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User:FinalRest/Anime and Manga Reviews Plus

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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 Plus page!! On this page, you can find a bunch of random reviews that pertain to the anime/manga world in some way or another, but aren't really anime or manga. 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[edit | edit source]

This page will host the reviews I have for random anime/manga related things. I don't really have a criteria for what I'll put on this page, as I'm just gonna add reviews as I feel like it. There's also no schedule for when I'll add something here, because it all depends on if I have something random I want to review. I might post something three minutes in a row, I might not update this page for a year. I'm just unpredictable and stuff.
Also, there are a few things to know first:

  • I don't really take suggestions on anime to watch, as I have a big list of 'Anime to Watch' already. XD
  • My live action reviews are written as someone who has only seen the anime version of the source material. I make no consideration for the original manga when discussing these series.
  • I try to avoid spoilers as much as I can, but I still apologise if I let anything slip!

DVD Collections[edit | edit source]

Title Review Rating
Claymore The Complete Series
Includes: The entire Claymore series and some special features.
Presentation: The outer sleeve has a pretty simple and sleek design, which I think fits in well with the overall attitude of Claymore. The front features Clare's pale face while the back features her armoured back and some scenes from the show. The DVD case features the same illustrations, while the inside boasts Clare's Claymore and a list of episodes. I think the Tenjho Tenge set was much more exciting to look at, but knowing the series that Claymore is, I don't think any more imagery would've been suitable. The dark colors and simple illustrations perfectly show the gritty side of the show, so I think it works pretty well. Oh, and the disk are plain black. :)
Bonus Material: We've got special features up the wazoo! Each disk holds commentary options, although not all episodes have commentary provided. The last disk is the real treasure trove, though. As well as more commentary and the standard trailers, special insights behind the scenes of the show are shared. These include interviews with production team members, cast auditions, original commercials and more.
Is it worth buying? Yep. If you're a Claymore fan this is a tidy set full of bonus material. Everything is packed into just 4 disks, which means you get to enjoy the series in large chunks instead of spaced out pieces. I was surprised by the amount of extra features and user friendliness, so I'm pleased with this buy!
Series: 9.5/10
Presentation: 7.5/10
Bonus Features: 7.8/10
Overall: 8.5/10
Tenjho Tenge Collection
Includes: The entire Tenjho Tenge series, with the two OVA specials added in as episodes 25 and 26.
Presentation: The cover art is a collage of all the protagonists, with a scantily clade Maya holding her sword front and center. If the big M rating sticker on the front doesn't do a good enough job of warning about the sexual themes of this show, then that image certainly will. ;D The back features a completely awesome Maya, but this time (even though she is wearing less clothes here) she's got her badass on as she swings her katana. It's a pretty cool design, but the cover loses some points for the inside, which is just the same as the back cover but flipped around. >_> Way to be lazy. Each disk is printed with the monochrome pose of a different character, but it's kind of weird that Bob, Souichiro and Takayanagi Jr aren't represented here... Overall, I think the box is far from unappealing, but a bit more effort could've pulled off some stunning decoration.
Bonus Material: Unfortunately, special features are scarce. There are the standard textless opening and closing animations (available for all three music pieces that feature in the series) and some galleries. There is also a crap load of trailers, if you're into that... which I am, so that was fun for me. :P
Is it worth buying? For a big fan of the series, such as myself, it really is. However, if you're just looking for a hard copy of the series for the hell of it and not for collective purposes, I'd suggest just burning a download to disk. There isn't much padding that makes the collection a real stand out, which is kind of disappointing. Still, I am more than happy to have my own special copy of one of my all-time favourite shows!
Series: 9.5/10
Presentation: 7/10
Bonus Features: 3/10
Overall: 7.1/10
The Wallflower S.A.V.E Edition
Includes: The entire Wallflower anime series.
Presentation: The cover art, which features the flower boys in the forefront with a chibi Sunako and the mansion in the background, looks great, but this edition is spoiled by the giant green S.A.V.E banner running along the left side. S.A.V.E is a project to offer some series at a cheap price, but I don't know why they force everyone to advertise that on their copy. I would've much preferred a removable insert, yano? The back also has the same banner, but you get to see an unsullied version of the art on the inside of the box, which is nice. Everything else looks nice, with a flattering black and red color scheme to tie everything together.
Bonus Material: There are the standard textless opening and closing animations and a crap load of trailers. I was a bit bummed because this is one of my fav series and I would've loved some extras. :(
Is it worth buying? I don't know if there are other versions of this set out there, but if there are you might want to check them out because this set is the bare basics. I was also super annoyed that the disks did not come with a play all option, so you have to individually select each episode to get them to play. But hey, if you want a simple set of the Wallflower, then this just might be the collection for you!
Series: 8.9/10
Presentation: 6/10
Bonus Features: 1/10
Overall: 6.3/10

Live Action Dramas[edit | edit source]

Title Review Rating
Future Diary: Another:World
Synopsis: Hoshino Arata 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.
Another World is like an alternate universe retelling of the Future Diary story. In the first few episodes, this does not work in the show's favour. It's as if the anime was rolled in a ball of obvious plot lines and then thrown to an underdeveloped budget. The mystery is non-existent because the story is dumbed down. For example, instead of Yuki Arata's dad's loyalty being constantly questioned, it's just explained away as "he was trying to protect his family". It's more family friendly, but it's the brutal, you-never-know-who-to-trust aspects of Future Diary that make it so enjoyable and without that, the story is kind of dull. It isn't until the midway point of the series that it really starts to branch out. I suddenly realised that this was a different story to the anime and I had to accept it. Once I did, I was invested in the characters and their quest to oust the hidden villain. The love story between Arata and Yuno was also well done, and I liked that it kept this constant question mark above Yuno's head in focus, while also reshaping their relationship in a way that I was able to root for them (something I wasn’t able to do in the anime). It was a real shame, then, that the ending was such a disappointment. The plot played it incredibly safe, and it was very anticlimactic. There's so much room for potential and I don't think this represents the Future Diary world very well, but as a standalone drama, Another World is an enjoyable watch.
Casting: N/A as the characters were all new creations.
Acting: Very very tacky. I think the cast was too overdramatic and needed to be a bit more tactful with their emotions.
Difference to the anime: Everything but the following three things: Phones that can tell the future, a deity named Deus and a crazy girl called Yuno that stalks the lead character.
Is It Worth It?: If you love the anime/manga and want more of its story, I don't think this show will impress you. If you want a mystery themed drama to watch, Another World might be worth adding to your list.
Story: 6/10
Cast: 6/10
Anime Accuracy: N/A
Overall: 6/10
Hana Yori Dango
Synopsis in one sentence: Follows poor student Makino Tsukushi as she tries to fit in at her elite school, which eventually leads to her crossing paths with F4, a group of ridiculously rich and equally handsome boys who rule their school with an iron fist.
Really enjoyable. It's weird because the F4 group are pretty horrendous when they're introduced, but by the end you kind of adore them all, which to me is a testament to how great the writing and character development is in this show. The real stand out is our heroine, who is plucky to the max and a solid foundation for the show to build its support around. It's so easy to root for Makino and she's the reason I'm as enamoured by the story as I am. Lead F4 member Domyouji I struggled with, as most of his personality is just him being awful and I HATE the "if you love him enough, he'll change" grossness that their love is kinda based on. That being said, unlike other series that use this trope, I like that Domyouji changed on his own merits, bettering himself for him and not putting the onus on Makino to be better. Sure, she's the catalyst that causes him to change, but he comes out of everything as a better person, not just a better boyfriend, which I think is an important distinction. The ending I was pretty surprised by, because it's pretty bittersweet. It does leave things open ended though, so I am excited to see where things go.
Casting: The F4 weren't really attractive to me, but that's just personal preference. Looks wise I don't think anyone really matches their manga counterpart too well, but they've gone for a more modern look and I think it works. Everyone has the "essence" of their character pretty down and I think that matters more in this case.
Acting: Standard over exaggeration that can get a little cringey, but I think this cast is one of the better I've seen in regards to the subtler emotions of their characters. Domyouji was a stand out for me, with J-Pop star Jun Matsumoto portraying his struggle to become a better person really well.
Difference to the anime: I have not read the manga nor seen the anime, but I have seen the Korean version of this show and I think this one was better. The focus on Domyouji's growth makes him so much more palatable and the balancing of storylines works much better here.
Is It Worth It?: As far as live action adaptations go, this is probably one of the strongest I've seen. It's very much a romance, though, so if that's not your thing this isn't for you. If this is your thing, then my only suggestion is to go into this knowing some of the drama is a bit icky (like I said, boys being assholes does not a heartthrob make) but it gets better, and you'll probably find this series a real treat.
Story: 7.5/10
Cast: 7/10
Anime Accuracy: N/A
Overall: 7.3/10
Hana Yori Dango Returns
Synopsis in one sentence: Uncomfortable feelings are abound when our two lovers are reunited, forcing them to revaluate their relationship and the future they might have together.
A bit of a rocky start to this one, with some random storylines that seemed like they existed solely to get our characters from point A to point B. Once that's all dealt with, however, things change to a really great focus on Makino and Domyouji growing as both solo people and as a couple. There's a maturity in their interactions that I think is rare in romance dramas and the result was that I became more invested in their relationship than before. Their problems are a fun balance of ridiculous and dire, culminating in a happy ending that felt was more earned than is usual for cheesy romances. This is a season that felt needed, which to me signals a strong writing backbone. I very much enjoyed the further adventures of the F4 and am looking forward to the conclusion of this saga.
Casting: Same as before. There are a few new characters, but none consequential enough to merit mention.
Acting: There's a bit of a more serious tone to this season and I think everyone rises to the challenge well. Credit to Mariko Kaga, who played a worthy villain.
Difference to the anime: I'm not familiar with the source material for this season, so I cannot comment here.
Is It Worth It?: Yes
Story: 8/10
Cast: 7.5/10
Anime Accuracy: N/A
Overall: 7.9/10
Nodame Cantabile
Synopsis in one sentence: Set at a college for musicians, Nodame Cantabile follows straight-edged aspiring conductor Chiaki and his relationship with the students around him, most prevalently the all-around mess that is Megumi Noda.
Pretty much a scene for scene remake of the series that covers the exact same story I've seen in the anime. It takes a while to get going, so the first handful of episodes were a bit camp, but once the actors settle into their roles, the characters really gel and the story shines. If you're a Nodame fan, it's worth a watch simply for the incredible character likeness the drama achieves.
Cast: Like I said, I wasn't really feeling the cast for the first portion of the show, but then they seemed to become more comfortable with their characters and the acting slowly improved. By the end of the anime, I was very impressed by the portrayals I was seeing. And like I also said, the likeness to the anime characters was very impressive, as most dramas don't make an effort to copy many of the crazy hairstyles and dress sense anime is known for. Except for Stresemann. He looked nothing like the Milch I knew, and I found it bizarre that they kept his German storyline despite him being clearly not German. My only other gripe was that the actor for Chiaki was not so good at subtle emotion, which made the later, more emotionally taxing scenes a bit cringey.Difference to the anime: The only one I can think of is Milch's appearance.
Is It Worth It?: An enjoyable ride for Nodame fans, but for casual viewers there's not much difference between the anime to warrant a viewing.
Story: 7/10
Cast: 8/10
Anime Accuracy: 9/10
Overall: 7/10
Ouran Host Club
Synopsis: About a group of high school students that form a host club- a club that offers tea and company to giggly female clients.
The idea of a Ouran live action drama frightened me. How would they capture the over-dramatic antics of the members and portray the complicated relationships they had with each other? Could someone really play the almighty Tamaki? Well, I am happy to say, this drama did a fantastic job. It stayed incredibly true to the source material and I have absolutely no problem with associating the faces from this show with the characters I have come to enjoy so much. In fact, there's very little I can say about this show, because it was so similar to the animated version that my feelings were already expressed in my reviews for the anime. All you really need to know is that the show was super fun and reenacted beautifully in both style and persona. This was a great drama and I'm really glad I found another way to indulge in the craziness that is Ouran High School Host Club!
Casting: Now, I was worried that no actors would suit the roles of the male leads, but the actors portraying the host club were perfect! And although I personally didn't find any of them attractive, that didn't matter because each of the boys played their roles in such a way that I could totally imagine girls fawning over them. In both build and presence, it was so easy to identify who was who, which is what you really hope for when watching an live action based on an anime/manga, isn't it? The only one I had a problem with was Honey, because he was a fully grown man and not a child. But they did shrink his height every now and again and having an actor that was older also allowed for better acting, so I got used to it. As for Haruhi, I felt her look was captured perfectly and was glad they decided to really tomboy her up, instead of making her a pretty girl in a boys uniform.
Acting: If this was any other show, I would be cringing at the acting. Why do they over-dramatise everything? Why does she look so shocked whenever she feels something? Why is everything yelled? But this is Ouran Host Club! Camp is the name of the game around here! As I mentioned before, all the actors were perfectly set, and they played both the obvious aspects and the smaller nuances of their characters amazingly well. Tamaki was the real star of the show, with his ridiculous personality and more sensitive nature playing off each other in exactly the way I had hoped. Applause all around!
Difference to the anime: It has been a while since I saw the anime, but I can't think of anything that was out of place.
Is It Worth It?: Yes, yes, yes!
Story: 8.5/10
Cast: 9/10
Anime Accuracy: 10/10
Overall: 9/10
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.
A fantastic adaptation that covers all of what was in the anime and more. I very much enjoyed reliving this story again and was ecstatic to see new parts of the story. While some of the campier parts of the characters come off a little stilted in live action form, I think the spirit of the Princess Jellyfish world was on point. I really enjoyed this version of Princess Jellyfish and if there was a second season, I would be sure to tune in.
Casting: First and foremost, I could've done without the brownface, thanks. That disappointing choice aside, I though the cast was fantastic in their likeness. The big one for me was Kuronosuke, as Koji Seto looked beautiful in both masculine and feminine forms. I also appreciate that they kept the exact looks of the Amamizukan girls instead of toning them down for a more real-world look, as many live action adaptations are prone to do. Oh, and Jun Kaname as Yoshio was amazing.
Acting: Overall, good. I think the more exuberant the character, the harder they were to swallow, such as the Amamizukan girls; while their antics may fit in perfectly with the OTT world of anime, in live action it came off corny and amateur. However, I am not sure if this was because of bad acting or direction. If they had toned down the craziness to fit "real" people a bit more, I think the show would have been much stronger as a whole. My only other gripe is that the lead actress, Kyoko Yoshine, had no chemistry with any of the male characters, and her love lines were hard carried by her co-stars.
Difference to the anime: Lots more story. Half this series covers the same stuff as the anime; the other half was new to me. Nothing else springs to mind, but it has been a while since I've watched the anime, so I may have missed something.
Is It Worth It?: As a big Princess Jellyfish fan, I say yes.
Story: 8.5/10
Cast: 8.8/10
Anime Accuracy: 9/10
Overall: 8.7/10
The Hero Yoshihiko and the Demon King's Castle
Synopsis in one sentence: A hero sets off on a quest to defeat an evil demon king.
This show is gold. A merciless piss-take of the RPG genre, Yoshihiko is chock full of jokes. Anyone who's played an RPG will find something familiar to laugh at, whether it's the group mage (in this case a priest who conjures spells that accomplish useless things like making someone crave sweets), the random enemy encounters (such as the bandit who never gets the chance to attack once his wife interrupts because she is sick of having to tend the home by herself) or the quests (like when the hero gets side-tracked fighting with another group of sidekicks). The show is very self-aware, and it's that that makes this show so enjoyable. Don't expect any mind-blowing plot, but do expect to laugh.
Acting: The cast were great. I felt like the core cast gelled really well, which made their budding friendships (and all the bickering that came with that) all the more enjoyable to watch. In dramas the acting can be over the top, but that works in Yoshihiko. The cheesy lines of the enemies work, because that's how lame RPG enemies talk. All the characters are tropes, so the acting never seems hammy, because it's supposed to be hammy.
Is It Worth It?: If you're an RPG and drama fan, definitely.
Story: 8/10
Cast: 9/10
Overall: 8.5/10
The Hero Yoshihiko and the Key Of Evil Spirits
Synopsis in one sentence: The demons have returned, so Yoshihiko and his gang are resurrected to find the key that can save the world.
First, the bad: this season is really predictable. In fact, it pretty much copies the formula of the first season, which ruins any mystery, especially in regards to the final. The second half of this season can be a drag, because you've seen the same format play out over and over for so many episodes. Apart from that, the Yuusha Yoshihiko humour is still spot on, with new enemies to make fun of and video game tropes to exploit. If you're looking for more humour, without much interest in plot, this season will be right up your alley.
Casting: The same crew as last time. Same crew, same acting.
Is It Worth It?: Depends. If you want to kill some time with some comedy, go ahead and watch. If your roster is full, you won't miss much by giving this season a pass.
Overall: 6.5/10
Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge
Synopsis: 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.
You might remember from the review I did of the Wallflower anime that I was mightily impressed by the series. I'm not a big fan of the harem genre, yet this show managed to make me anticipate each episode. So, when I learnt there was a live action version of the show I was more than interested. What piqued my interest even more was the fact that I'd never seen a Japanese drama before. With a guarantee that I would like the story (I did love the anime, after all) I decided to give it a shot, despite my shuddering at the mention of subtitles. The great thing about this series is that it's similar enough to be reminiscent of the Wallflower series, yet different enough to stand on its own feet and prevent boredom. New characters are added, but I think they add a bit more depth to the series. For example, take the landlady's son, who serves to humanise both Sunako and the landlady, which adds more depth to their characters. By the end I was very fond of Sunako's aunt, while in the anime I didn't really think of her as a proper character. The plot also keeps some of the original story, but with a little extra twist. For instance, the mafia boss who loves Sunako is replaced by an elderly suitor with a love for the macabre, just like our leading lady. There were also dark undertones to the plot, such as jealousy and revenge, which allowed for more character development and drama. It was a great way to do this show, and by the end I felt like I had just invested in a new series, as opposed to sitting through something I already knew. On the bad side of things, some of the stories were really far-fetched... REALLY FAR FETCHED. Ghosts and supernatural power is a little too odd for my tastes....
Casting: Casting was a bit of a hit and miss, IMO. And no, I don't know actor names, and I can't be bothered investigating all the characters. Sunako's actress is good at pulling off the goth look, but I (and yes, I know this will sound incredibly mean) don't think she was pretty enough. In the anime Sunako is supposed to be grotesque, but when she becomes confident she is stunning. However, when she was supposed to be beautiful in this show, the effect wasn't that great. On that note, she wasn't really ugly enough either, as she never featured the deformity Sunako had when skulking around. So maybe it was a make-up/styling thing, where they didn't/couldn't do the full effect of Sunako's look? I dunno, but it was disappointing all the same. Kyohei and Takenaga are perfectly cast, in my books, as they look just like their characters. Ranmaru and Yuki, however, needed some work. Ranmaru looked too similar to Takenaga, and I think he needed to be styled more regally, with a more prominent hair color to match who he was supposed to be. Yuki's overall appearance was actually pretty impressive; small, and slightly feminine. However, I can identify Yuki from his BLONDE HAIR. No, not light brown, BLONDE. The minor characters were pretty good, but, like Ranmaru, I wish Noi was more primped up, so she was easier to identify. For the longest time I thought she was just a random fangirl because she looked so average. Finally, the landlady was probably my favourite casting. The actress looks completely different to the anime Mine, but she actually suits the role better. She much better suited the role of an indulgent entrepreneur than any brunette glamour figure could've.
Acting: Good points first: all the actors were very skilled at portraying their character's more subtle attributes. For instance, Sunako's actress is quite good at playing her character's mixture of weirdness and misguided affection, which I tip my hat to. Similarly, Kyohei has an underlying sense of vulnerability, which is especially important with a character that has a past as messed up as his. The older actors were also more skilled than their younger colleagues, particularly in the emotional scenes. Aunt Mine was probably the most consistent, and was good with her fun, joking lines, and her sad and heart breaking scenes. The other break out star was the landlady's son, who was a great commentator on the goings on of the mansion, despite his young age. Even when he had to behave very dramatically, he was still very believable. Now the bad: The acting was very forced. I was always painfully aware I was watching actors, and not characters, which is a sign of imperfection if you ask me. Angst was a particularly cringe worthy emotion and I can't think of a moment where an angsty character didn't make me glance away from the screen because of second hand embarrassment. It wasn't bad enough to condemn the series completely, but it did make it a bit harder to be consumed by the crazy plots.
Difference to the anime: There's new characters, new stories and some characters are removed. My biggest sadness was the removal of the Goth Loli Sisters. There was something similar in one episode, but it's not the same without that trademark Loli Loli sound or the ridiculously ugly look. I also wish Sunako was a bit more morbid, as that's the centre of her personality. However, in the live action her obsession with darkness is mostly shown through a likeness for skull themed fashion. I would much prefer a séance holding Sunako than a skull bracelet wearing one.
Is It Worth It?: If you weren't really into the anime, I would say stay away because this will not change your opinion. However, if you were fond of the anime, then this will probably be a fun watch for you. If you get past the spotty acting and accept the craziness of the show, you'll have a bunch of fun with this series!
Story: 8/10
Cast: 6.9/10
Anime Accuracy: 6/10
Overall: 7/10

Live Action Movies[edit | edit source]

Title Review Rating
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.
If you want to watch the Another film because, like me, you think it'd be awesome so see the mystery of the dead student play out in live action, then prepare to get your hopes dashed. The Another film takes the anime series and sucks it of any atmosphere, which essentially leaves a bunch of teens running around and screaming for just over an hour. There's no character development, which makes the deaths weak because you don't have any attachment to the character that just perished. Everything is just too rushed. Just as Koichi learns of a curse he's suddenly whisked away to a resort, everyone's dying and then it's resolved. No build up, just haste. For some reason that bewilders me, the writers also made the decision to reveal that little piece of information that makes the dead person's reveal so dramatic. I won't reveal anything for spoilers' sake, but it basically ruins the suspense at the end of the film. But you know what the worst part was? No gore. If anything, the deaths were kind of amusing. It's done in that way where the director goes to great lengths to make sure you know something bad is going to happen. "Oh, you see that creaking stair there? Oh, and you see the lose wire there? I bet those aren't related, hehehehehe." It's annoying and lame. It's not that I liked the gore of the anime, but that's the one thing I expected from the film and they didn't deliver. Anyway, skip the film unless you have time to waste.
Cast: Aesthetically the cast was well fitted, and I can't think of anything I disliked about the actors. The acting is that typical J-drama acting where it's not bad but you can tell they're acting, so it's not good, if that makes sense. But if you're used to that type of acting then this won't be too much of a problem.
Best aspect: Novelty factor as a fan of Another.
Worst aspect: They took all the horror out!
Story: 6/10
Cast: 7.8/10
Overall: 5.9/10
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.
First, the thing I enjoyed about this movie the most is it's strong loyalty to its source. They managed to take the craziness of the story, both thematically and visually, and make it work for live action, which I believe is no easy feat. Unfortunately, there's so much slow burn development in the original AC world, and I think it's a bit too hard to condense all that into less than two hours. Because of the condensing done for this film, the plot feels rushed and the characters don't really shine, which is what made AC stand out for me so much in the first place. Like the anime, I think I'll wait till the second part of this series before I draw conclusion on whether Assassination Classroom works in live action or not.
Cast: Though I had trouble matching up who was supposed to be who character wise, the energy of each actor was great, and really made the movie pop.
Best aspect: More Koro Sensei!
Worst aspect: The very little character exploration.
Story: 7/10
Cast: 7.5/10
Overall: 7/10
Synopsis in one sentence: A teenager who can see ghosts, Ichigo Kurasaki, becomes a Soul Reaper after being appointed by another Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki.
As always, live action adaptations can be good or terrible, with most hovering closer to the latter. The Bleach movie, however, is a very solid offering. The story was tight and well-paced, condensing the series' first arc into under two hours. The fighting was exhilarating, mostly due to the AMAZING visual effects. And the characters were so wonderfully treated, with looks and personifications that made my little fan heart sing. This film really felt like a labour of love and for any Bleach fans I think it's well worth a watch.
Cast: There's a bit of the hammy acting that comes with most live action adaptations, but for the most part, I really loved the people bringing my favs to life. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone from the high schoolers to the reapers in the flesh.
Best aspect: How awesome all the characters looked/acted/felt.
Worst aspect: The fighting was a bit corny in the acting department. Bit soap opera-y.
Story: 8/10
Cast: 8.5/10
Overall: 8.3/10
Blood: The Last Vampire
Synopsis in one sentence: A young girl infiltrates a high school on the search for demons in human form.
A live action version of the movie that kicked off the Blood franchise, this film sticks remarkably close to the original, while adding in a new character and creating a new ending. Sadly, I think this was an averaged out version of the original animated film and here's why. First, let's talk about the new character. An average American girl is way less cool than a multi-lingual school nurse. I liked it that they made Saya's sort-of-but-not-really sidekick a bit more bad ass, but I think the high school girl being sucked into the vampire world thing has been many times before, so I didn't need to see it again. Issue the second was the bad guy. They packed in so many tropes for the backstory of this film it was painful. There's the "Sad love story for motivation". There's the "Bad guy turns out to be the one that murdered my beloved master years ago". There's also the fun "Bad guy is related to me, what!?!". Another problem was with the action scenes, which were so dull. It was basically: a) stare angrily, b) opponent teases you, c) rush at opponent, d) opponent deflects you easily, e) rinse and repeat. Just because those steps are padding with explosions and falling buildings, it doesn’t make the fight scenes any more exciting. I feel like the charm of the original film is in its unapologetic approach to introducing Saya's world. You meet Saya and you follow her story. Keep up or get out. The live action adaptation was constantly stopping to apologise for not giving every moment a reason for being. "Oh, that guy was bad because of this! She fights good because of this!" It was slow and anticlimactic but hey, I've seen worse.
Cast: The cast was the typical archetypes of their characters. Magical warrior? She's got to be stick thin, angry and pretty. Sidekick? She's got to be kind of dorky looking, but pretty. Evil villain? She's got to be dressed in ancient garb and, of course, she must be pretty. Military father? He's in his uniform all the time, no exceptions. Wise sensei? Old with a jolly smile! Generic bad guy number 1? Cover his face, no one cares what he looks like! The acting was pretty good, but I thought the villain was overdramatic and cheesy.
Best aspect: Saya's attitude was on point.
Worst aspect: I thought the fight scenes were so lame.
Story: 6/10
Cast: 7/10
Overall: 6.6/10
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
Synopsis in one sentence: Kodaka Hasegawa joins a new school club where the objective is to learn how to make friends.
This remake of Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends takes the anime and strips it of any sense of sanity. The characters are vapid copies of themselves, the plot is just... wacko and.... I dunno, maybe the anime was actually this weird and the problem is that some things are just not meant to be seen in live action. The main plot of this movie is that Sena traps herself in a video game because she wants friends and the others have to get her out. Big and wacky is definitely the go-to theme for this film, but the downside of this is that the relationship developments that anchor the Haganai story just aren't given the right amount of attention. In the end, this is just a crazy movie with an unbelievable plot and cliché characters, so don't get your hopes too high.
Cast: Looks wise, it was a bag of hits and misses, but the acting across the board was OTT, which ruined the experience. Unlike with the anime series, I liked Sena the best, because her actress pulled off Sena's tsundere-ness quite well.
Best aspect: The parts that stuck to the actual anime story.
Worst aspect: Seeing Rika's perversions in real life was... disturbing. Really disturbing.
Story: 4/10
Cast: 8.5/10
Overall: 6/10
Bokura Ga Ita Series
Synopsis in one sentence: The relationship of high schoolers Takahashi and Yano is told over the course of two films.
The We Were There films are a pretty faithful adaptation of the manga, which means that the first film, Zenpen, is nothing new for fans of the anime. The problem with the film comes with the length, as trying to fit the feelings of the two leads into under two hours condenses a lot of their time together, which causes much of the atmosphere I enjoyed in the anime to be lost. Because of this, I felt like the romance wasn't as endearing. The second film, Kouhen, is a new story to me, and although I enjoyed the way things ended and I also appreciated the very honest look at how youthful relationships evolve, I felt like things plodded along in a slightly confusing way, and trying to keep track of who was doing what was a bit lost on me. But, in the end, Bokura Ga Ita captures the addictive romance that makes this show a winner, and was a great way for me to find out how the story of Takahashi and Yano ends.
Cast: I thought the casting was fantastic, and the actors portrayed their characters exactly as they were shown to me in the anime. In the second film, I had a bit of a problem with the similar styling of the females, because I got confused with who was who in between different scenes.
Best aspect: How true the cast and writers stayed to the original characters.
Worst aspect: Not being able to see how the romance slowly develops.
Story: 8/10
Cast: 9/10
Overall: 8.3/10
Synopsis in one sentence: Two films that follow an outgoing girl as she gathers a group of friends to join her in the competitive world of karuta (a Japanese card game)
First, I shall get my one complaint out of the way: the lack of focus on karuta. Now, I'm aware that highlighting the ins and out of the game probably wouldn't have fit in the short time of the films, but karuta really anchors the series and without delving into the rules and strategy, the battles weren't as captivating as I remember. That aside, I was super impressed by this film. I think it may be the most polished anime/manga live action film I have seen so far. The direction was fantastic, evoking the emotions that I acquaint with the series with clever use of pacing, aesthetic, camerawork, and music. It's quite a beautiful film in all and as a big fan of the series I think it really does the series justice. There is one more film to be released in this series, so I will update later.
Cast: The cast were fantastic in both look and skill. I don't think any of them let the work down, and they played both their happy and sad moments very well.
Best aspect: That I didn't feel like any of the storylines of the show were sacrificed for time.
Worst aspect: A bit of intro to karuta would've gone a long way.
Story: 8.7/10
Cast: 9/10
Overall: 8.8/10
Daily Lives of High School Boys
Synopsis in one sentence: Focuses on the day to day happenings of a group of high school boys (and, in part, girls) as they partake in their schools first co-ed festival.
I was curious about how they would adapt a series of short stories, and I'm very impressed by the way they have done it. In this film, we get a few of the classic clips re-enacted (such as the lovely skirts scene) and woven throughout a plot about a school festival. This invites a new dynamic of the boys interacting with girls at their school for the first time, which means we get a bunch of new content that shows the boys in their trademark awkwardness. Again, the highlight of this show is just how well they capture adolescence and I applaud the filmmakers for capturing the spirit of the series so well. My one gripe was the treatment of the girls. I loved how the show made both the girls and boys realistic portrayals of dorky, foot-in-mouth teens, but in this film all the girls (except one) are confident, outgoing, and charming, which was really disappointing. The High School Girls crew was sorely missed.
Cast: All the actors were great, managing to somehow be both farcical and realistic. Their interactions with each other were a particular highlight, as they really felt like a group of long-time friends. The aesthetics didn't match with the show that well, so I'm not sure all of the characters I am familiar with were present, but the characters in the film were all distinctive enough to work for me and I find it impressive that each boy was so easily distinguishable even though time with them is limited. I also liked that the kids looked like real people and had a range of looks, unlike in usual films where they all look like movie stars.
Best aspect: The whole haunted house scene.
Worst aspect: Because the girls were so cookie cutter and void of personality, it made any time that she show focused on them very dull. If they're not going to treat the girls like people, I don't know why they focused a third of the film on them. I would have much preferred just focusing on the boys and then I could have at least brushed off the poor characterisation of the girls as seeing them through the eyes of the bewildered boys.
Story: 7/10
Cast: 9/10
Overall: 8/10
Death Note
Synopsis in one sentence: A live action remake of the fabulous Death Note series, in which student Light Yagami finds a book that kills anyone whose name is written inside.
A fun adaptation, which is nicely faithful to the story. Like my problem with the anime, that faithfulness can be a bit of a bore for veteran Death Note fans, but seeing the story acted out in live action is a fun ride all the same.
Cast: For the most part, good. I liked Kenichi Matsuyama, who played L, and thought he captured L well, without going too overboard which many Japanese live action films seem to do. The actor who played Light (Tatsuya Fujiwara), however, didn't really match the role well, in my opinion. He looked too sinister and malicious, and failed to bring the charm and charisma that helps Light get away with so many of his schemes. Although not a "cast member", per-se, I also really liked the look of Ryuk. Even though he is CGI, and you know he is CGI, there was something very natural about the way he looked. It was neat to see the Death God in action.
Best aspect: Probably L's portrayal.
Worst aspect: The lack of innovation in the story.
Story: 8/10
Cast: 7/10
Overall: 7.5/10
Death Note 2: The Last Name
Synopsis in one sentence: The attempts to destroy Kira continue as L and Light face off again.
So the first half of this film is pretty true to the manga, so we'll skip to the ending where I was very surprised to see the plot deviate from its source. Luckily, the ending was a nice surprise, and gave a fitting conclusion to the characters. One problem I had was that I really didn't understand the logic in L's part in the finale... but I can't say too much more about that without giving things away. So I'll leave it at I enjoyed this film and its new take on the Death Note world overall.
Cast: Same as the previous films, so I've got nothing to add. Oh, Rem looks as cool a Ryuk, so there's that.
Best aspect: The change in plot that sets the film apart from the manga and anime.
Worst aspect: The somewhat erratic pacing between the first and latter halves of the film.
Story: 7.6/10
Cast: 7/10
Overall: 8/10
Death Note L: Change the World
Synopsis in one sentence: After the events of last two films, we follow L as he takes on his last case, which involves a deadly virus and a conspiracy.
I think it's a shame this film carries the Death Note name, as it's too average a story to compete with what this franchise has to offer. From the plot to the characters, it's all quite predictable, and while L Vs Light is a compelling battle, L feels a little less quirky in this film, which makes it a bit too obvious that his character is not strong enough to carry an entire story. There's a bit of incorporation of the Near/Mellow story here, which I appreciate, as they were sorely missed in the previous films, but their inclusion isn't nearly as interesting as it should be. I suggest you try and watch this without the Death Note impression in your mind (as hard as that may be), because L: Change the World is really nothing more than a glorified, run of the mill action movie.
Cast: Sadly, overacting rears its ugly head again, and at some points I felt like I was watching a telenovela rather than a high stakes film.
Best aspect: Even though it wasn't to my tastes, I did find it interesting to see what the Death Note world could be like without the Death Note mythology.
Worst aspect: Predictability.
Story: 6/10
Cast: 6.5/10
Overall: 6/10
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.
I was kind of surprised to find that Gantz had a live action film, since... well, I didn't know it was that popular. When I decided to watch it, I wasn't putting my hopes too high, because Gantz is a very elaborate series and I wasn't sure it would have received the budget it needs to pull off a great interpretation. I was very surprised then when I found the movie was so close to the series I so much enjoyed. Even though it's been months and months since I've seen anything to do with Gantz, it took me mere seconds to slip back into the story and have fun reminiscing. Well, it wasn't really fun because Gantz is kind of depressing. FACT: Anime gore is not any less stomach churning when seen in live action. The movie sticks pretty close to the first and second season of the anime, so it's almost like a cool way to recap what happened in the series. On the other hand, it's the same story as the anime, which can make it a bit tedious for those familiar with the show. All in all, I don't think I could've expected anything better than what is in this film. It's got the cursing, it's got the blood and it's got the aliens. What more could I ask for? Also note I have watched the sub version of the movie, something I am now glad about because I have since learnt the dub is apparently pretty bad.
Cast: The cast is pretty well matched to their manga counterparts. Even the weird aliens are easy to recognise. Performance wise, the cast is pretty solid, although there's a bit of over dramatic sadness in the actiony parts.
Best aspect: Again I'll praise the visuals. It's like they just grabbed the anime and pulled it into real life, it's that accurate.
Worst aspect: Even though I didn't like this part of the anime, the slightly censored aspect of the movie makes it feel a little less Gantz. No, I don't like oversized chests bouncing at every moment or guts being sprayed across the screen, but I expect to see that in a movie about an anime that has all that stuff. Wouldn't you?
Story: 7.5/10
Cast: 8.9/10
Overall: 8.5/10
Gantz: Perfect Answer
Synopsis in one sentence: All alone, Kei is forced to continue on with his compulsory mission with a new group of colleagues and a dangerous new enemy.
The sequel to this first film is both better and worse than its predecessor. As always, let's start with the better. My favourite aspect of this movie is the expansion of story from the anime, which means I get to see a whole new plot and meet new characters. It's because of that that it's more interesting than the first movie, as all the material is new. On the other hand, I feel the plot got a little muddled in some parts and was overwhelmed by all the action. It was hard to keep up with what was going on sometimes and the drama got a little too over the top towards the end. So yeah, it's a bit hard to gauge, but I did enjoy the movie because I liked learning more about Gantz. However, I think that someone who has read this arc in the manga would've been disappointed. That being said, I did enjoy Perfect Answer more than the first film. The effects have definitely been stepped up for the sequel and Gantz does not skimp on the explosions. There's a lot of crazy fighting and destruction and, just like with the last movie, it all comes out perfectly. :)
Cast: The main players are the same as the last movie and the new characters are ones I'm unfamiliar with, so I can't comment on that.
Best aspect: New story equals a new interest for me.
Worst aspect: It had some pacing issues.
Story: 8/10
Cast: 8.9/10
Overall: 8.5/10
Gantz: O
Synopsis in one sentence: After a sudden death, Masaru Kato is dropped in the middle of a terrifying battle with aliens, where he is told that if he defeats his enemies he will be able to return to his pre-death life.
After my high praise for the previous Gantz films, I am happy to report that Gantz:O a bit) is a fantastic successor. The story (jumping forward in the canon a little) is a self-contained tale, though I do think that some familiarity with the Gantz series will make it more enjoyable. The overall plot is a bit predictable and the dialogue is pretty cringe, but to me that's not the main point of the movie. Before I get into what is, I'll say... The animation is FANTASTIC. Half the time I forgot I wasn't watching real people. It's a very beautiful film. That brings me to the main reason to watch this film: the battles! The various fights that haul the plot along are so awesome! I was glued to my screen the whole time. There was great variety in weapons and fighting styles and ugh, the monsters gave me the creeps, which means they were successful. Honestly, I'd recommend this film based on the fight scenes alone. Apart from my biggest complaint (which I'm saving for the Worst Aspect section), the only thing I really disliked was the ending. Not only was it predictable, but it was stupid. SPOILER Why did he bring back that girl? She's gonna be stuck in Osaka by herself. The real selfless thing would've been to resurrect Oka, as he would've saved more lives in the long run. Save the girl later, when there's a point. SPOILER END Overall, I really liked Gantz:O. It doesn't break any new ground per se, but it does make the mark of being fun to watch.
Cast: To be honest, I can't remember much of the voice acting... or just acting? I'm not sure if this was motion capture or something. I do remember liking the Osaka crew, but I can't recall the rest well enough to feel confident commenting on them. But maybe their lack of remembrance is comment enough?
Best aspect: Fight scenes! The monsters/aliens were the best!
Worst aspect: The women. There are two women in this film. Because apparently women die less than men? Anyway, the real problem is how those two women are treated. First: tits galore. Now, I know over endowment is par for the course in anime, but the girls in this film were just too much... every time they moved and everything jiggled and... Ugh, you could almost see all the time animators had spent hunched over their desks making sure that the girls' assets moved in the most pervy way. It was gross. What was grosser was the absolute pathetic-ness of the characters. One stands around crying and being scared. The other suffers from insta-love and being scared. Both of them have guns in their hands for most (if not all) of the film, and monsters are constantly attacking, but I could count the number of times they fired those guns on my fingers. They were the most insipid characters I have ever had the displeasure of watching, fawning over the lead like puppies and being incapable of doing ANYTHING by themselves, like children. As a girl, I actually felt disrespected. Get it together, Gantz. End rant.
Story: 7/10
Cast: 6/10
Overall: 8.5/10
Hana Yori Dango Final
Synopsis in one sentence: As their wedding looms in the distance, Makino and Domyouji end up thrown together in a series of dangerous predicaments.
I know this show always skirts along the border of OTT and silly, but this film really took it too far for me. The story was ridiculous, the conflict forced, and it just felt like a very jarring end to what I considered a quite smart love story. This one is really all for the fan service and I think you have to be a bigger fan than I to get something out of it.
Cast: Good as always, though hampered by a corny story.
Best aspect: I'm not gonna lie, the end event (I won't say anything further for spoiler reasons) did get to me.
Worst aspect: SPOILER Married and pregnant straight outta high school isn't really my idea of a great ending, but to each his own I suppose SPOILER OVER
Story: 6/10
Cast: 8/10
Overall: 7/10
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
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..
This film is what you want from a live action adaptation of an anime. It's pretty much a play by play of the first arc of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (the Spirited Away by the Demon arc) just modified to fit a realistic look (read: no purple and green hair). The blood was a little excessive, which pulled me out of the moment with it's unrealistic look. The gruesome body mutilation was also missing... but there's no way I was disappointed about that. :S It was a solid production that stuck very true to its origins, so I don’t have much room for complaint. However, if you're looking for a different spin on the Higurashi story, this probably isn’t what you're looking for.
Cast: The cast was great. It was a bit harder to identify the girls without their trademark hair, but the acting was good and matched up well with the anime counterpart.
Best aspect: I was impressed by the loyalty to the source material.
Worst aspect: Ugh, the blood everywhere. *stomach heaves*
Story: 7.7/10
Cast: 9/10
Overall: 8.7/10
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Chikai
Synopsis in one sentence: A continuation of the last movie, this time recreating the final arc of the first season of the anime (the Tsumihoroboshi-hen arc).
Just like the last movie, this is almost a shot for shot remake of what I've seen of the anime, so in regards to story, there's not much to say. In fact, there's nothing to say, because all my thoughts on this sequel are exactly the same as my thoughts on the first film. So... I guess go and read that review instead.
Cast: Same as before.
Best aspect: Loyalty to source.
Worst aspect: The action scenes were pretty poorly choreographed.
Story: 7.7/10
Cast: 9/10
Overall: 8.7/10
Synopsis in one sentence: A young woman uses the talents of her strange butler to solve a supernatural mystery.
If you saw the Black Butler label and got excited, I order to you lower your expectations right now. The only thing this movie keeps intact is Sebastian; everything else is changed, and not for the better. The most obvious change is that Ciel is now a girl called Shiori. Why? I have no idea. Ciel being female added absolutely nothing to the story. The other characters are shadows of the original manga characters (there's a butler that might be Grell, an Aunt that might be Red, and a maid that might be Mey-Rin), but they're very very poor shadows. It's almost like this film was a cheap knock off of Black Butler with watered down story, stiff dialogue, and shoddy effects. If you disconnect this film from the Black Butler universe, you'll find that this movie actually features a somewhat compelling story, and although the action is a bit start and stop, the mystery is solid and was enough to keep my intrigue. Still, I hope Black Butler gets another pass in the future, because I feel like, with the proper treatment, there's potential for greatness in this live action series.
Cast: I quite liked the cast. Their looks were spot on and even though Shiori was a girl, I could quite easily see her as a Ciel clone. The acting was stiff and awkward, but I have a feeling that that was because of a poor script and not because of the cast themselves.
Best aspect: The visuals were pretty good.
Worst aspect: The fight scenes were boring.
Story: 7/10
Cast: 8/10
Overall: 7.5/10
Synopsis in one sentence: Two girls named Nana meet on their way to Tokyo and end up living together.
Quite a good remake. The main story points were hit and the look of the characters were pretty spot on. There were a few characters that were a bit off, but others were perfect renditions. The pacing of the plot was a bit of an issue, as the slow unfolding of the storyline present in the anime obviously could not be done in a two hour format. The result is that a lot of the emotional parts of the story are not given time to wallow, which means a lot of the catharsis of the series is lost. I think the film does as well as it could in regards to this, so maybe it is more that the type of story that Nana is doesn't really work in this format.
Cast: Aoi Miyazaki plays Hachi and I thought she did a wonderful job. Mika Nakashima plays the other Nana, and she was my biggest problem in this film. She wasn't a bad actor, but I think a lot of Nana's character comes from her intriguing charisma, which Mika really did not possess, so therefore Nana didn't really feel like a "real" Nana. The side characters were also very good, with my only gripe being the moodier portrayal of Shin (though I loved the way that character looked).
Best aspect: Apart from that one major omission, the casting really impressed me in both look and skill.
Worst aspect: Mika Nakashima failing to capture one of the most important characters
Story: 7/10
Cast: 8/10
Overall: 7.5/10
Nana 2
Synopsis in one sentence: The girls' lives take a dramatic turn and they both struggle to adjust.
Ah, the worst part of the story condensed into movie form. I was a bit disappointed this didn't go further than the anime (the movie stops at the same point in the story that the anime does), as that would've made having to sit through this dreck a bit better. Why couldn't Nana be as good as it was in the beginning? ㅠ_ㅠMy criticisms and praises are mostly the same as my feelings for the first film, with the caveat that I really don't enjoy this part of the storyline, so I wouldn't be too opposed to anyone giving it a miss.
Cast: There are quite a few cast shake ups, which was strange to get used to. The biggest upfront change is Yui Ichikawa becoming the new Hachi. I think she did as well as her predecessor and it was easy to forget she hadn't always been the lead. Nobuo Kyo replaced Ryuhei Matsuda as Ren. I really enjoyed Ryuhei's performance and the two actors look nothing alike so that was a bit jarring, but there wasn't really enough of Ren to be able to say if Nobuo was truly any better/worse. And finally, Kanata Hongo took over as Shin, offering a more in-tune playful portrayal of the character. Lastly, I felt that Mika Nakashima was a much better Nana this go around. Whether that was because of an improvement on her part or because these are the moments when Nana starts to lose her cool persona, I'm not sure. Either or, the film was made much better by a Nana Osaki that didn't grate.
Best aspect: The upsets of the story are much better to handle in a shorter form.
Worst aspect: Still hated the story
Story: 5/10
Cast: 8/10
Overall: 6.5/10
Nodame Cantabile Shinshun Special in Europe
Synopsis in one sentence: A two episode special that follows Chiaki and Nodame through their studies in Europe.
An enjoyable watch that should be commended for the amount of story that they managed to fit into two episodes. The cast was spot on and I appreciated the inclusion of the Japan based part of the crew as well. The story was a bit slow going at first, but once it built into an examination of the romance as it fits into the context of the leads' budding careers, I became quite attached. Also, as not a big Nodame fan, I enjoyed that her character had more purpose here, and her development as a person made me appreciate the series as a whole much more.
Cast: As good as it was in the drama. I'm still impressed by how the acting manages to toe the line of camp without being too cringe-y.
Best aspect: Getting to see both lead characters bend into improving themselves.
Worst aspect: The conducting always looked weird to me. Maybe they are acting it out perfectly, I wouldn't know, but I didn't get the sense of "feeling" the music that conductors usually possess. In retrospect, I suppose this is the one part of the show that felt overacted.
Story: 7.8/10
Cast: 8.5/10
Overall: 8.2/10
Nodame Cantabile Saishū Gakushō Zen-Pen
Synopsis in one sentence: As Chiaki's star begins to rise, Nodame struggles with her own doubts surrounding her musical future.
Another great continuation of the Nodame live series. This film really amps up the stakes in Nodame and Chiaki's relationship, but it does so at the sacrifice of rationality for Nodame. Her motives for her feelings never really made sense to me, and she seemed to oscillate between mood swings at random. Still, I look forward to seeing how these new developments play out in the conclusion of the series.
Cast: As good as they were in the drama.
Best aspect: The drama.
Worst aspect: Nodame confusing me
Story: 7/10
Cast: 9/10
Overall: 8/10
Nodame Cantabile Saishū Gakushō Kou-Hen
Synopsis in one sentence: Nodame takes drastic steps to further her music career, though her choices may not be for the best.
A great ending to this series. The story was a wonderful blend of focus on Chiaki's music, Nodame's music, and their joint relationship. I think this was the fastest movie of the Nodame stories, which was a pace change that I was really glad to finally see with this series. The ending was enjoyable and a wonderful open end to the story so far. I'm glad to see this series go out on a high note (pun not intended).
Cast: As good as always.
Best aspect: Nodame's story getting most of the focus.
Worst aspect: I still don't really understand why Nodame was acting the way she was.
Story: 8/10
Cast: 9/10
Overall: 8.5/10
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.
What a great film! A direct continuation of the series, the Ouran movie is full of all the ridiculous comedy, soppy love and crazy girls that both the anime and live drama series were choc full of. The film centers around a new arrival to the host club, who the group set out to pamper. But of course, the girl is hiding a secret and her presence suddenly makes Haruhi confront some of her hidden feelings. Although the story with the new girl is a little predictable, it does give an excuse for more Host Club costumes, which I am never against. The animations were also great and the sets were beautiful. The film also pushes forward the relationship between Haruhi and Tamaki, which I am also never against. Actually, all the characters of the host club had a fair amount of development, which is pretty impressive for such a short film. If you enjoyed the live action drama, then this movie is absolutely a must see!
Cast: See my notes in the drama review.
Best aspect: There was a kpop star in it! I didn't even know he was in it till I saw him appear on screen. :D Also, yay for more Honey/Mori screentime!
Worst aspect: The bit where they were talking in English. Nichkhun was fine, but I don't think the girl was fluent, because her speech was very strange and over-enunciated, which ruined the mood of the speech. If the two characters are from Thailand, why did they not speak in Thai?
Story: 7.5/10
Cast: 9/10
Overall: 8.2/10
Rurouni Kenshin
Synopsis in one sentence: A retired assassin helps overthrow a group of vicious thugs.
Although I wasn't invested enough to continue on with Rurouni Kenshin's 90+ episodes, I did enjoy the series quite a bit, so a nice trip back to the show via a live action film was more than welcome. The film condenses the first couple episodes of the series, which was all well and good because I think an original story would've been a bit hard to pull off without all of the familiar characters well established. The downside of condensing the story though is that the film comes off a bit too rushed, and serves more as an introduction to future films instead of a stand-alone film. The characters suffered because of this, as their personalities aren’t really established before they're thrown into the thick of the plot. The film sort of goes here's a character, here's a character, here's a character, big fight, end. It's too much too fast, and it costs the film any ambience. On the more positive side of things, the action scenes were AWESOME. All the fights were choreographed so well it was impossible to tell that the actors had practiced anything, and even when flying through the air Rurouni looked completely natural. I suppose if you're looking for a fitting tribute to the Rurouni Kenshin story you might be disappointed, but if you're in it for the action you'll probably have a great time!
Cast: The roles were well matched up aesthetically, especially in the case of Takeru Satoh as Kenshin, who manages to pull of the bishie/worn samurai look that I thought would've been hard to pull off. My biggest disappointment was probably the vivacious Megumi, who was instead presented as a timid classic beauty. A dash of roughness would've made her look more convincing to me. Acting wise, Satoh again stepped his game up as he nailed Kenshin's personality. Everyone else was kind of... camp. You know, overdramatic screaming, almost hilarious declarations of strength etc. I was also disappointed in how bluntly Megumi and Sanosuke were written. Megumi was one of my favourite characters from the anime because of her brash nature and strength, but the film reduced her to damsel as soon as she was introduced. There was literally only one scene where the flirtatious, ballsy Megumi shone through. Sanosuke on the other hand was reduced to annoying brute, and was stripped of any of the strong fighter spirit that made him likable in the anime. Instead he just boasted about himself all the time, which isn't indicative of someone who will do anything to be the best. That's just the actions of someone with a big ego.
Best aspect: The action scenes.
Worst aspect: The villain was a joke.
Story: 6/10
Cast: 8/10
Overall: 7.3/10
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.
Funnily enough, I enjoyed this film far more than the series. The difference? Editing. Having to condense the story of the series into an hour and a bit made the story much sharper, the characters more dynamic. The flaws were still there (not so interesting characters, the stupid-ness of the reveal at the end), but in a shorter timeframe these things don't stick out so much and the whole thing was much more palatable.
Cast: The cast was alright. Nothing really stuck out to me about their performances or appearance. Is that a good or a bad thing?
Best aspect: The tighter storytelling.
Worst aspect: Still not a fan of the plot
Story: 6/10
Cast: 6/10
Overall: 6/10

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