They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Mob Psycho 100: Dai Ikkai Rei toka Soudansho Ian Ryokou – Kokoro Mitasu Iyashi no Tabi, Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki, Initial D Battle Stage 2, and more!
50: Mob Psycho 100: Dai Ikkai Rei toka Soudansho Ian Ryokou – Kokoro Mitasu Iyashi no Tabi
Japanese: モブサイコ100 第一回霊とか相談所慰安旅行~ココロ満たす癒やしの旅
MAL Score: 7.62
The staff of the Spirits and Such Consultation Office—Arataka Reigen, Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, Ritsu Kageyama, Katsuya Serizawa, and the spirit Ekubo—head to the Zebra Prefecture for a relaxing hot spring vacation. Their all-expenses-paid trip is sponsored by the owner of the Ibogami Hot Springs, who has asked Reigen to investigate claims of paranormal activity in the area.
On the train ride to the inn, the exhausted Reigen and Serizawa quickly fall asleep, only to wake up and discover that they have been transported to a ghostly parallel world! Bewildered about how they got there, Reigen and Serizawa must find a way to escape in time to enjoy their day off.
Honestly man, after doing a project the whole day, I’m so glad I made the decision to go onto a site that every anime fan knows about (💏 anime) and the dub/sub versions of this just popped up like dang, happy days!
There has been a lot of things happening in this 24 minute short so I’m not gonna spoil it for you ONE fans out there. The only clue I will give you is that Reigan has someone well known as one of his phone contacts at the beginning but that’s all I’m gonna say.
So glad to see the Mob Psycho crew back together for this special, it’s definitely well needed at this time if you’re sick of unoriginal Isekai anime being newly advertised every season!
Well, the story even though it was only for this one episode – was really interesting! Spirits and such consultation office members, along with Teru and Ritsu went to Hot Springs together to solve a mystery about a possible parallel world existing in the Zebra Prefecture, especially in the Ibogami tunnel.
Well, Bones did again, a great job on showing the emotions of characters. Nothing lacked, the anatomy was always on point and oh god the expressions – they were so original and sometimes so pure to look at.
We got to hear again the classics of Mob Psycho OST’s and ending sound was really nice! Every seiyuu did a great job dubbing their character!
Well, this is a special to a really great anime with great created characters, so i can’t really say if they lack something – they were as cool as usual.
While watching it, i didn’t got bored – the amazing Tachikawa Yuzuru and Bones gave us another masterpiece.
This special is really sweet. It showed well, how great you can tell a story in such short time. It also made fun of isekai animes and their usual tropes so definitly this is a good special!
“Mob Psycho 100: Dai Ikkai Rei toka Soudansho Ian Ryokou – Kokoro Mitasu Iyashi no Tabi” is a self-contained story, set some time after the evens of the second season of the parent show “Mob Psycho 100”, following Shigeo, Reigen, Ritsu, Teruki, Ekubo, and Katsuya as they head expecting a relaxing hot spring vacation only to be involved into yet another odd Job of Reigen’s expertise.
What sells the OVA is how modular it is, it could easily be bundled with the second season as a sequential episode with none noticing a drop of pacing, animation, voice acting or quality, it has been clearly given the same amount of love and care the parent series got. It was truly an enjoyable watch that had the same lovable characters, used the same familiar landmark humor, welcomed back the fans, and opens its arms to the strange. All in short. Watch it!
49: Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki
English: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki
MAL Score: 7.64
Seventeen-year-old Tenchi Masaki grew up hearing stories about how his ancestor used a sword to seal a demon inside a cave seven hundred years ago. When curiosity gets the better of him, Tenchi goes to the cave and stumbles across the sword from the legend. Thinking that the story is nothing more than a fairy tale, he removes the blade and inadvertently releases the demon, who turns out to be a space pirate named Ryouko Hakubi. Furious about being trapped for so long, she attacks Tenchi, but he is able to repel her with the sword, awakening his inner power. After seeing this, Ryouko takes an interest in her unlikely savior and decides to crash at his place.
As if it were a chain reaction, more alien women—Aeka Jurai Masaki, an uptight princess from the planet Jurai; Sasami, Aeka’s sweet younger sister; Mihoshi Kuramitsu, a ditzy Galactic Police Officer; and Washuu Hakubi, a wisecracking genius—gradually come in contact with Tenchi and begin living with him. Through his encounters with these five women, Tenchi begins to learn more about his ancestry, newfound power, and the looming threat lurking beyond the skies.
Like the many generic” harem animes” studios seem to spit out every season… this series too has an unlikely hero who suddenly finds himself surrounded by a multitude of hot babes… but that is the only common factor that this classic shares with its modern brethren of failures.
This series is an example of a harem done right with enough story and action to propel it into the category of “something special.”
The last 7 episodes were written in order to accomodate the GXP storyline and were created over 10 years later, so I personally consider them almost a separate series.
This is my favorite anime…period. I know I’m not in the majority on this, but it succeeds on every level. It is the definitive “harem” anime, while maintaining a great plot and fascinating universe/backstory. The fact that each of the women have complex and fascinating pasts and facets to their character is something unique to this genre. It’s heartwarming, romantic, raunchy, funny, dramatic, and even is a mystery at times.
Story: The story starts with Tenchi, mischievous grandson of a shrinekeeper, stealing the keys to the shrine from his grandpa. He then explores a cave that family lore claims to house a “demon”. Of course he accidentally frees the demon which sets into motion a complex series events that involves all the great powers of the universe. As Noike mentions in the 3rd OVA, the Masaki household rates as a galatic superpower by the end of the series. The interesting question is, how much of this did Grandpa plan out?
Art: Done in the mid-90’s it’s cel animation. That being said it’s beautifully animated though the characters sometimes are simple looking due to the style at the time. All of them are uniquely animated, wear different outfits and hairstyles which helps show the attention to detail.
Sound: Nothing to rock out to, but it all works. I have to add that the original voice acting english cast was great, and funimation really screwed up with the 3rd OVA and will burn in the fiery pits for the abomination of the GXP crossover.
Character: The main character is Tenchi, high school student and usually studious, courteous, and not very rebellious except for the carefully nutured interest in the cave. In true anime teen fashion, he acts a perfect gentleman around the ladies and though not oblivious to their charms, he refuses some very blatant offers
Now for the ladies:
Ryoko, the demon from the cave and former space pirate. She’s linked to her ship/ pet cabbit (rabbit/cat) Ryo-Ohki and has quite the interesting pedigree from both parents. She’s the first to fall for Tenchi and is very aggressive in her affection for him. Washu implies that her aggressive sexuality is a front to protect her sensitive feelings for Tenchi.
Ayeka, is the pampered princess of Jurai who arrives on Earth to arrest Ryoko; but instead ends up her primary rival for his affections. Presenting herself as younger and more proper than Ryoko, it’s often hinted that her mind isn’t as chaste as her act.
Sasami, is Ayeka’s younger sister. Despite being the youngest in the house, she often displays the most maturity. She bonds quickly with Ryo-Ohki and cooks most of the meals for the household. All this while holding back a secret that she fears will tear her from the others.
Mihoshi, the hapless GXP policeperson. Referred to by Washu as a “genius of pure luck”. She’s clumsy and not very diligent in her duties but her luck seems to land her in trouble and good fortune simultaneously. She plays the dumb blond of the group, but her forthright nature wins many over. She’s somewhat interested in Tenchi, but isn’t focused enough to compete with the highly competitive duo of Ryoko and Ayeka.
Lastly there is Washu. Washu is in her own words “so many things really…” some of these include being Ryoko’s mother, the greatest scientific mind in the universe, and the one person who sees all that is going on behind the scenes. It’s a measure of her self-confidence and maturity that she does not blow everyone’s secrets out of the water take control. She has some designs on Tenchi, even shedding her disguise as a young girl and returning to adult form to offer to bear his child. Of course he declines, and she remains in her guise from there on. It’s never stated, but her interest in Tenchi is mostly scholarly and only acts romantically interested to keep Ryoko and Ayeka on their toes.
It’s clear that the storytellers intended to include some traits of the ideal woman in each of the women, but also included flaws that prevented that.
Enjoyment: As I said before, this series strength lies in a great plot and rich world for the characters to interract in. The story never stagnates and the few times things slow down is to reveal a great deal about one of the characters. The blend of action and comedy goes well together and the rapidly expanding plot never leaves the viewer bored.
Overall: I’ve yet to see an anime do so much with so little. The closest I’ve seen yet is Code Geass, but it’s apples and oranges to this. Just when you think you understand everything about a character they reveal a new leaf…well Mihoshi is pretty straightforward and Tenchi’s dad is pretty much a middle-age perv. Everyone else though not only reveals their past, but also grow and change during the series. My fav character is Ryoko, as with many other people. She displays a depth of character and obviously is head over heels for Tenchi but has a very hard time showing him how she really feels.
I would recommend this to anyone! I will mention that the uncensored version can be risque at times (Ryoko isn’t familiar with nudity taboos) so I qualify everyone as everyone over 17.
To begin with, the plot. It’s a somewhat standard “hopeless boy surrounded by diverse girls embodying different fantasies” comedy on the surface, although the girls are a more interesting bunch than “cute one, tsundere, sister figure etc” by virtue of also being parodies of sci-fi anime archetypes; alien princess, super-strong killing machine, child genius, futuristic special forces. On top of that there are a series of events that make up a sci-fi plotline of their own which is reminiscent of other light-hearted adventure shows like Outlaw Star.
As a whole, it’s enjoyable and offers a nice twist on the usual harem comedy.
The art design is very 90s. The characters are drawn in a style that screams Outlaw Star, which is quite fitting for the sci-fi styling. While it could be considered functional and unremarkable, it is nevertheless fun and, to my mind, distinctive. You wouldn’t want the curvy and emotive characters of a Takahashi comedy show, or a hard-line Dynamic Pro style full of facial hair and giant melons, for a show which at its heart is a love letter to 90s sci-fi anime.
Sound is unremarkable but impossible to complain about – the dub voice acting ranges from quite bad to very funny, and the “Ayeka laugh” is pretty iconic as THE female villain laugh. It’s a show of caricatures, and so exaggerated voices are ideal.
The characters are all funny and well-developed for what could easily have been one-note jokes, setting the show apart from the competition. Mihoshi manages to quite nicely be a comic homage to characters from Bubblegum Crisis, Outlaw Star and other shows, as an example.
In terms of pure fun factor, you can’t beat this OVA. It’s a far above average example of a genre that is crowded with unremarkable entries.
48: Initial D Battle Stage 2
Japanese: 頭文字〈イニシャル〉D BATTLE STAGE 2
MAL Score: 7.64
This is simply the OAV summing up the major events and battles of “Initial D 4th Stage” much like the “Initial D Battle Stage” original summed up the first 3 seasons. Additionally, has 2 extra battles from the manga that were not incorporated into the original 4th Stage.
I would recommend watching this just because of the two extra battles that weren’t shown in the TV series (Keisuke’s FD versus Smiley Sakai’s DC2 Integra, and Keisuke’s FD versus Atsuro Kawai’s ER34) and of course to anyone who wants to re-live the exciting battle races.
Also , the best time to watch it , should be right after Fourth stage , before entering fifth stage.
“Technique can’t be learned like tying your shoes or changing a flat tire. It’s something you gotta figure out for yourself.” – Bunta Fujiwara
Better visuals, and new eurobeat tracks on each race too!
It’s a packing of all the races from the fourth stage but it also adds some races that were exclusive to the manga, which is really nice and interesting.
You can see a lot of what Keisuke went through and how his character evolved before fifth stage as the newly animated races are focused on him.
Makes it actually worth watching even if you’ve seen the entire fourth stage.
Overall a nice experience to rewatch old races and to remember the good moments too.
47: R.O.D: Read or Die
English: R.O.D – Read or Die
Japanese: R.O.D リード オア ダイ
MAL Score: 7.65
Yomiko Readman is a lovable, near-sighted bibliomaniac working as a substitute teacher at a Japanese high school. Her real identity, however, is that of a secret agent for the British Library Special Operations Division. Her codename: “The Paper.” The moniker denotes her supernatural ability to freely manipulate paper into any object she can imagine, including tools and weapons in her fight against the powerful and self-serving IJIN (Great Historical Figure) Army! Along with her partner, the enigmatic “Ms. Deep,” Yomiko travels across the world in attempt to solve the mystery behind the reincarnation of historical figures and their attempt to control the world.
The story itself is very farfetched and out of this world, but its a story that everyone should experience at leat once. Reality may be limited as paper can stop bullets or take down giant insects, but the cute and clumsy Yomiko and her friends will keep you watching with great intent. Being a three episode ova, there is little back story to all what is happening and it leaves the backstory up to its viewers imagination. Which is fine because all that leaves room for is high quality action only an anime can portray.
When I mean high quality action I mean high framerate action sequences coupled with great coreagraphy and amazing attention to detail. Things like paper sticking to a hand or scouring an old bookstore littered with books and dust really show how much hatd work and effort it took the artists to make such amazing detail come to life. Nothing impresses me more than attention to detail esepecially in rooms/buildings. On top of the OVA quality artwork, this show just oozes cool from the James Bond-esque themesong and sexy girl credits to the crazy steampunk gadgets and flashy magic spells, its a pure sensory overload for me.
Speaking of sensory overload, the female supporting cast were quite an eyeful. All of them were either beautiful or cute, very easy on the eyes. And for the girls, the guys are all quite burly military men in stature and can give up quite a good fight. The enemies, on the other hand, are pretty outrageous incarnations of storytime characters (Genjo anyone?) Crazy badguys do lend themselves quite easy to some fun and crazy battles. Not much can be salvaged in terms of backstory information for most of the characters, but the chemistry between all the support characters and Yomiko are quite believeable in an anime sort of way.
Not much can be said in terms of negative aspects other than sloppy animations and some silly situations, but the overall experience is just too fun if you’re really into the fantasy action genre. Don’t get me wrong, its not the greatest OVA of all time but it is well worth your time (read: Good). If you’re a sucker for a glasses-moe like I am (think Yuki Nagato or Miyuki Takara), you’ll love this show. And if you love this show, I’m sure you’ll love the R.O.D. TV series.
I cannot recommend this show highly enough. It is well-worth your hour and a half.
I found it amusing how much the US president looks like Dubbya, and how much of an absolute trigger-happy pussy he is. He wets his pants at least three times when things get tough, and at one point he flips out and instead of proceeding calmly through a tight spot, tries to pound the ‘nuke them all’ button. Political commentary much? You must recall this vintage 2001, a very familiar year in his political history.
Nerdy Yomiko Readman is obsessed with books. As “Agent Paper,” she works for a secret branch of the British Library, where her power to telekinetically control paper helps her on missions to retrieve rare manuscripts and protect the world from evil. But all Yomiko really wants to do is read her new book. Unfortunately it has been stolen by the I-gin, clones of historical figures who believe Yomiko’s book holds the key to unlocking Beethoven’s lost “Death Symphony.” Anyone who hears the tune is compelled to commit suicide, and the I-gin intends to broadcast it all over the world. Only Yomiko, along with fellow super agents Drake and Miss Deep, has a chance at stopping them.
OK, I’m just going to say this……I had fun with this anime and as much as the plot doesn’t go that deep, but then again, it is a three episode OVA clocking in at 96 minutes. The plot may seem silly and nonsensical to most people, but it isn’t too distant from reality, it’s not like “GAINAX!! OMG!! CRAZY SHIT!!” type of nonsensical; it’s much like a good action film, whose purpose is to entertain us with how unreal it is without being bored and easily distracting itself from its plot. I will say that using paper as weapons more powerful than they appear are a plus in my book, because after seeing that, I imagine somebody challenging someone to a gunfight and someone made a drawing of a gun and then it came in paper form and it did the job of a regular one, but more deadlier.
Characters in here are a delight to watch as I really love the main character of Yukiko Readman or “The Paper”, as she is called here to be equally adorable as a nerdy bookworm character and capable of her being in a fight, especially that part, and considering not many of those exist in much anime….at least the ones I watch. There’s also Nancy Mukahari (or Miss Deep, which does sound a porno name…..and yes, even in the OVA, they reference that.), the token bad-ass female character with a shady past and Drake Anderson, the lone male member of the team. The dynamic budding relationship between Yomiko and Nancy is actually the only thing I see in character development and progression. Some of the other characters like Joker (not the one you’re thinking), Drake, and the other super villains don’t really stay in our heads and some are just unimaginative characters like Joker is stereotypically posh and English and Drake is the no-nonsense American soldier. They are fine characters just nobody I would give a shit about.
Studio DEEN’s print is on the animation here and knowing their reputation of shows, the animation is solid for most parts here, as I often see a few hiccups even during the paper manipulating scenes. I wouldn’t count it as vintage, maybe even for it being 11-12 years old since its release in 2001 or ’02. I did like the opening theme and sequence of the show, as I’ve said; it brought out this James Bond / superspy tone that fits perfectly into the OVA.
The dub by Manga Entertainment is a fine dub with some good performances with Kimberly Yates, a relatively unknown voice actress, did capture the kindness and bookworm’s attitude of Yukiko. Amanda Winn-Lee, who also directed the dub, was good as Nancy, delivering in the deadpan humor within the character and of course, Crispin Freeman playing the not-so-subtle Joker and you can tell he was hamming it up and having fun in his role.
FINAL VERDICT: You can check it this OVA. It may not go deep within the plot that much but as you watch it, you start to not care that much, that is if you’re enjoying it but if you didn’t, then I shouldn’t recommend it to you. For those you have liked it, the series is available to get, although you might have to pay some high prices and something else to go with it…….but we’ll get to that later.’
46: Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki 2nd Season
English: Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki
MAL Score: 7.65
While the galaxy remains at peace, Tenchi Masaki continues to live on Earth with Ryouko and Washuu Hakubi, Aeka and Sasami Jurai Masaki, Mihoshi Kuramitsu, and the cat-like creature Ryo-Ohki. Though it sounds great to be surrounded by so many women, they always end up making things difficult for Tenchi by constantly fighting for his attention, and their attempts at household chores always end in disaster.
Although life has become more chaotic since they moved in, Tenchi begins to form a strong bond with his roommates and gains more insight into their respective struggles and history.
Once again the” Tenchi magic” is put out on display in all its glory, but this time instead of fiery-hot action packed battles (of the space and sword kind), we focus on character development and getting to know some of our favorite Tenchi girls.
Sadly, this 2nd series does end on a cliffhanger and the 3rd series will only disappoint you… but I digress and encourage anyone who liked the 1st series to enjoy this one, because it may be the last time you enjoy Tenchi and the gang at its full potential.
45: Top wo Nerae 2! Diebuster
English: Gunbuster 2
MAL Score: 7.65
Generations have passed since the war with the Space Monsters started, and none remain who know how it began, with even records of those times being scarce. It is a lost cause, but humanity still fights against them, relying on the “Topless”: a group of elite space pilots with special powers that allow them to use the Buster Machines—the last hope against the Space Monsters.
Nono, a girl from a remote Martian town, has heard tales all her life of the legendary pilot “Nono-Riri,” and wants nothing more than to leave her humble life behind and follow in the footsteps of her idol. Though she has no idea of the dangers that lie ahead, nothing will stop her from achieving her dream. While Nono is down on her luck, she chances upon the lonesome Topless pilot Lal’C Melk Mark, and decides to stake her entire future on following Lal’C, no matter the cost.
To say I was surprised by the end result would be an understatement.
Top wo Nerae 2 takes a bit of getting used to, especially for fans of the original series. The style, plot and scripting are very different to the original OVA, however the feel of the show is remarkably similar to it’s predecessor. Part of this is because the story is set around ten years prior to the final moments of Gunbuster, at the very end of the 12,000 year period. Humanity is still at war with the “space monsters”, but they are more able to cope now thanks to the efforts of the Fraternity, which is made up of teenaged pilots who possess “supernatural” powers (known as “Topless”), and their Buster machines.
The story begins with Nono, a clumsy girl living on Mars who dreams of being a space pilot. She runs away from home to follow her dream, only to find that reality is very different. Through a chance encounter she meets a Topless called Lal’C Melk Mark, and is completely bowled over by the experience. She follows Lal’C into space, ultimately to meet her destiny.
In all honesty, the plot is actually the weakest part of the whole OVA. Although the story is well paced and the scripting is tight but flowing, there are some obvious homages to Gunbuster which, all told, the show could really have done without. That’s not to say that all the references are bad, especially as this is set within Gunbuster’s timeframe. It simply means that the show is too reliant on knowledge of the original OVA at times, and would have been better served by trying to be more original on occasion.
The biggest problem though, is that the director and the writers have tried to cover this by making Nono a fan of Nonoriri, the girl who saved the Solar System thousands of years ago. This attempt at deus ex machina didn’t sit too well as it gave a certain falseness to the characters thoughts, feelings and actions at times, especially on the occasions that mirrored occurences from the original OVA.
However, while the story may have it’s problems, it is actually enjoyable for the most part, and it’s to the credit of the writers that a number of flaws can be forgiven (not all though, more on that in a bit).
One area where the show does excel is in it’s animation. Gainax have, once again, produced some stunning work in terms of character movements and set piece action sequences, and it’s fair to say that in this department Diebuster is actually better than Gunbuster. The character designs, created by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki (who was also the character designer for FLCL), are very good on the whole, although they are, at times, a tad cartoonish. The backgrounds, especially the renderings of space and it’s wonders, are very well done, and some of the visual effects used in the show are truly inspired.
The OVA does fall down though, in it’s usage of nudity. Where the original series also had a degree of nudity, it’s usage was minimal at best (aside from the bath scene), with the most prominent example being Noriko’s famous shirt ripping moment in the final episode. Diebuster, on the other hand, seems to take any excuse to show the fans some skin, and whilst there are times when this mimics the first series, there are far too many occasions where it serves no purpose other than to please the fans. I’m all for pleasing the fans, but Tsurumaki and Gainax should have tried to do this in a different way instead of choosing to be “cheap”.
Diebuster is very good in terms of it’s sound effects, not simply in their usage, but also because of their timing. The sound department has paid a great a deal of attention to matching specific effects to the on-screen action, and whilst there are times when the sound is a veritable cacophony, closer examination will reveal that each individual effect stems from an individual action, item, character, etc. In truth, Diebuster is one of the few anime that is worth watching with surround sound to truly appreciate the quality of the effects.
In terms of music, the show has a generally martial tone to the various thematic pieces, however these are offset by some mellow tracks that work well with the more relaxed moments. The show has a certain feeling of continuity because of the music used throughout the series, some of which is taken directly from Gunbuster, while others have the same feel. The ending theme in the final episode is very much in keeping with that of the original series, and given that both OVAs finish at the same point in time this, like many of the other tracks, is well used and choregraphed.
Once again though, Diebuster is let down by something simple, in this case, the OP and ED. Where the ED from Gunbuster was a pretty staid ditty about love, the OP had a “get up and go” feeling to it that was reflective of the whole OVA. Diebuster, on the other hand, has two J-Pop tracks for it’s OP and ED, both of which don’t really reflect any aspect of the show, and seem to have been chosen to make the OVA more “trendy”.
That said, the voice acting was very good throughout the show. Fukui Yukari’s Nono possessed a bubbly personality that was tempered with determination, while Sakamoto Maaya’s Lal’C has an aloof, and slightly disgruntled air about her. In terms of acting ability, the cast is truly excellent, and while there are occasions when they do ham up their roles a little, this is very much in keeping with the “excessive” feel of the OVA (more on that in a bit).
As for the characters themselves, they are the second weak point for Diebuster. Nono, in terms of the story, possesses no real motivations other than to be a space pilot. While she is most definitely an enjoyable character, she doesn’t actually develop in any real way, as much of her drive and conviction remains the same even after her memory returns. Much of the development in the show actually happens on the part of Lal’C, especially in the way her thinking changes to reflect that of Nono.
Unfortunately, the show has a number of recurring characters who really get little to no development, and whilst it’s true that this is only a 6 part OVA, if all the development was only supposed to occur on the part of the main characters, then the director should have focused on this instead of making lame attempts to round out other characters, a case in point being the furore involving Tycho and Buster machine Quatre-Vingt-Dix. The time could have been better used to round out the story instead, and it’s ironic that while Diebuster hasn’t done this, Gunbuster actually did.
To many it may seem as though I don’t like Diebuster, especially as I’m an advocate of the original OVA, however nothing couldbe further from the truth. I found Diebuster to be very good, however not in the same way as Gunbuster. The reason for this lies solely on the shoulders of several people, including the director and character designer. Like many directors, Tsurumaki has tried, and in some measure succeeded, to stamp his mark on the series proper, and his influence, along with that of certain other staff members, is readily apparent throughout the anime, so much so in fact, that there are occasions when Diebuster resembles FLCL or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann more than it does Gunbuster.
This is not a bad thing though, as it does give the OVA a different feel to the original, but therein lies the problem as well. Where FLCL and TTGL have an excessive, over-the-top atmosphere that is prevalent in Diebuster, the original Gunbuster opted for a quiet heroism that was truly touching, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the final episodes of both OVAs. The final scenes in Gunbuster are quiet, with an emphasis on personal sacrifice – the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few being the most appropriate sentiment. Diebuster, on the other hand, opts for a much flashier ending, with lots of noise and action, and to be honest, very little emotional impact. In truth, Nono’s transformation scene and what follows is actually far more memorable than the ending itself, which says a lot about the actual scripting of the show.
The problem, at least for me, is simply this: the entire series is supposed to be about how far humanity will go in order to survive. Given that fact, the method chosen to combat the “space monster” in the final epsiode doesn’t equate with the core of the story, especially as there are other planets in the Solar System that would have been more suitable. That particular method was an attempt at mimicking the usage of Buster machine #3 in the first OVA which, unfortunately, doesn’t have the same effect, mainly because the element of personal sacrifice for the greater good is missing.
It may sound strange to say this now, but Tsurumaki et al could have easily channeled their collective creativity into creating a show that not only captured the spirit of Gunbuster, but also encapsulated the style of FLCL and TTGL, and, in all honesty, a show like that already exists – Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still. That said, Diebuster is surprisingly honest in a number of ways, the main one being the fact that it makes no excuses for it’s numerous homages to the original OVA. While there may be those who think that using so many references is simply a method of capturing fans of the original anime, this method gives the entire show a feeling of continuity that is so often missingfrom sequels.
On the whole Diebuster is a great addition to the franchise, and while it has it’s flaws, it’s definitely a worthy successor to Gunbuster. While the story and characters may not be as good as the original OVA, Diebuster has a style and flair of it’s own that elevates the show to a whole new level.
I wouldn’t say that it’s truly equal to Gunbuster, but it comes very, very, close.
Lets get down to it. Top wo Nerae! 2, alsno known as Diebuster is the indirect sequel to Top wo Nerae/Gunbuster. I enjoyed this short OVA substantially because of its presentation.
The story follows a girl called Nono who wishes to be a “Topless,” which is basically an ace mech pilot to put it simply. Instead of dragging the story out with pointless episodes and scenes you often see in 26+ shows, Diebuster goes straight to the point and sticks with it. Most of the scenes show multiple different conflicts (whether they are big or small) which are tied together with the main plot quite nicely. Pacing is great, but since it’s so short you might forget some of the smaller details as the series goes on.
This anime brought with it a wide variety of moods and atmosphere simply due to its visual direction. In terms of overall quality, Diebuster falls by today’s standards however considering its age, the key animations were memorable to say the least. The fights were all very fluid, everything in the scene seemed like it was flowing together. Usually, emotion is hard to convey, however Diebuster was able to successfully convey those emotions through its visuals. Not only that, but character design was excellent, they managed to turn a basic style suit into each character’s individual style, and personality wise, none of them (at least to me) seemed to follow the stereotypical route.
Diebuster had a good OST when it comes to sound. The BGM’s were nice and, all though not Gurren Lagann-type memorable, they stood up there with some of the good ones. The voice acting was pretty good too (see emotions being memorable). Some might argue Nono’s voice was annoying, but I liked it. Even the enemy grunts/noises, those were superb, for grunts and noises anyway heh. Everything that had a distinct sound keep that sound though, for example beams sound like beams or explosions sound like explosions, but when tied with Diebuster’s BGM, it sounded better. Lets not forget the OP and ED, both of which totally owned face. Groovin’ Magic stands to be one of the best songs, at least in my opinion, to match this series (plus it was done by Round Table feat. Nino, who are one of my favorites). ACKO’s Hoshikuzu Namida is a catchy single as well, pair it together with the slideshow ending, it’s perfect.
The reason I enjoyed this so much is because of the memorable scenes and the similarity between the original. Gainax seemed to keep the trend of hotblooded epicness going after they finished Diebuster with Gurren Lagann, which doesn’t relate to Top wo Nerae at all, but they all share the same principles. If you are a fan of mecha, shounen, or anything of that sort, I’m am confident Diebuster will give you some enjoyment.
All in all, I give Diebuster, rather Top wo Nerae! 2, a solid 9 out of 10. I have to admit, those seeking to watch this typically already know what they are getting into. A story about believing in yourself and overcoming difficulties and struggles; these things are common to us all.
Sequels are a gamble, especially when the time gap between original and sequel grows and grows. They tend to be put under more scrutiny than their predecessors, as they not only have to deal with standing tall as installments in their own right, but they need to provide merit as a sequel to a product that never needed one. The trickiest prospect involved is the anniversary sequel, as that is where you’re most likely to enact the gambit. Some projects of this nature can pay off in a way that respects the original and becomes its own product, perhaps even succeeding it in the process. However, not everyone can do a Turn A Gundam, and instead, some make Diebuster.
Put it simply, it fails both ways. As a series, it features mediocre at best and largely uninteresting characters, half-assed power-up moments, and tons of convoluted and barely explained sci-fi superpower bullshit & worldbuilding. When the highlight in terms of memorable character moments was a rape attempt, you know you’ve fucked up. As a sequel, Diebuster’s almost insulting. The writers made a completely different type of show -a mediocre one at that- a sequel to Gunbuster. It would be like making Aldnoah.Zero the sequel to Macross. As such, everything about the already poorly-crafted and convoluted world-building (galaxy building?) is brimming with incompatibility.
Buster machines are now biomechanical machines that can only be piloted by people with some hereditary superpower gene rather than robots that take skill for any able-bodied person in general to pilot. They each come with different powers including the ability to freeze space creatures in space with quantum temperatures, and controlling and turning other ships into creatures to use during battle via psychic powers or something akin to that. They have colonized entirely new planets with futuristic military technology, yet transportation technology and all things not inherently related to war against space creatures has yet to advance beyond 2004 —the year this OVA first aired— until the finale outright contradicts that. The finale also proves that it takes place during a specific portion of the original’s finale, as if to self-destruct while getting its idol caught in the explosion. Additionally, whereas Gunbuster used real, hard science for its science fiction, Diebuster uses pseudoscience superpower nonsense. This and more serve as only a taste of how incompatible (for lack of a better word) the world-building is, and why crafting a coherent world is always important. Otherwise, we get two pieces that just cannot fit.
There’s also the fact that the mere existence of the events in Die, even discounting the monumentally awful finale, ultimately sully the finale of the original Gunbuster. Not only did that show end phenomenally, but it did so in a way in which no real sequel could be warranted. Gunbuster ended so conclusively that to continue would be to retroactively take back part of the point of the finale. This isn’t even touching on the world-building. This show really should have been its own thing. It would have been a mediocre at best show, but better a mediocre separate celebration installment than a show that accidentally knocks over its predecessor’s grave, especially when said predecessor became one of the two foundational anime of its studio. However, it would probably require heavy rewrites towards the end in particular. After all, the more it goes on, the worse it gets, peaking in its concluding episodes in terms of sheer atrocity, as the show stops caring almost entirely and ends up outright nullifying the ending of the original, at least canonically.
To cover the positive —read: superficial— aspects of this asteroid, the music is better than last time, and the visuals are still mostly well-crafted. Even with the awful mech designs excessive amounts of usually terrible CGI, the show’s visuals are worthwhile. The character designs are fine enough -particularly that of Nono- and the action animation is smooth, kinetic, and kept track of extremely well…as long as the characters aren’t running. It may not hold up compared to the immaculately detailed and stylized predecessor of yore, but disregarding that leaves you with visuals that were on par with that best at the time, at least animation-wise. The sense of scale is quite large, to add on top of that. Lastly, the music is honestly a tad superior than the original, at least when it isn’t remixing tracks. The OP and ED themes are ok and the background music is serviceable, though that is all I can praise.
Ultimately, the more this show goes on, the more horrible a sequel it becomes. As if it wouldn’t be a bad enough show on its own, it just had to throw a classic series under the bus in a drunken attempt at paying homage and joining a franchise. Barring the prospect of bastardizing a returning cast, Diebuster commits every sin a sequel can commit -including ones I never thought were possible- and ends up shattering itself into pieces upon its obnoxious attempts at trying to send-up and one-up. On its own, it’s a mediocre turned bad show too ambitious for its own good. As a sequel, it is so…so much worse. Way to go Gainax, producing the worst thing in your mainline repertoire to celebrate 20 years!
44: Hellsing: Digest for Freaks
Japanese: HELLSING I OVA DIGEST FOR FREAKS
MAL Score: 7.65
This OVA is a summary of the first three episodes of Hellsing, with the animation style of Hellsing Ultimate and following the events of the Hellsing manga.
Hellsing I: Digest for Freaks Might just be a recap for those three episodes, but it’s also just another short of reused animation for the first episode of Hellsing Ultimate, nothing more, nothing less. Everything about this was just another re-phrasal of Hellsing Ultimate, os to avoid making this a Hellsing Ultimate review I’m sparing it for now.
43: Bungou Stray Dogs: Hitori Ayumu
English: Bungo Stray Dogs 2 Episode 25 – Walking Alone
Japanese: 文豪ストレイドッグス 第25話 『独り歩む』
MAL Score: 7.66
Armed Detective Agency members discuss the most suitable candidate for the second-in-command. Doppo Kunikida is carrying out official errands as planned in his diary as usual. Unexpectedly, a bomb-related incident occurs, challenging the ideals he has always upheld. When weighing one life over hundreds, how will he proceed?
As for how it went? It was solid, like how the rest of the anime has been so far. I’d highly recommend giving this a watch! It almost feels like any other episode than a OVA. Really fits into the show completely. I hope you continue enjoying Stray Dogs!
and a withered desert I still fulfill my ideal”
Back in the days where Kunikida can’t comprehend the last thing he can’t complex about in the manga which is connected to the light novel about Dazai’s first exam by hunting the true identity of Azure king, Neither everything He writes on that book itself are nothing but delusional ideals.
The OVA much more focuses in the latest chapter 40 when Kunikida fulfill his worth duty to become the next to Fukuzawa as the New director of The Armed Detective Agency. Once the disaster remained in the middle street there was girl named Aya will be introduced and be leading in this chapter only. Due to characterization about his “Ideals” he tells to Aya, He desires that it was born when he supposed to realized a world where people died by livin in front of him was not actually his ideal world. Apart by meeting his own friend before was also known as a bomber, when he gets caught by the culprit, After Kunikida get hijacked about Aya’s be one that holds a bomb He has the sign to contains his true motives by becoming a role model that can handle affairs calmy, is unwavering, and who understand his own weakness. It his own path to who can instill their beliefs on others.
A special episode dedicated to a “Leading member of the Armed Detective Agency” as he values human lives, as he strives to save all innocent people during dangerous events in Yokohama. He sticks to this belief after seeing incidents of youth injured or killed in front of him. Due to his dedicated compassion to try to protect the city and its people.
42: Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi
English: Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2202
Japanese: 宇宙戦艦ヤマト2202 愛の戦士たち
MAL Score: 7.67
Three years since the return of the legendary Space Battleship Yamato, Earth has begun rebuilding itself and has made peace with the Gamilans. However, this recovery comes at the cost of utilizing the forbidden Wave Motion technology.
Meanwhile, the notorious former crew members of the Yamato, who have each gone their separate ways, receive a psychic message from the mysterious Goddess Teresa. She urges them to return to their beloved ship and travel to the distant planet Terezart. They are promised a revolutionary power to combat the unprecedented threat of the relentless Gatlantis Empire, who are approaching Earth with all but innocent intentions.
Unable to resist her plea, the crew reassembles and sets sail on another perilous intergalactic voyage, one that will test their sheer courage and versatility in the face of an even greater foe.
And then this series happened. Featuring a different director than 2199, and new character designs, Yamato 2202 failed spectacularly to capture any of the enjoyment and adoration I have for the rest of the franchise. The story is mostly made up of philosophical musings from the leader of the White Comet Empire revolving around the notion of love and humanity that never really develops into anything except a plot device to copy the ending of Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato and give it a new twist. Every time Zordar spoke, I found myself rolling my eyes at how shallow and silly the writing was. I am supportive of attempting to change the formula. After all, this is a re-imagining and not a full fledged remake of the original season 2. The execution, however, is conducted with all the skill and grace of a 12 year old writing a fan-fiction in their head during school as they day dream. The writing thinks it is far smarter and deeper than it actually is. Nothing ever quite comes together smoothly. Characters just die for the sake of dying while newly introduced characters are woefully underused despite being incredibly interesting and full of potential. Characters do not really develop much at all, save the space marines really. One character in particular is able to just magically figure things out and explain them to the audience because the show simply is unable to convey what is going on visually or through actual storytelling. In 2199, we would have been treated to scenes of characters researching and trying to understand things, allowing for explanations to the audience as they shared theories with one another and debated for an answer. In 2202, they just know things and that’s that.
Visually, 2202 is a mixed bag. The space battles are wonderfully animated surpassing 2199 in the scale and quality and a magical plot device is able to keep Earth in the fight far longer than it had any right to be giving the viewer plenty of eye candy to watch during battles. Unfortunately, the character designs and direction during battles at times is jarring. Characters now look much less crisp than they did in 2199 instead with sketch lines and awkward looking faces due to oddly drawn mouths and noses. As for visual direction, there clearly was some sort of eye fetish going on. Many times in battles or even normal dialogue, the only thing we see is a characters eye/s as they stare in horror at something or just look at something in general. During one egregious part in the first episode, a large battle is taking place. As ships are destroyed, the camera keeps cutting back to Kodai over and over again as he makes the exact same determined, grit teeth, face for about 30 seconds. This sort of weird visual direction takes place multiple times during the show, with awkward, jarring cuts during dialogue and battle. At least the music is solid.
If you go into Yamato 2202 expecting nothing on the story or character development front, you are likely to find an enjoyable space action show. Otherwise, steer clear of this mangled mess of a re-imagining. As for me, I am just going to pretend that this was never made and rewatch the original season 2 and Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato film instead. That simple and basic writing of 1978 is somehow superior to the poor attempts of the 2202 team to re-imagine its namesake.
Yamato 2199 was great, but not perfect: though the pacing could be better, some plotlines led to nowhere, and Desler was way worse than his counterparts in all versions and remakes of the original anime (except his counterpart in the 2010 live-action), the character development and animation, alongside the spectacular soundtrack remade by Akira Miyagawa, the son of Hiroshi Miyagawa, the original composer of the OSTs, plot and dialog, made 2199 a great space opera and remake of the original.
As a result, 2202 was expected to be even greater, bigger, and better than 2199, given how great its precursor was and how amazing the original material is. However, it would be no easy task, 2202 had to remake two different – yet complementary materials, Farewell to Yamato and the TV series Yamato 2.
While Yamato 2 had to stretch the 2-hour long story of Farewell to Yamato into a 26 episode series (and make a new ending), it succeeded in many aspects and failed in others: the overall plot of the series was better and alongside the new OST and mecha, allowed Yamato 2 to feature many new facets unexplored that the original TV series and Farewell, such as villains subplots, good battle strategies, and the Yamato being unable to do anything in some situations. However, Yamato 2 failed to impact audiences with the same drama that Farewell had and some subplots were boring, e.g. Shima and Teresa’s love story.
With that in mind, 2202 could easily take the strong points of the originals and 2199 to craft a good sequel and remake. However, 2202 fails at it; “Soldiers of Love”, except for the battle at planet 11, the presence of the space fireflies, and some other minor points, almost fully ignores the majority of the strong points of Yamato 2. No villain subplots, no iconic mecha from the series (eg. Earth’s aircraft carriers), none of the battle strategies, and none of the memorable character moments.
The new director Nobuyosh Haraba and scriptwriter Harutoshi Fukui chose something different: they would take the original plot of Farewell to Yamato and add their new elements to the mix. However, the idea backfired: Yamato 2202 turned out to be a mess.
Firstly, the insertion of the new philosophical element into the series isn’t done in a smart matter. Indeed, some might argue that it represents Nishizaki’s vision of love (vision of which bothered Leiji Matsumoto so much to the point where he reportedly refused to work on the final scenes of Farewell Yamato due to his own feelings on the subject), but what one truly observes is that it, practically speaking, only serves as a way to explain plot devices and to allow Zordar to make some nonsensical and monotonous dialogs. The blaring and unstoppable talking about “love” more alienates viewers than highlights the themes of the series.
When one talks about characters, the core aspect of the originals and 2199, the results are sad: almost none of them develop that much, characters that were much stronger and charismatic, such as Kodai and Kato, are incoherent to their previous counterparts of the remakes, Yuki and Akira now don’t have half of their personalities, and Desler, which surprisingly gets a retcon of his version from 2199 and whose return is not explained at all, is boring.
New characters also don’t get any better, Zordar is a philosopher with a terrible motivation, Sabera, and all Gatlantis officers are only plot devices, Teresa, Saito, Hijikata, Yamanami, as well as the whole Andromeda fleet (which were supposed to be a big thing in this season) are underused, and the Ginga shouldn’t even exist in the first place. The only character that gets some decent development here is Kiman, who is unfortunately affected by the occasionally clucky dialog of the series.
As for the action, the use of CGI in the show is good, but not perfect: ships sometimes feel weightless and the Yamato doesn’t get the same level of detail on its big scratches after every battle as it did in 2199. 2D animation, fortunately, is in the same standard as it was in the first season.
The mecha designs are a mixed bag: while some are good and detailed, adding a lot to the series, others have a debatable quality, such as the Earth’s new aircraft carriers, the Ginga with its glass dome, and the Comet Empire’s new “true form”, which completely obliterated the original design (the same here applies to Zordar dreadnought, although this one might have happened due to budget reasons).
The direction of the action scenes is good, despite the overuse of the Wave Motion Gun (which caused a loss to its dramatic effect) the action here is one of the best things in 2202, however, given how there’s little emotional attachment to being found between the viewer and the characters, especially new ones, some scenes are often very bland.
As for the drama, it is even more diluted than the one in Yamato 2. Characters here die for the sake of dying, Saito’s, Kiman’s and Higashikata’s deaths don’t have a fraction of their original deaths. And Kato had a death so mediocre it was comical.
The soundtrack is absolutely the best thing of the series, although Akira Miyagawa’s style is somewhat different than the one from his father, being more bombastic and colorful, his additions are often amazing (cf. Tsubasa).
Overall, Yamato 2202 is a disappointment for a show that had everything to be great but turned out to be mediocre as a show and as a remake. If you want modern action scenes, go for it, but if you want a better sequel to the first season, I think both Farewell to Yamato and Yamato 2 are more worth your time and investment.
Earth again faces a new crisis and our old crew from Yamato must once again embark on a journey in the distant universe to assure a future for Earth. Each encounter and fight holds a meaning and this season gives a lesson to its viewers about the mistakes that our characters did and shows us their path to clear them and make the right choices for their future.
The characters are what makes Yamato 2202 the best work of Matsumoto Leij. Each character has its own spotlight and each of them manages to stir up different emotions for its viewers. Sometimes you will hate them sometimes you will love them and sometimes you will encourage them. Another amazing thing is how well this season presents us the reasons of the enemy that Yamato faces with some strong and solid base behind their actions and choices.
One thing to mention is Desler’s development from season 1 thourgh season 2. As you may know in the first season he was pictured as a cold-blooded dictator who sent most of his people to death to achieve victory. In season 2 they go inside his mind they present his reasons and choices, everything that made him do that and gives him a second chance, makes him a likeable character even more than the ones from the Yamato crew.
Desler isn’t the only one who contributes to this season, each character manages to portray the main themes of this show . Their speeches, their monologue, their own story and past mistakes, all of them provide a warning and also a lesson for us viewers. Leji Matsumoto was a man who 40 years when he created the Yamato series he looked way ahead in the future and predicted how our society will become in the near future. And damn he nailed it ! Our modern society is almost identical as the one from the Yamato series.
The most amazing stuff from this show is how well the raw human nature is presented and explored, and how well the human mind is studied during a crisis situation and the decisions made by them. Our own greed for war, our capability for destruction but also our good side our creative mind , our undying will and that we cling in desperate times, our heart to hate but also love! Our possibilities and choices to create a Future for ourselves!
This is Yamato Space Battleship 2202 a study about humanity about their choices their love their capability to destroy or create a FUTURE! This is Leji’s Matsumoto masterpiece from almost half a century ago! Just don’t miss this…you will not regret it trust me!
41: Drifters: Special Edition
Japanese: DRIFTERS Special edition
MAL Score: 7.68
Bundled with the fifth manga volume.
40: Seikai no Senki III
Japanese: 星界の戦旗 III
MAL Score: 7.69
Jinto and Lafiel were riding on a light-armed transport ship “Bokbrusue” and navigating at the planar space of the Hyde System. This was for Jinto to govern the Hyde System, which returned to Empirial rule after the Union retreated, officially as an Earl. However, the government of Martin, Jinto`s motherland, resisted obstinately against the Empirial rule. On the other side, “Daiichi Jyuurin Sentai” (the First Devastation Fleet), formed with the new ship type “Attack Vessel”, travelled to the Hyde System for drilling practices, but…
I cannot reveal too much more about the series without giving spoilers but the character development in this 2 episode OVA is outstanding. Every character has grown up and changed, even Diaho the cat. The plot is tight and the pacing is just right.
The ending is outstanding. Many loose ends are tied up but there is always room for further sequels in this universe. This is how a good franchise should end, if it is indeed the end. With people wanting more, but not really needing more because it is a "satisfying" ending.
If future ones are as good as Banner of the Stars III then I hope they make a 4th, 5th and 6th series.
Let me get two things out of the way, so you can walk away if you feel offended:
1) I believe the Abh are the real villains of the show, and there’s actually a genuine reason the people hate them so much: these people are blindly self-justified aggressors at heart.
2) Worse still – the show is actually aware of this, and deliberately distorts the picture to make Abh-haters come off as terrible or pathetic human beings. In this regard, this show is shameful on a level that no other anime I know could possibly match.
Given the above points, there’s actually a good reason I decided to pursue the sequels after witnessing the moral horror that was Crest of the Stars. The thing is, I happened to catch a glimpse of the end-credits of this show, and they seemed to paint an entirely different kind of picture – it seemed to end on a tragic and poignant note that finally seemed to acknowledge that the Abh and their ways weren’t so noble or beneficial after all, and that people were suffering because of it. This one admission would have given the show’s developments an entirely different meaning, and redeemed the entire franchise completely. That was what made this show seem so promising. This is also the reason I even bothered with Banner I, because it seemed to build up to this deconstructive conclusion (however, I skipped Banner II as just reading the synopsis made me want to throw up). Long story short, it proved to be an extremely misleading picture, yet again.
A brief introduction – the show starts in the aftermath of yet another battle between the Abh Empire and United Mankind (the humans aligned against Abh expansionism). Our protagonist Lin Jinto seems to have suffered some injuries from the war and wants to take a break from the fighting. Our other lead, Lafiel the Abh (also Jinto’s girlfriend by this time), decides to join him. Jinto is an ordinary human appointed as head of his conquered homeworld by the Abh overlords due to hereditary circumstances, and Lafiel is a member of the Abh royalty, one of many individuals directly in line for succession of the throne. Jinto’s homeworld Martine is vying for independence from Abh rule, and at the heart of this movement is Teal Clint, incidentally a close confidante of Jinto’s now-deceased family. This is the backdrop in which this roughly hour-long OVA begins.
For much of this brief show, Jinto revisits old places and old acquaintances. Everywhere he goes, his well-wishers try to stuff some sense into him, to no avail. Jinto is convinced that what he is doing is for the best. The show also reveals the final clincher about the Abh that should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about just how sinister the whole setup had been all along. And in the face of all this, the show puts up a loving, smiling face – as though it just treated you to the most wonderful developments ever.
Now, I’ve reviewed the first two installments without having to drop any spoilers, but here it’s simply impossible to criticise the show without getting into plot specifics, because not only is it here that it indulges in its worst ever dishonesty, but it’s actually far worse than the previous installments, and stoops to a level so low that it needs to be explicitly pointed out to be appreciated. With that in mind:
First he meets his old childhood friend Que Durin (the sole friend who saw him off to Abh country in the first series, if you recall), offering him a post where he can assist Jinto with various administrative matters. When they meet at his place to sort out the details, Durin confesses his reason to distrust the Abh in what is a stakes-changing shocker of a revelation – to eliminate the possiblity of revolt or in-fighting, the Abh are genetically hard-wired never to be able to turn on their superiors, and despite any possible grudges or resentment find it practically impossible to disobey orders (the phrase “I was only following orders!” gets taken to a whole new level of creepy…). Jinto himself reveals the final piece of this puzzle – which is that by mandate of Imperial Law, any ethnic Terran (i.e. ordinary human) members of the Abh nobility are only allowed to conceive genetically-modified children who would be physically full-fledged Abh – blue hair, body implants and all. The picture that emerges is a system where everyone born into nobility (and therefore important positions of power) are blue-chipped humanoids who have more in common with a random Abh than with their own parent, and effectively no free will….this is even worse than I could have ever imagined. I’m simply at a loss for words here. And it’s no coincidence that this vital piece of information was withheld until the very end of this franchise. But the even more horrifying part is that the show makes his apprehensions out to be ultimately unfounded, and that it’s precisely these qualities that actually make the Abh GREAT. Give that a minute to sink in.
In the middle of all this, there is an even more crucial development. Jinto’s home planet Martine has been vying for independence from Abh rule (and the show has the bloody audacity to refer to the Independence party as the “Feudal government”). The Abh retailate by destroying their planetary defenses under the pretext of a drill-exercise goof-up due to miscommunications. And then – here’s the singular worst part – the blame is shifted on the Independence party for forcing the Abh’s hand, and they are accused of “coercing the dissenters into submission” by activating the defense system and thereby forcing everyone to get on board with the independence movement because there’s “no turning back now”. “No civilised person with a decent undertsanding of the galaxy would do this – these are the ignorant actions of an isolated Lander” is how an Abh conveniently puts it. The show tries to suggest that only ignorant and misguided individuals would want to try and seek independence from a forcefully-occupying power that they never wanted any part of in the first place. It also implicitly suggests the most singularly bald-faced lie ever, which is that the majority of the population would NOT want independence from such an invading/occupying force, because of which one would have to resort to such underhanded measures to get the population on board…I can no longer help myself here, I just need to vent out that this is singularly the most shameful, two-faced and obscene notion that this show has so far hurled at me.
Anyways, things being what they are, Jinto decides to do damage control and visit Teal Clint – who is the acting Prime Minister at the helm of the independence movement. A decent man, an honourable man, someone with spine to stand up to the Abh. Someone who saved Jinto’s hyde (sorry about the pun) when his very life was at risk. Jinto ought to be grateful to this guy. And also to his wife Lena who doted on him as a child and went just as much out of her way to make sure he was safe. Instead, he has chosen to side himself against the very people who saved his life (whereas the show makes it out that it’s the Abh whom he owes his loyalties to). But the two don’t care about any of that right now, they just want to see their boy again – such is the love they have for him. The most heart-wrenching part for me was when Jinto replies that he has responsibilities now, to which Lena tearfully retorts, “Responsibilities as an Abh? As an Invader?” She speaks for all decent individuals with that line. Anyhow, Jinto agrees to visit, and they are tearfully overjoyed to see him alive and well – and desperate, Clint suggests what I personally had been practically yelling all along (in my review of Banner of the Stars I, if you recall) – give up the Abh title and return home clean by seeking political asylum. The Martinian people would have understood – the title was forced upon him when he was too young to consent, and he was personally not guilty of any wrongdoing at the time.
But it is here that the show gives its singularly most insincere pretext in the entire series so far for Jinto to side with the Abh hegemony, and moreover for Clint to give up on independence – if Jinto steps down, any other person appointed in his place will “not be so generous”, and so a war might break out, putting Martine’s very existence at stake. I might even have agreed with that stand (on a strictly short-term and tactical basis, mind you) if Jinto was portrayed as being CRITICAL of the Abh at heart but just playing along so that his homeland can have a future, but it’s abundantly clear that he has been completely bought into the Abh way, and is very much in line with their program (there is a telling scene right before that meeting where Lafiel tells him, “This is Your battleground”…). This is where I think that the rationale is deeply insincere and two-faced – it seeks to present Jinto as a neutral and unbiased player in the game when in fact he is anything but, and thus give more credibility to that line of argument. And in any case, just by taking such a stand, Jinto has all but explicitly incriminated the Abh to be coercive thugs ruling with a velvet glove covering an iron fist. But does the show even acknowledge this? Nope. It diverts your attention to how Jinto feels sad at no longer being allowed to return to the forests and the beautiful landscapes of his homeworld, but it pales in comparison to the peerless, radiant beauty…of Lafiel. “Life’s too short to live in depression and regret”, the show croons. How sweet, how romantic….someone please kill me right now, I can’t take any more of this. And as if in answer to my prayers, the show ends, right there.
Ultimately, the show actually voices legitimate criticisms of its own premise through these two associates of Jinto, but then covers over them with the most shamefully insincere rationalisations. The blame is shifted on those who refuse to go along with the Abh hegemony, as always. Even at best, the scenario is portrayed as an unfortunate or unavoidable outcome of unfavourable circumstances when in fact the Abh are completely to blame for what has happened. And all of this is glossed over very expediently, and the focus very quickly shifts to some other issue before you realize anything is amiss – and in this department, Banner III operates far more slickly than its predecessors. Come to think of it, the only reason for this made-on-the-quick OVA to exist seems to have been to coyly deflect the most threatening of legitimate criticisms that can be levelled against the show’s basic premise.
So…back to Earth – Banner of the Stars III does end on a tragic note, all right. It is the tragic end to all human freedom, not just Jinto’s privilege to visit the planet that he unilaterally lords over. But who cares, because he is ensconced in the sweet and caring arms of the most beautiful, wonderful Abh princess, for the rest of his boot-kissing life. And the Abh will take over all planets (because that is their “destiny”, and one they themselves daren’t question) and thus finally bring about lasting peace to all of mankind. The End. Seriously, am I the only one here who needs to throw up?
Anyhow, it’s getting late now – here’s my final verdict on the entire Stars franchise: the Stars aka Seikai series isn’t Love in the Time of Cholera – it might as well be called Love Cholera. Fans of good Space Opera ought to look elsewhere – the appearance of intriguing political complexity was an elaborate facade to intellectually overwhelm more casual viewers into passively accepting something they would otherwise have puked at. Fans of good romance ought to look elsewhere – all the coy romance between the two leads takes place whenever the show needs to blindside you to the utter and complete hypocrisy of their interactions with the outside world.
Heck, fans of good Sci-fi should look elsewhere, because what actually seemed like a genuinely intriguing and promising sci-fi concept about (seemingly) progressive-minded genetically-modified space-faring humans, turned out to be so creepily monstrous and subversive that it makes even the most depraved eugenic ideologies of the past seem tame by comparison. If you look at it closely, its premise is actually closer to those presented in classic dystopic literature – except here it’s presented as something wonderful rather than horrible. Its status as something of a “classic” among old-school anime circles is, IMO, an unfortunate case of people being taken in by its serenely operatic atmosphere and its fairly engaging and believable character dynamics, and failing to see that it’s all in the service of some especially sick and reprehensible ideas. The people who made this show ought to hang their heads in shame. Seriously.
Crest/Banner of the Stars was a classic space opera series for it’s time, and it’s easy to see why. The world building is well above average, the OST is good for it’s time, and the cast of characters are colorfully interesting.
The focus is mostly on the Abh. They’re a peculiar race with a lot of positive and negative quirks. By and large, they make for interesting characters. Despite being intelligent, attractive, and long-lived, all of them have noteworthy character flaws, whether it be brashness, pride, narcissim, or arrogance. It’s great having a cast of characters who are flawed, yet still unique and different from what you typically get.
The best characters however are the two leads, Jinto and Lafiel. Jinto offers perspective from someone who is with a human background (and now affiliated with the Abh empire). Lafiel grants a typical Abh perspective. That said, the two are at their best when they are together. The chemistry between the two is fantastic, as is their small, natural romantic progression. Every moment they are together is enjoyable.
Of course, this OVA is also lacking in some categories.
While the Abh are interesting enough as characters and we have two great leads, the series could benefit a lot if it gave us additional perspective from the Human Alliance. I like rooting for the Abh because of how unique and interesting they are, but the story would be more intriguing if we got to know the important Alliance characters more. Additional perspective would make the story more interesting and suspenseful.
The pacing and plot isn’t as good as it was in previous seasons. It rushes through an entire novel in about 70 minutes, a stark contrast to the last seasons 200+ minutes for one novel. As a result, the OVA isn’t paced or organized the best, and rushes through some scenes that needed time to breathe. There is almost no action to speak of either, which is hard to believe for a series that has some in every other season (in some respects this may be a positive though, since earlier seasons are brought down by poorly executed action sequences).
The animation and OST were solid for their time. This is an original, classic space opera story filled with interesting characters. Only a few mild complaints in pacing, structure, and the lack of characterization of the Alliance characters hold back this OVA.
If you are a fan of Sci-Fi, classic space operas, and a colorful cast of characters, I can heartily recommend the series, starting with the first season (Crest of the Stars). As for me, I’m ready to dive into the novels.
39: Change!! Getter Robo: Sekai Saigo no Hi
English: Getter Robo: Armageddon
Japanese: 真(チェンジ!!)ゲッターロボ 世界最後の日
MAL Score: 7.70
Dr. Saotome returns from the dead after being seemingly murdered by Getter pilot Nagare Ryoma and threatens the world with his ultimate creation: the Shin Dragon. Ryoma reluctantly teams up with his former co-pilots Jin Hayato and Tomoe Mushashi to combat Dr. Saotome. The pilots must also deal with the mysterious Invaders, aliens that have the ability to possess humans and warp their flesh to form hideous creatures.
(Source: Nihon Review)
Getter Robo Armageddon is a show about giant robots thrashing the shit out of everything with glorious high quality animation. It could also totally kick Jupiter’s ass.
Getter Robo Armageddon – You have to be insane to enjoy this show.
I’m not going to lie to you, the story is awful. It consists of all the typical BS you expect to find in anime and then some. There is incoherent babbling about evolution, a massive explosion that wipes out a good chunk of humanity, the “good guys” saving the Earth from the forces of evil despite the fact that almost all the Getter pilots are chaotic and insane (which according to the manga is practically a requirement to pilot Getter), some tidbits of SCIENCE which nobody actually cares about, and of course the solution to all of life’s problems, which is to have a giant robot and be more awesome. Fortunately the story being so awful is what helps to make it entertaining. How am I supposed to enjoy characters being able to pull guns out of thin air, giant robots duking it out with other giant robots, aliens, or Jupiter, YELLING WHICH IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE FORM OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN MEN BESIDES THEIR FISTS, and explosions when there has to be a good reason for them? Exactly.
There are four types of characters in this show. The first is ordinary people. They are rare and should be kept away from the action unless you want to have to deal with zombies. The second is awesome people. These are most of the people involved in combat, which means most of the cast. The third is evil people. These are people who are easy to distinguish because of their ridiculous laugh and the fact that they won’t freakin’ die when they’re killed. The fourth and final type is Ryoma. When you see Ryoma you know that someone is about to enter a world of pain. In summary, if you’re looking for a show where you can’t describe basically everyone with the word “badass” and the character development consists of more than a character going from “awesome” to “more awesome” this is not the show you’re looking for.
The art in this show is very gritty and ’80s anime-ish, except pulled off a lot better than most ’80s anime. For the most part it does a great job of staying true to the look of the various installments of the Getter Robo manga done by Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa, meaning that the robot and character designs range from goofy and childish to tough looking and cool and that there are huge grins and crazy eyes galore. The animation is also surprisingly good. The range of motion is lacking compared to the best of stuff today, but there still tends to be a good amount of motion without the art quality being sacrificed in the progress. Thus it goes without saying that the high quality of the art and animation combined with the crazy mecha action elements makes for one of the best looking mecha shows available, despite the series being over a decade old now.
The soundtrack leaves me with few complaints. Both the opening themes are likable and hot-blooded and the typically rock/metal oriented tracks within the show fit the action well. I wouldn’t actually listen to the soundtrack on its own, but the same goes for 99% of soundtracks out there. The voice acting is mostly very good, with everyone clearly knowing that if you aren’t going way over the top in a super robot show you aren’t doing it right. Dr. Saotome sounds a little too comically evil for my tastes, but then again the show basically turned him into Dr. Hell so I can’t really fault his voice actor for that. Other than that I can’t think of any problems I had with the voice cast considering everyone fit their roles well as opposed to sounding like they were picked due to their popularity like a lot of stuff nowadays.
According to the credits there were three different directors for this show over the course of the 13 episodes, but the main one was Yasuhiro Geshi who did the 2nd episode and episodes 6-13. Since doing this show he has directed a couple of episodes of GitS:SAC, New Getter Robo episode 8 (one of the best episodes in that great series), and Gurren Lagann episode 20 (Yoko/Yamako-sensei episode). While I wouldn’t say his directing in this series was great necessarily, I can say that the guy knows how to direct some exciting action sequences. It certainly didn’t hurt that he had a bunch of great animators to work with, but there clearly is a love for the material here that gives the show the type of soul and value that would’ve been lost had the directors not cared and simply phoned it in.
Of course then the question is raised, did he really direct the 2nd episode and did one of the other credited directors do episodes 1 and 3? This doesn’t seem to be the case, or if they did they were solely the episode directors, as initially super robot enthusiast Yasuhiro Imagawa was the main director of the project. Due to some sort of undisclosed disagreement he was taken off the project after episode 3 however, which infuriates some of his fans. While I can agree that Imagawa probably would’ve helped the story make a lick of sense, I don’t think the show would have been any better/worse had he stuck around as the insane action and high quality animation are really the driving force behind the quality of the series.
It really does take a special kind of crazy to be a fan of Getter Robo Armageddon. There is even a screenshot from the series floating around of Ryoma pondering, “What the hell is going on? It doesn’t make sense at all!” If you can manage to fit into that mold of insanity even a little however, there is a ton to enjoy here as GRA is one of the most nonsensical, brimming with action, mind blowingly awesome anime series out there. Don’t think, feel.
Everything about this, it’s the climax of getter robo, it’s gritty, hot blooded and so inspiring it spawned TTGL. Everything from HEATS to the end credits, to the very last scene is absolute, 100% what anime SHOULD be like. It makes it really hard to justify this not being one of, if not my favorite anime of all time
The story itself can be a little confusing, but after watching and reading other parts of getter robo, things should fall into place for exactly what we have here. Every line of dialogue is memorable, and the characters are spot on. I cannot recommend Getter Robo enough, but don’t start with this one seeing as it’s the last part of the story.
38: Nurarihyon no Mago OVA
MAL Score: 7.71
The story begins at about 100 years after the disappearance of Otome Yamabuki, Rihan Nura’s first wife. Rihan has finally pulled himself together and his life returns to normal. As the head of the Nura Clan, he’s busy working on building a harmonious world for humans and youkais. One day, he sees Setsura being upset so he decides to cheer her up by taking the clan to go enjoy the hot spring where Setsura makes up her mind to tell Rihan that she met Otome once after she left him about 100 years ago. She tells him the message that Otome left for him and the truth is…?
Nurarihyon no Mago OVA are two special episodes produced by the animation studio, Studio DEEN to give viewers a look at a blast from the past. In general, it explores some history of a main character and what he’s been going through. It’s not easy considering there’s a secret and one that may change his outlook on others forever. Hence, begins a special presentation at our very special Rihan Nura, the second supreme commander and son of Nurarihyon and Youhime.
The OVA contains both sadness and comedy, mixed together in a little package of two episodes. For the humorous side, there is the onsen which spells out the fan-service part. In a typical manner, there’s the skin-ship and accidental glazes. However, it shifts to a more serious mood later on with doses of the past. As stated from the synopsis, there is a secret and one particular woman has the knowledge of it. When we look back into the past, there’s that certain feeling of realizing the revelation and how to take it in. For Rihan Nura, there’s a feeling of both shock and anger at the revelation. It’s not surprising considering what he has already gone through. In fact, his reaction easily allows viewers to visualize what he has been holding in his mind all this time. It’s a mixed package of all type of emotions for him.
For Nura clan though, there’s even more than meets the eye (literally as one of character from the first episode gets a freezing surprise to it). The past of Nurarihyon is indeed something fans may wonder about and luckily enough, the concept is touched up in these two episodes.
Other factors in the OVA still uses themes from the original series. Many of the supporting characters makes their cameos (some more noticeable than others) while there’s also the presence of the yokai. They are presented in the same way as supernatural beings. More importantly though, the OVA explores more of a particular character, a snowy yuki-ona whom is given a special task to accomplish. It’s humorous to watch especially with what she is instructed to do but at the same time, it’s Setsura who wants the best for her.
There’s still action in these episode especially in the later half although not as well presented as I had anticipated. More so though, there’s questions that I originally had but never seemed to got answers to. Among other factors, the artwork remains consistent enough with the original series. Nothing’s really changed and that sense of mixture of historical/fantasy themes are still within the episodes. The soundtrack/OST of this is not very noticeable with the follow up of rock like music near the endings. However, there’s still a sense of nostologia. It’s been years now since the original series have made it on screen and season 3 is still a question in some fan’s minds. Well, paint me curious but I’m hoping for a bright future to this series for a wrap up, just like for the clan of Nura.
Having the three of the Nura generation in 1 frame is just too good to watch. And hey, how could I forget Rihan’s love for Otome. My! I want a man like him!!!!
But I’m really curious who’s Tsurara’s father though. Also, the grandpa is one sleek one, it would be great to see more of him and the Princess Yo’s life together <3 [/collapse]
37: One Punch Man: Road to Hero
Japanese: ワンパンマン OVA「ロード トゥ ヒーロー」
MAL Score: 7.71
Before Saitama became the man he is today, he trained and fought endlessly to become a hero. While every scuffle leaves his tracksuit uniform in tatters, he always has it mended for free thanks to his local tailor. One day, however, the tailor informs him that he must close up shop due to pressure from a local gang. Saitama decides to help him out—and gains something irreplaceable in the process.
[collapse title=“Reviews1:”]One Punch Man: Road to Hero Review
Story (6/10) Fine
More Specifically (6.5/10)
The story for Road to Hero is simple and fine it’s basically showing the struggles Saitama had to go through back when we assuming he’s doing his Training through out the years he said he did to became the beast we all know him as and with the fact that he still has his hair this entire episode you can come to this conclusion fairly quickly. It also shows how he got his outfit and a couple of other interesting things.
Art and Animation (8/10) Very Good
The Art and Animation for this stand alone is very good it looks just as good as the other episodes. The isn’t anything high budget related taking place in this episode and barely any fights are even seen so barely anything high maintenance on the animation side of things where shown in the episode but like I said it looks identical to the other 12 episodes when nothing super crazy is happening so that fine by me.
Sound (8/10) Very Good
Same thing with this section everything sound very good, Opening and Ending are present no really differences between this and the 12 episodes everything is very good here too.
Characters (8/10) Very Good
This episode revolves around Saitama mostly and secondly his friend who creates the icon One Punch Man outfit for him. His character is very good as we see his struggles of keeping his store afloat good character development for the old geezer as he *SPOILER* ends up giving in to his age and the times for retirement.
Enjoyment (7/10) Good
Obviously the highest enjoyments when it comes to the series One Punch Man are the over the top and hype moments the series brings to the table, after that enjoyment lays on to the comedy aspect and then the actual story. So since this is based on Saitama before he went bald all the hype hype moments are really present for the episode. As for comedy there are a few funny moments in the episode but nothing that made me laugh my ass off like the other episodes. And so we are down to story and learning about what Saitama had to go through to get to where he his as far as his outfit and where he’s living is interesting and enjoying enough to an extent for one episode.
Overall (7/10) Good
More Specifically (7.50/10)
This was a good episode you can definitely consider this a flashback episodes which now these days aren’t really liked around here but it was good for what it was. Nothing too crazy and amazing but more on the funny/informational side of things when it came to One Punch man this is a good watch if you want to just know more about Saitama.
This is a standalone arc that offers some brief insight into Saitama and his humble beginnings. There isn’t nearly as much action in this OVA compared to the actual series, but the comedic moments are still present and the overall atmosphere of the One-Punch Man universe is well intact. I know that at the time of this writing the series hasn’t concluded, so this should be a nice treat to hold you (me) over until the next episode airs.
We don’t have people running around, screaming and flexing their muscles. Praising a show for a lack of things doesn’t get you anywhere though. That’s like praising a show for not having plot holes, or for not being racist.
The story is pointless. We learn how Saitama gets his suit, and there’s no satirical bite to how ridiculous heroes customes are. Saitama being appalled at a samurai custome is just one joke. The story is actually about going to beat up a bad guy who’s an asshole because he’s an asshole.
If that sounds like every other One Punch Man episode, that’s because it is. The difference between this OVA and the series is that Saitama has no characters to interact with. The series’ strength was that it gave the characters other traits than being powerful. Saitama is entertaining also because of his casual view of things, how he doesn’t pretend to be anything else than a hobbyist.
Without Genos to play off from, he doesn’t do much but beat up people. Our antagonist is as boring as they get. You think a series that wants to be wild and crazy would have interesting visual ideas. The antagonist is a dude with a fish-head and a BDSM outfit. This is less exciting than you think.
The world of fiction is full of quirky villains who end up more popular than the heroes. One Punch Man always failed in that department, and this OVA relies on the eventual conflict. Aside from seeing Saitama with hair and one punchline, this OVA has no reason to exist.
36: Noragami OVA
Japanese: ノラガミ OAD
MAL Score: 7.74
Hiyori Iki is excited to start high school alongside her two middle school friends, but “Delivery God” Yato seems to have other plans for the day. Will Hiyori be able to make a good impression on her first day? Or will Yato cost her a happy high school life?
On another day, Hiyori decides to take advantage of the beautiful weather and invites a number of people to gaze at the cherry blossoms, including the fearsome combat god, Bishamon. But how long will their blissful day last when Yato and his old rival Bishamon start to drink together?
Additionally you won’t be able to understand the deep meaning behind these scenes under the cherry tree.
As many over OVAs, this one, too, is aimed at the manga readers and not the anime audience.
It is a very precise adaption from the manga. This goes for both OVAs. They both take place between two arcs in the manga, thus there is no thick plot but instead they show hilarious scenes from the everyday lifes of the characters which sometimes have a deeper meaning if put into the correct context.
The art is as good in the OVAs as it is in the anime series.
No complaints here.
Opening and Ending are great, the voices fit the characters. The OST is used throughout the OVAs in a fitting way.
Well, I absolutely adore most of Noragami’s characters. They are very unique – which is shown best by Yato in these two twenty minute OVAs. Every action is just such a typical thing for him to do.
I’ve loved it in the manga and I still love these scenes in the OVAs. The Second OVA was hilarious but sad at the same time, considering the previous events.
It’s nearly perfect, but – as expected of an OVA – it does not have any real plot.
So, enjoy watching the Noragami OVAs, guys~
– Story (7.5/10):
Pretty decent side stories for fun, no particular big plot surprise or anything aside from containing spoilers of the first 6 episodes of Noragami Aragato.
The first OVA resolves around Yato taking over Hyori’s body while he goes into a carefree spree around her school doing all sort of stuff in her name, with the rest of the folks trying to stop him.
The second OVA contains some major spoilers, but let’s say the crew in its entirety goes on in a picnic, and have some actual fun until Yato pulls off a surprising highly-wished-for stunt.
– Art (8.0/10):
The same slick and smooth art style and animation from the first season, really, nothing too spectacular and beyond decent I’d say.
– Sound (8.0/10):
I’m more happy to hear the first season’s opening and ending theme songs, these OVA focused on a more comedic light hearted stuff, so there was no inclusion of the fantastic dark soundtrack, but the comedy makes up for that.
– Character (8.5/10):
I love the cast of these OVA, all lovable characters. and Hyori isn’t as annoying as people see here so often. Everybody was easy going and invested in the comedy, good days to remember.
– Enjoyment (9.0/10):
Ahh, the time went by like a fly, and that only happens when you’re having fun. I really liked these side stories and hopefully, I get to see more of these soon because nothing can make up for the sad fact of you ending a spectacular show like this than having to see some extras.
– Overall (8.2/10):
I could actually highly recommend watching these, not like most OVAs who provide dead content, these ones had a lot to offer, and I’m specifically talking about a certain moment on the second OVA, god bless.
The first episode just fucks up the series royally and after having watched the series it is hard to see that as canon.
The second episode is a bit better but in the end still feels off-canon and weird. Also, it includes spoilers since it skips quite a few volumes.
If you like Noragami, do yourself a favour and don’t watch this till you’ve watched everything else.
Since this review was supposedly still not long enough, I’ll have to write some more.
I really don’t understand for who the second episode of the OVA was meant for since it was in the middle of some situation which the viewer who came straight from the series wouldn’t know.
35: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
English: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
Japanese: 新機動戦記ガンダムW エンドレス ワルツ
MAL Score: 7.75
In the year After Colony 196, one year after the conclusion of the intergalactic civil war, a state of stasis prevails over the Earth and its colonies. Seeing no further use for their Gundam mobile suits, war heroes Duo Maxwell, Heero Yuy, Trowa Barton, and Quatre Raberba Winner decide to destroy these weapons by launching them into the sun’s surface.
Before the Gundam reach their destination, the universal peace is shattered by the emergence of Mariemaia Khushrenada—the only child of the former tyrannical aristocrat Treize. Mariemaia abducts diplomat Relena Peacecraft and announces plans to launch “Operation Meteor,” with the intention of posthumously fulfilling Treize’s world domination plot.
With the help of former enemy Zechs Marquise and his mobile suit Tallgeese, the heroic pilots must reacquire their mobile suits to wage one final battle against the Khushrenada dynasty, including fighting against their former ally Wufei Chang, now aligning himself with Mariemaia’s ambitions.
Story: It still holds onto that Gundam wing feeling, but with a faster sense of pace and scale. The reintroduction of the characters~ and transition between plots and battle are flawless. There is a higher feeling of "emotion" and drama than was in the original series~ possibly because the stakes feel alot higher.
While there are still politics, because ova’s are shorter they thankfully lessened its role in the story~ though there are several speeches it doesn’t mess up the pace of the story as much. The epic battles and character development are the high points of this series.
Art: It was improved greatly from the original series. The character designs and gundams feel much more crisp and detailed. Some of the gundams actually have additional accessories… while I don’t see much of a point of them Having "REAL" wings with feathers, and A cape… it does make them look really awesome=D
Sound: The sound still caries that "90’s" anime feel…but it was toned down a little. Both the opening and OST were superior to the series.
Character: Well… they’re the same old characters=D
There’s not much more that can be said about them if you’ve already seen the series, and I don’t recommend you watch the OVA’s before the series. But the only reason Gundam Wing is as popular as it is, is because the characters are very unique, fun, and developed. The OVA does show more into each of the characters past, and in the case of Trow~ his entire history is finally revealed.
Enjoyment: I remember watching this series for the first time on the edge of my seat through all 3 OVA’s. It just such an epic feeling for me, at that time this movie was just more astounding than watching Goku from DBZ go super saiyan for the first time (I was very young when I first saw gundam wing). Watching it again as an adult~ the enjoyment has not gone down after time. Its animation and story is not dated~ and it is far superior in plot, character, and battles of its predecessor Gundam Seed. (IMHO)
I’m a very picky grader~ but there is hardly any argument I can make against this OVA.
Naively, I thought Endless Waltz would be a huge improvement over the television series. I was right in part. The animation is fluid and impressive, the drawings are more detailed, and the Gundam designs are really impressive. The OVA gives the characters some much-needed context, and the OVA clarifies the television show’s themes of resistance against hegemony. But it’s still a narrative mess (I thought Zechs Marquise wanted to drop a colony on Earth – now he wants to stop Dekim Barton from doing the same thing?). It’s an improvement over the show, and it is definitely aesthetically pleasing and impressive. But the story is so incomprehensible and stupid, I couldn’t bring myself to like it, no matter how hard I tried.
34: Saint Seiya: Meiou Hades Meikai-hen
English: Saint Seiya: The Hades Chapter – Inferno
Japanese: 聖闘士星矢 冥王ハーデス冥界編
MAL Score: 7.75
Seiya and the rest of the Bronze and Gold Saints who have survived the Sanctuary battle have entered the world of the Dead. They are fighting to get to Hades and defeat him.
It of course picks up exactly where the Sanctuary oavs leave off. This time as opposed to the Gold Saints being the central focus, the main featured characters in this series are Seiya and Shun as well as one certain Gold Saint I can’t mention due to spoiler reasons in relation to the original TV series, though Hyoga and Shiryu aren’t exaclty useless, they are still busy fighting their battles respective battles. And Ikki is still rarely present, but whatever presence he has will be overly significant to what happens in this story. The newer main villains that were introduced in the last oav such as Rhadmantys, are now part of the battlefield as well as a handful of other new characters. And who are some of these new characters? I feel that you have to see it to find out who some of them are, but I can tell you that some of these characters are bad ass.
What also makes this story very great is that it expands the darker tone and atmosphere and still uses intriguing plot twists as it did in the Sanctuary Arc, but I thought what this installment offers I never saw coming many cosmos away. And the ending I thought was a very fitting and suited the themes of bravery, sacrafice, friendship, and brotherhood very well in the tradition of Saint Seiya.
Art and Animation
Well, the qualities that made the animation and coloring in the first oav is still present here. The lighting is still appropriate and I can’t say much. The only negative thing I can say about the animation are the dead bodies serving as slaves to Hades. They look super cheap as hell, but in the end, they really don’t matter.
The new characters featured are really breathtaking to watch. Granted the diversity of the design for some of the main villains is getting weak, they all have their own unique traits and techniques. The features of the armors are appropriate with the underworld-hell theme. And of course there will be some interesting gimmick characters, though these charcters were kind of done before, they were featured in fillers of the original series, but this time, the characters with this kind of gimmick are a Kurumada-sensei original and he adds his own unique detail and feature to it.
The quality of the action is still pretty awesome and the moves that will be demonstrated by the newer characters are very cool and the namings sound kind of weird, but this is one of those instances where such bizarre Engrish phrases can be sweet.
Music and Voice Acting
The most controversial thing about this anime is the changing of the seiyuus from the Bronze Saints and Athena. Apparently, Kurumada-sensei wanted to change everyone except Furuya Tooru because he thought they were too old for their roles, but the only exception is Suzuoki Hirotaka who passed away between the releases of the Sanctuary and Inferno oavs. I heard he especially wanted to change Shun’s original voice actor Horikawa Ryo. Furuya Tooru wanted everyone to stay aboard, and he decided to quit. The fans were very angry about this and tried to petition to Kurumada-sensei to not go with this change, and it got severe to the point where Kurumada-sensei got his legal team to speak on behalf of him to accept the changes.
As for the “too old excuse,” I think it’s flatout bullshit. Furuya Tooru still plays 15 year old Amuro in the new Gundam games and so on. Horikawa Ryo I thought still did an excellent job in playing Shun in the Sanctuary Chapter. I always loved the tone and the articulation he brought to the character. And I can’t speak much for Shiryu’s and Hyoga’s new seiyuus since they weren’t featured enough or gave a certain kind of performance in which I felt they could capture what I think is the essence of their characters. So who was replaced you might ask? Seiya is now played by Morita Masakazu, who might know as the voice of Kurosawa Ichigo from Bleach. But he was casted as Seiya because Kurumada-sensei had him casted as Takane Ryuuji, the main character in the anime adaptation of his first manga, Ring ni kakero. I can agree that Morita does sound appropriately youthful and brings a distinctive kind of energy to the role of Seiya in which it does suit his character, but I think he really lacks this dignified-heroic quality in his voice that Furuya Tooru has and I don’t think he comes across as leaderlike.
But the new voice actor who really won me over was Shun’s, Kazuya Yuuta. The performance that had me convinced was in the second episode about when he “testifies” to the judge about what sins he’s committed and how sin is natural in human nature for such and such reason. He really showed the emotion and compassion necessary that defines the Shun character and I was able to embrace him with that. The only problem I have with the voice is his pitch. It’s soft, but yet still high, while with the original performance by Horikawa, it had the low voice where you could tell that he was a man despite his very feminine appearence. Another performance I liked was Konishi Katsuyuki as Ikki. I thought he captured the character well in his own way by being the lone wolf who sticks out and being the “I do things my own way” kind of guy.
The new opening theme featured is Megami no Senshi by Marina Del Ray, who also sings Asu He No Toushi, the opening theme to Ring ni Kakero. The brief church organs that play is very dark and gets you hooked and then all of a sudden the guitars play and you see the saints running at the screen along with the title in the background and you got something that lives up to the original theme song, Pegasus Fantasy. In comaprison to that song, it’s still pretty sweet hard rock, but it has a certain kind of diversity with the intensity that it has with being gloomy, but yet there is still hope. The imagery, the panning, and the sound effects that go with the panning just add so much to it and I must say that the quality sometimes makes me argue with myself of which is the better theme song between the old and new one. So the opening theme itself is an instant winner.
The background music is actually still the same so I can’t say much about it that I haven’t already have said in my previous reviews.
This OAV will have you pumped up for the next oav and the true ending to the original manga of Saint Seiya. If you want plot twists, then you got what I think is one of the best plot twists in anime history
Whilst quickly going through many of the battles and several Celestial Star Spectres quickly being disposed of allows it to stand out and be less repetitive when it comes to combat with its side villains than the Poseidon Arc was, it also makes them a major disappointment when Terrestrial Star Spectres such as Myu proved a genuine threat to the Gold Saints. Instead of being a true step up in power, only the Judges, Pharaoh and Rhadamanthys’ underlings prove much of a genuine threat. The reveal of Shun’s secret was an interesting twist that explained how he survived his fatal battle with Aphrodite, but it came without foreshadowing from previous arcs and Ikki’s lack of knowledge on it was from as poor a plot device as amnesia. Beyond that, the plot was as typical of Saint Seiya Arcs.
It did have some interest in the setting with it being a mix of both the Greek Underworld and Hell as described in Dante’s Divine Comedy, which led to some nice creative liberties in locations and the theme of life being finite and thus precious was a decent way of making the idea of holding onto hope less generic than usual. However, the regular lives of the Spectres weren’t explored enough for the setting to be more than pretty backgrounds and the theme of hope and finite life weren’t explored too deep, just being a reiteration of Shaka’s words in the first act of this arc.
The characters at least make up for this somewhat. While most of the villains within the arc were bland loyal henchmen, Pharaoh at least had some goals beyond serving Hades that allowed him to at least be more engaging than most of the Marina from the previous arc. Hades also carried himself well in displaying the power of a God far better than Poseidon did in the previous arc where he was defeated twice by Gold Saints. As for the heroes, allowing Kanon and Orphe to have their moments to shine was a breath of fresh air after having two arcs of the Bronze Saints hogging all the glory and prevents it from becoming repetitive. Kanon VS Rhadamanthys also had some pretty good build up in the formation of a rivalry between them. Speaking of the Gold Saints such as Kanon, the ending of this 2nd act carries far more consequence and emotion than any of the previous arcs combined. That said, the character appeal is enough to even out the disappointing elements of the plot and make the writing for this arc average overall.
As for the more superficial elements, even these strong points for the series went a step below its predecessor. While the still pieces of art remain as good as prior, the animation became far more limited with many shots being reused constantly and character movement becoming far less fluid. Even the sound was a step down from before as while the soundtrack remains unchanged and as great as ever, the changes in several seiyuu such as all of the Bronze Saints was something that would be offputting for returning fans who had grown so accustomed to the iconic deliveries of Toru Furuya or Ryo Horikawa, especially when many of the seiyuu had yet to fully become accustomed to their roles.
That said, Inferno is a step down from Sanctuary, though still has it’s moments to warrant continuing the series to it’s climax.
I missed the second of the three installments under the “Hades” arc.
This time it was also entertaining, but I feel that its prequel is still a step higher than “Chapter – Inferno”, since although we have had good moments of drama as the final outcome with the sacrifice of the golden knights, and even history Orpheo. The battles themselves were not too memorable, I feel that the antagonists in this case the “ghosts” left much to be desired and did not give a great sense of danger or depth of characters, with the exception of Radamanthys who was one step above the others. judges of hell.
As for the staging, the art had good moments at the beginning, but already for the last chapters the quality declines enough to the point of having a certain deformity in the characters. On the contrary, the soundtrack continues to have the same charm as always and representative of this title, although its Opening left me to be desired for this occasion.
In short we are in the final stretch of history I hope the best for the closing of this series.
VERSION EN ESPAÑOL:
General: (7,55 / 10)
Se me fue la segunda de las tres entregas bajo el arco de “Hades”.
En esta ocasión también fue entretenida, pero siento que su precuela sigue estando un escalón mayor que “Chapter – Inferno”, ya que si bien hemos tenido buenos momentos de drama como el desenlace final con el sacrificio de los caballeros dorados, e inclusive la historia de Orpheo. Las batallas en si no fueron demasiado memorables, siento que los antagonistas en este caso los “espectros” dejaron bastante que desear y no dieron gran sensación de peligro o profundidad de personajes, exceptuando un poco a Radamanthys que estuvo un escalón por encima de los demás jueces del infierno.
En cuanto a puesta en escena, el arte tuvo unos buenos momentos al comienzo, pero ya para los últimos capítulos decae bastante la calidad al punto de tener cierta deformidad en los personajes. Por el contrario la banda sonora sigue teniendo el mismo encanto de siempre y representativo de este titulo, aunque su Opening me dejo que desear para esta ocasión.
En fin estamos en la recta final de la historia espero lo mejor para el cierre de esta serie.
33: Shingeki no Kyojin: Lost Girls
English: Attack on Titan: Lost Girls
Japanese: 進撃の巨人 LOST GIRLS
MAL Score: 7.79
Wall Sina, Goodbye
Annie Leonhart has a job to do—and a resulting absence that must stay off her record at all costs. With no one else to turn to, she asks her comrade Hitch Dreyse to cover for her. She agrees but puts forward a single condition: Annie must solve the fruitless missing person case Hitch was assigned. The case revolves around Carly Stratmann, a university graduate and the daughter of wealthy businessman Elliot Stratmann. With only a single day to solve the case and the underground of the Stohess District crawling with thugs, Annie must put her all into finding this girl. Yet, every answer she uncovers only leads to further questions—how has the illegal drug coderoin found its way to Stohess, what is Elliot hiding, and where has Carly disappeared to?
Lost in the Cruel World
With worry for Eren Yeager gripping her heart, Mikasa Ackerman begins to remember. She remembers her conversations with Armin Arlert, her concern for her friends, and most painfully, the time she had almost lost everything. As fear takes control, she begins to experience an alternate version of her past—some things can be changed, but are there events so inescapable that she can’t even prevent them in her dreams?
And with no stretching up, both characters have their ups and downs. Shingeki no Kyojin: Lost Girls made a huge contribution to this debate while it focuses on Mikasa and Annie on a deeper scale, presenting more information on their past and rendering them as human beings with their own dreams, motivations, and fears.
– Story (7.5/10):
Spanning 3 episodes, Shingeki no Kyojin: Lost Girls dedicates the first two for Annie, a character that we haven’t seen much of, especially on the last seasons (2 and 3 as of now), which was a total let down. The one shot takes place the day before her exposal for the titan she is, peaking on her daily routine, and it just happens to be an interesting case where she has to look for some rich man’s missing daughter. They did a great job not only showing the soft and actual human part of Annie but also gave us a glimpse of the thug life on the lawless streets of Wall Maria. It seems the world inside is even more corrupt and rotten than the other side of the walls, and having a fragile girl (as she referred to herself while fighting Eren on some training flashback) take over a case that would normally exceed the qualities of a rookie such as herself puts her at a real-world challenge, both morally and faithfully. The two first episodes flow nicely and fast until you realize you already made it to the third and last episode, which is centered about Mikasa as she pictures what it would have been like if her mother and father weren’t assassinated, would she still have met Eren? would they still be that close of friends? It was a bit messy and complicated if you don’t pay enough attention as they timeline conflicts can really confuse you, I didn’t sign up for Steins;Gate class complicated shows, but I was shocked nevertheless.
– Art (7/10):
The animation in Attack on Titan was always a core key, and a great one might I add. Everybody would go praising how fluid and fantastic the visuals are, but honestly, not so much with this one. And I can excuse that for there were minimal action scenes to focus on. The art style was normal, but well maintained and consistent throughout the OVA, never lazy or blunt. I would argue that the “No Regrets” OVA had better flexing on the animation, but that’s another talk for another day. But don’t give up, the two or three satisfying punches do take a thing or two from that glorious cake of an animation.
– Sound (7.5/10):
I really appreciate their choice of ending theme songs, the first two, there was an original ending song with both visuals and sound, focusing of course on Annie and her outsider friends. But what really added nostalgia to the mix was the return of the fantastic ending theme song of Mikasa from the first season of the parent series. The voice acting was great, again, Attack On Titan’s cast was always great on this one. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any opening theme song to start off the hype, but it isn’t always necessary.
– Character (8.0/10):
This is what kept the OVA going, Annie had some great focus, the spotlight brought out the best out of her and gave us some deep insight into her life, and some sneaky peaks on her backstory. Before this, I really didn’t give Annie many credits and wasn’t even one of my top favorite characters in the series, but this was a rank-changer for her to me. Unfortunately, Mikasa’s episode wasn’t as deep as Annies, it didn’t add anything special, to be honest, we already knew plenty about her, she only seemed to display even more affection to Eren.
– Enjoyment (7.0/10):
Most definitely, my second favorite OVA of the series after “No Regrets”, I enjoyed the heck out of what Annie had to offer, but not much with Mikasa’s. There are in fact few intriguing moments with Mikasa, making her as sort of having some mysterious supernatural powers, they did it before and here they are back with it strong.
– Overall (7.4/10):
If you’re either of both characters fan (which you should be), you should give this a try, especially for you Annie lovers, it’s for her, more than a just irrelevant episode because they manage to tell more about her than the entire series did so far.
I enjoyed Annie’s story much more than Mikasa’s (even if Mikasa is my favorite character.) Annie’s story felt closer to something Isayama would write. I think the author successfully fit in a short story between major canon events and kept Annie’s character true to her nature. The two episodes given to her surely helped. Obviously, with the same artwork, voice actors, and music, it by all means feels like an Attack on Titan episode. The “Call Your Name” girl version ending was well done and a delightful tribute.
It is Mikasa’s story that I am a bit more disappointed with. Her story is reduced to one episode, and it shows, as the pacing is more rushed. That being said, I don’t enjoy Mikasa’s story much to begin with. It is not a story placed in between canon events like Annie’s, but rather an alternative universe headcanon that only exists to show again and again Mikasa’s undying loyalty toward Eren. It is unfortunate to see that, considering she is my favorite Attack on Titan character. I would’ve enjoyed a story similar to Annie’s for her, or better yet, at least see her also given two episodes for a proper adaption of her story.
Lost Girls, while including two well-known female characters from the franchise, is obviously not on par with actual Attack on Titan episodes. That being said, it was still enjoyable seeing these characters in action in something different from canon, and with the continuity of the artwork, voice actresses, and soundtrack, it still manages to be a pretty enjoyable OVA for the franchise.
The first two episodes of the OVA follow everyone’s second favourite Titan shifter, Annie, as she tries to solve a case about a missing rich girl so that her roommate will give her an opening to capture Eren. So, this is just before episode 17 of the anime. We get some glimpses into her past, her relationship with her father and how she trained.
The third episode focuses on Mikasa during the battle of Trost when she believed Eren was dead. So, really early in the anime. It basically goes into her head and her private fantasy of a world where she might be able to be with her adoptive brother. Sweet Home Alabama intensifies.
The two episode Annie story is really well done. It’s compelling. Her investigation is interesting. It gives you a strong sense of her life in the Capital and her motivations.
The Mikasa episode, in contrast, is mediocre at best. It’s basically her getting into her own head and finding nothing of value. It could have been an opportunity to explore her relationship with her parents and regrets over losing them so young, but them being alive in her little fantasy is solely incidental and you barely see her interact with them. It’s not interesting and it doesn’t add anything because it’s basically nothing in terms of the larger narrative and all it does is repeat what we already know about her character, or lack thereof.
Annie really benefits from her story in this. We get to see facets of her personality that are normally hidden beneath her cold, collected exterior. We get a stronger sense of her motivations and how her upbringing helped turn her into the woman we see in the series proper.
Mikasa’s episode just highlights what a bland trope of a character she is. Which is unfortunate because this was an opportunity for her to be more than a generic action girl with a fixation on the hero who happens to be her adopted brother that makes her emotionally vulnerable. But that’s literally all her episode focuses on. This is why Mikasa is rubbish.
You have to give Wit credit. They make this franchise in general look fantastic. The varied character designs look really good. The action flows well. Annie actually looks adorable when she eats a doughnut for the first time. And yes, it is an actual doughnut and not a misidentified rice ball. 4Kids doesn’t even exist any more.
Shimamura Yuu and Kitanishi Junko both give strong performances. Even Ishikawa Yui does well voicing Blanda. Certainly better than you would expect given the lack of character. The music is strongly composed.
There really isn’t any. Christa and Ymir aren’t in this with their adorable interactions. Neither are Levi and Erwin with their weird way of flirting that makes it clear they’ll never admit they’re flirting.
Areas of Improvement:
1. This OVA would be better without the Mikasa episode.
2. If you must have an episode about Mikasa, at least give it some narrative or character significance. A story from her childhood that somewhat elevates her as a character so she’s less boring. Or an aside about her activities during, before or after a battle that we didn’t see before.
3. Stop pushing the idea of Mikasa and Eren as romantic interests. I get that Mikasa was adopted into Eren’s family when she was nine and not born into it but that’s still enough to make it creepy.
Honestly, I would give the Annie episodes a solid 8/10 by themselves. The problem is that I also have to factor in the Mikasa episode, which is a 5/10, if I’m feeling generous. So, averaging it out, the OVA gets a 7/10. If you’re thinking about watching it, I do recommend the first two episodes if you’ve seen the first series of the anime or more. But I’d skip the Mikasa episode completely because it’s literally nothing.
32: Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari
English: Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar
MAL Score: 7.80
Kenshi Masaki has been kidnapped and brought to the world of Geminar by a mysterious group. To get back home, he agrees to help them assassinate the newly crowned empress of the Shtrayu Empire, Lashara Aasu XXVIII, using a giant robot called a Sacred Mechanoid.
As her army fights them off, Lashara takes note of Kenshi’s abilities and demands that her attacker be captured alive, only to find out that the pilot is male which is extremely rare on Geminar. Believing it to be a waste to kill him, she makes Kenshi her attendant.
As the empress’ new servant, Kenshi is required to accompany Lashara to the Holy Land, an academy where Sacred Mechanoid pilots hone their skills. His arrival attracts attention, but Kenshi is unaware that something sinister is brewing within the academy and it could plunge the entire world into war.
The overall story line of this anime starts a bit stereotypical, but the development is excellent.
Not to mention that the main character is an overall bad ass with a kind, although a little too innocent, heart.
Although sometimes a little cliche, this anime is found very enjoyable and one is left with other regret there is not more of it!
As a personal bit: WAHANLY IS THE BEST! 😛
Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari was my first time watching an OVA series that comes out every month rather than every week. As such, I was not prepared for the gnawing impatience I felt at the end of every episode.
At first I wasn’t really absorbed with this series and just started watching it while waiting for one of my downloads to finish. However as the1st episode progressed, I slowly found myself getting drawn into the story. The basic storyline wasn’t anything new. It had the same premises as some other fantasy series with the main character getting thrown into an unknown world in order to fight the villain. However the other elements of the series helped bring the story to life.
I thought that the art was very well done and really brought out the attractive aspects of nature and the wild. While watching Kenshi out in the open, I found myself wishing to be in his shoes in order to feel the wind in my face and the grass beneath my feet.
The op and ed for this series wasn’t anything too special. Both pieces of music fit the series and was enjoyable to listen to. However they weren’t anything people would go nuts about. The voice acting for this series was well done. All the voice actors brought their characters to life and carried the characters’ feeling across to the viewer.
Being of the harem genre, the female characters were very diverse in terms of personality and looks. However unlike other harem series, I actually found myself liking all of the main female cast. Many series have at least one female lead who I just can’t stand, whether it’s because they’re all whiny because they can’t get their feelings across or because they’re insecure about themselves. In this series I found myself laughing at all the comedic situations between the female characters and Kenshi and didn’t find myself displeased one bit.
Kenshi was also another reason why I enjoyed this series. (Maybe it’s because I recently started watching School Days and quickly got tired of Makoto’s unappealing character.) Anyhow I really enjoyed Kenshi’s confident and bright personality. He started out in the story as a strong protagonist and ended the story as a strong protagonist. He didn’t really have to grow in character because he was already a likable character from the beginning.
With many harem series, I usually find myself cursing at the last episode if it ends in an open ending. However with this series I thought that the ending actually fit and didn’t resent the producers for not choosing a concrete female lead for Kenshi to end up with. This is probably because romance was not the main point of the series. You could tell that many of the female cast had feelings for Kenshi but the way the story unfolded, you never really expected for Kenshi to become lovey doey. This series was mainly focused on the comedic situations between Kenshi and the other characters with the mecha fighting thrown in as a bonus.
This series was very enjoyable for me to watch and I never felt like skipping ahead in any of the episodes. Rather, I felt that the episodes were too short as I wanted to see more of Kenshi. Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari was a great series for me and I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone to watch it
This does contain some spoilers, but it will not impact the series in any way. Anyone who has not watched this should not have a problem with the spoilers as it does not reveal any plot twists, etc(except episode 1, but what the hell, it’s episode one haha).
The graphics and battles were top notch. However, the entire series was literally a land fill of fillers all the way until at least episode 9. Episodes 2-9 were just Kenshi meeting girls and getting into harem themed situations. Granted the situations were funny at times, it got repetitive, dragged out and ultimately ruined the entire series for me.
All the plot holes also tested my patience with this anime. I never drop animes but this one seriously had me contemplating on it. An example would be why? Why is the Holy Island getting attacked? Because of your ‘ideologies’? Would you at least take some time to tell us instead of bombarding us with panties and breasts? Also, as would be expected, no one dies in this anime. They just keep on coming back and back and back and back.
Another one would be that the timing on the music is horrible. Though the music (BG music) itself is not bad, the timing is horrible. Did I just say that twice? Well let me say it again. The timing is absolutely horrible in this. I could tell when they tried to make a ‘situation’ seem serious or dire only to be ruined by the music. An example of this would be on episode 13 when the students of the Holy Island are trying to take back the land. There’s some fluffly music playing that could easily be used during one of Kenshi’s Harem situations. Everyone is laughing and having a good time even though it’s the last episode. Instead of laughing and smilling, at least try and keep a serious face.
I can say after finishing this OVA series that there was literally no character development. The only ‘development’ I saw throughout were characters becoming tsundere and just becoming an outright harem.
For me, the only time this anime for me gave off a sense of seriousness was when Kenshi’s seikijin went black and white and went berserk. That and in the beginning of episode 1 when Kenshi was on the swan trying to kill that princess. Not even the climax could be taken seriously. Kenshi wasn’t even breathing hard during the final battle even though Gaia was many times stronger then him and he wasn’t even trying his hardest until Chiaia threatens to take away his gems??? What the hell? He had a harder time compressing his sword then fighting Gaia. Mediocre until the very end.
After the Holy island is taken over, for some reason NO ONE cares that all their material possessions, everything they’ve owned is being pillaged by the thieves and all they care about is catching Kenshi’s attention and being infatuated with him. Completely ridiculous. I know this is an anime, but can you at least make an attempt in trying to make the situations they’re in at least seem realistic, having some type of impact on the characters?
This anime, barely being able to keep my attention I may have skipped on some points but I’m pretty sure I nailed the major flaws in this anime. Giving this anime even a 5 would be too much. I rated this a 2, which seems just about right when the plot is a complete mess, riddled with plot holes and too many fillers. I seriously can not recommend this to anyone. However, if you’re into harems and don’t give a damn about plots or character development, then go ahead and watch this train wreck of an anime.
31: Saiyuuki Reload: Burial
Japanese: 最遊記RELOAD -burial-
MAL Score: 7.81
Taking place in the past it offers a view at the Saiyuuki quartet before their formation and their journey to the west. First OVA starts with Sanzo and his master, also with Ukoku (known as a later Ni Jianyi). Second OVA shows first meeting of Goku and Sanzo. Third OVA considers the events after Hakkai’s sins and his trial (that we know from first season of “Saiyuuki”) and his decision to live in Gojyo’s house.
And if you’ve seen the other three seasons, then don’t go into Burial expecting the light-heartedness and filler that the other seasons were. Burial is very dark, and the light moments are very scarce.
Also, SHOUNEN AI hints. Nothing too bad, but it’s definitely noticeable.
Story: The regular story of Saiyuki is based on Xi You Ji — or, Journey to the West, as known in English. It is an ancient Chinese folktale about a monk, a Kappa [water sprite], a pig demon, and the monkey king going on a journey to India to stop the evil Gyumao.
Saiyuki Burial is the prequel to Gensoumaden Saiyuki, and focuses on how all of the characters met each other, and their relationships.The first OVA focuses on Genjyo Sanzo, the priest in question, as a child. His adoptive father meets a young priest named Ken’yuu that is trying to become a Sanzo Priest (As Sanzo is the title of the highest ranking priest).
The second OVA focuses on a grown-up version of Sanzo, and how he is hearing a mysterious “voice” calling him. He follows the voice to a mysterious mountain far, far away that all of the villagers say that there is, supposedly, a monster sealed up there.
The third, and final OVA, deals with Hakkai and Gojyo. Hakkai is known as a “sinner” for reasons I won’t explain, and Gojyo is a half-breed; half demon, and half human. He has crimson hair and eyes, as all halfbreeds do. He finds an injured Hakkai on the road and takes him in. Then, a year later, an old room mate named Banri appeares….
Art: Compared to Gensoumaden, Reload, and Gunlock, the art was beautiful. I really enjoyed it, especially the shading. It took me by complete surprise.
Sound: I enjoyed the opening song; it fit the theme of the show very well. It was very eerie and it really set my hopes high for the show. The music was eerie when it needed to be, and it helped set the theme of the show.
Enjoyment: I’ve loved these characters for a long time, and although I read OVA2 and OVA3 in the manga, I enjoyed it very much. I always thought it was such a shame that the art was awful in Gesoumaden (Due to its age; it’s rather old), and it really didn’t do the characters justice. I enjoyed learning about Ken’yuu and how he knew Koumyou (As it was hinted throughout the previous seasons), and little Goku tagging along after Sanzo like a lost puppy was just too adorable NOT to love. Hakkai being jealous over Banri was adorable, too.
Overall: Overall, I enjoyed these OVAs and I’m hoping that they will redo Gensoumaden in this art style. I enjoyed re-connecting with the characters and I DEFINITELY recommend this to any Saiyuki fan. After all, kid!Goku is FAR too cute to pass up. :]
Main Characters: Genjo Sanzo, Son Goku, Cho Hakkai, Sha Gojyo
Story: 8/10 – since this will basically be an “introduction” before the Journey to the West, i believe that they did a pretty good job… i must admit i got confused at first since the Sanzos kinda looked the same and the names are pretty difficult to remember (with all those Sha-Cho-Kyo)… i would’ve liked it better if it was extended to at least 5 episodes… the Genjo Chapter was very detailed… it really focused on our blonde priest and his backgound… I was still moved by the Son Goku Chapter and i actually pitied the poor ‘lil monkey… the Hakkai and Gojyo Chapter was rushed, unfortunately…
Art: 7/10 – this was too sharp for my taste since i did not particularly like the long faces… the most weird part for me is that Gojyo’s eyes can be seen behind his red/purple hair… also, characters kinda looked the same… where’s the originality?
Sound: 6/10 – i’ll give this a 6… i did not like the OP/ED songs… BG music is just okay, if there was one…
Characters: 8/10 – loved the character development for Genjo and Goku… i wished they could have done the same with Hakkai and Gojyo… though, if my memory serves me right, Hakkai’s story will be in JttW so i guess that would make it redundant… i like the Genjo-Goku “father and son” relationship… i’ve always wanted to see Hakkai fight w/o his limiters but i was disappointed again… Gojyo for me is still the weakest of them all and he is my least favorite…
Enjoyment/Overall: 8/10 – after i was done wrapping my head around the priests’ names, the faces, and all, i actually enjoyed watching Saiyuki again…
Not really sure if I would be recommending this to people who haven’t heard of JttW… I guess for the Saiyuki fans, yes… maybe for those interested in seeing a gun-totting priest and his 3 youkai friends, then by all means, pick this up since it will give a new light to the JttW TV series… 🙂
30: Kubikiri Cycle: Aoiro Savant to Zaregototsukai
English: The Kubikiri Cycle
Japanese: クビキリサイクル 青色サヴァンと戯言遣い
MAL Score: 7.81
Due to a mysterious disease, the genius Iria Akagami has been forced by her family to stay in a mansion on the isolated Wet Crow’s Feather Island with only a handful of maids. To keep herself entertained, Iria invites a variety of fellow geniuses to stay as guests in her home, including computer savant Tomo Kunagisa and her unnamed assistant, skilled fortune-teller Maki Himena, famous artist Kanami Ibuki, academic scholar Akane Sonoyama, and renowned cook Yayoi Sashirono.
These visits progress as normal until one of the guests is found gruesomely murdered in the night without a single clue as to the identity of the killer or a possible motive. Tensions rise between those on the island as the killer remains at large, and Tomo’s assistant takes it upon himself to uncover the culprit’s identity before the murderous events progress any further.
Little of significance happens during this time: character introductions interspersed with surreal ‘SHAFT-ness’ (this should be coined as a word if it hasn’t already) and philosophical discussions about the meaning of life and why the protagonist is apparently such a big fat loser. Cool, so everyone is a weirdo, and the setting makes no sense, but why are we supposed to care, again? I expect most people who are not already fans of Nisio Isin or SHAFT anime will lose interest somewhere during this time and potentially drop the series altogether.
Which would be a mistake, because the third to eighth episodes are an absolute joy to watch, and constitute some of the best content SHAFT has produced in years.
Zaregoto (Kubikiri Cycle) is, rather, a murder-mystery anime, which those familiar with the Danganronpa series will find quite similar. The unnamed protagonist, trapped on a solitary island with a dozen others, must wrack his brain to solve a bizarre string of seemingly impossible murders. The natural response would be to call the authorities and let the professionals do their job, but circumstances prevent the police from being called to the island. And so begins a traditional battle of logic: the construction of alibis, theories to be argued out, and proof to be sought— and sought desperately.
Those well-versed in the mystery genre will find it relatively easy to work out the culprit’s identity via the clues left behind, but the actual process through which the murders are committed, and especially the culprit’s motives, are a bit harder to predict, if largely because they contain elements that would be implausible in an actual real-life incident. So, if being surprised by absurd events is more entertaining to you than an ordinary, realistic murder case, you will be in for a fun little ride. And conversely, those seeking something plausible will be a bit more exasperated. But I am not sure you would be coming to a SHAFT anime in the first place if you were expecting realism. I mean, hell, in the final episode, with 200 cars exploding into an atomic-bomb sized ball of fire, directly behind the characters during their peaceful car drive, with them not so much as even acknowledging it (what?), it became clear to me that this show ain’t based in our universe. The SHAFT universe is indeed a strange one.
If surreal artwork and mystery was all Zaregoto had going on, perhaps it would merely be an average, albeit fun series. The debates between the characters at the round-table aren’t particularly compelling, with the protagonist and his opponents simply going through the motions of a mystery story: a theory and an inevitable rebuttal. Compared to the Danganronpa games, which made things much more complex and interesting by means of characters speaking in red herrings and complete untruths (even when they are innocent and have nothing to be gained from lying), in Zaregoto’s case, there just isn’t a whole lot to applaud.
So it’s a good thing there is more to Zaregoto than mystery. The frequent philosophical discussions between the protagonist and his opponents, characteristic of Nisio Isin’s catalogue, make even the moments where the story is at a standstill a pleasure to watch and listen to. There are a couple scenes that veer towards preachy or even arrogant territory (“this is my, Nisio Isin’s, way of thinking, and other perspectives on life do not and cannot exist”), and a scene involving one of the maids uttering the most disparaging comments that could possibly be uttered to another human being (ending in them, literally, no joke, telling the protagonist he should kill himself), when said maid has only known the protagonist for a grand total of three effin’ days, was quite… nay, extremely uncomfortable to watch. But by and large, the philosophical discussions in Zaregoto add an extra bit of flair, a more cerebral quality that many anime lack, even if the themes of these discussions aren’t necessarily new or profound.
With a dozen characters and only eight episodes (and constituting only the beginning of a much larger light novel series), naturally, the characters are developed to wildly varying extents, with some being relegated to the sidelines and existing as little more than one or two-note tropes. The cook, Yayoi, is particularly guilty of this, being some incredible genius in the kitchen and capable of differentiating hundreds of thousands of tastes (how the heck do you even count that in the first place?), yet we see nothing of her cooking or her character besides her blowing her gasket at one point before withdrawing to the shadows again. Maki, defined largely by her love for wine and her verbal abusing the protagonist, is perhaps the most mature and intriguing member of the cast, which makes it a shame how little was seen of her. Instead, we get to see Tomo a million times… cute she is— especially in her twintail incarnation— but ‘cute shut-in savant girl’ is a trope I’ve seen seen more times in anime than I want to. The unnamed protagonist— or Ii-chan, I guess we could call him as Tomo does— is unsurprisingly the one with the most depth, a sort of darkness, a depressive nature hidden inside him that is teased but little revealed throughout the series. Mature and logical, he stands his ground in arguments, keeping his emotions tucked away inside himself. Though I wouldn’t go as far as to claim him ‘fun’ or ‘likeable’, he’s completely inoffensive and is one of the more compelling protagonists anime’s mystery genre has birthed.
Yes, Zaregoto looks, sounds, and feels like a typical SHAFT anime, a visual cross between Madoka and the Monogatari series. Surreal artwork, embracing style over realism, is ever-present, particularly in the final episode which is SHAFT cranked up to eleven and completely and entirely visually incomprehensible. The surreal artwork coheres with the story, considering the ridiculous supernatural skills most of the characters possess, but at times the artistic and sound design becomes overbearing. No, the characters do not need to do the trademark SHAFT head-tilt, and no, we don’t need the protagonist’s inner monologues sounding like he is talking in the bathroom of some abandoned house. It’s as if SHAFT is incapable of letting go, of letting the story take the lead and the artwork being complimentary, as it should in Zaregoto’s case. There’s an almost arrogant nature here, and, honestly, after over a decade of the same thing, it’s about time the studio experiments with a new artistic style. But, yes, look and sound pretty Zaregoto does, especially with its background music and tight transitioning between opening sequence and story.
Zaregoto is a thoroughly enjoyable, if unfortunately brief experience. It is also obscure: obscure in the sense that mainstream audiences— those who are not active fans of Nisio Isin or SHAFT— will not be aware of its existence. It is, after all, an OVA series. It didn’t air on TV. It is an adaptation of a series already fifteen years old. It went straight to disc, the only choice being to buy it or not. In Japan, where streaming services and illegal downloading aren’t half as much a thing as they are in the west, this has made Zaregoto completely and utterly impenetrable to newcomers.
And that’s unfortunate, because Zaregoto deserves to be watched.
Zaregoto is a Nisioisin show. Who ever told you it was a mystery probably told you PMMM is a kids show, and Shokugeki No Soma is a cooking manga. Bottom line, if you like that Nisioisin flavor you’re gonna like this OVA, if you don’t, well, at least ep. 7 has a beautifully animated scene directed by Akiyuki Shinbo that’s worth the 8 ep. price of admission.
Without reading any of the other reviews I can tell you what they’re gonna say. Zaregoto is a slow build. The main character is an edgelord. It’s a little bit too much of a stale whodunnit? without a sense that something tangible is at stake. Yeah, forget that noise. Like Monogatari, the big flashy genre set-pieces are sideshows, the character drama is the main event. All the mansions and murders and mauve color palettes only really matter to the extent that they give us greater insight into the characters themselves, the demons they’re wrestling with, and whether or not they can actually overcome them. Deep breath. So yeah, the story starts with a lot of talking heads and not a lot of lopping heads. That’s the point. When the characters and the hidden forces that drive them are the meat of the story its natural to spend 2-3 episodes listening to them subtly unveil the workings of their inner psyche. Of course, this is what makes Boku (MC-kun) seem like a member of the edge nobility. You already know him, he’s the world-weary hoodie-donning teenager who abuses his privilege as narrator to preach his profound-as-a-puddle philosophy of not caring. Thankfully the show knows better. Half the fun of Zaregoto is watching the people around him pick away at his shell. He’s a moaner, but he’s not trash. You genuinely hope he’ll evolve into a better person by the end of the series.
What are you waiting for? I gave you the bottom line in the first paragraph. Stop reading reviews and just go watch the thing!
While I don’t like how pretentious saying this sounds, I still have to say it:
This isn’t some ‘Whodunnit’-rhomp you can watch after work or school while being half asleep. To truly get most out of it, I recommend really focusing on it as much as possible.
That, or get drunk and enjoy the pretty pictures and lovely sound.
I’ve been guilty of that too occassionally.
Now on to what you can actually expect.
Zaregoto is a character study donning the guise of a murder mystery, with some good indulgent waifu material, as is Nisioisin’s law.
Now, one could say that this sounds a lot like the Monogatari series, which is also a character study pretending to be a ‘Girl-of-the-week’ harem, but there’s differences beyond the genre.
While The Kubikiri Cycle certainly has a good cast of characters, the main developmental focus is actually cast on our protagonist, Boku (or refferred to as Ii-Chan, by his friend Tomo), which alludes to the entire story being told in his perspective, as it was in the novel. Not once does anyone actually say his name.
Throughout the story, the anime touches on themes such as one’s place in the world as well as society, the blessings and curses that come with being a genius/savant, one’s calling in life, the dependancy upon other people and lots of other tough to swallow subjects you’d probably rather hear about in school than anime.
I’d say, though, that it’s precisely what’s so interesting about this OVA. You can easily read into it as much as you want, you can just enjoy this as a surface level murder-mistery (even if it falls a bit flat on that level) or you could even get an epiphany and become the next Buddha.
We’re not quite sure yet if Nisioisin is that smart or if he’s just good at pretending to be smart.
Anyway, if that managed to catch your interest, I’ll now cut to the dry part of my review and talk about the subcategories specifically. Ready? Cause I aint.
As alluded to before, the actualy murder mystery is quite solid. Nothing amazingly new, but it utilizes the classic ‘Locked Room’ mystery quite well.
It also doesn’t fall into the more modern trap of not actually giving the audience the hints they need to figure stuff out themselves.
You’ll know as much as the protagonist, guaranteed.
One thing to be critiqued especially, is that the entire cast sometimes just doesn’t think about something every person who’s familiar with mysteries would think about. People lying about alibis? The murderer didn’t act alone? The persone we think is suspicious doesn’t actually have a decent motive?
Yeah, it’ll take a while, if at all, for the cast to even consider these questions at times.
Still, solid like I said, and it’s more of a vehicle to make our characters encounter new experiences and question themselves, so it’s not key to the enjoyment.
This is highly subjective, but I’m a sucker for Shaft’s Monogatari-style directing, which they heavily used for this title. Head-tilts, eye close-ups, supremely intricate and beautiful backgrounds, colour-shifts, it’s all here.
Even without the directing though, I think it’s needless to say that the art is just extremely nice.
I’ve heard people say that the characters look a bit too ‘plastic-y’ at times thanks to the lighting, which I think is a fair point, but I can’t say that I dislike it.
The sounds was for me, especially in the first few episodes, phenomenal in complimenting the atmosphere. It constantly creates an atmosphere of unease even before the murder(s) and keeps you on your toes.
As the episodes went on, however, I noticed the soundtrack less and less. Not that it ever got bad, just not as obviously good as before.
I’ll have to note though, that this might be because I binged the series, so maybe I just lost focus as time went on.
Shoutout to both OP and ED, as they’re really good songs.
Usually, on any other Nisioisin production, this is where I’d praise him for cleverly subverting character stereotypes, but with Zaregoto I really need to commend him on writing characters that complement his main goal, which is to explore Boku (and to a lesser extent Tomo) as characters.
Every character pretty much stays true to what you’d think they’d be like. But only in this circle of very defined and rigid characters can an undefined character like our protagonist truly shine.
In that sense, I can see how giving this section a 10 could be controversial, as I’m praising the choice and usage of characters, and not the characters themselves.
If it’s any comfort, can I say that I really liked all of the characters, both personality and design? Especially my girl; sleazy, drunkard fortune teller, Maki Himena.
I really shouldn’t have written all the stuff before my ratings, as it’d fit better in here, now that I think about.
Trying to find any closing words, I’d have to go with the following:
If you enjoy the idea of analyzing something again and again, and want to see just how far anime as a medium can be pushed, then you’ll really like the Monogatari Series.
And if that’s too much time investment or a bit too big of a plunge (or I guess you already consumed everything Monogatari, but want more), then watch this OVA, cause it’s a great start to Nisio’s writing and Shaft’s directing while not outstaying its welcome.
29: Giant Robo the Animation: Chikyuu ga Seishi Suru Hi
English: Giant Robo the Animation: The Day the Earth Stood Still
Japanese: ジャイアントロボ THE ANIMATION 地球が静止する日
MAL Score: 7.82
In a future to come humanity enjoys a new age of prosperity thanks to Dr. Shizuma’s invention of a revolutionary renewable energy source: the Shizuma Drive. But this peace is threatened by Big Fire, a cabal seeking world domination. Against Big Fire the International Police Organisation dispatches a collection of superpowered warriors and martial artists, together with Daisaku Kusama, inheritor and master of Earth’s most powerful robot, Giant Robo.
By capturing an abnormal Shizuma Drive which is essential to Big Fire’s plans the IPO ignites a desperate conflict between the two groups. The coming battle will test Daisaku’s resolve to the utmost, reveal the ghastly truth behind the creation of the Shizuma Drive, and bring human civilization to its knees!
Giant Robo is a character-driven adventure in a retro-futuristic setting, drawing on influences from opera, kung-fu cinema, wuxia stories and classic mecha anime. It incorporates characters from the works of the manga author Mitsuteru Yokoyama but it is designed to be a stand-alone story.
A recipe for disaster? One would normally think so, but Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still defies all expectations to that end.
The brainchild of Yokoyama Mitsuteru (Tesujin 28-go, Babel II, Outlaws of the Marsh), the manga first appeared in 1967, and immediately spawned a live action production in that same year. Over 20 years later, the series was “reinvented” for release as an anime OVA, however the original form had been drastically altered due to restrictions on the use of characters from the manga and live action versions. The director, Imagawa Yasuhiro, being a self confessed fan of Yokoyama’s work, approached the mangaka for permission to use characters from his other works.
To many this may seem like a haphazard approach to an anime adaptation however this OVA stands as a testament to how good a re-envisioning of a story can be (I’m looking at you in particular NGE). The fact that production for the entire series took 8 years in total, an average of just over one year per episode, should highlight how seriously Imagawa and his staff approached the project, especially as he wrote the screenplay for it.
The story centres around Kusama Daisaku, a young boy who is a member of the International Police Organisation, a quasi=superhuman group of individuals who have come together under international charter to protect the earth from the ravages of the shadowy syndicate known as Big Fire.
At the time of the story the world has undergone an energy revolution with the invention of the Shizuma Drive, a device that makes nuclear power and fossil fuel dependency obsolete. The drive is a clean, renewable source of energy, however the development of it came at a huge cost. The tale begins with the creator of the drive, Professor Shizuma, on the run and fearing for his life. The IPO is charged with his protection, and whilst the group members may all have superhuman abilities, Daisaku is simply a normal boy who inherited his father’s greatest creation, the most powerful robot on earth – Giant Robo.
As far as anime goes, Giant Robo is one of a select few titles that can literally be said to have everything. Love, war, tragedy, action, friendship, revenge, rage, desperation, sacrifice, and much more. Watching this show is quite literally a rollercoaster of emotions, all leading up to an extremely bittersweet ending, with a twist that you’ll never see coming.
The animation is excellent given today’s standards. The action scenes are very simple, extremely fluid, and have a visceral edge that is lacking in shows like DBZ. Given that this is a show with giant robots, it’s wonderful to see that the majority of action centres around the humans instead. Most of the combat is hand-to-hand in the best wuxia style, and the addition of “super powers” can sometimes make this seem a bit like Dragonball (without the lengthy power ups I hasten to add).The background visuals are nicely drawn, although they are sometimes very stylised to reflect the origins of the OVA.
The character designs were purposely made to emulate the style of Yokoyama’s manga, and as with everything else in this anime, they have a certain “retro” feel to them because of this. That said, the characters are well animated, and are sometimes very expressive in their actions.
The score used for the series was composed by Masamichi Amano, a reknowned composer and Academy Award nominee, and performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. The music is often very grand and operatic, however there are some lighthearted pieces, as well as Giant Robo’s own version of Dies Irae (Days of Wrath), entitled Tragedy Strikes Again. The sound effects are extremely good throughout the series and, barring a few events where the expolosions drown out everything else, are well used and add to the atmosphere.
The voice actors for both the English and Japanese dubs are extremely good. Yamaguchi Kappei, who always plays Inuyasha, dramatically brings to life the character of Daisaku, especially through his trials and tribulations as he strives to find out if happiness can be achieved without sacrifice. Similarly, Michelle Newman, who takes the role of Daisaku for the English dub, also manages to convey Daisaku’s anger, fear, love, despair, and a whole range of other emotions. The other voice actors are just as good as these two for both dubs, and Giant Robo stands as one of the few anime that I will happily watch in either Jaanese or English.
Given the emphasis on combat and the inclusion of giant robots it’s easy to think that characterisations or development play a minimal role in this show, however nothing could be further from the truth. Giant Robo is as much a character driven piece as Maria-sama ga Miteru or Kare Kano, something which is highlighted by the enormous amount of growth Daisaku goes through during the course of the series. The viewer is treated to something rarely seen in anime, and barring Clannad, I can’t think of another show from recent years where the audience can see the boy grow into a man.
One thing I should mention is the naming conventions used in the show. Imagawa was followed Yoyoyama’s naming tradition in Outlaws of the Marsh, as well as other wuxia tales where names are given based on skill, appearance or demeanour. Hence, names like “Shockwave Alberto” and “The Immortal Kenji” abound in this show, a nice change from the norm to my mind.
So, will you enjoy this? To say I was blown away by the show would be an understatement. I had the opportunity to watch it on it’s first release in the UK, and scenes from it have remained in my mind ever since. From it’s retro stylings, in particular the black and white depictions of the tragedy at Bashtarle, to the fights to the death (no resurrections here – one life is all you get), to the epic and tragic storyline with it’s scorpion sting at the end, Giant Robo has remained a firm favourite of mine for over a decade.
Fans of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann will find themselves warming to this show in a way that is familiar, as this series is in many way the spiritual older brother of TTGL. Likewise, fans of mecha or giant robot shows should check this out as it literally contains everything, including the coolest Frenchman since Lupin III.
If you’re after some extremely well rounded characters, and you don’t mind the odd punch up here and there, then this may also be right up your street.
The anime does have it’s detractors, as purists would have you believe that this is inferior to the manga. I prefer to view this as an alternative to the manga, especially given the fact that Yokoyama was consulted at length about the series.
This has all the hallmarks of a classic in the retro style, something which TTGL has tried to duplicate in recent years, with some success I might add. It’s a show that has everything, and it should be no surprise that it appears in my top five anime.
Try it, and see for yourself what I’m talking about.
The events take place in the near future, ten years after the advent of the Shizuma Drive triggers the third energy revolution. The series follows the master of the titular Robo, Daisaku Kusama, and the Experts of Justice, an international police organization locked in battle with the Big Fire (BF) Group, a secret society hell-bent on world domination.
Art/Animation – 10/10
Started in 1992 and finished in 1998, Giant Robo’s animation is just absolutely amazing. For being made in the 1990’s, it felt like it was made just in the last year. It’s some of the most beautiful and clean animation I’ve ever seen from the 1990’s.
Sound – 10/10
Giant Robo’s music/sound was composed, arranged and conducted by Japanese Academy Award nominee Masamichi Amano and performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir. The music ranges from grand pieces to more light-hearted tracks. The music of Giant Robo has been called one of animation’s crowning achievements.
Character – 10/10
You’ll fall in love, I guarantee it, with many of the characters and the noble heroism they bring to Giant Robo. You’ll fall in love with the heroes of the Experts of Justice or the villains of the Big Fire Organization. All of them are likable. Giant Robo is considered to be a character drama, as each episode passes, you’ll fall deeper and deeper into the character’s depth.
Enjoyment – 10/10
Giant Robo is considered one of the true classics of anime. With each episode varied in time(35-60 minutes each), each episode is like a movie, it sounds and feels like one. It’s over-the-top action and adventure will leaving you grinning cheek to cheek. It was so over-the-top, those who watch the last episode after watching the first six, have known to spontaneously combust – it’s that good and enjoyable!
Overall, I give this a 10/10. This is a must-own to any and all anime fans. Truly a masterpiece in every sense of the word.
A few of the things in my review have been covered by others already, but I wrote all this anyway so I might as well just post it. The first thing I would say is that Giant Robo isn’t as bad as you might be led to believe. The second thing I’d say is that Giant Robo also isn’t as good as you might hope. It is heavily dependent on your perspective, preference, expectations and experience.
Sure, it’s epic and has plenty of action and drama and charm, but it’s far from flawless. It’s about as long as 14 regular episodes, and though I personally enjoyed it, I would not recommend it without several caveats. It’s very up and down and hit and/or miss.
Giant Robo definitely has the feel of classic anime. Most of the recognizable staples are there, making it a good choice for an introduction to anime perhaps, but if you are an anime veteran, what may be considered classic by someone may come across as cliche to someone else. The story isn’t bad, but not much about it is really innovative or unique. It has good foreshadowing and does a good job of gradually resolving mysteries in the main plot. However it also can be quite absurd at times, not to mention deceptive.
Most notably, for a show called Giant Robo, you would expect, well, more robots. Every episode teases you with this opening presenting different possible robo-nemisis but robotic combat actually plays a very small role in this anime. In fact, the robots are largely overshadowed by the characters incredible special abilities. Their powers are so fantastic, it doesn’t really make any sense why robots/mecha are even involved at all. People can practically fly, destroy buildings, carry several tons of weight, and are ridiculously hard to kill. It makes the whole robot angle superfluous at best, and arbitrary at worst.
The overall plot is pretty good, it reminded me almost of Fullmetal Alchemist, and the twist ending is so ripe with irony it’s almost redeeming. I really wish the story would’ve just jumped right away to and revolved around BF vs IPO. Unfortunately, the show gets really melodramatic and over-the-top towards the end which almost completely undoes its merits. There are also little annoyances like characters being able to talk to each other from unbelievable distances. The character’s are extremely overpowered, especially the villains. It’s a wonder the world isn’t half destroyed from their conflicts and supersonic voices alone.
Did I mention at some point Robo cries? Apparently he was programmed for two things: to fight… and feel pain? There’s nothing wrong with machines having emotions, it’s a common plot device, but it’s out of place here. He doesn’t have steam vents to show when he gets angry, so not only is this inconsistent, but there’s no possible logical reason for adding this feature.
The worst part of the story is probably how much they overplay Daisaku’s importance. The way the character’s bend over backwards for him felt really forced. Giant Robo isn’t even the biggest or strongest robot really, he’s just a big robot with something "unique." Their whole presence in the show felt like it was a token they were contractually obligated to include amidst the real story.
The ending is a mixed bag. Some parts of it are touching, surprising, and gratifying. The rest is just contrived and ridiculous. Some of it gets so cheesy your eyes may roll right out of your head. As if that wasn’t bad enough, everything but the main story arc is left kind of up in the air. So after watching about a season’s worth of episodes the end result is basically one big "To Be Continued…"
Some of the characters like Alberto or Ko-Enshaku or GinRei are kind of cool and central to the story, others not so much. Some of them had a lot of potential to be cool but most are just so sudden and random they aren’t much more than cameos. With a few exceptions, the "bad guys" aren’t even that bad, you almost want to root for them instead.
The tragedy in this is that it feels like they’re trying way too hard to convince you Daisaku/Giant Robo are more important than they really are. I think I probably enjoyed them least of all. You could probably remove Daisaku and the few robots in it and have a better show.
The names are classicly generic. "So the Magnificent Ten are on the move again." Then there’s "Big Fire" or the "Experts of Justice" and of course "GIANT ROBO." One guy might as well have been called Fingersnaps McDoom, it would’ve fit in just as well.
The mech design is very much like Big O, and the art’s pretty good. It’s bright and full of color and nice and clean for the most part. I’m not a big fan of the older anime style/look. Such as the tight modelesque Astroboy look or the weird long-nosed Cyborg 009 character designs, but something about this still felt kind of fresh.
The music’s also pretty good. I thought the whole orchestral sound fit pretty well and probably wouldn’t mind having the soundtrack. The English dub is ok, and it certainly sounds a lot better than the older English dub. I still prefer the sub (of course).
28: Magi: Sinbad no Bouken
Japanese: マギ シンドバッドの冒険
MAL Score: 7.82
Not so long ago, mysterious structures called Dungeons began appearing all over the world. No one knows what they are or how they came to be, but adventurers and armies around the world instantly took interest in them. Thousands set out to explore the Dungeons, but so far, not a single person has returned.
In a Parthevian port, a young boy is about to make a name for himself. Sinbad is good-natured, strong, and craving adventure. A kind deed leads to his meeting with Yunan, an enigmatic traveler who is far more powerful than his frivolous personality lets on. Yunan instructs Sinbad to attain the “power of the king” and change the world—by conquering a Dungeon. The eager boy readily accepts, setting out on the grand adventure he so craved.
Taking place 15 years before the events of the original series, Magi: Sinbad no Bouken chronicles Sinbad’s youth as a Dungeon conqueror. Along the way, the budding adventurer and merchant will have to face many obstacles, but anything is possible with the power of a king.
Like anything to do with Sinbad, the oh great and glorious conqueror of the Seven Seas, it’s mostly the same but they add some depth into the way he goes about his life and how he got to where he is.
With the third OVA released I couldn’t wait to watch it and I did straight away, even being in area with little to no internet, I loaded the episode and watched it when it was done and man did I enjoy it! It was everything I wanted (well except the cliffhanger :/).
It’s all about SINBAD! when it comes to these OVA’s, hence the name. It goes through early life troubles of himself, his family, his village and his comrade Drakon. The story works well and they show everything needed and it’s very easy to understand which is good if you’re looking for a easy and relaxing OVA to watch.
The story for the new OVA is about one of Sinbad’s eight generals in his early life and he must prove himself as a man in front of his sister by slaying a sea monster, while on the verge of death, Sinbad comes outta no where and slays the beast and saves them. He gets invited to their isolated icy village and hears about a new dungeon and he warns the village not to go and that he must do it so no one else would get killed. With Hinahoho getting false credit for slaying the beast, he wants to prove himself and goes to the dungeon.
It’s the complete same as the normal anime so their won’t be any surprises when you watch this, there’s detail on characters that don’t need a lot of detail for them so that’s a good touch.
The art always amazes me and with the third OVA it still did, to me it just added the icing to the cake after the long wait for this.
Just like the normal anime so if you enjoyed the sound in that, you’ll enjoy it in this :).
They don’t go into very much detail with any character, a little with Sinbad but other than that, no. Sinbad was born with great power, oh cool, and cliché. With the rest of the characters, they’re just military people and want power, not much of a big surprise. On the other hand Yunan is a mysterious character with little known about him.
In the third OVA they introduce Hinahoho and his little icy village, along with a few more characters such a his sister, father, etc. With all the new characters added, I thought they did well with giving us enough information about them all and made it a very good watch.
I thought that this was a great watch, mainly because I get to watch more Magi.
I have enjoyed all of the OVA’s that have been released so far and with the 4th one being announced, I just can’t help myself to get excited. I can’t wait.
I hope this review was helpful.
(With this being newly updated for the third OVA, I will be updating it again for the earlier episodes and adding more to the review).
The first OVA begins on a dark, stormy evening with the screech of a woman in the midst of an excruciating labor which just happens to be occurring during a magical, mystical, wondrous night full of shooting stars, glowing genie lamps, and the classic array of oddities that only happen “once every thousand of years”. If this were any other anime, this would be an irritating (and frightful) way to start off the episode but because it’s Magi and it blends together legends with just the right amount of originality, I gave it some leeway. After all, the intro music was fantastic, and if you’re a Magi fan already, at this point you’re cracking your knuckles cause Sin’s finally in town! There’s no way this can go-
..wrong…And before you know it, the producers have dragged you into one of the most cliche, overdone story lines known to fairy tales. Sinbad’s portrayed as the classic hero, complete with a tragic background story, the help of a supernaturally gifted stranger, and everything else that serves as the pedestal upon which this adolescent’s destiny sits- awaiting his overbearing greatness. While the main character’s traits are clearly established alongside the antagonists’ and a clear goal is conveyed, the origin- the story behind the very essence of Sinbad’s character is unfortunately, not the work of just his own hands, but of the imperious power of ‘destiny’ that he was assigned from birth.
The second episode of the OVA consists of Sinbad and Commander Drakon’s meeting, and together, they face the creatures of the dungeon. While this episode is action-packed and amusing, it fails to retain any hold on reality when Sinbad flips the bird to every law in physics. Another irk is that Yunan can be officially branded as the deus ex machina magi when he appears out of nowhere to do nothing but act like Sinbad’s personal magician. The final moments of the episode are drenched in a vat of cliche tropes.
The third OVA, however, redeems this series more than I hoped. It finally introduces a brand new character and hurries along the plot to a possible dungeon fight that may occur. This episode brings back the classic excitement that often accompanies the tales of Sinbad. If the series is ever continued or revived separately, any episodes from here on out will surely lead to a better telling of Sinbad’s adventure and it may finally give his character the depth it deserves.
The art is just as amazing as it was in the series- perhaps even more so. Details are not shirked and even minor characters are given diverse facial features that go beyond the usual haphazard sketches. The quality of the other two episodes is similar, yet not quite on par with the extraordinary display of the first. Nevertheless, the animation itself is enjoyable overall.
As is the soundtrack- the only two notable bits of music being at the beginning and ending of the first OVA, the ending rock instrumental that rolled with the credits at the end of the second OVA, and everything else flows on the waves of equilibrium.
Here’s where they stopped hammering the nail in halfway through the script.
With a dead father, a sick mother who feels guilty for worrying her son, a village jam packed with kids and adults alike who absolutely adore Sinbad because he’s just so NICE, so speshul, so won-der-ful!~
He’s everyone’s favorite guy!
Everyone’s awed and inspired by him,
And it’s not hard to see why,
Cause no one’s slick as Sinbad,
No one’s as quick as Sinbad,
No one’s hair is incredibly long and luxurious as Sinbad’s!
For there is no other teen in town half as heroic,
Perfect, a classic archetype!
You can ask any Natsu, Lelouch, or Levi,
And they’ll tell you whose team they prefer to be on!
There’s only just one guy in town who’s got it going on,
And his name is SINBAAAADDD!
Unfortunately, Sinbad’s characterization falls flat. They might as well have inserted the song montage in the background to accompany the numerous occasions that validated the glorious, inherent valor of Sinbad who- around the age of four, ‘somehow’ supernaturally directed his father which way to row their boat to get out from under the raging storm. He all but rowed the damn thing himself- which, of course, would have been far too absurd to show. It’s understandable that the directors want to stick to the conventional tale but Magi’s been about deviating from the given plot line and spicing it up. I honestly looked forward to the twisting of Sinbad’s tale into something thrilling-perhaps about a boy who wasn’t meant for greatness, but instead I was met with the same old generic set-up for a child’s play of heroism.
As for less familiar characters such as the traveling magi: Yunan, or the ruthless military commander leading the next dungeon raid: Prince Dragul, and his childhood family friend: Princess Serendine- they all attempt to squeeze their personas into trope coffins as if the entire point of their existence is to offset our main character as the ‘good guy’ who always knows the right thing to do. By the time we reach the second OVA, the characters still lack depth. The third OVA, on the other hand, redeems itself by introducing new ones that gain depth through the hurried narration of events- which fits the pace at which Sinbad leads his adventures. Although the episode ends as a cliff-hanger, it holds much more potential than the first two stints.
All in all, the three-pack episodes of Sinbad’s adventures are mildly amusing. The art is superior to that of the series itself and the soundtrack appears new- making it a worthy watch if only for the sake of aesthetics. However, the plot line itself is lackluster in comparison to the series due to the standards (of the original series) that it’s held against. At the very least, the OVAs can be viewed as the classically cliche retelling of the animated version of Sinbad the Sailor with the conjunction of Magi’s take on magic- making the shortened tale an entertaining ride till the very end.
27: Saiyuuki Gaiden
MAL Score: 7.83
An OVA adaptation of the climactic part of Saiyuuki Gaiden.
Kazuya Minekura’s Saiyuki is a fabulous manga, but due to publisher switches and long hiatuses, it has never quite made it to the world of animation without some major confusion.
The manga is composed of four series: Saiyuki, Saiyuki Reload (which continues from the end of Saiyuki), Saiyuki Reload Blast (which continues from the end of Saiyuki Reload), and a Prequel series called Saiyuki Gaiden which stars the previous incarnations of the series’ main characters.
Confused yet? We’re only getting started.
If you are coming to the Saiyuki anime for the first time, the place you’ll want to stay is Gensoumaden Saiyuki (or just Saiyuki), the original anime. It is based on Saiyuki (the manga) and includes roughly the first half of Saiyuki Gaiden.
The next anime series, chronologically, are Saiyuki Reload and then Saiyuki Reload Gunlock, which cover up to the middle of the Saiyuki Reload manga.
These OVAs you’re currently on are just the ending of Saiyuki Gaiden. (Likewise, the Saiyuki Bural OVAs are simply a manga arc that was not included in any of the anime series but was a fan favorite so I guess it got OVAs.)
Basically, tldr, if this is your first taste of Saiyuki in any form, you’re gonna be very, very confused. These OVAs are mostly for established fans of the manga.
That said, as an established fan of the manga, I’ve never been satisfied with the anime adaptations. For one thing, as you can see, they’re overly confusing and brimming with filler. I also have noticed that Minekura’s art seems difficult to adapt to anime–the animation is horrendous at worst, vaguely weird at best. Saiyuki Gaiden is some of the best animation Saiyuki has gotten, but it still looks kind of off, as if her anatomy isn’t quite made for moving. Not my favorite.
That said, I do recommend the manga whole-heartedly.
The anime however, is not as good as the manga but still a great watch. The Gaiden arc actually starts in Saiyuki episode 40 and 41. So you should watch those two episodes before watching these OVAs. Other than that it is not necessary to watch Saiyuki or any of the sequels before this, though I suggest you do because the whole series is great 🙂 Saiyuki Burial is next in chronological order.
Given that this was an OVA, the pacing is fast and can be somewhat chaotic if you’re not totally concentrated. Personally, I would recommend watching at least episodes 40 and 41 from the original series. Though if you really want to be a sobbing puddle on the floor, the whole series. Long story short, I need emotional help now.
Overall rating: 9
26: Shingeki no Kyojin OVA
MAL Score: 7.85
Ilse no Techou: Aru Chousa Heidanin no Shuki
During the Survey Corps’ 49th recon mission, Hange Zo? is determined to capture a titan specimen. Despite not receiving clearance from Commander Erwin Smith, when a titan is spotted in nearby forestland, Hange rides out alone to meet it. Recklessly luring it out, she asks the titan numerous questions and puts her life on the line for the sake of her research. However, the behavior of this particular titan is far from normal. It quickly turns back and enters the wood once again, leading Hange to somewhere specific. What Hange finds is the legacy of former scout Ilse Langnar. In spite of her death, she provides a valuable piece of information that may serve to turn the tide for titan research—a diary documenting her last moments.
Totsuzen no Raihousha: Sainamareru Seishun no Noroi
Jean Kirstein would do anything to escape his boring home life and overbearing mother. After enlisting in the military, it became his ultimate goal to join the Military Police regiment and live out in peace and luxury. However, during his time with the 104th Training Corps, things never really go the way Jean wants them to. Eventually, the stolen glory and condescending banter of his comrades become too much—and Jean challenges fellow cadet Sasha Blouse to a battle, in order to determine which of them is strongest—but who will come out on top?
The 104th Training Corps’ most recent mission is a trek on horseback into the forest. Although a test of their ability to stay alert even in non-threatening situations, the task is boring and can lead to in-fighting. This is especially true for one of the groups, lead by Marco Bott. Some want to stay true to the mission they have been tasked with, and the rest would rather slack off, occupying themselves with more exciting activities. But when trouble strikes, they are completely unprepared.
These are questions you might have in mind if you decide to give this OVA a shot. Shingeki no Kyojin: llse no Techou is an OVA based off popular manga, Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) written by Hajime Isayama. The anime series that debuted in the Spring of 2013 have been an international hit and achieved numerous praise and attention. As a standalone OVA, this little of piece of work composed of a mere 23 minutes takes us back to a time where we visit another character and the journey that she went through. It’s a tough life though with blood spilled everywhere, bones mangled, and atmosphere shrouded with fear.
The OVA itself takes place in the same setting that revolves around the Titans, man-beasts and the primary antagonists of the franchise. In such a time, there are no moments of serendipity but humanity is bestowed with fear. One such character among humanity is named Ilse Langnar, a young woman from the 34th Expedition of the Scouting Legion. Being a member of the Scouting Legion means putting your life constantly at risk as they are on the front lines against the Titans. For Ilse however, she discovers more than just fear. From a startling event, Ilse discovers an astonishing factor that may have changed her life forever. There’s a clear certainty of confusion with what she found and in this OVA will reveal something you might have missed from its parent series.
However, discoveries aren’t just the only phenomenon that plays a role in this OVA.
For a certain character with the style of a scientist, she hopes to capture one alive and really dissect the knowledge from the Titans. Returning to this OVA is Hanji, a squad leader from the survey corps. Unlike most people who lives in fear of the Titans, she embraces its identity and wishes to discover more than what she can. Throughout the OVA, her ebullient personality and irrational behavior almost puts her own life as well as others at risk. Thankfully, we have others like Levi and his corps to save the day.
The OVA itself doesn’t focus much on characters but rather more on discoveries, or rather the mysteries relating to the Titans. There are so many questions that needs answers yet no one really knows the truth. Ilse’s journal details part of what she learned although it seemed to be obscured. In one sense, the OVA present itself to viewers as a way to open up our minds to what we may think relates to the Titans. Thoughts, theories, and ideas might be evoked as we try to pierce the puzzle together similar to what Hanji is doing. It also helps that the OVA recollects some of the events from the past with a short recap to refresh viewers what they remembered before. One thing, it’s definitely not pretty and Titans are detestable towards the human race.
Similar to its parent franchise, the OVA performs with action in the typical shounen style. There’s the quick movements from various squad members including the prominent clean freak, Levi. Hanji herself rides into danger although her combat phases are limited because of her ambition to capture titans rather than obliterating them. But realistically, the SnK franchise plays more on the dark fantasy genre. It focuses on portraying the desolation of humanity and presents it in a gruesome way with graphic violence. In a way, it works but sometimes lacks new features. And speaking of features, main characters from the original series such as Eren, Mikasa, and Armin are absent. The trio aren’t interested in discoveries especially with Eren being the hothead so the path of knowledge falls upon more to other characters.
Artistic wise, the OVA maintains its posture well in terms of presentation. The setting reflects on a sense of hopelessness for humanity. The Titans are designed in a way that consists of human features but possesses the brutality of an animal. Most of the characters in this OVA doesn’t go any significant change. Ilse on the other hand is designed to look frailer, as in a fragile woman struggling to stay alive. We don’t find out much about her combat abilities either so it’s unknown her true capabilities as a soldier.
The soundtrack deserves praise similar to its predecessor. Even as a standalone OVA, the soundtrack focuses on intense choreography coordinated to desired scenes. Whether these might be brutal, sarcastic, or calm, the music department once again does its job. Ilse’s voice shows her as a woman of concern but also frustration once she comes head to head with questions. The tone of her voice during one specific scene reveals the unsettling nature of how humanity is suffering mentally because of the Titans.
Overall, this OVA is definitely worth the try especially if you’re curious to see what goes on with other characters. Ilse might not be a prominent character from the main series but her discovery might be an important key to unlock the mystery of the Titans. As far as mysteries go though, the OVA doesn’t give much answers so you’ll have to dig answers elsewhere. The way the episode does handles itself though is to flourish out the grim reality of the SnK world. It’s living every day in fear in such a land realizing you’re not at the top of the food chain.
Episode 1: Hanji has become determined to capture a titan as the Survey Corps heads out on yet another difficult mission into titan territory. Being Hanji, she is obsessed with titans to the point where she blatantly disobeys the leader, Erwin, and goes off in search of some titans for her experimenting pleasures. She comes across a 6 meter titan and runs around asking it questions while it attempts to knock her off her high horse and swallow her whole. Eventually after some strange behavior from the titan, Hanji and Levi come across a diary written by a deceased member of the Survey Corps named Ilse Langnar. Her story details her encounter with the titan that chased Hanji and basically just adds even more mysteries about titans without really any startling discovers aside from some curious dialogue.
Episode 2: This episode is an overly-serious yet humorous joke about Jean and his teenage angst, and it even features a Jean-centered version of the first opening theme. Jean doesn’t get along with his overly-caring mother and just wants to go out into the world and get away from her, but even then she continues to embarrass him. This was my least favorite episode of the three as it just seemed stupid with it’s poor attempt at comedy for the most part.
Episode 3: This episode finally returns to the 104th division with a training exercise that helps unite them. What seems like a long and boring exercise turns into a mission to get back at thieves who stole the group’s 3DMG and Christa. The tactics and characters in this episode are very much like the real series (unlike episode 2).
The animation is just as good as it is in the regular anime and the soundtrack is also pretty similar (just without the songs that specifically go along with some of the main characters). The small amount of action looks great. While there is much less beautifully animated gore, there are still plenty of beautiful scenery shots. Some of the animation during the overly-serious comedic moments in episode 2 do not fit very well though considering most of this show is not comedic in the least.
As for the characters, Hanji is still the most adorable, psychotic 40 year old in anime and Levi has to take of everyone. Ilse’s voice actor does an excellent job of speaking in a rapid, panicked voice during the flashback and portrays her perfectly. Eren, Jean, Armin, Mikasa, and everyone else are back to how they were in the beginning with Eren and Jean bickering about everything, Armin trying to keep the peace, and Mikasa just being Mikasa.
I enjoyed these OVAs (aside from the second) about as much as I did any normal episode from the anime. Since they take place around episode 3 and 4 for the most part, I wouldn’t recommend this to people who have not watched the beginning of the anime yet, as it does have the usual recap at the beginning of the first OVA which would spoil the first few episodes. To anyone who has seen past episode 3, I recommend watching this. It’s just more of the same Attack on Titan stuff as before just with much, much less gore.
“Seid ihr das Essen? Ja, wir sind die Jägerschnitzel!”
What happens when you have a HUGELY popular series, but you can only make a new season every 3 years and people are all begging for more? Obviously, you HAVE to give them something, otherwise too many people will abandon ship. Especially since most fans of the anime don’t actually read the manga. To solve this dilemma, Attack on Titan created this OVA. However, they really didn’t want to create filler material that might accidentally contradict something later on in the manga. The only way to ASSURE that this contradiction doesn’t happen, is to make an OVA where absolutely NOTHING of any importance or substance happens.
I appreciate the massive handicap that the director of this OVA faced! However, there was a much better approach the OVA could have taken. The OVA should have focused on actual character building and interesting conversations between the characters to perhaps flesh out some of the minor characters or let us look deeper into the minds and motivations of our leads. What did we get instead? I’ll explain.
I can’t really “spoil” anything because nothing happens!
OVA 1: The OVA starts strong by making the correct marketing decision and choosing fan favorite Levi as the main character. He and his team must capture a Titan alive in order to study it. They discover the lost diary of a deceased scout. The diary gives us a name and basically just acts as a teaser for people who have already read the manga. If you haven’t read ahead in the manga, you don’t actually learn jack shit. Yeah, they capture a Titan, but we don’t learn ANYTHING new about the Titans! Where they came from, why they eat humans, etc. I DO know all of those answers as of 4/29/2015 because I’ve read the manga, but watching this OVA won’t get you any closer to that knowledge. Do we learn anything new about Levi? Nope. Do we get to see how his team dynamics work in a much clearer picture? nope. Did this episode have a freaking point besides saying “go read the manga?” Nope
Ova 2: We get a cooking contest between “Potato Girl” and Jean. Seriously. That’s what happens! We also get a sexy training montage of Mikasa practicing boxing for some reason in a white push-up bra. Is she trying to be Tifa Lockhart? Obvious fanservice is obvious
OVA 3: They travel to what looks like the “old West” AKA Southwest United States and end up fighting outlaws. Wait…didn’t this series take place in Germany? How the fuck did they get to the Southwest US? DAMN IT OVA, YOU HAD ONE JOB!!!
If you aren’t a huge fan of Attack on Titan, this OVA is a colossal, titanic waste of time! If you ARE a huge Attack on Titan fan…ditto. Basically, this OVA sucks. That’s it folks. I don’t have positive things to say here. Besides keeping the same high quality music and good animation, it freaking sucks!
25: Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster
Japanese: トップをねらえ！ GunBuster
MAL Score: 7.88
In the near future, humanity has taken its first steps towards journeying into the far reaches of the galaxy. Upon doing so they discover a huge race of insectoid aliens known as “Space Monsters.” These aliens seem dedicated to the eradication of mankind as they near closer and closer to discovering Earth. In response, humanity develops giant fighting robots piloted by hand-picked youth from around the world.
Shortly after the discovery of the aliens, Noriko Takaya, the daughter of a famous deceased space captain, enters a training school despite her questionable talents as a pilot. There, she meets her polar opposite, the beautiful and talented Kazumi Amano, and is unexpectedly made to work together with her as they attempt to overcome the trauma of war as well as their own emotions.
In the simplest terms, if Top wo Nerae! didn’t exist, the NGE would never have been made. Many of the themes from TwN are key themes of NGE, and although NGE took a more metaphysical route with it’s story, Top wo Nerae! remains firmly rooted in a more realistic approach (figuratively speaking that is).
The plot for TwN pays homage to the classic tennis anime Aim for the Ace, something which is clearly reflected in the title. The hollywood movie Top Gun also influenced Anno with regards to how his characters should develop. The very simple and straightforward story is about a war between humanity and a mysterious alien civilization. Humanity is using every tool it can conceive of in an effort to win, however they are steadily being pushed back, and things look grim for Earth.
The story begins with Takaya Noriko, a 16 year old girl who attends a military training school in Okinawa. At first she seems rather clumsy and unreliable, however she possesses a steely determination as she desperately wishes to follow in the footsteps of her famous father Takaya Yuzo, an Admiral of the space fleet who went missing during the early days of the war.
The story then continues with the introduction of several other key characters, all of whom play a very big part in the development of Noriko’s character, the most important being Kazumi Amano (the girl that Noriko idolizes), Ota Koichiro, and the young pilot Toren Smith.
I’ll stop with the story there as this is only a 6 part OVA, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t watched it.
The art for TwN is excellent, especially considering the time it was made. The anime is 20 years old now, yet many of the action scenes still stand up to more modern shows. The character designs are reflective of the time, however they are still distinctive for each character. There are two areas where the art and animation deviated from what would normally be expected though. The first was the introduction of "bouncing breasts" into the show (making it the first anime to include such things).
TwN’s usage of jiggling breasts wasn’t actually meant as fan service originally (although many now see it that way). The original reason why they were included was because Anno wanted the characters to move as a real life person would move. It’s unfortunate that many viewers nowadays will automatically see bouncing breasts and base the worth of a show on their inclusion (because they don’t like fanservice, or love it far too much), when the original intent was for some far more innocent and blatantly non-sexual.
The second deviation from "normal" anime practices was the final episode. This episode was made almost completely in black and white and, unusually for anime, the episode was produced by creating the art and animation in shades of grey from the start, rather than shooting colour animation using black and white film. The final battle is also memorable for it’s usage of still images, something which heightens the dramatic effect of the scene.
The sound quality for TwN is also excellent, especially given it’s age. The OP is extremely catchy (it’s stayed with me for 20 years after all), and the music throughout the show is often inspired in it’s usage. The effects are of a very high standard, and although there may be some off-kilter moments, these are easily missed, and very minor.
One of the strange things about TwN is that, even though there are several key characters, the story is effectively about a young girl who comes of age and finds her place in the world. The characters are generally excellent in their roles, but as with NGE, almost all of the development goes to the lead character. Unlike NGE however, this works because the show is only 6 episodes long, and events happen at a much more condensed rate.
Noriko is excellent as a lead character. There are some who find her annoying, whiney, etc, however those people are usually the ones who mark Ikari Shinji as one of the greatest anime characters ever (which begs the question of what drugs they’re taking). Takaya Noriko, whilst being shy, somewhat nervous, more than a little unreliable (and she knows it), and constantly surrounded by people who really are better than her in many ways (we’re talking geniuses in combat, piloting skills, etc), is understandably more than a little scared as to why she is part of such august company. The added pressure of having to match up to what other people can do naturally is telling on her development as a character. Although she does often become disheartened, she displays some of the best character growth seen in anime (in many ways far superior to that displayed by Shinji in NGE).
It’s unfortunate that TwN was such a short series however, as the other characters are deserving of development. None of the characters were annoying in any way, and the relationships between them, especially between Noriko, Kazumi and Jung, are handled very well throughout the anime.
Top wo Nerae! is very enjoyable to watch for many reasons. The characters and their relationships, the dramatic tension, the taut storyline, all serve to whet one’s appetite for more. It’s truly unfortunate that, whilst NGE often receives plaudits from fans, this show is often overlooked or marginalised – even though it is better than NGE. Many fans of NGE dislike the fact that the TwN lacks NGE’s symbolism and metaphysical elements, and blatantly ignore the fact that TwN was a landmark anime for several reason, not the least of which is the fact that it has a girl as the main character rather than a boy. This was almost unheard of at the time, especially as this show is very much action oriented. In addition, whilst Shinji is seen to suffer in NGE, many people automatically marginalise Noriko’s suffering, partly because they perceive it as insubstantial, and partly because they believe that Shinji’s trials and tribulations are "more believable" (pardon me while I laugh), than Noriko’s.
It may seem odd, but it’s easy to distinguish between fans of NGE who actually understood what was going on, and those who are simply emo fanboys/girls, by their reaction to TwN. The one’s who do actually understand NGE actually like TwN, and can see where NGE has it’s roots. The fanboys and girls will write off TwN as crap (which one are you I wonder?).
Humans versus aliens is not a new story, but what makes TwN unique amongst the many in the mecha/action genre is the fact that it very clearly shows the lengths to which humanity will go in order to survive. The only other show where this is highlighted is Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which shows just how rare this theme is in anime. NGE wasn’t so much about saving the world from aliens, but more about saving yourself. Another rarity is the fact that TwN also clearly shows the training that young people must go through before piloting a mech (something that is suspiciously glossed over in NGE and many other mech shows).
This is one of those shows that I would recommend to everyone. It’s a rarity of an anime that combines a great story, great animation, and some excellent characters. Many NGE purists would have you believe that that show is Anno’s greatest work, however this is not the case.
Anno’s directorial debut remains, to this day, his finest achievement.
Gunbuster, or Top Wo Nerae! (Aim For The Top, in English), is considered to be the first thing the in/famous studio Gainax put out that is still known of today, and is often credited for putting them on the map. There are many people who consider Gunbuster to be an unprecedented classic, and a shining example of how mecha anime should be done, even 22 years later. And as was the case with another immensely overrated, 6-episode OVA made by Gainax that I shall not name, I’m sure I will hear no end of flak for this review, but let’s make this clear right now: Gunbuster is fucking awful.
There is so much wrong with this anime I don’t even know where to start. But much like that other OVA series I don’t care to mention, I am absolutely dumbfounded by the popularity it commands. There isn’t a single good thing I can name about this show, aside from maybe the fact that Hideaki Anno learned from his mistake and made Neon Genesis Evangelion, which was obviously extremely flawed in of itself.
But let’s begin with one of the most glaring faults this show has: the science. This show has so little respect for physics that it makes Newton cry. This is especially prevalent in the first three episodes, having such faults as training for space missions on normal earth conditions, using objects to increase the gravity on them (because obviously, increased gravity is going to be a big concern in space), several occasions of objects seamlessly entering and leaving space without any damage to the surroundings (for example, a mecha coming in from space and landing in a forest clearing, which would probably devastate a large portion of the forest in real life), sound in the noiseless vacuum of space (though this is by no means the only offender for this), as well as several other chunks of absolute scientific nonsense. There are also several logical mishaps not involving science, like how the girls’ bathrooms are in clear view through a large glass panel for all to see. Which, of course, provides us with a [i]hilarious[/i] fanservice moment.
Next up for the chop, the characters. While the characterisation was shaky in Evangelion, here it is nothing short of awful. The main character, Noriko, stands in the tradition of Gainax in having their main characters be whiny, over-sensitive, and frequently completely useless. Noriko fits the bill for the most part, being a clear building block in Anno’s later protagonist Shinji Ikari. And Noriko manages to give me a new appreciation for Shinji, because at least Shinji was well-written. Noriko is poorly written and completely unlikeable, and the rest of the cast is even worse. Her mentor is so worthless that I honestly can’t even remember her name. You could replace her with a magical chipmunk that knows how to pilot a mecha, and the plot probably wouldn’t change in the least, aside from the spousal abuse shifting to the animal variety. The worst character, however, is probably Jung Freud. I defy you to name a single thing she does in this show. She doesn’t have the remotest significance, but Anno makes it clear we’re supposed to know who she is. As far as her personality, she seems to flip from being the Action Girl to being The Rival, depending on what Anno wants her to be in whichever particular scene, but ends up completely insignificant regardless.
Next is the plot. Everything about it is very badly written. Everything about it is basically a cheesy 80’s movie turned mecha, and the results are as bad as they sound. Noriko is a student at a school training mecha, and is chosen to go into space because her father saved the life of a man who wound up with authority on the matter. In short, he allows a girl with absolutely no piloting skill into a major military division.
In space, Noriko meets a boy named Smith who she may or may not be in love with. I might be more clear about it if he hadn’t spent all of 5 minutes, if even that, on screen. She then winds up completely depressed when he dies, despite them having known each other for like, 5 minutes. Not long after, we are introduced to the antagonising force, which mankind has somehow found out thinks that we are destroying the universe. Considering these alien creatures never show any sign of intelligence or communication whatsoever, it is a mystery how people came to this conclusion.
Not long after, in a climactic battle which sees Noriko go into Shinji-mode, angsting and staying away from the battle, she eventually comes to and winds up piloting the titular mecha for some reason. Again, why a talentless teenage girl would be allowed to pilot something like this is a mystery. Nonetheless, she goes out and kicks a large amount of ass. Also, as shallow as this may be, there is one compliment I can give this series: the Gunbuster looks pretty damn awesome.
Moving along, the last two episodes are commonly hyped up to be absolutely fantastic, but this is absolutely untrue: There’s nothing remotely good about them. Annoyingly, they had the potential to be, especially the finale. The last episode is made in black and white for no particular reason. The only likely reasons I can give are that they were either trying to be artsy and pretentious, or it was to save animation budget. Seeing how this is Gainax, the latter is rather likely. And to add to the damning evidence, what should have been an amazing moment, a battle of epic proportions where robots explode, heroic sacrifices are made, and aliens die, winds up being compressed into a few animation-saving frames. To make this even more infuriating, those frames make it look like something you’d actually want to watch. It’s like a friend going to a concert you weren’t able to go to, who then raves about it to you, bragging about what you missed.
Add to all this the most pretentious, cheesy, godawful, and all-round irrational ending, and you have the formula for a truly terrible anime. I can’t name a single thing I like about this, aside from it having spawned an infinitely superior sequel, Diebuster. I mean, for fuck’s sake… as much as I hated FLCL, this has truly dethroned it as the worst thing Gainax have produced. At least FLCL had some good concepts and production values behind it. If anything, it was just horribly executed, whereas Gunbuster is just a weak, amateur production in every single way.
Final Words: Bad physics, bad logic, bad characterisation, bad writing, bad animation, bad plot, bad directing, bad concepts, bad everything.
For Fans Of: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
One impressive thing about Gunbuster is its general commitment to maintaining a setting based on hard science in many aspects that don’t concern the Gunbuster itself. Ships travelling at sub-light speed undergo time dilation as per Einsteinian physics, meaning that time on a relatively stationary body like the Earth passes faster- many of the more emotional moments in the show are based on this difference in the passage of time between those fighting in space and those left behind on Earth. Furthermore, a good portion of the show centers not around the mechas but the space fleet, grounding the setting in procedure and a more realistic, wartime feel. This, in turn, makes the comparatively unrealistic mecha battles all the more triumphant for being special, unique among a setting dedicated to the relatively mundane. In fact, these moments have real power- not simply because it’s cool to see a giant robot fight gigantic alien insects, but because every important fight is built up to, set up with real tension and high stakes while carrying the entire emotional weight of the characterization and conflicts. In other words, it’s literally and physically exciting: something that can be said of very few things in the entire medium. Not only that, but the climax of the show along with its ending are incredibly powerful emotionally- the final episode is nothing short of moving on an inspirational, triumphant level.
Personally, Gunbuster is one of my all-time favorite series, and there are few things in anime that I ever enjoyed more. It’s far from perfect though, most notable among its flaws being that there are moments when the budget of the show cannot catch up to its vision. Furthermore, the pacing in the first half is slower than the second, which allows for good and thoughtful characterization but alienates the first three episodes from the last three in terms of general quality- episodes 1, 2, and 3 only exist to build up episodes 4, 5, and 6. Being made in 1988, its style may put off some younger or newer viewers, and if you’re not already somewhat familiar with the genre you may find it hard to suspend your disbelief in the initial episodes. In fact, it can only be fully appreciated by one already somewhat familiar with the super robot subgenre, Nevertheless, I implore anyone who considers themselves an anime fan to watch this short series. It might lack the artistic or literary value of a select circle of masterpieces, but it is a superb piece of work that does nearly everything better than almost anything out there.
24: Noragami Aragoto OVA
Japanese: ノラガミ OAD
MAL Score: 7.88
Hiyori Iki goes on a skiing trip with her parents and happens to bump into Yato and Yukine. After a short while, they find the other gods who are there for a company vacation. But amidst all the fun, someone is plotting a heinous crime, and Yato is the primary target.
On a different day, Yato’s been able to make a small fortune from his last job and decides to take Hiyori and Yukine to Capyper Land. Although she agrees without knowing the destination, will Hiyori actually enjoy the day considering what happened on her last visit?
The first OVA is all of them going on a ski trip thing, and the second is all of them going to Capypa Land~
I would have to say the second OVA in this is the best out of all four of them in total~
But both of these are really funny and amazing.
And both have adorable Yato moments >w< Although these are mostly just comedy, it's adorable and makes me really happy~ especially the second one - all my ships in one place <3 Yato, Hiyori, Yukine, Bishamon, Kazuma, Kofuku, Daikoku . . . even Ebisu is here! Having all of them together feels so special >///< I loved these OVAs so much and they are a must watch~ [/collapse] [collapse title=“Reviews2:”]The second OVA is amazing! One of my favorite aspects of Noragami is the humor and this OVA is full of it. I also just think Capypa land is a hilarious concept so the characters finally going there was perfect. Plus some romance thrown in there... I was dead. I have watched this specific OVA back several times now whenever I need that "Noragami feel" again. The first OVA is great too. While it doesn't really contribute anything to the main plot line or anything like that, it's a fun side story that brings all the main characters we see in the series together. It was fun to see how they all interacted with each other together since usually we just see yato, yuki and hiyori interacting with all those characters individually. 10/10 would recommend. Love it [/collapse] [collapse title=“Reviews3:”]Sometimes, you just can't help but order an extra dose of sauce to compliment your fries, some people would say fries are not eatable without any sauce, but others while thinking it's okay, a little sauce won't hurt. replacing the fries with Noragami Aragato, you can't really deny to not want any extra content to seal off your hunger for more screentime. but Noragami Aragoto OVA was a hell of a quality dipping sauce indeed! - Story (7.0/10): The plot of these two OVA episodes are very much a variation of a slice of life with the comedy switch turned on. There is really no heavy plot whirlpools or anything of that depth, just our characters going through some fun. With the first episode having the whole crew go on a skiing vacation where some mysterious fella tries to kill Yato, while the latter spends time trying to capture his killer. The second OVA episode focuses on the crew going to Capypa, while Hiyori is still having nightmares from what happened there the last time she went, with Yato trying to cheer her up. - Art (8.0/10): I can at least thus far say, the viewers can rest assured, and not worry about the quality of the animation, because it remains consistent throughout the 23 minutes couple of episodes, nothing to bash or drag way too much here, here's an above average work of animation, just enjoy the plot. - Sound (8.5/10): Aside from the fabulous opening and ending theme songs nothing stands out in a very memorable manner. Again, it was really great having to see those work of arts once another time. The voice acting was really well done for a comedic atmosphere. - Character (8.5/10): As I said before, the whole gang had the focus of this OVA, all of your lovable characters, I like how nobody was by any chance annoying. Everybody had some sort of screentime, they had the chance to speak some words and just be there for the sake of having a good time. - Enjoyment (9.0/10): The last season's OVA was fantastic, but this one was way more fun to keep up with, both episodes are very wholesome and engaging, I really need a third season and a good complimentary OVA too. - Overall (8.2/10): I would differently recommend this OVA for the parent's show's fans, especial the people into comedy, I've had some great giggles every here and there. [/collapse]
23: Shijou Saikyou no Deshi Kenichi OVA
English: KenIchi: The Mightiest Disciple OVA
Japanese: 史上最強の弟子 ケンイチ OVA
MAL Score: 7.91
OVAs of History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi bundled with volumes 46, 47, 49, 53, 54, 55, & 56 of the manga.
[collapse title=“Reviews1:”]As there hasn’t really been any proper reviews talking about every OVA as i have heard they are stopping at 11, i decided to write a review summing up every OVA, and I’m going to assume that you are reading this after watching all 50 episodes of the series, and seeing if this is worth checking out.
The story in these OVAs carry the same quality as the main series, but with it obviously progressing. The first few episodes are to give you a re-cap on each character and their personality, which i believe is fine as this OVA started 6 years after the main series ended, but as someone who may have come straight from the main series this may be a bit bothersome, but nothing i could say is a bad thing as it was intended to re-cap people after six years. These first episodes also introduce us to a new group of enemy, and the people behind it, who, like Ragnarok, are after the strongest disciple, Kenichi. This new group, named ‘Yami’, are what you may see as Ragnarok but with a stronger cast of enemies, which is true, but as a result the battles are more intense and complex. The episodes following the first few are mainly battles against this new group, and as a result we see not only Kenichi, but his friends develop their skills and become stronger. In some cases, after fights we see what some people may call ‘fillers’, but are just really us seeing the result of the fight prior to that episode, and maybe some other relevant things, so i wouldn’t call them fillers. The ending as also quite satisfactory, but that also depends on the person, so watch to see for yourself.
I thought that even though fights got more complex and maybe harder to track, the art was fluid and focused on the main points of the fights. Speaking of fights, the debris and impact of punches were detailed, and were not skimped on, allowing the fight to look better and enhance your enjoyment. As for the art in itself, they didn’t make much changes from the original art, which i thought was great as not only did it differentiate itself from the type of art-style being used around this time, it at the same time felt familiar and didn’t detach itself from the main series, but i can say i felt the art was brightened up a little, which i thought was a change for the better.
I thought the sound was average, but didn’t hold back the anime. The OPs and endings suited the anime and the sound amplified the atmosphere that any particular scene was going for, and in battle scenes made the situation more tense and made the situation feel more desperate if needed, and made the viewer feel more calm when Kenichi is in school for example. The sound also sounded different, obviously with the exception of the OP and ending, they went for different songs which made it not feel repetitive and maybe just a quick thing made using recycled material.
Obviously, the characters are the same in the OVA as in the main series, but i’ll just go over them and maybe point out anything that made the anime better or worse.
First we have the main character, Kenichi. Kenichi is usually shown as a good natured, kind boy who prefers not to use violence for no particular reason, but uses his knowledge of Martial Arts if necessary. Despite being called ‘History’s Strongest Disciple’, in times out of fighting he is usually shown as timid and apprehensive at times, and having hobbies of reading books and gardening, he is usually mistaken as a regular person and often laughed at. In the OVA, due to the new group ‘Yami’ targeting him, he is said to have trained ‘three times more’ than usual, with the outcome of him getting stronger. I thought although not much has changed about him, it meant that he had kept his personality which i thought was great, as he had a personality which was unique to the series and OVA. All-in-all, nothing bad about this character.
Next, we have the other main character, Miu. Miu is also shown as kind-hearted and caring for her friends and family. Her parents died when she was very young and has been under her Grandpa’s care and training since around the age of six. She is shown to be highly skilled at Martial Arts and be very money efficient, and also do most chores in the dojo, until Kenichi helps. Miu is very clearly what you may call the ‘Fan Service’ on the anime, and in the OVAs has been more prominent with her and other female characters, which is fine as it doesn’t get in the way of anything, and for most men is a plus, but i know some people who watch anime don’t appreciate fan service, so if you despise it, Miu may hinder your enjoyment. Apart from that, like Kenichi, not much has changed about her, she doesn’t get any stronger as well, but one thing i would like to say is that she is shown a bit more as a main characters, always being with or fighting with Kenichi when he gets into one.
As for the other characters, not much has changed either. All of the masters have still got their unique personalities due to having different Martial Arts stemming from different places, which is good as there’s no sense of repetition between the characters, and are all also predictable but in a good way that you can get some humor out from it. The new characters introduced are a bit similar to the ones from Ragnarok, but again due to having different backgrounds in Martial Arts do not feel samey, but i thought the OVAs didn’t really tell us enough about the characters to really feel for or hate, and felt at times may have felt a bit rushed.
As someone who enjoyed the main series, i enjoyed this one just as much as that. Being a sort of continuation of the series, it didn’t feel detached and isolated, and felt like it was part of the main series, which was great as it brought a sort of sequel to the series. One thing i would like to point out is that it did feel like the OVAs were brightened up compared to the main series, which made it feel less heavy, which is a change for the better i felt. Being someone who watches Shounen regularly, there’s nothing much i can complain about as it has no major faults and does things well at least. If there was one thing i personally didn’t like, it would be the fact the antagonists felt a bit rushed.
This OVA manages to hold up people’s faith for a ‘second season’ and re-ignites the flame in peoples hearts for the main series. It manages to keep up the story well and lets us sink into the arc that this OVA is based on, as well as introduce us to a new one, which is a piece of evidence pointing to more content. Although there are few faults, the OVA manages to carry on the soul of ‘History’s Greatest Disciple Kenichi’. All-in-all, a great OVA with a few noticeable faults.
Was alright overall, made me realize how big Kenichi really became; thus improving its standing in my mind and my rankings accordingly. Also, a few of the character developments in this OVA set were really amazing. However, that isn’t to say that it didn’t feel rushed in the end. Needed more of a certain dude I’m ngl ): In addition, the first few OVA’s(iirc) were realtively dry, holding the whole thing back a bit ngl. Still very interesting stuff scattered throughout though; definitely will be rewarding for anyone who’s a fan of kenichi and looking for more. Expands the world developed in the anime’s run, creating a more serious yet comprehensive experience in the end.
P.S. I only typed all of this out cause I wanted someone to explain the R+ rating
P.P.S. Predawn Song goes insanely hard
I recommend to watch the original show before checking out the OVA sense it’s story continues after and they spoil some story about the original show and they also tells you the personality of the characters and you might not want to know that until you know them by watching the original show.
22: Tennis no Ouji-sama: Zenkoku Taikai-hen
English: Prince of Tennis: National Championship Chapter
Japanese: テニスの王子様 Original Video Animation 全国大会編
MAL Score: 7.92
Freshman tennis prodigy Ryouma Echizen and the Seishun Academy Boys’ Tennis Team have finally reached the National Tournament, eager to fight for the championship title and claim it as their own.
Seishun’s first match is against Higa Middle School, the Okinawa-based team labeled as the “dark horse” of the tournament. After watching Higa defeat their first round of opponents using dirty tactics, the Seishun team is determined to show them the value of a fair, hard-earned victory.
Awaiting the winners of the matchup in the quarterfinals is one of Seishun’s old rivals: Hyoutei Academy, who are determined to restore their pride after the events at the Kanto Regionals. Hyoutei seeks to prove to everyone that they deserve to be at the Nationals despite only qualifying through a special invitation.
Tennis no Ouji-sama: Zenkoku Taikai-hen covers the beginning of the long-awaited National Tournament as Ryouma and the Seishun team meet foes of past and present, each with their own unique ideals on how tennis should be played!
Seigaku tennis club already have Tezuka buchou, so they’re ready for the nationals!and Ryoma came back from America to support them.
And then, Oishi had a decision, all of the good players should play,so oishi had a deal with ryoma if he had a Love game to ryoma, then ryoma could play in the nationals.
….and in the end, ryoma won, so he’ll play in the nationals.
…..This is a sequel to THe Prince of tennis, everybody who watched the prince of tennis should also watch this one… This will also bring you excitement and enjoyment while watching.!
…watch it and you’ll know the whole story!!It’s amazingly good!!~Trust me!
Well 2nd installment of Tennis no Ouji-sama, this time it continues from the pending account that was the “National Tournament” with a great change in terms of production and study in the course of the year in which its first adaptation ended, which As for this section, it is no less since due to the low reception of chapters that the show gets, it is forced to compress too much content and really especially in the last games that were the most relevant and receive only an average of 1 chapter per match! When we were used to having between 2 or even 3 in special cases which does not leave the best impression from my perspective, something similar to what happens only in the first chapter that too many important events happen very briefly in 20 minutes. So although it remains faithful, for my taste it no longer contains that solidity that it knew how to obtain in its prequel, what is more what stands out the most is the chapter on the ultra random beach but by far the most fun of the season
Art: 7 / Sound: 7
As for the visual section, it has been able to strengthen due to the change of study with much more polished character designs and a more fluid animation in the movements, in addition to not constantly recycling scenes. On the musical side, it maintains the OSTs that are icons and nostalgic in the show, so it is a point in favor, but it does not look so renewed with new OSTs to implement and on the side of the openings and closings they are regular but I expected anything else
We keep the same main cast since its prequel but we have lost a lot of the secondary elements that gave more excitement to the matches such as the 2 journalists who only have one appearance but bad memories in the entire adaptation and the girls from the Ryoma fan club (Although I see these as more acceptable from the side that are not playing in the city and maybe they are too far away to suppose round trip expenses). As for the rest, it remains to the letter with their respective personalities although with some developments not so well executed due to lack of time, what did hurt me is not having more of those chapters where the characters feel so free and they make you enjoy as much as you can like the episode on the beach that was too fun.
For better and for worse, what stands out in all this adaptation is the content and the way in which it is overcome and rushed, the good thing is that the pain of seeing “TnO” in this way is relatively short because with only 13 chapters it is difficult not to continue a story that you want to see as far as it goes, even if it has declined in this way. I would have liked them to summarize more the games against the first school that were irrelevant especially when they had already won 3-0 and save those extra chapters for some games in the 4th finals would last longer.
Clearly the change of study affected the series that although it gave it a better color palette and animation, receiving a single “cour” for so many games seriously damages the entertainment that the show provides, but in the end we will continue Ryoma’s journey and his friends.
Bueno 2° entrega de Tennis no Ouji-sama, en esta ocasión continua desde la cuenta pendiente que era el “Torneo nacional” con un gran cambio en cuanto a producción y estudio en el transcurso del año en el que finalizo su primer adaptación, que en cuanto a este apartado es no menor ya que debido a la poca recepción de capítulos que obtiene el show, se ve obligado a comprimir demasiado contenido y realmente sobretodo en los últimos partidos que eran los mas relevantes y reciben solo un promedio de 1 capitulo por partido! cuando estábamos acostumbrados a tener entre 2 o hasta 3 en casos especiales lo que no deja la mejor impresión desde mi perspectiva, algo similar a lo que pasa tan solo en el primer capitulo que suceden demasiados acontecimientos importantes muy resumidamente en 20 minutos. Por lo que si bien sigue siendo fiel, para mi gusto ya no contiene esa solidez que supo obtener en su precuela, es mas lo que mas destaco es el capitulo en la playa ultra random pero por lejos de lo mas divertido de la temporada
Arte: 7 / Sonido: 7
En cuanto al apartado visual si a sabido fortalecerse debido al cambio de estudio con unos diseños de personajes mucho mas pulidos y una animacion mas fluida en los movimientos, ademas de no reciclar escenas constantemente. Por el lado musical mantiene los OST que resultan iconos y nostalgicos en el espectaculo por lo que es un punto a favor, pero no se lo ve tan renovada en con nuevos OST a implementar y por el lado de las aperturas y cierres son regulares pero esperaba algo mas
Mantenemos el mismo elenco principal desde su precuela pero hemos perdido gran parte del los elementos secundarios que le daban mas emocion a los partidos como los 2 periodistas que solo tienen una aparición sino mal recuerdo en toda la adaptacion y las chicas del club de fans de Ryoma (aunque a estas lo veo mas aceptable desde el lado que no en ciudad se encuentran jugando y tal vez esten demasiado lejos como para suponer gastos de ida y vuelta). En cuanto a lo demás se mantiene al pie de la letra con sus respectivas personalidades aunque con algunos desarrollos no tan bien ejecutados debido a la falta de tiempo, lo que si me dolió es no tener mas de esos capítulos donde los personajes se sienten tan libres y te hacen disfrutar a mas no poder como el capitulo de la playa que fue demasiado divertido.
Para bien y para mal lo que destaca en toda esta adaptación es el contenido y la forma en que se sobrellevado e apresurado, lo bueno es que dolor de ver a “TnO” de esta forma es relativamente corto por que con tan solo 13 capítulos es difícil no continuar una historia que quieres ver hasta donde llega, por mas que haya decaído de esta forma. Me hubiera gustado que resumieran mas los partidos contra la primera escuela que eran irrelevantes sobretodo cuando ya habían ganado 3 a 0 y ahorrar esos capítulos extra para algunos partidos de los 4° de final duraran mas.
Claramente el cambio de estudio afecto a la serie que si bien le dio una mejor paleta de colores y animacion, el recibir un solo “cour” para tantos partidos perjudica gravemente el entretenimiento que proporciona el show, pero en fin seguiremos el viaje de Ryoma y sus amigos
21: Tennis no Ouji-sama: Zenkoku Taikai-hen – Semifinal
Japanese: テニスの王子様 全国大会篇 Semifinal
MAL Score: 7.92
The National Tournament continues for Ryouma Echizen and the Seishun Academy Boys’ Tennis Team as they face off against last year’s semifinalist, Shitenhouji Middle School. As winners of the Kansai Regionals, Shitenhouji is one of the top contenders to win this year’s tournament. What’s more, each member of the Shitenhouji team has skills that are said to surpass their Seishun counterparts. Shitenhouji also has Kintarou Tooyama, another “super rookie” who rivals Ryouma in strength and technique. Seishun will have to push the limits of their abilities to stand a chance at defeating the Kansai champions in this East versus West matchup.
One of my favorite arc for POT…
Story: Perfectly done. Although this is just the Semi Finals and an OVA it really compels the story and one of the important match you should not miss, that leads to Fuji’s perfection.
Art: As good as ever but not perfect. For a sports anime though? It’s more than enough…
Sound: It really captures the emotion of every characters as well as their matches. Dubbing, OP and ED is brilliant as well but nothing out of the ordinary.
Character: I loved the characters in this arc, Shitenhouji to be specific is one awesome team. And of course Seishun Gakuen.
Enjoyment: Out of all the POT OVA I think a lot will enjoy this most aside from the Finals itself that concludes POT Season 1..
Total Score: 7
First of all, let me clarify that in this section there will be a majority of “SPOILERS” regarding these OVAs, because I want to exemplify the reason for my discharge. Now with this explained let’s get started.
In previous reviews I have always chosen to defend this title, its history and above all the fantasy that carries over it, because there is more of this, there was always an “extra” that caused you not to notice so much in the amount of inconsistencies and situations outside of physics they were happening so it was fun. Unfortunately at this point there is nothing of the kind, The matches are ultra summarized to the point that even some last less than 1 chapter, in which they are only based on showing their “special movements” without any credible context, the rivals they are quickly discarded without developing, without comedy (although well, the parties are already a joke) and the worst thing is that we are not in a first stage, where nobody is interested in the parties or members! are the national semifinals !!!! And it is lived more like a comedy, than in a true context and settings. Also in another sense the idea of balls that become invisible, characters flying 5 rows over the stands, balls that split in the middle and so on. It seems too out of context to me considering that they are characters who are 16 years old at most and what will they do when they are older? Throw planets by the elbows ?. To finish I reiterate the same as in the beginning, I have tried to turn it around in a thousand ways and see the positive side, but it seems to me everything has a limit in that sense. Tennis no Ouji-sama overflowed the glass
Art: 5 / Sound: 7.5
Just as in the previous season I mentioned that the study change was an improvement in terms of animation, in this sequel it really declines again, many times the situation of static movements is repeated and even scenes out of context, as in a rally exchange that You only show how it ends and the best example is in the case of Kawamura flying into the stands without showing how it turned out there.
In the sense of Sound I feel more comfortable than in its prequels, the Opening shows more personality than the series required and the cast remains together with the OST, perhaps in this case it was the only section that showed an improvement
Another downturn in these OVAs, undoubtedly falls a lot on the characters, looking far below what they knew how to give in their first adaptation and being much more superficial in this context and added to the lack of development and use of rivals, more like Mention the lack of extras like the reporters or the Ryoma girls club that gave the show a certain color, Not to mention the improvement in their movements of the Seigaku players at critical moments with only a few 1 minute flashbacks, all very basic and conformist
If I said in its first installment that there were easily 7 or 8 spokons that far exceeded it and with a much shorter duration, imagine my thinking today with a few chapters above the account, and with the bad review that I had to give it .
The truth is there is nothing to highlight and the entertainment is very basic. Now, if you are looking for something for a small child to get excited, surely enjoy the show for the number of colors, striking movements, charismatic characters in the beginning and others like who says Captain Tsubasa for the relationship in the style of Spokon, but if you already want a I work something better work and that it is so basic I do not recommend this anime at least you are a fan of Spokon as in my case I continue here
Reseña general: 4,8 de 10
Primero que nada déjenme aclarar que en este apartado habrá mayoría de “SPOILERS” respecto a estas OVA, debido que quiero ejemplificar el por que de mi descargo. Ahora con esto explicado comencemos.
En anteriores reseñas siempre eh optado por defender a este titulo, su historia y sobretodo la fantasía que carga sobre ella, por que mas haya de esto, siempre hubo un “extra” que ocasionaba que no te fijaras tanto en la cantidad de Incoherencias y situaciones fuera de la física que sucedían por lo que era divertido. Desgraciadamente a este punto ya no hay nada de ello, Los partidos son ultra resumidos al punto de que inclusive algunos duran menos de 1 capitulo, en el cual solo se basan en mostrar sus “movimientos especiales” sin ningún tipo de contexto creíble, los rivales son descartados rápidamente sin dar desarrollos, sin comedia (aunque bueno, los partidos ya de por si son un chiste) y lo peor es que no estamos en una primera etapa, donde a nadie le interesa los partidos o integrantes! son las semifinales nacionales!!!! Y se vive mas como una comedia, que en un contexto e ambientaciones verídicas. Ademas en otro sentido la idea pelotas que se vuelven invisibles, personajes volando 5 filas sobre las gradas, pelotas que se parten al medio y demás. Me parece demasiado fuera de contexto teniendo en cuenta que son personajes que tienen 16 años a lo sumo y ¿que harán cuando sean mayores? ¿tirar planetas por los codos?. Para finalizar reitero lo mismo que en el comienzo, eh buscado de darle la vuelta de mil formas y verle así el lado positivo, pero me parece todo tiene un limite en ese sentido Tennis no Ouji-sama rebalso el vaso
Arte: 5 / Sonido: 7,5
Así como en la anterior temporada mencione que el cambio de estudio fue una mejoría en cuanto a la animación en esta secuela realmente decae nuevamente, muchas veces se repite la situación de movimientos estáticos y hasta escenas fueras de contexto, como en un intercambio de peloteo que solo muestras como finaliza y el mejor ejemplo es en el caso de Kawamura volando hacia las gradas sin mostrar como resulto alli .
En el sentido del Sonido me siento mas a gusto que en sus precuelas el Opening muestra mas personalidad que requeria la serie y el cast se mantiene junto al OST, tal vez en este caso fuese único apartado que demostró una mejoría
Otro bajón de estas OVA, sin dudas recae bastante en los personajes, viéndose muy por debajo de lo que supieron dar en su primer adaptación y siendo mucho mas superficial en este contexto y sumado a la falta de desarrollo e utilización de los rivales, mas como mencione el faltante de extras como los reporteros o el club de chicas de Ryoma que le daba un cierto color al show, Ni hablar de la mejoría de sus movimientos de los jugadores de Seigaku en momentos críticos con solo unos flashbacks de 1 minutos, todo muy básico y conformista
Si dije en su primer entrega que facilmente habia 7 u 8 spokons que le superaban ampliamente y con una duración mucho menor, imaginen mi pensamiento a día de hoy con unos cuantos capítulos mas arriba de la cuenta, y con la mala reseña que me toco darle.
La verdad no hay nada que destacar y el entretenimiento es muy básico. Ahora, si buscas algo para un niño pequeño se emocione seguramente disfrute del espectáculo por la cantidad de colores, movimientos llamativos, personajes carismáticos en el comienzo y demás como quien dice Captain Tsubasa por el parentesco en el estilo de Spokon, pero si ya quieres un trabajo algo mejor trabajo y que sea tan básico no recomiendo este anime al menos seas un fan del Spokon como en mi caso que continuo aquí
20: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete
Japanese: ファイナルファンタジーVII アドベントチルドレンコンプリート
MAL Score: 7.94
Two years after saving the world from a cataclysmic event, the members of the activist organization Avalanche have gone their separate ways. Tifa Lockhart opens a new bar, and her childhood friend Cloud Strife starts up a motorcycle-based courier service. Although most of their former allies have fallen out of touch, Cloud and Tifa live in fragile peace with their two young wards Marlene and Denzel.
Their life together begins to crumble as a contagious plague and overwhelming grief pull Cloud away from his newfound family. While distancing himself through his work, Cloud is attacked by three silver-haired figures in black uniforms who bear a passing resemblance to his bitter rival, Sephiroth. As the antagonistic trio stalks Cloud and brings harm to his loved ones, the former mercenary struggles against his own demons while fighting to protect his family and prevent the will of Sephiroth from returning to the planet.
Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete (FFACC) is like its title says: “Complete”. This movie is what the original should have been.
Well the story is pretty much the same as the original. However is it by far superior as most major holes have finally been filled. Instead of characters just appearing somewhere, the movie actually shows them getting there (or planning to). Vague events that were hard to understand are given more detail and are better explained. Instead of random characters appearing out of the blue and becoming main characters, we get to see their background. Denzel’s background for example is now explained and he’s not just some random kid who lives with Tifa for no reason.
There are now enough explanations in the movie for a person who has never played Final Fantasy 7 to actually understand what is going on. Although having played the game would still be highly recommended.
Only major flaw that remains in plot now is that Cid, Barret, Yuffie and the rest of the gang were once again very abruptly introduced. (Also a minus on characters)
Not only was all of FFACC animation remastered to look spectacular in HD, but with the addition of many new scenes which were made with current-day technology, the movie is once again the top of the top in the animation industry. Anyone who doesn’t watch this movie in HD has no idea what they are missing out on.
The music score is done by Nobuo Uematsu who also does the music for the games. Perfect as always.
The sounds of swords clashing, guns firing and explosions during intense action scenes were very satisfying.
Denzel is no longer some random kid who teleported into the world of Final Fantasy. All the characters have more screentime now. Zack now plays a larger role which should satisfy Crisis Core fans.
Major flaw in characters is that the three “baddies” seemed to have had a very vaguely explained entry into the movie. Still was an improvement over the original movie however.
Being the big Final Fantasy fan that I am, I very much enjoyed this movie. Especially with all the epic action and fight scenes that barrage the viewer nonstop after a certain point. Anyone who isn’t particularly interested in Final Fantasy would likely find this movie enjoyable for the action alone.
This movie was what the original movie should have been. Most flaws have been erased and there is plenty of new material to satisfy anyone who has already seen the original movie. Highly recommended to all Final Fantasy fans.
-FFACC has roughly 30 minutes of additional content compared to the original movie. The location of the new content is not all bunched up but rather spread throughout the entire movie.
-All scenes have been remastered to look great in HD. However, the newly added scenes seem look sharper than the remastered scenes from the old movie.
-Denzel actually helps out now and isn’t a waste of pixels.
If you’ve seen the first one, you know it has alot of fan service by having all their favorite characters in the movie. It still has that and more, it fills all the plot holes and unanswered questions and other things that made you think “wtf?” All in all the story is well told.
CGI graphics have never looked better than they do in Advent Children Complete. Let me just say that Blue-Ray DOES make a difference.
Is situational, I have a surround sound system that made it seem life like, but as I said before it’s all situational.
In Advent Children Complete, the characters are more developed then they were in the original. Take Denzel for example, in the first one he is a completely new character with no background. In Complete they bridge that gap by explaining how and why he’s living with Cloud and Tifa.
The fight scenes are amazing! They’re extended a little more than in the original. The story is easier to follow and the graphics will keep you in awe the entire movie.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children by and large is nothing but fan service. If you’ve never even played through the PS1 game (let alone looked up the plot details on the Final Fantasy wikia if you can’t be fucked to play through a 3-disc game from 1997), you’re not gonna understand a lick of what’s going on and chances are you’ll probably hate it. What I fail to understand is how the blokes at Square Enix thought it would be a good idea to make a FILM sequel to a VIDEO GAME. Did Final Fantasy VII become the .hack// franchise overnight or am I missing something here? Why couldn’t we get a video game sequel in the first place? Oh well, what’s done is done and there’s no changing that now is there?
My biggest gripe with Advent Children is that it feels like Square Enix just hastily slapped this together and threw it out to the fans because they knew that Final Fantasy VII fanboys and fangirls will buy it and eat it up without a second thought. Say what you will about the PS1 game but there was a lot of thought and effort put into making it and for the time, it was revolutionary. You’d think that such a game would get a fitting sequel, right? Well no, it’s just a sequel for the sake of being sequel. The story feels like fan fiction to such a large degree that it’s not even funny. Sephiroth has a fanclub consisting of three “brothers” who want to revive him with the remains of JENOVA, they travel on motorbikes, and get into a swordfight with Cloud because why the fuck not? It looks cool, right? That’s just one example, by the way.
Honestly, I could forgive this were it not for the fact that Square Enix in their infinite wisdom decided to omit around ~30 minutes worth of footage from the original DVD release of the movie and only decided to include it in the “complete” release on Blu-ray. Way to screw fans out of their money, guys. What’s next? Are you guys gonna slap together a clip show made entirely out of clips from the original video game in a vain hope to get people who didn’t play it to understand the story? Wait… they actually DID do that. Come on! Why couldn’t you guys just make a 30 minute summary of the game with updated animation that matches the rest of the film’s?! That’s just a gigantic middle finger to anyone who actually bought the movie, especially given how Square Enix went all out with the rest of the movie’s budget.
If there’s one redeeming quality that Advent Children has, it’s the production values. Seriously, this movie came out 10 years ago and it’s still unmatched in terms of production values. Not even the third Berserk movie can come anywhere close. The English dub of the movie’s also quite lovely to say the least, but it does have one nasty little problem: a REALLY bad case of lip-lock. Remember how Akira had the voices pre-recorded before Katsuhiro Otomo et al began animating the film? Well, Square Enix in their infinite wisdom decided to do that. Whilst the ADR crew did their best to make the performances feel natural, you can kinda tell that they slipped up every now and then. Aside from the fact that some lines don’t quite match up with the mouth movements, there’s also a few rather odd translations thrown into the mix. If you want to know what I’m talking about, the Japanese onomatopoeia for a zipper is translated to “dilly-dally, shilly-shally” (which never ceases to make me cringe when I hear it). I don’t think I need to go any further than that, really.
Now where does this leave Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children? Honestly, it’s mediocre entertainment for the sake of being mediocre entertainment. If you’re in the mood for a senseless action movie with great production values, this certainly fits the bill but then again, movies like Akira, all three films in the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc trilogy, and Ninja Scroll already fit the bill there and then some. Plus, you don’t have to play through a ridiculously long PS1 game to properly understand what goes on in those movies either. Fans of Final Fantasy VII have been voicing their thoughts on this movie for years. The bulk of them enjoy it, but there are people like me who don’t particularly care much for it anymore. Whether or not you’ll enjoy it is a matter for you and you alone to decide. Anyway, that’s all for now. Feedback is always welcome, and with that I’m out. Peace 🙂
19: Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas – Meiou Shinwa
English: Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas
Japanese: 聖闘士星矢 THE LOST CANVAS 冥王神話
MAL Score: 7.98
A Holy War, from ancient mythology, where the Goddess Athena and Hades have fought against each other while defending the earth repeatedly over the span of 200 years. The story takes place in 18th century Europe, 243 years prior to the original “Saint Seiya” Three small children, Tenma, Alone, and Sasha have all shared a very happy childhood together. Tenma who is quite aggressive but upstanding has moved to Sanctuary to become a saint. It is there that he is reunited with Sasha who is the sister of Alone and learns that she is the reincarnation of Goddess Athena. Alone, who is kind, gentle and loves painting was chosen for the body of enemy King Hades. Tenma eventually becomes a saint of Pegasus and engages in a fierce battle with his best friend Alone, the King of Hades. Pegasus Tenma, King Hades, and the Goddess Athena and through the twist of their 3 fates merge together which unfolds a prologue to the original Saint Seiya.
(Source: TMS Entertaiment)
Despite this, this anime made me enjoy myself pretty much.
Story – 9/10
Simple but catching. The War between Hades and Athena and some dramatic inserts of the two to make it even more enjoyable. Include Pegasus in all this and you get a perfect mix of fights, drama and betrayals.
Art – 9/10
What can I say about it? The art was one of the elements that made me watch this series so you can guess form that how much I enjoyed it xD The design of the characters were fitting and the panoramas were just gorgeous.
Sound – 8/10
I didn’t really like the opening song. My inner self was just screaming “Japanese people! stay away from English please!”. Besides that it felt way too ..errr…children-series type of song, thing that’s wrong since SY – Lost Canvas is a pretty dark series overall.
I have nothing to complain about the ending though. It was pretty and moving.
The insert songs between the scenes were good enough to make the right atmosphere so again, nothing to complain about it.
Character – 9/10
This is one thing that surprised me about this anime. Some of the characters, like Pieces and Virgo Gold Saints, even if they appeared in only 2-3 episodes of the series, that was enough to make me fall in love with them. The character development of the characters in such a short amount of time was outstanding.
The same with Yato, which I only thought will be a secondary character that everybody will forget once he gets off screen. I was wrong! lol xDD
Another character that surprised me was Alone, that despite everything he continued to cherish his past memories with his friends, deep inside his heart, even in his condition. The relationship between Alone, Tenma and Sasha was also really moving thinking about their present roles. So thumbs up to it.
Enjoyment – 8/10
I just gave it an 8 because of some fighting scenes that seemed awkward to me.
Overall – 8/10
8 because of the same reason as above but overall I really, really enjoy it and I am looking forward to the next season.
Obviously in comparison to the original series, Lost Canvas cuts right to the last story arc. Not only is it a prequel, it’s a very excellent addition and extension to the original source material. I thought some things in the last Hades OAV arcs to the original series needed to be elaborated on and Lost Canvas expands on certain specific aspects. I’d talk about them, but they’d be spoilers to both Lost Canvas, and oavs to the original series. On the outside, Tenma is a lot like Seiya, but has his own unique distinctions and qualities. In the original series, Seiya is portrayed more as a leader and it was kind of more of a team concept. However, Tenma isn’t exactly a lone wolf, but he does have some help. To compare the two characters in a nut-shell, Seiya is more like Son Gokuu from Dragon Ball, while Tenma is more like Ranma and Inuyasha with their personalities. They’re both fighters, but they express it in those kinds of ways.
What I also found interesting is that the current incarnation of the Unicorn Bronze Saint, Yato, has a lot more use in comparison to the original series, Jabu. The relationship Yato and Tenma have is kind of like a Ranma and Ryoga/Inuyaha and Kouga kind of one. They are very similar and yet they are always at each other’s throats. Despite that, I found it very surprising how their relationship develops in the course of this series from bitter rivals, to cooperative partners that will always have each other’s backs.
The series for this season is pretty well evenly paced and I like how it focuses on certain characters in certain episodes, and it’s not just exclusively about Tenma. Some of the Gold Saints have their own central episodes and you get to learn about them. Though they will only have short appearences, they do make a significant contribution to the progression of the story.
The villains are still pretty much the same from the Hades OAVs, but still have their own unique personalities and qualities in which they all stand out. The OAV ends at an understandable place and of course a sequel has been confirmed and the way it ends just makes you wish to watch that sequel already. I say this is a very good introduction in the same way the Hades Sanctuary Arc respectively was.
Art and Animation
As one can see, the original art design isn’t done by Kurumada Masami. However, he allowed a Shoujo author, Teshirogi Shiori, to do the art for this respective title for the original manga. The anime respectively follows that art style faithfully from what I’ve seen of pictures on the internet and magazines, and I’m of course saying this because I have yet to read the manga of Lost Canvas. The anatomy of the characters are still for the most part pretty slim with some buff guys here and there. The costume designs are of course very faithful to the original material so nobody can fault that. The hairstyles are thinner in comparison to Kurumada’s style, but it still works in contrast to the bodies, faces, and heads. The design of the villains are just as dark and yet still glossy as the Hades Chapter OAVs, but yet some of the characters have their own unique move sets and gimmicks.
As for the action, it’s much more fluid and there is more emphasis on direct hand-to-hand combat as opposed to relying on special moves. However, with a much lesser character roster, the match up appeal isn’t really that present here except in just a couple of fights. Of course Tenma will have the Pegasus Ryuusei Ken and it’s presented in a different angle and not much recycled animation is abused in this. The action is still explosive and exciting, and like I said before, doesn’t go to a point where it gets ridiculously over the top.
Music and Voice Acting
What really took me by surprised is the opening theme “The Realm of Athena” by EUROX. Of course in the tradition of Saint Seiya, it is rock with a good set of guitars as a hook, but the song itself is in perfect English. And the qualities in terms of lyrics in what made Pegasus Fantasy and Megami no Senshi so presentable and catchy, and reflects what the show is about, and it’s not just some song that’s promoting the artist or song, it’s about the show itself, and Saint Seiya is one of the rare products to have music like that. It’s a very good anyway and has its own distinct energy that relfects the overall atmosphere of the series. The general background music is of course new and is very intense at the right times and very acoustic during softer moments. A lot of the percussions and those acoustics used is also very appropriate to the setting in context to the time and place in a cultural sense so that’s a nice touch.
As for the voice acting, I’m not at all familiar with the voice actors of Tenma and Alone. Kakihara Tetsuya, Tenma’s respectice seiyuu, does a great job in making Tenma that arrogant but yet caring fighter. It really reminded me of Suzumura Ken’ichi’s portrayal of Taitou from Jushin Enbu Hero Tales, a character very similar to Tenma. Shimono Hiro as the voice of Alone/Hades I think has to be the performance that has to get the most credit. You’re playing who is supposed to be the most purest person on Earth, and then all of a sudden, becomes the God of the Underworld. He does a great job of a guy who for one minute is convinginly someone who believes in non-violence, and then the next moment is a God that doesn’t care about life.
However, a familiar name that most new school fans should know is the voice of Hirano Aya, the voice of Suzumiya Haruhi, as the voice of Sasha/Athena. Of course in comparison to Haruhi, she is a leader and takes charge, but in a more serious situation, she is very authoritive and commanding as that character, but also compassionate and caring to Tenma. She’s very serious, but yet calm. The influence of Han Keiko’s original performance is also there, but of course the overall voice cast will still never compare to the original no matter how hard they try.
Well, to overall conclude, do you need any previous experience with Saint Seiya? It does help a lot. You can watch this with a fresh mind and still enjoy it. I say on the downside, it can potentially spoil the original series in some respective aspects. But as I said before, if you do have some familiarity, a certain aspect will be elaborated upon and I thought it was a nice touch. By the time you finish this part of the series, you feel like it’s truly beginning. I can’t say the characters develop tremendously in an individual sense, but this is made up for by the relationships the characters develop and try to maintain. The original series had a good balance between developing the characters individually and the relationships, but the original series easily had those opportunities. Hopefully when the next installment comes about, there will be a bit more emphasis on that.
Indeed this is only for Saint Seiya fans. Its basically a remake of the Hades saga but in an alternate universe. There are major changes in the plot composition though – enough changes to make it unpredictable enough. The characters cast are very different and fans will get an appreciation of the characters which have been traditionally left out or marginalised in the canonical Kurumada’s original Saint Seiyas animes.
Effectively this seems like a reaction to fans’s eternal complains about certain characters e.g. Jabu of unicorn, Aldebaran and Aphrodite of Pisces among others who are always, so to say, left out of the big picture. Here we do get a better appreciation of these Knights and their abilities, and also a fair amount of airing time is devoted to the other Gold Saints too.
The series seems to revolve around the previous holy war between the Hades camp and that of Athena, and often devolve into mini stories exposing the powers and personality of each Gold Saint and other important characters.
For Saint Seiya fan this will not fail to be a 10. But those who have not watched the whole of the Saint Seiya saga will somewhat lack the appreciation needed to fully enjoy this and could be bit lost and probably might find the battle meaningless and boring since they can’t relate well to the characters.
18: One Piece Film: Strong World Episode 0
Japanese: ワンピース フィルム ストロングワールド エピソードゼロ
MAL Score: 7.98
Set over 20 years prior to the main One Piece story, this limited release OVA chronicles the confrontation between Gold Lion Shiki and Gold Roger as well as other events around the world around the time of the Pirate King’s execution.
What it covers are confrontations between Roger and Shiki. Shiki’s capture and escape. Glimpses of nearly most of the characters big or small whether it be one of luffy’s crew or a side character and ended with the start of the movie that follows.
This episode to me felt like it showed the starting point of what is to be and what has become. I fell like I may have said too much so i’ll leave it at that.
Enjoy the episode.
other than that we get a quick great recap of who Shiki is and what he really is. we see a lot of characters as young that is quite cool as well.
Overall great OVA with a rather great ending that opens up your curiosity.
MAL Score: 8.03
Naota Nandaba is an ordinary sixth grader living in a city where nothing amazing ever seems to happen. After his brother Tasuku leaves town to play baseball in America, Naota takes it upon himself to look after everything Tasuku left behind—from his top bunk bed to his ex-girlfriend Mamimi Samejima, who hasn’t stopped clinging to Naota since Tasuku left.
Little does Naota know, however, that his mundane existence is on the verge of being changed forever: enter Haruko Haruhara, a Vespa-riding, bass guitar-wielding, pink-haired psychopath whose first encounter with Naota leaves him with tire tracks on his back and a giant horn on his head. Though all he wants is some peace and quiet, when Haruko takes up residence at his parents’ home, Naota finds himself dragged into the heart of the greatest battle for supremacy that Earth—and quite possibly the entire universe—has ever seen.
I highly recommend watching this series multiple times (it is short enough for sure – about the length of a movie all together). Each time I watch it, I start to pick up more subtleties, like pieces of foreshadowing dialogue, thematic development between characters and their foils, and witty humour. The director’s commentary is also extremely insightful to the themes of the story, and I would definitely spend time watching that as well.
Most importantly, I can’t stress enough to not be quick to judge this work. If you don’t understand everything (and you undoubtedly won’t after the first viewing), it certainly does not mean FLCL is "random" or "plotless". It is in my opinion WELL worth a second and third watch in order to pick up as much as you can.
I can’t sing enough praise about FLCL. It holds a dear place in my heart, and I hope everyone that reads this can find a great enjoyment in it as well.
Sadly, FLCL did not offer any but was a one way trip to hell the moment a certain character made a flashy appearance in the first episode.
STORY: There is absolutely no story behind this anime. It is just six episodes of disjointed scripts that attempt to fuse together as much genres as possible then injected with pointless crude sexual humor. It is as confusing as reading a Chemistry textbook upside down and going to write a Biology exam. It is not anything overly intelligent that one wouldn’t understand but a very sorry attempt for a plot.
ART: A rather welcome aspect of FLCL. The art is unique and very neat while the animation is decent but nothing breathtaking.
SOUND: Another redeeming feature of the show.The music, as a standalone is nothing special but mixed with FLCL actually makes sense. It blends perfectly with the animation and just about managed to keep my sanity while being subject to the torture that was Fooly Cooly.
CHARACTER: This is perhaps the aspect of FLCL that is worse than the Story. A good anime has characters that you can connect to, ones you feel an attachment to, ones you root for, likable characters. The only half decent character in FLCL is Naota. The lot of em are either disgusting or detestable and very easily forgettable.
Now welcome to Haruko, my no. 3 most hated character in anime history only behind Shin in Gundam Seed Destiny and Roshio in TTGL. The introduction of Haruko marked the end of FLCL for me. A good description of her would be spontaneously annoying.
ENJOYMENT: I did not enjoy FLCL plain and simple. I have watched this anime an unbelievable 3 times because I kept telling myself maybe just maybe I missed something or there’s is an underlying essence but NO, I only hated it more each time.
CONCLUSION: When there is a subject of controversy, you find things like
-One man’s meat is another man’s poison
-it is hit or miss
-People have different tastes etc
In this regard, FLCL is as polarizing as they come. It will be a love/hate relationship if you decide to brave the show. The good thing is you’ll know which category you belong very early on.
Story – There isn’t one. When I try to describe it to people they think that I’m just making things up. The story is so nonexistent that it’s pretty impossible to spoil.
Character – The MC from Evangelion is paired up with a bipolar schizophrenic girl with unexplained magical powers. The character interactions are nonsensical and character motivations are not even remotely explored. It’s impossible to take anyone in this series seriously.
Art – One of the few redeeming elements of the show. The art is admittedly superbly well done, especially the over-the-top ridiculous sequences that this show is known for. My score ignores how the authors used the many changing art styles as a replacement for actual content.
Sound – The sound was excellent as well. The soundtrack was great, the voice actors were solid, and the english dub is surprisingly good. 9/10
Enjoyment – Watching this once was once too many. Some people might enjoy seeing bright flashing colors and absurd sequences of nonsense, but for me it became trite and jaded 10 minutes into the first episode. I was a fool to continue watching, deluding myself into thinking that it would get better.
Overall – The problem with this show is that if everything is ridiculous, then nothing is ridiculous. I love surrealism, grandiosity and not always understanding everything until the end, but FLCL tries so hard to take everything to an extreme that it struggles to be coherent or meaningful. Perhaps this is why fans are convinced that this show is complex – the idea that they so thoroughly wasted 2 hours of their life on something with absolutely no purpose is disconcerting, so they fabricate some “deeper meaning” for the show when in reality, there isn’t one. Or, at the very least, there isn’t one that can be attained without grasping at straws. And that’s not a meaning worth discussing.
16: Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden (1999)
Japanese: 銀河英雄伝説外伝 螺旋迷宮
MAL Score: 8.08
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden (1999) is the second of two OVA adaptations of side stories from the Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu novel series. This second adaptation follows the achievements of Yang Wen-li of the Free Planets Alliance before the fateful Battle of Astarte, and continues the tales of Reinhard von Müsel and Siegfried Kircheis of the Galactic Empire.
Yang is propelled to the spotlight after his famous evacuation of civilians from El Facil. Following an unofficial double promotion and a flurry of media attention, he chronicles his research of the Year 730 Mafia—a close-knit group of Alliance military officers centered around the famed tactician Bruce Ashbey. He investigates a startling claim by Ashbey’s deceased widow that may have enormous political ramifications: that the great war hero was not killed in action but murdered.
Reinhard and Kircheis are posted on the destroyer Hameln II, docked at Iserlohn Fortress. After gaining the respect of the crew, Reinhard’s leadership is tested when the captain is severely wounded and passes command authority to Reinhard, the next-highest ranking officer on deck.
While Reinhard and Kircheis are working in the Imperial capital Odin, Reinhard learns of a mining rights dispute involving Dorothea von Schaffhausen, a friend of his sister Annerose von Grünewald. Upon hearing that Count Herxheimer intends to settle the matter with a duel, Reinhard volunteers to represent the Schaffhausen family.
After falling out of favor with the nobility, Count Herxheimer is trying to escape to the Free Planets Alliance with a stolen Seffle particle generator prototype. Reinhard is tasked with retrieving both the prototype and the defector, but is only assigned the cruiser H?ssliche Entlein due to the confidential nature of the mission.
The Third Battle of Tiamat
To commemorate the 30th year of the reign of Kaiser Friedrich IV, the Empire announces a large-scale military campaign against the Free Planets Alliance. In the ensuing clash between the Imperial expeditionary force and three Alliance fleets, Reinhard’s timely intervention shapes the tides of war.
These ‘side stories’ were conceived in both written and anime form after the main series, and they contain a significant amount of foreshadowing and allusions to future events and important characters from the main series that are only named or shown in passing. These references would likely not be appreciated by those who haven’t seen or don’t like the main series. Hence the two prequel series’ should be treated as exactly what they intend to be: A ‘side story’ collection, not unlike some of the ‘specials’ that get bundled with anime DVD’s these days. Except that there’s no filler here, and we get to witness stuff direct from the source material. For that reason, it is strongly recommended that these two prequel Series should be watched after the main series, and this review is aimed at those who have already seen the main series.
Just like the first gaiden, Spiral labyrinth takes up a relaxed pace with a tone that is quite different from the main series’ tension filled drama. It doesn’t have the epic space fights or the massive story or character exposition of the main series. Instead, it presents the highlights of the past lives (mainly the military career) of the series’ main characters i.e Reinhard, Kircheies and Yang wenli. It is quite interesting to see what kind of (shitty) assignments (and misadventures) these future legends had to put up with when they were on the lower end of the military ladder. The lack of an overarching story would normally be worrisome; but the writer(s) takes good advantage of the story arc format, and the result is a commendable variety of stories which differ from each other in nature and theme, and helps keep things fresh.
Since the two prequel Gaidens were released from 1998-2000, the quality of animation is much better than in the main series. The colors are much stronger, the drawing more firm and overall the animation is more vivid. Like the main OVA, the series uses classical music and it fits perfectly well with the scenes. The infamous narrator is back again, except he doesn’t seem too keen on spoiling the story this time around (there’s not much to spoil anyway, as suspense level is much lower for the most part). The Seiyuu cast is the same, except for Kei Tomiyama, who did a perfect job as Yang wenli in the original 110 ep OVA. Due to his death by Pancreatic cancer in 1995, his role in the LOTGH franchise as Yang Wenli was taken over by Hozumi Gouda (hunter x hunter, D-gray man), who doesn’t sound as natural as Kei did in the role, but he makes for a perfect replacement.
The first half is entirely dedicated to Yang who, starting from his humble beginning as the son of a merchant ship Captain who dies in an accident on duty, is dragged into a military career by a strange twist of fate, and is then shot to fame when he saves the population of the planet ‘El Facile’ from an enemy invasion. All this we are told in the main series, but the first two episodes of SL cover the early part of Yangs life in a bit more detail.
His next assignment after El facile is a secret investigation into the death of a famous Free Planet Alliances war hero, ‘Bruce Ashby’, who supposedly died in an accident after winning the second battle of Tiamat. This investigation then takes up the better part of the next 11 or so episodes, during which we see Yang researching history, meeting historical figures, getting posted at a remote POW camp where he meets Patorichev for the first time, and comes across an old history obsessed ex-imperial soldier-turned-POW. As interesting the focus on Yang is, the long arc starts to drag towards the end. Despite that slight hiccup, the cameos on the FPA side are quite interesting. We get to see a much younger Bucock as a Turret operator. Yang’s interaction with Czellnu and Dusty Attenborough never fails to lighten up. The strict and principled Murai also makes an appearance towards the end of the arc to lend Yang a hand out of a tight situation. Overall the arc is interesting and enjoyable thanks mainly due to the history lesson and the solid cameo roles, although the plot itself starts to stagnate towards the end.
The best and the worst part of the series is in the second half; Focusing entirely on Reinhard and his trusty companion Kircheis, the last 14 eps are divided into 4 arcs, each with a unique story. Thus, we have an excellent 4 ep ‘Mutineer’ arc, which places Reinhard and Kircheis in a ship trying to save it from enemies without, while facing an internal discord within its ranks (complete with an epic Lotgh-esque death scene); the somewhat dull ‘duelist’ arc in which Reinhard faces off his would be assassin in a duel is the only blot-mark on the OVA; another 4 ep long masterpiece ‘Retriever’ sees the duo deep in enemy territory on an espionage mission as Reinhard commands a battleship officially for the first time; and finally the 2 ep long ‘third battle of Tiamat which is surprisingly the only arc with a proper lotgh-esque space battle.
While the ‘duelist’ is somewhat underwhelming (although mildly interesting), the ‘Mutineer’ and ‘Retriever’ are so good that they easily come close to the quality of some of the better episodes from the main series. These arcs also add details to LOTGH-verse, as we find out the origin of the zephyr particles, and how Reinhard gets his flagship Brunhilde. There are also some references to characters such as Merkatz; a small (random) cameo by lutz, and a somewhat larger one by Wahlen.
Overall, Spiral Labyrinth is slightly better than the first Gaiden due to a more consistent quality, a better variety of story arcs and a stronger role by Yang wenli. Definitely a must watch for LOTGH fans.
15: Kuroshitsuji: Book of Murder
English: Black Butler: Book of Murder
Japanese: 黒執事 Book of Murder
MAL Score: 8.08
At the behest of the Queen, Earl Ciel Phantomhive hosts a lavish dinner party attended by several of the finest members of polite society—as well as struggling author, Arthur. But as the party reaches its high, a terrible murder takes place and none other than the Earl himself is suspected of the crime.
As a violent storm rages on outside, the death count continues to climb. The Phantomhive household and their eminent guests find they must cooperate in order to solve this mystery before they too fall prey to the mysterious murderer. However, it seems that not even the perfect butler, Sebastian Michaelis, is safe from this horror.
Bringing the old tradition of the classical detective story theme, Book of Murder covers right after Book of Circus arc. The story starts in Phantomhive manor, the queen order Ciel Phantomhive to held a banquet in his manor. The banquet was poisoned by a homicide that quickly turned the banquet into a death zone. Ciel must unravel the truth within the homicide.
This OVA actually did their job well. Although there is no “mystery” in the genres, Book of Murder offers the genres. The mystery have both predictable & unpredictable things, but despite of that, the anime still managed to allure the audience with its excitement. The characters do their roles pretty well, there is a historical character that can be found here (Arthur Conan Doyle)
The animation and the sound settings still the same with previous seasons, it’s well matched & nice.
Overall, it’s just another Kuroshitsuji OVA that does their job well in bringing the intense excitement to the story ranks.
Book of Murder places a stronger focus than is Black Butler’s norm on the details of the storyline, so I am happy to say that story-wise this is one of the strongest entries to the series yet. Chronologically, Murder sits right after the Book of Circus arc, so you’ll definitely want to watch that first. For people who have watched Circus, Book of Murder nicely references events of the Circus storyline, while tying up a few loose ends to the Circus arc.
The story of Murder is unabashedly well trodden, as a cast of characters are invited to a Phantomhive banquet, but find themselves being murdered one by one. The events that unfold though are anything but clichéd however, maintaining suspense and introducing some very nice twists. Unlike previous arcs, Murder’s not action-packed, so whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you though. Don’t mistake this lack of action for being boring though, as Murder’s tense and exciting mystery provide more than enough excitement by way of compensation. It’s a classic Sherlock Holmes-esque scenario, so the cute Sherlock references here and there were more than welcome, and the story definitely takes a very Sherlock-style logical approach to solving its own mystery (although I do think there were a few lapses in logic here and there).
A strong logical progression is not really why I came to watch Murder though. I came to see the more of Black Butler fantastical setting and Sebastian’s awesome powers put to full effect. Book of Murder certainly delivers here, in an intensely satisfying way. Sebastian is still ridiculously powerful, of course, but as the mystery unravels I found myself thinking not ‘Oh that was how Seb did it, that’s cheating!’ but ‘Ah, so that’s how it was done! Well that was neat’. They’re fine lines, but I’m glad to say Book of Murder stays on the proper side. With regards to pacing, Murder wraps its murder mystery up a bit quickly in my opinion, but there’s more to this story than meets the eye! Keep watching Murder, and you’ll find yourself surprised I’m sure at its unexpected ending!
I’ve talked about Sebastian already since he is no doubt the main focus of your attention (he was mine!). You may be surprised to learn that Sebastian is this arc’s main focus though. No, that honour goes to our narrator Arthur. Arthur’s a struggling doctor and writer, unexpectedly receiving an invitation to the banquet because Ciel is fond of his stories. He’s smart and able to keep a cool head, so naturally becomes heavily involved in identifying the murderer, helping Ciel with some well executed displays of deduction.
Arthur’s not just a super sleuth, he’s also a wonderful father figure. Arthur’s paternal instincts bring out a newer side of Ciel that I promise you’ve never seen before. With all Ciel’s confidence and meticulous planning, I sometimes forget how he is, at heart, still a 12 year old boy. Murder’s story is a mystery first and foremost, but if mystery isn’t normally your thing, you might be interested in seeing Ciel’s more vulnerable side exposed during his brief relationship with Arthur. In and of itself, this was a huge leap for Ciel’s character, so Arthur is pretty much a godsend!
Apart from Arthur, there’s a mix of old and new faces at Murder’s deadly banquet. Familiar favourite like the Phantomhive staff, Lao and Ran Mao are joined by newer faces, like Grey Charles, the queen’s personal bodyguard – watch this guy, he’s an interesting one. Apart from him though, the newer additions are pretty weak in general if I’m honest. I guess when there’s a murder mystery, someone has to be the victim right? (I’m sorry, that was morbid I know…). Overall though, the focal point of this story is definitely Ciel, Arthur and Sebastian, which is good because in Book of Murder they’re all fantastic.
Regarding the animation and sound, there’s not much to say about Murder other than it’s business as usual. It’s not anywhere near as action-packed as other arcs have been, so the animation isn’t quite as extravagant, but I didn’t mind at all. In addition, there’s no OP and EP to talk about, which I haven’t experienced in a while, but it drives the point home that Black Butler isn’t taking any prisoners here: it’s out to show you what it can do when it’s at its most serious and best. So to wrap up, Murder is in a way more of the same, with a familiar cast for the most part and the Ciel and Sebastian still occupying much of the attention. On the other hand Murder offers a new, more mature, sort of Black Butler. Ciel and Sebastian are still kicking underworld ass, and I for one really enjoyed the Black Butler’s take on England’s greatest detective stories. Book of Murder is a definite recommendation to fans of the franchise.
Great mystery story
Black Butler + Sherlock-Holmes = Win!
More Sebastian! But perhaps not in a way you were expecting…
Uneven pacing with quite a slow start
Not very interesting cast of new side characters
Not much action (could be a plus though)
I like to predict plots and event in anime before they happen and see of things will go how I planned it or they will be innovative. This OVA went perfectly as I planned, nothing too mysterious nor threatening, I predicted the whole thing since I saw the picture on MAL and it happened what did happen. Too many clichés but it was still Kuroshitsuji-style. There was quite some fanservice for both genders but don’t worry, it’s not abused like in *hum* FT *hum*
Otherwise everything else was good, don’t expect anything too fancy from this than from a normal Kuroshitsuji episode. In the end it didn’t leave me a bad taste in my mind, but I gotta say this OVA does do its job of “concluding” the Book of Circus Arc in a way.
Ladies and Gentlemen, go and see it now if you haven’t.
-From an 18 y/o detective
14: Akatsuki no Yona OVA
MAL Score: 8.09
At a remote hot springs lodge, Yona and the team rest. The boys are taking a bath with the exception of Ki-ja, who looks troubled. Jae-ha takes this chance to tease him, unwittingly finding a mark linked to the previous White Dragon—whom coincidentally is also Ki-ja’s father—prompting Ki-ja to recall their complicated relationship.
In another time and place, Son Hak and the dragons banter as they hold a drinking contest. As they start to doze off one-by-one, Zeno dreams of his past, where his abilities and experiences, both as a person and as the Yellow Dragon, are revealed.
OVA’s are normally an excuse to add fun useless filler to a story. This is not one of those cases. The first episode may seem like that, but the second and third are NOT.
The last 2 eps are fairly critical to understanding a specific characters backstory and existence. It is not to be looked over if you are invested in the story. They could/SHOULD have started the second season with those 2 eps.
::SPOILERS BELOW:: (nothing big is given away, just story bullet points)
The first episode is classic OVA – the hot spring episode. Its cute and fun, but we learn a little into the familial background of the White Dragon. So I would watch it. Other than that its pretty light.
The second and third eps. It beings fairly light and playful and dives into the history of the Yellow Dragon. In the series we get 2 full episodes with him in it. This OVA ep is crucial to understanding more about the original dragons, their relationship with each other and the king, the yellow dragon, and the beginnings of the current political system. They should have used this as the introduction to the second season it would have been brilliant.
The first episode is an animation for a bonus chapter. And if we’ve ever read/watched a bonus chapter it’s only natural to expect there to be fancervice.
Isn’t that what a ‘bonus’ chapter is about anyway? So I don’t think it’s really fair to rate episode 1 badly solely for this reason. Actually, there isn’t as much fanservice as people claim there to be in the first case. Most of the episode actually focusses on more on Ki-ja’s past.
And even if you don’t like the first episode, the next two have much more of the seriousness from the original. Somebody else claims that the art isn’t as good but I don’t pay attention to that as much so I can’t tell. But I can GUARANTEE you that the second and third are much better than the first and definitely worth watching! You might aswell consider them to be 2 episodes from the original :p
Despite being fully aware that the first episode is a bonus without any significant meaning to the original series, it disappointed me and lowered my expectation for the other two episodes.
I’m glad I didn’t drop it.
The original 24 episode TV series did not fully appeal to me as it lacked to follow the dramatic scenario set in the first couple of episodes during the rest of the anime. What made me continue watching the anime was not the story, but the character development. The 2nd episode extends that appeal by providing a backstory of the origins of the four dragons.
The weakest point in the original TV series was the abrupt ending it imposed after meeting the yellow dragon. Unlike the other dragons, the yellow dragon seemingly came out of nowhere, with the anime ending without any sort of development in his character.
The 3rd episode of the OVA appeased my disappointment, providing a level of story and character development greater than the entirety of the 24 episode series within the span of only one.
13: Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas – Meiou Shinwa 2
English: Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas 2
Japanese: 聖闘士星矢 THE LOST CANVAS 冥王神話 2
MAL Score: 8.10
The sequel to Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas – Meiou Shinwa.
For starters, it’s worth mentioning, that although the series has been up as an OVA for more than 2 years now, we are still only half-way through. This is because at the time the first episode was aired, the manga was still ongoing and only recently came to a spectacular end (at least for those we have no experience with SS franchise), therefore the animators took their time to polish Lost Canvas OVA instead of come up with poinstless fillers, like most people would do. Thank you dearly for that. I believe that it’s a good thing, that the series is split into 13-episode-long seasons which end at crucial moments in the series. By doing so, the studio managed to pace the title just exaclty right and omit adding extra content or re-cap episodes just to buy some time for the manga to gain the distance. However, now that the manga is finished I’m sincerely hoping that the two final seasons will be delivered sooner than the previous ones. Otherwise those will be really painfull 4 or so years…
The story may appear a bit cliched with straightforward shounen backtracks at the first glance, but if one looks just a little bit deeper it may appear that the initial thoughts are somewhat invalid or distorted by the fact, that shounen series these days offer very little and in consequence blunt our-the viewers’ hopes for new franchise(s). The grieveness of this idea is multiplied by the sincere lack of anything that would only little go beyond the accepted cliches of good guys fighting against bad guys. In Lost Canvas this small glimpse is represented not so much by the plot but by the characters and their overlapping development over the course of events. The authors are not scared by the fact that they have to deal with so many people (if we only consider the Golds it’s 12 people already!!) and this accounts for supreme control over the content which appears on the screen. Every character gets his or her 5 minutes (the leads of course more), most motivations are solidly backgrounded and although some situations may apper too ‘captain-obvious’-like, it’s still refreshing to see the characters struggle not so much to defeat the enemy, but rather to survive in the end. Of course, this appears to be rather difficult in the rough SS world (sorry for the abbreviation, it’s Saint Seiya obviously :] ) and people really die when they are killed, but it’s for the best: we can move with the plot and grieve for all those who lost their lives, not necessarily reminiscenting about them every moment possible in every flashback possible (Hello there Naruto bozoos!).
The characters’ strength lies in their difference. Even among the Saints or the Specters you will rarely find the two alike characters. Sure, the Golds are obsessed with fighting (you can tell just by their spiky hairstyles though :> ) and the Specters are obsessed with killing the Golds (this, well, you can tell just by looking at them :] ). Both the teams fight for their own leaders though, and although I do understand why 12 men wearing gold pants are into a lovely 18-year-old goddess from the Age of Myth, I still find it difficult to accept the other side of the fence admiring a dark-haired boy who loves to lick blood from the floor or play with his puppy-of-a-cerberus.
I also like the main character – the Pegasus Saint Tenma. He’s a much better folly then his 20th century counterpart – Seiya, more decisive, less annoying and definitely more intelligent. He also appears to be slightly more talented than Seiya, which comes across as being crucial in some of the battles and saves his life on occasion. As we will learn from the upcoming seasons his background is also more solid than Seiya’s and includes much more twists and wicked characters. Through the 90s’ series Seiya appeared to be more of an ‘accident’ of a Saint, than a fated warrior whose destiny is to aid Athena in her final battle against Hades. Tenma is…, well exactly this definition with the small add-on: ‘Oh Gods, I carry a torch both for Sasha and her brother Alone, who, erm, happen to be the Athena and the Hades’. Aside of that, he’s a perfect protagonist. He shows up occasionally, isn’t omnipotent and is far from being strong, even by the end of the series. He also understands, that since he cannot bring Alone back, he will have to take him down eventually.
The other characters are also a far better counterparts to their younger brothers and sisters from Saint Seiya the original. That may be, because we live with these people and most of them serve as not only mentors for Tenma, but also a rather eloquent battle subjects. The original was, at this particular point really scarce. At least half of the Sanctuary warriors died in the initial battles against the Bronze, only to be later revived by Hades – thus we know very little about them in general.
Another kudos should belong to two other protagonists: Sasha aka Athena and Alone aka Hades. They both play their roles splendidly, while introducing a more complex twists into the plot. Although you may find Sasha to be a bit too kind and extraverted at first, her ‘alter ego’ – Alone, is exactly the opposite. Cruel, decisive and a bit emotional version of one of the darkest and most well-known villains in the Mythology and yet you nearly believe in the world he’s pointing at: without wars, killing and cruelty. The only problem is, this also means the world without humans.
Graphically and soundwise the production nearly reaches perfection. Of course, it’s an OVA, anything lower than perfection is unacceptable, but the studio put so much care and heart into making this beatifully drawn manga into something of this quality, that it cannot remain untold. Every aspect of it, starting from extra smooth animation, detailed drawings and beautiful backgrounds to nearly non-existent CGI is a work of art. There is not a single episode of a less format than it should be, and that’s good. It’s the kind of enjoyment many of us have been waiting for for nearly a decade. The graphics also prove, that making the series into OVA rather than regular TV show was a much better solution. By doing so, the animators could retain the original concepts and beauty of the manga without rush and with more money to spend. Action scenes are really good and some could easily become a good show-off for all those, who aim at superb quality but end up doing rubbish instead. Special attention is required when we want to discuss the way the Cloths (armors) look. It’s a completely different level from the ones availbile in the old series. Although I do like the old designs, the new cloths, while retaining the spirit of the originals, are far better looking, slicker and more modern.
The music is composed by Kaworu Wada, who made the entire OST for D-Gray man. Back in that show, I loved his creations and Lost Canvas is no different. The music is for most part fantastic, climatic and well suited with the tone of the series and the development of the characters. For some scenes you don’t really notice it’s there but for others it’s crucial and without it the moment wouldn’t be even half that good.
A separate paragraph should also follow the opening and ending sequences – those are fabulous. At first, I didn’t quite like them as I’m not a fan of the Japanese artists singing English lyrics. This time around, however, what I usually assume to be something weak turned out to be so good, that I tend use my utter singing abilities to perform it occasionally in bath :] (a joke). The Realm of Athena, obviously, is a living proof of the Japanese using English consciously and nearly flawlessly – and for only that, you should check it. The ending is also good, but it gets old pretty fast, on the contrary, The Realm of Athena is a neverending feat that, when pops up on my playlist, reminds me of this great series instantly.
Voice acting is definitely the weakest part of the OVA, and although the studio hired pretty well-known people to do their work as seiyuus (Hirano Aya, Hiro Shimono, Tetsuya Kakihara) some parts just don’t go too well with the epicness of the scenes. I tend to like Aya-san which voices Sasha and Tetsuya-san as Tenma, though. These two seiyuus really did their best to input as many emotions into their animated characters as possible and it paid off.
It’s really difficult to credit something which is still on-going, but I’ll try to pass the final verdict. Lost Canvas is a v.good OVA series, mainly because it follows the manga consequently and consistently leaving aside no room for fillers or recap episodes. Therefore it borrows all the good and bad parts of the manga, while retaining the general idea intact. For a shounen it sure is refreshing, to see the series which ends in 200– chapters rather than a thousand or so, but I still can’t get this odd feeling off, that it’s a sheer rip-off from the original series. Although you do get a lot of new characters, a more developed protagonists (Saoru from Kurumada’s manga was very very weak) and a better development of the other Saints beside the Pegasus and his henchmen it still is a good old Saint Seiya show. Thus, if you have nothing against battles that end in one-two attacks, overpowered and shiny armors and are into beautiful animation, epic ost and memorable characters – the series is for you!
SS Lost Canvas, is like a dreamed SHONEN adaptation, nice animation, a real war, no plotkai. Shonen series should imitate lost canvas
Im a classic Saint Seiya fan, but I consider Lost Canvas as the superior one.
Now, first I will introduce people about saint seiya:
This anime tells the story of the previous Holy War, taking place in the 18th century, 250 years before the original series, in the Saint Seiya universe. The story centers on the relation between Tenma, the Pegasus Saint and his beloved friends, Alone, who eventually becomes his greatest enemy, Hades and Sasha who became Athena.
You don´t need to watch the original SS series.
Characters 8 of 10. Tenma starts as the generic shonen hero, but the setting and certain events will turn Tenma in something different. The good thing about LC, is that the side characters the Gold Saint receive a lot of attention, they have interesting backgrounds, you will care about them. The specter (hades army) represent the opposite you will hate them, but they are awesome too.
Alone is a hit or a miss, (wont spoil).
Animation 9 of 10: Great Backgrounds, awesome character and cloth (designs), fluid combat scenes. Saint Seiya is more “skill based” and “shout my hax move type” than melee brawl.
Soundtrack 8 0f 10: Good tunes, reall fits. But inferior to the original anime soundtrack.
Setting 10 of 10: If you like mythology, unique clothes, badasses, also bishies (for the female fan).
Epic holy war, there´s no clear victory, for both sides, BOTH SIDES HAVE LOSSES, something nowaday shonens don´t have
The 3 gold saints are Manigoldo, the Cancer saint, El Cid, the Capricorn saint, and Sisyphus, the Sagitaurrius saint. And even though their respective original series counterparts didn’t really have much screen time as lets say Saga, Mwu, or Milo did, these characters do a whole lot and demonstrate how fucking bad ass they are. Formally speaking, they really go in-depth with these characters and explore why they became saints and why they fight.
Hypnos and Thanatos and are given a bigger role as opposed to their original series counterparts. Thanatos is still portrayed as brash, arrogant, and sadistic, and Hypnos is still calculating, manipulative and patient. Those qualities were shown with them in the original Saint Seiya manga, but they were more expanded upon in this season and the screen time in this series makes them more credible villains this time around since they really did almost nothing. OK, they did destroy 5 Gold cloths. That was cool and impacting for what little time they had last time.
Tenma still maintains the archetypical qualities of a shounen hero but I like how these qualities are put in a much darker context. It shows he’s very caring, can be an idiot, and he may be idealistic but yet understands the hard side of life, and yet those qualities are why he doesn’t give up hope. He does have his moments in this series, but this installment belongs to the three gold saints and I don’t mind that. But the series ends at a cliffhanger, but when it ends, it gets really, really exciting because it comes to a point where even though they won a huge battle, the stakes are starting to get higher than ever before and it leaves you wanting for more. And I hope that a new installment is made soon now that the manga is over.
The art and animation is more or less the same, but what really improves is the action. The action this time is just simply bad ass on a level that is just a few leagues below Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Granted it is balls to the walls, but it relies a lot on wit, strategy, and being a man. From beginning to end there is countless tension and intensity. The fights perfectly mixes physical, psychological, mystical and spiritual demands to make the action consistently exciting. The characters are placed in battles where it’s the equivalent of a 60 year old Rocky Balboa taking on a young Apollo Creed, young Mr. T, young Hulk Hogan, an Ivan Drago on every performance enhancing drug imaginable, a loaded Tommy Gunn, and a hungry Mason Dixon all at once on the mean streets of Philly and yet chooses to fight on. Even though Saint Seiya is a re-telling of Greek mythology, the characters demonstrate a good combination of the spirit of the ancient Japanese samurai warrior with the all-American million-to-one underdog. Yeah, they may lose, but the fact they choose to face such a challenge is what makes it more admirable. This is most demonstrated with El Cid. Remember that Rocky analogy I made a few seconds ago, El Cid is who I was talking about and what he does is what made him my favorite character in Lost Canvas so far. Hell, he’s way cooler than Shuura in my book.
Well, the style of the music and the songs used are still the same and I can’t go wrong with Realm of Athena, the best English anime song of all time that’s in the Japanese version. But early on in the series, I like how this organ song was more integrated into the action. At first, you think the music it is setting the mood, but it is of course not doing that for the audience, but for the victim in the TV screen itself. I like how this featured villain was playing an organ to manipulate people and it just really intensified the mood.
The seiyuu cast is still appropriately splendid. I really can’t say anything about it that I already said in my review of the last season. The performances perfectly reflected the nature of their characters. I like how Hirano Aya is Athena/Sasha can’t always act as this school girl who needs to be in the remedial classes and shows she can be this leader in a time of war. I
Well naturally, you do need to watch the first season first to get an understanding of the establishment of the main cast, specifically Tenma, Sasha, and Alone. But this season does a good job of re-establishing these characters in a certain way that may not be familiar to new audiences, but I do recommend watching this series from season 1 to get a better idea of course how the stakes got higher and how the danger gets more intense.
Once again, I do like to state that you don’t really need any previous exposure to the original Saint Seiya series though it will help a lot. But at the same time, the previous exposure does add more. But hey, this series still defines what makes Saint Seiya awesome; explosive action, thrilling adventure, and awesome music that grabs you by the balls.
12: Tsubasa: Shunraiki
English: Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE: Spring Thunder Chronicle
Japanese: ツバサ 春雷記
MAL Score: 8.12
A 4 part OVA released with the limited editions of the Tsubasa and xxxHOLiC volumes.
There are two OVAs for each series, with plots linked together.
They cover the Nihon Country Arc and scarcely some of the Celes Country Arc.
(Source: Official Project Website)
+ Very close adaptation of the original material
+ The actual plot is very interesting and complex
+ Plot twists are sure to surprise some viewers
+ Finally we get xxxHOLiC/Tsubasa connections
– If you’ve only watched the anime versions of Tsubasa (including Tokyo Revelations) you WILL NOT understand the plot fully.
– Manga knowledge is absolutely necessary to understand what is happening.
– Celes and Infinity arcs were never animated (the ones who continue after Tokyo), further emphasizing my previous point.
+ CLAMP style art (if you like it)
+ Production I.G delivers fantastic and fluid animation even during fight scenes
– CLAMP style art (if you hate it)
+ Kajiura Yuki delivers once again
+ a blend of new and old songs makes this very pleasing to listen
+ Great job to all the seiyuus specially Irino Miyo for his Syaoran
– I can’t think of anything (sorry)
+ Great level of character development
+ All the characters are very likeable
– Fai and Kurogane fans might be let down by the lack of involvement of the two during this OVA as they spend most of their time as observers.
Enjoyment: I can say this easily, this 2 episode OVA was absolutely fantastic and I really hoped this would last longer. This was one of my favourite parts of the manga and im glad at how well production I.G has handled it once again. This OVA makes my current top 5 for now. How I wish we could just get a third anime season by I.G ;_;
Overall Tsubasa Shunraiki can be fantastic or annoying depending on how you look at it. As a stand alone OVA adaptation of the manga, it is absolutely perfect. If you try to look at it as a continuation of the series, then unfortunately it is almost a prerequisite to have read the manga to enjoy this fully. If you are a fan of the manga then I guarantee you will not be let down by this, if you have only experience Tsubasa as an anime then I would STRONGLY suggest you read it before trying to watch this, it would greatly decrease the enjoyment factor.
:::The artwork is precise and even if there are only two episodes, you can see the difference in it between the two seasons of Tsubasa Chronicle and the OVAs.
:::The soundtrack is awesome as always and the op and the ending are very nice.
:::The characters are the same for all of you who have watched Tsubasa, but /especially if you are reading the manga/ you can see them more serious and everyone of them with his personal story in the shadows.
:::So I think that this OVAs are one of the best CLAMPs works and you will enjoy them even if you aren’t reading the manga and can’t understand the plot very well [=
With the announcement of Spring Thunder it was no surprise the various CLAMP fanatics began jumping for joy and same with some of the fans such as me. Now after watching both episodes, I have to say, this was a real let down.
Tsubasa Spring Thunder is the bad example of what happens when the original creator of the source material comes to write in the adaption. Nanase Ohkawa (aka Ageha Ohkawa) the principal writer of CLAMP, whom I’ve found to have exceptional screenwriting talent handled this script for this as well as “Tokyo”, having taken over from the TV series writer Hiroyuki Kawasaki. Ohkawa crafted Tokyo so well, I would have handed her the Academy Award for Best Screenwriting of the year. In the case of Spring Thunder I would easily hand her a Razzie award for the Worst.
Ohkawa proves that she and her fellow CLAMP mates are too married to their story that all they can do is tell an animated version of their manga, basically wasting everyone elses time. Spring Thunder proves to be nothing more than a carrot for the loyal fans who have kept reading through the years while basically saying “piss off” to those who have only followed the anime installments. Having only partially read the manga I was beyond confused. As Spring Thunder doesn’t immediately pick up where Tokyo left off.
Production I.G’s motto is, ” to make anime that stands on its own ground without being an extension of manga.” And to me I.G completely threw that motto out the window. The film is cluttered with to many flashbacks to events we haven’t seen and likely never will, and it only leaves the viewer with a real sense of emptiness and endless plotholes that they won’t be able to fill unless they claw their way through god knows how many books there are now. At the very least Ohkawa was still able to make a somewhat-coherent screen story that I could follow at the very least. Still most of the time I was hopelessly lost with no hope of ever returning. It seems the plot of Tsubasa has dissolved to a very epic and thoroughly thought out quest to just mind-bending improv from CLAMP.
Equally disappointing was Shunsuke Tada’s direction. Tada used way to many cuts and hardly got creative, except with the action scenes. Too often than not we are cut into long and pointless exposition scenes that some of us really just don’t care about. I found my self fast forwarding through this more than on the edge of my seat with anticipation of what the next scene holds. And of course Tada follow the old animation creed of “animation first, music second.” Yuki Kajiura’s score is ridiculously forced into the background to the point you even wonder if there is any. Rather than use music to heighten the scene and emotion, Tada makes it feel like it’s just playing on a radio, as basic white noise. I said this in my review for Tokyo, that the use of music is the thing I find much more appealing about Koichi Mashimo at Bee Train compared to anyone else, and this only proves my point. On the one plus side was he finally decided to use more variety of pieces from the Tsubasa OST archives than he did in Tokyo and we were able to get a few new pieces from Yuki, who is understandably busy with a variety of projects.
Yoko Kikuchi character designs while not dreadful aren’t exactly appealing. That being said I do prefer Bee Train’s designer Minako Shiba. The art style is a slab of strangely clashing color pallets dull pastel colors mixed in with dark blacks. It’s almost as though Tada can’t settle on any style. Tomoyo is equally unappealing in her design as she looks like she’s wearing football gear under her robes. There is no continuity to the visual style of this. It’s bright and flowery yet strangely dark, almost filmed like a dark comedy.
The opening animation is just beyond obscure and doesn’t set the mood appropriately for this short OAD series. While Maaya Sakamoto is probably one of the best singers from Japan I’ve ever heard, her themes never seem to ever to match appropriately to anything Tsubasa. Kajiura however has always mastered the theme songs as her ending has fitted a lot more. It’s great to hear FictionJunction YUUKA perform yet again.
The overall animation quality is still very well done for this short production and I didn’t notice any real problems with the animation. The fight scenes were well crafted and well animated which made for some great footage.
If anything else saved this from being the worst video production I’ve seen of all time it was the animation as well as the all star acting from the cast. Miyu Irino has come a long way as an actor, and gives the performance of a life-time for this. The other cast-members also have given it an all star performance and continue to improve as actors.
Spring Thunder isn’t bad or terrible. It’s simply average, boiler plate, run of the mill. It was CLAMP’s little present to their die-hard fans, and leaves anime fans in the dark. It’s now very clear as to why this little production is only being sold with the manga instead of a wide release on DVD as opposed to CLAMP’s other productions.
It makes me think they should give it back to Mashimo and just make another season, or at least maybe go to the movie director Itsuro Kawasaki.
11: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
English: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
MAL Score: 8.13
In the year Universal Century 0096, three years after Char Aznable’s failed attempt to force human migration into space, life continues in the colonies orbiting Earth. One such colony, at Side 4, is home to Banagher Links, a 16-year-old who lives a quiet life among his classmates.
Audrey Burne, the last descendant of a great tyrannical family, takes it upon herself to steal the key to a mysterious device known as “Laplace’s Box.” It is said that the Box has the power to shape the course of the universe, and Audrey travels to Side 4 in an attempt to take it from its current holder and keep it from the Sleeves, the surviving remnant of Char Aznable’s Neo-Zeon. In her search, she stumbles across Banagher and changes his life forever.
When Side 4 comes under the attack of the Sleeves and its prolific fighters Marida Cruz and Full Frontal, Banagher takes control of the newly built Gundam Unicorn to defend his friends and protect the fate of humankind.
Since the advent of the original Mobile Suit Gundam 0079, the Gundam franchise certainly has grown to become one of the most iconic shows in anime and has undoubtedly revolutionized the mecha genre itself. Now we take a look at the long-awaited, most recent addition to the Universal Century, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
For those who know the Gundam UC timeline it is obvious, however for the newcomers, it should be known that Gundam Unicorn, despite its name, is not to be taken lightly. For the uninformed about Gundam history, it would be preferable, though not necessary, to watch other Gundam series in the UC timeline taking place before the date Universal Century 0096 and/or at least understand some basic terminology and history in this vast mecha universe. Summarily, Gundam Unicorn adds a final history of events to the early UC timeline masterfully concluding the first 100 years of UC. Now with everything said, we press forward to take our chance at possibility.
The story opens with the creation of the Universal Century (UC) dating system itself, signifying a new era of exploration, prosperity and possibility. Now jump almost 100 years to UC 0096. Earth and space relations remain tense yet the people in space, the remaining Zeon struggle one last time for freedom after suffering many wars of defeat. A simple premise, but what exactly occurs during this period has potentially complex and profound consequences all humans living in earth and in space.
Possibility. It has been mentioned in multiplicity already but with great reason. Such a powerful yet vague word and that can sum up Gundam Unicorn concisely. Why? The answer lies in Laplace’s Box, a mysterious unknown item to all of mankind that exists, but is rumored to tip the balance of power to the Zeon. As remarked by Full Frontal himself, “Would you believe in the possibility something so ambiguous yet so powerful?” This is why the Neo Zeon rise one last time. This is why they, the spacenoids, fight for the possibility of an object no human being knows about. This is why they must find Laplace’s Box in order to break free from the Earth Federation’s grip and the key to the box is none other than the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam, the beast of possibility, the symbol of hope.
The Gundam series has always focused on the philosophical and societal aspects of civilization. War, politics, human development. The Newtype myth, those held down by gravity, the harmony of human evolution. These themes are just some foundations that build the interactions in the Gundam universe albeit it wasn’t always effectively portrayed or was slightly excessive. Unicorn becomes an exception though. These themes still persist in it, and they are executed flawlessy.
For a seven episode OVA, the pacing is nearly perfect. Maybe it is because it was this long(or short) that everything fit together timingly. When it is slow it is, calculating, deliberate and methodical. Likewise, when it is fast, it is quick, action-packed and intense. The only contingency in Unicorn is that compared its original novel counterpart, some events were compressed due to the length issue, but otherwise, Unicorn still manages to deliver and deliver with an outstanding ending.
Typical with many Gundam series, characters in Unicorn are well diverse and developed. Our main protagonist is Banagher Links who finds and pilots the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam. He is your common young, naïve, idealistic protagonist, but just like all the Gundam pilots before him, we see his growth and development into a newtype, aided by friends and enemies. Aside from Banagher, Unicorn contains a multitude of other characters, old ones from previous Gundam installments that will cause a grin of nostalgia, and new ones that certainly become as memorable. Mineva Lao Zabi, Marida Cruz, Bright Noa(!!!). All of them are very unique in their own right and possibly even more enduring than Banagher himself. Of course, let us not forget Full Frontal, the masked antagonist, the leader of Neo Zeon. Certainly he is very unique. His presence and mysteriousness are what makes him so gravitating and his being as a whole is one of the most intriguing aspects of Unicorn, making him rightfully being named the “Second Coming of Char”.
Art & Design
Once again, I digress into the original Mobile Suit Gundam. In retrospect quality of animation was decent but due to budget constraints it was lacking towards the end, but it is not the same situation for Gundam Unicorn. Given it being an OVA and its lengthy release, art direction and design most definitely outdid itself. The production values are absolutely off the charts. Animation is simply one of the best out there in modern standards. In keeping with the style of the Universal Century, the universe retains the sense of pseudo-realism and scale. Old and new mobile suits alike make an appearance that will absolutely steal and capture the moment. With all its military conflicts, battles occur decisively and are executed wonderfully. Animation of the mechanics and movement are fluid while destructive battlefields are viewed from every perspective. Attention to realism and detail is nothing short of perfect.
Now one of the more disputed opinions is the use of CG at certain parts, particularly during the transformation sequence for the Gundams. However, it was probably necessary and appropriate to implement CG during these specific scenes to properly display the high level of detail in mechanical transformations while the Gundams themselves are not enacting human motions or actual movement.
While the actual mechs are amazingly crafted, likewise can be said with the character design. Reminescent of the original Gundam style, it maintains a retro design on the characters. Keeping a mix of both old and new, the character designs are distinct and retain the qualities of earlier decades with updated modern animations that show the same level of detail on characters just as with the mechs themselves.
Aside from the music, it should also be noted that voice acting itself is stunning. Both subbed and dubbed both deliver without fail and because of this the characters are very approachable and can easily be resonated with.
Instaneously from the beginning, one can understand that the music is one to be remembered for Gundam. Sawano Hiroyuki has certainly outdone himself for the Unicorn soundtrack in particular even compared to his past and recent works. His music is very distinctive in its epic-like sounds and tones that effectively gives a rollercoaster sense of the moment that is occurring. Contrastingly, there are also the beautiful, memorable scenes where they become engraved in us and his music sets the tone and fortifies that. Hiroyuki has managed to give Unicorn a proper soundtrack that emotionally provokes and hypes us like no one else. That sense of longing, that feeling of hope, that chance at possibility. All those emotions are present in Sawano Hiroyuki’s Unicorn soundtrack.
What this is, is a closing, an ending to the last years of the first century of Universal Century and Neo Zeon’s final actions. Has Unicorn solved all the problems of earth and space? Certainly not, but its happening and conclusion has done justice to itself and the UC timeline as a whole. Unicorn takes the best from Gundam UC and refines all of it skillfully. The characters, the plot, and the mobile suits make it worthy of a being Gundam. For those who might only see this one series individually, Gundam Unicorn is still well worth its time, but more consequently, as part of the Universal Century, it is a masterpiece and an integral addition to the Gundam series.
In short, take a chance at possibility and go watch Gundam Unicorn.
The issue with Gundam Unicorn is that it sort of sits at a paradox. As a standalone, it’s a hell of an anime; but your experience greatly depends on whether you have the knowledge of the Universal Century (you know, Mobile Suit Gundam) to fully grasp the scope of the anime. Unicorn serves as the penultimate conclusion to the Universal Century story that started back in 1979 in the timeless tale known as Mobile Suit Gundam 0079, the OYW (one year war).
Growing up with Gundam, the story seen with my eyes absolutely differs from those who wanted to simply watch “a mecha” or “a gundam”. Go find a Gainax anime or Studio Bones anime, for Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is a direct continuation of CCA (Char’s Counter Attack) rather than a new high budget Gundam project. It’s not simply a Gundam… it’s THE GUNDAM, and the final chapter for that matter.
An example, those who rate this lowly also believe Banagher Links is a whiny two-dimensional cookie-cutter protag, and that Riddhie is an emo cry baby, and Mineva Zabi is a lifeless zombie, and Full Frontal’s a bad guy who has evil/bad intentions and everyone should die. Those are associations created by those who do not fully comprehend the story told.
If you haven’t watch the previous TV series, and many times before for that matter, you’re better off not watching it at all because it’s not meant for you. This is an entirely exclusive experience, and you’re not welcome to watch or rate unless your a fan of Mobile Suit Gundam… because Unicorn is simply not meant for you. If one plans to watch this improperly, you’ll be taking back about a tenth of the experience (that being animation and ost), while Gundam aficionados are getting the full 100%.
On a brighter note, it’s never too late to watch the classics, because you’re missing out on the most important anime of a lifetime. Go back an enjoy the masterpieces that are MSG 0079, Zeta, ZZ, CCA, even the OVA’s 08th MS, and 0080. Go ahead and enjoy the metaseries and immerse yourself in it’s rich universe. I may have came off as pretentious or discouraging, but truth be told, it is what it is.
On a side note, don’t you dare read this and think you’re ready
Oh yeah, and Art/Sound/Characters/ Enjoyment/Overall 10/10, like that matters.
The long awaited 4 years for the conclusion to the Unicorn series has finally made contact and landed. To many others, impatience grew to what made people become frustrated with the series. Have they never heard of the saying, good things come to those who wait? Was it worth the wait? In my opinion I’d like to dwell on in this review, it is very well worth it for a Gundam fan.
For the 4 years of long waiting, it’s just a wild cat and mouse game coming from space, then to Earth, and all the way back to where it all began. With only 7 episodes to follow on where Banagher Links went from a civilian life to maturing towards the end of the series, it’s very subtle how one could quickly progress that far. The storyline continues three years after the events of Char’s Counterattack, and the space drama continues on with what remained from then. It wouldn’t hurt a new viewer to start watching this series without the previous, but there will be a lot of gaps of missing backstory and terminology to figure in while watching. What was probably the most important deal is let a friend or whoever will start watching the series is to watch CCA first before hitting the last episode. Major spoilers there, and that’s what will really giveaway their interpretation to the mysterious events happened in CCA. Overall though about the story, it wasn’t too hard to follow, but the only complaints was the hyped up revelation revealed to be controversial and surprisingly metaphorical in a sense in the end.
For being the highest budget Gundam series Bandai put serious money into, their staff definitely knew the kind of return on investments they were getting back from their hard work. Each and every mobile suit deserved their fair share of detailed brilliance. With every new kind of mobile suits revealed in every episode, it’s a sign for hobbyists to go out and just buy, buy, buy gunpla kits for their collection. The art quality reached its peak once you watch episode 7. The staff went all out on it to even do the unexpected, redoing some famous Gundam scenes in HD. As a Gundam fan, this is one very pleasant gift to all fans and veterans who have been watching since nearly 40 (35 to be exact from 2014) years ago.
Unless you’re just a music hater, the overall soundtrack made for this series are truly a masterpiece. From the majestic triumphant of the UNICORN piece, to the epic journey of nostalgia through the BEGINNING piece, all the tracks plays accordingly well with each and every scene of all the episodes. As an incredible fan favorite to many, “merry-go-round” was an ace in the hole as to how it was cut into the ending to Episode 3. Just to note for all readers, give the OST a try with the hooks I recommend: MOBILE SUIT, FULL FRONTAL, MOBILE ARMOR, and last, but not least, UNICORN.
From the very first episode, I focused most of my attention to the mechas and their battles. The characters on the other hand, they’re the key plot to this whole space drama the Gundam universe is famous for. To be fair, the expression of emotions displayed during the series were humanistic and not just monotonous. Let’s start with Banagher, the 16 year old high school student who got dragged into the conflict led by the adults from the previous wars. His pacifism morals is almost typical like any other hero who doesn’t want to bring on many pointless deaths. In comparison to other most notable pacifist heroes from alternative Gundam series, Banagher’s case is bearable unlike one who says he wants the fighting to stop but still kills or the other who goes as far as to protect the enemies and let his comrades die. And one who opposes him is the Second Coming of Char, Full Frontal. Resolve above all, the ghost of Char still plays the cool and collected leader who seeks to change what the world must come to. The jealousy, the sense of duty, and tragedy that plays along that reaches out well from this this series that’s more than just mecha porn, but the space drama that it is.
For the 4 years of wait that it has been, I’ve better to enjoy this since otherwise that wait would have been for nothing. What I’ve particularly enjoyed most were the incredibly details in mecha designs, the amazing work of the OST, and the art and animation running throughout the series. The mecha designs and displayed in the series inspired me to go out and purchase a few model kits to build, despite the serious lack of time for me to do anything due to the university life now. Although I was not much for the story or characters, what did hit me like a truck were the tragic moments throughout the series. The deaths that occurred, incredible feels from when the hero cried for them. And this is what makes the characters enjoyable, the emotions.
For this OVA series, it’s not the perfect series out there, but it’s outstanding. The scoring of nearly a 9 and a half is what I think this deserves as it serves decent closure to Universal Century conflict. It doesn’t answer everything, but that leaves it to how the viewer’s would like to interpret that with their imagination. Possibility is what drives humanity forward, and anything is possible if you truly put your mind to it. Give this series a chance, especially now since all of the episodes are available to marathon it without waiting those hellish half to a full year of waiting in between each episode. After watching it the first time, give it a rewatch to actually grasp everything the series gave out in case you might not have understood all of that happened the first time.
Every human has possibility, give some of that possibility to try Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn out!
10: Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden
MAL Score: 8.15
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden is the first of two OVA adaptations of side stories from the Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu novel series. This first adaptation follows the achievements of Reinhard von Müsel and Siegfried Kircheis of the Galactic Empire before the fateful Battle of Astarte.
The Silver-White Valley
Reinhard and Kircheis graduate from their military academy and are immediately sent to the frozen frontier planet Kapche-Lanka. Unbeknownst to them, their new superior schemes to kill Reinhard on behalf of a rival of Reinhard’s sister Annerose von Grünewald.
Dreams of the Morning, Songs of the Night
Reinhard and Kircheis are assigned to the Imperial Military Police, where they uncover the corrupt and oppressive practices of the Empire’s law enforcement. They are soon ordered to investigate the murder of a student at their alma mater.
As Reinhard awaits the bestowal of his new title of Count von Lohengramm, he sends Kircheis to the artificial resort satellite Kreuznach III for a vacation. Restless from the lack of work, Kircheis assists the local police with a drug trafficking case related to an attack on a disgraced former Vice Admiral.
A Hundred Billion Stars, a Hundred Billion Lights
While Reinhard is still a commodore in charge of only a single squadron, he laments the incompetence of his superiors during a battle against the Free Planets Alliance. Amassing military successes under the direct command of Vice Admiral Richard von Grimmelshausen, Reinhard repeatedly clashes with Hermann von Lüneburg, a commodore and former regimental commander of the Alliance’s infamous Rosen Ritter.
The setup, as fans already know, is epic defined. Having had his sister sold to the empire’s ruler by his deadbeat dad, Reinhard has vengeance in mind, but coupled with his genius intellect, it’s a vengeance that spans the galaxy, rather than through crosshairs via an assassination. This man wants to dispose of his nemesis in as grand fashion as possible, to not only save his sister, but to ensure it’s not a suicide mission, to prevent his tragedy from ever occurring again to any other. To do this he needs to usurp the ruler himself. His personal desire is dressed in a noble mission of reformation, which adds to the fascination of Reinhard’s character.
Prequels are generally designed to be viewed after the work they’re meant to be set before, this way the viewer can gleefully spot foreshadowing moments and discover insight into characters they think they already know. A Hundred Billion Stars OVA is no different in this regard. Though lacking in any big revelations for the first 13 episodes, it is admittedly more of an exercise in filling-in-the-blanks. However that’s not to say there’s nothing of worth here, because although the first 13 episodes have not much bearing on the main story of the saga, there is still quality writing involved when it comes to character and dialogue.
Seeing how Reinhard began his military career and observing him in the front-lines of the war, dealing with numerous death threats from pissed off aristocrats and embarking on a murder mystery as a member of Military Police is all very entertaining. It’s like constantly dodging bullets, what could have been terrible filler that betrays everything that came before, ends up being a work that is in honour of its predecessor, a supplement; more nourishment for the fans and viewers of anime in general.
The anime is interestingly, and successfully, split into segments. There are a total of four arcs of varying lengths, each with its own chapter numbering. This avoidance of one long narrative is successful because it prevents the anime from hitting slumps where the TV writers make up meaningless ‘filler’ type material to stretch the show to its allocated episode count. Instead we simply jump from one point in Reinhard’s life to the next; a greatest hits of his youth, if you will. His first battle for survival on a harsh planet, a stint in the Military Police, and then what we’re really itching for: a full-on naval/planetary battle against the Alliance with cameos galore. This last arc is what justifies the OVA.
But ok, I just lied about the anime avoiding hitting a slump. The third Kircheis-centred arc is extremely boring, clichéd, has the weakest link to the franchise (replace all the character names and you’ve more or less got a different show) and is populated by irritating characters. Reinhard has about five minutes screen-time, which kind of defeats the purpose of the OVA. It is the only time I have been bored in the entire LotGH viewing experience, and that includes the Golden Wings movie so that’s saying something!
Back to that last arc though, the longest segment and the one to introduce big revelations and become something more than an exercise in filling in blanks. It’s a character study that reveals aspects of a few characters and their relationships to others that we only had a hint of in the main OVA. It cements their mythology for good. What you thought you knew about them before isn’t turned on its head, its instead unabashedly celebrated in this arc, and even better that every aspect of the arc is of the highest quality. The direction, visuals, pacing, and plot, all superb. The biggest antagonist of the arc is a guy you really hate, but for all the right reasons, because he is generally a well-rounded character with intelligence and motive.
The animation isn’t drastically different from the main OVA, but being that it was produced in 1998 it’s smoother; with nice flowing hair moments. Character designs and scene composition is slightly higher of the standard the original OVA set. It’s all acceptable and does the job. It’s not going to win a lot of awards for its looks, but the story and characters are so strong, it doesn’t need to. The music also remains similar to the main OVA, all timeless classical bombast.
What this OVA also asserts is that Reinhard can’t form relationships with other human beings unless he is deemed, or feels, superior to them. This fact is extremely fascinating about the character, and the fact that he’s so damn charismatic and honourable means we simply accept this narcissistic character-flaw of his, whereas in any other anime we’d feel repelled against the character.
Sometimes it’s easy to be swayed by Reinhard’s superior attitude and presence, it’s easy to forget his struggle against the nobility. The OVA reminds us that the character had to fight his entire youth and early career against an entire system, a way of life. And this OVA contributes to his mythos in showing just how difficult and dangerous it was to ascend the ranks by dodging bullets, persecution, intrigue and insults to his dear sister all the way. It makes him one of anime’s greatest characters because he didn’t have everything given to him, he had to earn it.
He also had to earn our respect and admiration via a great voice actor, character design and most importantly characterisation, all of which are in full force in this OVA. I give it a 9 and not a 10 because you need to see the original OVA to complete the experience, and plus one arc wasn’t up to standard, but for all fans of LotGH this OVA is essential viewing.
A low-level nobleman’s son can claim he’s going to rule the universe, yet no one will care about the ridiculous dreams of a rebellious youth. For every rank that child rises, however, the possibility grows more and more real. Old aristocrats always talked about Reinhard and Kircheis’ swift rise in rank, some crediting his sister’s favor with the Emperor, and others noting his significant military accomplishments. In truth it is no small feat for a talented person to come into power. This feat is magnified in a despotic state ruled by incompetent party-goers, as is the case here.
While that struggle is a big focus, arguably more attention is given to the friendship of a blond conqueror and his red-headed guardian. Theirs is perhaps the truest and most positive connection in Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
Kircheis can see Reinhard’s considerable dreams, and admires them; however, Sieg himself is content with small things. He is loyal to a person, not ideals, such that if key people are belittled Kircheis loses his famous morality. Like Reinhard, his views have an inevitable paradox: even if the noble ideals of someone inspire you to follow them, the attachment you form can create a monster, if broken or threatened. Kircheis never blames his master for these issues, preferring to consider what justice can be had from his dire circumstances, a conclusion befitting his reasonable nature.
Reinhard is as charismatic here as in the main series. His aura is a little different; more childish, and unable to contain himself while serving others. He is so definitely a Lord that, as an under-18 junior officer, Reinhard feels perfectly fit to hold galactic Fleet Admirals in full public contempt. Not a single social injustice or corrupted passes him without a sharp rebuttal, and hardly an advantage isn’t capitalized on. His story really does lie ahead though, so what’s seen here is through the eyes of Kircheis: a blond hero whose future is bright, and whose life we follow.
Compared to when the franchise began, the animation has seen a huge improvement. Movements are more fluid, and some scenes look rather stunning, in particular those of the first 4-episode arc. The sound is consistent with the main series: brilliant voice acting (though the passing of Yang’s actor should be mourned), an operatic score, and typical sci-fi sound effects.
I always found the English opening to be questionable, and this one at first was no exception; after some time, however, I found myself never wanting to skip it. The art is beautiful, and the dynamic camerawork is atypical of this series. More than that, the images capture a picture of Reinhard and Kircheis at their purest, while the music and lyrics hinted at a melancholic rejection of how their lives turned out.
9: Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island
Japanese: HUNTER×HUNTER Greed Island
MAL Score: 8.19
After the battle with the Spiders, the search for Ging continues as Gon and Killua decided to once again attempt to purchase the rare game “Greed Island”. However, Gon came up with a better plan, which was to volunteer to complete the game for the billionaire who owned it. But some training must be done, as Gon and Killua’s abilities are still at a developing stage and “Greed Island” is no simple game for anyone to play with. It is the infamous game that could easily lead to one’s death. Based on the manga by Togashi Yoshihiro.
Similar to the first OVA and the Hunter x Hunter series, the animation is what we\’re used to – good but not fantastic. The sound is great even though by now it\’s really predictable. Opening and ending themes are interesting though.
The story is fantastic. Greed Island is a special NMORG (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) for Nen-users, and if a player\’s nen isn\’t good enough they will \"game over\" (DIE!). The premise seems simple but it\’s actually really exciting to play. Everyone competes to be the first to \"clear\" the game by collecting 100 cards. Cards can be acquired in a number of ways – questing, helping others, trading or … well, player robbing/killing. Not only is the world dangerous, but so are the opposition players!
Well, the start of this is very exciting. After watching this you\’ll want to go out and buy a Greed Island game also. As a gamer I was hooked. Much to my NON-surprise, it seems some company capitalized on the success of the anime and made a Greed Island game.
The story and development are great. This OVA is when Gon and Killua finally develop their signature Ultimate Techniques. The Greed Island OVA also introduces a very interesting new character, Biske (Biscuit?), who looks like a young girl but is much more than meets the eye.
* Can Gon and Killua qualify to play the game?
* Will they be taken advantage of as newbies?
* Are they going to be able to cope with cute, threatening or plain weird monsters?
* How will they deal with other players with different motivations? Will they have a strategy to they survive player killers?
* Can they win?
Don\’t miss another exciting installment of Hunter x Hunter, Greed Island OVA 2!
6th Arc: Greed Island Arc (Episodes 71-78):
This OVA by itself is fighting an uphill battle. It only covers the very beginning of the Greed Island Arc, right before the actual plot gets going. It also suffers the problem that 1999’ slow pacing comes back with a vengeance. This OVA is egregiously slow paced, with it feeling more like four episodes that were forcefully dragged out into eight. It legitimately takes until episode 4 for the actual game of Greed Island to begin.
On the plus side, once the actual game begins, the plot actually begins and ends up being pretty decent. The rules are very well explained, and overall, everything is done rather well with what little they have. Yeah, the pacing is still bullcrap, but hey, you have to take the good with the bad in things like this.
In turn, this Arc is also responsible for introducing one of my favorite characters so far: Bisky! I love her so much. Not only is she a legal Loli (And when I mean legal, I mean it! She’s legitimately 57) and she serves as an effective mentor to Gon and Killua, being similar enough to Wing to realize the relationship between the two, but different enough so as to give her an identity of her own.
There’s also a subplot about the Phantom Troupe trying to find any clues for what could help Chrollo, but sadly, due to the OVA cutting off when it does, it’s never quite allowed to resolve said subplot. That’s really this OVA’s main issue: Nothing is given a proper resolution. I get why they had to do this (This was around the time Togashi started going into his infamous hiatuses) but the point still stands.
Wow! Talk about a downgrade! After the gorgeous Yorkshin Arc, this Arc just comes across as dull. See, due to the way early digital Animation worked, people were forced to work with far brighter colors than before. Now some of the best shows of this era like FMA 2003 made excellent use of this limitation and stood the test of time. Hunter X Hunter did not. It’s especially notable that even with the brighter color scheme; they still do everything and anything in their power to have said colors be as dull as possible.
Overall, while the soundtrack is still good, none of the tracks are used quite that well. The only exception to this is the Opening theme “Pray”, which is probably my favorite Opening so far. By contrast, I really didn’t care for the Ending Theme “Popcorn”.
This would end up being Gouda Hozumi’s last shot as Leorio. Overall, while I didn’t care much for his Leorio, I do wish he could’ve gone on a higher note than this. Beside him, for some reason Machi’s VA changed. Before, she was voiced by Namiki Noriko, but now she’s voiced by Umeura Takaro. Needless to say, I much prefer Namiki. That said, I did quite like Higuchi Chieko as Bisky.
Don’t get me wrong, this OVA isn’t bad. However if I could describe it in one word, it would be soulless. It’s like if the Studio didn’t really care for this Arc, so they just put a much lower effort to this as usual. We’ll see if the final OVA series is able to make up for this, but as far as this is concerned, I didn’t care much for it, but I did ultimately enjoy myself.
Final Score: 7/10
The story is the same as the manga and the new adaptation. For new viewers, it’s just a lot of MMORPG fun. The classic ‘sucked into the game’ ritual. It’s Sword Art Online, but a million times better and with an actual plot. Honestly, this is probably my favorite HxH arc besides York New. It’s got a good balance of everything. Especially concerning the plot, it has humor and serious moments that really push the story forwards. On top of that, the logistics of the game itself are very well thought out and make it an interesting ‘world’ for our main characters to play in.
For the time, the art is actually quite amazing. There are times where the characters are drawn a little strangely and seem a little disproportionate, but the animation is scarily smooth and fluid, and so much effort went into every single aspect of it. Believe me, you will forget that it’s even an old anime at some point.
I usually don’t like the opening and closing themes of old anime. Honestly, I didn’t like the openings and closings of some of the other OVAs in the old adaptation. But the ones in this OVA specifically were actually really good. They called to mind some sort of nostalgia that reminded me of Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, almost. They are reminiscent of struggle, hard work, and growth somehow. It’s a strange way to describe an anime opening, but it’s really what it felt like to me.
The characters overall are the highlight of this show, besides the world-building. Both aspects shine in this OVA, but the characters undergo the most development. Gon and Killua are shown to not be invincible, but they are definitely on their way there. Watching their childish foolishness is quite heartwarming and realistic, as is their honest conviction towards the game. HxH has a great talent for portraying every character, whether they be a saint or a mass murderer, as likable and somehow relatable. Truly amazing writing.
Overall, this was so much fun to watch. I can never get enough of this show!
I would recommend this if you: have read the manga, have watched any of the old adaptation, have watched the new adaptation, like ‘superpower’ anime, like anime about naive children becoming super strong, like traditional shounen, like immersive MMORPG anime
I would NOT recommend this if you: did not enjoy other HxH material, don’t like ‘video game’ anime
In all honesty, if you are a Hunter x Hunter fan, you definitely will not be disappointed by this. There absolutely no way.
So I hope you watch and enjoy this. Have a great day everyone!
8: Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island Final
Japanese: HUNTER×HUNTER G I Final
MAL Score: 8.27
Continuing with their adventure at Greed Island, Gon and Killua train furiously under the guidance of Biscuit for better preparation at attempting the game. With their abilities vastly improving and the threat of player killers menacing Greed Island, Gon and company continue the game despite the dangers that they will face with the game activities and encounters with other players. Based on the manga by Togashi Yoshihiro.
I might as well get it out of the way and say that the art and sound are exactly like what you\’d expect from the previous OVAs and the 62 episode Hunter x Hunter episodes. Serviceable, great action scenes, and everything the watcher is already used to. Killua does get cuter in this OVA but maybe that\’s just me getting attached to his character.
The ending theme of this OVA is really good, which bumps the sound score up a notch. It is titled \"Moshimo Kono Sekai de Kimi to Boku ga Deaenakatta Nara (If You and I Never Met in This World)\". I am still not 100% sure who the song is referring to. Is it Gon thinking about his father? Killua thinking about Gon? Or some other characters (Leorio?).
The character development in this OVA is, dare I say it, even better than I expected (and I had high expectations!). For a while, our 2 heros train under Biske (Biscuit?), who may look young but is an even better trainer than their previous nen teacher, Wing. That is to be expected because, well, she outranks him (watch and find out).
The training episodes are a lot of fun, and will serve their purpose later on. Killua leaves the game midway to take care of some \"unfinished business\". What transpires(with him) during his short absence (*GAH! I must not spoil the OVA*) made him my absolute favorite character in Hunter x Hunter. You\’ll understand after watching the second episode of the OVA.
I was worried that Gon and Killua were spending too much time on training and may have forgotten their goal of finishing the game but my fears were soon allayed. When they start collecting the cards, they really went all out. To be honest, a small part of me was very proud of them for doing all the card collection the \"HARD\" way (i.e. with no spoilers or information from other players).
There are 3 key .. mini arcs that make this OVA great. They\’re not just great from a storyline perspective, but showcase subtle character development. It\’s so seamlessly done that the viewer won\’t feel that character development is being shoved down his/her throat.
The first is the attempt(s) to get Tsubo of the Coast. All I can say is besides being totally hilarious, Razor rocks!
The second is a FANTASTIC fight between Gon, Killua and Biske against the Bomber and his 2 buddies. I can\’t pick a favorite, all 3 were awesome!
The third and last is the final card. It just goes to show that after all the action, it\’s the brains of a character that count the most.
The ending made this OVA perfect. I have never read the manga but I did catch a glimpse of the hair color of the man in the last frame. Very … interesting. This is a definate must watch if you\’ve seen any Hunter x Hunter.
Although Greed Island Final ties up the loose ends of OVA 3, there is still a lot that can be done. So far there have been 62 episodes of TV series, 8 episodes OVA1, 8 episodes OVA2 and 14 episodes of OVA3. That\’s 92 episodes. Is it enough? NOOO! We must have more!
I for one will be waiting for the day when the manga writer comes back and finishes this series, so they can make more Hunter x Hunter anime for fans like us. Even though I\’m impatient for new stories to emerge, I will give 100% credit to the mangaka for writing this amazing series filled with action, comedy and friendship. Please finish the rest of the manga!
The story wasn’t as good as the other parts of the Hunter x Hunter franchise because it was somewhat rushed to the conclusion, and there wasn’t much development, more like just an appearance of powers with not too much effot.
The art maintained from the series and other OVAs, not impressive, but good enough.
The sound, personally didn’t impress me, i didn’t think Hunter x Hunter had a good soundtrack, not that it was bad, but it didn’t make me want to listen to it again.
Here is where the OVA truly fell short compared to the others. Gon and Killua were my favorite characters, but all of a sudden, Killua is kicked to the back burner, and becomes, i think, a little part of the story. and Gon, he started out as a naive boy that would never give up, until he couldn’t go on, that’s perseverance. But there’s a thin line between that and stubborness, and he crossed it indefinitely. he started to bug me so bad, i actually wished he would lose a fight or something, knock sense into him, a character never annoyed me so badly, when at first they were one of my favorites. if you’ve watched the other Hunter x Hunter stuff, you’ll notice the difference.
enjoyment, i didn’t enjoy it oo much, but enough to finish it, since i wanted some sort of closure.
Overall i gave it a middle grade, because you should watch this OVA after all the others, you don’t want to leave it undone, but be warned, this might change your opinion of the rest of the franchise as well
7: Tsubasa: Tokyo Revelations
English: Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE: Tokyo Revelations
Japanese: ツバサ TOKYO REVELATIONS
MAL Score: 8.30
Continuing their journey from Record Country (the place that held the book of memories), Syaoran and company land into Tokyo Country, a blood-filled country under war from opposing factions for natural resources and survival. While reluctantly involved in the race to live, the group faces their own problems as certain revelations are made, changing their journey forever.
A shocking betrayal and a battle that risks all of their lives. After this revelation, they will never be the same again.
I really enjoyed the story. Albeit too rushed: I had trouble understanding at times, though everything’s clear now. I think it could’ve been twice the length it was without really being any worse. Anyway, it was really great, from the original Syaoran’s and the Clone’s awakening to the revelation of Fei Wong’s plans and how much he has actually affected the group’s journey so far.
The animation style of this was… wow. At first, I was surprised to see a completely new animation style, but I soon got accustomed to it, and soon after I fell in love with it. It was a quantum leap in quality, which was most likely due to the fact that it was an OVA. If only the entire series had been like this… Oh, well. At any rate, you’ll most likely enjoy the improved animation.
The music in this series is – and will always be – legendary, at least in my heart. Nay but astounding pieces of music; themes and songs which I could listen to over and over again without growing bored of them (and so have I done). This is how an anime soundtrack should be, and I can almost certainly guarantee that you’ll enjoy the music in this series.
In this OVA, the characters experienced a change for the better; growing much more deeper. The characters were somewhat the same as the original series, but I felt that there were changes to them – both at the start of and during the series. Die-hard fans of the original series might get turned off by the fact that the characters changed a bit, but I felt that they were much more enjoyable, and I’m sure you will too, even though you might require some time to get used to it.
All in all, I really, really enjoyed the OVA; there were many changes for the better, but it also kept the best from the earlier seasons, making this much better. There are some changes you might have to get used to, and the story was definitely a bit rushed, but I can guarantee that you will enjoy this OVA at least as much as you enjoyed the original series.
To ‘Not ‘ voters (and you ” voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
Wonder no more.
Tsubasa Chronicle: Tokyo Revelations is quite literally a godsend, not only for the poor souls that suffered through the uninspired Bee Train adaptation, but also those (myself included) who felt the artwork and pacing for the manga chapters the OVA covers were way off-balance. For the revelations at hand, no one delivers the goods better.
First thing fans are going to recognize is the art style, which is much more defined and fluid than the TV series. The fight scenes are seamless and perfect in nearly every way, and backgrounds are fleshed out wonderfully. Moreso, the series’ shining point, the OST, is abundant here. Unlike the TV series, however, the OVA uses Yuki Kajiura’s compositions minimally and saves the big pieces for dramatic effect. For me, the OST just got better. Also, I adore the melancholy OP.
Of course, Tsubasa has a story and, in this case, one Bee Train decided to ignore completely due to the dark nature of the titular revelations. Production I.G. did not sway. Though some minor plot points are rearranged, everything flows and follows the manga as if you were watching a full-color, audio-enhanced slideshow of the chapter panels. Though these chapters suffer themselves from pacing, the OVA makes things clearer and much less muddled than the manga. Still, too much happens at once and the OVA faults in not giving each revelation enough due reaction with all that’s going on.
Naturally, characters also take some turns as this is the manga’s turning point. And wow, what changes they are! Really, going any further would risk massive spoiler territory, but the OVA crams a series’ worth of character development into these 3 episodes. Phenomenal is an understatement, and the way the seiyuu handle these changes is nothing short of vocal mastery. It is easily the high point of this already excellent OVA.
When everything comes together, it’s definitely something worth appreciating, and one can only hope that more Tsubasa anime will follow from Production I.G. It is very much enjoyable, but it won’t leave a serious impact on you. The only thing I really took from this was "this is Tsubasa done right", but for me that is enough to warrant a high enjoyment rating.
Overall, Tsubasa Chronicle: Tokyo Revelations gets a 9. Best anime adaption of the series to date, and excels beyond the manga in delivering the goods in a way that isn’t horribly confusing.
Tsubasa Chronicle: Tokyo Revelations
This OAV is astounding. The characters have more development then they did throughout the first two seasons. The art style was more defined, more "Mature" in the scope that Tsubasa truely is. Syaoran simply looked taller, more defined and slender, like a cross between Kurogane and Fai, the way a main characters body should look.
Following the manga pretty much to a T, the "Revelations" that are discovered and exposed in the dreary acid rain filled town that once was Tokyo, were mind blowing to me. Each character went through something big in just 3 episodes, and the best part is it didn’t feel rushed.
My enjoyment with these OAV’s was through the roof. Seeing the characters for who they really are. It is indeed a must see if you love anything about Tsubasa.
6: Hunter x Hunter: Original Video Animation
Japanese: HUNTER×HUNTER Original Video Animation
MAL Score: 8.32
After reuniting with Gon and his friends, Kurapika explained to them the risks he bears because of his abilities. Believing that his target of revenge is no longer alive and the search for his fallen comrade’s eyes could truly begin, Kurapika soon after receives a message informing him that all the Spiders still lived. After much discussion between his friends, Gon, Kurapika and company decided to hunt after the one Spider member who’s ability could ultimately result in Kurapika’s defeat and death. Based on the manga by Togashi Yoshihiro.
Similar to Hunter x Hunter, the art is good but nothing special although it does continue in the same vein as the original anime so viewers will be used to it. The soundtrack reuses a lot of themes that we’re familiar with from the anime also.
It’s hard to review this OVA without going into spoilers, but here goes!
The story is wonderful! In my opinion this is the best story among the 3 OVAs. There are twists and turns galore. Added to which the cast of the spiders is amazing – here are bad guys you really want to find out more about. The ending was also … a surprise! It was a fitting resolution but it leaves the possibility for further plot development open.
Every other episode I find myself thinking “Wow, now THAT is a gifted writer” (who wrote the manga) as he managed to pull together everything perfectly – the pacing, the character development and plot twists!
If you enjoyed Hunter x Hunter you won’t want to miss this.
Fans of the original series will note that Hunter x Hunter is not a terribly fast-paced anime, and tends to build the story around the characters and their interactions with one another, rather than with action. It lures the audience in by showing them all the interesting depths of the characters -their goals, their dreams, their struggles- and makes us root for them when they hit dirt. This OVA does so much more than that. Following up on the hints we were given with the original series, the OVA gives its audience a much deeper look into Kurapica’s emotions and hardships, while also managing to show the heartfelt friendship between him, Leorio, Gon, and Killua.
Kurapica’s character, I feel, was for the most part just a supporting character originally and wasn’t given too many layers that really fleshed him out and gave the audience much insight into his emotions. Suddenly this problem is completely rectified: he becomes so much more of a main character than I thought he could be, he shows new and interesting sides of himself that I didn’t know existed, and he draws you into loving his character so much more so than before. Furthermore, the OVA builds on his friendships and shows the trust, loyalty and support between them.
The Spiders are given stronger personalities and I feel they are much rounder characters than they were before. Each one has a unique relationship with each other and with Kurapica, and you really start to play favourites as he lays out his plan to dissolve the organization.
All in all, for me character was a 10.
The story is these episodes is a bit more fast-paced than what fans are used to (which is a given considering the number of episodes). However, this is what I found so exciting in this OVA. There’s a lot of mystery in this plot, and Kurapica’s planning skills with his limited number of resources is superb. Just when things start to fall apart, he critically analyzes the situation and pulls everyone through the trouble. I love all the problems Gon and Killua run into, and those two pulled a few stunts to get through them, even surprising many of the Spider members. I must say without a doubt the story was a 10.
As far as art goes, I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference between the OVA and the original series. The lines could be cleaner, but that’s probably just my preferance rather than the quality of the art. To me it wasn’t bad: 8. For sound, in terms of music: it wasn’t spectacular but it wasn’t terrible either. The opening and ending themes definitely aren’t the best, I would say they were average. Background music and sounds were acceptable (but it isn’t shinobi battle music, if that’s what you’re expecting). 7/10 for sound.
To summarize in one short sentence…
This OVA is everything you were expecting and more.
STORY-this was amazingly brilliant.it didn’t felt like a OVA at all and i love that feeling.we had lot of unanswered questions left hanging in the series well look no further it will be solved right here right now.this 8 episodes felt so intense because right at the beginning everything was like a chess game who had their knight,queen and king on their side and how to use it for their advantage.when both sides make their plan,their CAT AND MOUSE CHASE BEGINS and it gets so exciting filled with all information that where left out your heart will start to pound faster and BELIEVE ME YOU WILL FORGET TO BLINK.
CHARACTERS-we get to see out favorites in action in none stop drama with a pinch of comedy and there are surprise guests that will make the plot twits that will keep you guessing until the very end you get to see hisokas excitement for the full extent :3 i wont say more.
SOUND-was superb as expected it makes it more fun and get you on the mood to the action that is about to come,great job,was true to it self to the very end.
VOICE ACTORS-oh boy i feel like this is my punishment for not speaking about the dub actors before in my previous review for hunter x hunter but i know that’s not the case as you know this is not dubbed so i missed the dubbed actors so much…specially for killua and gon.they weren’t bad in the sub still i missed the dubbed voices only a bit though so that’s great because the sub did a good job.with gon when i listen i thought that i heard this voice before and just by listening i thought to my self it sound like Naruto and i was absolutely right im glad about that being a huge Naruto fan.ok i enjoy this to the max kurapica is the bomb he is the man.all of them is a superb a team who kick bad butt so what are you doing go watch it right now and i am going to continue on the rest of the OVAS cant wait…so enjoy this amazing thrilling anime masterpiece :3
5: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
English: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダムTHE ORIGIN
MAL Score: 8.34
In the year 0068 of the Universal Century, Casval Rem Deikun’s life is thrown into chaotic disarray after the assassination of his father, a prolific figure in the crusade towards civil rights for people who live away from the Earth’s surface. Casval and his sister Artesia receive aid from soldiers who were loyal to their father, and the siblings are whisked away from their home, separated, and thrown into a twisted fate that sees them come into their own as soldiers and adults.
Years before stealing the name Char Aznable or his “Red Comet” moniker, Casval must contend with the rise of a militarized version of his father’s ideology and his own vengeful nature as intergalactic war molds him into a legendary mobile suit pilot.
It would be unwise to herald such a title as absolute perfection; there are blemishes in this magnificent work of art. The questionable overreliance on 3D CGI can be off-putting when non-mechanical objects rendered in such a style look worse than Dozle in a car accident. Additionally, the film series stumbles choppily at first before truly hitting its monumental stride. Some of the ending themes are forgettable and the music takes a while to truly match the scale and magnificence of the series proper. Certain moments regarding character relationships can feel rushed as well. However, in the face of an 18-meter behemoth of passion and glory, these issues the size of a small dent. They exist yet mean little; mere bumps and scratches in the left calf of a machine painted, oiled, and buffed with the utmost care.
The character designs by legendary Gundam veteran and original mangaka Yoshikazu Yasuhiko are absolutely perfect, perfect updates on both the iconic designs of yore and the art redesigns of the manga. The expressions are the liveliest in the entire franchise, striking the perfect balance between character detail and freedom of animation of the models. As for the mechanical designs of the pre-0079 era, they work exquisitely as the prototypes and predecessors of what would become the norm of the One-Year War. The CGI work for these mechs, in particular, is nothing short of commendable, as the clunky experimental designs of the iconic mobile workers –prototypes to the iconic mobile suits– are capitalized on tremendously. The directing of the action sequences –courtesy of franchise veterans Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and Takashi Imanishi– is exquisite, most especially in regards to the iconic Custom Red Zaku II Char pilots. One need look no further than the spectacular opening scene in episode 1 or the battle in episode 6 to know exactly how kinetic and monumental these skirmishes are. The smoke effects work wonderfully as well, particularly in regards to the purple smoke and explosions of Federation ships and student artillery. Dare I say, if the CGI were present in the mechanical models exclusively, this would be Gundam’s visual magnum opus! It already achieves such marks from a directorial standpoint.
Even more care was taken to make sure that each development of the characters, narrative, and technology, kept the integrity of the original series intact. Char’s vengefulness was built up perfectly and shown to be as innate to him as humanly possible. Seeing him in a position of power is an absolute treat, whether it be him taking down a Guntank single-handedly as a child, or beating up a spy with his fists and a spiked plank. His malicious tendencies also originated from a place that feels both human and sensible, unlike a more direct counterpart in Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader and how the Star Wars prequels attempted to do the same. Additionally, witnessing other major characters from the original series in their younger forms was particularly charming. The biggest standouts were Dozle –the lovable oaf– and Ramba Ral, both of whom were particular highlights in Origin. Even witnessing a younger Amuro Ray was wonderful, especially when everyone’s favorite troublesome little mascot, Haro began acting like the lovable goof fans know and love. The characters brand new to Origin held up as well and worked wonderfully in their roles, particularly Ramba’s father and the man who would take care of Char and Sayla in the second episode. Every second spent with these characters is wonderful and full of the type of bittersweet pleasantness you never get in anime, especially when you are familiar with where they end up in 0079.
The voice acting held up tremendously as well. Keith Silverstein did a marvelous job playing Char’s teenage and adult self, with just the type of calculated, semi-dominant, and slightly spiteful tinge that truly made up Char as a person up until the end of the original 0079. Kirk Thornton was splendid as a slightly younger but ultimately gravely Ramba Ral, and Doug Stone was splendid as his desperate, constantly stressed, and slightly deranged father. The most interesting casting choice was Mike Pollock -best known for his role as Eggman- whose performance as Char and Sayla’s caretaker, Don Teablo Mass. There are a plethora of other cast members who did wonderfully in their roles as well, such as Liam O’Brien, and other well-known VAs such as Lisa Ortiz and Patrick Seitz make great background character voices. Even Hamon’s singing in the penultimate installment –in both languages– especially in the context of the original’s story, is as beautiful as it is soul-crushing. Everything melts into a wonderful English dub, lip-syncing issues aside.
There’s a sense of love and passion Origin exudes, a marvelous sense of charisma that exemplifies the joys of cinema. It may not be as thematically rich as Thunderbolt, as visually mesmerizing as Char’s Counterattack, or as inviting as Turn A, but in many ways, this exemplifies the best of what Gundam has to offer. Even when displaying a sense of brutality synonymous with Gundam, this love letter to the franchise never stops bringing a sense of whimsy and evoke visceral emotion to the silver and digital screens. You may need to watch other installments to truly appreciate this one, but in doing so, this is your reward: the absolute pinnacle of Gundam!
This time around our story does NOT center around bunch of kids who fights against each others with super robots, and question their morality after falling in love with enemy kids. And when people lose their families, they do NOT get over it in mere 10 minutes like they do in the alternative version, the original Mobile Suit Gundam. No. This time our story centers around politics and military tactics, and comes off exactly as mature and realistic as is possible in the animated medium. However, from its core ‘Gundam Origin’ is character biography. It aims to capture the life of Casval Rem Deiku in a way most similar to Sports series such as ‘Major’ and ‘Hajime no Ippo’, but also close to Career series such as ‘Glass no Kamen’ (actress) and ‘Uchuu Kyoudai’ (astronaut). I am mentioning these 4 series because they are the only other anime I have ever seen to go as deep into character-centric story telling as ‘Gundam Origin’. I am a huge fan of this concept, and never in my life did I think I would see the 5th successful series to achieve this to be This anime. I have been blown away.
The details put on art and animation are insane. These six episodes took three years to make. And while this is not uncommon for OVA series at all, the team didn’t exactly spend their days loitering around. This is a work of such high caliber it mainly reminds me of ‘Hellsing Ultimate’. Outside of few building scenes, there are practically no scenery that hasn’t been animated. Even during debates, there are no scrolling backgrounds to make it create the illusion of animation and movement. During these scenes, almost every side character is in some way reacting to the conversations, be it in forms of expressions, habits or body gestures. It’s crazy.
The thing that impressed me the most is the character design, more specifically their faces. Approximately 93% of the 200something characters don’t even look like anime characters. For the first time ever, I have been impressed by the animated faces of middle aged men. They have unreal amount of details, separately designed side/front profiles and realistic facial features. The faces have so much depth that it doesn’t even stop there. Especially during close-ups, we can see shadows cast on their faces according to their facial features and room lighting. If this doesn’t impress you then I have no idea what could. Also, for the first time since ‘Gankutsuou’ has a goddamn piece of clothing burned in my very soul. I am talking about the onepiece dress seen in episode 2 at Club Eden. Talk about pretty. For the sake of readable length, I won’t go further into details, but practically everything has been polished and there isn’t much CGI outside episode 6. But even in the finale the CGI is so well done that less experienced viewers won’t even realize they are looking at CGI.
The series is, by no means, perfect. One of the side characters, Zabi Garman, can be seen as a plot element who only exists to lead the story in preferred direction. Our main character can be criticized of being a Gary Stu level Jesus who is perfect at everything and anything. Personally, I didn’t find any of these factors to be actual “problems” that could ruin the series for me. Rather, I thought they were done well. For example, the expectations others’ and Garma himself put on him didn’t match his personality, so it was easy for him to get played. Most of the time everything feels like it has been done with high level of self-awareness. The team behind Gundam Origin seems to be well aware of all its flaws and did their best on making it believable, acknowledging its imperfections and weaker sides.
Since I haven’t spoken anything about the sounds yet, I suggest you head to your closest youtube and copy-paste the following song title “Crowley Hamon – Don’t Say Goodbye” and enjoy. I let this piece speak for itself.
When it comes to enjoyment, I can’t speak on the behalf of Gundam fandom for the reason that I am not a fan of Gundam series in generally. Thus far the only ones I have really enjoyed were Vietnam, Hamburger Meat and Nice Float (08th MS Team, 0080 War in the Pocket and Unicorn – in case you are not up to date with hottest Gundam memes). I can still speak as a fan of mature anime series, as a fan of character portray, and as a fan of anime in generally. The levels of mature and realistic are -ironically- almost unrealistic, the characters are far better than anyone could expect, and the art kept constantly impressing me. I will call Gundam Origin an obligatory view for all anime fans.
First we need to go into a little background. Gundam is one of anime’s most beloved and influential franchises. However, its sheer size and the number of different entries and alternate continuities make it a very daunting franchise to get into. Sort of like anime’s Dr. Who in that regard. Where do I even start?
First, we need to go back to 1979. The original Gundam started out as a glorified toy commercial for robot model kits, but was turned into a beloved classic by the sheer dedication of Yoshiyuki Tomino. Mr. Tomino is a WEIRD man whose autism power level exceeds even my own. However, he’s also a creative genius. He introduced hard science fiction concepts like Lagrangian points, space colonies, and even added a layer of politics to make Gundam less of a super robot show and more of a Space Opera like the 1977 blockbuster, Star Wars. Tomino blurred the lines between Saturday morning cartoon and hard science fiction like Robert Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”. We get so absorbed into the world of Gundam that we forget that there’s zero strategic reason why mobile suits would be humanoid in shape or why the Zakus score so many kills with their karate kicks and cute little axes.
Everyone assumed that Gundam was made as an anti-war drama. However, Tomino said that the series is meant to be interpreted as a metaphor for growing up. A message especially intended for the otakus that collect Gundam models. The Earth forces represent the peaceful security of childhood and the space Nazis of Zeon represent the scary world of adulthood. The New Type mutants and their psychic powers were Tomino’s way of saying that people don’t listen to each other and need to start doing so. When you consider that this franchise was created to sell robot toys, Tomino’s messages and ambition were incredibly bold and respectable. He could have just phoned it in, but he went WAY above the call of duty to make an all time classic!
After the HUGE success of the original Gundam, we reach the 2nd phase of the Gundam franchise. At this point, it’s more than just a toy commercial and expectations are higher. With Zeta Gundam, Tomino expanded the politics of the original Gundam and transformed Char from a revenge obsessed, cool villain to a beloved anti-hero. The OVAs like War in the Pocket and 8th MS Team decided to go all out with the anti-war themes and make Gundam more serious. These 3 entries are generally regarded as the pinnacle of the Gundam franchise. They basically stretched it to its limits.
Now we have the 3rd phase of the Gundam franchise. Shit that looks cool and tries to recapture the lightning in the bottle. This is where we get G-Gundam, Gundam Wing, Thunderbolt, Seed, and yes, Gundam: The Origin. Some people might get mad that I just compared Origin to Wing and G-Gundam, but hear me out. Was Origin trying to teach an important lesson to depressed Otaku? Was it trying to expand the character psychology of beloved characters or take Gundam to new heights as a serious political drama? HELL NO! Origin is just a feel-good handjob for Gundam fanboys that wants to celebrate how fucking cool Char is. It is EXACTLY would you would expect if Star Wars fanboys were given 200 million dollars to make a Boba Fett movie in 1996. There is a scene in Origin where Char is playing basketball for no reason and dunking on fools like he’s Lebron James. Because OF COURSE Char would be able to do that! He’s fucking Char!
When people hear about Origin, they hear that it’s the prequel to the original 1979 Gundam. This is the place where most new fans start now. Well guess what? It’s not actually a prequel! Origin makes SOO many retcons that Sunrise admitted that it takes place in its own timeline! This was after fans pointed out that Origin basically torpedoes the plot of the original. An extremely important plot point in the original Gundam is the Antarctic Treaty. The reason nuclear weapons aren’t a factor in Gundam is because both sides agreed to stop using them after they were massively used to devastating effect in the battle of Loum. In Origin, nuclear weapons were never used at Loum. Instead, Zeon just used their cool toys to STOMP the Federation with extremely minimal casualties. Origin includes the famous “Zeon is exhausted” speech from the original, but in the context of The Origin it doesn’t make any sense! Zeon WAS exhausted in the 1979 series because they won the battle of Loum at heavy cost, largely due to the use of nuclear weapons that offset Zeon’s initial advantage in robotics. While Zeon won at Loum, they lost a ton of men and weren’t able to keep up with the Federation’s wartime production after that battle. Loum in the 1979 series was basically if the Japanese had won the battle of Midway while still losing 4 carriers. They needed it to end the war and once it didn’t they were fighting a losing battle due to differences in population and manufacturing power.
One bold decision that Origin made was to cover in greater detail Zeon’s genocidal operation that killed half the human population. In the original series, it happened prior to the start of the series and the casualties are kind of vague. Origin leaves no doubt that Gihren Zabi is the most pants on head insane, evil bastard in human history. His own father calls him “a grotesque parody of Adolf Hitler”. There’s a dramatic scene where Ramba Rall quits the Zeon army after witnessing the sheer depravity of Zeon’s plans. So I guess his fight with Amuro never happened in the Origin timeline, which creates its own string of issues. My point is that Origin directly draws attention to one of the biggest issues in Gundam. Zeon’s leader is SO insane and unbelievably evil that it becomes a joke to portray any Zeon soldier sympathetically. Any person with any shred of human decency would defect or lay down arms after the unprovoked slaughter of 5 billion people! Most of the Zeon colonists still had relatives on Earth. There wasn’t enough time for their society to see everyone outside of Zeon as completely sub-human and ingrain this ideology in every single one of them!
Do you know what Origin REALLY wanted to focus on though? How cool Char is! We don’t actually learn anything new about Char. He’s a man who sold his soul for revenge against the Zabi family. He fights for evil in order to eventually claim revenge on the people that killed his father. Oh and then he fights for the independence of Space people…then he just cares about his pissing contest with Amuro…then he wants to kill the Zabis again. Simply put, Char has never been a perfect character even before Tomino ruined him with Char’s Counter-Attack. So why do we like Char? Because he looks cool! He kills all his opponents with ease while making snarky remarks. He outsmarts his enemies, backstabs his allies, and scores with all the ladies. Char is a male power fantasy that embodies how we would like to see ourselves. He’s confident. He’s in charge. He’s fucking BADASS! Even Tomino soon realized that he loved Char WAY more than the hero Amuro and started thinking about sexy new girlfriends for Char. According to Tomino, it’s very important that we ALL know how often Char gets his dick wet. Origin takes this Char worship to the laughable degree you would expect. Char is Japanese Boba Fett meets James Bond meets Conan the Destroyer. Personally, I think Gundam is at its best when it’s tackling themes or challenging us emotionally like War in the Pocket. I don’t JUST want to jerk off to Char all the time!
So where does this leave us? If you’re a Gundam fan, I would still highly recommend that you watch Origin. It’s very fun and it looks spectacular! I’ll happily add this to my extended favorites, where it can hang out with Wing and G Gundam. I didn’t write this review to say that I dislike Origin! However, I just read a review that Origin transcends the other Gundam series and is more like Galactic Heroes than a mere Gundam! This frankly just makes me laugh. Origin is not this 300 IQ masterpiece that just shits on all the other Gundam series. It’s a very enjoyable, good Gundam series that has become a little too overrated IMO. Still recommended!
4: Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199
English: Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199
MAL Score: 8.35
In the year 2199, Earth faces its greatest crisis. Due to unrelenting bombings by the alien race known as “Gamilas,” the planet can no longer sustain its inhabitants. In exactly one year, humanity is set to become extinct.
In desperation, the people of Earth establish the Earth Defense Force, their last defense against the power-hungry Gamilas Empire. However, humanity finds a glimmer of hope after receiving a message from the mysterious planet Iscandar, which offers them a device that would restore Earth to its former glory. With salvation in sight, the Earth Defense Force calls on the prolific Space Battleship Yamato and swiftly assembles a crew to make the 168,000 light-year trek to Iscandar and receive their aid.
Among the crew are young officers Susumu Kodai and Daisuke Shima, along with several other newly promoted leaders, all under the command of the distinguished Captain Juuzou Okita. Forced to learn how to handle the ship’s innovative technology while dealing with the onslaught of Gamilas fleets, the inexperienced cast of Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 must summon every inch of their resolve to survive the many hardships aboard the Yamato and complete their mission: to save humanity before it’s too late.
In recent times, one becomes wary when they hear the word ‘remake’ or ‘reboot’. Audiences have reluctantly witnessed so many beloved series, stories and characters get butchered in misguided and unnecessary attempts to be recreated.
Thankfully, I am happy to say that Yamato’s 21st century rebirth is done faithfully, respectfully, and masterfully.
First, there is the story (9/10). Yamato’s story is timeless – the people of Earth are fighting back against an alien threat to bring their planet to slavery or extinction. Humanity’s last hope lies in the battleship Yamato, its crew, and a mysterious technology brought to mankind from a distant alien race of people called Iscandarians. Their destination – lightyears away, on the planet of Iscandar. In their path lie many obstacles, and every one a piece of the story and the puzzle. In this respect, Yamato’s story is not difficult to understand, and is something you can appreciate at any age in any time. There are many developments and nuances that shape the story beyond its simple premise as the show develops, however. For the most part, it faithfully follows the original plot, and while I can’t comment on specifics, I know enough to say that with confidence. It is not overly complex – there are also many things that are left to the imagination for the sake of not boring the audience. If you accept them for what they are and don’t convolute them, it is, for the most part, flawless. This is, after all, a fictional universe.
Now for the art (10/10). There has been some fuss over the stylistic changes from the original Leiji style of Yamato to the remake. However, I find them to be a perfect blend of the retro style and modern style – which still brings an incredibly refreshing artistic flair to Yamato that isn’t seen anywhere today. Even if one were to miss the original style, I think it would be impossible to truly recreate it exactly unless you had all the original animation staff, and that is too much to ask for a 40-year old series. Nobuteru did an excellent job of revisiting the style of Leiji and bringing it to a modern audience.
The animation is absolutely stunning. It’s quite obvious there was a high budget for the series, and they use it in all the right places. Let’s be honest – in the 70’s, many of the technical challenges that came with animating epic, large-scale space battles were difficult to tackle with the technology of the time. While many are impressive, it’s easy to see where they struggled to achieve their true vision. In 2199, the ships are 3D models, and CGI comes heavily into play during battle scenes. There was a time that this spelled bad news for mixing with 2D animation, when CGI suffered from a “video game cutscene” syndrome. But with today’s technology, 2199’s CGI is absolutely stunning, and blends beautifully with the show and the backgrounds. Every ship is masterfully crafted and detailed, and every nuance of the ships and the weaponry is nothing short of perfection. The excitement of every battle scene leaves you speechless. Fans of spaceships, fighter jets and miscellaneous mechanical things will be filled with nothing but glee.
The character and 2D animation is equally as important, and is treated that way. There’s a lot of expressiveness in every character, and it shows. There’s a bit of fanservice and moe here and there, but nothing overdone. Yamato takes itself seriously when it has to, but it also has a bit of fun when it’s appropriate.
The music and sfx (10/10) adds another layer of immersion to the world of Yamato. The soundtrack is a lot of re-recordings of original Yamato tracks, with that 1970’s sci-fi trumpets and backing vocals that many may remember fondly. If not, it’s something that you hear very rarely these days, and is absolutely perfect for this series. It’s enough that the opening is one of those songs you just can’t skip – the rest of the soundtrack is equally inspiring.
The sound effects, voices and ambiance is also well done. My favorite bits are definitely the sounds of the ships and the weapons during battle. There’s nothing quite like hearing a flurry of lasers, rockets and explosions – and of course, the awe-inspiring Wave Motion Gun.
The characters (9/10) of Yamato are stunning examples of common archetypes. There are brave heroes, loyal comrades, tragic villains, and everything in between. There is a very large cast of Yamato, so I won’t dive into every character, but while many characters may seem stereotypical at first glance, Yamato never attempts to clearly define the difference between good and evil – at times, you will sympathize with the enemy, and you will question the motives of the heroes. It’s one of those important aspects that helps separate the wheat from the chaff in this aspect. Still, there is a very classical story at hand, and with it come classic characters. But they are not as hollow and predictable as one more cynical may come to believe.
Overall, there is not much more to say. I gave enjoyment a 10/10 because I always found myself looking forward to the next episode of Yamato – and when they came (the waits were quite long for those following the series release), they were over so soon because I enjoyed every moment.
It is quite clear that the creators of Yamato 2199 had great respect for the source material and made every effort to craft a remake worthy of the name Uchuu Senkan Yamato. And in every aspect I would say they succeeded, and brought a story that deserves to be retold to a new era, taking advantage of the tools they have today that its original creators did not to remake Yamato in its full glory. And although the eye-candy visuals of space warfare are a spectacle in their own right, Yamato 2199 never loses sight of the story it is trying to tell and the cast that we want to root for, which is where many remakes of this era falter.
This is a very rare and important piece of animation history – one that I believe deserves to be viewed and appreciated by everyone. I would recommend this series to absolutely anyone, even if they are not fans of sci-fi. If you want an example of a remake done right – this is it.
Overall this show was an enjoyable watch, and one can sense that a lot of love and care was put into it. For those reasons, this is a very painful and disappointing review to write, but I feel it might be necessary to “warn” potential viewers about some elements of this series that are problematic. Specifically, the plot.
I understand that this is an extremely popular and influential franchise, especially in Japan, and I also do agree that this is a very well-done remake.
However – there are SEVERE issues with the plot of this series, issues that I feel are glossed over because of its “sacred cow” status in anime circles.
SPOILERS BEGIN HERE – do not continue reading unless you’re fine with that.
– We are expected to believe, and major elements of the plot revolve around, the fact that Yuki, a human born on earth, looks virtually identical to the royal princesses of Iscandar, a planet more than 100,000 light years away, to the point of being mistaken IN PERSON by those familiar with the princesses, to be one of them; that she coincidentally was involved in an accident one year ago that wiped her memory, and coincidentally makes it appear that she may be an alien that appeared one year ago on Earth; and that there is no proof that she is an Earthling because both her parents are dead and there are apparently no individuals who knew her on Earth well enough, except her parents, to confirm that she was in fact living on Earth for more than a year. This entire subplot, which groan-inducingly becomes a MAJOR plot device later in the show, is one of the most suspension of disbelief shattering things I’ve ever seen. I am at a complete loss as to how anybody can swallow this and call this particular subplot anything more than contrived.
– At one point, certain crew members stage a coup/mutiny in order to enact a plan to move humanity to a habitable planet that the Yamato finds. Not only is this illogical in the long-term – what prevents the Garmillans from simply subjugating that planet as well? – but they stage this insurrection before the planet is even scouted. Perhaps these crew members, one of whom is considered one of the more intelligent individuals on the ship, should’ve waited for more detailed reports on the feasibility of human habitation before initiating a violent mutiny. Bonus points: this plot point could’ve been interesting if the planet was indeed fit for habitation. It is not – it is apparently currently home to massive killer insects.
– Once the Yamato reaches Garmillas, the main antagonist, Desler, executes his secret plan: he flees the capital of Garmilas and then drops part of a colony on it. The problem with this plan is that there is no conceivable reason to do this. What POSSIBLE benefit does he gain from performing a colony drop and destroying the Garmillas capital? One could say “to destroy the Yamato” – is his plan then predicated on the Yamato deciding to dock at the Garmillas capital? In fact – *why* did the Yamato ram into the capital palace in the first place? Why not use the Wave Motion Gun to destroy Desler’s Wave Motion Gun instead? Is Okita’s plan to storm the center of a galactic empire with a strike team of, at most, a few dozen men led by Kodai, and somehow emerge victorious?
– Desler is killed when the Wave Motion Gun backfires and his space fortress is destroyed. However, he later turns up to ambush the Yamato in his flagship that is powered by another Wave Motion Gun. How did he survive the WMG’s explosion? Where did his new flagship come from? Why did nobody notice it? How did it reach the Gate before the Yamato? None of this is ever explained. Bonus Points: Yuki, who was ejected from an airlock and is mere METERS away from the exploding fortress, survives – though the blast not only clearly destroys the fortress, but completely incinerates a nearby battleship that is presumably more than a few meters away. Never explained. Forget about these little details when Kodai and Yuki get a great, emotional, romantic reunion scene in space.
– The Yamato reaches Iscandar and discovers Mamoru had made it there after a ship carrying him back to Garmillas crash landed there instead. Again, there are too many plot contrivances to even discuss them all. Why Mamoru specifically? Why not a human presumably captured in the MANY skirmishes the Garmillans have already had with humans? In a journey of more than 150,000 light years, the ship happens to crash literally one planet over from Garmillas? Why did the Garmillans need human samples? Having transported those samples over such a vast distance, only to have them crash land one planet away, did they then respond by saying “Well, that’s a bummer. No need to investigate and see if there were any survivors.”
– The timeline for Mamoru, the core of the Cosmo Reverser, arriving at Iscandar is at most later than the Yamato setting sail. Meaning that Starsha was challenging the Yamato to make an unprecedented journey across galaxies for something that doesn’t actually exist yet.
– Iscandar apparently has a population of three (one after the other two sisters leave for Earth). Why this advanced civilization of superior beings would expend 66% of their population on the off-chance that the planet Earth, which at that point was no different from the countless other planets subjugated by the Garmillans, could potentially reach them, is never explained. Having invested 66% of their population (No, I’m not going to get over that), Starsha is then unsure if she wants to give them the Cosmo Reverser. She then gives it to them though, despite the fact that those in power back on Earth are shown to be corrupt politicians who initiated conflict with the Garmillans, and will presumably abuse the godlike power they now possess because humanity as a whole has not improved in any significant way to warrant giving them this power. Oops.
– The infighting between the Garmillans is drummed up to eventually become a major plot element. Too bad we never hear anything about it again or get any kind of meaningful resolution.
There are more (unfortunately, *many* more) plot points/devices that could be discussed, but I think the overarching point is clear: this may be a remake of an anime legend, great animation, great soundtrack, but there are major issues with the plot that simply cannot be ignored or dismissed.
Is it a fun watch, and an interesting talking point for discussing the history of anime? Yes. But the illogical, contrived, and occasionally frustrating plot prevents it from being a great watching experience in its own right. Viewer beware.
Space Operas are very rare now a days in the anime industry. Just as the quality of mecha anime and it’s audience has been downgrading and declining in favor of slice-of-life, ecchi and harem genres, space operas were always being overlooked at. After almost at least 40 years, one of the space opera classic during the 70’s was given a chance to have a remake in order to introduce the series and gain a wider audience in today’s anime community. But does the show itself succeed? Let’s check it out:
Just as the title implies, the show is set during year 2199 and the once blue, green and thriving with life planet earth has been reduced to a radioactive wasteland because of the Garmillas aliens which forced the remaining population to hide underground. However, a friendly alien race from the planet Iscandar contacts the human race and gives them blue prints to build a powerful space battleship capable of retrieving a device to clean planet earth before humanity disappears. As they resurrect the long sunken ship yamato, they then applies the alien technology that they got from a messenger that came from Iscandar, transforming it into one of the most epic and greatest ship that will venture through the sea of stars to save their home planet. Enter Space Battle Ship Yamato.
Now i know most of you will think that the premise is pretty similar to Macross but the latter was aired during the 80’s specifically after the success of an another behemoth called Gundam while the original Yamato was aired during the 70’s. So therefore Yamato was the one who influence Macross. As i already said from the synopsis, this is a light years journey to Iscandar from planet earth and it will take a year in order to get through Iscandar and they also must retrieve the device in immediately before planet earth is forever doomed. As such we will encounter many kinds of phenomenon and typical issues from this long journeys such as trust issues, food shortage and of course battling their enemies, the Garmillans as they opposed the ship to reach Iscandar. Tactics to fend off enemies were heavily used and while the tactics many not be that good as LoGH, it still managed to give the feeling of unpredictability of the battles, plausibility of the tactics that were used and you will always be in the edge of your seat with the epic space batles that were occurring in your screen and backing it by great animation and intense old school soundtrack. The series also dealt with mature themes such as racism, genocide and politics. There is also fanservice in this series. Oh, i didn’t mention that? But don’t worry the fanservice in this series is not like in your ecchi show where it’s distracting. The fanservice actually have some subtility. For the most part.
The characters were no slouch either. They were interesting and likable for the most part and the character interactions were well-written and probably the main forte of the characterization of the show. The way the Yamato crew interact is just fun to watch. Oh sure there are some characters like our main protagonist, Susumu Kodai who sometimes acts like an angsty teen and some characters do too but they don’t exaggerate to the point that it become annoying. They still act accordingly to the situation and maturely to many situations. Many of the stuff that happens throughout their journey have challenged the Yamato’s crew beliefs about the war and this anime is also not entirely black and white where humans are automatically good, and the garmillians are automatically bad. There are both good and bad people from each side and some good and bad decisions and deeds that both the Humans and Garmillians have made. Okay, maybe i’m saying the obvious but it’s still worth pointing that out. The female cast are also strong individuals for the most part so don’t worry about some very useless ass female characters that you mostly see.
Overall, the story is great and the characters were interesting, likable and fun to watch to. If there are criticisms that i would give is that there are some more potential that the series overlooked. With a good world building that the show created, that show could have last in more than just 26 episodes and that is why some scenes in the series felt rushed, some characters are really lacking for being fleshed out and development, and there are some very questionable decisions during the end BUT it didn’t really detract for my own personal enjoyment. The original Yamato is also only 26 episodes and most people would rage quit to a series which is over 30+ episodes anyway so 26 episodes is still fine as it’s still be able to tell a great story in a series which the scale and world building is pretty big.
The studios that brought to us the animation are studio Xebec and AIC. The animation, the crisp of the characters and design, heck even the CGI are just fucking stunning and beautiful. Although some might say differ about the CGI but i didn’t really find any problem with it as it really works perfectly to the scenery of the series and the CGI only made the battles more epic and engaging. The director is Yutaka Izubuchi who is known for directing and creating RahXephon. He was also responsible for the character designs of Gundam Wing. Hideaki Anno worked on the story board. If you didn’t know who he is then you’re probably living in a cave. Akihiro Enomoto whom have worked as the key animator in Char’s counterattack also worked on this anime. Anybody here whom have watched Char’s counterattack knows that the battles there were simply one of the best mecha battle and the animation was just absolutely gorgeous. Akihiro also brought his forte into this series as the key animator in most episodes so therefore the battle scenes, as i mentioned before, were engaging, terrific and epic like Char’s counterattack. It feels like real space ships are really battling it out. As most of the budget were used in the CGI and the battles, the character movements felt really poor in many episodes but you know what? Most of the episodes they spend were sitting in the ship anyway. Just trying to point that out.
Catchy and old school. Seriously, the opening song and the first ending song were retro songs during anime of 70’s but it really fits perfectly well during the series(There are several different versions of the opening. The first opening is the classic version while the other version is still the same only much more modernized). I really appreciate how they decided to bring a retro song as an opening to a modern remake now it’s stuck to my head and i can’t stop humming it whenever i’m taking a shit or taking a shower. The OSTs that was used were also very catchy and old school but still felt intense during the battle scenes. The voice acting is also very well done. Ono Daisuke as the voice of Susumu Kodai who also voiced Sebastian from Black Butler, Kuwashima Houko as the main heroine, Mori Yuki who also voiced Tomoyo Sakagami(Clannad) and Clare(Claymore), Yamadera Kouchi as the main antagonist, Lord Desler who also voiced Spike Spiegel from Cowboy bebop, Otsuka Houchuu as Shiro Sanda who also voiced Jiraiya from Naruto and other famous VA’s. Aside from the the opening songs, the OST’s while catchy doesn’t really warrant to be listen on it’s own which kinda of a shame.
After watching LoGH and this, i am now craving for more space operas. This anime has many things that i could hope for. Engaging story, fun and interesting characters, beautiful ladies, epic and compelling space battles with great animation and a satisfying ending. It’s really a shame that despite being a remake of a classic with great animation, anime like these is still being overlooked at the anime community today. Hopefully in the future, more anime fans would be able to watch this series and this is one of the primary reasons why i’m doing this review right now. Whether you think this anime is great or not is still up to you of course but if you find this review helpful(which i doubt) and decided to watch the anime and think the anime is good, then please do recommend this to your friends. Then maybe there is hope for more space operas in the anime industry and for this sub-genre to completely not die in the anime realm. Well, it really won’t because of LoGH(Although there is also only a handful of people who have watched this) but you get my point anyway.
Story: 9/10 – Epic and engaging journey to save planet earth.
Characters: 8/10 – A great cast and fun characters to watch to. Character development is there but lacking a bit due to the length of the show but characterization is solid.
Animation: 9/10 – It’s Fluid in the battles and the CGI is good.
Sound: 8/10 – Nostalgic old school music and soundtrack.
Enjoyment: 10/10 – Never failed to entertain me and didn’t make me bored while marathoning the whole thing.
Final Verdict: 9/10 – Amazing anime and a great space opera.
3: Hellsing Ultimate
English: Hellsing Ultimate
Japanese: HELLSING OVA
MAL Score: 8.38
There exist creatures of darkness and evil that plague the night, devouring any human unfortunate enough to be caught in their grasp. On the other side is Hellsing, an organization dedicated to destroying these supernatural forces that threaten the very existence of humanity. At its head is Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, who commands a powerful military and spends her life fighting the undead.
Integra’s vast army, however, pales in comparison with her ultimate weapon: the vampire Alucard, who works against his own kind as an exterminator for Hellsing. With his new vampire servant, Seras Victoria, at his side, Alucard must battle not only monsters, but all those who stand to oppose Hellsing, be they in the guise of good or evil.
In a battle for mankind’s survival, Hellsing Ultimate proves that appearances are not all they may seem, and sometimes the greatest weapon can come in the form of one’s worst nightmare.
It has all the flash and gimmicks to trick you into thinking it’s good. It has vampires, action, blood, swearing, violence, gore, sexuality, darkness—everything that’s just “cooool” and “matuuure.”
Let’s not forget its “badass” hero Alucard—whose name is “Dracula” spelled backward, by the way. Goddamn that is so fucking cool I’m hurting. He’s so powerful no one can beat him. Except… that is the problem. Because none of his enemies can even touch him all his fights are boring filler. You’re actually left rooting for the villains.
The main characters are supposed to be the one putting up a struggle, not the other way around. The only time I was excited about a fight was when the villains felt like they could pose a challenge. But then Alucard whips out a power up, and I’m left saying “Oh.”
For a show with gorgeous animation and fantastic action it’s dull and forgettable. It’s like an attractive person without a personality. There are pacing issues where it slows down to be melodramatic and rambles about nonsense philosophy. I get that you need to let us know character motivations, but giving 10 minute speeches isn’t exactly keeping me awake. It also tries to be funny with some lighthearted, cutely animated moments, but it only ruins the mood.
I still actually recommend watching this but only if you’re slightly interested. It’s helpful to watch good and bad shows. It’ll give you an instinct on why something is good or bad. I enjoyed this my first time, but I certainly wouldn’t watch it again.
It has often been said that I like Hellsing Ultimate. My friends, I like Hellsing Ultimate…NO. Friends, I LOVE!! HELLSING ULTIMATE! I love the dark animation, I love the gore, I love the action, I love the charismatic characters, the accents, I love the bombastic plot and dialogue! I love any like-minded quality anime that can exist upon this Earth!
I love watching ghouls, vampires and mercenaries clashing in an all-out VAR within the Victorian hallways of the Hellsing estate. My heart leaps with joy whenever a soldier’s limps are blown off followed by screams of agonizing pain. And there is nothing like a British vampire chick dual wielding artillery canons to rain hell upon the mightiest engines of war, UND the feeling that comes when a vampire runs away screaming from Alucard only to be slaughtered in the most gruesome way imaginable… is such… an exquisite feeling. Like when ranks of mercenaries sign up to hunt vampires and ghouls using silver bullets. It moves me deep within my heart to see an entire squadron of innocent SWAT forces butchered mercilessly by none other than the MC in their final moments of shock and despair. The sight of haters being made fun of on the forums for their ridicule subjective criticism is an irresistible pleasure. And there is nothing more arousing then the major’s awe-inspiring war-speech which is still resonating with grandeur in your heads at this very moment. When a band of pitiful resistance fighters make their final stand with nothing but small arms only to have their city destroyed and their guts disemboweled by a thousand paratrooper vampire Nazis, I’m in ecstasy. I love it when my favorite factions are ravaged by enemy Nazi bastards. It’s so sad to see characters I had held onto dearly meet their tragic fates, their friends and comrades ripped in half gasping for their last breaths. I love to be squashed under the heel of the Nazi and Vatican war dogs, the humiliation as my men crawl around like vermin, hiding and taking cheap shots from walled corners.
Gentlemen, all I ask for is more Hellsing Ultimate. An anime so grand as to make hell itself tremble. Gentlemen…I ask you as fellow brothers in arms what is it that you really want? Do you wish for further anime like this as I do? Do you wish for a merciless bloody anime? Anime whose fury is built with iron and lightning and fire? DO YOU ASK FOR ANIME TO SWEEP IN LIKE A TEMPEST, LEAVING NOT EVEN CRITICS TO SCAVENGE FROM THIS EARTH!!!
To start off with the characters, our hero Alucard feels like the epitome of what it means to be a mary sue. Does he have character traits which define him? Of course not, since he is nothing but an underdeveloped, unbeatable, one dimensional mary sue who does what he wants and what he pleases because the plot said so. Is he able to be beaten? Yes, but only when the plot needs him to stray away for a while, then after that he comes back because he is supposed to be an immortal vampire who never dies because of plot, even when the other characters beat him fair and square through a smart strategy they had developed early on. Speaking of the other characters, they exist just for the sole purpose of moving the plot forward all the while being one dimensional archetypes themselves. You’ve got the central villain, Major, whose only character trait is to be evil and speak in a funny German accent just to get some cheap laughs from the viewers. You’ve got a woman who owns Alucard and is supposed to be his master, and her character is never developed other than her being his master, and to drink wine and speak in a posh accent I guess. She was so forgettable, to the point where I forgot her name. The other characters are the same, they either exist for the sole purpose of telling an unfunny joke, or to progress the plot forward without gaining any real characterization in the process. Reading some of the reviews here, they rave about the greatness of the characters, yet they never go into specifics as to why said characters are so great. I wonder why…
As for the unfunny jokes, this Anime is filled to the very brim with them. Were you hoping for a serious and grim Anime about vampires and soldiers fighting each other to the death? Jokes on you, we’ll give you the silliest, most addlebrained “comedy” Anime that ever tried to take itself seriously. Even when it should be funny and invoke laughter out of the audience, it doesn’t do anything of significance nor does it succeed in getting said laughs. Moreover, the juxtaposition between comedy and seriousness completely breaks the audience’s immersion in the plot, as one cannot be invested in a serious scene because the Anime breaks the viewer’s immersion and the serious tone that it was going for with unfunny jokes that come out of nowhere. Seriously, the comedy displayed here is worse than that of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, and that is genuinely saying something. To put it in simpler words, the Anime does not know what it wants to be, because if it’s goal was to be a hysterical parody of vampires, then it has certainly failed in it’s goal, since it neither is funny nor does it not break that rule by trying to take itself seriously half of the time.
Moving on to one more problem that this unfunny sack of underwhelming doodoo suffers from, it is that the episode length is long. There is a reason one watches Anime, and that is because while it not being the best medium out there, it at least makes up for it by not torturing the viewer for more than twenty minutes at a time. What does Hellsing Ultimate do? It lengthens it’s twenty minute run per episode into forty slow and lengthy minutes, which boggles the mind since ten minutes of this catastrophe were unwatchable, much less forty. Even when sped up, it doesn’t help either since you are constantly seeing characters you dislike being shoved right into your face all the time. You can’t escape this terrible catastrophe no matter how hard you tried, as it is inherently bad by itself.
Overall, there isn’t much else to say about Hellsing Ultimate. It is boring, trite, unfunny and at the end of the day it is meandering. Why is it meandering you ask? Because the main character is an unbeatable mary sue who barely shows any emotions and the outcomes therefore become predictable.
2: Shingeki no Kyojin: Kuinaki Sentaku
Japanese: 進撃の巨人 悔いなき選択
MAL Score: 8.41
Many years before becoming the famed captain of the Survey Corps, a young Levi struggles to survive in the capital’s garbage dump, the Underground. As the boss of his own criminal operation, Levi attempts to get by with meager earnings while aided by fellow criminals, Isabel Magnolia and Farlan Church. With little hope for the future, Levi accepts a deal from the anti-expedition faction leader Nicholas Lobov, who promises the trio citizenship aboveground if they are able to successfully assassinate Erwin Smith, a squad leader of the Survey Corps.
As Levi and Erwin cross paths, Erwin acknowledges Levi’s agility and skill and gives him the option to either become part of the expedition team, or be turned over to the Military Police, to atone for his crimes. Now closer to the man they are tasked to kill, the group plans to complete their mission and save themselves from a grim demise in the dim recesses of their past home. However, they are about to learn that the surface world is not as liberating as they had thought and that sometimes, freedom can come at a heavy price.
Based on the popular spin-off manga of the same name, Shingeki no Kyojin: Kuinaki Sentaku illustrates the encounter between two of Shingeki no Kyojin’s pivotal characters, as well as the events of the 23rd expedition beyond the walls.
The story focuses on Levi’s past, as the title tells us.
The first episode is about Levi, Isabel and Farlan living in the underground capital and “earning” money as thugs, in order to get the chance to live on the surface someday. Because of being captured by Erwin Smith, the three of them decide to join the Survey Corps. But unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Councilman Lovof wants them to retrieve a secret document from Erwin.
Coming to the second episode, the focus lies on their first days in the Survey Corps, as well as on the plan on how to get the document that Lovof needs. And their first expedition takes them outside the walls, where Levi, Isabel and Farlan have an encounter with their first titans. However, some unexpected things happen…
Isabel and Farlan are two new main characters, who are companions of Levi. Farlan is cool-headed and calm, while Isabel is energetic and vivacious. We get to see more of Levi’s character as well, which I find really interesting.
Beside new characters, we also see new sides of Levi and Erwin and get back-story of Keith Shadis, current Commander of the Survey Corps.
Great, as expected from Shingeki no Kyojin. Levi’s face expressions look really intense, and the scenes, where the 3D maneuver gear is used are breathtaking. I especially liked the chase after Levi, Farlan and Isabel, as well as the fight between Levi and the titan, where we get to see a lot of action and emotions.
Basically the same music as in Shingeki no Kyojin, and they use some of the soundtracks pretty well for emphazising the atmosphere of the OVA.
I really enjoyed every second of Kuinaki Sentaku. We get to see some new faces and the chance to gain an insight into Levi’s past, before he joined the Survey Corps.
Overall, I’m highly satisfied with Shingeki no Kyojin: Kuinaki Sentaku, although I think that two episodes aren’t enough for such a strong character like Levi. Nevertheless, they did a really good job. Definitely a must watch.
This new installment of the Attack on Titan universe tells us a bit more about Levis’ past and how he joined the survey corps. All the while being introduced to two new characters, Farlan and Isabel.
Farlan and Isabel are two new interesting characters.
Isabel seems to have a more childish attitude (A little like Zoë Hange), whilst Farlan is more responsible (taking care of his sick friend)
Levi hasn’t changed at all. Still the same guy as always. Still cleaning.
Holy shit is the 3D maneuver gear awesome! We are given an intense and thrilling chase scene with LOTS of 3D maneuver gear usage. Animation is really fluid and the underground environment is a breath of fresh air.
The voice acting is as always great and we are given a new soundtrack to fit with the chase scene. Lots of new 3D maneuver gear sounds is also heard.
I just fucking loved it! Everything from the throwback with Levi cleaning, to the soundtrack and action scenes.
If you liked the original Attack on Titan show and want to know more about the world and Levi, then this is a must watch!
The story leads to Levi, Isabel and Farlan living in an underground city in which serves as the Capital’s dump. Levi and his friends are criminals who steals food, money, etc. using a 3D Maneuver gear. Not much I can say ’bout the story since it’s already written in the synopsis. For my score for the story, I gave it a 9, it’s not really perfect but it’s really interesting. And which leads later in a situation in which we would be really tense and shock. The thrills sent to me lead it to a 9 score to the story.
The art is still the same, Levi’s face, nothing really much has changed (even though years had passed), and Erwin still looks like himself. Nothing really much changed.
Sound? Opening and ending was the 2nd one from the anime. But the background music, OST, was great! As expected from a wonderful anime.
The character development, this was the one that gave impact on us. Levi is Levi, Erwin is Erwin. But the bond between Levi, Isabel, and Farlan was something you find heartwarming. The development between them is great.
So far, I enjoyed this OVA, even though this is a spin-off, I still gave it a high score. Because of how well-made this is. And how much impact it gave to me.
Overall, I loved this spin-off. It already became one of my faves, of course, not because Levi is the protagonist, it’s because of somehow it gave me an impulse of excitement. I never really found a spin-off this exciting and tense. And If you think spin-offs aren’t worth watching, try watching this one. And yes, that means I recommend this.
1: Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan – Tsuioku-hen
English: Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal
MAL Score: 8.72
When mankind’s savagery surpasses his fear of death, there is little hope for those who wish to live honest lives. Beneath a full moon, a young boy witnesses the murder of the bandits who had enslaved him, and is then christened with a new name by the man who rescued him. This boy is Shinta, now known as Kenshin Himura, and he is destined to become a swordsman. The softness of his heart does not befit the occupation, but his desire to protect the innocent is absolute.
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan – Tsuioku-hen details the origins of the man who would bear the name of Hitokiri Battousai long before he swore his oath not to kill and before he earned his reputation as an assassin. The young man’s heart is divided between justice and corruption, while the fate of a nation rests on his actions.
Art/Animation – 9
Taking a step away from the style of the Rurouni Kenshin TV series, Tsuiokuhen takes a darker and more grim approach to its presentation. The first and most notable change from the TV series is the depiction of the various sword styles and their employment in the scenes, as well as realistic blood splatter. While the TV series emphasizes the effect and abilities of the techniques of these styles, Tsuiokuhen brings realistic swordplay into its story. Another noticeable changeover is the expressions of its characters: although in the TV series these characters are serious but still have comedic tendencies, all this is removed in these OVAs, leaving a serious tone for its story. In addition to these changes, Tsuiokuhen also has more of an emphasis on its setting through its animation. It is undeniably Japan under the Tokugawa Regime, the banners of the Samurai, rags worn by the slaves, and everything down to the buildings and clothes.
Sound – 9.7
This anime’s music soundtrack is both beautiful and intense. In addition, combining sword fights that sound like real sword fights, attention to sound effects, and the voice actors chosen, Tsuiokuhen’s sound is nothing short of brilliant. The voices of the characters are just another reason as to why this anime has a grim depiction as many are cold and basically emotionless, while other characters have either normal voice expressions or even upbeat tones. With such great story, characters, and animation, Tsuiokuhen could have easily loosened the reigns in the sound department, but instead this show doesn’t stop short. The great sound selections really finalize and add polish to an already great show with the final result being a true masterpiece.
Characters – 10
Tsuiokuhen provides the foundation for what becomes one of anime’s most likable and well developed characters in Himura Kenshin. A focus of this anime is Kenshin’s growth as he transitions from adolescence to adulthood and his struggle as he comes to terms with his role in the world. Newcomers to the Rurouni Kenshin scene will be introduced to a wide variety of unique characters who play a prominent role throughout Kenshin’s life. Fans of the historical/samurai genre will see familiar faces in Soushi Okita and Hajime Saito of the Shinsengumi. The swordmaster Seijuro Hiko also serves as a counterpoint to Kenshin’s idealism with his jaded take on life and his belief that a sword is merely a tool for murder. Those already familiar with Kenshin as the vagrant samurai with a reversed blade sword will be treated to a glimpse into the background of the Hitokiri Battousai, his relationship with Tomoe, and the events that shaped Kenshin and gave direction to his life. Cameo’s by Makoto Shishio and Enishi Yukishiro will seem more noticeable and somewhat nostalgic for those who have seen what they become and the role they play in Kenshin’s future.
Story – 10
The story of Tsuiokuhen depicts the past of Himura Kenshin and how he became known as Hitokiri Battousai, all the way to the origin of his cross-shaped scar and his vow to never kill again. It shows Kenshin’s trials and tribulations during the Bakumatsu and, as readers of the manga are familiar with, his relationship with both Yukishiro Tomoe and her little brother, Enishi. The beauty of what Studio DEEN has accomplished here lies within the dark, brooding and emotional way they went about narrating the story. Contrary to the aloof way the TV series was, Tsuiokuhen went with a more mature outlook, easily evident with the excessive blood and gore shown in all of the battles. And with telling the story in only 4 OVAs, the story never seems to slack, but stays intriguing from start to finish.
Enjoyment – 10
Tsuiokuhen manages to combine a high level of violence with a very dramatic historical storyline, which is quite an accomplishment since many shows often go overboard on either the gore, the action, or the narration. Here Studio DEEN has done a great job portraying the story in a very gritty, down to Earth style that lends seriousness to the historical and dramatic aspects of the show. At the same time, the violence is very raw, brutal, and shocking to the senses, but while there are fantastic sword fights, the focus remains on the purpose behind them. Combined with a subtle but chilling soundtrack, this lends an air of maturity to the show and contributes to the tumultuous and unsettling environment Kenshin has become a part of. While this OVA isn’t very lighthearted, it is a very unique blend that will likely please most viewers and makes Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen a must see for any anime fan.
OVERALL – 9.74
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team members were:
BlackMagic – Who wrote the Character and Enjoyment sections and combined the individual review parts together into a whole.
BURNlTHElPRIEST – Who wrote the Art/Animation and Sound sections.
vindemon64 – Who wrote the Introduction and the Story section.
Here are their individual scorings for the Anime:
Category – BlackMagic, BURNlTHElPRIEST, vindemon64
Art/Animation – 9, 9, 9
Sound – 9, 10, 10
Characters – 10, 10, 10
Story – 10, 10, 10
Enjoyment – 10, 10, 10
In the club wide poll held for Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen it received an average overall rating of 9.09
One word for this anime: Amazing! It’s so good that it’s hard to decribe. This is one of the only anime series that will make the viewer’s jaw drop to the floor and be filled with emotion. Those who are Rurouni Kenshin fans will love it; those who are new to the series will still like it. It’s a drama and may not be as interesting among younger viewers and is more mature than the anime. Those who are sensitive to extreme violence and blood may want to turn their heads during some scenes.
The first episode is a little jumpy as it skips from past to present, which to non-Kenshin fans may be confusing. Besides the jumpiness, the plot is excellent. For a drama, the pacing isn’t thin and slow and is perfect for the setting. The story to Trust and Betrayal is far more enjoyable than regular series. (which is enjoyable to begin with) The characterisation is somewhat shown in the series, and could be developed further. One learns that Kenshin is turning into a merciless manslayer when he slices a man in half, killing for the first time, and shows no emotion after. However, the other character’s personalities aren’t as developed.
The artwork is realist compared to Nobuhiro Watsuki’s original concept, but is artwork at it’s finest. Those who aren’t into realist artwork will still find this series interesting to watch. They used computer three-dimension graphics, mostly in the backgrounds, but still kept unto the traditional animation. For traditional animation, it’s one of the best.
The music will make one go in awe with it’s use of a fulll orchestra. It creates moods and themes that also make the viewer full of emotion. The music is a main factor in making this OVA unbelievable, but it was already magnificent to begin with.
They hired the best actors in both casts for this anime. The Japanese Kenshin voice (Mayo Suzukaze) is a little too girly for the role and the English Tomoe voice (Rebecca Davis) is too emotionless it sounds like she is reading the script. The voices have a different tone than the regular anime series, which is a nice change. The OVA voices are realistic and set the drama tone, while the anime has exaggerated voices that are too cartoony. Even the Kenshin voice is different, but it’s hard to decide which voice is suited better. (J. Shannon Weaver in OVA, Richard Hayworth in anime) The Landlady had the best acting performance in the English dubbed, but the acting was still great. More emotion could be used in characters, but the voices matched the characters.
This OVA has to be the most underrated anime known in the anime world. It was never a "fad" or a trend as most popular series start out, which is somewhat sad because this anime deserves attention. (Although fads are always hated in the end which shouldn’t happen to this OVA) Everything about the OVA is wonderful from the music to the artwork. Anyone involved with this OVA worked extremely hard in putting effort and it clearly shows. This OVA should be on every anime fan’s shelve.
Tsuiokuhen tells the story of Himura Kenshin, detailing his rise to infamy as Hitokiri Battousai during the Bakumatsu period and ultimately tracing the origin of his cross-shaped scar and his vow never to kill again. The beauty of the story lies in its raw, ominous execution. Contrary to the manga and the TV series, Tsuiokuhen faces the brutality of the Meiji Revolution with a mature clarity that really draws you in, and exhibits an emotional rawness that will leave you in pieces. The story never slacks and, despite being told over four OVAs has more of the feel of a movie, remaining unified and captivating from start to finish.
Tsuiokuhen is particularly enjoyable character-wise having already watched the TV series and read the manga, but the character of Himura Kenshin as presented in the OVAs is well-shaped enough to stand on his own and still be a tour de force of character design. The focus of this anime is the period of Kenshin’s life as he transitions from adolescence into maturity amid the turmoil of the Bakumatsu and his struggles to uphold his idealism while continuing to commit acts of violence in the name of a brighter future. The splendor of the character designs throughout the OVAs is in how convincing each character manages to be, each action is believable and sympathetic, further drawing you into the story.
The darker and more realistic theme can also be seen in the animation, which, despite being made in the late 1990s, is remarkably sharp and dismally realistic. The animation is fluid and the action is raw and brutal. The comedic edge to the animation style that existed in the TV series and manga is completely gone, furthering the serious tone.
The music is dark and intense in the same manner as the story, and there is great attention paid to realism in sound effects. The voice actors each give magnificent performances (particularly, in my opinion, Mayo Suzukaze’s darker interpretation of Kenshin). Overall, the sound just adds onto what is already a brilliant work.
This is a must-see for pretty much anyone who enjoys anime, particularly those with an appreciation for accuracy in the portrayal of history and fans of the samurai genre (as well as anyone who watched the TV series or read the manga).
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan – Tsuioku-hen
2. Shingeki no Kyojin: Kuinaki Sentaku
3. Hellsing Ultimate
4. Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199
5. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
6. Hunter x Hunter: Original Video Animation
7. Tsubasa: Tokyo Revelations
8. Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island Final
9. Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island
10. Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden
11. Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn
12. Tsubasa: Shunraiki
13. Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas – Meiou Shinwa 2
14. Akatsuki no Yona OVA
15. Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden (1999)
16. Kuroshitsuji: Book of Murder
18. Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas – Meiou Shinwa
19. One Piece Film: Strong World Episode 0
20. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete
21. Tennis no Ouji-sama: Zenkoku Taikai-hen
22. Tennis no Ouji-sama: Zenkoku Taikai-hen – Semifinal
23. Shijou Saikyou no Deshi Kenichi OVA
24. Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster
25. Noragami Aragoto OVA
26. Shingeki no Kyojin OVA
27. Saiyuuki Gaiden
28. Giant Robo the Animation: Chikyuu ga Seishi Suru Hi
29. Magi: Sinbad no Bouken
30. Saiyuuki Reload: Burial
31. Kubikiri Cycle: Aoiro Savant to Zaregototsukai
32. Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari
33. Shingeki no Kyojin: Lost Girls
34. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz
35. Saint Seiya: Meiou Hades Meikai-hen
36. Noragami OVA
37. Nurarihyon no Mago OVA
38. One Punch Man: Road to Hero
39. Change!! Getter Robo: Sekai Saigo no Hi
40. Seikai no Senki III
41. Drifters: Special Edition
42. Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi
43. Bungou Stray Dogs: Hitori Ayumu
44. R.O.D: Read or Die
45. Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki 2nd Season
46. Top wo Nerae 2! Diebuster
47. Hellsing: Digest for Freaks
48. Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki
49. Initial D Battle Stage 2
50. Mob Psycho 100: Dai Ikkai Rei toka Soudansho Ian Ryokou – Kokoro Mitasu Iyashi no Tabi