They’re the best Anime that 2012 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Kimi to Boku. 2, Zetsuen no Tempest, Initial D Fifth Stage, and more!
10: Kimi to Boku. 2
English: You and Me 2
MAL Score: 7.96
“No matter how many years go by, I’m sure we’ll still be laughing together.”
Twins Yuta and Yuki, Kaname, and Shun have been childhood friends since kindergarten. When transfer student Chizuru joins them, their five man school life becomes all the more lively. Through the changing seasons, the boys will find laughter, surprises, love, and new encounters waiting for them.
The second season of the boys growing a little every day of their invaluable daily lives is about to begin!
So most of yours question might be “What actually difference between Kimi to Boku and Kimi to boku 2”.. Well, Il give u a straight answer-There isnt much of a difference..its Just the continuation of the 1st Season
People who are looking for action n adventure, this anime aint for you guys.. But i would gladly would recommend this Series to u since its one of the mesmorizing anime
Why do i like this series? Its because there are some animes that makes your day better…Feels ridiculous right? but its true.. This Series really makes your heart over whelmed with happiness at least it gives u a wide smile 😀
Not much of a story in it..Its easy to understand,fun to watch etc.. Dont think this series to be a yaoi n it will never be.
In the series they show some of the character’s childhood memories.. it have bits n pieces of romance.
Even though I hate most of the slow paced anime,this is one of the few rare gems where I love the slow pace.. its better in slow pace than the normal pace..
The ART is simple which fits perfectly with this series.. This art is filled good with examples of cats..Yes cats which makes u smile all the way.. These cats have traits of the characters-Shun, Yuuta, Yuuki, Chizuru and Kaname, and i always looks forward to more cat examples 😀
Each character Feels like the main character and every one of them is funny in their own ways. The main concept in this is FRIENDSHIP. Here every character is unique.
What makes this anime is the Friendship between the 5 males.. Its really fun to watch how they teases each other or help each other. Their Bonds are irreplaceable
My enjoyment here is maximum.. i love the comedy stuffs.. its just like things from a student’s daily life(well some of the students like me i guess)…
This anime is pretty good comedy+drama+slice of anime which truly deserves 7 and above rating.
While watching the show it’s like it struck a little cord in my heart with each scene. I actually teared up so many time watching this show just because of how simply beautiful and fitting it was. The show really doesn’t progress or have some super turn of events and I think that makes it comfortable to watch. Just a lot of jokes and good times.
The art was just as good as it was in the first season. With the painted pictures of the most heartwarming scenes and the different cats that were placed to imitate the characters actions.
The sound, gosh! the music was just as beautiful as it was in the first season. And bravo to the voice actors, I absolutely adored the way Chizuru talked paired up with his actions. And Shun’s voice is perfect too!
The characters really are a bundle of laughs and tears. I like how they all get along together. Seriously, after watching this you’ll probably feel lonely after seeing how nice there friendships are.
Seriously, if you are watch Kimi to Boku 2 then you’re probably aware of how amazing it is already considering you’ve watched the first season.
This dictum from Kimi to Boku season 2 leads us through the entire series. It does not sound really outstanding or impressive, even not meaningful. But after we get to see the show we might change our mind. We start thinking about how deep this statement in fact is and how important it will become, even if it seems difficult to imagine at the very beginning.
The “heroes” of this second season are the same as last time; the Twins Yuta and Yuki, Kaname, and Shun. All have been childhood friends since kindergarten, and after Chizuru joins them, their school life changes and becomes livelier. That is it. Well, what did you expect? A bunch of good-looking teens trying to find their love – or just someone who does their homework? No at all.
The twins, Kaname, Shun and Chizuru are as normal as anybody out there could possibly imagine. Normal in a rather extraordinary way.
One of the great pleasures of Kimi To Boku is its inherent lightness, the way it seems wholly unaware that it is a grand achievement – even though it actually is. Its story? The “ordinary” daily life of “normal” people. Have you ever had one of those days when the night came and you were watching or reading something – and all of a sudden someone asked you: how was your day? And the only thing you said was: “Just normal… daily stuff…”
In modern society, people tend to forget the daily life; the little things that happens all the time – but we do not pay attention. We would rather see something else. And from that point of view, this anime appears to be quite different – and yet normal. Kimi to Boku is one of the great animes precisely because it is not set out to “wow” us. None of the characters are flawless; and yet, they are all very well fleshed out – but not storyboarded. They act normal, ordinary – and unpredictable.
The twins are very talented in their own ways but can hardly be separated; Kaname is very into his studies whereas Shun keeps an eye on all of them. Last but not least there is Chizuru, the energetic and cheerful young guy who used to live in Germany. Each of them have a specific set of gifts, skills, dreams, qualities and flaws – as well as we do. But just recognizing them is not enough: what counts is what we do with them.
Timing is everything – the anime has its own. And this can be seen in each dialogue, each emotion, and each movement from the characters and, of course, the camera: nothing happens too early, nothing too late. The plot is the pounding heart of the series. Every episode takes one of the characters – whether this is a main or not – and does something clever with him or her. There is a lot of character development to be found in this series.
The Design/Visuals should not go unmentioned. It stayed the same as we had seen this in its predecessor; however, it still had a relaxing colour palette. There are scenes where the anime stands still: and then in the way as the scene changes its colour, it does remind of a storybook. The wonderful, seemingly unimportant score and the beautiful colour help to get deeper into the “ordinary” story and the series.
What is most wonderful about it is the way how the cat – which is some sort of a “hidden” main character – is embodying and carrying a certain moment which the characters are facing at this time; fear, anger, happiness, loneliness, boredom, tiredness and so on.
“No matter how many years go by, I’m sure we’ll still be laughing together.”
By the time the show has ended, we should be able to understand what they meant; it helps the series to become what it is: art. It is not the colour, the score or the characters. The fact, that the series talks about “daily life” – which is a really boring topic for most of us – could confuse. However, it also shows us that we do not always need a big story or topic to create something big. Something that is worth to be seen.
And laughing, on the other hand, is not just about being happy; it is also about the pursuit of pleasure and delight and surprise, being able to spend your time with those people you hold most dear; Laughing can be symbolized with the seeking of both sensation and meaning.
Personally, I have found it is also the small things – even if we call it “ordinary” stuff – that can create great and memorable art as Kimi To Boku did, and the deep happiness I got from the series itself is truly my greatest reward. That is all I can ask for. Some may share my opinion, some not; depending on what perspective you have and what perspective you have got.
9: Zetsuen no Tempest
English: Blast of Tempest
MAL Score: 7.96
Yoshino Takigawa, an ordinary teenager, is secretly dating his best friend Mahiro’s younger sister. But when his girlfriend Aika mysteriously dies, Mahiro disappears, vowing to find the one responsible and make them pay for murdering his beloved sister. Yoshino continues his life as usual and has not heard from Mahiro in a month—until he is confronted by a strange girl who holds him at gunpoint, and his best friend arrives in the nick of time to save him.
Yoshino learns that Mahiro has enlisted the help of a witch named Hakaze Kusaribe to find Aika’s killer and of the existence of an entity known as the “Tree of Exodus.” The witch’s brother selfishly desires to make use of its power, in spite of the impending peril to the world. However, Hakaze is banished to a deserted island, and it is now up to Yoshino and Mahiro to help her save the world, while inching ever closer to the truth behind Aika’s death.
Nothing could say more about Blast of Tempest than Shakespeare’s The Tempest which is heavily referenced throughout the series. Blast of Tempest is a story about overcoming entrapment in the past, both figuratively and literally.
One thing that can be said about Blast of Tempest is that it follows a logical premise that manages to feel legitimately inspired despite its fair share of twists. Even though the story involves magic, the series defines a strong logical framework that both empowers and entraps its characters.
Above all, our character’s personal history is a major factor in the series. It drives Mahiro on a vengeful path to determine who killed his sister and weighs down Yoshino to the point of near-detachment. It is only when these characters are able to accept fate and focus that they are able to allow a tragic event to become the means to a better end (saving the world). Moreover, past as a general influence is extremely well-realized. Events in the past, including Hakaze’s imprisonment, Aika’s death, and even further back to the formation of the Tree of Exodus as a means to end the Tree of Genesis’s purpose in resetting humanity are central to the plot.
Furthermore, the notion of order and chaos is thematically prevalent in the series. Even though the Tree of Genesis represents order, it is only with the chaos represented by the Tree of Exodus that humanity can thrive and even exist. Despite the resurgence of crime and inequality after the dissolution of the Tree of Genesis, it is easy to understand the necessity in the action and why the order imposed by the Tree of Genesis would eventually deem all of humanity unrighteous.
The only major flaw to Blast of Tempest‘s story is that it tends to use its characters as if they are actors in a play (perhaps intentionally). Each character plays his part, often without question. This is extremely noticeable in Aika’s casual acceptance of her fate despite what clearly would have been a difficult decision – but this may actually speak more to her character than to the show’s tendency to have its actors fill a role.
Character development is very important in Blast of Tempest – and all of its main characters, Hakaze, Yoshino, Mahiro and Aika, are a strong basis to the show’s central themes despite their differing personas. What enforces their strength is their intelligence – even in Mahiro’s case – the characters carefully and cleverly plan their actions.
Hakaze is a strong female lead that is open and direct, while sometimes being too upfront and occasionally becoming distracted by desire. What defines Hakaze the most is that, despite her attunement to the Tree of Genesis, she is far from unquestioning. Her actions are often fueled by her desire to seek her own path, even with opposition or without knowing the consequences. It makes her into a character nearly embracing chaos despite the order surrounding her – which accentuates her foil in Aika.
Aika, though appearing frail, is strong to a fault. Her character embraces the ideology of Exodus far too unconditionally which is but testament to her acceptance with being an actress in a play. She often quotes Hamlet and The Tempest because she feels that her only goals have already been previously scripted and she must play to those ideals.
Mahiro, on the other hand, represents another extreme of chaos with his absolute path of vengeance. His early ambitions are simply to avenge the death of Aika, but this actually drives him to greatness because of her involvement in much more crucial matters. When he is freed from this path, his goal has actually become to enact a plan to save the world. Mahiro is a renegade without being overly reckless and ambitious to a point where he is not clouded.
Yoshino, for a large majority of the show, is very detached. Aika’s death had an opposing effect on him in that he nearly lost desire to function after her passing. Even though he is tied down by her loss, he thinks clearly and keeps Mahiro in check when he is pushing himself too far. It’s important to note that Yoshino is the last character to resolve his past as a lesson in history, because he is too entrapped by it. Hakaze’s confessions to him cause him to break because he is not ready to continue his life until all others’ problems have been resolved.
Blast of Tempest is breathtaking visually and its usage of classical pieces in its soundtrack is excellently done. By now, this is what we expect from BONES, so it isn’t too unbelievable that this show lives up to BONES’s capability to generate quality in its production value. Particularly of note are the show’s excellent action scenes that accentuate brilliant animation along with well-utilized classical music.
While Blast of Tempest occasionally falls short of absolute excellence in its willingness to allow its characters to fill roles, it presents a story of past entanglements that is very well-realized and non-contradictory with a cast that synergizes their differing viewpoints.
And it’s a shame because Zetsuen no Tempest had so much potential, but it falls flat on its face instead. But let’s talk about the good of this show first. The art and animation are top notch. Studio Bones pulled no punches when it came to the gorgeous animation and character designs. The battles are fast, fluid, and intense, going hand in hand with the spectacular and vivid wheel of colors that enhance the magical effects. The character designs are stylish and unique, with no two characters looking too much alike. Another small little detail that was well done was the character’s clothing. Each character’s various clothing looks like something straight out of a teen fashion magazine; very funky and stylish. Small artistic details are also added in the character’s hair and accessories. If I were rating this anime solely based on its art and animation, it would easily score a nine at the very least. Unfortunately, I did not, and I won’t.
Now on to the not-so-good of Zetsuen no Tempest, which is basically everything else. Perhaps the weakest aspect of the show is its story. The story starts out with Hakaze Kusaribe, the princess of a clan of mages, contacting Fuwa Mahiro to help her extinguish an uprising instigated by her followers. Left stranded on an island by said followers, they can only communicate through magic. Hakaze promises to help Mahiro find his sister’s killer in exchange for his help. Mahiro’s friend, Takigawa Yoshino comes along for the ride, and together the three aim to prevent the Kusaribe clan from awakening the tree of Exodus, which would subsequently bring destruction to the entire world.
The entire story pays homage to Shakespeare’s works, namely The Tempest and Hamlet. For some reason, the story feels it needs to remind you of this quite frequently, as it seems every few minutes someone is throwing out a Shakespeare quote. There’s no subtlety in its delivery, and the quotes have little meaning to the plot or the characters. It seems they simply threw in several quotes in order to make the script seemed more grand and classy. Instead, it ended up making the entire anime sound incredibly pretentious. It could be argued that the two differing plays were being quoted to signal that this anime could either have a happy or tragic ending, leaving the viewer to wonder in anticipation. But not only is that grasping at straws, it gives the writers more credit than they probably deserve.
Now to be fair, the first half of the series was pretty good. It was standing on shaky ground but it was still quite good. It may have been standard shonen anime fare “save the world with magical powers, stop the bad guys” but it had an interesting enough twist to keep it afloat. The characters were interesting; they had clear cut motivations that at least made some sense. The plot moved about at a comfortable pace with just enough action and character development shimmied into each episode. The rules of the universe made sense. All that was completely ruined by its mess of a second half.
The plot begins to contradict the rules it established in its first half. It makes no effort to even make sense of Hakaze’s ability to time travel for a second and third time. It presents a ridiculous plot twist that makes even less sense and gives a sort of barbaric edge to Aika’s character that the other characters don’t even bat an eye at. And worst of all, romance is shoehorned in for the sake of throwing in some aspects of a corny school love comedy. Hakaze even alludes to this in a hilarious 4th wall breaking internal monologue.
Perhaps one of the most disappointing aspects of the show is the degradation of its characters. Yes that’s right, the very characters that made the show go backwards as it drags on. Perhaps the character that does it the most is Hakaze Kusaribe. She is initially presented as a strong heroine, with an arrogant edge that is backed up by her standing as the most powerful mage in the clan. She is cunning and unflinching, yet kind and caring when she needs to be. But of course that is all negated when she falls in love.
Yes, LOVE! She becomes clumsy, indecisive, and silly at the first hints of love. Her initial goal was to prevent the destruction of the world and take control of her clan once again. But when she falls in love, she leaves the fate of her clan in the hands of the guy who betrayed her and sent her to an island to die. All so she could travel freely with her love interest. Later, she wants to save the world simply for her love. To say anything else about her silly love driven mindset would mean spoilers, so to be vague, pay attention to what she says when she travels across time a second time. It is so unbelievably silly, bordering on completely idiotic. She goes from a strong heroine to someone whose sole reason for existing and acting is for her love.
Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad it we had some substantial buildup to the relationship, coupled with proof of an established and long-lasting bond that could never be broken. That, and if her feelings were actually reciprocated. Then it would be quite romantic and heroic that Hakaze would do anything for her love. But instead, her actions are based on a silly schoolgirl crush (that quite literally springs out of nowhere) and nothing more, making her actions and motivations seem incredibly idiotic.
Fuwa Mahiro and Takigawa Yoshino are perfect foils, making for a very interesting relationship between the two heroes. They get a significant amount of development in the first half of the show through a series of flashbacks, some of which involve Aika. Brash and arrogant Mahiro is the brawn of their duo, while the manipulative and analytical Yoshino is the brains. Their relationship is one of the most interesting ones of the series. How two young men who are so different from each other could end up cooperating so willingly and becoming the best of friends is a real mystery. But their actions in the second half become a bit odd to say the least. Not only that, but they show little emotion when finding out the truth behind Aika’s death, despite the fact that they are the most important people to her. In fact, their lack of emotion is prevalent even in the first half. They are just normal high school boys, not hardened soldiers. Yet their reactions to the destruction of their home certainly don’t give any hints to that.
Then there is Fuwa Aika, one of the most confusing characters. She’s already dead by the beginning of the series, yet still plays an important role in the story. She’s the motivation for Yoshino and Mahiro’s actions and appears in numerous flashbacks. Her character is described in the anime as having a “horrible personality.” That’s not even the half of it. Her development at the tail end of the series hints at a facet of her personality that is far more barbaric, border lining on psychotic. The rest of the side characters are mostly just there for decoration. They are lively personalities to either spice things up or be used as a convenient plot device to move the story along.
Now don’t get me wrong, Zetsuen no Tempest is not wholly unwatchable. There is plenty of enjoyment to be had watching this series, especially during the first half. It’s just too bad that Bones screwed up the story and characters so hard during the second half that it irredeemably sours the entire series. The character’s motivations during the second half make little to no sense. And trying to piece together why the characters are doing what they’re doing gives way to the realization that these characters are acting like total idiots. The plot twist during the second half was also ridiculous, giving the viewer little justification for WHY things had to be this way. Not to mention the implausibility of the situation based purely on the rules set by the anime.
Zetsuen no Tempest is a great watch if you turn off your brain and just enjoy it for what it is: Your “only very slightly above average until the second half of the show” shonen anime. Anybody looking for anything more won’t get much enjoyment out of this anime.
Let me go into detail…
Story: The story was put together in a great yet questionable way. There were many parts of the anime that could be related to the famous works of Shakespeare. With plot twists that would leave you confused, the story was never boring. The twisted tale of love, hate, revenge and a touch of magic was most definitely satisfying especially how the ending wrapped up the entire story. I sincerely wish that they would make a sequel.
Art: The art was satisfying, it clearly showed details in the magic shields and barriers. They point that stood out the most for me were the eyes. The characters eyes showed their emotions so clearly that they sent shivers down my spine, how they would dull or brighten depending on the emotions being conveyed.
Sound: The music chosen for this anime was…. Fabulous. The violin solos with the varying volumes matched the pace of the show and the suspense in the best fashion. The opening and endings weren’t boring and they definitely didn’t reveal a lot about the story. The upbeat openings shows the action and the more aggressive emotions in the show whereas the slower themes in the endings portrays the more negative and deeper feelings.
Character: Gosh, all of the characters were so perfect. They each played a huge role in the story but I think I should be more specific. Takigawa Yoshino is my favorite character, he is so mysterious and he definitely is a major character. He is referred as Horatio in some parts of the anime. His tale of not being able to grieve for the one he loves is heart breaking, how he shows great deduction skills and how he seems so innocent is so twisted and yet it fits the story perfectly. Fuwa Mahiro is the rich and feared character. His feelings played a large role, I find his motives very amusing throughout the plot. Yoshino and Mahiro are very… different characters compared to the cliches that show up nowadays. When you expect them to do something, they do the complete opposite. But what scares and surprises me the most is the lack of response from the two of them, no matter what they can always appear calm.
Overall, I ranked this anime a 9/10. Although I would say that it’s closer to a 9.5/10. XD
This is my first review, so I hope I did well…
8: Initial D Fifth Stage
Japanese: 頭文字 D Fifth Stage
MAL Score: 8.08
After earning a series of difficult victories in the prefectures of Tochigi, Saitama, and Ibaraki, the drivers of Project D—an amateur street driving group led by ex-street driver and expert tactician Ryousuke Takahashi—Takumi Fujiwara and Keisuke Takahashi now have to take Project D to the next level: the Kanagawa prefecture, commonly known as the holy land of street racing. Their opponents, members of the three best street racing teams of Kanagawa, design an elaborate strategy called the “Four Lines of Defense” to put a definitive end to the ambitions of Project D.
Meanwhile, Takumi feels he needs to refine his driving skills to overcome the last victory against Toshiya Joushima that he only just managed to snatch. The moment of truth has now come for Project D, which carries with it the hopes of the Gunma Prefecture; will they manage to thwart the surprising tactics of the skilled street racers of Kanagawa?
Since the reviews here are all extremely positive, and since I watched the last two seasons back to back, I’m gonna review them both.
First of all, for anyone who has not yet watched the series:
The first 2 seasons are amazing, and the third one (movie) is very good!
After that the quality drops quickly though.
Where in earlier seasons the anime revels in showing drifts, and mixing up closeups on the steering wheel and pedals with shots of drifting tires and the rear of the car coming very close to the guardrails, all while awesome eurobeat music is playing,
in the last two seasons, less and less attention was put into these cool moments.
Where in the earlier seasons the commentary from former rivals on the roadside was ecstatic and interesting, hyping up the race even more,
in the last two seasons, it is monotone and boring, and much more about pseudo-philosophy than about technique.
The animation quality dropped extremely over the course of the series, after peaking in the second and third season.
This is probably due to harsh budget constraints,
since the Anime was serialized in a very unusual pay-per-view way in the last two seasons.
The clunky 3D-animated cars of the first season are something I longed for all throughout the last three seasons, since it allowed for long, smooth shots of drifting cars, but even this seems to have been above the budget of the series at this point.
Last but not least, the pacing of the races:
Where in the first two seasons there were normal races mixed in with bunny races, starting with the Third Stage, the series was all-bunny race all the way, and it shows in the uncreative ways the races end.
After this point 90% of the races seem to be decided by spin-out, which made every race’s conclusion more boring than the one’s before.
This coupled with less and less interesting opponents, lead to the last two seasons in particular becoming a drag to watch.
It took a lot of willpower to not drop the series after the fifth season,
but it took even more to not drop it within the sixth one, or skip to the last episode.
When an anime I used to enjoy immensely changes into something I need willpower to sit down and watch, I cannot give it a better score.
To some extent, you can say this is more or less an extension of 4th stage since the focus is still on Project D. Their new rivals take racing seriously and express the same passion to a more distinct extent than previous rival teams. Because of this, the races are harder with the higher level of competition and harsher course conditions, so Ryosuke always thinks of ways in which they can and will win. Even if the chances are at a small percentage, he will bank everything on it.
I understand the characters from the other teams have more elaboration in the manga, but the anime does enough to express how this character compares and contrasts with either Ryosuke, Keisuke and Takumi. I just feel that they don’t have enough individual exploration and seem to be only used as a comparison tool to our main characters. I guess in context to the anime, it does its job, and this has been somewhat of an issue in previous installments. My only exposure of the manga is through the arcade, PS2, and PS3 games and when I see what is different in how the characters are more fleshed out, it really surprises me.
The rest of the cast for the most part is back. Most of the development is focused on Takumi, Keisuke, and Ryosuke and Ryosuke gets his own brief story arc. As for Iketani, Kenji, and Itsuki, they are still around and they do serve their roles in their own way. But I feel that their purpose is to now show how much Takumi has developed and is beyond them in context to expressing how he understands cars and the physics of racing. But I think at some point, they will get further development. But I think manga readers will tell me I am wrong. Some other past characters do show up and some of these brief returning characters do serve a significant purpose which I really thought did an excellent job for a certain new character.
In addition, Takumi now has a new love interest, Mika, a high school golf star. She is a real interesting character and I personally feels she is better than Natsuki. I feel she connects to Takumi more effectively because of her background and I like her out-going personality a lot more. I am pretty sure the manga at this point already has, but I hope when I watch future anime installments, they develop that relationship more. I thought the anime does its job building a good foundation to that relationship and I look forward to how it develops.
In terms of character design, the most significant change is Ryosuke’s. His hair is more shaggy and is not as well kept as it always has been. I don’t recall his hair looking like that in the manga based on my exposure through the games during that part of the story arc. Then again, this isn’t the first time, they changed Ryosuke’s hair style. In second stage, his hair color was changed to light brown from black and then changed back to black in 3rd and 4th stages. I thought his hair was fine. I guess my concern is on the basis that Ryosuke is my favorite character, but his fashion sense and his facial design and expressions are more or less the same. For the other characters, there are no other alterations to their designs.
The quality is not too different from 4th stage but has brighter resolution with the colors. The races are more back to a CG feel in comparison to the more cel-shaded feel of 4th stage and excellently does its job of bringing out the intensity and excitement of the races.
As for the races, the races are still done in a cat and mouse set of rules like in 4th stage. They do bring a sense of danger and risk to a higher level than previous installments, but I don’t think it’s to the level of that in Wangan Midnight or Shigeno-sensei’s previous manga, Bari Bari Densetsu. I suppose with a street racing manga, you want those factors, but in considerations to how well they organize and coordinate the street races, they can limit those risks so those factors justify that lack of them. I know accidents have happened in previous installments, but I just didn’t feel that danger. But this time, they do bring in weather and course conditions into a more specific and emphatic level in comparison to previous races and how they can appropriately customize the cars to prepare as well as actual physics to race in such conditions.
The races are planned with very intricate strategies that takes every possibility into account which is what I like about them. Even though this was also done in 4th stage, this quality is taken to a new level of technicalities in this season. The game plans Ryosuke comes up with is what makes touge racing very distinctive and makes me interested in it in a realistic point of view. For example, when Takumi invented his blind attack in 4th stage, this tactic is further elaborated and developed in a physics point of view. Also, some races focus more on effective breaking, and some are emphasized on carefully planned accelerating. Also, they do bring in very clever game planning which you may think is playing dirty, but considering this is the street, anything goes. But even though I don’t feel the danger, these new qualities does make it refreshingly exciting and educational. For that, I give the art and animation.
If you have been following my reviews of Initial D, then you know I always give the music and voice acting a 10/10. The voice cast is still the same and still bring their respective qualities to the same excellent performance they always have. Takumi is becoming nearly as articulate is Ryosuke and Miki Shinichiro does a great job of giving us that. The new voice actors also do a great job of capturing their characters. The music, the reason why I became an Initial D fan, is still unchanged. MOVE still does the songs though the hook is more of heavy guitars which perfectly reflects the more intense atmosphere of this installment. And if there is just one song that justifies my perfect score, it is the song “Wait for You” the Dancefloor mix by Ace from episode 11. It is just an amazing song you just have to hear. I can listen to this song over and over. It’s that song that makes you wish you were with that special someone in your life and it fits the mood of when the song was used. It is probably on my top 10 Initial D songs if i were to make one. So look that song up when you can I promise you’ll love it.
And the ending of the series perfectly sets up the last stage.
The art and cgi mostly the same as it was in fourth stage, maybe slightly improved. It’s some of the best visuals so far, but it looks outdated compared to other anime released at the time. The music and voice-acting is still solid as expected.
I found this season to be one of the least enjoyable of the series. Season 3 or 4 would have been fine stopping, now it just feels like the show is dragging on for no reason, tarnishing what good points it had.
7: Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo
English: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
MAL Score: 8.14
When abandoned kittens and his good conscience force second year Sorata Kanda to move into Suimei High School’s infamous Sakura Hall, the satellite dorm and its eccentric, misfit residents turn his life upside down. The decidedly average Sorata finds it difficult to fit in with the bizarre collection of dorm residents like Misaki, an energetic animator; Jin, a playwright playboy; Ryuunosuke, a reclusive programmer; and Chihiro, the dorm manager, art teacher, and party girl.
Sorata’s friend Nanami, a second year student and aspiring voice actress, pushes him to find new owners for the many cats so that he can quickly move back into the regular dorms. However, his desire to escape Sakura Hall wavers when the pet-like and infantile second year Mashiro Shiina, a world-class artistic savant looking to become a mangaka, transfers in during the spring trimester and quickly latches onto him.
Supported by each other’s quirks, Sorata and Mashiro come out of their shells and trigger change in the lives of those around them. Based on the light novel series of the same name, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo explores the fine threads connecting talent, hard work, romance, and friendship with its ensemble cast.
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is a rom-com slice of life anime, so it’s a good watch by default, right? Well, not quite. This genre has a shtick for being oversaturated, particularly with many poor productions. Why should you watch Sakurasou in particular, over the many other rom-com slice of life’s? Well, read on to find out.
Sakurasou does one thing especially well that makes it stand out among its competitors, and that is its character dynamics. That is an aspect of it that is simply fantastic. As such, this review contains a fairly lengthy discussion of the plot, which I will highlight with spoiler tags.
The main characters of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo are Kanda Sorata, Kamiigusa Misaki, Shiina Mashiro, Aoyama Nanami and Mitaka Jin. Already, Sakurasou can be seen as a highly unique anime. With 5 characters that are all equally important to the story, the audience gets five times the character development than most rom-coms. However, the story technically follows the adventures of Kanda Sorata, who has been banished to Sakurasou (“Sakura Hall”) due to the regular school dorms not allowing the keeping of cats. As he cares deeply for his cats, Kanda ends up biting the bullet and chooses to live at Sakurasou. There at Sakurasou, he lives with other would-be delinquents. And so, the relationships between the five characters at Sakurasou would serve as the backbone of this anime’s story.
Presumably, this should already be heaven for any rom-com slice of life lover; after all, there are five main characters and 24 episodes. The real thing that does it for Sakurasou, however, is the romance aspect of the anime. And by “doing it”, I mean doing a disservice. The romance in this anime is quite horrid, honestly. This is especially hard for me to say as I thoroughly enjoyed literally every single aspect of Sakurasou, except for its romance.
I’m going to be discussing the story in mild detail, so if you don’t want to be spoiled at all, skip to the [endspoiler] tag.
My first problem is Misaki’s relationship with Jin. Due to the nature of the anime and the nature of Misaki’s personality itself, her quest for love was simply a joke; I never really took it seriously. Whenever she cried after her numerous failures, I did not feel sympathy for her, nor did I feel emotional as a viewer. Misaki’s love struggles never really had any weight to them, and they even got resolved fairly quickly (as if to further undermine them).
The other problem: Aoyama and Kanda’s relationship. Oh boy. This relationship single-handedly “ruined” Sakurasou for me (not really ruined, but it basically kicked my pairing hopes in the nutsack). I personally rooted for Aoyama and Kanda to get together throughout the series, but man was THAT wishful thinking. Before watching this series, I read many posts touting Sakurasou as being “the bad kind of predictable”. And I certainly see why now. Right from the first episode, you could already see Shiina x Kanda being established. Them getting all touchy-feely so early on, the sexual innuendos, the peeping moments… it was all meant to be from the very beginning. So why then, did the writers decide to create a second relationship branch in Aoyama x Kanda? It makes zero sense to me, and Sakurasou’s execution of the pairing itself made just about the same amount of sense. The entire time, Kanda is as blunt as a block while Aoyama is as pitiful as a bug. It was just painful for me to watch Aoyama each time she tried to confess to Kanda. Her constant failures were just really disgusting, and especially so since I’m one of the viewers who prefer Aoyama over Shiina. Not by much, because I do love Shiina as a character, but some preference nonetheless. Aoyama’s unrealized love was truly cringe-worthy; two especially disgusting moments were when she confesses her love, only to play it off as “good acting”, and when she gave a half-ass confession to Kanda after her audition. Seriously, it’s like the producers were purposely getting my hopes up simply to laugh at me afterwards. Two times, we were supposed to get Aoyama to finally confess to Kanda, and for Kanda to (more than likely) go out with her or reject her. But, we get the worse-case scenario; Aoyama’s love is never realized! As I have said before, the chemistry between Aoyama and Kanda really pissed me off not only due to how poorly it was coordinated but also by how unnecessary it was. The producers did NOT need to include a second girl for Kanda; this isn’t a harem anime. Shiina would have been good enough, and the story could have simply focused on Kanda x Shiina being realized. However, just as this anime put the final nail in the coffin when it came to pissing me off with Aoyama x Kanda, episode 23 came about: the graduation episode. And boy, let me tell you. This was one of the greatest episodes in anime history; I’m just going to say it now. The emotion displayed in this episode by all the characters (students, school staff members, Sakurasou residents included) was simply unreal. This scene does not necessarily make you want to cry. However, you can sense the genuineness within each characters’ sadness, their speeches, and their feelings for each other. Instead of being a giant cheesefest, the producers of Sakurasou actually managed to make the graduation episode an honest-to-goodness emotional episode. And I felt it. However, I found myself asking: “Why wasn’t this the final episode?”
The last episode (24) made it seem as if there was still plenty more for Sakurasou to cover. It introduced two new characters, and it was the start of a new year; everything was fresh. We were going to see Kanda and Shiina being isolated from the other main characters for the first time, and maybe even having their relationship furthered. We even got a glimpse of the two new members of Sakurasou, and they are not bad characters in the slightest. All in all, the producers had quite a lot of quality material to work with if they wanted to create another season. So why didn’t they? After I finished watching all 24 episodes of Sakurasou, I was left wanting more. The series didn’t really “end” at all; why start a new chapter if you’re just going to cut it off right away? The ending makes no sense to me. You could say that this is a sign that the producers are thinking of a second season, but there hasn’t really been any news yet. It’s just wishful thinking as of now.
In every other department, however, Sakurasou excels.
Story [9/10]: Probably the most important aspect of an anime, Sakurasou has an exceptional story. While its romance is admittedly weak, as previously discussed, it doesn’t take much away from the story. There were quite a lot of aspects of Sakurasou that I had a critique for, and yet I found myself excitedly watching every episode regardless. I constantly wanted to find out what would happen next, and I was definitely held in suspense during many moments throughout the anime. The moments of drama, in particular, gave Sakurasou such great depth.
Art [10/10]: One of the absolute KILLER aspects of Sakurasou! The art implements a fairly unique style, using mainly warm and bright colors. Most animes have art that uses colors and shades from a generic palette, which causes them to look to look very similar to each other; Sakurasou strays away from this. All of the characters are drawn nicely, along with all of the minute details in the animations being perfectly executed. However, if there was one thing to really set Sakurasou apart, it’s the art used to portray Shiina Mashiro’s artistic virtuosity. As the viewer, I was able to completely comprehend the extent of Shiina’s skill due to Sakurasou’s magnificent art. Not to mention, whoever drew Shiina’s drawings was quite talented themselves.
Sound [10/10]: The only proof I need to verify the greatness of Sakurasou’s soundtrack is the fact that its OPs/EDs are among my top-played songs on my iPod. Initially, I wasn’t really feeling the first opening; it sounded somewhat generic. However, after listening to it multiple times by virtue of watching the anime, I fell in love with it. The openings completely portray the mood of the entire anime (and the openings very cleverly display the fantastic art style, too). The second ending in particular went very nicely with the characters dynamics at that point in the story.
Character [10/10]: Sakurasou’s characters truly give it that extra dimension. For a rom-com, all five main characters are surprisingly deep. Throughout the story, we get to learn of all of their backgrounds. What makes them so amazing is the fact that despite vastly contrasting upbringings, all of the Sakurasou residents are accepting of each other. There is never any sense of dislike or resentment among them, and they are all genuine friends. That chemistry between them is what makes them so special to watch.
I thought long and hard about my final rating. Admittedly, there are quite a few problems with Sakurasou, such as its romance. However, for an anime that has left such a huge impact on me, Sakurasou deserves nothing less than a perfect score. Along with other viewers, I have been left wanting more. Few other animes have managed to make me feel this way. And while I was watching it, Sakurasou provided countless laughs and a fair share of quality drama. Never was I bored at any moment while watching the series. The greatest thing about Sakurasou, however, is the fact that it manages to meet and then exceed the standard expectations of a romantic comedy slice-of-life anime; it truly is a fantastic production. Rarely can anyone recommend an anime of this genre as a must-watch for anime enthusiasts of all kinds, but that is exactly what I’m doing with Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo.
The very first line in the anime coming from the protagonist himself. Frankly, I felt exactly the same after watching the first dozen episodes of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. J.C. Staff, a studio which animated numerous titles such as Toradora, Zero no Tsukaima, Toaru Majutsu no Index, now it’s Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo or in English, ‘The Pet Girl of Sakurasou’.
Story? Kanda Sorata was told to move to a place called Sakurasou, a dorm where the problem students dwell in. One day, Shiina Mashiro, a genius, moves to the Dorm. And so, Sorata’s dorm mates given him the task to take care of Mashiro. So there ya go. You can probably predict the outcome of the show before you even watched it.
Sakurasou is a somewhat-more-than-generic romance/comedy anime. So, what are the common features of rom coms? Generic protagonist lives alone, story set in high school, extraordinary female protagonists, transfer students, probability of the transfer student living next door, childhood friends, imoutos having brother complex, beach episodes, protagonist is a chick magnet and lots of other distinctive features. It’s those shows where you watch simply because you’re too bored. Sakurasou is no exception.
However, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is slightly more different than the usual. While it does have most of the features mentioned, but this time the protagonist lives in a dorm, filled with problem students and Sakurasou have a slightly better plot…and I guess that’s pretty much it.
Since it’s a romance/comedy anime then you’re expecting some humor. Regrettably, the “comedy” part is appalling. Sakurasou provides the viewer with lots of humor throughout the series, but none of them were hilarious. All in all, Sakurasou fails to be entertaining in terms of humor.
In most cases, ecchi scenes and fanservice in these kind of anime are tolerable, as long as there are few but if too many, it affects the quality of the show. Indeed, I knew there were going to be ecchi in the series, but Sakurasou has more than expected.
Finally, it’s the story. Sakurasou starts off as boring, tiresome, especially the beginning and it may also be the biggest flaw of the anime. Brace yourselves, because boredom strikes very early. The starting episodes may give a bad first impression to the viewer and some may even stop watching the series solely because of that. Sakurasou is one of the few anime I’ve watched that left a terrible first impression.
However, once you’ve covered the dull early episodes, at one point Sakurasou eventually starts becoming more intriguing later on(if it ever does for you). Personal point of view: I might have enjoyed Sakurasou more if it only had 12 or 13 episodes, not with 24 episodes. Why? for me, it starts becoming more interesting roughly at episode twelve. Some of the characters’ past were interesting to watch such as Shiina Mashiro’s however the enjoyment only lasted for couple of minutes. Sakurasou did have some memorable moments; both happy and sorrowful, but most of them were in the middle or near the end of the series. Luckily, the ending was pretty decent. Not the best ending I’ve seen, but still it’s ok.
Character? I’ll show you in a list.
These are the characters who dwell in Sakurasou Dorm.
Scores are out of 5. Lowest(1) being Hated. Highest(5) being Loved.
Kanda Sorata:(1/5) Boring male protagonist; essential in most rom coms. Now, only more irritating.
Shiina Mashiro*:(3/5) Female protagonist. Neutral.
Aoyama Nanami:(3/5) The common tsundere type. I feel sorry for her at the end of the series.
Mitaki Jin:(3/5) Looks like he lost his virginity years ago.
Kamiigusa Misaki:(2/5) Energetic, noisy type.
Akasaka Ryuunosuke:(3/5) A Hikikomori.
Chihiro Sengoku:(3/5) Dorm teacher of Sakurasou.
A couple of supporting characters.
Kanda Yuuko:(1/5) She has brother complex. I’m not surprised. Most of the imoutos nowadays have brother complex anyway.
Rita Ainsworth:(3/5) Kawashima Ami…is that you?
From the list above, any scores below 3 means they’re disliked. None of the characters were interesting. Of course, all of the scores above are just my opinion. Though, it’s nice to see character development going on.
*In some of the scenes, Shiina Mashiro really reminded me of Akemi Homura, a character which I really love in Madoka Magica. Perhaps the last two episodes of Madoka Magica are simply too memorable…
Art/Visuals? Overall, it’s great. Colors are bright and artstyle is gorgeous. Backgrounds are nice and Shiina Mashiro’s artwork are incredible.
Sound? Voice acting is pretty good(Sorata yelling almost every time is rather aggravating). OP and ED are all J-Pop themed songs and I’ve only bothered to listen to them once. I do like J-pop songs, but only selected ones. There’s some very beautiful background music being played during the sad scenes.
Conclusion? Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo isn’t the worst rom com I’ve watched and its far from being the best. To sum up, it’s pretty average, despite the number of flaws it has. Unfortunately, Sakurasou just didn’t live up to my expectations. Not even close.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. When I first read the little summary of it on MAL I got the horrible feeling in my stomach it would be very sexually forward with a lot of fan service and very little plot/char. development. I thank God today that I’m terrible at guessing plots to anime, and I will take this second to simply say “I apologize” to the writer for having low expectations. Because I could not have possibly been more wrong.
This story is about a group of what I can only describe as misfit geniuses. These are the rejects of the school, and at the same time some of the most artistically gifted students at Sui High. For various reasons, be it financial or social, they each have ended up in the cheapest and fairly rundown Co-Ed dorm at the school, Sakurasou. Kouhai (The main male protagonist) was forced to move into the dorm after he tried to take care of a stray cat he found, however dorm regulations forbid him to keep it unless he moved. So of course, he decided to move until he could “find another owner for it”. However, by the time the show opens up on the present at the start of out story, rather than him making any progress, he has actually taken in like… 10 more cats. As I said, so at the open of the show Chihiro sensei (runs the dorm) asks Kouhai to go pick up a transfer student who will be moving into Sakurasou. That transfer student is none other than the beautiful, quiet, legendary artist Mashiro. He comes to find out she is essentially incapable of taking care of herself on her own, so in the same nature as his cats, he takes on the responsibility of being on “Mashiro duty”.
The misfits have many little adventures and antics and overcome many trials during their time at Sakurasou. As time passes friendships form and grow, bonds grow stronger, fights, love, tears, all come into play among the six friends of Sakurasou.
Now Ill do that thing where you separate it into sections
Actually, even though I’m not big on being able to tell huge differences and intricate details between different anime, this show’s art really stood out. It felt smooth, clean, and beautiful. I daresay it was made to look so as to reflect the fact that they are all artistic students in their various fields, to match the level of beauty they themselves can create. The only other anime I know of with animation better than this would be Nagi no Asakura. So that’s pretty darn good. I appreciated the high quality.
Not a pro on music, I can basically tell you whether I
1. Liked the OP and ED. (I really did)
2. thought the music distracted me from the show or helped to amplify it. (It blended well and I liked it just fine. Nothing to report back negative on.
Story Quality/ Why I Enjoyed It
This has to be one of the best stories of friendship and love I’ve ever seen. Now when I say love I mean it in a universal way. Not JUST romantic love, although there is plenty of that. I mean also the love between friends. Best friends. Think of a friend of yours who is the absolute most important friend you don’t want to have to be without. Now take six of y’all and go live in a dorm together. That’s in essence what you have here. The plot was paced very well, nothing happened too quick or too slow. The pain and struggles each character went through had me feeling like I was right there struggling with them. Is that not a powerful thing? When a story can draw you in so much that when something big happens, whatever it may be, it has the power to make you FEEL emotion. And no I’m not talking about “man I’m so pissed the plot went in this direction”. No… I’m talking about when you see a character get their heart broken, you feel for them, you cry with them. It’s really not easy for an anime to do that. But for me, this did.
I’m telling you, Misaki’s graduation speech TORE ME UP (that means it made me cry).
I highly recommend this show to anyone who loves a good story about the bond between friends. And young love. This show is as funny as it is sad, as it is heartwarming as it is beautiful.
Hats off to Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo.
MAL Score: 8.21
Chihaya Ayase, a strong-willed and tomboyish girl, grows up under the shadow of her older sister. With no dreams of her own, she is contented with her share in life till she meets Arata Wataya. The quiet transfer student in her elementary class introduces her to competitive karuta, a physically and mentally demanding card game inspired by the classic Japanese anthology of Hundred Poets. Captivated by Arata’s passion for the game and inspired by the possibility of becoming the best in Japan, Chihaya quickly falls in love with the world of karuta. Along with the prodigy Arata and her haughty but hard-working friend Taichi Mashima, she joins the local Shiranami Society. The trio spends their idyllic childhood days playing together, until circumstances split them up.
Now in high school, Chihaya has grown into a karuta freak. She aims to establish the Municipal Mizusawa High Competitive Karuta Club, setting her sights on the national championship at Omi Jingu. Reunited with the now indifferent Taichi, Chihaya’s dream of establishing a karuta team is only one step away from becoming true: she must bring together members with a passion for the game that matches her own.
Of course, that was my first reaction.
At first, this anime really didn’t catch my interest. It was plain and dry, like trying to shape out the dry clay; but as it went on, I found myself immersed in it. Like a sea of colors vibrantly expanding across an infinite of sky. Yes, even now, fifteen minutes after I finally saw the last episode, I am still numbed by its excellence.
In the beginning, the story seemed boring. Predictable. Like a boat streaming across still water. It was lifeless, and simple. I expected it to be like any other Anime with a swindle of a romance eclipsed by the ever flamboyant facade of a sport or activity.
But somewhere, as the series progressed, it seemed to evolve. It seamlessly grew to something more, something beyond the natural limits of a story. It wasn’t plagued with typical conflicts or unrequited desires, it was like a light that slowly lit itself brighter and brighter, unblocked by the trends of literature and expectation. Barriers that innately shackled a series’ potential seemed to fade away, and every climactic moment that the characters felt was somehow shared with the viewer. As if a crescendo of realization would slay you alongside them.
All in all, it was about the sport, Katura. And, you’d think: “Well, if its just about a sport its not like anything interesting can happen.” But somehow, it was different. The sport was a sort of catalyst that helped the characters not only develop towards one another, but it opened the door for an entire world that we all seem to forget, as if blinded by the mundane trudge of life.
The competitive aspect of the game, which yearned for such a demand of stamina seemed to be later eclipsed by the “true” virtue hidden within the sport. Yes, what the beginner sees, and the masters forget: The poetry. Such an attribute slowly became the mortar that gave new meaning to each simple issue that arose during the characters’ failures.
It was seamless as we learned with them, through their desperation and hardship; their envy and willpower. The goals kept increasing, and aspirations began to soar, capping only at what the characters truly wanted.
Romance. Friendship. Deeper revelations. Aspiration oriented. Perseverance through strength. No text box storytelling. Failure.
The art in this show was interesting. It had primarily bold lines, and definitely took some getting used to. But now that I finished it, I really couldn’t imagine this anime any other way.
The thing is, since this show is so off on a tangent in the first place, it seemed necessary to break the norm.
However, I will say that there were moments when I wished that they wouldn’t have. The fact of the matter is, the art does well for its purpose, but it seems like it was aimed at a particular niche. I guess it just comes down to personal preference, really.
Nonetheless, the art was still phenomenal. Everything down to lighting was near perfect, and facial expressions were particularly pronounced so as to invoke the true feelings of the characters. Bloom, Sparkles, Glitter, Comical Backdrops, and Chibi Moments; everything seemed in good shape.
Overall, it had a realistic feel. Which held tremors to the viewer considering the entire theme could be realistically translated into anything the viewer truly desired.
The art was different, but really you shouldn’t have any complaints.
This soundtrack is simply awe inspiring. Even now, as I write this review, I have OST 7 “Main Theme” on loop.
The music in this show was EXTREMELY good. It did very well to convey the emotions that were felt by the characters, and worked seamlessly with the art and choreography to invoke what the moments wished you to feel. To be honest, the music had a voice of its own. As if it was an entire character separate of the cast, watching the show with you, helping you along through the tears.
It sympathized with you when necessary, and laughed alongside you, guided you along the adventurous moments… It really couldn’t have been any better.
Even if this show had 5 frames a second and 1980’s art, I would still choke for air at how many times this musical score seems to steal your breath away.
If anything, I’ll still be listening to this music many decades later. Thank you, Kousuke Yamashita.
If only I could rate this 20.
Symphony. Commonly repeating motif. Varied orchestration. Light sounds mixed with heavy ensembles. Stellar composition.
While romance is an aspect of the story, it is merely a development feature. Note that the story is more so directed toward the love of friendship and the game itself than it is towards any romantic moments.
To start with, each character occupies a niche.
Ayase is a beauty, yet it is in vain. The moment she speaks, it is broken by her tomboyish image and personal drive. But its those very traits that reel you in. She is the joyous energy that keeps the group together, and despite her clear superiority in the game, genuinely cares for her friends, and helps aid them in their journey to pursue Karuta.
Taichi, Ayase’s childhood friend, remains her loyal companion throughout the years. His mental forte is unmatched to most every player the game has ever known; even once reciting every card at random in the entire deck of 100, just because he could. His family is privileged, and he is pressured by his parents to keep at the highest tier in terms of sports and exams. His brains keep him on par with the purists that achieve their status merely due to athletic prowess. He acts as the groups motivator and leader, often amping everyone out of their slumps with “Just the right words” to turn them around.
Arata represents the reverse side to Taichi, being the poorer, lesser appreciated, segment to the story. As the story progresses, his darker past becomes realized, and he continues to become a shining beacon for Ayase.
There is a triangle romance between the three of them, but remember, the show does not articulate this enough for this show to be branded as a romance.
Of course, there are a great many other supporting characters that help aid Ayase on her journey to realize herself through Katura, each having a realistic and effective back story that warps the plot in one way or another.
The characters were diverse, which allowed for the story to be seen through a wide spectrum. Realistic. Believable. Nothing was over exaggerated.
Did I find this show enjoyable?
Well, in a way I did.
I felt that it was really giving a perspective about achievement I had never really thought about.
To learn meant failure, to grow stronger meant to feel hardship and to overexert yourself to what phase out the illusions to what you truly desired.
At the end of each episode, with the crescendoing music resounding with each episodic climax, I felt the overwhelming desire to watch the next.
It was like a ten hour long movie that always kept you drooling for more.
I was stunned by the hype of this show that I nearly skipped over it. And let me tell you, I ALMOST did.
And simply for the thought once existing, I regret it.
If I had passed up this show, I really would have missed out on such a masterpiece. I am shamed of myself.
I honestly cant wait to jump into Chihayafuru Season 2.
It was beautiful to the core. Every aspect was heartwrenchingly flawless. If you have any last minute questions before watching this series, feel free to PM me.
I really don’t think the world can afford to have people so many that haven’t seen Chihayafuru.
I know a lot of people mess with those mah jong anime that keep coming out. I can’t hate but I never know or care about what’s going on in any of that stuff.
Lucky things happened though. Winter 2012 anime were failing hard so I had to start review crawling. MAL gave this thing an 8+ so figured I’d give it a shot. Normally that’s a bad idea because girl anime tends to have inflated ratings on this site.
Expectations exceeded. This show right here filled me with some serious glee. I still have no idea what the rules of Karuta are and I still loved the show. All I managed to discern is that somebody reads a poem in a creepy voice and then you have to snatch up a card real quick. Apparently that was all that I needed to know.
Characters? Mostly win. I like that every character is unique. There hardly any typical characters, except some minor side dudes from that red shirt karuta club. Actually I’ll contradict myself and say that Chihaya herself is a pretty typical ditzy but hard working female lead character but everyone else is fresh. My favourite guy of all is Desktomu-kun. I’m comfortable enough to say that he is actually cute as a grown male character. Welcome to 2012. Speaking of Desktomu-kun, how come all the side characters in the club were small and funny looking where as the main three characters are all tall and handsome? It’s like there’s a class system through character design. I save further analysis of this for the Marxist anime review page.
While I said the characters are good that’s not saying the chracters are deep or anything. It seems like they all have one personality type, typically only express a couple moods and are all motivated by a single factor. For example, the adorable Kana-chan, can be summed up completely as the girl who likes poetry or a history buff. Not every anime has to be an exercise in psychoanalysis though.
The worst parts of the show are some of the flashbacks and plot devices used to motivate characters are pretty bad though. Arata’s motivation for quitting karuta is so contrived. Pisses me off right now just thinking about how little imagination went into that.
Taichi seemed like he was the most multifaceted guy. He’s sort of an insecure ass but more at least it’s only as far as a real person acts like an ass. You watch these josei/shoujo anime and the main guy is usually some epic dirtbag dude that could only another dirtbag could relate to. A good example is the guy in Nodame Cantabile. I want to punch the trash out of that guy. You always have these girl anime pitting Dirtbag Dans against Nice Guy Norms but here I don’t really get that. Taichi actually seems like a nice guy but he can’t help but do some dumb stuff. Arata is kind of shy but he doesn’t really seem that nice either. He is actually pretty edgy since he’s supposed to be the Lebron James of speed cards or whatever.
Then you have the action, which kicks a bunch of ass solely because of the direction and writing. Like I said before, I still have no idea how karuta works but I definitely felt the suspense in every match. I’m dying to hear them read the cards out and I don’t know what they mean. That’s good TV. The matches are made interesting by focusing on internal mental stuff going on with the players and small details that the reader can understand. For example, there is a part where a distinction is made between a player with speed and a player who uses rhythm and pacing. I don’t really need to understand karuta to be able to relate to that.
Thematically, you get a lot of the typical stuff here around being in a team and striving for a goal and all that sports anime crap. I love that sports anime crap. Makes me feel good as heck. You also get a little education about Japanese poetry. That also makes me feel good. Like I’m not just watching cartoons, I’m getting educated out here. I would have liked to have seen a little more focus on the outsider nature of the game though. The whole ordeal with the Empress teacher was supposed to present that aspect of things but that unravelled pretty predictably. I think more focus on Taichi and Chihaya’s interactions with their parents and the parents’ acceptance or ignorance of karuta would have been nice.
I give this series a 9. It delivered happiness, that sports anime suspense and some interesting knowledge about a weird sport. I’m dying for a second season. You know, I have now seen anime about karuta and kendo. When am I going to get a sumo anime?
The story is similar to many other sports anime. The main character Chihaya Ayase childhood dream is to watch her sister become the number one model. This all changes when she meets a transfer student, Arata Wataya, that open her eyes to the world of competitive Karuta. Ever since this fated meeting that made her entranced in the world of karuta her dream has been to become the queen (best female karuta player). From here on out the plot is quite simple, with Chihaya going to karuta societies to improve or tournaments to compete. Finding rivals,mentors and teamates along the way, each with their own influence on Chihaya. Honestly though if you watch Chihayafuru for a riveting plot with many twists and turns, you will be disheartened. Notably due to the slow start of the anime, with a long five episode flashback. Chihayafuru is mainly a character-driven show, which in its own way can produce its own heart-wrenching entertainment equivalent to an amazing plot.
And the characters really do not disappoint, from the design to their personalities each character has a trait to love. Though Chihaya is a stereotypical tomboy airhead type character with her stereotypical childhood friend,Taichi Mashima, and stereotypical outsider transfer stuident Arata, the way they develop is what differentiates Chihayafuru from the status quo. Each and every character has their own dilemma, which they have to face. Inspiring us not only through their success but also in their own failure. Even the side characters have progress, and are explored throughout the show.
In terms of art style, some might not be too accustomed to the differences in Chihayafuru. I know at first I had a hard time looking at Taichi and Chihaya because of their oddly super long eyelashes, but I grew to appreciate the design. There are some characters that look similar to others but this is primarily with background characters. Overall most of the characters don’t look very similar, something I really appreciate in anime nowadays. As for the animation, everything is pretty crisp. Their is not much action to animate but they do a good job with the Karuta scenes, I have only seen problems in one or two episodes, where the frames drop a bit. Hardly noticeable, may even be my computer playing tricks with me. Now onto backgrounds, and other non-character related animation, was pretty good. Not amazing to me (like bakemonogatari background amazing) but still good. I am all for dark colors > light but the bright colors really stand out yet is cohesive with the piece as a whole.
With the great animations it leads to the Karuta matches actually being quite interesting. One would think that just watching a couple players try to get to a card first would be boring, but they build up suspense and emotion for every match. They do not get too technical about the technique and skill, and instead focus on the character’s mindset. Despite the fact that at times this show is very serious, it does have its comedic aspects. Its funny to see how Chihaya go from ditzy in other situations, to being graceful at Karuta.
Lastly the Sound. The tracks do not vary too much considering the insert songs during the animation. Despite this lack of deviation, these songs were well timed and really highlighted the moments of emotion. In comparison the intro and outro differ greatly yet are just as memorable. The opening has a more upbeat tempo that makes you want to tap your feet to the rhythm. I imagine the characters drive and love for karuta during the opening. Slowing down the pace with the Outro, it drives the great emotional impact of Chihayafuru. The ending really expresses the character’s relationships well. As for the voice acting, nothing really stood out, but nothing was annoying. I do not really have an ear for voice acting so do not quote me on that.
All together Chihayafuru provides a great experience for the audience, with emotional attachment to the characters and the suspense to see the results. Don’t let the fact that the show is about Karuta, and you have no idea what that is (yet) stop you from enjoying it. I believe that Chihayafuru’s virtues strongly outweigh any faults that it may have, and highly reccomend it to anyone.
5: Shinsekai yori
English: From the New World
MAL Score: 8.32
In the town of Kamisu 66, 12-year-old Saki Watanabe has just awakened to her psychic powers and is relieved to rejoin her friends—the mischievous Satoru Asahina, the shy Mamoru Itou, the cheerful Maria Akizuki, and Shun Aonuma, a mysterious boy whom Saki admires—at Sage Academy, a special school for psychics. However, unease looms as Saki begins to question the fate of those unable to awaken to their powers, and the children begin to get involved with secretive matters such as the rumored Tainted Cats said to abduct children.
Shinsekai yori tells the unique coming-of-age story of Saki and her friends as they journey to grow into their roles in the supposed utopia. Accepting these roles, however, might not come easy when faced with the dark and shocking truths of society, and the impending havoc born from the new world.
The story takes place in Japan a thousand years from the present in a utopia where a portion of the population retain a special power called psychokinesis. From the beginning we follow a group of five children as they grow up in the anime and see how they develop within a community bounded by strict rules, and deal with the decisions they make that alter the course of their lives and the entire society they live in. The plot of the show flows very nicely from episode to episode and just as we approach the climax, there’s a plot twist and the storyline from that point just flips upside down in a way you would never expect it to.
The characters in this anime are just something else, with Saki as it’s shining star. The main characters start off as children and by the end of the anime they are adults, with proper illustration of character development. There are a couple of anime who have attempted this children to adulthood metamorphosis motif within one season but they do not pull it off as well as Shinsekai Yori. With an anime that has twenty-five episodes, you would think it would not be enough time for proper character development from children to adults. However, Shinsekai Yori pulls this off very smoothly, which is evidently seen with Saki and Satoru, which even applies to the supporting characters as well. You will not see one character behaving as such and then the next episode they are being the polar opposite, everything is explained and shown very well.
The sound is one of the areas this anime excels in. Every sound that you would not even care for is implemented in every episode and added in the appropriate places, at the appropriate times; the echoing of the voices in a dim room, the rippling of water flowing from a stream. Not to mention soundtrack produced in this amine, which is amazing. Just youtube the battle theme, even if you have not watched the anime yet, it will entice your interests in this anime.
The quality of the art and the animation is what you would expect of any anime standards that are out there today: clear, crisp and pleasing to the eye. The characters and the environment in each of the scenes are drawn to a level of detail, not too simple, yet not to far in detail as well, just in the middle. The quality of art really makes you focus on the message the anime is trying to radiate to the viewer; more than focusing of the wow factor on how amazing the art is.
In terms of the enjoyment, this is not an anime that starts off on a high note and continues as such from there. The first two or three episodes really butters you up, but once you hit the fourth or fifth episode, I promise you, you will be hooked and you will just watch one episode after another. Even if you are more into romance, comedy, action or any genre that is not related to Shinsekai Yori, this anime is definitely worth watching and will probably open the doors to other anime series you never bothered to watch.
Overall I really enjoyed this anime, people should give it a try (unexpectedly, it even became one of my favourites). It did not look appealing to me at first, hence “diamond in the ruff”, but once I started and things picked up, I just wrapped myself in a blanket and marathon’d the whole show. Just looking back at the anime, I will say that one of the highlights of this show is it’s ability to take the morals and values of the world we live in and put it into perspective from watching what the characters do to each other and the outcomes that blossom from their decisions. Give Shinsekai Yori a try and you will see what I mean!
I hope you enjoyed my seemingly short review, I would not mind any feedback and if you enjoyed this series or feel enticed to watch it after reading this, feel free to leave a comment !
What distinguishes Shinsekai Yori from its counterparts is the sheer unorthodoxy of its universe. It is one where the modern society as we know it has not been replaced by a technologically advanced civilisation but that of a small picturesque town characterised by a community whose lifestyles have regressed into that of villagers. It is within these bounds that we follow our protagonists from the ages of 12 to 26 in this insidiously deceptive world. Throughout the series, Shinsekai Yori’s universe is constantly developed with fascinating conceptions such as the Karma Demons, Cantus and the Queerats (an entirely different yet intelligent species) that all bring into question many of our humanity’s morals and beliefs. Each concept is thoroughly explored and reinforce each other to create a powerful and fascinating dystopia whose elements successfully examines and challenges the philosophies we take for granted.
Despite its complexity, it does not lazily “narrate” the ideologies that we question. You won’t be sitting through monologues of lecture-like philosophy or psychology. You see society being critiqued through the journey and consequences of the actions of our protagonists. This is what I find to be the most impressive aspect of the show because Shinsekai Yori fully takes advantage of anime as a medium – a feat that I feel is rare in this genre. The characters’ dialogue exist to explore their mind whilst it is their actions and interactions with this post-apocalyptic world that we explore humanity. In order to truly appreciate Shinsekai Yori, it has to be completed as only then will the experience be complete as the show’s construction of its world is careful to convey certain messages and hidden meanings throughout the show allowing viewers to formulate and reformulate key ideas and questions without ever stooping to overbearing narration.
The characters in Shinsekai Yori all play crucial elements to our story and the range of our cast fully captures the countless perspectives that people in such a world can hold. They are all effectively portrayed via their interactions which unravels how multi-dimensional they are. These interactions are genuine and there is an excellent balance between dialogue, silence and narration from our female lead Saki whose voice actor must be praised for such an alluring performance. Despite the show’s timespan ranging from our protagonists’ youth to their adulthood, the pacing is impeccable as it changes from a slower pace to accommodate the universe-building to a faster pace needed to match the gravity of the conflicts that occur.
For an immense dystopia, it only makes sense for it to be accompanied with diverse artwork. As we observe their world throughout the seasons and its numerous settings – oceans, mountains, villages both desolate and populated, they are portrayed with their own unique environment and colour choices. This is all contrasted with the use of experimental visuals and cinematography during the more dream-like and ethereal scenes which do not exist to simply invoke awe but contribute to subtly send hints across to the viewer on certain mysteries and foreshadowing certain events. Complementing the visuals is a soundtrack which encapsulates the essence of the show with each track strengthening the visuals and enhancing the overall experience. The soundtrack demonstrates how effectively music can make emotions across the human spectrum more compelling whilst respecting its role of being a supplement to the show and thus maintains our focus on the story the series presents – one which no extent of audiovisuals is required to make its ideas any more resounding than they already are.
All in all, Shinsekai Yori is a series that delivers in every single aspect it aims to explore. It displays enough to connect all the ideas examined together into a singular full dystopia but leaves enough for viewers to intellectually ponder and elaborate for themselves. It is profound yet not pretentious and examines humanity without falling into a safety net of tropes that may suffice the viewer but do not inspire. Unlike many of its counterparts, Shinsekai Yori is not a dystopia that relies on a singular premise but a whole host of powerful conceptions that coalesce to create, not just a society, but an entire universe. It achieves this with excellence and elegantly provides us with the most wholesome and meticulously crafted package of dystopian fiction I have ever seen and I unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone who seeks the same.
Shinsekai Yori was that show where I could sit in awe watching the director roll out things one after the other making it look so very effortless. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t bat an eye if the writer actually happens to be from the future because his description of the ‘New World’ is not only persuasive but also connected.
The story is set in the future [1000 years from now] where mankind has created themselves an utopia, though the events are restricted to only Japan. It follows the students of a certain batch in a certain school that helps the students master their PK[Psychokinesis] ability aka Cantus. In this period, PK users[humans] are the dominant species and Queerats are their sub-ordinates or slaves and often address the former as Kami-sama[literally translating as ‘God’]. We follow Watanabe Saki and her friends through the sufferings and pain they endure as they try to unravel the origin and possibly vile past of their present society.
The synopsis and the first episode speaks a little to nothing about what the anime truly aims to deliver but the intro of 1 minute[First episode] was enough to keep me reeled in. Fourth episode was bewildering, I had to watch it twice to get most of what was being explained. There was also a portion that temporarily lost my attention and then there was the conclusion that meticulously sealed off the deal on this beautiful creation.
Fantasy toned genres never piqued much of my interest but the whole future setting here was surprisingly compelling. Even the plot holes get over shadowed by an unbelievably smooth story transition. One could almost relate our world with the ugly facade put up by the otherwise apparent dystopia. I am deliberately refraining from describing the story but I assure you it’s a staggering watch indeed. Whenever I thought- this is it, this is the writer’s limit of imagination, the show would prove me wrong. This is not purely SF or Fantasy, bring in a darker theme, an ingenious screenplay and Shinsekai Yori is born.
Shinsekai Yori does contain violence/blood and profanity saturated at some parts of the show. The happenings and revelations in this series can be depressing hence should not be mistaken as a light watch. Shinsekai Yori impressively manages to portray the discriminatory nature in us humans in a completely unorthodox thought provoking manner. Story becomes pretty linear after 6th or 7th episode, but that doesn’t stop it from keeping you at the edge of your seat especially near the end. I still can’t commend the writer enough for the conclusion he’s given to this work. Best possible ending, as far as it concerns me.
As for the Homosexual sequences[very little amount of Shounen Ai and perhaps a little Shoujo Ai/Yuri, 1-2 Episodes tops], it saddens me deeply to see people dropping Shinsekai Yori because of the same. I believe they play a tiny yet essential part in describing the re-casted lives of humans of their time and do not qualify enough for a reason to drop this series.
The character designs can be hard to get used to for many, but I’ve come to realize how much it suits the whole ‘Shinsekai’ module of the show. A1 pictures out stood themselves again in the Backgrounds Dept. The backgrounds are extremely gorgeous to look at; effects and animation are well above mediocre. Just wow to all the creatures we encounter other than humans and queerats. The color selection fit perfectly and beautifully brings the New World concept to life. Indubitably deserves to be watched in 720p or more.
The characters in their entirety do a great job in painting the manufactured mentality and traits native to the people 1000 years from now. You’ll doubt their authenticity, their feelings, pity their helpless state and still be able to relate to a degree, for they are at core still humans like us. Again, this is something that the viewers should see for themselves. [ Queerats : If you’re familiar with Harry Potter franchise, Queerats look similar to Dobby, but more disfigured and fat with further diversities as well. Squealer is one of those queerats and plays a significant role in the later half yet main plot of Shinsekai Yori by assuming the personification of ‘Resistance’ against the atrocities of the Powerful. ]
Sound- Bravo! It blends so well into the setting and environment that I couldn’t help being mesmerized by it. The BGMs & OSTs were captivating and spot on almost entirely. A custom version of ‘Going Home’ [adapted from the second movement of Symphony No. 9 (Dvořák)] featured earlier in Mawaru Penguindrum was used in Shinsekai Yori, and for me it worked magic in the latter. I remember watching the first episode again and again just to hear that and the first ED ‘Wareta Ringo’. Voice actors did an incredible job, I don’t know how but Hanazawa Kana-san’s voice always gets me.
I personally enjoyed Shinsekai Yori way more than I’d initially expected. The entire run had a consistent dark atmosphere, which contributed in keeping the tension. I haven’t been this satisfied with an ending in a long time. This is unquestionably a rare gem among the current trend in Japanese animation industry and is not something one should overlook. Sure there are downfalls like the slow pace in initial episodes, few dry episodes in the middle, minuscule amount of homosexual themes that can irrationally put some viewers off, perhaps some sloppy facial animation now and then, but in the bigger picture Shinsekai Yori more than makes up for the flaws and to me it’s no less than something close to masterpiece.
That being said, Shinsekai Yori is not a show for everyone but do try it and decide for yourself.
Overall Score: 8.5/10.
Thank you for reading the entire heap. Feedback greatly appreciated.
4: Sakamichi no Apollon
English: Kids on the Slope
MAL Score: 8.34
Introverted classical pianist and top student Kaoru Nishimi has just arrived in Kyushu for his first year of high school. Having constantly moved from place to place since his childhood, he abandons all hope of fitting in, preparing himself for another lonely, meaningless year. That is, until he encounters the notorious delinquent Sentarou Kawabuchi.
Sentarou’s immeasurable love for jazz music inspires Kaoru to learn more about the genre, and as a result, he slowly starts to break out of his shell, making his very first friend. Kaoru begins playing the piano at after-school jazz sessions, located in the basement of fellow student Ritsuko Mukae’s family-owned record shop. As he discovers the immense joy of using his musical talents to bring enjoyment to himself and others, Kaoru’s summer might just crescendo into one that he will remember forever.
Sakamichi no Apollon is a heartwarming story of friendship, music, and love that follows three unique individuals brought together by their mutual appreciation for jazz.
Kids on the Slope (also known as Sakamichi no Apollon) is a story taking place in the beginning of summer, 1966. It stars the protagonist Kaoru Nishimi, an honor student who tends to keep to himself. He has a rather reserved personality and hard to open up. That is until he meets the bad boy and future best friend Sentaro Kawabuchi. While mistakenly getting to a bad start, these two soon develop an unforgettable friendship based on respect, forgiveness, and of course, music. Later comes into picture is Ritsuko Mukae, a friendly girl who plays intriguing roles in the story ranging from music, friendship, and later love. The series follows three friends as they create unforgettable memories of the 1960s in the age of jazz music, friendship, and melody.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself “why should I watch this series?”
Well, first of all this series contains the unification of icons Watanabe Shinichi (Series Director of Cowboy Bebop) and music composer Yoko Kanno. That alone can be seen as a good reason to start watching. While labeled as a coming-of-age drama, this series also contains a bit of the romance theme and of course, drama. So for those interested into the intertwined story arcs mixed in with misunderstandings, jazz critique, and love trials, then this could be a little added bonus.
[ – Story – ]
Kids on the Slope details friendship and is one of the most important element of the series and should not be just seen as an aspect of the anime but in real life as well. Kaoru, Sentaro, Ritsuko forge friendship through one common passion: the love of music and the bond that they share.
This series does not have a strong impression at first. From the first episode, there’s not much to say besides the typical high school drama and music setting. Furthermore, for those carving for action and psychological twists or for some who call it “mindfucks”, then this is the wrong series to look into. Thankfully, there’s an old saying that goes “never judge a book by its cover”. Damn right, you shouldn’t because this coming-of-age drama is sure to give you a surprising twist.
In the beginning, there is the common theme. Kaoru falls for the friendly girl, Sentaro falls for the graceful girl, and Ritsuko is already in love with the childhood bad boy. Then comes even more characters that makes the already complicated geometric love shape even more complicated later on.
Kids on the Slope moves at a relative pace that can be considered neither slow or fast. Ironically, it starts off slow even though it’s kids on the SLOPE. Anything that flows down a slope relatively moves fast but in this case retains a relatively average pace. So I’ll say this again, this series is not for the fans who carves the fast paced action and psychological twists. If you want that, try Jormungand or something.
[ – Characters ]
While the characters are animated plainly and simple, their inner character and style is what drives this series as why it’s ranked into the #100 of MAL. Beyond the romance polygon are characters that balances out the series.
First we have Kaoru, the middleman who has the reserved personality. He is smart, he is reserved, and he has the talents to become a real star. Thankfully with some fate, he finds someone who also share a similar love for the age of music. That brings us to Sentaro. Like the opposite of ying and yang, Sentaro is seen as the tough guy with the soft spot, the one that picks fights but also the guy who protects and values his friendship with the other characters from the bottom of his heart. His outer image covers up the fact that he is a deep down guy and cares for the people and things he truly loves; his friends, his family, and the children that respects him so much and of course, music. Finally, there’s Ritsuko. She is the cheerful girl, the one that builds bridges of friendship with friends and generally well-liked. Yet behind her outer image lies a somewhat insecure girl and sometimes jealous of others’ ability to be so outright themselves.
Later on of course, there are other characters that enter the scene that have stark personalities and also not who they appear to be. I’d love to go on and on about these characters but this isn’t an summary is, it? This is a review so I’ll leave you to find out. But trust me, you’ll love to get to know them once you see the realism behind their outer characters.
And speaking of realism, it is noticeable that the characters’ personal lives are conveyed in a way that can be seen and defined as quite real. Whether tragic, sad, or cheerful, we see the histories of the main characters that can be related to most of us. They all have background histories that brings the overall realism into the 1960’s and even towards today.
[ – Animation/Art -]
If there’s one thing to forget, it might be the art. I’ll say this in the most honest way as possible:
It is too plain and simple.
The animation is not rich and series airing this Spring Season like Fate/Zero puts it to shame in the art department. The animation however brings out a powerful feeling of nature and refines the 1960s style in its finest form. While plain and simple (Karou’s glasses, Sentaro’s shirt, etc), we can see that the culture it tries to convey of the 1960s is successful. Culture has indeed changed from the past to present day as we can clearly see the lesser technology and more general and sophisticated themes. It is simple and not detailed just like how high school should be. It doesn’t need to be something special that makes us go “wow!” After all, the precise of an entire series is not always judged by art solely. At one point of watching over 100 series, it’s just down right common sense.
[ – Sound/Music – ]
Ah yes, this is the main event, if for any reason to watch this series at all, it is this.
Music and life plays a key role in this series and thus, one could expect the melancholy and drama the music lyrics conveys and delivers. With the ultra talented Yoko Kanno in charge, one can expect a blockbuster hit and smash of the season. And she does not disappoint, neither her skills or the characters’ that plays both artistically and beautifully in the series.
In fact, the music in the series plays well, even in rhythm with the main characters. If you take careful notice, the way and style they play their instruments systemically match their art and moments. The way the characters play the music is natural and in the ways they are of themselves, not for a popularity contest. To play music and bring pleasure to the ears is something to respect and take notice of. These kids really do have talent.
[ – Enjoyment – ]
This story is of the old school coming-of-age style so the pleasure of enjoying this series can vary. At first glance, one might decide to drop or put on-hold at its relative pace as well as its lack of the typical “shounen action”. But with so many of those airing these days (including this season), why not give something new a try?
It’s more than just a high school story of kids falling in painful geometric shapes of love or the “friendship conquers all”. And of course, despite being hard to make it into the mainstream, it’s one of those series that takes an unique and cultural approach of the coming-of-age genre mixing in with jazz music, friendship, and love all in a wonderful little package. The characters are unique and real with their backgrounds, contrasting personalities, and style. The story is easy to follow despite its intertwined arcs. The art (despite plain and simple) brings out the naturalism and culture of the 1960s. It’s something not as complicated as the real world we face today because it’s so damn right simple. Honestly, I miss it. And who can forget the relaxing music? Without it, this series would be dead. But with it, the series comes to life through realism and gives viewers something to talk about.
Again for those who are so into the shounen style battles, the fan-service of ecchi shows, or psychological mindfucks, this series can be something new to look forward to.
After all, there’s an old saying that goes, “life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” And once you open that box, you’ll be surprised what you’ll find. In this case, it’s Kids on the Slope.
The problem is Sakamichi no Apollon isn’t as much about jazz as it is about lame characters. There’s jazz in the series, and it definitely plays a part, but it doesn’t play as large a part as I wish it would. This seems to be the theme of music-based anime, not paying attention to the music as much as the boring lives of the characters. Jazz is frantic, it changes with the mood. There are a lot of things about jazz that could have been played out in Sakamichi no Apollon that aren’t. That heart and soul of jazz are only seen during the portions where the characters play music. Other than that, the series falls flat.
Kaoru is a guy. He goes to high school. He’s a bookworm.
Sentarou is a guy. He goes to high school. He fights a lot.
Ritsuko is a girl. She goes to high school. I can’t discern her character besides “love interest”.
Together they are the three main characters of our little drama. Kaoru goes to high school as the new kid. He meets Sentarou who is a pretty violent guy who skips classes (the delinquent). Sentarou is a drummer who plays jazz with Ritsuko’s father and a guy named Jun. Kaoru, who can play the piano, joins in on the fun and learns how to evolve from his classical roots into the realm of jazz.
There are, of course, some bumps on the road. A couple of love triangles (those are the main plague that infest this anime), Sentarou’s problems with his father, and Jun’s becoming a good-for-nothing. The plot is really not that exciting. You’re watching this for the music more than likely, not the duo of love triangles that seem to give way to more of a bromance at the end than anything else.
This is where the plot becomes especially painful. The series plot is loose, and by that I mean nothing is consequential or matters. It’s there to hold the series together and give it a reason for being, but it’s mediocre at best. By the end, nothing really matters and the series goes back to square one.
“BUT RATCHET! WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC?”
What music? There’s a little bit of music going around, but for a music based anime there’s not enough. As I said in the beginning of the review, there’s not a lot of music going on. There are a few songs here and there, but not enough to warrant being considered as “musically focused”. It’s more just a school life anime than anything else and suffers because of the fact it tries to be something it is not.
“BUT AT LEAST IS HAS GOOD CHARACTERS!”
All the characters were generic at best. While Sentarou was a decent character, I grew to hate Kaoru more and more as the series progressed. It reached the pinnacle when he nearly raped Ritsuko. Ritsuko wasn’t a bad character, but she didn’t actually have a lot of character there. She was just there as a love interest and a plot point more so than anything. Jun was okay, but he also had some issues that made him dislikable. His girlfriend, Yurika, was okay.
I wasn’t really impressed by anything that concerned the plot. I was impressed with some of the music (the little that there was) and the animation was especially good during jam sessions and concerts, unbelievably so.
I’m unable to say too much about Sakamichi no Apollon because it’s so average. It’s the definition of average. Good music and good animation, mediocre characters and plot, and an overall disappointment. If the series had been longer I feel that perhaps the plot and characters would have been more entertaining. But as it is, Sakamichi no Apollon is merely adequate. The last episode feels especially rushed and I assumed I was meant to feel emotions of some sort, but was left not really caring. And when, by the end, I could care less what happens, then I know that I’m not watching anything special.
Sakamichi no Apollon is a hesitant pass for me. It’s overhyped, and that hype is probably why you decided to jump on the bandwagon and check this anime out. There are some qualities that are enjoyable, but taken as a whole, it’s merely adequate in satiating the thirst for jazz, as well as the search for a good music anime.
The story itself has an amazing pace, and in my opinion, has the perfect combination of romance, drama and music. The developments feel very natural and there are no fillers. The only “complain” I can have from the story is that the ending might feel a little unsatisfying. Luckily, if you end up feeling unsatisfied like me, you can read the extra volume from the manga and I can assure you that you’ll feel a lot better after reading it.
The art is okay, I guess. It has a very realistic vibe, and fits the story really well. I didn’t see any error in the animation either, which is always appreciated. Also, the animation during the musical scenes was particularly good. The soundtrack fits every scene perfectly, so kudos to the studio. It is always nice to have consistently good animation as well as a good soundtrack throughout a whole series.
There are two main characters in the series, and they are best friends even though they make an odd couple. I feel that the two main characters are really well developed. You can see how the two of them grow up as characters as the story moves on. On the other hand, except for one specific character, most secondary characters don’t get a proper development. I mention this because there are a couple of secondary characters that I’m sure most viewers would’ve loved for them to have more screen time.
The series in general is very enjoyable. If you’re into jazz music (or good music in general), you’re definitely gonna love watching this series. Also, this is one of the few anime where the English singing is actually pretty good. I had a really good time listening to every single music piece played, as well as with the tons of drama generated from the different love situations that develop.
I gave the series an 8/10. I loved it, but I felt there were some things that could’ve been told better, especially the ending. I recommend this series a 100%. Actually, I’d say this is a must watch series. Also, don’t forget to read the extra volume from the manga once you finish the series.
Have a great time watching Sakamichi no Apollon!
3: Bakuman. 2nd Season
MAL Score: 8.37
With the serialization of their new manga, “Detective Trap,” the writer-artist team, Akito Takagi and Moritaka Mashiro, better known by their pseudonym Muto Ashirogi, are one step closer to becoming world-renowned mangaka. For Mashiro, however, serialization is just the first step. Having promised to marry his childhood sweetheart and aspiring voice actress, Azuki Miho, once his manga gets an anime adaptation, Mashiro must continue his to popularize Ashirogi’s work. A tremendously competitive cast of ambitious mangaka—including the wild genius, Eiji Niizuma; the elegant student, Yuriko Aoki, and her older admirer and partner, Takurou Nakai; the lazy prodigy, Kazuya Hiramaru; and the abrasive artist, Shinta Fukuda—both support and compete against Muto Ashirogi in creating the next big hit.
As they adjust to their young and seemingly untested new editor, the dynamic duo struggle to maintain their current serialization, secure the top stop in Shounen Jack, and ultimately, achieve an anime adaptation of their manga. With new rivals and friends, Bakuman. 2nd Season continues Takagi and Mashiro’s inspiring story of hard work and young love.
The first season of Bakuman was great, the story, the characters, the atmosphere fitted perfectly, though It did suffer from pacing problems and could of been adapted better. This time however, J.C Staff has stepped up their game, managing to fix those problems and make Bakuman 2 one hell of a enjoyable anime and probably the best slice-of-life series I’ve seen yet.
= Story  =
Bakuman starts exactly where it left off from the first season and gets right into the story. I won’t say much to avoid spoiling it for people who happen to see this review before watching the first season but this season has a lot more drama and romance, which make for some very intense scenes and memorable moments.
Something, that is unique to the story of Bakuman is how realistic it is. The two main characters aren’t always successful and positive like you find in most shonen series and there isn’t any shock twists which would be impossible to find in a real life situation, well maybe one.
= Art  =
I never get tired of the art in this series, It’s amazing how J.C Staff can make the manga illustrations look so realistic and the amount of detail and effort they put into the backgrounds.
The character designs are nothing special but they don’t really need to be, If anything, the only character design I can fault is Shuujin’s/Takagi’s, It’s just that he looked a lot different and a lot better in the manga, though I don’t really mind the change.
= Sound  =
I have to admit, I didn’t like any of the first seasons OP and ED’s that much, though Bakuman 2 has some great ones which really suit the story-lines in this season. The OST remains nearly entirely the same in this season, which is a good thing since it doesn’t feel overused yet and suits the anime perfectly.
All of the VA’s do a great job reprising their roles and the newcomers fit their parts perfectly in my opinion.
= Character  =
There’s a lot more Character development this time around, which is welcomed especially for the minor characters such as Aoki and Nakai, who really annoyed me at first, but then actually became likeable.
The romance side of Bakuman shines through a lot more this time around, which also helped character development a lot, though some of the relationships became a bit boring and repetitive during the the second half of the story.
Bakuman 2 is one addicting ride, the story and the characters really draw you in and makes you want to finish the whole series in one go, which not just any anime can emulate.
If you’re a fan of first season, you’ll love this sequel, all the spirit and fun of the manga and prequel are maintained in Bakuman’s second anime outing, which leaves us eagerly awaiting the third season.
Overall, Bakuman 2 outdoes it’s predecessor in every aspect, with faster pacing, a more ‘tighter’ and entertaining story, great character development with art and sound to top it off. If it wasn’t for a slow down during the the latter episodes with the story and characters, I would’ve considered Bakuman 2 a masterpiece.
Now I know why I decided not to stick to watching the second season. Even as I’m typing this, I still can’t grasp the stark difference between my thoughts on the show vs the majority’s opinion. I felt betrayed by the score, so I thought I’ll throw in a different perspective regarding the anime.
The first season felt like an inoffensive story that was just okay to watch (from what little I remember), but this second season was a trudge to go through. I had to force myself to watch another episode with the idea that it’d get better eventually, but unfortunately it got worse. The entire season could be skipped, and nothing would change except a few set pieces.
Near the end, I decided not to continue on with the third season since I realized that I lost my interest.
Now the characters. The way I’d describe the majority of them would be: Obnoxious. They barely have any redeeming qualities. They are one dimensional and only serve as convenient devices to keep the story moving along. Romances are thrown in out of completely nowhere and only feel as though they are introduced and used for motivation.
Character development consists of complete 180 degree changes in personality and character thought processes are indescribable.
The story consists of a popularity contest between manga authors of the same publisher. It starts with them calling each other rivals, telling each other that they’ll beat each other next time. Then, they come up with ideas haphazardly and start working on them, hoping it’ll get NUMBER ONE IN THE RANKINGS!…. then if they get a good ranking they congratulate each other, if they don’t then they say they’ll beat each other next time.
There are some stakes thrown in to each of these repetitions because the makers know if they don’t include those in, then there would be nothing left of interest. But then the stakes are pummeled as soon as push comes to shove, and you start wondering why they were included in the first place.
Artwork is okay, nothing special but it’s decent. Actually, it was nice to see different manga authors with different drawing styles.
Sound was okay too, serviceable enough for the show.
It’s difficult for me not to spoil stuff while talking about my experience watching this anime, so I feel that right here would be a good place for people to stop reading. But for those who’ve watched the show or don’t care about spoilers, please continue…
I mentioned the characters being obnoxious. So let me expand on that…
The main characters Mashiro and Takagi aka Ashirogi Muto stand true on that statement the most. They are childish, whiny, arrogant and stuck up, with these inflated but fragile egos. They are constantly bitching about being popular and getting the best rankings and would change their entire story they worked on to get ranked better. They feel like they only want to be manga authors for the sake of becoming famous, getting anime adaptations, and striking it big. Mashiro is especially guilty of this to the point where almost every word spoken out of his mouth made me go “oh just shut up” in my head.
Mashiro’s art is very good and never needs any polish. Takagi is just this genius who can think of a good story on the spot, but is otherwise really bland. Ah who am I kidding, everybody in this show is bland. But still they crapshoot everywhere because the season needs to stretch to 25 episodes and the makers need some form of progression throughout the series.
Of course, every “rival” has this behavioural pattern as well, although not to the same degree. They’re all different flavours of “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” and “I wont lose to you!”.
Niizuma Eiji is shown as this super genius with an eccentric personality, and serves as the main rival to Ashirogi Muto. Both as manga authors and being super annoying to look at. Sheesh, his screams still ring in my head. He has no “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” but he does have “I wont lose to you!”.
Fukuda is this angry man that rages at everything and is a hardass with a caring heart. He is the angry version of “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” and “I wont lose to you!”.
Hiramaru was a character that I found decent. His dynamic with his editor was predictable but okay to watch. His shtick is that he is forced to draw manga while he wants to do other stuff. He is the unwilling version of “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” and “I wont lose to you!”.
Nakai is just a plain creep with fragile self esteem.
Iwase is an arrogant woman with too much time on her hands. A vindictive and narrow minded individual with the weirdest motivation. She is the vengeful version of “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” and “I wont lose to you!”.
Aoki is a manipulative, heartless and proper woman who does a 180 degree personality change into become a blank slate. She is the female version of “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” and “I wont lose to you!”.
Moving on with other characters,
Azuki is Mashiro’s girlfriend and nothing would change if she was replaced by cardboard. Their relationship makes no sense and makes you wonder how the hell they fell in love and decided to marry each other in the first place.
Miyoshi is a convenience.
Miura is just this loudmouthed, boisterous man who actually achieves nothing. NOTHING. His purpose is solely to act as an obstacle and he comes in to achieve only that, then to leave after he has been overcome. To me, it felt like he is the only reason the second season occurred. If you take out the portion of the anime from the point where Miura is introduced as Ashirogi’s editor to where Miura is exchanged back to Hattori, then apart from Nakai leaving the picture and the serialization manga names changing, nothing happens.
Oh I guess Takagi and Miyoshi get married? I don’t even know how or why they decided to do that. Felt like it was just convenient to throw in because they’re both best friends of the show’s main romance.
Hattori is a decent character. He’s the only one that made me laugh once in a scene in the entire season, but still he seemed like a genuinely likeable and competent editor. Don’t get me wrong though, still a bit bland.
The chief editor is shown as this very competent and serious dude, but to me he seemed like a really indecisive prick. First, he says he’ll put Ashirogi on hiatus for a whole year since Mashiro got sick due to overworking and for some reason was sick and needed to get surgery, so he needs rest to recover. But then he’s like “naah jk”.
Second, he tells his editors to vote for Ashirogi’s manga serialization to see if it can compete with Niizuma Eiji’s work, since they’re all incompetent and can’t judge their own publications. The condition is that if it can’t compete, then Ashirogi’s contract would be terminated. The editors vote 4 to 3, saying that Ashirogi can’t beat Eiji with this at the end of the episode. BUT NOOOOOOOO, since this show can’t have that happen, just at the fucking start of the next episode, they editors are like “But sir! Ashirogi’s career is at stake! Let’s leave it in the hands of the readers to decide!” so the vote changes to 7-0 in favour of Ashirogi’s serialization.
Are you fucking kidding me?! Are you telling me that all that time spent into coming to these dilemmas was for nothing? Why can I see these predictable outcomes from a mile away! Things like these make for a very frustrating viewing experience and you’re left thinking “What was the point?”.
Near the end, a conversation gets shoehorned in about manga authors focusing on story vs popularity and this is where I realize why there is such an obsession with rankings. Mashiro basically declares that he writes manga only for popularity’s sake, and to me personally (even though I do not read manga) that was indication to not watch the third season.
Actually, now that I think about it. This show unintentionally, through it’s own dialogue, the way it’s story is written, the way it’s characters interact and behave, tells me a lot about how some manga authors think and go about creating a manga. That is really interesting and odd since none of the actual content depicts any semblance of realism.
The thought processes and dialogue of characters really commentate on the thoughts of the makers themselves as they were making the show, and how shallow the whole thing is.
Making a weekly publish in a manga while coming up with what happens next every week will not make up a good story or an interesting read unless the whole thing’s planned from the beginning. Shounen mangas have this problem the most, and this show magnifies this by showing us the actual time and thought put into them.
These works are done purely for the purpose of running a business, and authors’ ideas are reworked and washed down to make them more mainstream at the cost of originality. Overworking their authors by giving them breakneck deadlines while manipulating their want for becoming popular as fuel for encouragement for working hard.
This makes me understand why I never liked shows like One Piece, Naruto or Bleach. I always felt like the stories in them were made up on the spot and pieced together, dragging on for no reason other than maintaining viewership, popularity and fanbase.
Bakuman is one of these shows but with no battle scenes or action.
* * * S T O R Y * * *
It’s rather original and is likely to draw in anyone with an interest in anime/manga. It has some pretty good drama and whatever in it.
* * * A R T * * *
I’d say the “typical anime faces” (such as oAo) they sometimes have kinda lowers the quality of this series. I like that they have some more original types of gag faces, though. The art and animation looks quite nice overall.
Some of the parts where they showed storyboards/”names” were poorly drawn and dull to look at. I think they should’ve at least had more panels/actions shown so we could see the story, not just hear a narration. Manga is all about the visuals, after all. There were some good moments with the more elaborate manuscripts, though.
* * * S O U N D * * *
I think Mashiro sounds a little too wimpy. The music didn’t stand out to me whatsoever. Their relaxed, “everyday” country-ish music is just pretty boring. They live in a city, so why the country bumpkin music? There’s other music more appropriately fitting the anime, but none of it is memorable.
* * * C H A R A C T E R S * * *
Yes, yes, people hate Miura. I think Miura was another good display of what the world of manga can be like. He also developed into a decent editor after realizing his flaws. As an obstacle, he created more entertaining points in the series and made the end result all the more satisfying.
Mashiro and Takagi are always developing and learning to see manga from different perspectives. They change in other ways, too, making unexpected decisions as the story progresses.
Other characters develop, other characters stay the same. That’s the way life is, including when it comes to a manga artist’s aspirations (or lack of).
* * * E N J O Y M E N T * * *
Compared to the Bakuman manga, they cut out a lot of the more technical aspects of planning and writing manga. They kept the “Tanto arc” short and sweet, really. It also feels like they balanced things out so that Azuki would seem like she has more involvement in the series. I know people complained about how small her role was in the manga, so I think this is a good change. It was pretty easy to neglect and forget about her in the manga, but I think it’s important to maintain this romantic aspect based on true love.
One thing I didn’t like is how they made it sound like panty shots are not only normal, but necessary in the world of manga. Honestly, things like that cause people to label all manga as bad. I think panty shots should’ve been treated as a cheap way to get votes from perverts, not something a female manga artist should strive to achieve. It’s sad to think people would be unable to appreciate a good story unless it had softcore porn in every chapter.
* * * O V E R A L L * * *
Good story, nothing really disappointing (other than the panty thing), satisfying ending. I didn’t find this too addicting, but maybe that’s just because I read the manga already. This is some quality anime.
2: Bakuman. 3rd Season
MAL Score: 8.56
Onto their third serialization, manga duo Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi—also known by their pen name, Muto Ashirogi—are ever closer to their dream of an anime adaption. However, the real challenge is only just beginning: if they are unable to compete with the artist Eiji Niizuma in the rankings within the span of six months, they will be canceled. To top it off, numerous rivals are close behind and declaring war. They don’t even have enough time to spare thinking about an anime!
In Bakuman. 3rd Season, Muto Ashirogi must find a way to stay atop the colossal mountain known as the Shounen Jack rankings. With new problems and new assistants, the pair continue to strive for their dream.
The story is still great with the usual pacing style of the previous seasons. There’s just something very addicting in the pacing of the story, it feels like no second is wasted at every episode. Each one brings something new to the story, good news and more hurdles at the end of the episode. The cliffhangers really get you excited to watch the next episode too. The plot twists are still the same as ever, they seem pretty petty and weak for an anime but they’re realistic and you can really relate to them because they fit the slice-of-life genre very well.
Art is still the same, it’s different but it’s neither bad nor good. It doesn’t stand out and that’s actually what makes it fit for it’s genre. Bakuman isn’t about flashy art, dramatic music and all that glitter. It’s good as it is. Though the quality drops at times, it doesn’t really affect the viewing enjoyment.
The sound is like the art, it’s the same.. not bad and not good. The OP is decent and the singer’s voice is kinda weird but it doesn’t really bother me. The EP is good, nothing to say about that. No objections about the sound really.
Characterization is the same and still good. Same goes for character development, in fac there’s actually a little bit of character development as soon as the first episode.
Bakuman is still addicting as ever, that’s all I need to say.
Overall, the quality didn’t drop one bit. It’s basically an extended Season 2, which was already perfect in my point of view. It’s as interesting as ever and I don’t think it needs any improvements at all. Any plans to change some things up ‘for the better’ would’ve backfired on them. Bakuman 2 and 3 is one of the best Animes I’ve seen.
Ahh, Bakuman once again returns as the third installation of this trilogy, known as Bakuman 3. It’s amazing how this show can still keep it together after several years. The series is written and illustrated by Tsugami Ohba, who is known for his famous work Death Note. In contrast though, the series does not give off psychological impressions but rather follows a slice-of-life style of presenting its story. The series has achieved universal success with its manga predecessor and likewise, I find that the third and final installation manage to keep it together once again.
The series follows two best friends, Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi. Collectively known by their pen name, Muto Ashirogi, the duo hopes to make a name for themselves by getting serialized in the Weekly Shonen Jump. With a little hard work, motivation, determination, and luck, they might just be able to do just that.
Like its previous predecessors, Bakuman 3 presents itself as a slice-of-life style series. Dreams are hard to make into a reality but we can clearly see that Muto Ashirogi hopes to do so. It follows their youth lives in a natural way as opposed to normal teens. Most teens often think about their future and dream jobs later on in life but at only 9th grade, the duo Muto Ashirogi has already began to climb that ladder to success. It’s not easy though as becoming a manga artist is a very stressful way of life. In fact, Moritaka already knows this with the unfortunate circumstances of one of his family relatives. It even strived him away from thinking about the dream in the beginning. Furthermore, there is competition. Becoming a manga artist is a lot harder said than done. In fact, it can be compared to climbing the world’s tallest mountain, winning an Olympics gold medal, or achieving a world record in the Guiness Book. Okay, I’m probably exaggerating a bit here but you get the idea. It is not easy.
Surprisingly, Bakuman 3 incorporates many ideas from the art of manga creation itself. It presents to viewers how manga is made with the ideas, how to get the material published, and how the industry works directly with many of its episodes. It looks hard and definitely requires a lot of effort. Yet at the same time, watching this series makes the career seem fun and exciting. In fact, it’s that much exciting when Muto Ashirogi gets recognized for their work at various circumstances. In a way, Bakuman adapts its series of manga-in-manga but in a way that makes it look like a lifestyle.
The slice-of-life continues to exist just like its previous predecessors. It follows the duo in their every day live mixed in with comedy, drama, and romance. The drama part comes from Nakai who continues to linger his ways of going after Aoki despite their previous encounters. It doesn’t stop there though as a love triangle ensures between him, Aoki, and Hiramaru. It’s two guys and one girl in a triple threat. As silly as it sounds, the love triangle plays more of a progressing role for Aoki as she makes her stand and point known.
With the dramatic romance part aside, the technical part of Bakuman 3 also comes into play with some controversial events. In fact, Ashirogi Muto gets some unprecedented media attention after some unfortunate events. The duo wanted to make a name for themselves but not in the way that they see it this time. It gets a bit complex and even causes stress to the duo for their dreams. Forget dreams, it’s more like a nightmare now after such an event. It should be no surprising though as the author of the series wants to visualize what manga artists needs to deal with in the real life. It’s realistic in many senses from this case as becoming a manga artist is never easy. There are challenges every day whether it’s competition, scandals, overworking to meet due times, and bringing out ideas to audiences in its finest form. The imaginations that manga artists comes often requires extensive thoughts and planning as well. I personally found that the ideas used by Ashirogi Muto is a bit repetitive and even borrowed from themes used by the real artist/illustrator of Bakuman. In other words, although the series’ manga ideas are fun to read, they often lack a bit of uniqueness or set themselves differently from others. It’s often hard to present ideas when so many others exists beforehand but overall, I only considered the ideas that Ashirogi Muto came up to be….average.
Fortunately, I find Ashirogi Muto and their way of working to be quite interactive and fun. Often when working together, the duo seems to have more fun than expected with their ideas. It’s not in a workaholic way in which the duo tries to be the very best or earn cash but rather to do what they enjoy in while hoping to achieve success. Even when the duo are arguing, the dialogue is presented in an entertaining way. The words spoken by the characters are colorful and often or not, becomes an inspriation for their ideas. These ideas are transformed into their product for the world to see. Of course, success isn’t easy to come by especially with competition. Major supporting characters as Eiji are obstacles for Ashirogi Muto and they must overcome him to achieve that success.
On the more dramatic side, Bakuman 3 also introduces what some fans may see as a real antagonist in the form of Toru Nanamine. He represents the antithesis of Ashirogi Muto. On the surface, he looks like a fun and outgoing guy with a chill personality. However, deep down he is seen as a hot-tempered, manipulative, and an individual who is willing to do absolutely anything to achieve success. The construction of his character makes him an antagonist by the way he compete against Ashirogi Muto because he even relies on underhanded tactics to ensure his assumed victories. To him, making manga is about winning and being the best in contrast of Ashirogi Muto who wishes to achieve their dreams.
Bakuman 3 does seem to continuously adapt a slow pace. Furthermore, the many dialogues used between the characters often gets dull, lacks flavor, and dragged. The seemingly antagonist Nanamine is also easy to predict by viewers as the villain by the way of his actions. It’s not hard to see him as a two-faced individual who wishes to become the best even relying on iniquitous tactics. These tactics of course doesn’t always go the way he wants to.
The artwork of the series remains intact compared to its previous seasons. J.C. Staff adapts the anime based off of the manga and does a fit job in making its artwork intact. And of course, because this is an anime series based on making manga, the artwork created by the various artists themselves also are presented artistically well. The artwork in fact is edgy but gives off that realistic look at the series from the outside. In the inside, the manga and characters’ designs gives off a natural sort of look. It looks realistic and doesn’t look too flashy, not that it needs to be anyways. There is no fan service and fans shouldn’t be surprised at this considering it’s NHK network known for airing lighthearted series.
For the soundtrack department, everything seems to remain the same. Both the OP/ED song for the first and second half depicts on a montage of the main characters. Some of the soundtrack does to be repetitive but still retains its natural vibrations. It balances it out with the general lighthearted outlook of the series.
Overall, Bakuman 3 is a pleasant series for me and I think for fans, especially those who’ve watched the previous predecessors. Even if you don’t like the idea of making manga, the series makes it interactive with its extensive dialogues, competitions, and characters’ interactions. And of course, some of the manga ideas themselves can be entertaining. It’s not easy making dreams come true but Ashirogi Muto sure has great hopes. They’re climbing that ladder of success and opening doors to imaginations.
Story is a 9.
As with the previous season, it hasn’t lost it’s edge on story telling and pacing. It’s easy to follow and easy to understand. My only issues are some arcs are a bit uninteresting and unfulfilling, like the Nanamine arc.
Art is 10.
Great art as always. Proper visual effects, no awkward animations or anything etc. Pleasing to watch, I should say.
Sound is 9.
Good soundtrack and proper voice acting. OP/ED were not really anything special though,
would prefer Bakuman. 2’s OP.
Character is 10.
The character development was great and I really like how they interact witth each other. Eiji is definitely the standout as I appreciate how his eccentric behavior hasn’t changed at all. Kazuya Hiramaru also improved also, not only in the comedic sense.
Enjoyment is 10.
Every episode makes me either laugh or feel emotional. The scenes will always put a smile in your face because they are just so great.
Overall is 10.
It deserves the title of masterpiece because it isn’t just enjoyable but also it has been considered a piece of art. This is an anime you can watch over and over and still end up not being bored.
1: Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
English: Natsume’s Book of Friends Season 4
Japanese: 夏目友人帳 肆
MAL Score: 8.66
Takashi Natsume, the timid youkai expert and master of the Book of Friends, continues his journey towards self-understanding and acceptance with the help of friends both new and old. His most important ally is still his gluttonous and sake-loving bodyguard, the arrogant but fiercely protective wolf spirit Madara—or Nyanko-sensei, as Madara is called when in his usual disguise of an unassuming, pudgy cat.
Natsume, while briefly separated from Nyanko-sensei, is ambushed and kidnapped by a strange group of masked, monkey-like youkai, who have spirited him away to their forest as they desperately search for the Book of Friends. Realizing that his “servant” has been taken out from right under his nose, Nyanko-sensei enlists the help of Natsume’s youkai friends and mounts a rescue operation. However, the forest of the monkey spirits holds many dangerous enemies, including the Matoba Clan, Natsume’s old nemesis.
Stretching from the formidable hideout of the Matoba to Natsume’s own childhood home, Natsume Yuujinchou Shi is a sweeping but familiar return to a world of danger and friendship, where Natsume will finally confront the demons of his own past.
It’s that kind of piece that breaks your heart into shards, and eventually bends it into something harder and more fragile at the same time.
It’s that kind of series that leaves you smiling and crying hysterically to the melody of the ending.
There is a wide variety of adjectives you can use to describe an anime series; hilarious, dramatic, romantic, horrific, and the like. Natsume’s Book of Friends is best described using the words beautiful, heart-warming, and emotional. It is rare to find a series that evokes such powerful emotions in each episode without dropping the ball for four seasons, but Natsume’s Book of Friends makes it seem effortless with masterful storytelling along with a strong cast of characters.
The premise of the story is supernatural: our protagonist Natsume Takashi can see “youkai” or spirits, a trait inheritedfrom his late grandmother Reiko, along with inheriting her “Book of Friends”, which contains the names of youkai that she had defeated and bound to her by taking their name. He then sets out to return those very names while defending himself from those who would use the book for power or personal gain. Throughout the series, he meets, befriends, and also defeats many different youkai along the way.
While the premise might be supernatural, the underlying themes present are ordinary, yet powerfully represented and explored. Humans are social by nature, but when the opportunities to socialize are made impossible, feelings of loneliness and sadness become overwhelming and consuming. Natsume’s peculiar ability has always alienated him from any potential friends or companions, and as a result feels hated and isolated from the human world.
While Natsume’s situation is fictional, the problem is all too real. People who have trouble talking to others, or have strange habits or appearances are often shunned and isolated as well, and feelings of loneliness and depression become quite commonplace. Feelings of being left out, of not being wanted, and being misunderstood: everyone in some point in their life have experienced these emotions, and can relate to Natsume in some way, shape, or form, and even if you can’t, sympathy is something you will always feel towards him. Such a gentle person put through that kind of mental strain at such a young age can only be sympathized with.
Natsume’s Book of Friends depicts Natsume’s life as he struggles with these issues, and how genuinely kind and helpful people come into his life and give him the encouragement and support he needs to overcome the adversaries within himself. Through his school friends, both those who know about his ability and those who don’t, he is greatly encouraged to seek out the positives in his life and to look forward to a bright future instead of his dark past. Instead of only being able to confide and rely in himself, he has trustworthy and genuine friends that he can turn to for aid. His adoptive guardians are loving and extremely caring for people that are very distant relatives to Natsume, and his relationship with them grows into something very powerful and heart-warming where he only wishes happiness and safety for the couple that he could never possibly repay.
Each episode is unique story(aside from the two episode stories) that ends in a message for both Natsume and the watcher to take to heart. Each episode evokes feelings of happiness, sadness, or suspense and was entrancing to watch beginning to end. The stories are well written and the pacing, while a bit slow, makes you savor the moments even more. There was never a dull moment; from watching Natsume and Nyanko-Sensei go at it and quarrel like two best friends, to his interactions with the youkai and seeing their stories unfold; simply put, it was beautiful and pleasant to watch.
The art is marvelous to look at. The endless creativity of the people who animated this series amazes me. From each individual spirit, to the entrancing landscape and background, to the abilities and interactions of humans and youkai, everything was crisp and well animated. The music often is lighthearted or tugs at the heartstrings. The ED for season 1 is a personal favorite.
Natsume’s Book of Friends has taken a common genre and turned it into nothing short of a masterpiece. With characters that will stay in your mind long after the conclusion and stories that leave deep impressions and powerful messages, the tearful and joyful moments that this series presents to the watcher is nothing short of beautiful and compelling.
Those thoughts never left my head while watching this season. Although I’ll have to admit, I was slightly disappointed in the lack of “big events” during this season. However, the anime has always kept a relaxing mood, whilst gently adding action and drama in small amounts. It’d be weird if something completely crazy and big were to happen anyways. I found myself wishing Natsume would say more things, admit more things, yet how realistic is it for him to actually do everything we as the viewers want him to do? In reality, Natsume has always acted in character, even when he grew and his ideals changed, he still was realistic and understandable.
Nyanko Sensei was also quite the character. His loyalty was admirable throughout the series, and although slightly boisterous he was undoubtedly intelligent. He managed to subtly enter his way into the family, assisting Natsume’s effort to further develop his bonds with not only Youkai, but also humans.
When I took a day or two break from the anime, I lost interest in finishing it. However every time I watched just one episode, I was hooked right back into the anime and my eyes were glued to the television screen.
I’m definitely going to miss this anime and the characters. I do wish there was another season explaining more of the past of Nyanko Sensei and Reiko. The 52 episodes of Natsume Yuujinchou have gone by so quickly as I would have expected. I bid a farewell to this highly enjoyable anime!
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
2. Bakuman. 3rd Season
3. Bakuman. 2nd Season
4. Sakamichi no Apollon
5. Shinsekai yori
7. Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo
8. Initial D Fifth Stage
9. Kimi to Boku. 2
10. Zetsuen no Tempest