They’re the best Anime that 2012 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, Kokoro Connect, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, and more!
10: Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!
English: Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!
MAL Score: 7.74
Everybody has had that stage in their life where they have thought themselves to be special, different from the masses of ordinary humans. They might go as far as seeing themselves capable of wielding mystical powers, or maybe even believe themselves to have descended from a fantasy realm. This “disease” is known as “chuunibyou” and is often the source of some of the most embarrassing moments of a person’s life.
For Yuuta Togashi, the scars that his chuunibyou has left behind are still fresh. Having posed as the “Dark Flame Master” during his middle school years, he looks back at those times with extreme embarrassment, so much so that he decides to attend a high school far away where nobody will recognize him. Putting his dark history behind him, he longs to live a normal high school life.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t escaped his past yet: enter Rikka Takanashi, Yuuta’s new classmate and self-declared vessel of the “Wicked Eye.” As this eccentric young girl crashes into Yuuta’s life, his dream of an ordinary, chuunibyou-free life quickly crumbles away. In this hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy who just wants to leave his embarrassing memories behind, the delusions of old are far from a thing of the past.
There’s a strange term used in Japanese internet culture. “Chuunibyou”, or more literally “Eighth-Grade Syndrome”, refers to matured individuals with an absurd self-created persona. Remember the times as a child when there was a TV character you found appealing and you pretended to possess their superhuman abilities in real-life? A chuunibyou is a teenage or adult form of that, but to such an extent that the fictional persona defines their entire lifestyle. Certainly, behaving this way in public would make for some embarrassment, and recovering from such a past even more so.
It’s an experience that he knows all too well. After suffering from chuunibyou throughout middle school as the “Dark Flame Master”, he makes the decision to move on from the past and attempt to live his highschool years as a normal student. To ensure victory and start anew, Yuuta applies to a high school where none of his middle school classmates are attending. It may have been a successful plan, too, if not for the unusual appearance of a beautiful girl on his balcony.
Her name is Takanashi Rikka, a current chuunibyou, representing everything that Yuuta used to be and desired to forget. Worse, she recently moved into the same apartment complex and overheard Yuuta’s last days as the Dark Flame Master, ensuring that it is not a past he will escape so easily. He unwillingly gained Rikka’s interest in him as a result, and his attempts to make a pleasant first impression at his new high school are interrupted by Rikka’s chuunibyou provocations. The fact that Yuuta wants to forget and start anew is irrelevant, because for her their relationship is a destiny revealed through her “Wicked Eye”. Perhaps she wasn’t entirely false, either, occult terminology aside.
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, shortened to Chuu2-Byo, is a title that stands out for the interaction between these two characters. It’s nostalgic (and often times embarrassing!) to see the characters act in silly ways reminiscent of childhood, though without the endearing cast of characters this would probably seem like little more than a neat gimmick. Yuuta and Rikka are what make the anime, and their interaction is nothing short of adorable and hilarious. Both of them have substance and play off of each other in creative ways, such as Yuuta using his abandoned Dark Flame Master persona in order to cheer Rikka up when she’s feeling depressed, or her playing around in awe with his old gear. It’s definitely cute, and cuteness is something that Chuu2-Byo has no shortage of.
An important addition to the character dynamic are the side characters who each fulfill their own role in the series. Sanae Dekomori, ace middle school student and proud chuunibyou, behaves as servant to Rikka and her Wicked Eye, possessing a weapon of considerable danger in the real world: her excessively long pigtails. Kumin, a senior with a fondness for napping, and Isshiki, Yuuta’s jealous male friend and classmate, also highlight the cast. The most important of these characters, however, is Nibutani Shinka. Despite initially being the only character in the anime truly definable as ‘normal’, she is actually an ex-Chuunibyou herself, much like Yuuta. When her dreaded past is discovered by Yuuta, she throws away any notion of kindness in order to keep him from spilling the truth. As Rikka develops her own feelings for Yuuta, though, Nibutani begins to display a much more compassionate and benevolent side to her personality, even going as far as to use her old persona to help them progress.
Appearances often mislead, and Chuu2-Byo is exemplary of this. What seems to be a cute slice of life revolving around the chuunibyou lifestyle is actually structured as a love story. Comedy is predominate during the first six episodes, but hints of Rikka’s feelings for Yuuta are consistently displayed as the series progresses. Love is an emotion that she is not familiar with, and amidst the confusion there is often an overlap between her sensitive side and her chuunibyou side, often using this persona to hide her embarrassment. It’s very endearing to watch her feelings develop as she realizes that these are emotions not of respect, but genuine love. The romance is exceptionally subtle, while consequently there is no overbearing drama used to advance their relationship.
At least for the first half.
There’s often a problem with drama in anime, especially since it tends to hit the viewer with all the subtlety of a speeding subway. Titles like Toradora and AnoHana are a couple examples of drama on overdrive, and occasionally Chuu2-Byo can feel a bit like those titles in the last six episodes. Is there anything inherently wrong with excessive drama in an anime? Certainly not. After all, it depends on the execution itself and other aspects such as the characterization and dialogue. But what when the drama comes from nowhere, undermining the appeal of the series and turning it into something else entirely? This is where problems occur in Chuu2-Byo. What starts out as a lighthearted comedy with subtle romance becomes an exhaustive high school drama in the second half, and it really hurts the series as a result.
Why change it, then? It’s a question that I might never find the answer to. It’s not as though the anime was lacking in substance before that point, or that it needed to make a sudden switch to develop the characters and their relationship. Yuuta and Rikka were steadily progressing, and there were still the occasional dramatic moments that felt natural to the show. While there isn’t so much an issue with the execution of the second half (exaggerated crying and yelling aside), it is a problem when the anime feels like two entirely different shows in one. It might have been less of an issue if aspects of the first half still subsisted, but the comedy is unfortunately tossed aside in favor of drama. Which is disappointing, as the lighthearted character interaction is what made the first half of the anime so special.
There are also some other minor complaints if one were to nitpick, such as Kumin being a pointless character and adding nothing besides a few cute scenes of her sleeping, or the contrivances of some of the dramatic situations (receiving a letter written years ago at the most convenient time — really?), but on the whole it doesn’t do much to detract from what is an otherwise well-written and heartwarming experience.
On a more positive note, the lavish production values customary of KyoAni do a solid job of enhancing the emotional value of each scene. Character designs are appropriately cute while the animation has an extraordinary level of polish and finesse, particularly during the faux action sequences often illustrated whenever Rikka has a confrontation with another character. More commendable, though, is the storyboarding of some scenes. There are a few moments in the anime that are truly breathtaking, such as Yuuta and Rikka quietly sitting together under a bridge and watching the lights of society shine and flicker along the river.
A fundamental piece to any good love story is the presence of an emotional soundtrack, and Chuu2-Byo does not disappoint with its music. Fitting tracks are used for both the lighthearted and dramatic moments, and there is a particular piano piece that will manage to pull your heartstrings a bit whenever it is used. The opening and ending sequences are also quirky and memorable, and these songs will most likely be glued to your head for quite a while afterwards. With that said, it’s always a little amusing during the second half of the series when the upbeat ending song plays immediately after a dramatic scene. It really represents the disparity of the two halves.
Chuu2-Byo is certainly not a miraculous or flawless anime by any means, but it is easily above the vast majority of anime out there (the romance genre especially). Perhaps the drama won’t upset you nearly as much as it did with me, or it could possibly enhance the experience for you, even if changing the entire tone of an anime midway through will no doubt cause some concern.
But if I’m to be rewarded with a genuinely heartwarming story, six episodes of unadulterated fun, and one of the best romantic pairings in the past few years— is it worth a little bit of frustration? Probably.
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!) is an anime series based on the novel of the same name that is produced by Kyoto Animation. Some fans of Kyoto Ani (Clannad, Hyouka, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu) will definitely rejoice because the Japanese studio is already well known for its rich visuals and aesthetics. They have been involved with many series with the typical high school life being turned from normal to abnormal and they did it once again!
The series takes place at a typical high school setting. It involves a young boy named Yuuta Togashi who is suffering a case of…chuunibyou, or “Middle School 2nd Year Syndrome”. In technical terms, it is a condition in which an individual deludes themselves as being a smartass and looks down on others. They also believe they have some sort of “special power” that excludes themselves from the normal society. It’s actually quite common though. I don’t know if you ever felt this way but a lot of people do weird things in high school. I mean, it’s like how you used to believe yourself as a superhero like Batman or Superman when you were younger. Good days, good days.
And of course, high school has it all: drama, comedy, romance, delusions, cosplaying, and all that other good stuff. So without further ado, let’s introduce the two main characters:
Rikka Takanashi – forget that eyepatch. This girl has that syndrome I’m talking about. She visions herself with the “wicked eye”. (which sadly is just some colored contacts) Unlike Yuuta however, she still has the chuunibyou. She is the girl who gets the most abuse but also the one that brings out the most laughter with her absurd yet comedic stances throughout the series. Take for example..that random scene when she bounces around like crazy during the pilot episode or those Lelouch-like poses.
Yuuta “Dark Flame Master” Togashi – he USED to have the chuunibyou syndrome. But now, it seems that his past is haunting him once again when he meets Rikka. He used to believe himself to be..the Dark Flame Master. I’m trying to envision myself exactly what is the Dark Flame Master. Does it have flames? Is it a master of the underworld? Or is just some villian who can emit cool flames. At any rate, his high school years becomes abnormal after meeting Rikka.
There’s not too much of a story to be honest yet. The series is more about comedy and the events that surrounds the main characters. They live their high school days like normal teens although the majority are anything but normal. For example, Sanae and Rinka has this Tiger and Dragon rivalry. They fight in absurd ways that is beyond normal by the way they delude themselves. Yes you got it, they also have the chuunibyou as well, or at least used to. Later on though, the series takes some more emotional turns with a few insights into the past, especially those into our main female protagonist, Rikka-chan.
The artwork of the series is glorious like most of Kyoto Animation’s other works. Its background settings of rich visuals are there and reflected upon every delusion, every action, every laughter, every chuunibyou-like behavior. Kazumi Ikeda who is involved with the character designs of the series brings out the M in moe from the characters like Rikka, Yumeha Togashi (Yuuta’s cute little sister), and Kumin Tsuyuri.
The soundtrack is also quite lighthearted that reflects upon the comedic mood of settings and characters. When there are battle scenes though, it swiftly changes to a more fast paced rythym to make it looks like it’s real despite the fact that it’s just a delusion. Now as for the OP song..wow, just wow. “Sparkling Daydream” by ZAQ sure got their point through. The opening song of the series induces eye seizures. Every time I watch it (even upon now occasionally), the scenes flashes back into your head and makes your eyeballs follow them endlessly. Of which, the OP song is also catchy with the silly pose of Rikka-chan. The stance of “(σ O ω・)σ←↖↑↗→↘↓↙←↖↑↗→↘↓↙←↖↑↗→↘↓↙←↖↑↗→↘↓↙← “ is ridiculously catchy and there have been many parodies on the net to mimic it. On the other hand, the ED song “INSIDE IDENTITY” by Black Raison d’être seems ordinary with a nice melody.
Ultimately, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! is a very entertaining series to watch. It’s not like the usual harem with a pathetic protagonist who can’t make up his damn mind. But rather, it involves a kid who tried to escape from his past but ends up living it now with his new friends at high school. Entertainment is not so easy to bring these days especially with a lot of already used ideas but this one here is executed pretty well in my opinion. So, give it a shot.
What we have here is a typical story executed in a wonderfully original way. KyoAni blends the comedic and dramatic into a nostalgic exploration of adolescence topped with their particular charm. I found myself laughing, cringing, and tearing up multiple times throughout. It’s an emotional roller-coaster, yet I feel it manages to avoid the realm of melodrama by contrasting drama with gags. It does what Toradora failed to do for me. That said, I feel the show could have used one or two more episodes to ease into the drama. The shift comes fairly quick, but really, it wasn’t much issue.
Overall, it’s a nice balance. Juxtaposing comedy and drama–blending reality and fantasy–serves as an astute parallel to the theme of escapism and develops a touching story about growing up and the ambivalence toward leaving our younger selves behind.
Beautiful. The animation is absolutely fantastic. Action scenes are dynamic and larger-than-life. More relaxed scenes are nuanced and fluid. Character designs are seriously cute (even the guys). Atmosphere is used very well to complement scenes, whether it be a tender moment under a bridge or a restless heart trying to fall asleep. The only thing that knocks off a point is the occasional usage of fairly awkward-looking 3DCG. On top of a detailed background, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Overall, it’s stunning.
This is really just a matter of taste. I liked the opening much more than the ending. BGM was sweet and melancholic and complements scenes well. During romantic scenes, there are insert-songs which I thought were a little unnecessary.
KyoAni has turned up the moe to 11 with Chuunibyou, and even the “anti-moe” Nibutani has her own appeal. That aside, every character’s motivations are believable. Their interactions are dynamic and the source of both silly comedy and powerful drama. It’s also nice to see an MC who isn’t completely clueless when it comes to romance. That said, he still isn’t an expert.
Overall, there’s a fair amount of depth to these characters, and for the ones without it they’re nice to look at. I found myself getting sucked into these character’s lives and relationships. Despite how exaggerated some of these characters actually are, they feel very real.
This is an amazing piece of work. It looks phenomenal. It reminds me of Haruhi (primarily Disappearance), FLCL, Kare Kano, and maybe a bit of Haibane Renmei (atmosphere, pacing, climax). It hits like Makoto Shinkai.
There’s something sweet and familiar, but gripping, touching, and anxious at the same time. Watching this series is like a trip into the past–one that’s exciting and glorified and fantastic, distorted by time, but one that feels real nonetheless. It’s nostalgia.
More like a strong 9, but I’m going to round up. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a series capture so many emotions so vivaciously and with such force. It builds from a very relatable theme and fully fledges into a compelling and imaginative comedy/drama about growing up. Coming-of-age stories are incredibly common, but Chuunibyou manages to establish a difficult balance between the tongue-in-cheek and the deeply sincere. The result is a piece that is as honest, real, and moving as it is funny. This is without a doubt one of the best things KyoAni has put out.
9: Kokoro Connect
English: Kokoro Connect
MAL Score: 7.79
When five students at Yamaboshi Academy realize that there are no clubs where they fit in, they band together to form the Student Cultural Society, or “StuCS” for short. The club consists of: Taichi Yaegashi, a hardcore wrestling fan; Iori Nagase, an indecisive optimist; Himeko Inaba, a calm computer genius; Yui Kiriyama, a petite karate practitioner; and Yoshifumi Aoki, the class clown.
One day, Aoki and Yui experience a strange incident when, without warning, they switch bodies for a short period of time. As this supernatural phenomenon continues to occur randomly amongst the five friends, they begin to realize that it is not just fun and games. Now forced to become closer than ever, they soon discover each other’s hidden secrets and emotional scars, which could end up tearing the StuCS and their friendship apart.
With the massive rise in access to entertainment and media/pop culture, we have gotten to the point where our options on what to watch are so stratified that we have the privilege of not liking something because its not our particular taste. In the world of anime and manga this leads many to disregard shows that simply don’t fit the criteria of what we find entertaining. However, this does not mean that certain shows are objectively good or bad, it sometimes means that a show is an excellent version of whatever style or genre it is supposed to be.
Kokoro Connect is a perfect example of this concept. I am relatively new to Anime, and (despite my actual list) my tastes range from the classic DBZ (im old) to my new favorite Spice and Wolf (season 3 please!). I try to watch each show objectively recognizing how it is supposed to fulfill its role in its particular genre. Aside from Toradora (the show that made me pay attention to slice of life shows) i cannot think of too many shows that do such a great job of showcasing compelling drama, laughs, and heart warming romance. For what it is supposed to be, Kokoro Connect is almost perfect.
The story of Kokoro Connect (KC) revolves around a supernatural conceit that drives the drama of the story. Simply put, a group teenagers (already known for not having the best sense of control) are put in a position where they no longer truly control their own bodies. Over the course of the story this takes on several different forms (some more compelling than others), but the awesome thing about it is that the writers were clearly creatively inspired by this seemingly silly premise. A show that could have easily went on an ecchi, slapstick, “accidental pervert” fest, decided to use this as a way for the characters to learn more about themselves and each other, and we as the audience end up doing the same. Toward the end the show does wander into some of the inane melodrama that plagues a lot of animes, but understanding that this is an inherent characteristic of the medium, such things cannot be helped. To put it in perspective, this is the first anime i was able to get my completely uninterested wife to watch (most of it at least).
As a relatively new serious fan of anime (i had been a casual fan for decades) I really can’t speak from confidence on sound and art. I have not developed a discerning eye for these things. Ill just say that i personally enjoy clean, smooth, and crisp visuals/sound in my anime. I have seen my fair share of shows in the past few months, and with many, i just cant get past the visuals. Whether it be an awkward and uninteresting art style, (Bokura Ga Ita) bland sound (Kimi No Todoke) or dated visuals (Peach Girl). Kokoro Connect is great in all categories, its just not anything spectacular (Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions).
I am an English teacher by trade (writer by fantasy). I know what good character development is and how it is supposed to be done. Although the techniques are gimmicky, and there are a few one note main characters (Aoki) i was still very impressed with the amount of depth delivered by the characters in this story. More significantly, this was not the typical anime that made me roll my eyes at their behavior (most of the time). When the inevitable love triangle presents itself, it makes sense. When the guy starts choosing, it makes sense, when people get hurt- it makes sense. When the drama and tension rises- it makes sense. All of the characters motivations are not fully developed, but they are developed enough to make you care and not swoon over how contrived they are. Again, for the genre and medium, this was an amazing job of characterization.
I have a short attention span when it comes to anime. So when i actually watch all the episodes of a show (instead of wikipedia searching the plot til it gets to the good parts) i have to give that show high marks. My favorite thing about this show is that it is an almost perfect length. They dont draw out the inevitable sooooo long (I love you Toradora but im talking to you) and they dont end it anticlimactically (every 3rd SOL romance does this). The second to last arc was a little weak and less compelling and funny than the first two, but it was short and still entertaining. Again, if you are looking for a SOL/romance/comedy anime that doesnt make you embarrassed to be a fan with ridiculous characters, gratuitous fan service, and a blah ending. You cant do much better than this.
Anyway, just so you know, I’m also including the Michi Random specials in this review.
What would you do if you and your friends started randomly switching between each other’s bodies? Or if your deepest darkest desires were suddenly brought to the surface, out of your control?
Here we have a series that takes a supernatural storyline, adds some well-written high-school romance and plenty of compelling drama, and pulls it all together into one amazing package. Although some of the ideas may have been done many times before, Kokoro Connect manages to make it fresh and funny, whilst also being surprisingly realistic with how it portrays the effects of each of the phenomena. I felt the drama wasn’t overdone at all and every arc introduced interesting new aspects of the story and allowed many sides of the characters to be shown.
Ultimately, Kokoro Connect succeeds in blending its comedic school life shenanigans with more serious emotional moments, a testament to the quality of the writing and the great direction.
I really liked the art for this series – everything is crisp and smoothly animated. The characters instantly reminded me of K-On!, though upon checking, I was surprised to find that these two series don’t actually have the same character designer.
The settings are fairly detailed and we have some beautiful backgrounds and lush scenery. As far as I could tell, there were no off-models or problems with animation.
The characters are all very expressive when they need to be. Whether they are happy, angry, embarrassed or otherwise, their on-screen demeanours fit very well with the excellent voice acting.
Whilst I enjoyed the colourful and upbeat opening animation, it was the endings that really shone in my opinion.
Overall, Kokoro Connect is a very attractive looking show – Silver Link doing a commendable job here.
The background music is great to hear; they fit the scenes nicely and add to the drama and emotion.
The ending song also fades in before the ending animation, which I always find to be a nice touch when executed well like this.
My personal favourites were the 2nd OP (Kimi Rhythm by Imai Masaki) and the 3rd ED (Salvage by Team.Nekokan [Neko] feat. Katakiri Rekka), though they are all really decent.
In terms of voice acting, I think it was a job well done by all the seiyuu. Even Heartseed with his tired, monotone voice I found to be sufficiently entertaining. Throughout the series, a wide range of character traits and personalities were portrayed.
The characters are what really make Kokoro Connect. Unlike some other school-based romantic comedies, Kokoro Connect features fully fleshed out, three-dimensional people, each with very real pasts and flaws, which was what made me really care about them as I watched their story unfold. They are apparently all somewhat misfits, so they form a Culture Club of sorts.
Without going into too much detail, we have:
Taichi, an altruistic pro-wrestling fan who has a selfless urge to help others;
Iori, a friendly energetic girl who is popular and loved by all;
Himeko, the cool and responsible one of the group, with considerable skill in information gathering and analysis;
Yui, an expressive karate practitioner, who loves cute things;
and Yoshifumi – their casual friend, who is attracted to Yui (though she resists his advances).
I also have to mention one of the cutest imouto in anime – Yaegashi Rina – who is a caring sister that looks out for Taichi and, despite being younger, seems to give him advice about his relationships.
Kokoro Connect was really one of if not the best show of its season. Watching the characters mature and develop was very compelling. Over the course of the series, their pasts are revealed, along with their own shortcomings and how they overcome them. The highlight is the character drama, and all in all, the series was practically perfect for me.
I have to say, Kokoro Connect is a must watch and I recommend it to everyone. It was fully entertaining throughout. As the supernatural phenomena start to take their toll on the five main characters – will their friendship be able to survive? Join them on an emotional rollercoaster as you see them handle various unusual situations, all the while learning more about themselves and each other.
Thanks for reading! Please give feedback if you found it helpful （＾ω＾）
In a school where extracurricular activities are mandatory, there exist five “outlaws”.
Yaegashi Taichi, the pro-wrestling maniac
Nagase Iori, your typical spunky, bubbly, lovely character type
Inaba Himeko, the intelligent, cool computer expert… who is maybe just a tad bit too cool at times
Kiriyama Yui, lover of all things that are cute
Aoki Yoshifumi, frequently subject to rough treatment by the girls around him.
These five students form their own club, the “Bunkenbu” (Bunka Kenkyuu-bu)- and each day spent together is as ordinary as can be.
Kokoro Connect is best described as unique. It does not follow the plot of traditional romance anime, but instead, adds its own splash of color to what could have been considered “trite and overused”. The first arc -Hito Random- sets the story off with the odd-at-the-very-least phenomenon of body-switching among the five main characters. Subsequent arcs deal with various phenomena (including a release of all desire and a manifestation of one’s past self)- all quite intriguing and entertaining… but not limited to “fun”/
While the events in Kokoro Connect are obviously not realistic, the audience is lead to think “What if?”. Imagine suddenly being thrown into a mess of body-switching. Everyone has his or her own darkest secrets, desires, painful memories, and insecurities. Now, throw in the condition that four other people have access to all of the above at any given time. These people are close friends… but can they really be trusted? Would you want them to know about your past? Your thoughts? Your secrets? The answer is probably “Some things are better left untouched”.
In addition to a superb cast that really brings life to the characters, Kokoro Connect very realistically displays how a person would react when facing situations such as the ones listed above. It takes a concept that may sound lighthearted and shapes it into something deeper- even deeper and more complex than love ties that exist elsewhere in anime (which is saying quite a bit).
8: Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
English: Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
MAL Score: 7.85
Seikyou Private Academy, built on the intrigue of traditional occult myths, bears a dark past—for 60 years, it has been haunted by a ghost known as Yuuko, a young woman who mysteriously died in the basement of the old school building. With no memory of her life or death, Yuuko discreetly finds and heads the Paranormal Investigations Club in search of answers.
A chance meeting leads Yuuko to cling to diligent freshman Teiichi Niiya, who can see the quirky ghost, they quickly grow close, and he decides to help her. Along with Kirie Kanoe, Yuuko’s relative, and the oblivious second year Momoe Okonogi, they delve deep into the infamous Seven Mysteries of the storied school.
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia tells a unique tale of students who work together to shed light on their school’s paranormal happenings, all the while inching closer to the truth behind Yuuko’s death.
The story covers the Paranormal Investigation Club, a club that deals with the supernatural. From there, we have the other members starting with Teiichi Niiya, probably the only normal member of the group. He maintains an unusual relationship with our ghost troll Yuuko in which despite her flirtatious and mischievous attempts at him, he still values her as a friend and not forget her. Then, there’s Momoe Okonogi, the most enthusiastic member of the group. Her enthusiasm of the the club is probably over the limits in Niiya’s point of view as far as she shows the most interest in finding out what happened 50 years ago involving our lovely ghost troll, Yuuko. Of course, she still hangs out around the club while creating many mischievous interactions between herself and Niiya. Next, we have the Kirie Kanoe, the not so enthusiastic member. At first glance, she seems normal but when you get to know her more, you’ll find that she’s a very insecure person. Why? Well, for nearly every 5 minutes, she goes on about the dangers of Yuuko and warns Niiya to be on his guard. She can be seen as the antithesis of Yuuko for even though her outside (appearance) may resemble her somewhat, her inner self is worlds apart.
Then, finally our lovely ghost troll Yuuko, who can forget about her? After all, she is the star of the series and the “dusk maiden” of amnesia. Her flirtatious attitude with our main protagonist is guilty pleasure and some of the guys watching this might be biting their fingernails about how lucky he is. (I know I am at least sometimes) However, it does seems that despite playful self, she harbors a dark past she tries to keep herself a secret from anyone. She tries hard to forget about her past and make it into an amnesia but there’s one thing you cannot forget: you can’t run away from your problems like an amnesia.
And of course, even for stories like this, there would be fan-service, pool parties, and those cute “love-love” scenes. Then there is always those “horror” scenes mixed in with light comedy and even psychological twists later on. However so far, this series is not another Another (no pun intended). I mean seriously, let’s ask ourselves: who actually got scared out of their pants in the first episode?
Despite this though, there is definitely an eerie atmosphere behind the curtains and lies beyond the horizon of the dusk. We also later learns the truth behind Yuuko’s death and the hatred she developed that manifested as the her ying and yang. Hate is definitely a strong word this time around as her darker self becomes one of the driven antithesis of Yuuko’s cheerful self. As she deals with her past with her new profound friend Niiya, they must cope with the horrors that may lie in the future.
Beyond that, I find the art of the series to be gorgeous as well as the various well captured angles of “dusk” in this anime and the night moon skies. Kudos to Silver Link I say, you sure know how to set a high bar for this season. As for the sound, it’s not something you’ll listen to while studying for your university entrance exam but it’s also something catchy that fits the overall story. And take notice the OP and ED song that our beloved ghost troll Yuuko-san seems to be imitating. She would go pretty far in American Idol I’d say.
Overall, I find Dusk Maiden of Amnesia to be entertaining and makes Sundays a wonderful relaxing day to finish off the weekend. Its balanced light comedy and seriousness is something that most of us will notice and while it doesn’t reach the necessity horror levels of some other series you may have seen in the past, it does makes it up with its entertainment and value. Its darker tone of the story later on will keep some of you viewers glued to your seat.
This is an unique anime at that and one such series this Spring Season that I’m sure most of us will not forget like an amnesia. (at least I hope)
There is one tiny flaw in the story: it’s slightly hard to follow. If you don’t really pay attention to what the characters tell you, it can be easy to fall behind and get confused. Nonetheless, if you can follow the explanations, the story will be awesome. Story wise, it’s really as the synopsis says: the school ghost Yuuko can’t remember her past whatsoever, and the main protagonist along with some others form a club to help her discover it. Now, the synopsis makes the story sound extremely spooky and the anime is classified as horror, but it really isn’t, so if you’re not a fan of horror stories, do not worry. It’s more of a thriller and mystery; the horror elements are almost nothing. In fact, there’s a lot of comedic moments since it is a romance.
But I think the way in which they tell the story is flawless. The beginning episodes may seem a bit filler since they’re individualistic and don’t seem to contribute plot movement at first, but they’re important to the story as a whole, which is what I was saying before about following the story closely. The pace at which they reveal details is perfect as they don’t try to flood you with too many revelations, but leave just enough cliffhangers to make you watch the next episode. And like a true mystery story, they don’t completely leave the viewer in the blind; you too will be able to decipher the mystery with some thinking. This may cause some people to think it a predictable anime, and while the ending was sort of expected, I would not say it was predictable.
Normally art style isn’t a huge aspect in a lot of anime, but since this is technically a horror (it really isn’t scary I promise), the visuals are semi-important, and I think the artists did a wonderful job portraying the thriller elements. The art sort of reminded me of the Bakemonogatari series, and for those who have seen that, the art was extremely important in making it fantastic, just like in this series.
Fitting music for a mystery anime. The opening and ending themes were alright; they weren’t amazing but the sound effects and spooky motifs were perfect.
I think this is where other people would have the most disagreements with me. There’s a lot of criticism for the male protagonist since he’s sort of cliche, and while that is true, I think his slightly cliche personality was important to developing Yuuko, the truly interesting character of this series. Because she’s a ghost with amnesia on a journey to discover her past, her personality naturally changes as she recovers memories, and this extremely unpredictable and dynamic character makes the series fun to watch because you really never know what she’ll do next, and the predictability of the male protagonist molds well with hers. If both characters were too dynamic, it would make the story too chaotic since it is a mystery by nature and the viewer already has to keep track of the plot and all its details.
I normally don’t watch horror/thriller/mystery whatever you want to call it, but I was definitely not disappointed. If you’re hesitating because you don’t like horror (I personally get scared pretty easily), don’t let that stop you because the horror aspects are minimal and only add to the excitement of the mystery. It’s a story with funny moments and emotional moments, and enough plot twists to keep you watching. There were honestly no flaws that were significant enough to decrease the quality of this anime, and I think this show appeals to a broad range of fans: those who love romance, mystery, or just a good story with highly developed characters will find this show enjoyable. So please give it a watch!
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Thankfully, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia), manages to steer its way through the conversion rapids – but not without taking some damage along the way.
Based on the manga by Maybe, the story revolves around the unusual relationship between Niiya Teiichi – a middle school student at Seikyou Private Academy and a senior member of the Paranormal Investigation Club – and the club president Kanoe Yuuko – the spirit of a female student who died in the abandoned school building 60 years before. The story begins with a rather humourous series of events that are initially shown from the perspective of Okonogi Momoe – a girl who is blissfully unaware of Yuuko’s presence – and the beauty of the scene is that it not only forms a surprisingly good introduction to the main characters, but that the impact of this is reinforced when the events are replayed to expose the joke.
Unfortunately things don’t really proceed so well for the rest of the series as, although there is an actual story behind everything, the plot is broken up into a series of short arcs that only last one or two episodes. It’s an approach that can be surprisingly flexible when used correctly, and given the importance of the ubiquitous “seven mysteries of [insert name here] school” it’s understandable why this method was used. Sadly the move from manga to anime has been far too rushed, and the compression of information causes too great a shift in pace between each arc. In addition to this there are several major plot points that are noticeably absent in the anime – mainly because the shadow of early adaptation reared its ugly head again. Dusk Maiden is yet another show that has suffered the ignominy of being animated before the manga was complete, and this causes a few contextual problems that the writers have tried to gloss over – with varying degrees of success.
As with most adaptations the character designs are taken directly from the source material, and as with the majority of school-based romantic comedies there isn’t really anything special in this department. That said, Dusk Maiden is stylistically and aesthetically pleasing to the eye – mainly because director Oonuma Shin has applied a number of the visual tricks and techniques that he used in the “ef” series. Unfortunately the character animation isn’t as crisp as it could be and some of the movements are a little odd, but aside from that (and several moments of shoddy line work along with the repeated use of low angles and sunsets – which can become a little tiresome after a while), SILVER LINK have produced a good-looking show. The design mentality works particularly well in a number of scenes, serving as a pleasing visual reference to reinforce the show’s genre foundations of horror and romantic comedy.
Dusk Maiden does contain some fanservice (it’s a school-based romantic comedy with harem elements after all), but the approach is far less aggressive than that of a number of anime out there. These moments are often caused by Yuuko’s carpicious nature and the amusement she derives from making Teiichi uncomfortable – which is a nice change from the usual protagonist falling face-first onto a random girl (or her falling on him).
One interesting aspect of the series that does bear mentioning is the overt symbolism related to Noh and Kabuki theater – Momijigari. The meaning of the repetitive red and yellow maple leaves is something that can be easily passed of as a way to make the scene look good, but it’s actually a subtle reference to stories about a beautiful maiden/princess who was actually a demon in disguise, and who is ultimately killed by the man she is attempting to seduce. It’s a surprisingly telling visual device that, once understood, gives the plot some extra weight and sets a performing precedent that the voice actors and scriptwriters can build on.
Dusk Maiden opens with Suzuki Konomi’s “Choir Jail” – accompanied by a straightforward visual medley to introduce the main characters mixed with the maple leaf metaphor. The closing theme is somewhat noteworthy – showing Yuuko sitting against a window in what is presumably the abandoned school building, singing “Karandorie” by Okui Aki while the sun sets. Both sequences feature some decent audio/visual choreography, and this is largely true for the majority of the series. The score contains a variety of tracks that add some nice background to scenes and jokes, and there’s some surprisingly good effects work on display – although this is offset by a degree of untidiness, and the usual comedy-centric noises can sometimes feel out-of-place.
Given that the series crosses two very specific genres there’s always the danger of the script going from one extreme to another – especially with an adaptation of an unfinished work – and while this does happen on some occasions the writers have maintained a pretty good balance between the disparate elements for the majority of the story. The Japanese dub fares particularly well because of this, but the translation into English could have been approached in a more intuitive manner as it is a bit too … literal. Tsubasa Yonaga handles the role of the befuddled and slightly put-upon Teiichi very well, and Hara Yumi delivers a good performance as the precocious amnesiac ghost Yuuko. Kitamura Eri (Kanoe Kirie), and Fukuen Misato (Okonogi Momoe), also work rather well in their supporting roles, and while the all of the voice actors have moments that don’t quite fit, their collective efforts are pretty decent.
On the other hand the English dub is rife with issues that could easily have been resolved during the translation and ADR processes – which is probably why Clint Bickham seems to struggle with the role of Teiichi and Emily Neves (Yuuko), seems unable to pronounce her love interest’s name correctly. Jessica Boone offers some solace as Kirie, but it’s the talented and highly experienced Britney Karbowski who suffers the most as Momoe. The lacklustre scripting issues are underlined by the adherence to literal translation, so the entire English dub is littered with out-of-place terms and the rage-inducing ‘kun’, ‘san’, etc – all of which have a big effect on the viewer’s perception of the characters.
At first Teiichi appears to be little more than the common-or-garden lead male in a romantic comedy (with some harem elements), but he does have some good points as, unlike other stories of this type, he is determined to stay with Yuuko. In this respect he has more in common with the likes of Morisato Keiichi from “Ah! Megami-sama” than the usual harem leads of the last decade. As for the ghost herself, Yuuko is very clearly an extremely lonely character who, upon finding that someone can see and touch her, displays her affection in much the same way an abandoned puppy would to someone who fed and cared for it. The development of the relationship between these two is one of the central pillars of the storyline, and it’s interesting to see the progression of their relationship clash with Teiichi’s desire to know how Yuuko died and her desire to run away from anything that hurts or upsets her.
It’s unfortunate that time restraints and the need to leave a major chunk of the plot out of the ending (because it hadn’t been written), meant that Kirie’s growing friendship with Teiichi and her relationship with Yuuko are never fully realised – especially as the latter adds a competely different tone to the ending of the series. The sad part is that anyone who has read the manga will understand just how much has been left out, and the meaning behind the sinister shadow becomes much more horrifying than the anime depicts.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is predominantly a story of what could have been. The decision for early adaptation, combined with the limitations of a twelve episode series, has forced a number of edits and alterations that are noticeable – but only if the viewer has read the manga. While it lacks the punch of the source material – particularly at the end – the series offers some interesting concepts, a few laughs, and a rather sweet relationship between a boy and a ghost. The stylish visuals work surprisingly well with the storyline, and although the series plays fast and loose with some of its elements, several themes are dealt with in an astute manner. Aside from the issues with the English dub the narrative holds together quite well – which is an achievement for an adaptation of an unfinished story that has been crammed into a short series while trying to cover the holes in the plot.
7: Nekomonogatari: Kuro
English: Nekomonogatari Black
MAL Score: 7.95
After surviving a vampire attack, Koyomi Araragi notices that his friend and savior, Tsubasa Hanekawa, has been acting strange. When he happens to cross paths with her on his way to a bookstore and sees she has a bandage on her face, he knows something must definitely be wrong. Araragi wants to help her, but Hanekawa assures him that her wound is just something she received at home and that he should not concern himself with it. But when a white cat with no tail is hit and killed by a car, the pair bury the creature and the real trouble begins.
When Araragi later pays a visit to his friend Meme Oshino and recounts the day’s events, he is informed what they have buried is actually an apparition, one perfect for Hanekawa in her current state. Tasked with finding his friend to confirm her safety, he discovers that she has attacked her parents, possessed by the “Sawari Neko.” Now, it is up to Araragi to help Hanekawa as she once helped him.
Now coming from the markedly huge success of both Bakemonogatari and the controversial Nisemonogatari, fans may likely enter this third installment with a few qualms. After all, Nisemonogatari occasionally acted like a completely different series than its predecessor Bake, with the most divisive issue being its more prolific fanservice. And now viewers are left wondering whether Nekomonogatari will continue the footsteps of Nise or tread back towards the more “conventional” success from Bake (well, at least more conventional than Nise). The result?
A mixed oddity.
Structurally, Nekomonogatari is like a bizarre child born from a vile yet oddly alluring incest between Bake and Nisemonogatari. It takes the most successful aspects of both series and tries to mash them into its own masterful direction. But the end result is less a full-on masterpiece than an overall great but not perfect special: Neko thrives and yet occasionally suffers from the very compiled aspects it relies on.
On a holistic level, the story follows Bakemonogatari’s arc formula quite closely. It starts off—much like a visual novel or eroge—with several cameos of the “see girl then talk to girl” type. Here, it stays light-hearted in its comedy while tossing in some witty dialogue between our sexually frustrated Araragi and one of Nekomonogatari’s several supporting characters. The overarching mystery is then introduced, some character development and macrabre-like drama ensues, a solution is finally realized, and the status quo is achieved again.
While this formula is nothing new coming from the five alike arcs in Bakemonogatari, it is nonetheless executed in a well-woven and highly enjoyable manner. Really, this alikeness to Bakemonogatari is actually one of Neko’s strengths, as it keeps the plot structure fresh and interesting coming from the slower and more casual pace of its predecessor Nisemonogatari. Even the sudden, fast-paced action scenes involving some form of an Araragi massacre continue to be outlandishly eye-gripping and exciting, not only in its sudden change of pace coming from the heavy dialogue, but also in its vivid detail and fluid animation. It is no exaggeration that these extremely gory scenes keep viewers on their toes and high on the suspense, even if these scenes are just part of the arc formula to reach the end conclusion. After all, being the subject of mutilation is Ararararagi-kun’s modus operandi, a lose to win scenario, and he certainly doesn’t disappoint in being the best loser there is (I’m bad at puns).
Now aside from the story structure, what the Monogatari series truly shines in is its engaging, witty dialogue. Nekomonogatari is certainly no sloucher, as it touts some of the best soliloquys in the series and continues to make great use of its art direction in keeping the dialogue-heavy script truly captivating. Regarding the subject of much of the dialogue itself, Nekomonogatari acts more like Nise in employing a raunchier perversion and boning up the sexual tension to the largest tip. This isn’t to say in contrast that Bakemonogatari is the Virgin Mary of anime, but the sexual undertones and fanservice in Bake is arguably done in a more playful and “intellectual” manner, though it still has its fair share of ecchi(-ish?) slapstick comedy and deadpan humor.
This brings us to the most controversial topic in the series—fanservice.
Whether you may be in the “too much” or “too little” category, there is no doubt that the Monogatari series lives by its unique art direction, strong characters, and witty, often sexually charged dialogue. All of these elements, including fanservice, are just as frequent in Neko as they were in Nise, and whether it’s discussing porn and fondling breasts with your sister or licking desks and gaping at a scantily clad Hanekawa-nyan, Nekomonogatari does not hold back on its fanservice—for better or worse.
However, there is a lot to be said about the source material here. This four-episode series stays pretty true to the light novel it adapts to, and does quite a good job at condensing the entire novel into only 96 minutes. That said, the fanservice could have been a lot more prevalent given the elaborate detail and flamboyant panache of the novel (where’s our 2-page rant on Tsukihi’s pantsu??). Personally, I find the occasional subtle fanservice more enjoyable than the crude masturbatory imagery done in most fanservice-inducing series or specials; and in this respect, I think Neko does a decent job at providing enough fanservice to stay true to the novel and pander to fans, but not so much that it completely bars one from enjoying the story or characters.
Character development-wise, the story explores Araragi’s love for Hanekawa in great detail, as he questions whether his newfound love is one based on romance or one based on lust. There is certainly a plethora of great analysis here given Neko’s connection to Bake and Nisemonogatari. For one, we have a clear juxtaposition between Araragi’s relationship with Hanekawa and his relationship with Senjougahara. In Neko, for instance, Araragi discusses Hanekawa’s cat problem with Oshino, and Araragi promptly asserts, “Only she can save herself.” And yet in early Bake, Araragi discusses Senjougahara’s crab problem with Oshino, and it is not Araragi but Oshino who spouts the very same line. Is Araragi perhaps more willing to save Senjougahara than Hanekawa? More interestingly enough, this becomes ironically subverted: Senjougahara essentially overcomes her crab problem by her conviction alone, while Hanekawa overcomes her cat problem not by her own will, but by direct intervention from Araragi himself (well, technically it was Shinobu but you get the point).
Hanekawa’s development alone is also quite strong, though little can be said without spoilers. In a very early scene where Hanekawa explains to Araragi why her step-father hit her, she undermines herself in her step-father’s defense, saying that she was a “seventeen-year old that speaks like she knows everything,” a subversion of her very well-known catchphrase, “I don’t know everything, I just know what I know.” Ah, what a woman.
Other supporting characters get a fair amount of detail as well. While Nekomonogatari features a smaller supporting cast (for continuity’s sake), this is actually quite convenient given the limited 96 minutes, as Neko doesn’t have to deal with adding short fanservice cameos to every single character in existence. This isn’t to say that Nekomonogatari doesn’t suffer from this problem however, as Karen makes an awfully short cameo with a small role in the story and a big role in the fanservice.
At the very least, however, the rest of the supporting cast get their just deserts. We get some much needed interaction with Tsukihi, who was largely lacking in Nisemonogatari as her sister Karen took up almost all the spotlight—even in Tsukihi’s own arc! Oshino also makes a few great cameos in Neko, and it’s interesting to see his character again considering the discussion surrounding his philosophy from Nise’s finale. And perhaps an even more vital character, Shinobu gets a good deal of much needed air time as well. With her intimidating yet all the more cute capriciousness, she continues to be the looming lolicon vampire guardian that we’ve all come to love from the past two seasons, possibly the most fleshed-out character of the supporting cast. While she still hasn’t gotten the attention she deserves as a prospective main lead, it will certainly be interesting how her role will play out in the events of Kizumonogatari.
Animation-wise, SHAFT artwork in general has always been controversial. Some consider it a beautifully original direction while others consider it an expensive slide show. Nekomonogatari is certainly no different than its predecessors in its production quality. As such, we get a fair share of one-liner screen slides, SHAFT head tilts, eye-cropped shots, and outrageously comical blown-up views to make the current situation more over the top than it already is. The series can immediately shift from cheaply made 5-second-long stills to the most beautifully hand-animated artworks in existence, taking the “sudden shift in art style” trope to the utter extreme. Nekomonogatari’s attention to detail here is excellent, with a vibrant array of colors and overall strong use in appropriating the lighting and physical setting to suit the current atmosphere. Really, if you’ve watched the previous installments or any modern SHAFT work, then you know exactly what to expect, and at the very least, it’s undisputedly better than two talking heads in a fixed panned-out shot. Whether you’re a fan of SHAFT’s eccentricities or not, animation style is all about complementing and enhancing the story, and a dialogue-heavy series—however good the script may be—just wouldn’t be all too compelling without fresh ways to keep viewers piqued.
Suitably in that regard, it is even more vital that the seiyuus do an excellent job at conveying proper emotion and keeping viewers entertained. And Nekomongatari certainly doesn’t disappoint, employing the same brilliant cast. The soundtrack is pretty decent, and as with Bakemonogatari arcs and their respective OPs, Nekomonogatari’s OP “perfect slumbers” is composed by Satoru Kosaki, lyrics by meg rock, and vocals by Hanekawa’s seiyuu Yui Horie. It’s a nice mellow tune featuring the beautiful Hanekawa, with a soothing yet melancholic mood revolved around loneliness. Dire fans (and/or the masochist-equivalent) may recognize that SHAFT certainly loves its train tracks and vibrant geometric imagery, and “perfect slumbers” is no slouch on either account.
All in all, Nekomonogatari doesn’t do much different from its two predecessors, combining a Bakemonogatari-like storyline with a more sexually charged dialogue and more rampant fanservice suitable to Nisemonogatari. And for a four-episode prequel, Neko does a great job at handling a focused cast and molding their characterization and relationships to fit its congruity with the rest of the series.
This review is written by members of the club Quiet Discourse. For more details, please see the club frontpage.
What does those two words reminds you of? A cat perhaps? Well, neko (in Japanese) does translate to cat, an ordinary theme in many anime series we see today. Oh but Nekomonogatari is anything but ordinary. In fact, for Shaft fans and those who have experience already with the monogatarai series, you will know the way these type of works go. Once again, the franchise brings forth the latest installation from the monogatari series. So, if you’re curious just like a cat/neko, then this series is definitely worth some time to invest on.
Nekomonogatari: Kuro is the prequel of Bakemonogatari, an anime series adapted from the light novels written by Nisio Isin. Nekomonogatari: Kuro actually translates to Nekomonogatari: Black which is adapted from the sixth light novel written during the summers of 2010. The series details of the Tsubasa Family Arc with cameos from other characters and of course features our beloved main protagonist, Koyomi Araragi.
For anyone new to the monogatari franchaise, there are a few things that you should first familiarize yourself. It’s hard to exactly describe what Nekomonogatari is because it’s quite an unique series. In fact, many words can describe the monogatari series like strange, bizarre, otherworldly, sexy, clever, enthusiastic, humorous, entertaining, amusing, and maybe…just something like you might never ever forget.
To me, Nekomonogatari and most of the other monogatari series is like a reading a textbook with pictures. Only difference is that there seems to be no limits on how many pictures are on each page, or at least ones that convey to the words written. The series Nekomonogatari and like many of its other titles is an actual portmanteau or combination of two words. In this case, the words “neko” and “monogatari” is used. Neko means “cat” when translated in Japanese while “monogatari” means story. At this point, one might assume that this series may be about the story of a cat.
Like its other works, the animation studio Shaft (Maria Holic, PMMM, Bakemonogatari) handles this prequel. They are known for its unique gags and references that are used for their ways of conveying their storytelling to the viewers, often with the usage of word plays. The word plays themselves are heavily incorporated into this series as well because a lot of the scenes often comes up heavy dialogue, references, and parody. In fact, the visuals themselves represents a way of presenting to scenes of showing rather than telling. Most of the times, they are humorous, bizarre, amusing, and a way of expressing a particular word or dialogue.
The series starts off with Araragi doing what he does best and who am I kidding, it’s already blasts off with humorous quotes with his beloved sisters. He talks about various subjects although his interest seems to be focused on “love” that he portrays in his peculiar way. From there on though, we later meet the other main character who represents the title: Tsubasa Hanekawa. She is seen as the class president at school and nicknamed “Class Rep-chan”. To me, that title fits her well. I mean, just look at her! Hanekawa’s hair is braided, wears glasses, and has a mature personality just like how a class president ought to be. In fact, the way she is has made Aragai call her the “class president of all class presidents”.
Besides that part though, there are other characters who makes their cameos and return to this series. For vampire fans out there, our beloved vampire Shinobu Oshino makes her cameo in her amusing way. Her love of donuts remains strong as ever during her brief reunion with Aragai. Her personality changes somewhat according to Aragai but let’s another story. On the other hand, there’s also Karen Araragi who also makes her short yet very entertaining cameo. Unlike Shinobu, she is every talkative and hot headed with an equally hot body that she boasts about. Unfortunately, her dialogues are limited in this series but the moments she presented were entertaining. Speaking of moments, there were quite a bit that some of us may never forget…
In fact, despite the many humorous scenes presented in Nekomonogatari, there is also some violence with blood being shed by a vengeful cat. Blood getting spilled is often depicted as violent in anime or real world culture, but in this series, I found it to be near comical. In fact, I found many of the scenes in this series to be comical. Whether it’s the various parodies, dialogues, violence, or fan service, Nekomonogatari presents these type of scenes as almost classical. Its abstract and absurdity is so often set up that it becomes a work of art; even the fan service. Oh and speaking of the fan service, there are quite a bunch of them especially involving our neko and those delicious scenes during the classroom. The way she talks, dresses, and uses parody of the “nya” that are incorporated into her speech patterns is absurd yet amusing to watch. She’s pretty much nude wearing those skimpy clothing in the way of a cat with those ears and suggestive positions. It’s no surprise though especially for fans who got a taste of the original series. In fact, the fan service expands beyond just the bare skin. The violence is also over exaggerated to the point of “gore” and blood. Although it’s an overused trope in todays’ anime cultures, I found it visually appealing by the way Shaft uses it to present the monogatari series. It’s like a work of art rather than to show off.
In the meantime, there is a darker scene of the series as the episodes progresses especially later on. It’s hard to tell the exact direction due to the way most of the dialogues are used as well as the visuals presented. Therefore, it’s just best if you go with the flow and to follow what you see rather than analyze the series to its finest details. Like I said before, the details in the series is portrayed in that way which is Shaft’s way of doing their works. It is artistically unique and presented in a way in which…*gasp* done right with the fan service. Whether you agree or not is up to you but I personally found it quite entertaining.
The artwork of the series remains generally the same as its other works from the franchise. Many of the series’ visuals are presented with geometric designs in simple shapes and sizes. It’s not complex and easy to watch. If you want some spectacular artwork, go watch some Shinkai Mikoto’s films or something. However, the way it approaches its visuals is quite unique. It’s like going to an art museum for the first time in a room where you see the walls and walls of abstract works.
The soundtrack, music, and voices of the series is imperative for this to flow well. Because there is a lot of dialogues, the voice actors have to step it up to the plate (unless of course if you’re playing a vampire). Luckily, it works quite well and most if not all the mannerisms fits well. In particular, Tsubasa Hanekawa’s voice actress Yui Horie (Higurashi, School Rumble, Little Busters!) perfects her skills with her voice by using her speeches similar to a cat during her scenes. In fact, the OP song, “perfect slumbers” by Tsubasa Hanekawa even has her involvement. It is quite a purrfect match that fur her roles well. Similarly, many of the OST played during the word plays scenes are orchestrated in that way of the monogatari style.
All in all, Nekomonogatari was a fun experience for me. It’s clever, entertaining, fun, sexy, and an unique watch similar to its other title works. I do admit though that it occasionally tries too much especially in the fan service and dialogue department. In fact, some of the presented word plays are a bit repetitive and hard to adapt. If you’re new to the series, you will likely get one of those “what the fuck did I just watch?” moments. But if you’re already familiarized yourself with Shaft’s works, then this could definitely be an enjoyable experience for you. Whether you enjoy Nekomonogatari: Kuro in the end is up to you however. It’s not a purrfect series but definitely one hell of an experience.
The story is great. It is one of the main strength of the series. This part is before the start of the first series and we learned the past of Hanekawa and how she met oddity. The story is great because it made us realize that Hanekawa is not perfect and also susceptible to emotions.
The art is the other main strength. I watched this series because of the way they show the art. It is not the normal one and it fits perfectly with the settings of the story. It uses the same style of art from bakemonogatari and nisemonogatari.
The sound is awesome. It really gives the viewer the right feel for the scenes that gives a very good viewing experience. The opening and ending themes are also great.
The story is mostly about Hanekawa. Koyomi showing different emotions and reactions to different situation but in the end, he’s the same common protagonist that saves the girl in the end.
I watched this during the season that is usually joyful. Even though the story is far from that, i find the episodes enjoyable.
This is a must watch for Bakemonogatari series fan as it gives back story of Hanekawa and I’m sure you will find this enjoyable and worthwhile.
6: Kimi to Boku. 2
English: You and Me 2
MAL Score: 7.96
“No matter how many years go by, I’m sure we’ll still be laughing together.”
Twins Yuta and Yuki, Kaname, and Shun have been childhood friends since kindergarten. When transfer student Chizuru joins them, their five man school life becomes all the more lively. Through the changing seasons, the boys will find laughter, surprises, love, and new encounters waiting for them.
The second season of the boys growing a little every day of their invaluable daily lives is about to begin!
So most of yours question might be “What actually difference between Kimi to Boku and Kimi to boku 2”.. Well, Il give u a straight answer-There isnt much of a difference..its Just the continuation of the 1st Season
People who are looking for action n adventure, this anime aint for you guys.. But i would gladly would recommend this Series to u since its one of the mesmorizing anime
Why do i like this series? Its because there are some animes that makes your day better…Feels ridiculous right? but its true.. This Series really makes your heart over whelmed with happiness at least it gives u a wide smile 😀
Not much of a story in it..Its easy to understand,fun to watch etc.. Dont think this series to be a yaoi n it will never be.
In the series they show some of the character’s childhood memories.. it have bits n pieces of romance.
Even though I hate most of the slow paced anime,this is one of the few rare gems where I love the slow pace.. its better in slow pace than the normal pace..
The ART is simple which fits perfectly with this series.. This art is filled good with examples of cats..Yes cats which makes u smile all the way.. These cats have traits of the characters-Shun, Yuuta, Yuuki, Chizuru and Kaname, and i always looks forward to more cat examples 😀
Each character Feels like the main character and every one of them is funny in their own ways. The main concept in this is FRIENDSHIP. Here every character is unique.
What makes this anime is the Friendship between the 5 males.. Its really fun to watch how they teases each other or help each other. Their Bonds are irreplaceable
My enjoyment here is maximum.. i love the comedy stuffs.. its just like things from a student’s daily life(well some of the students like me i guess)…
This anime is pretty good comedy+drama+slice of anime which truly deserves 7 and above rating.
While watching the show it’s like it struck a little cord in my heart with each scene. I actually teared up so many time watching this show just because of how simply beautiful and fitting it was. The show really doesn’t progress or have some super turn of events and I think that makes it comfortable to watch. Just a lot of jokes and good times.
The art was just as good as it was in the first season. With the painted pictures of the most heartwarming scenes and the different cats that were placed to imitate the characters actions.
The sound, gosh! the music was just as beautiful as it was in the first season. And bravo to the voice actors, I absolutely adored the way Chizuru talked paired up with his actions. And Shun’s voice is perfect too!
The characters really are a bundle of laughs and tears. I like how they all get along together. Seriously, after watching this you’ll probably feel lonely after seeing how nice there friendships are.
Seriously, if you are watch Kimi to Boku 2 then you’re probably aware of how amazing it is already considering you’ve watched the first season.
This dictum from Kimi to Boku season 2 leads us through the entire series. It does not sound really outstanding or impressive, even not meaningful. But after we get to see the show we might change our mind. We start thinking about how deep this statement in fact is and how important it will become, even if it seems difficult to imagine at the very beginning.
The “heroes” of this second season are the same as last time; the Twins Yuta and Yuki, Kaname, and Shun. All have been childhood friends since kindergarten, and after Chizuru joins them, their school life changes and becomes livelier. That is it. Well, what did you expect? A bunch of good-looking teens trying to find their love – or just someone who does their homework? No at all.
The twins, Kaname, Shun and Chizuru are as normal as anybody out there could possibly imagine. Normal in a rather extraordinary way.
One of the great pleasures of Kimi To Boku is its inherent lightness, the way it seems wholly unaware that it is a grand achievement – even though it actually is. Its story? The “ordinary” daily life of “normal” people. Have you ever had one of those days when the night came and you were watching or reading something – and all of a sudden someone asked you: how was your day? And the only thing you said was: “Just normal… daily stuff…”
In modern society, people tend to forget the daily life; the little things that happens all the time – but we do not pay attention. We would rather see something else. And from that point of view, this anime appears to be quite different – and yet normal. Kimi to Boku is one of the great animes precisely because it is not set out to “wow” us. None of the characters are flawless; and yet, they are all very well fleshed out – but not storyboarded. They act normal, ordinary – and unpredictable.
The twins are very talented in their own ways but can hardly be separated; Kaname is very into his studies whereas Shun keeps an eye on all of them. Last but not least there is Chizuru, the energetic and cheerful young guy who used to live in Germany. Each of them have a specific set of gifts, skills, dreams, qualities and flaws – as well as we do. But just recognizing them is not enough: what counts is what we do with them.
Timing is everything – the anime has its own. And this can be seen in each dialogue, each emotion, and each movement from the characters and, of course, the camera: nothing happens too early, nothing too late. The plot is the pounding heart of the series. Every episode takes one of the characters – whether this is a main or not – and does something clever with him or her. There is a lot of character development to be found in this series.
The Design/Visuals should not go unmentioned. It stayed the same as we had seen this in its predecessor; however, it still had a relaxing colour palette. There are scenes where the anime stands still: and then in the way as the scene changes its colour, it does remind of a storybook. The wonderful, seemingly unimportant score and the beautiful colour help to get deeper into the “ordinary” story and the series.
What is most wonderful about it is the way how the cat – which is some sort of a “hidden” main character – is embodying and carrying a certain moment which the characters are facing at this time; fear, anger, happiness, loneliness, boredom, tiredness and so on.
“No matter how many years go by, I’m sure we’ll still be laughing together.”
By the time the show has ended, we should be able to understand what they meant; it helps the series to become what it is: art. It is not the colour, the score or the characters. The fact, that the series talks about “daily life” – which is a really boring topic for most of us – could confuse. However, it also shows us that we do not always need a big story or topic to create something big. Something that is worth to be seen.
And laughing, on the other hand, is not just about being happy; it is also about the pursuit of pleasure and delight and surprise, being able to spend your time with those people you hold most dear; Laughing can be symbolized with the seeking of both sensation and meaning.
Personally, I have found it is also the small things – even if we call it “ordinary” stuff – that can create great and memorable art as Kimi To Boku did, and the deep happiness I got from the series itself is truly my greatest reward. That is all I can ask for. Some may share my opinion, some not; depending on what perspective you have and what perspective you have got.
5: Kamisama Hajimemashita
English: Kamisama Kiss
MAL Score: 8.06
High schooler Nanami Momozono has quite a few problems of late, beginning with her absentee father being in such extreme debt that they lose everything. Downtrodden and homeless, she runs into a man being harassed by a dog. After helping him, she explains her situation, and to her surprise, he offers her his home in gratitude. But when she discovers that said home is a rundown shrine, she tries to leave; however, she is caught by two shrine spirits and a fox familiar named Tomoe. They mistake her for the man Nanami rescued—the land god of the shrine, Mikage. Realizing that Mikage must have sent her there as a replacement god, Tomoe leaves abruptly, refusing to serve a human.
Rather than going back to being homeless, Nanami immerses herself in her divine duties. But if she must keep things running smoothly, she will need the help of a certain hot-headed fox. In her fumbling attempt to seek out Tomoe, she lands in trouble and ends up sealing a contract with him. Now the two must traverse the path of godhood together as god and familiar; but it will not be easy, for new threats arise in the form of a youkai who wants to devour the girl, a snake that wants to marry her, and Nanami’s own unexpected feelings for her new familiar.
Ah kamisama, where are you when I need you the most?
Ah kamisama, why can’t the world be perfect?
In a nutshell, Kamisama Hajimemashita (also known as Kamisama Kiss) is based on the manga of the same name written by Julietta Suzuki. She is known for several other lighthearted shoujo manga that involves supernatural elements such as Karakuri Odette. The series debuted in Fall of 2012 along with many other shuojo titles.
The series tells the story of a young girl named Nanami Momozono, who is alone..abandoned, and helpless. The innocent little lamp makes an interesting encounter with a strange man (Mikagi) and from there, her life changes forever. But wait, it doesn’t stop there. She also encounters the big bad wolf (or rather familiar) Tomoe. Along with him comes the package of two other spirits (Onikiri and Kotetsu). After a contract sealed by a kiss, the two forms as peculiar relationship. This series details their relationship and what’s to come from it because the world is never fair. It’s not perfect.
Furthermore, this series is quite a strange one if you look on the surface. We have a normal human with no experience of the supernatural in a strange relationship with strange being with strange ears and a strange personality. Did I mention strange?
The relationship between Nanami and Tomoe is one of the most strange, amusing, and interesting part of the series. A human and a familiar relationship has trouble written all over it especially the gap of difference between the two. Nanami is a normal human girl who has normal skills in life with normal friends attending a normal school. On the other hand, Tomoe is a supernatural being with supernatural abilities and able to accomplish feats with supernatural degrees.
This is like trying to get a cobra and mongoose to be best friends…
From the beginning, Tomoe is very frustrated at Nanami’s lack of progress in what she’s trying to become and adjusting with her new life. He becomes increasingly annoyed at home, at school, and almost whenever he’s around with Nanami, or precisely whenever he feels nothing is getting done. This example can be seen early in the series as result of Nanami’s lack of progress with her new responsibilities. Yet at various times, there are sweet and tender moments where Tomoe feels empathy, care, and even jealousy for her. Wait a minute..is that a male tsundere I see in Tomoe??
Being a shoujo series adapted from a shoujo manga, expect shoujo themes and elements. That typically transits in to the romance part of Kamisama Kiss. Even from the second word of the title and the pilot episode, one can expect romance in it. It’s not one of those love at first sights though or a helpless crush but rather a strange one to say the least. To add to the mix, there are other characters such as the highly popular idol at school Shinjirou Kuram. He’s the narcasstic type who causes trouble and tension between the duo but at the same time can be a fun guy to get to know with. There are other characters who occasionally adds in their own spotlights to the series as well such as the snake familiar Mizuki, Nanami’s friend Mei, and later on a more dramatic entry of Ryuuou.
This series is overall quite lighthearted. There is virtually no fan-service except “maybe” the beach episode in the latter half. It’s more of a series where its comedy outshines its romance aspects especially the strange relationship between Nanami and Tomoe. Other characters adds in the comedy even during scenes where action is presented. So, if you’re looking for some serious mindfuck, ecchi fan-service, or a dynamic story exploring serious themes, then you might be disappointed. Still though, the romance part does begin to blossom later on in the series especially after a pleasant date (maybe not entirely for Tomoe) and some tender moments.
The artwork of the series is lighthearted as well. The art seems to be a bit pale and plain at most times that reflects the nature of this shoujo series. Most of Julietta Suzuki’s artwork balances between romance and comedy and that is presented in Kamisama Kiss as well. The series focuses more on the characters rather than anything else with its artwork thus it’s just ordinary; nothing too special to be honest.
Soundtrack and music applies here as well of being lighthearted. There is no intense or techno music rhythm even during some of the more dramatic and action scenes. Kurama’s entry is often accompanied by his own soundtrack theme that brings out the inner fan girls at school so in some ways, it can be considered a little rock on added to the mix. The OP and ED songs are also lighthearted with one half of the title “Kamisama” being echoed for the latter. Once again, it seems to just be in the background with a pleasant melody rather than anything special.
Overall, I found Kamisama Kiss to be a charming little gem but nothing too special. It doesn’t shine much as the series is shoujo with lighthearted themes. It’s not mainstream compared to a few of the other shoujo series in the industry today (especially this Fall Season of 2012). But what it does have is a relaxing way of presenting romance mixed with comedy especially with the strange duo of Nanami and Tomoe. It’s one of those series where you can sit down, watch it, and then tell yourself “well, that was cute”. And of course, cute is another word to describe Kamisama Kiss especially with the supernatural elements mixed in. Some of the episodes does seem a bit dry with a lack of flavor but it can still be a fun watch especially if you enjoy its shoujo themes.
Well, like normal romance, she is taken in by someone and falls in love with the person even if he is not of this world. It would be fine if this was a normal romance with the man being a human but in this case, we have a fox spirit who has a really bad temper at times. At first glance, I guess you could consider Tomoe a muli-personalitied demon. He will fix Nanami dinner after telling her he despises being her familiar; call her a idiot when he is trying to save her; and things similar of that nature. With all the whining he seems to do about her, you would think he would just up and quit when he got a chance, right? Well, that’s what I thought when he was free of his duties at one part but then he reinstates his position as her familiar again. That is not a real spoiler as it happens really early in the show but it’s a good example of just how split this guy is.
The opening is a bit, I don’t know. It’s just a bit confusing. It’s all images of her with a song about being a girl and just starting to be a girl? I’m confused as to what the opening was supposed to do as they don’t really do anything but show this young girl. It didn’t fit the show at all making me want to skip it every time. Other then that, the animation and everything reminds me of a lot of other shows out there with a supernatural spoof. It’s dark in a colorful atmosphere. It’s hard to explain as the darkness is just the addition of dark purples and blues but then the brightness of those colors pop. In artist terms, the supernatural part of the show is dark hues and the brighter everyday parts are more of lighter shades of pastels and such.
Now let’s talk about the voices. I love the how comical the narrator is and she helps bring a bit more life to the story. She doesn’t pop up at any old time, only when it seems like it’s supposed to be a comical part of even when some sort of hardship is happening like in the beginning. Sadly, every once in a while, she does come in at a wrong time when talking about what happen in the last show. Nanami talks way too much. She seems to want to be as good a narrator as the narrator is. When she first wakes up from her dream, she talks on and on about what she thought was a dream. This happens a lot it seems. Her voice is a bit annoying as she still seems rather stuck up, a very good contrast though to the rather gentle voice of Tomoe. Well, gentle might not be the right word for him as he is rather stuck up and rude to Nanami but he is voiced by one of my favorite voice actors J. Michael Tatum, the same voice as Sebastian from Black Butler. It’s a very calming voice and it is fun to see him sort of freak out at some parts because of Nanami’s mistakes or his own. I think that’s what sets Tomoe apart from the others that Tatum has voiced before.
I really thought it was a cute show although a bit to short. The ending was a ok ending but there is so much more that could of happened both before and after that I feel it falls a bit flat. I really did love watching it non the less.
The anime has lovely artwork and a pleasant soundtrack (including the opening and ending theme which are gorgeous!) I find the characters appealing and engaging, also the comedy is rather light hearted and bearable in comparison to many slap-stick alternatives.
I find it hard to not get into this anime considering that it combines comedy, a bit of action, supernatural and romance all in one. Best part is that it’s quick to watch and more importantly has a rather satisfying ending.
My only complaint is that it probably would have been more interesting to have more episodes and extended the development in that duration considering that the characters and story hold so much potential.
4: Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo
English: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
MAL Score: 8.14
When abandoned kittens and his good conscience force second year Sorata Kanda to move into Suimei High School’s infamous Sakura Hall, the satellite dorm and its eccentric, misfit residents turn his life upside down. The decidedly average Sorata finds it difficult to fit in with the bizarre collection of dorm residents like Misaki, an energetic animator; Jin, a playwright playboy; Ryuunosuke, a reclusive programmer; and Chihiro, the dorm manager, art teacher, and party girl.
Sorata’s friend Nanami, a second year student and aspiring voice actress, pushes him to find new owners for the many cats so that he can quickly move back into the regular dorms. However, his desire to escape Sakura Hall wavers when the pet-like and infantile second year Mashiro Shiina, a world-class artistic savant looking to become a mangaka, transfers in during the spring trimester and quickly latches onto him.
Supported by each other’s quirks, Sorata and Mashiro come out of their shells and trigger change in the lives of those around them. Based on the light novel series of the same name, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo explores the fine threads connecting talent, hard work, romance, and friendship with its ensemble cast.
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is a rom-com slice of life anime, so it’s a good watch by default, right? Well, not quite. This genre has a shtick for being oversaturated, particularly with many poor productions. Why should you watch Sakurasou in particular, over the many other rom-com slice of life’s? Well, read on to find out.
Sakurasou does one thing especially well that makes it stand out among its competitors, and that is its character dynamics. That is an aspect of it that is simply fantastic. As such, this review contains a fairly lengthy discussion of the plot, which I will highlight with spoiler tags.
The main characters of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo are Kanda Sorata, Kamiigusa Misaki, Shiina Mashiro, Aoyama Nanami and Mitaka Jin. Already, Sakurasou can be seen as a highly unique anime. With 5 characters that are all equally important to the story, the audience gets five times the character development than most rom-coms. However, the story technically follows the adventures of Kanda Sorata, who has been banished to Sakurasou (“Sakura Hall”) due to the regular school dorms not allowing the keeping of cats. As he cares deeply for his cats, Kanda ends up biting the bullet and chooses to live at Sakurasou. There at Sakurasou, he lives with other would-be delinquents. And so, the relationships between the five characters at Sakurasou would serve as the backbone of this anime’s story.
Presumably, this should already be heaven for any rom-com slice of life lover; after all, there are five main characters and 24 episodes. The real thing that does it for Sakurasou, however, is the romance aspect of the anime. And by “doing it”, I mean doing a disservice. The romance in this anime is quite horrid, honestly. This is especially hard for me to say as I thoroughly enjoyed literally every single aspect of Sakurasou, except for its romance.
I’m going to be discussing the story in mild detail, so if you don’t want to be spoiled at all, skip to the [endspoiler] tag.
My first problem is Misaki’s relationship with Jin. Due to the nature of the anime and the nature of Misaki’s personality itself, her quest for love was simply a joke; I never really took it seriously. Whenever she cried after her numerous failures, I did not feel sympathy for her, nor did I feel emotional as a viewer. Misaki’s love struggles never really had any weight to them, and they even got resolved fairly quickly (as if to further undermine them).
The other problem: Aoyama and Kanda’s relationship. Oh boy. This relationship single-handedly “ruined” Sakurasou for me (not really ruined, but it basically kicked my pairing hopes in the nutsack). I personally rooted for Aoyama and Kanda to get together throughout the series, but man was THAT wishful thinking. Before watching this series, I read many posts touting Sakurasou as being “the bad kind of predictable”. And I certainly see why now. Right from the first episode, you could already see Shiina x Kanda being established. Them getting all touchy-feely so early on, the sexual innuendos, the peeping moments… it was all meant to be from the very beginning. So why then, did the writers decide to create a second relationship branch in Aoyama x Kanda? It makes zero sense to me, and Sakurasou’s execution of the pairing itself made just about the same amount of sense. The entire time, Kanda is as blunt as a block while Aoyama is as pitiful as a bug. It was just painful for me to watch Aoyama each time she tried to confess to Kanda. Her constant failures were just really disgusting, and especially so since I’m one of the viewers who prefer Aoyama over Shiina. Not by much, because I do love Shiina as a character, but some preference nonetheless. Aoyama’s unrealized love was truly cringe-worthy; two especially disgusting moments were when she confesses her love, only to play it off as “good acting”, and when she gave a half-ass confession to Kanda after her audition. Seriously, it’s like the producers were purposely getting my hopes up simply to laugh at me afterwards. Two times, we were supposed to get Aoyama to finally confess to Kanda, and for Kanda to (more than likely) go out with her or reject her. But, we get the worse-case scenario; Aoyama’s love is never realized! As I have said before, the chemistry between Aoyama and Kanda really pissed me off not only due to how poorly it was coordinated but also by how unnecessary it was. The producers did NOT need to include a second girl for Kanda; this isn’t a harem anime. Shiina would have been good enough, and the story could have simply focused on Kanda x Shiina being realized. However, just as this anime put the final nail in the coffin when it came to pissing me off with Aoyama x Kanda, episode 23 came about: the graduation episode. And boy, let me tell you. This was one of the greatest episodes in anime history; I’m just going to say it now. The emotion displayed in this episode by all the characters (students, school staff members, Sakurasou residents included) was simply unreal. This scene does not necessarily make you want to cry. However, you can sense the genuineness within each characters’ sadness, their speeches, and their feelings for each other. Instead of being a giant cheesefest, the producers of Sakurasou actually managed to make the graduation episode an honest-to-goodness emotional episode. And I felt it. However, I found myself asking: “Why wasn’t this the final episode?”
The last episode (24) made it seem as if there was still plenty more for Sakurasou to cover. It introduced two new characters, and it was the start of a new year; everything was fresh. We were going to see Kanda and Shiina being isolated from the other main characters for the first time, and maybe even having their relationship furthered. We even got a glimpse of the two new members of Sakurasou, and they are not bad characters in the slightest. All in all, the producers had quite a lot of quality material to work with if they wanted to create another season. So why didn’t they? After I finished watching all 24 episodes of Sakurasou, I was left wanting more. The series didn’t really “end” at all; why start a new chapter if you’re just going to cut it off right away? The ending makes no sense to me. You could say that this is a sign that the producers are thinking of a second season, but there hasn’t really been any news yet. It’s just wishful thinking as of now.
In every other department, however, Sakurasou excels.
Story [9/10]: Probably the most important aspect of an anime, Sakurasou has an exceptional story. While its romance is admittedly weak, as previously discussed, it doesn’t take much away from the story. There were quite a lot of aspects of Sakurasou that I had a critique for, and yet I found myself excitedly watching every episode regardless. I constantly wanted to find out what would happen next, and I was definitely held in suspense during many moments throughout the anime. The moments of drama, in particular, gave Sakurasou such great depth.
Art [10/10]: One of the absolute KILLER aspects of Sakurasou! The art implements a fairly unique style, using mainly warm and bright colors. Most animes have art that uses colors and shades from a generic palette, which causes them to look to look very similar to each other; Sakurasou strays away from this. All of the characters are drawn nicely, along with all of the minute details in the animations being perfectly executed. However, if there was one thing to really set Sakurasou apart, it’s the art used to portray Shiina Mashiro’s artistic virtuosity. As the viewer, I was able to completely comprehend the extent of Shiina’s skill due to Sakurasou’s magnificent art. Not to mention, whoever drew Shiina’s drawings was quite talented themselves.
Sound [10/10]: The only proof I need to verify the greatness of Sakurasou’s soundtrack is the fact that its OPs/EDs are among my top-played songs on my iPod. Initially, I wasn’t really feeling the first opening; it sounded somewhat generic. However, after listening to it multiple times by virtue of watching the anime, I fell in love with it. The openings completely portray the mood of the entire anime (and the openings very cleverly display the fantastic art style, too). The second ending in particular went very nicely with the characters dynamics at that point in the story.
Character [10/10]: Sakurasou’s characters truly give it that extra dimension. For a rom-com, all five main characters are surprisingly deep. Throughout the story, we get to learn of all of their backgrounds. What makes them so amazing is the fact that despite vastly contrasting upbringings, all of the Sakurasou residents are accepting of each other. There is never any sense of dislike or resentment among them, and they are all genuine friends. That chemistry between them is what makes them so special to watch.
I thought long and hard about my final rating. Admittedly, there are quite a few problems with Sakurasou, such as its romance. However, for an anime that has left such a huge impact on me, Sakurasou deserves nothing less than a perfect score. Along with other viewers, I have been left wanting more. Few other animes have managed to make me feel this way. And while I was watching it, Sakurasou provided countless laughs and a fair share of quality drama. Never was I bored at any moment while watching the series. The greatest thing about Sakurasou, however, is the fact that it manages to meet and then exceed the standard expectations of a romantic comedy slice-of-life anime; it truly is a fantastic production. Rarely can anyone recommend an anime of this genre as a must-watch for anime enthusiasts of all kinds, but that is exactly what I’m doing with Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo.
The very first line in the anime coming from the protagonist himself. Frankly, I felt exactly the same after watching the first dozen episodes of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. J.C. Staff, a studio which animated numerous titles such as Toradora, Zero no Tsukaima, Toaru Majutsu no Index, now it’s Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo or in English, ‘The Pet Girl of Sakurasou’.
Story? Kanda Sorata was told to move to a place called Sakurasou, a dorm where the problem students dwell in. One day, Shiina Mashiro, a genius, moves to the Dorm. And so, Sorata’s dorm mates given him the task to take care of Mashiro. So there ya go. You can probably predict the outcome of the show before you even watched it.
Sakurasou is a somewhat-more-than-generic romance/comedy anime. So, what are the common features of rom coms? Generic protagonist lives alone, story set in high school, extraordinary female protagonists, transfer students, probability of the transfer student living next door, childhood friends, imoutos having brother complex, beach episodes, protagonist is a chick magnet and lots of other distinctive features. It’s those shows where you watch simply because you’re too bored. Sakurasou is no exception.
However, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is slightly more different than the usual. While it does have most of the features mentioned, but this time the protagonist lives in a dorm, filled with problem students and Sakurasou have a slightly better plot…and I guess that’s pretty much it.
Since it’s a romance/comedy anime then you’re expecting some humor. Regrettably, the “comedy” part is appalling. Sakurasou provides the viewer with lots of humor throughout the series, but none of them were hilarious. All in all, Sakurasou fails to be entertaining in terms of humor.
In most cases, ecchi scenes and fanservice in these kind of anime are tolerable, as long as there are few but if too many, it affects the quality of the show. Indeed, I knew there were going to be ecchi in the series, but Sakurasou has more than expected.
Finally, it’s the story. Sakurasou starts off as boring, tiresome, especially the beginning and it may also be the biggest flaw of the anime. Brace yourselves, because boredom strikes very early. The starting episodes may give a bad first impression to the viewer and some may even stop watching the series solely because of that. Sakurasou is one of the few anime I’ve watched that left a terrible first impression.
However, once you’ve covered the dull early episodes, at one point Sakurasou eventually starts becoming more intriguing later on(if it ever does for you). Personal point of view: I might have enjoyed Sakurasou more if it only had 12 or 13 episodes, not with 24 episodes. Why? for me, it starts becoming more interesting roughly at episode twelve. Some of the characters’ past were interesting to watch such as Shiina Mashiro’s however the enjoyment only lasted for couple of minutes. Sakurasou did have some memorable moments; both happy and sorrowful, but most of them were in the middle or near the end of the series. Luckily, the ending was pretty decent. Not the best ending I’ve seen, but still it’s ok.
Character? I’ll show you in a list.
These are the characters who dwell in Sakurasou Dorm.
Scores are out of 5. Lowest(1) being Hated. Highest(5) being Loved.
Kanda Sorata:(1/5) Boring male protagonist; essential in most rom coms. Now, only more irritating.
Shiina Mashiro*:(3/5) Female protagonist. Neutral.
Aoyama Nanami:(3/5) The common tsundere type. I feel sorry for her at the end of the series.
Mitaki Jin:(3/5) Looks like he lost his virginity years ago.
Kamiigusa Misaki:(2/5) Energetic, noisy type.
Akasaka Ryuunosuke:(3/5) A Hikikomori.
Chihiro Sengoku:(3/5) Dorm teacher of Sakurasou.
A couple of supporting characters.
Kanda Yuuko:(1/5) She has brother complex. I’m not surprised. Most of the imoutos nowadays have brother complex anyway.
Rita Ainsworth:(3/5) Kawashima Ami…is that you?
From the list above, any scores below 3 means they’re disliked. None of the characters were interesting. Of course, all of the scores above are just my opinion. Though, it’s nice to see character development going on.
*In some of the scenes, Shiina Mashiro really reminded me of Akemi Homura, a character which I really love in Madoka Magica. Perhaps the last two episodes of Madoka Magica are simply too memorable…
Art/Visuals? Overall, it’s great. Colors are bright and artstyle is gorgeous. Backgrounds are nice and Shiina Mashiro’s artwork are incredible.
Sound? Voice acting is pretty good(Sorata yelling almost every time is rather aggravating). OP and ED are all J-Pop themed songs and I’ve only bothered to listen to them once. I do like J-pop songs, but only selected ones. There’s some very beautiful background music being played during the sad scenes.
Conclusion? Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo isn’t the worst rom com I’ve watched and its far from being the best. To sum up, it’s pretty average, despite the number of flaws it has. Unfortunately, Sakurasou just didn’t live up to my expectations. Not even close.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. When I first read the little summary of it on MAL I got the horrible feeling in my stomach it would be very sexually forward with a lot of fan service and very little plot/char. development. I thank God today that I’m terrible at guessing plots to anime, and I will take this second to simply say “I apologize” to the writer for having low expectations. Because I could not have possibly been more wrong.
This story is about a group of what I can only describe as misfit geniuses. These are the rejects of the school, and at the same time some of the most artistically gifted students at Sui High. For various reasons, be it financial or social, they each have ended up in the cheapest and fairly rundown Co-Ed dorm at the school, Sakurasou. Kouhai (The main male protagonist) was forced to move into the dorm after he tried to take care of a stray cat he found, however dorm regulations forbid him to keep it unless he moved. So of course, he decided to move until he could “find another owner for it”. However, by the time the show opens up on the present at the start of out story, rather than him making any progress, he has actually taken in like… 10 more cats. As I said, so at the open of the show Chihiro sensei (runs the dorm) asks Kouhai to go pick up a transfer student who will be moving into Sakurasou. That transfer student is none other than the beautiful, quiet, legendary artist Mashiro. He comes to find out she is essentially incapable of taking care of herself on her own, so in the same nature as his cats, he takes on the responsibility of being on “Mashiro duty”.
The misfits have many little adventures and antics and overcome many trials during their time at Sakurasou. As time passes friendships form and grow, bonds grow stronger, fights, love, tears, all come into play among the six friends of Sakurasou.
Now Ill do that thing where you separate it into sections
Actually, even though I’m not big on being able to tell huge differences and intricate details between different anime, this show’s art really stood out. It felt smooth, clean, and beautiful. I daresay it was made to look so as to reflect the fact that they are all artistic students in their various fields, to match the level of beauty they themselves can create. The only other anime I know of with animation better than this would be Nagi no Asakura. So that’s pretty darn good. I appreciated the high quality.
Not a pro on music, I can basically tell you whether I
1. Liked the OP and ED. (I really did)
2. thought the music distracted me from the show or helped to amplify it. (It blended well and I liked it just fine. Nothing to report back negative on.
Story Quality/ Why I Enjoyed It
This has to be one of the best stories of friendship and love I’ve ever seen. Now when I say love I mean it in a universal way. Not JUST romantic love, although there is plenty of that. I mean also the love between friends. Best friends. Think of a friend of yours who is the absolute most important friend you don’t want to have to be without. Now take six of y’all and go live in a dorm together. That’s in essence what you have here. The plot was paced very well, nothing happened too quick or too slow. The pain and struggles each character went through had me feeling like I was right there struggling with them. Is that not a powerful thing? When a story can draw you in so much that when something big happens, whatever it may be, it has the power to make you FEEL emotion. And no I’m not talking about “man I’m so pissed the plot went in this direction”. No… I’m talking about when you see a character get their heart broken, you feel for them, you cry with them. It’s really not easy for an anime to do that. But for me, this did.
I’m telling you, Misaki’s graduation speech TORE ME UP (that means it made me cry).
I highly recommend this show to anyone who loves a good story about the bond between friends. And young love. This show is as funny as it is sad, as it is heartwarming as it is beautiful.
Hats off to Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo.
3: Sakamichi no Apollon
English: Kids on the Slope
MAL Score: 8.34
Introverted classical pianist and top student Kaoru Nishimi has just arrived in Kyushu for his first year of high school. Having constantly moved from place to place since his childhood, he abandons all hope of fitting in, preparing himself for another lonely, meaningless year. That is, until he encounters the notorious delinquent Sentarou Kawabuchi.
Sentarou’s immeasurable love for jazz music inspires Kaoru to learn more about the genre, and as a result, he slowly starts to break out of his shell, making his very first friend. Kaoru begins playing the piano at after-school jazz sessions, located in the basement of fellow student Ritsuko Mukae’s family-owned record shop. As he discovers the immense joy of using his musical talents to bring enjoyment to himself and others, Kaoru’s summer might just crescendo into one that he will remember forever.
Sakamichi no Apollon is a heartwarming story of friendship, music, and love that follows three unique individuals brought together by their mutual appreciation for jazz.
Kids on the Slope (also known as Sakamichi no Apollon) is a story taking place in the beginning of summer, 1966. It stars the protagonist Kaoru Nishimi, an honor student who tends to keep to himself. He has a rather reserved personality and hard to open up. That is until he meets the bad boy and future best friend Sentaro Kawabuchi. While mistakenly getting to a bad start, these two soon develop an unforgettable friendship based on respect, forgiveness, and of course, music. Later comes into picture is Ritsuko Mukae, a friendly girl who plays intriguing roles in the story ranging from music, friendship, and later love. The series follows three friends as they create unforgettable memories of the 1960s in the age of jazz music, friendship, and melody.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself “why should I watch this series?”
Well, first of all this series contains the unification of icons Watanabe Shinichi (Series Director of Cowboy Bebop) and music composer Yoko Kanno. That alone can be seen as a good reason to start watching. While labeled as a coming-of-age drama, this series also contains a bit of the romance theme and of course, drama. So for those interested into the intertwined story arcs mixed in with misunderstandings, jazz critique, and love trials, then this could be a little added bonus.
[ – Story – ]
Kids on the Slope details friendship and is one of the most important element of the series and should not be just seen as an aspect of the anime but in real life as well. Kaoru, Sentaro, Ritsuko forge friendship through one common passion: the love of music and the bond that they share.
This series does not have a strong impression at first. From the first episode, there’s not much to say besides the typical high school drama and music setting. Furthermore, for those carving for action and psychological twists or for some who call it “mindfucks”, then this is the wrong series to look into. Thankfully, there’s an old saying that goes “never judge a book by its cover”. Damn right, you shouldn’t because this coming-of-age drama is sure to give you a surprising twist.
In the beginning, there is the common theme. Kaoru falls for the friendly girl, Sentaro falls for the graceful girl, and Ritsuko is already in love with the childhood bad boy. Then comes even more characters that makes the already complicated geometric love shape even more complicated later on.
Kids on the Slope moves at a relative pace that can be considered neither slow or fast. Ironically, it starts off slow even though it’s kids on the SLOPE. Anything that flows down a slope relatively moves fast but in this case retains a relatively average pace. So I’ll say this again, this series is not for the fans who carves the fast paced action and psychological twists. If you want that, try Jormungand or something.
[ – Characters ]
While the characters are animated plainly and simple, their inner character and style is what drives this series as why it’s ranked into the #100 of MAL. Beyond the romance polygon are characters that balances out the series.
First we have Kaoru, the middleman who has the reserved personality. He is smart, he is reserved, and he has the talents to become a real star. Thankfully with some fate, he finds someone who also share a similar love for the age of music. That brings us to Sentaro. Like the opposite of ying and yang, Sentaro is seen as the tough guy with the soft spot, the one that picks fights but also the guy who protects and values his friendship with the other characters from the bottom of his heart. His outer image covers up the fact that he is a deep down guy and cares for the people and things he truly loves; his friends, his family, and the children that respects him so much and of course, music. Finally, there’s Ritsuko. She is the cheerful girl, the one that builds bridges of friendship with friends and generally well-liked. Yet behind her outer image lies a somewhat insecure girl and sometimes jealous of others’ ability to be so outright themselves.
Later on of course, there are other characters that enter the scene that have stark personalities and also not who they appear to be. I’d love to go on and on about these characters but this isn’t an summary is, it? This is a review so I’ll leave you to find out. But trust me, you’ll love to get to know them once you see the realism behind their outer characters.
And speaking of realism, it is noticeable that the characters’ personal lives are conveyed in a way that can be seen and defined as quite real. Whether tragic, sad, or cheerful, we see the histories of the main characters that can be related to most of us. They all have background histories that brings the overall realism into the 1960’s and even towards today.
[ – Animation/Art -]
If there’s one thing to forget, it might be the art. I’ll say this in the most honest way as possible:
It is too plain and simple.
The animation is not rich and series airing this Spring Season like Fate/Zero puts it to shame in the art department. The animation however brings out a powerful feeling of nature and refines the 1960s style in its finest form. While plain and simple (Karou’s glasses, Sentaro’s shirt, etc), we can see that the culture it tries to convey of the 1960s is successful. Culture has indeed changed from the past to present day as we can clearly see the lesser technology and more general and sophisticated themes. It is simple and not detailed just like how high school should be. It doesn’t need to be something special that makes us go “wow!” After all, the precise of an entire series is not always judged by art solely. At one point of watching over 100 series, it’s just down right common sense.
[ – Sound/Music – ]
Ah yes, this is the main event, if for any reason to watch this series at all, it is this.
Music and life plays a key role in this series and thus, one could expect the melancholy and drama the music lyrics conveys and delivers. With the ultra talented Yoko Kanno in charge, one can expect a blockbuster hit and smash of the season. And she does not disappoint, neither her skills or the characters’ that plays both artistically and beautifully in the series.
In fact, the music in the series plays well, even in rhythm with the main characters. If you take careful notice, the way and style they play their instruments systemically match their art and moments. The way the characters play the music is natural and in the ways they are of themselves, not for a popularity contest. To play music and bring pleasure to the ears is something to respect and take notice of. These kids really do have talent.
[ – Enjoyment – ]
This story is of the old school coming-of-age style so the pleasure of enjoying this series can vary. At first glance, one might decide to drop or put on-hold at its relative pace as well as its lack of the typical “shounen action”. But with so many of those airing these days (including this season), why not give something new a try?
It’s more than just a high school story of kids falling in painful geometric shapes of love or the “friendship conquers all”. And of course, despite being hard to make it into the mainstream, it’s one of those series that takes an unique and cultural approach of the coming-of-age genre mixing in with jazz music, friendship, and love all in a wonderful little package. The characters are unique and real with their backgrounds, contrasting personalities, and style. The story is easy to follow despite its intertwined arcs. The art (despite plain and simple) brings out the naturalism and culture of the 1960s. It’s something not as complicated as the real world we face today because it’s so damn right simple. Honestly, I miss it. And who can forget the relaxing music? Without it, this series would be dead. But with it, the series comes to life through realism and gives viewers something to talk about.
Again for those who are so into the shounen style battles, the fan-service of ecchi shows, or psychological mindfucks, this series can be something new to look forward to.
After all, there’s an old saying that goes, “life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” And once you open that box, you’ll be surprised what you’ll find. In this case, it’s Kids on the Slope.
The problem is Sakamichi no Apollon isn’t as much about jazz as it is about lame characters. There’s jazz in the series, and it definitely plays a part, but it doesn’t play as large a part as I wish it would. This seems to be the theme of music-based anime, not paying attention to the music as much as the boring lives of the characters. Jazz is frantic, it changes with the mood. There are a lot of things about jazz that could have been played out in Sakamichi no Apollon that aren’t. That heart and soul of jazz are only seen during the portions where the characters play music. Other than that, the series falls flat.
Kaoru is a guy. He goes to high school. He’s a bookworm.
Sentarou is a guy. He goes to high school. He fights a lot.
Ritsuko is a girl. She goes to high school. I can’t discern her character besides “love interest”.
Together they are the three main characters of our little drama. Kaoru goes to high school as the new kid. He meets Sentarou who is a pretty violent guy who skips classes (the delinquent). Sentarou is a drummer who plays jazz with Ritsuko’s father and a guy named Jun. Kaoru, who can play the piano, joins in on the fun and learns how to evolve from his classical roots into the realm of jazz.
There are, of course, some bumps on the road. A couple of love triangles (those are the main plague that infest this anime), Sentarou’s problems with his father, and Jun’s becoming a good-for-nothing. The plot is really not that exciting. You’re watching this for the music more than likely, not the duo of love triangles that seem to give way to more of a bromance at the end than anything else.
This is where the plot becomes especially painful. The series plot is loose, and by that I mean nothing is consequential or matters. It’s there to hold the series together and give it a reason for being, but it’s mediocre at best. By the end, nothing really matters and the series goes back to square one.
“BUT RATCHET! WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC?”
What music? There’s a little bit of music going around, but for a music based anime there’s not enough. As I said in the beginning of the review, there’s not a lot of music going on. There are a few songs here and there, but not enough to warrant being considered as “musically focused”. It’s more just a school life anime than anything else and suffers because of the fact it tries to be something it is not.
“BUT AT LEAST IS HAS GOOD CHARACTERS!”
All the characters were generic at best. While Sentarou was a decent character, I grew to hate Kaoru more and more as the series progressed. It reached the pinnacle when he nearly raped Ritsuko. Ritsuko wasn’t a bad character, but she didn’t actually have a lot of character there. She was just there as a love interest and a plot point more so than anything. Jun was okay, but he also had some issues that made him dislikable. His girlfriend, Yurika, was okay.
I wasn’t really impressed by anything that concerned the plot. I was impressed with some of the music (the little that there was) and the animation was especially good during jam sessions and concerts, unbelievably so.
I’m unable to say too much about Sakamichi no Apollon because it’s so average. It’s the definition of average. Good music and good animation, mediocre characters and plot, and an overall disappointment. If the series had been longer I feel that perhaps the plot and characters would have been more entertaining. But as it is, Sakamichi no Apollon is merely adequate. The last episode feels especially rushed and I assumed I was meant to feel emotions of some sort, but was left not really caring. And when, by the end, I could care less what happens, then I know that I’m not watching anything special.
Sakamichi no Apollon is a hesitant pass for me. It’s overhyped, and that hype is probably why you decided to jump on the bandwagon and check this anime out. There are some qualities that are enjoyable, but taken as a whole, it’s merely adequate in satiating the thirst for jazz, as well as the search for a good music anime.
The story itself has an amazing pace, and in my opinion, has the perfect combination of romance, drama and music. The developments feel very natural and there are no fillers. The only “complain” I can have from the story is that the ending might feel a little unsatisfying. Luckily, if you end up feeling unsatisfied like me, you can read the extra volume from the manga and I can assure you that you’ll feel a lot better after reading it.
The art is okay, I guess. It has a very realistic vibe, and fits the story really well. I didn’t see any error in the animation either, which is always appreciated. Also, the animation during the musical scenes was particularly good. The soundtrack fits every scene perfectly, so kudos to the studio. It is always nice to have consistently good animation as well as a good soundtrack throughout a whole series.
There are two main characters in the series, and they are best friends even though they make an odd couple. I feel that the two main characters are really well developed. You can see how the two of them grow up as characters as the story moves on. On the other hand, except for one specific character, most secondary characters don’t get a proper development. I mention this because there are a couple of secondary characters that I’m sure most viewers would’ve loved for them to have more screen time.
The series in general is very enjoyable. If you’re into jazz music (or good music in general), you’re definitely gonna love watching this series. Also, this is one of the few anime where the English singing is actually pretty good. I had a really good time listening to every single music piece played, as well as with the tons of drama generated from the different love situations that develop.
I gave the series an 8/10. I loved it, but I felt there were some things that could’ve been told better, especially the ending. I recommend this series a 100%. Actually, I’d say this is a must watch series. Also, don’t forget to read the extra volume from the manga once you finish the series.
Have a great time watching Sakamichi no Apollon!
2: Bakuman. 2nd Season
MAL Score: 8.37
With the serialization of their new manga, “Detective Trap,” the writer-artist team, Akito Takagi and Moritaka Mashiro, better known by their pseudonym Muto Ashirogi, are one step closer to becoming world-renowned mangaka. For Mashiro, however, serialization is just the first step. Having promised to marry his childhood sweetheart and aspiring voice actress, Azuki Miho, once his manga gets an anime adaptation, Mashiro must continue his to popularize Ashirogi’s work. A tremendously competitive cast of ambitious mangaka—including the wild genius, Eiji Niizuma; the elegant student, Yuriko Aoki, and her older admirer and partner, Takurou Nakai; the lazy prodigy, Kazuya Hiramaru; and the abrasive artist, Shinta Fukuda—both support and compete against Muto Ashirogi in creating the next big hit.
As they adjust to their young and seemingly untested new editor, the dynamic duo struggle to maintain their current serialization, secure the top stop in Shounen Jack, and ultimately, achieve an anime adaptation of their manga. With new rivals and friends, Bakuman. 2nd Season continues Takagi and Mashiro’s inspiring story of hard work and young love.
The first season of Bakuman was great, the story, the characters, the atmosphere fitted perfectly, though It did suffer from pacing problems and could of been adapted better. This time however, J.C Staff has stepped up their game, managing to fix those problems and make Bakuman 2 one hell of a enjoyable anime and probably the best slice-of-life series I’ve seen yet.
= Story  =
Bakuman starts exactly where it left off from the first season and gets right into the story. I won’t say much to avoid spoiling it for people who happen to see this review before watching the first season but this season has a lot more drama and romance, which make for some very intense scenes and memorable moments.
Something, that is unique to the story of Bakuman is how realistic it is. The two main characters aren’t always successful and positive like you find in most shonen series and there isn’t any shock twists which would be impossible to find in a real life situation, well maybe one.
= Art  =
I never get tired of the art in this series, It’s amazing how J.C Staff can make the manga illustrations look so realistic and the amount of detail and effort they put into the backgrounds.
The character designs are nothing special but they don’t really need to be, If anything, the only character design I can fault is Shuujin’s/Takagi’s, It’s just that he looked a lot different and a lot better in the manga, though I don’t really mind the change.
= Sound  =
I have to admit, I didn’t like any of the first seasons OP and ED’s that much, though Bakuman 2 has some great ones which really suit the story-lines in this season. The OST remains nearly entirely the same in this season, which is a good thing since it doesn’t feel overused yet and suits the anime perfectly.
All of the VA’s do a great job reprising their roles and the newcomers fit their parts perfectly in my opinion.
= Character  =
There’s a lot more Character development this time around, which is welcomed especially for the minor characters such as Aoki and Nakai, who really annoyed me at first, but then actually became likeable.
The romance side of Bakuman shines through a lot more this time around, which also helped character development a lot, though some of the relationships became a bit boring and repetitive during the the second half of the story.
Bakuman 2 is one addicting ride, the story and the characters really draw you in and makes you want to finish the whole series in one go, which not just any anime can emulate.
If you’re a fan of first season, you’ll love this sequel, all the spirit and fun of the manga and prequel are maintained in Bakuman’s second anime outing, which leaves us eagerly awaiting the third season.
Overall, Bakuman 2 outdoes it’s predecessor in every aspect, with faster pacing, a more ‘tighter’ and entertaining story, great character development with art and sound to top it off. If it wasn’t for a slow down during the the latter episodes with the story and characters, I would’ve considered Bakuman 2 a masterpiece.
Now I know why I decided not to stick to watching the second season. Even as I’m typing this, I still can’t grasp the stark difference between my thoughts on the show vs the majority’s opinion. I felt betrayed by the score, so I thought I’ll throw in a different perspective regarding the anime.
The first season felt like an inoffensive story that was just okay to watch (from what little I remember), but this second season was a trudge to go through. I had to force myself to watch another episode with the idea that it’d get better eventually, but unfortunately it got worse. The entire season could be skipped, and nothing would change except a few set pieces.
Near the end, I decided not to continue on with the third season since I realized that I lost my interest.
Now the characters. The way I’d describe the majority of them would be: Obnoxious. They barely have any redeeming qualities. They are one dimensional and only serve as convenient devices to keep the story moving along. Romances are thrown in out of completely nowhere and only feel as though they are introduced and used for motivation.
Character development consists of complete 180 degree changes in personality and character thought processes are indescribable.
The story consists of a popularity contest between manga authors of the same publisher. It starts with them calling each other rivals, telling each other that they’ll beat each other next time. Then, they come up with ideas haphazardly and start working on them, hoping it’ll get NUMBER ONE IN THE RANKINGS!…. then if they get a good ranking they congratulate each other, if they don’t then they say they’ll beat each other next time.
There are some stakes thrown in to each of these repetitions because the makers know if they don’t include those in, then there would be nothing left of interest. But then the stakes are pummeled as soon as push comes to shove, and you start wondering why they were included in the first place.
Artwork is okay, nothing special but it’s decent. Actually, it was nice to see different manga authors with different drawing styles.
Sound was okay too, serviceable enough for the show.
It’s difficult for me not to spoil stuff while talking about my experience watching this anime, so I feel that right here would be a good place for people to stop reading. But for those who’ve watched the show or don’t care about spoilers, please continue…
I mentioned the characters being obnoxious. So let me expand on that…
The main characters Mashiro and Takagi aka Ashirogi Muto stand true on that statement the most. They are childish, whiny, arrogant and stuck up, with these inflated but fragile egos. They are constantly bitching about being popular and getting the best rankings and would change their entire story they worked on to get ranked better. They feel like they only want to be manga authors for the sake of becoming famous, getting anime adaptations, and striking it big. Mashiro is especially guilty of this to the point where almost every word spoken out of his mouth made me go “oh just shut up” in my head.
Mashiro’s art is very good and never needs any polish. Takagi is just this genius who can think of a good story on the spot, but is otherwise really bland. Ah who am I kidding, everybody in this show is bland. But still they crapshoot everywhere because the season needs to stretch to 25 episodes and the makers need some form of progression throughout the series.
Of course, every “rival” has this behavioural pattern as well, although not to the same degree. They’re all different flavours of “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” and “I wont lose to you!”.
Niizuma Eiji is shown as this super genius with an eccentric personality, and serves as the main rival to Ashirogi Muto. Both as manga authors and being super annoying to look at. Sheesh, his screams still ring in my head. He has no “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” but he does have “I wont lose to you!”.
Fukuda is this angry man that rages at everything and is a hardass with a caring heart. He is the angry version of “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” and “I wont lose to you!”.
Hiramaru was a character that I found decent. His dynamic with his editor was predictable but okay to watch. His shtick is that he is forced to draw manga while he wants to do other stuff. He is the unwilling version of “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” and “I wont lose to you!”.
Nakai is just a plain creep with fragile self esteem.
Iwase is an arrogant woman with too much time on her hands. A vindictive and narrow minded individual with the weirdest motivation. She is the vengeful version of “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” and “I wont lose to you!”.
Aoki is a manipulative, heartless and proper woman who does a 180 degree personality change into become a blank slate. She is the female version of “I’ll work hard and beat you next time!” and “I wont lose to you!”.
Moving on with other characters,
Azuki is Mashiro’s girlfriend and nothing would change if she was replaced by cardboard. Their relationship makes no sense and makes you wonder how the hell they fell in love and decided to marry each other in the first place.
Miyoshi is a convenience.
Miura is just this loudmouthed, boisterous man who actually achieves nothing. NOTHING. His purpose is solely to act as an obstacle and he comes in to achieve only that, then to leave after he has been overcome. To me, it felt like he is the only reason the second season occurred. If you take out the portion of the anime from the point where Miura is introduced as Ashirogi’s editor to where Miura is exchanged back to Hattori, then apart from Nakai leaving the picture and the serialization manga names changing, nothing happens.
Oh I guess Takagi and Miyoshi get married? I don’t even know how or why they decided to do that. Felt like it was just convenient to throw in because they’re both best friends of the show’s main romance.
Hattori is a decent character. He’s the only one that made me laugh once in a scene in the entire season, but still he seemed like a genuinely likeable and competent editor. Don’t get me wrong though, still a bit bland.
The chief editor is shown as this very competent and serious dude, but to me he seemed like a really indecisive prick. First, he says he’ll put Ashirogi on hiatus for a whole year since Mashiro got sick due to overworking and for some reason was sick and needed to get surgery, so he needs rest to recover. But then he’s like “naah jk”.
Second, he tells his editors to vote for Ashirogi’s manga serialization to see if it can compete with Niizuma Eiji’s work, since they’re all incompetent and can’t judge their own publications. The condition is that if it can’t compete, then Ashirogi’s contract would be terminated. The editors vote 4 to 3, saying that Ashirogi can’t beat Eiji with this at the end of the episode. BUT NOOOOOOOO, since this show can’t have that happen, just at the fucking start of the next episode, they editors are like “But sir! Ashirogi’s career is at stake! Let’s leave it in the hands of the readers to decide!” so the vote changes to 7-0 in favour of Ashirogi’s serialization.
Are you fucking kidding me?! Are you telling me that all that time spent into coming to these dilemmas was for nothing? Why can I see these predictable outcomes from a mile away! Things like these make for a very frustrating viewing experience and you’re left thinking “What was the point?”.
Near the end, a conversation gets shoehorned in about manga authors focusing on story vs popularity and this is where I realize why there is such an obsession with rankings. Mashiro basically declares that he writes manga only for popularity’s sake, and to me personally (even though I do not read manga) that was indication to not watch the third season.
Actually, now that I think about it. This show unintentionally, through it’s own dialogue, the way it’s story is written, the way it’s characters interact and behave, tells me a lot about how some manga authors think and go about creating a manga. That is really interesting and odd since none of the actual content depicts any semblance of realism.
The thought processes and dialogue of characters really commentate on the thoughts of the makers themselves as they were making the show, and how shallow the whole thing is.
Making a weekly publish in a manga while coming up with what happens next every week will not make up a good story or an interesting read unless the whole thing’s planned from the beginning. Shounen mangas have this problem the most, and this show magnifies this by showing us the actual time and thought put into them.
These works are done purely for the purpose of running a business, and authors’ ideas are reworked and washed down to make them more mainstream at the cost of originality. Overworking their authors by giving them breakneck deadlines while manipulating their want for becoming popular as fuel for encouragement for working hard.
This makes me understand why I never liked shows like One Piece, Naruto or Bleach. I always felt like the stories in them were made up on the spot and pieced together, dragging on for no reason other than maintaining viewership, popularity and fanbase.
Bakuman is one of these shows but with no battle scenes or action.
* * * S T O R Y * * *
It’s rather original and is likely to draw in anyone with an interest in anime/manga. It has some pretty good drama and whatever in it.
* * * A R T * * *
I’d say the “typical anime faces” (such as oAo) they sometimes have kinda lowers the quality of this series. I like that they have some more original types of gag faces, though. The art and animation looks quite nice overall.
Some of the parts where they showed storyboards/”names” were poorly drawn and dull to look at. I think they should’ve at least had more panels/actions shown so we could see the story, not just hear a narration. Manga is all about the visuals, after all. There were some good moments with the more elaborate manuscripts, though.
* * * S O U N D * * *
I think Mashiro sounds a little too wimpy. The music didn’t stand out to me whatsoever. Their relaxed, “everyday” country-ish music is just pretty boring. They live in a city, so why the country bumpkin music? There’s other music more appropriately fitting the anime, but none of it is memorable.
* * * C H A R A C T E R S * * *
Yes, yes, people hate Miura. I think Miura was another good display of what the world of manga can be like. He also developed into a decent editor after realizing his flaws. As an obstacle, he created more entertaining points in the series and made the end result all the more satisfying.
Mashiro and Takagi are always developing and learning to see manga from different perspectives. They change in other ways, too, making unexpected decisions as the story progresses.
Other characters develop, other characters stay the same. That’s the way life is, including when it comes to a manga artist’s aspirations (or lack of).
* * * E N J O Y M E N T * * *
Compared to the Bakuman manga, they cut out a lot of the more technical aspects of planning and writing manga. They kept the “Tanto arc” short and sweet, really. It also feels like they balanced things out so that Azuki would seem like she has more involvement in the series. I know people complained about how small her role was in the manga, so I think this is a good change. It was pretty easy to neglect and forget about her in the manga, but I think it’s important to maintain this romantic aspect based on true love.
One thing I didn’t like is how they made it sound like panty shots are not only normal, but necessary in the world of manga. Honestly, things like that cause people to label all manga as bad. I think panty shots should’ve been treated as a cheap way to get votes from perverts, not something a female manga artist should strive to achieve. It’s sad to think people would be unable to appreciate a good story unless it had softcore porn in every chapter.
* * * O V E R A L L * * *
Good story, nothing really disappointing (other than the panty thing), satisfying ending. I didn’t find this too addicting, but maybe that’s just because I read the manga already. This is some quality anime.
1: Bakuman. 3rd Season
MAL Score: 8.56
Onto their third serialization, manga duo Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi—also known by their pen name, Muto Ashirogi—are ever closer to their dream of an anime adaption. However, the real challenge is only just beginning: if they are unable to compete with the artist Eiji Niizuma in the rankings within the span of six months, they will be canceled. To top it off, numerous rivals are close behind and declaring war. They don’t even have enough time to spare thinking about an anime!
In Bakuman. 3rd Season, Muto Ashirogi must find a way to stay atop the colossal mountain known as the Shounen Jack rankings. With new problems and new assistants, the pair continue to strive for their dream.
The story is still great with the usual pacing style of the previous seasons. There’s just something very addicting in the pacing of the story, it feels like no second is wasted at every episode. Each one brings something new to the story, good news and more hurdles at the end of the episode. The cliffhangers really get you excited to watch the next episode too. The plot twists are still the same as ever, they seem pretty petty and weak for an anime but they’re realistic and you can really relate to them because they fit the slice-of-life genre very well.
Art is still the same, it’s different but it’s neither bad nor good. It doesn’t stand out and that’s actually what makes it fit for it’s genre. Bakuman isn’t about flashy art, dramatic music and all that glitter. It’s good as it is. Though the quality drops at times, it doesn’t really affect the viewing enjoyment.
The sound is like the art, it’s the same.. not bad and not good. The OP is decent and the singer’s voice is kinda weird but it doesn’t really bother me. The EP is good, nothing to say about that. No objections about the sound really.
Characterization is the same and still good. Same goes for character development, in fac there’s actually a little bit of character development as soon as the first episode.
Bakuman is still addicting as ever, that’s all I need to say.
Overall, the quality didn’t drop one bit. It’s basically an extended Season 2, which was already perfect in my point of view. It’s as interesting as ever and I don’t think it needs any improvements at all. Any plans to change some things up ‘for the better’ would’ve backfired on them. Bakuman 2 and 3 is one of the best Animes I’ve seen.
Ahh, Bakuman once again returns as the third installation of this trilogy, known as Bakuman 3. It’s amazing how this show can still keep it together after several years. The series is written and illustrated by Tsugami Ohba, who is known for his famous work Death Note. In contrast though, the series does not give off psychological impressions but rather follows a slice-of-life style of presenting its story. The series has achieved universal success with its manga predecessor and likewise, I find that the third and final installation manage to keep it together once again.
The series follows two best friends, Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi. Collectively known by their pen name, Muto Ashirogi, the duo hopes to make a name for themselves by getting serialized in the Weekly Shonen Jump. With a little hard work, motivation, determination, and luck, they might just be able to do just that.
Like its previous predecessors, Bakuman 3 presents itself as a slice-of-life style series. Dreams are hard to make into a reality but we can clearly see that Muto Ashirogi hopes to do so. It follows their youth lives in a natural way as opposed to normal teens. Most teens often think about their future and dream jobs later on in life but at only 9th grade, the duo Muto Ashirogi has already began to climb that ladder to success. It’s not easy though as becoming a manga artist is a very stressful way of life. In fact, Moritaka already knows this with the unfortunate circumstances of one of his family relatives. It even strived him away from thinking about the dream in the beginning. Furthermore, there is competition. Becoming a manga artist is a lot harder said than done. In fact, it can be compared to climbing the world’s tallest mountain, winning an Olympics gold medal, or achieving a world record in the Guiness Book. Okay, I’m probably exaggerating a bit here but you get the idea. It is not easy.
Surprisingly, Bakuman 3 incorporates many ideas from the art of manga creation itself. It presents to viewers how manga is made with the ideas, how to get the material published, and how the industry works directly with many of its episodes. It looks hard and definitely requires a lot of effort. Yet at the same time, watching this series makes the career seem fun and exciting. In fact, it’s that much exciting when Muto Ashirogi gets recognized for their work at various circumstances. In a way, Bakuman adapts its series of manga-in-manga but in a way that makes it look like a lifestyle.
The slice-of-life continues to exist just like its previous predecessors. It follows the duo in their every day live mixed in with comedy, drama, and romance. The drama part comes from Nakai who continues to linger his ways of going after Aoki despite their previous encounters. It doesn’t stop there though as a love triangle ensures between him, Aoki, and Hiramaru. It’s two guys and one girl in a triple threat. As silly as it sounds, the love triangle plays more of a progressing role for Aoki as she makes her stand and point known.
With the dramatic romance part aside, the technical part of Bakuman 3 also comes into play with some controversial events. In fact, Ashirogi Muto gets some unprecedented media attention after some unfortunate events. The duo wanted to make a name for themselves but not in the way that they see it this time. It gets a bit complex and even causes stress to the duo for their dreams. Forget dreams, it’s more like a nightmare now after such an event. It should be no surprising though as the author of the series wants to visualize what manga artists needs to deal with in the real life. It’s realistic in many senses from this case as becoming a manga artist is never easy. There are challenges every day whether it’s competition, scandals, overworking to meet due times, and bringing out ideas to audiences in its finest form. The imaginations that manga artists comes often requires extensive thoughts and planning as well. I personally found that the ideas used by Ashirogi Muto is a bit repetitive and even borrowed from themes used by the real artist/illustrator of Bakuman. In other words, although the series’ manga ideas are fun to read, they often lack a bit of uniqueness or set themselves differently from others. It’s often hard to present ideas when so many others exists beforehand but overall, I only considered the ideas that Ashirogi Muto came up to be….average.
Fortunately, I find Ashirogi Muto and their way of working to be quite interactive and fun. Often when working together, the duo seems to have more fun than expected with their ideas. It’s not in a workaholic way in which the duo tries to be the very best or earn cash but rather to do what they enjoy in while hoping to achieve success. Even when the duo are arguing, the dialogue is presented in an entertaining way. The words spoken by the characters are colorful and often or not, becomes an inspriation for their ideas. These ideas are transformed into their product for the world to see. Of course, success isn’t easy to come by especially with competition. Major supporting characters as Eiji are obstacles for Ashirogi Muto and they must overcome him to achieve that success.
On the more dramatic side, Bakuman 3 also introduces what some fans may see as a real antagonist in the form of Toru Nanamine. He represents the antithesis of Ashirogi Muto. On the surface, he looks like a fun and outgoing guy with a chill personality. However, deep down he is seen as a hot-tempered, manipulative, and an individual who is willing to do absolutely anything to achieve success. The construction of his character makes him an antagonist by the way he compete against Ashirogi Muto because he even relies on underhanded tactics to ensure his assumed victories. To him, making manga is about winning and being the best in contrast of Ashirogi Muto who wishes to achieve their dreams.
Bakuman 3 does seem to continuously adapt a slow pace. Furthermore, the many dialogues used between the characters often gets dull, lacks flavor, and dragged. The seemingly antagonist Nanamine is also easy to predict by viewers as the villain by the way of his actions. It’s not hard to see him as a two-faced individual who wishes to become the best even relying on iniquitous tactics. These tactics of course doesn’t always go the way he wants to.
The artwork of the series remains intact compared to its previous seasons. J.C. Staff adapts the anime based off of the manga and does a fit job in making its artwork intact. And of course, because this is an anime series based on making manga, the artwork created by the various artists themselves also are presented artistically well. The artwork in fact is edgy but gives off that realistic look at the series from the outside. In the inside, the manga and characters’ designs gives off a natural sort of look. It looks realistic and doesn’t look too flashy, not that it needs to be anyways. There is no fan service and fans shouldn’t be surprised at this considering it’s NHK network known for airing lighthearted series.
For the soundtrack department, everything seems to remain the same. Both the OP/ED song for the first and second half depicts on a montage of the main characters. Some of the soundtrack does to be repetitive but still retains its natural vibrations. It balances it out with the general lighthearted outlook of the series.
Overall, Bakuman 3 is a pleasant series for me and I think for fans, especially those who’ve watched the previous predecessors. Even if you don’t like the idea of making manga, the series makes it interactive with its extensive dialogues, competitions, and characters’ interactions. And of course, some of the manga ideas themselves can be entertaining. It’s not easy making dreams come true but Ashirogi Muto sure has great hopes. They’re climbing that ladder of success and opening doors to imaginations.
Story is a 9.
As with the previous season, it hasn’t lost it’s edge on story telling and pacing. It’s easy to follow and easy to understand. My only issues are some arcs are a bit uninteresting and unfulfilling, like the Nanamine arc.
Art is 10.
Great art as always. Proper visual effects, no awkward animations or anything etc. Pleasing to watch, I should say.
Sound is 9.
Good soundtrack and proper voice acting. OP/ED were not really anything special though,
would prefer Bakuman. 2’s OP.
Character is 10.
The character development was great and I really like how they interact witth each other. Eiji is definitely the standout as I appreciate how his eccentric behavior hasn’t changed at all. Kazuya Hiramaru also improved also, not only in the comedic sense.
Enjoyment is 10.
Every episode makes me either laugh or feel emotional. The scenes will always put a smile in your face because they are just so great.
Overall is 10.
It deserves the title of masterpiece because it isn’t just enjoyable but also it has been considered a piece of art. This is an anime you can watch over and over and still end up not being bored.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Bakuman. 3rd Season
2. Bakuman. 2nd Season
3. Sakamichi no Apollon
4. Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo
5. Kamisama Hajimemashita
6. Kimi to Boku. 2
7. Nekomonogatari: Kuro
8. Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
9. Kokoro Connect
10. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!