They’re the best Anime that 1997 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Misute?naide Daisy, Cutey Honey F, Shin Tenchi Muyou!, and more!
10: Misute naide Daisy
English: Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy
Japanese: みすて ないでデイジー
MAL Score: 5.63
The story begins when an innocent, but busty, young schoolgirl goes to recover her hat from what she thought was an abandoned house. But within that house, spying on her, is a deranged madman. Seeing her he becomes obsessed with controlling her, owning her, bending her to his every whim. He, and his array of high tech tools, will threaten her with death, mutilation, control, humiliation and the loss of her own will and identity. Terrors biological, chemical and nuclear will come into play in the nightmare that is her new, controlled, life.
On the other hand, maybe this is where she got some of her profoundly scary ideas about what it is like to be with someone in her formative years. Maybe this is what messed her up for life. Well, everybody gets those ideas from somewhere- so at least if that is true, the one that I love got theirs from something I approve of. As opposed to, say, the Twilight franchise.
This anime, by virtue of its central themes, should be put in a category shared with Evangelion both in shared style and generation as well as that central theme; which could most easily be described as “Love”.
It is not. People take the characters in this series seriously as moral actors in an imaginary world whose ethical physics is supposed to match their own view of how things are, or should be, in real life.
Apparently people generally have far less trouble imagining that someone could fly, or lift a tank, or kill fifty men with no negative consequences for themselves, than they can imagine someone behaving in a sexually reprehensible way and still being treated as a privileged main character. Somehow I am not entirely sure this example represents a positive step for gender equality or the forward progress of society. But maybe civilization will be fine, and it is just the progress of literary criticism that is being retarded by social mores. We can all of us only hope.
We are talking, of course, mostly of this series’ most memorable and most detailed character: Reijiro Techno, the “smart boy” who can’t understand how to socialize. He is easily the lead character, by most any measure.
Now, there is nothing special about that stereotype. It is like shooting a barrel full of anime protagonists and hitting an orphan, or someone with hair that does not seem to obey gravity. It is one of the ingredients in the original Betty Crocker cookbook recipe for a Japanese Cartoon Show.
But this guy, yeesh. I can almost understand the universal lynching this series got in professional reviews when it was released. After all, professional means that it matters to you what your customers think. What would anyone think of this character?
For one thing, despite being the main character, he is also the primary antagonist of the show. He is the one who does bad things. He has his own mischief making obstacles a la Team Rocket standing in his way, but it is never played for Drama. If something is happening to someone and it is seriously bad, he is responsible. I don’t think I am spoiling anything by saying this series is not about him getting his comeuppance. That does not happen. He gets rewarded for his violence.
What kind of antagonist is he then? Well; if he were a real person, he would be a felony sex offender. The police would be called on him shortly after he meets the female lead of the series, by her, in the first episode. Or anyone who saw him with her. International kidnapping, forced abduction, stalking, harassment, along with the standard blowing things up and frying people. He is also a Mary Sue topper of a Mad Scientist: all his superdevices essentially amount to the game children play where they say “Bang, I shot you, you’re dead… No I’m not, I was wearing a bulletproof vest… Well then, I used armor piercing bullets…I was in a tank…” ad nauseam. His technological singularity is reaching the end of infinite series of boasting technobabble one-upsmanships. He is never seen solving or studying a regular problem a real person encounters in their education, but he has a time machine and an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator. If you are a STEM graduate student, there isn’t a lot to sympathize with. Again, suspension of disbelief fails the average viewer. “This is the smart guy who can’t relate to people” it says. Underlined twice for emphasis.
The “real” protagonist, the real moral decision maker and actor of the series, is the female romantic lead, Hitomi. We know way, way less about her imagination, her psychology, her history, her belief system- she is treated and expresses herself as a blank slate, as a statistical average of what a Japanese girl Is or Is supposed to Be. To whom they are supposed to be that, or what that average is, I have very little idea. All that is said, repeatedly, is that “Average” is her identity. She acts by being acted on by the “Unusual”. Her struggle is in how she looks at circumstances she does not seem to have much agency to control or steer. Her agency is all in manipulating her own subjective frame of reference. She has no way of actually opposing the villain, and in the end he wins, after a fashion, because she changes her mind.
There is no love triangle. A romantic couple is presented as a dynamic of male antagonist and female protagonist that slowly move toward one another and toward moral zero as the series progresses. Secondary characters are abusively teased and abandoned as elements of the narrative. Everything ends up being internal to the male and female aspect of a unitary narrative. Oh, and the series is a cold war resolution fantasy in the same way that 99 Luftballons was, or Dr. Strangelove. It is one of the most sentimental examples of that I have ever seen, and it actually got me for a second, like It’s a Wonderful Life occasionally manages to.
And yet, I believe that is the essential, remarkable strength of this show, that characterization. Both of them, even. Either the authors knew what they were doing and constructed a conscious satire, or they earnestly believed in the simple truth of the positive outcome of their narrative. If a character this profoundly dissonant with the standard expectations of an audience, the expectations of their value system and how they apply that system to a story- if this was accidental it is almost cosmic in its character arc.
Here is a partial reading list: Orlando Furioso, Mating Intelligence: Sex, Relationships, and the Mind’s Reproductive System by Geoffrey Miller, The Catcher in the Rye, et cetera. Ad nauseam.
You should also watch A.O. Scott’s review of Chris Marker’s La Jetee. I mean, if you read this far down, you might as well. Any of the above mentioned sources certainly make my point better than I ever could. Watch that review, among many other things you could watch, also to the point of nausea. Gorge yourself on this topic as a young person in love would gorge themselves on the attentions of their first and only love. Go watch Misutenaide Daisy, and then laugh at Macho sex advice writers like Athol Kay and the basic notion of the “Captain/ First Officer” heterosexual relationship dynamic. Laugh at the notion we are evolving towards some supercritical point of mental celerity. Laugh at the real-life Techno Reijiro; that takes every bit of cognitive effort they can muster to wrap their minds around their own biology. Laugh as the writer intended, at the Cole Porter song. Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love.
This was a good show! It had a me thinking about how I think, and about how other people think. It is a shame it doesn’t have more of a cult following. It is mostly a shame that people seem to mostly hate it because they cannot empathize with the characters, or admit to other people that they do.
It is a shame I will probably get more mileage out of this series by using it as a litmus test for other people that I meet than I will by actually discussing it with them, but I can always turn to my one and only. She will happily discuss it with me. I hope one day everyone finds what they are looking for in that way, and flies off into outer space on the rocket of their dreams.
I feel like a cunt for writing something like this, but Don’t leave me alone Daisy isn’t so much watched as experienced, the way in which it transcends genre’s forces the viewer into a more active position in interpreting just what exactly the show is trying to say. Yes well, art school wank out of the way the obvious question is “Yes, that’s nice, but is it any good?”
It’s an older show and as such the quality of the animation is certainly sub-par to more modern fare, this doesn’t bother me (especially as I’ve been working through older anime I missed at the time) but if you watch anime solely for the lovely looking animation it may put you off. That aside I think it is good, though in many ways how much you get out of it may depend on how much you want to read into it. If you take it at face value then some people may not get past the first episode as it presents a fairly creepy “extreme stalker” situation that could turn some people off. And certainly the first time I watched it I thought “Hmm not sure about this”, but while somewhat creepy it’s also quite intriguing and dragged me back in. In the end though it’s hard to recommend this as I have a feeling it’s one of those highly polarised media products where everyone loves it, hates it or completely ignores it.
So if you like dark comedy with zany anime antics, which I do, this is a series to watch for sure. I was somewhere in-between gawking and laughing out loud at how inappropriate Techno was for much of the series. It’s not without its weaknesses though. I think the series may have been stronger if it focused not just on Techno and his love interest Hitomi, who he nicknames “Daisy” like in the title, but how he interacts with others when going out into the world. I really don’t think he got called on his behavior often enough. Hitomi seems to be the only one who will say anything more often than not. He’s very mean to Yamakawa X, his classmate who tries to show himself as a tough rebel but is ultimately an insecure character ignored by his peers. X is another appealing part of the series for me, but he didn’t end up getting his own character arc.
The romance itself is not very strong, so I wouldn’t watch it for that. Instead, laugh or cry at the suffering and antics of Techno and anyone who has the misfortune to come across him.
9: Cutey Honey F
English: Cutey Honey F
MAL Score: 6.54
On her sixteenth birthday, Honey Kisaragi goes to meet her father. However, he shows up injured and on the run. Out of nowhere, a group of thugs and a monster show up. A detective, Seiji Hayama, rescues Honey and her father. Unfortunately, the monster captures Honey`s father. A grieving Honey goes home to find it in ruins, but a handsome man gives her hope and a device to use against the monsters who took her father. With them, Honey can transform into multiple forms and destroy Panther Zora, the evil behind this.
Cutey Honey (or Cutie Honey) made her first appearance back in 1973 and she is known for being the first ever Magical Girl who transforms to fight evil. Many people refer to her as Sailor Moon’s great predecessor (or even grandmother), which is both correct and incorrect. Even though Sailor Moon did what Cutey Honey had already done two decades before, there is a great difference between the two franchises that often goes unmentioned. Sailor Moon was aimed at teenage girls, on the contrary Cutey Honey was aimed at teenage boys. But what happens when you take the Cutey Honey franchise and decide to turn it on its head and aim it at teenage girls? The answer is Cutey Honey Flash.
Cutey Honey Flash is a Magial Girl show, not a shonen, not an ecchi. It was made in 1997 to replace Sailor Moon in its time-slot, considering Sailor Moon Sailor Stars was reaching its end. Hence, it was conceived with the unmasked intention to appeal at the demographic of Sailor Moon fans, mainly made up of teenage girls, little girls, many young adults and many boys as well. Because of this, a big part of the creative team that worked for Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, directly went on to work on Cutey Honey Flash. Therefore, at a first glance many may think this is nothing but a direct Sailor Moon rip-off. You could not be more wrong.
Cutey Honey Flash has an identity of its own and what I like most about the show is its attentiveness to tradition. Aside from the basic stuff (teenage girl protagonist fights evil), nothing else in Cutie Honey Flash reads as rip-off or caricature of Sailor Moon. They took a lot of aspects of the original Cutie Honey show and pressed refresh. Honey Kisaragi is a 16 years old student and she is definitely not the girl next door (or, to say, not the lovable airhead clumsy protagonist that is so common in shojo shows). Honey is strong, determined, very agile and incredibly charming. She is also very sweet and considerate and though she could be snob or act superior, she is actually down-to-earth and extremely kind to anyone she meets. She possesses many great qualities that could make a character look completely flat and one-note, but this is not the case. Without giving out much, let’s say that Honey can become very emotional very easily, and the way she always tries to hide this aspect of her personality makes her even more entertaining and it gives her depth. ‘Entertaining’ is a word that can be easily used to describe most characters on this show. The villains, the likeable love-interest Seiji, the caring friend Natsuko, the mysterious Prince of Moonlight, the comic relief Danbei, they each possess unique characteristics that instantly make them interesting and well defined. Even minor characters and episode-villains are interesting, well defined and amusing. There is not one dull moment around these people.
Aside from its likeable and interesting characters, Cutie Honey Flash presents a really well written plot. The show could easily be divided in three parts, three distinct narrative arcs. The storytelling is what makes it; it is rich in humor, action, great plot-twists and many intense moments. Cutie Honey Flash takes its time when trying to develop a character’s path, but it never becomes boring or God forbid uneventful and bland. Aside from some minor parts, with which I had a problem or two, it is not rushed. It should also be noted how the storytelling often manages to do things the unconventional way. Sure, the evil organization Panther Claw wants to take over the world like it happens in most Magical Girls shows, but trust me when I tell you it’s not as simple as that with this one. In other words, you know the writing is great when it manages to make you love and feel sympathy even for the most crazy and evil-willed characters.
The entertaining development of the story is enriched by the great visuals. I am simply so in love with the character designs and art-style all around. Honey can take multiple forms and she looks breathtaking every single time, her outfits are creative, fashionable and the color palette is always on point! What’s even better is the character design of the villains. Most episodes feature new enemies that vary in style, colors and even form! It is incredible how much the character design can help enrich the writing of the characters. It is not just clothes and colors: the visual aspect of the characters is part of the storytelling. Most episodes (if not all, really) are well animated, especially during the fights scenes. Cutie Honey doesn’t just stand there, she fights and she fights well. The lighting should also be mentioned. It is apparent that no choices were taken lightly while developing the show. The lighting plays a big part during the storytelling; some scenes have such great and intense lighting that really boost the moment and make the scene so much better. Hence, I feel the need to declare that I am absolutely amazed with the visual aspects of the show.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, everything is accompanied by some great music. The opening theme for the show is the same used for (almost) every Cutey Honey production and this version is probably my favorite, it’s just so catchy and it goes perfectly with the pretty visuals. The soundtrack really enriches the atmosphere of each scene and it really helps enhance and take out the intensity of the characters’ emotions. Special shout-out to the transformation music, it really makes the moment ever so iconic!
One of the few things that bugged me was the way they treated the fan-service. If you know Cutey Honey at all you definitely know that it is a brand that heavily relies on fan-service, we could even say it takes pride in it. This version is definitely not as fan-service-y as other versions, but there is still some. That was the problem with me: the show doesn’t really know what it wants to be when it comes to fan-service. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s just another everyday Magical Girl show. It feels as if the staff hadn’t really planned how far they wanted the fan-service aspect to go with each episode and it looks like the choice was for each episode director to make.
In conclusion, I would say that Cutie Honey Flash is a massively underrated show that deserves to be watched and I would suggest anyone to do so, especially if you like Magical Girls. Aside from the more technical aspects I referred to above, it all comes down to how enjoyable it is, and it was. The show knows how to find the right balance between intense moments and lighthearted everyday adventures and it keeps the watcher constantly entertained. I know I loved a show when I press play on the final episode and think to myself of how much I don’t want it to end. Doesn’t happen as often as I wish it did sadly! If you like adventure, a well-written story with interesting characters and great visuals, Cutie Honey Flash is absolutely a must-watch.
As the series that took over Sailor Moon’s timeslot when it first aired, Cutey Honey Flash is not the ecchi/action sort of magical girl series you’d expect from the franchise, instead following a more typical formula. It takes place in high school, it’s totally family-friendly, and It’s very episodic. In every episode, Honey and her friends start out doing something typical of teen girls (or at least what little girls wish that their teenage years would be like). Then (rather underdeveloped) evil strikes, and Honey has to transform and fight evil. There’s an underlying plot, of course — in this one, Honey is trying to rescue her missing father — and a mysterious yet helpful man (sound familiar?). It’s far from unpleasant, but it’s very much your typical magical girl plot and atmosphere. Rather underwhelming, really, and while I understand that the intention was to give Sailor Moon a spiritual successor, Cutey Honey Flash doesn’t bring anything new to the table to make it stand out from Sailor Moon and other similar series.
Still, Cutey Honey Flash retains a decent amount of the charm in other versions. While Honey is meeker in this version, she’s still a strong character, both in the sense of being well-characterized and the sense of kicking a lot of butt. A version of the classic theme song is used as the opening, along with Honey’s costume being a variation of the original. Honey still has her transforming abilities, too; she solves problems brought by the villains by transforming into different types of people. It can indeed fun to watch the traditional components of the original Cutey Honey mixed with your standard magical girl tropes, and I’m glad that even in a different genre, Cutey Honey Flash still has some of what makes other versions great.
Full disclosure: I only understand English, and this review is for those who are in the same boat as me and wondering if they should try out this series anyway. Cutey Honey Flash has only been fansubbed up to the ninth episode, with little sign of more coming up. It may become a very different show in the next thirty episodes, but for now they aren’t available. For now, it’s a solid but not fabulous watch for magical girl fans who don’t mind seeing every 90s trope in the book, and Cutey Honey fans who also enjoy more traditional shoujo.
8: Shin Tenchi Muyou!
English: Tenchi in Tokyo
Japanese: 新 天地無用!
MAL Score: 6.87
Tenchi Masaki heads out to tackle the big world, setting off to school in Tokyo! But not everyone is happy to hear he is moving away, as his female friends sulk and complain at the prospect of him being alone. However, Tenchi is not by himself for very long, as he soon meets a kind and compassionate girl named Sakuya Kumashiro who helps him get used to life in Tokyo.
The two become close friends, but Sakuya wants more than just that, so she proclaims her love for Tenchi. This confession comes as a shock not only to Tenchi, but also the girls back home. In response, the girls decide to step up their game, and they immediately flock to Tokyo to take Tenchi for themselves.
With the girls competing for his love, Tenchi must decide once and for all who the most important woman in his life is. However, he is going to have a hard time deciding, as strange events start happening that drive Tenchi further apart from his friends.
STORY – I’ll admit it. The first time I saw this series, I hated it too. But I rewatched the whole thing more recently and found that it actually wasn’t as bad as I remembered. Like the Tenchi Forever movie, I think most fans were indignant at the introduction of a "Mary Sue" character and consequently abhorred the entire series. But while yes, Sakuya was more or less an "intruder" character to our good ol’ harem, she forces a very interesting situation onto the rest of the girls. After two whole other series of being fought over by the crazy women he lives with, Tenchi finally moves out and finds someone on his own. Come on now, isn’t that an intriguing twist to the premise of the Tenchi saga?
It isn’t even as if Ryoko, Ayeka, and the rest disappear altogether and are unimportant; rather the opposite is true. With a puppeteer orchestrating everything in the background, it gradually warps into a grand epic as they once again find themselves needing to save the world, not to mention Tenchi. I, for one, found it incredibly interesting to watch see the girls struggle with life without Tenchi, especially as they were faced with jealousy, spite, and general unhappiness at their "replacement" by Sakuya. And in the end, as everything twisted into a crazy supernatural plot… well, with so much emotional drama going on, I suppose we needed something to remind us about that other kickass blowing-stuff-up part of Tenchi.
CHARACTER – Honestly, I think the characters’ depths are explored much more in Tenchi in Tokyo than in any other Tenchi, and this completely due to the fact that Sakuya exists. For once, you’re able to see Tenchi as more than just an awkward shrine boy who doesn’t know what to do about anything — he becomes more human as he’s allowed to interact with people that aren’t aliens or freaks of science, and that makes him a much more convincing and three-dimensional character. Because of his feelings for Sakuya, his feelings for the others, especially Ryoko and Ayeka, become more clear and he’s finally able to put things in a more concrete perspective. It’s actually very refreshing to see him come so far when he originally wasn’t very interesting at all.
Ryoko and Ayeka, as the ones most affected by the loss of Tenchi, both show fantastic character development throughout the course of the series. Their feelings, the anger, jealousy, and hurt, are very real and easy to sympathize with, and their subsequent actions expose the many flaws in their personalities which further their complexities as characters. Of course, this forces their overall characters to be a bit different from their previous incarnations, but I don’t find it to be an unwelcomed change. The rest of the girls aren’t as affected and consequently don’t seem to stray much from the typical character molds cast for them originally.
Now, Sakuya… Sakuya is an interesting character if only because of the fact that she isn’t really real. Her validity of her personality and feelings are really up to debate though, especially since she does declare herself to be real and not a puppet. In the end, I’m not really happy with the character Yugi is revealed to be; it seemed like a cheap way out of something that had built itself up to be so epic, but I guess everything can’t be perfect.
ARTWORK & ANIMATION – I believe one of the other big complaints about Tenchi in Tokyo was that its art style was vastly different from the previous two series. It does take some getting used to, but I don’t really think it’s that intolerable in the end. The style is rounder and more feathered along the edges, so some people claim it to be a "lazier" style. It makes for some strangely stylized portrayals, but it isn’t as if any of the characters are twisted out of all possible forms of recognition. And it’s definitely not awful by any means.
MUSIC – A little lacking in this department, the music isn’t nearly as good as it had been in previous series. It’s mostly generic sounding, which means the background music always suits its scenes, but nothing really stands out. The OP/ED are quite awesome though, considering that both "Yume wa doko e itta?" and "Yamerarenai Yamerarenai" are sung by the voice actors, which is always fun.
VOICE ACTING – I’ve seen this both dubbed and subbed. I’ve always considered the Tenchi series to be one of the better early dubs, back in the days of Toonami. Ryoko and Ayeka especially had voices that suited their characters very well (though for Ryoko, I’ll always be partial to her Japanese voice because it’s Ai Orikasa). Tenchi’s English voice I was never really fond of, but it still suited his character well enough. And the rest of the cast is very much the same in that respect.
OVERALL – Tenchi in Tokyo really deserves more credit. It threw a wrench in the great harem premise and allowed for some fantastic emotional drama. The supernatural side got a little predictable from time to time, but I don’t really feel like that was the most important part of the series. It was great watching Ryoko and Ayeka beat themselves around the head trying to deal with the loss of Tenchi to another girl, and if you’re a great, big, sadistic fan of character ANGST like me, then I think you’d like this series. :3
However, if you enjoy the Tenchi-Muyo series simplyfor its pure silliness then you will definitely like this anime. I would say it’s only slightly more intelligent than ‘Ninja Nonsense’. So if you like that stuff, then this is the series for you.
7: Mizuiro Jidai
MAL Score: 6.87
Yuuko is a shy middle school girl who has feelings for her childhood friend, the boy next door. When she finds out that her best friend also likes him, she is unsure what to do. The story explores the relationships between these three characters as they confront everyday junior high problems.
If you might not have noticed, Yuuko kawai sounds very similar to kawaii Yuu ko, which is literally cute Yuu child (same kanji for Yuu, the author’s name). This is Yabuuchi’s fond memory. We view along with Yuuko her issues of life, of love, of friendship, of fate, and of the feelings that she can’t discern. Then with Yabuuchi’s conveyed respect and acceptance of Yuuko’s worries, find reconciliation through the help of others.
I don’t think I can introduce Mizuiro Jidai better than what has introduced each episode throughout the whole series, the op “Mizuiro Jidai” by Jun Yoneya. The op begins with the gentle breeze and the passage of time conveying something, something important. This is much of how Yuuko has to understand the world, as no one will tell her what she wants to know. The messages that Yuuko needs, is one that she has to work out herself. “Somehow, there are days when words come off wrong” is how she comes to recognize that there is something wrong with what she understands. Everyone is alone in this way, in their perceptions of reality. Still, Yuuko wants to “chase after the scattered clouds”. She wants fight the “loneliness” of the misunderstandings and regret. And so it goes, “Mizuiro Jidai”. This is the color of her time right now, clear and undefined.
Its middle school environment is misleading of the sharpness of Yabuuchi’s direction, of the way to lead life. All the problems that result are entirely natural, and by no one’s ill will. Every single person wants to get along with everyone else. Misunderstandings occur, but communication is all they need. Thus we come to Yuuko. Yuuko doesn’t understand at first why everyone acts the way they do, nor why Hiroshi likes her. She’s a lost soul and all she can do is run, run as fast as she can. Upon realization of her friends’ feelings, what she can do is hear what everyone has to say. Then in silence come to term with why the things are the way they are. It is only with this understanding that she feels compelled to put herself out there. It is in Yabuuchi’s gentle treatment, that Yuuko finds the security and resolve to do what she believes she has to do, what her ideal reality looks like. Then with a smile each episode closes. What Yuuko comes to understand never becomes explicitly said, or rather Yabuuchi doesn’t see that as important compared to the feeling she wants to convey – of affirmation of what we are, the greatest guiding principle of all.
Mizuiro Jidai’s main focus is on love, but its way to illustrate love’s nature is in feelings of acknowledgement. Hiroshi is there to accept everything Yuuko has to say, feel and worry about. What Yuuko tries to do, Hiroshi constantly encourages. Hiroshi has the right words to say because he believes in what Yuuko tries to do. This connection is one that is forged through time, a childhood friendship. However, things seem to change when Hiroshi declares her love for Yuuko. Love is not just a promise towards being a partner in life. To be connected through ups and downs means that there is something special in the constant of each other. Yuuko and Hiroshi can’t quite put into words what they represent to each other, but they are constantly comforted by it. So, they move forward in life facing all their struggles together in the hopes of discovering what that love is. This idea of love follows for Takako, Rumiko, Kugayama, Kitano, and Yuuko’s parents. Seeing how others come to love each other, Yuuko becomes prepared for the challenges she has to face in her love with Hiroshi. To the very end, when the love that became the source of strength for Yuuko wanes with distance and time, she goes forth accepting what comes her way and does what she can believing in the love that they had. This is Yabuuchi’s romance, one that is tied to trust. This is a romance in the trust to something eternal and to something real – each other.
Love’s counterpart, friendship, is core to what drives the cast to be together, what drives Yuuko. What Yuuko constantly comes back to friendship for is companionship. Yuuko seeks people who are going through the same things she is. Other than what Hiroshi was, her best friend, Takako, is there with her every step of the way. Even if there are disagreements, Yuuko finds peace talking with Takako because they have the understanding of each other to be able to empathize. Communication to Yabuuchi is the ultimate clarifying source. Sharing the privacy of their worlds, Yuuko shares a diary with Takako. What each share to each other is their poetry, their thoughts, their feelings. Then in the silence of each other’s company, puts into words their moments of time. Of course, as with all things, communication can break down. Not because they did anything wrong to each other, but by the absence of what keeps them connected – reassurance. They would never dare to intentionally hurt each others feeling and yet, they do. Either by withholding words or by being incapable of expressing their view: “Everyone seems so far away…” Perhaps this is where all friendships lead, an inevitable disconnection. With each passing day and with each passing year, Yuuko has to question what all her relationships mean to her. Then, come to the conclusion that the only answer she can say about her yearning for friendship is that she wants it. Yuuko accepts the transient nature of friendship and finds that she wants it because she needs it – for the time. In moments of doubt and apprehension, the lens that Yuuko finds the security of everything she understands is through friendship.
Just as core as interpersonal relationships is recognition of what education is to oneself. Yuuko couldn’t learn in school, nor could she learn with the help of Hiroshi. There is one episode where Yuuko even stalks her friend Tomoko because she was disturbed by how enthusiastic Tomoko was about education. Viewing Tomoko as if she’s an alien, she did not understand where it was all coming from. Feeling ever so disconnected with what education meant to others, she eventually decided to go to cram school. There she met Kitano, a representation of a student who is working hard for her future. Yuuko wanted the kind of conviction Kitano had and felt compelled to see her as a real person. It’s in the smallest of conversations with Kitano that Yuuko was able to find peace in her worries about what education is to her. In the next episode, Yuuko started to actually learn about soccer! Exciting. It’s the small things!
This is Yuuko’s story first and foremost. We hear her hesitations, her frustrations, and her agony. She makes mistakes trying to grasp her line of reasoning. She can’t comprehend what everyone is expecting from her, let alone what she should think about what to do. Thus, when Takako asks her “What are you thinking”, she can’t answer. Takako and Hiroshi will call Yuuko “wagamama” (selfish) sometimes with a smile and sometimes with a frown, all in reference to Yuuko’s flustering to understand. Yuuko has to puzzle out for herself what she feels like she has to do. Certainly, there are moments where she still has the inability to express her problems and cries in the security of Hiroshi’s or Takako’s arms. She is dependent and not particularly good at anything. There is nothing wrong with that. The strength of a person is in the will to try. Little by little, with encouragement of her supportive environment, she in turn tries to reciprocate what has been given to her – the tender care that she felt. This motivation leads her most notably to discussions of love. Yuuko becomes the pillar of support when Takako reunites with her distant love, when Kitano’s admiration becomes torment, when she herself loses in touch with Hiroshi. The amount of growth Yuuko had perhaps can be best seen by a simple note she hands to Kugayama, her rival in love, after graduation:
“Let’s talk about love sometime, okay?”
It would be a mistake to talk about love and not mention about what sexual interactions are to Mizuiro Jidai. Ingrained into what a relationship of love is, it is essential to how a couple becomes attracted to one another. However, Yabuuchi draws the line with sex. Yuuko and Hiroshi do kiss to show their affection, but finds trepidation that sex may lead them to lose the meaning of what their love is. They have a fear that just like how their instinctual actions sometimes lead to hurting each other’s feeling, succumbing to their desires would be how they stop connecting with each other. Yabuuchi finds that love in Mizuiro Jidai has enough “weight” because it is as important as it matters to them. At first, Yuuko did see value in love as a way to express her feelings to Hiroshi. Later on though, Yuuko finds the value in love as a promise towards the future amidst the march of time. Mizuiro Jidai is a story focused on the perspective of love, and although an expansion on what sex is to them may have been warranted, it is okay. The primary concern to Yuuko and the cast is in what the meaning of their life is. Of course, they are middle schoolers, so it would be hard to take whatever they learn seriously.
Mizuiro Jidai’s characters and by extension, Yabuuchi, understands how insignificant their realizations are in scope of the world. Anything they feel or start to comprehend can be easily diminished by the words, “common sense”. Kitano points out the meaninglessness of her love because it is just the first time a boy has been nice to her, as “ah that’s all there is to it”. In the same manner, Yuuko’s father nonchalantly mentions “ah romance can be useful, huh” concerning Yuuko’s vigor to studying more because of Hiroshi. However, Yuuko denies this thought of common sense from the very beginning. From the first episode when Takako wants to quit band in the same way she feels she has to abandon her crush on Hiroshi, Yuuko responds confidently to her dismay with “It’s important to you still!” Yuuko believes that her feelings, her struggles, and her thoughts are relevant because it is what she is going through. Yuuko does not want to give up as just an observer of her own life. Yuuko wants to take action for what she feels like she has to do and acknowledge her own feelings. For this reason, Yuuko could not bear Takako’s giving up. This message is what persuades Takako to move forward and what would eventually move all the cast to work for a greater cause, a treasured memory.
The story of Mizuiro Jidai begins with reflection and ends with nostalgia – it is a memory in transition. What this story shares to us is the casts’ contemplations in life, moment to moment. However, being a memory, we can’t forget how Yabuuchi affects the lens upon which we view her story. She is guiding us towards what she believes. That being said, just as important as how the problems are shown, is how the answers from friends, family and teachers are being portrayed. In one episode Yuuko was worried about her love with Hiroshi because she did not understand how the passage of time was affecting their relationship and how the future would affect it. What became Yuuko’s biggest ray of hope is when Yuuko’s mother shared how she married Yuuko’s father. No one else could answer how time affects love better than someone who has gone through it. Yuuko’s mother was always there with a smile, ready and doing whatever she can to help Yuuko with her worries. Yet, Yuuko could not ask of her mother for anything. Thus, in the silence and the faded background Yuuko’s mother waits. Indirectly and by guessing, she can only do what she can to help. It was only until this point that Yuuko was willing to open up her mother and become able to tell her any advice. This way of communication is much of how everyone has to tip toe around Yuuko. Whether by being strict like her father and her teachers, or by teasing like her sister did, it’s their way of starting communication. It’s only when Yuuko is ready to ask for their help that they can tell her what she needs. As Yuuko becomes more confident in what she believes, she comes to recognize all the little ways people tried to help her along the way. It’s in this that she becomes able to thank people. During graduation, the entire class even throws a surprise party for their strict teacher thanking him for the time spent together. It wouldn’t be so far as to say that Mizuiro Jidai, as a whole, is a celebration for the people that have helped kids like Yuuko.
Everything is not perfect in Mizuiro Jidai nor does it want the viewer to see its messages as definitive. The responses that Yuuko gets from the people around her often avoid the question or can be insensitive. The world around her is as clouded in meaning as she is. There is no “right” answer. The intentional removal of what the “message” is can even lead the viewer confused about the whole point of the ordeal Yuuko has to go through. Hiroshi has an answer to what to do. Hiroshi, in memory of all the bad things that happened in their first year, passionately responds that he would never do the same things the second years did. Hiroshi doesn’t believe in this tradition, in this cycle of life. He can be better than that. Hiroshi sees the “tradition” for what it is, and wants something more real, more fulfilling. Admittedly, Hiroshi will still point out how cheesy it. Not because he doesn’t believe it, but because it always seems out of place. The desire for acknowledgment comes into question as their memories, their dreams , and their visions often doesn’t reflect reality. The search seems futile when one can just take the world in for what it is. They look to be reaching our for nothing. Thus, on unsteady ground, they move on trying to understand what the ground even is. Yabuuchi wants the viewer to take that lesson just as Yuuko would, and work out the foundations that makes us people. Then, make the best of it. Perhaps that is all I can say about Mizuiro Jidai.
Much of this review is in admiration of what Mizuiro Jidai has accomplished, but it is just as much what I have come to understand of the world around me. What Yabuuchi has to say reaches the same conclusions I had about the world. It’s not life changing nor particularly powerful. It’s normal. Mizuiro Jidai is simply a tale of what everyone has to go through. Being normal isn’t particularly… special, but this has all the aspects I have ever wanted from a narrative. The subjects of love and friendship is all too delicate that I am amazed at how Mizuiro Jidai goes the step further to exploring what they mean. Then in the transit of time, explain how we have to deal with the intermingling of concepts. Maybe what surprised me the most was the gentle presentation of it all. Mizuiro Jidai views through Yuuko her process of understanding of the world while maintaining the dignity of everything involved. All the while, maintaining the breadth and acceptation of what makes us people… It makes me nostalgic, too. Sure, I can remember my own anguish growing up. It wasn’t fun. I sometimes cringe when I look at my own past, my own stupidity at that time. Then, I come back to Yuuko and smile. Its a strange thing to say as a guy, but I connect with Yuuko. Just as Yuuko did and just as Yabuuchi tried to show in her story, I should try to value my own journey, too. My memories, my experiences, my feelings it was all worthwhile. Seeing a message communicated so humanly is perhaps what we all need for the elusive goal of assuring ourselves. How important these messages are up to interpretation, but it must be lauded how deftly Yabuuchi intertwines these themes into a coherent story that is nothing short of real.
Real to me – to my life. To what I need now.
Some things to think about:
Please consider hearing the next episode previews at the end of each episode! It is written like what their diary entries are like.
Thinking about the names is nice though I must confess I am still learning Japanese, so take this with a grain of salt. If anything, a character does tease Yuuko for being kawaii just like her name suggests.
The opening to Mizuiro Jidai has an English translation that is misleading, and is why I wrote about the opening in this review. Currently there is only one English translation around for this show, so this is kind of important.
“I’m conveying something important” should be “It’s conveying something important.” Its referring to the things mentioned before.
“Somehow, there are words for days that pass each other by” should be something like “Somehow, there are days when words come off wrong”. Surechigau! Surechigau!
Everything in the sub is okay. The translation group probably took the same opening that the previous one did and left those blatant mistakes.
I don’t find it as important to talk about the animation or the sound considering this is 2 decades old. It works and shows everything that it needs with the feelings of the characters. The transitions are well paced and flows gently because of the clear foundation Yabuuchi set in her manga. It won’t try anything tricky.
At episode 38 we lead to the end of Mizuiro Jidai. Yuuko’s reuniting with Hiroshi is extremely drawn out. It was actually just two shots Hiroshi and Yuuko together in the manga. Well I forgive it because it was well deserved, but yeah.
Ep 39 is a summary
Episodes 40 to 47 are from Shin Mizuiro Jidai, which I think Yabuuchi kind of did in a bit of a rush… Yeah it isn’t so good. Mizuiro Jidai was a popular manga and when the anime series released she probably did it out of obligation. You can see that the release of Shin Mizuiro Jidai coincides with the anime runtime. The tight narrative isn’t quite there.
Mizuiro Jidai is such a pure and heartwarming coming of age anime. The story focuses on our protagonist Kawai Yuuko who is a friendly yet sometimes clumsy girl figuring out who she is as she lives out her last year of middle school. Throughout the series, we see how she forms relationships with her best friends and childhood friend who soon becomes her love interest. The art is very 90’s and the soundtrack is soft and soothing, fitting for the series.
The show tackles topics that I believe stay relevant even after the ‘Aqua Age’ of adolescence. There’s an episode where Yuuko gets stuck in the middle of a fight between two of her friends Takako and Miyuki, and the audience watches Yuuko struggle to please both of them. In another episode, Yuuko gets her period and you see her friends being supportive and helpful. Plus, her childhood friend Hiroshi even chimes in with uplifting words at the end of the episode. One of my favorite episodes was actually one where everyone in the friend group started fighting with each other. It felt so real and reminded me of the times I too felt frustrated with my friends
This is a great anime to watch if you want something simple and nostalgic. Watching Mizuiro Jidai made me miss the days of being just a student surrounded by friends daily, slowly taking steps towards adulthood. I actually started watching this series back in middle school but the subs at the time stopped somewhere around ep ~20 which devastated me. I forgot about the anime but later discovered all the episodes on YouTube 10 years later (even though now I am proficient enough to not need subs anymore haha)! Life works in mysterious ways~
I hope my review helps. I really enjoyed this series and I hope others will feel the same way too.
6: Hyper Police
MAL Score: 6.93
Sasahara Natsuki is a poor bounty hunter in a world where monsters and humans live together. Most of her cases involve monsters infringing upon the rights of humans, who are protected by law from their generally more powerful neighbors. Being half-human and half cat-beast, Natsuki straddles the two societies and tries to understand and respect both while enforcing the law. She is assisted by a werewolf named Batanen who is afraid to admit he loves her; another werewolf named Tommy; and a Kyubi fox demon named Sakura who has her own plans–which include eating Natsuki to complete her her nine tails and thereby her magical powers.
I like having fun, and the nineties was a time when anime was okay with being stupid and cartoony for the sake of entertainment. Nowadays, you very rarely get that sense of fun when watching anime. Maybe it’s just me and my nostalgia. Maybe I have a soft spot for Hyper Police’s style. Maybe I’m going to overrate Hyper Police purely because of my love for this sort of anime.
So take that into consideration when reading this review.
Hyper Police takes place in a world where monsters, humans, and gods coexist, though not exactly on friendly terms. Humans are given all kinds of government aid and many aren’t big fans of the monsters. Natsuki is a bounty hunter in Tokyo, where she works with her friends to take down the big bad guys and earn enough money to live. She’s a cat girl, her love interest is a werewolf, and there’s another werewolf who tags along.
When Sakura, a nine-tailed fox with only eight and one-fifth tail, sees Natsuki’s lighting attacks in action, she decides that she wants to steal that power to gain her final tail. She joins the bounty hunting agency to get closer and, of course, eventually befriends Natsuki and decides against killing her.
It’s a pretty basic set-up for an episodic anime. Very early on, though, the bounty hunting agency closes down and everyone goes their separate ways, which leads me to wonder what all the set-up was for in the first place. We’re given time with characters at the beginning who barely matter in the least. That’s not to say there are any characters who are given too much time and don’t make an impact later on, but I feel that the abruptness of the shift in plot was too early and didn’t have enough build-up.
This, truthfully, sums up the rest of the plot. A samurai from the sixteenth century shows up and after two or three episodes he’s married to Sakura. One episode she’s completely infatuated with him, the next it opens with babies running around. I don’t take offense to moving the plot quickly, but sometimes you should build things up much more before you let major plot events like a marriage happen. It’s bad enough the marriage isn’t even shown and the characters aren’t given enough time to gel before it happens. Later on, there’s an episode that makes you wonder why they even got married in the first place.
This problem is compounded by the tonal shifts. It starts as a bounty hunting adventure, becomes a sort of comedy, starts dealing with relationships, then toward the end gets serious again with the idea of humans having racial problems with monsters.
That’s way too much jumping around. If Hyper Police had focused on perhaps one or two of these facets rather than juggling so many, it would have benefitted. Instead it juggles romance, comedy, action, and a serious plot and doesn’t do so very well.
But nobody remembers Hyper Police for any of these things; they remember it for the cute girls! And Hyper Police delivers the goods. Cat girls, fox girls, dog girls, bounty hunter girls, prison warden girls!
That said, the male characters are hopelessly in love with our female characters. Batounan is in love with Natsuki despite the fact she’s like, half his age. She’s in love with him too, so I guess it all works out in the end. But then there’s a guy named Tomy who is in love with a girl who works at the prison and he winds up in all kinds of silly situations trying to admit his love to her.
The dub is…tolerable. There are no good voice actors which might contribute to why this anime, despite having a dub and DVD release, is so little known in the states. Names are pronounced one way, then another , then the original way. Some of the voice actors seem to be phoning it in, especially Poe’s, who speaks in this airy, bored way that isn’t even convincing despite Poe’s uncaring attitude. It’s a real amateur hour.
The music is alright with a decent opening and overused tracks during the show. The animation, like the music, is just average.
So what do I like so much about Hyper Police?
It’s got cute girls, it’s definitely funny, the setting is fun, and there is a definite sense of silliness that pervades the anime and kept me watching. It’s got a lot of problems and could benefit from better pacing and writing, but it is too entertaining to pan for its failings.
I can’t recommend it to everyone. Hell, I couldn’t really wholeheartedly recommend it without knowing you well. It’s a perfect example of nineties cheese, and Lord knows I love cheese.
The story follows Natsuki who is a rookie bounty and half human/half cat in a world where humans, monsters, and gods live together after mankind has fallen many years back as now in this time they call it the holy era. Natsuki and the other bounty hunters jobs is to keep the peace from many monsters and sometimes human who are trying to breaking it. That’s the plot and here is my main gripe. Its episodic. That’s the reason why I’m disappointed because there is no plot to speak of until when its at the very end of the show. There are times that does show a plot but mostly its just filler. But they are entertaining enough to see and the comedy is pretty decent enough. So while the plot is non-excision, at least it does a good job to try to entertain me which is why I give this section a five.
The art is ok at best. It doesn’t look great but its not that bad ether. Character designs look well enough and the action scenes are well fluid in animation wise. I like how the world looks as it really shows that it use to be all beautiful before the holy era began. So the art is while not great, it is fine for what it is.
The op by AYA is really one of the catchiest songs that I’ve heard and the ending by Yuko and Chiyako is also my favorite ending so for. But what about the other music. Well they didn’t impress me as its like any generic music you hear in the 90’s. Nothing special but it fits and they don’t sound out of place.
English dubs vs english subs:
This is where I’m gonna decide which track you should listen. The dub is ok at best as its not that bad compare to the other 90’s and 80’s dubs but I do have my gripes. Batanen voice is a little to deep in my opinion, Natsuki is too high and annoying! And secondary characters are hit or miss. One voice that I praise is Dorothy who did the voice for Sakura as she really gives her character personality. Now I only watch this in dub as I couldn’t find the japanese version online. Its like it doesn’t exist and I look high and low for it. So if your gonna see this then skip if you want subs but those who wan’t dubs then this is good to listen to if you can handle the voice of the main character(seriously her dub voice is annoying).
Winner: English dub by default unless if you know where the subs is then the english subs is the winner.
The cast is decent enough to follow. There really isn’t much depth to them but there personalities are very good and clever even if I have seen this before. They kinda develop as the episodes go by but they still act the same. So in terms of characters they are enjoyable but don’t expect them to develop them well.
I did enjoy this when I watch it but as I go on, it kinda drop. I was expecting at least some sort of plot line like how the world is form because it didn’t explain it well. But if your in for something to waste your time then this is for you.But if your hoping for good story telling and character development then skip it.
Hyper Police’s world is very detailed – from the visual design that always brings new ideas of monsters, characters and mechanics, to the the dialogues that explore laws, ethics and lifestyle, it almost feels like a real parallel universe.
Some episodes focus on side characters and so you get a lot of different approaches to this world. There’s a variety ensemble of at least 10 recurring characters, each unique and interesting enough to receive a spin off of its own.
Almost every character has a love interest and the main couple, Batanen and Natsuki, is one of the sweetest ones I’ve seen. I was on the edge of my sit for every small development between them and it was extremely fun watching their chemistry.
The show never gets repetitive or boring. The writers control the pace with a tight grip, always finding new character interactions or situations to put them in to keep the narrative fresh.
The episodic structure of the show sometimes feel forced, but if you’re looking for an epic story with drama, twists and turns you’re in the wrong show. Still, the show has a story continuity and there are some really unexpected character and world developments.
If you’re looking for a fun entertainment with light drama you must watch this anime. Highly recommended.
5: Saber Marionette J
English: Saber Marionette J
MAL Score: 7.34
In the distant future, since the Earth has become overpopulated, efforts to find and colonize on other planets have begun. However, one of the ships, the “Mesopotamia” malfunctions and all but 6 of its inhabitants are all killed. the remaining 6 manage to escape to a nearby planet named “Terra ll “, which is similar to Earth in many respects. However, all of them are male. Therefore, as to not let their efforts go to waste, they begin to set up 6 countries and to reproduce through cloning and genetic engineering. however, there are still no women, and to make up for it they create lifelike advanced female androids called “Marionettes” which do everyday chores and work. However, they are all emotionless machines. But one day, a ordinary boy named Otaru finds and awakens 3 special battle type Marionettes that have emotions due to a “Maiden Circuit” within them. It’s up to him then to teach them and allow their emotions to grow, and when a nearby country threatens with world domination, it’s up to to Otaru and his “human” Marionettes to protect their country.
The story revolves around Otaru Mamiya and his three Marionettes named Lime, Cherry and Bloodberry, but they are not just an ordinary ordinary marionettes, they have a system called “Maiden Circuit” that act like the source of their emotion thats why they can laugh and cry. A futuristic setting in a planet named Terra – II in the country of Japones where there are no female and all male are born from cloning. Female was replaced by Female machine called Marionettes. Thus begin their wacky adventure under one roof. The gags are old but still funny specially when the punchline is hanagata. The story is not always about humor, there is drama also, its the main point of the story on how the three marionette grows emotionally thru happiness and hardship. The anime’s story is slow pace but not boring so you will have time to enjoy how the it will develop.
Meet Otaru a normal boy who live a normal life, kind and hard working . One day he accidentally activated a Marionette named Lime. Lime a marionette with a cute and childish personality, always eat and play around and loves Otaru a lot. She’s my favorite marionette because whenever she’s around the surrounding become cheerful. Next is Cherry the second marionette Otaru awakened. She always give a maiden aura, in cuteness i think its in par with Lime. She loves to cook and more importantly loves to daydream about his master Otaru.The third was Bloodberry, she’s a how should i say it… a muscle woman? Well she’s not as cute as the first two but she emits an older woman aura, she has the biggest breast among the three and loves to seduce Otaru. For side character, let see, hmm… Hanagata hes a loser so lets forgot about him (Hanagata: What did you just say?) just joking, he always introduce himself as Otaru’s bestfriend, a pesky character who appears anywhere near Otaru.
Otaru, his design is quite simple, passable for a normal character.For the character design of the three marionettes, Lime, since she loves to move around designing loose costume fits nicely with her character. Cherry, she’s loves doing housework so the cutely designed pink kimono si looks good in her. Bloodberry with the blood on her red suits her best, well only her hair is red, she got the most daring design because of her nicely proportioned body and big-sister like character.
The Opening song is good, you will like it the more you listened to it. Same goes for the Ending song, with a great visualization it will make you listened to the song as well. For The Seiyuu’s, I really like the japanese voice for Lime, Megumi Hayashibara. It match perfectly with Limes personality, cute and playful. I dont like the english dub, it gives a kind of feeling that its not Lime-like. Same goes with Cherry, i like her polite voice. When u talk about Bloodberry, that means Power, power in the voice but with a sweetness of an older women and the seiyuu deliver it nicely.
After many years of not seeing this anime (10 years +) it give me a nostalgic feeling and with that i enjoy it a lot. I laughed in the funny scenes and got teary in those touching moment. I couldn’t ask for more… 😀
if u read some weird grammar, its my bad haha, ore ningen da mono~
The premise of the series is that sometime in the future, a group of 6 explorers made an emergency crash onto the Planet of Terra. There was the inconvenient problem that they landed without any females. Rather than wither off on this distant planet, the six decided to make clones of themselves, and thus repopulated the planet, but without females. The compensation for the lack of females is the development of female-appearing robots called marionettes, who can function like a human, but can’t experience feelings of their own, except, that is, for a few special marionettes whom our intrepid protagonist discovers, leading to ever more grand adventures until the fate of the planet is at stake.
A few complaints with this show are that it has a very obvious plot, most of the jokes aren’t funny, an irritating worm put in for comic relief really degrades this series, and a lot of the story is patronizing. I think this series is made especially for kids. The OP & ED are quite catchy, the animation is bad by today’s standards, and the characters are a bit flat. It’s still good clean fun though, worth watching with popcorn and friends.
It came to be this way because of an accident on a colonization ship that left six men alive on the surface, and they use genetics to populate the planet of Terra II. The direct clones of the six survivors rule the six nations that exist on the planet, Otaru being from Japoness which looks like feudal Japan.
Otaru tries to grow the personality of the three Marionettes throughout the series while having to deal with Gartland’s (Germany during World War II) ruler Faust and his own set of three Marionettes. The story is alright if you don’t have a problem with small details that could be considered giant plot holes with a lot of thought.
The art is dated even for a show from 12 years ago. The marionettes look vibrant, but completely out of place. The backgrounds of the other nations seemed to have been picked because they are easier to depict. Action scenes look merely average. It’s not horrific, but it would be hard to call it good.
Characters are a much stronger point. Otaru is not your typical male harem lead. The marionettes show diversity in character as the series progress from one-dimensional to something more.
Overall, Saber Marionette J is a solid, if not spectacular, series. It sets the table well for the OVA and second series that followed, though a conclusion could have been provided in this series if they really would have wanted it.
4: Kidou Senkan Nadesico
English: Martian Successor Nadesico
MAL Score: 7.51
Akito doesn’t want to fight. Despite a childhood spent on the anime Gekiganger 3, a Mecha show, he’d rather cook than pilot a Mecha. Fate intervenes when his home on Mars is destroyed, and he is transported instantly to the Earth, mysteriously. He has questions no one can answer fully, but follows a girl from a chance meeting in hopes to discover any. The girl, Yurika, is captain of the private battleship Nadesico, and in order to follow her, he enlists as their cook. Possessing the nanite implants that allow to control mechas, he’s a handy backup pilot for the mechas of the Nadesico. He joins a crew bent on avenging Mars that seems to be composed of only misfits, otakus, and ditzes; however, in reality, they are handpicked experts. They take their own private war back to Mars to face the harsh reality that life may not always be like a Giant Mecha series.
Nadesico is a love letter to the space/mecha genre, both laughing at it and along with it with the same level of panache as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
It parodies the genre with clichés, and honours it by keeping to them itself. For example, Nadesico lampoons over the top sacrifices via its in-show 70’s/80’s inspired mecha anime ‘Gekigangar 3’ then does the same thing itself anyway, revelling in the genre trope. It has a young adult unwillingly thrust into a mecha on an almost daily basis, yet his mecha is pink for crying out loud.
It’s actually a smart comedy because beyond the love for the mecha genre they’re playing with, the writers are self-aware enough to acknowledge the details that a serious story would tackle, such as the (contractual) consequences of a corporation funding a military ship, funerals for the deceased, the effects of anime on viewers, and the different cultures of Earth, but never stopping the laughs along the way. They even justify the sillier stuff in the show such as having such an airhead for a captain, by again satirising corporate tendencies. (the concept of tailor-made captains because of technology handling the rest of the ship)
The backbone of this show, the factor that keeps it from descending into meaningless skit show histrionics is the attention to detail, on both a narrative level and thematic level. It has the enthusiasm for sci-fi so much that it goes to lengths to explain many of its technologies using nano-machines, cyber-networking and boson particle manipulation and any number of concepts that any avid reader of hard sci-fi will automatically recognise. Bear in mind this was released in the mid-90s before nano technology had hit the mainstream media as it has today, in the way it’s overridden nearly every mainstream sci-fi story as an explanation for fantastical stuff occurring on screen.
On top of that, the show for the most part avoids one of my own little pet peeves, that of ships in space taking hits from lasers and not blowing up instantly, as if they were back on Earth and only got hit by a few stray bullets. This little annoyance is avoided by the usage of actual force fields bouncing lasers off of the hulls. The animators even show waves in the ocean peeling backwards as the Nadesico hovers above.
It’s this trivial, yet much welcomed, attention to detail that helps elevate the anime above mere comedy. It’s not just about making you laugh, but immersing you in its world with consistency and delivering a genuinely engaging story. Rather than be a gimmick, the Gekigangar anime actually becomes more and more relevant to the main story in interesting ways that are better left unsaid in a review.
The story flows between cliché and creativity every five minutes constantly surprising you. Individuals who in no way belong on a ship are brought together anyway, characters who look like they’ll be in main roles are dispatched speedily, enemy ships get progressively stronger, generic alien bad guys are revealed to be not so faceless or generic after all, a brilliant time-jumping Memento-esque episode that riffs on Evangelion’s psychoanalytical finale in a humorous (yet always honourable) fashion also pops up, it’s just a complete mix.
And every single character on the Nadesico gets some level of development, which is no mean feat considering the comedic nature of the show. Even Nadesico’s successor, TTGL, didn’t develop every character to any kind of level (Leeron for example), so when Nadesico goes out of its way to give a little detail to the past of a random pilot who you figure is only there to give bad puns, well you really appreciate it.
The actual plot of Nadesico when you strip everything else away is actually pretty interesting, which is why the anime works, it’s built on a good foundation. What starts as a generic ‘faceless aliens invading Earth’ story ends with the characters and viewer not wanting a victory for either side at all. The Nadesico ship itself belongs to a corporation, hence justifying the motley crew of misfits and the airhead of a captain. Because their superior technology is mostly automatic the captain was chosen for her looks, tailor-made for the crew’s emotional wellbeing. It’s crazy, it’s cynical, but you just know corporations could be that stupid to do such a thing one day, obsessed as they are with end results and not the methodology to get there.
The mega corporation responsible for the Nadesico ship is also a brilliant way to force conflict and danger upon it, from both Earth’s self-defence forces who don’t like the idea of corporations messing with military matters, and of course the invading aliens who don’t like the Nadesico for its pesky meddling. This is much more interesting than having a generic plotline where a military ship goes ‘rogue’ for the billionth time in a sci-fi tale. (ok, that happens later as well) As the threats to Earth get larger, and more time passes, uneasy alliances are formed, love triangles are formed then imploded, revelations are uncovered, suppressed memories are, well, unsuppressed.
The first three episodes are perfection, throwing you headfirst into its pitch-perfect comedic tones with hilarious stuff involving humour on both a physical and meta level. The voice acting is oldschool 90’s assured goodness. Nadesico has some of the best and funniest ‘Engrish’ I’ve ever heard in anime. The soundtrack is also very decent; nothing too memorable except for the OP music, but the soundtrack isn’t too generic either.
So as stated earlier, Nadesico shares much in common with TTGL for its skill in blending irreverent humour with its homage to a very popular genre of anime, but a key difference between the two is that TTGL is not afraid of leaping outside the box and tossing physics to the side to bring almost-abstract comedic imagery, whereas Nadesico is always weighed down by consistent logic whether in physics or narrative.
This is to say, no matter what crazy stuff happens in Nadesico, unlike in TTGL, there’s always a reason behind it. In TTGL Kamina’s sword can stretch to infinity for no reason other than to make you laugh. In Nadesico, for example, there’s a reason why only certain people can boson jump, it’s not used for convenience’s sake. Nadesico is actually a better homage in that it uses meta-humour with the Gekigangar TV show, not for a gimmick but as part of the actual plot. Nadesico is actually a decent analysis and commentary on anime. The latter half of the show ups the drama and emotion, and pretty much blatantly celebrates the very medium itself with bold proclamations that are infectious.
Nadesico is an essential anime for sci-fi/comedy fans. Observe a young guy with suppressed memories get pushed around the solar system by a blue-haired witless captain of a White Base-ish ship blowing up insect-looking baddies while watching mecha anime in his spare time. The ending is far from cliché, however much it will leave some viewers disgruntled for its unresolved story, the fact is that everything of importance in the narrative actually IS resolved; it’s a cliché-avoiding ending that doesn’t resort to what Gekigangar, the mirror of most mecha anime, does.
It doesn’t force an ending on you with cheap happy shortcuts, Nadesico is better than this, going at its own assured pace always treating story and characters with respect. If you’re the type that just has to have every single plot point wrapped up and a more ‘complete’ ending, then there is the subsequent Animage Grand Prix Award-winning movie Nadesico The Movie awaiting you, though the movie is a separate beast entirely, different in tone from the series.
So there is only one Nadesico folks, one specific combination of humour, drama and space hijinks that hits the right spot each time. “Gekiga In!”
STORY – I guess I will start with the story, the fantastic story. The story is mostly a parody of more modern mecha anime, which just so happens to include a parody of your typical 70s/80s mecha anime. Fans of every genre will find something to like within this series. Fans of harems, romance, action, mecha, comedy, parody, and drama will all find something to like here. It’s simply a jack of all trades among anime. Truly one of the more diverse series. After the halfway mark, the story begins to answer questions found earlier in the series. The story takes a life of its own and is no longer just a simple parody, and several twists take place. Though the comedy fades slightly, I’m willing to bet it will be near impossible for anyone to drop the series at this point as it still retains its delightful addictiveness.
ART – Yes the art is from the mid to late 90s which may cause a problem for some people. It did for me as I’m very much now used to the extravagant art of today’s anime. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just dated. I did notice some problems with Haruka Minato though. For some reason it just seemed like she was differently drawn than the other characters. Once you get by the fact that it’s from the the mid to late 90s, you’ll have no problem enjoying the art. Another thing to point out is how well the 70s/80s stereotypical mecha anime characters are included into a more modern mecha series.
SOUND – The opening theme, “You Get to Burning” is insanely catchy and will probably stick in your head for awhile. The ending theme, “Watashi Rashiku” is equally as good, and will probably follow suit, and stick in your head as well. The bgm is typical science fiction fare. It fits the setting, and none of the music is out of place, which is great, considering the diversity of this series.
CHARACTER – One of the best features of this show. You get great diversity within the cast. The tomboyish girl, the moe girl, the ditz, the justice loving guy, the “afraid to fight” guy, etc…etc. The best part is how wacky the crew is, yet they are all extremely qualified for their positions. You’ll see what I mean when you first see Yurika. The relationships between characters are also really well done. You’ll feel sorry for some, while hating several others. In my opinion that equates to a great series. To fully appreciate the cast, if it weren’t obvious enough, the series must be watched in full. Also, I feel it’s near impossible to not fall in love with Ruri, you’ll see what I mean.
ENJOYMENT – The series is highly addictive and very entertaining. When you’re not laughing, you could be feeling one of many emotions guaranteed while watching this show. It has its dramatic moments, but you’ll be mostly laughing throughout the series. It’s a great anime, and I feel it would be very hard to not appreciate at least a little.
OVERALL – I make it my goal to watch a series that usually places among those considered the best in anime, and though I just finished this series, I have to say it is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It was highly addictive and hilarious. It had great characters, and a decent plot. Oh and did I mention it was hilarious? One of the best features is the diversity of genres within Martian Successor Nadesico. There is literally something there for fans of nearly any genre to appreciate (except for horror). I would certainly make it in my best interest to view this series as soon as possible.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to mecha anime, Nadesico doesn’t fail in its quest to poke fun at its ancestry and let you know about it. It’s rather fun to watch the show and point out the parody moments in each episode. It even contains a parody within a parody in the form of Gekigangar 3, a spoof of the mecha anime of the late 70s and 80s. Don’t think that parodies are the only things that will make you laugh. There are many points where the crew takes over and keeps the laughs coming with their daily interactions.
Speaking of which, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the crew of the Nadesico. Each crew member is unique and memorable in his or her own way. The entire spectrum is there: the otaku, the diva, the quiet one, the pervert, etc. It’s almost impossible to not find one character that you can relate to in one form or another. The seiyuu do an equally great job at fleshing out their respective characters. Houkou Kuwashima (InuYasha’s Sango, Azumanga Daioh!’s Kagura) does a wonderful job as Yurika, switching from heartfelt to hyper with ease.
As the series cruises along the half-way mark, the focus changes. The rampant parodies are taken back a bit, and a solid plot emerges. There are several psycho-analytic moments that blatantly poke fun at Evangelion, but I just didn’t find myself laughing as often as before. As everything hit the fan and the end began to come in sight, I was waiting for the epic conclusion that I had planned out in my mind. What I saw was nothing close to my hopes. Rather, Nadesico simply ended.
The ending left me with mixed feelings, and it will most likely be seen as a love it or hate it ending among others. On one side, there are numerous plot holes that are left wide open, and several events are left unexplained. To put it simply, under most circumstances, I would see such an ending as a failure. However, I found it to be fitting finale for such a quirky series. There didn’t need to be a perfect ending. I was able to leave the Nadesico with a smile on my face and a satisfied feeling, and that’s what matters.
Whether you’re a fan of mecha anime or not, I still highly recommend this anime as an enjoyable comedy. Sometimes, you just have to take some time to laugh at yourself, and Nadesico does just that.
3: Jigoku Sensei Nube
MAL Score: 7.54
Nube is a clumsy, easygoing, and very kind teacher, but he has a secret under his glove on the left hand. He has a monster hand, and he also has the ability to sense ghosts and evil spirits. So he protects his dear students from these evil spirits with his monster hand, proving to be very powerful.
Basically, it’s a school story with all the weird and scary things you wish could happen to you in a real school, that is, if you’re into ghosts and that kind of stuff.
Hell Teacher Nube is an anime about a schoolteacher with a demon claw in the place of his right hand, which he covers with a black glove, and all the hilarious and touching and sometimes just weird adventures he has with his students as what seems like the entire pantheon of Japanese lower mythology causes havoc in their school and town.
Nube and the students deal with ghosts, UFO’s, youkai, oni, doppelgangers, curses…you name it, they’ll take care of it.
Urban legends are also incorporated into the episodes…spirits of suicides in bathrooms, ghosts appearing in photographs, odd gods…
What else could you want in a supernatural school anime?
The best part of this anime are the stories. When I watched it, the wonder of all the crazy creatures and the wacky characters was a lot of fun. But what hooked me was that it was my first foray into Japanese superstitious culture. The stories are absolutely great!
Nube is an elementary school teacher who has an Oni sealed into his left hand. During his role as a teacher, he develops a great relationship with his students vowing to always protect them from danger. This is constantly proven when his precious students are attacked by ghosts, yokai, & other supernatural demons. While the series is episodic, it later adds more characters such as Yukime the snow demon & Tamamo a fox sorcerer which increases the quality of the anime.
Episodes contain a blend of comedy & horror, however sometimes its focus will be more on horror which can be very disturbing at times.(Ep31 & 44) Other episodes can be more comedy based or either touch upon an important morality lesson which tend to be some of the better episodes such as ep28 being about xmas. It should also be noted that the main character can vary every episode as some are focused on Nube while others are based on his students.
One of the highlights of this series is Nube himself as he a shonen hero in every respect and is a well written character who shifts from a wise mentor to a comedic love crazed buffoon. I should mention that a love triangle forms in the anime which intentionally was done for laughs but towards the end of the series becomes a very serious subject.
Overall, Hell Teacher Nube delivers in entertainment at times being a much darker version of Goosebumps. It may have a monster of the week formula but it’s not a battle series & provides much more content as a whole. Examples include some of its dramatic storytelling and the good nature of people such as eps (20 &34 aka Nube’s origin) or possibly the best heart touching episodes being 47 & 48. It may take some time to getting into, but you may end up loving this anime. Whenever you finish the anime, I recommend to watching the 2nd movie & the OVAs. The OVA episodes are actually cannon, being based on much later manga chapters with its final episode being the best way to finish the anime series.
Hell Teacher Nube is a supernatural/yokai episodic “monster of the week” show from the mid-90s that is flying under the radar of most anime fans nowadays since it was never really a hit in the first place back then, and as most of the titles that fail to generate a solid initial impact, it couldn’t avoid the fate of being forgotten in time. Debuting in the same year Neon Genesis Evangelion sent bittersweet shockwaves with its controversial last 2 episodes, Rurouni Kenshin became the new fighting shounen attraction after Dragon Ball was quickly running out of steam with Dragon Ball GT, Detective Conan started building its empire drawing the attention of the ones interested in mysteries, the Slayers franchise was getting stronger in the fantasy genre with its second installment (Next), and Sailor Moon, the most iconic and popular magical girl show from the 90s, was saying goodbye with its final season (Stars), among other competent shows that made their debuts in 1996, there was hardly any room left for a fully episodic and simple show like this (which also had to face direct competition in the supernatural genre with the more well-known and established GeGeGe no Kitarou (1996) household series) to make itself a relevant name both in Japan and the West.
I first knew about this show back in 2007, when a local anime specialized TV station started airing it after midnight and I used some of its episodes as background television while I was finishing some of my homework and was preparing myself to sleep, never really paying much attention to it and consequently remembering virtually nothing besides the visuals, character designs and the catchy J-rock opening theme. But there was something about its captivating, youthfully-sinister atmosphere that after all these years did manage to stuck in my mind that encouraged me to revisit it now, 11 years later, with complete dedication. And I have to say that -despite its simplicity- it has been quite a pleasant surprise, and that it’s truly worth the try for those who have no troubles watching old shows with dim colors, simple characters and an episodic monster-of-the-week structure. Watching it has been such a delightful experience, that I just can’t help to try to increase its low awareness levels.
The argument: it follows the paranormal adventures of Meisuke “Nube” Nueno, a kind, funny, lovable and young teacher at Domori elementary school who since birth had an abnormal sensibility to perceive evil ghosts and demons from the spiritual “yokai” world (a faculty that made him an easy target to them and allowed him to evetually become a demon connoisseur and a demon slayer) and the 5th grade naughty students he has in charge, with whom he develops a very close, warm and trustworthy relationship, to the point that he even gets permanently and tenderly bullied by them. Due to a tragic incident (which is told with details in one of the later episodes) before becoming a teacher in that school, he managed to seal a powerful demon in his left hand, which turned it into a monstrous-looking one and which he has to cover with a black glove in order to not reveal his true nature and frighten the people around him. This sealing granted him the ability to fight other demons with said hand, since the power of that demon is at his disposal there.
I have to say that the “horror” tag this show has is kind of misleading. Though it’s about ghosts and demons attacks, it is really not scary or uneasy to watch at all. You don’t watch this to feel frightened, to feel that suspense that true horror works stimulate. No episode will really have you on the edge of your seat nor covering your eyes from shock. It is after all very kid-friendly, there’s no gore, no raw scenes and no body parts flying through the air. There is blood, but nothing that terrible or excessive, and virtually the whole time from the teacher’s part, never from the kids, who are only threatened by the supernatural entities and never physically hurt, so no edgy and cheap child torture here. The tone is really very light, innocent and with lots of goofy comedy the whole time, though it occasionally gets more serious.
As an episodic, “monster of the week” show, most episodes are pretty formulaic with an autoconclusive story; one or some of the students of the class will face –in a certain context- the threat of a yokai world entity (ghost, demon, monster, etc.) that will take advantage of a particular weakness, insecurity, moral fault or dark inner sentiment those children have in order to scare them. When the entity is about to make his act, Nube appears, confronts it and ends up slaying it with the power of the demon he has in his left hand, saving his students in the process, something he is happy to do since he believes it is his mission in this world to protect them from their attacks. Everyone celebrate at the end and the kids learn from the mistakes that allowed the creatures to attack them in the first place.
Despite being formulaic, the episodes still show variety in focus, relevance and tone. Some are very light, while some others are more intense and/or heavy. Some are more relevant than the rest, in the sense that they tackle the backstory and some mild character progression of the characters. Some are just to have simple fun, others to leave substantial moral messages. Some are more disturbing or creepy than the others, or even thought-provoking, like one which involves an artificial biology-class mannequin that started to develop a soul inside and started considering himself as a real normal human being with genuine feelings, a situation that made the class feel uneasy and that led them to face a moral dilemma and to take questionable decisions. And while teacher Nube is the main character and the ones who saves the day, not all the attention is put into him; the show does a good job in giving every character of the class a fair share of focus in terms of number of episodes centered around them (including Nube himself).
Speaking about the characters, they are not realistic and most of them are stereotypical. Nube himself represents a virtuous and beloved shounen hero that will protect the ones he loves no matter the costs. Hiroshi, the main character from the children, is a naughty, hyperactive but kindhearted and brave boy, who likes playing football and has lots of friends. Kyoko is an insecure, neurotic but grounded girl everyone likes to bully (I’d say she’s the most interesting among the children because she is the most mature and can see and analyze the situations they face with an adult perspective). There’s also a malicious girl who likes to gossip and brag of her early developed breasts, an innocent, righteous boy, a spoiled rich kid and a delinquent, among others. But being an unambitious formulaic show, I don’t see any trouble in this. You never come to this type of shows expecting realism and lots of character development and stuff. However, this doesn’t mean they are totally static throughout all of the show’s run. As said before, some of the terrifying incidents with the ghosts make the kids learn important life lessons and grow up as human beings, which is effective.
Anyway, watching all these characters interact, having fun with their teacher and living all those thrilling and mysterious ghost adventures in their own school and surroundings is truly the main appeal of the show and precisely why you come for it, because in all honesty, who wouldn’t have liked to live all this during their elementary school days? Scary and everything, supernatural and paranormal activity has always been a subject that has awakened the interest of people trapped in a boring, mundane daily life, even more in kids discovering the world they live in. And this show really delivers in dragging you to those times when you were a kid fascinated with ghost stories. It appeals to that child wish most of us had of living fun and adventurous supernatural experiences along with our friends and classmates. It does an excellent job in making you wish you would have lived all that to make your school life way more entertaining and memorable, in company of an unorthodox, funny, young and close teacher everyone loves that wasn’t just that typical distant person you treat with a lot of respect and fear looking from below.
The art irradiates a particular charm hard to describe that makes this so addictive and the atmosphere so obscurely lovely. The color palette is colorful enough to not give this image of something that is trying to sell itself as very dark and serious but rather kid-friendly and at the same time dull enough to print in the viewer this absorbing feeling of people being menaced by creatures sneaking from the shadows, especially when action takes place at nights. It perfectly suits the overall tone and direction of the show. Anyway, you just have to see it to understand, it’s kind of hard to do so with cold words. All I’m going to add here is that this youthfully sinister and haunting feel is something that you just dont see very often in modern anime with digital coloring and shading techniques and that cel-animation had an advantage when it comes to this matter.
To conclude, Hell Teacher Nube is a show that, while nothing special in regards of being an episodic show which follows a monster of the week formula, it’s still a show with a fascinating, obscure-but-innocent charm, able to delight and entertain almost effortlessly given it’s likable cast, easy-to-watch condition and absorbing atmosphere. Besides, it is also educative, you can use it to learn a lot from Japanese folklore. And while it obviously won’t work for people who have a hard time getting into monster-of-the-week shows, I believe that those who don’t have troubles with them will find this show to be an overall gratifying experience that is worth the try. 7/10.
Some additional tips/comments:
Being episodic, you don’t really “have to” watch every single of its 48 episodes to understand it and you can skip some of them. However, episodes 20 and 34 are essential, since they tackle the past of the main character and explain more who he is and why he feels he has the mission to protect kids from the attack of ghosts. And if you really want to feel the whole emotional impact the heartbreaking last 2 episodes provide, I’d say it is indeed necessary to have watched the whole show so said impact can in fact, materialize in you.
As a show dealing with ghosts with a gloomy, somber (but still innocent) feel, it is highly recommendable to watch it at nights, and ideally inside your bed. That way you will be able to get more immersed in its exquisit and haunting atmosphere, which is precisely the idea when watching a show like this! The same way you enjoyed more scary shows like “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” or “Tales from the Crypt” when you watched them surrounded by the mysterious and menacing feel of the night rather than by the clarity-safety feel of daylight. The feel of this show is such that it just doesn’t work much if watched during the day.
The show gets a little pervy sometimes. You will see some boys conveniently falling into women breasts, some nosebleeds, the teacher fantasizing with naked women, and what may be probably the most annoying issue, an 11 year old girl bragging about her early developed boobs. There’s also an episode where a teenage girl literally suffers from spontaneous body incinerations that burn her clothes leaving her totally naked in front of everyone. But as most of the 80s/90s shows with raunchy stuff, all this is used for more comical rather than erotic purposes, so it’s really nothing that annoying. But if you categorically can’t stand the inclusion of this type of moments in shows involving kids, then it would be better to not try this show.
2: Hana yori Dango
English: Hana Yori Dango
MAL Score: 7.67
Makino Tsukushi, a girl who comes from a poor family, just wants to get through her two last years at Eitoku Gakuen quietly. But once she makes herself known by standing up for her friend to the F4, the four most popular, powerful, and rich boys at the school, she gets the red card: F4’s way of a “Declaration of War.” But when she doesn’t let herself be beaten by them and is starting to fall for one of the F4, Hanazawa Rui, she starts to see that there is more than meets the eye…
The premise starts out in a way that you wouldn’t expect much romance to develop from. Tsukushi Makino is a middle to lower middle class student at an exclusive high school attended by mainly wealthy students. Tsukushi is not particularly happy with her high school life nor does she really even want to be at this school. But she attends because of her parent’s insistence and because they have sacrificed a lot to send her there. The school is controlled by the F4, a gang of 4 guys from extremely rich and powerful families. Basically the entire school lives in fear of getting on their bad side and getting the “red card”, which basically means your school life becomes hell on earth until you transfer out. Tsukushi goes about her day just trying to be unnoticed until she graduates, leading a fairly miserable existence. This all changes when the only real friend has accidently incurs the wraith of the F4, she jumps to her defense and finds herself given the red card. But she’s not the kind of girl who’s going to back down and she declares war back on the F4 herself. As Tsukushi fights back and starts to gain the respect of many classmates and even begins to befriend the F4 and we learn that they are not quite as bad as initially thought.
I found the story to be quite moving and powerful and found myself experiencing the full range of emotions. The portrayal of the bullying, which becomes quite intense at times was often very difficult to watch. There will be times you will cringe and times when you will jump out of your chair and cheer. Eiktoku High School may just be one of the 4 or 5 worst places on earth. It truly was a hell on earth and it doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture of high society and the people who populate it. I’m not sure I would have had to strength of character Tsukushi had to stick things out and not let them win. It’s difficult to talk about the romance aspects of this anime without giving away spoilers. Though it will become pretty obvious fairly early where they are going and who she’s going to end up with. The journey to this revelation though is quite the ride. The ending differs completely from the manga version, since this anime was completed several years before its run had finished. Despite the original ending it is still very satisfying and believable.
Tsukushi Makino emerges as perhaps the best shoujo heroine of all time. I really cannot give her enough praise for how I felt about her as a character and how much I would love to have a friend like her. She is tough, practical and no-nonsense type of girl in a world full of shallow materialistic bitches. Viewers will be drawn to her both her likeable nature and the sheer torture she has to endure over the course of the series. The things that are done to her and the torment she is put through are both frightening and inspiring. Seeing the events of the story told through her inner monologue made me feel even more connected to the plot and her emotions felt even more intense because of it. Though perhaps she is in the end a bit more forgiving than I personally would be if I was in her place, she is overall a very inspirational character.
Tsukasa Domyoji is the leader of the F4 and one of Tsukushi’s love interests. He has all the classic elements of a shoujo love interest. He’s fabulously wealthy, handsome, and an asshole. I have mixed feelings on him. Initially he is an extremely frightening character. His menacing demeanor and the adjunct terror that Tsukushi often feels in his presence makes him initially almost impossible to like at all. However as the series progresses he becomes less and less the horrible boogeyman he begins as and actually turns into a decent and even sympathetic human being. While I tried my best to keep hating him, he wore me down not unlike Tsukushi into believing someone could actually fall in love with him. As a character, Tsukasa makes a huge amount of growth. He changes from selfish and egotistical brat into a much more humble and likeable guy while still maintaining the essence of who he is.
Rui is another member of F4 and another main love interest. He is almost the complete opposite of the hotheaded Tsukasa. While still from an enormously wealthy family and suitably good looking, Rui is far more introverted and shy. I liked him far more at first than any of the other men in the cast but he really isn’t any nicer that Tsukasa is. While not physically violent his cold nature and inconsistency in when he does or doesn’t jump to Tsukushi’s defense doesn’t exactly win him any feminist awards. My feelings for him are pretty much the reverse of what I felt for Tsukasa. By the end of the series I grew tired of his personality and while he does manage to change a little, his nature just gets more and more annoying. He was also just a bit too bishie for me.
Most of the remaining supporting cast is pretty detestable. The two remaining members of F4, Akira and Sojiro are not very well developed as characters being their basic personality archetypes and never emerge as serious love interests. Tsukushi’s childhood friend Kazuya is likeable and provides comic relief, often at times when the story can really use some. While he is in love with Tsukushi he is more of a friend to her and he provides her with a much needed friend at times when she really needs one. Shizuka also is one of the rare decent characters who also provides Tsukushi with plenty of support and encouragement in times of need. There are plenty of absolutely spoiled rotten waste of skin bitches and assholes to get mad about. But despite the anger you’re likely to feel every time one of them appears on screen or plots against the heroine they do serve a useful purpose in the growth of the main characters and in the development of the romances.
Given the age of this series the animation and visuals are understandably dated. Unfortunately they are bad enough that it’s possible that it will discourage some people all together from even giving this series a chance. That is a real shame. While I can’t say that I loved the artwork, I did eventually develop some appreciation for it as the series progressed. The color palette used is very drab and the hairstyles and fashions are also extremely dated. The character designs are true to the manga and are realistic body types which adds to the overall sense of realism. The settings and backgrounds though are strength are all look pretty good.
The audio is also a bit of a mixed bag. While the voice acting performances are all top notch, I didn’t much care for the music at all, especially the lame and uninteresting OP animation sequence. The incidental and background music is also very dated.
Ultimately Hana Yori Dango is a series that should not be missed by serious romance and anime fans alike. It’s a very intense series likely to stir up just about every emotion there is for the viewer. Though as much as I loved Tsukushi and the story, I just can’t give this series the perfect score I wanted to because of the uninspired art and music. I highly recommend it.
The characters are fully developed and you really start to put yourself in their shoes once you get to know them better. While some of the storylines can be a bit farfetched, there’s just enough balance of drama, romance, and comedy to draw you in. The storylines have so many twists that you’ll never be bored while watching this series.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for an anime packed with drama, romance, comedy, and interesting plots and characters, this is the anime for you. If you are more concerned with pretty animation and good OSTs, you should look elsewhere.
This anime, while old with older art, was amazing for me. I had been feeling like I hadn’t seen a good romance in a while and what brought my attention to it was a review that had said it “restored their faith in the romance genre”
The main characters while childish and obnoxious at the start slowly seem to develop into mature-ish young adults. Starting with Makino, throughout the anime she is rather stubborn, naive and headstrong. She is a strong female character that faces many emotional trials, while struggling with her life she manages to overcome everything relatively well. Her character has been constructed in a way that places you in her position, withering away in fear when she does or feeling happy when she does.
The F4 boys that she stands up against also go through changes as well, making you cringe and want to pull your hair out. There are many things that could be said about the things they do wrong and right, however, overall they are young boys going through school with emotions and things that a normal person could not understand.
The story was captivating and by the first episode I wanted to know more and see more. It was an anime with life and has many lessons in it. It addresses bullying and other themes that high school comes with, and was easy to relate to.
I enjoyed Hana Yori Dango a lot more than I thought I would and I managed to watch it in two days, days off work spent well in my opinion. I felt extremely satisfied with it and the way it ended. There were times were I couldn’t help but laugh along with the characters. The anime came alive to me, it became a real thing and I wanted to give Makino a good slap every now and then. There was not one moment I wanted to give up on it and not one moment I wasn’t entertained.
I give it an overall score of 9/10
1: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars
English: Sailor Moon Sailor Stars
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーン セーラースターズ
MAL Score: 7.92
Like the R Season, Sailor Stars is divided into two arcs:
The first arc (also filler) solves some conflicts from the SuperS season, and also sees the return of the Outer Senshi, Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna, and Hotaru (now reborn as a child).
The second arc is the actual plot from the manga. Usagi bids farewell to Mamoru, who is going to America to study abroad. In his place comes the Three Lights, an idol trio consisting of three boys, Seiya, Taiki, and Yaten. The new enemy is Galaxia, a woman who desires to rule the entire galaxy by collecting the Star Seeds of humans. Three new Senshi appear, the Sailor Starlights, who also intend to stop Galaxia without Sailor Moon’s help.
First of all, let me tell you, I can agree on why Sailor Moon Sailor Stars wasn’t licensed for the american dub version. If you watch this series, you will find out why. But enough with that matter, let me tell you what I thought of this amazing season of Sailor Moon.
I personally thought the story deserved higher that a 6, at that matter. The story was actually well thought out and planned detail to detail. Naoko Takeuchi had really improved since SuperS. I mean, how the new characters incorperated right into the story perfectly. The Starlights added a new sense of different careers in the story and how Seiya tried his/her best to be like a ‘new’ Mamoru for Usagi.
The art had pretty much improved since SuperS, in my opinion. The detail and different colors use to express the characters was amazing. I really thought that the design of the new senshi outfits was absolutly genius! Also, I must say, Sailor Moon’s Moon Tier was really detailed and perfetly executed the attacks every episode.
The sound in the series really got me into the season more and more. The new opening theme really changed the sense of the series after the same theme song season after season. Change was definetly in order. But I must admit, some of the songs the 3 Lights sang weren’t very good in my opinion. I understand they were looking for their princess for a very long period of time but I never got use to the songs they sang.
The Starlights intro into the series really up-ed my opinion on the rating of Character. Yet, in the anime, how they were changed into Male to Female really didn’t make me happy. I’m sure Naoko diefinetly felt the same way. Anyways, away from that matter, I believe that most of the characters didn’t change that much, yet I enjoyed how they comforted Usagi in her hard times.
The enjoyment of the series difinetly deserved a 10/10 in my opinion. The story brought along many happy, sad, romantic, ect., to the series. I think that Naoko did an exceptional job on this season and the manga at that.
Overall, this series deserves a 10/10! The series was outstanding to me and was one of the first anime I watched when I was young. The series always kept me at the edge of my seat and I really enjoyed some humor here and there. If you are in the mood for an amazing series, I highly reccomend this series to any mahou shoujo anime fan out there. The series was excellent to me and I bet any Sailor Moon fan would agree.
There’s plenty of new scouts from other galaxies and other leaded by another princess. It also features a cool idol group as some of the season’s new characters.
This season was the last season of Sailor Moon and it was never dubbed in English during it’s original release. This season may be still new news to some fans who just watched and were familiar with the original English dub.
Break from Mini Moon-
And of course we get a break from Mini Moon. Even though she is still an important character in it’s first episodes, she does get a break and doesn’t appear through the second arc of this season. This could be a relief to some fans after SuperS.
Yes, this season has plenty of hardships, downfalls, and Sailor Moon will be find herself very heartbroken at times.
Villains are scouts-
Yes! I mentioned there was drama. Not only are there new scouts called the Starlights, the villains themselves are also scouts, which makes it hard to know who to trust.
This is all around a super season and is a must watch for fans. Despite the flaws that Tuxedo Mask is absent from the second arc (but it’s for a reason), and the outers appear very little times. It’s still it’s a great season and you won’t be disappointed.
And this last season was the best one (I missed Mamoru-chan but.. ^^).. We saw friendship, love, longing, and also determination and faith.. of course with the sufficient amount of humour ^^ It has everything in it, and it is an anime that I’d show my children..
Everybody should watch this classic, imo. The storyline, the characters, fight scenes.. all of them were 10/10 for me ^^
(Should I begin watching it again?? ^^)
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars
2. Hana yori Dango
3. Jigoku Sensei Nube
4. Kidou Senkan Nadesico
5. Saber Marionette J
6. Hyper Police
7. Shin Tenchi Muyou!
8. Mizuiro Jidai
9. Cutey Honey F
10. Misute naide Daisy