
Campione is a fun action anime, with some pretty intense battles. I wasn't that into the characters because they were a little cliché to me... plus the girls that I did like never reached their full potential because everything they did had to relate to Kusanagi in some way. I was totally hooked by the first couple episodes, but over time the harem started to sneak in and by the end I felt that the show was just a format for fan service. On the plus side, I have to commend the creators for at least attempting to give a rational explanation for the forming of a harem, even if that idea did get a bit ridiculous after a while. As a final thought, I say this: What the heck was with that scene near the final where.... god, I don't think I could describe it while still keeping within the wiki's PG theme. Just, basically, the whole Erica giving her power to Kusanagi... via physical interactions and... My mind is frazzled just thinking about it. That scene might be the the most awkward thing I have ever seen in an anime. Ever.
Recommended for: Supernatural harem fans.
Best aspect: The different gods.
Worst aspect: Can't Kusanagi just have a sword training montage to get his power, like all the normal anime boys?
Favourite character: Mariya.
Chaika -The Coffin Princess
Synopsis in one sentence: A strange girl employs a team of mercenaries to help her find the remains of her legendary, evil sorcerer father.
I wasn't quite sure what this show was going for at first. The first couple episodes were fantasy fueled. Then it seemed like the show was trying to set up a harem. Then a romance. It's safe to say that the first half of this show was a little confusing and, frankly, boring. The characters were predictable, the dialogue cheesy, the action uninspired. But boy did that change in the final arc of the season. Things were kicked into HIGH GEAR. And once I understood that Chaika was aiming for a dark action epic, a la FMA, I appreciated the show anew. The final few episodes crammed so much into them that I'm excited to see how the next season goes.
Recommended for: Fantasy action fans.
Best aspect: The frank brutality of the last few episodes.
Worst aspect: The harem/romance stuff.
Favourite character: Akari
Chaika -The Coffin Princess: Avenging Battle
Synopsis in one sentence: Chaika's journey continues as a dangerous new enemy is revealed.
I quite enjoyed this ending to the series. Granted, there was nothing that really pushed the boundaries, but it was a satisfying little story overall. It's always easy to enjoy a show that wraps up all its odd and ends. The villain of this season was also interesting, and each character got a fair bit of storyline. The action kept up, the plot was sound, and I don't really have any complaints.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season. This season is not currently dubbed.
Best aspect: That everything was solved. I was worried that some threads would be left unfinished, but the show pulled through in the end.
Worst aspect: The romance was pretty predictable.
Favourite character: Akari
Synopsis in one sentence: A high school student named Takumi Nishijou stumbles upon a gruesome murder scene, which triggers a series of strange events.
The first in 5pb and Nitroplus' science adventure series, Chaos;Head is definitely an ambitious project. Compared to the other two titles, this story had a much more elaborate plot, packed with more mystery and suspense. I was kept guessing throughout the entire story. The characters were pretty good, but the stand out was the lead, Takumi. He was a great example of an average person: plagued with paranoia and insecurities and all that inconvenient stuff that makes us human. He was easy to support and kept the series anchored well. I think things unraveled towards the end and I didn't feel like the dramatic storylines really paid off. Still, it was an action packed show that I enjoyed watching.
Recommended for: Mystery and magic fans. This will also appeal to fans of other the science adventure series Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes.
Best aspect: The story's set up.
Worst aspect: The ending was meh.
Favourite character: Takumi
Chibi Vampire
Synopsis in one sentence: A vampire who produces blood instead of feeding on it is overwhelmed by the presence of a new boy in her class.
Chibi Vampire had a promising story, but got really gimmicky, fast. At first I thought I had the whole "un-vampire" thing down, but then I got really confused. If Karin has too much blood, why does she drink it? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of getting rid of the blood in the first place? And if being an un-vampire means that she can go out in the sunlight, why is she always around when her family is awake at night? They sleep during the day, so shouldn’t she sleep during the night? Does she get any sleep at all? I found the whole thing really weird. The same thing goes for the introduction of Usui. Why do they immediately decide he has to join their little gang, or whatever? He doesn’t even do anything! The ending was surprisingly interesting, though. It got much more serious, and it felt like something was finally happening with Karin’s background story. Overall, a typical romance/supernatural anime where the focus is on a painstakingly slow relationship and no attention is paid to the story aspect that made me want to watch the show in the first place.
Recommended for: Shojo fans.
Best aspect: The unexpectedly dramatic ending.
Worst aspect: Karin’s voice is terrible. TERRIBLE.
Favourite character: There were quite a few likeable characters and I’m finding it hard to choose. My top three are Winner, Ren and Anju (in no particular order).
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows an outgoing girl as she gathers a group of friends to join her in the competitive world of karuta (a Japanese card game).
I decided to give this show a try after reading a couple reviews that pretty much said the same thing: the premise sounds super boring, but this show is so intense. Now I'm here to tell you the same thing. I know a show about a card game (let alone a card game most of us are probably not familiar with) sounds crazy dull, but... just watch this show. Even without fully understanding the rules, watching the karuta matches of Chihayafuru is so exhilarating. The main reason for that is the incredibly strong cast. The lead character, Chihaya, is the heart of the show, driven to become a good enough karuta player to again meet the childhood friend who taught her how to play. She's supported by another childhood friend (who gets dealt the harsh card of unrequited love) and together the two form a karuta club. As I've said many times before, I love good character development above all else, and that is what this show is full of. Each new character is given the time to grow, to share their ambitions and fears... this show is such an emotional rollercoaster. Basically, this show is awesome, I highly recommend it, and that's all there is to it.
Recommended for: Character development fans and anyone who loves competition or strategy based stories. This show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: Characters!
Worst aspect: I would've liked the first season to be a completed story (it just leads straight into the second season, with no resolutions).
Favourite character: I have a soft spot for all the characters, but I guess Chihaya shines the most.
Chihayafuru 2
Synopsis in one sentence: New members are added and together the club takes on the championship once more.
This show is my obsession. Keeping straight after the end of the last series, season two follows the club as they put their training to the test and take on the single and team championships. A couple more characters are introduced and, per the Chihayafuru tradition, they are given ample time to grow and be accepted by the viewer as workable members of the cast. Every episode I was amazed by how they wove the stories of so many people into less than 30 minutes. It's such a glowing recommendation of karuta, to include so many interesting characters and show how they can be brought together by one game. Makes me wanna learn how to play. :P One wish I did have was for a proper ending to the anime. Like its predecessor, Chihayafuru 2 ends with the group onto the next phase of their journey, but if there's no Season 3, then it sucks that the story (for those of us who don’t read the manga) will be over. I would've appreciated a conclusion of some sort, in case renewal does not occur. But the tension was still there, the side stories of friendship still riveting, and the entire season was incredible.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season. This series has not yet been dubbed.
Best aspect: The matches always had me on the edge of my seat.
Worst aspect: Why no ending?
Favourite character: I'm always pro-Chihaya
Chihayafuru: Season 3
Synopsis in one sentence: As their school year nears an end, the club is forced to look to the future while juggling the intensity of the Master tournament.
This season took longer for me to get into than usual. On one hand, we finally get some HUGE movement in the Chihaya/Taichi/Arata situation, which felt both long overdue and satisfying. However, I found Taichi pretty irritating this season, which made that storyline not very fun to watch. I also felt like the rest of the club was really shoved to side for this plot, which made the show feel like it was missing an essential element. Luckily, the masters tournament brought some much needed shine to the season. I was fascinated by how the show managed to make me completely invested in the competition of a character I didn't really care about outside of light comic relief. I felt like I was standing right alongside the other characters, as tense as them to find out what was going to happen. So while this was my least favourite season, it still shines in a way only Chihayafuru can and I look forward to seeing what it will do next.
Recommended for: Fans of the series so far. As of writing, this series has not been dubbed.
Best aspect: The Masters Tournament.
Worst aspect: Taichi being a baby.
Favourite character: Arata had some great growth this season
Chio’s School Road
Synopsis in one sentence: Follow Chio during her daily walk to school as she finds herself in all sorts of silly situations.
I had a bit of fun with this—the jokes were solid and the characters likeable. After a while, I found my slice of life fatigue setting it. Nothing against the show itself, just the genre isn’t one I really vibe with. Still, I wasn’t completely checked out, so I decided to keep giving it a chance... until the sexual harassment jokes started. When it became very clear that one character’s whole purpose was to have her chest front and center, I was just... tired. Look, I know sexualisation of women is par for the course in anime, but as I get older, I just don’t have the time for it. Especially when the characters you’re sexualising are underage. I don’t care if you frame it for comedy, or think that lampshading it through the voices of other female characters makes it okay, I just feel like there’s plenty of other anime out there that’d be easy for me to move on to. So move on I did.
Recommended for: Slice of life comedy fans
When I stopped: Episode 6
Will I go back? Nope
Synopsis in one sentence: In a futuristic world, young student Hideki discovers an abandoned Persocom, which is a computer designed to look like a human.
Another romantic comedy, but with a bit more storyline than what usually exists in these types of anime. The underlying mystery that was slowly unravelled over the course of the series was very interesting and the ending was a great way to round up the anime. I did not like the overly neurotic protagonist, and found him to be really annoying most of the time. However, all the rest of the characters were good enough to even the anime out and keep me from going insane (seriously, Hideki screams at basically everything).
Recommended for: Romance fans and possibly those who want a little soft science fiction.
Best aspect: The 'City With No People' stories. Very eerie, yet beautiful.
Worst aspect: A lot of stuff about sex. And I mean A LOT. Kind of ruined the innocence of the story.
Favourite character: Sumomo!! Annoying, yet adorable!
Chrono Crusade
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows Sister Rosette and her demon partner Chrono as they battle demons in search of Rosette's missing brother.
To be honest, I wasn't that sold on Chrono Crusade at first. I found Rosette a bit grating and Chrono was kind of bland. But, gradually, their backstory is laid out and you get to understand why these two are the way they are. Their relationship becomes something sweet, and I started to invest in the two lead characters. Halfway through the season things were thrown into high gear. Baddies started making their moves and suddenly Rosette and Chrono were warriors. And man did I root for those two! The ending was very surprising, as all bittersweet endings are. A bit of a slow starter, Chrono Crusade really turned itself around and impressed me.
Recommended for: Supernatural fans.
Best aspect: The ending was great.
Worst aspect: The beginning episodes were a bit cheesy.
Favourite character: Rosette
Synopsis in one sentence: About a half demon named Clare who fights against full demons that plague human cities.
Ah, my first anime love. I really cannot recommend this anime enough. It does take a little while to get the hang of what's going on, but the wait is worth it. Great twists in pretty much every episode and non-stop action. Every episode keeps you guessing on what's gonna happen next and the wide range of characters is sure to provide you with someone to root for. A++
Recommended for: Action and fantasy lovers. There is a bit of gore though, so stay clear if you get queasy easily. XD
Best aspect: The episodes that reveal Clare's past. C'mon, by now you should know that I love a good backstory!
Worst aspect: The only thing that keeps this anime from getting a perfect 10. All of the manga was not fully adapted, as it is a still on-going series, so there was a few loose ends when the anime drew to a close.
Favourite character: Teresa. Watch the backstory episodes and you'll probably feel the same.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Synopsis in one sentence: An ill-fated son of royalty gains the power to control people, so he decides to use his new ability to lead a rebellion against the rulers of his country in the name of his mother and sister.
Wow, what a great show! Something about this show just made it stand out right from the start... it just captivated me. All the episodes flowed so excellently into each other and all the characters!! Amazing! Action, romance and so much tragedy... perfect. Really recommend this series! Now, onto season 2!!!
Recommended for: Action lovers all the way! Plus, if you like stories to keep you on your toes, check this out!
Best aspect: Tragedy! You just didn't know what was gonna happen next, it was so exciting!
Worst aspect: It was hard to choose who to root for. That also made the series much more thrilling, but sometimes I wish things were a bit more black and white. ^_^
Favourite character: I don't think I can choose one. All the characters were awesome in their own way.... There was no one I could choose over the others, nor any that I disliked.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
Synopsis in one sentence: Lelouch continues on his quest to destroy the corrupt nation of Britannia.
Throughout this second series, I was a bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong, this season was great, but I felt that it lacked some of the sparkle of the first season. I was expecting this to be a simple review, talking about how the continuation was action packed and full of twists, while also feeling a bit rushed and then.... BAM! The final episode. It was just... wow. It totally threw everything I had thought about the season out the window. Everything fell into place and... just wow, is the only thing I can say. A wicked way to round up the series of Code Geass and a fitting end for each character. Loved this show from beginning to end (ESPECIALLY the end) and I really think everyone should give it a shot!
Recommended for: If you liked the first series, you must watch this. If you were a bit unsure about the first season, you might want to skip this, as it does take a while for things to really heat up.
Best aspect: That ending. So shocking and unexpected!
Worst aspect: Sometimes I think the theatrics of magic became a bit OTT. There was Geass power everywhere, plus the addition of Marianne... it got a bit messy and complicated sometimes.
Favourite character: Once again, hard to choose. I... I can't really pick one out from among the others. Each character had their role to play, and they all had great personalities, backstories and motives.
Corpse Princess Aka
Synopsis in one sentence: Average kid Ouri accidentally stumbles across a girl named Makina who turns out to be a corpse (Shikabane Hime) resurrected to defeat bad corpses (Shikabane).
I liked the idea behind this show, but was a little bummed that it turned out to be one of those "cool story ruined by a boring, predictable, nuisance of a main character" shows. As I feel with most of these romance/action series, Corpse Princess was pretty predictable and I didn't find many of the characters endearing. The show did get quite dark in a few instances which was when things got good, but these spots of intrigue were often ruined by the old "love solves all" crud. Maybe I'm being a little harsh. It's not a bad show, I'm just so over great premises that wrap themselves in the most basic tropes and then call it a day.
Recommended for: Supernatural, action, magical girl and romance fans. There's a bit of gore, but not too much that I think it would turn people off.
Best aspect: I liked the dependency of the Hime on their handlers. It was like a pretty idea that the lore of this world turned into something scary and dangerous.
Worst aspect: Cliches up the wazoo.
Favourite character: Keisei.
Corpse Princess Kuro
Synopsis in one sentence: Ouri steps into the reigns of his brother, just in time for a new crowd of Shikabane to turn up.
The first couple episodes focus on character development and they are great. I liked seeing the effects of grief treated properly, as opposed to the "quickly move on" nature of most anime. The two leads come together in their pain, and in leaning on each other some great relationship growth happens. With this clever writing going on, the dramatics of the season sort of fall flat. A bunch of lore and villainy is introduced, but I didn't really care about that. When the action became the full focus of the show, it was predictable and boring. I almost wonder if this show would be better suited as a slice of life with a twist than a shonen. To watch a boy and his zombie struggle to find normalcy is something I'd totally be up for. As Corpse Princess is actually presented, I was a bit disappointed.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
Best aspect: Like I said, I loved when things were all about Ouri and Hoshimura coping with sadness.
Worst aspect: The "big" story was pretty standard and failed to surprise me.
Favourite character: Crying Ouri.
Cowboy Bebop
Synopsis in one sentence: Two bounty hunters follow their various prey through space, picking up a few strays (and enemies) along the way.
Cowboy Bebop is character development at its finest. First we're introduced to laidback Spike and his no nonsense manager of sorts, Jet Black. The two as a pair are great screen fodder, teaching the viewer about the Cowboy Bebop world via rough living and quick quips. When the sneaky, self-sufficient con artist Faye intrudes, the dynamic shifts and we're introduced to a friendly side of the two guys we already know. But it's not until playful child genius Ed hop aboard to join up with their corgi Ein that the show really picks up. With the full cast assembled, there's plenty of room for unpredictable adventure of both the light hearted and menacing kind. Gradually, in a manner so subtle you almost don’t notice it, the characters are shown in different lights. You learn about what makes them tick, how they handle certain situations and, most importantly, how they work as a team. My favourite episodes were the ones that gave small peeks at the Bebop cast before they joined the bounty hunter team. You never get the full picture of how these characters came to be, but that's the beauty of it; you don't need to know who they were because all that matters is who they are. The subtle character build is so intriguing that the episodes that focus purely on fun action stand out like sore thumbs, and can be quite jarring in the season's flow. The ending of the show is a bit rushed, but ends in a way that, in its sadness, perfectly represents the "deal with the good, deal with the bad" attitude that Cowboy Bebop has adopted. Still, I'm sure I'm not the only one that's crossed my fingers for a future continuation.
Recommended for: Action and space western fans. If you're familiar with and fond of the works of Shinichirō Watanabe, this is a must see.
Best aspect: All that yummy character development.
Worst aspect: That there's no more episodes. I mean,,, you can't just end it there!
Favourite character: They all had their moments, but I suppose I have a soft spot for Ed.
Cyborg 009
Synopsis in one sentence: Nine superhumans band together to try and defeat an evil organisation.
Another old anime, but this one was not as likeable as Berserk. It involved a lot of fights, much more long heroic speeches and then a bit of romance... I think. This one was a bit confusing. Overall, not really one I'd write home about. >_<
Recommended for: Lovers of old school anime, or cheesy action shows.
Best aspect: I liked the Cyborg Gods and the way their design worked with the greek gods. That was quite interesting.
Worst aspect: Kind of never caught my interest. I'm actually surprised I made it all the way to the end.
Favourite character: Artemis. I like tragic endings.


Title Review Rating
D. Gray-man
Synopsis in one sentence: About an organisation of humans with special abilities that fight against an evil entity that traps souls and uses them as weapons.
First, I want to explain a bit about the episode layout of this show. Episodes 1-51 serve as the first season and 52-103 serve as the second season. However, even though it seems to be split into two seasons, the same plot is present in both seasons and there is no clear separation between the two. To make things even tougher for me to review, apparently the English version of D. Gray-man didn't do too well, so only the first season is dubbed. Now I have a sort of rule with series that aren't fully dubbed and that is that once I have seen all the dubbed episodes of a show, I stop and then the rest of the series is put to the bottom of my priority list. Normally that is not a problem, but since D. Gray-man has one overall plot, I feel like I have missed out on a lot that the series has to offer. Anyway, the point of me saying all this is to let you know that this review is sort of... half-hearted, I guess. I don't want to write too harshly because I haven't seen all of the show, but I also don't want to praise it too much because maybe the second half of the plot is terrible, I just don't know! Okay, I'll move on now. So, D. Gray-man season 1 is a good show! From the very first episode, it was a very intriguing, exciting show. The mythology behind the Black Order and the Millennium Earl's plans were both well thought out and really helped along the fantasy element of the show. Another plus was that the designs for the characters were stunning! Everything from outfits, to weapons to facial shape was really great and made this show possibly one of the most aesthetically streamlined I have seen. One thing that bothered me though, was that there was a lot of multiple episode stories that didn't really add anything to the overall plot, which felt like there was a lot of filler. I also got a bit confused by the way that some characters would be the central character for one episode and then they'd disappear for the next 10 episodes. Finally, I also had an issue with how long the show took to answer some of the character questions. And by some, I mean Lenalee's backstory. Geeze, they played out that maid akuma girl's entire backstory in three different episodes, why can't they explain a little bit more about Lenalee? I'm curious!!
Recommended for: Fantasy, action or supernatural lovers.
Best aspect: The character interaction was absolutely perfect! The friendships and fighting was just really realistic and well planned! The best parts were the relationships between the members of Noah's family, their squabbles and playfulness were genius!
Worst aspect: Filler.
Favourite character: Oooo, it's so hard! For the first few episodes, I'd choose Komui. For the middle part I'd choose Lavi. Then, for the last episodes I choose Krory!
D. Gray-man: Season 2
Synopsis in one sentence: The fight between Exorcists and Noah continues in the second part of the D.Gray-man series.
I had to think for a while about whether I wanted to stop this anime or not, but I eventually decided it was the best thing to do since it was holding back all my other anime watching. I'm not sure whether it was the subs or the story, but I had a real hard time concentrating on this season. I can't put my finger on it, but I just kept putting off watching it again and again until I just decided to take a break. I'm definitely going to go back some time and watch the rest, but for now I'll focus on other series. I stopped watching at episode 80, which made it even harder for me to discontinue since I only had 20 or so episodes left... Oh well.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season and anyone who doesn't mind subs.
When I stopped: Episode 80.
Will I go back? Definitely, but mostly because I'm so close to the finish.
D. Gray-man: Season 2
Synopsis in one sentence: The fight between Exorcists and Noah continues in the second part of the D.Gray-man series.
So my return to the D. Gray-man world was a little hard, as I struggled with becoming immersed in the story in the same way I was invested in the first season. I think all the stuff about the Noah's Arc just did not appeal to me, for a reason I cannot really explain. It was just too much... stuff happening. I like my anime simple! Point me at the bad guy and tell me the goal is to beat him up! Don't point me at the bad guy and then proceed to give me a multi-episode lecture on all the different techniques we're going to use and lore we have to remember. I will tire of that. The highlight of this season was definitely the battle that reared it's head in the final few episodes. It came out of nowhere! And it was CRAZY!!! I can't really talk about it without smattering this review in spoilers, but DAMN! I did not know D. Gray-man had the guts to do what happened in those final episodes. The conclusion was very satisfying, despite resolving pretty much nothing. Unfortunate, the rest of the season was a chore, which made my final impression of season 2 quite abysmal.
Recommended for: D. Gray-man fans.
Best aspect: That end battle, though...
Worst aspect: All that stuff before the end battle. Especially the stuff about Allen being a piano player or some crap.
Favourite character: The same as what I said in my discontinued review.
Synopsis in one sentence: Student Daisuke finds out that his body must play host to the dark angel Dark so Dark can steal supernatural artwork.
Sometimes I wonder if I have some sort of special radar built into my head for completely underwhelming anime. >_> Anyway, D.N.Angel is kind of… meh. That’s all I can think of using to describe it. I didn’t like any of the characters, things were very predictable from the start and most of the time things just happened without anyone explaining anything. For instance, why is Daisuke not weirded out when he finds out about Dark? He just accepts it with no problem whatsoever. The same thing happens when his father returns; why is he not curious about where he’s been or why he’s returned? I felt like this show was trying to make a big dramatic story, but it didn’t pull it off. Near the end there was so much going on that I had trouble paying attention. Not very impressive.
Recommended for: Fans of the stereotypical shonen show. Alliteration, woo! I guess it could also be Shojo as well, cause there’s a lot of romance mushy stuff.
Best aspect: Hmm, I can’t think of one. This anime isn’t the worst I’ve seen, there’s just nothing at all that jumps out as memorable to me.
Worst aspect: Nothing stood out as memorable to me. O_O
Favourite character: Dark was pretty badass.
Daily Lives of High School Boys
Synopsis in one sentence: A series of shorts focused around a group of average high school boys.
I loved this show. By the end of the first episode I had already been won over by the humour, and the consistently funny nature of the show, facilitated by an ever-growing cast of dorky characters, has made this a new favourite. Each episode is made up of several little stories (the average length of each is around 5 minutes) that bounce between characters and locations and themes. There are several recurring plots and these became my favourites, as the way they grew in absurdity with each addition was hilarious. The interaction between the characters was another highlight and some of the funniest moments came from the cast bouncing off each other. What makes this show really work is how well it captures the true awkwardness of adolescence. The insecurity, the easily excitable attitudes, the sensitivity to embarrassment, and the comradery between people your own age. It's easy to relate to these characters and that makes watching their adventures even more charming. I'd highly recommend this show to anyone looking for a good laugh.
Recommended for: Humour fans. As of writing, this show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: That the characters weren't the usual clichés you see in anime. Normally high school boys are brutish and confident, while the girls are cutesy or tsundere, but this show portrays some of the most realistic teens I've seen in anime so far.
Worst aspect: I really wanted some more interaction between the high school boys and high school girls cast.
Favourite character: Habara. For character growth
Darker Than Black: Season 1
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows the dangerous lives of humans with dangerous superpowers called contractors.
I liked the premise of this show, but it was bit slow and wasn't doing well in holding my attention. I'm just not that interested in the "supernatural politics" type of show. I've put it on the backburner for now, but I will probably return to it in future.
Recommended for: Supernatural action/mystery fans. It's a multi arced story, like Boogiepop Phantom or Higurashi.
When I stopped: Episode 8.
Will I go back? Yes, because I have heard positive things about this series, so I'm willing to give it another chance at another date.
Deadman Wonderland
Synopsis in one sentence: Wrongly accused of massacring his high school friends, middle school student Ganta is thrown into the Deadman Wonderland prison, where everything is a game.
I loved the set up for this show. The first episode rushes in and it goes hard. From then on we're introduced to new, mysterious characters and the crazy rules that govern the carnival-like Deadman Wonderland. There's dangerous politics happening in the background which wrap the cast in conspiracy after conspiracy. But about halfway through the season I started to get a little fed up. It felt like we were going in circles: "this bad thing is happening, no this bad thing is happening, here's some new people, yay!" It got really frantic and it started to look like this show was kidding around and we were never going to get any answers. The conclusion to the series was equally dissatisfying and I was let down. If there was another season that was willingly to properly wrap things up, I might change my tune.
Recommended for: Mystery and supernatural fans. This might appeal to horror fans, cause things can get quite gory. Oh, and this is a dystopia type deal, so if you like that genre, you might enjoy this.
Best aspect: All the different mysteries.
Worst aspect: The lack of explanation for all the different mysteries.
Favourite character: Shiro.
Death Note
Synopsis in one sentence: A budding genius finds a book that kills any whose name is written inside, so he sets off on a mission to cleanse the world of evil, all while facing off against the authorities that what him stopped.
Now, I've read the Death Note manga, and I think it is a FANTASTIC story. This anime is very very faithful to that manga, and while that is surely what many anime fans want when it comes to adaptations, I'm afraid that it made this anime kind of boring for me. There was nothing that surprised me as I've seen it all before, so it's kind of hard to critique this show. The only new addition was, of course, colour and movement, which wasn't anything spectacular. There was also the VAs, which I really didn't like; apart from Ryuk, who had a wonderfully gruff, evil, but still mischievous voice, the cast was too monotone. I also felt that the voices for the younger characters read too "old" and just didn't match teens/young adults. But Death Note is a really cool story (one of the manga/anime world's finest), so if you haven't read the manga already, then this show is highly recommended.
Recommended for: Mystery, suspense, and thriller fans.
Best aspect: The story.
Worst aspect: That the story was played scene for scene from the manga, with nothing that made it stand out from the original.
Favourite character: Ryuk
Deltora Quest
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of travellers band together to try to find seven magical gems that can help save their world from the evil shadow lord.
This was a pretty good series, I just don't think it was for me. I like my animes full of unexpected twists, tragic backstories and betrayal and Deltora Quest just did not have any of those things. Basically, it was a very simple execution: Good guys go to destination, fight bad guys, win, find gem, and continue on to next gem. Simple stuff. I could tell the story had some appeal, though, I just think the decision to make it a family friendly show let it down a bit. For now I'll give it a miss. Eh, maybe I'll go back to it one day or give the books a try...
Recommended for: If you like the family friendly type. It's also got a lot of fantasy themes. However, I have read that people who enjoy the book series that this show is based on do not like the anime adaptation, so... keep that in mind, I guess. O_O
When I stopped: Episode 27.
Will I go back? Maybe, if I want to kill some time.
Devil May Cry: The Animated Series
Synopsis in one sentence: The series follows Dante, who runs a devil hunting business.
I've never played the games that this series is based on, but I decided to give it a try anyway. A very fast paced anime, that was quite likeable, but also quite short. The mysteries from each episode were quite a bit more unpredictable than action/mystery animes usually are, which kept my interest. Dante was an awesome protagonist, mainly because he does not fit the 'brooding and with a dark past' mould that heroes of action series usually fall into. A nice little anime, which was nice to watch!
Recommended for: Action lovers. Demon fights are aplenty in this show!
Best aspect: Different characters. All very diverse and likeable.
Worst aspect: A lot of story got jammed into the final few episodes, which was a bit overwhelming.
Favourite character: Probably Dante. Strawberry sundaes, yeah!!
Devilman Crybaby
Synopsis in one sentence: A soft hearted student is possessed by a demon set to rid the world of evil.
To me, this show felt like it was trying too hard. Naked girls and gore doesn't make up for a poor story and characters I found it hard to stand. The animation teetered between eye-catching and garish and I decided to stop when I realised I just didn't care about what was going on.
Recommended for: Fans of occult themed monsters and action. The gore wasn't too bad, but it seemed to delight in pornographic depictions of women, so beware if that annoys you as much as it does me.
When I stopped: Episode 4.
Will I go back? Nope.
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows the different lives of a group of troublemakers living in Ikebukuro.
Ah, this show was so fun. It's been so long since I've watched a show where I loved every single character. Durarara had this wonderful way of pulling people in and out of the spotlight without having to shift the entire storyline. It mixed both the bizarre (headless women) and the familiar (street gangs) and somehow made it make sense. The pacing was great, the dialogue beautiful and the comedy perfect! What most impressed me was the story arc shift. The first half of the series focuses on the mysterious Dollars gang, introducing the staple characters and some fun background ones as well. Then the second half takes the Dollars gang and flips them around and suddenly the background characters are the ones you care about and what were once the main cast are now the background. There was a clever slow reveal of all the main players of the Durarara story and it made for a fun, compelling ride. Recommended!
Recommended for: Fans who like their anime to move fast. This show is also great for character development. Genres include action and mystery.
Best aspect: MINI-SPOILER You have no idea how happy that little Isaac and Miria cameo made me. I didn't know this was from the same makers of Baccano! at the time, so it was such an exciting moment. :D MINI-SPOILER END
Worst aspect: I was waiting for Simon's time to shine!
Favourite character: Heiwajima.
Durarara!!x2 Sho
Synopsis in one sentence: There's drama in the Dollars, Celty tangles with some gangsters, and everyone else gets swept up in the craziness.
To be honest, I was disappointed in this continuation of the Durarara story. The focus for this season was story and action, but it was the characters that I was enamored with in the first season. I also feel like there was a lot going on, so some of the stories got messed up together and in some parts I was confused by what was going on. The stories also dragged out and took a while to move on to new developments or conclude. I feel like some editing could be done to sharpen this season up. The season was still fun in parts, though, and I look forward to seeing what happens in future seasons.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
Best aspect: I'm a sucker for the Celty/Shinra interactions.
Worst aspect: Hurried story. Also, Mikado kind of sucked this season.
Favourite character: Celty
Durarara!!x2 Ten
Synopsis in one sentence: Dollars and gangs and Celty and... you get the gist.
The more I watch this show, the less I like it. I feel like they're taking the same exact story and stretching it out into as many seasons as they can. The dollars are fighting, Celty is tryna fight for justice, there's a bad guy that gets defeating by one of the main cast revealing their darkside. Yawn. Same old, same old. I think the next season needs a clear focus to reign this show back in, because if it's another season of everyone running/driving around on the streets, I don't think I'll make it to the end. Pick an endgame and focus on it, writers! Do you want the dollars to rise to power or fall? Build a season around it! Do you want Celty to become human? Build a season around it! Stop cramming in extra characters I don't care about and freaking decide what this show is supposed to be! Come on!
Recommended for: Fans of the other seasons.
Best aspect: Comedy was a'ight.
Worst aspect: I feel like I've already seen this story.
Favourite character: Shinra.
Durarara!!x2 Ketsu
Synopsis in one sentence: Everybody's confused, Celty's head finally affects the story, and we get a conclusion.
I'll make this quick. Things I liked? That all the stories were wrapped up and no loose ends were left. Things I didn't like? Pretty much the same as usual. Too many characters, muddled motivations, extra crap I don't care about. And come on, that Celty thing was so predictable. As if I would believe she was gonna run into the sunset solo! For me, I really enjoyed the first Durarara arc, but x2 was just too messy too enjoy. A simplified story packed with character development (a la the first season) would've suited me just fine.
Recommended for: Fans of the other seasons.
Best aspect: I do like that Celty got her happy ending.
Worst aspect: The dollars stuff, to me, just fell by the wayside. It was a driving force in the beginning of the series, but felt like a forgotten addition in this arc.
Favourite character: Shinra.
Eden of the East
Synopsis in one sentence: A girl called Saki gets tangled up with a boy with amnesia and a phone that can make anything you want happen.
Eden of the East is a create mystery show that's brought together by a wonderful cast. The series starts off simple enough (boy meets girl) and quickly unravels into a darker world that had my brain overworked with questions. I loved that the show opened its world up to include more characters and storylines, instead of focusing too heavily on the romance side of things. Strangely enough, it's this lack of attention to the romance that made me more interested in it! The ending was satisfying and left itself open enough for the imagination to wander. Eden of the East is quite the fun ride!
Recommended for: Modern mystery fans. It reminded me a little of shows like Future Diary and Deadman Wonderland as well.
Best aspect: The quirky characters.
Worst aspect: The villains were sort of rushed into the storyline.
Favourite character: Saki.
Elfen Lied
Synopsis in one sentence: A guy named Kohta finds a mysterious girl who can only say the word 'nyu'.
This was a really great anime and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a lot of attention to character history and development, which I am a big big fan of! The way all the individual stories worked together was great and the fights scenes were really intense!
Recommended for: Action lovers! Yano, I am starting to sense a pattern here... Be warned that if you don't like gore, you will not like this anime. There is blood and violence, and lots of it, so be very wary!
Best aspect: Backstories!! Especially Nana – "Papa" *Weeps*
Worst aspect: Maybe the main theme. I'm not sure why, I just did not like hearing it.
Favourite character: Nana (see Best aspect)
Fairy Tail: Season 1
Synopsis in one sentence: An energetic girl named Lucy joins a magical guild called Fairy Tail and sets off on magic based missions with her new friends.
Fairy Tail is a good show, wrought with twists and turns and comedy. If it's the first of the "Big Anime" you are introduced to, I think you'll quickly fall in love with the expansive cast, heavy backstory and out there world building. But, the thing is, I'm watching Fairy Tail after I was introduced to Bleach, Naruto and, most important, One Piece. And, to me, Fairy Tail is weaker than the former two of that list and feels like a layman's version of One Piece. The show's style, look and feel are so similar to One Piece that I started to wonder if they were made by the same person (they're not, by the way). It wouldn't be hard for me to match each Fairy Tail character up to a One Piece one (Lucy to Nami, Happy to Chopper etc), and the fantasy world's aren’t that dissimilar either. Fairy Tail is a good show on it's own. It's fun, and crazy and intense all at once... but it so easily matched up to One Piece in my head that it was a bit ruined by the fact that, well, One Piece is better. The comedy is crazier, the stories less predictable and the character development way stronger. And, as much as I didn’t want it to, the strengths of One Piece made Fairy Tail a bit dull for me. Couple this with rushed storylines and inconsistent character personality and I couldn't bring my interest in this show above a "Meh". Here's hoping that future seasons up the ante and pull everything together.
Recommended for: Action and magic fans. Although it's not as good, I do think this is one for One Piece fans who are seeking out something similar. Alternatively, if you haven't seen One Piece yet, I think it's better to watch Fairy Tail first, to prevent the series comparing that I subjected myself to.
Best aspect: I thought Lucy's summoning power was pretty cool.
Worst aspect: Plots weren't really developed well. I didn't like that every random thing that happened was connected to something in someone's torturous past. That was kind of lazy storytelling. >_>
Favourite character: She's in danger of becoming just another damsel (*cough Sakura *sough*) but for now Lucy is pretty cool.
Fairy Tail: Season 2
Synopsis in one sentence: Fairy Tail teams up with other guilds to take on a new threat.
My gripes with this show were outlined in my review of Season 1 and I didn't feel like any improvements were made for the second season, so I'm hopping ship. The stories were even more rushed, the suspense wasn't based around storytelling, but how crazily the characters reacted to different situations, and (as much as I hate reducing one show to the shadow of another) everything Fairy Tail did I had already seen One Piece do better. I'll give this one a miss for now.
Recommended for: Fantasy, action, shonen fans. It's probably better if you haven't seen One Piece, because the comparisons are too easy to make and that was a heavy influence on not enjoying this show for me.
When I stopped: Episode 60 (season 2 starts at episode 49 and goes till episode 72).
Will I go back? The general regard for this show is very good, so I'll definitely get back to it one day to try and see what everyone else sees.
Familiar of Zero
Synopsis in one sentence: In a magical world, untalented witch Louise accidentally summons a normal human boy, Saito, as her familiar.
At first this anime was a bit slow and typical of its genre, but as the story developed it got really intriguing. What I enjoyed the most about this story was the way the romance was kept a sort of mystery. Normally, although there may be a few love interests of the main character, it is still pretty obvious who they will end up with, but in the Familiar of Zero, it was very hard to figure out who Saito was going to fall for. It kept me on my toes, which I appreciate.
Recommended for: Romance fans. Although it had a lot of fantasy storyline, I think this series is mainly about the romance.
Best aspect: Side characters and how they played important roles in the storyline, instead of just appearing every now and again, like in most animes.
Worst aspect: Louis and her irrational outbursts. Her shrill voice has been burned into my memory forever...
Favourite character: Tabitha. She's just... cool.
Fate/stay night
Synopsis in one sentence: A high school boy with special powers is teamed up with an ancient soldier in a battle to have their greatest wishes granted.
Fate/stay night starts off with an interesting plot that instantly sets itself up for an exciting mix of intense battles and intriguing characters. Unfortunately, I found that after a few episodes, things got a bit too cliché for me. Nothing really happened that I wasn't expecting, which meant that most of the story climaxes were dull. I also found a lot of the character development repetitive (I want to fight.. oh, wait, no I don't), which meant the first three quarters of the show were lacking in excitement. A lot of the action also revolved around the fact that main character Shirou was throwing himself in danger in order to protect the servant that has been sent to protect him. I feel like this is such a played out trope and it never makes sense. Am I supposed to think the guy with no fighting skills is heroic for trying to defend the fearsome, highly skilled warrior whose sole purpose is to fight? That's just stupid. Oh, wait, the person he's trying to protect, Saber, is a girl? Then his stupid decisions make perfect sense! Because any centuries old swordsman is useless if they're a girl! *rolls eyes so hard they fall out of my head* Sure, I've since read that Shirou does all that stuff because he wants to protect people, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. As for positives... well, I'll save that for my best aspect.
Recommended for: Magic anime fans, action fans and those that like the medieval stuff. Not recommended for those that can't stand when the main character is the lamest one in the cast.
Best aspect: The ending of this show was the one thing that surprised me. I think it was beautifully done and for such a clichéd show, the resolve was most unexpected. That final episode alone was almost enough to redeem the series.
Worst aspect: That the anime fell into the old "there's so much cool stuff going on, but instead we're going to focus on the slow love story because we think that's what you really want" trap.
Favourite character: Archer. And yes, I know this is ironic considering my earlier complaints.
Final Fantasy Unlimited
Synopsis in one sentence: Two twins travel into a mystical world called Wonderland to try and find their missing parents.
At first I liked this show, but it took too long to develop the story and I lost interest. I liked the fighting mechanics with Kaze, which I think is what kept my interest, like how the Bakugan battle system did in Bakugan Battle Brawlers. Actually, Kaze and the bad guys are all I really paid any attention to, because the kids' story was kind of boring.
Recommended for: Fantasy fans. There are also a bunch of references to FF, so you'll probably like it if you're a fan of that series.
When I stopped: I stopped at about episode 13, so I did give it a good go first. :)
Will I go back? Probably not.
Flowers of Evil
Synopsis in one sentence: After stealing the gym clothes of his high school crush, lonely guy Kasuga is blackmailed by the resident class psycho, Nakamura.
Honestly, I don't know how I feel about this anime. On one hand, it's kind of a weird acid-trip experimental psychological mind-fudge, which is fun, I guess. But on the other hand, it's kind of boring. It's like the intrigue of the show is on a deep incline upwards as soon as the first episode kicks off, but the story never really reaches its climax. Or, more accurately, the series ends just as the climax begins. But it’s the ever-present promise of more action that keeps you coming back! So, like I said, I'm in two minds about this one. Was it a crazy ride that made me think? Was it a dull angst fest that never pushed past "average" viewing interest? I'm not even sure. Maybe just give this one a shot and figure it out for yourselves...
Recommended for: Fans of drama, psychological torment, thrillers etc. This show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: There were some real punchy plot points in the latter half of the season. The last episode was awesome.
Worst aspect: The characters were god awful. The only one who wasn't mind-destroying boring was Nakamura, and she was just the worst. A truly awful character.
Favourite character: I don't wanna choose.
Synopsis in one sentence: A story situated in a school where super powered women fight each other to earn rank as the best warrior.
This was an extremely fanservice heavy show, which ruined most of the story for me. Pretty much every scene was worked around "how can we get this girls chest/panties out", so the plot didn't develop that well. I decided to dip out after one of the characters was raped for the fun of fan service. Yeah, that's not really fun viewing for me.
Recommended for: Fan service fans.
When I stopped: Episode 4.
Will I go back? There's a 99% chance of me NOT returning to this show.
From the New World
Synopsis in one sentence: In a dark future, we follow a group of friends from child to adulthood as they navigate a world of special powers and monsters to uncover the secrets that run their society.
I've heard a lot of hype about this series; it was what made me watch the show. And I get it. From the New World has some fantastic ideas, mystery, thrills, and some super strong world building. So what made me not really enjoy this series was how muddied all that potential was by poor pacing and terribly dull characters. The build-up of the story was painfully slow, but eventually I was pulled into the mystery of what was going on, anticipating the fire at the end of the slow burn. I realised I was invested. I was on board! And then... Time skip! Yeah. All the build-up fell away because "ho-hum we moved on" and then the build-up started again, this time with a new mystery loosely connected to the last. And so it went on; every time I started to gain interest, the story would jump to a different point. By the end I was struggling to care, because it felt like none of the stakes were going anywhere. And why should I care, when the characters barely seemed to themselves? If something terrible was happening, the characters were, at most, "huh, that's bad". They felt like a society of robots, not humans. The ending was equally un-climatic, ending with a final "nothing ever changed the end". Boooooo.
Recommended for: Mystery and supernatural fans and people with more patience than I.
Best aspect: The overall idea behind the formation of the society. It really could've been a great series if handled correctly.
Worst aspect: The voice acting. I watch dub and ugh, all the voices grated on me. They sounded like the kind you hear in C-grade CGI movies. Terrible. The first series that made me consider switching to sub mid-season.
Favourite character: Maria is the only one that stood out to me. Even then, I think it's only because of her hair.
Fruits Basket
Synopsis in one sentence: A girl, Tohru, moves in with the Sohma family, after discovering that when hugged by the opposite sex, they turn into an animal from the zodiac.
It took me a while to get into the anime, but I still enjoyed it. The relationships between the characters was a real selling point, and the love triangle that features is a big highlight. The various characters that were introduced along the way were fun and the ending was heart wrenching- a huge contrast to the light hearted feel of the rest of the series.
Recommended for: Romance again. Also good for fantasy fans, or those who like soft, sweet series.
Best aspect: There's quite a few actually. If I had to choose one, it'd be the fun that came from guessing what a new character's zodiac would be!
Worst aspect: A lot of characters and I often found it hard to keep up. It wasn't even until about the third to last episode that I was finally able to remember what the main female was called (Tohru!).
Favourite character: Again, hard to choose. I'd probably go for Haru, because his hair his just awesome! XD
Fruits Basket
Synopsis in one sentence: An upgraded new anime for the wildly popular Fruits Basket story.
I think I have grown past romance anime. While Fruits Basket--as one of the earliest anime I ever watched--was once an exciting and adorable story, I found myself really struggling to keep interest this second go around. As I am a little older, female characters whose worth lies in their housekeeping abilities and docility, and male characters who are aggressive or cold or cruel or all of the above, but can be changed if you blindly adore them hard enough, are no longer fun for me to watch. While I was excited to finish the Fruits Basket story up, I wasn't able to get close to where I had left the story before.
Recommended for: If you like Fruits Basket, I think this anime will be appreciated. The story, characters, and animation are much improved from the first anime, and as a result the world presented is much more captivating. If you are new to Fruits Basket, I would refer you to my review for the first adaptation to see whether it's something you might like.
When I stopped: Episode 13.
Will I go back? No.
Full Metal Alchemist
Synopsis in one sentence: Two brothers travel to try and find a legendary stone which they hope they will be able to use to restore their bodies, which were both injured and lost during a dangerous experiment years ago.
Wow. Just wow. Although things did start of slow, things quickened up, then escalated into a crazy, complicated storyline with backstories coming out of nowhere and alchemy fuelled fights left right and center! There were so many twists and turns and different plotlines, but each new piece was easy to follow and understand. There were so much super sad events, as well. :( All that stuff with Rose and then Hughes. *Bursts into tears* All these feels!!! All in all I was super impressed by this show and can’t wait to get straight into the next season!
Recommended for: If you like dramatic stories, action, or supernatural- type stuff.
Best aspect: There was a great balance of humour, action and dialogue. For such a serious anime, it’s surprising how often it can make you laugh. :D
Worst aspect: The surplus of characters could get a little overwhelming at times, but not bad enough for you to completely lose track of the plot.
Favourite character: Mae Hughes, definitely. Coming in a close second are Al and Winry.
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood
Synopsis in one sentence: The Elric brothers return, but this time they're following the story from the manga, instead of an original anime plot.
It's pretty interesting to see a story interpreted in two completely different ways, which is part of what made Brotherhood so exciting for me to watch. Brotherhood takes the series in a much darker, more detailed route, proving once again that storytelling should be left to mangaka when it comes to anime. ^_^ It's hard not to compare the first series with this follow up, so in summarising the two I'd say that Brotherhood is definitely the stronger. I enjoyed the first series thoroughly, but Brotherhood has much more conviction in the message it is trying to send. The addition of new characters adds equal portions of drama and comedy, and after a while it's hard to imagine FMA without the new faces. The extra storylines add much more complexity to the story, which enriches the climax of Brotherhood to no end. There was so much going on that I almost couldn't keep up, but in a more than great way. On the negative side of things, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of interaction between the two main brothers. I felt that the first series put much more emphasis on the difficulties faced when the brothers wanted to help each other without endangering each other. Their relationship was the thread that held the plot together. Here I think Al and Ed lead two different paths that happened to intersect at certain points. For example, when their father was introduced I was disappointed that both brothers had their own little moment with him and the idea of them as a family wasn't really explored. I mean, the term Brotherhood is even in the title; surely they could've shown more of the brothers acting like, yano, brothers. Overall, Brotherhood is a really strong version of the story shown in the first series. It's like someone took the first season and polished it till it was blindingly shiny. If you thought the first series was lacking, then this season will probably be enough for you!
Recommended for: If you like dramatic stories, action, or supernatural- type stuff. You can watch this whether you've seen the first series or not. I recommend watching it after the first series, because otherwise I think the first season will be a disappointing follow up to Brotherhood. If you are watching this after the first series, you can skip the first 10 or so episodes, because they're pretty much carbon copies of the first episodes of the first season.
Best aspect: There're so many characters to fall in love with!
Worst aspect: Not enough brotherhood in Brotherhood.
Favourite character: Ling. He got even better when Greed was added to the mix.


Title Review Rating
Ga Rei: Zero
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of demon fighting operatives is wiped out and we travel back in time to find out just how things became this dire.
Ga Rei: Zero starts off CRAZY. Like, everybody dies. Bam. You don't even know their names and they're already dead. That's how to hook a viewer! But after that burst of horror, we suddenly find ourselves watching some sort of girls-with-swords slice of life. It's kind of boring... until you realise that the story of two girls becoming friends is actually connected to the gore fest that kicked off the series. And that's where I was hooked for the second time. Watching as a simple life (well, a life as simple as you can make when you're tasked with defeating evil demon ghost thingies that most people can't see) unravels into political manipulation was great. The two leads (friends-more-like-sisters Kagura and Yomi) are sucked into the evil of those around them and you watch as they descend further and further into madness, resulting in the hectic scenes of the first episode. It was a great show, with some really likeable characters that I was too attached to for my own good. My only complaint would be that there wasn’t enough world building, but I've read that this series is a prequel to a manga, which I suppose the writers assumed everyone would be familiar with, so I can understand and forgive that omission. Overall it was a great show, with some awesome action and wonderful relationship study.
Recommended for: Supernatural action fans. There is minor gore.
Best aspect: The last few episodes. So many feelings!
Worst aspect: The first couple episodes dragged on a bit after the "everyone dies" opening.
Favourite character: A tie between the two leading ladies.
Gakuen Alice
Synopsis in one sentence: Young Mikan follows her best friend to a boarding school, where she discovers a secret school for kids with superpowers, otherwise known as "Alices".
You know, I really wanted to dislike this anime. I mean, the protagonist is a middle school girl who's naive and annoyingly optimistic. Her best friend is, in a word, a jerk. Then there's the main boy, who's a run-of-the-mill tsundere. Everyone else is a bully. What is there to like? Surprisingly, a lot. For a story centered around children, there's an enjoyable amount of world building present in this show. Over time different power classes and levels are revealed, right alongside darker antagonists and stronger levels of distrust. Mikan, although she retains her bubbly personality throughout, is a charming character to follow, because she handles situations in a very human way. There's no "because I'm the lead I am lovable and super powerful" in this show! Instead Mikan is thrust in the deep of the Alice pool and we see her fail and be ostracized, only to become stronger and teach herself to earn respect. She's really hard not to root for. The side characters all develop just as well, accept from Mikan's best friend, Hotaru. There's a lot hidden underneath the simple, child-like face of this show and it comes together to form an addictive, exhilarating story.
Recommended for: Fans of anime involving superpowers. The lead can be a bit off putting at times, but she does become likeable over time. Also note that this show has not been dubbed.
Best aspect: Character development. Most of the characters were so awful in the beginning, but they were almost whole new people by the end. I was also impressed by the original superpowers the writers came up with.
Worst aspect: Hotaru. She's supposed to be the reason Mikan is at the school, but she's so harsh it's hard to believe someone as sweet as Mikan would be around her. It makes it feel like Mikan is being constantly bullied by Hotaru, which makes the girl almost impossible to like. I think Hotaru was supposed to be emotionally stunted, but they gave her too little humanising moments, which gave the impression of rudeness.
Favourite character: Natsume.
Gantz: Season 1
Synopsis in one sentence: A guy named Kei dies and finds himself in a mysterious room, where he learns that if he kills aliens, he will be released and brought back to life.
Gantz is a really interesting anime, with a great concept. The design of the aliens was really unique and creepy, and I was always wondering what trick Gantz was gonna pull next. The ending was quite shocking, but didn't really wrap much up. Still, it was a good story, with great action and tons of suspense.
Recommended for: Action or gore lovers. Science fiction is also another theme of Gantz, so any Sci-Fi fans should check it out!
Best aspect: Fights! Really left me holding my breath and fearing for the character's lives!
Worst aspect: A few rough scenes, that were pretty mature. Although it did slightly increase the impact of the anime, these scenes also made me cringe a little.
Favourite character: The Jr. Onion Alien. Okay, not really a character, but still, it was so sad!! (;_;)
Gantz: Season 2
Synopsis in one sentence: Kei, along with his new companions, continue to fight for their freedom.
Gantz gets much better in this new season! So many shocking moments, it's hard to compile them all in my head. New characters, all with desperately sad stories, enter the scene and shake things up. Kei starts gaining some confidence, which leads to even better fight scenes and the aliens are bigger, badder and much more dangerous!! Sadly, this anime couldn't give a full end to the story (the manga is still on-going) but it did wrap things up in a semi-satisfying way.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season. You definitely have to watch the first season first. Things get a lot more mature in this season, so if you don't like your animes to focus on serious topics (rape and domestic abuse, to name a few) then this anime is not for you.
Best aspect: The last fight. Blew my mind.
Worst aspect: The last fight. WHY???
Favourite character: Hoi Hoi. What, the giant panda doesn't count? Fine then, I choose Hojo.
Garzey's Wing
Synopsis in one sentence: A guy gets sucked into an alternate world where he has to help a group of rebels win a war.
Now, I was challenged by LA to tackle this infamously bad three episode OVA series, and with that challenge I was encouraged to aim for a 1500 word review. But, sorry LA, I don’t think I'm gonna be able to do that. I don't think I've ever written a 1500 word review before, and I'm not going to make the first time I do that be for such a terrible piece of work. What's so terrible about this OVA? The dub. It's amazingly bad. If you got a group of newcomers to Garzey's Wing and got them to improvise a script while watching the OVA for the first time, you'd probably end up with something not too dissimilar from what this series actually uses. But I have this theory that this show was actually way too smart for us commoners to comprehend. I think that we're supposed to focus on the war and the dimension hopping because it distracts us from the real evil in this show: the dreaded Captain Obvious Syndrome. It's a secret plague that affects all the characters, but the writers were so cunning in hiding its existence that we almost don't realise the mysterious virus' presence. Silly us, thinking it's just poor script and abysmally sad character design that makes everyone so pathetic! It's actually Captain Obvious Syndrome! But if you look closely, you can see this dastardly disease working its magic. For example, this are the opening lines of the show:
"Aren't you hot in such heavy clothes? Why do you have to go back to your hometown now? You've failed the college entrance exam twice now." "It doesn’t matter. I will come back after I attend the class reunion pool party tomorrow, Rumiko." "You are so easy going."
I knew right from this fantastic example of dialogue prose that we were in for a fun ride. The characters in GW are too cool to just observe things; they've got to narrate everything for extra effect. And that's pretty much how this series runs: characters run around screaming out descriptions of everything they see to make it seem like the pathetic amount of action is way more exciting than it actually is. It's because of this completely unimaginative, mind bashingly dull dialogue that the characters are pretty impossible to like. They just talk and talk and... ugh, I swear their voices are going to haunt my dreams. But I loved the amazing background voices! </sarcasm> If you're curious about this show, watch the scene where they're travelling through the river and you'll get a perfect example of how this OVA handles its dubbing. Words could not do justice to the symphony of audio that the river scene produces. Moving on from the awful dubbing, the story was spectacularly average. Nothing that happens is explained (which is odd, considering how often the characters like to talk) and I was confused for 90% of the plot. Who cares about the characters? They were annoying and blah. The ending sucks, but what more could you expect of a creation of this calibre? A helpful tip: lower your expectations as low as you can because only then will you be able to squeeze some semblance of enjoyment out of Garzey's Wing. So thanks LA, for subjecting me to this jumble of... I don’t even know what this was. I wasn't able to reach the 1500 word quota, but here's 500 words. I hope you enjoy reading about my suffering and laughing at me you cruel, cruel person. >:(

Recommended for: Fans of the infamous titles... or fans of the crappy ones.
Best aspect: *laughs uncontrollably at the idea that this OVA has a good side*
Worst aspect: The voice acting, of course. I wonder if things are any better in Japanese...
Favourite character: Don't subject me to trying to choose from this load of awful.
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
Synopsis in one sentence: When Chiyo finally works up the courage to confess her love to her crush Nozaki, she bungles her words and he thinks she is confessing she knows he is a manga-artist-in-hiding, so he employs her as an artist.
Such a cute anime! As anime plots go, this is pretty familiar territory (person crushes on oblivious other, hilarity ensues), but while most shows have one of the leading pair as an adorable fool, Gekkan Shoujo makes ALL of the characters complete dorks. And it makes for fantastic viewing. Every character is funny, adorable, and easy to root for, which makes every scene enjoyable. The jokes are good, the stories easy to follow. The core romance is so enduring, made even more so because, as the viewer, you're right along Chiyo as she learns more about the man she crushes on. I enjoyed every minute of this show.
Recommended for: Romance and comedy fans. It's a similar tone to School Rumble, so if you enjoyed that show, try this one too. As of writing, this show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: The romance was adorable.
Worst aspect: Towards the end, the stories became a bit predictable. I would've liked some momentum within the plot, and a resolution at the end.
Favourite character: Nozaki. Such an idiot.
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows a group of Otakus as new members upset the balance of a university's anime club.
This show starts off slow, but as the characters open up, so does the story. It's a classic slice of life, with all the character study and development you could wish for from a show like this. It'll be a familiar story for anyone that's dipped their toe into the otaku life, with plots centred around cosplay, manga, cons and the like. It also gives some respectful attention to darker issues like anxiety or insecurity. In regards to the characters, I loved that they were treated as a full group, as opposed to a central character + their B cast. The episodes shift focus through the season; at first I thought Sasahara was the lead, only for the mid-section of the series to focus on Kasukabe's blossoming and then to end with the struggles of Madarame. There's still some untapped potential with the remaining members, so I look forward to what the Genshiken club has in store for future seasons. The three extra OVA that top off season 1 hint at more great relationship building in the future.
Recommended for: Slice of life fans.
Best aspect: I really liked Kasukabe's development. It was a subtle, yet noticeable change.
Worst aspect: I feel like some of the members faded into the background towards the second half.
Favourite character: Madarame
Genshiken 2
Synopsis in one sentence: The club continues with new members, leadership and goals.
I feel like this season was a bit slower than the first, and felt like it lacked real purpose. The graduated characters were almost non-existent and their replacements didn't have as much depth. The relationships were a bit stagnant, until they took sudden bounds forward in single episodes, which was disorienting. While the first season focused on introducing characters and exploring what being an otaku really is, I think Genshiken 2 didn't know what it wanted, so its muddled, day to day events were a bit boring to watch.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season. If the first season was too slow for you, you might want to miss this one.
Best aspect: Furthering the lives of the past students.
Worst aspect: Lack of interest in the new characters.
Favourite character: Saki's constant development
Genshiken Nidaime
Synopsis in one sentence: It's a whole new generation for the Genshiken club, with both old faces and new.
I think the third season of Genshiken was my favourite, because it really delved into its cast. The otaku goings on were secondary plot now, with the focus being on how the club effects the members and changes not only their lives, but their personalities and view of the world. I also really enjoyed the merging of the old and new characters, particularly in the clash of the new character, cross-dressing Hato, and the old character, Madarame. I think their budding friendship was my favourite part of the series. A solid follow up to the last two Genshiken, Nidaime is an interesting, sweet watch.
Recommended for: Fans of the last two seasons.
Best aspect: The cameos from past members and how they revealed how everyone's lives have developed.
Worst aspect: There were one or two new characters that I think the show did not have room for. They didn't ever develop past background furniture. Oh, and I was forever waiting for Kuchiki to get his own story, but it never happened.
Favourite character: Hato. I loved watching him grow
Girls und Panzer
Synopsis in one sentence: In a reality where schools live on giant ships, a group of girls join their school's tank driving club.
The potential for this series was great (what's with the propaganda-like world they live in/what's with all the tanks etc), but this potential fell by the wayside when it became clear we were only gonna focus on the basic, club portion of the show. The battles weren't as fun when it was obvious the main characters were always going to win with the power of friendship (*barfs*) and the characters were just as unexciting. This is just another show to add to the "high school girls with special abilities and love" category, with nothing to really make it stand out from every other show on that list.
Recommended for: Fans of school girls in action. Must be able to tolerate cheese.
Best aspect: The art was nice and crisp, especially in regards to the backgrounds.
Worst aspect: The characters were incredibly bland.
Favourite character: Reizei
Guilty Crown
Synopsis in one sentence: A boy named Shu meets a girl named Inori and discovers he has the ability to remove manifestations of people's hearts.
I've seen my fair share of supernatural action, secret organisation anime (*cough* 5pb's Science Adventure series *cough*) and stacked next to what I've already seen, Guilty Crown just does not measure up. The characters were nothing special and although the animation was good, even stunning in some places, the plot was jumbled and fluctuated between mind achingly slow and head spinningly rushed. There was nothing to hook me, which is why I'm putting this show on hold.
Recommended for: Adventure fans.
When I stopped: Episode 9.
Will I go back? I have no real desire to.
Gunslinger Girl
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows a secret organisation that trains young girls as assassins.
I really enjoyed that this show didn't turn this concept into a run of the mill girls-with-guns fan service fest. This fictional organisation is presented quite realistically, with no cute bouncy outfits to hide the fact that these girls specialize in death. There's plenty of fantastic development, lots of it focusing on the relationships between the girls and their handlers. I loved learning about the different struggles each girl faces as well as the problems their handlers face, and the story was fleshed out even more when we got to see what drives each character. Gunslinger Girl is an interesting and sometime macabre show, rife with conflict both physical and emotional in nature.
Recommended for: Action fans.
Best aspect: Each girl's individual story.
Worst aspect: Oddly enough, I was a bit bummed when the action distracted from the character arcs.
Favourite character: Claes
Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino-
Synopsis in one sentence: A story about another assassin, Pinocchio, starts to run parallel to the lives of the SWA girls.
With all the lead characters established, the second season of Gunslinger Girl branches out to the organisations that surround the Social Welfare Agency. The new character, Pinocchio, offers an interesting perspective on another side of the assassin life. I love when shows make me question what I know about the series, and I appreciated that Teatrino was able to do this while continuing to mold the characters I already knew. There's a sense of dread all throughout this season, as you know the SWA and Pinocchio stories are going to merge at any moment and, when they finally do, it's no disappointment. An interesting character study, Teatrino was a really fresh spin on the gunslinger girl story. If you liked the first season, this one is a must.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
Best aspect: Two different stories told as one.
Worst aspect: The beginning of the season was a little slow.
Favourite character: Pinocchio.
Gurren Lagann
Synopsis in one sentence: In a future where humans live underground, two brothers, Kamina and Simon, bust out to the surface and discover an ancient war between humans and robot-wielding "spirals".
This show is a full complete story, that chronicles the creation of a new era of humanity from its beginning, through it highs and its lows, and to its completion. It begins with the two brothers as a sort of a fun comedy romp with robot fights. Then something big happens and, just like the characters are changed, the story ramps up the intensity and suddenly we're in a darker plot, where the action seems much more scary. As the story progresses, we see relationships form and crumble, characters grow to make both good and bad choices, and civilisation form, collapse, reform, and everything in between. I thought the whole thing was fantastic. It sucked me in from the first big twist and after that every gut wrenching moment had my full attention. Plus, this show had some of the best character development I've ever seen and I am a SUCKER for great character treatment. The ending was perfect in the bittersweet way Gurren Lagann conducts all of its business and I was happy to see the story come to its natural conclusion. Applause all around.
Recommended for: Fans of action, drama, and character driven plot. Also a must see for Kill La Kill fans, as its helmed by the same team.
Best aspect: That the show treated war realistically. They were unabashed in acknowledging that people die, people make bad decisions, people freak out, and most of the time the situation is crap. There's no "magical power of love, woop!" in this show.
Worst aspect: So much sadness...
Favourite character: Kamina
Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends
Synopsis in one sentence: Kodaka Hasegawa joins a new school club where the objective is to learn how to make friends.
As a comedic slice of life, Haganai achieves exactly what it sets out to do: the characters are fun and the story is funny. Each episode focuses on a separate activity the group undertakes and watching the club member's relationships develop through these activities is fantastic. They learn more about the world around them, without even realizing how close they are becoming. However, some of the characters were so well crafted that they overshadowed some of the other cast members. Because the characters are the driving force behind the kind of lack-of-plot within this show, I'm gonna go over them one by one. First is the male lead Kodaka and let me tell you that it is awesome to have a male lead in a harem that has a working brain! Kodaka was well aware of the madness he found himself surrounded by and he served as a great grounding point when the story was a bit out of hand. The female lead, Yozora, is not as dynamic. As someone who is introduced as a feisty girl with an imaginary friend, Yozora sure does manage to make herself look dull. There's nothing about her that I haven't seen in a harem before: she's type A tsundere. She's also surrounded by a sort of mystery, but it's got such a predicatble ending that there was almost no point to her backstory in the first place. And let's not even get started on the fact that the reveal of her story was so anticlimactic that it pretty much spoiled the last few episodes! The other leading lady is the beautiful Sena, who's one of the best female anime characters I have seen in a while. She starts off as a vain girl, turns into a clumsy goof and still manages to remain as a level headed, kind person. Sena was so loveable and realistic that I'm disappointed she wasn't the main female as opposed to Yozora. Her main function was to be a development catalyst for Yozora, but I think that idea backfired and made Sena only more likeable. You see, Yozora is constantly preying on Sena's hopeful naivety because she's jealous of the incredibly popular girl. I get that that's typical tsundere behaviour – "I can't handle my feelings, so I'll be mean" – but it made Yozora very unlikable. Am I supposed to support a girl who picks on an evolving character because she is insecure? That behavior is bullying 101. The side characters are also a mixed bag. First is Kobato, Kodaka's little sister. She could've easily been the typical clingy sibling, but she was treated with an obsession for a vampire show, which made her a fun, original personality. Genius, third person talking Rika came next, and her surprising penchant for erotica added a new dimension to the show. Effeminate Yukimara was an interesting idea (he joined in the hope of learning how to be manlier from Kodaka) but he faded into the background pretty quickly. The final member is club supervisor Maria, who I found annoying beyond compare. Phew, this is a long review... but my point is Haganai is full of hits and misses. It's the fresh, innovate characters (Kodaka, Sena, Rika etc) that make the story shine, only for the anime to be dulled by the same old, same old antics of Yozora and some of the support cast. I'll look forward to further development in future seasons, and hope that the teething problems of the first season are sorted out.
Recommended for: Harem, school and comedy fans. The whole show is about trying to make friends, so if you relate to that, then you might enjoy this show.
Best aspect: Comedy.
Worst aspect: Some of the characters. Also, the final episode, which also serves as an OVA. Am I supposed to laugh at jokes about rape? Really?
Favourite character: Sena.
Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends NEXT
Synopsis in one sentence: The gang are back, pretty much doing the exact same thing as before.
The second season of Haganai was both different and the same. For the most part, what you got in the first season is repeated here: the Neighbours Club do random events to try and make friends. What made this season a little different, however, was the changing personality of the series. In this season, the characters felt duller, less crazy. In my last review I complained of favoritism of some of the cast, but this season has the problem of not pushing any one person to the forefront. Everyone had their moments, but they were so fleeting that I wasn't really sure what the overarching focus of NEXT was. Another change I had a problem with was the sudden appearance of adult themes. Now, I don't mind raunchy stuff (hell, I got through, Panty and Stocking, didn't I?) but in Haganai the sex, swearing and violence felt out of place. The first season presented itself as a high school harem comedy, and I was more than thrown off when the second season was full of such... heaviness. I was especially uncomfortable with the sexual themes, as it looked like the writers weren't quite sure where the line between playful teasing and sexual harassment was. >_> The one shining beacon in this season was the incredible development they gave Rika. She really matured as a character, culminating in her great confrontation of Kodaka in the final. She became a truly enjoyable, honest person that anchored the tedious clichés found in the love triangle of the three leads.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season. Be warned that there is more (but not frequent) cursing and out of place sexual moments.
Best aspect: Although it ended on a weird cliff hanger, I appreciated how organic the ending was. It was a very realistic way for the club to progress.
Worst aspect: The lack of excitement.
Favourite character: Rika
Synopsis in one sentence: A prequel to the Barakamon series that follows the high school struggles of Handa.
I feel like there are two rules of my anime watching that are consistently proven right to me. One: A high school setting snaps my already thin patience for slice of life in half. Two: Spin-offs are never as good as the parent series. Handa-kun flipped both those rules on their heads. Handa-kun is a situational comedy that feeds off the massive amount of miscommunication that occurs every time Handa interacts with his classmates. Not only is the comedy some of the best I've ever seen in an anime, but all the characters are fully realised and the plot has a strong purpose. On top of all this, Handa-kun even touches on living with anxiety and the very real complications that exist when your conscious is working against you. Wrap all those together, and Handa-kun was a highly enjoyable watch, which was surprising, as I remember my feelings for Barakamon being a bit lacklustre. With a great protagonist and an incredibly strong supporting cast, Handa-kun made me glad to give the Barakamon universe another chance.
Recommended for: Fans of slice of life, high school anime, and comedies. I didn't remember much from Barakamon when watching Handa-kun, so I don't think familiarity with Handa is required for watching Handa-kun.
Best aspect: I loved that none of the comedy came from making jokes out of the characters. Sure they were silly people, but everything they did came from kindness, which made their stupidity a laugh with instead of at kind of enjoyability.
Worst aspect: I didn't get the character of Kawafuji. Was he supposed to be a funny character or a villain? I felt it was kind of glossed over that he pretty much ruined Handa's life for his own selfishness. But then we're supposed to believe he's Handa's most trustworthy friend? I don't get it.
Favourite character: Kondo.
Heaven’s Memo Pad
Synopsis in one sentence: High school student Fujishima is dragged into being a member of the aptly named NEET detective agency.
A promising idea that fell victim to character clichés and trying too hard to be edgy. For such a short series, HMP really drew it's plots out, so much so that by their conclusion I had already tired of what they were trying to accomplish. The first episode introduced a flurry of interesting scene stealing characters, but most of them fell by the wayside in favour of the dullest character of the show (the lead) and the most predictable (the NEET leader Alice). Unfortunately, this show didn't quite manage to hook me, but for fans of the mystery genre, Heaven's Memo Pad might just be up your alley.
Recommended for: Anyone who likes detectives and the outcast character.
Best aspect: The final arc had a couple promising moments.
Worst aspect: I didn't find any of the mysteries exciting.
Favourite character: Major
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows a new recruit into the Hellsing organization, which uses vampires to fight against other evil vampires.
I like the idea for this show and I will definitely watch it again, but right now its story is not holding up to the other shows I'm watching. I've never been that interested in politically charged shows, which is Hellsing's main focus and the characters haven’t done anything that makes me want to stick around. The villains are also a bit cliché at the moment, and coupled with the horrid, HORRRID voice acting (I'm watching dub, BTW), I've got too many reasons not to keep going on with this show.
Recommended for: Fans of the brutal vampire genre.
When I stopped: Episode 7.
Will I go back? Yes.
Hetalia: Axis Powers
Synopsis in one sentence: The countries of the world are portrayed as humans, as short clips depict the events of WWII in comedic form.
When starting this show I had quite a few reservations; I was mainly worried that the characters would be cringe-inducingly awkward when it came to the events of WWII, cause let's be honest and admit that when you think of comedic material you don't immediately think "war". All my fears were for naught, luckily, as Hetalia: Axis Powers somehow manages to address some of the world's biggest conflicts in an entertaining way. The first 20 episodes I was a little bored by the show, to be honest. The first problem was that I wasn't familiar with some of the stereotypes the show likes to poke fun at, such as Italy being a coward, when I thought France were the scaredy cats. Because of this I missed quite a few of the jokes, and my very sparse knowledge of war time didn't make things any easier. The second problem was the two main characters, Italy and Germany. Italy I found annoying as hell, and I got sick of seeing him on screen. Germany was a likable guy, but I was a little let down by how easy they let Germany off. All of the other country's wartime efforts were twisted in a ridiculously ludicrous way, but I felt like Germany's part in the war was swept under the rug. The same happened with Japan when he was introduced. I mean, if there's two countries that come to mind when you think of WW2 aren't they Germany and Japan? The writers weren't afraid to push the boundaries when it came to any of the other countries, but with the two big bads of WW2 they completely skirted around any negative things. I felt that was a bit of a cop out. Anyway, after episode 20 or so I began to get into the swing of the show. It was around here that other characters were introduced, which made the jokes much more relatable for me. Some of my favorites were frat boy America, always forgotten Canada and the desperate-to-be-taken-seriously Sealand. Once you're familiar with the different character's personalities you're able to enjoy their stories better, even if you don't understand the nods to history behind them. By the end I was laughing out loud at the jokes, and had come to really love some of the various countries. It takes a while to warm up, but once Hetalia gets going it's a great comedy anime that makes almost no sense, but that's the reason it's so awesome!
Recommended for: Comedy fans. There are hints of yaoi, so if you don't like that give this a miss. And, as I said, I thought Italy was freaking annoying, so if single characters can ruin series for you, you might want to avoid this show as well. If you're concerned about Hetalia being too history oriented, don't worry because I have zero interest in that stuff and I still found the show enjoyable. :)
Best aspect: The length of the episodes. The 5 minute bursts of comedy were a perfect length to stop the story from becoming too dreary.
Worst aspect: The heavily Italy themed episodes of the first part of the season.
Favourite character: Poor little Canada.
Hetalia: World Series
Synopsis in one sentence: The old cast are back to forge awkward relationships with some new faces.
World Series is set up in the same format as the first season: random stories spliced together to form an episode. However, I didn't enjoy this series as much as its predecessor. The main reason for this was the lack of character development. We're already familiar with the principal cast and they don't really change at all, which makes all the comedy a little repetitive. There were a bunch of new characters but I found most of them to be carbon copies of characters we were already familiar with. In other words, I spent the majority of this season confused because I had no idea who was who. What I will commend is that the principal cast was heckled a bit more, which was one of the things I was disappointed about from the first season. With no clear direction this season was a bit disorienting, but it did retain most of the Hetalia charm, so fans of the show won't be disappointed.
Recommended for: Hetalia fans.
Best aspect: Comedy, as always
Worst aspect: Similar character designs and personalities confuse me. :(
Favourite character: Germany. The more I see him, the more I like him. I'll also give a shout out to Egypt, who was the one character I was happy was added to the cast.
Hetalia: Beautiful World
Synopsis in one sentence: More antics from the countries of the world.
There's nothing new in this set of Hetalia; expect the same as before. I got a bit bored with the series and would've liked something to spice things up, or at least a linear storyline to keep my attention. The jokes are getting a bit old, so if you're not a lifetime member of the Hetalia bandwagon by now, I don't think this season is gonna do much to change your mind.
Recommended for: Hetalia fans.
Best aspect: The moments where Italy is the lead.
Worst aspect: Nothing new.
Favourite character: Italy
Hetalia: The World Twinkle
Synopsis in one sentence: More antics from both new and old Hetalia characters.
At this point this series is all in-jokes about either Hetalia canon or historical events, neither of which I have much interest in. As the cast expands, I have real trouble distinguishing characters from each other and the somewhat Japanese-favourable spin on history is starting to tire me. If I continue with Hetalia in future, it will be out of habit only.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. I think this season sticks up quite well with the rest of the series, I just think it didn't work for me because this isn't my kind of humour.
Best aspect: I liked the micro-country episodes, because I learnt about some interesting places I didn't know about.
Worst aspect: The episode about America's first trip to Africa and the hilarious hijinks that ensued.
Favourite character: Sealand.
Highschool of the Dead
Synopsis in one sentence: When a zombie plague strikes, a group of high schoolers band together to survive.
If you've heard of HSotD, you probably know one thing about it: it's heavy with the fan service. That's all I knew when I went into this show. I went expecting panties everywhere and bouncing chests and all that cheesiness. I think it's because of these expectations that I actually didn't think the show was that fanservicey. I was super surprised to find that I loved the characters and their stories. I was amped for each new episode, waiting to see what tragedy would befall the cast next. The friendships were great, the battle for survival harsh. I was excited by what HSotD had to offer. And then episode 6 came. And everything went spiraling down the drain. From this episode onwards, I was uncomfortable. Just like I'd originally anticipated, chests were flying around, skirts flying up and only the male characters were allowed to do anything because the girls were too busy falling over for simpering panty shots. Except things were worse than I imagined. Girls were naked. Bathing together. I swear chest sizes doubled. At some point all the females decided not to wear clothes anymore. It's a zombie apocalypse and they decide to run around in underwear? At no point is their logic or reason for shedding clothes adressed. They introduced a young girl for the lolicon fans, and there's even a special scene for those that like golden showers. I'm used to fanservice. I think it's a cheap gimmick indicative of poor writing, but whatever, it exists. But in this show, the fan service made me really uncomfortable. And I don't mean that as a turn of phrase: the fanservice in this show actually made me upset. I just... I was really bummed with the turn this show took. Oh, and if you're wondering about the story behind all that cheap, tasteless crap, there's not much to talk about. There was no resolution and it ended like 90% of other zombie films. It wasn't scar yeither. I'm terrified of zombies and absolutely nothing in this show shook me. Don't get your hoeps up.
Recommended for: Extreme fanservice fans. If you can't stand fanservice, you will not be able to stomach this show.
Best aspect: The story when they were in the high school.
Worst aspect: Do I really have to say it? It's pretty obvious what I think, right? How about another bonus gripe? The chests were so big on this show that thsoe girls would have major back problems. Big boobs are one thing, but when they're so big someone could literally not carry them around without some sort of portable tray, that's over the top.
Favourite character: Kohta before Alice was added to the group and he was suddenly acting like a predator.
Higurashi When They Cry
Synopsis in one sentence: A small village is haunted by a legend that hints that death is going to occur when their upcoming festival is held.
Higurashi is an anthology type series, meaning that every four or so episodes, the story is reset and a completely different set of events unfolds. For the first arc, I was hooked. Things got grisly, fast, and boy were things unpredictable! By the time the last episode of the mini arc rolled around, I was desperate for answers! Then the story changed and, while the victims and perpetrators may have been shuffled around (it's always the same characters, setting, and time, just a different story) things ended in the same style. Rinse and repeat and by the end of the third arc I was kind of bored. Where was the suspense if I knew that it would always end in tragedy? Why would I care about the characters when I'd seen them all that their ugliest? I contemplated dropping the show, but then things were switched up. Yes, the story reset again, but this time we were treated to a different viewpoint on an arc we'd already seen. With every reset this happened, each episode unfolding different events that came together in a mish mash of puzzle pieces that could be put together to form the answers I wanted. By the final quarter of the show I didn’t even care if things always ended the same, because I was wrapped up in the same questions all the villagers were asking. Why was this happening? Could it be stopped? Is the supernatural really to blame? Is any of it even real? The show was mystery done well, painted colourfully by a healthy dose of insanity and gore. I learnt that the trick is not to expect answers; once you’ve accepted that, Higurashi is one crazy, creepy and mind mending heck of a ride.
Recommended for: Supernatural horror fans. There's gore galore, so skip if you're queasy.
Best aspect: Putting all the pieces together.
Worst aspect: There were a couple episodes that were 90% slice of life and they just felt so out of place.
Favourite character: Shion.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai
Synopsis in one sentence: As the mysteries in the village continue, Rika sets out to try and bring happiness.
In this second season, all the questions brought on by the first season are sought out and answered. It was good to have an overarching story for this season, as the season was stronger and wasted much less time with things like filler or repetitive dialogue. The downside of having a clear plot goal in mind is that some of the mystique of the show was ruined. What I enjoyed about Higurashi was the constant questioning of reality. Was this just a group of psycho children? Is this down to some demented political order? But this season came out and straightened everything, turning it into an action show instead of a supernatural thriller. There was also an addition of a new character that I thought was a little dull and ruined the dynamic of the original group a little. Take away those few qualms, though, and you've got another strong season that surprised me at multiple junctions. It was great to have all the mysteries pulled together and solved.
Recommended for: Higurashi fans. There's little gore in this season, but it's still present. Also, this season has not been dubbed.
Best aspect: Loved the reveal of the true villain.
Worst aspect: The magic stuff.
Favourite character: Rika.
Humanity Has Declined
Synopsis in one sentence: Humanity has, ahem, declined and now much of its survival depends on mysterious faeries and the relationship between them and their human liaison.
This show is a cute slice of life, but can be a little hard to get into. My advice before watching is to just roll with the punches, cause this show is wacky and out there... but I'm pretty sure that the self-harming piece of living toast in the first episode might've tipped you off to that anyway. Humanity Has Declined is a collection of stories about an unnamed girl whose job is to investigate strange occurrences that may have to do with tricky (and adorable) little creatures known as faeries. The faeries have a habit of throwing her in the deep end of crazy, much as this series does to the viewer. As with most multi-story shows, each mini-arc is hit and miss. Some I found boring, some confusing, and some I loved. The weirdest choice I thought the show made, though, was putting all the backstory to the show in the penultimate episodes. They were a great intro to the fae and the bleak world the series is set in, and I think they would've been much better earlier in the series, to provide some context to what was going on. But this is a fun show in the end, and if you want something wacky and silly and fun, Humanity Has Declined is for you.
Recommended for: Slice of life or magic fans. This show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: I loved the animation. It's all pastel, the sweetness of which offsets the sometimes bleak story, and the weird, little doll design of the faeries achieved the same effect.
Worst aspect: The misplacement of the backstory episodes and lack of character development.
Favourite character: I liked the sensible nature of the heroine and any time a fairy was on screen, I was happy.
Hunter x Hunter: Hunter Exam Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: In a world of monsters and magic, we follow a group of applicants to the exam that rewards its successors with a license to take on the many adventures their world has to offer.
I watched this show because I have heard so so so so so much hype about how amazing it is. All I can say is: the hype is deserved. I have rarely been so enthralled by a series so quickly. Characters, puzzles, stakes, emotion... all of it was ON POINT. The twists and turns were amazing; I was kept on my toes through the whole arc. Fantastic world-building lends itself to wonderful challenges and easily loveable characters that have me so excited to see where this series goes.
Recommended for: Action and fantasy fans. I was reminded of my love for One Piece throughout the viewing, so if you like that series, give this one a go too.
Best aspect: The trials were awesome, every one!
Worst aspect: Blanked for a bit on this one. I suppose I was bit confused about Killua, because he looks like a girl, sounds like a girl, but... isn't? I wish they'd chosen a different VA (I watched the dub), because I was surprised every time someone called him a him.
Favourite character: Probably Gon, because he is a worthy anchor for the show. I would choose Leorio, but he needed a bit more screen time imo.
Hunter x Hunter: Zoldyck Family Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio travel to Killua's family home in a rescue attempt.
A very short arc, barely one in fact. But in the few episodes this arc spans, Hunter x Hunter continues from strength to strength, setting up new and future adversaries, emotional stakes, and what I'm beginning to think of as this series' trademark: awesome battles. I think it says a lot that this series makes me exciting to have characters introduced, as each one is interesting and exciting in their own way. I was a bit disappointed with the anti-climax of this arc, but I hope that my disappointment here will be paid back tenfold in excitement later down the track. With this series, I would expect nothing less.
Recommended for: Fans of Hunter x Hunter.
Best aspect: The glimpses of Killua's family.
Worst aspect: Short and no climax.
Favourite character: Leorio. I dunno, I'm just rooting for that guy.
Hunter x Hunter: Heavens Arena Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Gon and Killua enter a fighting arena in the hopes of growing their strengths before returning to Yorknew.
Another strong story from the Hunter x Hunter series, though this one focuses more on world building than the mystery/character building we've seen so far. This doesn't weaken the plot thankfully, but it does make a few episodes feel a bit tiresome due to their info dump-y nature. Still, an imperfect Hunter X Hunter arc is stronger than many other anime, so Heavens Arena was still an enjoyable ride.
Recommended for: Fans of Hunter X Hunter.
Best aspect: The fights. There were some very interesting opponents in the arena.
Worst aspect: I did miss Leorio and Kurapika.
Favourite character: Hisoka.
Hunter x Hunter: Yorknew City Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The gang meets up again in the city of Yorknew, in time for the biggest auction of the year, where they hope to work towards completing the goals of Kurapika and Gon.
It's action time! After a few arcs of build-up, we finally start to make progress on Kurapika's revenge and Gon's search for his father. And action there is! We are finally introduced to the mysterious and foreboding Phantom Troupe, as well as learn more of Hisoka's intentions, all with an underlying layer of information about the workings of Yorknew and what being a Hunter can mean. The arc kicks off with a heavy layer of fighting and loss, and doesn't slow down from there. The plotting of the characters, the ruthlessness of the villains, and the growth of the protagonists makes a totally awesome story that kept up my complete adoration for the show. Amazing, start to finish.
Recommended for: Hunter x Hunter fans.
Best aspect: I loved the total helplessness of the mafia bosses. So arrogant and so outclassed.
Worst aspect: Why do they insist on making me like characters before subjecting them to terrible fates? Don't play with my emotions like that!
Favourite character: Kurapika. He kicked ass.
Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Still searching for his father, Gon heads into the infamous hunter game called Greed Island and, Gon being Gon, is immediately dragged into a dangerous plot involving murder.
I didn't enjoy this arc as much as its predecessors, simply because it started off very infodump-y and I struggled to keep up with all that was being established. It was a fast moving plot, with lots of different storylines converging together, which made for both thrills and confusion. I think a longer episode number and a slower pace would've been a benefit. This, however, does not mean that the arc was not enjoyable. Far from it. Classic Hunter x Hunter twists, cunning, and strategy make this another edge-of-your-seat arc, and even though the villains weren't particularly intimidating IMO, the stakes were high enough to keep me interested and the plot was, once again, a winner. Overall, a bit of polishing would've made this arc perfect, but the version we have is still a fantastic continuation of an incredibly strong series.
Recommended for: Hunter x Hunter fans.
Best aspect: Loved the dodgeball game.
Worst aspect: The whole card system was too much at once for me.
Favourite character: Gon
Hunter × Hunter: Chimera Ant arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Gon meets his father's friend and is quickly swept up in a pandemic of monstrous bug-people that are trying to achieve world domination.
It seems that I have met my first HxH stumbling block. This arc I just found... odd and it's probably one I wouldn't want to watch again. The villains were the main problem. At their introduction they were brutal, which was shocking but ramped up the stakes in a compelling way. This was, however, uncut by what I consider to be terrible designs. The ants just looked so stupid I couldn't take them seriously. And the voices were so 80's cartoon villain that the whole thing felt so cheap and comical. I really didn't like it. In the middle of the arc a new set of foes are introduced and I think things picked up a bit here, but with the second act came the beginning of a kind of redemption arc for the ants which was so jarring for me. You can't spend the first half of a story showing me how disgusting these things are and then expect me to sympathise with them for the second half. The main battle seemed to never end and then when it did end everything just felt so brushed under the rug and unsatisfying. I just wasn't feeling it this go around. I hope the next arc has more to offer.
Recommended for: Fans of the show. Despite my complaints, I wouldn't recommend skipping this because there's quite a bit of character development for our main hero.
Best aspect: I know this sounds like the complete opposite of what I've said so far, but the fate of the king did get to me. I may have teared up a little. I still think it was a lame way to end what is probably the worst monster Gon has encountered so far, but the king's growth was one of the best aspects of the season, so I'll give 'em that.
Worst aspect: All tell no show. Seriously, the endless narration was so annoying. There were some episodes that were more audiobook than they were TV show! Really sucked the wind of the action's sails.
Favourite character: Komugi
Hunter × Hunter: 13th Hunter Chairman Election arc
Synopsis in one sentence: As Gon teeters on the brink of death, an election is held for the next chairman of the hunter's association.
A very short arc that kinda threw me off when it ended because I didn't know that it was gonna be THE end. My Hunter X Hunter journey is over! :( It's because this is the end of this anime that the election arc fell short for me. I was very interested in the newly introduced characters and the new power struggles that were hinted at, but it seems a waste of airtime when it's not going to lead anywhere. Lucky that is only one of the plots this arc, with the saving of Gon making up for the other's faults. Killua's quest was so much fun and I loved the introduction of his sibling. The stakes felt very real and the obstacles dire, and then everything was resolved in such an enjoyable way. It was a great resolution to Gon and Killua's story, though I'm really bummed there's not more of this show to watch.
Recommended for: Fans of the series.
Best aspect: The ensemble cast working together. The little glimpses of everyone were greatly appreciated.
Worst aspect: After all that hype, Gon meeting his father was very anticlimactic imo.
Favourite character: Illumi. Such a cool character concept.
Inu X Boku SS
Synopsis in one sentence: A girl named Ririchiyo moves into an apartment building and meets her frustratingly loyal bodyguard Miketsukami.
I really wish this show wasn't marketed via the dominant/submissive art that's being splashed everywhere, because I feel like that doesn't give a full impression of what this show is about. Now, I'm not going to reveal too much, cause I watched the first episode thinking the show was just about a romance and I was super surprised when I found what the show was actually focused on. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that the side stories are interesting and fun to watch. But enough about all that. The real heart of Inu X Boku is the fantastic character treatment. This is done by making sure the characters don't fall into stereotypes. Leading lady Ririchiyo is a typical tsundere, but it only takes a few episodes to realize that we're not going to spend the entire season watching her yell at people. We get to see the world from Ririchiyo's eyes, and learn what she thinks about the way she acts, while also traveling with her as she attempts to admit to her feelings instead of run from them as tsunderes usually do. The side cast also develops in similar fashions, so you come to expect the unexpected because no one is as they seem. It's because of this that I became so emotionally invested in the budding relationships of not only the leads, but everyone that surrounds them. This was a super fun show, with lots of comedy and some sadness as well. If you like your love stories quirky, this is your show!
Recommended for: Supernatural, romance, and comedy fans.
Best aspect: Character design, wholeheartedly.
Worst aspect: The first half of the show was a little slow.
Favourite character: Roromiya. I really cannot get over how adorable this girl is.


Title Review Rating
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The story of a man named Jojo and his supernatural rivalry with his adopted brother.
So I decided to watch this because it's hyped all over the place and... I don't get it? It's just so much. So camp, so loud, so ridiculous. It had the same energy as a cliché Saturday morning cartoon, as if made for the attention of span of children. But then the material was way too rough for young audiences? It's not even so ridiculous it's fun, it's just OTT and predictable and corny. I dunno, I guess I'll just go back to my first sentence and brush this off as one I don't get. There's definitely a fandom for this out there, so maybe if I plod on a little bit I'll get what I'm supposed to get.
Recommended for: Shounen fans. There is animal abuse early on, which I wish I'd known about before I'd started watching. :(
Best aspect: Getting context for a lot of memes.
Worst aspect: I kind of hated all the characters.
Favourite character: I guess Jojo. You've gotta root for the hero, right?
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Generations after the first Jojo's story, we meet a new Jojo as he takes on the dangerous mask with his own special abilities.
My feelings on this arc are pretty similar to my feelings on the first, sorry to say. I found the conflict of this arc much more interesting and the side characters were more memorable, but Jojo annoyed the hell out of me. It's just hard for me to get into a show with so much action when none of that action has any stakes because everything is just deus ex machina after deus ex machina. It's just too much cheese for me. I've been so perplexed by this show's popularity that I've been googling what people like about it and apparently it gets better as it goes on, so I'll keep trucking on in the hopes of falling in love, I guess.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season. Each arc is a new story, so you could pick and choose which ones you want to watch, I think. You might miss some history, but this show loves exposition so much that I don't think it'll effect things too much.
Best aspect: I love the band inspired names.
Worst aspect: Jojo is insufferable.
Favourite character: Lisa Lisa
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The next Jojo teams up with his grandfather to travel across the world in the hopes of defeating Dio once and for all and saving Jojo's mother.
I tried, I really did, but this show has become such a chore that I have to stop. The Jojo's are barely likeable, the side characters end up the same way over and over, the way women are written on this show is atrocious, and too much animal abuse. I'm over it! If this show does improve I won't be around to see it. I think I'm gonna chalk this up to what I said in my first review: I just don't get Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.
Recommended for: Fans of the previous seasons.
When I stopped: Episode 28.
Will I go back? No
Synopsis in one sentence: A high school boy is hunted down by supernatural gangs when he is framed for murder.
A good show with a strong mystery driving the story. I felt like the first half of the show was kind of slow, with lots of slice of life padding, and then the second half was super quick, so the pacing could've been better. The characters were all interesting in their own rights, but the Homra crew were the most interesting, so they distracted me from the main characters. The conclusion was great and I also loved the graphics, but there wasn't much that made K stand out from the supernatural mystery shows I have seen before.
Recommended for: Mystery and supernatural fans. This show reminds me of the .5pub science adventure series (minus the science) and Eden of the East.
Best aspect: Loved character design.
Worst aspect: The story dragged on in the middle.
Favourite character: Yata.
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
Synopsis in one sentence: At an elite school, the two head students engage in daily battles of wit to try and prevent admitting they love each other to one another.
I was really looking forward to this one because I heard good things about it. I thought I was in for exciting battles of smarts, volleying back and forth and escalating to bigger and better heights as the series. I was pretty disappointed when, by episode 2, I had realized this was NOT a physiological romp: it was a romance. And I’ve had my fair of enjoyable anime romances, but this one was the bad kind: predictable. Quickly I knew that every episode was going to be the same formula, with no anticipation because it was obvious what the end result was going to be. The final episodes of the first season change the format slightly in a way that’s supposed to be a crescendo of the plot, but instead to me it just felt like the inevitable end I’d been expecting since episode 2. This show is for those who want to lose themselves in the ship, squeeing over each cute interaction. I am not one of those people, so I will not be watching further.
Recommended for: Romance and shipping fans. The delivery tells me this is also supposed to be a comedy, but I’m not sure because it didn’t make me laugh.
Best aspect: The ending rescue was cute
Worst aspect: Repetitive
Favourite character: Kaguya
Kaze no Stigma
Synopsis in one sentence: The fire wielding Kunagi clan is thrown out of wack when the disinherited heir to their family line returns with the power to wield wind.
I liked the premise of Kaze no Stigma and I was not disappointed by the show... for the first 10 or so episodes. What initially started off as a battle of wits between two types of magic, tainted with mysterious spirits and the aloof nature of the disgraced heir Kazuma, soon became a predictable romance with one of the most annoying female leads I have seen in a while. A few story arcs in I realised that I just wasn't paying attention anymore, so I'm putting this one on the back burner for now.
Recommended for: Action and supernatural fans.
When I stopped: Episode 17.
Will I go back? Yeah, cause I haven't got many episodes left.
Kill La Kill
Synopsis in one sentence: Seeking revenge for the death of her father, Ryuko Matoi enrols in a school where people wear uniforms that give them special powers.
A great action anime that kicks off with a bang! There's plenty of fight scenes and a strong mythology, with a cast of fantastic characters to gel everything together. The middle did lag a bit and the big villain reveal was kind of left field (and their motives were kind of wacko) but the conclusion makes up for that with bucket loads of awesomely amazing fights and plans and superpowers and all around mind blowing-ness. It can seem a little off the wall at times, but once you get into Kill La Kill's groove, you’re in for one heck of a ride!
Recommended for: Fans of action and crazy characters. It's also a must see for fans of Gurren Lagann, as it's made by the same people and has the same tone and sense of excitement. Oh, and there's a whole lot of blood, so if you are squeamish, you might find the action scenes a chore.
Best aspect: The comedy.
Worst aspect: When it made things a bit too dark (you know, that scene).
Favourite character: Mako. Adorable to the max.
Kokoro Connect
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of friends are harassed by an unknown being who forces them into a series of magical situations, such as swapping bodies, reversing their ages, and reading each other's thoughts.
This season could almost be split into arcs by the powers that were in use for each episode. The first few powers really intrigued me, especially with how they forced the characters to develop and stretched the boundaries of their friendships to the limits. The mix of supernatural and dramatic elements were very captivating. However, in the latter half of the series, I felt the characters grating on me. They acted brashly and a bit out of character for what I'd been taught about them so far, which made the stories around them frustrating. Also, the romance aspect of things was a confusing mess. I left the show having lost the soft spot I'd had for the characters in the first couple "arcs", which overall sullied my memory of the show.
Recommended for: Shows that explore character relationships.
Best aspect: The characters all having their own, distinct personalities.
Worst aspect: That those personalities became so muddled as the series progressed.
Favourite character: Kiriyama
K-On!: Season 1
Synopsis in one sentence: School girls form a band.
This show pretty much confirmed what I've suspected for some time now: I really don't like slice-of-life anime. The quintessential staple of the series, each episode of K-On! follows this group of girls acting out all the mundane, from shopping to homework. Without wanting to harsh the buzz for any fans of the show, I'll just state that I thought this show was boring beyond boring and I won't return for further seasons.
Recommended for: Slice of life fans.
Best aspect: I feel like this would be a perfect anime for those who love slice of life, so it's got that going for it.
Worst aspect: The characters are tropes and the jokes were lame.
Favourite character: I liked that one girl's (I can barely differentiate the characters from each other) big sister.
Koro-Sensei Q!
Synopsis in one sentence: A reimagining of Assassination Classroom, set in a rpg-esque fantasy world.
I don't have a very favourable view of comedy reimagining's of series as they're often lacking the comedy they're created for, but this show really pulled through. The base plot of the story is pretty much the same as the original show (class E has to kill Korosensei or he'll destroy the world) and I think doing that allowed the show to focus on packing the story full of in-jokes and world rules that kept an already told story fresh. The series made me laugh quite a few times, I enjoyed the chibi animation, and I'm very pleased to say that my love for the Assassination Classroom franchise is intact.
Recommended for: Fans of the original series. I don't think you'll understand this show without first experiencing its parent.
Best aspect: The ways in which they incorporated the fantasy setting and the jokes they made pointing it out.
Worst aspect: A new kind of special power thing was introduced, which I thought was a really interesting way to rework the assassin format. Unfortunately, this system was barely implemented or explored outside a few characters.
Favourite character: Karma
Kujibiki Unbalance
Synopsis in one sentence: The background show of Genshiken gets the full series treatment, with a story about a group of friends and a crazy school.
An alright show that offsets standard slice of life fair with supernatural hijinks and wacky characters. I, surprisingly, enjoyed this show, despite its simple premise. I think you just have to go expecting a simple show and then the random twists (aliens, anyone?) will be like little bursts of fun that keep things interesting. A good show overall.
Recommended for: Anyone in the mood for something light. For Genshiken fans, you should def watch this before Genshiken 2, so you get the references made in the second season of Kujibiki's parent show.
Best aspect: I liked the ending.
Worst aspect: The main cast were like a collection of clichés.
Favourite character: The president.
La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia
Synopsis in one sentence: The leader of a gang with supernatural powers announces a competition in which the winner will be named the new leader of their family and given his daughter's hand in marriage.
La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia (man, that's a mouthful of a title) is led by a strong cast of characters, all of which shine in their own way. Supernatural abilities are introduced right away, with a unique theme to tie the interesting powers together. It's a shame because I felt like the potential to work these two elements (strong characters and interesting magic) was dropped in favour of a coming of age love triangle. There were a couple characters that I felt were ignored, which made the focus on three sort of basic characters kind of annoying. It also ruined the story a bit, because it was obvious which way things were going to go. A lot of plot points were also very rushed and their full impact was not felt. But towards the end things were better and the final episode was an unexpected, yet fitting conclusion. With that in mind, I can look back and say that this was a fun and rewarding show to watch.
Recommended for: Supernatural slice of life fans.
Best aspect: The character design.
Worst aspect: They made the lead girl so pathetic.
Favourite character: I would've liked more screen time for Luca.
Last Exile
Synopsis in one sentence: About a group of pilots that get mixed up in a war between two nations.
I didn't think I'd like this anime, but I was pleasantly surprised! At first, I was a bit overwhelmed about having to learn about the politics of the two nations and for a while I kind of had no idea what was going on, but about a third of the way into the series, things really got interesting. The introduction of new pilots really imporved the story and the actions sequences were really great! The friendship between the two main characters was a good source of conflict and the ending was a mixture of sadness, happiness and action!
Recommended for: Action or war fans.
Best aspect: Character design was awesome, really interesting outfits and personalities.
Worst aspect: A lot of technical jargon, which I'm not really into.
Favourite character: Dio. Birthday songs, FTW!
Lucky Star
Synopsis in one sentence: A slice of life about a group of girls in school.
I'm not really a slice of life fan, so I don't think this show was for me. It's basically just following the girls through various days and interactions and I found it kind of boring. The comedy was pretty predictable and I was disappointed in the lack of character development. What I did like about this series was the round up mini-show "Lucky Channel" at the end of each episode. It's hosted by two background characters called Akira and Minoru and the dynamic those two characters have was the highlight of each episode. Akira is a cutie pie who switches from bubbly presenter to disillusioned cynic, while Minoru is the boy-next-door struggling as he's thrust into the spotlight of the show. These few minutes shorts had everything the show lacked: proper storyline, comedy, character development, interesting characters. I loved Lucky Channel, but not Lucky Star.
Recommended for: Slice of life fans.
Best aspect: Lucky Channel
Worst aspect: I found the main cast pretty dull.
Favourite character: Akira


Title Review Rating
Synopsis in one sentence: A seemingly useless high school student is told that he possesses the genes that will produce the most powerful sorcerer to have lived, and this news attracts some interesting new company...
An alright series... basically a typical harem. The characters fell a bit flat, but the overall story was quite entertaining. The latter half of the series really started to pick things up, focusing more on dramatic plot than one shot joke episodes. The ending was a bit confusing, and it therefore confused me. >_< Overall the characters were, um... alright? None of them really stood out, but I didn't hate any of them. Sort of a ho-hum cast, I guess. The one thing I did have a problem with regarding the characters was that the main girl's personality got pretty bad towards the end. As in, yandere psycho bad.
Recommended for: Harem, shojo etc. fans.
Best aspect: There was quite a bit of comedy that popped up in basically every episode. Kept me interested!
Worst aspect: It was strange the way that the show was portrayed as relatively innocent, considering its main point was a bit.. well, let's just say risqué. Guy finds out he can father the gratest magician of all time and three girls set out to try and make sure they are the ones who get to claim that kid as their own... by getting his genes... the one way they can figure out how. Get what I mean? *Eyebrow wiggle*
Favourite character: Probably Ren. She was both innocent and sweet, but also kick ass and a no-nonsense kinda girl. Hmmm, I'll put it in LA terms: TSUNDERE!!!!!
Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of high school friends struggle with their dynamic.
I'm not really sure what this show was trying to be. The first episode was CRAZY! It throws viewers in the deep end, with action and politics and out of the box friendships. It was great. But every episode after that was just a dull slice of life and it didn’t help that the show made no effort to explain the set up for the series. With no idea who any of the characters were or what they did in their lives, I had very little interest in the heavily harem fuelled plot that followed. One by one the female characters were scrubbed of their individuality, while all but one of the males faded into the background. Suddenly the show decided to become an action, with some big dramatic conspiracy thing... I don’t understand. This show was all over the place and, though it had a promising start, it never really hit its stride. I'm not disappointed that I have to leave this jumbled mess behind.
Recommended for: Slice of life harem fans. This show has not yet been dubbed.
Best aspect: The first episode.
Worst aspect: Everything after the first episode.
Favourite character: Momoyo Kawakami.
Mawaru Penguindrum
Synopsis in one sentence: In exchange for saving their sister's life, two brothers are sent out to retrieve a mysterious magical artefact for an equally mysterious magical entity.
I liked the idea, but it didn't really go in the direction I was interested in. I liked the mystery surrounding the artefact and the characters that came along with it, but it was stretched out for so long, repeating the same thing over and over (crazy girl is crazy, I get it) and failing to make the core trio of siblings interesting. Characters also seemed very unphased by a lot of what went on, which softened the intrigue of the plot quite a bit. The lead trio of siblings I found really dull and then the show decided to go incest-y with it and I was out.
Recommended for: Mystery fans, magical girl fans, incest fans? There's quite a bit of sexual grossness in this, so be warned.
When I stopped: Episode 10.
Will I go back? Probably not
Michiko and Hatchin
Synopsis in one sentence: A young girl named Hatchin is rescued from an abusive home by a reckless woman named Michiko and the two set out to find Hatchin's father.
This was a really great show! The two female leads were fantastic, both perfectly flawed and it was pretty much impossible not to root for them. There's a certain air of mystique that surrounds the story, especially when it comes to Michiko's objectives and feelings for Hatchin. This made for some great character study and kept the story fresh. As the two leads cross paths with the dark side of (what looks like) South America, they're forced to grow closer, even when they're separated, and this lead to one of my favourite character relationships in an anime. The ending was bittersweet, but kind of what I'd expected. With a strong story, fantastic characters, a great score and beautiful art, Michiko and Hatchin was an all-around awesome show.
Recommended for: Those who like a heavy focus on character growth. This type of show will also be familiar to fans of Shinichirō Watanabe.
Best aspect: Michiko and Hatchin.
Worst aspect: Hey, I'll always prefer happy endings over realistic ones.
Favourite character: Hard to choose... maybe Hatchin because she was fighter.
Midori Days
Synopsis in one sentence: One day, high school student Seiji wakes up with a girl named Midori in place of his right hand.
I know, I know, this is the weirdest pitch for an anime ever. But, strangely... it works. See, the whole story is romance with a totally wacky twist. And as the two leads are thrown into this totally off the wall situation, they slowly start to become friends and grow as individuals and... its so much fun to watch. There's comedy, of course (how can that situation not be funny), but I found the jokes a little dull and thought they were far outshined by the character development. The ending was a great way to keep things fresh by introducing a new conflict for the leads. All in all, this was a super fun show. Don't get turned off by the weirdness of the plot because it's the weirdness that makes this show so special.
Recommended for: Comedy and romance fans.
Best aspect: The love story.
Worst aspect: Seiji was a bit frustrating at times.
Favourite character: Midori.
Synopsis in one sentence: Brilliant surgeon Tenma saves the life of a young boy, only to discover in the following years that he may have unleashed a dangerous evil onto the world in doing so.
I'm not really sure how to explain this anime other than to say it is good. With an impressive episode haul of 70+ episodes, this series takes its time to unfold the drama, using not the main characters, but instead a host of side characters, to paint the story of a "monster" named Johan and the surgeon that regrets saving him. By the end, a rich tapestry of a world has been created and the culmination of several years' worth of mystery solving is incredibly powerful to see. Sadly, the series weakest moment is its ending, as after so many episodes of build-up, I thought the resolution was kind of brisk and added too many new elements instead of focusing on what we were familiar with, which resulted in a bit of oversaturated plot, when I would've preferred a straight focus on the dealings of Johan. That being said, I did find Johan's ultimate fate wonderfully cathartic. This series went from strength to strength and was an absolutely fantastic watch. It's rare to find an anime that weaves so many characters so deftly, but Monster does its job so well that I'm sad to know that it's over.
Recommended for: Mystery/drama fans. There's a lot of violence (though no heavy gore that I can recall) and it can get quite depressing.
Best aspect: I loved the storytelling through the eyes of side characters. It really added another layer of depth to the series.
Worst aspect: The way the eyes were drawn. Some of the characters looked so fricking weird. Oh, and a second terrible aspect: Inspector Lunge. That guy sucks and I hated him.
Favourite character: Nina. 'Twas a badass
Mr. Osomatsu
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows the day to day adventures of a group of NEET sextuplets.
A reboot of a decades old, incredibly popular series, Mr. Osomatsu has rocketed back to popularity in Japan and boy can I understand why. This is definitely one of the funniest slice of life's I have seen, with hilarious takes on modern problems, throwbacks to its parents series, fourth wall breaking abound, and amazing poking of fun at the various anime/cartoon genres. The cast is incredibly solid and the world around them builds to include more wacky characters that only lend more ideas, obstacles, and jokes to an already outstanding series. There's not much more for me to say other than this is a show I would highly recommend!
Recommended for: Anyone who wants a good laugh or enjoys slice of life series. At time of writing, this show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: The variety of stories. They really looked outside the box on this series.
Worst aspect: The risqué nature of the caveman series was kind of out of place with the tone of the rest of the series imo.
Favourite character: Jyushimatsu. Such an adorable little idiot
Mr. Osomatsu: Season 3
Synopsis in one sentence: The sextuplets return!
Oops, I guess I forgot to review Season 2. Oh well. Anywho, Mr. Osomatsu is as funny as ever. I’m so impressed by how they manage to keep this show fresh and keep me laughing. Another glowing recommendation from me!
Recommended for: Fans of the first two seasons. I think this season relies the most on you already being familiar with the show's world. As of writing this season is not yet dubbed, but a dub now exists, so I could see it happening in future.
Best aspect: I loved seeing more of the parents. Mom is a rockstar!
Worst aspect: The side characters fell by the wayside a little. I would’ve preferred less time with the robots and more with characters like Totoko.
Favourite character: I’ll always have a soft spot for Jyushi
My Hero Academia: Season 1-3
Synopsis in one sentence: In a world of superheroes, Midoriya dreams of attending an elusive training school, despite having no powers of his own.
The latest series to be placed on the anime hype train, My Hero Academia is well deserving of its high praise. This series is intense, clever, emotional, and most importantly, fun. Its strength lies in its characters, which are so strong that even in a cast of many, each one stands out. The lead is so easy to love and anchors the story incredibly well. The challenges and villains are each more interesting than the last and the victories are made all the more sweeter for it. I'm enjoying this series so so much and I don't think I can recommend it highly enough. Even My Hero Academia's lowest points are strongest than a lot of anime's highest. Give it a go!
Recommended for: Action, shonen, superhero fans. If you like any of the other Shonen Jump titles (such as Bleach, Naruto, Hunter x Hunter), you'll be sure to like this too.
Best aspect: The powers (aka quirks) are wonderfully creative and the manner in which they are applied makes for lots of exciting moments.
Worst aspect: I cannot stand Bakugo. I had someone like him in my class when I was at school and I can tell you it wasn't fun, it was simultaneously annoying and terrifying. I get his purpose, but I'd be happier without him in the show, tbh.
Favourite character: All Might
My Hero Academia: Season 4
Synopsis in one sentence: Internships give the students a taste of real superhero life, culminating in a rescue mission with dangerous consequences.
I was excited by the work placements concept and was looking forward to seeing the students learn more about real superhero work and the bureaucratic workings that surround it. Unfortunately, this was pretty quickly abandoned for a big rescue mission and one I didn't really connect with. I feel like the whole point of this mission hinged on this desperation to save Eri, when she was introduced so briefly that I really didn’t care about her and therefore most of the dramatics fell flat. Just a lot of tell not showing attempts at tugging at the heartstrings. Then, ugh, a school festival plot. So cliché, so uninteresting, so predictable. The whole second half of the season made me feel like I was wasting my time. Yes, some interesting stuff was being set up in the background, but overall this season has been my least favourite so far. Here's hoping things pick up in the next one.
Recommended for: Fans of the previous seasons.
Best aspect: I liked the new characters, both villains and heroes.
Worst aspect: I'm really not here for the redemption of an abusive father. He can be a good hero while also being a piece of crap human, you don't need to pretend like abuse is wiped away if the person decides to be good at their job.
Favourite character: Mirio. TBH, I've always been a bit confused by the amount of merch for this guy, cause while he's a fun character, he never really stood out to me. But after this arc, I get it. His last stand at the end of the mission bumped him up to one of my favourites. I'll be rooting for Mirio from now on
My Love Story!!
Synopsis in one sentence: Intimidating but kind hearted highs schooler Goda is used to losing his crushes to his flower-boy friend, Sunakawa, but when, to his surprise, the ever adorable Yamato asks to be his girlfriend, he sets off on the adventure of navigating his first ever relationship.
Half comedy, half slice of life, My Love Story!! is designed to make you go "Awww!" First, the two leads are absolute dorks. Watching two dorks being dorks together is wonderful. As we watch friendship become dating, dating become love, and the gradual progression of intimacy between Yamato and Goda, it's so hard to not become attached to the two of them. They're both so pure hearted, you have no choice but to root for them. I did, however, have a bit of a problem with Yamato. I felt that she wasn't really a character in her own right, but more a vehicle for some kind of fantasy girl. She's shy. She only has eyes for one guy. She doesn't care about looks. She bakes, but still retains a tiny figure! She blushes at the thought of holding hands, but don't worry, because she still wants to make out and stuff. She even has a host of beautiful single friends for all your friends! She just didn't have any flaws, and I think that was a shame. Goda is a bit thick headed, and sometimes too valiant for his own good, and he can get jealous. That's what makes him likeable: he's flawed, just like every human is. But Yamato was just a glowing ball of... well, fantasy. Why couldn't she be seen as someone who was flawed, but also a great girlfriend? Why did she have to be perfect? Back to the positives, I loved that the show expanded outside of the couple's honeymoon period. It included family, friends, life moving forward etc, which was great, as a lot of romance anime like to pretend that that stuff doesn't exist. That being said, I was also disappointed in the lack of character development. Not only do Yamato and Goda stay exactly the same the whole way through (I wanted some ups and downs, a la "We Were There"), but Sunakawa, who was hinted at as an important character, was all but invisible for most of the series (I wanted side character development a la "School Rumble"). Sunakwa especially was a shame, as it seemed like there was some interesting story behind his lack of activity in the romance department, and I was really expecting that that was going to be explored. Otherwise this was a fun romp of a show, that hit my expectations quite well.
Recommended for: Romantic comedy and slice of life fans. I mentioned both We Were There and School Rumble in my review, as I think those shows have a similar theme, so if you liked either of them, this might be a good watch as well.
Best aspect: Comedy.
Worst aspect: No character development. That's alright for a comedy show, but not for a romance show.
Favourite character: Yano, I think I like all three of the leads equally.
Mysterious Girlfriend X
Synopsis in one sentence: A boy named Tsubaki ends up dating the class weirdo Urabe after he tastes her drool.
Man is this show rife with sexual innuendos. Weird ones too. There's also girl on girl! Girl on girl spit tasting, of course. Yeah. O_O So, basically, this kid, for whatever reason, drinks this girl's drool and starts having magical dreams and stuff. She finds out and says they have to date because he'll have drool withdrawal or something. It's so stupid and crazy. So this odd relationship starts and over time we get to see the two become closer and, surprisingly, it's pretty cute. The spit exchange is sort of used as a metaphor for all the problems fresh relationships can face and Urabe and Tsubaki have to learn how to be together. Underneath this drama, there's also the many questions about Urabe because, as the title suggests, she's a mysterious girl. Does her spit have powers? If so, what powers are they? Are Tsubaki's hallucinations of Urabe fake or something magical? There's a lot of fun questions but, sadly, very few answers. The two leads also became a bit tiresome after time, because Urabe was insistent that Tsubaki trust every single thing she said or he was jerk, but she never gave him reason to trust her. It felt a bit manipulative to me, and I couldn't imagine anyone sticking around in a relationship like that for too long. The season ended with little conclusion, so I'm not quite sure if all this strange, spit sharing was worth watching in the end or not.
Recommended for: Romance fans who like things with supernatural twists. This show also features fanservice.
Best aspect: I think, after a while, the absurdity of the show's concept was so crazy that it made me laugh.
Worst aspect: The lame innocence acts. "Oh, we're dating, but if you touch my hand I'll over-analyse it for a week." You're drinking her spit ,for goodness sake! Oh, and do I really have to explain how gross the spit was? There was so much of it! Was it supposed to be sexy or something?
Favourite character: Oka.
Nagi no Asukara
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of children that live under the sea attend school on land and have to deal with a crisis when they are told to abandon their human friends when their undersea home is threatened.
A nice, sweet show, which does a great job of exploring different types of friendships and love and sacrifice. There was a healthy smattering of different plots and watching each character grow and change was really interesting. I do feel that the show ran a little long, as the emotional climax was really in the middle of the series, and the extra episodes after that felt like they were slowing the overall story down a bit. This show pretty much dragged itself out; I feel there was a lot of excess dialogue and monologue and repeated ideas. With some careful trimming of the script, I would've enjoyed the story more. But apart from that, I enjoyed this show quite a bit.
Recommended for: Fans of character driven drama and slice of life magic shows. This show has not yet been dubbed.
Best aspect: Character development, especially in the struggles the protagonists faced in the second half of the season.
Worst aspect: After the big "event" in the middle of the season (tryna avoid spoilers here) I felt the love lines were a bit too conveniently solved. They were a strong source of conflict in the beginning of the series, so I was bummed when they were brushed up so quickly.
Favourite character: Chisaki
Synopsis in one sentence: Two girls named Nana meet on their way to Tokyo and end up living together.
I don't really know how I feel about this show. For the most part, it was riveting. The cast of characters is just so fleshed out and their comings and goings are so easy to become attached to. Their story is raw, rooted in some of the harsh truths you learn as you're growing up. It's an emotional ride that sort of makes you reflect on your own world and what might become of your own future, and I really loved it for that reason. What confuses me is that the ending was so.... not good? Towards the end of the series, things take a dark turn and then everything spirals. And after a while the show just seemed kind of depressing to watch. I was curious enough to look up what happens in the manga and things get no better there. So I don't know what my end verdict is. I remember being glued to the screen for the majority of the series, but then the ending left me with a really sour taste in my mouth. What do I make of that? If I ever figure it out, I'll let you know.
Recommended for: Slice of life fans, particularly those who enjoy drama, coming of age, and friendship tales.
Best aspect: The strength of the middle of the series.
Worst aspect: The ending being both depressing and inconclusive.
Favourite character: Nana Osaki
Naruto: Introduction and Land of Waves Arcs
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows young ninja Naruto as he trains, while also struggling with the secret that he was infused with the spirit of an evil nine-tailed fox as a baby.
As this anime progressed, it slowly rose to the top of my favourites list. Naruto is full of easy to like characters, packed full of action and chock full of backstories aplenty! Downsides of the series: drawn out plots. Sometimes one battle could span over three episodes, which was a bit tiring, but overall the battles were super awesome! Really great anime and I recommend it!
Recommended for: Like Bleach, I think this is one that anyone can try. You might like it, you might hate it, but I reckon it's worth a shot. :)
Best aspect: Dramatic fights with big twists and struggles with power.
Worst aspect: Sakura. That girl is useless.
Favourite character: Naruto. Believe it!
Naruto: Chunin Exam Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Naruto and co gear up for their exams, meeting (and fighting) a bunch of new characters along the way, while a dangerous threat looms in the distance.
This is the arc that solidified Naruto as one of my favourite series. So many new characters were introduced and intertwined into the story so well that I can't imagine the series without them. But the gem of this arc was definitely the fighting! Tons of action mixed with revelations of powers and threaded together with backstories = awesomeness.. This whole arc, was just.... Gah. AMAHZING.
Recommended for: If you're into Naruto, of course! Newbies to the show might also be able to jump in here and catch up without much difficulty.
Best aspect: The scheming, the strategies, the butt kicking etc.
Worst aspect: The fights did seem to drag out again. One match could equal 5 episodes. >>
Favourite character: Rock Lee. When he was first introduced, I really could not stand to see him on screen. And then came his fight. When he dropped the training weights, I almost screamed the house down. Thinking about it just give me chills! The best moment of the series so far!!!
Naruto: Invasion of Konoha Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Invasion of the leaf village!
*Wipes eyes with tissues* I just... I just really like this show. It's so amazing! *Bursts into tears of happiness* Things just get better and better in this arc! There was just so much going on and not a moment of boring story! So much fights... and new powers! So. Much. BACKSTORY!! O^O For once, I did not mind the drawn out fighting, as each break from one fight just lead back to watching another fight. This whole arc had a whole air of theatricality to it, that was simply breathtaking. Showing the perspectives of not only the main fighters, but also the village people trying to run away, as well as the run of the mill ninjas trying (and failing) to fight the big baddies- the whole thing was just genius. And then came the end, drenched in tragedy, a fitting end for this amazing arc. In summary: Naruto is awesome. End of story.
Recommended for: Naruto fans, of course!
Best aspect: Naruto finally gets to release his full power! Take that everyone who thought Sasuke was the most interesting ninja-in-training in the leaf village!
Worst aspect: I miss Rock Lee. :( Oh, and Sakura sucks and should've just gone into hiding alongside the rest of the villagers.
Favourite character: Gara/Naruto. Gara for his super sad backstory and Naruto for his awesomeness.
Naruto: Search for Tsunade Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The leaf village is in need of a new Hokage, so who better to help retrieve her than Naruto?
For once, an arc that isn't filled with constant Sasuke praise! Naruto gets to step into the spotlight once again and seriously show his skills. I mean, if he becomes a Hokage, he is going to have the greatest stories to tell. First he's empowered with the spirit of the Nine Tailed Fox, a power that cost the fourth Hokage his life. Then he has a very close relationship with the Third Hokage, is accepted into the allusive training group of Kakashi and is trained on the side by one of the legendary Sannin! Finally, he not only wins the favour of the Fifth Hokage, but he's one of the main reasons that she even agrees to taking the job! Plus, by this point in the series, he's faced pretty much every baddie there is and he's walked away from all of them (relatively) unscathed. Seriously, why is Naruto not being hounded by every sensei in the village, asking him to be their student? There were some problems I had with this arc, though. The first was the fact that no one even thanked Naruto for saving their butts in the last arc. The only mention he got was when Sakura went and thanked Sasuke for saving her. Slap in the face, much? Also, it frustrates me to no end that Orochimaru is not dead all ready. They had numerous chances to off him, but instead they decide to stand around giving each other evils, or remembering the past. Guys, wrong place, wrong time!!!! Things rounded up nicely and it's good to see the series shifting back to its regular training/village setting. I'm looking forward to seeing all the old characters again! Especially *sniff* Rock Lee.
Recommended for: By this point, this show is for Naruto fans only. Any newbies will be completely lost.
Best aspect: Naruto showcasing!!!
Worst aspect: Tsunade's indecisiveness was a bit of a pain. Are you good or bad, weak or strong? Make up your mind, girl!
Favourite character: It could only be Naruto.
Naruto: Season 4
Synopsis in one sentence: A lot happens, but the story goes nowhere.
Lets make this quick: There were fillers. Lots and lots of fillers. The first couple story arcs set up the next big storyline and introduced a bit of character development, but after that it was just useless storyline. Over 50 episodes of filler. I want to stab my screen for making me sit through that. Summary: skip this season. You'll thank me later. See, I told you this'd be quick!
Recommended for: Supreme Naruto fans.
Best aspect: It was nice to see some of the everyday life of the village and its ninja.
Worst aspect: That this season exists.
Favourite character: I can't really choose one, because there was no dramatic stories and the characters got pretty even screen time.
Naruto: Season 5
Synopsis in one sentence: Naruto does a whole bunch while also managing to do nothing at all.
*Sigh* How do I write another review on a bunch of fillers? This might be the shortest review I've ever written... On the positive side, there were a few mini-arcs that had some surprising depth. The highlight of this season was a story where a legendary ninja returns to enact revenge on the leaf village, and although the ending was pretty anti-climactic, I found myself excited to unravel the mystery behind the attack, a curiosity I hadn't felt with Naruto in what seems like forever. There were a few more glimmers of hope along the path of the season, as well as some obvious set ups for the next series, but if you want to know my opinions on any of the other parts of this season, just read my review for any of the other Naruto filler arcs, cause the problems pretty much remain the same.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. If you don't like fillers, then I recommend skipping to the third to last episode (give or take) to get a quick summary of the season before moving onto Shippuden!
Best aspect: It wasn't all pointless story, unlike other seasons I could mention….
Worst aspect: Here's a hint: It starts with an F and ends with an Illers.
Favourite character: Sakura. Yeah, I know that's bit odd coming from me, but I'm really happy that she's actually getting some purpose added to her presence.
Naruto Shippuden: Kazekage Rescue Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: After leaving to train with Jaraiya, Naruto returns to the Leaf Village and joins his comrades once again when Gaara is kidnapped.
Oh man, it is so good to have Naruto back on track again! After almost drowning in all the fillers of the last season, Shippuden jumps right back into the main story of Naruto's training/Sasuke's disappearance/Orochimaru's secret plans/the Akatsuki's world domination idea. It's interesting to see how the characters have changed since we last saw them and the upgraded costumes and abilities make up the most fun that's shown throughout this opening arc. The way everyone is re-introduced is done carefully, making sure that there's no tacky group meetings or single mission that means every single fan favourite has to be in the same room at once. This means that the arc is scattered with the memories of old characters while also keeping things nice and tasteful. The story of the arc is a bit simple if I think about it, but it never seems that way because it's littered with awesome fights packed full of tension, suspense and general bad-assery. My final note of praise is that the character screen time is equally divided. Although it would be easy to make the first arc all about Naruto and his actions, the writers gave great justice to not only major characters like Sakura, but also smaller characters like the sand siblings. All in all it's an awesome way to kick Shippuden off and I'm super excited to watch the rest of the series!
Recommended for: Naruto fans. Despite the rebranding, Shippuden is a direct continuation of the first show, which means you have to have seen the important parts of Naruto to understand Shippuden. And if you were turned away from Naruto by the never-ending fillers, give Shippuden a try before completely turning your back on the series.
Best aspect: I loved seeing how everyone had changed!
Worst aspect: Ah, I'm so hard pressed to think of anything. How about showing some more Rock Lee? Yano, cause he's pretty awesome. :P
Favourite character: Sakura! She has a purpose now! *Claps ecstatically*
Naruto Shippuden: Sasuke and Sai Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: As they get closer to retrieving Sasuke, Team Kakashi struggles as they lose their leader and gain two new members.
After the explosive opening arc of Shippuden, I was a little worried that the Sasuke and Sai arc wouldn't live up to expectations. Thankfully, all my doubts were for nought, as this arc carries on barrelling forward with fight after flashback after fight after twist after fight. New characters are introduced alongside the continued familiarising of some old friends (and foes), and although they seem a little shaky at first, they quickly establish themselves as great new additions, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Sai and Yamato develop. But every arc can't be perfect, and with the Sasuke and Sai Arc it was the ridonkulous amounts of replaying that got on my nerves. As Naruto gets closer to confronting Sasuke he decides to think about every interaction he's ever had with the guy, and boy does that get old fast. Really fast. Anyway, the first arc explained all the Akatsuki stuff and this arc focuses on Orochimaru and his gang, so I'm hoping that the next arcs will be setting up some new story because all of the old plots have been revisited nicely. This arc was a bit slower than its predecessor, but it was still just as strong! Keep it up Shippuden!
Recommended for: Naruto fans.
Best aspect: The seamless introduction of Sai and Yamato. I was sceptical of the new guys at first, but the writers easily made them interesting enough to hold their own against big shots like Sakura and Naruto.
Worst aspect: Recaps never-ending
Favourite character: Sai. Not because I really liked him much, but because I was intrigued by him for the entirety of the arc
Naruto Shippuden: Twelve Guardian Ninja Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: There's drama in the Fire Temple!
It's the first filler of Shippuden! Twelve Guardian Ninja isn't really a bad arc, but it's just… filler. Nothing spectacularly interesting, but tolerable, I guess. There's some backstory for Asuma Sensei which is interesting, but for a slightly enigmatic character he gets a predictable and sometimes cheesy treatment, which is a bit of a let-down. The new addition for this arc is Sora, who's basically a carbon copy of Naruto, but with a blander personality, a lot more arrogance and an unflattering haircut. My final problem with this arc was that it kind of trivialised the power of the nine tailed fox by allowing a bunch of random bad guys to harness its powers and stick it in another kid. Doesn't make Naruto seem very special, does it? But other than all that, at least this arc wasn't ridiculously awful. I have seen worse. *cough*captainshusuke*cough*
Recommended for: Shippuden fans. If you wanna skip it then don't watch episodes 54 to 71. The only thing you'll miss out on is Naruto trying to control the wind and Asuma stuff, but both of those are recapped in the next arc, so it don't really matter.
Best aspect: Naruto ain't taking crap from nobody!
Worst aspect: I hated Sora as a character.
Favourite character: Uuuuh, Naruto, I guess. There wasn't much action from anyone else.
Naruto Shippuden: Hidan and Kakuzu Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Shikimaru faces off against two of the members of the Akatsuki!
A short arc though it is, the Hidan and Kakuzu Arc is packed full of excitement! There's sadness, training and a crap load of awesome battles led by the always invigorating to watch Shikimaru. What's really interesting is that this arc is almost Naruto free, which makes it more fun to watch. Because Naruto doesn't go on every single mission the Leaf Village has, does he? So it's great to see a realistic approach of the fights in this arc. The choice of featuring ninja works really well, and it's fun to learn a little more about what the characters have been up to since the end of the first show regarding their powers. As I said in my review for Bonds, you know a battle's gonna be good when Shikamaru is at the helm. In an arc where he is leading the charge for the entire story, it's only natural that the Hidan and Kakuzu Arc is as amazing as it is!
Recommended for: Naruto fans.
Best aspect: Fights, as always!
Worst aspect: The cuts to Naruto training. But those weren't really that annoying; it was just hard to pick something to neg about for this arc. ^_^
Favourite character: Shikimaru, duh.
Naruto Shippuden: Three-Tails Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: A plot to control the Three Tails is uncovered and soon the Leaf Ninja, Orochimaru's gang and the Akatsuki are all getting involved.
I was super surprised to find out that this was a filler arc because it was so good! There's plenty of action from pretty much all of the stars of the leaf village, as well as some cameos from your favorite Orochimaru villains. A couple new characters are introduced as the focal point for this arc, and although they're pretty cookie cutter in the beginning of the arc, their relationship develops and once you add Naruto to that mix they become a really endearing pair. If I had one thing that I didn't like about this arc it'd be that there's a trademark annoying young kid in the center of the story, but seeing as this boy (or girl. They address him as a boy, but if it looks and sounds like a girl....) is part of the emotional relationship I mentioned before, he gets tolerable in the second half of the plot. So yeah! A good arc all around, and I like it even more because it's leagues ahead of the usual filler crap I force myself to watch.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. I don't think this is an arc so bad you should skip it, but if you're very anti-filler then skip ahead to episode 113.
Best aspect: The plethora of characters allowing for a bunch of interesting side stories/battles.
Worst aspect: Little kids that look 12 but act like they're 5 are annoying.
Favourite character: Guren. A great amount of development for a character in a single arc.
Naruto Shippuden: Itachi Pursuit Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Sasuke takes center stage as he decides to stop being a whiney baby and instead turns into a bad ass.
There was a lot going on in this arc! After how many seasons of Orochimaru/Akatsuki teasing, this arc hits the ground running and things get moving so quickly that you'll run out of breath trying to catch up. I mean, all we've been waiting for is pretty much in this arc: Sasuke VS his brother, the fate of Orochimaru, the meaning of the Akatsuki, the true figure behind the Akatsuki and SO MUCH FEELS! What more can you ask for? Now, I can't discuss this arc too much without spoilers, but just know that it's a great arc. Even though some parts tear your heart out of your chest with a fork before stomping on it, this arc takes such great leaps forward for the Shippuden series. Now I'm even more exciting to see what's coming up in the future!
Recommended for: Naruto fans.
Best aspect: So much action!
Worst aspect: Pain. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID!
Favourite character: Jaraiya
Naruto Shippuden: Tsuchigumo Kinjutsu Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Some chick's in trouble cause secret power and relate to Naruto and angst boy and blah blah blah.
More filler crap. I'm over this, Naruto. It's like they don't even try to make the fillers good. If you need to know my thoughts on this arc, check out any of my other Naruto filler reviews. They're pretty much always the same crap anyway.
Recommended for: Naruto fans with patience. To skip, go ahead to episode 151, which, although related to the arc, does have some stuff involved with the main storyline.
Best aspect: It was super short!
Worst aspect: Same old, same old.
Favourite character: Sai.
Naruto Shippuden: Invasion of Pain Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Am Akatsuki member launches his attack on the Leaf Village, while Naruto goes training with the frogs.
Another great Naruto arc with fighting, brilliant backstory and a heaping pile of tragedy. It was really awesome to see Naruto get gritty, and the brutal battle outcomes really stepped this show's game up. I also liked the reduction of Naruto time, as it was about time the other Leaf ninja got some proper attention! The ending was a lil' bit cheesy, but other than that this was a fun arc.
Recommended for: Naruto fans.
Best aspect: The side character work at the beginning of the invasion.
Worst aspect: I was a bit disappointed in the same old "Naruto saves everyone" spiel.
Favourite character: Konohamaru. He only had a brief appearance, but it was a great amount of character development for him.
Naruto Shippuden: Konoha History Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: As the village is repaired, various villagers reflect on memories from the pre-Shippuden era.
Although this is a filler arc, it didn't really feel like one. The way the stories were merged in with current events was well done, and I think that's what kept my interest in each episode. I enjoyed the inclusion of both major and minor characters as well. Still, this was a filler arc, so it did drag in some parts, especially with episodes that didn't offer any insight into a particular character. Other than that, this was a pretty solid arc... for a filler, anyway.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. If you want to skip this arc, go to episode 197.
Best aspect: The flashbacks that filled in gaps, like Iruka's memory of how he came to be Naruto's teacher.
Worst aspect: The ones that followed the Naruto movie formula: introduce random side characters, have Naruto squabble with them, big dramatic fight sequence, Naruto waxes poetic about being a ninja, everything is resolved. Boring.
Favourite character: Naruto.
Naruto Shippuden: Five Kage Summit Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The Kage throw a party and Naruto and Sasuke turn up uninvited.
Yeeees! Awesome battle scenes are back! This was one of those great Naruto arcs that throws the story forward in leaps and bounds, while featuring all the great characters and proving that the world still revolves when Naruto isn't front and center. Sasuke's still being a butt, but at least he's a butt with purpose here, which is much better than "I whine because I can" Sasuke. The bad guys are finally showing their hand and things get moving and fists get thrown and there's awesome new characters and... gah, this arc was just so much fun.
Recommended for: Naruto fans.
Best aspect: Gots to love them battles. They're even more fun when you get to see shiny new characters' powers for the first time.
Worst aspect: Sakura's story looked promising, but she slipped into damsel mode as soon as she came in danger of actually being cool for once.
Favourite character: I'm really feeling Mizukagi Mei at the moment. Her colleagues are pretty neat too.
Naruto Shippuden: Adventures at Sea Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Naruto travels to the Land of Lightning via the sea.
Captain's Log 222: Today we set sail into another arc. Things are heating up and I hope they don't cool down!

Captain's Log 223: Strange. Today we were visiting by some random kid with a run of the mill grudge. Surely, this is going somewhere, right? Like, surely this trip isn't going to be all... No, we don't say the F word on my ship.

Captain's Log 224: Okay, things are still related to the war. We need provisions, so it makes sense we explain how we get them, right? There's a point to this, RIGHT?

Captain's Log 225: My worst fears have been realised. Today we met some ghosts. And no, it's not the ghosts that I'm fearful of. It's the fact that we've sunk so low that we're now introducing FREAKING GHOSTS as canon that has been so freaked out. Hopefully we'll get to the Land of Lightning soon.


Captain's Log 228: Ah, Rock Lee. At least I can depend on you to make things semi-entertaining.

Captain's Log 230: Clones were today. I... I don't even know what is happening anymore.

Captain's Log 231: Seriously, what is the point of going by sea if Shinobi can magically appear on any island they want? We've been traveling for DAYS! Shikamaru decides to leave yesterday and he already catches up with us? What the heck?!?

Captain's Log 232: It looks like even the writers have gotten sick of the sea adventures.

Captain's Log 235: Oh no! A terrible case of bad backstory has begun to plague our journey!

Captain's Log 237:Today I realised that the initials of Land of Lightning are LoL. Is that because the writers are laughing at me as I attempt to survive this crud?

Captain's Log 241: Ah, Guy Sensei. At least I can depend on you to make things semi-entertaining.

Captain's Log 242: We have finally arrived. My first stop upon landing was the doctors for a post-sea check up. Turns out I have a pretty bad batch of filleritis. Remedies include a loveable character rapping terribly... Why hello there, Killer B....
Recommended for: The loyal Naruto fans. If you want to skip this arc... oh who am I kidding? Skip this arc. Jump to episode 243. Do it for your health. Filleritis is a serious disease.
Best aspect: Revealing Guy's sea-sickness, which only makes the guy (no pun intended) more likeable.
Worst aspect: That I had to do a gimmick review to prevent myself from just just typing "Kill Me Now" and leaving it at that.
Favourite character: Guy.

Naruto Shippuden: Fourth Shinobi World War: Countdown Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: With help from the Eight Tails Jinchuuriki, Naruto sets out to gain control over his own tailed beast.
After all those lame fillers, this arc is a nice little palette cleanser. There isn't much happening, because the two major events that fill up this arc are given full focus. We get to learn more about Naruto's past and there's also some great revelation behind what it truly takes to be a jinchuuriki. Basically, this arc is driven by character development. A simple, yet emotionally charged arc, I'm glad to see the story getting back on track.
Recommended for: Naruto fans.
Best aspect: Naruto's origin story.
Worst aspect: Spreading one storyline across multiple episodes gets a bit tiresome.
Favourite character: Guy! Who knew he was so badass?
Naruto Shippuden: Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The battle rages on as Kabuto is tracked down, stronger reanimated ninjas begin to surface, and Madara reveals his true self.
A very good arc, because it was packed with action. A lot happens on all fronts, giving us great battles from a wide range of characters, which Shippuden doesn't usually do, so that was nice. We're finally near resolution for a few plot lines and I'm excited to see if this momentum will continue onwards through the next arc.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. This arc spans episodes 262 to 321.
Best aspect: I liked seeing the kages in action. I always enjoy peeks into the village's pasts.
Worst aspect: The few fillers sprinkled here and there.
Favourite character: There's not really anyone that stood out too much for me this arc, so I'll go with Naruto.
Naruto Shippuden: Birth of the Ten-Tails' Jinchuuriki Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The battle rages on as Madara's plans unfold and new (and old) players arrive to help restore peace.
The epicness continues. Every battle is better than the last. I'm loving all the attention for all the different characters. The team-ups are AMAZING. Awesomeness and awesomeness over and over again.
Recommended for: Naruto fans.
Best aspect: Seeing what all the past shinobi generations are capable of.
Worst aspect: Sasuke is a pompous ass. I have no interest in his redemption.
Favourite character: It's hard to choose between the older shinobi, tbh.
Naruto Shippuden: Kaguya Ōtsutsuki Strikes arc
Synopsis in one sentence: It's the battle to end it all.
Ah, what a ride. Really this is Naruto at its finest, weaving fights and character arcs and new and old villains all together into something beautiful. The amazing team-ups in this arc just made every battle thrilling and I really feel like they did everyone justice. A truly beautiful finale. Sadly, classic anime pitfalls lower the enjoyment of this arc, with filler bogging down the action and killing a lot of suspense. The placement of the filler arcs was a real mood killer and ruined a lot of my good will for what was happening, more so because it made it so hard for me to remember what was happening when they finally popped back into the story. Following the end of the battle was another filler arc, which meant that the series ultimately didn’t end with a bang, but a whimper. Don't get me wrong, the main plot was still awesome, it's just that overall I think this arc dropped the ball more times than I deem respectable.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. I recommend looking up which episodes are filler and skipping ALL of them. You will miss nothing of consequence and you'll enjoy the ending all the more for it.
Best aspect: Everyone working together, especially when it came to giving all the supporting cast their due.
Worst aspect: Sasuke is a punk who should've had his arse whopped into oblivion.
Favourite character: Guy!
Nekomonogatari (Kuro)
Synopsis in one sentence: Let’s go back before Bakemonogatari and see the origin story of Tsubasa and Koyomi.
Nekomonogatari is probably my favourite of the Monogatari series I've seen. The Neko series straightened out the crinkles I felt with some characters, showing them right from the beginning so I could see them grow and come to enjoy them over time, instead of having them shoved at me like they were in Bakemonogatari. The plot was simple, but that meant it lacked the hectic feeling of past series, which I can’t complain about. Plus you know I'm a sucker for an origin story. XP Unfortunately, despite enjoying Neko, I don't think I'll be continuing on with the Monogatari series. The first two series weren't really enough to hook me, and this series was just a little too late, I'm afraid.
Recommended for: Monogatari fans. Neko was released after Nise, but chronologically it is set before Bake, so you could watch it then if you want.
Best aspect: Black Hanekawa was a great injection of comedy and depravity into the series.
Worst aspect: I thought Koyomi didn't know Tusbasa had the cat in her? But if this is set before Bakemonogatari, then he must've know, right? I'm confused. o_o
Favourite character: Black Hanekawa
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows a group of teenagers that pilot giant robot "Eva's" to try and defeat murderous "Angel" creatures.
To be honest, for the first half of this show, I was completely lost. Well, not really confused, but I just wasn't captivated by it yet. Actually, now that I think about it, I usually have trouble paying attention to the beginnings of animes, I wonder why... Anyway, I digress. So, I'm watching the show, sort of waiting for something good to happen and then BAM! Episode 9 happens. Asuka and Shinji kicking butt to a beautiful serande – beautiful! Things settled down again and then BOOM! Episode 18. Holy Crap. It was just.... Totally changed my level of interest. From then on everything was just amazing and totally worth hanging in there. Big points go out for the slew of origin episodes- by now you should know I love a good backstory. ^^ Just a totally insane anime filled with lots of intersecting plots and hidden motives and lots of other types of coolness.
Recommended for: If you like sci-fi, this is your dream anime. Also worth checking out if you like things elaborate and puzzling. This one's a thinking man's anime. :D However, if you don't like gore, STAY AWAY. The first half of the anime is alright, but the second half is blood and guts heavy. You have been warned.
Best aspect: The characters were all really well developed.
Worst aspect: The ending. After the amazing events of episode 24, eps 25 and 26 just did not live up to the rest of the series. They made it up in the end, though (see: End of Evangelion review in the Movies section).
Favourite character: Rei. I've got a thing for the emotionless bad ass chicks. :P
New Cutie Honey
Synopsis in one sentence: Bubbly protagonist Honey battles baddies using her ability to transform into various personas.
An old anime, but this one was not a pleasant surprise. It was pretty predictable and cheesy. Very very cheesy. Not a great show.
Recommended for: If you like the traditional anime feel, or super girl themes.
Best aspect: The different personas of Honey was cool. I liked seeing all the different personalities etc.
Worst aspect: Soooo corny. It was almost painful.
Favourite character: Honey. The only one that really left an impression.
Synopsis in one sentence: Koyomi finds himself in more supernatural trouble, but this time it's his sisters who are the focus of the mystery.
The good thing about the second season of Monogatari is that there is much more action! Things happen quickly and every episode is packed full of twists and turns. However, despite my best efforts, I just could not get invested in Nisemonogatari. The problem was that I was just not into Koyomi's sisters. I can't really explain why – maybe it's their tropey personalities or the fact they're the most predictable of all the females in the Monogatari world – but I just don’t really care about Karen or Tsukihi. And when the whole season is about him running after his sisters... well, that's a problem. So if you like the siblings, then Nisemonogatari is going to be right up your alley! For me though, I had a hard time paying attention. >_>
Recommended for: Monogatari fans. Make sure you've seen Bakemonogatari first!
Best aspect: Tsukihi's power was a pretty cool concept.
Worst aspect: Tsukihi's power was pretty hard to wrap my head around. I mean, she's like... half human? I dunno, it weirded me out.
Favourite character: Koyomi, I guess.
No. 6
Synopsis in one sentence: After voicing his unhappiness, Shion finds himself hunted in the utopian No.6, only to be saved by a mysterious boy named Rat, who he helped years ago as a boy.
I liked the idea behind No.6, but I felt like its full potential was never fully reached. The story jumps from episode to episode, with the characters acting very unrealistically and nothing being explained or justified in a way that I found compelling. Why is No.6 the way it is? Why do people need to die? Who controls No.6? This was stuff I felt was never really addressed, and for the questions that were answered they were very unimaginative answers (bad guys are bad, shock horror!). I was also confused by the love story. If it was supposed to be a love triangle then there was not enough Safu for that to hold any suspense and Rat wasn't nice enough to Shion for him to be a nice counterpart for him in my opinion. Plus they constantly skirted around Rat and Shion's relationship, so I wasn't sure if they were slowly falling in love or if they were just becoming extremely close friends. The ending was also a bit haphazard and felt like it had been slapped together because someone realised the final was fast approaching.
Recommended for: Utopia/Dystopia fans. It'll also probably appeal to yaoi fans.
Best aspect: World design.
Worst aspect: Focus on the wrong characters. Shion was as bland as bland can be. His mother looked like a badass, but all they did was show her baking bread.
Favourite character: Shion's mother.
Nodame Cantabile
Synopsis in one sentence: Set at a college for musicians, Nodame Cantibile follows straight-edged aspiring conductor Chiaki and his relationship with the students around him, most prevalently the all-around mess that is Megumi Noda.
It took me a while to get into the story of this drama, as I struggled a bit with what the story was trying to achieve. When I thought it was romance it changed into a drama and when I thought it was a drama it changed into a slice of life and back and forth and so on. So there was a bit of tonal whiplash here and there, but once I sort of gave in to the whims of the plot, I really started to get invested. The cast of characters are quite interesting, but what really makes them shine is their interactions with each other and the growth that spurs from that. I really appreciated the time given to even the most inconsequential of students, because it is rare in anime to have anyone outside of the main characters treated like real people. The result is a wonderful tapestry of character growth and the immersion in a rich, alive world. My biggest gripe, though, is the titular Nodame. I found it strange that she was given top billing when, really, she felt unnecessary to the plot for me. Chiaki's story was the anchor of the show, and as we watch him go from strength to strength and battle to battle, Nodame didn't feel like a component, but more a background element. The rest of the characters were active and flourishing and Nodame was just... there. I really felt like you could've removed her completely and, save for comedy, the show would've been much the same. The only big change she enacted in the show (with Chiaki's flying problem) was a bit of a stretch as well, and seemed more like a deus ex machina than anything. The ending, in turn, also felt a little random to me, kind of like the romance/friendship was being forced by the author's whim. Still, the story was enjoyable and I found the characters easy to invest in, so I am looking forward to the second season.
Recommended for: Slice of life and music fans.
Best aspect: Because I forgot to write about it in my review, I'll say the music. And not only the music, but the depiction of musical education in general. My problems with the show Your Lie in April were prevalent throughout my viewing of Nodame, because Nodame did everything I wanted Your Lie in April to. Not only did it perfectly express the comradery between musicians, but the playing was beautiful and emotive, just like a show about music needs it to be.
Worst aspect: I'm really over "haha sexual harassment is funny" characters, so Milch was a big no.
Favourite character: Mine.
Nodame Cantabile Paris-Hen
Synopsis in one sentence: Nodame and Chiaki continue their studies in Paris.
Another enjoyable season that does a very good job at both expanding the cast and developing characters old and new. As always, the prime focus is the growth of Chiaki and Nodame both solo and as a couple, and while this goes a little slower than I'd like, I think the plot handles this in an enjoyable and realistic way. I am looking forward to seeing how this series progresses.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season. This season is not currently dubbed.
Best aspect: I liked that Nodame was given more attention outside of just being a love interest. The writers managed to mature her without losing her scatter-brained nature.
Worst aspect: Nodame still had a few mood swings and I rarely understand the reasoning behind them when she does.
Favourite character: Nodame
Nodame Cantabile Finale
Synopsis in one sentence: Insecure about their relationship, Nodame throws herself into her career, while Chiaki reaches new heights.
An enjoyable final romp for the Nodame series. The drama here is much more stepped up than in the previous series, though I'm not sure I fully understand all of Nodame's motivations. Regardless, there's lots of lovely relationship growth between the two leads because of Nodame's actions, so it works out I guess. I really liked the expansion of focus to include the side characters more and the resulting look at the different paths study has for different people. I was bit bummed that I don't get to see the full story of Nodame and Chiaki's lives, but wrapping the story in Paris is at least a solid conclusion for now.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. This season is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: Nodame going rouge.
Worst aspect: Nodame's insecurity was a bit rushed.
Favourite character: Tanya
Synopsis in one sentence: A middle school girl finds herself hunted by versions of her friends from the future who want to use her power to travel through different dimensions.
A compelling series that kept the story fast paced and each episode interesting, Noein is a mixture of sci-fi and fantasy madness. The characters were likeable, if not for their individual stories then at least for the family like atmosphere they create together. There was a lot of secondary story, but all of it was intertwined with the main plot effortlessly, so all storylines had their moments to shine. There was quite a bit of fluff, which made the dark theme of the show (the future sucks, deal with it) feel out of place, but I suppose the story does center around a group of tweens, so what can you do? All in all it was a great premise and although the execution was a bit shaky, I enjoyed it.
Recommended for: Scifi fans? This show is heavy with relationship development, so if you're into that you'll probably enjoy this. If you don't like marshmallow endings and young kids, then steer clear.
Best aspect: The multiple timelines and how they effected each character.
Worst aspect: The animation. To me it looked like it was done by a child and I also hate random, poorly done CG.
Favourite character: Karasu.
No Game No Life
Synopsis in one sentence: Two game prodigy siblings are sucked into a world where politics are decided by a series of different games.
I liked the start of this show, but I feel like it relied too heavily on cheap gimmicks, like sex jokes and tropey characters. When the show focused on the actual gameplay events, it really shone. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. But then the games would end and the show would subject me to dull humour and dull slice of life B-stories, which dragged the show down. It also didn’t help that the season ended without anything really concluding, which means that if this show doesn't get picked up for continuation, this season is a waste of time. To end on a happy note: No Game No Life did succeed with its two main protagonists. The relationship between older brother Sora and younger sister Shiro was great and, although I found them almost unbearable when on their own, I thought the two of them as a pair was the shining gem of this show.
Recommended for: Strategy, light-hearted action, and fan service fans.
Best aspect: The siblings.
Worst aspect: The ending sucked.
Favourite character: Blank.
Synopsis in one sentence: Two female assassins meet and work together to try to piece together their seemingly connected past.
A great anime that had a dramatic atmosphere. Although there was lots of action, I felt it was more focused on the different emotions that characters were feeling. Sometimes this was a bit boring, but it left a lasting impression. The characters were interesting in their own ways and the ending rounded thing up very well.
Recommended for: Action fans or anyone who like girls with guns. XP
Best aspect: Music, by far. Really haunting melody's almost helped paint the picture of the anime and the central song was really... just wow.
Worst aspect: Sad speeches were a bit OTT for me.
Favourite character: Chloe. I sort of didn't like her, but she was so tragic that she gets mega sympathy points.
Synopsis in one sentence: After an accident, a high school girl finds herself suddenly able to see the hidden world of gods, their human weapons, and the supernatural forces that they protect the world from.
A lovely show with beautiful character design, thrilling conflict and a fantastic mystical world. I loved the two and three lead characters, and thought the monsters were wonderfully scary. I was impressed by the emotionally focused climax of the show, and how it rocketed the main character's relationships forwards in interesting new ways. I do wish there'd been a bit more progress in the story, as it felt more like a lead up to something more, but for a first season, Noragami does a solid job establishing itself.
Recommended for: Fans of the supernatural and mystical animes. This show was very Soul Eater and Blue Exorcist, so if you enjoyed those I believe you'll enjoy this too.
Best aspect: I liked all the different variations of gods.
Worst aspect: I wanted Hiyori's problem to be more of a focus, as it is the thing that kicks off the whole show.
Favourite character: Hiyori
Noragami Aragato
Synopsis in one sentence: The second season focuses on the current consequences of Yato's old conflict with Bishamon.
A direct continuation of the first season, Noragami Aragato extends the focus on Regalia and their Gods to new heights, with a mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat. The slow reveal of Yato's past mistakes alongside the very worrying events of the present were emotionally devastating and the culminating conflict was both poignant and exciting. Sadly, after the Bishamon conflict was resolved, the rest of the series was a bit muddled. I think it tried to introduce too many stakes at once and it overwhelmed me. By the end of the season, I had lost most interest in what was happening. Tighter characters or a more intriguing end villain would've done a world of good, I think.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
Best aspect: The whole Bishamon arc.
Worst aspect: That Hiyori's soul problem was basically ignored.
Favourite character: Kazuma
Now and Then, Here and There
Synopsis in one sentence: Optimistic kid Shu follows a strange girl as she watches the sunset, but things quickly take a turn for the worse when that girl is kidnapped by a group of dangerous soldiers and Shu suddenly finds himself years into the future.
As I state in my Anime and I: The Facts section, I don't really dig old anime. In fact, if it's made before the early 2000s, I usually steer clear. So imagine my surprise when I found myself becoming quite attached to this late 90s show! Sure, the animation is basic and the dub is painfully rudimentary, but none of that matters because the story is what gets all the attention here. There's no time for fillers as Shu is whisked into the lair of the crazed King Hamdo. He's tortured, forced to run for his life, tortured again, and turned into a child soldier. Yeah, this is no comedy. Now and Then, Here and There shows the effect of war on one’s innocence and it doesn’t show it through rose tinted glasses. There are horrors of almost every type, from the more familiar spots of violence, to the sickening pieces of animal abuse, to the dark monsters that live in the desert. The story is brutal and fast paced, which makes the tragedies more tragic and the drama more dramatic. Although it's not exactly a pleasant ride, NTHT did keep me on the edge of my seat and I was excited to see how everything would turn out. If you like your anime blunt and to the point, then this just might be the show for you.
Recommended for: Those who like lots of tragic twists. Not for the faint hearted, especially if you don't like when a show gets a little dark. As a side note, if you get excited for the openings and closings of an anime, be warned that you'll find no more than a single picture and a simple song here. ^_^
Best aspect: I was never sure what was going to happen next.
Worst aspect: I wouldn't have minded a little more backstory, especially when it came to King Hamdo, Abelia, and Nabuca.
Favourite character: Boo. *Sniffles*
One Piece: East Blue Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: A plucky pirate with strange powers sets out to find the ultimate treasure and become King of the Pirates!
I decided to watch One Piece because it seems to be one of the most successful anime series. Or, at least it's been going on forever. Anyway, I decided to give it a shot and to be honest, at first I wasn't impressed. Nothing really sucked me into the show and after getting a bit bored, I started to question whether I should discontinue it or not. But somewhere between episode 5 and 10, One Piece just... exploded. Of awesomeness. Made of multiple mini arcs in one big arc, One Piece constantly evolves and changes. There's no set bad guy, no set adventure; only a destination, but what happens along the way is anyone's guess. What's interesting about One Piece is that it takes a while to assemble the main cast. Main character Luffy sets out on his own, forming a (reluctant) pirate crew along the way to help him reach his goal. And what a crew he assembles! Although at first glance the main cast might be a bit hard to stomach, eventually they all become like a huge, ridiculous family. They work off each other brilliantly and it makes me a little jealous to see how idiotic they are together. Why can't I be a part of a crazy gang of pirates heading for the most dangerous place in the world? :( What intrigues me the most is that although One Piece fits into the same genre as Bleach and Naruto, it doesn't have any huge action twists like those series, but I still like it equally as much. Why? Because it's one of the funniest animes I've ever seen. Seriously, Luffy is an idiot, Cook Sanji does whatever a pretty girl tells him, and other crewmember Usopp is a cowardly compulsive liar with delusions of grandeur. C'mon, how could that combination not be entertaining to the max? Add intelligent Nami and level headed Zoro to the mix and you have winner! Really, I can't count the amount of times One Piece has made me burst out in laughter. It's awesome.
Recommended for: Shonen fans. Like I said, it fits into the same category as Bleach and Naruto, so if you like either of those shows, give One Piece a try!
Best aspect: Humour definitely. Coming in a close second is the awesome backstories for so many characters. Like, really tragic stuff, I'm warning you.
Worst aspect: Recaps between episodes took forever. Also, the opening and ending songs are terrible. One Piece was started in the late 90's and the music reflects that. It's B.A.D. One Piece is also host to a whole bunch of HIDEOUS characters. When someone on this show is ugly, they are DISGUSTING. Not in a mutilated way, but in a really odd looking way. Actually, even the attractive characters don't look that great. >_>
Favourite character: Luffy! He's gonna be King of the Pirates!
One Piece: Alabasta Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The group gets tangled up in the civil war erupting in a faraway land.
Okay, really, if you are not watching One Piece, you've gotta start NOW! This is probably one of the most consistent series I have ever seen. There's action, there's big dramatic moments, there's lots of filler... yet none of it is bad! That's right, even the fillers are entertaining in One Piece. I think a big part of the show that makes it work so well is the great cast of characters. Each has their own backstory and goals, each has multiple sides to their personality and each is super likeable. In this arc two new characters join the crew, and they manage to seamlessly slip into the story without any funny tastes left over. As for the story of this arc, although I was a bit unconvinced by it at first, by the end things really twisted into a complicated and often heart wrenching tale. One Piece has continued to stay strong for their second arc, and I'm super excited to see what they come up with next!
Recommended for: You've gotta watch the first arc before checking out this one.
Best aspect: The comedy is just perfect. Another great point is the way the main crew bounce of each other. XD
Worst aspect: A lot of recapping in some episodes.
Favourite character: Crap, this is hard. Probably Usopp because he had some hilarious lines.
One Piece: Sky Island Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Always impulsive, Captain Luffy decides he wants to sail into the skies when he hears rumours of a land in the clouds.
200+ episodes in and I still haven't gotten bored of this show! The Skypiea arc starts a bit slower than the previous stories, but when things start to move forward, all those slow episodes that seemed like filler actually begin to slot into place to form yet another action packed One Piece puzzle. There's death, there's multiple seedy organisations, there's new inventions, new characters, new backstory (woo!) and lots and lots and lots of fighting! I think this is the first Straw Hat adventure that doesn’t center on a new member of the crew, and although I did miss the evolving attachment to a new character, the Skypiea story still stood strong. My one qualm would be the lack of development with Nico Robin. When the others joined the crew it was after we had learnt of their heart breaking stories, but Nico simply appeared and was accepted. It was because of this that I found her to be a bit of a jarring addition, because I wasn't sure whether to trust her, or dislike her, or what. She did get a bit of a spotlight in the later half of the arc, but I hope she gets some bigger development soon so I can enjoy her presence. Apart from that, this arc was great, and was definitely the one that had me chewing my nails the most. As always, I'm anticipating the next arc of the show!
Recommended for: One Piece fans.
Best aspect: I loved how they worked the new things the crew encountered into their everyday lives. In most animes the end of an arc leaves the protagonist(s) back where they were at the beginning of the arc, but the pirates learn from their experiences and alter themselves accordingly, which I enjoy seeing.
Worst aspect: Although I was happy for a joyful ending, I was also slightly disappointed when the end of the arc came and all injuries were wiped clean. It's a bit of a bummer when you are shocked by the death of a character only to get to the end and be told "nope, it was all a mistake". That's too much of an emotional roller-coaster for me!
Favourite character: Usopp totally came into his own! I was really excited to see how they're turning him from comic relief into a crucial member of the team.
One Piece: Water 7 Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The Straw Hat Pirates head to a city built around water, but things turn sour when Nico Robin leaves their crew and they follow her to Marine Headquarters.
HOLY CRAP. I don’t even think I can explain everything that was great about this arc in just one review! Let's start things off with a TL;DR: If you are not watching One Piece, get on it! NOOOOOW!!!! Now that that's out of the way, let's try explain the amazingness that is the Water 7 Arc a little. Everything you could ever want from an arc is in Water 7. Fights? Check! Character development? Check! New powers? Check! Horrid bad guys? Check! Awesome side characters? Check! Heartache? Check! Backstory? *Wipes away tears* Check... Man, the Water 7 Arc was fantastic in so many ways! Every single crew member had their time to shine, and most episodes left me with a dropped jaw and big googly "holy-crap-that-did-NOT-just-happen" eyes. A new crew member was also added, but they slipped him into the series so seamlessly that by the end of the arc I couldn’t believe that I had ever hated him. Well, I kinda could believe it, because SPOILER ALERT speedos. Yuck. SPOILER OVER Anyway, this was another home-run for the One Piece series!
Recommended for: One Piece fans.
Best aspect: I can’t even narrow it down to just one thing.
Worst aspect: I am super worried that future One Piece is not going to live up to how much I enjoyed this arc.
Favourite character: Uso— Ahem, I mean Sniper King.
One Piece: Thriller Bark Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The pirates arrive on a mysterious island and have their shadows stolen from them.
Story wise, I don't think this was One Piece's strongest arc. The villain wasn't that fleshed out, the support characters were rushed in and then quickly rushed out, and I didn't get the strong sense of danger that I have enjoyed from One Piece in the past. But what made this arc worth my time was the introduction of the character Brook. There's been some pretty heart-breaking backstories on One Piece, but Brook's story was something else. Crazy emotional stuff in this arc, man. I can't explain too much without giving spoilers, but let me just say that this arc was a tearjerker... in a good way, of course. So with that in mind, I look back on this arc favourably and am more than excited for the next leg of the show.
Recommended for: One Piece fans, of course.
Best aspect: Backstory!!!
Worst aspect: The action was a bit lacking.
Favourite character: Brook.
One Piece: Summit War Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: Separated from each other, the Straw Hat crew adapt to their new environments, while Luffy learns of his brother's incarceration and sets out to save him.
Woah. I almost feel like I can stop there, because that one word summarises all my feelings on this one arc. This is BY FAR the best work One Piece has put out (so far), which says a lot when coming from someone who raves about the show as much as I do. Suspense, AMAZING new characters, character growth and oh my word the fighting. And then the ending sets the stakes even higher! I really cannot express my delight with this arc enough. Just pure enjoyment from the first episode to the last.
Recommended for: One Piece fans of course!
Best aspect: The battles!
Worst aspect: The sporadic jumping between the different storylines of the Straw Hats. The stories were all fantastic on their own, they were just spliced in a bit haphazardly in my opinion.
Favourite character: Oh man it's so hard to choose! At most, I could narrow it down to two: Iva and Mr. 2!
One Piece: Fishman Island Arc
Synopsis in one sentence: The crew reunite and head out to take on the new world!
It's kind of a tall order to follow up an arc as amazing as the Summit War arc, so I don't think it's unusual to feel that this arc was little underwhelming. Having the gang reunited was AMAZING and every moment where we got to see their growth during the time skip was so much fun. I just feel like the setting wasn't that fantastic and the characters incredibly cartoony, even by One Piece's standards. I also felt that the climax of the arc lacked a bit of excitement, as the stakes did not feel as high now that the straw hats are so incredibly strong. Fishman Island did bring a very good backstory though and I loved the theme of events from long ago affecting the present and, at times, the future. The comedy was also on point, as always, especially when it came to the crew learning new things about each other as they relax back into their old teamship. This arc does well for one that had to follow an arc so magnificent and I'm hoping that it's only upwards from here.
Recommended for: One Piece fans.
Best aspect: Comedy
Worst aspect: The villain(s) were a bit underwhelming
Favourite character: Franky, because robot.
One-Punch Man: Season 1
Synopsis in one sentence: In a world where superheroes and monster attacks are everyday occurrences, one superhero grapples with his ability to defeat all his opponents with just one punch.
I really enjoyed One-Punch Man. The humour is there and the characters are great. The variety in designs of both the heroes and villains meant that each episode brought new curiosity and excitement. However, the world building was a bit shoddy in my opinion: there was no explanation for why things how they were and no concern over the state of the everyday citizen. Every attack we saw was brutal, which makes me wonder how there's anyone left to protect at all. I also think this might've been better as a kind of anthology series, cause the overarching plot seemed to be forgotten a lot, which made the pacing a bit erratic. It was like the show was unsure whether it was a supernatural slice of life or a twisty drama. The concept though, of what it's like when you're the strongest person alive, is really unique and makes for interesting viewing. It is because of this that I think it's a shame that so little of the latter half of the series spends time looking from Saitama's view of things, as it was him I was most interested in. I think his power has potential for some really intriguing character inspection, and wasn't really interested in it being exploited for comedic effect. By the end of the first season, very little has progressed from the first episode, but what plot there is is strong enough for me to be very excited to keep watching. I just hope that things go further in season two.
Recommended for: Superhero and comedy and ensemble cast fans.
Best aspect: That the whole cast, including the side characters, were endearing in their own ways.
Worst aspect: The "derived from misunderstandings comedy" didn't work too well for me. The characters become a bit too stupid for it to make sense.
Favourite character: Saitama.
One-Punch Man: Season 2
Synopsis in one sentence: Saitama makes new friends and (unbeknownst to him) new enemies, while the power struggle between heroes and monsters rages on.
I feel like this season had a clearer path in mind than the first season, which made for some really fun character beats, introductions, and demises. I loved the setup for future conflict and the placing of the different heroes in positions for the inevitable brawl. What I was disappointed by is the lack of Saitama. I mean, it's his show! He felt more a background character than a lead, which at first I liked because it really got me anticipating when he was gonna get involved, or when his actions would cross with all the big stuff he wasn't involved with. It made all the fighting all the more fun when I was watching them with a layer of "but just you wait until Saitama gets here! Then it's really gonna kick off!" And then that just... didn't happen. There's a blip of Saitama at the end and that was it. I know the show is a kind of satire and the way things played out works in line with that, but for me it was a little too little, if that makes sense. It made me more dissatisfied than amused. Still, I am on tenterhooks for this series' future and am desperate to see how the hinted mess in this season pays off in future.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
Best aspect: King's whole concept was amazing
Worst aspect: For the pace at which they release this show, I really don't think the story can go as slow as it does. I worry that if every season ends with a "but wait till next season, cause something really big is coming!" I'm going to get sick of waiting for said "something". Hopefully the next season has more purpose.
Favourite character: Garou
Ouran Host Club
Synopsis in one sentence: About a group of high school students that form a host club- a club that offers tea and company to giggly female clients.
Comedy at its finest. This show was hilarious and I totally recommend it. All of the characters were awesome and the way they assigned each with a 'personality type' really made it work. A little bit of fan service as well, but explained in a way that is wasn't gag-worthy, but more funny. In fact, this show was almost a satire on all the other shojo animes, which was most of its appeal. There wasn't much of a story, though and this was basically all about the antics of the club. Really great show!!
Recommended for: Romantic comedy fans. It's also a reverse harem, so if you're into that genre, you'll like this.
Best aspect: Comedy. For once I actually liked the over reactive, neurotic characters because they were funny!
Worst aspect: Not much storyline going on. And it would've been nice to have more episodes, but maybe that's just me. ^_^
Favourite character: I can honestly say I liked all of the characters. If I had to choose, probably Tamaki... no, the twins.... no, Honey... no, THIS IS TOO HARD!!!
Synopsis in one sentence: A gamer is trapped in the video game he rules as the top player, and he decides to help the citizens of his new fantasy world using his incredible power.
I really would've enjoyed this as a mystery show, but Overlord is a fantasy story that just fell flat for me. The first episode introduces the lead, Momonga, contemplating the ended relationships with his guild members and reminiscing over his love for a soon to be disconnected online RPG. But when the cut off time arrives and Momonga is not logged out, he realises he is trapped, and things are made even more interesting when he discovers the NPCs of the game have become sentient. That, to me, is a very intriguing story. The mystery of why the game has trapped him, as well as the alive-ness of the NPCs, and the opportunity to delve into the past of Momonga and the game to see how this moment came to be, was something I was totally on board for. So when the second episode starts and the trapped storyline is all but forgotten in favour of Momonga travelling around fighting bad guys and dealing with a self-created harem, I was disappointed. The conflicts were dull, because they centered on characters I had no connection to. And when your lead is a walking Deus Ex Machina, the fights are less than exciting. So yeah, this wasn't a show I enjoyed. I've seen a bunch of fantasy shows, a bunch of action shows, and plenty of harem shows, and to me Overlord did not stand out in any of those categories at all.
Recommended for: Fantasy and magic fans. This show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: I liked the outfit designs.
Worst aspect: Useless romance crap.
Favourite character: Momonga's kind of the only choice.


Title Review Rating
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
Synopsis in one sentence: Two angels are banished to earth for lewd behavior and must vanquish a collection of evil ghosts to regain their angel status.
Before you go into P&S, you need to know that it is vulgar. REALLY vulgar. And if you, like I was, are now expecting an anime South Park, you need to change that expectation right now. Because there's no smart underlying commentary on society in P&S, like there is in South Park. P&S is just crass. Unless there's some meaning behind the vomit ghost that I missed. >_> The first half of the series was a bit ruined by the tasteless jokes, for me. I felt like with every fart or sex joke, I could hear the writers cracking up in their meetings because they think they are just the funniest people ever. To be blunt: the jokes felt try-hard, desperate to cause shock value. But, after I got used to the basic, risque nature of the series, I started to enjoy myself. Once you embrace the absurdity of the show, everything just... it just works. Sure, all the characters are horrible, but you still find yourself rooting for the two leads. It's a really fun show! But that's all there really is to the series: fun. The stories are very basic, there's little to no character development and, after watching the whole series, the only thing that sticks out is the amount of times the show made me cringe. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt gives you exactly what it says on the box: adult themes and quirky animation. Am I being greedy when I say I wanted something more?
Recommended for: ADULTS. Or mature people, your choice. Now where do I start with the warnings.... This show has: sexual themes (so much sex O_O), violence, heavy swearing, pedophilia... what doesn't this show have, is the better question! If you are turned off by words such as indecent, gross and crass, then this show is not for you.
Best aspect: The episodes that were so absurd you had no choice but to laugh.
Worst aspect: I felt Stocking wasn't given enough attention. I also got a little confused with the timeline, sometimes. Oh, and I wasn't a fan of the animation.
Favourite character: I want so say Panty but... she's so.... um, I can't explain her without violating our wiki's PG rule.
Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~
Synopsis in one sentence: After accidentally witnessing a murder, Zwei has his memories erased and is forced to become an assassin.
The set up for this series is the same as the OVA, but from there things escalate into an entirely new series. The first half of the show is great. It's got action aplenty, tragic heroes, dangerous villains and a dash of romance. The end of the first story arc is exactly what you'd hope for: equal parts sad and exciting. It's after this point that the series started to lose me. A new generation of assassins and villains begin, but unnecessary characters become the forefront and the main characters becomes... confusing. I had no idea what he wanted anymore. Phantom just felt like a series that went on too long. It had a nice place to wrap up, but it pushed past that until the extra stuff ruined what I originally liked. A mixed bag, really.
Recommended for: Action fans. If you like the OVA, then you'll also like this.
Best aspect: The Zwei/Ein relationship was great.
Worst aspect: They completely wasted Drei. She was an interesting character who made decisions that I really did not understand.
Favourite character: Zwei
Plastic Memories
Synopsis in one sentence: In the near future, where synthetic humans are used as surrogate family members for those who have lost loved ones, one team is tasked with retrieving the bots when their programs are coming to an end.
An interesting show which could've been an interesting look at family, love, and heavier topics such as mind degenerative conditions and even assisted suicide, Plastic Memories spends a small amount of time examining the world we are supposed to be emerged in, and instead focuses on (can you guess it?) romance! Of the insta-love variety! Because anime knows nothing else! Therefore I found the series dull, and the undeveloped, cringe inducing love story the two leads played out wasn't anything to write home about, I'll say that much.
Recommended for: Romance fans. At the time of writing this review, this show had not been dubbed.
Best aspect: When the story got a little gritty, and showed how grief effects different people.
Worst aspect: Bleck, cheesy romance.
Favourite character: Kazuki. She was the best developed to me. I would've liked to see more of her story.
Princess Jellyfish
Synopsis in one sentence: The lives of the reclusive otaku inhabitants of the Amamizukan boarding house are turned upside down with the appearance of the incredibly beautiful Kuronosuke.
Princess Jellyfish is a slice of life with a twist; the heroines are a complete mess, the villain turns into a love interest, and the beautiful Kuronosuke? Yep, she's a he. All of this comes together to form a comedy that's wrapped in drama and held together by a love… square? I don't know exactly how it works, but Princess Jellyfish manages to make all of this craziness awesome. At the end of the first episode, I was addicted. 11 episodes later and I'm craving more. I was definitely sucked in by the loveable characters and all their weird quirks. This show takes every simple problem and puts a unique twist on it, which packs each episode full of great plot and suspense. Take, for instance, the Jellyfish obsessed lead Tsukimi's crush on Kuronosuke's older brother Shuu. Shuu reciprocates the feelings, but only because he first meets Tsukimi when she's dolled up and looks pretty. This leads to all manner of confusing meet ups as Tsukimi switches between beauty and frump, and things only get more confusing when Shuu is conned by a vicious land developer who Tsukimi believes he loves. It's the crazy ideas like this that gradually spiral out of control and keep things fresh. There's lots of suspense, lots of humour, and plenty of characters to fall in love with. If you haven't seen it already, Princess Jellyfish is definitely worth a try.
Recommended for: Fans of Josei (manga for women). If you're not into the romance genre, then Princess Jellyfish will probably be a bit of a bore. Also be warned that there is A LOT of sexual themes.
Best aspect: I loved how they portrayed Kuronosuke's character. They could have easily made his cross dressing into a joke, but they just made it part of what makes him up as a person.
Worst aspect: The ending was so unresolved! Well, it wasn't too bad, but I would've loved more episodes.
Favourite character: I did really like Tsukimi.
Problem Children Are Coming from Another World, Aren't They?
Synopsis in one sentence: Three humans with special powers are sucked into a magical world where they join forces to fight in matches to save their new home from evil forces.
I really liked the opening of the show, but the further in I got, the more cliché things became. Problem Children might be an interesting show to anime newcomers, but if you're well versed in the realm of survival fights/magical realm anime, then this show will be old hat. The characters, villains, and story have all been done before.
Recommended for: Fans of magical realm shows (like Familiar of Zero or Campione) and high stakes games (like Btooom! or Sword Art Online).
Best aspect: The powers.
Worst aspect: The story was so predictable.
Favourite character: Kasukabe
Psycho-Pass: Season 1
Synopsis in one sentence: An anime set in a futuristic world where everyone's psychotic state is monitored and the police use the most unstable citizens to solve crimes.
I really liked the idea behind this show, but for some reason I just could not get into it. Maybe it was because, like in the case of Guilty Crown, I've see enough really fantastic science adventure shows that the good-but-not-fantastic ones just don't cut it for me anymore. Whatever the case, I found myself distracted whenever Psycho-Pass was on, so I'm gonna save it for a time when I can really get into it.
Recommended for: Action fans.
When I stopped: Episode 4.
Will I go back? Yep. I really like the premise of this one, so I'm more than willing to give it another chance.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Synopsis in one sentence: Two friends are given the option to gain magical powers and fight evil, but the deal is not as simple as it seems....
Wow, what a great series! Right from the get go things are steeped in mystery; I just never knew what the everyone's motives were, yano? Things got more interesting with each episode and then the whole story was just flipped on its head in episode 10. So many questions were answered, plus the action themed plot suddenly more like a tragedy and it was all about the backstory! Backstory = YAY! Puella Magi was also a VERY short series (only 12 episodes!!) which I think helped it a bit. It didn't go on more than it should, so the conclusion was very satisfying. All in all, it's a pretty good anime and it's so short I would recommend it to most people.
Recommended for: If you like action, fantasy, magical girls, interesting art, time travel or if you want something short and sweet, Puella Magi Madoka Magica might be what you're looking for!
Best aspect: I am absolutely in love with the animation. The style was soft, eccentric, artsy... just stunning, basically. The art was by far my favourite part of the show!
Worst aspect: I felt that Puella didn't really have a clear genre. If it was meant to be tragic, they could've had a bit more dramatic moments, while if they wanted it to be more action oriented, it needed a lot more fighting. The easy way to label it is saying it's a magical girl series, but it lacks the shojo element for it to be truly defined as that. I guess it's just a bit confusing...
Favourite character: Kyoko. Spunk and a wicked backstory always gets my vote. ^^
Red Data Girl
Synopsis in one sentence: A timid girl with mysterious connections to the spirit world is surrounded by danger when she attends a new school.
This show has such an interesting premise and started off strong, but halfway through it decided to become a slice of life school story and from that point on I was bored out of my mind. The story is bogged down by endlessly unspectacular characters, the worst of which being the lead character, Suzuhara, whose deer-in-headlights routine started to grate on me pretty quick. I don't care about scaredy cat whiney damsels in distress, so when you try to tell me that she's the most important person in the world, or whatever, it just won't work. The latter section of the series was also a mess, with rushed stories and poor explanations and next to no character development. Very disappointing show.
Recommended for: Supernatural and romance fans. Do not go into this one expecting explosive storylines.
Best aspect: I liked the spirit world designs.
Worst aspect: Characters sucked.
Favourite character: Masumi, the only character with any actual character.
Requiem from the Darkness
Synopsis in one sentence: A guy named Momosuke joins a band of strange travellers that solve supernatural mysteries.
Quite a dark anime, with a bit of gore, but not much violence, if that makes sense. This sort of seemed to focus more on supernatural occurrences than characters, which was good, but sometimes got a bit confusing. The ending was very abrupt and it confused me a bit, but overall this show was alright.
Recommended for: Anyone interested in supernatural mysteries.
Best aspect: The various mysteries were quite intriguing and kept me guessing.
Worst aspect: Characters weren't really developed well.
Favourite character: Ogin. Her puppeteer ability is pretty cool!
Synopsis in one sentence: Optimistic schoolgirl Akiho sets off with her video game addict best friend Yashio to keep their Robotics Club running so they can build a replica of a famous anime robot.
The third show in 5pb.'s Science Adventure series, Robotics;Notes sets off in a much more upbeat direction than its predecessor Steins;Gate. Robotics;Notes (I'm gonna squish that title down to RN, because it's way easier to type) is, at first, your run of the mill high school drama. The romantic leads are apparent straight from the get go, and over the next ten or so episodes, the larger cast made from all too familiar archetypes (snobby brainbox, reclusive semi-yandere, shy girl with sad past etc) is introduced. While there are darker plots working in the background very early on, the slow start does work against this show a bit; by the time the real excitement rolled around, I was starting to get a bit tired of the focus on the club and their simple adventures. If the show's length was maybe cut in half I think the story would've been much sharper and far more exciting. Thankfully, when the ball finally got rolling, things were much better. The mystery behind the series' big bad was very intriguing and as crisis after crisis got stacked on top of each other, I was quite hooked. The ended was a bit cheesy (and a tinsy bit predictable) for my taste, and I was also disappointed that the main characters were not given a follow up, but for the most part I was not unsatisfied. While I did feel like RN had a much stronger sense of direction than Steins;Gate, I felt like it lacked the excitement of the latter. Still, the show delivered in it's titular promise of robots, so I guess I can’t complain too much. ;P
Recommended for: 5pb. Fans, fans of mecha and anyone who likes high school anime.
Best aspect: When the show was not afraid to get scary.
Worst aspect: The feel good filler ruined the pacing a bit.
Favourite character: Subaru
Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals
Synopsis in one sentence: Rock Lee in chibi form.
The big problem with this show is that the writers made the mistake that Rock Lee is popular for being the comedic relief, as opposed to actually being popular for being a comedic relief character who fights against the odds to prove himself as capable as anyone else. This chibi show reduces Rock Lee to predictable joke after lame joke (it's sad how often Rock Lee's butt was the resolution to an episode), with two stories per episode. I was hoping for some awesome Lee stories, so this show was too disappointing to follow to the end.
Recommended for: If you like uninspired anime comedy then this show's a good romp, but for anyone looking for Rock Lee awesomeness, prepare to be disappointed.
When I stopped: Episode 7.
Will I go back? Maybe, on a day when I have absolutely nothing better to do with my life.
Romeo X Juliet
Synopsis in one sentence: In a fantasy world that is ruled by a tyrannical leader, the leader of a resistance movement falls in love with the evil emperor's son.
This was a pretty average anime, and it had both good points and bad points. The way they recreated the original play was quite interesting, as they stayed true to the overall body of the story, but also entwined it with the fantasy themes to create a really unique spin on the classic tale. However, the whole thing was a little bit too much drama for me to really enjoy. All the dramtic speeches, longing glances... it's just too much. I wasn't really into the series too much, but I was quite surprised by the ending and the direction it went in. Because of course I was watching it and the whole time thinking "Are they gonna both die like in the play?", so the ending was pretty intense. So yeah, I wasn't really fond of this series, but it wasn't bad enough for me to stop watching.
Recommended for: Fans of the original play and fantasy. There is NO humour in this show, so you've gotta like drama series as well.
Best aspect: The ending was the only bit I was really fond of.
Worst aspect: The main characters sucked and whined too much.
Favourite character: Tybalt.
Rosario + Vampire
Synopsis in one sentence: An average human boy accidentally becomes enrolled in a school for monsters and he must hide his real identity in order to survive.
Oh, Rosario +Vampire, I can only laugh at you. When I think of Rosario I think not of it's great character line up, nor do I think of the crazy storylines. Nope, Rosario +Vampire makes me think of one thing and one thing only.... Panty Shots. Lots and lots of panties. I have never seen so much fan service in my life. It's a shame really, because overall it was a pretty good show. The stories for each episode was pretty interesting (although for the first half of the show they were really predictable) and the overall plot was really exciting. New characters popped up all the time and added their own flair to the show, plus the comedy was great! But the constant fan service cheapened the whole feel of the show. FR, don't be a prude, you say? Now, I know short skirts and busty chests are a staple of almost every anime (especially those in the harem genre) but Rosario could not go 10 seconds without an up the skirt shot. And I'm not exaggerating... I counted. >> Sometimes you even got to find out a characters undergarment of choice before you even got to see their face. Ah, well, by now you get the point. :P Rant over!
Recommended for: Ahem, I think this series has a certain type of fan in mind....
Best aspect: All the character traits and the way they clashed equals much hilarity! =D
Worst aspect: I think you can figure this out. I'll give a clue: It begins with a P and ends with a Anty shots. O_O
Favourite character: Mizore. Haha, you creepy stalker freak you. XD
Rosario + Vampire: Capu2
Synopsis in one sentence: Lessons at Yokai Academy begin again, and the introduction of some new characters could spell trouble for Tsukune and his friends!
Oh Rosario + Vampire, I really do have a love/hate relationship with you! This show is in a genre of its own. It's so ridiculous and OTT that I can't help but smile as I think of it. For its second season, Rosario + Vampire took everything from its first season and increased it by 20 points. The main cast was expanded by a few characters, while their backgrounds where explored a bit more and their personalities were both further developed and over exaggerated. The formulaic episodes kept a similar format, but the stories became a bit more complex and grounded. And then there's the one thing that Rosario is famous for: Fan Service. How do you up fan service on a show where there's a panty shot every 10 seconds? I'll tell you how! You add in twice as much panty shots. Hell, you throw your all into it and make all skirts so short that panties are visible at all times. Then, you get even a bit more creative and add.... Nudity. Yep, they went there. Nudity on a relatively harmless anime is awkward enough, but what made the minor nudity of this season even more cringe worthy is that one of the main characters is around the age of 12. Topless high school girls = uncomfortable. Topless 12 year old girls = creepy. Very very creepy. Despite that, I still really enjoyed this show. This season was done very well, and it seemed like the writers knew what they had to do to keep the familiarity of the first season, while also keeping things fresh and interesting. The main positive of this season was that it was not afraid to poke fun at itself by adding in some recurring jokes. There was even an episode dedicated to one of the characters getting fed up with the amount of fan service she was witnessing around the school! There is lots more great humour I could talk about on Rosario + Vampire: Capu2, but, well, it's a long story...
Recommended for: It's a great continuation for any fans of the first season. If you haven't seen the first season, I wouldn't recommend this because it could be a bit overwhelming for a viewer that is unfamiliar with the humour and style of the series. Oh, and if you could barely stand the fan service of the first season, then this one is REALLY not for you.
Best aspect: Humour wins again!!!
Worst aspect: Too much skin. >_> Oh, and Moka is a little too perfect for my liking.
Favourite character: Oh wow, there were lots I really liked. Mizore was still a front runner for me, but Kurumu really came into her own this season. So, it's a tie, I guess.
Rurouni Kenshin
Synopsis in one sentence: A retired assassin changes his ways and devotes himself to protecting the people of Japan.
This anime was interesting, with some great supporting characters. However, after a while I just lost interest. If I had to think of a reason, I suppose the storyline got a bit too political for me and I got bored.
Recommended for: Ninja fans, stories about feudal Japan or anyone who likes older animes.
When I stopped: I stopped watching at the end of the first season (episode 27).
Will I go back? I want to, but the large episode number turns me off a bit.


Title Review Rating
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of high school girls form a mah-jong club and take on other clubs for victory.
This show was a bit too slice-of-lifey for me. The characters were all kinds of boring, trope-y archetypes, so I didn't have much investment in their stories. What I was hoping for with this show was a competition I could be excited about, a la Chihayfauru. The problem is that the efforts to explain mah-jong were minimal, at best, so I was lost for most of the battles. If I had no interest in the characters, and no understanding of the series' central game, then this show is not for me.
Recommended for: Slice of life and mah-jong fans. This show is not currently dubbed.
When I stopped: Episode 9.
Will I go back? Only if I have nothing better to watch... or if I gain a sudden knowledge of mah-jong.
Samurai Champloo
Synopsis in one sentence: Two skilled samurai reluctantly agree to help a feisty waitress locate a samurai who smells of sunflowers.
If you take a slice of life anime, send it a couple hundred years back in the past and added samurai, you'd have Samurai Champloo. This show is... interesting is the only way I can think of describing it. It's like everything that holds the show together is experimental, starting with the hip hop influence that first rears its head in the opening theme. Neither of the three leads are particularly likeable, but you still want them to succeed at everything. There's constant flicking between past, present and future in a completely random narrative from a stranger that has almost nothing to do with the story. Samurai Champloo is just weird like that. If you want epic fights to the death then you'll find them in Samurai Champloo, just not in a very dramatic tone. That's where the parallel to a slice of life come in; this series presents everything in a very real way, with no sweeping musical scores or witty one liners to spice things up. Even the ending keeps the same mellow tone. After a 26 episode journey everything just... ends. Which was kind of disappointing, because there were certain romantic connections that were never explored or declarations of friendship I was waiting to hear, but it also made sense. The crew had done what they wanted and that's all the show was following so that's all we get to see. The last thing I want to comment on is the characters (the three protagonists, to be exact), who had a slow but steady growth. Although they're still essentially the same when the show comes to a close, there's this subtle evolution of their relationship that is really what made me become so enthralled in what was going on. The three leads have this great way of bouncing off each other, and as they become more comfortable and learn more about each other, there's a familial sort of feeling that makes everything all warm and fuzzy. ^_^ Although Samurai Champloo didn't quite pack the punch I was hoping for, I still found it a relaxing watch and a lovely journey to see play out.
Recommended for: Hmmm, it's kind of hard to recommend the show because I'm not sure what audience it's for. I suppose if you like your anime quirky and a little out of the box then you'll like Samurai Champloo. It's obviously got Samurai in it, so if you like mild fighting then this will be good as well. And, hell, why not recommend it to the slice of life fans as well?
Best aspect: Camaraderie.
Worst aspect: The laid back pace could make things seem a little dull at times. Oh, and the end was frustrating.
Favourite character: Fuu, for holding the group together.
Synopsis in one sentence: Three boys are roped into collecting people's desires in exchange for wishes.
This was just not a show for me. I can see why some people could love it; I am just not one of those people. I think this show was intended as a wacky adventure, with laugh out loud wtf humour and an underlying theme about shame and trauma to make you think. Instead it came across as a confusing mess with the comedy sense of a twelve year old who thinks they're edgy, wrapped in the lives of three equally annoying characters that I couldn't care less about. And don't get me started on the music. If you're gonna make me sit through the same two songs EVERY episode, you could at least make them interesting and/or pleasant to listen to.
Recommended for: OTT comedy anime fans. This is also one I suspect might be better in sub, as I found the dub performances dull and kind of annoying to listen to.
When I stopped: Episode 8.
Will I go back? No
School Rumble
Synopsis in one sentence: Follow tough guy Harima and the ever sweet Tenma as they try to confess their feelings to their crushes.
Yano, I'm not really sure how to start off explaining School Rumble. Do I talk about the interesting changes of perspective that offer more depth to the leads as you get to see them through various sets of eyes? Should I talk about the gradual development over time that moved the characters forward in a way that's not normally seen in romance anime? Or should I talk about the bucket loads of comedy that drive each episode? Yeah, I think I'll start with the comedy. Because I love comedy. And I love School Rumble. Instead of trying to overdramatize with sweeping stories about stupid misunderstandings, School Rumble instead offers short bursts of hilarity that end before the story becomes boring. In fact, most episodes are just a group of random stories that aren't often related to each other! If I think about it, it's probably these constant shifts of narrative that make School Rumble such a fun ride. Even if an episode is focused on a single event it switches between Harima and Tenma in a way that makes it feel like you're experiencing two different plots instead of the same story. It keeps things fresh, especially when the two leads have such differing views on life. It's also the change of perspective that makes those characters so much fun to follow. From Harima's point of view Tenma is the standard anime goddess, but when you get to see Tenma close up, she's actually a ditsy, overly optimistic klutz who messes everything up. From Tenma's view Harima is the intimidating brute everyone fears, but seeing things through Harima's eyes reveal that he is a nervous wreck with a tendency to put his foot in it. I love getting a peek behind these two staple character archetypes of the anime world and their constant bids to try and win over the one they love made them so incredibly easy to like. Oh, and if you think that this is some romantic sop fest where the two leads love each other from afar in a predictable sob story, don't worry! Although Harima is hopelessly in love Tenma, she barely knows he exists because she is enamoured with the enigmatic Karasuma. Overtime the pool of protagonists widens, but none of the new additions bore, and this only allows for more development and more for Harima to screw up. The randomness that is School Rumble is pretty addictive, so if you like things light and ridiculous, then this is probably the anime for you!
Recommended for: Romantic comedy fans.
Best aspect: Things actually moved forward! New characters came in, new friendships were formed, and romances developed and broke up. It was cool to be able to look back at the first episode and realise that things have changed completely since then.
Worst aspect: When I was 20+ episodes in I was a little tired of the two leads always misunderstanding things. For example, Harima is spotted with another girl and everyone assumes they go out, but instead of just saying "Actually, we don't" he just fumbles around for ages. What's so wrong with just telling the truth?
Favourite character: Harima. I was rooting for him the entire series
School Rumble: 2nd Semester
Synopsis in one sentence: Tenma and Harima continue to try to share their feelings.
The second season of School Rumble is a bittersweet affair. On one hand, there's a lot more side stories, and the promotion of some of the characters from background to lead allows for an awesome variety of all sorts of different ideas and types of love. On the other hand, this means that there's less focus on Tenma and Harima, which means that their story seems like it's going painfully slow. It doesn't mean it's a bad change, it just means School Rumble is taking what made the first season so enjoyable and adding more to it. Basically, the sweet is the evolution of the School Rumble universe as a whole, the bitter is the sacrifice that is made of the two lead characters. It was the final few episodes that really brought the show back to my list of favorites though, because they focused solely on our starring couple. For a fleeting moment we get to see what Tenma and Harima are like when alone, and it sent my fragile shipping heart (I'm TenmaXHarima, of course) into a frenzy. It's because of this tease that, even though I knew it was coming, the series coming full circle is more aggravating that it was last time. Yeah, even one of the characters comments on the fact that "we're back at square one". Argh, so frustrating! School Rumble is probably one of the animes that I think matured the most over its course, because it keeps to its same old fun formula, but if I think back to the first season, the tone seems completely different. It's a change that has both pros and cons, but the pros far outweigh the cons so School Rumble is still one of my favorite rom-com animes so far!
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
Best aspect: Those last beautiful episodes...
Worst aspect: I need a conclusion already!!!
Favourite character: Harima.
selector infected WIXOSS
Synopsis in one sentence: A girl named Ruko finds a card game that can make her greatest wish a reality, but only if she defeats other players first.
selector infected WIXOSS is one of those fun shows that takes everything magical girl and strips the magic away. At first, it seems Ruko has found a fun entrance into a competition with a fantastic prize. She makes friends, her card, Tama, is an adorable semi-mute ball of cuteness whose love for WIXOSS battling is infectious, and Ruko finds something that she not only enjoys, but something that she loves doing. Then things begin to unravel. Her friends get hurt. Her control over her card loosens. She begins to doubt the stability of the WIXOSS game. And when more dangerous players come into the picture, and the true nature of WIXOSS is revealed, the simple card game isn't so fun anymore. This show was fast paced, heart wrenching, cut throat, and I loved it! Every episode hit hard with purpose, and the slow progression of tension kept me on the edge of my seat. The only problem I had with this show, though, was the characters. The bad girls were great. Malevolent and mysterious, just how I like 'em! But the heroines... meh. As generic as generic can be. One's super nice, one's super shy. Where have I seen that before? How about in every magical girl anime ever? And then the third heroine is motivated by... incest? WHAT? Are we supposed to be rooting for that? What. The. (Excuse my French). Fuck? I hated that plot and I hated that character so much. But the plot was very strong, and for that I can pretend the incest wasn't a thing and look on this series favourably. I was a bit disgruntled by the cliff-hanger ending, but there's a second season, so here's hoping things get resolved!
Recommended for: Magical girl and supernatural thriller fans. If you loved Puella Magi Madoka Magica, I'd highly recommend you give this show a watch. Also, as I mentioned, there is an incest plot, so if you're sensitive to that, skip this one out.
Best aspect: The dark side of WIXOSS.
Worst aspect: Incest.
Favourite character: Akira. She was demented and I wanted her to get no happiness, but she did spice the show up!
selector spread WIXOSS
Synopsis in one sentence: The consequences of a WIXOSS wish are revealed, as Ruko sets to end the pain the card game causes once and for all.
All you need to know about selector spread WIXOSS is that it takes what happens in the first season and polishes it up. The twists get twistier, the villains more villainous. Most importantly, the incest crap is pushed to the background, so praise the high heavens for that. What I enjoyed most about this season, however, is that things are resolved, and in quite a satisfactory way at that. So many anime shows really on nonsense conclusions, or deus ex machina for their endings. WIXOSS, on the other hand, felt like it had a clear end in mind since the beginning, which, sadly, is quite rare in anime. The resolution, I'll admit, was a bit confusing as there was so much going on, but otherwise I really really enjoyed finding out what WIXOSS was. Unfortunately, the characters didn't improve much. It sucked, but the two villainesses of the first season were toned down (especially Iona, who was pretty boring in this season). As a good note, though, Yuzuki came into her own. Instead of pining like she did in the first season, she became a doer, solving the mystery and helping protect her friends. Oh, and Chiyori was an adorable addition to the cast, even if she was only really there for comedy. So yeah, I liked this season, and overall I loved the show. There were a few things I could do without, but for the most part, the selector series was a highly enjoyable watch! P.S. Why would they still play WIXOSS after everything was over? First, this game psychologically tortured you. Why would you keep playing that for fun? Second, you've gone from magically summoned arenas with real life magical powers, to... cards? What a downgrade that's gotta be! It's like going from HD Kingdom Hearts to playing a board game version of the exact same games. How could you find the board game fun when you've had the HD playable version? I don't get it...
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
Best aspect: That there was conclusion to the story.
Worst aspect: Any mention of incest. Ewk.
Favourite character: Yano, not many stood out in the grand scheme of things. I would choose Yuzuki, but she's got that whole... you know. I guess I'll choose Chiyori.
Shadow Star Narutaru
Synopsis in one sentence: A girl finds a strange creature while swimming and welcomes it into her home and life.
Such a good premise (What if Pokemon were menacing?) but this show went absolutely nowhere. Like three quarters of the show is just watching this girl's day to day life, with maybe a couple minutes per episode developing the main plot. There's this constant hinting at something ominous happening, but it doesn't ever get there. The most impactful episodes are the last couple, which suddenly throw things into high gear and start to show what these things can do, setting up the beginning of some really harrowing stuff... and then the show ends. That's it. So unsatisfying. It reads like an adaptation of a series that had barely started and with so little material I'm really confused about why they decided to animate this? Disappointment all around.
Recommended for: If you like slow burns and no answers, give this one a go. This is also created by the maker of Bokurano, so if you liked that you might want to check this out too.
Best aspect: When it hit the fan in the last eps.
Favourite character: Hoshimaru seemed like a good boy
Shakugan no Shana
Synopsis in one sentence: Common high schooler Yuji Sakai's life is changed when he meets a supernatural warrior who tells him that he has died and soon his existence will fade into nothingness.
After finishing the first season of Shakugan no Shana, I'm a bit at odds over whether I liked it or not. On the one hand, I loved the entire concept. Shakugan is set in a hidden reality where dangerous "Crimson Denizens" can appear at any time and feast on the life force of unsuspecting humans. Those humans become empty shells of their former selves before they just up and disappear a short time after, which in turn completely erases any hint of their lives throughout history. Yuji becomes one of these shells (called a "Torch"), but once he learns of his "death" he is determined to stave off his fate and fight for his life. Then there's the mysterious girl who Yuji names Shana after her long sword. She is a "Flame Haze"; a denizen of magic who works to defeat the Denizens. When Yuji refuses to leave Shana's side in the hope of preventing any future Torch creation, an intriguing mission is set up upon the foundations of a rocky partnership. All of the rich lore of this show is great, and it's the Torch/Flame Haze mystery that got me stuck into the plot. In a way, Shakugan is sort of set up in a similar way to Puella Magi Madoka Magica; average Joe thrown into the middle of an ancient battle etc. Then there's the other side of the show, which brings with it a host of incredibly bland characters that in no way hold up the fascinating story the show presents. I didn't find any of the characters particularly exciting, which meant that the latter end of the season became a bit of a bore because I wasn't emotionally attached to anyone. Shana, the show's typical tsundere, is the strongest of the core cast, but even she is just so... tsundere-ey. There's nothing that makes her stand out more than any of the hundreds of other tsundere girls. And don't even get me started on Yuji, who I found just as boring as Rin from Shuffle. The support cast do no better, and even the villains are pretty tame for a show that tries to make every fight as brutal as possible. So where does that leave me and my relationship with this show? Well, I feel the same way I did after A Certain Magical Index; I loved the idea, but not the execution. I ended up loving A Certain Magical Railgun, so I really hope that season 2 of Shakugan no Shana steps things up. All the foundation of the show is solid, it's just the blocks on top that aren't level, so I still reckon there's room for redemption. Fingers crossed!
Recommended for: Fans of the magical girl genre.
Best aspect: I liked the side relationship of Tanaka, Satou and Big Sis.
Worst aspect: I HATED the VAs. Really basic voices that made everyone sound like they were 10 years old. And in case you were wondering, this was not an invitation to rip on dubs. >_>
Favourite character: Although their whole incest-but-not-really-incest thing gave me the heebie jeebies, the Aizenta and Aizenji Denizens were the most charismatic characters of the entire series.
Shakugan no Shana Second
Synopsis in one sentence: Shana and whatshisface do... stuff.
I had hoped that this show would be like A Certain Magical etc where I wasn't that crazy about the first season, but the second season won me over. Instead Shakugan no Shana Second is more boring than its predecessor. The premise is great, sure, but the denizens only make up about 20% of the storyline while the rest of the plot is wasting time trying to decide which girl Yuji likes. But the guy is so freaking boring I couldn't care less about his love life. So I'll put this one on the backburner for now... maybe I'll take another look at it if I have time to spare at a later date.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
When I stopped: Episode 19.
Will I go back? Hmmm... I don't think so.
Synopsis in one sentence: In a small village people begin to die and one doctor begins to suspect that the deaths have something to do with a strange family that have recently moved to their town.
This show starts slow, builds tension and then BAM! Things get crazy. Good crazy. Crazy awesome. You're gradually introduced to the plethora of characters living in this small village, and I found it really easy to care about their lives. As things spiral downwards, the suspense was killing me, especially in regards to Doctor Ozaki and his struggle to outwit a power far more experienced than him. It was a constant river of questions and excitement and the climax of the whole thing, the moment where the roles of hunter and hunted become muddled, was fantastic. Suddenly I saw all the characters in different ways, and my whole perspective of the series was changed. Ugh, it was great. One gripe I had was that things could've been a whole lot smoother if the Shiki and villagers had just talked. If the Shiki had been upfront, or kinder, things could've ended a whole lot less... bloody. I think it would've been interesting to see dialogue attempted at least once, by any character, to ease some of the plot holes from the climax.
Recommended for: Horror fans. There's gore galore, so squeamish stomachs stay away.
Best aspect: The character writing was excellent.
Worst aspect: The ending seemed a bit rushed. I think they should've stretched it out further, maybe removing some of the repetitive episodes from the beginning of the series.
Favourite character: Ooo, tough choice. Probably Natsuno.
Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist
Synopsis in one sentence: Japan has put a strict ban on anything explicit, but we follow one student as he is wrapped up in the antics of a group that promotes all things dirty.
I went into this show thinking it would be what the title suggests: dirty jokes don't exist, that's it. I was hoping that this show would be a clever exploration of how to write characters that simply don't know anything about potty humour; a social commentary, of sorts. I was intrigued to see how a show could make an entire story out of such a simple premise, and excited because I've loved quite a few shows that turn something simple into something addictive (We Were There, Chihayafuru, etc). But this show was not the smart critique of potty humour I was looking for. This show is only potty humour. The concept is that in Japan, any mention of ANYTHING related to sex is banned. That was a pretty heavy hit against the show in the beginning, because that makes no sense. If this situation were to happen, and we were raising generations of kids that don't even know the names for their genitalia, then guess what, Japan? You'll be erased a few decades, because no one knows what sex is. And if discussion of anything of this kind is strictly prohibited, how are kids walked through puberty? It's just a stupid idea. And let's not even get into the logistics of how banning stuff like that would just make it worse, because all the darker kinds of depravity would simply be pushed further underground, which would lead to less governance and more unhealthy behaviour. Heck, prostitution is far from legal, but that doesn't mean it's stopped all together. But even if I ignore the stupidity of the concept, the execution of it was so dull and unimaginative (and sometimes disgusting) that the series was a real drag to get through. Every episode is based on the kind of humour ten year olds think is edgy and cool. "Haha, we put underwear on this guy's head!" *writers all pat each other on the back* BORING! The characters were lame as heck too, each a stereotype I have seen many times before. And the story culminates in a big bunch of nothing. Okay, I think you get the point. There's potential for something in this show's title, but the story itself is droll. But eh, I've seen worse. At least the animation was good and each episode was fast paced. That's all the good things I can find to say, though...
Recommended for: Toilet humour fans. Soft core anime porn fans? This show is not currently dubbed.
Best aspect: The first two episodes were interesting.
Worst aspect: The casual sexual assault a lot of the characters received.
Favourite character: Fuwa. She was the one consistent and not awful character.
Synopsis in one sentence: High school student Rin is approached by the king of the Gods and the king of the Demons, who proclaim that he must choose one of their daughters to marry.
At first Shuffle! sets up an interesting array of characters; as well as the two main leads, there's Rin's best friend Kaede who's cared for him since they were both orphaned, as well as a small group of Rin's classmates. I really liked that there were no hints towards who was the front runner for Rin's heart, and things only got more interesting when his classmates were allowed to grow outside of the trademark background character mould. However, this intrigue only lasted a few episodes because an interesting story can't really hold up when the characters portrayed in it are so incredibly boring. Each girl is the poster child for the same old harem storylines; the aggressive one with a soft side, the always flirtatious one who really just wants to be loved, the enigmatic one who's hiding a secret burden etc etc. Then there's the main character, Rin, who's really the most boring harem center I've ever seen. He's so incredibly unreactive to everything that I actually started to dislike his very presence. He's never angry, never sad, never happy, never anything! Plus his voice was so monotone it sounded like he was going to off himself at any moment. Usually it's the comedy that gets me through a predictable harem, but in Shuffle! even that fell flat. The show spends so much time establishing the series as incredibly average that by the time they tried to introduce some more dramatic plot, it was almost laughable. Seeing the plot become darker was like watching sesame street trying to explain politics; you just can't take it seriously. So, into my unfinished folder Shuffle! goes, and that's probably where it's going to stay for a long long time.
Recommended for: Someone obsessed with harems or cushy romance.
When I stopped: Episode 15.
Will I go back? Ugh, no.
Silver Spoon
Synopsis in one sentence: A city kid enrols in a farming school to broaden his horizons.
This show was enjoyable. The character development was interesting; the relationship growth was very heartfelt. The thing is, I don't think this show was really for me. It sort of felt like a publicity stunt for the farming industry, or something, trying to show what goes into farming, and the strength of the farming community. If you live the farming life or are interested in farming, then I think you'll really enjoy that. The show was an honest view of day to day life in a hardworking profession. But I don't care about farming. And I say that as someone who can count four separate farms from my window. Farming just isn't interesting to me. The premise of this show pretty much bored me, so I won't continue on with the second season. But if you like slice of life, then go right ahead and check Silver Spoon out.
Recommended for: Slice of life fans. As of writing, this show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: There were some really nice community moments. When the characters worked together, helping each other grow, the show really shone.
Worst aspect: Boring subjects.
Favourite character: Aki. She had a very interesting backstory that didn't get the spotlight it deserved, in my opinion.
Solty Rei
Synopsis in one sentence: In a world destroyed by a mysterious blast, bounty hunter Roy finds a strange girl who can't remember her past.
This anime reminds me a lot of Elfen Lied, but a bit more PG. There was a few sad moments in this anime, a bit of action and some alright characters. Unravelling the past of the main characters was a highlight, but sometimes the story dragged a bit. Still, a pretty good anime.
Recommended for: Science Fiction fans or those who enjoy the post-apocalyptic themes.
Best aspect: The relationship between Roy and Solty. Very sweet.
Worst aspect: It always seemed like whenever something nice happened, things immediately took a turn for the worse. Not nice. >_>
Favourite character: Rose. Great twist to the story.
Soul Eater
Synopsis in one sentence: About a school which trains pairs to work together and vanquish evil souls.
Another fantastic anime! This show had a great mix of action, comedy and sadness, and the story was really captivating. The characters (even the bad guys) were awesome and the revelation of mostly everyone's backstories, of course made me happy! Highly recommended and I really enjoyed watching this!
Recommended for: Fantasy/action/supernatural fans.
Best aspect: All the different abilities of each character.
Worst aspect: Ending didn't wrap things up very well. Ah, the downside of manga adaptations...
Favourite character: A bit hard. Probably Black Star, cause... well, he's Black Star!
Soul Eater Not!
Synopsis in one sentence: We follow three new students as they begin their journey at the DWMA.
Usually, when an anime does a spin off, it's a slice of life version of the original story, so that's what I was expecting of this show. To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to watching this; I was expecting boring adventures and predictable characters. But while predictable characters was an issue, I was pleasantly surprised by the story of this show. Soul Eater Not! is set prior to the events of its parent series, and follows a new student, a weapon, as she befriends two meisters. She learns about her powers, while also struggling with which of her new friends to choose as her miester. This show had one of the steadiest narratives I have seen in an anime in a while. It was clear the writers knew what they wanted to do with this show and they made sure there was a strong beginning and end, with each episode in between having a purpose. There is a villain arc that bubbles in the background, only to explode in the final episodes, and it's a good one. The strength of Soul Eater is its ability to hit you hard without concern for the characters, and I think Soul Eater Not actually hits harder than the original show. This show wasn't afraid to pull any punches. On the character development side of things, I really loved seeing the show from a weapon's point of view, as the parent show doesn't really explore that a lot. I learnt a lot about the growth of a weapon, as well as the problems choosing a meister and controlling your powers can cause. As for the girls, I'll admit they did get a bit tiresome; all three main characters are the same old timid, squeaky voiced, no agency tropes anime likes to trot out. But what I really liked about this show was its completely unabashed ode to same-sex couples. Using the miester/weapon relationship as an analogy, it's strongly hinted that the girls have crushes on each other, and it was handled fantastically. There's no making the crushes into sexy objectification for men, no cardboard insert male crush to detract from the female flirting. I think it'd be very hard to make a case against the three leading ladies being in a love triangle... actually, the show strongly hints at a polyamorous relationship towards the end of the show. Of course, in classic anime fashion, there are no kisses or declarations of love to put my suspicions to rest, but I did like that the show treated these girls' relationships justly. It's the no holds barred approach of this show that really made me enjoy it. Oh, and then there's the light nods to Soul Eater! Favourite characters do appear and are mentioned, but the show makes sure to keep the new characters as the focus. When I'm used to seeing prequels do the old "Haha, see how we brought this person from the first show back? Did you notice? Aren't we cool? Hahahahaha!!!" tactic, I liked that this show made sure the lead girls were always first focus, with old characters being woven into the story in very natural ways, with peeks into their pasts also adding new dimensions to the original show. Overall, this was a great show and it really made me remember what I enjoyed about the Soul Eater brand.
Recommended for: Fans of Soul Eater. I don't think you can watch this show first, because a lot of the story depends on your knowledge of the Soul Eater world, which is more broadly explored in the original show.
Best aspect: That the villain arc was very compelling and allowed for great character development.
Worst aspect: The three leads were so cliché.
Favourite character: Liz and Patty! I loved seeing a bit more of their backstory.
Special A
Synopsis in one sentence: Follow the seven members of a special class for the top students at an exclusive school.
Special A is a sweet romance comedy that focuses on the heated rivalry between wrestling fanatic Hikari and the boy who beats her at everything, Kei. Even in the Special A class Hikari is ranked second and Kei is first! The two are surrounded by a group of similarly likable characters; there's tea queen Akira (rank 6), musically gifted Jun (rank 3) and his mute twin sister Megumi (rank 4), always starved Tadashi (rank 5) and animal whisperer Ryuu (rank 7). The colourful cast bounce off each other really well and provide a host of different plots to explore. Now let's get the negatives out of the way. First, the characters did get a bit tiresome after a while, as their personalities didn't develop much. Because of this the season started to drag a little at the end, so perhaps a shorter episode order would've prevented the series feeling dragged out. My other disappointment was in the lack of background exploration for Hikari. Most of the other cast reveal thier past little by little, but other than a short clip in the first episode, Hikari remains a sort of enigma. It's also a shame because Hikari is the only one from her group of friends not to come from an extremely privileged life, and I would've loved to see that aspect of her life explored more. But despite all that Special A is still enjoyable because it's a simple glimpse into the lives of this great group of friends. As their relationships with each other develop the group dynamic shifts, and it's an enjoyable, feel good watch. It's just a shame the two leads weren't played to their full potential, because in the end it was the support characters that made the show shine.
Recommended for: Romantic comedy fans.
Best aspect: I loved how different all the characters were.
Worst aspect: The Hikari/Kei relationship fell by the wayside too early.
Favourite character: Megumi and her funny flashcards.
Spice and Wolf
Synopsis in one sentence: Travelling merchant Kraft Lawrence gains a companion when he is confronted by a young girl who reveals that she is actually the wolf god Holo.
Spice and Wolf is a weird genre of anime, as it's one that I think will only appeal to a select few people. If you like romance, there's a variety of harem shows you can watch; shonen is for fighting fans, and there's a host of psychological thrillers for anyone who's into big twists and turns. But Spice and Wolf has too little action for a shonen fan, too few romantic scenes for a harem fan and little to no drama fit for a thriller fan. Instead, there's lots of... discussion about the exchanging of money. Yeah, I don't know who's into that, but this anime is definitely not for me. The show reminded me of watching someone play a visual novel. Sure, it's interesting to see how the story plays out, but it gets old after a while when you're not making the decisions. Whereas usual animes carry suspense when the protagonists are faced with a new problem, Lawrence and Holo usually end up with two decisions. You watch as they worry and think "I wonder what they'll do". Then they make a decision and you get to watch as it slightly alters their journey. Riveting stuff. To be honest, I almost gave up on Spice and Wolf multiple times throughout its 13 episode run, but it was the final story arc that peeked my interest enough to stick with it. So Spice and Wolf isn't a stand out show, and I don't really think many people will find it interesting. And before you look at the mention of a wolf in human form and get excited, don't, because this show is nothing but a historical economics lesson with a dash of the supernatural to try and trick you into thinking it's exciting.
Recommended for: Anyone with an interest in middle ages money exchange.
Best aspect: Hmm.... In the first couple episodes Holo was an interesting character.
Worst aspect: About 70% of the show bored me close to tears.
Favourite character: Holo, barely.
Spice and Wolf II
Synopsis in one sentence: Kraft Lawrence and Holo continue on with their quest to reach Holo's hometown.
A direct continuation of the previous series, Spice and Wolf II doesn't add much to the story. Therefore, my likes and dislikes of the show are exactly the same. Although season one did get better near the end, I'm putting season two on hold because I'd rather watch a series I'm really into than one I'm just sticking to for the sake of it. So, I might go back to Spice and Wolf II in the future, but for now I'm going to watch something a bit more interesting.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
When I stopped: Episode 3.
Will I go back? Yep.
Synopsis in one sentence: Self-proclaimed mad scientist Okabe goes from babbling fool to saviour of time when he stumbles upon the secret to time travel.
My feelings about Steins;Gate are kind of middle of the road. On one hand, the characters are fabulous. I think the writers did a great job of creating the varying types of relationships each character had with each other. They fought with, depended on, and loved each other, just like any mismatched family would. It's the characters at the center of the show that really make it fun to watch. On the other hand, despite the multiple twists and turns during the second half of the show, I found it a bit too predictable. It was obvious Okabe's fun forays in dabbling with the past weren't going to end well and when he had to get to putting everything together again, he pretty much took the path I expected. In other words, there was nothing that surprised me, which was a shame because it always felt like Steins;Gate was leading up to something big, which I never felt it reached. So on one hand I loved the characters and on the other I found the story a bit meh. I don’t think I'll be re-watching Steins;Gate anytime soon, but I'm still looking forward to the other additions to Nitroplus and 5pb.'s science adventure series. I'll just have to see if they're any more mind blowing...
Recommended for: Supernatural thriller fans.
Best aspect: Character design definitely!
Worst aspect: I didn't like that after a satisfying end they threw in a random OVA-like episode, which kind of dampened the dramatics of the last couple episodes.
Favourite character: Okabe, the lovable idiot
Sword Art Online
Synopsis in one sentence: When a game developer goes rogue, gamer Kirito finds himself trapped in a fantasy roleplaying video game.
Alright, all you publications that praised this show as one of the best of 2012... I get it. I get it now. This show is... awesome. Okay, so things start off with an already interesting concept and, as someone who was raised amongst the never ending updates of World of Warcraft, it's a concept I can definitely relate to. What would happen if you were stuck in an MMORPG? This idea alone is enough to hook you. But then we're attached to Kirito, who's an open book wrapped in an enigma. How does that work? Well, we follow him as he grows, but as the viewer we're never really shown how much he grows. Is he harbouring new powers? Is he somehow related to what's bunking this game up? It's those questions that keep you glued to episode after episode. Every new character is just as vibrant as interesting as Kirito, with each new introduction expanding our lead's world and developing him further as a person in varying ways. When tough girl Asuna was introduced, it marked the first time I became a little wary of the show. "Ugh, great, a trademark tsundere to distract from the action with a boring love story," I thought. But I was wrong! Asuna quickly asserts herself as... well, a normal girl. She's angry and smart and vulnerable and dorky. It took me no time at all to come to love her as the second lead of the show. The events leading up to the climax and conclusion of the SAO arc were each more exciting than the last, and my only gripe was that the original mystery of Kirito's growing power was sort of dumped. I was intrigued by the idea that he was always secretly more powerful than any other player, but around Asuna's introduction he's brought down to the same level as everyone else. Now, the second half of the show is a little difficult for me. The story takes on a completely different arc, in the form of Alfheim Online. Now, this entire second half of the show was great on its own, but it was completely different from the first half and in a full season, I don't think the two worked together. I think that if the ALO arc was a second season, it would've been perfect. Instead I think the series steers from fun, mystery and fantasy (SAO) to dark, angsty and thriller (ALO) too quickly and it threw me off the second season a bit. Still, it's a minor fleck on the blazing white beauty that is SAO, and it does little to sully my overall opinion of the show.
Recommended for: Fantasy and action fans, as well as those who've delved into the world of MMORPGs in their time. There's a little bit of a trigger warning for this show, as it involves a lot of death, as well as some sexual abuse.
Best aspect: The world building.
Worst aspect: SPOILER ALERT! The stupid incest love. And I know they tried to wipe it away with the "but they're not really related" card, but that doesn't work for me. Suguha falling for her brother is weird, because she was raised knowing him as her brother. Imagine your sibling turned out not to be your blood relative. Could you fathom falling in love with them? No? I didn't think so. Also, I hated Yui. Well, not really the character, but the whole "daughter" persona she had. If she'd called Kirito daddy and Asuna mummy, that's one thing. But that the two were so accepting of being parents, despite being in their teens was odd. Or at least it was to me.
Favourite character: Kirito.
Sword Art Online II
Synopsis in one sentence: Life continues post Sword Art Online.
Did you watch the first season of SAO and think "this is just too much action!"? Did you think "I love when the two fifteen year old kids act like middle aged suburban parents"? Did you think "Ugh, I hate the life threatening situations, but I sure do love the fairies!"? Did you think "I wish Kirito did less, but got more girls to love him"? Was your answer to any of those questions "yes"? If so, then boy have I got news for you! The second season of this once great series takes all the fun and leaves none of the drama! You'll snore, you'll cringe, you'll consider dropping the series halfway through! You'll wonder if the writers were replaced by goats sometime during the middle of Season 1, because there's no way the exciting, complex characters of the beginning of the show are the same mind numbingly dull balls of tropes you're watching now! You'll skip through large chunks of the final episodes because who gives an absolute crap about fairies playing video games?! If you're looking for overstuffed casts, cheesy as heck dialogue, and Mary Sues and Gary Sues raining from the sky, Sword Art Online II is for you! If you hate yourself, watch it today!
Recommended for: People who said yes to any of the questions at the beginning of this review.
Best aspect: When Kirito wasn't on screen.
Worst aspect: The new characters. Why would I care about their story arcs when you introduced them, like, two episodes ago?
Favourite character: Asuna. Only because the arc with her mum was mildly interesting. It had a cringey resolution, but before that it was interesting.
Tears to Tiara
Synopsis in one sentence: A clan of warriors is joined by a great demon king who is appointed as their chief when their heir decides to marry him.
This was a so-so anime, but I enjoyed it overall. The characters were probably the best part of the anime, and provided a lot of comic relief! The story itself was quite interesting, but the climax wasn't really that great. The minor plots that occurred throughout the anime were better than the main story, in my opinion, but it was still enjoyable.
Recommended for: Fantasy lovers all the way. It had a bit of a medieval feel to it, so check it out if you're into that.
Best aspect: The accents! They were great!!
Worst aspect: I felt the story over stretched itself a bit - almost liked it tried to up its game in some parts, but it didn't work.
Favourite character: Morgan. That girl can eat!
Tenjho Tenge
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows a club at a school created for martial arts fighters.
Another one of my favourites! Tenjho Tenge is a real detailed, elaborate story that is full of drama and fighting!! The action is intense and the fighters are ruthless, while the touches of romance are both sweet and sad. A bit of a crazy cast, but I loved this show and could watch it multiple times!
Recommended for: Action fans, of course. It could appeal to romance fans, but only by a slim margin.
Best aspect: Fights and backstories. But mostly, backstories while people are fighting.
Worst aspect: It ends just when things are getting good, which is really dissatisfying. Yep, this is another on-going manga adaptation.
Favourite character: Maya. Great design and an 'I don't give a damn' personality.
Terror in Resonance
Synopsis in one sentence: A pair of terrorists taunt the police with a series of riddles connected to bombs.
A nice, to the point show with quite an emotional plot. The story is driven by two friends, who rope a girl into their bomb threat empire. There's a mystery surrounding the two leads, and as it slowly unravels, the story become more poignant. The pattern continues as outside opposing forces are introduced and I quickly invested myself in was was going to happen to the two/three main characters. The problem came with the ending, which felt very very rushed to me. I think the show could've benefited from an extra episode or two. Outside of that, I enjoyed the ride of Terror in Resonance.
Recommended for: Mystery and action fans. This show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: The mystery behind the bombings.
Worst aspect: There could've been more character development, especially in regards to Lisa.
Favourite character: Twelve.
The Devil Is a Part-Timer!
Synopsis in one sentence: In order to recuperate from a fierce battle, a demonic villain from a fantasy world escapes to Earth where he has to work in fast food in order to earn a living.
Loved the concept, hated the execution. The first five minutes of the show had me hooked and then... Truth is, I think I may have liked this had I watched it earlier in my anime watching days, but after consuming this many shows, clichés are starting to wear my patience thin. First, they make the villainous devil all of a sudden not a devil. He's your standard anime lead now. Then you add a harem, enemies that are intimidating in no way, shape, or form, rotate every new character into the core cast because consequences never matter, and then make it a slice of life about retail where the fantastical elements I signed up for were an afterthought. Snore. Predictable and corny, I just don't think shows like this really do it for me anymore.
Recommended for: Slice of life/harem fans. Reminded me of shows like Rosario + Vampire.
Best aspect: MgRonalds. Hilarious.
Worst aspect: All the women.
Favourite character: Ashiya.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
Synopsis in one sentence: A boy born with physic powers struggles to maintain irrelevance in his day to day life.
This was just all around fun. The comedy was on point, the characters are all loveable, the power use is inventive and fresh. Watching a superhero try not to be a superhero is such a cool concept and this show utilises it in the very best way. If you’re looking for something fun, definitely give it a go!
Recommended for: Fans of comedy, superpowers, and farcical characters. Because of some stupid licensing with Netflix, only the first season is dubbed, the rest only in sub as of writing.
Best aspect: How every introduction of a new characters is woven in so seamlessly
Worst aspect: What the hell happened to Saiki’s mother’s voice in the latter half of the first season? She became really painful to listen to, like the most hateful rendition of a woman’s voice that the VA could come up with. So odd.
Favourite character: Nendou
The Future Diary
Synopsis in one sentence: Yuki Amano is approached by a mysterious deity who gives him a phone that can tell the future and tells him that he must kill all other owners of similar phones in order to become the ruler of the universe.
Man, was this a great show! This was one of those shows that you can tell has a clear vision from the start, because everything slots together so perfectly. Every episode is packed full of twists and turns, so much so that by the second half I staged a series marathon because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. There's so much story that every new character is given full respect and all that excitement is wrapped up in action and mystery and thrill, thrill, thrill! I loved it! The story swerves around the love (and I use that word lightly) story between Yuki and Yuno Gasai, another phone user who has an unhealthy obsession with our lead (aka she's a psycho stalker). I get that you're supposed to get suspense from these two (and there's plenty of that, don't worry) but the strongest emotion I felt towards this storyline was nausea. First, Yuki is annoying. Everything awesome he does is pretty much initiated by someone cooler than him. Yuno, on the other hand, is top level yandere creepy and I don't think the writers realized how creepy she really was. The idea was to mold her as a complicated, tortured soul, but I feel like what was achieved was a perfectly sculpted villain. Yuno is so easy to hate. You understand her, but she makes you uncomfortable and you still want her to perish. Especially at the end where she goes completely off the rails and there's not much redemption left for her. I just felt like the idea of redeeming her was properly achieved, and the ending was kind of soured by this. But apart from that, this was a super fun series and an anime that proves you don't need a hundred kazillion seasons to create a truly captivating story.
Recommended for: Horror and thriller fans. There's also touches of mystery. Be warned that this show heavily features brutality, strong language and sexual stuff.
Best aspect: I never knew what was gonna happen next.
Worst aspect: YunoXYuki
Favourite character: Weird, I know, but I enjoyed Yuno because of how multidimensional her personality was. If it wasn't pushed onto the viewer that she had to be seen as "good," I would think she was a perfect villain. Outside of that, I instantly fell in love with team Marco and Ai.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Synopsis in one sentence: High-schooler Kyon unwillingly befriends a hyper girl named Haruhi and quickly discovers that trouble has a habit of following his new friend around.
Like Red Data Girl, this show suffers from the problem of trying to convince me that the character I should care about the most is the one I hate more than all the others. And I hated Haruhi Suzumiya. I didn't think she was determined or quirky or outgoing, like I assume she was supposed to be. A character that does have all these traits is Chihaya from Chihayafuru. She's a character I root for and want to succeed. She's a character that I enjoy watching push the people around her and live her life without a concept of shame. Haruhi, on the other hand, was just horrible. I thought she was rude, arrogant, manipulative, and a frequent abuser of those around her (from roping them into her crazy antics to her constant sexual harassment of Asahina). Her character ruined the show so much for me, even more so because everything focused on her, leaving no time to focus on, oh, I dunno, the time traveller? Or the alien? Or the guy from another dimension? Nah, let's focus on the forever awful Haruhi. *launches Haruhi into the sun* Outside of that, the stories were so odd. The scheduling layout was a headache enough, but add in the fact that, like, eight of the episodes were the same episode over and over (minor changes aside) and this was not a show I enjoyed.
Recommended for: Those that like... annoying characters? Crazy people? I guess slice of life is one category this show fits into, so I'll just assign this one to the slice of life fans. Now, the episode order is a big mess. In 2006, "Season 1" (14 eps) aired out of order for some reason (there's some crap about a Haruhi or Kyon order that I can't be bothered getting into). In 2009 the rest of the episodes were made, and in airing this season (season 2) they took the original episodes and aired the whole lot in the proper order. Long story short: watch the 2009 broadcast. It's much simpler that way.
Best aspect: Kyon's narration was pretty amusing.
Worst aspect: The bloody repeat summer crap. They actually aired that idiocy?
Favourite character: Nagato.
The Promised Neverland: Season 1
Synopsis in one sentence: The two oldest children at a secluded orphanage discover their lives are not as safe as they seem and decide to try and escape with the other children.
Ugh, it is so good to be truly in love with an anime again. From the first episode this had me hooked and every episode after just got better and better. The stakes are high, the mysteries so intriguing, and the planning so exhilarating. The characters are easy to love and root for (a big accomplishment, I think, when anime children are so often irritating) and the villains so intimidating. I just loved every minute of this. You should watch it, everyone should watch it, and I'll be sitting here counting down the seconds until the next season.
Recommended for: Mystery and strategy fans. There are tiny bits of gore and it deals with children in harm's way, so if that makes you nervous this might not be for you.
Best aspect: The ending. The last episode was just *chef's kiss*
Worst aspect: It's hard for me to pick one, but maybe a few more answers would be neat. We don't know much more about their world in the last episode than we do in the first episode.
Favourite character: Emma. She's a pretty standard hero protagonist, but her attitude just makes her so easy to root for and that makes her a great anchor for the plot.
The Promised Neverland: Season 2
Synopsis in one sentence: Free from the farm, the children enter the demon’s world and their fight for survival rages on.
I watched this quite a while ago and though I had already reviewed it. I guess I had just so badly wanted it wiped from my memory that remembering to review it was forgotten. Ugh, where to start? This is one of the worst anime atrocities I have ever sat witness to. I genuinely do not understand how you take something as fantastic as the first season and turn it into this. Season 2 is so unbearably bad that the only way it makes sense is if this whole series was some kind of long-con by someone with a sadism kink. Nothing about this is good. Not the characters, not the dangers, not the action, not the story, DEFINITELY not the endings, NOTHING. The mysteries and planning that made the first season so fun are thrown out to turn this season into dull action schlock. The pace is ridiculous, to the point where the latter half of the season is nothing but deus ex machina’s one after another. I am in shock, truly. Save yourself and skip this one. View the first season as a miniseries and never look back. Read the manga if you need closure. Just forget season 2 ever existed and I guarantee you’ll be the better for it. There is no satisfaction to be had here.
Recommended for: No-one. Even if you’re desperate for more Promised Neverland, this will do nothing but sully the series for you.
Best aspect: I guess I liked getting to see the maids’ ending
Worst aspect: The total disrespect for the fans shown in making this
Favourite character: Vylk
The Sacred Blacksmith
Synopsis in one sentence: About a mysterious blacksmith who can wield powerful katanas, and his encounter with a clumsy town guard.
I decided to watch this anime purely because I was bored and found it sitting on my computer, but boy am I glad I stumbled across it! This was, at first, a light hearted and funny show, but it quickly progressed into a fast paced action fantasy. The characters were great and the twist ending that revealed the character's backstory was a great end. There was a bit of fan service, but mainly for comedic purposes, instead of pervy fans, which was a plus in my book!
Recommended for: Romance and action fans. Set in medieval times as well and it also contains a lot of monsters.
Best aspect: Outfit designs. Really awesome!
Worst aspect: It was a pretty short series, which was a shame.
Favourite character: Lisa. She's so cute! *o*
The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows a group of climbers (teams that traverse trough dangerous tower structures) as they try to climb the tallest tower and defeat the evil demon Druaga.
Another anime that I watched out of boredom and another anime I am SUPER glad to have watched! Right from the first episode, the Tower of Druaga was amazing, mainly because it was so hilarious! The whole first episode was a big twist and every episode after that was just as silly as it was action packed. Characters were awesome, fights were intense and the main story was mysterious... The ending was also heart wrenching and was a great lead up to the second season!
Recommended for: Comedy fans, as well as action lovers. It has tinsy bit of romance, but that wasn't really a main aspect of the series.
Best aspect: Ropers dance! Hahaha, I still laugh just thinking about it! XP
Worst aspect: Sad endings for some of the characters. :(
Favourite character: Coopa. She doesn't mess around!
The Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk
Synopsis in one sentence: Jil continues his travels, in the hopes of retrieving Neeba and Kaaya.
A great continuation of the series. The first few episodes were awesome, mainly because catching up with everyone's new roles was both funny and interesting. However, I feel this season wasn't as good as the first and the main story sort of lost me a bit. Still, the returning characters were what kept me hooked and the conclusion was a really great way to end the series!
Recommended for: Fans of the Aegis of Uruk.
Best aspect: Catch ups with old favourites!
Worst aspect: The stuff with the King was a bit random. Oh, and Henaro. Idiot.
Favourite character: Young Ki. Spoon power!!!!
The Wallflower
Synopsis in one sentence: A creepy recluse is sent to live with four gorgeous heartthrobs by her aunt, who hopes the men will be able to turn her into a lady.
This show is probably one of the best shojo/harem series I have seen and I am really surprised it has not had more hype. It starts off pretty simple: freaky girl is surrounded by perfect guys, a love connection is clearly set up and then hijinks ensue. But as the series progressed, the character's personalities developed further, while their defining traits became more loveable and funny. The recurring gags became my favourite part of the show (Gok gok looli looli), and Sunako's creepiness turned from disturbing to full on entertaining. Really great show that I was really surprised by!
Recommended for: Lovers of comedy, shojo or harems.
Best aspect: Sanoko and her random times of transforming. Oh, and the drag performances. ㅇㅠㅇ
Worst aspect: All the nose bleeding made me feel a bit queasy....
Favourite character: Yuki. Such a cool girl... I mean boy. _-_
The World God Only Knows
Synopsis in one sentence: Visual novel addict Keima unknowingly enters into a contract with a demon that forces him to use his romance game knowledge to make real girls fall in love with him.
When I first read the description for this show, I didn't really have high expectations. Shows like this tend to fall into cliché harem territory pretty quickly, so you can't blame me for expecting weak minded girls, a strangely charismatic nerdy guy and a bunch of secret crushes that never get past the blushing-when-you-see-him stage. Then I saw the OVA, so I started to prepare myself for an Ah! My Goddess type show; yano, the harem mixed with a few ethereal beings and a dash of humour. Having all these pre-conceived notions myself, I can advise anyone who is dreading the same things from this series to forget all of those fears right now! TWGOK (twigok?) is a slightly harem infused story, yes, but presented in a completely fresh and fun way. The main character, Keima, is a real anti-hero; he's rude, selfish, anti-social, and manipulative when he needs to be. And yet he still manages to make you fall in love with his quest, hoping that everything will go his way and he won't be too badly damaged in the process! Then there's the leading lady, Elsie, a clumsy, super kind bundle of cuteness... but she's actually a demon assigned to assist Keima. The characters only get better from there, introducing crazily insecure popstars, or ex-gang member mothers. There wasn't a single predictable character... or, the ones that were predictable were only that way to help the continuous parodies the show liked to share. With a heavy emphasis on the gaming subculture that is visual novel romance games, it's no surprise that TWGOK likes to poke fun at the very same industry it's focused on. Keima sets to work quickly dissecting each new character into a collection of certain tropes, only adding to the complexity of the story. If we know how everything will happen, how can we enjoy the show? But again, TWGOK sorts that out with subtle twists of both the supernatural and realistic variety, making sure to keep each mission arc a completely blank slate open for a fresh story. This show is probably one of my favourite harem shows so far (running after Wallflower and Ouran Host Club), so I really think it's worth a go!
Recommended for: Harem or comedy fans. If you like Ah! My Goddess, Ouran Host Club or Wallflower, then you might enjoy this show. I also highly recommend it if you like to play visual novels, as you'll probably get a good chuckle out of this show.
Best aspect: I loved that they didn't fall into any of the tropes they were making fun of. For example, Keima and Elsie are prime secret-love territory, but they keep the plot far away from that and stick to the bickering sibling route instead, which is a nice change of pace.
Worst aspect: I thought they would've delved a bit deeper into Keima's loner status, but I suppose that the first season is only 12 episodes, so lack of time could be a factor in not wanting to crack open a big emotional storyline.
Favourite character: I have a fondness for Keima. Huh, it feels like a while since I've loved the main character of a series.
The World God Only Knows II
Synopsis in one sentence: Things pick up right where the last season left off, as Keima continues his quest to capture loose souls.
It's hard to review the second season of The World God Only Knows because the formula it uses is so similar to the one present in the first series; a loose soul is discovered, and the mission of trying to capture it is told over a few episodes. This lack of development in the show's direction means that the good (humour, variety of character types) and bad (predictability) points of the anime remain the same, and I already covered them in the review of season 1. Although the outline of the story was the same, I did notice a few attempts to try different things. The first change was that more screentime was given to Elsie. For fans of the always optimistic demon this might be an exciting addition to the show, but for me it exposed how uninteresting Elsie is as a solo character. While she is perfect as the buffer for Keima's slightly gloomy persona, alone Elsie becomes another ditzy sidekick. That wasn't helped any by the fact that the episodes with little Keima appearances seemed to take themselves too seriously, as Keima tends to turn serious situations into parodies of themselves thanks to his ridiculous reactions. I also thought it was a shame that the fact that Elsie is a demon was not explored more. Her biggest arc introduces an old demon friend called Haqua, who's a borderline tsundere. While the idea of clumsy sweet Elsie coming from a vicious world of demons makes her more favourable, Haqua stapled down the idea that demons are just a bunch of girls with superpowers, thus sucking Elsie dry of her greatest trait. A more traditional personification of a demon would've really made Elsie's arc much more interesting to watch. It's not all bad though, as the second change to the show was the inclusion of some loose soul free stories, where Keima spends 20+ minutes being the completely obsessive gamer geek that he is. It was these episodes that completely levelled the series out, as the more expected storylines were then boosted by the amazingly humorous rambles of Keima that feature the comedy I love this series for. And, although I've complained more here than praised, I do love this show. It's close to being one of my favourite comedy animes, and this season doesn't do anything to deter me from it. In other words, if you haven't added the World God Only Knows to your wishlist already, then you should probably go ahead and do that. Now. Do it now. GO! Anyway, the season doesn't build up to a greater finishing arc, which could be a bit disappointing, but I think it works well for what TWGOK is. The big plot is that Keima has to collect souls, how do you make a larger plot that's more dramatic than that? I think that's what makes this show the most interesting; it isn't an action series, or a thriller or a romance, it's just a slice of life story where these character's particular slices of life include demons and magic. ^_^ Things never get boring, there's always some new drama circling the plot, and the two leads bounce of each other like... something that bounces really good. It's a great package, and a show I highly recommend!
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
Best aspect: There was more humour and some awesome Keima ranting.
Worst aspect: A lack of new interesting characters.
Favourite character: Keima.
The World God Only Knows: Goddesses
Synopsis in one sentence: Some of the (read: the fan favourite) past conquests of Keima regain their memories when a host of goddesses fall to earth and possess their bodies.
And so TWGOK falls into the realm of just another harem. >_> There was no comedy this season. No fresh commentary on the ridiculous nature of the harem genre. There was just boring old romance. *Snores* This season starred all the favourites: misunderstood actions, longing glances, wringing hands, tsundere beatings and, my personal favourite, lots of running away. What happened to this show? After watching this season I really can't remember what I found so great about TWGOK in the first place. If you were drawn to this show because of the fun, then skip over this season. There's nothing fun about a bunch of played out harem tropes.
Recommended for: TWGOK fans who liked the show for the romance. Also, this season is only available dubbed as of the time of this review.
Best aspect: The three lines of dialogue that made me laugh.
Worst aspect: The cardboard cut-out female cast.
Favourite character: Elsie.
This Ugly Yet Beautiful World
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of high school students come across a pair of strange girls, which triggers a chain of serious events.
This is kind of a weird series, and I was thankful it was only 12 episodes long. I felt like it tried to be a real physiological, symbolic series, but it overshadowed that side of things with a bunch of RomCom junk. For a SciFi anime, there is really not a lot of action, which sucks. My biggest problem though was that the characters weren't phased by ANYTHING. They find a naked girl in the woods who says she's an alien and their reaction is just "Oh that's cool. Wanna live with us?" And during (the few) battles, the supporting characters are more worried about whether the main characters are dating than the fact that they might die. WTH? The point is, this show had some interesting ideas, they just pulled them off in a completely ridiculous, unrealistic way.
Recommended for: If you like SciFi, or bite sized animes.
Best aspect: The animation was pretty good, same for character design.
Worst aspect: The "mature" topics were a bit much. Yano, if girls in Japan like to feel each other's chests as much as they seem to in animes, I am never bathing publicly there. Really, no wonder the male characters are always trying to sneak a peek into the female baths. With all the yuri stuff going on in those places, who could blame them?
Favourite character: Ah, I'm going to say the supporting characters as a whole, because they all had minimal screentime, but were equally funny in their own way. However, none of them stood out more than the others, so I can't choose just one.
Tiger & Bunny
Synopsis in one sentence: A struggling superhero is partnered with an up and comer with the same powers as him, and the two of them struggle to build their careers together.
With a child-like title name and a slow first couple episodes, Tiger and Bunny can be a bit underwhelming at first. But when the show really hits its stride, it blossoms into one of the greatest character based stories I've had the pleasure of watching. Each and every character is given due respect, with their own motives, growth, backstory, and relationships. Although the main story can, at times, be a bit predictable, it was the characters that really drew me into this show. From the relationship between Tiger and his daughter, to the friendships of the other heroes, to the up and down conflict between the two leads, I really loved the many different plots of this show. The conclusion to the season was also fantastic, both wrapping things up and leaving the future open. I would be very happy to see more of Tiger and Bunny, but this season was so enjoyable that I am satisfied with what this series has offered so far.
Recommended for: Superhero, action, superpower, and strong character development fans.
Best aspect: Character arcs, specifically Tiger's.
Worst aspect: Yano, it's quite hard to think of something. Maybe some of the side characters could've used more fleshing out?
Favourite character: Tiger
Tiger Mask W
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows a newly professional wrestler called Tiger Mask and his aim to rise through the ranks of Japan's wrestling scene in the hopes of getting to fight the man who paralysed his mentor.
I liked the concept of this show, but the execution was a bit disappointing. There was a lot of what felt like filler, the tone between comedy and drama was flip floppy, and the characters were a bit one dimensional. The most egregious problem in my eyes, is that the fighting was just... dull. And this show revolves around fighting, so that is a problem. There's very little explanation for the "mechanics" of this wrestling world (is it supposed to be like a modern coliseum setup?) and the rules for injury/power jumped all over the place (having one's head slammed into the ground is fine, but sometimes a single punch can almost kill them? And then sometimes the head slam can paralyse them now too?). Then so many of the fights are won by deus ex machina that there's not a lot of tension to keep things riveting. That doesn't mean it's impossible to get into the story, though—I was hooked by Tiger's mission... though that only made the ridiculously rushed ending that much more dissatisfying. The show is a lot longer than many anime, and to have invested so much time in a narrative only to have it wrapped in a single episode was so lame and left me kind of miffed. I guess overall I didn't mind the ride, I just ended up annoyed by the destination.
Recommended for: I imagine this'll be most satisfying a watch for fans of the Japanese wrestling scene, but those who like revenge stories or just drama in general might want to give this a try as well. As of writing, this show is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: I really enjoyed the War Games episodes.
Worst aspect: Poor direction of the fights
Favourite character: Fukuwara Mask
Tokyo Ghoul
Synopsis in one sentence: A boy named Kaneki is attacked and wakes up half human, half flesh-eating ghoul.
Great show, great premise, but I felt there was a problem with pacing. Things either moved too slow or two fast; I think some editing could've sliced this story into a better shape. There was also a sufficient lack of backstory for both the plot and the characters and, well, you know how I feel about backstory. The climax of the show, though, was brutal and set up for a fantastic next chapter. If not for the ending, this show might have been a dud for me, but the final few episodes have got me amped for season 2.
Recommended for: Fans of horror and action and the supernatural. Be warned, for there is gore and violence!
Best aspect: When the show started to skew who the villains and heroes were. Showing the normalcy of the ghouls and the darker aspects of the humans was a great way to amp the drama.
Worst aspect: I would've liked to see more of Kaneki settling into life as a ghoul. There was a lot of him struggling with the aspect of death, but not a lot about his former life or feelings about his future.
Favourite character: Hide
Tokyo Ghoul √A
Synopsis in one sentence: Kaneki pulls a Sasuke.
I don't know how I feel about this season. I felt like all the main characters were just buckets of angst, and I lost any interest I had in them. I didn't get the whole are with Kaneki, cause to me it just seemed like he was being a cry baby. And Touka just... studied? Also, most of the conflicts probably would've been avoided if one of the Anteiku crew had just said to the CCG "Hey, we're working towards the same goal"! I felt like the first season was all about asking "Who's the real monsters?" and then this season decided to reply with "Who cares, let's fight!" I also had a problem with the lack of suspense, as most of the storylines were resolved in out of the blue speeches, or quick scenes of gore. It felt rushed. On the other hand, I think the show did a fantastic job with the side characters. Their motives, stories, personalities, and interactions really drove the show, and were the only reason I had any investment in the climatic end battle.
Recommended for: Fans of the first season.
Best aspect: Side character backstory.
Worst aspect: The main story (Kaneki freaking out/the main villain) was boring.
Favourite character: Juuzou
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle: Season 1
Synopsis in one sentence: After losing all of her memories, a girl name Sakura is whisked away by her best friend Syaoran to try and retrieve her lost mind, but their adventure comes with a terrible price.
An alright show. It was pretty generic for my taste. The first few episodes were the best, and the introduction of characters, baddies and the rules of inter dimensional travel really piqued my interest. Unfortunately, by about halfway through the season things were getting pretty predictable. It was because of that predictability that by that point I was pretty much completely sick of the two main characters. Sakura did nothing but cause trouble. If I had lost my memory and three strangers were risking their lives every day to try and help me, I would try do whatever I could to help out. Instead, Sakura decided to walk off in the middle of the night, talk to strange women that are obviously shady characters or (in the most painful moment of the season) when given the chance to receive all of her memories at once, she gave... it.... up. (@_@) Syaoran on the other hand, was just so typically the big hero it was annoying. Every time something bad happened, he would be the one to save the day. Yeah, because when you have an all-powerful wizard and an undefeated samurai on your team, it makes sense to leave the fighting to the archaeologist, right? Okay, enough complaining from me (although I could go on). On the positive side, the individual storylines for each world were very interesting, especially because they were given a realistic twist. Instead of each world containing what the travellers wanted, some worlds were duds and some just empty, which I think was very interesting. Oh, and I also loved the crossovers, which of course are a trademark for CLAMP. Yay for Sumomo and Dimensional Witch cameos!!
Recommended for: If you're a CLAMP fan, or you like supernatural fighting shows.
Best aspect: World design.
Worst aspect: Things were REALLY drawn out. There wasn't really any repeating scenes across episodes, but sometimes I just wanted the arc to end. I mean, Sakura has about a gazillion memory fragments to find and after watching the entire 26 episode season, I think she has maybe four in her possession. Hopefully things move along faster in season 2.
Favourite character: Kuropuu.... I mean Kergi... I mean Big Dog... I mean, oh I give up. DX
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle: Season 2
Synopsis in one sentence: More feathers, more worlds, more Mokona.
After the repetitive nature of the first season, I wasn't really looking forward to the second season. And, to be honest, the second season didn't really do anything that the first season didn't. At first, things looked really promising. They really tried to explore different aspects of their travel. Things like travelling through time, or returning to the same world, or traveling to worlds where nothing is found. It was great to see how creative things could get. But by the second half of the season, things just slipped back into the same routine from the first season; they land, they save someone, they find a feather, end. Then Syaoran became front a centre, because of course you'd leave the sword fights to the archaeologist's son and not the trained sword master. Plus the whole thing was so incredibly SLOW. It's been two seasons, almost 50 episodes and they still haven't revealed who the bad guys are. Then Sakura is nowhere near having all her memories back. And does Kurogane even want to get home anymore? The story is going nowhere and it's getting old. Really, I could've just stopped at the end of season one and I'd know no more or no less than what I know at the end of this season. In other words: I wasted my time.
Recommended for: Big fans of the first season.
Best aspect: The exploration of different types of worlds and scenarios.
Worst aspect: The whole series goes nowhere.
Favourite character: Kurogane.
Synopsis in one sentence: Anxiety riddled Yuki is met by childish Haru, who happens to be an alien determined to get his new friend to go fishing!
An anime about fishing? This couldn't possibly be any good... WRONG! Tsuritama is a sweet, relaxing slice of life with a lovable cast of characters that grow in a natural, fun way throughout the show. There's family drama, falling outs and hints of romance, all of which come together to create a pleasant tale of being brought together thanks to a common pastime. Oh, and there's also aliens. Yep.... In the first few episodes I was already hooked on Tsuritama (pun not intended) in the same way I was with Princess Jellyfish (an awesome group of unlikely friends illustrated beautifully). When the crazy extraterrestrial plot was thrown in, it suddenly gave Tsuritama an adrenaline pumping ride towards saving the world. It's a great twist on an already enjoyable genre, and one that really makes the show stand out. It's a mixture of humor and insanity, and a blend that I can definitely get behind. Tsuritama, like its lead characters, is a little on the strange side, but it's that very strangeness that makes it such a fun show to watch. If you've ever dreamed of a fishing anime with bite (again, pun not intended) then this might just be the anime you've been waiting for!
Recommended for: Fans of slice of life and comedy. Be warned that Haru is like a 5 year old child on crack, so if loud, insane characters that never sit still do your head in, Haru might just ruin the show for you.
Best aspect: The Enoshima dance!
Worst aspect: The logistics of the final fishing scene. I can't explain without spoiling, so I'll leave it to you to spot the problem.
Favourite character: All of the four leads were awesome!
Umineko no Naku Koro ni
Synopsis in one sentence: A family arrives at a private island and when murders become the norm, a guy named Battler takes on a bunch of witches to save the ones he loves.
Loved the first couple episodes, which set up a thrilling murder mystery, but after that this show just spiralled out of control. It felt like it was trying really hard to be intense and full of twists, but really it was convoluted and confusing. Random characters would pop up out of nowhere and then be written into the plot as if I gave any damn about who they were or what happened to them. Essentially, this show was a mess and I don't think it had any idea what its point was. The ending was so unsatisfactory that calling it an ending is barely justified. I didn't enjoy this show one bit.
Recommended for: Fans of magical mystery with craploads of layers and rules and characters and assumptions pulled out of thin air. This show is not yet available dubbed. For those of you here for the Higurashi connection, there is none. The two stories are completely separate; one does not have to be watched to understand the other.
Best aspect: There were a few stories that interested me.
Worst aspect: All the things that interested me usually ended lamely.
Favourite character: Battler


Title Review Rating
Vampire Knight
Synopsis in one sentence: Centered around Cross Academy, a boarding school that teaches humans during the day, but secretly educates vampires at night.
The premise of Vampire Knight was interesting, with lots of romantic mystery and some secret motives. The design of the characters and the eerie feel of the story held my interest, but I got a tinsy bit bored towards the end. There was A LOT of dramatic speeches and longing looks, which got a bit ridiculous after a while and I found myself waiting for something interesting to happen.
Recommended for: Vamp fans or romance lovers. Um, might be suitable for harem fans as well.
Best aspect: So many beautiful vampires... O_o
Worst aspect: Yuki. She has no idea what is going on and always seems to get in the way.
Favourite character: Aido or Akatsuki. Can't decide. :D
Vampire Knight Guilty
Synopsis in one sentence: The vampire war continues in the halls of Cross Academy.
The second season of Vampire Knight improves greatly on the first, but still has a few loose ends. The storyline had so much more going on, instead of just focusing on Yuki whining about stuff. The vampire politics was so much more interesting and the exploration into the other character's stories was much more intriguing. Unlike the first season, VKG actually had a plotline that developed, but by the end of the series the story kind of overtook the characters and a lot of them fell by the wayside. I guess it was a good series in all, but it left some room for improvement.
Recommended for: Definitely for romance fans. Although the inclusion of vamps may make it sound like an action series, it's really not. The main focus is on the romance and the drama of the characters, so if you like that kind of show, check VK out.
Best aspect: All the different characters were great. Slowly revealing the history of the protagonists was also well done.
Worst aspect: I still do not like Yuki. She does absolutely nothing, so she annoys me. A lot.
Favourite character: Headmaster Cross. Funny and an undefeated fighter? It's the perfect combination!
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows the internal struggle of a socially awkward girl who tries to make herself popular.
This was a great comedy anime, which held itself very well for a show with only one main character and a few side characters. The driving force behind the story is lead Tomoko Kuroki, a fifteen year old girl with no friends, who decides to branch out in her first year of high school. Thus begins a string of failed elaborate plots to make friends. It's a bit of a simple plot, but what makes it interesting is that we see everything through the eyes of Kuroki. We see her be crazy and sexual and loud and brash... and then there are the odd moments where we see her from the outside, where we see her as the shy, invisible, non-speaking girl that everyone else sees. All this is presented in a way that is funny and, at a basic level, it is light hearted fun. But after a while you come to realise that the comedy is hiding the stifling tragedy of Kuroki's social skills and the day to day insecurities that she faces. She's a character who's so easy to relate to, because we've all had the feeling of nervousness at some point. Her antics switch from entertaining to dramatic, because you want her to succeed. You become invested in her, you want the best for her, and that's what makes this show great; the connection to the lead character. I found Kuroki's journey riveting and walked away from Watamote with happiness, because Kuroki's achievements, even if miniscule to most, were big to her and that's all that matters.
Recommended for: Comedy fans or those that like shy, awkward characters.
Best aspect: The contrast between Kuroki's thinking and reality.
Worst aspect: How painful it was for Kuroki's efforts to fail, especially when what she wanted was only thwarted by her own expectations. Also, there were some subjects (such as suicide and molestation) that I don't think should ever be applied in comedic situations, as Watamote did on multiple occasions.
Favourite character: Kuroki
Welcome to the NHK
Synopsis in one sentence: Follow the day to day goings on of hikikomori Sato, as he juggles old friends and strange new allies.
Surprisingly I grew quite fond of this anime, despite not really being a fan of the slice of life genre. There were a lot of complex themes that the characters explored, which not only made them very relatable, but also developed their stories greatly. It really shows the way a person can develop drastically and at the end of the series all the characters have made incredible changes since the show's beginning. Now, if you are looking for a warm and fuzzy story, I suggest you don't touch this show with a ten foot pole. Every single character is kind of... depressing. No one's happy and their lives just spiral out of control. Even the ending isn't all cupcakes and rainbows, and instead comes with a little NHK flair. I guess, in a way, it's a very realistic, gritty show, which is kind of interesting. It's almost like watching an animated documentary, one which I had fun watching. ;D
Recommended for: Like I said above, if you're looking for happy, this is not the show for you. If you like slice of life or emotionally complicated characters, then you'll probably find this show quite intriguing.
Best aspect: The anti-hero aspect of most of the leads.
Worst aspect: It was a bit too intense in some episodes.
Favourite character: In the beginning I quite like Misaki, but I didn't really like how weak she was portrayed in the later episodes. On the other hand, I didn't like Sato at first, but near the end I came to enjoy his bumbling sidekick-like antics. So I guess it's a toss-up between those two.
We Were There
Synopsis in one sentence: During her first year of high school, Takahashi falls for the popular boy Yano, and the two begin a relationship.
We Were There is a slice of life centered around a teenage romance. It doesn't have any big fight scenes, nor does anyone have a secret superpowers, but this show is as exciting as any of the bigger impact shows. At first things started slow and I worried that I wouldn't be that captivated by two big eyed teenagers falling in love. But somewhere along the line, at a point I am unable to determine, I was hooked. The pair struggle with very real feelings including jealousy, confusion, happiness and the giddy naivety that comes with first love. They also fight against very real issues, such as past loves, love triangles, dead lovers... basically, a whole bunch of love stuff. I became so attached to the lead character Takahashi, that I couldn't wait to watch each episode, because I so desperately wanted her to be happy. We Were There has a simple concept, but pulled off with a strong story and impressive character development, it transcends any of the romance I have seen in anime so far.
Recommended for: Romance fans. This show doesn't come dubbed.
Best aspect: So many twists and turns!
Worst aspect: How frustrated I was over how some of the characters behaved. How dare they not do exactly what I want them to!
Favourite character: Takahashi, definitely. I think that says a lot considering I usually can't stand female romance leads.
Wolf's Rain
Synopsis in one sentence: In a future where wolves are considered extinct but have actually evolved into human-like creatures, a group of wolves seeks out a mythical paradise.
A pretty random idea for a story, but it makes for something interesting to say the least. For the most part, I found this series a bit muddied. I think there are a couple too many obstacles for the protagonists and I found character motivations hard to follow. I think the protagonists could've been fleshed out a little more and there's a romance subplot that I think was supposed to anchor the show, but for me fell flat as a big case of insta-love. I wasn't too interested for the majority of my watching this show, to be honest, but in the last ten to fifteen episodes, the show tidies itself up. The goal becomes singular, our cast is narrowed and given clear motivation, and there's a hovering foreboding that really caught my attention. This culminates in a final few episodes that had me on the edge of my seat, grasping my heart in worry. And then the last episode happened. Crap. I'm sure it was supposed to be saying something, in that hand wavy way shows that take themselves too seriously like to do, but for me the ending makes this entire series a waste of time. It undid any devotion I had built up for the series and left me feeling cheated and annoyed. It's one of those endings that makes you do a "What the hell was that?" google search, and it seems that I am not the only one who feels this way. So in the end, I am not sure how I feel about this series. It is one that stuck in my mind days after I had finished it, but I'm not sure if the mediocre first half or the ridiculous end makes up for it. I suppose it's a show you have to see for yourself to understand...
Recommended for: Dystopia, fantasy creature fans. It's a bit sci-fi too, and it's a must to be someone who likes their stories with a bit of existential angst.
Best aspect: Most of the core character group was really likeable.
Worst aspect: Inconsistent quality
Favourite character: Toboe
Synopsis in one sentence: About a guy called Watanuki who can see spirits, so he agrees to work for a mysterious woman named Yuko in her wishing shop, in exchange for her removing his ability.
Another mystery type series, mixed with a lot of fantasy and supernatural ideas. Each story was interesting and it was fun to try and figure out what was going on. The characters were so-so, and you either loved them or hated them. The style of animation was a big stand out, and although it could look a little odd at first, eventually I started to like the elongated bodies and the big swirly messes of color that represented spirits. Sadly, this anime didn't really reach a conclusion, but there are following series that have not yet been dubbed, so I have not seen them yet.
Recommended for: Supernatural fans, definitely.
Best aspect: The mystery was great and a little creepy, which stirred things up a little.
Worst aspect: Watanuki. So over dramatic about everything!!!!
Favourite character: Domoki. I love the cool characters. ;D
Your Lie in April
Synopsis in one sentence: A retired piano prodigy encounters an outgoing violinist who convinces him to take up music playing again.
Your Lie in April is an emotional drama. With music as its narrator, it takes us through the happy, sad, frustrating, and, most of all, hard times all humans experience. It is also a coming of age story, a story of the hardships of growing up, the times that change and how we deal with it, and that the person you once were is not the person you will always be. There are two (or three, depending on how you look at it) leads and not only are they vastly different personalities, they also have different problems and strengths and weaknesses that make for a strong story arc that climaxes with an emotional finale. This is a story made for pulling at your heartstrings. I preface by saying all of this because these are the reasons this series is well beloved. And I think they should be given merit before I explain why I didn't enjoy this series at all. For me, Your Lie in April was manipulative. There is SO much telling that I felt I wasn't forming my own opinions on what was happening; the show was controlling what I thought and felt. Every time something sad happened, a character would talk about how sad it was. Every time a character made a different choice, a five minute monologue on the significance of that choice would follow. It was a cop out. I wasn't experiencing the show, the show was being spat at me by leagues of dull dialogue and repetitive scenery and flashback after flashback. And I think all of these things existed because if you stripped them away, there's not much substance left. Sorry, but the big "plan" revealed at the end was ridiculously stupid. The characters constantly acted around each other, which made any time they came together nonsensical because acted more like strangers than friends. Then there's all the time spent on side characters that leads absolutely nowhere. Ugh, and insta-love that gave me horror flashbacks to some of my least favourite YA novels. I didn't get what the point of this show was. To live life in the moment? To be kind to everyone? Piano is kick-ass? I don't know what this show was trying to say, and for a series that talked at me for all twenty plus episodes, I think that's a very unsuccessful conclusion for me to have. But it appears I am an outlier in this highly enjoyed anime, so maybe it's worth a watch so you can come to your own conclusions.
Recommended for: Romance and classical music fans.
Best aspect: I think Tsubaki had a solid arc, even if I feel it wasn't completely concluded in the end.
Worst aspect: It might shock fans, but the music. The playing felt disingenuous to me. For a show so centred in the emotion behind the characters' playing, the music sounded too mechanical to me. I often felt like I could hear the player's thoughts: "Here's the part where I play soft because he's sad", "Now I hit it hard because he's frustrated." It didn't seem natural. And I think the directors/writers must've known that in some way, because every musical performance was accompanied by a running track of characters explaining how every piece was supposed to make us feel. The depiction of the competitions also brought me out of the show a little. As someone who used to run in the competitive piano circuit at a similar age to the characters in the show, the actions of the competitors was a bit off putting. Competitiveness is one thing, but their constant focus on what others were doing instead of thinking about what they were bringing to the table was foreign to me. While certainly tense, I've always found the competitive piano market supportive more than anything, as every player appreciates that we are all united by love for the same thing. It may be different in Japan, true, but the focus on petty vendettas and snark in Your Lie in April, instead of the thrill and personal achievement of finishing a competition, was a bit disappointing.
Favourite character: Tsubaki.

Anime Movie Reviews


Title Review Rating
Afro Samurai
Synopsis in one sentence: Afro Samurai, a strong fighter, travels the land to face the current number one ninja and avenge his father's death.
I didn't really understand this anime at first, but the story did peak eventually. Lots of big fight scenes kept me excited and the story of vengeance was really touching. The ending was satisfying, while also setting up for the sequel. Quite interesting and worth a try.
Recommended for: Anyone who likes Samurai Cinema, vengeance or Samuel L. Jackson.
Best aspect: Afro's motive. Really intense.
Worst aspect: Ninja Ninja. I have no idea why he was there (although he was amusing).
Favourite character: Afro, I guess.
Afro Samurai: Resurrection
Synopsis in one sentence: Afro now has to defend his title, despite his objections and want for a normal life.
I didn't enjoy this movie as much as the first, to be honest. I felt like the story was dragged out a little too far, and would've been better concluded at the end of the previous film. The great twist with Shichigoro's son was so ironic and added a bit more emotion to the story, but from there I felt a little lost. The new sister, zombies, it was all… strange.
Recommended for: Faithful viewers of the first movie, who are looking for more Afro.
Best aspect: Shichigoro's story. Irony at its best!
Worst aspect: The story was a bit far-fetched.
Favourite character: Kuma. Very, very sad. :(
Ah! My Goddess: The Movie
Synopsis in one sentence: Belldandy has a mischievous visitor who's actions could result in disastrous consequences for everyone in Heaven and on Earth.
Yep, Ah! My Goddess has a movie! It was really cool to go back to one of my earliest animes and I'm surprised how easily I was able to slip back into the series and remember everything that happened previously. It got a bit confusing sometimes cause I think the movie was made before the series that I watched, so there was a few changes, but not enough to hinder my viewing experience. Moving on to the movie itself, I was actually pretty surprised by how good it was. My experience with anime series movies is that they just feel like one really long filler episode, so I was expecting the same for A!MG. I had even lower expectations because I wasn't a big fan of the second series of the show. But the movie was actually pretty well thought out. It had interesting new characters, a bit of backstory, action and an intense plot. Plus Belldandy was a level headed, normal character, instead of the perfect, flawless creature she was in the show. Keichii was much more likeable when he wasn't talking about how awesome Belldandy is and his love somehow saves the world, blah blah blah. My point is that all the characters were fairly distributed in the storyline and things were though out well. Really, if the series had been as interesting and exciting as this movie I probably would've given it a much higher score.
Recommended for: Ah! My Goddess fans. This is not a stand-alone film, and if you don't know the series this film will make no sense to you.
Best aspect: The storyline was pretty impressive. A lot of twists and conflicts makes for a good movie!
Worst aspect: The ending could've been laid out a bit better. There were a tiny few moments where things happened and I got a little confused.
Favourite character: Belldandy. She had some sad moments, especially during the part where- Ah, I can't think of a way to avoid spoilers here.
Synopsis in one sentence: In a world full of half human, half clone people, soldier Deunan tries to find a code that can restore the reproductive abilities of the new race.
An alright movie, but a bit too science fictiony for me. The battles were pretty good, but the characters were too serious and lacked… spunk is the only word I can think of. O_O The ending was nice, but also pretty bleak, which pretty much sums up the rest of the movie.
Recommended for: Sci-Fi fans will probably really enjoy this one.
Best aspect: Battle mechanics.
Worst aspect: Too much dramatic science stuff.
Favourite character: Briareos. Big robot = win!
Berserk: Golden Age Arc Trilogy
Synopsis in one sentence: Berserk is wrapped in a shiny new package!
The Golden Arc Trilogy is made up of three films that retell the Golden Age Arc of the Berserk manga (aka everything in the anime series). First up is I: The Egg of the King, which recounts Guts' initiation into the Band of the Hawk. The animation is a little jolty in this film, which sometimes makes it a bit hard to sit through. Everything is done in an anime style, but run through some type of CGI program, so the figures move a little too smoothly and don't emote enough. It's that weird middle ground between good and bad, yano? Apart from that, things are pretty straight forward. Actually, they're really straight forward, which is what I enjoyed. Instead of mixing in the more complicated aspects of the political conspiracies of the Berserk-verse, the film's pacing is actually much more pleasing, and the plot is easier to follow. Things are kept simple and, although some of the scenes from the anime are missing, it really doesn't feel like anything is left out. The second movie, II: The Battle for Doldrey focuses on the rise and fall of the Hawks. Again the film is almost scene for scene, with improvements in the animation. Last but not least is the heart-breaking III: The Descent, which covers "that" scene. This film is where things get interesting, as a couple new scenes and characters are added that expand on what the anime left out. Where the anime left with Guts heading out on his own, the film instead sets up what his future holds, as well as answers some questions about Griffith and Casca. Now, if you're reading this and thinking that it sounds so similar to the anime that it's not worth watching, then I encourage you to change that frame of mind! Seeing the show play out again with a crisper style of art made it really enjoyable. Heck, even if you don't want to watch the same things twice, you'd still be a fool to miss out on seeing the Eclipse scene in all its horrible, gory splendour! I enjoyed Berserk the first time, but this reboot made me fall in love with the series. I'm really hoping they adapt more arcs, cause I would love to see how Guts' story continues. For any fan of Berserk, this is a must see!
Recommended for: Berserk fans. There are torrents of violence, swearing and nudity, so this is for the mature only. If you're thinking about watching Berserk, then I would recommend you just watch these films because they offer all the anime has to offer, but in a condensed amount of time.
Best aspect: FIGHTING!
Worst aspect: Casca annoys the hell out of me.
Favourite character: Guts.
Blade of the Phantom Master
Synopsis in one sentence: A legendary warrior travels from place to place for an unknown reason, unwillingly becoming involved in various local struggles.
I was a bit at odds over whether I should review this or not, but since I reviewed Avatar, which is an English anime, why not take a crack at Phantom Master, which is a Korean anime? :) Blade of the Phantom Master is sort of like.... welp, I suppose the best way to describe it is a couple episodes of an anime rolled into one. Films comprised of multiple stories aren't really a favourite of mine. Actually, they kind of annoy me. It's hard to appreciate a movie when you feel like you're only getting a tiny portion of the story. Anyway, the lame format took this movie down a few pegs in my opinion. In the hour + that the film lasts, you learn no more than the basic premise of the characters. I don't know their motives, their goals or even much of their personalities. It's hard to relate to a character when you have no idea who they really are. On the story side of things (ignoring the details that weren't revealed) although the plots weren't anything to write home about, there were a few twists and turns that enriched the story as a whole. Most of this was owing to the fact that Blade of the Phantom Master isn't afraid to get brutal, so there was no telling which characters were safe and which were not. Even in the first couple minutes, someone who seems like a major character is eliminated within seconds. So, the film still had some excitement left in its bones. Overall, I think Phantom Master has a promising premise, but one that isn’t meant for condensing into a movie. A little more time, or even a full series, and I think I might've really enjoyed seeing where Munsu's adventures would lead.
Recommended for: Anyone that enjoys feudal warriors, action or anti-heroes.
Best aspect: I really liked the characters designs.
Worst aspect: Very anti-climactic conclusion.
Favourite character: Munsu.
Black Butler III: Book of the Atlantic
Synopsis in one sentence: Ciel and Sebastian set off on a boat journey that ends in undead disaster.
This was a very exciting part of the Black Butler canon that really amped up the drama of the demon/reaper world. Exciting from start to finish, we also get to see some great development from a few side characters and some wicked battles. My one gripe is that there wasn't really a conclusion to the Atlantic story, more an ellipses, so I really hope they decide to continue the Black Butler series in anime, ova, or film form, so I can see how the events of this book play out in the long run.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. This should be watched after the Book of Murder OVA.
Best aspect: The villain reveal was pretty mind blowing.
Worst aspect: No proper conclusion.
Favourite character: Lizzie. What a badass.
Bleach: Memories of Nobody
Synopsis in one sentence: Rukia, Ichigo and all the big Soul Society players are alerted by a new threat to humanity that might have something to do with an interesting new Reaper that Ichigo has encountered.
Yay, my first Bleach movie! I think they did a really great job in creating a new plot, while also sticking to the continuity of the series. Something that they did really well was the inclusion of the best characters. Of course Ichigo and Rukia are front and center, but cameo appearances from Chad, Orihime, Uryu and super cool Soul Reapers like Kenpachi, Toshiro, Byakuya and more were totally awesome! They managed to keep in all the favourites, without turning too much attention away from the new characters. Plus, the cameos only made the end fight more kick ass! The next plus was getting to see some old school characters and fights. I mean, I can't remember the last time I actually saw Ichigo take on a bount, but this film reminded me that the Soul Reapers actually have a job to do! Also… spunky Rukia returns!!! Impatient, rude, tough… oh Rukia, how I missed you. The only thing missing was some of Rukia's famed 'art', although I did get to get a taste of Uruhara's… um, drawing "talent". Anyway, I better sum this up. I think because I watched this after the terrible Bount arcs, this was an EXCELLENT palette cleanser. If I had watched it before the Bount arcs, it might have been just an alright film.
Recommended for: Bleach fans of course!! I think that chronologically it's time zone is a bit confusing. Since Rukia is still a full-fledged Reaper, it seems like it would be set after the first arc, but the presence of the other Reapers seems like you should watch it after the Rescue arc. My recommendation is that you watch it after the Bount arc, cause then you'll get all the references and you'll also be able to remind yourself why you like Bleach in the first place.
Best aspect: Awesome Rukia returns! Woop!
Worst aspect: The story felt a bit rushed, but I also think that could've been because I'm used to the long, drawn out fights from the normal episode format. Oh, and there was also a tinsy amount of predictability.
Favourite character: Uhhh, I'm struggling on this one. Um, um, um, Kon?
Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion
Synopsis in one sentence: A mysterious Soul Reaper attacks the Soul Society, pitting the court guards against Toshiro, who is being framed for the attacks.
Hmm, by now this is my… third Bleach movie, right? I'm sorry to say it, but by now, I've seen it all. This movie was just really typical of an anime movie and it didn't really measure up in my opinion. There's a mysterious villain, some flashbacks to someone's past, Ichigo arrives, almost saves everyone, every other likeable character makes a cameo, Ichigo saves everyone. Well, that last part isn't really true. Interestingly enough, Toshiro gets quite a bit of screen time for this movie! That was kind of unexpected and a welcome change, but other than that, this movie doesn't offer anything Bleach hasn't given before. Even more annoying was the way they ruined two really awesome powers! The first is Ichigo's Hollow form, which I used to really like, but now it's getting boring. It used to come out when he was near death and then it would go psycho on everyone, but now he just hollowfies whenever, does a normal fight and that's it. Then there was Ikkaku's bankai. They did an entire episode about why he keeps that ability hidden and it really showed how impressive he is. But now, at the drop of a hat he just goes "Okay, guys I'll show you my biggest secret!" Lame. Also, I don't care how massive and icy you are; NO ONE BEATS KENPACHI!!!!
Recommended for: Big fans of Bleach. My recommendation is that you consider this movie completely non-canon. Imagine some fanfic writer just made a movie, because if you take this seriously, it will do your head in.
Best aspect: I do like when everyone's together.
Worst aspect: It was really predictable.
Favourite character: Toshiro, because he's really the only the character I remember doing stuff. I was kind of bored, so I didn't pay attention much.
Bleach: Hell Verse
Synopsis in one sentence: Ichigo and pals are sucked into Hell when a group of masked figures kidnap his sister and demand to be let out of their tortuous prison.
Halfway through the Arrancar 5 arc the opening sequence is replaced by little trailers for Hell Verse. There are also some omake made for the movie, and with all this promotion I figured this movie must be something bigger than the previous Bleach feature films. I was right. Hell Verse is the first Bleach movie that is deserving of its hour + running time. Not only is the film beautiful to watch, but it features all our favourite characters (human and soul reaper alike) and a bunch of tense fights. There's even an unexpected twist which still came as a shock even though I'd been expecting it the entire film... if that makes sense. Anyway, Hell Verse is a well though out plot, which is a nice little distraction after the Arrancar 5 Arc. Definitely a must see!
Recommended for: Bleach fans. You can watch it anytime during the Arrancar arc, but there are some teasers in the anime so you may want to watch it after them. Or before them if you don't like spoilers. Anyways, episodes 296-300 have Hell Verse themed omake, episodes 298-303 have trailers of Hell Verse in place of the opening and ending themes and episode 299 is a prequel story to the film. I would personally recommend watching it at the end of the Arrancar 5 arc, after episode 310.
Best aspect: The monster design was great!
Worst aspect: The ending was a bit hectic.
Favourite character: The Kushanada.
Blood: The Last Vampire
Synopsis in one sentence: A young girl infiltrates a high school on the search for demons in human form.
The plot of this film is fun and it delivers all the action and gore I expected. The lead character, Saya, is wonderfully different from the boring girls-with-weapons of anime past, and I loved seeing a fighter act like an actual fighter for once. There's none of that "I've got to take some time to reevaluate my strength as a person" stuff, just action, action, action! What lets down this movie is its speed. It pretty much throws the viewer into the deep end, with little attempt to explain the setting. This means that when the stakes get high, there's not that much suspense because you don't really care about the characters or understand what's going on. If this was a little longer it would have a much bigger impact. Hey, maybe someone should make a show about it!
Recommended for: Vampire, action and horror fans. Also, even if you watch the dub, subtitles are required.
Best aspect: Saya's no-nonsense approach.
Worst aspect: Too little development.
Favourite character: Saya.
Blood-C: The Last Dark
Synopsis in one sentence: Saya's got her red eyes back so now she's ready for revenge!
So Blood-C ended on a cliff hanger and this film is its resolve. It's a good story, with some great new characters and I'm happy that they wrapped everything up. Sadly, there were still some super cliché moments, but overall the story was good. The main problem with this film is that Saya has completely shed her human personality. I understand why she is that way, but this change in persona means that she's essentially a stranger. So what reason do we have to feel motivated by her motives? You have to build your relationship with Saya from the ground up, and with only 1-2 hours to do so, it ruins a lot of the film's suspense. With that in mind, I could only say that this film was enjoyable simply because it puts a final full stop on the Blood-C story.
Recommended for: Blood-C fans. This is a direct follow on, so the anime must be watched first.
Best aspect: I enjoyed the new cast. I think the writers did a great job of building their relationships with each other in such a short time.
Worst aspect: The main villain was pretty subdued. The last time we saw him he was very dislikeable, so it was a shame that he was kind of useless in his return.
Favourite character: Any of the young investigators.
Blue Exorcist the Movie
Synopsis in one sentence: After a botched mission, Rin finds he has to babysit a childlike demon.
I often have a problem with anime based films, because they just feel like doubly long episodes of the normal show. What I want is the anime on a grander scale! I want bigger fight scenes and prettier animation! I want a stand alone story that's just as good as any series arc, and if new characters must be introduced I want them to be fun, special and not a hindrance to the lead! The Blue Exorcist movie not only marks everything off of this checklist, but it forms itself around a really lovely folk tale, and spirals up in scale from there. There's amazing fights, lots of emotion and comedy, which is pretty much everything that makes a movie enjoyable, right? This is a film I could imagine paying to see in a theater, which is the biggest testament I can give to how much I enjoyed it. The plot is a tad predictable, pretty much because it's all laid out in the opening scene. But that only makes it more interesting, because you know how everything is going to go, which makes it more painful when the events actually unfold. It's definitely Blue Exorcist on a bigger scale, and a great way to close off the series.
Recommended for: Blue Exorcist fans.
Best aspect: The sadness of the main demon.
Worst aspect: I would've liked some more action from the support characters.
Favourite character: Yukio, simply because I was happy to see how much he featured in the film.
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows Naruto's son as he takes the chunin exams.
This film was an interesting experience. On one hand, the character arcs woven throughout are very strong and the emotions they're centred around are very heavy. The conflict is well built up and the plot as a whole was a very strong set up for future adventure. What I struggled with, however, is Naruto. After following him for so long through the anime, it was kind of a bummer to see him turn out be someone so callous. It's just not what I ever would have envisioned Naruto as and really mars my fondness for the character. Not to say the negative development isn't interesting, but more that Naruto here feels unnatural, to the point where I believe he was sacrificed in order to bolster up their new hero, Boruto, with some stronger origins. I suppose it was put partly right by the end, but I think it was shame to go that route after all we've seen of Naruto, especially because I'm more invested in his story than I ever will be his son's.
Recommended for: Fans of the show. Watch after the The Day Naruto Became Hokage OVA.
Best aspect: Chunin exams are always fun.
Worst aspect: Sakura deserves better.
Favourite character: Sarada's pretty cool. I'd be interested to see where she ends up
Cowboy Bebop the Movie
Synopsis in one sentence: A terrorist plans to launch biological warfare on Mars!
Your everyday anime film, the Cowboy Bebop film serves as an extended episode of the series from which it takes its name. If you want more Bebop crew hunting, this is the place to get it! The villain is good, the drama intense and the characters as loveable as ever. I'm a bit bummed that Bebop went the safe route, as a sequel to the series would've been way more interesting than a bonus episode. Going from that crazy finale to just another bounty hunt is a bit anti-climactic. But I'll take what I can get and, as anime films go, at least this is a fun ride.
Recommended for: Cowboy Bebop fans. I recommend that you watch this between episodes 22 and 23 of the series, as that is where it flows within the plot best.
Best aspect: The end battle was very climactic!
Worst aspect: I would've liked... more. More than just a random story, at least.
Favourite character: Spike was cool throughout.
Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker
Synopsis in one sentence: Knight Cassandra finds herself embroiled in a secret plot to destroy the land she protects.
For a movie that comes with a flashy cover and an extravagant synopsis, Dragon Age is surprisingly cookie cutter. The characters could be cut from any mediocre action show and the story was so predictable I could've written the novelisation without seeing more than 20 minutes of it. The animation was also poor and jittery, sitting in that weird 3D graveyard between million dollar project and high school AV club project. The characters were unmemorable and stereotypical (ooo, the short tempered protagonist has lost someone, who knew? >_>) and the lame dubbing didn't help any. The plus side? Lots of blood, gore, and fighting to spice things up.
Recommended for: Fans of Dragon Age, I guess. I suppose you might like it if you like medieval quests. Oh, and remember the blood and gore. There's not much and it's animated pretty poorly, but it's the sound effects that might get to a squeamish stomach.
Best aspect: The action.
Worst aspect: The... movie.
Favourite character: That warlock guy. The good one. I dunno, I can't remember who did what, but that guy seemed the least annoying
Eden of the East the Movie I: The King of Eden
Synopsis in one sentence: Takizawa hasn't been seen since the events of the last series and when Saki finally manages to locate him, he's missing his memories once again.
A straight continuation of the Eden of the East anime series, this film begins to offer some closure on our favourite characters. The adventure is far from over, and now we're left to try and piece together what Takizawa's been doing while he's been MIA. This film's mystery is even more exciting than the last one, and this time the characters are brighter and more fun to watch. I felt like this movie had its head on a little straighter, too, which made the plot a lot faster and less flawed. It definitely leaves me wanting more!
Recommended for: Fans of the Eden of the East series. This film is a direct follow on to the show, so you've got to watch that first.
Best aspect: I liked that Saki was the one keeping everything together. She seemed like a stronger person.
Worst aspect: Takizawa wasn't as fun in this film. I miss his outgoing, crazy personality!
Favourite character: Saki
Eden of the East the Movie II: Paradise Lost
Synopsis in one sentence: Takizawa's plan to become king is in full swing, but this only makes things more complicated for everyone.
The conclusion to this story is as exhilarating as its predecessors, but, sadly, lacks the surprising twists and turns of the series and film one. I didn't really find the conclusion that satisfying... I mean, yeah, things are wrapped up, but it felt like the writers just made things up on the spot to give the story an end. It's a little Deus Ex Machina, to be honest. Plus I was really disappointed with the way things ended between the lead cast. I don't want to reveal too much, but I think the love story was kind of tossed aside, which made it hard for me to like Takizawa. At the very least, a small resolve is offered for the series, so I guess that'll have to be enough, though I wouldn't object to some more storyline and a proper ending sometime in the future.
Recommended for: Fans of the first film.
Best aspect: The Takizawa's parents B-plot.
Worst aspect: This film pretty much dumped everyone right back where the anime series ended.
Favourite character: Saki
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone
Synopsis in one sentence: An updated remake of the Evangelion series, put in movie form!
First, does anyone else find that title as fascinating as I do? :P Now, let's get on with things! The first movie in a series of four, You Are (Not) Alone adapts the first six episodes of the original series. Overall this film is pretty close to the original episodes, so it wasn't anything fantastic for me. I'd already seen a lot of this footage twice (once in the series, second in Death and Rebirth) so watching it for a third time was kind of a bore. Eh, pretty much a precursor for the next movie.
Recommended for: Once again this one's for the NGE fans. However, if you're interested in the series and put off by the age of the original, definitely check this out. If this is gonna be your first taste of NGE, just know that there is a bit of gore.
Best aspect: The music was pretty good! I loved the credits song. *Looks it up* OH! It's a Utada Hikaru song! Welp, that explains it!
Worst aspect: I was terribly disappointed by the animation as it was pretty much the same as the original series. I expected a much more updated style, yano? Also, what is up with Aida's voice???
Favourite character: I found a new favourite character! No, I lied. It's still Rei. >_>
Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance
Synopsis in one sentence: The battle against the angels continues in the second Rebuild of Evangelion movie!
See, this is why you should always give an anime a second chance! If I had judged this whole series on the first film, I would not have bothered with this sequel and I would have missed out on this awesome film. Oh, and awesome it is! The animation has been polished to perfection and brought into the new generation of anime style. On top of that, this film starts to stand on its own feet instead of just copying its parent series. Don't worry, this update doesn't spit on the original story, it just spruces it up a bit! Plus, even MORE special is a new character! Not a side person smiling in the background, but an actual mysterious girl doing actually mysterious things. Anyway, you should totally give this a go, and in the meantime I'll be waiting for Rebuild number 3 to come out!!
Recommended for: Obviously if you've seen NGE or the first film you should watch it. However, if you wanna stay faithful to the original, the changes of this movie might be a bit much for your loyal brain. Oh, and this one is gore-tastic. If you have even a slight aversion to violence, guts flying everywhere or blood raining from the sky, stay away. FAR FAR AWAY.
Best aspect: The animation is gorgeous! C'mon, the destruction of the Eight Angel was breath taking! Okay, so the sea of blood wasn't very nice, but you gotta admit that it was pretty to look at!
Worst aspect: I wasn't really a fan of Toji being replaced for Asuka in a certain scene… I didn't hate the scene, I just think it was more dramatic with Toji.
Favourite character: Since Rei isn't doing as much, I'd say Asuka is looking pretty awesome right now. :)
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
Synopsis in one sentence: Shinji finds himself in the near-future, where friends are now enemies and more seedy organisations are tryna do more bad stuff.
Now, it's been a while since I saw the previous movie, so I can't exactly remember how much I liked 2.0 or its predecessor 1.0. Despite this, I still feel like this is the strongest movie in the Rebuild series so far. The first thing I noticed about this film was the AMAZING visuals. Things were so crisp and beautiful it was like someone took the style of Black Rock Shooter and Puella MMM, mixed them together, and then added mecha. The opening sequence is a slow watch over a salvage mission, and despite the lack of dialogue or dramatic plot it's still a really stunning scene to watch, thanks to the animation alone. And don't even get me started on the battle scenes! This is also the first movie that I think put a lot of effort into making the story flow. Or, it's the first movie I think that of, from what I can remember of my thoughts on the other movies. ;D Anyway, NGE is one of those series that is super easy to get confused by, and because the Rebuild series is created in honour of the long standing Evangelion fandom, the previous movies can be a little overwhelming with those unfamiliar with the series' basic storyline. With 3.0, the art driven direction is kept to a minimum, with the focus instead shifting to making sure the story is easy to follow and soaked in drama. This makes it really fun viewing, because you don't have to worry about getting lost in the visual imagery. :) If I think about it, the events in the film cover a tiny space of time, but it's presented in a way that makes each minute seem action packed. The characters, despite most of the screen time going to Shinji, have also matured in personality. I think the way characters interact with each other has probably been the biggest frustration for me in the series (whiny Asuka annoys me to no end and we all know what a great dad Gendo is >_>), but I loved the way characters treated each other in this movie. There's no secret longing looks or pent up loves; if someone feels something, they express it. This made everything so much more realistic, and I'm really fond of the short bouts of conversations between Shinji, Asuka, and Misato. The two girls are furious at Shinji, but they still care for him, and Shinji responds by being angered by their cruelty, yet he's aware of the pain he feels because he values them as friends. Its complicated relationships like this that really drives the emotion of the movie forward. All that resentment, blossoming friendship or sadness is made even more interesting by the idea that so much time has passed between movies, so you get to discover these feelings between characters all over again, almost like you're meeting them for the first time. To round things up, You Can (Not) Redo is a really solid movie that has made me more than excited for the final movie. I'm hard pressed to find things I disliked about the film, so make sure to check it out if you've been following the Rebuild series so far!
Recommended for: You've gotta see the other Rebuild films first. Be warned that there is some gore, although it's not too bad. If anything, I'd say there's a lot more creepy monsters than there are gory ones. I'm not saying that's any better, though. Gore I can handle; giant corpse heads crying blood I struggle with. Also, if you sail the Kaworu X Shinji ship, you may struggle with all the fanfic material in 3.0. Your OTP feels might not be able to handle this. ;D
Best aspect: Because I've gotta mention it somewhere, I wanna let it be known that the film credits song is so wonderful. It's been one of my fav songs for a while and I'm definitely not gonna get sick of it anytime soon. Although, the lyrics don't give me much hope for a Kaworu X Shinji team reunion in the future films. o-o
Worst aspect: Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Gendo?
Favourite character: Hmmm, what a tough question. I suppose I should give props to Shinji for reacting like a relatively normal person for most of the movie. Yep, there is a bit of a classic Shinji meltdown near the end, but for the most part he's pretty mature.
Evangelion: Death and Rebirth
Synopsis in one sentence: A 70 min recap of the Neon Genesis Evangelion series mashed together with 30 mins of new footage that forms the beginning of a new ending.
Hmmm, kind of a random movie. See, if you're an NGE fan, this'll all be stuff you've already seen (apart from the last bit). And if you're not an NGE fan, you'll have no idea what's going on as things aren't really laid out very well. So, if this isn't for NGE fans to get an extra fill and if it isn't for new viewers to get a quick taste of the series, then who is this film for? That is a good question, dear reader, and one I don't know the answer to. ㅈ_ㅈ As for the extra scenes, I would recommend you just skip straight to End of Evangelion (review below) and watch them in that film.
Recommended for: Hardcore NGE fans.
Best aspect: The few extra scenes.
Worst aspect: I just could not imagine someone who had not already seen the full series understanding this film at all.
Favourite character: Still Rei, still for the same reason.
Full Metal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa
Synopsis in one sentence: The Elric brothers continue their quest to travel through universes and become reunited once again.
Everyone, may I have your attention please! If you ever, EVER plan on making an anime movie, this is the movie you must model it after. The first FMA movie is PERFECT! It's got action, suspense, gypsies, old enemies, new friends, and a bunch of other awesomeness. The best part though? It actually continues the story. Yeah, it's not just a filler movie! Not only does it continue the story, but it also wraps it up. It's like the series was a present and this movie is a bow; it isn't necessary, but it makes everything better. The stories for every character were well developed and the way they explained the time between anime and movie was perfect. I especially loved the endings for Envy and Wrath, which I wasn't expecting to see, but was glad that they included them. The main story of the Elric brothers was, well, sad. If you're looking for a cushy, FMA themed fairy tale, this is not what you'll get with this movie. That doesn't mean it's bad, though. Instead, it gives a sort of fitting end to the brothers that's both realistic and understandable. The whole movie is really enjoyable and a great addition to the series. Definitely worth a watch!
Recommended for: It must be watched after the end of the first season, but before the Chibi Party OVA.
Best aspect: The attention given to side characters.
Worst aspect: I wasn't into the WWII thing. It was kind of gimmicky, in my opinion.
Favourite character: Weirdly enough, the "other" King Bradley.
Full Metal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos
Synopsis in one sentence: Long before the Alchemy hit the fan, the Elric brothers stumble into a war torn city stuffed full of dangerous secrets.
Now, I want to begin by saying that if this was the first FMA movie I had come across, my opinions on it probably would've been different. However, this is not the first FMA movie I have seen, Conqueror of Shamballa was, and that's a damn hard act to follow. Shamballa is one of the most impressive anime series movies I have seen, and with Brotherhood being a much stronger counterpart to its preceding season, my expectations for its movie were pretty high. To cut to the chase, Star of Milos didn't match up to what I was expecting. All in all, the direction of this movie isn't anything I haven't seen before. Sacred Star of Milos is a long filler episode that doesn't add anything to the development of the series of a whole. Although there was a chance for the story to be jam packed with lots of great characters or dramatic turns in the plot, the twists were too predictable to be exciting and every character that was introduced could easily be defined by one trope or another. The big bummer for me, though, was that the movie was set halfway through the series, instead of continuing on from the season's conclusion. Brotherhood is a continually evolving story, and to be forced to travel back to one of the simplest moments of the tale is a bit jarring. I would've loved to see how life was for the Elric brothers post-homunculus; some addition to the complicated lives of Ed and Al would've been far more interesting. Even a simple change like setting the story of Star of Milos after the end of Brotherhood would've peeked my interest a little, because it meant I was learning a bit more about how the brothers lead their later lives. All that being said, it's not a bad movie, it's just not anything to write home about. If you miss out on Sacred Star of Milos, don't beat yourself up too much, because, honestly, you're not missing out on much.
Recommended for: Big fans of Full Metal Alchemist. I pretty sure you can watch this with either series, as I can't think of any Brotherhood exclusive information that is mentioned in this film. I think this movie will be much more enjoyable if you watch it early on in the series, so it slots into the full plot a little better. I believe it's set around Episode 20, so watch it around there.
Best aspect: There was a dash of tragedy that was really heart breaking.
Worst aspect: A pretty tame story that doesn't contain much excitement.
Favourite character: Hmmm, maybe Ed? Or Al? I dunno, I can't remember any of the secondary characters
Grave of the Fireflies
Synopsis in one sentence: The story of 14 year old Seita and his younger sister, Setsuko, as they navigate through a war torn Japan.
There's only one word I could use to describe Grave of the Fireflies, and that word is SAD. Very sad. Depressing, even. There, that's two words. How about a third? Heart-breaking, there you go. You get the point. >_> Although it's presented in that all too familiar Studio Ghibli style, there is no sense of wonder that makes this movie an enjoyable romp. There's no sweet romance to anchor the drama. Instead, there's just cold hard reality. Over a short period of time the two leads are thrown from one hardship to another. It's an intense journey, and my biggest qualm with this film is that there were no breaks in the sadness. The conclusion was no different; if you're looking for a happy ending, then you're in the wrong place. So although I enjoyed the film, it made it a bit of a kick in the pants when I got invested in the characters for such a disappointing end. Then again, it's not like I wasn't warned. I mean, in one of the first sentences of the film the main character states that he has died.... Anyway, Grave of the Fireflies is a good story, but a sordid one. Approach with caution.
Recommended for: Ghibli fans or those who love their drama dramatic.
Best aspect: It's incredibly easy to start to root for the main characters.
Worst aspect: The end was very unsatisfactory.
Favourite character: Setsuko


Title Review Rating
Hetalia: Paint It, White
Synopsis in one sentence: It's a Hetalia movie and all the countries are being taken over by aliens!
The title of this movie pretty much sums up everything you need to know about what's goes on in this film; aliens arrive and start to paint everything white. Yep, pretty straightforward stuff. The main cast team up to invade the alien ship and hilarity ensues. Prior to watching I wondered if Hetalia could survive in the longer format of a movie, but the jokes are crazier and therefore funnier, and the overarching plot of the film gives all the characters equal screen time and time to show what makes them such loveable people. Heck, this movie marks the first time I actually enjoyed having Italy as part of the team! He provided much of the comedic value of the film, of course. Interspersed throughout the movie are some of the clips from the first season, which is both good and bad. It was good because it kept the movie in that familiar clip show format, which kept everything moving fast and interesting. The downside was that it was kind of dull to watch the scenes for the second time, and I'm not sure who they were there for. It's like they were added so newbies to the series could jump into the film and catch up, but the main story of the film is pretty much built around inside jokes from the first season which newbies would not be able to keep up with. Anywho, this film is a fun ride for anyone that's sipping the Hetalia cool aide, and it might even convert some of those that weren't that fond of the first season. Unfortunately a repeat of clips is an unwelcome distraction from the new material, which leaves room for improvement.
Recommended for: Hetalia fans.
Best aspect: The random dance break at the end of the film. Everybody sings!
Worst aspect: Repeats.
Favourite character: Italy. Hated him in the show, loved him in the film. Redemption points bonus!
Howl's Moving Castle
Synopsis in one sentence: A young woman named Sophie is cursed and turned into an old woman.
An interesting movie, to say the least. The first thing of notice is all the vibrant characters and sets, which all look fantastic. The story itself is a little hazy and although I got the general gist of things, sometimes I was left thinking 'what the heck just happened and why?' The fantasy aspect was beautiful, but that can pretty much be said for all Studio Ghibli movies. As for the characters, they were all excitable and likeable, but sometimes a bit confusing (why was Sophie not freaked out that she had just turned into an old woman?). Still, pretty good movie and it was fun to watch!
Recommended for: Fantasy people. Tinsy bit of romance as well.
Best aspect: Definitely design. The style and flair of everything was almost breathtaking.
Worst aspect: Didn't explain some things very well
Favourite character: Howl. Total bad ass.
Hunter × Hunter: Phantom Rouge
Synopsis in one sentence: When Kurapika's eyes are stolen, Gon, Killua, and Leorio set out to find the thief and end up tangled up with their old foes, the Phantom Troupe.
The very first Hunter x Hunter film continues the strength of the series with a very solid plot anchored by a thrillingly mysterious villain. The animation was a bit rough; I found it... over processed, I guess? Like, it was foggy, lots of shading, darkened to look grittier, and softened in some places to look more artsy, and the overall result was that this film lacked the sharper aesthetics that anime films usually possess, which was a shame. I liked that the plot added to the HxH universe by staying pleasantly in canon and I applaud the writers for coming up with a clever way to resurrect and include the series' best (so far) villains. The film was definitely one of the more enjoyable anime spin-off films I've seen in a while.
Recommended for: Hunter x Hunter fans. I would recommend watching this at the end of the Greed Island arc, though after the Yorknew City arc could work too.
Best aspect: The continuity.
Worst aspect: The rehash of Killua's feelings on friendship was a bit repetitive.
Favourite character: Omokage, because of how the writers utilised him to make a fun story.
Hunter × Hunter: The Last Mission
Synopsis in one sentence: Heaven's Arena is held hostage by a dangerous group and it's up to our favourite characters to save the day.
Very standard anime film fodder, with barely any memorable moments. Villain was predictable, fights anticlimactic, characters acting to fanservice. Not one I think lives up to my HxH standards.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. This is set after the Greed Island arc.
Best aspect: The continuity was pretty on point as far as I can tell.
Worst aspect: Averageness.
Favourite character: Leorio
King of Thorn
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of special candidates are cryogenically frozen to try and prevent the spread of a dangerous virus, but when they wake up, things are a lot worse than they were before.
This movie is just... gah. Totally mindfudging awesome. I might be overpraising a little depending on your point of view, but I felt like King of Thorn took the amount of twists and turns present in a show like Code Geass and then condensed it all into less than two hours. Yeah, that's how tricky this movie was. O_O As soon as the movie begins (like, literally from the first couple seconds of the film) drama is thrown at you from all directions. It doesn't stop there though! A group of fishy characters are introduced, which introduces more layers of intrigue to an already exciting story. Relationships are set up in a so-fast-it'll-make-your-head-spin kind of way, which sets up the feeling of "Wait, what the hell is going on?" that will haunt you for the rest of the film. Things look like they're about to wind down as everyone is put to sleep for the experiment and then... BAAAAAAM!!!! All hell breaks loose. It turns out King of Thorn has so much more up its sleeve, and thus begins this crazy journey of plot twist after plot twist after plot twist. So you think you know the anime film formula pretty well? The main characters are pretty obvious, right? It's easy to see who'll come in handy later, who'll meet their grisly end, and who'll have the most dramatic backstory, right? WRONG! Mere minutes after the characters wake up, King of Thorn throws all those predictable plot holes out the window, which meant I had no idea who was safe/dangerous/evil/a hero/allergic to peanut butter etc. Although the movie can get a bit overwhelming near the middle (there's so much revelation packed into such a short amount of time it's hard to keep up) everything tidies itself up in the end, leading to the oh so delicious "Aaaaah, that's what it was" moment. Even there the plot doesn't thin because King of Thorn just has to make up some more drama right in the end. >_> So yeah, this is a pretty awesome movie. Its only weakness is the messy pacing near the center, but all that is swept away pretty quickly to make for a tasty finish. It's a really great movie and now I understand why so many people recommend it!
Recommended for: You gotta like action, drama and plot twists. Also prepare yourself for a little gore.
Best aspect: All the characters were interesting in their own right. The development seems slow at first, until you realise it was moving at just the right pace all along. :P
Worst aspect: The main fight near the end was a bit hurried.
Favourite character: I quite liked the cop, Ron.
Lady Death: The Movie
Synopsis in one sentence: An innocent woman is burned at the stake when it is revealed that her father is the devil.
A dramatic movie; alright, but not amazing. The concept was good and another story of vengeance seemed interesting at first, but then the plot lost its way. Flicking between the past and present muddled me up a bit and some of the other character's presence seemed pointless. I liked the animation though and the protagonist, so this film gets a half-hearted thumbs up.
Recommended for: Monsters and supernatural fans.
Best aspect: Art style and the reason for Lady Death's quest for vengeance.
Worst aspect: Eh, pretty much lost interest.
Favourite character: My only real choice was Lady Death. There aren't really any other characters…
Le Portrait de Petit Cossette
Synopsis in one sentence: Student Kurahashi sees a vision of a beautiful girl and become infatuated with her.
Not really a movie, more so a combination of three OVA's, but I'll put my reviews where I feel like, dammit! Anywho, I did not enjoy this 'film' at all. I believe the whole idea was to make the story as mystical and artsy as possible, but that just translated as fruity to me. There was so much drama and long scenes that involved characters pining after each other… well, the point is there was not enough action and too much romance. Just not my cup of tea.
Recommended for: If you like your animes to be eerie. Also, Wikipedia describes it as a psychological horror, so… maybe you like that stuff??
Best aspect: The music, hands down. The one thing that I actually liked about this OVA – I actually LOVED the music choices. Really gothic, and really created a great atmosphere. Totally creepy soundtrack!
Worst aspect: Ridiculous story, that had a weird ending.
Favourite character: Cosette. Pretty good backstory and design.
Millennium Actress
Synopsis in one sentence: A retired actress recounts her career and love life to two documentarians.
This is a front runner for my favourite anime movie of all time. The way the narrative mixes with the present, past and fictional is just so well done, it's amazing. A love story, mixed with betrayal and war – totally fantastic! The ending comes with a nice revelation and is totally worth the ride. A really emotional romance mystery, that I really love!
Recommended for: If you like romance or stories that switch between the views of different people, you'll probably enjoy this.
Best aspect: The way the story is told keeps your interest throughout the entire movie.
Worst aspect: It could get a tad confusing to try and figure out which story you were watching at times.
Favourite character: Chiyoko. Of course I have to choose the protagonist for her amazing story!
My Neighbour Totoro
Synopsis in one sentence: Two young girls move to the countryside where they meet some strange creatures.
To sum things up quickly, I think Totoro was just a little too simple for my liking. I was hoping for a fantasy heavy adventure the likes of Spirited Away, but Totoro was far more slice-of-life than I'm comfortable with. I'm not saying it was bad, of course. If you like feel good stories that show a natural insight into the lives of two imaginative girls, then you'll like this movie. However, stories like that don't really keep my interest. Unfortunately, about 80% of the film focuses on the everyday goings on of the main characters. :S Bad points aside, the two main characters were excellent. I usually get annoyed by younger cast members, but the two sisters were portrayed in such a realistic fashion that it's hard to hate on them. They mess around with each other, fight like cats and dogs and look out for each other when things are tough. It's a really sweet and innocent point of view that really perks the movie up. The movie was painstakingly slow in its pacing, which meant that the last quarter of film was really fast paced and featured the best use of the titular character and his comrades. This was the part of the film where everything came together, and if the rest of the film had been this exciting I would've enjoyed it a lot more. So this film wasn't for me, but I can still see its charm.
Recommended for: If you like slice-of-life, definitely give this a go. It also reeks of Studio Ghibli charisma, so fans of the studio will probably enjoy it for novelty's sake.
Best aspect: The youngest sister is ADORABLE, as is Totoro.
Worst aspect: It felt like a family oriented plot was planned out and Totoro was only there as an added afterthought.
Favourite character: Probably Totoro, despite his limited screen time.


Title Review Rating
Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow
Synopsis in one sentence: Team Kakashi is given the task of protecting a troublesome movie star.
Yay, my first Naruto movie! Ah, it was nice to see the gang going back to their old missions instead of facing great evil etc. It's nice to be reminded of the show's roots, yano? Another bonus of anime movies is how much crisper the animation is. Anyway, moving onto the actual movie itself, Ninja Clash was a pretty interesting tale full of twists and lots and lots of true Naruto style butt kicking. The story was let down a bit by its predictability, but it made up for it with some sad action twists. There was some great comedy as well, since Naruto wouldn't be Naruto without some laughs. I loved seeing Naruto outshine the others, since, yano, I'm totally Naruto biased. ;D In other characters news, guess what: Sakura actually fights! Yeah, like full on gets some punches in! She's actually able to do stuff, shocking right? Now she has no excuses whenever her and the boys go out fighting again. All in all it was pretty good for a first movie, but I hope they improve a bit in future titles. It was a good story, but lacked something to make it really pop and stay memorable. Pretty good effort though.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. You can watch this one after the first couple seasons I think.
Best aspect: The action scenes were totally wicked.
Worst aspect: I didn't really like the villains. They were kind of too typical and boring for my liking.
Favourite character: Naruto, of course!
Naruto the Movie 2: Legend of the Stone of Gelel
Synopsis in one sentence: There's a guy and he has a stone... or something.
Another Naruto movie, featuring more.... Naruto-ness? These things are just like the Bleach movies; they're PREDICTABLE. They try to make a big dramatic storyline, but everything is so insanely obvious. Yeah, Naruto he's bad. Yes, Naruto, he has a conscience. Why is all of this a surprise to you? The same hero formula from the Bleach movies also applies here. You know, the Naruto-does-everything tactic. I'm sorry, I'm being super negative in this review. It's just, it's like you see one of these movies and you've seen them all. And how am I supposed to write a review about this when I already wrote the exact same thing for the last movie I watched? It's frustrating! On a plus note, I didn't expect the ending to go exactly at it did, and it did stray off the expected path a bit, which is always appreciated. So in summary: nothing bad, nothing good. Just two hours of extra Naruto filler.
Recommended for: Naruto fans.
Best aspect: I liked the character designs.
Worst aspect: It's such a familiar format that I got easily bored with what was going on.
Favourite character: I lurv me some Gaara cameos!
Naruto the Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom
Synopsis in one sentence: Naruto and his gang are tasked with escorting a prince and his son home, but of course not all goes as planned.
FINALLY! Finally Naruto does a movie that's actually worth giving up two hours of your time. Guardians stars Naruto, Rock Lee, Sakura and Kakashi as the lead ninjas, which already set my expectations high. Their mission started off a bit slow, but eventually progressed into a ninja slice of life show, which wasn't a bad thing. It shared what a typical mission is like outside of the big fights; sometimes they stop to eat, they have arguments etc. It was interesting to see a more realistic approach to their lives. The supporting characters at first seemed like the typical movie fodder; there's room for comedy, angst and redemption at the end of the line. However, these stereotypes were sorted out in the first part of the film, which surprised me and left their development open for much bigger changes than I had originally thought we'd see. In other words, the supporting characters were actually bearable for once! Do you know how much of a difference it makes when you're not hoping for one of the leads to die because they're boring you? It makes the movie much better, trust me. There was a lot more twists than I had expected, which kept me on my toes. It was set up pretty early on that any character was disposable, which also helped the character development a bunch. The fighting was also great and did a good job of distributing time between all the ninja equally, as opposed to making the film nothing but another Naruto fest. It was much appreciated, especially since it's so rare to see Sakura being bad ass. Overall, although it did suffer from a bit of the typical anime movie cheesiness, Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom did try and switch it up, which makes it stand leagues ahead of the past Naruto movies. I enjoyed it a lot, and I won't have to force myself to watch the next Naruto movie now!
Recommended for: Naruto fans. It was released after Season 4, but I think you can watch it after the Tsunade arc without it ruining anything for ya.
Best aspect: The side characters were tolerable for once!
Worst aspect: There were some drawn out moments (speeches etc) that didn't need to be drawn out.
Favourite character: I think the characters were all pretty evenly matched. Maybe I'll choose Rock Lee just because I like him in general. ^_^
Naruto Shippuden the Movie
Synopsis in one sentence: The Leaf Ninja team up to protect a rude priestess as she's under attack.
It's the first movie for the Shippuden series and it was a bit disappointing how similar it was to the previous films. There's a bratty superior Naruto butts heads with, the fan favourites make appearances and get a bit of screen time to keep everyone happy and then Naruto saves the day! So if you like all the other Naruto movies, then Shippuden will be great! But if, like me, you found the other movies mediocre at best, then don't expect anything big from Shippuden. It's a formula the film writers seem to have faith in, but God I'm hoping they switch it up soon. And yeah, short review, cause what more can I add that hasn't already been said in the previous movie reviews? ._.
Recommended for: Extreme Naruto fans. You can watch it anytime in the series (even during pre-Shippuden days if you want), but I think it's better to wait till after the first arc of Shippuden so the new character designs aren't spoiled for ya. :)
Best aspect: I liked how easily it fit in after the last arc. It doesn't feel like an annoying waste of time for the ninja, but more a plausible side mission upon their return from the Sand Village.
Worst aspect: There was nothing that made me want to pay attention to the plot.
Favourite character: Rock Lee. Just because he's one of my fav characters. :P
Naruto Shippuden the Movie 2: Bonds
Synopsis in one sentence: The Leaf are attacked from a flying village while Naruto and his gang have to help a doctor get home.
It might be surprising to hear me say it, but this movie was actually good! I know, right? An anime film I liked! :D The plot was interesting, the characters not horrible. But the highlight was definitely the battle scenes which exhibited the awesome teamwork I love to see in Naruto. You know a battle's gonna be good when Shikamaru is at the helm! What made the fighting even better was that it wasn't bogged down by a bunch of unnecessary emotional bores. Not that this movie was perfect, though. It still suffered from the anime series film disease that is the annoying new character. Bonds introduces Amaru, who hates Naruto, then they bond because they're lonely and then they become besties. Basically, Amaru is every new character from all the other Naruto films. Same old. Yano, I would love to see a movie where Naruto is in charge of someone who adores him, instead of someone who knocks heads with him. Shake it up please! Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by Bonds, and if I were to recommend a Naruto movie this would be it.
Recommended for: Naruto Shippuden fans. Bonds was promoted as late as episode 73 of the anime, so maybe watch it after that. But I reckon it best fits after the Sasuke and Sai arc, personally.
Best aspect: The bad guy was pretty ruthless.
Worst aspect: Lame new characters.
Favourite character: Sai kicked butt!
Naruto Shippuden the Movie 3: Inheritors of the Will of Fire
Synopsis in one sentence: There's a floating guy in the sky who's gonna kill Kakashi!
Now, this movie wasn't too bad. It had fun action, bunches of suspense and included all the favourites. However, the main flaw with this film is that it's based around the idea that Naruto is an idiot. You see, Naruto sets out to save his teacher, despite everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) telling him not to, because they already have a plan. And he doesn't listen, so his friends have to end up fighting him. And still, despite knowing what he is trying to do is so bad that everyone is willing to beat the crap out of him to make sure he stops, Naruto keeps going! I know the point is to show how determined Naruto is, but that isn't determined, that's arrogant. What's even worse is that it all could've been avoided if someone had just TOLD Naruto why he couldn't do his own plan. But no, everyone else is told, but for some reason when anyone faces up against Naruto they just say "you can't!" and leave it at that. Why? SPOILER ALERT Of course, when it turns out Naruto is right, everyone else has to change their opinions, which switches things around to mean that everyone but Naruto is an idiot. SPOILER OVER Basically, every single cast member was shown to be an idiot in this movie. Fun times.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. This movie is apparently set after the Hidan and Kazuku arc, but I watched it after the Itachi Pursuit arc.
Best aspect: The overall theme of everyone's "will of fire" was quite nice.
Worst aspect: Lame character treatment.
Favourite character: Shikimaru. I felt he was the most level headed.
Naruto Shippuden the Movie 4: The Lost Tower
Synopsis in one sentence: A fall during a mission has Naruto transported back in time, where he soon finds himself protecting a Princess.
I really liked the first half of this film. It was fun, the new characters were interesting and there was plenty of mystery to keep things going. The ending of the movie ruined this, because it was both super predictable and a total cheese fest. Also, I could not figure out the timeline in this film. The ruins of the kingdom looked hundreds of years old, but the past was when Kakashi was young, so it was only a couple decades ago? And if it was a couple decades ago, why did that princess already have a daughter the same age as Naruto at the end? And why was his blade rusted up as if it'd come from some ancient burial ground? I didn't get it at all, but I digress. Good film, with a bit of a standard conclusion. I've seen better, but I've also seen worse, so I guess it's a middle ground film in my opinion.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. This film is set before the Invasion of Pain Arc, but I watched it after and it fit perfectly fine.
Best aspect: The creepy stuff. Those puppets were... *shivers*
Worst aspect: The eye roll inducing end.
Favourite character: Emo teen Kakashi
Naruto the Movie: Blood Prison
Synopsis in one sentence: Naruto is dumped in prison.
NOTE: This is the 5th Shippuden movie, it just doesn't have the Shippuden in the title for some reason. This was an alright film. Bad guys were bad, action was action and for once there was a legitimate reason for why everything had to focus on Naruto. It just wasn't that exciting of a film because its entire premise revolves around the idea that Naruto is abandoned by his leaf village comrades. But it's kind of obvious that would never happen. That means that I spent the rest of the movie just waiting for the moment where the leaf village was gonna burst in, so I wasn't that scared by any of the peril Naruto found himself in. The climax of the movie was a little darker than I'm used to with Naruto, but that made the story a little edgier, which I won't complain about.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. This is best watched after the Five Kage Summit Arc.
Best aspect: Naruto not being intolerably annoying the whole way through.
Worst aspect: This film crapped all over the series' continuity, especially when it comes to Naruto's battle limitations.
Favourite character: Naruto's kind of my only choice.
Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie
Synopsis in one sentence: Set sometime during the eleventh arc, a mysterious change has swept the village, and Sakura and Naruto must work together to find their way back to normal.
This is definitely my favourite Naruto movie so far. The majority of this film is set in an alternate world where the characters are complete opposites of their usual selves, which is a trope that I enjoy from the get go. But what this film does with this trope is use it as a very strong character building exercise, which makes the entire story emotionally rooted and very poignant. On top of that, we have not one, but two leads in this film, with both Naruto and Sakura sharing the spotlight equally. I think having the focus shift from Naruto-only made a lot of what was going on much more interesting, especially as we got to see the contrast between Sakura and Naruto's experiences. The ending, I'll admit, I saw coming, but the final battle and the aftermath was still very entertaining. Overall, this was a great quality film that I hope future Naruto releases will be emulating.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. You can watch this after the eleventh arc of the series.
Best aspect: The shared focus on both Sakura and Naruto.
Worst aspect: The continuity is a bit all over the place between this and the anime.
Favourite character: Naruto really tugged at my heartstrings in this one.
Naruto The Last
Synopsis in one sentence: A dangerous enemy forces Naruto and Hinata to confront their feelings about the future.
As per anime movie usual, the villain and conflict in this story is a bit corny, a lot predictable, not really something you take seriously. If the enemy was all there was in this film, I'd probably give it a middling once over and leave it at that. But what really sets this film apart is that the villain and his antics are really a backdrop to character development. We follow Hinata as she starts to lose faith in her relationship with Naruto, something which is thrown into more turmoil as she ends up being the focus of the villain's plans. At the same time, Naruto is thinking about his own future, and is surprised to find that he might want Hinata to be a part of it. Their relationship (and eventual love) is explored well over the course of the film, with the fights and plot points shifting dynamics and forcing realisations that shape the future to come. This film gave me everything I was disappointed to not see in the ending of the anime, and I consider it the most compelling Naruto film for it. The Naruto series has delivered action movie after action movie and at first this seems no different, until you get to the end and realise the action was only secondary—this was a romance film all along.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. Should be watched after Shippuden and, though not compulsory, I would suggest watching before the Boruto film and the The Day Naruto Becomes Hokage OVA.
Best aspect: I really liked Sakura's role. As the mediator between the two leads, she served a level-headed maturity that really suited her and how far she has come.
Worst aspect: They gave far too much time to the villain monologuing.
Favourite character: Sakura
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Synopsis in one sentence: One thousand years since a disaster that destroyed most of humanity, a tribe tries to fight off a dangerous jungle that was created as the result of the 'Seven Days of Fire'.
This is another pretty good film. As you're introduced to the storyline, the ending does get pretty easy to predict. However, the way the obvious end was played out still kept a bit of surprise and gave some satisfaction. The characters were the typical hero/villain types, which was a bit boring, but they were still likeable. There was a lot of sad moments in this film as well, giving the film a feel of activism, like it was trying to speak out about environmental issues (not trying to reveal any spoilers! XP). So yeah, I did like this movie and give it a stamp of approval!
Recommended for: Since this is the film that is considered by some to have started it all, this film is pretty much a must see for those who like Studio Ghibli. Other than that, fans of action, fantasy and heroines should give this film a shot.
Best aspect: The interaction with the Ohmu.
Worst aspect: Predictability.
Favourite character: Nausicaä. She is the heroine, after all.
Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror
Synopsis in one sentence: Schoolgirl Haruka travels to the magical Oblivion Island to try and find a precious mirror that she has lost.
Yet another case of good concept, poor execution. Oblivion Island runs on the idea that items that are neglected by their owners are stolen away by magical fox creatures who give the objects new life, which opens things up to a whole host of exciting plot possibilities. The first of these possibilities appeared when our heroine runs into a stuffed animal who hates her for abandoning it, which is when I started to hope that there would be some complicated dilemmas popping up throughout the film. Then, two minutes later, when the stuffed animal thread was put to rest, I started to realise that Oblivion Island was going to be just as boring as Id feared. The characters were stereotypical, the plots predictable, and the dialogue painfully cheesy. Even the visuals couldn’t make anything better, because it was presented in such a low level of CGI that this film is probably better suited for the Disney Junior channel. Positives? I'm not sure there were any... and with that, I think you get a good understanding of how much I enjoyed this film.
Recommended for: Someone who feels like enjoying a low rent cheese fest.
Best aspect: The opening scene, which was presented in a story book format
Worst aspect: Predictability
Favourite character: Cotton, simply because of the cute factor
One Piece The Movie
Synopsis in one sentence: The Straw Hat Pirates are robbed and, in an effort to retrieve their earnings, find themselves in the middle of a hunt for the greatest treasure of all.
The first One Piece movie is pretty much like a bit of filler. It doesn't have the grand aura of an anime film, so if you're looking to see Luffy on a bigger scale this might be a bit disappointing for you. However, the film isn't bad, cause it's got all the One Piece elements (heroism, humour, idiocy) that make the series great. In other words, this is basically like a bonus episode of the series. The only down side would be that this is the first time I've found a One Piece villain predictable and plain, which was a bit of a shame. In summary, the One Piece Movie is a good episode, but a bad movie. Get it?
Recommended for: One Piece fans. The chronological placement of this movie is after episode 18. Oh, and it only comes subbed.
Best aspect: Remembering what the crew dynamics were back when there was only four members.
Worst aspect: The villain was predictable.
Favourite character: Zoro.
One Piece Movie 2: Clockwork Island Adventure
Synopsis in one sentence: The Going Merry is stolen, Nami is kidnapped and a town powered by a giant clock is in trouble.
Now THIS is a One Piece movie! It's weird cause the plot for this movie is pretty similar to the first one.... I wonder why that is? Anyway, Clockwork Island Adventure is a fun film which has the characters showing their strengths in battle and humour. Sanji got a bit more screen time than normal (perhaps because his love Nami was in trouble) which was a nice change. The villains were a bit underwhelming, but still leagues ahead of the ones in the first film. The pacing was a bit off in the film, as the first half features the group moving at an almost leisurely pace, then the last half is crammed with fights and a weirdly sad ending. But all in all this is a fun movie that greatly improved on the film before it.
Recommended for: One Piece fans. This film is set after episode 53 and is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: The randomness of everyone. Why is Sanji wearing a tux? Why does Nami decide to play cards with her kidnappers? Who knows....
Worst aspect: Rushed end and some plot holes.
Favourite character: Sanji
One Piece Movie 3: Chopper's Kingdom on the Island of Strange Animals
Synopsis in one sentence: The crew loses Chopper when they find themselves on an island filled with talking animals.
This film was... alright. It was fun like all the other One Piece films, but the pacing was a bit rushed and some of the characters were ignored. The thing I found the strangest was that Chopper's name is in the title, but this isn't really his film. He doesn't even get his own big battle! Instead it's much more entertaining to watch the rest of the Straw Hat crew piece together what's going on on the island, while the cutaways to Chopper's side of the story almost become an annoying distraction. What's good about this film is that the villains are REALLY easy to dislike, which of course makes the story more thrilling because you want them to get their comeuppance. Once again a good effort from the One Piece team, but it still lacks that little something that makes an anime film truly enjoyable.
Recommended for: One Piece fans. Apparently the placement of this film is a little hazy, but I think it best fits after the Alabasta Arc, aka after episode 130.
Best aspect: Teamwork!
Worst aspect: The lack of Chopper development.
Favourite character: Sanji.
One Piece Movie 4: Dead End Adventure
Synopsis in one sentence: The Straw Hat pirates enter a deadly race against other pirates.
This was a really great film that balanced the side story and the more dramatic main plot perfectly. The side story is the pirate race, which is a fun piece of the movie that gets to show the crew being bad ass. But where the Straw Hat pirates go, drama follows and in Dead End Adventure the drama comes in the form of a cheating racer, a vendetta and an old guy and his apprentice. All these elements seem separate at first, which builds up the suspense right up until the moment where everyone's motives are laid out on the table and Luffy has so step in and kick butt. There's more awesome collaboration between the pirates, as they each support each other in both fighting and strategizing. The downside is that there's one bit of the film that's pretty predictable (the trademark secret identity of a new character stuff), but it did take me a while to click onto it, so I suppose it's not as bad as in some other films. So yeah, this was a pretty good movie, despite it's slightly lacklustre end. Thumbs up!
Recommended for: One Piece fans. This film fits in after the Alabasta Arc, around episode 136 or so.
Best aspect: The different pirate crews.
Worst aspect: The main battle dragged on a tinsy bit too long.
Favourite character: Luffy
One Piece Movie 5: The Cursed Holy Sword
Synopsis in one sentence: Zorro abandons ship when an old friend with mysterious motives makes an appearance, forcing Luffy and the gang to figure out what's going on.
Another day, another One Piece film. So Cursed Holy Sword opens with such a dramatic scene that it's hard for the rest of the film to follow. The entire movie I was waiting for that same level of intensity, but it didn't really happen. There's so many missed opportunities for great character development or heart wrenching battles in this movie that it sullies my opinion of it quite a bit. The Cursed Holy Sword also repeats the same mistake of Chopper's Kingdom: the film seems to be set up for a lot of attention and drive for one character (Zorro in this case) and they just forget about all that in favour of big battles scenes. I dunno, it's weird. On the good side of things, I felt like there was a lot of Sanji in this movie. It's like he was supposed to be the lead for this film, because they give him a lot of personality growth. The new characters for the film were also all interesting in their own way, which is not something most anime films achieve. The difference in beliefs and characteristics made for an interesting blend when the pirates were introduced. The film did have its pitfalls, which I was pretty disappointed by, but if you're looking for some Straw Hat pirate battles that aim to replenish broken relationships, this is the film for you!
Recommended for: One Piece fans. Chronologically this film is set right after the previous one, Dead End Adventure.
Best aspect: The setting was well developed.
Worst aspect: Not enough Zorro.
Favourite character: Sanji.
One Piece Movie 6: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island
Synopsis in one sentence: The Straw Hats make their way to a mysterious island, where they are roped into a serious of challenges to prove their worth.
This movie was pretty dark, which isn’t really a bad thing, it was just unexpected for a One Piece movie, yano? However, the darker parts of this film are what made it so interesting, because you never knew who was safe! The villains were uber creepy, which made the thrills so much more thrilling and it truly felt like the Straw Hat crew were out of their depths. Add in some cooky side characters and we have a winner! This is probably my fav One Piece movie so far, and I highly recommend it.
Recommended for: One Piece fans. I watched it after Water 7, but I'm not sure where it sits officially in the canon. Oh, and if you don’t want the sunshine view of One Piece to be soured, then it might be best to avoid this film. On that note, it also might scare young children.
Best aspect: I loved the big bad. Someone you can simultaneously hate and sympathize with, as well as minions that are both adorable and incredibly creepy.
Worst aspect: The eeriness of the plot felt a little too brutal for the One Piece world.
Favourite character: Luffy.
One Piece Movie 7: The Giant Mechanical Soldier of Karakuri Castle
Synopsis in one sentence: The Straw Hat crew travels to an island run by machines when they hear tales of a golden crown fit for the King of the Pirates.
A standard One Piece movie with nothing spectacular to offer. There's a slight lack of big battles, which I found odd for a One Piece film and there also wasn't as much comedy. The story was solid, though, and each crew member got a good amount of screen time.
Recommended for: One Piece fans. This movie is set before the Water 7 Arc.
Best aspect: The ending was nice and simple.
Worst aspect: Same old, same old.
Favourite character: Zoro.
One Piece Movie 10: Strong World
Synopsis in one sentence: The tenth One Piece film finds the Straw Hat crew trapped by a devilish pirate who's been causing havoc across the East Blue.
Strong World is a solid film as far as anime movies go, though I did struggle a bit with where it fit into the canon, if at all. I think that's my fault for watching it later than suggested, so no admonishments there. The plot of the story was a bit higgledy piggledy to me (particularly with how the Straw Hat Pirates became involved in the story in the first place), but confusing plans aside, Lion Shiki was a great villain with a presence that made me disappointed that he wasn't part of a longer arc on the series. It was also fun to see the Straw Hats not only struggle, but battle together in full—something I've been a bit starved of recently in the anime. I probably wouldn't watch this film again, but for fans of the One Piece world, this is a nice addition.
Recommended for: One Piece fans. I watched this much later in the story, but research suggests that watching this film directly after the Thriller Bark Arc is best. There is also an introductory filler arc in the anime during episodes 426-429, so maybe after that would be better?
Best aspect: The villain and the fighting of said villain. Does that count as two things? Probably, but I'm not choosing one over the other.
Worst aspect: Shiki's plans just seemed all over the place. I didn't really get why many of the characters were doing what they were doing.
Favourite character: Nami. She was wonderfully flippant throughout.
One Piece Movie 11: Straw Hat Chase
Synopsis in one sentence: Presented in CGI, the Straw Hat crew set off in hunt of a bird after it steals Luffy's hat.
This film sure is... something. The meddling story isn't really memorable, which is a big problem for a film that is so visually bizarre. If it's weird to look at, uninteresting to pay attention to, then... what I there? I... I don't have much else to say, really. I just hope that I never have to see One Piece in CGI again.
Recommended for: Big fans of the series. This is like a mini filler, so it's perfectly skippable. In fact, I would only suggest watching it if you are overcome with curiosity about what CGI One Piece looks like. This film is not currently dubbed.
Best aspect: The reveal for Luffy's hat being stolen was very touching, I admit.
Worst aspect: The animation, obviously.
Favourite character: Buzz
One Piece Movie 12: Z
Synopsis in one sentence: The straw hat crew encounter a fearsome man named Z, who is hellbent on destroying all the pirates in the world.
The biggest and best One Piece film so far. The story was very solid, with the emotional depth and action-packed tension to rival several of One Piece's strong arcs. There was a steady flow of fan favourite heroes and villains, and the new characters were well developed and enjoyable. The story, rise, and battle against Z was fantastic and made for a wonderful ending. A really great film overall.
Recommended for: One Piece fans. This is set pretty much exactly after the end of the Fishman Island arc, so should be watched after episode 574.
Best aspect: The completeness and depth of the plot
Worst aspect: Luffy was a bit more serious than usual, I think
Favourite character: Z. A wonderful "villain"
Perfect Blue
Synopsis in one sentence: A famed movie star starts to lose it when she believes she is being stalked.
This movie was actually pretty good. It was a thriller, which means a bit of gore and lots of creepiness, but it kept me guessing the whole way. Sometimes Mima's (the protagonists) psyche got a bit muddled, and since the story was told through her perspective, it was sometimes hard to figure out what was happening, or if it was real. Murders and threatening faxes raise the maturity level of the film, so proceed with caution. Still, I enjoyed this film for one reason that can be described in three simple words: Big. Twist. Ending.
Recommended for: Anyone who likes the thriller genre.
Best aspect: The end. Didn't expect that…
Worst aspect: Flipping between reality and Mima's craziness was a bit overwhelming.
Favourite character: Mima is the only 'proper' character.
Synopsis in one sentence: A goldfish befriends a human. Yes, it is a weird as it sounds.
First, I want to start off by saying that this movie did receive mostly positive reviews from the (proper) film critics, so maybe I missed something that they loved. Next, I want to say that I did not like this movie. At all. I could say it was a totally off the wall story that put me off, or I could point towards the characters that never batted an eye at anything that happened, but, deep down, I know why I did not enjoy this film. The voice actors. Not all VA's, mind you, (Tina Fey, Liam Neeson *o*) but the voices of the main characters, Ponyo and Sosuke. They were horrible. Ponyo's voice was whiny and shrill, making the character seem incredibly annoying and Sosuke was so flat, he seemed stupid. *Sigh* Maybe I'm being too harsh, I dunno, it's just at times like this, I really do wonder if dubs are worth making at all. >>
Recommended for: Studio Ghibli veterans, or if you want something to watch with a younger sibling.
Best aspect: Pretty scenery and character design.
Worst aspect: C'mon, do I have to say it again? The voice actors, duh.
Favourite character: Lisa. Mom gets things done! And I love Tina Fey.
Porco Rosso
Synopsis in one sentence: About a legendary fighter pilot that has been cursed to look like a pig.
Normally I am not attracted to films that are 80% action, but there was something about Porco Rosso that made me watch on. The characters were more subdued than usual, taking a backdrop to the story of war and assassination. There was a bit of comedy, which is always a plus, but the story changed direction at a few points which was annoying. I guess this is an alright movie, not something I'd watch again, but I might recommend it...
Recommended for: Miyazaki fans or war anime lovers.
Best aspect: The battle scenes played out nicely.
Worst aspect: The ending was left like an open ended question. I want answers, NOW!
Favourite character: Gina. Glamour personified.
Princess Mononoke
Synopsis in one sentence: A young man named Ashitaka becomes involved in the vicious fight between the spirits of the forest and the industrial humans of Iron Town.
At first this movie seemed like it had a higher motive – shine a light on the effect of factory pollution etc. – but as the story moved forward, it took a much more interesting turn. Both sides of the war were just in their own ways, which made the characters and plot much more complex, and therefore more intriguing. The mix of fantasy and technology made for a good blend and the climactic battle near the end was worrying and intense. However, sometimes I felt things moved a bit fast or things weren't explained, dampening the films overall appeal.
Recommended for: Fantasy war fans.
Best aspect: I found it interesting that there was no clear villain set out – you are able to support whichever side you wish.
Worst aspect: Things got a bit rushed at times.
Favourite character: Moro. Um, who wouldn't choose the giant wolf?
Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Trilogy
Synopsis in one sentence: The girls recap and then face a new threat as things start to seem a little bit off in the world of magical girls…
Let's start by getting the first two films out of the way first. The trilogy begins with The Beginning Story and is followed by The Everlasting Story. Both are scene for scene recaps of the series, and are pretty pointless. I don't know why they made them really. It can't be for making a prettier version of the anime, cause the series is so recent the art is already top notch. And it can't be to condense the series, cause the anime only runs for 12 episodes, so that's really short already. And it can't be for adding in new information, cause the changes they made were so minuscule it's almost insulting. Pay money to see Sayaka eat different flavours of Pocky in different scenes! >_> If you want to sit through the movies to see the changes, I'll save you the trouble. The Puella wiki has a lovely changes list right here. The third movie is called The Rebellion Story, and it's where things really get interesting. It's an entirely new continuation of the Puella story, with lots of twists and turns. Although I did enjoy the new addition, I don't think it really lived up to the rest of the show. The first half is a great ride as we get to unravel the mystery of the strange occurrences around Mitakihara. It's once the answers start to be revealed that I felt the story became a little convoluted. It's like it was trying too hard to reach the dramatic feeling of the anime's final, and it just didn't work. There were layers upon layers of danger, and after a few layers I was starting to get bored. The other problem I had was that the conclusion was pretty depressing. Like, nothing really gets resolved. This makes it feel like an unnecessary addition to the series, because the show was great where it ended and changing it to end where the film does is unsatisfactory. On the other hand, if they do have plans for a future conclusion to the movie then I think it'll be a great place to start. But, for now those plans aren't confirmed, so I'm left with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. It's great to see the old gang back together, but it's not the reunion I was hoping for.
Recommended for: Puella fans. If you want you can skip the series and just watch these. If you've already seen the show just watch the third movie.
Best aspect: It was nice to see Homura in the middle road of her personality. She's either been really sweet and ditsy or cold and fierce, so seeing her as a normal teen with differing emotions was a cool development for her.
Worst aspect: The end.
Favourite character: Homura. Although I was frustrated with the ending, it did give a great insight into Homura's mind, which I really enjoyed.
Saint Young Men
Synopsis in one sentence: Jesus and Buddha are holidaying in Japan!
Such a random concept, I know. But it works! Saint Young Men is a humorous slice of life that is truly unique. The characters struggle to keep their origins secret, but the moments in which their "divinity" leaked were the highlights. My biggest grievance was that there wasn't enough of these moments. I feel like the Jesus and Buddha thing could've been pushed much farther than it was; sometimes it felt like you could've substituted in any two random foreigners and had the same story pan out. When your concept is this off the wall, go big, people! The biggest draw for this film is that, well, Jesus and Buddha are just adorable. Ha, that might be the weirdest sentence I have ever typed. But they are! Those two guys are so damn likeable that it's hard not to watch without a fond smile, and I am fully happy to have been witness to their adventures.
Recommended for: Slice of life and humour fans. You'd probably need at least a basic knowledge of both religious figures' stories to get most of the jokes. This film has not yet been dubbed.
Best aspect: I loved the Christmas story.
Worst aspect: I hated the little kids. They were just bullies and I hate when harassing someone is played for laughs.
Favourite character: Don't make me chose between the two leads!
Shakugan no Shana Movie
Synopsis in one sentence: Common high schooler Yuji Sakai's life is changed when he meets a supernatural warrior who tells him that he has died and soon his existence will fade into nothingness.
The basic idea behind the Shakugan no Shana Movie is taking the first few episodes of the first season and scrubbing them until they shine. The story is pretty much scene-for-scene, but thanks to better animation, much more tolerable VAs, and a few extra scenes to help explain things better, I actually enjoyed watching everything for the second time. So, to keep things short, if you're not into rehashing things, then this movie will be boring. But if you found the low quality of the first season turned you off the show a little (as it did for me), then I think this movie will redeem Shakugan no Shana for you. I know I like Shana a little more now, at least.
Recommended for: Fans of the show. If you're new to the show you could skip the first 3 episodes and replace them with the movie instead.
Best aspect: The voice acting is SOOOO much better. I dunno if they got new actors or just changed the way they spoke, but, whatever it was, it worked.
Worst aspect: I wish they had adapted more of the series.
Favourite character: The Doll Denizen, whatever her name is. Was it Mary? I don't know…
Spirited Away
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows 10 year old Chihiro, when she becomes trapped in an alternate world full of spirits and monsters.
Another one of my favourite movies and a film that I consider to be a must see. Spirited Away features some of the best designs I have seen featured in a film and the whole story just completely captivated me. Bits of comedy, mixed with action and young romance- it was all just wonderful to watch. Downsides are few, but I must note that this film seems to possess the 'wait, why does this seem normal to these people?' theme of most Studio Ghibli films. ;D
Recommended for: Fantasy lovers or those who just want to see something beautiful.
Best aspect: Design totally stands out. Really breathtaking.
Worst aspect: Randomness (giant baby, anyone?)
Favourite character: Susuwatari! XD And yes, they count!!!
Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu
Synopsis in one sentence: Although things seem to back to normal, it isn't long before Okabe finds himself in a spot of time traveling trouble that he can't get himself out of.
At first I was wary of a Steins;Gate movie. The OVA at the end of the series was kind of lame, so I was expecting the same thing for the film. Luckily for me, Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu comes with a great plot and an unexpected turn of events I never would have anticipated. Yep, not too far into the movie, Okabe is written out of the movie. Not going-on-a-trip written out, but he is actually written out… yano, of existence. Yeah, that happened. And thus begins the craziness of a movie where a film without a mad scientist can still be mad. If none of the Future Gadget Laboratory members can remember their fearless leader, how can the show continue? Well, it does, and it's a real rollercoaster of emotions. There's a great parallel between the sacrifices Okabe made in the series to what his friends have to do for him now, and it's this thread of friendship that really brings the story together. The plot is unpredictable, which is always enjoyable, and the conclusion wraps the series up with a nice bow. It's a good addition to the end of the show, and a fine ride for an Steins;Gate fans. I would add more, but I'm afraid it's hard to talk about this film without giving the plot away!
Recommended for: Fans of the show. You've gotta see the series first, as the film is set one year after its conclusion.
Best aspect: All the time hopping, of course!
Worst aspect: I watched sub and I have decided I like the dub much much more.
Favourite character: Okabe, as always.
Summer Wars
Synopsis in one sentence: High school student Kenji agrees to accompany an older girl to her grandmother's birthday, only to find trouble when he is accused of hacking a world-wide virtual reality.
A pretty funny anime, merged with family mishaps, computer jargon and a bit of sadness. The Shinohara family that plays a crucial role in the plot were so full of life, that it was hard to dislike any character. On top of the family drama, the added aspect of a virtual world in danger added suspense, while also showing some cool avatar designs and a bit of fighting. I really enjoyed this film and I think it was something fresh and very welcome!
Recommended for: Anyone who has ever dabbled in virtual characters, or someone looking for a family comedy.
Best aspect: Visits to the virtual world. All the different styles of creatures and things to do were really awesome (and made me a bit jealous we don't have that technology now).
Worst aspect: Romance was a bit predictable
Favourite character: Kazuma, because of his awesome program!
Sword Art Online: Extra Edition
Synopsis in one sentence: A movie version of the show... with swimsuits!
Seriously, what is with all these movie remakes of anime series? Those aren't movies, guys, those are clip shows. And I hate clip shows. There is one small difference with the Extra Edition film, which is that the brunt of the show is told through a conversation Kirito and is spliced between the female cast getting together and swimming and stuff. Basically, they fanserviced SAO up. On the plus side, this makes the movie a little more interesting, because the repeated scenes are padded by new interactions. On the downside, I feel like this blatant fanservice sort of sullies the SAO reputation. The show got such great praise from me because it had an interesting concept and they weren't afraid to go big with that concept. The drama was rife, the tragedy abundant, and I never knew where the show was going to go. It was a ruthless, clever type of storytelling that definitely made it stand out amongst the hoards of copy/paste anime out there. So to turn around and go "Ooo, girls in bikini's! A must see!" was a cheap move in my books. In summary: it's a clip show movie with swimsuits. It might be your thing, but it definitely wasn't mine.
Recommended for: People who want to see the female cast in swimwear. It'd be good for a quick refresher before the second season, but it cuts down the show so much that it's not a good replacement for the whole series. Maybe if you've got a friend who's turned off by the 20+ episodes of the show, you can point them in the direction of the Extra Edition as an alternative.
Best aspect: New content.
Worst aspect: Adds nothing to the series.
Favourite character: Kirito. The only one who wasn't dipped in fanservice paint.


Title Review Rating
The Cat Returns
Synopsis in one sentence: Haru, a young school girl, has the ability to talk to cats and is whisked away by a band of felines after saving one cat from being killed.
This was a… random film. It is enjoyable mainly for the novelty of the whole plot; talking cats, crazy mazes – it makes for a lot of entertainment! If you're looking for an elaborate, exciting story, though, this probably isn't the right film for you. From the start the movie pretty much does whatever it wants, with little logic playing into the character's decisions. Although this does make for a fun movie, it does knock The Cat Returns down a few pegs and I don't think it's a film I could really take seriously.
Recommended for: If you're in the mood for something light and fun, check this out!
Best aspect: The Cat Kingdom, in all its weirdness.
Worst aspect: Muta jelly! Not nice. (*^*)
Favourite character: Yuki. What a sweet cat. :)
The End of Evangelion
Synopsis in one sentence: Two entire new episodes of NGE that give an alternate telling of the end of the series.
Now this is what you call an ending. Picking up from the end of Episode 24 of the series, this movie offers something amazing for anyone who felt that the ending of the series was lacking. This film just totally flipped the whole series on its head and was just... I can't even describe it. Basically, the whole time I was watching it my face was like this ---> O_O Plus, within the short space of the film the writers somehow managed to develop the characters EVEN FURTHER! How do they do it? It's sorcery, I tell you!
Recommended for: NGE fans of course! If you haven't seen the series, this movie has no point for you.
Best aspect: Tragedy at every corner! I mean, that made the whole thing devastating to watch, but it was still awesome.
Worst aspect: There were a few confusing moments (dead people that turn out not to be dead etc).
Favourite character: I still like Rei overall, but if I were basing it on this movie alone, Asuka takes the trophy. After her battle, how could you not think she was awesome??
The Garden of Words
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows a blossoming romance of Takao and Yukari who meet in a garden whenever to rains.
Although I've only ever seen it called a movie, at 40 minutes long, Garden of Words is more of an OVA in my opinion. And that's a shame because if this were a full-length film, I think it would've been able to become so much more. I was intrigued by the idea of watching the two leads developing a relationship over a series of short meetings and, at first, this was what I got. But, around the halfway point, it felt like the writers suddenly realised their deadline was coming up so they threw some scenes together and called it a day. Suddenly the pair are dating, then fighting, then come the credits. There's no beautiful arc from low to high points in their love, nor is there a satisfying conclusion. Instead there's just a mismatch of poorly explained events that made me angry that I had wasted my time paying close attention to the first act. I suppose if you want a quick bite of anime then Garden of Words is enjoyable, but don't get your hopes too high. It's a sweet premise, but it just got lost along the way. Which, in a way, is reminiscent of the friendship at the center of the movie. Hmmm, maybe that was the point? O_O
Recommended for: Those who like their anime a little slow. It's a mini slice of life.
Best aspect: The background settings were BEAUTIFUL. Honestly, it's some of the most beautiful animation I've seen in a while.
Worst aspect: What the heck happened in the last half?
Favourite character: Um, there's only two characters... Should I even bother choosing?
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Synopsis in one sentence: A young girl gains the ability to travel backwards in time.
As many blogs and amazon lists will tell you, anyone who says they like anime films must see this movie. I support that belief wholeheartedly. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a wonderful balance of shojo and science fiction, creating an absolutely wonderful, heartfelt story. I enjoyed the fun overtones of each event, while also trying to solve the subtle mystery that was being played out in the background. If all these positive comments about this movie still haven't convinced you to check it out, how about this? Twist ending awesomeness. Yeah, you must watch this.
Recommended for: I think everyone should give it a try. If anything, I would say stay away if you like hard core action flicks – I don't want you to rain on my 'I-love-this-movie' parade!
Best aspect: The friendship. Watch it and you'll know what I'm talking about…
Worst aspect: Sometimes I forgot what was going on (i.e. the main plot) as I was absorbed in the short term plot.
Favourite character: Chiaki. You… you just have to watch it! *Sobs*
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Synopsis in one sentence: One day Kyon awakens to a world without the SOS Brigade and, most shockingly, an existence without Haruhi.
I know I really disliked the Haruhi series, but I actually enjoyed this movie. Now, that might be because there was almost no Haruhi in this film (*dances for joy*), but I'm going to give credit to the presence of the character development I was waiting for during the entire anime show. Kyon is forced to play the initiator for once (as opposed to being nothing but the apathetic narrator), the characters in different environments are given their own stories, lives, and personalities (as opposed to being Haruhi's willing pawns) and even when Haruhi does arrive, she's an actual person, who acts reasonable and has some semblance of concern for other people(as opposed to being the sack of crap she usually is). The mystery of the movie was great and the conclusion was fitting and heartbreaking and unexpected. A great story and a movie good enough to make me have an overall favourable opinion of the Haruhi Suzumiya story.
Recommended for: Fans of the show. Must be watched after the show.
Best aspect: Nagato coming out of her shell.
Worst aspect: The ending was unnecessarily complicated.
Favourite character: Nagato
The Secret World of Arrietty
Synopsis in one sentence: To rest before an operation, Shawn is sent to a countryside house where he discovers a family of miniature people who live within the house.
The Secret World of Arrietty is... well, let's be blunt here. It's the Borrowers (a movie I'm sure you've seen before) in anime form. Based on the same source material, Arrietty is a simple meet borrowers, watch friendship form with human, defeat evil human formula. On that side of things, the film is a bit predictable and there was little that kept me on the edge of my seat. But what kept me attached to the goings on of the plot was the fantastic world building. Seeing the world from the view of Arrietty was both beautiful and exciting. The small borrowing family were also interesting characters in their own right and provided the perfect filler for such an imaginative place. So this film is fun if you're looking for a creative interpretation of the world we know, but if you want a riveting story and fast action, you might be disappointed with the Secret World of Arrietty.
Recommended for: Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli fans, fans of the Borrowers story or anyone who likes family friendly stories.
Best aspect: The borrowers world.
Worst aspect: I'm not a fan of open ended conclusions.
Favourite character: Homily
The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya
Synopsis in one sentence: A bamboo cutter finds a child in a bamboo stalk and he and his wife attempt to raise her.
The first thing you notice about this film is the art, so I'll talk about that first. Kaguya is based around an old folk tale, and the film is presented in that manner. Weak line art and soft brush colouring makes for a very pretty piece of work that sets the tone of the story. It takes a while to get used to and sometimes it plays like a rough cut of a storyboard (especially in heavy action scenes) but I quickly came to appreciate the unique art style adopted for this film, as it suited the story perfectly. As I mentioned, this movie is based on a fairy tale and I think you need to keep that in mind to fully enjoy it. As a story, it flows a bit too quick, events are unexplained and time jumps are common...but that's how fairy tales work, don't they? Enjoy this film like a storybook and you'll be good to go! Of course, I wouldn't have minded a few storytelling liberties, particularly when it came to the ending. The film's central family's emotional arc was the core of the plot and watching them grow and mature and, more often than not, make mistakes was heart-warming. So for the story to end on such a depressing note was kind of a let-down. Aside from that, I was easily wrapped up in this movie and thought it was another great Ghibli effort!
Recommended for: Fairytale, mystical, and character driven story fans. This is also a must for Studio Ghibli and/or Isao Takahata fans.
Best aspect: The princess' emotional journey.
Worst aspect: I wasn’t a fan of some of the dub acting and I was bummed out by the ending.
Favourite character: The Bamboo Cutter's Wife.
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle: Princess in the Birdcage
Synopsis in one sentence: The gang's quest for feathers leads them to a world inhabited by people that have a strong connection with birds.
Out of all the worlds the Tsubasa crew have travelled to, I think this one had the best folklore and setting. A dash of political corruption, damsels in distress and magic always make for good stories, don't they? But, I've still got the sour taste from the last Tsubasa season in my mouth, so it's a bit hard for me to warm up to this movie. I've seen enough of the group saving people; I've seen enough of Syaoran doing everything; I've seen more than enough of Sakura being more trouble than she's worth. It's even harder because this series is so closely connected to xxxHolic that it's hard not to compare the two. xxxHolic's movie was a darker turn for the series that really gave an interesting mystery story. The Tsubasa movie, on the other hand, sticks to its tried and tested formula. It doesn't give anything new or exciting, and instead stays in the comfort zone, which makes it a bit disappointing. Maybe I'm being too picky, though? I did go in with high expectations and hope for a redemption for the second season, so maybe I was setting myself up for frustration. I dunno. The point is, this movie, like many other anime series movies, is plain.
Recommended for: Tsubasa fans. I think you can watch it after Season 1, but if you want to be super safe, watch it after season 2.
Best aspect: I liked the concept of the birds.
Worst aspect: The ending was pretty dumb. So they don't even solve the whole no birds problem in the first place? Then what the heck did they do all that overthrowing for?
Favourite character: Mokona was cuter than usual in this movie. ;D
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Synopsis in one sentence: A half human/half vampire hunter is hired to save (or kill, if the situations calls for it) a woman who has been kidnapped by a noble vampire.
This is a pretty good movie, but nothing spectacular. The story itself was kind of predictable, so there's not much to comment on there. The action wasn't as great as it could've been, but it was alright. What really stood out though was the friendship between D and Leila. It was nice that it didn't take the typical road of romance, and instead focused on their working relationship. The final scene was a really sweet way to wrap things up for them. The conclusion of the main story was also pretty unexpected, as it wasn't too fairytale. So yeah, a good movie that's worth a try.
Recommended for: Supernatural fans.
Best aspect: I really liked the final scene; it was so sweet.
Worst aspect: The plot got a little muddled and overdramatic along the way.
Favourite character: D, just cause he was the one I saw the most.
Synopsis in one sentence: Set in the future, soldier Vexille is trapped in Japan, which is now inhabited entirely by synthetic life forms.
This anime was bit more science fiction than I'm used to, but I actually quite enjoyed it. The best bits were the drama scenes, which were mostly incredibly sad. Another plus was the action scenes, which were all edge-of-your-seat moments. This is one of the very few anime movies I watched more than once, which I think is a sign that it's pretty good!
Recommended for: If you like science fiction, action or machinery, give Vexille a try!
Best aspect: The stand out moment for me was the Jag scene. Totally awesome.
Worst aspect: I didn't really like the romance stuff. It just didn't seem to fit with the action moments.
Favourite character: Takashi. He caused a real turning point for the movie.
Wolf Children
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows Hana as she struggles when her werewolf partner dies, leaving her to raise two half wolf, half human children.
If you read the title Wolf Children and expected supernatural fighting or a quest to save the forest or something along those lines, then I'm sorry to disappoint. In Wolf Children, the supernatural side of things is not the main focus. Heck, it's not even the children that pack the biggest punch! No, it's the extremely likeable Hana that really shines throughout this film. Narrated by the eldest of the wolf kids, Yuki, the film starts when Hana introduces herself to a strange boy in her lecture class. The film then follows her as she falls in love, bears two children, loses the love of her life, tries to raise her kids as human, then picks her entire little family up and moves them out to the countryside so they can have a shot at living as wolves instead. Although I was at first disappointed in the lack of supernatural drama, it was Hana that slowly but surely won me over. She's just so... likeable. She's the type of heroine that you find yourself rooting for 100%. As the movie progresses into its second half, the children begin to glow a little more, as Hana loosens the reigns and sends Yuki to school, while younger son Ame begins to explore his wolf heritage a bit more. This character development is one of the best I've seen in an anime movie, as all three protagonists evolve over time. At first Yuki is the louder, more wolf-like of the pair, but as she struggles in an all human environment, she begins to subdue herself accordingly, which then opens the door for the more timid Ame to become the dominate one as he does the opposite and separates from his peers. All of this evolution is anchored by Hana, as she tries her best to keep her children grounded, although she is wrestling with whether she can help them adequately when her lover isn’t around to teach her what growing up wolf is like. It's a story that roots itself in the emotional and not the adrenaline pumping, which doesn’t make it any weaker of a story. As corny as it sounds, Wolf Children is enchanting, and something I think a lot of fantasy anime fans will enjoy.
Recommended for: Fans of the Okudera/Hosoda team, who also brought us Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. If you want mystique, this might be a little slow paced. It's sort of like how you shouldn't watch Summer Wars if you want a big mystery story, but you should watch it if you want to see a story about a crazy family banding together and growing closer. It's the same here; don't watch for drama, but for the sweet journey laid out throughout the film.
Best aspect: Character development definitely.
Worst aspect: I felt the ending was a bit abrupt, which isn't good for someone like me who can't stand open ends. Although the film is called Wolf "Children" I wouldn't mind a small glimpse of Hana in old age, just to see what became of her little family over the years.
Favourite character: Hana. If you don't find yourself desperately wanted her to be happy, then you're doing something wrong.
xxxHolic: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Synopsis in one sentence: Watanuki and co. return, and this time Yuko is summoned to a mysterious party at an extravagant mansion…
Now, I watched this movie as a continuation of the first series of xxxHolic, so am going to treat is as an addition to the series and not as a stand-alone movie. Now that that is out of the way, let's get to my opinion! I think this movie was a great representation of the xxxHolic series, and surpassed most of the episodes from the normal series. The whole feeling of this film was creepiness, and boy did it work! The setting, the new characters, the supernatural occurrences, they all tied together to create a mystical, exciting film. The story was really unexpected and mysterious and the ending, although it wasn't overly shocking, did conclude in a way that hadn't even crossed my mind. Great first movie for the series!
Recommended for: xxxHolic fans. You could give it a shot as a stand-alone, but I can't imagine you'd get very far.
Best aspect: The mansion rooms. Really eerie.
Worst aspect: The middle sort of got a bit messed up and confusing, but only for a short period of time.
Favourite character: Domeki. See xxxHolic review.

OVA Reviews


Title Review Rating
Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi Miyuki
Synopsis in one sentence: It's Christmas time... except no-one knows each other... and Aoi is a flying angel person thing. O_O
I don't really know what this was. First, I will say that I appreciated the show trying something other than the typical harem anime "We have a rough Christmas, but then we learn that as long as we have each other it's perfect" story. But at least those stories make sense. This was so confusing and at first I had no idea what was going on. Apparently this is set a year or two before the first season, but I don't see the point in putting it in the timeline. If it's a prelude, wouldn't Kaoru have met Aoi and gone "Hey, you look just like this magical Santa Claus that once granted me a wish"? I just don't get what was going on, or why!!!! At least it focused mostly on Aoi and Kauro, which was nice for their relationship. Plus it was cool to see everyone acting normal (i.e. not fawning over Kauro).
Recommended for: Fans of the series of course.
Best aspect: Santa Aoi has fan service written all over her.
Worst aspect: This OVA was so incredibly pointless...
Favourite character: Aoi. Because I like Santa.
Another OVA
Synopsis in one sentence: We get a sneak peek into the relationship of the mysterious Mei and her ill-fated cousin.
Well, this OVA is a 20 minute backstory, and you know how much I love character development! The main appeal for this OVA is seeing how things were before the calamity, back when exams were everyone's biggest worries. For this I really enjoyed watching, especially when it came to seeing a mentally stable Mei. Although they did expand on her cousin's story, I did wish a little less was revealed in the main series, because it would've made this OVA a lot more intriguing. Instead it partly felt like a recap episode, because I was watching things I was pretty much already aware of. Also, as much as I love the idea of an extra OVA, this addition also made me yearn a bit for what the series could've done better. Here we get to see Mei as an average girl, and if they had included some of this in the series, even if only in a small glimpse, it really would've made her character much more realistic. In the OVA Mei also struggles with her glass eye, and that's another plot that would've really enriched the main series if it had been explored more. Anyway, I liked the behind-the-scenes feel of the OVA, and the way it integrated the main series' events was perfectly done. Overall it was a cool OVA to add to the show.
Recommended for: You've got to see the series Another before watching this. Although, I guess you could watch this first if you want the events to be in order, but then a lot of the mystery from both the OVA and the main episodes will be gone.
Best aspect: Cameos from other characters. :)
Worst aspect: I wish there was more fresh information.
Favourite character: Err, Mei? There's only two to choose from, so...
Assassination Classroom OVA
Synopsis in one sentence: The class goes on a trip!
This is basically a re-hash of the episode 7/8 Kyoto trip, so it's very skippable. It was released as a special event OVA before the anime, so it was exciting then, but now you can ignore it and watch the the anime instead. I'll score this a 5 because it's a good story, but an obsolete OVA.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. Like I said, I wouldn't bother watching this. And if you think that this might be a good starting point because it was released before the anime, you are mistaken, as this is for people that already know the main story.
Best aspect: Story, as per usual with this show.
Worst aspect: I'm not a fan of the damsel in distress situation. Also, it's stuff I've already seen in the anime.
Favourite character: Karma.
Attack on Titan Bonus Shorts
Synopsis in one sentence: A collection of comedy short stories presented in chibi format.
These shorts were good, if you're looking for comedy. I feel like a chibi Attack on Titan just doesn’t mesh well with the series, but if that's what you want, the more power to you. I liked getting a glimpse at life between missions for the scouts, but the comedy was based around the low hanging fruit. Plus the ending gag was ALWAYS the same... mix it up people! Once or twice is fine, but after every single story, that joke gets old, quick. I don’t think these shorts are what I really want from the Attack on Titan brand, but who am I to turn down a little grumpy chibi Eren?
Recommended for: Attack on Titan fans. I'm not sure if this has a chronological place in the show... maybe just watch it after season 1 to be safe.
Best aspect: Mikasa was pretty cute here.
Worst aspect: Lack of imagination.
Favourite character: Mikasa.
Attack on Titan OVA 3.5: Ilse's Notebook: Memoirs of a Recon Corps Member
Synopsis in one sentence: Hange is determined to catch a Titan, and in pursuing this dream she comes across a startling discovery.
A great origin story of types, OVA 3.5 gives an interesting glimpse at a pre-Eren Recon Corps. This OVA shared some interesting information about both Hange and titans, but what I enjoyed the most was a tribute to the soldiers we may not get to see in the show. I love me some backstory and I love me some story developing OVAs, so this was a win win episode for me!
Recommended for: Attack on Titan fans. As the title suggests, this OVA is set after episode 3, but I suggest watching it at the end of the season, so as not to give yourself any spoilers. There's no current dub for this OVA.
Best aspect: Ilse's sacrifice.
Worst aspect: Hange getting creepy.
Favourite character: Ilse.
Attack on Titan OVA 3.25: The Sudden Visitor: The Torturous Curse of Youth
Synopsis in one sentence: An Attack on Titan cooking contest, with Jean VS Sasha!
This was an alright OVA, but nowhere near as stoic as OVA 3.5. The cooking stuff felt a bit cliché and was kind of predictable. The real shining gem of this story was the glimpses of Jeans' home life, helping us to understand him as a character a little better. Take that out and this OVA wasn't really anything special.
Recommended for: Attack on Titan fans. Yep, this one is also set between episodes 3 and 4, so feel free to watch it around then. There's no current dub for this OVA.
Best aspect: Jean backstory.
Worst aspect: The cooking competition trope.
Favourite character: Jean.
Attack on Titan OVA 3.75: Distress
Synopsis in one sentence: In a training exercise, the recruits are sent on a travelling job, only for things to get all too real when they're robbed and one of their own is taken as a hostage.
This was an... alright OVA. The action was there and it was great to see the characters working together in strategy once again. Did it add anything to the series? No. And after the last OVA, I'm a bit bummed about that. Still, if you're short-changed of Attack on Titan episodes, then this is another dose of drama that proves you don’t need titans for things to get intense.
Recommended for: Attack on Titan fans. Watch after episode 3, in sub form only.
Best aspect: The rescue.
Worst aspect: I get so frustrated by open endings.
Favourite character: Armin. I felt like he kept a level head during this ordeal and I always like to see that guy being taken seriously.
Baka to Test to Shōkanjū OVA: Matsuri
Synopsis in one sentence: It's the Refresh festival and Class F are given the chance to fundraise for new equipment!
Baka and Test's first OVA series brings with it pretty much all the good stuff that the series has. There's comedy, drama, big battles, hilarious strategies, and a bunch of idiocy. The OVA doesn't really sit apart from the first season, but more serves an an extra two episodes, which means I don't have anything to add that I didn't say in my review of the whole series. My biggest qualm would again be that at the end of the two episodes, everything just goes back to square one, which is becoming a bit tedious. But at least the OVA doesn't jar the overall flow of the series, and it instead helps Baka and Test to end on a good note.
Recommended for: Fans of the show.
Best aspect: The characters messing with each in order to win.
Worst aspect: A bit of a redundant story because it doesn't change anything from the season 1 finale. Then again, I suppose that's sort of what an OVA is…
Favourite character: Akihisa steals the show again!
Black Butler OVA
Synopsis in one sentence: Ciel, Sebastian and the gang try to put on a performance of Hamlet for an orphanage.
A really great OVA that was an absolutely fantastic tribute to the first season. The OVA is pretty much all comedy, yet it also manages to foreshadow the dark events that came in the days following its setting. I think you're supposed to watch this at the end of the show so you can see understand all the characters and the subtle references to the ending of the first season, but this story is set about halfway through the season. As someone who watched it at the end of the first season, I loved seeing all the characters together again! The story was a bit random, but to be honest I didn't really pay much attention to it because I was too busy laughing. That seaweed performance was just….. I have no words to describe it. XD I also loved the casting session ("We have seaweed and two princesses…"), Ophelia's untimely demise, Soma's eating habits and the unexpected cross-dressing from someone other than Grell. Speaking of Grell, he totally stole the show with his amazing… errr… acting. All in all, it’s a super funny OVA and comes with my stamp of recommendation!
Recommended for: Black Butler fans only! Otherwise you'll be overwhelmed and not get the humour. If you are a BB fan, then at least watch past ep. 15 before watching.
Best aspect: Laughs all around!!
Worst aspect: Aww, I don’t wanna choose something bad for this. :( Ahhh, I guess I would like more Tanaka. More Tanaka never hurts!
Favourite character: Grell, hands down. Round of applause!!
Black Butler II OVA 1: Ciel in Wonderland Part 1
Synopsis in one sentence: The cast of Black Butler returns in this special adaptation of the classic tale Alice in Wonderland.
I'm gonna start by saying that I may be a little biased about this OVA since it immediately gets my vote cause of its Alice in Wonderland qualities. ^_^ The best part of this OVA was of course seeing the way they had interpreted both the original story and the BB characters. I felt that they could have done a better job with the BB characters though. At this point I'm pretty sure the Queen of Hearts is gonna turn out to be Madame Red, but I think Grell would do a much better job. Then, I think Mao would be the perfect Cheshire Cat instead. I mean, all he does in the series is show up, say something mysterious and then leave, and doesn't that sound like the behaviour of a Cheshire Cat to you? I guess my point is that I think they could've polished up the story a bit to make it a bit more parallel to the original Wonderland. On the other hand though, I do understand that they're trying to make their own spin on the story, so maybe my Alice in Wonderland love is getting in the way of my opinions. :P Anywho, I'm excited to see where they take the story in the second part of Ciel in Wonderland, so stay tuned for that review!
Recommended for: Black Butler fans only. Even if you love Alice in Wonderland, you won't like this since you won't get all the series references.
Best aspect: The character design is really cool.
Worst aspect: The story kind of jumps straight into it without any explanation of what's going on, which is a bit random.
Favourite character: Agni the Cook, just because it was absolutely perfect casting.
Black Butler II OVA 2: Welcome to the Phantomhive's
Synopsis in one sentence: A new guest spends a day at the Phantomhive manor, but what exactly are her intentions?
This OVA was pretty interesting, since the whole thing is viewed through the eyes of the new character. It was pretty cool to see what the Phantomhive manor was like on a (sort of) normal day and I can just imagine all the fangirl screams the OVA got when Sebastian or Ciel fawned over “them”. The story is pretty sweet until a certain phonecall, where suddenly you realise that things are not going to go to easy for the new character. Random girl VS demon butler? I know where I'm putting my money. Anyway, the climax of the story was pretty funny since I knew something like that was gonna happen. By this point I've learnt that if something beautiful appears in Black Butler, a certain Lord will also make a deranged appearance. :D The ending was a bit too corny for my liking, but overall I liked the plot and idea.
Recommended for: Black Butler fans only.
Best aspect: Experiencing the world of Black Butler from a slightly more realistic perspective.
Worst aspect: Not seeing the girls face! I liked how it was hidden, but I wanted just one glimpse at the end!!!
Favourite character: Hmm, maybe Sebastian. I love when he plays nice even though no one can pull the wool over his eyes. ;)
Black Butler II OVA 3: The Making of Kuroshitsuji II
Synopsis in one sentence: We're taken behind the scenes of the Black Butler series, for an exclusive look at what it takes to put the show together.
Oh. My. Jebus. This OVA was genius. GENIUS. It took only a few minutes in and already I was rolling around on the ground laughing. This is probably one of the funniest anime episodes I have ever seen! I love it! Love it love it love it! There was so much comedy it was insane and the story for the whole thing was just amazing! Could you imagine if all of the BB cast were real and worked as actors? That's what this OVA pretends is happening and I loved the concept. And the accents… THE ACCENTS!!!! *FR falls on the floor laughing again* The only downside was that "real" Ciel was kind of a jerk and I got a bit confused with who some of the people were supposed to be, but most of the "real" personas were so entertaining! It's a very very very funny OVA and definitely deserves a watch! Uh oh, I just realised I haven't been to make up yet. *Revs up chainsaw* YOU CAN'T BE FILMING THIS!!!!
Recommended for: Black Butler fans only.
Best aspect: The humour was spot on.
Worst aspect: Sometimes the different character personas got a bit muddled.
Favourite character: Grell, but only by a small margin. It was very hard to choose….
Black Butler II OVA 4: Ciel in Wonderland Part 2
Synopsis in one sentence: Ciel Alice continues forward in her strange journey and her/his destination is finally revealed.
This was an alright follow up, but I don't really think it was worth the wait. The excitement of discovering who each character is was used up on the first part, so this part was sort of just focused on the story. However, it felt like they kind of rushed through the rest of the plot points just for the sake of staying a bit true to the original Alice, and it didn't have the wonder of the first part. I didn't really like the serious tone of the story's climax, but I did like the reveal of what the whole purpose of this story was. It was nice to learn a little bit more about what happened between the first and second seasons, and I always liked the scenes that illustrated the sweetness of the relationship between Ciel and Sebastian. If I could change anything about this OVA, I probably would've just made the Ciel in Wonderland story one 45 minute OVA, since splitting into two raised the expectations for the OVA, which I don't think it quite lived up to.
Recommended for: Black Butler fans only and if you've seen part one, of course. It might actually be better to watch both parts one after the other, instead of keeping the gap in between.
Best aspect: The visual aspect was still amazing.
Worst aspect: It wasn't as dynamic as the first part.
Favourite character: I loved the entire Mad Tea Party, because I think they performed that scene perfectly.
Black Butler II OVA 5: The Tale Of Will The Shinigami
Synopsis in one sentence: Will and Grell return to tutor some new Reapers in training, but they instead end up revealing the tale of their first day working together.
Really, I am loving these OVA's like crazy. The ideas for each story have been very unique, and this OVA is no exception. Learning more about the Shinigami "academy" was super cool, cause although the reapers popped up quite a bit in the series, not much about them was really shared. The really good stuff happened when Grell started to reminisce and we get to see what their younger counterparts are like. I can't imagine Grell being so serious all the time. :P The mission that they were on was quite sad, and helped develop Will's character a bit more, which is always a good thing. And learning the origin of Grell's obsessive stalker behaviour…. that guy has issues. ^_^ Anyway, I love a good origin story, so this OVA gets a definite thumbs up from me!
Recommended for: Fans of BB.
Best aspect: More Grell craziness!
Worst aspect: Hmmm, I can't think of much. Maybe more time in the Reaper training place?
Favourite character: Grell, of course.
Black Butler II OVA 6: Spider's Intention
Synopsis in one sentence: A day in the life of the Trancy manor, as shown through the perspectives of the mansion's staff.
Aww, my last Black Butler OVA! *Weeps* I think this OVA was a great way to end the mini OVA series, as it had a great mix of sadness, action, nostalgia and heaps of other good stuff. The way the stories overlapped was amazing, and the presentation of the mansion that was shown through this story was very intriguing, since the relationships between the Trancy mansion workers weren't really explained much. My favourite part was probably the sections with the triplets, cause I did not expect them to be the way they are. XD And Claude's section made me hate him more and reminded me why I felt so bad for Aloise. Claude is just so damn manipulative! AAARGH!
Recommended for: Fans of BB.
Best aspect: The intersecting plots were both smart, interesting and very funny.
Worst aspect: At the beginning I didn't really get what was going on, but I'm not sure whether that's because of the directing or my stupidity. ;)
Favourite character: Hannah. She's so kind…
Black Butler III: Book of Murder
Synopsis in one sentence: Ciel hosts a party that quickly turns into a murder mystery.
Oof, what a ride. This two-episode OVA series (I'd just consider it a film cut into two pieces) runs full steam ahead, with a shocking twist half way through that throws the whole fate of Black Butler into question. This then propels the plot forward through an enchantingly captivating unwinding of a mystery that ends with an ending that is both satisfying and humorous in classic Black Butler form. A very enjoyable story all in all, though I was a bit disappointed by the reasoning behind this arc, as it felt a little shallow to me. This might have been the closest to filler this series has felt so far. Reasoning aside, this was a great little story and that it played out in only two hours made it all the more impressive. I think this format could do great things for the Black Butler series, and I am, as always, looking forward to what this series does next.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. This should be watched after the Book of Circus arc.
Best aspect: I did enjoy the small threads of continuity between this arc and the previous and the hints at this arc causing changes for the arcs to come.
Worst aspect: The tie in of the events to the Queen felt very out of left field for me.
Favourite character: Ciel did a good job of carrying this plot
Black★Rock Shooter OVA
Synopsis in one sentence: An intense battle rages in an unknown location, while in another world, Mato Kuroi becomes a Junior High student and makes a new friend.
An interesting OVA, with a good story. The way the two stories played off each other was intriguing and made the school story seem more intense, while the battle story had more emotion. The way they paralleled each other was the best part of the OVA, which built suspense for the ending, which was a little anti-climactic. The battle wrap up felt a bit rushed and the whole 'Black Rock Shooter' thing isn't really explained, which is a bummer. I don't know what the full series is about, but hopefully it'll shed some more light on the story and help me better understand what was going on in this OVA.
Recommended for: Fantasy fans. It reminded me a lot of Puella Magica… I forgot the rest of the name of that series. >> Anyway, it's similar to PMMM 'cause of the whole alternate storyline thing.
Best aspect: The animation was very crisp and clean, which is something that I really like. I also appreciated the fact that the Black Rock Shooter had a normal sized chest.
Worst aspect: The ending was a bit "meh"
Favourite character: Mato. The fighters didn't really have much personality to comment on and Yomi was a bit too dramatic for my liking.
Chihayafuru OVA
Synopsis in one sentence: The obligatory school cultural festival episode.
Although this OVA doesn’t really match up to the thrill of the rest of the season, I liked that it gave a better insight into the character of Sumire. It gave me a much more positive view of her character. I also enjoyed the ending, which showed the characters in all their ridiculousness. A good OVA, but nothing to write home about. Then again, it gives me an extra episode of Chihayafuru, so I have no complaints. ;P
Recommended for: Fans of the show. This is best watched after the second season, and has not yet been dubbed.
Best aspect: Sumire getting some good screen time.
Worst aspect: The cultural festival thing is a bit gimmicky.
Favourite character: Chihaya. I know she wasn't around much, but I thought she was adorable in the last few minutes.
Code Geass: Akito the Exiled
Synopsis in one sentence: Pilot Akito forms part of a military division set to overthrow the forces of the Holy Britannian Empire.
Set between the two seasons of Code Geass, Akito the Exile is a side story focused around a group of military soldiers. The characters are intriguing and the battles are very beautifully executed, but I can't really offer much comment on anything else because the series is not finished. Four episodes were announced, but only two have been done so far, with no news on the third or fourth. It's a little strange, right? Akito has potential, but for now that's all I can say, until the final episodes are released (if they ever are).
Recommended for: Code Geass fans. Again, this is set after the first season and before the second.
Best aspect: I like the idea of bridging the gap between seasons.
Worst aspect: Ending?
Favourite character: Akito.
Code Geass OVA: Nunnally in Wonderland
Synopsis in one sentence: Lelouch tells Nunnally a story, with cameos from familiar faces.
*Puts on Wonderland criticising glasses* Let's see here.... Rabbit? Check. Cheshire Cat? Check. Ridiculous Royals? Check. And a curious/very confused young girl? Check and check. This OVA has passed my test! This is probably the best AiW interpretation I have seen in anime so far. The characters fit their Wonderland counterparts pretty perfectly, from sweet innocent Nunally as Alice to enigmatic CC as the Cheshire Cat. There wasn't a single character where I thought "Aw, he would've been a much better …" The story as well was also so true to original story and made me very very happy. ^_^ Normally anime's add in some special twist or change the characters to fit their anime actors, but the changes that the Code Geass makes are only for comedic purposes and didn't overwhelm the overall tale. Which was good, because why would Lelouch change the story he was telling his sister? Speaking of comedy, it was pretty cool to see Code Geass take a lighter approach. It's been so long since Lelouch was anything other than an evil genius, so it was funny to see him step back into the role of overprotective brother. And the ending was just awesome! They really made sure to fill in all the gaps. :P On the negative side, I really didn't like the animation; it made the OVA feel cheap. Especially scenes like the knight fight (rhyme!) which was kind of painful for me to watch. Still, the OVA overall was a pretty good watch!
Recommended for: Fans of the anime. You'll have to have seen some of season 2 to understand all the characters.
Best aspect: The storyline had its own unique spin, while also staying true to the original Alice in Wonderland story.
Worst aspect: Animation.
Favourite character: Everyone in the tea party/duchess scene was so perfect!
Deadman Wonderland OVA: Red Knife Wieldier
Synopsis in one sentence: Before he was a prisoner, Senji was a cop tryna save orphans.
An interesting OVA that helps understand Senji's character a lot more. It's kind strange to see him before Deadman because he's such a different person, so that takes a bit of getting used to. I wish there'd been a bit more context to the story, because I'm still not sure what its relevancy to the overall plot of the series is. The story was a bit predictable, but was kept fresh by some trademark Deadman Wonderland brutality. It was a fun little peak at an already interesting character, so I think this OVA was a good addition to the show.
Recommended for: Deadman Wonderland fans. This is set before the series, but might be better enjoyed after it.
Best aspect: The story with the orphans was good.
Worst aspect: I wasn't that attached to the Senji that I didn't know.
Favourite character: Izuru.
Elfen Lied OVA: 10.5: Regenschauer
Synopsis in one sentence: Set between episode 10 and 11, Nana is getting used to living alongside Nyu.
I will admit that it's a little strange seeing Elfen Lied without intense amounts of gore. On the other hand, it was quite interesting to see the two lead diclonius as they are when not tearing people apart. Regenschauer has minor character building, mainly in the relationship between Nyu and Nana. All the main cast are present, and even though this OVA isn't really necessary, it's a nice little change of pace for the traumatic series.
Recommended for: Elfen Lied fans. Like I said, it is set between episodes 10 and 11.
Best aspect: A flash of Lucy's past.
Worst aspect: It's a pretty meh story.
Favourite character: Nana was the star of the show.
Full Metal Alchemist OVA 2: Alchemists vs Homunculi
Synopsis in one sentence: The alchemist verse the Homunculi. .-.
To put it in short, this was a lame OVA. At first I was kinda confused as to why they would make an OVA about a random fight that was irrelevant to the story. Then they introduced the breaking of the fourth wall thing and I thought "okay, it's gonna be like that cool Black Butler OVA!" But then it wasn't. There was just a fight, then an explosion (the highlight), then the end.
Recommended for: Supreme FMA fans who have some time to kill.
Best aspect: The ending had some of the FMA comedy flair, which was much appreciated.
Worst aspect: A pretty pointless OVA, really.
Favourite character: The viewer. Blowing stuff up earns my favour.
Full Metal Alchemist OVA 3: Live Action
Synopsis in one sentence: Real life Al goes to resurrect Ed.
The old timey-ness of the OVA kind of creeped me out, which turned me off a bit. The "live action" bit was really cheesily done, as well. Bad points aside, the ending was pretty funny and it was only a couple minutes long, so it wasn't that bad. A really brief review for a really brief OVA.
Recommended for: FMA fans.
Best aspect: The end was pretty funny and I wasn't expecting it.
Worst aspect: The live action was unnecessary and made it look cheap, like something a skit group on YouTube could do. It would've been much better if they'd just done it in animated form.
Favourite character: There's one character…. Al.
Full Metal Alchemist OVA 4: Kids
Synopsis in one sentence: Mini Al, Ed and Winry make a cake and giggle a lot.
Seriously, for such a great show FMA really does have a bunch of lame OVAs. I think Black Butler has raised my OVA expectations way too high. XP Anywho, kids is short and sweet. It doesn't really have much point, other than a nice tribute to Ed. Actually, maybe it wasn't little versions of Al, Ed and Winry; maybe it was the human Ed's grandkids. Yeah, that makes more sense. Still doesn't make the OVA any more interesting, though.
Recommended for: FMA fans, again.
Best aspect: It had a sweet side to it, so it's nice if you're all for sentimentality.
Worst aspect: Again, there was no real point to this OVA. I know OVA's are just extras, but these ones are just like random clips that didn't make it to the official show or something.
Favourite character: Winry (or whatever that kid's name is) was pretty cute.
Full Metal Alchemist OVA 5: Chibi Party
Synopsis in one sentence: It's an adorable wrap party of FMA's first movie!
Finally a worthwhile OVA from this series. This was a pretty funny episode and I loved the different personas of the "Actors". It's like the BB OVA where they go behind the scenes. Sorry, I'm comparing these too much to Black Butler. ^_^ Anyways, the chibi idea was a great addition to things and made everything so much funnier. Drunk Winry is funny, but drunk, jealous AND little Winry is awesome. Now to watch the movie so I actually understand what was going on!
Recommended for: People who have seen the Shamballa movie.
Best aspect: Comedy!
Worst aspect: Al and Ed were kind of boring. I wish they'd had some crazy personality trait like the others.
Favourite character: Scar and his ninja star powers!
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA 1: The Blind Alchemist
Synopsis in one sentence: On their hunt for a Philosophers Stone, the brothers are led to a blind alchemist that is said to have successfully completed a human transmutation.
Although, like it was with Sacred Star of Milos, it's a bit strange to travel back to an early point in the Brotherhood timeline, I don't mind a bit when said plot time-travel is for the purpose of creating a really fantastic story. This OVA is an incredibly tragic tale, that shows how much some people will do to help those they love. Although the overall plot seems a little dark, it's kind of an uplifting tale, mixed with morbid undertones. There's a blunt realistic edge to the underside of Alchemy that's constantly commented on throughout both FMA series, but I don't think any speech on right and wrong quite presents the dangers of alchemy as what is presented in this OVA. In one fell swoop a man's life is drastically changed, a young girl is roped into a frightening existence and an entire family is forced to forgo their own feelings for that of a dear friend. It's a sad story, yes, but the opposing positives soften the blows of the tragedy, and ask the question "how much should one sacrifice to achieve their goals?" Is the exchange really equivalent if there are changes, but not the ones you want? It's a really stimulating story, and it's a great start to the Brotherhood series of OVAs. The Blind Alchemist is not to be missed!
Recommended for: Fans of FMA Brotherhood. Actually, I'm pretty sure you watch this during either series. It's set very early in the Brotherhood timeline, so if you like things chronological, try slipping it in the first 10 - 20 episodes.
Best aspect: So many sad feels....
Worst aspect: The first half was paced a bit slow.
Favourite character: I didn't have a fav character per se, but I did feel for the main Alchemist, Jude.
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA 2: Simple People
Synopsis in one sentence: It's the origins of Winry's ear piercings (it's not as lame as it sounds)!
A cute, short OVA, which is pretty welcome seeing as the OVA before it is pretty heavy stuff. Simple People is, as the title suggests, a pretty simple story, but it features a fun streak of backstory, which I always go crazy for. :P I like that the story focuses on the relaxed side of the Elric brothers/Winry friendship, because you don't get to see much of that casual interaction throughout the series. This OVA made me like Winry a lot more, not because she does anything fantastic, but just because you get to see her as an average person, instead of an in-the-way tag along to the boys. Although I did get a bit confused as to the relevance of the opening scene, in the end it all makes sense, and I really enjoyed the way Winry's story tied in with Riza's own appearance change. It's a funny little OVA, with a length and light-heartedness that pretty much encompasses what an OVA should be.
Recommended for: FMA fans. I believe this OVA is set before the series begins, so feel free to watch it whenever.
Best aspect: Comedy, definitely.
Worst aspect: I would've liked a bit more of Riza, seeing as she was pretty much equally important as Winry in the story.
Favourite character: Al, the Winry whisperer.
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA 3: The Chronicle of Teacher
Synopsis in one sentence: It's about time we found out how Izumi became so skilled!
If you always thought there wasn't enough comedy in FMA, then this is definitely the OVA for you! Set 7 years before the beginning of the series, this OVA serves as a backstory for Izumi Curtis and, well yano, backstory = yay! What was most enjoyable about this OVA is that Izumi is never seen in the series as a relaxed, fun loving person, which is who she is here. I suppose that's kind of sad in a way, because it's like we're seeing the difference introducing Alchemy to someone's life can make. Izumi is much more enthusiastic here, while becoming stronger in Alchemy only hardens her up as a person. The OVA ends with a dash of romance which I wasn't expecting, but loved anyway. It may seem that what will happen in this story is predictable, but it's actually a pretty surprising (and entertaining) twist, so you're kept on your feet. It's probably my fav FMA OVA so far!
Recommended for: FMA fans. Like I said earlier, this OVA is set before the beginning of the series, so you can watch it anytime. Izumi is telling the story during the Elric's apprenticeship with her, so you can watch it alongside those flashbacks if you want. This OVA can also fit into either Season 1 or Brotherhood. If you wanna watch it during the series, I would recommend seeing it after episode 12 in Brotherhood or episode 30 or so in Season 1.
Best aspect: Unexpectedly hilarious!
Worst aspect: Hmmm, kinda tough to think of. Maybe they could've added a bit about how Izumi truly began her training?
Favourite character: Errr, Izumi. Cause there's pretty much no-one else to choose from.
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA 4: Yet Another Man's Battlefield
Synopsis in one sentence: While in the military academy, Mustang and Hughes befriend an Ishvalan... which doesn't sit well when war breaks out.
For the last OVA for Brotherhood, we're taken right back to serious with a story that focuses on Mustang's struggle with his military position. As with the other OVAs for this season, Battlefield shows an interesting view on both Mustang and Hughes, as their roles are almost reversed from what they are during the series. Hughes is a strong force to be reckoned with, while Mustang is a softer, guilt-ridden figure. It's an interesting side to both these characters that hasn't really been shown before. Oh, and all you Mae Hughes fans don't have to worry, because, despite his stricter viewpoints, he's still as much of an over-exciteable idiot as he's always been! XD For a short OVA, there's quite a bit of backstory packed in here. You get to see how Hughes and Mustang first became close; you get to see Hughes back when he was still a bachelor wrapped up in romance instead of a family; you get to learn some of the reasons why Mustang inflicts certain views onto Edward; you get to see what fighting in Ishval was like. There's a lot of glimpses into the past slipped throughout the story, which makes the OVA really effective. The main story shows the progression from rookie to soldier, which, once again, is another sad transformation presented in this OVA series. It's another tragic end, but the impact is great, which is all you could really ask for to round up the Brotherhood series.
Recommended for: FMA fans. Again, this is a prequel, so you can watch it whenever.
Best aspect: More Hughes!
Worst aspect: Waaaah, I miss Hughes!
Favourite character: See Best and Worst Aspect.
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun Specials
Synopsis in one sentence: Six 3 minute DVD extra minisodes.
Nothing too meaty in this OVA set, but the spirit of the show's comedy is still present, so they make for some enjoyable quick watching.
Recommended for: Fans of the show. As of writing, she OVA are not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: Comedy. The beach trunks episodes was the best.
Worst aspect: They don't add anything to the overall series canon.
Favourite character: Chiyo was adorable in all her scenes (especially the opening ones where she trips over).
Girls und Panzer OVA
Synopsis in one sentence: A six episode series of little Panzer stories.
A collection of oddities from the series' run, the OVA are fun little extras for anyone who want more Panzer. They don't add much to the plot, though, so they can be skipped without worry.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. The OVA haven't yet been dubbed.
Best aspect: As silly as it was, I liked that they dedicated one OVA to the girls doing their fish dance.
Worst aspect: So many cliché episodes (hot springs, beach etc).
Favourite character: Yukari, I guess?
Girls und Panzer: This is the Real Anzio Battle!
Synopsis in one sentence: The club faces off against an Italian school.
This is pretty much another episode, with the same old battles and character angst and predictability. Nothing much to say, really.
Recommended for: People who like the show. Again, this is an OVA that can be missed. This OVA has not yet been dubbed.
Best aspect: There were a couple good jokes.
Worst aspect: Anticlimactic battling
Favourite character: Carpaccio


Title Review Rating
Highschool of the Dead OVA: Drifters of the Dead
Synopsis in one sentence: It's the mandatory beach episode!
I'm so done with this show. Really, you might as well rent a porn at this rate. A porn would probably be more subtle that this OVA. Then again, where else can you find hetero, yuri and incest relations all in one place? Utter crap. *throws grenade at this show*
Recommended for: Fans of the show.
Best aspect: The first couple minutes were promising.
Worst aspect: All the other minutes.
Favourite character: Alice. She had the sense to stay away from this madness.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei
Synopsis in one sentence: Rika awakens in a world free of the curse, but begins to wonder if this new world really is the better one.
I really liked the idea of this OVA. It's kind of like a little reminder that even though the Higurashi world has had its conclusion, there's always room for unexpected insanity. In this OVA, Rika's happy world is disrupted when she finds herself in an alternate universe where the curse never existed. She's faced with the choice between two worlds: she can stay in this new world where everyone is happy, but the friendships she knows do not exist, or she can return to the world where she's fought for her happy ending, but she's been witness to horrible things. Things get even more complicated when she learns that to return to the old world she's got to kill her reincarnated mother, who is responsible for creating this new world. It's a really good Sophie's Choice type of deal, and I enjoyed seeing Rika having to act on her own, as her own person. A good story that keeps in line with the Higurashi plotline, Rei is an OVA that I think many Higurashi fans will appreciate.
Recommended for: Higurashi fans. Watch after all the other seasons. This OVA is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: Seeing how things could've been in the village.
Worst aspect: The fact that only Rika will be scarred by this whole story.
Favourite character: Um, Rika, I guess? She is the only character that really participates in the story.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak
Synopsis in one sentence: The lead characters struggle to survive the gas leak that threatens their home.
I both liked and disliked this OVA. First, the likes. I enjoyed learning more about the gas leak that was briefly mentioned in the anime series, to get a different viewpoint on things. I also love when the "curse" stuff is thrown to the side and the main cast gets to work together with the general badassery that they all possess. On the dislike side of things, this OVA got me a little confused about the canon of the show, which was a bit annoying. I also found the overall concept of "everyone is crazy" kind of far-fetched. Outside of that, this was a good OVA that tacks a little extra story onto the Higurashi universe.
Recommended for: Higurashi fans. Watch after all the other seasons. This OVA is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: The gang working together.
Worst aspect: The ending was... weird.
Favourite character: Rika. There's just something I enjoy about her dropping the little girl façade and becoming the leader.
Inu X Boku SS: Miketsukami's Metamorphosis
Synopsis in one sentence: An anthology of different comedy stories set within the Inu X Boku world.
This was such a cool OVA. There was comedy and character development and updates on my fav characters and all the Roromiya you can dream of. *sighs wistfully* This OVA was just really funny and pretty much how an OVA should be. I can't talk about it without ruining plot lines, so I'll leave it at that.
Recommended for: Inu X Boku SS fans. This is set after the conclusion of the series.
Best aspect: The people buttons!
Worst aspect: The last story was the weakest and I think it would've been better suited earlier on in the episode.
Favourite character: Roro~!
Kujibiki Unbalance
Synopsis in one sentence: A 3 episode OVA series of the anime seen in background of multiple Genshiken episodes.
I suspected that this series would be a hack job of cheap stories to capitalise on the Genshiken story but, surprisingly, it's actually pretty good. It's wacky, for sure, but the characters are interesting (and loveable), the comedy is enjoyable and the plots are quite gripping. It's a good intro to the anime the Genshiken club is always talking about, and I always got a kick out of seeing the scenes I had seen in background shots from its parent anime played out in the context of its own story. Fun all around!
Recommended for: Those who like cute girls, random magic and comedy. For Genshiken fans, this had no call-backs to that show, so don’t feel obligated to watch if you're in it for the Genshiken loyalty. Oh, and these OVAs are not dubbed (as far as I can tell).
Best aspect: Character arcs. I didn't expect so much story in just three episodes.
Worst aspect: Things moved a bit fast and it was hard to keep up sometimes.
Favourite character: Akiyama.
La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia OVA
Synopsis in one sentence: Jolly tricks the rest of the family into eating one of his experiments, resulting in the males switching bodies.
A good OVA, laced with comedy. I loved seeing the guys interact with one another and it was even better that I didn’t have to deal with the insipid Felicità. A good OVA, true to the La Storia style and good for a fun filled half an hour.
Recommended for: La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia fans.
Best aspect: The jokes were pretty good.
Worst aspect: Nothing special happened.
Favourite character: Dante
Mysterious Girlfriend X OVA
Synopsis in one sentence: More dates equal more shiny, shiny drool.
This was kind of... a pointless OVA. It pretty much took everything weird from the anime and chucked it into this one episode, with magic for good measure! The drool is flying as always, so that's a bonus, I guess. I mean, it's an alright story, but it doesn't add anything to the series, so you could probably give this one a miss.
Recommended for: Mysterious Girlfriend X fans.
Best aspect: Oka's always pretty bad ass.
Worst aspect: I felt like there was drool overload. Like, does Urabe just spend 50% of her time gobbing on the street because of all the excess liquid in her mouth?
Favourite character: Oka


Title Review Rating
Naruto OVA 2: Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village!
Synopsis in one sentence: Team Kakashi are sent on a simple escort mission, but things quickly become a lot more difficult for the trio.
Okay, I'm gonna say it: Who on earth is assigning theses missions? Why is it that every time Naruto and the crew are sent on the mission, they either get one of the highest classes of task, despite being only ninjas in training, or they get a simple job that turns out to be a gazillion times more complicated than originally thought? Does no one check over these missions before assigning them, or do they just take whatever anyone gives them? Could I go in and ask for a team to help my grandma cross the street, but actually want the team to assassinate the president? Is it really that easy? No wonder the leaf village is always being attacked, they seem to have some real administrative issues. I bet when Orochimaru attacked they had forgotten to assign anyone to guard patrol, they're so unorganised. Okay, rant over. :P This OVA was alright, but it kind of reminds me of the Ninja Clash movie in the way that it was good, but it lacked anything to really make it stand out. The ending was really anticlimactic and predictable, so I was a bit disappointed by this OVA to be honest. Eh, that's all I really have to say about it. It wasn't bad, but it just felt like a really long filler episode.
Recommended for: Super Naruto fans. If you don't like filler, you won't like this.
Best aspect: Errrr, I dunno. Fights, I guess.
Worst aspect: So predictable and plain.
Favourite character: Naruto.
Naruto OVA 3: Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival
Synopsis in one sentence: It’s the big sports festival and Naruto is competing, but he has to accomplish a very pivotal task first, one which he has more trouble completing than he would like.
*Chuckles* Oh this OVA… this OVA was something else. It was all based on… going to the toilet. Yeah, that’s right. It seems so stupid when I think about it… actually, it seemed stupid when I was watching it as well. Surprisingly though, it makes for a really really funny OVA. If you get past the initial poop joke factor of the episode, all the different aspects of the episode and the crazy situations Naruto gets himself in are really great. I can think of that part with the clones now and I still cringe cause it was so devastating to watch. It's obvious that this OVA wasn't supposed to be taken seriously, which really works to its advantage because you don't analyse it to much. I mean, some of the guests at the festival were totally ridiculous. Rock Lee, even though he is in no shape to be walking, let alone sprinting. And then for some reason every bad guy in the show was invited, like Orochimaru, Sasuke's brother and Shark Guy (Help me with the names Chain! ^o^). In summary, this OVA is completely ridiculous, but in a good way!
Recommended for: Naruto fans of course. However, if you don't like slightly crass humour, I don't think you'll like this OVA. Timeline wise I think you can watch this anytime because it's non-canon. If you want to recognise all the characters, then watch it after the Tsunade arc.
Best aspect: The comedy was fantastic!
Worst aspect: The overall plot was a bit... *ahem*
Favourite character: Well, Naruto is the only one that said more than a few words, so he's my only choice.
Naruto OVA 4: Finally a clash! Jōnin vs. Genin!! Indiscriminate Grand Melee Tournament Meeting!!
Synopsis in one sentence: For some reason, Tsunade decides to declare a village wide (plus some Sand ninja for fan service purposes) brawl.
Kind of a random OVA that didn't really achieve much. I think the point was to show all these fan favourites fighting each other, which might have been exciting once upon a time, but being as far as I am into the anime... well, been there, done that. Oh, and don’t be fooled by the exclamation heavy title, cause this OVA doesn’t have any of the giant clashes that it promises. I just basically felt like I watched Naruto run around in circles for 15 minutes, which wasn’t really worth my time.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. This hasn’t been dubbed and fits in around...I'm not quite sure the specific time, but release date wise, you can watch it after season 1 of Naruto (episode 36).
Best aspect: How bored the jonin looked.
Worst aspect: Anticlimactic end.
Favourite character: Shikamaru.
Naruto OVA 5: Shippū! Konoha Gakuen Den!
Synopsis in one sentence: Let's pretend Naruto is a high school anime...
This was an interesting idea, presented in manga panel format. It was cute to see how the Naruto gang might work in a non ninja setting, especially because Naruto retained his exceptional Naruto-ness. The drama was fitting, the characters funny and, in another life, I don't think this pitch would make such a bad show. ^_^
Recommended for: Naruto fans. Dub is not available and you can kind of watch this anytime, as it's not canon.
Best aspect: Naruto still tryna be the best.
Worst aspect: I'm at the point where I get annoyed whenever I see Sasuke's face. I'm sick of that guy's drama.
Favourite character: Naruto, although Sakura was a great narrator.
Naruto OVA 6: The Cross Roads
Synopsis in one sentence: Sasuke remembers some stuff.
To be honest, I can't remember what the story for this OVA was because I was so distracted by the weird ass animation. You know those strange Sim people Taiwan used a while back to illustrate news stories? The animation was like that, but... worse. They were obviously trying something new, but I hope they never try it again. As for the story, well, like I said, I can't really remember what it was about. It must've been boring if I couldn't even be bothered to take notice of what was happening.
Best aspect: Seeing the gang in their old school outfits.
Worst aspect: Bad animation
Favourite character: Naruto, probably.
Naruto OVA 7: Naruto, the Genie, and the Three Wishes, Believe It!
Synopsis in one sentence: Naruto finds a genie and all hell break loose.
A funny start leads to a pretty predictable story, with all of the leaf ninja showing up out of nowhere for lolz. I don’t really have much to say because I wasn’t surprised by anything in this OVA. Think of the first story solve that comes to mind when you hear "everyone fights to try and get the last wish" and you're probably thinking of the one that was in this OVA. *sighs* Ho hum, onto better things.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. Watch after the Lost Tower film.
Best aspect: The dramatic exit at the end.
Worst aspect: So predictable!
Favourite character: Shikamaru.
Naruto OVA 9: Chūnin Exam on Fire! Naruto vs. Konohamaru!
Synopsis in one sentence: Naruto takes on the Chunin exam once again, this time facing his biggest rival, Konohamaru!
It starts off as a filler OVA, but boy does this episode get serious! Like everyone in the exam audience says, it's kind of obvious that Konohamaru has no chance of winning against the Leaf hero, but the kid really puts on a show! It hit me right in the feels, especially when they played the "homage to my dead family members" card! No fair, Naruto writers!!! I also loved seeing the spirit of Naruto that glows in Konohamaru and if the story ever needs a new lead to follow, I think Konohamaru would be an interesting contender. To make things even better, the comedy was on point, especially when it came to the unexpected way in which the battle ended. A great OVA, indeed!
Recommended for: Naruto fans. Watch after the Blood Prison movie, as this OVA was released alongside it.
Best aspect: Everyone backing up both of the battle contenders.
Worst aspect: Uhhh... I'm not sure there was anything I disliked.
Favourite character: Konohamaru.
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations OVA: Hashirama Senju vs Madara Uchiha
Synopsis in one sentence: A short look at the founding of Konoha and Madara's involvement in past wars.
A bit of interesting backstory, but the OVA is kind of too short to really offer much in the terms of viewing experience. It's more an enjoyable battle scene if anything, which is fun, but also a little one note.
Recommended for:

Naruto fans. This OVA is not yet dubbed, and can be watched after the 11th Arc of the series.
Best aspect: I always enjoy seeing the nine tails as a free agent.
Worst aspect: Short.
Favourite character: Nine tails, why not?

Naruto Sunny Side Battle!
Synopsis in one sentence: Itachi cooks an egg.
Beautiful. A story of loss of love and the calm before the storm. But mostly, it's Itachi cooking a damn egg.
Recommended for: Naruto fans. This is not yet dubbed. I'm not quite sure where this fits... I don't think its canon? Maybe watch after the ten tails arc.
Best aspect: The absurdity of the whole thing was pretty funny.
Worst aspect: The ending was kind of random.
Favourite character: Itachi, of course
Naruto Shippuden: The Day Naruto Became Hokage
Synopsis in one sentence: It's the day... that Naruto... becomes Hokage.
I enjoyed this OVA. It's short, but packs a lot of info about Naruto's later life into it. I thought seeing him as an adult (let alone a father and a husband) would be weird, but I think they've found a really neat balance between who he was and who he's become. It's a really nice peek at Naruto finally getting the reward for all that we've seen him achieve.
Recommended for: Fans of the show. Watch after Shippuden.
Best aspect: The kids.
Worst aspect: Maybe a bit more of the other characters would've been nice.
Favourite character: Himawari
Noragami OVAs
Synopsis in one sentence: A series of four cute side stories following the lead trio on different adventures.
Each OVA was an enjoyable story that did well to fit in their own individual episodes. The comedy was at a peak, and I especially enjoyed seeing Yato outside of the life or death dramatics of the main series. These are the kind of OVAs I like to see.
Recommended for: Fans of the series. The first two should be watched after the first season and the latter two after the second season.
Best aspect: The light hearted-ness.
Worst aspect: The settings were a bit cliché (ski trip/amusement park).
Favourite character: Yato
One Piece: Defeat The Pirate Ganzack!
Synopsis in one sentence: Luffy, Nami and Zorro save a village!
This one is kind of hard to review, because it's not really part of the One Piece series. This was released before the anime as a special celebration animation for the 1998 Jump Super Anime Tour, so it's a stand alone story that gives a little taste of what Luffy and the gang are about. It's a standard story – the gang rock up, beat some bad guys to a pulp and then leave – so there's nothing to comment on there. The animation matches up to the 90s standard and the VA, while different to what would eventually come in the anime, is decent enough. It's not bad, it's not good, it just... is.
Recommended for: One Piece fans in search of nostalgia. This is only available in sub.
Best aspect: Remembering when the crew was just three people.
Worst aspect: Meh-ness.
Favourite character: Nami.
One Piece Episode Special 1: Adventure in the Ocean's Navel
Synopsis in one sentence: The pirates are sucked into a giant hole in the ocean where they find a village of frightened people who need their help.
Like the first One Piece movie, Adventure in the Ocean's Navel is pretty much an extra episode. Well, it says it’s a Special Episode in the title, so I guess that's what it is. The crew are a lot of fun to watch as they find themselves separated and with different goals. I always enjoy seeing the Straw Hat pirates act independently because it almost always leads to either fights or comedy. The episode is ruined a bit by new character Hamu, who is pretty much this OVA's annoying stock character with a lame back story. Other than that I have no complaints, but I don't have anything to rave about either. Middle of the road, I guess.
Recommended for: One Piece fans. This episode aired after Episode 52. Dub is not available.
Best aspect: Comedy.
Worst aspect: The villagers.
Favourite character: Luffy.
One Piece Episode Special 4: The Detective Memoirs of Chief Straw Hat Luffy
Synopsis in one sentence: Detective Luffy is back and Buggy the Clown is causing trouble again!
This episode is pretty much the same deal as the other Detective episodes, so if you've seen them, then there's really nothing new here. I always finds these episodes a little odd, because it seems strange when the Straw Hats are not working together. But anyway, this is a simple filler ep, with some fun comedy and appearances from some old school foes.
Recommended for: One Piece fans. This episode was released after episode 253.
Best aspect: A little hint of Nami being jealous when Sanji showed attention to other girls. Is that fan service I smell?
Worst aspect: Buggy's a bit weak sauce after all the latest villains.
Favourite character: Zoro
One Piece OVA 3: One Piece Film Strong World: Episode 0
Synopsis in one sentence: A glimpse into the origin of the Golden Lion Shiki, the antagonist of the Strong World film.
I quite liked this little story... I might even have enjoyed it more than the Strong World film itself. It's beyond me why this episode was not tacked onto the beginning of the Strong World film, as it explains much of what I was confused about while watching the film. That sours the OVA a little for me, as it felt like too little too late, if that makes sense. Including this with the film would've made a world of difference for me. At least I enjoyed the glimpse of the Gold Roger age.
Recommended for: One Piece fans. WATCH BEFORE THE STRONG WORLD FILM. This OVA is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: Piecing together the beginning of the Strong World film.
Worst aspect: That it is excluded from the film.
Favourite character: Shiki.
One Piece Episode Special 6: Episode of Luffy: Adventure in Hand Island
Synopsis in one sentence: The crew arrive on an island shaped like a hand and discover a marine sweatshop.
It's been a while since these episode specials were something other than just recaps, so the original story was a welcome change. There's a nice father/son story at the heart of this episode that I really enjoyed and the adversary for the straw hats gives for a nice bit of action. Weirdly though, they still tried to keep on with the recap things, and inserted a few recap clips into the story, which kind of threw off the original content. If they removed these clips, I think this might have made for one of the better Once Piece ovas so far.
Recommended for: One Piece fans. Should be watched after the Fishman Island arc, so after episode 574. This ova is not yet subbed.
Best aspect: The father/son story was very heartfelt.
Worst aspect: The clipshow portions.
Favourite character: Diego
One Punch Man
Synopsis in one sentence: Six bonus clips featuring new content from throughout the first season's run.
Reasonably well sized episodes (I'd say they average out to five mins each), which offer some new insight into happenings between the main show's episodes, and glimpses into characters we haven't seen much of. I really enjoy OVA that add to the story as opposed to just fluffing it up, and these achieved that quite well. The focus of each episode is different, which means more interesting viewpoints. A nice addition to the One Punch Man canon.
Recommended for: Fans of the show. You could probably look up where each OVA fits into the first season timeline, but to play it safe, I recommend just watching it all after the first season's end.
Best aspect: Learning about some of the background superheroes.
Worst aspect: The first one or two episodes could've had a more interesting story. They were still enjoyable, but the others were 100% new, while the earlier ones were based around content we're already familiar with.
Favourite character: Fubuki. Her episode was a stand out for me.
Overlord: Ple Ple Pleiades
Synopsis in one sentence: The cast is shrunk to chibi form as Momonga interacts with his harem of combat maids.
If you thought there just wasn't enough subservient females in the main series of Overlord, have no fear, Ple Ple Pleiades is here! A thirteen episode collection of three minute scenes, Ple Ple Pleiades is comedy and harem fodder. Obviously not to my liking.
Recommended for: Comedy or chibi fans? The OVA are unrelated to the main story, so are entirely missable. This OVA is not yet dubbed.
Best aspect: I like chibi art.
Worst aspect: Females characters with no other purpose than to fawn over the lead.
Favourite character: Momonga.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt Special: Panty & Stocking in Sanitarybox
Synopsis in one sentence: The girls are back in a collection of short clips!
I really like the idea for this OVA! Instead of coming up with a random new story, this special episode has neat stories in mini format a la Hetalia. Each is funny and some even contain callbacks to past episodes, which I am crazy about. Sanitarybox is an enjoyable OVA, which any PaSwG fan will enjoy.
Recommended for: Fans of the show.
Best aspect: Bite sized comedy!
Worst aspect: I hate the Chuck to the Future segments.
Favourite character: Panty
Phantom – The Animation
Synopsis in one sentence: After accidentally witnessing a murder, Zwei has his memories erased and is forced to become an assassin.
Phantom – The Animation is like an origin story, which makes it an interesting thing to watch unfold. Zwei is introduced as a completely blank slate, and I found myself really interested in seeing how his persona would develop over the short 3 episode OVA series. The ideas are all there, I just think the writing was a bit predictable and the characters stereotypical. It wasn't helped any by the fact that the villain was so maniacal he was kind of embarrassing to watch. On the other hand there are hints of a darker theme to the show, which results in a confusing mash between intensity and lameness. I also found the lead female to be nothing special, as she reminded me so much of Rei Ayanami in look and personality that it bugged me. But this is just the OVA, and since I didn't find the show incredibly bad, I'm hoping the full series will be shined up to perfection. I'm looking forward to seeing where Zwei and Ein end up!
Recommended for: Action fans. There is quite a bit of violence and a dash of sexual themes, so be wary.
Best aspect: There was a bit of an allegiance twist at the end which made things interesting.
Worst aspect: There wasn't anything I haven't seen before in other action anime.
Favourite character: Zwei.
School Rumble OVA: Extra Class
Synopsis in one sentence: School is back!
The School Rumble OVA is pretty much what I always want OVAs to be: a collection of short extra stories that are fun and interesting to watch. The two episode OVA encompasses the randomness of School Rumble, which pretty much explains everything there is to it. There's Tenma being a psycho, Karasuma trying to act tough while internally freaking out over everything Tenma does, and side appearances from the supporting cast that get swept up in all the insanity. It's a funny two episodes and a great precursor for the second series.
Recommended for: Those who have seen the first season. This OVA is set between Seasons 1 and 2.
Best aspect: The story of the seating arrangements.
Worst aspect: I wanted more... but I suppose that's what the second season is for. :D
Favourite character: Karasuma.
School Rumble OVA 2: Third Semester
Synopsis in one sentence: In the final two episodes of the entire series, we finally get to see who belongs with who.
While searching for a way to watch this OVA, I saw the warnings but did not heed them. "You'll wish you never saw it." "It's better left to your imagination." "It was sad to watch." But I was SOOOOO curious! How could I not know who Tenma and Harima were meant for? Welp, I should've listened, I really should've, because all those commenters were right! *sobs* I can't say much for the sake of spoilers, but this was everything but the way I wanted the show to end! I know it might not do well when it comes to a compelling, realistic tale, but I'm a sucker for a happy ending! This was not what I signed up for!!! Anyway, I've said too much already. Just listen carefully to my warning: If there's only one way you'll be satisfied with things wrapping up, then leave this OVA alone. Take your imaginings of how the characters live and just believe that they all came true. Go and be happy, because this OVA just might degrade the rest of the series for you. You have been warned!
Recommended for: Fans of the past two seasons that don't care what happens to the characters. You can also watch it if you don't mind loose ends. If you're looking for more conclusion, then you can try reading the manga School Rumble Z, or at least look up what it revealed in it. Oh, and this OVA is sub only.
Best aspect: Conclusion, finally. Not the conclusion I wanted, but at least there's a definite end to the show.
Worst aspect: *FR's heart breaks*
Favourite character: Harima.
Steins Gate: Somei Eichi no Cognitive Computing
Synopsis in one sentence: The laboratory is back for a few comedy stories based around a new meddling computer system.
A good OVA, with the main players back in the situations in which they shine best. The comedy was good and the stories were nice additions for anyone suffering from Steins Gate withdrawals. As far as OVAs go, this was pretty good, but there wasn't really anything to write home about.
Recommended for: Steins fans. This OVA hasn’t been dubbed yet
Best aspect: I liked the story about Okabe and Makise fighting and reuniting. It was nice to get a glimpse at how their relationship might work post season 1.
Worst aspect: There's nothing in this OVA that you can't get from the filler episodes of the first series.
Favourite character: Okabe.


Title Review Rating
The World God Only Knows OVA 0: Flag.0
Synopsis in one sentence: I can't fill this out without ruining the whole thing.
Is it possible to review something that's just over a minute long? I don't really think so, but I'll give it a shot. The OVA for this series is not really an OVA, and more a trailer. It sets up the premise for the series and introduces some of the characters. I was pretty intrigued by the clips that played, because they started off serious and then progressed into humour, which changed my initial thoughts for what the anime will be about. I think my expectations will be higher now, cause I'm hoping for something with a complex tone, like the OVA suggests. I'll just have to see, I guess.
Recommended for: It's kind of a pointless OVA. Like I said, it's more of a trailer. So, if you want to get a bit of a feel for The World God Only Knows, then take a look at this. Otherwise, don't bother watching the OVA.
Best aspect: I was a bit thrown off by the unexpected comedy.
Worst aspect: Why so short?
Favourite character: What characters?
The World God Only Knows OVA 1: 4 Girls and an Idol
Synopsis in one sentence: Elsie joins a band!
I don't really understand what the point of this OVA was. Was it comedy? To introduce new characters? To show a different side of Elsie? I'm just not sure. The story was disjointed and didn't have a real conclusion as well. Pretty disappointing all in all.
Recommended for: TWGOK fans. This is the first OVA set after the second season and is not available dubbed.
Best aspect: Elsie was pretty cute
Worst aspect: I don't really understand what the focal point of the OVA was.
Favourite character: Elsie
The World God Only Knows OVA 2: Tenri-Hen
Synopsis in one sentence: An old friend of Keima's pops onto the scene and, well... loose soul, of course.
I feel like TWGOK is starting to lose the charm that originally led me to fall in love with it. The series was based around love, but executed it's stories with humour and wit and parody. In this OVA, however, things are so predictable, that it's no different from any run of the mill harem. I think it started to become average when the love turned from parody to real. When Keima exploited the overused romance plots to get the job done before reverting to his usual selfish self, it was interesting and fun! But now they've started injecting real feelings into the girls and it's dull. Basically, the show is deteriorating into average territory and I think this OVA is the beginning of that decline. Where's the fun, TWGOK? Bring back the fun!
Recommended for: TWGOK fans. This two episode OVA is set after season 2 and isn't yet dubbed.
Best aspect: A new demon/human set.
Worst aspect: Predictability. And Tenri is so boring.
Favourite character: Ryo Asama. At least someone tried to inject some humour into this thing.
The World God Only Knows OVA 3: Magical Star Kanon 100%
Synopsis in one sentence: Kanon is back and this time, thanks to a loose soul, she's in child form!
Let's get my bias out of the way by saying that I'm not that big a fan of Kanon. I liked her when she was a crazy stalker, but once she was saved of the loose soul, she became incredibly boring. But she must be a fan favourite, because she's chucked into this show at every opportunity. Obviously, an entire OVA centered around Kanon is not going to be fun for me. And it wasn't. Boring, predictable and lacking in comedy is what it was. But, if you like Kanon, then you'll love this! She gets all little! Kanon mini! *Pinches cheeks*
Recommended for: TWGOK fans. This is set after Season 2 of the show and is not available dubbed.
Best aspect: Character design was pretty nice.
Worst aspect: Boring Kanon. Bring back the crazy popstar!
Favourite character: Elsie
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle OVA 1: Tokyo Revelations
Synopsis in one sentence: Over a series of three episodes, the group travels through a war torn country which holds more than just feathers...
Holy guacamole. Where has this Tsubasa been? Really, I was expecting the traditional OVA stuff, mixed with a little Tsubasa boringness, but no... this was just WOW. After all this time, the overall plot and bad guys are finally being revealed! And that revelation (see what I did there? ^^) is way more complicated than I could've anticipated. I'm just so amazed that they could push the story forward so much in just three episodes. The character development also gets a big old thumbs up. Sakura is taken to her emotional limit, Fai and Kurogane's relationship is pushed to the brink and Syaoron is so crazy it's almost like he's been split in two (unless you've seen the OVA, you won't understand why that makes so much sense. :P). Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of time to catch your breath during this OVA, and it did feel a little cramped up sometimes, with all the overwhelming story. It makes me kind of sad that they didn't introduce this OVA earlier, though. If they had made this right after Season 1, I could only imagine how epic season 2 could've been.
Recommended for: Tsubasa fans. If you want, I think you could completely skip Season 2 (maybe stopping in at the Princess in the Birdcage) and just go straight to this OVA if you want your opinion of the series as a whole to be less tainted. Also be warned that the action gets much more intense: there's a little bit of blood leakage, so it's not for the faint hearted.
Best aspect: They finally moved the bad guys forward! I'm happy that I got to see some of the overall story before my 80th birthday. XD
Worst aspect: I struggled with remembering some of the older characters, but that's probably just cause I suck at remembering anime people. :)
Favourite character: I like the new Syaoran!
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle OVA 2: Spring Thunder Chronicles
Synopsis in one sentence: The group continues on and is immediately faced with trust issues, old friends and comas.
First, the good. Again, Tsubasa takes things to a place that I never thought it would go. The tone is a lot darker and their relationships are developing in a completely different, but awesomely interesting ways. I know the story is pretty intense, but I unfortunately can't explain why. So, why can't I do that? Because so much time has passed between this OVA and the last that I have absolutely no idea what's going on. There's characters I don't recognise, major plot points I've never heard of before and injuries that look really serious, but I have no idea where they came from. It's really weird that they'd skip so much time, because the whole story is kind of all over the place. Really, the only way this OVA'll make sense is if you read the manga. I don't read the manga. This OVA meant nothing to me.
Recommended for: Fans that read the Tsubasa manga. For the manga reader, this OVA covers the Nihon Arc, and starts just before the group leaves Celes.
Best aspect: I'm really into this rougher, action packed Tsubasa.
Worst aspect: There was absolutely no explanation for the non-manga readers. If they had filled in the blanks I probably would've scored it a 9.
Favourite character: Even though his actions frustrated me, Fai is getting cooler and cooler.
Your Lie in April
Synopsis in one sentence: A short story set in the past and centred on Kosei and his competition rivals.
A good extra episode for fans of the show, giving a small bit of insight into the minds of Emi and Takeshi. I feel like a lot of this OVA was rehashing events we are already familiar with and the new insight into the side characters didn't really add much to the Your Lie in April universe for me. Not a dull OVA, but one I could live without.
Recommended for: Fans of the series, especially those who enjoyed the brief appearances of Emi and Takeshi.
Best aspect: Seeing a bit more of Kosei in his piano playing heyday.
Worst aspect: Not really a necessary addition to the canon.
Favourite character: Emi

Manga Reviews


Title Current Volume Review Rating
Alice in the Country of Hearts
Synopsis in one sentence: A young girl named Alice is kidnapped by a human/rabbit hybrid and taken to a strange world where everyone is at war and no one's life matters.
Another manga based on Alice in Wonderland? I am there! I didn't really know what this manga was about, but boy am I glad I gave it a go! I had to tear myself away from the book because I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen! See, the only way Alice can return home is by interacting with the people of this weird new world, so a group of characters are introduced in quick succession, each more strange than the last. Secrets are also being kept, which leaves poor Alice completely out of the loop most of the time, which is made even harder by the fact that she can't get anyone to leave her alone. There's an element of danger as well, which adds a layer of complexity to the manga, as you never know how any of the inhabitants of this new world are going to behave. They could be professing love one moment and then murdering someone in the next. Can anyone in this land be trusted? The pacing of the story is very slow, which is frustrating, but it also aids the story because I was itching to find out more and more. Hence being unable to step away from the book for too long! The characters are the definite highlight so far, as most of the mythology of the world is still hidden from the reader. My only problem would be that Alice was sometimes hard to like, as she reacted kind of unrealistically to some of the situations she was in. When people are prepared to kill for her she takes a while to get them to stop. Again, this could also be a good thing because it shows some of the darker sides of Alice; she isn't afraid to string people along for her own amusement, although she wouldn't like to admit it. Sadly, the last couple volumes were both this series' strongest and its weakest. There is some amazing relationship development between Alice and the Hatter, which leads to some great character development for Alice. The story really rockets forward, as we watch not one, not two, but ALL of the characters struggle with allegiances and secrets. There's something shady going on, something that really had me on the edge of my seat with anticipation... and then nothing. The series ends with no end. In fact, I could say that the series ends exactly where it began: Alice in Wonderland with some mysterious characters keeping secrets from her. I was incredibly disappointed, and, well, annoyed. What a crappy way to end a series! So I'm going to look into the follow up books, in the hopes that they'll have some conclusions. For now though, I am not a happy camper.
Art style: Slightly simplistic designs, with exaggerated features and expressions. I think there could've been more elegance in the style, because the setting lends itself to so many beautiful aesthetic ideas. The title cards do get prettier as the series goes on, though.
Needs to improve: Please explain things! I feel like I will burst if I don't get answers!
Extras: A tinsy amount of extra artwork and some color pages at the beginning.
Recommended for: Wonderland fans (like moi) or fans of emotional thrillers that keep you guessing. Oh yeah, and the latter half of the series revealed that this is actually a romance series, so there's that too.
Story: 7/10
Artwork: 7/10
Extras: 3/10
Overall: 7/10
Are You Alice?
Synopsis in one sentence: A young man in search of an unknown something finds himself in Wonderland, where he is given the name Alice and told he has to kill the White Rabbit in order to survive.
Three guesses what led me to read this manga. :P Anywho, Are You Alice is a fairly new series, and in its first volume it just begins to find its feet. The pacing is a little rough, but it reminded me of the first volume of Alice in the Country of Hearts with the way it had to quickly introduce all the characters in a restricted amount of pages. But in trying to fit so much in so little space, there is the feeling of being rushed, and some of the story's plot is left a bit messy. In saying that, the points that were set up were very interesting and I think Are You Alice? has the potential to become a great mystery packed with action. I hope things mellow out in the next volumes and some character development gets going, because then I think I'll really become invested in what's going on.
Art style: Average artwork. The backgrounds are a bit basic so sometimes that can make the panels slightly muddy.
Needs to improve: The characters need to interact at bit more because their personalities are sort of a big question mark at the moment.
Extras: None. Boo!
Recommended for: Wonderland fans (like moi) or action/fantasy lovers. There's also a sniff of Yaoi around this, but nothing has happened. I hope it doesn't go down that road. >_> It's just all of the characters are pretty, flirty boys...
Story: 7/10
Artwork: 6/10
Extras: 0/10
Overall: 6/10
Synopsis in one sentence: Troubled Dinah discovers her name has been written on a contract that binds her to a mausoleum, in which she must release the souls of various spirits.
A hauntingly beautiful series anchored by truly stunning artwork. The simultaneous unravelling and strengthening of Dinah was very interesting to watch and the ghosts along the way were an intriguing backdrop to her hero's story. The climax of the story was a proper heart gripping moment, and the "all is lost" moments really hit home. The ending was probably the biggest stumble, as it seemed rushed and, in turn, kind of unsatisfactory. SPOILER ALERT I think it would've been much more cathartic to see Diana learning to live on her own, fortified by her own strength. Having her die and just getting to be with Vincent kind of negated any of the growth she had experienced previously. SPOILER OVER I did really enjoy this series though, and think it is a very underrated gem. I'll happily go back for a reread in a while and would heartily recommend it to manga fans with gothic hearts.
Art style: M. Alice Legrow has an interesting style of drawing, forgoing sharp, more refined work for elaborate designs. This is probably one of the manga's biggest strengths and Legrow's talent for clothing design (particularly of the Lolita persuasion) makes for some really stunning pages. Even if you don't like the story, I'm pretty sure you'll love the artwork.
Needs to improve: Hmm, maybe work on setting the scene a bit more. Sometimes it just jumps straight into the middle of the task and it can be a bit hard to catch up.
Extras: Fan art galleries, cosplay, original character designs and some fun 'documents'. Really great coverage of the series!
Recommended for: Gothic manga readers. It's also got a bit of romance, if that's more your style...
Story: 7.5/10
Artwork: 9/10
Extras: 10/10
Overall: 8.8/10
Black Butler
Synopsis in one sentence: A young earl uses the talents of his strange butler to solve supernatural mysteries.
Yay, Black Butler has re-entered my life! I was kind of interested to see the difference between the show and the manga, and I'm pleased to say that the overall tone of the anime is pretty close to its parent title. What I have noticed, however, is that there's a lot more humour in the manga than the anime, which took me some getting used to since I'm used to the characters being so serious and broody. The story pacing is a little slow, but I'm interested to see where this is going. I feel like there's gonna be a Grell-like character come out of this arc. We'll just have to wait and see! As a continuation of the Black Butler anime has been released, I'm going to put my manga reading on pause for now.
Art style: There's a lot of Chibis and basic figures. Other than that it's pretty standard style. Oh, there's also some color pages! Well, only like, two, but still... Color! In a manga! Yay!
Needs to improve: More needs to happen in a volume. The story's pretty interesting, but no more than the basic outline has been explained, so it's like reading at a filler pace.
Extras: Translation notes, and a little chibi strip about the author working on the series, which is pretty cute. Oh, and ads.
Recommended for: Fans of the anime, of course. You can watch the anime first or last, as it differs from the manga quite a bit, especially in the second season.
Story: 7/10
Artwork: 7/10
Extras: 8/10
Overall: 7.3/10
Black Paradox
Synopsis in one sentence: Four strangers arrange to meet to commit suicide together, but their plans unravel as they find themselves in the middle of a series of paranormal events.
If you've read the synopsis and think it's an odd concept for a story, you'd be right. This whole manga is odd, from start to finish. But this is a Junji Ito story, so of course it works. The connections between each important plot point were a bit jarring and sometimes hard to follow, but at the end I looked back at where things had started and respected how far they'd come. A lot of unusual science, paranormal, and philosophical ideas form something that I spent a good couple days mulling over once I had finished. While I wouldn't hail this as one of the standout Ito series, I would commend it for its out-there ideas. Another series that was fun in a way only Junji Ito stories can be.
Art style: It's classic Junji style, so lovely as always.
Needs to improve: I wish the original characters had been fleshed out a little past their traumas.
Recommended for: Junji Ito fans and those who like your sci-fi philosophical. There is a fair bit of suicide discussion in this, which could be triggering to some. Also lots of body horror and some gore, so be warned
Story: 7/10
Artwork: 8/10
Overall: 7.5/10
Cat Diary: Yon & Muu
Synopsis in one sentence: An autobiographical and humorous look at Junji Ito's relationship with his cats, presented in his trademark unsettling art style.
I'm not a slice of life fan, so a comedy about cat ownership wasn't appealing to me, especially when it was from a man who I look to for creep factor. But then I finished reading all the Junji Ito horror work I could find and suddenly I was Ito starved! And after reading how fun this series is and how it incorporates the eeriness Ito is known for into comedic scenarios, I gave in and decided to give it a go. Boy was it worth it! Cat Diary is this wonderful blend of silly and serious, giving a glimpse into the other side of the legendary horror artist: the domestic mess side. His silliness and the general absurdity of cats is highlighted by the use of his art style to overdramatise when needed, giving this really great satire vibe that made me smile many, many times. Mostly though—I think because this is based on his real experiences—this feels like the Junji Ito story with the most love woven throughout. He not only encapsulates the anxiety of pet ownership, but also the annoyingness of cats as a member of the family, and how despite all that you still become desperate for the approval of these adorable fluffy demons. This is a real manga for pet owners, who know all the ups and downs of loving animals. As a fan of Junji Ito I think this is a real stand out, cementing him as a legend of all genres, not just the ones most associated with him. I give applause all around.
Art style: It's that signature Junji Ito look, minus the body horror madness (though I guess that depends on how horrible you find cats).
Needs to improve: I wish the stories had covered a wider range of time, instead of being limited to very early in his cat owner days.
Recommended for: The Junji Ito fans who like him for more than his horror. I would also recommend this to any cat owner—actually, I think any pet owners might find this work relatable.
Story: 8/10
Artwork: 8/10
Overall: 8/10
Synopsis in one sentence: See Claymore Anime Review.
What. A. Series.

The slow build of adversary after adversary, the mounting odds against the heroes and then all the behind the scenes workings of the claymore organisation; it ALL paid off. The crescendo of the series—the final battle—was as amazing as had been promised since that very first glimpse of Clare's early life. It was perfect. All the heroes got their own satisfying conclusions, and there were plenty of jaw drop twists to keep every chapter better than the last. I just really love this series, okay? It's the first anime I ever watched and after finishing all these years later, it's still just as amazing as I found it back then. The only downside is that it had to end...
Art style: Kind of the normal manga style. Norihiro Yagi likes to do a lot of shading, though! The designs of the Awakened Ones are what really stands out, and each monster is bigger and more elaborate than the last!
Needs to improve: All the random sound effects. I suppose it's really hard to try and choreograph a fight sequence through still sequences, but the sound effects all over the pages are pretty random. :D
Extras: No extras, which makes me miss them a bit. :(
Recommended for: Fans of the anime (obviously) or action lovers. It's pretty gritty, so if you like your manga uplifting, maybe give this a miss.

Story: 9.5/10
Artwork: 7.5/10
Extras: N/A
Overall: 9/10
Death Note
Synopsis in one sentence: Genius student Light Yagami discovers a book that grants him the power to kill anyone, so he takes it upon himself to rid the world of evil.
This manga is intrigue at its finest. Thrilling, mindblowing, crazy, exciting; take your pick, Death Note is all of these things. The characters are great and it's so hard to choose who to root for, because they are all equally awful and amazing in their own rights. This whol series is epic from start to finish. Ugh, it's really hard to explain the awesomeness of this series without revealing any of the plot, so in summary, I will say this: READ DEATH NOTE. Read it now.
Art style: Normal manga style. There's lots of shading.
Needs to improve: Absolutely nothing. It is perfect.
Extras: Basically none. There are a few random mini drawings with phrases by the artist... which is kind of, um, good, I guess? Other than that, there's nothing else, which kind of sucks.
Recommended for: Fans of the anime (I stopped watching the anime and decided to read the manga first) or anyone that's looking for something a bit more challenging. Also for anyone who wants to get their mind blown.
Story: 10/10
Artwork: 8/10
Extras: 3/10
Overall: 8/10
Synopsis in one sentence: A collection of 12 of Junji Ito’s earliest works.
I was really pleased that Viz decided to adapt these early works, even more so that they decided to bundle them together to give an almost chronological reading experience. The stories included are Biohouse (very rushed, but sufficiently creepy), Face Thief (full of fun twists, but has a too abrupt ending), Where the Sandman Lives (in my opinion, the first outing of Junji Ito’s trademark body horror), The Devil's Logic (a fun premise, but underwhelming execution), The Long Hair in the Attic (terrifying and makes me want to book a haircut), Scripted Love (fun and short), Sword of the Re-Animator (liked the focus on the family, but the titular antagonist was a bit lacking), A Father's Love (a riveting horror story about generational abuse with a gut-punch ending), Unbearable Labyrinth (a claustrophobic nightmare), Bullied (a legendary Ito story), Deserter (one of my all time favs), and Village of the Siren (a fantasy heavy homecoming story that doesn’t quite stick the landing). Being so early in his career, these may not be Ito’s most riveting works, nor is his art as refined as it renowned for now, but I think it’s such a neat experience to see where he started and get a peek at the seeds that would cause his career to flourish in the decades to come.
Art style: Messier than you may expect, seeing as these are his earliest works. Otherwise beautiful, as always.
Needs to improve: I was really hoping for the inclusion of The World of Nami Himuro, one of the few Junji Ito stories I have not been able to get my eyes on.
Recommended for: I think these stories will fail to captivate beginner Ito fans, and might seem juvenile for lightly experienced fans. This is for those of us in the deep end of the Junji Ito pool.
Story: 7/10
Artwork: 7/10
Overall: 7/10
Dissolving Classroom
Synopsis in one sentence: A strange pair of siblings start at a new school
A bit all over the place, this one. It reads like it was supposed to be a bunch of one-offs but was strung into a connected story at the last minute, resulting in a somewhat rushed and not quite cohesive conclusion. I dunno, it just felt like an odd choice for a full series; the concept wasn't strong enough to merit the longer journey and resulted in me waiting for a payoff that never came. I didn't hate this series, but it's not one of my favourites. Let's just leave it at that.
Art style: As good as usual, with some really gross looks for the "dissolving" parts of the story.
Needs to improve: Purpose. Either for the characters, for the magic, or for the plot.
Recommended for: Big Junji Ito fans. Prepare for gory art
Story: 6.7/10
Artwork: 7.8/10
Overall: 7.2/10
Fragments of Horror
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of eight Junji Ito short stories.
As usual there are some ups and downs in this collection, but the downs still have some manner of interest and the ups stayed with me for long after I had finished them. Stand outs include Gentle Goodbye, which gave an interesting perspective on grief and ghosts, and Blackbird, which was a sci-fi rescue story that made me realise I should know better than to think Junji Ito is going to write a sweet story for once. I also enjoyed the two part Tomio story, even if it left me with more questions than answers. Overall this was another fun collection and I am left a happy camper once again.
Art style: Great. There was some really neat monster design in this collection.
Needs to improve: Magami Nanakuse kind of stands out as weaker than the rest of the stories and, if improved, could've elevated this volume as a whole.
Recommended for: Junji Ito and horror fans. I would recommend reading after the Horror Comic Collection, to get a feel for Junji's work first. There's a bit of sexual content in this collection, but nothing too gratuitous.
Story: 8/10
Artwork: 8/10
Overall: 8/10
Synopsis in one sentence: While on holiday, Tadashi and his girlfriend Kaori encounter a strange new species of fish—ones with metal legs.
I honestly can't wrap my head around how Junji Ito took such a weird concept and just made it work. Lots of body horror in this one, with a cool sci-fi edge that Ito's work doesn’t often have. The ending lets the story down a bit, as it sort of just... stops.
Art style: It's a Junji Ito story, so of course everything looks awesome.
Needs to improve: Kaori. Just her whole everything.
Recommended for: Junji Ito or those whole love a crazy sci-fi concept. Body horror abounds, so fair warning for those with queasy stomachs.
Story: 8/10
Artwork: 9/10
Overall: 8.5/10
Hellstar Remina
Synopsis in one sentence: A man names the star he discovered after his beloved daughter Remina, but when the star turns out to be on a collision course for earth, the public blames Remina and sets out for revenge.
This is probably the fastest paced Junji Ito story I have read, which made for a wild ride. I think all the different environmental effects of the star and the look into how the different societal classes react to an apocalyptic scenario were so interesting and really rooted this kind of crazy story. The main problem I have though, is Remina herself. She was such an odd, needlessly bland character. I have no idea what her motives were, nor why she served as the point of importance to the plot. I kept hoping for some payoff of her strangeness, but it never came, leaving Remina as one of the most frustrating characters I have read in a while. It's a character poor but plot rich manga. Ultimately, I think my love for Ito's work made this one serviceable. A weird Junji Ito story is still better than most.
Art style: Classic Junji Ito. I think his work in forced perspective and motion was a real standout here.
Needs to improve: Remina. Hell, maybe the improvement would've been omitting her altogether.
Recommended for: Junji Ito or disaster genre fans. There is gore, so be warned
Story: 6.5/10
Artwork: 8.5/10
Overall: 7.5/10
Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows the different stories of people in a nation where citizens are killed at random to showcase the sanctity of life, with those sentenced to die being told only 24 hours in advance.
I really enjoyed this series. There are so many different stories in this series, so many different views and lifestyles and it's all handled in a way that can't but help make you think "what would you do if you had 24 hours left to live?" It's so effective and runs the range of emotions from sad to infuriating to sweet to melancholy to all that’s in-between. All the characters stand out, which is really impressive considering how little time the author spends with each one. It's really easy to get lost in this fully formed world. Everything is tied together by the man who delivers the ikigami's (death notices), Fujimoto, and his learning curve with the ikigami world is our learning curve, one that has to thinking about society and government and of course life and death. It's a really great journey and one I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Art style: The art is standard, but the artist's nack for close-ups and shading leads to some really effective facial expressions. The characters were all nicely designed; I enjoy a series where people look normal (aka no crazy hairdos or costumes) but are all easily distinguishable from each other.
Needs to improve: I wish the ending had been a little different. It felt very abrupt and a bit too easily solved for me.
Recommended for: Psychological drama fans.
Story: 9/10
Artwork: 7/10
Overall: 8/10


Title Current Volume Review Rating
Mimi's Ghost Stories
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows ordinary girl Mimi and a set of separate strange occurrences that happen in her life.
These stories are based around urban legends Junji Ito decided to adapt, tying them together within the life of the character Mimi. The result is somewhat disconnected, as characters barely seem bothered by the recurring oddities, which makes them only odder. On the plus side, the sudden beginning and end of each of these stories results in an overall "local" feel to the collection, like we are merely brief passers-by in this girl's stress, which was an atmosphere that makes this stand out from Junji's other works. Previously his stories have far reach consequences or foreboding airs of something more sinister underneath, so I liked the change of having something smaller in scale, something more intimate. This series may not sparkle as much as an Uzumaki or Black Paradox series does, but I think that in itself makes it a Junji Ito work worth reading.
Art style: Lovely, of course.
Needs to improve: Seeing any of the psychological effects this was having on Mimi would've made her a stronger protagonist.
Recommended for: Junji Ito, supernatural, urban legend, and scary-story-around-the-campfire fans. I would recommend reading after the Horror Comic Collection, to get a feel for Junji's work first. There is also a bit of body horror, so steer clear if you're squeamish.
Story: 7.6/10
Artwork: 7/10
Overall: 7.3/10
My Dead Girlfriend
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows Finney, a normal teen who lives in a world of monsters.
Okay, in no way did I discontinue this manga by choice. Sadly, Tokyopop never followed up on more volumes to this great book, despite much fan protest. Oh well, I'll just have to manage with just one volume. The story of My Dead Girlfriend was a bit predictable, but mainly entertaining. The mocking take on the average high school cliques was a particular highlight for me, as it showcased a lot of cool characters, while also showing off the funnier side of the book. But, I suppose the manga industry is tough, and the story ends just as things are getting good. :(
Art style: Drawn more in the style of western comics than manga, which was a fresh touch. The downside was that the illustrations weren't as captivating as the normal animes and maybe made the series feel like it was aimed at a younger audience.
Needs to improve: More volumes! Okay, not gonna happen, but a girl can dream...
Extras: Lots of concept and fan art, which was cool to see.
Recommended for: Just for fun, I guess. Be warned that you could get a little invested in a series that isn't going anywhere...
Story: 7.5/10
Artwork: 6/10
Extras: 8/10
Overall: 7.5/10
New Voices in the Dark
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of seven Junji Ito short stories.
Like the previous Voices in the Dark volume, these started a bit mediocre and then picked up a bit. Unfortunately, I don't think these reached the same heights as it predecessor. I know Junji Ito isn't one for complete conclusions, but a lot of these felt more un-ended than usual, which I think can work for some people, but shortened the enjoyment for me. There was a somewhat lighter tone to many of these stories, with an injection of comedy in some cases that was a welcome experiment, even if I prefer Junji's dark horror. As always I enjoyed getting more Ito work to consume, though I can't help but hope that his next group of stories is a little more challenging.
Art style: Neat as always, though there wasn't as much room for stand out panels in this volume as there has been in others.
Needs to improve: I would've liked the stories to go a little father in their endings.
Recommended for: Junji Ito fans. I would recommend reading after the Horror Comic Collection, to get a feel for Junji's work first. There is also a bit of body horror, so steer clear if you're squeamish.
Story: 7/10
Artwork: 7/10
Overall: 7/10
Pandora Hearts
Synopsis in one sentence: At his coming of age ceremony, 15 yr old Oz is captured and thrown into a terrifying otherworldly dimension.
I did try with this series, but it was so overly convoluted that I felt like I was forcing myself to continue. If not even my love of Alice in Wonderland references can keep my interest, nothing will. More tell than show, more lore than fun--this sadly was not the series for me.
Art style: Your run of the mill artwork, enhanced by some great monster designs (B Rabbit, anyone?).
Extras: Two pages worth of little mini stories and a translation guide. There's also a lot of ads, but I don't think they count.
Recommended for: Fans of Square Enix's current KH/FF plot style.
Rozen Maiden
Synopsis in one sentence: Reclusive Jun is sent a porcelain doll that comes to life and drags him into a dangerous war.
I started off intrigued and ended bored. The battle between the dolls showed promise, but we never actually get to see it. Most of every volume was focused on silly comedy hijinks, which I got so sick of. Why advertise as a sweeping magical girls epic when you're mostly slice of life dullness? There's only so many "hehe, they don't know things!" jokes I can take. Then when there is actual plot development, I found it really hard to follow. I dunno what it was, but reading this felt like every third page had been ripped out—I had no idea what was going on. Long confusing speeches and panels focusing all over the place so I had no idea who was talking or when. I decided to finished reading in one go to get it over with and then... there's no ending! In fact, this whole series is pretty much just a set up for the second series... a series I 100% will not be reading. Great character designs, great concept, lame execution.
Art style: Kind of traditional manga design, but with lots of detail. The dolls in particular are stunning and fully showcase the artist's drawing talent.
Needs to improve: The sexualisation of the dolls is gross AF. These dolls both look and often behave like 7-ish year olds, so to have hints at romance between them and the young adult lead and slight glimpses at their undergarments or them being otherwise undressed is disgusting.
Recommended for: Those who like gothic styling and slice of life.
Story: 4/10
Artwork: 7.5/10
Overall: 5.7/10
Tenjo Tenge
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows a club at a school created for martial arts fighters.
Following on from my love of the anime, this manga truly was an interesting experience. The core conflict to the series was a great anchor for my interest, though the series suffers from an author with wandering interests. The closer you get to the end, the more the story diverges to introduce new characters and layers of mystery and history that effects the present. The result is confusion and I was struggling not be overwhelmed, especially in arcs spun from the author's interest in Japanese history and the assumption that all readers have the same level of knowledge as himself. That being said, the author's wandering eye is usually so laser focused on an end point that it keeps the split story paths still understandable, which I think is commendable. I can, however, understand how for others it might seem like a mess of story and I wouldn't disagree with anyone who said they felt all these historical additions and new powers were unnecessary. I often found myself thinking back on the fighting school setup of the story and wondering "how the hell did I get here?". Everything culminates in the final volume and, despite my worries from all the sidetracking, the threads wove together quite well and it seemed like the author had not forgotten what we were here for. I loved that this series was not afraid to let its women fight and be strong and buff, unlike most series that reduce women to quivering messes as soon as a man enters the room or demands that the women be sexy if they try and fight for themselves. Tenjo Tenge handles its fights with equal parts grace and tension and every battle was exciting. The final battle had me on the edge of my seat and everyone came together in the most amazing way... and then there was one more chapter. And it stunk. Really, the final chapter was so strange, jumping through time and different perspectives and showing things I didn't really care about so that any momentum from the previous chapters was instantly killed. Then the final reveal of how everything ending was very... huh. That's what you choose to do? Okay then, I guess. It was jarring to go from such excitement to such disappointment so quickly, an experience I'm not sure I've had with any other franchise. The result is that I'm really not sure how I feel about Tenjo Tenge as a whole. I had a heck of a lot of fun reading it, but the overall package left me ambivalent. I am happy to have read it, but am not sure I would reread it again. Would I recommend it? I'm not sure. Maybe this is one best tried for yourself. For now, I'll just be glad to have made the journey.
Art style: Oh!Great specializes in full page spreads that are really gorgeous. The volumes I had had colored mini-posters as well and they were awesome. Smaller panels can be less well handled, with some of the fight scenes being a bit messy. I would say good overall, though. I would be remiss, however, not to mention the amount of R18 content. I hate the over-sexualization of women in manga, but it's enough of a staple of the genre that I just have to grin and bear it. If anything, I prefer the upfront nature of Tenjo Tenge's illustrations, cause if we're gone have sexy women, I'd rather they own their sexuality as they do here. This series does take it to ridiculous heights, though: if there is a women in shot, she will be sexualised in one way or another (half naked, see through shirts, straight nudity, you take your pic). The worst offense, however, is (especially in the later volumes) the amount of straight up rape. Rape as a plot point is awful enough already, but this series seems to want you to get off on it. The author seemed to relish in drawing his female characters abused and used as often as possible and it was straight up disgusting. By the end of the series, I was definitely of the thought that this man enjoys drawing such scenes a little too much. It's a huge black mark on what could be an otherwise stand out series and something that I recommend all take into consideration when perusing Oh!Great's works.
Needs to improve: Stop adding new characters and treating the female characters like dogs.
Extras: The volumes I have (the 2 in 1 editions) have colored artwork before each volume that I really liked. At the end of each volume is also a collection of little comic strips written by the author that detail his time working on the series. I thought the comics were cute and had a humor I would've loved to see more of in the series.
Recommended for: Adults. There isn't any full frontal nudity, but there's toplessness and sex scenes sprinkled throughout. I'd equate this series to a soft-porn. Also, trigger warning for rape. Outside of that, this would be enjoyed by fans of supernatural shonen. I'd recommend checking out the anime first before deciding to give the manga a go.
Story: 8.5/10
Artwork: 7/10
Extras: 8/10
Overall: 7.8/10
The Junji Ito Horror Comic Collection
Synopsis in one sentence: This was SO much fun to read, I pretty much rocketed through this huge catalogue of work without stopping. So many interesting concepts and circumstances that have you hooked in the first few pages. I loved the mixture of work, from stand alones to recurring characters to mini-series—mixing things up kept every volume fresh, keeping me excited to see what type of story would be next. This whole collection is really an ode to Junji Ito and why he is as deservedly beloved as he is. I enjoyed this so much that I wouldn't be surprised if I were to end up re-reading it all over again very soon.
Art style: Airy, light, beautiful illustrations punctuated by heavy, overly detailed gut-punch spreads featuring the goriest, eeriest, and creepiest shots of the stories. Junji Ito puts hours of work into his art and it shows.
Needs to improve: Endings. So many of them feel unresolved.
Recommended for: Eerie horror fans. Ito is known for his body horror inventions, so steer clear if that kind of thing makes you queasy. No jump scare-y run of the mill horror here, so I, a total wimp, am able to handle Junji's version of horror, but there is a lot of existential horror and if you are the type of person who gets uncomfortable with that kind of creepiness, steer clear. While multiple English translations have been attempted and abandoned by various publishing companies, right now you may have to rely on fan translations to read every volume.
Story: 9/10
Artwork: 9/10
Overall: 9/10
Tokyo Mew Mew
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of girls is infused with the power of endangered species and must defeat corrupted animals to return to normal.
A super girl series to the fullest! Now, I've never really been a fan of the shojo genre, so I don't think this manga was really for me. I found it a bit too… 'frilly'. Lots of corny catchphrases and weird powers, it was just a bit much for me. On top of that was a big overlying message of treating earth right, which is a great message, but I think it was laid on a little thick. On a more positive note, the characters were quite interesting and had a mixture of cute, spoilt, clumsy, heroic and mysterious. What was also funny was the names of the characters. At first, it was normal with the introduction of Ichigo. Then came Mint, which is odd, but okay. And then came Lettuce, followed by Pudding. Yeah... By the third volume, the story becomes a mess as everything becomes wrapped up in trying to make the girls as cute as possible, instead of focusing on the actual plot. The wider cast is pretty much pushed to the background in favor of showering every page with Ichigo, which would be alright if Ichigo wasn't so annoying. I mean, when her crush calls to see if they can meet up she agrees... despite being in the middle of the volume's biggest battle. Is it so hard to say "Not now, but maybe in an hour or two"? And really, I don't feel like spending more time watching the ever bland Ichigo worry about her love life when a) she's like, 12 and b) there's a giant alien invasion going on. I think I'm gonna give the rest of Tokyo Mew Mew a miss for now.
Art style: Average drawings. I like the random chibi drawings every now and then, plus the costume design was great.
Needs to improve: There was a sound effect for every single panel. I thought Claymore was bad, but this takes the cake. It made each page seemed cramped and was pretty OTT.
Extras: I really cannot complain about the extras at all. There was almost an entire manga volume full of extra material! Everything from little side comic panels to the creator's stories about promotional events. There was information on the 'red data animals' that represent each girl, plus a section at the end which explained the differences they made when translating the manga from Japanese to English. A+++
Recommended for: Shojo fans, definitely. Also, if you like romance or animals, then you'll like Toyko Mew Mew.
Story: 5/10
Artwork: 6/10
Extras: 10/10
Overall: 6/10
Synopsis in one sentence: A collection of all of Junji Ito’s stories about Tomie: a girl with an unearthly beauty, a history of brutal murder at the hands of her paramours, and a promise that she will always return.
Such a fun experience to read these all together. Released by Viz media, this book feels high quality, is beautifully arranged, and looks fantastic on my shelf. Tomie is creepy and tragic and intriguing to the highest degree, and I’m so happy to own this. If you haven’t read Tomie before, I’d highly recommend that you grab yourself a copy as soon as you can. My favourite stories are Tomie, Morita Hospital, Orphan Girl, Little Finger, and Old and Ugly.
Art style: Junji Ito, so stunning.
Needs to improve: I wish they’d kept some of the older English titles for the stories instead of re-translating them, cause it was a bit confusing to remember which story was what because I’m used to the more established titles.
Recommended for: Horror or Junji Ito fans. I wouldn’t recommend this as a starter Junji Ito work, as I think it’d be more interesting to read after some familiarity with his style. For a beginner, I could imagine Tomie being a bit overwhelming and might not showcase Junji Ito’s full potential.
Story: 8.8/10
Artwork: 9/10
Overall: 8.9/10
Synopsis in one sentence: It starts with a man becoming obsessed with spirals, with things *ahem* spiraling out of control from there.
I have heard about mangaka Junji Ito for a while, but as I am a wimp who can't handle horror, I have never ventured into his work. However, after recently hearing that his work is more eerie than scary, my curiosity won the better of me and I decided to give him a go. And boy am I glad I did. Uzumaki is so enthralling, so creepy, so interesting, that I read it all in one go. I couldn't look away. Ito is a master of suspense, and the feeling of hopelessness and inevitably that encapsulates his works is something that sticks with you long after you've finished reading. Uzumaki was such a fun ride, anchored by a ridiculously interesting concept. I really couldn't recommend it enough.
Art style: Junji is all about that detail, which interestingly enough lends a sort of noir feel to his stories. He is well known for his body horror panels, so if that is something that makes you squeamish, Junji Ito might not be for you.
Needs to improve: I wish the characters were a bit more proactive. Kirei was frustratingly passive and seemed pretty ambivalent about the horror around her.
Extras: A comedy side comic at the end of each volume, chronicling Ito's investigation into spirals. I enjoyed these, but they seemed unfinished in a way that I don't think inserting them (which sort of jarred the creepy mood of the rest of the volumes) was necessary.
Recommended for: Horror fans. As a total horror hater, I was able to handle these because they are more eerie and foreboding, which I enjoy. As mentioned, there is quite a bit of body horror, which can make some squeamish.
Story: 9/10
Artwork: 9/10
Extras: 6/10
Overall: 8/10
Venus in the Blind Spot
Synopsis in one sentence: A collection of 11 Junji Ito stories.
Another awesome reading experience. Although I had read all of these stories before, it’s so exciting to have them bound officially in English and sitting on my shelf. This collection includes The Sad Tale of the Principal Post (an odd and short tale), Enigma of Amigara Fault (one of the most well known Junji Ito stories, and for good reason), Billions Alone (one of my fav stories just for the visuals alone), The Licking Woman (a quirky mystery with a nice eerie atmosphere), How Love Came to Professor Kirida (one of the stories I find most underwhelming), The Human Chair (weird to the max, which makes it creepy to the max), An Unearthly Love (um... okay), Venus in the Blind Spot (a terrifying exhibition of male obsession), Master Umezz and Me (a sweet glimpse into Junji Ito’s writing inspiration), and Keepsake (super unsettling). Each of the stories is fun, but I did find the subject material a little scattered. My assumption is that the theme of the book is supposed to be love/obsession, but I still think the tales are too far varied to make for a cohesive reading experience. Either way, rereading Junji Ito is never a dull experience, and I’m more than pleased to have added this to my collection.
Art style: Junji Ito stunning, of course.
Needs to improve: Chapter layout
Recommended for: Those interested in Junji Ito. This has a few of his more popular stories, so this could be a good place to start diving into his one-off works.
Story: 8/10
Artwork: 9/10
Overall: 8.5/10
Voices in the Dark
Synopsis in one sentence: A group of seven Junji Ito short stories.
This collection started a bit slow for my liking, with the first few stories being a bit predictable and run of the mill for my Ito expectations. Then The Secret of the Haunted Mansion ended with a twist that I LOVED and things amped up from there. The latter half of this volume is chock full of that "simple concept stretched to a horrifying conclusion" type of story that I adore Junji Ito's work for, with The Earthbound a new contender for my favourite Junji story. I really loved getting back to a shorter format of these thriller horror masterpieces and, once again, Junji Ito leaves me more than happy to be a fan.
Art style: Great as usual, with quite a bit of that classic Junji Ito gross-out chilling imagery.
Needs to improve: The first couple stories were a bit meh.
Recommended for: Fans of Junji Ito. I would recommend reading these after Horror Comic Collection, both for having a better understanding of his short story style and also because of some minor continuity. Content warning for gore and body horror.
Story: 8.4/10
Artwork: 8.7/10
Overall: 8.6/10

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