They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Shuudengo, Capsule Hotel de, Joushi ni Binetsu Tsutawaru Yoru., Jingai-san no Yome, Kantoku Fuyuki Todoki, and more!
50: Shuudengo, Capsule Hotel de, Joushi ni Binetsu Tsutawaru Yoru.
MAL Score: 5.54
The anime centers on Minori, an office worker, and her boss Hadano, who are constantly arguing with each other. One night, after a company drinking party, Minori and Hadano are having their usual argument, when Minori realizes that she has missed the last train. They decide to spend the night at a nearby capsule hotel, but an incident forces them to share the same unit.
This time around it’s a story about a girl who says “no” and a guy who hears her words as “yes”, but apparently, it’s not rape because they work in the same company and the guy is really horny. So basically, it’s the exact same thing as all the other series from the same genre.
The entire thing is build based on opposites.
Girl: You can’t.
Guy: Does anyway.
At this point, I have to mention that there are currently 3 different versions of this series available. The first one is PG13 and the sex scenes have been removed so it’s just a story about two people being in the same place at the same time. The second version has like clouds over genitals and boobies don’t have nipples. And the third version is the one that offers the story as intended. Why do this then? You ask (well, I ask at least). Because it’s really important that every person, regardless of their age, has the possibility — the opportunity! — to witness this greatness while it still maintains its appeal to people of every age in the suitable and ideal way. I greatly envy the children today who have the change to grow up watching the different versions of the story over the years as they age. Missed opportunity from my part, but definitely a timeless classic the future generations.
The characters are pretty funny at least, mainly because they suck so hard. The female’s (whose name I still don’t know) greatest character merit being owning a tight pussy. The dude’s one single merit is to being able to use this woman most of the time as he wishes. The sex scenes are quite terrible. Almost identical to each others, super boring stuff, occasionally no penetration at all. The variety is miniscule as typically they only take place in a different surroundings. The girl just lays there like a dead fish and moans or says “no” while the dude uses finger or mouth action.
As romances, this thing is beyond awful and as a porn it is useless.
Let me explain why I’m disappointed and kind of annoyed with this. And do bear with me, I will be rambling a lot for a short-lived micro series. How’s that for a first review ever?
The whole story was very bland. There are concepts that stuck out a bit, but there wasn’t much more to it. In other words, there was nothing eye-catching or different in comparison to other anime that shares the same genre. The characters aren’t very memorable at all and are quite bland and underwhelming in all aspects. The thing about this anime is that you don’t find it on your typical streaming sites when you google the name. Instead, you’ll find it on porn sites which isn’t a bad thing…if it were a hentai. It was misleading in all honesty when I initially read the synopsis before it was released. I thought, “hey there’s nothing wrong with a bit of ecchi from time to time, right?” wrong. Even for porn, it’s not substantial for what porn is supposed to make people do.
Before I continue, I noticed that there are allegedly three versions that came out (sexual scenes cut completely, censored, and uncensored/full-on sex scenes with penetration) so to give you context I watched the third version which is basically porn. Because of its length (in both episode duration and how many episodes came out) there’s not much to get off to. Since this was “ecchi” there wasn’t enough plot to go around because of such short time. Because, y’know, ecchi is kind of a factor for anime that says, “hey we have girls revealing stuff that you don’t want little children to see.” and not something that completely defines plot. Actually, there wasn’t really a plot at all. By that, I mean that there was a direction where this was going but it was pretty predictable and raw and not really entertaining. The writing was your carbon-copy script of a typical hentai where the woman says “no” but proceeds to get consensually fucked anyway because what is logic.
The dynamic between the two main characters is laughable since they’re very typical. A viewer most likely doesn’t even need to watch this because of the lack in creativity; this is a relationship that is very confusing where it’s a one-night stand that goes from being fuckbuddies to being each other’s boyfriend/girlfriend with a dash of baseless jealousy and useless “pining”. I say “pining” because the main guy essentially lusts for her and doesn’t say his true feelings till the end, but goes upon his salacious actions anyway. As for the woman, she’s basically there as a means for the guy’s object of attraction. There’s nothing worth noting about her other than she has sex with this man every episode and that she drags along the “plot” of this thing.
It was generally mediocre with sound and art; there’s nothing much to comment on, especially since all that was supposed to be appealing was the sex. The voice acting was pretty standard, especially for moaning and sound effects were basic. If there was even music in this thing, I probably didn’t even notice. The art is nothing new to me; it was neither good or bad, but simply something I’ve seen everywhere.
Overall, I found this pretty boring. Even the sex scenes were mediocre and the buildup to those wasn’t even decent. So even for porn, there’s nothing to enjoy even for a little bit. That says a lot for a series with each episode running about 10 minutes if I can remember correctly. Even for what was presented before I even watched, I literally didn’t know what to expect so I came in with no expectation at all. But did I finish it all? Yeah. Why? To see how it all just culminates and what cliches would be stuck in there.
So yeah. I plan on not watching or reviewing anything like this (I mean hentai lol) and just don’t waste your time on this like I did lol.
In other words, this is crap, don’t watch it.
49: Jingai-san no Yome
English: Jingai-san no Yome
MAL Score: 5.69
High schooler Tomori Hinowa is called to the principal’s office one day to hear some shocking news: he’s getting married! A mysterious fluffy creature called Kanenogi has chosen him as their wife, and despite Tomori’s initial misgivings, he decides to accept. What follows are a series of delightful tales from this new couple’s monstrous married life.
Adorable and absurd, Jingai-san no Yome is a story that will leave audiences equally charmed and bemused after each short episode.
So what do we got here? We are in a world where young males are chosen at school by weird creatures to become their wives. The young males have no prior knowledge of the creatures, have never spoken with them, and yet they all seem very pleased and instantly fall in love. The creatures range from small piggy like things to huge bear like creatures, not to forget female one winged cyclops twins. To make things better, half of those creatures do not speak. How do they reproduce? No idea, and the show won’t give a clue (fortunately!).
One day, the main protagonist, whose name I already forgot, is chosen as a mate by (Ba)Kanenogi-san. A speechless 2.5 meters high creature, stupid enough to continuously bump his head on the wall above the door until the MC tells him to bend down… But everything is well, because Bakanenogi-san’s fur is so fluffy… Oh yeah, Bakanenogi-san eats bricks too, something that I guess was supposed to be funny. Ahem.
Everything in this show is bad. The art is subpar, as is the animation. As for the sound, yep, pretty bad as well. I could do with all this if at least it was funny, but alas, the humor is nonexistent. This is really appalling. Yes, I get it’s a 3 minutes show, but some 3 minutes animes achieve much more than this. I really enjoyed “Aiura” (4 minutes) a few years ago. Yesterday I laughed a lot wathcing “Orenchi no Furo Jijou” (4 minutes), and “Teekyuu” with its frantic pace manages to be funny in 2 minutes. “Jingai-san no Yome” just sucks.
Seriously, even the infamous “Mars of Destruction” is a hundred times better than this piece of crap, and that is saying! Yes, it is that bad.
You may wonder how any of that makes sense and why they would be wives but that’s part of the appeal of the show
Its basically monster boy x human boy yaoi featuring the human boys thrown into the wife role. It resembles art and scenarios I’ve seen on deviantart and tumblr. Espeically with how the boys are designed. They look less conventional and more scene-like, with multicolored hair, messy or long hair, and sometimes often scowls.
In my eyes it’s clear what this anime is marketed towards. And for that market I think it’s a decent show that provides some cute moments between the boys and gives the heartwarming romantic moments that one wants to see. As someone looking forward to the anime originally while I wish it could have been more in depth it at the very least didn’t fail in providing me something I enjoyed and hit the base notes that it needed to.
That said because it’s so barren it’s really only for fans of this subsection of yaoi and those that want to see cute boys becoming wifes. While it does that fine there nothing else to the show and nothing that’d merit someone from outside that taste to watch. Which basically brings it down to this, if you like what its offering it’s a good use of 36 minutes. And if not, then the show probably isnt for you. Which is fine. Personally I think what it does right is fine enough.
This anime is basically about 4 couples, all of them constituted by one human (a teenage boy in the case) and one supernatural creature (that goes from a kind of yellow and superfluffy bear to cyclope twins, being the twins married with the same guy). It shows their daily life basis as a married couple, the “wifes” taking care of the house and sometimes even doing more romantic stuff like going on a date.
Story: I give it a 6, although I enjoyed it I recognize that the story is plain, there’s no drama or what so ever, it’s a pretty white and simple slice of life I would say.
Art: I give it a 6 again, the characters are cute, especially the creatures, but , again, simple. There’s nothing wrong about it being simple but there’s nothing that you could call eye catching.
Sound: A 7, I liked the score, it wans’t bad, especially the ending, through out the 12 episodes there was not even a single time I skipped the ending, it was fun and it goes pretty well with the whole anime.
Character: It’s a 7, again, some of them are cute, pretty adorable but… I mean, they are a bunch of guys that married a bunch of creatures, they have moments when they are really adorable but sometimes they can also be a little way too boring.
Enjoyment: It’s a 8, despite all I really enjoyed it, it was different, it’s not an anime for all the otaku community to watch but it’s worth watching, for the right people.
Overall: Its a 7, I liked it, it’s not the worst anime I ever watched, also not the best but I still had a really good time watching it. If you want a little romance, a little yaoi, a small slife of life and a ending you can dance to, this is a good shot.
This is only my opinion so don’t be mad if you don’t agree. Also, english is not my mother language so sorry if I made any mistake.
48: Kantoku Fuyuki Todoki
English: Insufficient Direction
MAL Score: 5.94
This is the anime adaptation of Kantoku Fuyuki Todoki (Insufficient Direction), the first essay manga by the “queen of the manga world,” Moyoco Anno. The comedic and heartwarming autobiographical story follows her everyday married “otaku lifestyle” with Hideaki Anno, “the founder of the otaku cult.”
Basically Moyoco Anno and Hideaki Anno chilling and talking about otaku stuff and living their otaku lives.
Relaxed chill comic/anime style hybrid
Lucky Star tier music which really fits with the slice of life stuff
The main cast is basically and exaggerated version of Moyoco Anno and Hideaki Anno
This show is flawless.
10/10 would rewatch
The series is told through the eyes of Rompers and focuses around the experiences of marrying an otaku. Like your standard slice of life there is not a concrete plot and it consists of gags. This fits the 3 minute a episode flash format well, allowing for a quick watch designed to be light hearted while providing a entertaining incite into their daily lives. The only issues I have with it was the lack of comedic high points and it’s initial just otaku based humor. The humor is mostly just light humor and wont generate any deeply memorable lines.
Being a comedic flash animation it’s not very noteworthy, being there to accompany the series humor. The character designs are reminiscent of a 2channel flash or something you would see on a good Newgrounds animation but with more variety and a slight increase in complexity.
Like the animation the sound is there to accompany the series.The sounds track consists of just little tunes, like something you would here on a kids TV show to accompany the dialog.
The characters are the high point of the series. Being a representation of the Anno’s, you really get to know them, or at least their exaggerated selves, and feel apart of the experience. The very peak of this high point lies in the voice actors, especially Director-kun’s. You get a near accurate portrayal of what you would think a slightly psychotic otaku would sound like, with the outbursts yells, and all. Rompers voice actor also fits well with her cutesy yet rough voice and later appending anger at her husband.
Overall enjoyment: 7
While there are not many negative points with this series I award it with a seven. Like I said previously this is a light series. A way to describe it is it’s like a cup of herbal tea. It warms you up and gives you a taste of what’s inside but does not provide the energy of a green or black tea. Think of it like a milder Hetalia or a shortened Azumanga Daioh. It is entertaining and a great way to pass the time without the weight of a full fledged comedy series, making you want more.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed my first review.
For one, it’s absolutely criminal that this series has such a low rating. (probably rated so low by ignorant idiots who hate anything unconventional.)
This anime accomplishes exactly what it set out to do: accentuate and describe Hideaki and Moyoco Anno’s married life for a few laughs (if not tons of them). It’s certainly not meant to be taken seriously or critically analyzed, as this series is purely for a very, very, very niche audience, so I understand if one would be confused if they were new to anime.
Japanese: ストレンジ プラス
MAL Score: 5.99
Kou comes to a slum neighborhood in search of his elder brother Takumi and finds him to have become the head of a private detective firm. Kou is drafted by Takumi to do errands and chores in the detective firm, and they come to meet various interesting people…
(Source: MAL News)
“My exit turned into an entrance!!!” -Ozu
So what even is Strange+?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
‘Cause I haven’t the slightest clue myself.
Seriously, Strange+ is, well, what it sounds like. Strange on a whole ‘nother level. Supposedly it’s supposed to be about detective work or something (well, according to MAL’s description). Lemme say this, however – if Strange+ is about detective work, then my cat may as well be a walrus (…that was a dumb analogy. Whatever, you get the point.)
Story: 1/10 (Would be a zero, but I can’t do that so meh.)
The thing I love about this series is that it’s so stupidly incoherent to the point that the total lack of a story is completely irrelevant. This miniseries doesn’t NEED a story. Then again, do miniseries ever actually need one? You can’t exactly fit much into 3-minute episodes. That’s why I have to give credit to this series for managing to make me laugh my ass off almost constantly (which, as my friends would know, isn’t easy!). The level of stupidity of the plot – which is virtually nonexistant in the first place – just adds to the hilarity of it all.
Not much to say here. Pretty normal animation. I must say some of the facial expressions are pretty damn funny. And let’s not forget Takuma farting into a vending machine…
Again, nothing special. Voices are pretty good, soundtrack is fine, blah blah.
Episode-to-episode, our “fearless detectives” have to do odd jobs and meet the weirdest of people. And let’s put a huge – and I mean HUGE – emphasis on WEIRD. Let’s see here – we’ve got Takuma the “beauty boy”, who looks like a girl, crossdresses…aaaand decides to strip at regular intervals. If that’s not a recipe for disaster I don’t know what is. Miwa seemingly cosplays as something different each episode, as far as I can tell. You’ve got the hardass Masamune, and then the totally clueless protagonist Kou. This character lineup – along with the equally peculiar background roles (RUSTY NAIL!) – just adds to the fun, as most of the characters seemingly don’t have a speck of intelligence (or common sense to boot). The characters leave something to be desired, but then again, I guess their overall idiot-ness (that’s a word now) really makes the series what it is. Besides, how much characterization can you really fit into 3 minutes?
STUPDILY HILARIOUS. The only phrase I think describes Strange+, in all honestly. There’s no coherent plot and no coherent characters – and that’s exactly why I enjoyed it so much. Honestly, I couldn’t stop laughing for the most part.
You want something serious and actiony? Don’t watch Strange+.
You want a good laugh? Watch Strange+.
Simple as that! 🙂
I personally found this anime pretty good. Although it is different, eccentric and indeed strange…it actually works. The anime is basically about a group of four friends who work in a detective agency and undergo weird situations/cases. The characters are all very likeable. Each episode is sort of like a short comedic skit, however there are links between each episide so there is some order in the randomness.
The only thing I’d warn you about is that the description makes it sound a bit more serious than it actually is (beacause it really isn’t), and the front cover gives off a different air to the series. So you shouldn’t really base whether u’ll like the anime from those two things because you’ll probably get the wrong impression.
I gave this anime a ’10’ because of how eccentric and funny it is. It’s nothing like the other animes which i’ve rated a ’10’ but thats because this truly is in a league of its own and cannot be compared to anything else i’ve watched but also cause it was pretty good.
Just give it a try and enjoy 🙂
Strange+ only has 12 episodes. So, don’t expect much of a plot or character development.
What you should expect and be ready for is 12 episodes of crazy fun!!
1. Each and every character has their quirks. They’re all unique and hilarious.
2. Every episode brings you a new story. They don’t necessarily link together, but it really doesn’t matter. It feels like you’re going on a new adventure every episode.
If you prefer an actual, lengthy plot with build up and a definite climax, then this might not be for you.
3. Throughout all 12 episodes, I legit found myself laughing out loud lol
Which is why I gave enjoyment a 10/10.
4. There are some sexual jokes, so if you know you’ll be uncomfortable with sexual references, then you have been warned 🙂
Strange+ is actually such a weird anime. I wouldn’t recommend watching it with family, friends or in public. Personally, I watched it alone in the corner of my room hahaha
Because there are some sexual jokes and content in the anime, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch it in public;;
BUT PLEASE. GIVE IT A GO 🙂 As a comedic anime, it is pure genius. I’m so glad I stumbled across this!
46: XL Joushi.
MAL Score: 6.13
With the hopes of making a bit of extra cash, office worker Saki Watase registers for a product review program. But when the first product her new part-time job sends her is a huge box of XL condoms, Saki decides to put the task to the side.
Later on, while at a drinking party with her coworkers—including her competent but infuriating “demon boss” Keisuke Sudou—Saki ends up drunk out of her mind, so Keisuke offers to escort her home. Upon their arrival at Saki’s apartment, however, Keisuke immediately takes notice of his subordinate’s substantial amount of XL condoms. When she explains the circumstances of her part time job, Keisuke offers to help out with the testing—revealing himself to be XL-sized!
Note: The standard TV version of the anime debuted on October 7 at 1:00 a.m. on Tokyo MX, as well as YouTube and Niconico. A complete version began streaming the same day on the ComicFesta Anime website.
This entry reflects standard TV version of the anime.
Just have one doubt tho….Why the fuck this isn’t a Hentai?…Just Mild Nudity? You kidding me?
Keeping that Aside….
I will just say, A Hentai with an actual Story…..is all which everyone want.
Read the Synopsis for Plot. I’m not gonna write here. 😛
Didn’t really focused on Sound track etc….So it is just fine I would say.
Watase – I just love her. So Cute.
Sodou – This is the first time I have watched a character who is really kind and Gentlemen, a̶n̶d̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶c̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶g̶i̶r̶l̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶d̶o̶…..
Like I said above, Best Hentai I’ve ever watched.
At some point, It really felt like I am watching a Romance Anime and not a Hentai……..But Still, it really bothers me to see that how this is not a Hentai….
45: Shin Strange+
Japanese: 真 ストレンジ プラス
MAL Score: 6.23
Second season of Strange+.
Where shall I begin?
…To be perfectly honest, there just isn’t anywhere I possibly COULD begin. Shin Strange+ is simply stupid fun. There’s no story, no nothing. It’s just more of the same from the first season. From Takuma’s hijinks to Kou’s cluelessness, nothing much has changed. (Oh, and Rusty Nail makes her big return. Hurrah?)
[Story: 1] (again, would be a 0 but I can’t do that)
As I said, there’s nothing new from season one, aside from a couple new characters. Otherwise, it’s the same cast of the first season who have returned with even more hilarity to boot.
Nothing special. Other than Takuma going noodleboobs on some kidnappers. Now THAT’S definitely special.
Again, pretty much the usual. One thing to note – the outro is actually surprisingly catchy.
Psht, who needs character depth?
I’d say this is the only show which can possibly get away with veeery little characterization. I mean, I’ve seen miniseries with same-length episodes which have pulled off WAY more character development than Strange+. Shin Strange+ does very little to add to the characters from season 1 – except for making them even more random. And, as we all know from season 1 – randomness is something none of the characters lack even slightly. In all, however, I give the characters a 5 rather than a 1 or 2 just because of the pure hilarity of their various interactions.
My sides entered orbit so many times that they’ve gone and made their own space program.
Same as season 1, a solid 8.
Plot? Well, I guess it depends on which way you wanna look at it.
A giant syringe stuck up a guy’s ass? You betcha.
Wait. Wait. Waaaiiiiit. What?
A giant syringe in a guy’s ass?
Yep, you read that right. Welcome to the world of Strange+; enjoy your wacky, wonderful, and undoubtedly hilarious stay!
The art and the soundtrack have changed into more comical and even if it feels a bit overwhelming, the show still manages to turn out funny, laugh at itself and make you laugh too. The second season is not as vulgar as the first one. Not only there are less controversial scenes, but the gag art style softens their indelicacy.
References from everywhere, from Cinderella to the Alien, are used as a base for the jokes, so the show is more approachable for people less familiar with anime culture. The excitement from each episode might vary however. Shin Strange+ feels more like a rollercoaster ride – with it’s low and high moments. It definitely has some dull scenes, but quickly after that it catches up and brings tears from laughter in your eyes. That said, this season tries to include conventional humour alongside the already established Strange+ extremes. Because of that, unfortunately, some people, who enjoyed the first season, might find this one not as funny.
To sum up, Shin Strange+ keeps its original charm, but also tries to experiment and appeal to more people. The overall enjoyment has not changed, but funny moments come as short strong bursts of laughter, rather than a constant giggle. It is still not a show for everyone though, because it is not only strange, but it is Strange+.
44: Kiko-chan Smile
MAL Score: 6.37
Kiko-chan’s Smile is an anime and manga series about a kindergarten student who has many of the features of a child prodigy but at the same time has many bizarre habits and an odd personailty.
43: Massugu ni Ikou.
MAL Score: 6.46
A talking dog is a beautiful story that you should have dreamt of as a child. But if you have forgotten about it, this is a reminder of that fable story. This is the story of a dog that talks, but ordinary people cannot hear his voice.
The main character, Mametaro, is an adventurous crossbreed dog. He loves his owner, Iku-chan and his girlfriend Hanako-chan very much. However, he just cannot stand Iku-chan’s friend, Akiyoshi.
During this story, which will be told from Mametaro’s point of view, the warm days of spring are finally here. The school and the riverbank, which is actually just an ordinary neighborhood for people, seems like a mysterious world that extends infinitely to little Mametaro and his friends.
the series did have some sort of loose plot, but mostly ambled along at a pleasantly slow pace, focusing on the lighthearted adventures of the main character, a mixed-breed dog named Mametarou and his friends! each episode fits a pretty standard pattern: Mame and friends are curious about something, they end up having to somehow resolve a problem, usually do so with the help of one of their human friends and a lesson is learned at the end. sort of like mini aesops! throughout the series Mame is worried about his mixed-breed heritage, and how to break this news to his girlfriend, a purebred Kishu, but it’s not explored consistently, rather it features as a character quirk before finally being addressed in the last episode.
all in all, it’s a sweet little story that’s simple enough for children to follow, or for an adult to watch whilst multitasking, nothing special on its own!
so I personally would’ve liked to rate this a lot higher because it’s the sort of late 90’s-early 00’s elegant shoujo art style I really love, but objectively, it’s definitely not the best out there. I feel like the colours of the characters were supposed to be ‘muted and pastel’, but especially for the humans they ended up a little muddy in the end. the dogs were pretty consistently rendered in a very charming and bright way, which is a plus! many animators on shows like this actually struggle drawing dogs, but all of the characters were stylised nicely, and apart from the abundant chibi scenes, were rendered in loving detail (even the nails and pads on each dog were drawn semi-realistically, as well as detailed leashes and collars!), which was super important in this case because so much of this anime is still scenes or scenes with very very limited animation. where massugu ni ikou really shines, in my eyes, is how its scenery is handled. everything is rendered in vibrant watercolour, and it’s an absolute joy to watch.
in terms of incidental music, there was nothing that really stood out to me, bad or good. the opening theme was a little lacking, with no real catchy or consistent melody, but the ending theme is a lovely, slightly jazzy tune that really fits the pace of the series. the final episode also had an insert song, which was nice for such a short show.
the characters’ roles were pretty simple: provide cute and lighthearted entertainment, and to this end, most characters were simple archetypes applied to dogs. despite this, Mame was still an endearing protagonist, Hanako and her love of melonpan were very sweet, and I found myself genuinely wanting to know more about them and their friends! it’s established pretty early on that the human characters are relatively minor, and aside from Mame’s master Iku, made to be generic school students, as opposed to the usual shoujo trope of pets bringing their masters together. this isn’t something I had a massive problem with since I came to the show wanting cute dog adventures, but if you like all of your characters in a series to be fleshed out, then it might bother you. I gave this section a 7 regardless because I feel like the show doesn’t actually set out to do that much with most of its characters in the first place, and having relatively little character development and drama worked very well with its theme of being a slow-paced ‘anime for the summer holidays’
as a fan of shoujo, josei, slice of life and similar, I’m a big fan of the idea of ‘ma’ – the intentionally storyboarded time between important plot points, or significant action by the characters, seen often in the form of real-time scenes of character doing mundane things, pans across beautiful scenery. it gives the audience time to take a breath or two and think about the underlying emotions of a scene. massugu ni ikou is definitely no ma masterpiece, but it does use its slow pace to great effect, and prompts the viewer to just enjoy the beautiful scenery and lightheartedness of the series. this series is far from perfect, but it can make a perfect accompaniment to a lunch break, or cup of tea at the end of a long day.
I completely adored massugu ni ikou, and I highly recommend it for shoujo and josei fans who are looking for something that isn’t a massive time commitment. though I’ve been reviewing it from the perspective of a grown-up fan, I would also consider it a good series for young children who like animals!
So before this little review, have in mind that this is a short anime made for children, but if you’re looking for something short and cute to watch then this is for you too 😀 also if you love dogs 😀
So the story follows a cross-breed dog Mametaro and his friends in their little adventures. Each episode has an adventure of it’s own and tells a good life lesson to children. I found every story really beautiful and easy to follow and I was really shocked at how good every episode ends and wraps everything up.
As far as the art is concerned, in my personal opinion it could have been better, considering this is not a really old anime, as it aired in 2000. But then again, the animation kinda fits with the general feeling of this anime and with the characters, hence 8/10
The opening isn’t really much to my liking, but it is not horrid. The ending was fine and I liked it.
Characters in this anime are the best. 😀 It is amazing how an anime of just 4 episodes can make the mc – our cross-breed Mametaro develop, especially when I think of many many animes that had a lot of episodes, but no character development at all. With each episode Mame learns something new, but tho this is a children orienteered anime, the messages conveyed can be really deep and at the same time really easily presented for children to understand.
I had so much fun watching this 😀 I love animals in general and like shows that are centered around them. I really didn’t find a second of this show boring. And it really warmed my heart as it is so beautiful and cute :3
This is an anime I would want my future child to watch. It teaches us important life lessons and teaches us to love animals unconditionally as they love as.
42: Norn9: Norn+Nonet
Japanese: NORN9 ノルン+ノネット
MAL Score: 6.56
In a futuristic era, “The World” is a peace-bringing entity. Though no one knows its location, it has watched over Earth for so long that war has become merely a fable. The airship Norn’s task is to deliver nine ability users to The World.
After collecting the last person, Norn takes off. Included onboard are eight men and three women—Koharu, who has finally escaped her loneliness and detests her destructive power; Mikoto Kuga, born to a noble family, who uses her barrier skill to protect the Norn and those it carries; and Nanami Shiranui, whose ability only brings pain, and who wishes to die for a past sin she has committed. While en route, suspicions arise amongst the passengers when they realize there are too many people onboard.
As they try to determine who has snuck aboard, the ship is attacked by an unknown assailant aiming to stop the Norn’s progress at all costs. From this chaos arises questions: why were they granted powers, and what must they do once they reach The World?
Good? Ok. Now you can erase it from your mind because that synopsis is a lie. Did I ruin your hopes and dreams for this show yet? Edit 2021: This part was written when the synopsis only stated the story would be about Sorata which was a blatant lie. I see somebody on MAL now changed the synopsis so this joke doesn’t work anymore, but I’m gonna keep it because I find myself funny! 😉
Story – 4
I am serious, what the synopsis says is not even a quarter of what’s really going on. If it would have indeed focused on the story from Sorata’s eyes from episode 1 to the end, maybe we could have gotten a decent sci-fi story, but nope. The kid arrives around episode 3 or 4 and gets ignored for most of the show in favor for the romance, till when he was needed in the ending for whatever reason he was brought from the future for, which seriously, felt more like a need for emotional impact rather than anything else. And yes, I am fully aware this is an otome game adaptation and as such it’s only normal to focus on the “otoge” fanservice more, but do I ask for the impossible when I expect a nice story with it too? (Excepting those that really have only romance as main point. ex: basic highschool otoges) Even having a bunch of people coping up with their supernatural powers would have been great! I’m not even asking for much.
The worst is that Norn9 has all the cards set to make a solid base for a good FF Type-0*coughs* fantasy/time-travelling story, it just didn’t know how to stuff it all up in 12 episodes (13, if we count the summary episode too, which I question even the existence of; was it too hard to give it one more story-episode instead of a summary ? It really felt like they needed to be SURE we REALLY understood the plot, which made me fairly suspicious. Was it trying to tell me that the story is actually worth it enough to understand? That makes me feel even more sorry for the wasted potential, instead of feeling enlightened. It makes me feel like it was supposed to be so much more.)
Was it the fault of the 12 episodes being way too short for such a story? Personally, I don’t think so. A good chunk of the fault goes to whoever directed/wrote this. Their choice to focus more on Kakeru and Sakura-…wait, what? Her name is not Sakura? Well, I don’t care, Fire- bender Pink Missy? (I must have insulted all Fire Benders of the Avatar realm, ImsosorryZuko!) – only turned the show duller rather than help it. Why them? Why her? Why not Cool-Ojousama or Miss Kuudere which were by far more interesting? No. Why focusing so much on one pairing at all? The story could have completed itself so much better if it was told from 3 perspectives instead, which sounds like too much, but believe me, it is not, seeing the complexity of the story that they wanted to present here. Yet it all felt so…distant…and done for the heck of it. Chaotic. All over the place.
Plus, there’s that deus ex machina 100% convenient and 100% foreseeable ending (for the main couple). I would have been ready to raise my rating for it if it wouldn’t have turned out in such a foreseeable manner.
Characters – 3
God have mercy on my soul. Okay, no, that was an exaggeration, but God have mercy on my soul when it comes to Kakeru and …*checks for her name properly now* Koharu! RIGHT. If any of you watched Kamigami no Asobi just please put Kakeru next to Apollon and then tell me what you think. Comparison done? Great! They’re awfully similar, aren’t they? Just that, while I could …kinda…understand Apollon’s pain to a greater extent (and I put emphasis on “kinda”), Kakeru just managed to make me want to hit myself. I could never manage to put my finger on him and the overall chaotic storytelling didn’t really help me care either. No, I’ll go even further. I’ve seen so many Kakeru’s that I can’t help but go cold when I’m able to realize all his issues from the first glance. It’s just that simple.
It all goes so slow, but then so fast. All these characters seem to not care all that much, only to care later on for no apparent reason. Koharu was another one of those dull heroines that’s there to just make the guys look better, always in need of saving, always in need of reassuring and not able to do anything without her man; and to top all that, she’s selfish, because her happiness with Kakeru is more important than the whole world, and I don’t care otome games need a happy ending. I do not even remotely agree and it simply frustrated me more. Rant over.
Fortunately, the other two heroines were really fun and if they were given a better chance, the anime wouldn’t have been such a pile of mess (but unfortunately, they weren’t). Mikoto was the strong-willed, sometimes rough girl, trying to find a path that fit her ideals, then there’s Shiranui (who really looks like Echo from Pandora Hearts to me) who couldn’t forgive herself for a sin she made in the past. Yeah, Koharu fitted into the main story better than the other two, but seeing how she’s almost a blank sheet of paper, I would have went around it somehow…
The other guys…Welp, must not lie, I didn’t particularly like anybody. Sure, there was Natsuhiko, Senri, Itsuki, Shukuri and Sakuya who are types that I usually tend to like, but in this case, I didn’t really have much of a reason to just fawn over them.(*coughs* besides when Shukuri got the wolf ears *coughs*). Sure, they’re all pretty guys and those that I mentioned actually have some sort of backstory and some thoughts of their own, but they didn’t hit me as characters; too little, too little time. Some of them can barely even categorize as characters. They’re just…there. And there’s Ron. I really, REALLY think that Ron is an underrated character and the way the anime treats him is only obvious. There was always that type of mystery around him, but we never found out anything about him, he was just there when it was convenient, then disappeared when he was no longer needed. And I find that a shame because I was really interested in him, no matter how much some people that played the otome game tend to dislike him. (or so I hear)
Is this enough? ….No, you say? Oh right, I forgot the villain. Welp, he’s not an original one and not even remotely unique in any way. We’ve seen his type of characters many times and done way better. By the time he came in, I just wanted it all to end.
Animation & OST – 6.5
I was pretty happy with the animation for the most part as well for the character designs though some of them are clearly overused, but it’s ok, it’s nothing particularly fancy. There are very brilliant and vibrant colors throughout the entirety of the show and the animation got particularly better in the last 2-3 episodes and all through the climax. I also remember some scenes of the dream episode and the flashbacks which were really pretty. Must be honest that some other parts were more flashy than actually good, though.
As for the OST, decent. I really loved the opening and ending themes and Aion’s song was really pretty. Nothing outstanding though.
Conclusion – 4
Welp, could have went way better. Just a note though, I did not play the Norn9 otome game so I don’t know how they deal with it there; I also make no parallels to the game and if I disliked the execution of the anime, it doesn’t mean that I also dislike the otome game or Norn9 in its entirety. I really don’t. I’m just salty about the potential that it had. Edit 2021: I played the otome game. It’s one of the best otome games I’ve ever played 100% recommend!
Do I recommend it? I guess I do, but only to the people that already played the game or to people that just want to stare at some handsome bishies. Want a good story? Look somewhere else.
Having played and thoroughly enjoyed the visual novel/ game version of this anime adaptation, I sort of began watching this show with the expectation that there would be a ton of missing content, and I could almost smell the disappointment and confusion of new viewers.
A fact: the plot for Norn9 makes zero sense being told just once. From the get-go it has a complicated world and story line, with each characters’ individual stories having huge effects on others’.
Logistically it’s pretty impossible to cram hours and hours and hours of character development and backstory into a measly 13 episodes. So what you end up with is a sort of commendable mish-mash of scenes from the directors/ writers desperate attempts to somehow get it all to work. To be honest I was expecting this anime to be a train wreck, but i was pleasantly surprised as it seemed like a some key plot elements were decently conveyed, and there was just enough random fluff, romance, and light humor to bring some balance.
I would recommend watching this anime if you’ve got time to kill. Expect to be casually entertained, something to lift your mood with. But, if you’re looking for the expansive mystery, heartfelt romance and compelling sci fi fantasy setting- the anime adaptation isn’t where you’ll find it.
Even though the synopsis was part of the story but it didn’t mainly focus in the story. The episodes fit together neatly into a continuous story, which I really enjoyed it.
The art style in this anime is nice and relaxing even though it isn’t the best I’ve. The color and affect are good and amazing.
The sounds are actually good. The character voice actors fitting for the character they portrayed. And the soundtracks are the best one I ever heard. It really amazing and I love it. It goes together with the story plot.
The characters look nice with that uniform in the wallpaper. They all have different personalities. It goes really well with the anime. I don’t specifically dislike any characters in this anime at all.
I really love this anime so far. I hesitated when I saw the rating of this anime but turned out it’s really good. I recommended for you. It all that bad as people thought. I definitely going to rewatch this anime again.
41: Massugu ni Ikou. 2nd Season
MAL Score: 6.60
Mametarou is a Crossbreed and this is about his daily activities and the friends he makes with his girlfriend, Hanako.
Story (Good) — Character (Good)
For anyone who has owned a dog or love dogs they will love this show. All 5 episodes have pretty common instances about life as a dog. Pure breeding, cross breeding, dog lifestyles, etc. Being a dog owner I easily related to most of the stuff they were talking about. Plus Mametaro looked kind of like my golden retriever. Of course this anime is geared to children so each episode has a "moral" for every episode. Although its common knowledge to most, it’s good information if you’re planning on getting a dog. My only grip is the drama is a bit much.
Art (Fair) — Sound (Fair)
The artwork is pretty standard fare. But you can tell most of the money was spent on the dog art and animation. The humans all look like bishonen rejects man and woman alike. But the dogs are detailed right down the little ‘x’ on their butt holes (they could have done without that honestly) but you can see all theri pads and nails on their feet, the collars have their buckles and tags and such. Their comedy faces are also hilarious as well. The music is pretty good. The op song starts off pretty happy and upbeat to set you in the mood to watch. The seiyus are all play their part great, especially the dogs. And the background music is usually a light hearted song.
Overall this is required viewing for all dog viewers alike. When I think of an anime centered around dogs this is what I expected.
40: Hakuouki: Otogisoushi
MAL Score: 6.60
Features the characters from the games in chibi form with a completely new story with the theme: “A normal everyday that might have existed.”
39: Nil Admirari no Tenbin
English: Libra of Nil Admirari
Japanese: ニル アドミラリの天秤
MAL Score: 6.63
The Taishou era didn’t end in 15 years, but went on for another 25. In order to protect her waning family, a girl resolves to marry a man she doesn’t even know the name of. However, just before the marriage was to take place, the girl’s younger brother mysteriously committed suicide by self-immolation and was found holding an old book in his hands. Appearing before the bewildered young girl was the “Imperial Library Intelligence Asset Management Bureau,” more commonly referred to as “Fukurou.” According to these men, there exists “Maremono,” which are books that greatly affect their readers. On top of that, ever since the incident involving the girl’s younger brother, she unwittingly gains the ability to see “Auras” (the sentiments of the Maremono which manifest as bright lights and are usually invisible to humans). It was as though fate were trying to drag the young girl in its flames. And then, even though apprehensive, the girl chooses to venture outside her bird cage. Jealousy, hatred, scorn, compassion, and love. What awaited the girl was the darkness of betrayal that had already begun to bewitchingly inlay the imperial capital. Toyed by and swayed within that darkness, will the young girl finally reach the truth after her struggles, or…?
(Source: MAL News)
I’m an girl who kinda likes gaming and reverse harems, so it’s not a big surprise that I’ve gotten involved in otome-style games in my life. Despite being such a big otaku and otome game fanatic, I have not yet found an anime or manga that really displays the otome aspect in all it’s glory– perhaps I have bad luck, or maybe it’s just that it’s really difficult to put such a strange game format into a cohesive storyline.
I’ve seen a lot of the more popular animes of this genre, including Amnesia, Kamagami No Asobi, Diabolik Lovers, and others. As of now, I can say that this is one of the better anime I’ve seen of the sort. This is mainly because it focuses a little more on the plot aspect than it does on the romance– in fact, there’s barely any romance at all, if you ask me.
Let’s get into it. To begin with, the plot is very simple– it’s about written works that can influence the reader with strong emotions. That’s literally the entire basis. I won’t go into it too much because it’ll ruin a bit of the plot, but all I can say is that I expected a lot more of the plot. At first, I felt as though it was much too tame. There weren’t really many stakes, yet the characters acted like there were. Yes, I understand, people can die– but since such obvious precautions can be taken (issuing all books in print, advising people to buy in print, spreading awareness about the issue, etc.) why wasn’t any of that done? It didn’t make much sense to me, and the ending of it seemed a little rushed and patchworky, like they were trying to make it darker and add as many twists as possible. Perhaps it just wasn’t for me. Either way, I just kinda stuck around for the sake of finishing it; I lost interest in the plot pretty early on.
The art, however, was gorgeous. It has this pastel and blurry-ish quality to it that I really like. It’s very fresh and different. I also liked the character designs, which were very distinct and interesting. Usually they only have a few basic character templates in a lot of animes, like the ‘skinny short dude’, the ‘attractive lithe tall dude’, the ‘flat girl’, and the ‘busty girl’, to say the most part. I was pleased with the fact that while all the guys were attractive, they all had different body types as per their backgrounds and who they were, as well as the few girls too. Nobody was TOO unrealistic (*cough cough* no necks and waists being the same width, thank you *cough*) and the color combinations and backgrounds were also stunning.
As for the sound, I found most of the voice actors to be a little forgettable. There was little expression in a lot of the characters voices, but I think that was also an effect of the way the dialogues were written. Conversely, I found the opening and closing to be very fun. While the animation for the OP had a lot of people confused as to what the show was going to be like, I found it refreshing and cute. As for the closing, I really appreciated some of those sketches of our cute main guys, if you know what I mean. 😀
Overall, I can’t say I enjoyed this too much. To me, it felt kinda like a draft of a show. There’s so much potential here with character development and a deeper plot, but it just wasn’t reached. I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt because it was adapted from a game and the otome genre is a hard genre to please with. Besides, it’s bounds better than any other otome anime I’ve seen thus far.
I would recommend this if you: like the otome genre/reverse harems, like books, like angsty backstories, like ‘special’ heroines, like more plot focus
I would NOT recommend this if you: are here for the romance, like it when all the male characters are constantly trying to win over the heroine, don’t like reading/books
Have a great day everyone!
As usual from a reverse-harem anime,we have boring one-dimensional male characters.This is especially so in this anime as most of the cast cannot even identify cursed tomes,and they cannot even be security men well,making this series pretty painful to watch.It really makes one wonder why the government in this fictional world actually thinks its a good idea to waste taxpayers’ money on the Fukurrou(Department responsible for dealing with cursed tomes),since the organisation is pretty poor.Pretty much,the whole setting of the story is not executed well due to our male cast and their incompetence.
On top of that,75% of this show is just the heroine clearing some sort of side quest,doing absolutely nothing relevant to the plot.This might work in some shows,but when your plot is your biggest selling point and the “side-quest” are boring as heck,it really makes this series really blant and painful to watch.
This is definitely an anime I would recommend a skip,it is just another one of those anime with an interesting premise but terrible execution.
At the heart of it all, Nil Admirari no Tenbin: Teito Genwaku Kitan (or The Scales of Nil Admirari ~The Mysterious Story of Teito~) is a visual novel, otome-game, but don’t let the entire setting fool you that it’s the typical otome style show, because it doesn’t present itself as is, and as a guy, I do appreciate this show becoming something more special at the same time.
If you haven’t known about it yet, Nil Admirari no Tenbin plays a lot of history, replicating the settings of a bygone-era (the Taishou era) where democracy in Japan is just starting to be taken over from old political statuses of power, nobility and the like. And much of it plays out in the characters that are borne out of this situation. Kuze Tsugumi is the equivalent of a family generational noble-class family, that has started to fall from greatness from politics in the country, such as her role to be married that sets off the catalyst for what is about to happen to her own brother, who tried to commit the mysterious suicide that is through cursed tomes, hand-written books that display the affections of the writers it originates from, to suck its victims into the vortex of suicide. And due to such incidents, she is then referred to the Imperial Library Intelligence Asset Management Bureau (or Fukurou for short), an organization that’s dedicated to finding out the true meanings of the cursed books that cause people to wreak havoc, and with her abilities to see the cursed tomes, sets off at the later point, a pivotal and political shift against powers and humanity.
It is there that she faces the team of boys that are responsible and hold much regard to solving the various cases of the cursed tomes:
Hayato Ozaki, presumably the main hero to the heroine, standing up for justice as the leader of Fukurou. He poses a no-nonsense attitude and will go to lengths to help protect anyone that is in the line of danger.
Akira Kougami, who seems like the mysterious person, but still takes his work very seriously, and will try to draw lines between him and his relationship with the rest of the cast.
Hisui Hoshikawa, the boy with the duo-colored eyes, even though his looks may pass off that he is (presumably) the youngest of the crew, his deal-breaker always lies with reprimanding Hayato for his over-the-top, insane actions that cause the group some discomfort. But other than that, he is the well-mannered person that due to his past complications, has a dislike for women, and his powers come into play as the series progresses.
Shougo Akai, the son of the prime minister, the typical shounen who’s necessity was borne out of politics, whom has the same circumstances of external forces assassinating his father, and is forced to stay at Fukurou for safety, and overtime, comes to mingle well with the group, not by much but bit by bit.
Shizuru Migawa, often the titular player of women, he is an accomplished writer, in which one situation foresees that his books are part of a series of murder-serial killing sprees for the tragedies he has laid out in his books (his books are not cursed tomes). And due to certain complications, he resides in Fukurou to help out the main cast from time to time.
Rui Sagisawa, not part of Fukurou, but one who always chances Kuze by coincidence, and that with the over-arching story of the cursed tomes, has become engaged in a heated battle, but subsequently gave in to the cast’s demands.
Unbeknownst to the main group, a secret organization by the name of Karasu, which exists as the indication of black bird feathers, is out there to retrieve the cursed tomes to override the political statuses of the Taishou government, from the failed assassination of the prime minister (Shougo Akai’s father) to the abduction of Kuze Tsugumi for her powers to help the people behind the whole movement be realized of their dreams, mainly Takashi Shiginuma for his active role in pursuing Kuze to conquer the world to Professor Mozuyama, who is the creator of the false, cursed tomes, to capture more victims to his orthodox experiments.
If for the characters alone, you can pass it off as the generic otome-game features, but with the story setting and storytelling, comes a dimension of history so awfully maintained (just as in real-life) that it sets the course of the situations on hand to a more sinister but typical fashion move that is just jarring, but it works tremendously well here.
The art and animation by studio Zero-G, trying to replicate the Taishou era by using closer-to-history art and consistent animation is a definite plus. When this series first started, I can tell that it was going for the more opaque, historical art choices for explanation and further-setup for the story that is about to be realized, and what it does, it does its job to a T. In the history of otome games I have watched, this is as close as it comes to realizing the entire story setting, and everything meshes as well as it should be.
The music…it’s really something else. I’d expected a visual novel adaptation to have decent, if not mediocre music, but this show just made me throw all expectations out of the window, because this is the highlight of the series, so much so that it’s one of my favorite OSTs of this season and is worth listening to on its own. The music of kradness in the OP and one of Hiro Shimono’s debut songs in the ED just strikes and screams quality unimaginable to the naked ear.
In the end, this may be an otome-game adaptation, but honestly, I’d recommend this insanely obscure series that nobody cares for, even if slightly obliged to a niche audience. Yes, you do need to know a bit of the history which the story stems along, but when all is said and done, it’s a good series to watch, and trust me, the experience after just won’t shake it.
38: Okoshiyasu, Chitose-chan
MAL Score: 6.64
Chitose-chan is a penguin who lives in Kyoto. Getting in touch with people and getting fed delicious food as she curiously walks around Kyoto streets is her favourite thing to do. The story features popular places in Kyoto like Kiyomizu Temple, Ginkaku Temple, and Gion from the Penguin’s point of view. This is a short story about a penguin that is nostalgic and warm, curing and relieving the heart.
(Source: MAL News)
Seriously though, really adorable and enjoyable series. It’s about a Penguin called Chitose who goes to live in Kyoto and goes on lots of cute adventures. That’s all you need to know. Watch it, you won’t regret it!
– The art works really well in my opinion
– The ending songs are 👌
– The noises Chitose makes and the emotions she shows really tug on the heart man
The story is literally the synopsis and while it doesn’t get the chance to expand as much as I would like into it, does deliver at least one interesting new fact about Kyoto or a heartwarming moment with Chitose-chan.
Speaking of, Chitose-chan is incredibly expressive and the right amount of cuteness that you would protect with your life. Most of the other characters (like humans she meets) and backgrounds match the show’s overall aesthetic and while not as cute compared to Chitose-chan, do leave an overall soothing impression that heals the mind after a long day.
The music is enjoyable to listen to (especially the theme song for the first half of the series) and helps bring everything together. A big shout-out in particular to the narrator and Chitose-chan who nail their roles perfectly in terms of voice-acting.
If your in need of a sweet series with a lovable animal, please give your love to Chitose-chan and they will not disappoint.
The art is great, very pleasurable to the eyes and Chitose-chan is exactly the type of pet you wished to see on your own eyes 🙂 Despite the stories being simple, the overall enjoyment is high mainly due to cuteness of main heroine. Give it a try!
37: Code:Realize – Sousei no Himegimi
English: Code:Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~
Japanese: Code:Realize ～創世の姫君～
MAL Score: 6.65
Within Cardia Beckford’s hazy memories, she can recall her father Isaac and the home where she lives alone, feared as a monster by the townsfolk—for in her body, she carries a deadly substance. Embedded in her chest by her father, the eternally beating heart—also known as Horologium—has the capability to produce infinite power. However, it also makes her skin destroy anything it touches.
Many in London seek the Horologium, including the terrorist organization Twilight, with whom Isaac is rumored to have close ties. To obtain the Horologium’s power, the British military forces Cardia to leave her home as their prisoner. But on the road, she is whisked away by the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, who says he will steal her heart. Joining Lupin and his companions, Cardia begins a journey to discover the truth behind Isaac’s connection with Twilight, her missing memories, and the Horologium within her chest.
Intro and premise
One girls journey to find the truth of her existence
Based off a well-known visual novel of the same name Code Realize Guardian of Rebirth is a romance, adventure anime that is set in Victorian London that is in the midst of an industrial revolution that has brought the country great prosperity as a result of the invention of a mysterious but powerful resource that allowed the creation of technological breakthroughs like airships. But even in this era of prosperity, it can be seen that not all is well as beneath the shadows dark forces are at work hoping to engineer change within the world situation and twist it to their own ends.
The overall story follows the life of Cardia a mysterious girl that resided in a mansion on the outskirts of the capital that was widely labelled as a monster after she is rescued by a band of enigmatic thieves that is determined to keep her safe and use her as a means to locate her father and stop a plan that had been in the making for years. Joining Cardia in her quest to discover the truth of her identity is a band of unique characters that include Arsene Lupin the self-proclaimed gentlemen thief, Barbican Impey a self-proclaimed genius but a gifted mechanic, Abraham Van Helsing a former soldier hell bent on redemption, Victor Frankenstein a former alchemist determined to avenge the pain his inventions have caused and Saint Germain an enigmatic count that seems to have a mysterious reason to provide support to the group. As Cardia and her friends fight to find the truth of her origins they soon find themselves caught in a terrifying plot by a mysterious organisation that seeks to change the whole order of the world a plot that is intertwined with Cardia’s mysterious origins.
Impey Barbicane voiced by veteran voice actor Shoutarou Morikubo of Naruto fame is one of the main characters of the series and is the team’s chief mechanic. A confident, positive and carefree person Impey acts as the chief mechanic of the team capable of fixing a variety of vehicles that range from an automobile to an airship. A kind-hearted and loyal person by nature Impey while a self-proclaimed genius is actually someone that is able to back up such claims as his skills allow the cast to use many different modes of transport as the series progresses. While Impey may look like someone that doesn’t like to take things seriously it can be seen that this is not actually the case as Impey takes everything that he does with great care and when sufficiently motivated can be relied upon to work hard and provide the support the rest of the cast needs.
Cardia voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Saori Hayami of Owari no seraph and Yamada Kun and the Seven witches fame is one of the main characters of the series and is the main heroine of the series. A young teenage girl that at the start of the series was labelled by others as a monster and was imprisoned in a mansion that sat at the edge of the capital before being rescued. In the beginning of the series, Cardia as a result of having little to no contact with humans was someone that was at first unsure on how to deal with humans and as a result was also wary and guarded around people. In the beginning, Cardia was an innocent, calm and kind person that as a result of her virus kept a distance from the other members of the gang even as they tried to get to know her. Despite that Cardia at this time was well mannered and polite to everyone that she met. In the beginning of the series as a result of not having any memories as well as her isolation from the rest of the world Cardia was someone that knew nothing about what a human is and how they should normally act in the world and as a result knew very little about them and of the world as well. she also wrestled with the thought that as a result of the virus that is housed inside her that she is lethal to anyone that approaches her bringing them misfortune.
As the series goes on and as Cardia got to see the world that lay outside of her mansion and got to know the members of the gang on an emotional level her personality starts to gradually change. While Cardia, in the beginning, was a withdrawn, indecisive and fragile young woman this starts to gradually change as the series goes on. As Cardia got to know more about the world and saw how determined the rest of the team is in wanting to protect her Cardia’s personality starts to gradually open up becoming more positive, cheerful and friendly and willing to speak to others and try to understand the problems that they are burdened with arguably becoming more human as she does. While still conscious of the curse that lays within her Cardia gradually starts to realise that letting her curse restrain her was merely limiting her life and destiny shackling them to Twilights plans. As a result of this Cardia gradually starts becoming braver, more determined and more willing to take the initiative as she tries to find a purpose and a role for her in the world that only she can control. The character of Cardia I felt was an interesting and well-designed one and her gradual change from a young quiet and easily rattled girl to one that had resolved to take control of her own life and destiny and in the process becoming more human I felt was well done. I felt that her seiyuu Saori Hayami really did a fantastic job in voicing her.
Victor Frankenstein played by veteran voice actor Tetsuya Kakihara of Occultic Nine fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the members of the thieves’ gang. A calm, quiet and honest young man Victor though intelligent and logical is also someone that seems to be more at home in a lab creating some new mysterious element that can be used to better humanity than being part of the gang. While Victor is a quiet person by nature it can be seen that Victor is not someone that is scared or awkward around people and indeed can actually be a pretty good negotiator in the most unusual of times. As the series goes on it can be seen that Victor is someone that views science and technology as a means to advance humanity and as a result fiercely opposes its use in military matters which caused him to resign from his previous position within the kingdom and come to help the team. As the series goes on it becomes clear that Victor’s reason for helping the team in their fight against Twilight and their role in guarding Cardia was a more personal one as it can be seen that he felt immense guilt at creating the poison that caused Cardia to experience immense emotional and psychological pain and seeks to atone for his mistake by helping her get her life back.
Arsene Lupin voiced by veteran voice actor Tomoaki Maeno of Kiznaiver and Log Horizon fame is one of the main characters of the series and is part of the thieves group that protects Cardia. A kind, calm and logical person by nature Arsene emphasises the ideal image of a gentleman thief not just because of his combat outfit but also because of his mannerisms and how much he prides himself on being to steal anything without killing. On the surface, Lupin is someone that is intelligent, perceptive and is someone that takes his role as a thief rather seriously. Beneath this, however, it can be seen that Arsene is someone that despite being a thief is someone that believes firmly in the idea of justice and freedom and is also someone that can be surprisingly loyal to his friends and allies as well. In line with Lupin’s belief of justice and fairness, Lupin is someone that treats everyone with respect and kindness regardless of their social standing something that was influenced by his guardian and mentor that he held in high esteem. In the beginning of the series Lupin and Cardia had a rather sudden first encounter as she was rescued and in a sense kidnapped by him to protect her. As the series goes on and as they interact and get to know each other more it can be seen that the two of them gradually bond with each other and form a strong friendship. Though Cardia at first was guarded around him as she was around everyone else it can be said that as a result of Lupin treating her like a normal girl instead of as a monster that their relationship started to improve and cause Cardia to gradually open up to the others paving the path for her to break out of her shell.
The character of Lupin I felt was an interesting and well-developed character that showed that despite being a thief Lupin was still someone that believed firmly in the idea of justice and freedom and unlike many of the characters that the cast meet along the way treated everyone with respect and kindness proving that one should never judge a person by their profession alone. I felt that his voice actor Tomoaki Maeno really did a great job in voicing the character of Arsene Lupin.
Saint Germaine voiced by veteran voice actor Hirakawa Daisuke is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the members of the thieves’ gang that protects Cardia. A calm, composed and collected person by nature Saint Germaine initially served as the groups mysterious supporter providing them with both their main base of operations and intelligence but not showing his face until much later. After this reveal, it can be seen that Saint Germaine despite being a member of the countries nobility displays none of the arrogance that they usually do and instead Saint Germaine is shown to be someone that cares about people and treats all with humility and respect. While a quiet person Saint Germaine is shown to be someone that is very intelligent and adept at both analysing situations and creating plans that can be used to deal with them. This aspect of having a noble that actively cares about the people of the kingdom be part of the team that’s secretly protecting it I felt was an interesting move as it symbolises the fact that the battle against Twilight is one that transcends social classes.
Abraham Van Helsing voiced by veteran voice actor Junichi Suwabe of Bungou Stray Dogs and Fate Stay Night fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the members of the thieves’ gang that protects Cardia. A veteran soldier of the crown Abraham is a calm, composed and serious person by nature that fits the ideal image of someone that had seen military service and seen the realities of what war is like. A quiet person by nature and one that doesn’t like to speak unless they have someone useful to offer in addition to being quiet Abraham is also someone that is also rather direct in the way that he deals with people and threats and is someone that dislikes cutting corners. In the beginning of the series Abraham was shown to be someone that was fiercely antisocial and because of his past experiences trusted others warily which often caused some element of mistrust within the team after he joined them. However, it can be seen that beneath this attitude of his Abraham is also using it to mask his true feelings of the matter as well.
As the series goes on and as more of Abraham’s past and backstory is revealed it can be seen that Abraham is actually someone that hates injustice dearly and is someone that believes that everyone should be treated with fairness no matter what social standing or life form that they are. As a result of his rather tragic backstory, it can be seen that Abraham is someone that bears a great deal of burden upon himself and indeed he is someone that looks upon his title as Van Helsing the vampire hunter with something that approaches hatred instead of the pride that they feel he should feel. This tragic backstory was what ultimately caused Abraham’s personality to change from loyal member of the crown to someone that is determined to eradicate Twilight and get atonement for the part that he played in exterminating an entire race. Though this journey of atonement and revenge forms a large part of Abraham’s reason for joining Cardia and the gang it can be seen that as the series goes on that it slowly diminishes as Abraham got to know and understand both Cardia and the rest of the gang. While still determined to end the head of Twilight who gave that fateful order to him it can be seen that as a result of the interactions with Cardia and the rest that Abraham’s personality gradually changes becoming more talkative, caring and more willing to help his friends and comrades and slowly begins to break out of his shell. While still wanting to atone for the grave crimes that he had helped Twilight enact it can be seen that Abraham after meeting Drac has determined that the best path would be to live on and honor the memories of the past and do not let a repeat of what happened then happen once more. The character of Abraham Van Helsing whose namesake is that of a well-known daemon hunter I felt was a well designed and developed character that as the series went on saw a great deal of development that really fleshed him out. His backstory that ultimately caused him to change his personality and focus it around revenge and atonement and its conclusion I felt was done really well as it not only served to show us how evil Twilight was but also showed the effects that its actions had on people as well.
Finis voiced by veteran voice actor Yuki Kaji of Accel World and Black Bullet fame is one of the main characters of the series and serves as the series main villain. A malicious, rude and blunt person by nature Finis serves as the leader of the Twilight a secretive intel organisation that works from the shadows orchestrating events in the kingdom from behind the scenes. While seemingly childlike in both appearance and personality it can be seen that Finis is someone that is arrogant, haughty and looks down on people quite easily and is someone that is loyal only to himself and to no one else. Throughout the series, it’s also apparent that he is also someone that does not bow down to authority even when in the presence of the queen of the realm Queen Victoria herself. While rude, malicious and arrogant in the beginning as the series progresses it can be seen that Finis is also someone that’s sadistic, cruel and manipulative and has a rather interesting relationship with Cardia as he loves to torment her both physically and mentally. As the series goes on and his role in Cardia’s mysterious origins is revealed it can be seen that Finis only see’s Cardia as something akin to a tool to their plans and as such doesn’t see her as a human being something that Cardia is extremely sensitive to. Despite only being loyal to himself it can be seen that by the latter half of the series that Finis is also pretty loyal to the idea that his father has created and indeed is someone that is willing to sacrifice everything that he has in order to bring that plan into fruition even if it meant bringing destruction to the kingdom that he was supposed to be serving. The character of Finis I felt was an interesting one as his manipulative and cunning personality along with his seemingly strange obsession with Cardia made him a character that was both challenging to deal with in both combat and in determining and foiling his many plans.
The animation for the series I felt was pretty good especially the portrayal of Victorian-era London that was in the throes of the industrial age. The character designs for each of the main characters I felt was also well done as it highlighted the roles that each of them played within the team pretty well. The combat scenes of which there were many within the series I felt were well designed and developed particularly the ones that showed multiple members of the gang engage enemies in combat. The designs of Twilights main henchman who wore bird shaped masks and looked like medieval doctors I felt was an interesting choice given that the role of Twilight in the story was to destroy rather than heal. In terms of music the opening and ending themes for the series which was Kalmia which was sung by Mia Regina and Twinkle which was sung by Cardia’s seiyuu veteran seiyuu singer Saori Hayami I felt were both very good and contrasted greatly with the feelings that they invoke with the former invoking mystique while the latter of calmness. In terms of voice acting I felt that Saori Hayami, Junichi Suwabe and Tomoaki Maeno who portrayed the characters of Cardia, Abraham and Arsene respectively deserve particular praise as I felt that they did an excellent job in portraying their respective characters.
In overall Code Realize was a series that while starting slow started to get more interesting as the series progressed and was one that I actually really enjoyed watching. The series main strong points I felt was its interesting premise, excellent story, characters and voice acting. The premise of the series itself I felt was interesting as Victorian-era London is one setting that’s not often seen in anime. In the great industrial revolution that brought great prosperity to the kingdom inserting the creation of a mythical new substance and resource that can be used to create things that range from military-grade nerve gas to airships I felt was an interesting aspect as it resonated well with the age of great breakthroughs that took place in that era. While the premise of a semi-fictional Victorian London was interesting the fact that beneath this advancement existed beings that co-existed with humans yet were feared and hated by all I felt was an aspect that matched well with the theme of human advancement as even as humanity advances in tech traditional human feelings like hatred, jealousy and superstition will continue to exist within the world and that even the most peaceful of products can also be re purposed to deal with beings that the public fears. Matching well with this premise of a great industrial revolution that is paired with a shimmering fear and distrust of beings that are considered monsters by others is the overall story of Cardia and her journey to reclaim the life and memories that she had lost and in the process of discovering what it meant to be a human being.
The overall story of the series itself I felt was one of the series main strong points as not only did it allow us to see how Cardia a being that was widely considered by many to be a monster gradually evolve as she got to see the large world that lay outside of her prison but also get to see her gradually learn to take control of her own life and destiny. And in doing so gradually become more human as she learned to forge friendships and bonds with people and develop trust for everyone that she encounters in her journey to find out the truth of her existence and later to stop Twilight from enacting their plan. While the overall story was split between discovering the truth of Cardia’s identity and stopping Twilight’s plans its important to note that the story also incorporated a number of themes that defined it foremost among them is what makes a human being one. Is it our emotions, feelings, mannerisms or physical appearances? What separates us from the monsters that the army protects us from and that society fears of. These themes and questions I felt were skilfully woven into Cardia’s backstory as well as in her development and served to only enhance her journey to develop into a human that’s willing to stand up to the stigma and prejudice that society have against her due to her origins.
Overall, I felt that the series had an interesting premise that was paired with an excellent story that was populated by some well-designed characters. Cadia’s gradual development from a girl that was insecure, indecisive and fragile to one that was both strong-willed and understanding of others and was determined to live her life the way that she wants while defying her father’s plans for her I felt was one of the main highlights of the series. In overall, I would say that as a final score that Code Realize would deserve a final score of 8/10 as though the series had an excellent premise, story, characters and voice acting I felt that some characters were underdeveloped and the setting of Victorian era London while interesting to see I felt was lacking in effective world building and as a result it didn’t particularly stand out something that i thought was a waste.
Code: Realize is about a young woman named Cardia who has been living in isolation in 19th century’s London because of a deadly poison that resides in her body. Because of this curse, anyone or anything she touches with her skin rots or melts. As one might expect, Cardia has been shunned by everyone throughout her life so she’s never experienced friendship or romantic intimacy. One day a witty thief, Arsene Lupin, saves her and decides to embark on a journey with her to unravel the mystery of this curse and to possibly find a cure. Gathering fragmented clues in every episode, both the characters and the audience start piecing them together to shed light on Cardia’s past.
This sounds like a very refreshing and novel premise, right? I was really intrigued by it having not read the visual novel; loving someone and having friends but not being able to touch them sounds heartbreaking. This show had tremendous potential for greatness despite the record of unsuccessful or dull adaptations of otome games. However it’s exactly because of its potential greatness that I was let down. Being a one cour, Code:Realize unfortunately suffers the same fate as most visual novels’ adaptations do: the pacing is unsteady and in order to skim through the whole plot quickly within the strict time limit of 12 episodes, it sacrifices vital character development, depth and analysis of numerous plot points. In other words, we get no significant insight into the characters’ perspective or feelings other than some fleeting moments at the beginning or end of the episode.
The atmosphere of the show is quite unique and being set in industrial London really compliments the mystery. Cardia, our female heroine, is very kind and sweet. She might seem like your typical dandere at first but her intriguing background reveals that she’s far more than that. Along with Arsene, Victor, Saint, Van and Impey she discovers the warmth of friendship, developing strong bonds, relying on others and being supported. I would have loved to be able to examine her feelings and thoughts more thoroughly, but unfortunately we only got a few (but heartwarming) glimpses at them. Lupin, our main male character, is a very witty and cool guy. He’s romantically interested in Cardia and he has vowed to help her get rid of the curse. He’s the first person to treat her with respect and affection. However his character is not explored any further than the usual caring and fun, boyfriend-material type of guy. The rest of the gang is not given enough screentime either, with the exception of Van Helsing. Lastly, the villain, Finis, is not engaging either because, despite provoking sympathy in a few scenes, he remains a quite bland and forgettable type of villain.
While you want to unravel the mystery and see Cardia fulfill her wish, I’d say the most satisfying and exciting thing during my watching was not the showdowns but rather the intimate, heart-warming moments between Cardia and the rest of the group. And obviously the romance. That being said, it is still an entertaining weekly watch; it gets you interested in getting your hands on the original source, so I think it has fulfilled its purpose.
Set in Industrial London (the exact setting as in Princess Principal), Cardia Beckford, raised by Issac Beckford, the father who created Code:Realize and even as to go as far as using brother Finis as a starting tool and herself being the catalyst for having the Horologium acting as her heart, was labeled a monster for her ability to poison anything she touches. Enter Arsene Lupin the gentleman thief, and Cardia sets off on a journey with Arsene and his gang to eradicate her father’s plan to save the whole of London from the (initial) attacks of Twilight (aided by Finis) and as far as confronting her father to stop his plan.
As you would for any Otome fan: 1 girl, many guys, a reverse harem. But even for a romance sucker like myself, I know that Cardia would only be attached to that one person (end card spoilers) for eternity. Honestly, nothing to write off about.
The single girl, Cardia Beckford, unassumingly is not active, but always becoming the damsel in distress, but that’s the trait in otome games, so I’ll pass it up there.
The guys however, are a part of the problem. You know it when you have characters named after historical figures (which surprisingly enough work just like the counterparts), showcase their best talents and hopes that the girl can rock her boat towards them in each single way.
M.S.C, the studio famous for the Prince of Tennis series, seems very underwhelming for them to undertake a project based on an otome game where they don’t have any doubt of the final product of the anime and assumed it’s just the game developer, idea Factory, who wanted what’s contained in the game to explicate itself in the anime adaptation.
Sorry to say that they quality is very bare bones in conducting itself to people watching it, even for fans of the otome game. Sure, nothing is ever constructed consistently, but somehow they are able to pull off a nice, looing visual all the way through towards the ending, and yes, this adaptation has an ending.
The OST and BGM are nothing noteworthy to say of fortunately, because it feels like its all filler and no substance…with one exception, and that being the ED “Twinkle” by Cardia’s VA, Saori Hayami. That was the only good tune out of the entire OST and sadly nothing more is being portrayed as good, or even decent for the matter.
It’s quite obvious when otome fans on that regard tell you to stay away from the anime adaptations of games because it doesn’t feel justified, and the same could be said for myself being a romance sucker. This does not come close to anything noteworthy of the season as a whole, and it’s an easy skip.
36: Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu.
MAL Score: 6.66
In the distant past, Miguel, the God of Destruction, was sealed inside the knight who ruled over light and darkness, Sturmhurt. Alongside the knight was Gest?ber, who accompanied him through countless battles. In the present day, destiny causes them to reincarnate as Kabuto Hanadori and Seri Koyuki, two classmates.
Their reunion should be a joyous moment, if not for the fact that these fantasied heroes are just products of Kabuto’s delusions. As the fictional “Gest?ber,” Seri finds himself in various embarrassing situations due to Kabuto’s antics that sometimes grow out of his control. Moreover, his classmate Utsugi Tsukimiya joins the fray with his absurdly accurate mind-reading abilities, slowly destroying Seri’s social life.
Seri tries hard to stay away from them, refusing to acknowledge their shenanigans, however with Kabuto’s chuunibyou and Utsugi’s unpredictability, he is only bound to be swept by the craziness coming his way.
Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu is a very traditional comedy anime, it heavily focuses on punchlines as the main way of presenting its jokes yet somehow it doesn’t get repetitive. At times it may seem overused but I never felt the need to close the episode or drop the anime while watching. On the contrary, I found myself laughing multiple times during certain episode and that was like a proof to me that I should finish it and I’m glad I did.
As this is a Comedy-focused anime, It doesn’t really have a story so it has to depend on the characters to carry it. The characters are great I have to say, we have the MC who wants the peaceful life, the mind-reading sadist who enjoys tourmenting him and the chuunibyous that are the rest of the main characters. What I enjoyed about this cliche cast was that they weren’t just chuunibyous, unlike lots of other anime characters with the same troops, these are much closer to reality. They feel embarrassed when they do dumb shit and people call them out for it, even Miguel has his cute childish and the “too embarrassed to talk to females” characterstics that made him stand out than the normal chuunibyou you see in other anime. To sum it up, the characters are unique. They don’t feel repetitive despite presenting the same ideas done before in many different anime.
The fact this anime has very low focus on romance was nice. Lots of comedy anime get ruined when romance is involved and many use the romance as the source of the comedy and tho that idea isn’t bad in itself, the execution of them leads mainly to either the “tsundere hitting the MC” type of humor and the “we feel on each other by accident” type so the fact the anime actually presents what little romance it has in a good way was nice to see.
The sound, voice actors, art and overall animation were great as well as the op.
Overall I would give the anime an 8/10. I hope to see more of it and to see more great comedy anime in general.
Would recommend it to anyone wanting to watch a relaxing comedy anime.
That being said watching this is kinda like watching NTR. You wanna feel bad for the victim (the one who is being stolen) but you know at the end of the story they actually enjoy whats happening then you wonder why you felt bad and end up hating them instead. Its like “enjoy it or shut the fuck up and stop complaining”. Its just annoying. Hope this review sheds some light on why this anime is currently 6.75 and not the 8 some people seem to think this garbage deserves.
Like everything it has its moments but overall what a shit show.
The extents of Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy and this show play down the same game: a non-existent plot about the MC wanting to get some quietness out of life, and in comes the eccentric “otherworldly” boys playing around in their own world and messing the world’s balance around with their antics, and finally the MC ropes in together with these boys in an unshakable bond of friendship.
Again, the characters are what makes shows like this so endearing, apart from all the ridiculous antics and comedy:
Koyuki Seri, nicknamed Gestober, the main attraction of the group, a plain-looking boy wanting to have some calmness in school, and always gets arrowed for insane reason he always “dies” in spirit at the end. Plus, his desire to have classmate Kotoko Sumiso notice his crush for her are always thwarted by (mostly) Hanadori. “RIP Koyuki” has been the recurring gag that never fails to make me laugh that hard. Props to VA Jun Fukuyama for doing such a wonderful job.
Kabuto Hanadori, the over-excessive chuunibyou, nicknamed Miguel, the dark God of Destruction. He’s always performing alter-ego acts of chuuni so much that it irks Koyuki, but in truthness, wants to be Koyuki’s friend and cares deeply for him…that is, unless he’s asked to do in consideration.
Utsugi Tsukimiya the teaser and joker of both Koyuki and Hanadori. Always never-ceasing in spreading his “knowledge” to both of them and the constant low-ley teasing that ends both in hilarious states, he’s the straight man to their inherent relationship.
As for Hibiki and Mogami, they’re just as chuuni in their own ways, the former being a shy one and the latter trying his best to be noticeable at best and helping Koyuki out.
The best has got to be the bond between Tsukimiya, Hanadori and Koyuki and their endless antics that drive the comedy and the bond between Hanadori and Koyuki so well, and Tsukimiya being the “threat” to them both.
With great character comes great animation…in the comedic sense whilst keeping it low budget, and any studio would’ve been fine in this treatment. What’s enough is more than enough, and with all those cartoony, slice-of-life caricatures, the enjoyment shines through. In the sound aspect, it’s decent at best. The OP is as average as wack, but I love its bop and hoppity feel, say whatever you want but this is my hidden gem of a great song. AOP’s ED…well, just sounds the typical idol group kind.
This show (like Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy) are shows that you can enjoy regardless of the score/rating, and if you need a time to flex your laughing stock and funny bones, it’s worth the watch (plus a re-watch too).
35: Super Seisyun Brothers
Japanese: Super Seisyun Brothers -超青春姉弟s-
MAL Score: 6.75
The story involves two pairs of teenage elder sister and younger brother, the Shinmoto’s who are a bit narcissistic and the Saitou’s who look a bit mysterious. It follows their everyday life in school and at home.
(Source: MAL News)
The story follows two groups of siblings, the Saitou siblings and the Shinmoto siblings. The older sisters are best friends and so are the younger brothers, but everyone is in good relationship with each other. Their isn’t much of a story since each episode is approximitely four minutes long, but the short stories are very enjoyable and actually quite entertaining to watch.
This is the thing that stands out the most with this series, the art style. It is quite unique and uses very bright colors as the main color palate and heavy focus on circles to give details and depth on certain things such as hair. I found the art to be interesting and it works quite well with what the anime was aiming; a short, cute feeling that puts the viewer in a happy mood. Character designs were great, all the characters outfit looked awesome as well.
The only thing I can rate sound wise is the ED, Watashi ni Naritai Watashi, which is super duper cute. Again, just like the art, this ED helps with the whole cute, short feeling of this anime.
The characters felt very real, characters that have personalities that can exist in real life. Both the Saitou siblings are quite but passionate about certain things and the Shinmoto siblings are loud and competitive, both very realistic personalities. With realistic personalities, the characters are very easy to relate to.
The series is short and simple, but done very well. The goal of the whole series is to make a cute impression with silly stories and humorous moments that are realistic. They did this very well with the sound, art and the characters. My only complaint is that I wish there would be more romance, but so far this review has been spoiler free and I would like to keep it spoiler free. More romance would be nice though…
This is a very cute show that is easy going and can replace any emotion with a smile. This will probably be my to go anime when I finished a sad series or feeling down, since this series is very light hearted.
I’ve had this anime on my list for a while now so yesterday I decided to start watching it. As a fan of short episode anime anyway, I was not disappointed at all.
[Story (8/10)] : As I said above, I had watched a couple of s.e.a (short episode anime) before starting this such as: Aiura, Chitose Get You and currently Onee-chan Ga-Kita! and this was by far the best in terms of story.
Now I wasn’t for looking for any sort of continuity between the episodes at all because they’re not meant to have a solid plot but what I really liked about SSB is the fact that on multiple occasions, they had episodes that would carry on from the last and it made for some great character development.
[Art (10/10)]: Most anime that you see generally have a very cliché art style and colour scheme but as you can see by just looking at the cover photo, this is not the case with SSB. The colours compliment each other well, are basic and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The shiny effect was a nice touch too, I was almost always drawn to their hair because of this.
[Sound (6/10)]: Being a s.e.a, it didn’t have much going for it musically. It didn’t have an OP but I guess the ED was nice to bop your head to.
[Character (9/10)]: My oh my, the characters were so so great! Along with the art, this is where the anime really shines. Chika (Male with blonde hair and blue eyes) and his elder sister Chiko are complete narcissists whilst their “neighbours” : Mako and Mao are the complete opposite… But not really.
(For any Yaoi fangirls/boys out there, Chiko is an Otaku who’s obsessed with Boy Love. Just sayin’!)
Mako is lazy as is Chiko but she has a part time job and can’t stand University. On the other hand, Chiko attends University but hates the idea of a job other than drawing Manga. Mao is the younger brother to Mako and best friend to Chika. Whilst Chika is hyperactive, Mao is extremely serious and stoic. Mix everybody’s personalities together and you end up in some seriously funny situations.
Something else that really impresses me is that the side characters (One is a trap and a great one at that!) are just as memorable and funny as the main characters, they don’t steal the spotlight though.
[Enjoyment (9/10)]: Out of all the s.e.a I have watched, this definitely has to be my favourite. I’m with a lot of people when they say that this anime should either get a continuation or it should become full-length.
It has the perfect mix of humor, character and plot. The latter being something that is rarely seen in this type of anime.
[Overall (9/10)]: Watching Super Seisyun Brothers was a great way to spend my day off college! I’m craving for a continuation and I’m sure I will be for an extremely long time.
So much so that I’ll be rewatching this very soon.
2013 saw a number of good shorts so far, and I was spoiled by the likes of Senyuu and Ketsuekigata-kun. However, despite being up against pretty stiff competition, Super Seishun managed to hold its own.
While having a good plot is always appreciated, there are times when you don’t really need one. That was the case with Super Seishun. As per the opening of episode one, “The older sisters are best friends. The younger brothers are best friends. And between these similar siblings, existed a strange relationship”. The series chronicled the daily lives of these siblings, focusing on the quirky relationships between them and their interactions with other characters. Falling into stereotypes, the Saitou siblings (purple haired) were quieter, while the Shinmoto siblings (blond siblings) were the livelier pair. I very much enjoyed the playful banter that they had, as well as the dynamics between these characters. It’s really endearing to see siblings get along as well as they do, and the interactions between all four of them were very interesting.
Bringing life to the interactions between the characters were the seiyuus who voiced them. Based purely on voice alone, I was more partial to the purple haired siblings (okay, maybe the fact that they had purple hair MIGHT have swayed my vote. I want purple hair too!). As Saitou Mao (purple haired brother), Ishikawa Kaito’s deadpan voice really stood out. His is one of the many new voices that were introduced in the Autumn 2013 season, and I believe that this young seiyuu is one to look out for. Just that season alone, he’s been credited as the main in a number of series, such as Tokyo Ravens and Nagi no Asukara. Having been following those two anime series as well, I could hear his versatility shining through – the way he adapts his voice to suit the different characters he plays is quite remarkable. Newcomer or not, I have grown rather fond of him.
Speaking of Nagi, we have one other seiyuu common to both shows – the lovely Kayano Ai. Playing the role of Saitou Mako (purple haired sister), she did a fine job, giving us viewers an equally amusing deadpan voice. Anime watchers may remember her from Summer 2013 as the good-natured Lucy Kimiko Akie Airi (…) aka Yamagami-san in Servant x Service (mentioned because this is another of those ‘don’t think just watch’ series). Of course, this is not the only anime that she is known for, as this veteran seiyuu has a whole list of characters on her resume to boast about. And as Mako, she delivered yet another favourable performance.
Rounding up the main cast, we have Oosaka Ryouta and Yamamoto Nozomi, who voice the blond brother and sister respectively. Having had the pleasure of actually seeing Oosaka Ryouta at a live event, I have a soft spot for him and can’t help but smile when I hear him in any anime. While I’ve personally not heard Yamamoto Nozomi in any other shows, I did like what she did with Chiko’s character. For one, I could discern the desperation in her voice, as she tries to dissociate herself from the otaku label. Yes, she’s a self-proclaimed bishoujo in serious anime fandom denial (ah, that certainly brings back memories.. heh). On the whole, I think the cast did a pretty good job, making the series even more entertaining with their voice acting.
That aside, another thing that really drew me in was the setting of the anime – I simply loved the atmosphere that exuded throughout the entire series. The world in which these siblings exist seems so carefree and fun, watching them made me wish I lived in such a world. The story was relaxed and whimsical, and despite my earlier assertion that there wasn’t much of a plot, we were even teased with a cliffhanger in one of the episodes. The playful manner in which this series was brought forth, coupled with that adorable ending theme (yes, I’m guilty of putting the ED on loop for the entire hour that it took me to write this review), left me feeling all warm and fuzzy after each episode ^^ happiness~
Short & sweet – that’s what this series was for me.
MAL Score: 6.81
In the world of Loveless, each person is born with cat ears and a tail, which disappear only if that person engages in a sexual intercourse. Because of this, they have come to symbolize virginity and innocence. Additionally, fighting is only done by “fighting pairs” or couples, where one is known as the Sacrifice and the other as the Fighter. The first receives the damage while the latter attacks.
Ritsuka Aoyagi is a 12-year-old boy, who for some unknown reason suffers from amnesia. His brother got killed recently, and as if his life has not been hard enough lately, on his first day at the new school he gets approached by a stranger called Agatsuma Soubi, who claims to have known his late brother. Ritsuka finds out that Agatsuma and his brother used to be a fighting pair, and that Agatsuma has inherited Ritsuga now that his brother is gone. Together, they try to find the truth behind his brother’s death and the organization known as the “Seven Moons,” which may have been responsible for it. All the while, it seems that Ritsuka and Agatsuma are becoming closer than they intended to be…
STORY – …What story? Seriously, at what point is anything in this series explained? (Hint: never!) There are problems presented, sure — Seimei, Ritsuka’s older brother, was killed and he wants to find out who did it and why. Not really that intriguing or original, but it works, right? Additionally, Ritsuka has amnesia and is a "completely different person" than he was two years prior, but he doesn’t know what happened. Also not that original, but still acceptable. Unfortunately, the series doesn’t seem to focus very well on either problems and instead teases you by presenting a lot of leads that seem like they’re going somewhere, but never do. Soubi, who should serve as Ritsuka’s connection to Seimei refuses to say anything on the matter. In fact, as far as Rituska’s troubles go, Soubi’s pretty worthless for plot progression even if he does defend him from mysterious attackers (who are never explained). And his creepy shotacon ways seem like far, far too shameless an attempt to wind up the fangirls. I like shounen-ai well enough, and while I don’t really care for shota, I can swallow it if it’s done well. Well, this wasn’t done well at all.
The story’s only redemption may be that Ritsuka’s social anxieties are addressed gradually throughout the series, and the subplot concerning his personality change and memories does see some progress. In fact, it might even be considered a good storyline if we ever got to find out what happened to him, but we don’t! Does that even count as a spoiler? The fact that ultimately, nothing happens? The plot with Seimei seemed like it had potential at times — all of the vague, unexplained hints did seem like they were going somewhere, and if you cocked your head sideways, you might have even been able to pick up clues to the mystery. The last episode seemed like it was trying to explain what was going on, but it was so garbled and nonsensical that it’s almost impossible to draw any kind of conclusions from it, and in the end, there’s nothing but a big, gaping void where all your answers should be.
The battle system in this series is something else that seemed to have potential. The concept of a Fighter and a Sacrifice is actually pretty interesting, though I think they would have survived without all the gratuitous bondage. Unfortunately, the actual fighting is never explained, and it’s difficult to deduce where exactly anyone derives their power or how the mechanics of the fighting works. I really don’t know why all of these things were sidestepped; it really doesn’t seem like it should have taken that much time or effort to explain something that was so central to the whole Seven Moons and Seimei’s murderers madness.
I haven’t read the manga, but I get this distinct feeling that it’s probably ten times better than this anime, because certainly it can’t be worse. Like I said, the wisps of story here and there seemed to have potential, and it was just frustrating to see that almost none of them have a definite conclusion. It seems like this should have been a twenty-six episode series instead of twelve, or they should have spent more time on actual plot progression instead of random shota fluff and molestation. In the end, I think I just wasted four hours of my life watching this series, and that’s about it. And even though I’m sure the manga is better, I’m left so frustrated with the series that I’m not sure I even care enough to go read it.
Addendum: The anime was apparently produced when only volumes 1-4 of the manga was out (the series is 8 volumes long), so they had limited source material. Still, I think they could have done a much better job — certainly things like the fight system could have been addressed better anyway. And while they supposedly left the "ending" open for a possible sequel, there still could have still been an actual conclusion of some sort. But really, unless it’s one of those long running shounen series, I don’t think there’s any reason to ever produce an anime for an unfinished series. It just leads to unpleasant bullshit like this and X/1999. 😐
CHARACTER – Ritsuka is probably the best character in the series, though that isn’t really saying much. In any case, he seems to be the only character that goes through any significant change throughout the series. His turmoil at the beginning of Loveless is very understandable, what with a crazy mother, no memories, and a dead brother. The sessions with his psychologist summed up his development pretty well, though it did kind of seem like a cheap way to present everything to the audience. His relationship with his friends moved up in a classic line graph as he was somewhat sporadic and inconsistent in the beginning and steadily progressed up towards "real friendship." His relationship with Soubi… I guess it really wasn’t that bad; his reaction to Soubi’s advances were realistic: his indignation, disgust, and eventual worry. You could see his feelings change slowly as the series went on, and the relationship did contribute to Ritsuka’s overall personality progression, so to that end, I guess it was all right.
Soubi is probably a much more multi-faceted character than the Loveless anime allowed him to be; I could tell by watching, but that didn’t change the fact that he didn’t end up being explored all that much. Because so little is revealed about his past, with Seimei or otherwise, you never know what his motivation for anything is, which was immensely irritating and frustrating. He tells Rituska some things, but then establishes a steady history of lies, so anything he says is questionable, even if they sound like they might, or even should, be true. Whether or not he really cares for Ritsuka always seems to be questionable, and his masochistic complex complicates the matter further — not to mention it makes things ridiculously awkward. I think, in the end, you’re supposed to gather that he’s changed a little (for the better) since his days with Seimei, but it’s really not that convincing at all.
All of the other characters were pretty generic, and a lot of them seemed pretty damn pointless too. Rituska’s school friends seemed like they could have been plucked out of any other anime Japanese school ever. Sure, they contributed to the plot and Ritsuka’s development, but they really weren’t that interesting to watch. Kio, Soubi’s roommate? Classmate? Random friend? (Ex-)boyfriend? I have no idea what their relationship is because, surprise, they never explained, but he was only fun because he addressed some of my thoughts on Soubi, namely his apparent raging perversion and pedophilia (though Soubi consistently denied these accusations). But other than that, another generic support character? Yeah. The same goes for Ritsuka’s teacher and his psychologist, and the fact that both of them were randomly in love with one of the protagonists seemed like more pointless fanservice. All of the fighter pairs sent from Seven Moons were flat and boring — they were sent to fight, yippee. Did they have their own goals or aspirations? Who knows? Subplot with the lesbians? Seemed like a lame ploy to allow for a convenient winner of that fight. Complete lack of intrigue.
Finally… this was the original reason I had no interest in watching this series. What the hell is the point of the cat ears? What does this contribute to anything at all? It just seems like a silly gimmick to invite giggles from the audience (fangirls think about this stuff anyway, do we really need to encourage them?), and to allow for lots of suggestive dialogue in the show. The only reason I could think of for this is to have "proof" that Soubi isn’t randomly raping Ritsuka (’cause it sure seems like it sometimes). Here’s an idea — if your character is so inappropriate that you have to have a lame gimmick to prove his innocence, how about not writing him to be so outrageous in the first place? Certainly Soubi didn’t need to make out with Ritsuka in the middle of every battle.
ARTWORK & ANIMATION – Resoundingly average. Ritsuka was cute and Soubi was your run-of-the-mill bishounen. All the other characters were similarly plain, and the backgrounds don’t really invite rounds of praise either. None of it was bad, but none of it was great either. The animation was about the same, though I really thought the effects for the fights were unimpressive and cheap.
MUSIC – I’d actually heard the opening theme, "Tsuki no Curse," long before I saw this series because it was composed by Yuki Kaijura. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too impressed with it then, and I remained unimpressed with it in the series. I’m not really sure what it is about it, but it just doesn’t stand up against most of Kaijura’s other work. The end theme by Kaori Hikita was similarly plain. The music throughout the series actually surprised me by how random it seemed. Most series, even if they don’t have particularly great music, still manage to get tracks that are appropriate for their scenes: sad tracks for sad scenes, energetic tracks for fights, etc. Loveless is probably the first series where I’ve been confused at their music choices for various scenes… They had weird, mecha-style battle tracks that were far, far too exciting for the scenes they were in, and then strange, melodious tracks that conflicted with conversation-heavy scenes. Occasionally, they had some nice, soft vocal tracks that seemed to fit okay, but they weren’t prominent enough to balance out the other randomness.
VOICE ACTING – Average.
OVERALL – I think the best way to watch Loveless is to treat it as a drinking game. Take a shot of vodka every time Soubi says "suki dayo" ("I like you" or "I love you" depending on context and translator). You’ll be mad drunk by the second episode (seriously, he’s a broken record) and will thus be too wasted to realize that the entire series has little substance, never answers any of your questions, has no ending, and is ultimately unsatisfying. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go bash in the brains of the person who recommended this series to me.
But love is not the main theme, it deals with a lot of other issues too. For example, the way we project ourselves on others – Seimei appears in one way for Ritsuka, his mother or Soubi, but we find out about his true nature only later on. Another example is forgetness, memories, the link between past-present-future and essential questions that everyone asks himself or herself at a certain point in his/her life, and how 12-year-old Ritsuka is searching for a meaning of his life. Yet another example is the way people are treated in society due to certain tags they wear. In this case, I’m talking about the ct years that explicitly show the status of their sexual life and how others react to that.
Also, in this anime, true love has nothing to do with sexuality, and is expressed by strong emotions and subtile gestures.
The story has an interesting plot, and it develops little by little, and unfortunately does not end… You’ll just have to read the manga too see what happens next. If you only watch the 12 episodes anime series the story doesn’t really make sense at the end and it leaves you with even more questions. But it gets interesting when you start to go beneath the surface and find the truth behind all the appearences.
The art helps creating a slight dark atmosphere. Not dark as in "evil"… but more like enigmatic, mysterious. The colors are not so bright, sometimes dark, it has beautiful landscapes, and a lot of scenes occur at night, sunset or in the dark fighting setting. One of the most interesting artistic elements is the buttefly – it always accompanies Soubi’s arrival, or in Soubi’s paintigs, as a weapon, or in Ritsu’s collection.
The soundtrack also helps a lot creating this slight dark atmosphere, and it backs up every emotion that the characters are feeling. Some emotions don’t even need to be expressed by words, the music completes them and amplifies the impact they have on the viewer.
As for the characters, they are very strong and complex ones. Ritsuka is the one in search for his existence’s meaning, and for life’s meaning in general, feeling lost in a world he doesn’t understand and that doesn’t understand him. Soubi is the one that has the answers but he cannot give them to Ritsuka. When it comes to love, Soubi is the one to show Ritsuka the meaning of it, the meaning behind the appearances, the powerful and spiritual level of love. But Soubi often acts contradictory, his true feelings remain hidden, he says things very easily but sometimes his actions do not sustain his big words.
To me, it’s a very unique, enjoyable combination of drama, love, philosophical questions, mistery and supernatural. The words are well chosen and always make you wonder about the truth and how much you far you have to go in order to find it. One thing is for certain – you have to ignore appearances. I really think this anime is deep and worth watching.
The story centers around Ritsuka Aoyagi, a grade school boy who lost all of his memories two years prior to the start of the series. At that time, he also did a complete 180 in personality, going from an outgoing and popular boy who didn’t have the best grades to a student with perfect grades who avoids any kind of social interaction. This apparently put such a strain on his mother that she began frequently beating him (and much worse in the manga) and claiming that he isn’t her son, but someone else in her son’s body. Apparently, if he does anything that the old Ritsuka wouldn’t do, his mother will beat him. Things were at least tolerable for awhile, since his older brother, Seimei, protected him from his mother’s beatings, but then Seimei was discovered burned to death in Ritsuka’s classroom. The anime itself begins after all this when Ritsuka is transferred to a new class. A girl named Yuiko tries to befriend him, but Ritsuka regards her coldly since she’s only doing it because her classmates put her up to it. After receiving harsh criticism from Ritsuka, Yuiko decides not to be pushed around by her classmates anymore and pushes for a genuine friendship with Ritsuka. After that, Ritsuka meets Soubi, a man who claims to be an old friend of Seimei’s. Soubi tells Ritsuka about his arrangement with Seimei that if anything were to happen to Seimei, Soubi would “belong” to Ritsuka. Soubi turns out to be Seimei’s “sentouki,” a companion who would fight battles with magic, while Seimei was the “sacrifice,” or the person who would take the damage in these battles. Since Seimei is now dead, Soubi must become Ritsuka’s sentouki and Ritsuka will become the sacrifice.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s a huge plot point that virgins have cat ears? Yeah, way to throw random sex into the plot. That’s one thing I really hate.
However, after that huge info dump, nothing is really completely explained again. Most of the episodes consist of Soubi battling another pair of magic fighters and trying to protect Ritsuka in between molesting him. The story itself is so poorly explained that I had no idea what was going on half the time and ended up consulting wikipedia and the manga several times during the course of an episode, and that is not a good thing. I gave it a decent rating merely because it was interesting, but it never did anything more than that. I never really even knew why half these characters were fighting other than some taboo about the fact that Ritsuka and Soubi shouldn’t be a team because both their names aren’t “Loveless” or something like that. The only thing I could understand was the adult molesting the child frequently. Hooray for pedophilia, I guess! Especially on an already traumatized and broken child!
The art was…well, it was actually fairly good, at least on the characters. The backgrounds were a bit lazy most of the time, but at least the magic battles usually looked good, and the character designs were at least distinct. However, the style reminded me a lot of Higurashi in that, while it used bright colors, it always looked like there was a film over the animation giving it a weird misty look that seemed out of place, though that could be because of the poorly done backgrounds.
The sound was easily the best part of the show. I can’t really say the dub of either language was particularly outstanding, but the soundtrack was done by Yuki Kajiura. ‘Nuff said. It’s far from being her best work, but it’s Yuki Kajiura nonetheless. What’s not to like?
The characters are not so lucky. Most of them are boring, unlikable, or underdeveloped. The worst offender of this is Soubi himself. Since he’s one of the two main characters, he should be someone the audience can cheer for and want to see succeed, or at least care somewhat about what he’s doing. I really didn’t feel anything toward him, even when part of his history as revealed. He has very little personality, and he’s constantly flip-flopping when it comes to his actions. I can at least understand his motives of wanting to keep Ritsuka safe, but it’s hard to relate to that when he’s such a shameless pedophile. The only reason I gave the characters a decent rating is because of Ritsuka. He wouldn’t have much of an effect if he was a side character, but as a main character he does well. He has a very distinct personality, and his development is very well handled. Sure, he starts off rather depressed at first, but he has every right to be, and unlike some anime characters he does grow quite a lot. His circumstances barely change at all, so the fact that he’s able to change his attitude is impressive.
However, the fact that Ritsuka’s such a good character actually works against the series. When you actually care about a character, it’s not enjoyable to watch him suffer so much without any happy ending in sight. Nobody who knows about his abuse is doing anything about it, even Soubi who claims to love him. Soubi’s sexual advances on a boy who’s underage even in Japan, especially one who has enough mental trauma on top of amnesia and a possible personality disorder, is just disgusting. I continued watching until the end in order to see something good finally happen to this kid, and it really doesn’t. I could barely stand a moment of this, so the enjoyment factor was very low. I was able to enjoy the few quiet moments Ritsuka had with his friends, at least, but that’s about it.
All in all, there were a few things in this series that were okay, and the main character is really good. However, it’s just unpleasant to watch and I find the fact that all of this is fetishized to be disgusting. Any time I hear someone praising this series, I feel a little sick inside. I suppose people are allowed to like what they want, but I personally find this show terrible. The overall score of 3 out of 10 is surprisingly generous, and I only gave it because of Ritsuka and the soundtrack by Yuki Kajiura. That’s all.
33: Akkun to Kanojo
English: My Sweet Tyrant
MAL Score: 6.84
Despite his incredible bashfulness, Atsuhiro “Akkun” Kagari has landed the girl of his dreams: the sweet and loveable Non Katagiri. However, his embarrassment for affectionate acts—from giving compliments to exchanging a kiss—causes him to act harsh and downright mean to Katagiri in their day-to-day lives. But Akkun is still very much a boy in love; and he shows his admiration for Katagiri in his own way. From tailing her in order to take her picture to eavesdropping in on her conversations, he ends up stalking his own girlfriend.
Luckily enough, Katagiri finds Akkun’s actions cute and endearing, and knows he doesn’t really mean any of his insults. Even if their close friend, Masago Matsuo, finds their dynamic a little odd, Katagiri loves her sweet tyrant just the way he is.
Akkun to Kanojo or ‘Akkun and his girlfriend’ grants us a 2 cours of 3 minute episodes, each episode functioning like a 4-koma series where we’re treated to Atsuhiro, or Akkun, playing a male tsundere to his girlfriend whenever she comes to spend time together or suggest something for them to do.
The main draw of this series comes primarily from his reactions where he shoots down his girlfriend Non’s suggestions a la verbal abuse (literally calling her trash, ugly, what have you), before going to the other room and acting all deredere and obsessive in secret because in reality, he sees her as an angel that’s graced this plagued earth and should be protected at all costs. He just can’t physically show any affection towards her while she’s around because…reasons. This persists throughout the entire runtime, and thank god it’s only 3 minutes per episode because being subjected to this schtick for longer would be slogging the experience.
In fact, I feel like any of the other ‘couples’ featured in the show: Atsuhiro’s sister x his arguably creepy best friend, and the teacher with X face snake girl would be an even better story to tell because even though they stick to the status quo just like any other 4-koma, they actually seem like they could get somewhere, and they do actually make inches of progress. Whereas on the other hand, our main couple doesn’t do jack and it’s actually more unsettling to watch especially considering our main protagonist records the voice and has an entire room filled with pictures of his girlfriend on the walls and ceiling. Which is NOT cute in the slightest.
Personally I don’t think even by anime short standards that this is anything worth watching. It feels like Japan is just trying to make whatever kind of quirky relationship they can cute, when it’s visually a very unhealthy and somewhat abusive relationship intended to be played for laughs. Definitely not an hour and a half well spent.
Since it’s a short, I don’t want to go into too much detail about the roles and development, as it honestly would only take you about an hour to binge them all. The romance was pretty well established, and the comedy was competent enough that I consistently chuckled at each situation. Honestly this small show was the highlight of my Spring and Summer seasons. Characters connections deepen and improve over the course of the story, which highlights that the world is a bit dynamic rather than just a static joke that goes on way too long. Story and character are the two main parts of this short, but the art style isn’t bad either. The biggest shame is that I could find nowhere that had a translated and uploaded manga online.
Akkun to Kanojo is a very short, brisk, and fun show that’s sure to appease those looking for a good romcom feel without the investment in multiple seasons trying to wade through a harem hoping that “best girl” isn’t “first girl”. Give this show a go, and I hope it comes around for season 3 so I can see Chiho and Matsuo’s relationship develop even further.
The art is very good though. It follows the art style of good anime shows that I’ve watched. Too bad, the story didn’t match it.
MAL Score: 6.91
Mahiru Shirota firmly believes that simple is best and troublesome things should be avoided at all costs. It is troublesome to do nothing and regret it later—and this ideology has led the 15-year-old to pick up a stray cat on his way home from school. As he affectionately names the feline Kuro, little does he know that this chance meeting will spark an extraordinary change in his everyday life.
One day, Mahiru returns home to find something quite strange: a mysterious young man he has never seen before. His subsequent panic results in the uninvited guest being exposed to sunlight and—much to Mahiru’s shock—transforming into Kuro! Upon revealing himself as a mere lazy shut-in vampire, Kuro promises to leave once night falls. However, one disaster after another leads to Mahiru accidentally forming a contract with his new freeloader, dragging him into a life-threatening battle of supernatural servants and bloodthirsty beings that is anything but simple.
The story of Servamp follows Mahiru… actually; the main story is pretty much covered in the synopsis, so there isn’t much reason for me to regurgitate the same thing in different words. Long story short, Servamp is really something we’ve seen hundreds of times before; ordinary high school boy meets weird stuff (in this case black cats) and gets caught in a live or die situation with all convenient we’ve come to expect of such story.
Now, in all respect there’s nothing wrong with a premise that is lack of originality. But servamp just feel…. quite empty. The plot is just something you encounter in battle shounen series; if you’re looking for in-depth plot then look further because the show doesn’t had any. Everything in the plot is pretty clear black and white, the bad guy is obvious and the good guy is always on the side good guys. The first few episodes are generally geared towards comedy with little real progression. The actual comedy isn’t too bad and some moments are fairly funny, but hit or miss jokes aren’t enough to make something entertaining. The series then shifts to more of a battle shounen with action, however, the action isn’t that much interesting and feels rushed because most of the time it ended with always ends with one slash. I’d also like to mention the tone is pretty I don’t know… not appropriate? because the show explained that the bad vampires is a creature that kills human, yet everything is feel so mundane and light, there no sense of urgency; it is as if the show doesn’t take the whole the matters seriously.
The characters well… we get to see the major protagonist and the major villain gets a backstory (which is all sad/ tragic story by the way) but somehow it wasn’t full enough to make us sympathize with them. The supporting is even worse, because they don’t even have time due to the short length. One of the prime example is Misono, on which his dreams is to protect people, but it never be explained why he do so considering he looks like some rich boy who doesn’t care with anyone.
Furthermore, due to the short length, many of the questions raised are left unanswered, coupled with an unsatisfying conclusion (not that it concludes anything), which ends just as it seems the real story is about to begin; it told the viewers there are seven servamp based of seven sins yet at the end of the series there are only five present and the ending was cop out and feels like Disney’s ending.
Then there is the art, which is certainly Servamp best area. But even then, it is not above series in at least 2 years back. There are a wide range of colors used for all of the characters, which is nice but it the background are just present I guess. The animation quality is decent. There are a few instances where they turn it up a notch, but this is mostly for action scenes, which rarely last more than two minutes. all in all it is competent to today standard.
The soundtrack was okay. The opening were all right and suited the series but were also pretty generic themes. The opening theme was slightly better as it set up the episodes quite well, and the visuals associated with it were actually relevant to the story of the anime. The rest of the soundtrack, while not being anything noteworthy, matched the mood of the scenes and worded well overall. However, I found the ED to be terrible, but that’s more like luxury than actual criticism.
Servamp is a pretty underwhelming action/comedy series The early couple of episodes maybe mildly entertaining, but as a whole the series is quite frustrating, due to a lack of any real closure. We’re introduced to an extensive cast, but many of them lacked a decent back story. Mahiru, being the main character, wasn’t particularly interesting, but the side characters were, even if most were given very little time to shine. It’s in the middle episodes, where it feels very rushed, that most of the enjoyment is lost. The production values are solid, but nothing to blow anyone away. I would also like to mention, that if you are expecting to see traditional vampires, then you will be generally disappointed.
A forgotten series and probably one of few Josei series that I personally found bad.
This is a setting that many have seen before. Normal High School student is met with the supernatural and pulled into a whole different world. So far, it doesn’t seem like there is anything too amazing about it. However, I have not yet encountered a story in which said supernatural creature is literally THE most lazy person in the show, which often helps loosen the ‘deep’ mood that the story is going for with an amusing comment about how he’d rather take a nap than do anything ‘bothersome’.
The animation is great, and the character design is a very favorite of mine. Bright colors, distinctive character designs so that you don’t get confused about who is who – nothing to complain about here.
I really love the opening by Oldcodex that suits the anime’s darker theme, but also the ending that gives you a more upbeat and happy-go-lucky feeling if there has been a particularly ‘dark’ episode.
The main character is your everyday hero who wants to protect his friends and do everything right, which comes across as a bit generic at times. What really pulled me in was Kuro, the second main character, who (while being one of the laziest people on Earth) still manages to be powerful when needed, and also funny at times.
A few episodes in is when the character development of Kuro starts to happen, when you start getting a deeper look into what has happened in his past.
I really cannot say I disliked watching any of these episodes. I’m always looking forward to the next one, and can’t say that I felt like I wasted time with any of the episodes.
If you’re someone who enjoys an anime with a pretty art style and bright colors, an anime that is somehow ‘deep’ but still manages to bring in funny and amusing scenes (sometimes when you least expect it), then I highly recommend this to you.
If it’s Kuro’s problem, Mahiru has to be there, there isn’t anything to be faced alone. The problem might be Kuro’s but Mahiru is his eve, his partner and his ‘reason’. (as Mikuni had said) And seriously, despite everything, do you guys really want this to be ‘oh I stab the antagonist, he ded, the end’ is that kind of ending what you want? I think the ending was quite nice and peaceful and it wasn’t unpleasant. It was a nice change. I don’t need to see blood flying everywhere and people dying to call it a GREAT VICTORY! =_=
Licht, Lawless, Kuro, Mahiru, Tsubaki and Sakuya are really interesting characters and even though the anime did not best in showing off characters such as the Pride pair and Lust pair, C3 as such, it did made some great show out of the more standing out ones. I enjoy the Greed pair the most (no surprise)
I guess one of the reason I liked this anime is because there are a lot of angst going on in some anime now *COUGHDANGANRONPACOUGH* and not only that, because people now a-days just keeps spamming horror/angst/negative emotions. I really like how this anime turns out despite it’s various flaw.
31: Orenchi no Furo Jijou
MAL Score: 6.99
On his way home from school, Tatsumi sees a man collapsed near a lake. When he approaches him, Tatsumi notices something strange: the person in need of help is actually a beautiful merman named Wakasa! Because Wakasa’s home has become too polluted to live in, Tatsumi graciously offers his bathtub as a refuge.
With a boisterous merman as his new roommate, Tatsumi’s normal life won’t be returning anytime soon, not to mention Wakasa’s aquatic friends—Takasu, Mikuni, and Maki—often show up uninvited, making them all quite a handful for the high school student. As he humors their curiosity for human life, Tatsumi sometimes finds himself enjoying their childish antics, but he will have to keep his cool if he intends to keep up with his daily life and newfound friendship.
Orenchi no Furo Jijou is a slice of life comedy with episodes that span for only 4 minutes each, featuring the life of a boy who has a merman living in his bathtub (quirky, right?)
In all fairness, this is NOT a plot-based anime so there is no plot progression and definitely no plot twist. Each episode features the main characters (and their friends, who’re introduced in subsequent episodes) going about their daily life and facing small, mundane day-to-day issues. It is very common to come across overused tropes in slice of life shows, so I was pleasantly surprised at the absence of any boring, cliched tropes. Then again I guess it is pretty hard to use the generic slice of life tropes in an anime with a story as unusual as this one.
Keeping true to the manga, the art of the anime adapts the same dual style, seamlessly switching between its normal realistic style and its cute chibi style. For an anime that has a bathroom as the main backdrop, the color palette is pretty warm, which goes a long way in adding to that idyllic, soothing vibe the anime gives off. The chibi forms of the characters, especially the merman Wakasa, are incredibly cute and I kept wanting to see more of the chibi style than the actual normal style, which is a first for me (lol)
Considering this is an anime with episodes that span only 4 minutes, it would be tough to establish a recurring musical theme/background score. The OP is very dramatic and intense, and feels a little misplaced in a slice of life anime, but I have to say that I actually grew quite fond of it by the 4th or 5th episode and didn’t feel like skipping it. The voice acting was very consistent, with each seiyuu’s voice perfectly fitting the character they played. I personally loved Wakasa’s VA the most, it was the PERFECT casting.
The main reason why this show shines, and why I loved it as much as I did, is because of the characters and the characterization. Due to the brevity of the episodes you don’t really get any deep background story for the characters or some kind of astonishing character development but somehow none of that matters because you still get attached to them anyway. I don’t think words can express how LIKABLE the characters are. All the characters – starting from the VERY lovable and cheerful merman Wakasa to the somewhat quiet but very thoughtful guy Tatsumi whose bathtub Wakasa lives in, to Wakasa’s buddies who show up in some episodes – each and every character is very distinct and very original and very funny. Wakasa and Tatsumi have a dynamic that’s very refreshing and somewhat reminiscent of The Odd Couple. They’re the perfect foil to each other, and the hilariously funny situations resulting from their attempts to learn to live in harmony together is what makes the show what it is. The only character that I somewhat disliked is the MC’s sister, who fits into quite a few of the annoying little sister tropes, and is also pretty annoying herself. Thankfully though we only get to see her for 2 episodes, and she’s so forgettable you won’t even think of her for the rest of the episodes which she doesn’t show up in.
With slice of life anime, more often than not, there’s a huge chance of the jokes falling flat or failing to hit the mark, but Orenchi no Furo Jijou has none of those issues. Not once does it feel like a joke is put there for the sole purpose of trying to draw out a laugh from you. All the humor in the show is completely organic, and it flows so well it actually feels like there’s zero effort to try and get the audience to laugh, but you end up laughing anyway.
Orenchi no Furo Jijou is a very light-hearted, feel-good show that by the end of its 13th episode will, no doubt, leave you feeling a lot calmer and a lot de-stressed than when you started watching it. I kept wishing the episodes were longer, just so I could have kept feeling happy for a little while longer. 13 episodes didn’t feel like enough, and I sincerely hope they decide to make a second season someday.
So if you’re looking for a quick, light-hearted show to cheer you up when you’re down and/or to unwind after a long day, look no further than Orenchi no Furo Jijou.
Oh and if you’re wondering if it’s BL/shounen ai-ish, then all I have to say is that this does have BL-ish undertones, but that’s only if you squint 🙂
As minimal as it gets. Each episode has some central problem or event and it’s always something very light. Nothing special, but this setup is pretty normal for shorts. You can watch it all in under an hour!
Decent but never astounding, not too much to talk about. Although, they did a good job animating and drawing the merman’s muscles, those stand out as quality parts of the show.
There was background music? I hate to keep playing the nothing-special card, but this really applies to the sound. The OP sounds nice but feels completely out of place.
Now we’re talking! The main character looks like a yellow eyed messy hair edgelord, but is actually a pretty nice guy, just not very talkative. His merman buddy is far more outgoing and flamboyent, creating a classic comedy duo. The merman’s also got some monsterboy buddies that show up in a few of the episodes, they’re all diverse and enjoyable for the brief times they appear. The one character I dislike is the MC’s sister. She fits every annoying little sister trope imaginable, has a gross onii-chan fetish, and just adds loli to a show that doesn’t need loli at all. She’s only around for 2 episodes, so it’s tolerable.
Sometimes the show is funny. More often then not the attempts at humor fall flat or just don’t seem to exist, but the show always ends up being absolutely adorable, and it’s never a chore to get through episodes (partially because they’re so short).
Orenchi no Furo Jijou ends up being an absolute fluff-fest starring some extremely straight characters. It’s not groundbreaking, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with cute boys doing cute things together.
You can get through the show in less than an hour, so it’s a pretty low-risk investment even if you’re not the biggest fan.
Did I mention how heterosexual this show is?
The story is bizarre with little backstory but since no story goes very deep, it is not an issue.
Each episode has a stand alone issue which Wakasa (Free loading Merman) and Tatsumi (Teen whose bathtub has been taken over) both overcome usually in a pretty adorable way.
I love the voice actors chosen, they are absolutely perfect for the characters, especially Maki, his voice made me giggle at times XD
The artwork is not super detailed but personally I think it is fantastic, it suits the light-hearted theme and the chibi forms of each character are adorable.
To me, this is short episodes done right, I cannot say I have extensive experience of shorts like this, but a few of the ones I did encounter cut corners with the artwork, some things had a lot of detail but the backgrounds were just dragging the whole thing down and then the story seemed rushed, but with this, nothing seemed rushed.
If you like light-hearted comedy and adorable characters, then I will be surprised if you do not enjoy it. I recommend giving it a try since the episodes are so short, no time wasted even if you find it is not for you.
30: Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist
English: Devils and Realist
Japanese: 魔界王子 devils and realist
MAL Score: 7.04
The story revolves around William, an aristocratic family’s progeny with rare intellect. One day, his uncle lost his possessions after his business failed. Fearing that his family’s name has been tarnished, William returns home and searches with his family’s butler for anything that can be converted into cash. A search of the premises yields an underground room left by an ancestor. In the room is a magical seal, and William unintentionally summons a devil. The summoned devil tells William his name Dantalion, and reveals that William is the designator who can choose the acting ruler of the demon world.
Story: one of the most curious plot I’ve seen in my anime watching life. A rock headed realist with the power to select the new ruler of Hell. A meatheaded demon and his companions/rivals wanting to be selected as the new ruler of Hell. A Victorian England set. Angels in the middle of it. Wait…what? That was my first good impression, the setting was good, the time was good (personal opinion, I love the Ol’ England times) and, well, I didn’t got disappointed. The plot was amazing, even though sometimes it was quite slow-paced (again, personal opinion, I could live without some “filler-esque” episodes). The episodes were hilarious, or dramatic, but even so they didn’t fled the main theme of it, the Hellking must be chosen, and a certain human needs to do it. Amazing, but I can’t give full points because I hate slow paced animes, and this was a case of it.
Art: sometimes the show budget is godlike, and the art sucks, sometimes the budget is low, veeery low, and the art is crazily good. This time, I can say, the budget is low, and the art sucks. Repeated scenes! At this time and day! Nothing leaves such a bad impression as the art, and it was terrible. The opening and ending art were good, maybe that’s what lifted up the rating, because I was willing to give it a 4. Nothing more to say, watch it and take your own conclusions.
Sound: I already told my opinion about the OP and ED arts, let’s talk about music. The songs were great. For me, the anime sound is quite hard to give it an opinion, since I’m not someone that keeps listening to the insert songs. But the sound is something that can raise a good anime to a higher class, and that is what I think that happened here. The art sucks, ok, I said it, but the sound was very good, well done and it fit the “classic Victorian theme” of the anime and the dramatic scenes got awesome insert songs. Good, good.
Character: that is were the show gets it done. An anime that is not comedy per se, but something in the middle of drama, action and comedy made me laugh it out loud a lot of times. The devils x realist relationship was awesomely well done, and the secondary characters were captivating. Specially the big guys of Hell. The plot was unique, and the protagonists and their counterparts were unique as well. Nothing could get any better (though I really wanted to see God, what a pity), and for that, 10 for you William and Dantalion.
Enjoyment: I don’t know what to say here except that I liked it, the plot was unique, the setting was unique (have I told you guys that I love the Victorian theme?), the art was the bad part, but the characters compensate this loss with their awesomeness. Good, that is what I say.
Overall, I recommend it, with one advice. If you, like me, takes art into A LOT of consideration while picking a show, please, give it a try, it is a good show and it was quite the surprise of the season for me. But be warned, the art sucks. Hope you all like it. See you.
But once you actually finish the first episode, you become enticed and deeply connected with the whole story and it’s characters, honestly worth your time.
Story: The story is great. It’s action packed with jocular/jovial relief. The story centers around a young high-school teenage boy named William Twinning, and the setting is around the same as Black Butler, I would say. William turns out to be the descendant of the great demon tamer Solomon, and William is now forced to balance out his regular life, of realism, while demons begin to meddle in his life and bring out this “nonsense of heaven and hell” as William is supposed to choose one of the demons to continuously serve him as they rule Hell together.
Art: The art is simply beautiful. There’s meticulous detail in every scene, and each character is specially designed to match their personality. The colours are all varied and vibrant.
Sound: The sound is in great quality (of course, this varies with your video server). The voices match the characters perfectly. You can tell that the voice actors didn’t slack off in voicing their characters, as everything was very synced, and the sound effects and fight scenes were very well captivated. Also, the OP & ED sountracks were great, in my opinion, and they matched quite well with the series.
Characters: As mentioned, the characters are all specially created for a large purpose of the series. They are all different and creative. There’s also a character that meets every mood, from being stuck up, to jocular, to stubborn, to jovial. The characters really fulfill in elaborating the plot, and they tend to attach to the viewers, leading up to SENTIMENTAL FEELINGS ;~;…I mean, the characters are lovely.
Enjoyment: I found this anime extremely enjoyable, I was frantically awaiting a new release every Sunday. This anime will guarantee to make you laugh..and sometimes even cry, if you’re the sentimental type (cough), but there’s no doubt that if you’ve liked what you’ve read/heard about Makai Ouji so far, you’ll enjoy this series.
Pros: Characters, art, unique plot, sound, story, comedy, FEEEEELLLSSS
Cons: A bit too many fillers/straying away from the plot at times, could have more action in fight scenes, a bit rushed due to only one season
Basically the entire show was a flatline, nothing special and nothing particularly interesting. At the beginning it shows some promise by leaving a few mysteries here and there which is why I actually stuck with it for 12 episodes, only to find a wall at the end of the tunnel. The story revolves around main character William Twinning who comes from a wealthy family and possesses extraordinary intelligence. He is also supposedly a hardcore realist, so hardcore that he still claims to not believe in anything other than science even after just being slapped in the face by a demon. Despite being a realist, William is constantly surrounded by demons who are all desperately fighting for his attention because he is a descendant of King Solomon, who has the power to elect the next ruler of hell. This part of the story was what originally attracted me to watch this show, I was pining for a good plot with a dark philosophical undertone somewhat like pandora hearts and kuroshitsuji (mind you, the manga not the anime). However all that it turns out was Solomon pimping out demons all the way back in the biblical times and William Twinning being a little twat and using everyone around him to further his academic career. The demon and non-demon characters are all pretty one dimensional and predictable. And if you’re hoping for some BL in this anime I regret to inform you that you will be greatly disappointed. All in all, the story is weak with no character development and doesn’t really go anywhere beyond flashbacks of Solomon the king pimp and demons fighting over the throne in hell.
The soundtrack is nothing special, I draw a complete blank when I think about how the soundtrack added on to the anime so it really wasn’t anything memorable. The art was to say the very least horrifying. Maybe because I had high expectations going in to this anime but the art consisted of all the wrong colors on the palatte that made the anime look cheap and the amateurish. The absolute worst part for me is probably the action scenes. If you are an action fan I suggest that you don’t touch this anime even with a ten foot pole. It was all wrong, just thinking about the action scenes gives me second hand embarrassment. You can really tell that there wasn’t much going for this anime financially from its production, but they also failed to make up for it in the writing department.
I gave this anime a 1 on my own list but a 2 here because I don’t want to completely trash a series before reading the manga. I’m still going to give the manga a try because I’ve learned that you should never judge a manga-based series from only watching the anime. However if you’re thinking about giving this series a shot I highly suggest that you skip straight to the manga. Don’t waste your time with this anime that has no enjoyment value.
29: Karneval (TV)
MAL Score: 7.12
While in search of his precious friend, a young boy named Nai falls captive to a beautiful woman, whose looks are matched only by her taste for human flesh. Meanwhile Gareki, a clever thief, is in the midst of robbing her luxurious home. After causing a distraction, Gareki agrees to help Nai escape, but they are discovered upon the woman’s return. As she transforms into a ghoulish monster, the boys flee.
On the run, Nai and Gareki are found by “Circus,” a government defense agency that deals with criminal activity too difficult for the police to handle and protects civilians from “varuga”—terrible monsters that devour humans for sustenance. In the hope that it will lead Nai to his missing friend, he and Gareki decide to join Circus. On their perilous journey, they face dangerous varuga and begin to uncover the secrets behind a shadowy organization known as Kafka.
The anime series Karneval is based off the manga of the same named written by Touya Mikanagi. With 10 volumes and counting, the manga has received some attention, enough for an anime adaptation. So here we are, spring 2013 and the series makes it on to the screen for the very first time.
To me, Karneval is one of those shows where a variety of things happen, some at the same time. The series has that fantasy background with majestic themes. The series focuses on a mysterious group known as the “Circus”. The way they dress seems to fit within this theme but their actions are a bit different. For a variety of reasons, this organization serves a protection force. In other words, they work to ensure that the safety of its people are guaranteed. To do things, it seems that its members relies on teamwork, magic, strategies, and even acrobat movements. It enforces the fact that its members are skilled enough for the task. Of course though, these tasks often puts its members of Circus’ lives at risks. There is danger ranging from armed kidnappers to mysterious creatures. Among other factors, the members themselves sometimes has internal factors that prevents them from accomplishing tasks at their best. But at any rate, this mysterious group known as Circus is the drive force behind the series.
Two of the most prominent members associated Circus are Nai and Gareki. There is a lot of mystery going on between these two characters. For one, we learn that Nai is searching for something important. After a dangerous incident, he meets Gareki who saves his life. And here becomes their little adventure as Nai and Gareki becomes friends. On the surface, the two seems to get along but their characters’ basis contrasts greatly in comparisons. Nai is portrayed as a boy who is often feels like he is a loner along with feelings of cowardliness around certain situations. We can tell by his face expressions that he is quite nervous throughout each episode. On the opposite of the coin, there’s Gareki. His expressions gives off a confident, rough, and sometimes arrogant atmosphere. He is also seen as fearless in many situations and doesn’t hesitant to speak his mind to make the first move. Although they seem so different, the two becomes a compatible duo; in a rather peculiar fashion.
The majority of the supporting characters makes up the ‘Carneval’. All of them seems to have specialized skills to handle various situations. For example, there is the beautiful and well respected girl Tsukumo who is skilled in acrobatics and is able to take down foes with a calm mind. There’s also Yogi, a cheerful young man who is able to evoke fear through his magic. Then, there’s the Hirato, the Second Ships’ captain with a mind of intellect capable of managing the team through various tasks. The point is that Carneval takes on challenges fearlessly and with precision to ensure its success. They work for the government and takes out the most dangerous individuals out of their world to ensure a place without fear. On the other hand exists another organization, one that opposes Carneval for their actions known as Kafka. They are even more mysterious as we know nearly nothing about them besides that they oppose the government and conducts in illegal activities. Yup, here it is again, mystery…
The story of this anime adapted series is a bit difficult to comprehend. In fact, some fans may be confused to what’s going on that may lead to a scratch on their heads. I’ll say it out straight: the story is a bit blend and requires a bit of focus to enjoy Karneval at its fullest. Apparently, Nai used to be an acquittance or possible friend of a mysterious young man named Karoku. The accessory (bracelet) is a proof of his past relationship with him. Throughout the series, we also see Karoku make screen appearances but have little clue to his true origin or identity. Speaking of which, Nai’s own identity is a puzzle throughout the series as well. His name literally means ‘nothing’ in English. The way he looks also makes the boy seems quite feminine and his nervousness doesn’t help him shape into a more masculine image. He often has to rely on others whether it’s the tough bad boy Gareki or members of Circus. This makes the main male protagonist Nai a bit hard to appreciate or respect. He hardly develops throughout the series and becomes more frustrating to watch each episode as the only way he can achieve tasks is with the help of others. There’s an old saying that goes ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’. Nai is nowhere near that philosophy yet and becomes a pain to watch.
There’s also some confusion related to the other characters as the atmosphere of the show seems to be quite slow paced. Furthermore, it’s even sometimes difficult to tell who the real antagonists are. Needless to say, the construction of the characters along with the plot are blend and hard to appreciate. On the bright side though, the action of this series flows quite well with the movements of its characters. Speaking of which, the characters’ designs are elegant and beautiful. Tsukumo can be seen as a mascot for this series by the way she is dressed. Then, there are the guys like Gareki and Yogi who gives off an impression with their good looks.
The action of the series remains consistent enough. We can see that some of the adversaries throughout the series are truly dangerous and malevolent enough that only an organization such as Carneval itself can take them on directly. But even so, they sometimes struggle against them whether mentally or physically. In regards to the action, it is fluid and portrays the fantasy theme well. From the first episode, the acrobatic like movements of Tsukumo shows how capable she is. Then, there are the magic that gives off the fantasy vibes and more full throttle action with Gareki and his handy guns. The action is impressive enough to give the series a more serious mood when dealing with cases at least.
Perhaps the beauty of Karneval makes up a large proportion through its visuals. The majestic feeling Karenval left me an impression of the show. The way the architectures are made in this series has that gothic feeling. The way the characters are dressed are also flamboyant especially Tsukumo and Gareki with their outfits. In my stances, the guys of this series are all dressed with a fancy style. Tsukmo is admired for her beauty, Gareki is dressed in a noticeable way, and Eva has that revealing style of fashion along with her straightforward personality. It’s fan service in a way but in a more fancy style rather than the typical panty shots, up-skirts, etc.
As for the soundtrack of this show, Karneval stands out only at average here for me. I’m not exactly sure how the studios handled the OST but it’s only noticeable during tense moments or when performances are out in the open. In other words, they only seem to stand out during prominent moments in the show rather than flowing properly. The OP song “Henai no Rondo “by GRANRODEO mixes in way with its fancy displays. Along with its ED song, “REASON” by KamiYU, both of these pieces of music works for the series. However, it’s nothing special really, at least for me.
In all, Karneval is an example of a show that can be a hit or miss for fans. Its mystical atmosphere might not be something for avid fans of shounen action or other other genres to get used to. However, its beauty is expressed through its artwork and themes. Despite this though, I still find the story a bit blend and out of place. It lacks the way to make an impact by the construction of its narrative, its poorly made main male protagonist, and weak development. For me, this series is more of a poor dark horse that exceed some expectations but other times drops the ball. Well, that’s just me but if you have some patience, Karneval sometimes does have its moments.
But having finished its (insofar) only season, I feel exhausted, and yet, content-wise, I feel grossly underfed.
The main problem is Karneval wants so badly to be a big, interesting anime with big mysterious overarching serial plot threads. It wants to do the FMA:B-esque slow, controlled, gradual reveal of information. All of its arcs (save for the one that finds Gareki revisiting his childhood home—probably not coincidentally, the show’s high watermark by a long shot), aim to pique the reader’s curiosity about the mythos and the big picture first and foremost, but lose focus on being satisfying in the moment.
So, throughout its run, Karneval withholds exposition and lore from the viewer, thinking it’s being tantalizing, but it crosses the line well into confounding.
So when it comes time to reap the benefits of all these seeds it had sown throughout the course of series—at the cost of its episode-to-episode (or even arc-to-arc) quality and general enjoyability—it fumbles. It simply can’t cover them all. It shucks and weaves throughout a giant, chaotic battle climax to touch base on them, and satisfyingly concludes none of them. (Probably the most egregious offender is Nai’s quest to find his old friend Karoku—an incredibly enigmatic character, frequently teased by the narrative, whose role and character are both woefully underexplained, even by the show’s end.)
I haven’t read the manga, but what this smacks of is a poor adaptation, biting off more source-material plotlines than the anime had room to chew. With its lack of conclusions, and so many balls still in the air, characters introduced to hardly ever be used, not to mention its too-optimistic sequel-begging final scenes, I feel like I just finished watching the pilot to a show, not its entire first year (and possibly its entire run).
And sure, the visuals are amazing. The characters are fun to watch interact with each other, even if they are a little short on development (although, with a cast of 24 characters for a 13-episode series, it was inevitable some of them would have wound up a little undercooked—again: overambitious source material selection). But all in all, I’d say unless there’s something about the premise or the art that really speaks to you, getting invested in Karneval is primarily a discouraging venture.
At first, what may appeal to you and make you want to watch the show is the art. After all, it’s very colorful, bright, and overall beautiful. It’s enticing to say the least, and the first thing that hits you is probably how beautifully animated and drawn it is.
After the outstanding art settles in, the characters and plot may seem lacking. It centers around Nai and Gareki; a dynamic duo who met by chance and chance alone. They’re soon intertwined into a world of action and danger via Circus, a protection agency whose sole mission is to protect the world from the Varuga and Kafta. (You’ll find out more about them throughout the show.) The two soon begin building friendships with some of Circus’s members, such as with Yogi and Tsukumo. The show itself is very well paced for such a small amount of episodes. However, the show itself ended leaving a lot to be asked for and desired. Many questions were left unanswered, and that usually doesn’t leave a good taste in your mouth, particularly with no promises of a future season.
The music is good. The opening and ending are cute enough and catchy as well. Most of the music and sfx fit well in the show, so I really can’t complain.
All in all, I would give this show a watching. With only thirteen episodes, it’s a shame if you don’t. It’s creative, mysterious, and all in all a good time.
28: Hatenkou Yuugi
English: Hatenkou Yugi
MAL Score: 7.14
“See the world”
With these words, Rahzel, the daughter of a rich family, is kicked out of her house and sent on her journey. Along the way she meets up with Heat and Alzeid, two men with very different personalities but very similar journeys. Rahzel is a clever, stubborn, and confident girl, who, with the powers of her magic and mind helps the people she runs into on her journey to discover the world.
Story: The story itself is fairly basic, but has some interesting back story thrown in every once in a while. However, the anime does seem rushed. I think a lot of people did not give this show a chance because the beginning is so chaotic. The first episode does not feel like an introduction at all, in fact you are pretty much thrown into the story.
Art: I really enjoyed the animation. It seemed to be well done (it better for being 10 episodes). Maybe, it is the little girl in me, but I appreciated that they changed the main characters clothes and hair throughout the show.
Sound: Characters voices were fitting. The music throughout the show was very nice and enjoyable. Originally, I didn’t like the intro song but it grew on me.
Character: This is one of my favorite things about this show, but at the same time could’ve been better. Rahzel, the main character, was AWESOME. She had a great back story, was interesting, kicked butt and was everything I wanted her to be. However, the other characters could’ve been so much more. I really saw potential for interesting characters and there were definitely moments, but I think the anime just didn’t flesh it out well.
Enjoyment: Basically this show just captured me and kept me hostage. There is such a great mixture of humor, action, and friendship/love that I kept thinking "I’m going to rate this a 9!" I couldn’t justify that high of a score overall, but the enjoyment level was definitely a 9.
The genres include: Comedy, Adventure, Drama.
Hatenkou Yuugi begins pretty randomly, but with a lot of promise. The young woman Rahzel is thrown out of her home by her dad, because he wants her to travel and see the world. She quickly finds two traveling companions, Alzeid and Baroqueheat, and together travel from place to place, helping out people with different problems. Sounds good? Sure does, but during episodes you sometimes experience these random comedy moments that destroy the series (I say sometimes, but in some episodes, there are like 10 minutes wasted on horrible time-fills like these). Sometimes they’re so bad I actually laugh at them, but usually they’re just failed attempts at making the series more enjoyable. The series did pick up pace, but way too late to affect this score.
This series has beautiful character designs. Every character is detailed and nicely drawn. The thing that fails though, is the fact that sometimes the movement looks awkward (a character cheering will only move his/her arm and the rest of the body just stays still, like a mannequin), wasting the good designs. If you take a look at the backgrounds, they’re all nicely drawn, and look good. Too bad that the quality drops loads of times and negatively affect the series.
The far best aspect of the series. The voice actors did a great job in this series. Since you can’t really rely on body language in this series, the VA’s all helped. Especially the voice actors for Rahzel(Kobayashi Sanae) and Alzeid(Sakurai Takahiro) were the best of the bunch. The OP and ED were both very good and fitting of the series, and one of my favorite voice actors(Koyasu Takehito) had a guest role.
The only interesting characters are the main trio, Rahzel, Alzeid and Baroqueheat. Other than that, you just have a lot of characters, simply used as plot-devices, and even though there’s only just three main characters, they hardly get any development, except for the occasional hints of romance. Though I have to admit, that the main trio are all good characters.
I’ll be honest, I did not enjoy this series very much. Only 3 out of 10 episodes were good, and the rest were boring or worse. As I said earlier, there are many totally random events during the series. Sure, I like randomness, as long as it’s kept to a certain level, but since these random events n-e-v-e-r have anything to do with the actual story going on, they’re just stupid and unnecessary.
I will not recommend this series to anyone. Do yourself a favor, and stay away from this, unless that you really like the things I hated with this series.
I hope you found my review helpful, and if you didn’t, please tell me why, so I can improve myself until next time.
What the MAL description fails to convey is that the show is really just ten episodes of following a trio of dysfunctional people on a journey. It definitely suffers from a lack of plot, but it redeems itself because dysfunctional people on a semi-random journey can be really funny (the reason I stuck with it and suggest you do as well).
The journey has some vauge goals like revenge or finding something, but the goals are not the focus of the show – not that there is a focus to it aside from the before mentioned journey and the people who are on it. The themes of the episodes are to repetitive – just variations on Rahzel seeing and child in need and saving him/her with the help of Alzeid and Heat again and again and again. The story is poorly developed and ends up being disjointed – partly because it is so episodic. Many good shows are episodic in nature, but in this one the individual episodes rarely connected to each other at all and there is no transition between them e.g. random.This lack of buildup leaves the show with very little tension and almost no climax. Major parts of the story are never explained (for example how or why people can use magic is never addressed), although I assume the manga which I haven’t read contains more detailed explanations. The show proceeds as if there is no gaping hole and you have the needed information to understand what’s going on which makes it rather confusing at points. Several times I was left wondering either what the heck is going on or why on earth would this be happening.
The characters are amusing if not not well developed, and their banter will keep you laughing. Rahzel comes dangerously close to just being annoying -privileged 14 year old girl need I say more (?), but stays on the likable side by a small margin. Alzeid is a pretty great character, and really adds to the humor. The dialog is pretty fast paced and witty which is the biggest redeeming quality of the show. The lack of charter development is a little problematic, but somehow it mostly makes them seem disgruntled which adds to the humor of the show.The people introduced in each episode mostly do not have any real connection to the main characters and are only occasionally used to illuminate something about the main characters past, so in the end you have a random assortment of people who have not contributed to the plot. You find out very little about the main charters’ pasts or even why they are traveling together which is kind of ridiculous.
As far as the art and music is concerned it’s nothing special but overall not bad. The character designs are fairly generic and a little goofy. The op and ed are pretty bad.
While the lack of explanation and development of the plot (if you want to argue there is one) can be frustrating, I still enjoyed the show mainly for its humor and wit. It’s kind of a silly anime but may prove to be a fun watch.
27: Saiyuuki Reload Blast
English: Saiyuki Reload Blast
Japanese: 最遊記RELOAD BLAST
MAL Score: 7.21
At last, the Sanzou Party has arrived in India. In this foreign land, where the anomaly’s influence runs rampant, their battles only heighten in their violence.
And also awaiting them is their tragic fate from 500 years ago—
What will they find at the end of their long and treacherous journey?
I thought the story was simple enough so that even a newcomer wouldn’t feel too lost. I also appreciate the fact that some episodes were set aside to animate some parts from earlier on in the series which gave some backstory to the main characters. The art was very good and the animation was good although the way the show went about using it’s animation style made me feel like if maybe there was a limited budget available and they had to find ways to be clever with how they animated the fight scenes. The characters are very likable even though personally I don’t have much of an attachment to them. Most of negative experience from watching Saiyuuki Reload Blast comes from the fact that trying to get through the episodes sometimes felt like a chore. This isn’t really too much a fault of the show and I’d want to blame it on me being a newcomer. Even if I were to take away that fact, it would not have been enough to bump up the score too much higher than what it already is.
I’ll conclude by saying that watching Saiyuuki Reload Blast was a nice experience as a newcomer and I’d recommend it to other newcomers as well. Maybe if you really enjoyed it, consider giving the manga or the older anime seasons a chance.
I kinda feel bad that only a few enjoys this 3rd…or 4th sequel of Saiyuki, is it because there is no fanservice around? Is it because, there is no school uniform girls or young girls around? Is it because, there is no romance around????IMAO, I guess people just don’t know when there is a good anime around, and since there is a saying among them rednecks in the south that anything taste better when fried, here anything looks good if there were young girls involves, and Sharak in a bikini just wouldn’t cut it, tsk, tsk,tsk, tsk…..
Story, Good 7.
It maybe the continuation of the Sanzo party to stop some sort of experiment, but then again , it was actually good that such sequel did happen. ok so there were some episode where there is a rerun of an OVA “Saiyuki Gaiden” you can’t deny as how such rerun inclusion have added something to this sequel.
Art. Mediocre 5.
Ok, so the art was simply where the party continues from where “Saiyuki Reload” ended.
Sound, Good 7.
Ok, so it was the same male seiyu’s who did the cast of Sanzo Party, and yes they’re on the mature side, what do you expect? The score was for the opening theme.
Character, good 7.
Ok so it’s the same Sanzo Genjo who smokes like a chimmy and drinks like a well, and has the patience’s of a water heater that can blow up anytime, and shoot anybody who he sees like Gouyjo, Hakkai Cho who is the party’s peace maker and mediator , Gouyjo Sha who is always the palyer , the party asshole and Sanzo’s live target practice and Goku, who serves as the party’s go to yokai for Sanzo and Gouyjo to take a swipe on……..well regardless of it their petty quarrel often have a comedic purpose, but there were some development when Kougayjin dies in the hands of Nataku and that’s one main villain out, so it’s all good.
Enjoyment, Good 7.
When I last watch the last episode of Saiyuki Reload, I waskinda hoping for another sequel , and it did came….thought it took a little longer, but anyways it’s over so……….
Overall, Very Good 8.
It deserves another sequel, and **********, pardon my French, those who doesn’t see this as good, cu’z there is no hot young girls in school uniform in it……….
This anime was such a treat for me! The first two episodes had a pretty good start with the guys just being badass but super goofy at the same time. The punchline was pretty good and I was laughing all the way. Then, the upcoming episodes shifted into a more serious tone where we have the lore of our four main characters. I personally find this is a good attempt of a recap for newcomers to know more about the guys but still, I highly recommend you to watch the very first season. It spans about 50 episodes but I assure you, it will flew by quickly and by the time you’re finished with it, you’ll have a pretty good grasp on the charm of this series and its amazing characters.
Unfortunately, this latest season covers only one arc as there are not enough material from the manga that they can use due to its inconsistent releases because of the author’s health. Look it up on Google. She seriously went through a lot! At one point, I almost thought that she was gonna abandon the series because she wasn’t able to use her hand at one point.
BUT she managed to get back up and started drawing again and you can feel the same fighting spirits resonate with the characters as well. It’s quite inspiring!
Animation wise, you can tell that there’s some constraints as they had to use a lot of shaky camera movements during the fight scenes but it was still pretty decent and doesn’t affect the flow at all. The blood splattering on the screen was quite a nice touch too.
Art is pretty good and mostly consistent considering how intricate Minekura-sensei’s line is. I think the designer did a pretty good job keeping it as close as possible to the manga work. I noticed that they used a lot of orange and brown hue in most scenes which gives out a rustic feel that definitely fit the vibe of the characters and the overall premise.
Sound-wise, nothing worth noting other than the OP and the ED that are definitely meant for this series. Anything sung by GRANRODEO are definitely hype-worthy and it does a pretty good job to make the viewer excited. The ED was surprisingly good as well. The rock vibe and the slightly rough but clear tone from the vocal was nice to listen to after every episode ends. The VAs for the four MCs are amazing as always and really brings the character to life. Their monologues especially will immediately put you in their shoes and successfully build the empathy for the characters.
The characters are the biggest drawer of the series. I love how each character has their eccentric traits that are polar opposites of each other and yet their friendship and chemistry still remains tight. Surprisingly, this season also features a well-rounded side characters who actually play a bigger role in the overall arc instead of just being the igniter for the plot to move.
Overall, I really enjoyed Saiyuki Reload Blast. As a fan, it had things that I’ve been missing out from a long time ago. Characters that you can laugh and empathize with, backstory that will bring tears to your eyes, OP and ED you can sing along and fanservice that you can enjoy. While it may not gain the popularity of how the current generation of anime fans work right now, it certainly holds a special place to its fan.
MAL Score: 7.22
Barsburg Empire’s Military Academy is known for training elites who bring victory to the empire. Students of the academy freely utilize an ability called “Zaiphon” to fight, while the types of Zaiphon usable depends on the nature of the soldier.
Teito Klein, a student at the academy, is one of the most promising soldiers produced. Although ridiculed by everyone for being a sklave (German for slave) with no memories of his past, he is befriended by a fellow student called Mikage. While preparing for the final exam, Teito uncovers a dark secret related to his past. When an attempt to assassinate Ayanami, a high-ranking official who killed his father, fails, Teito is locked away awaiting punishment.
Only wanting the best for Teito, Mikage helps him escape. Teito ends up at the 7th District Church where he is taken in by the bishops. It is here that Teito attempts to evade the grasp of Ayanami and the Military, so he can rediscover his memories and learn why he is the person that can change the fate of the world.
STORY 7/10- The best way to define the story is “not bad”. It’s a fairly interesting story about friendship and vengeance, and had it’s fair share of comedy and touchy moments which are the kind of things I personally like in an anime. Even though I watched the show from the first day of broadcast (which I mentioned before was roughly six months ago) it didn’t seem like that long ago that I started. I believe the sole reason to be the fact that 95% of the story took place in one geographical area. I wouldn’t say this is good or bad, but definitely interesting.
ART 10/10- Amazing. State of the art animation, taken to it’s full potential. The most notable example would be right when the opening credits start after the preview where there’s a beautiful aerial shot of the church with a glaring sun in the background. Absolutely breathtaking.
SOUND 11/10- That’s right… 11 (for the sake of the review since I can’t actually select the number 11 for this category) I speak mostly for the music. Great songs for the OP/ED credits. What gives this category an 11 is the amazing orchestral background music throughout the anime and the beautiful insert in the end. The sound fx were great, very fitting with all the magic and the like going on.
CHARACTER 8/10- The characters were very like-able, though we never really find out too much about them save for the main character and one other character. Personally I thought they were all “cool”, even the bad guy was pretty “cool” and their powers were “cool”. One interesting thing to note was that there weren’t any important female characters. Just a cute trio of nuns we see from time to time and a mermaid. As a guy I do enjoy having cute and attractive girl characters play a role in the main plot, but I will give this anime a plus for being enjoyable without me even actually noticing the lack of a strong female character. (I noticed only after finishing the anime, in which I read a few explicit comments from the other reviews)
ENJOYMENT 9/10- I truly truly enjoyed this anime. Very pleasing to the eyes and ears, touchy moments and a “not bad” story. As I said before I looked forward to it every week and I also look forward to a second season.
Overall I give it a 9, deducting 1 point for the lack of that masterpiece story-line. For those who haven’t watched it and those who may have only watched 1 or 2 episodes, I will admit that it takes a little while to “get good”. Hang in there and you won’t regret it : )
Sound: The sound was probably what I liked the most. It had a good opening and ending theme song, especially how they executed it. However, some of the voicing was bad, like the girl who was possessed by a Kor. Also, when a sword or sythe slashes someone, they block the sound of the slash or something. It reminds me of Hitman Reborn of them punching someone without the punching noises.
Character: The characters were mostly good. I love the art for most of them. I must say the three bishops, Castor, Labrador and Frau were the best and most interesting characters. They were well drawn, and kept a cool character image. Teito was an average character. He didn’t really pique my interest in as a character. Just a below average main character, like Sawada from Hitman Reborn (This series reminds me a lot of Hitman Reborn). Although I must admit he does grow as a character, but it took him a long time that it makes me angry sometimes. This whole story is basically based on his growth, and it was really just him basically getting rid of his hatred and turning it into the will to protect. They made the antagonists look really badass too, which is a good redeemable feature.
Story: The story, was awfully slow. They kept repeating the same concept over and the episode would only move forward by an inch. There was no climax to anything. Teito is just so indecisive that it makes the story not go forward. I mean they spent like an episode of him trying to figure out if he should trust the church or not. He should read Bloody Monday and that’ll show him that he’s got it nice with the trusting. Then there is all these flashbacks. Some were really repetitive and really out of placed. Not to mention the locked memories part. Then there is the whole point of throwing out a lot of questions out, and receiving very little to no answers at all. I can kind of piece things together, but nothing is ever made explicit. This whole story seems to be only focused on Teito’s development, and it wasn’t very interesting to see. He keeps asking stupid questions like, “do you remember the 7 light” to Hakuren. OF COURSE HE DOES, he’s a priest, trying to be a bishop. Instead of wasting your time asking stupid stuff, why not you just go and move on. Also, most of his actions are contradictory. One second he wants to seek revenge, the other he tells he shouldn’t because Mikage told him not to.
Enjoyment Factor: Enjoyment was pretty nice, but also made me frustrated with Teito. It was a good series, actually, it had the potential to be. Maybe showing more of the 7 ghosts would be good. I gave it such a low rank because there was just so many fails in this series that I can’t give it a good score. I came in with high hopes, and came out with a disappointment. What really pisses me off is the action scenes. They were horrible. This series is more of a story type, but that fails, so while looking for something to make up for it, I looked at their actions. I looked at the wrong place because they were horrid. They were as bad as the play the three nuns did during the bazaar. Although I must admit, I like the way they ended the series. Left out a big open to season 2. Hopefully they’ll do much better.
Note: This was a shoujo series, so I guess I shouldn’t expect much about the action, although they should of done a much better job in the plot.
Story (7/10) – The plot is alright, in my opinion. It is a bit slow (there are quite a few episodes with Teito moping around feeling sorry for himself) but it is sound. It has it’s funny moments, and the scenes just make you want to go “awww”. There’s also a few sad moments which I know I went through a few tissue boxes whilst watching.
There’s not many confrontations between the ‘good’ side and the ‘bad’ side. Ayanami prefers to send his lowly minions after Teito rather then go after him himself. The few times they do confront, well you’ll see for youself why I was disappointed with it.
The ending of the anime is very open-ended, there are still a lot of loose ties that have yet to be resolved, yet I’m oddly satisfied with it. We get to see a montage of the previous episodes and it serves as a reminder of how much Teito has grown and mature during the course of the anime. It is hard to put into words, but I was happy with the ending. That said, I wouldn’t mind a second season.
Art (10/10) – The art has got to be the best things about this anime. It is one of the reasons I’ll watch the anime over and over again. The characters are absolutely gorgeous and well drawn, as are their ‘chibi’ forms (I think that’s what they’re called? But it’s when the characters are doing something funny, the art style changes a little?)
The setting, don’t get me started. The setting is amazing, you don’t see many religious settings in anime, but this one is centred around a church and is beautifully depicted. You won’t be disappointed.
Sound (10/10) – The soundtrack is a delight to listen to. I especially like the starting theme (Aka no Kakera by Yuki Suzuki) and the ending theme (Hitomi no Kotae by Noria) and the instrumental pieces are pretty good as well, it goes hand in hand with the anime. There’s also a scene where Teito sings the Raggs Requiem (Rags no Chinkonka, also by Noria) which I loved.
Character (7/10) – I love the character development for Teito! It is particulary interesting watching Teito transist from a military soldier to a bishop in training. There is a bit of BL, meaning brotherly love, not boy’s love! lol. Though if you do like shounen-ai, there are some undertones of it, the cast is predominantly male after all! Seriously, there is only a minor few female roles (the sisters and Raziel (sp?)) and they don’t really do much.
The cast of characters is quite interesting though, ranging from the badass perverted bishop (Frau) and other equally strange bishops, to the cheerful best friend who would do anything for the main character (Mikage), to hot-in-uniform bad guys *drool*. I personally would have loved them all the more if there was more background story to some of the more major characters though, especially the Ghosts. I was really interested in them and was disappointed when not much was revealed by the end of the anime 🙁 It’s one of the reasons why this section lost points.
Enjoyment (9/10) – I really loved this anime, and I’ve re-watched it quite a few times without losing interest. Although the plot is quite serious, there are quite a few funny moments which were further enhanced by the chibi-fying of the characters and is quite entertaining XD If there was an emotional equivalent of a colour palette, then 07 Ghost would envoke the whole spectrum. Laugh, cry, anger, despair, hate, joy, love, acceptence. It really is an emotional rollercoaster which I love in an anime.
I know 07 Ghost may not be for everyone, it is more of a shoujo-orientated anime after all and with a slow-moving plot that may be tedious for some. It is worth giving a try though, who knows? Maybe you will enjoy it. I managed to convince a few hesitent friends to watch it, and they really liked it in the end 🙂 If you do finish watching the anime, then I very much recommend you go read the manga as well.
Recommended Watching: Pandora Hearts, Kuroshitsuji
Well… yeah. Enjoy if you do try it out, and let’s hope for a second season soon.
25: Petshop of Horrors
English: Pet Shop of Horrors
Japanese: Pet Shop of Horrors (ペットショップ オブ ホラーズ)
MAL Score: 7.26
Count D, a quite interesting pet shop owner from an area called Chinatown, sells rare and hard to come by pets to people longing for something special, but with each sale comes a contract. If the rules of the contract are followed, everything goes fine, but if someone should break the rules of the contract, the pet shop cannot be held responsible for anything unfortunate that might happen. Leon Orcot, a homicide detective, has linked many odd and unexplainable deaths together; they all were customers of Count D’s pet shop, and he intends to find out why.
It doesn’t compare to the actual manga, but the chapters selected for the anime are the more interesting. Though there are two main characters, count D (do not mistake him for Dracula) and detective Leon Orcot (those two have a really funny love/hate relationship), the real characters are those involved with the story of each episode.
Each episode has a different story line, they may be short but are profound and always giving a message at the end. It’s a dark and full of mystery anime, but the stories provide a positive impact.
The technical features may no be great (animation, sound) but are well done and I think it should be continued.
Each episode can be watched without having any background knowledge of the series, as they are all their own story, similar to anime such as pokemon were it is easy to jump in at any point in the series. However, this is also a drawback, as were there should be a pause to explain something further or in more detail, the show chugs along over it, crossing its fingers and hoping that the audience will understand.
As dark anime go, Pet Shop of Horror doesn’t necessarily have a unique concept, but the overall story is unique. It’s easy to become lost in the episodes, which provide a unique "this-could-really-happen" sense that few others manage to achieve.
The animation leaves something to be desired, however, with even the Japanese, English-subbed version looking like a terrible American dub. The background music is interesting, but the anime also keeps things quiet were there should be ambient noise such as birds, cars, even the wind.
Character development is limited, but as the series is so short it’s not so much that they didn’t bother, its that there simply isn’t enough time to get to know the characters and watch them grow.
Overall, if you watch anime for the music or animation then this isn’t for you. Fans of the manga, be prepared as these episodes are based almost word-for-word on stories from the first three volumes.
The 4 stories are connected are by a petshop that secretly deals in strange creatures that come with a set of rules that the owner must follow… or the shop will not be held accountable for what happens to them. Yeah, this sounds a lot like Gremlins now (the shop is even in Chinatown), but it works well as a set up for the stories. The costumers of the shop include A mother and Father who have recently lost their daughter; a man whose wife had died on their wedding day; an actor down on his luck; and the campaign manager of an aspiring politician. All of them have issues that come to light when they bring their new pets home. There is also a little extra continuity tossed in with a detective who is suspicious of the petshop and is constantly at odds with its owner, Count D.
The first two stories unfold like like a mystery. In both cases the shop’s costumer has suffered a loss of a loved one, but there is more to it than just that. There are circumstances behind the loved ones’ deaths that are revealed as the story unfolds, which lead up to the parables’ morals and, in both cases, grisly conclusions. The third plays out more like an inevitable tragedy with a cynical bit of irony at the end. The forth tale is by far the strangest, as we watch one of the character’s desires being played out in a somewhat perverse way at the end. The show takes from both eastern and western mythologies for its supernatural elements, involving creatures such as mermaids, medusa, and kirin; which of course act as the catalyst of the story. Each story has interesting themes and is well paced, making the best of the time it has.
This is not to say everything about this show is good, it certainly has some big shortcomings. The first of which is rather obvious, its length. With the show being only four episodes long it does not have the luxury to cover the wide array of topics a longer anthology could, and is consequently less impacting. There is also the issue with the stories themselves. It is true that they do work well as parables, but they have little to no subtly. The characters are fairly one dimensional (though not necessarily uncompelling) mostly there just to make a point. The delivery of the messages is pretty heavy handed, cut and dry with little left to think on. Finally, there is that little bit of continuity with detective Leon Orcot (I did not name him earlier) and Count D, which unfortunately goes nowhere. Neither character has any meaningful development, and only serve the role of someone for the viewer to follow from episode to episode, and say the moral of the parable out loud.
On the techinical side of things, Petshop of Horror is heavy with creepy atmosphere. The color pallet aims for both ominous and mystifying, and fulfills its role quite well. Character designs are fairly typical of 90’s anime, though Count D and the ‘pets’ he sells look quite striking. Backgrounds aren’t anything special, but get the job done. Honestly, the show looks best when it is being mystical and creepy; the opening scene with the tiger painting or the climax of any of the stories will attest to that. The music also goes for the spooky vibe, and while not anything special on its own, works well with the visuals and story to create an ominous atmosphere. One example of this is the insert song in the second episode, which is not particularly good, but is memorable because it was used to great effect.
While not amongst the elite of its kind, Petshop of Horrors is certainly worth the small amount of time it takes up. Its stories are uniformly good, and have some interesting ideas which at the very least might make for good conversation material. If you are in the mood for something short, spooky, and just a tad thoughtful, then I recommend picking up this OVA.
24: Natsuyuki Rendezvous
English: Natsuyuki Rendezvous
MAL Score: 7.28
Ryousuke Hazuki is a young man whose heart has been stolen away, stopping by the local floral shop daily in order to catch a glimpse of the beautiful Rokka Shimao, the shop’s owner. In hopes of getting close to her, he decides to get a part-time job at the shop, but before he is able to make his move, he runs into a major roadblock: in her apartment dwells a ghost who claims to be Rokka’s deceased husband.
Atsushi Shimao has quietly watched over his widowed wife ever since he passed three years ago. However, Hazuki is the first person to ever notice him, and the two quickly find themselves at odds: the jealous Shimao attempts to thwart the suitor’s advances and possess his body, while Hazuki simply wants the ghost to pass on for good, allowing Rokka to move on from the past and him to be with the one he loves. As both men refuse to let go of their desires, an unusual relationship forms between a troubled woman, an unrelenting ghost, and a stubborn man in love.
In a nutshell, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a rare romantic josei series presented by Noitamina. In fact, Noitamina is known to present all sorts of unique and strange series that expands beyond the typical male audience such as the original [C], the musical Nodame Cantabile, the horror Shiki, and the ghostly story of Anohana. Ah yes, speaking of ghost stories, that brings us to Natsuyuki Rendezvous.
The series has three main characters. First, there’s a delicate flower named Rokka Shimao who owns a flower shop. She is the manager but more importantly, the widow of the deceased husband of Atsushi Shimao. Then, there’s Ryousuke Hazuki who has poor eye sight but knows a delicate flower when he sees one. As one might expect from the pilot episode, he is in love with the flower manager. Last but certainly not least is Atsushi Shimao. He is a ghost who has been haunting the flower shop, or more specifically his wife for the past three years. Talk about stalking on a whole new level.
Three main characters, two of them guys and one of them a gentle flower. What do we get? Well, by common anime logic, a love triangle obviously. It’s quite a peculiar love triangle too especially with the given circumstances. Rokka still grieves for the ghostly husband that have continued to haunt her for the past three years without her knowledge. Shimao is there but unable to cope with his former wife either mentally or physically. Hazuki-kun is trying to get the attention of his dream girl but can’t seem to do so with his conflicted ideology.
Now, pause and stop reading this review. Do you still want to continue watching the series? That’s a tough question to ask especially in the beginning since there’s already conflict and animosity between the two main male characters. Ah, love is so damn complicated.
At any rate, this series is lighthearted and presents romance in a more realistic as well as naturalistic way despite the supernatural theme added in. But the real challenge is, can Hazuki-kun flower the pot? It’s hard to say especially with interference from a certain ghostly someone. That being, the troll husband Shimao. But more than that, this series seems to have a rather slow pace especially in some of the later episodes. A slow paced romance series is never good especially fans into more intense drama. Bring on the intensity? No. It’s more like bring on the slice-of-life feel. So, anyone looking forward to some intense drama in this series might be disappointed.
Despite this though, I do find some aspects of the series to be well executed. The rivalry between Hazuki-kun and ghost Shimao is a dynamic focus in the series. They are like eternal rivals, like cat and mouse, like mongoose and cobra, like ying and yang. Without them, this series would probably make you fall asleep. But with them, realism and amusing twists in the form of supernatural romance comedy is bought forth into the eyes of the viewers presented courtesy of Noitamina.
As being a josei anime, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is crafted out of simple artwork that is expressive and naturalistic like the plants of the flower shop. Life is natural and so is love, so why shouldn’t the artwork be of the same? The beautiful flora backgrounds and some of the key visuals maintains that josei and lighthearted feeling that defines the rhythm of the series.
Speaking of rhythm, the music seems to continue with that in the form of a lighthearted soundtrack. The opening song, “See You” by Yuya Matsushita is sung softly but with empathy and with feeling. It presents some of the characters and their ways of struggle in not only life but also in death. The title of the song serves as a form of symbolism as Shimao sees Rokka every day but seems so far away. He’s dead but still can’t seem to move on to the afterlife to enjoy his days.
In the end, we should look ourselves and treasure every day we breathe in and out. Losing a loved one is never ever easy, more so in this series as the person you once knew still continues to stand besides you but seems so far away. People views it in different ways. Some shed endless tears. Some tries to move on like in Rokka but continues to struggle every day. And some just moves on flawlessly. What binds this emotion is once again the four letter forbidden word, “love”. It might seem normal but not in the case of Natsuyuki Rendezvous as love binds the ghost of tomorrow in the form of Shimao. Love here, love there, but will a viewer love this series?
To me, this series can be enjoyable at a realistic level. It has the soft rhythm and slow pace that can be relaxing to watch. And of course, being dual tagged as supernatural and josei is quite a rare case in today’s anime series. Most cases you see these days are series tagged “action, romance”, “ecchi, romance”, “horror, romance”, “school, romance”, dot dot dot. Along with that, lighthearted soundtrack and the simple yet realistic artwork defines Natsuyuki Rendezvous at its finest form. Despite this though, there are flaws in this series. The pacing, conclusion, and focus are a few to name. Along with that, it’s painful to watch Hazuki-kun struggle on in the subsequent episodes that may make us facepalm ourselves a few times. But, I hope you don’t facepalm yourself and enjoy this series.
All in all, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is an anime that is difficult to be loved. Yet, it has its moments that are enjoyable. Being a ghost is never easy but love is just so damn complicated.
Till death do you part?
A many handful of religions and beliefs in this world have people under different impressions of the dead. Some believe the dead come back to the world while others believe the dead stay amongst’ us due to unjustified deaths or unfinished life works.
The love triangle of Natsuyuki Rendevous left me with a feeling somewhat disappointed, not because of the story, but because of slow progression and lack of fill.
The major problem I saw with the story was how the writers invested so much time into the Shimao and Hazuki body swaps. The first few episodes were fair, but after that everything went downhill filling viewers minds with a fairy book world and little real world interaction. Even based on the dialog the ending was predictable, and I wasn’t even the least bit surprised with Shimao not moving on. The tales of Thumbelina and The Mermaid could have been summed up into a couple episodes without killing half the series. Getting Hazuki to realize how much he wanted “The Manager” could have been done without useless information.
I wasn’t too fond of any of the characters. To me, if you believe that you see the dead or follow acts of spirit possession you should be locked up with the white suits. These three were generally cute as you might call it. I feel Hazuki could have confessed much easier without seeming like a stalker however and by stalker I mean being everywhere possible where Rokka was.
The animation was really the only strong point for me, I wasn’t happy with the way everything else went. Im a huge fan of non norm animation styles and colorful representations. While not liking what I call the “Fairy-tale Book” arc I kept going because the colorful representations. But josei and shoujo animators aren’t far off, the demographic isn’t that wide. Typically you see big and bright eyes and over exaggerations of what women should look like in both josei and shoujo genres. On the other side of genders its usually pretty boys.
I have nothing particular to say about the opening and ending themes. They were performed very well, I tend to skip both in everything I watch, I’m just not a fan.
Unfortunately, I lost interest mid way though, I really only found enjoyment out of the first few episodes and Natsuyuki Rendevous ended up being a disappointment.
Sure, it may say romance in the tags. It may be a josei. It may even be billed by the creators themselves as a romantic story. But the way I see it, this series is simply not meant to be a traditional romance, regardless of how it’s being sold.
Natsuyuki Rendezvous, simply put, is a story about life and death. Love is used as a theme in order to make the story more understandable and easy to relate to, but at its core this anime focuses on the aspects of living and dying and loving while living and dying more than anything else.
Although it’s easy to interpret this series as the love story between two characters, Hazuki and Rokka, I tend to believe that it is actually more about Shimao and Rokka and their relationship before and after Shimao’s death. After all, there are probably more flashbacks shown of Shimao and Rokka’s life together than of Hazuki trying to woo Rokka, or even of Hazuki and Rokka spending any time together. When you see this anime as Hazuki’s story; told from Hazuki’s perspective, it becomes very confusing and at times, uninspired. But it’s when you see this as being told from Shimao’s point of view that everything begins to make sense. Hazuki is simply the catalyst; Shimao is the one this series really revolves around.
Which brings me to the main point of my review.
At first glance, Shimao is an easy character to dislike, or even hate. He seems selfish and spiteful, only hell-bent on keeping Rokka to himself even after he has died. However, if one looks deeper, Shimao becomes quite complex. No one could possibly know what it feels like to be dead, yet able to watch over the one you love. “Out of sight, out of mind” would probably be the concept one would fear most in a situation like this, yet Shimao refuses to give up on Rokka. This determination comes not out of selfishness, but deep, unconditional, perhaps even irrational love. It’s love that made Shimao a little selfish, a little crazy, and a little possessive. But it’s also love that made Shimao able to set Rokka free in the end.
Rokka is innocent and naive, not like a child, but in the way that only a young woman who has already gone through so much pain can possibly be. In many ways, the world of love is completely foreign to her. Shimao was like her other half, and they fit together so perfectly and naturally that Rokka wasn’t even aware of what they had was half the time. When Hazuki enters her life, Rokka is so unaccustomed to being sought after that she continues to reject his advances, even after she knows she has fallen for him.
And finally, Hazuki, the catalyst. In many ways, Hazuki is not the idealized character we’ve come to expect in romances. But then again, as I mentioned, this really wasn’t a romance in the first place. Hazuki represents a symbol of new found hope in Rokka’s life. He’s rough and unpolished, but he’s enough to make her happy again. In my opinion, Hazuki would never replace Shimao completely in Rokka’s heart. Yes, Rokka loves him and cares for him deeply, but he will forever be the reason Rokka was finally able to move past the pain of losing her true love. Hazuki is the catalyst to repairing and concluding the relationship between Rokka and Shimao, and in many ways he “saves” Rokka from despairing for the rest of her life. But he isn’t the one who was able to set Rokka “free”. Only Shimao had that power, and when he finally uses it, Hazuki is able to support Rokka and get her back on her feet.
What happens after we die? Do we simply close our eyes for the last time and slumber dreamlessly for eternity? Or will we come back to watch over the ones we love? What if the ones we love cannot move past our death? And what if we’re the ones who cannot move past our own death?
At the end of the day, those are the questions Natsuyuki Rendezvous tries to answer. It doesn’t do this perfectly, nor is it without some flaws. But I’ll affirm wholeheartedly that this series made me cry. It made me rethink the meaning of life and death, and life after death.
And perhaps, it also made me wonder about *love* after death.
23: Ristorante Paradiso
English: Ristorante Paradiso
MAL Score: 7.35
When Nicoletta was a little girl, her mother, Olga, abandoned her and ran off to Rome to remarry. Now, 15 years later and a young woman, she travels to Rome with the intention of ruining her mother’s life. She tracks Olga down to a restaurant called Casetta dell’Orso, but the second Nicoletta steps through its door, everything changes. It’s a peculiar place staffed entirely by mature gentlemen wearing spectacles, and like their clientele, she is helpless against their wise smiles and warm voices. Before Nicoletta realizes it, her plans for vengeance start to fade, and she’s swept up in the sweet romance of everyday Italian life.
(Source: Right Stuf)
Anyway, if you don’t like slow-paced, quiet shows, and dislike works without much action, then Ristorante Paradiso will surely disappoint you. It’s a story for people who like the quieter, more peaceful side of life and anime.
Ristorante Paradiso is all about a restaurant, somewhere in Rome, with its employess consisting of lots of aged men with glasses. Then, enter Nicoletta into the picture, and the restaurant’s never the same again. Don’t get me wrong though. The show has this quiet atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re at the restaurant as well, eating its delicious delicacies.
Old people ahoy! The anime’s full of the art consisting of old people’s faces. It defies the usual standard that you need a sexy/moe/whatever type of character design for the anime to work. Anyway, the art is okay, with its dreamy-like colors and all. But the food! They drew it well!
Listen to the opening song and agree with me: the music is well-thought of. It meshed well with the overall theme of the anime: slow-paced slice-of-life. The background music gets it right with the scenes.
Ristorante Paradiso’s working point is its characters. Each one of them (from the weird Gigi to the old Luciano) has a story of their own, and it worked well with the overall feel. From the beginning, you’d wonder what kind of people works at the restaurant; don’t worry, everyone will be focused on.
I really enjoyed watching this. The combination of the setting (Rome), characters, and good food, makes this show worthwhile. But, as I’ve said, it’s for people who enjoys quiet anime, so it really depends on your preference if you’ll enjoy this or not.
Can’t say much more; it made my day. Imperfect, yes, but it is a worthy slice-of-life anime, so go try it. Contrary to the common belief, it’s not shoujo; it’s josei, intended for an older, more mature audience. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but you’ll appreciate it more if you’re old enough to understand how elder people’s minds works. And, this anime’s not limited to women. Men can appreciate it as well.
This is not a anime for people who like fast paced action in my opinion, but instead made for simple relaxation and enjoyment.
You learn about the characters as the story continues, and through multiple stories, a bigger picture is created.
I would say that this anime is either a hit or miss with people, ya love it or ya don’t.
To all people out their though I would say to most certainly give this anime a try.
For 11 episodes I was completely satisfied, except for the never ending wish for more.
This anime is for both males and females a like, I don’t believe one group would prefer it over another, its an acquired taste tbh.
The plot revolves around a group of older looking men, who work at a restaurant called “Casetta Dell’orso”. Each worker wears eye glasses when they are on duty. And this in fact is what makes the restaurant stand out from the others in Rome. One day the staff gets greeted by a women from America, who in turn comes to them wanting to train with the crew. As the anime progresses, each member of the cast is brought in the spotlight, and gets there own in depth story as to how they ended up working there, along with other interesting tid-bits. It does stay linear in this aspect, but brings so many different unique twists on everyone’s story, that most shouldn’t mind this fact. Now because this anime is more of a slow paced down to earth story, everything in it’s plot is very realistic. And a lot of the drama that is brought to the table comes in the form of relationships, complicated family issues, to mixed feeling among characters. All of this is knitted very well together to make quite a compelling and deep storyline. Even though Nicolette is the main character of the story, they all get well balanced scenes, which is good as there is nobody in this that will ever leave the viewer with a big black question mark as to who they are. So be prepared for lots of dialog in this. Now not everything in this will please viewers. As mentioned earlier, the story is quite slow paced, and there really is no over all big plot to this anime. Simply put, it’s a story about life in a restaurant, and I actually found it quite dissapointing that the restaurant theme wasn’t used to it’s fullest. So don’t expect to get any kind of explanation as to how certain dishes are prepared, as the story is more character driven than anything else. Which isn’t a bad thing really, since they really do turn out to be the backbone of this anime. The ending is quite fitting, and should satisfy most.
Regarding possible offensive material. Ristorante Paradiso contains very little in this aspect. There are occasional suggestive situations, but they are done in a quite tasteful manner, never for show. The only thing I would say that some viewers might find a bit disturbing, is that the main lead female Nicoletta, shows attraction to men that are old enough to be her father.
The music track really shines in this. You get the traditional tracks one would hear if they were in Paris, Italy and of course…Rome. The opening theme is quite relaxing, as is the ending theme, and actually does mix well with it’s environment’s theme. Voice acting is also quite good. All character voice are done with maturity and calm, and really do bring the characters to life. Overall, it’s quite an endearing soundtrack.
This was the only real thing I didn’t like about the anime, it just didn’t feel like the animation was up to par regarding what it could have been. Quite a bit of the color scheme is pretty bland at times. Some may argue that it was done purposely in order to create a certain style to the anime. Regardless though, it still has a nice amount of detail to it. Case in point: being that the cast is of different style ages right? And the artists really worked over time to make sure that the characters looked their appropriate age. All the male characters look like they really are in their 40s and 50s. While others, such as Nicolette, appear to be in their 20’s. So while the animation is by no means pushing any boundaries, it’s still nice to look at, and detailed in the places you would want it to be..
As mentioned earlier, each member gets his or her own spotlighted episode. Considering that this is only an 11 episode series, you wouldn’t expect this to have much depth to it. Surprisingly though it does, and the best compliment I can give the cast, is that you really are able to get into their heads, and with many you can even read their thoughts. They have a good amount of layers to their personality, and you will want to push on in the show just to see why a certain character acts a certain way, as little tid-bits are explained as things progress. There was one draw back to this category though, and that comes in the form of Nicolette herself. At the beginning I was expecting her to really develop over the course of the series, and while she did have a bit of development to her, it really wasn’t much. As she tended to just remain in the background “observing” the other cast of character’s lives, and ended up feeling more like a prop to the series. Even still, a wonderful memorable cast that feel interesting, yet down to earth at the same time.
If you are looking for a deep and relaxing slice of life anime with a nice pace to it, then you will enjoy Ristorante Paradiso. While it might disappoint some that were expecting a series that centers around food, it still has a lot to offer the viewer who can appreciate it’s plot and themes. So if you were looking for your next anime entree, then your appetite is about to be fed!
English: Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~
MAL Score: 7.39
In 1864 Japan, a young woman named Chizuru Yukimura is searching for her missing father, Koudou, a doctor by trade whose work often takes him far from home. But with no word from him in months, Chizuru disguises herself as a man and heads to Kyoto in search of him. Attracting the attention of ronin, she tries to hide and ends up witnessing a horrifying sight: the ronin being brutally murdered by crazed white-haired men. In a startling turn of events, members of the Shinsengumi arrive to dispatch the creatures. But Chizuru’s safety doesn’t last long, as this group of men tie her up and take her back to their headquarters, unsure of whether to let her live or silence her permanently.
However, once she reveals the name of her father, the Shinsengumi decide to keep her safe, as they too have been searching for him. But Koudou is more connected to the Shinsengumi than they let on, and soon Chizuru finds herself embroiled in a conflict between the Shinsengumi and their enemies, as well as political tension in Kyoto.
“Hakuouki” is based on a PS2 romance adventure otome game (games targeted toward girls).
The story starts with Yukimura Chizuru, daughter of a doctor in Edo (Tokyo’s old name), arriving Kyoto in search of her father. She is saved by two Shinsengumi members from zombie-like demon, and gets taken into custody. Eventually she gains their trust and helps them out while looking for clues of her father.
Shinsengumi is an organization that actually existed in the late-Edo-period that acted as a ‘special police’ that served to suppress any anti-government movement in Kyoto. The actual organization only existed for less than a decade, but their legacies have been depicted in various novels, movies, and TV doramas that they have become something of a symbol of justice in the Edo-era. The latest Shinsengumi hit has been the NHK Taiga dorama “Shinsengumi!” starring SMAP’s Katori Shingo in 2004. NHK, the government-owned TV station’s Taiga dorama series are known for practically guaranteed 15%+ viewership ratings and A-list actors.
This anime’s events and characters are inspired by the actual Shinsengumi, but the story is completely fictional.
The title “Hakuouki” is a made-up word comprised of kanji “Light-colored Sakura” and “Ogre”. It describes the fictional vampire-like white-haired (light color) undead (Sakura) demons (ogres) in this series. Sakura (Cherry blossoms) symbolizes death or short-lived beauty for the short span in which the pink flowers blossom in spring. (Sakura also symbolizes farewells and new meetings since they bloom during graduation and new school year, which is April in Japan, but that is probably not the case in this series)
Animation in general lacked detail, and characters’ faces were really deformed in some scenes while they were extremely well-drawn in close up and action scenes.
One thing they really succeeded in this show was use of lighting to create mood. From hazy moonlight to orange glow in the daytime to bloody red sunset, the light always seemed to shine from one direction, and matched the atmosphere they were trying to create.
One fatal flaw in the animation… was character design in the sense that they were all too idolized. Sure, all the main characters wore Shinsengumi uniforms with swords around their waist, but all I saw was a bunch of host and a school girl in cosplay. It all comes down to fan service, and they all seemed out of place amid peasants and lowly Shinsengumi members who looked legitimately from the Edo-era.
They even went as far as trying to have Chizuru pass for a boy. I know back in the day, it was unthinkable for a girl to be dressed like a boy, but please, you must be joking.
Main characters looked like hosts, at least they sounded like hosts too. Despite the fact that they were totally out of place, they stayed consistent by speaking modern Japanese the whole way and and all the characters sounded like they should.
Music in slice-of-life scenes had a serene, calming flow that worked very nicely in the background, which intensified in plot twists or confrontations, enhancing drama in every occasion. Powerful drum beats are added in action scenes, which not only fit the era well, but also made them all that more exciting.
Theme songs were ridiculously good for this series. OP song was epic with extremely catchy tune, elegant lyric, and great vocal. Amazing piece of contemporary Jpop-Enka hybrid that really blew me away. ED was pretty good, the somber song worked nicely for this series since many episodes ended with a tragedy. Sound and Marketing department sure have a lot of work ahead of them if they’re to match or surpass the theme song quality and compatibility in season 2.
Before we even get to the story… there was a major problem with power balance in this anime. I can accept Oni villains being insanely strong because they’re not human, but how are some of the Shinsengumi members able to fight almost evenly against them? What’s even more puzzling is that those fighters struggle against lowly samurai when outnumbered. From their performance against the Oni, they should be able to easily defeat 10 minions by themselves.
This leads to the main problem with the story: Irrational character motives and too much sudden story developments between events.
– Oni can so easily penetrate Shinsengumi’s defense, as proven by Kazama and Nagumo. Why didn’t they just come in and kidnap Chizuru anytime they wanted? There was nothing there to stop them from second or third tries after the first attempt failed. (Why did it even take that long to make the first attempt?)
– I didn’t exactly see how Chizuru fell in love with Hijikata. Seemed just like Hijikata was being excessively strict few times, and got persuaded by other members to bend the rules. It was a WTF moment for me when Chizuru started blushing when her twin sister asked her if she’s staying for love.
– Overly gullible characters. Gets tricked so easily by villains and has no self-discipline when given the choice with the elixir. These guys are definitely not leader materials, and it’s a wonder Shinsengumi can last so long with such incompetent commanders.
– You’re trying to kill Chizuru for seeing a classified subject, and the next second, you’re trusting her to send messages in a life-or-death situation.
– Chizuru, do not walk toward vampires when you’re bleeding! Use common sense.
– Chizuru, run when you see danger! You’re helpless, and you staying around is not going to help the injured or dead.
– Chizuru, PLEASE TRY TO ACTIVATE SELF-DEFENSE INSTINCT OF YOUR BRAIN! Help will not always arrive out of blue.
– Hijikata drinking elixir in the last episode came out nowhere. Where did he even get it? And his motive makes no sense, I mean… you’re not human anymore, just because someone (who you knew didn’t kill your best friend) provoked you.
Making a non-cheesy fictional story based on historical events is difficult. Add vampires, Oni, rushed storyline, and this feat becomes practically impossible.
The least they could’ve done was provide more backgrounds to each incident rather than “XXX advanced their troops to Kyoto”, battle scene, “And this will eventually come to be known as Battle of YYY” before jumping to another historical event.
I think they should’ve just used the Edo-era setting with original events rather than try to camouflage an actual event.
The DBZ-style talking during battles, or talking for so long that backup arrive certainly didn’t make the story any more believable.
Another unrealistic jidaigeki, I would have to say this is girl’s version of “Sengoku Basara”. Instead of mindless battles, you have mindless melodrama, which starts to get pretty predictable even without knowledge of Japanese history. In the end, it was a bidanshi cosplay fest, as expected of a shoujo anime. The story jumps from one historical battle to another, it’s easy to tell this is just another “Rurouni Kenshin”-inspired piece that hopped on bandwagon of the latest Shinsengumi craze initiated by the 2004 NHK Taiga dorama.
However, I have to say that the characters are charming as intended, and the Oni villains are cool enough to have me watch this season to the end, and if I have a lot of time to kill, I’ll be able to tolerate another season just to see how bad it gets.
The story evolves around the Shinsengumi, the late Tokugawa Shogunate secret police.
They are followed in their struggle against the changing times where the old samurai ways of fighting and living are replaced by the incursion of western culture.
In Hakuouki the concept of time is well determinate, meaning that events don’t unfold day after day and neither do battles so from that point of view its a plus.
Being a historical inspired tale ensures a certain continuity of the episodes while presenting key elements of that historical period.
I was literally enthralled by the fighting scenes because they aren’t just flashed at great speed and because they add up to the fluidity of the series.
Also they are not displayed in the form of a white cut on a black background all while being dynamic and thrilling.
Artwork is a great combination of lighting and details that not only provides a great enviroment but also presents some of they best made individual characters I have seen in all my time since I started enjoying anime industry.
Characters have their own ideals struggles or rivalries but at times they merge into a single personality, for example when they all gather under one roof. They act according to their traits and each of them is faced with interior problems.
Since the army factor is very relevant to the series, the series display certain scenes that follow the morale of the support cast.
In the end if you enjoy a good action drama and historical tale then Hakuouki is definitely a good choice for you. It is very enjoyable while providing a good image of the events that unfolded during the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate
But before I get into the details about why Hakuouki is horrible, let’s just sum up what Hakuouki is about for those not familiar with the series. The series is introduced with a young “boy” trying to escape from a strange vampire-like demon. At the last minute, “he” is saved by a group of samurai, who then take “him” hostage. As it turns out, the “boy” has seen more than he should have done, and is now being held captive by a large group of suspiciously attractive men. As it also turns out, the boy is named Chizuru and is not a boy, and is a girl disguising as one. If this sounds cliché to you then that’s probably because it is.
As it turns out, Chizuru is looking for her father, a doctor who went missing in Kyoto. Later on, it turns out that her father is involved with the medicine that turns men into the aforementioned vampires that are never once called vampires in spite of being nocturnal creatures once human but now superhuman who lust after human blood.
Now, the biggest problem with Hakuouki is, rather simply, that it is boring. Throughout the entire 12 episodes, the show held my interest for maybe 5 seconds at most. Despite being a show about swordsmen and demons, there is very little action. While a similar statement can be made of Saraiya Goyou, a similarly themed show that aired at the same time, the fact is that while the latter keeps the viewer’s interest with a quirky style, fascinating dialogue, and originality, Hakuouki does nothing of the sort. Hakuouki is rather bland, having no real selling point other than the cast of bishonens. Stylistically, the themes that run through Hakuouki have been done before many times, and better. And the worst complaint that can be said of it is the dialogue. Hakuouki is an adaptation of a visual novel, but it doesn’t seem to understand the “adaptation” part of that. Everything in this show is just talking. The action is almost never focused on, and is completely weightless when it is. The plot has no intrigue or suspense. It is just talking. This could have been forgiveable, but even worse is that the dialogue isn’t even good. It’s just boring and lifeless, and it begs the question of why this was taken from a VN at all when it simply acts exactly like one.
Now, I said before that the selling point of the show is the bishonens, but there’s a problem with that too. As a heterosexual male, I know that I am not the target audience, but there are still some clear problems even taking that into account. For a start, there isn’t a single character in this show with a likeable or memorable character trait. Every single one of them is completely one-dimensional. None of them are developed on, very few of them go through any kind of personal struggle, and at the end of it almost every character is simply forgettable. To make things worse, the character design in Hakuouki is extremely weak. It is often completely impossible to tell one character apart from another, with them all being uniformed, alongside many of them sharing various features with other characters, and combined with my previous complaint it can often make the show confusing out of a lack of basic knowledge for which character is which.
The only character who is actually worth mentioning here is Chizuru, the shoddily disguised centre of our reverse-harem. But don’t mistake my meaning, she is by no means a good character. For the most part, she is only memorable simply for being the only girl. But due to her being in focus, unlike 90% of the cast, she becomes memorable, and her faults become noticeable. For one, she does not help the plot at all for most of the series, except towards the end, in which her only role is to become a living MacGuffin that the enemy forces want. When thrown into combat, she is completely useless, and seems to have no self-defence instinct whatsoever, leading other characters to become injured in her stead while she just stands there.
The ending is one of the few moments where the show is actually interesting, but it may also be the worst for the complete contradictions we are shown. Now, I don’t want to spoil anybody, but it’s going to be hard to discuss the ending without doing so, so if you are particularly spoiler-sensitive and want to watch this series for whatever reason, I would advise you to skip the rest of this paragraph. Basically, one of the samurai is killed in front of Chizuru, and a member of the enemy force is nearby at the time, though he was not the one responsible. Another member of the samurai sees this, blames the demon, and drinks the potion that turns people into the not-vampire creatures so he will have the strength to kill him. Now, there are several problems with this. For a start, a very curious question is raised… where did he get the potion? The potion is not supposed to be easily accessible, for obvious reasons. He had no reason to plan for an event like this, so he would not have prepared it. There is no foreshadowing or reason that suggests he was already considering the change. It simply doesn’t make sense. But on top of that, after the battle, he reveals that he knew that the man wasn’t responsible for his death. Which now means that the drinker just sentenced himself to a life as an undead monster to get revenge on a man he knew wasn’t even responsible.
Sadly, Hakuouki repeatedly proves itself to be a terrible show without a single redeeming feature, but just to put the cherry on top, DEEN are giving it a sequel in the fall. Yes, you heard that right… somehow, this mess of an anime has gathered enough of a fanbase to warrant a sequel. So sadly, we haven’t even seen the end of this series.
I’m sure I’ve made this clear by now, but my verdict on this anime is simply a no. It does not deserve to be watched by anybody, and if there is any justice in the world it will have been completely forgotten by the end of the year… at least if DEEN don’t end up making a third series.
Final Words: I’d have more fun watching paint dry.
21: Saiyuuki Reload
English: Saiyuki Reload
MAL Score: 7.40
Priest Genjo Sanzo and companions Cho Hakkai, Sha Gojyo, and Son Goku maintain their westward journey to stop the resurrection of the demon Gyoumao. As the reputation of the Sanzo Ikkou precedes them, they continue to fight demon assassins at every turn, but they must also deal with increasing tensions within their group in order to defeat a powerful enemy.
And the whole one-pattern personalities and lines get old after a couple hundred episodes, and I was just left wondering why oh why did I waste my time watching 60something episodes of plotless intermission to which there is no sequel. So, if you want to just watch some more of the characters of saiyuki getting together then this is the series to watch, because there is no story really, its just a veeery long series of filler episodes.
Anyway Saiyuki Reload is an anime based on a monk named Genjo Sanzo and three demons named Son Goku, Cho Hakkai and Sha Gojyo, going on a journey towards the west. Their weapons are actually pretty cool since Sanzo has a Revolver, Goku with his Joystick, Sha Gojyo with his Chain Sickle,and Cho Hakkai who is able to create Energy Balls and can even create an Energy Shield to protect himself.
Along the way they meet four demons named Kougaji, Lirin, Dokugakuji and Yaone who usually fight with them.Kougaji is able to summon Evil, Lirin is well..good at martial arts and stuff, Dokugakuji has a demon sword and Yaone has a staff-like-halberd.
Saiyuki Reload is one of the best anime ever made and i hope a new series is coming soon.
This review refers to my feelings towards Saiyuki Reload and it partially helps people who don’t know what Saiyuki is about to get the idea of what it is about.
Saiyuki Reload Gunlock Review Coming Soon on June 11th 2007
Right off the bat you will notice that the art and the character designs are a little bit different. The correct term I would use would be “off” I feel the art is off. Meaning, it definitely doesn’t look like “Saiyuki”it doesn’t have that trademark “Kazuya Minekura” style. This just looks like a regular anime or someone else’s rendition of Minekura’s work…..I guess the word I’m looking for is “FANART” tho to it’s credit, really really good fanart [but never as good as the original]. You can obviously see the difference on how the characters look from the closing credits and the anime…very drastic. But even with all the upgrading, there still a lot of shortcuts with the animation: a whole bunch of still-frames & sliding cells being used in the fight scenes. The only good thing now I guess is that, when Sanzo shoot’s demons or whatever they actually bleed and die, instead of the image turing to black and white and them using some cheap dissolving F/X.
Another notable difference is the change in voice cast. The obvious downshift with the swearing….personally, it was too over the top and so unnecessary [I can appreciate swearing if it made sense….like in Black Lagoon, it made sense for the characters to talk like that], about the casting, I really liked the original Sanzo’s voice David Matranga [who also did Orphen], he really had a better voice and could really convey Sanzo’s cynicism, Gojyo’s voice is definitely better, Goku’s voice is also a little better [but still a bit too whiny for my tastes, tho], Yaone’s voice is OK but I have a preference for the original voice by Shelley Calene-Black. However OMG! but what is with the Merciful Goddess’ voice, she sounds like a complete and total tranny! And of course they totally turned Hakkai into a complete pansy….with some kind of English accent, WTF?
OK so the the original story got COMPLETELY derailed. Some of the stories seem pretty good, regardless of the obvious deviation from the original work, Like, for example, I loved episode 4 [The Final Promise] which again showed that not all things will come to a happy ending. But of course there were definitely more than a few stories that were complete and utter rubbish: Foolish,waste of time stories like the little dragon-jeep pet going off and defending orphans or the other one about stray kittens These stories were a waste of time, even as far as filler content is concerned. If watched better fillers in Naruto.
Like I already said, the character design is a complete deviation from Minekura’s style. It’s not ugly or anything but more like really good fanart. I also hate the new Kougaji face also with the markings.
I think it’s worse than the first installment, this show brought zero WOW-factor.
20: Saiyuuki Reload Gunlock
English: Saiyuki Gunlock
Japanese: 最遊記RELOAD GUNLOCK
MAL Score: 7.41
The Sanzo Ikkou continues its westward journey, on a mission to prevent a demonic resurrection. As Genjo Sanzo, Cho Hakkai, Sha Gojyo, and Son Goku fight their way to their goal, their path is fraught with internal strife. When they encounter a formidable pair of adversaries from the west, the cohesion of the group — and the fate of the mission — may be at stake.
The art is the same as part two [Reload], which as I’ve stated before is pretty OK. Nothing jaw-droppingly amazing or anything. If I wasn’t so fed up with the series and the way they adapted the artwork from the original designs…I might have been OK with it. But watching something that had sooooooo much potential to be way better than it currently is just brings up strong feelings of revulsion. The art is nice, maybe if they have another project to draw I can truly to appreciate it. The animation still sucks though. Same cheap f/x and animation shortcuts….especially for an “action anime” that’s very disappointing.
Goku’s voice is like nails on a chalkboard by this point. Does he have balls? Why does he whine so much? Hakkai is as gay as ever [not that I have issues with gayness…obviously!] Like I said in my Reload review, Sanzo and Gojyo have decent voices. The cast is a mixed bag of good and bad….the music for this series is pretty decent.
Scooby-Doo! That’s what I felt like I was watching. There is ZERO progression with the story, ZERO plot or character development, ZERO entertainment! The show became completely stagnant [YES, I said STAGNANT] and straight-up ridiculous! I mean when I got to the board-game episode, that which was an obvious rip of the movie “Jumanji” I kinda barfed in my mouth a little bit and called it quits for this series. And I dare anyone to tell me that episode wasn’t bullshit. This whole installment was a waste, what happened to the Merciful Goddess, Nataku and all that drama that was going on in Heaven? What happened to all the angst and darkness that was so pronounced and almost so very palpable in the first installment? That’s what made this show worthwhile in the first place….it’s SUPPOSED to be IRONIC or didn’t anyone get that? Saiyuki is supposed to be about beautiful guys with very ugly and twisted pasts, and yet, somehow it became this watered-down shonen crappola! Also I don’t know if anyone else noticed but in part one the [lesser] demons were kinda more like raving mad monsters foaming at the mouth affected by the evil miasma spreading across the land or whatever it was that’s supposed to be driving them crazy but eventually they just became these generic, foul-mouthed henchmen who attack people just for the sake for attacking people.
At this stage, I wanna kill Goku! I wanna shove my hands down his throat and rip out his vocal chords. The chronic “I’m hungry, I’m hungry” whining of his ISN’T funny anymore! Actually it never was…..and why do anime creators think gluttony [over-eating] is soooo fucking hilarious? It’s not, it’s cliché not to mention gross. I love Goku’s look, physically he’s very cute [not sexually – I’m not a hentai freak or anything, I’m just saying as far as anime bishounen designs go, he’s nice looking]. Actually all four main characters are nice looking….but something about Goku’s and Hakkai’s personalities really grate on my nerves by this 3rd installment of the series. I admit that Hakkai was a little on the meek and soft-spoken side from part one of the trilogy but secretly he was a beast, he had a very dark side and is probably second strongest to Goku…..but you’ll never guess it from watching Reload or Gunlock, because by then he’s like the group’s bitch he does the cooking and the cleaning and his voice is equally irritating. I’m also fed up with all the same slapstick, 3-Stooges routines going on between all the characters: Goku and Gojyo fighting over food and whatnot and then Sanzo saying he’s gonna shoot them, it gets very tiring…..I hope by the end of the series, he actually shoots them! [not that I intend to stick around for the end of this farce of an anime!]
Look, I will always love my Saiyuki wall posters and calendars….and I’ll more than likely buy and read the manga, provided it’s a completed work of course. However this anime is simply WRETCHED! This gets a  simply because of the art and the bishounen factor and because I do think the Saiyuki franchise may hold a lot more potential than this current rubbish.
Hopefully they redo the whole thing like they redid FullMetal Alchemist!
The story continues with Genjo Sanzo with his Revolver, Son Goku with his Joystick, Sha Gojyo with his Chain Sickle and Cho Hakkai with his Energy Balls and Shield.Same old weapons………………
Kougaji has been brainwashed, oh no!.. (Actually i don’t really know what happened to him), and new enemies have risen.What is Sanzo and his gang gonna do about it? Now this final chapter of the Saiyuki Series is certainly the best, with more thrilling action and lots of blood!!!
Two people from the West have come to a town where they met Sanzo and his gang.They identified themselves as Hazel and Gatto,Hazel’s power is to suck the souls of dead demons and use them to either heal Gatto if he’s injured or revive dead humans,but there’s a side effect,the humans that have been recarnated will kill all the demons on the planet at all cost ( And obviously if you look into their eyes, you can see that the pupil is a golden-yellowish colour).
Hazel is killing demons like mad because he thinks that it was the demons that killed his Master,but he was wrong all along,it was actually him that killed his master.But he did not realize it until Gatto told him before he died and Hazel was out of ammo,he couldn’t heal him at all.
Saiyuki Reload Gunlock is one of the best anime ever. This review refers to my feelings towards Saiyuki Reload Gunlock, and partially refers to people who have watched Saiyuki Reload but haven’t watched Saiyuki Gunlock yet.It gives them an idea of how the storyline would be.
More reviews coming soon……………………………hahaha
English: The Gokusen
MAL Score: 7.42
Kumiko Yamaguchi is smart, enthusiastic, and ready to start her dream job as a math teacher at Shirokin Academy. But as her first day opens on atrocious students and cowering teachers, Kumiko realizes that the all-boys high school is a cesspool of delinquents with no intention of improving themselves.
However, what her rowdy students don’t know is that behind her dorky facade, Kumiko is the acting head of a powerful yakuza clan, and she has the skills to prove it! Capable of overpowering even the strongest of gangsters in seconds, Kumiko must keep her incredible strength and criminal influence a secret in order to keep her job. Unfortunately, with the vice principal constantly trying to get her fired and Shin Sawada, the leader of her class of delinquents, suspecting she’s stronger than she lets on, Kumiko has a difficult teaching career ahead of her.
Story – (FAIR)
The story has been done redone and overdone through out the years from actual feature length films to multiple instances in anime. One thing about this one is it doesn’t try too hard to be different from the rest, unless you can count a talking dog and a nerdy female crime boss. Throughout every episode it’ll pretty much focus on one student and their trouble. Of course the teacher will ‘teach’ and help them overcome their issues and the student gets wiser. The end. Well repeat that formula for 11 of the 13 episodes and you have yourself a full series of Gokusen. Its not bad, but its not great either.
Art – (MEDIOCRE)
Art work is really average for its time of production. Nothing great at all to be honest. You’ll get your standard amount of comedy scenes, mixed with action and drama scenes. All the typical freeze frame character against a moving background will be everywhere. But I must admit this show has more fight scenes than some "so called action anime" which i found to be pretty fun.
Sound – (MEDIOCRE)
The sound is also quite mediocre as well. You’ll noticed a few rehashed sound effects and all the typical sound effects. I did enjoy the voice actors as, the mostly male cast was pretty funny (and stupid). But overall just hearing the talking bulldog made me wanna punch my screen.
Character – (FAIR)
Most the characters are your typical roughneck tough high school bully types. The kind of characters people usually grow to hate. So at the start the character cast is not a very strong one. But like any normal anime, they’ll begin to grow hearts and have personalities. Unfortunately thats really not my thing (I prefer girl-dominant cast). Oujo was pretty funny though. At least the main main character was definitely the high point of the show. Too bad her supporting cast was more worthless than an anime wall scroll.
Enjoyment – (GOOD)
Overall the characters are pretty forgettable with the exception of Oujo. The stories all had morals and if you’re into that give it a shot. Because at least it was fun to watch and you kind of learn something after each episode 🙂
NOTE: i didn’t reference GTO even once ^_^
Original? No. The best ever? No. Amusing? Sometimes. Entertaining? Enough.
Yankumi is trying to balance her goals to be a high school teacher and her life as the future head of a crime family. (In other words, the hoodlums and punks in her class aren’t so tough compared to her.) Everyone’s kind of someone you’ve seen before — down to the annoying, screechy vice principal who’s always trying to trip her up and the class ringleader whose middle school experiences taught him not to like teachers (sound familiar, GTO fans?).
The art and the sound wasn’t anything to write home (or a review) about, but I have no major complaints either. (And as always, Kenichi Suzumura does a great job. 😉 )
Despite the strong deja vu, I thought it was cute and entertaining over all. It’s always kind of funny to see the soft, silly side to yakuza (like the way her henchmen fawn all over her or blow the smallest insult to her all out of proportion). And it’s kind of funny to see Yankumi trip over things she shouldn’t, like using gangster slang and/or metaphors when she shouldn’t. It’s no where near as good as GTO, but it’s not awful. My feeling is that I’d probably have liked this show more if GTO didn’t exist.
In other words, if you’re trying to decide between watching this or GTO, go watch GTO. (Or even if you’re not… watch GTO anyway. 😉 ) Or if you’ve seen GTO and really like that genre and that storyline so much that you’d like to see it again, this is for you!
This might also be worthwhile for people who are a little too young for GTO. This is a cleaner, more superficial version, without the darker edges — you’re not going to find the levels of abuse, horniness and risk of death here that you do in GTO. If you’re going to watch both anyway, I’d actually watch this one first and then GTO — that way you’d be working your way up. =)
The storyline is nothing new – teacher from wrong side of the tracks wants to make a difference and teach delinquents. We have seen it all before. But I don’t think that this detracts. Yamaguchi’s underlying passion is sharply contrasted with that of the.. not so passionate students. they are rude, messy, fight all the time, but are loyal to each other. And seeing how their opinion of her changes, hey, that is part of the joy of these teacher/delinquent storylines!
The art itself is bright and brash. There is one pretty character in the whole thing (and that is not our heroine). However, he is *very* pretty 🙂 I think that the art is perfectly in keeping with the comedic nature of the story. The sound.. didn’t really register? I don’t remember it standing out as particularly bad, but I don’t remember it being brilliant either.
The strong point of this show are the characters – all are typical (from the sidekicks, to the romantic lead, to the buxom teacher in the all boys school), but I genuinely liked them all! I cheered when they cheered, and wanted to kick the VPs butt so bad.. Yamaguchi is a very strong female lead, which I love! Shin is ever so cool. And the others, are not just there for comic relief.
I absolutely recommend this anime. It is one that I truly enjoy, and have rewatched a number of times.
18: Hakuouki Reimeiroku
English: Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~ Dawn of the Shinsengumi
Japanese: 薄桜鬼 黎明録
MAL Score: 7.46
The year is 1863 and as Japan’s long festering wounds of political discord erupt into violent waves of street clashes and murder, the Tokugawa Shogunate sends a new force of masterless samurai called the Roshigumi to the aid of the Aizu forces in Kyoto. However the new “police” are anything but a cohesive force and assassination has already split them into two opposing factions. The stronger is led by the brutal Serizawa Kamo and the lesser by the more honorable but less assertive Isami Kondo. It is into this pack of wolves that Ryunosuke Ibuki is dragged by the rabid Serizawa. Forced to be a virtual slave by blood debt, he hates the samurai and everything they stand for. But as he sees how the other half of the samurai live, he begins to believe that there may still be a chance, for both himself and Japan, if only Kondo will step up and take down the mad dog Serizawa!
(Source: Sentai Filmworks)
After watching the last episode today all the pieces now come together about the rasetsu and what kind of person Serizawa-san truly was.
The sword fighting, and art incorperated into a grander picture made this anime truly amazing.
My apologies for the weird ordering, this is a slight revision to the original I wrote on my blog and on there I the character review first before the story.
Review contains my crazy ramblings and also spoilers, so if you are easily affected by those then I don’t recommend reading.
As someone who has seen the first two series, I already had prior knowledge of the characters and this series remains fairly true to their personality. Though with that being said, it didn’t always start off this way. Hijikata, Okita, Heisuke and Ryunosuke are the few who undergo a major change in this series and the 12 episodes cover quite a bit of their back story to before they joined the Roshigumi and then later becoming the Shinsengumi we know. Mind you I was pretty shocked at how naive Okita used to be, so totally unlike him.
Yes Okita. The guy who talks about killing or cutting someone down literally every single time trouble arises USED TO BE A CUTE NAIVE LITTLE BOY. OMG. LIKE WHAT. HE WAS SO ADORABLE IT’S UNBELIEVABLE. Anyway his back story was his sister left him at Kondo’s dojo and he wants to repay Kondo by serving him as a useful samurai because he was apparently the only one who didn’t “pity” him. So yeah lonely kid meets a kind person. The end. JK, the first half of the series was mainly dedicated to developing Okita’s character. He starts off pretty content with himself since he was the top student at the dojo, until his spar with Saito and he loses. Nevermind all’s cool beans. Then later when giving Serizawa the epic glare of death because he insulted Kondo, Serizawa scoffs at how lacking his stare is in intimidating his opponents and mentions how it can’t possibly compare to Hijikata’s glare of death which literally was a glare of death that gave him the chills. Of course, Okita manages to hold his temper in fairly well until Serizawa casually mentions how even Saito was more intimidating since he’s clearly giving off vibes of someone who’s killed before. Aaaand that was the last straw, Okita is now jealous of how Saito has killed people before and he hasn’t. YEAH. THANKS FOR CREATING BLOODTHIRSTY OKITA, SERIZAWA. I think from here on, we know exactly where Okita’s story is going.
Heisuke. Adorable little boy who’s always upbeat and bubbly, blurts out the wrong things all the time but is the type that’ll befriend anyone and is liked by most because of his cheerful personality. He was the first friend Ryunosuke made when he came to Edo with Serizawa. He is fairly strong in terms of skill and strength but lacks resolve to kill as he mentions to Kodo that he would be delighted if he never had to kill. His story was fairly short and mostly consisted of him strengthening his resolve for the Roshigumi by killing a runaway Fury (Rasetsu) after letting it escape the first time. Aside from that, nothing interesting happens.
Hijikata the Demon vice-commander. Would you believe this guy used to be so nice? They even called him “soft” in the anime. And dafuq I never knew he had a sister either. LOL. Well in this series he’s mostly laughed at by Serizawa for lacking the resolve to become a demon to achieve his dreams despite the fact Serizawa acknowledges his ability and strength. So for most of the episodes he’s usually being all angry and death-glarey at Serizawa who just smirks back.
Ryunosuke the useless, weak protagonist of this series. You know, I’ve been wondering since the start, WHY EXACTLY IS HE IN THIS STORY??! He grows a lot as a character but he’s more like a side character who appears all the time without any real purpose. You could cut him out the story and nothing would change, that’s how much he lacks in making a difference. The others will still change regardless of whether he existed or not and he doesn’t even appear after the Shinsengumi is formed in S1, DA POINT IN THAT?
So yep good character development for those 4. Shinpachi, Harada, Saito and Kondou don’t really change or deviate much from their personalities in S1 so there’s nothing worth mentioning about them.
I know I should have done this the other way BUT WHO CARES. The story is set before the events of Hakuouki S1 and as mentioned earlier talks about how the Shinsengumi was formed since they were originally called the Roshigumi at the time they left Edo for Kyoto. And heck, it sure wasn’t easy. Getting your name out there and becoming well known takes time and a lot of money. They have no sponsors to back their funding so how are they supposed to get by while trying to build a name for themselves? Serizawa comes to the rescue and decides the best way to get money is of course….grab them off the people. How nice. And their motto was to PROTECT THE PEOPLE, so of course the Roshigumi’s name ends up being dragged through the mud and hated by the people. Tough life guys. And while I do agree with the guys how Serizawa was a bit extreme in his methods, they all know somewhere that if it wasn’t for him, they wouldn’t have even survived to form the Shinsengumi. He was merely playing the villain they all refused to except he acts like such a bamf, that you can’t help but hate him at the start. So yeah story was pretty much how they got the Roshigumi/Shinsengumi name out, found Aizu as a sponsor and how the Fury were made and yada yada yada. You get the jist. Oh the interesting thing was we actually did get to see Kodo Yukimura, Chizuru’s “father” who I found pretty emotionless (actually he sorted looked a bit like a sadist) when he didn’t even flinch during the first Fury experiment and they also added small bits here and there about how he wrote letters to Chizuru and this ties in with the start of Hakuouki S1 where Chizuru leaves to find him because she was no longer receiving his letters. SEE IT ALL LINKS UP SOMEHOW. WE EVEN GET A CAMEO APPEARANCE OF KAZAMA TO GIVE US A SAMPLE OF THE NEXT SERIES. Though his only lines were to tell Serizawa how he was dying. Ah well, he wasn’t really meant to be significant in this story anyway.
Um..as to why I gave 7, well personally I thought the series could have been longer. I mean for a start I would have loved more back stories on the other guys, namely Harada and Saito since they’re two of my favourites. And not knowing how they met with the others in the first place left me sorta gutted, especially Harada who REALLY DID feel like a side character. //le sobs. Well at least they didn’t try to squash all their stories into a 12 episode series, that would be disastrous. And also, THEY NEVER SHOWED WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE MAIKO RYUNOSUKE LIKED! WHERE THE HECK DID SHE GO HUH??? Okay I lied, she left the Shimbara (or w/e the red light district was called) but that was it. No “I’MMA FIND RYUNOSUKE” OR “I’MMA MAKE A NEW LIVING DOING BLAH BLAH.” Nope. Just a “thank you for looking after me” to her sisters and off she goes somewhere. Charming. So yeah story was decent but not outstanding or anything.
Adapted from the awesome art by Kazuki Yone (omg have you seen the CGs for the games she designs? they’re so *&F*&$*%H gorgeous and beautiful it has me going kyaaaaaa at how good the bishies look. *__* ohmygawd, I could literally stare all day at some of the CGs *cough*) so of course it’ll look good. I used to be pretty sketchy on Studio DEEN’s animations since they’re renowned for being bad but this was done decently. Well I guess it is a 2012 anime so the quality standard MUST have improved somehow. And bishies. Can never get enough of pretty bishies. WHAT. DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT, I CAN’T HELP IT IF I’M A FANGIRL. XD But yeah pretty art was one of the reasons I liked this show.
Eh, was pretty decent for the most part. Kinda average though. Especially during some of the scenes where it just sorta fades out along with the moon fading out to black LOL. Soundtrack didn’t really stick with me that much. The OP/ED was nice though. I’ll give some points for that.
I wanted to watch this for 3 reasons.
1) Didn’t have Chizuru
2) Since I saw the first two series and,
3) Because I’m currently playing the psp game. (LOL)
The main off putting factor from the previous series was just how annoying and useless Chizuru was so without her, I found the series much more enjoyable even if there’s no romance. Honestly speaking, despite hating the first two series I did enjoy watching this show. It didn’t “WOW” or amaze me much but it’s a series that I felt was worth the time. Not something I’d recommend instantly if someone asked for a good anime but it’s good enough to pass time and I’ve always been a sucker for Jap history animes so I couldn’t help but watch it out of curiosity for the setting. If you hated the first two series but love this kinda setting I’d definitely recommend trying this series out. It’s much better and actually feels more realistic.
17: Chouyaku Hyakuninisshu: Uta Koi.
Japanese: 超訳百人一首 うた恋い。
MAL Score: 7.47
Uta Koi tells the “super-liberal interpretation” of the Hyakuninisshu anthology compiled during Japan’s Heian period of 100 romantic poems from 100 different poets such as The Tale of Genji’s Murasaki Shikibu.
History lesson out of the way. Each episode is introduced by Fujiwara no Teika himself in a modern setting and tells the background of each poem and a little about the poet’s life, lacing it with humour and an intelligent script.
It is worth remembering that the characters were real people and most were renowned in their lifetime including Sei Shonagon who wrote the Pillow Book and Murasaki Shikibu who wrote the Tale of Genji. They spent most of their time stuck in the royal palace especially Empresses, Princesses and ladies in waiting who were almost imprisoned. You can only imagine the boredom and frustration many of these intelligent women had not being able to use their intellect.
If you expect each episode to happily ever after then you will be disappointed. The people were royalty or aristocrats from the Heian Period and had to live by a strict code where they were told who to marry or how to live so each episode is about doomed love and the poems often reflect this.
Also the opening and ending songs a very good and the animation is nice though not spectacular, however, this is probably because most scenes are in the royal palace or in aristocrats homes.
I will admit is not to everyone’s taste but if you are looking for an anime which is a bit more intelligent than most it might be for you. This is classic literature made cool.
The series also mixes in some comedy with its romantic stories, mostly through Teika’s easygoing narrations as he introduces the stories being portrayed in each episode of Uta Koi. The comedy mostly relies on anachronisms with Teika and the other poets making appearances at points throughout the series when relevant to the story being portrayed in said episode. I found this style of comedy to be hit or miss and an absolute waste for one episode when it was used as complete comical filler. Fortunately, it doesn’t get too intrusive in the other 12 episodes that are telling their romantic stories.
In terms of visuals, scenery and character designs are fairly standard in quality and being rather limited in its animation. Like Gankutsuou, Uta Koi implements stylized methods with its scenery and characters by implementing a design pattern onto the kimonos of characters, clouds and even rain drops. While still sticking out quite prominently in moments where characters are moving about, it isn’t as annoyingly glaring as when Gankutsuou resorted to this approach.
Uta Koi will certainly not be for everyone considering the title’s strong focus on poetery, Japanese history and episodic storytelling. But if you have interest in these elements of storytelling and genres, then Uta Koi makes for an entertaining watch as you experience the love woes faced by famous Japanese feudal poets who lived centuries ago.
I will say that the art is good, but not the best – it could have been a shade better. Also, the story had its moments when I wondered what the tone of the anime will be. Although it carried its concepts well, it lacked discipline in some places. Which was sad, because the characters were not constructs in any form – in fact, in a subtle way, it portrayed what medieval Japan was like, especially to live in that time and its hierarchical society. Its enlightening, actually.
While I won’t say that its the best anime I’ve seen, I feel it has its merits as a good anime which gives food for thought. And I would definitely recommend it to be seen at least once – especially for those who want to experience “love” in a mix of poetic, and metaphoric aspects. Its nice, its fun for its 13 episodes, and the morals that they share in this anime are such that we can relate with them, from metaphoric or conceptual grounds anyway.
16: Hakuouki Hekketsuroku
English: Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~ Record of the Jade Blood
Japanese: 薄桜鬼 碧血録
MAL Score: 7.59
After the conclusion of Hakuouki, Chizuru Yukimura and the Shinsengumi are forced to flee Kyoto and set sail for Edo. In their commander Isami Kondou’s absence, vice-commander Toshizou Hijikata steps in as acting commander. However, Hijikata is not only struggling with the extra leadership duties—which worries everyone around him—but also a newfound uncontrollable bloodlust. To make matters worse, the urge does not affect him alone, and it is even beginning to drive some of his subordinates mad.
Finally, Kondou returns with orders from the emperor to defend the castle, and a new name for their squad: the Kouyou Chinbutai. But in war, the balance of power can shift suddenly and allegiances can waver. In Hakuouki Hekketsuroku, Chizuru follows the Shinsengumi into the heart of war and continues the search for her missing father, all while the bond between her and Hijikata grows ever stronger.
I found the story very interesting; and never once thought the anime was boring while watching it. I like the way that they make the anime last over a couple of years, rather than in a short amount of time like some other animes. But part of the reason why I rather enjoyed the story plot is because of the fact that I enjoy things that are more serious and realistic; so if you’re someone that likes something silly and fun, this anime definitely isn’t for you. I think that that is another reason why some people found the anime boring…cause most animes nowadays are filled with silly little moments (that are also rather unrealistic) that are supposed to amuse the watcher. Hakuouki doesn’t really have any of those, so once again I suggest that you should only watch this anime if you enjoy serious story plots. Hakuouki (especially the second season) also contains some sad moments, another thing that I always look for in anime. Personally I really like sad animes as well, which is another reason why Hakuouki matched my preferences so much.
Well, I’m not too picky about art, so I don’t care too much about it. The only thing I really look for in an anime art-wise is whether or not I like the style of the characters. And well, I found that the style of Hakuouki looks very nice compared to many other animes, so I immediately took interest in it. Truthfully, the only reason I started watching Hakuouki was because of the fact that I saw a picture of the style and like it.
Actually I’m not really sure what it means by sound…so I’m just gonna assume they mean the music and stuff. As far as the OSTs go, I find that they really suit the anime so I’m giving the sound a 9. The openings and endings also really suited it, and I also enjoyed them personally, so all in all I say the sound is good.
Personally, I really like the characters in Hakuouki. I like how everyone acts realistically, and how I can imagine a real person acting like them. In other animes, I constantly find myself asking ‘Would a person actually do that?’ because of how ridiculous they make someone act. No, I don’t really have anything against that, but since I like it when animes make characters act realistic, I found myself really liking the characters of Hakuouki. Now what I see a lot are people hating on the main female character; Chizuru. True, she’s not as likable as the other ‘main’ characters, but I actually kinda like her. Yes, sometimes I found myself saying ‘Come on Chizuru! Try to protect yourself for once!’, but I personally thought it was realistic at the same time since back then women were treated as inferior to men. And since Hakuouki is pretty realistic as far as the way they make the characters act and the way they stick to history, I had nothing against Chizuru for being like that. And the reason why I found myself liking Chizuru was because of some lines she says in the anime. I don’t know about other people, but I like having ‘favorite lines’ in certain animes, so Hakuouki is no different. And some of my ‘favorite lines’ in Hakuouki come from Chizuru herself, which (to me) shows how she is more mature than you’d initially think she’d be.
Well, I really like this anime; there’s not much to say. :3 Pretty much all the reasons why I like it so much is said above, so I don’t have anything to add.
So, all in all, I would only recommend this anime to people who enjoy animes that are more serious, have a bit of violence, have sad moments, and have characters that act more realistic than other animes. If you’re looking for an anime that is either silly, fun, or romantic, I would suggest you looking for another anime. Yes, there are some moments that are more happy and fun, but there aren’t many of those. And yes, there is also some romance in the anime, but it comes a lot later so those that are watching Hakuouki just for the romance would be disappointed.
In my opinion however this was a great anime. I may not be very experienced in anime watching, but i thought that this show had a great story line and great characters. I do wish this show had a bit of a happier way about it, but based on what it did have i think it was a very sad, yet amazing anime.
I would surely watch this again, and reccomend it to people. It may not be the best anime out there, I have seen beter ones, but in my opinion it is no where near the worst and is great!
I gave this anime a 9/10 overal I think i need to see more anime to decide weather or not this is truely a great anime, but so far in my book it is excellent.
This is not a harem.
This is not shoujo.
It WAS an Otome.
It’s not anymore.This is a history and character piece about war. This is a drama. This has to do with coping samurai during the dawn of the Meiji era. It’s not a happy go lucky “we all want the girl” series. It can be very sad at times and characters will die.
If this does not appeal to you then look elsewhere. Don’t bother watching it then giving it poor reviews that say it’s “boring” because you don’t like Japanese history or can’t understand a character contemplating why they are still alive when all their friends are dead.
It’s also worth mentioning that the characters that form the backbone of the Shinsengumi squad in this anime are all taken from history and actually existed. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinsengumi)
Chizuru still gets so much hatred for being “weak” but people really forget she’s not walking around Tokyo in 2012. This is in the 1860’s and she’s a woman. I’m not sure what part of that is so hard to understand. This is the way it was. Women poured tea, sat in the back and rarely fought. Bashing the character because the show is set in the past is ridiculous.
That being said, this arc had some of the most gut-wrenching, well delivered monologues I have heard in a series to date and I’ve been watching anime for 20 years. Toshi’s piece at the end of episode 16 had me bawling. I’m currently raving about this series and I’m having a hard time understanding why it gets such poor reviews.
This series is sad. I said that earlier but i don’t think I got my point across. This second season is wrapping up the war in the only way you know it can end. I probably cried more during this second season than I have watching any other series. The story is fantastic and very enjoyable if you know what you’re getting into and can handle the drama.
I found the art fitting and superb. Whether it be a scene with snow or a sword fight, it never fails to deliver. The sound and music is fitting for the era the anime is set in. Very little modern music here and the intro and ending songs are extremely well suited.
The characters do nothing but get better and shine in this arc. Every one gets his time to shine right up until the very end. Even some you may have thought weren’t the best. I won’ t give away any plot points but they do an excellent job of tugging on the heartstrings here with decisions they make.
The romantic relationship between the male and female leads continues to take a backseat to the war story being told until the very VERY end but, honestly, I’m happy with that. There is very little time or space for hearts and flowers in the war-torn countryside. It IS there but it’s not very pronounced and their relationship is very traditionally Japanese. If you’re here mainly for a love story with a small dash of war drama, look elsewhere because this is the exact opposite. This is a war drama with a pinch of a love story.
Overall, I got a lot of enjoyment out of this series. I enjoyed the history, the drama, and just the way the story was told. You’ll end up blubbering like a baby at the end though. The end is also a little ambiguous as to what happens but if you’re like me you’ll look to the happy side.
10/10 – Amazingly well done. Too damn sad to watch again.
15: Paradise Kiss
English: Paradise Kiss
Japanese: Paradise kiss
MAL Score: 7.84
On her way home from school, Yukari Hayasaka is approached by a weird-looking guy who starts looking at her body intently. He’s got blond spiky hair, a spiked choker, and multiple piercings on his ears and face. She wants nothing to do with him, and runs away, only to bump into a very tall and beautiful purple-haired woman with a flower pattern around her eye. Yukari faints from shock and wakes up later in a strange place called the Atelier. It turns out that these strangers are fashion designers who attend the most famous art school around, Yazawa Art Academy, and their group wants Yukari to model for their brand in Yazawa Academy’s upcoming show.
Yukari turns down their offer and escapes the Atelier, but unknowingly leaves her school ID behind. George Koizumi, the head designer, later sees it and immediately knows she would be the perfect model for them and will not stop until he gets what he wants—and he wants her. Yukari had never considered something as frivolous as modeling before, but could life among these eccentric designers actually prove to be fun? Or will Yukari lose herself in this world of art and passion?
Cool is what rules in this anime. Everything in the artwork, characters, attitude, and even the story just emanates cool and they even do it with an attitude. As you already know it’s about a girl named Yukari thats not to sure about her future. Just by a chance encounter on the street gets discovered by the most unsuitable of characters.
Story – (Outstanding)
The story is a typical love drama, but the setting, characters, and personalities are what make this completely different from the rest of group. It takes a more realistic approach toward drama. Something you’d see out of a prime time drama show on TV would be more comparable than any other anime. They take life and their hardships and don’t really "anime coat" it. Things like arguing, love, and brainstorming are done with a minimum of two people, its never one sided. When i mean ‘anime-coating,’ i mean like areguments are hardly ever one sided, both persons actually prove a good point. Love is also a good point, it actually gets some resolve and doesn’t stay in "should i confess to him" anime-limbo. But already, I’m saying a bit much but since the anime is a short and fast 12 episodes, it makes sense for it not to drag such emotions like love and friendship. It defintely has the feel of a western drama instead of an anime drama.
Art – (Outstanding)
The art work is also something that surprised me. Like any average viewer, they’d get wierded out if they start seeing their anime characters with proportionate body parts (i.e. normal sized eyes, mouth, and even a nose). Once the shock of adjusting to the art style, this is easily one of the best looking show’s i have ever layed eyes on. It’s also centered around pop-culture and style, so everything they wear is completely trendy and detailed. From safety pins as piercings, hair stylings, makeup, and even clothing are displayed with insane detail. At any one time, you can count all the earrings on one characters ear, or how many necklaces one is wearing, and even the type of fabric is on their scarf. Every character actually dresses different every episode and thats quite a refreshing take as opposed to the same-school-clothes-everyday-look of other dramas. My favorite part of the show (and what you should notice) is how they manage to make Yukari even more beautiful than before every episode. You’ll notice the subtle changes in not her clothing but her attitude and demeanor as well.
On occasion, some anime are only able to survive with great artwork and have a horrible storyline but this manages to have both an outstanding artwork and story. On top of that having to put real world product placement (Jaguar, Benz, Sony, Zipper, etc) just increases the detail tenfold.
Sound – (Outstanding)
The sound effects are nothing spectacular but you will notice one thing. There is a rather large lack of it. And that is how it should be in a drama. Nothing should interfere with the drama unfolding on the screen. So all that you’re left with is the top notch, tear jerking, believable voice acting and environmental sound effects. The music is placed very skillfully as well. For the most part, they’ll be played on jukeboxes, radios, and the like. And they’re actual j-pop songs playing instead of just instrumentals. And speaking of j-pop, the OP was just perfect for for the show, as it had the feel of a Madonna-ish song which gave it a ‘glamorous’ feeling to set you in the mood of watching it. And the ED song by Franz Ferdinad is just pure fun. Especially how they manage to blend it with the end of the episode to the credits and don’t just do a quick cut to the credits like normal.
Character – (Outstanding)
The characters are something to believe as well. Once all the characters are through with the introductions you will notice one thing right away. They are all so carefree and believable. I even had a nostalgic feeling seeing how the characters would talk amongst each other and just enjoyed the moment. Of course it doesn’t the story doesn’t stray too far away from Yukari since she is the star of this show. They all play their role so believably I can’t help but have this feeling of amazement that there ARE anime that can pull off such intriguing drama.
Enjoyment – (Outstanding)
This show is unlike any other drama anime I have seen to date (top right). Rather, its more comparable to things like the likes of Greys Anatomy, the O.C., or even Party of Five. If you like or enjoy shows such as that I highly recommend giving this eye candy of an anime a try. I even found this A LOT better than Lovely Complex. Don’t be fooled by the artwork if you find it a turnoff, its one of the best anime drama’s I’ve ever seen.
Xinil said it best: "it’s for a mature audience. It doesn’t cater to narutards"
…thats the truth
Meet Caroline, the girl who doesn\’t really know what she\’s doing with her life. She happens upon a group of college students that need her to be their fashion model. Interesting premise, and doesn\’t sound too farfetched from what might happen in real life. Good ending that actually makes some sense too.
A little funny looking at times, but the art is definitely nice. Sexy looking females. Thumbs up from me.
Awesome opening (freakin\’ awesome) and great ending theme (U.S. band). Can\’t see how you wouldn\’t like the music throughout the anime.
Caroline x George are definitely my favorite characters. Great personalities from each of them and the story really makes you understand why they are the way they are.
Enjoyable, quick, and happy. 12 episodes of some laughter and some teary scenes.
Basically, you can\’t go wrong with this anime. If you\’re into romance (not some angst crap though), and you like non-stupid anime, check this out.
Paradise Kiss accomplishes so many things in just 12 episodes that it can almost leave you thirsting for more but deep down you know that there can be no more. The story itself is the centerpiece of everything and drives itself forward with meaningful interactions and tense drama that thickens the plot as it unfolds. What is most notable about the series is it’s realistic approach to drama and how it refuses to sugar coat things and drag out emotions across all 12 episodes. If I recall the main characters quickly start their relationship by about the 2nd or 3rd episode. This anime may seem impatient, but in reality it’s just not going to wait around for the fun to start. The show steps into deep waters and treads where most others would not. It goes much farther than I had anticipated and shows how much its characters develop over the course of the series.
The main character goes from being this tense study bug to being a care-free fashion model. Her transformation isn’t this instantaneous change that happens at 15 minutes into episode 6 or something; but rather it takes place over time. The first thing that happens is a hair cut. I actually commented out loud as I was watching and said “she actually doesn’t look all THAT pretty here…” But I stuck it out and to my surprise she seemed to get prettier every episode. Her style changed, her hair changed, her personality blossomed into something new and exciting, and she becomes someone who is definitely worth watching.
The show tackles a handful of sub plots but doesn’t loose control of them or allow them to impede on the main story’s progress. the majority of the side characters have stories of their own and are all expertly told in a very short amount of time. In some cases characters stories aren’t discussed in the show but rather in the manga and there’s even a scene where a character tells you that you can “read more about him” in a particular manga.
The art and sound weave together to create this tapestry of pop-art that seamlessly mixes with the characters. The opening and closing theme were chosen so expertly and serve only to set the mood for the show. The ending theme is even mixed in with the last 10-15 seconds of the show so that it seamlessly transitions into the credits.
This anime is quite possibly the most enjoyable anime I’ve ever seen with an ending that didn’t disappoint. Instead of having this storybook happily ever after ending you are quickly faced with reality. Sure the characters kind of succeeded in what they were trying to do, but reality has to set in at some point and the show reminds us that we live in the real world. The ending however does tie up any and all loose ends and leaves almost nothing to the imagination. It also doesn’t leave room for a second season so there’s no chance of a spin-off brought on by money grubbing producers. Never have I been faced with an anime that literally left me in a daze after its credits rolled on episode 12.
Overall this anime is a masterpiece in its own genre. It masterfully and skillfully tells a straight forward, but complex story complete with sub plots, exciting drama, and cool music to boot. I also liked that characters didn’t spend 10 minutes arguing in tense situations. Example: man is holding a gun pointing it at another character(lets call him teppei kun). Teppei kun gives this long monologue about his life and how he’s always been alone and blah blah blah. In reality the guy would’ve just shot him for talking way too much.
ok. I’ve talked for far too long now. This anime is a masterpiece. Watch it!
14: Shirokuma Cafe
English: Polar Bear Cafe
MAL Score: 7.92
Situated near the local zoo and owned by the charismatic polar bear Shirokuma, Shirokuma Cafe is a popular spot for animals and humans alike, allowing them to sit back and relax after a hard day of work. Whether it’s a cold beverage or the latest item on his menu, Shirokuma finds joy in being able to serve his customers, often striking up conversations about various subjects.
Together with the sarcastic Penguin and the clumsy Panda, they form an odd trio who get themselves caught up in all sorts of misadventures with their other friends such as Grizzly, a bar owner, and Sasako, a human who works at the cafe. From dealing with unrequited love, outdoor camping trips, karaoke sessions, and even the secret to brewing delicious coffee, there’s always something bound to be happening in Shirokuma Cafe!
PLOT: Polar Bear Café is about the daily lives of a bunch of animals who frequent a café run by the titular Polar Bear, including a panda, a penguin, a llama and a sloth (among many others). There are a few random humans thrown in there too – the perma-smiling Sasako, the bumbling zookeeper Handa and the panda obsessed florist Rin-Rin, but the cast is mainly animals. Animals that no one bats an eye at when when they’re casually wandering about town buying groceries, or working in a bakery or running a bar – they’re fully integrated into society. And yet there is a fully functional zoo where a number of the characters actually work! You kind of take this strange setting for granted after a few episodes – it just works.
Polar Bear Café is a show I couldn’t watch without a smile on my face (trust me I desperately tried when watching the later half of the series on my own in public, being caught grinning and giggling like an idiot when there’s pastel renditions of wild animals emitting showers of sparkles and hearts on my screen is not fun); the show just thrums with feel-good vibes. It’s also consistently hilarious, and displays excellent use of puns, parodies, basic comedic timing and the usual tsukkomi/boke routines. The series uses all the run-of-the-mill s’life situations (festivals, onsen, road-trips, all the holidays you can think of) but simply having the characters be animals puts an interesting spin on things, as they have a unique outlook on things. I don’t usually get on well with s’life shows, but I adored Polar Bear Café – it just balances the mundane with wit so well.
The characters are probably what kept me coming back to the show so much – the central quartet of Polar Bear, Penguin, Panda and Sasako just have superb chemistry and play off each other brilliantly. The side characters are also wonderful and all get their own episodes to shine – my favourites have to be Polar Bear’s long suffering childhood friend and bar owner Grizzly and poor overlooked but utterly charming Llama.Polar Bear Café also has “The Feels” in spades – it just gets under your skin and forces a reaction out of you with alarming frequency. After 50 episodes these characters feel like old friends and I was desperately sad to see the series end, I do hope we get more at some stage.
ANIMATION: The animation is by Studio Pierrot and is very simple but serviceable. The animals are well drawn and surprisingly expressive given many of them lack the usual facial features humans rely on to determine emotion (just where are Penguin & Panda’s eyes anyway??). The over all look of the show is quite soft and pastel, and there is creative use of sparkles, bubbles, hearts, flowers and sweatdrops to punctuate gags or emotion. On the flipside the humans in general are actually terrifying in their inexpressiveness – Sasako in particular has completely dead eyes that are rather unnerving. The show also experiments with unusual visuals in its many EDs – stop-motion, live action, shadow-puppets and paper cut-outs all get a turn, and it is clear that the staff had a lot of fun making this series.
MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: The cast of Polar Bear Café has to be one of the most star-studded I’ve ever encountered. Everyone seems to be a noteworthy name – the central quartet consists of Jun Fukuyama, Takahiro Sakurai, Hiroshi Kamiya and Aya Endo – but the extended cast reads like a who’s who of popular seiyuu! They all seemed to have lots of fun working on this series as well, as the chemistry is brilliant and the acting is really excellent on the whole. A few actors even voice a number of different side characters giving them completely different voices and displaying their range well.
Another thing of note is that there are a lot of different EDs for this series and each of them is an image song, sung in character by the seiyuu – resulting in some truly wonderful songs. I particularly loved Panda’s ‘Bamboo Scramble’ by Jun Fukuyama and Llama’s ‘Llama Mambo’ by Daisuke Ono, but all the song are special in their own way. Even the OPs are pretty damn good, but I’ll always like the first OP best.
Overall I just have to reiterate who utterly charming this show is – it’s a wonderful show to watch if you need cheering up (just avoid watching episode 44 for that purpose – it’s a proper tearjerker). When I first picked up the series last Spring I never would have imagined it turning out to be this good – always a joy when that happens. So yes Polar Bear Café is a show I’d highly recommend picking up – it deserves much more love!
The humor can be childish, at times. But I think it can also be incredibly smart, especially with Shirokuma’s puns. They play with the Japanese language in a way that made me even more curious about the language that I already was. It was also refreshing to watch an anime that relies heavily on humor, but also doesn’t hesitate to bring heavy subjects in a few episodes. As much as most of the tears I’ve had while watching Shirokuma Cafe were tears of joy and laughter, I did find myself crying in a few serious moments of the stories. That’s something I couldn’t appreciate more in a Slice of life/comedy anime.
The art is, in my opinion, beautiful, and fits really well with what type of anime it tries to be. It definitely appeals to anyone part of their target audience. The soundtrack was incredibly enjoyable. By the end of the 50 episodes, I found myself humming and singing along some of the songs, especially the Llama one. Llamambo!
And what to say of the characters! God, I loved them. All of them. Shirokuma, Panda, Penguin, Llama, Tortoise, Sasako, Sloth, Grizzly, etc. There is honestly no character that I disliked throughout the whole show. I felt attached to them, always happy to see any of them have screen time or even a whole story to themselves. I was always curious to learn more about them and see what they were going to do next. When they were sad or laughing, I found myself feeling the same. I might be pushing it a bit far, but my point is, they made a really good job of making you connect with the characters. They’re probably the reason I binged on 50 episodes in a week. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next, what they were going to do next. Which is a surprising feeling to have for a Slice of Life anime. It’s not as if it’s full of action or fast paced. Nonetheless, I was always eager to see the next episode.
Overall, I think this anime is awesome, especially for Slice of Life lovers. It is incredibly sweet, funny, smart and it will make you want to watch more, even after 50 episodes. I would recommend this to anyone!
While there are some really nice aspects to this anime, the best thing which makes it sell and makes it viewable is that it isn’t 50 FULL episodes, but 100 HALF Episodes (2 story events occurring per episode). Amongst the best aspects of this anime are:
The Characters: Panda, Polar Bear and Penguin, and Mr. Honda as well as Miss Sasako are at the helm in terms of screen time, yet everyone else (Anteater, Llama, Apacha, the other Penguins who become THE SOUTH POLE SQUAD, the boy band Yama Arashi, the Penkos, Panda’s family, Full-Time Panda, Rin Rin, Grizzly, Sloth, Tortoise amongst them) delivers just as well. Personally, I think the highlight of the show is Polar Bear and his performance is – if not stellar – hilarious and really well thought out. And everyone compliment that performance with a grace that is adorable, and yet balanced out with an acute sincerity. Its hard NOT to like these characters, because they NEVER go out of character – in fact, you root for them and watch all 50 episodes just because the characters make the show what it is: adorable.
The Art: The puns are the identifying hallmark of this show. Combined with the cheese in the later episodes of The South Pole Squad (SOUTH POLE SQUAD! PENGUINGER!!), the tension which is exhibited by the character arc of Penguin, as well as the character emotions when corresponding with each other, the art sells perfectly in this work and makes it worthwhile. Nothing less than well thought out, balanced with good humor, and really fun presentations of the episodes as they progress.
The Sound: All the characters sounded exactly as they should, followed by the really fun soundtrack (mellow and sweet in episodes in which the characters accept each other, as is the case with Grizzly and Panda; brooding and yet laughable when Penguin interacts with the Penkos; cheesy and roaring awesome when introducing THE SOUTH POLE SQUAD! PENGUINGER!! – and as you can imagine, my personal favourite moment in this anime; and even sad when some of the characters have doubts over their minds – episode 45’s first story, without adding any spoilers to it, is the emotional equivalent of being stabbed in the heart upfront and then bashed by a spade followed by having your legs chopped off, such is the sadness felt in it. Yet, it doesn’t seem forced, but comes off naturally in this anime. Which is always a good thing and works to its benefit.
In essence, this is the perfect “feel good” anime to watch when life gets you down. Panda is mischievous and evil, yet so adorable you squee inside (and feel crippled when he’s sad. Period); Penguin is awesome – especially his interaction with Polar Bear which makes him a comedic riot; and of course, Polar Bear, whose puns are perfect, his observations are sharp and clever, and his wit makes the whole show standout and make everyone sweet, adorable, enjoyable, and amusing by association.
The perfect light hearted 50 episode anime. And it does everything right.
13: Hachimitsu to Clover
English: Honey and Clover
MAL Score: 8.04
Yuuta Takemoto, a sophomore at an arts college, shares a cheap apartment with two seniors—the eccentric Shinobu Morita, who keeps failing to graduate due to his absenteeism, and the sensible Takumi Mayama, who acts as a proper senior to Takemoto, often looking out for him.
Takemoto had not given much thought to his future until one fine spring day, when he meets the endearing Hagumi Hanamoto and falls in love at first sight. Incredibly gifted in the arts, Hagumi enrolls in Takemoto’s university and soon befriends the popular pottery student Ayumi Yamada. Ayumi is already well acquainted with the three flatmates and secretly harbors deep feelings for one of them.
Hachimitsu to Clover is a heartwarming tale of youth, love, soul-searching, and self-discovery, intricately woven through the complex relationships between five dear friends.
Based on the manga by Chika Umino, Honey and Clover follows the lives of five fledgling artists and their journey through the exciting and simultaneously terrifying world that we know as college. Through the eyes of these five students and observe them them growing, affected by the years of challenging experiences through which they have gained many cherished friendships and also come to know the agonies of unrequited love.
One of the most noticeable aspects of the series is the animation. The bold, hard lined style you see in most anime will not be found here. Instead, animation studio J.C. Staff takes a wholly different approach by using a faded watercolor palette and soft sketched character designs. The style may not appeal to everyone, but it best reflects the true nature of the characters and their setting. Aside from the color palette, the animation goes through various perspective changes so subtly that it can even make the simple shot of a single character interesting. In essence, it is like art in motion.
Naturally, the audio needs to work hand in hand with the visuals and Honey and Clover has quite a robust soundtrack. Many of the insert selections worked well to heighten and sharpen the on-screen emotions. However, not all of the songs fit each scene like a glove and at times it felt like maybe there might even be too many songs they had tried to fit in. Despite that complaint, the songs themselves were all very good, even the instrumental tracks, and “Waltz” may hands-down be one of the best ending themes of any anime ever.
One aspect that may be universally agreed upon about this series is that the characters definitely make the show. Honey and Clover, like many other slice-of-life series, falls back on the characters to help carry the series and all five of the main characters do so phenomenally. Throughout the series, the perspective changes so that we see, hear, think, and occasionally feel what any given character is going through at that time. Depending on a viewer’s past experiences in college or even just life in general, certain characters will become more appealing and easier to relate to than others. Someone who has never been torn between someone they love and a close friend who loves them will have a hard time relating to a character like Mayama. Also, while a character like Takemoto may be more accessible to the male audience, Ayumi may be a better focal point for women.
The most important thing to realize is that just about anyone who watches this show will find a character who they can directly relate to in some way or another. From Takemoto’s indecisiveness about his own life, Morita’s slacker appeal and almost unfair success, Hagumi’s torn desire between being a success she’s not proud of or a failure she can live with. These are not just character struggles, these are struggles we all go through and we begin to see these characters as our friends and companions as we make our way through our own ordeals.
As said already, Honey and Clover is a slice-of-life series, which means it could take place anywhere at anytime with anyone inside the world as already is. It is a balanced and yet lively blend of romance, drama, and comedy without going too overboard on any single element, much like life itself. The story moves forward very quickly, skipping weeks, even months at a time between episodes. This could be viewed as slightly unrealistic as viewers may believe the characters should change faster than they do. Regardless, the character development is there, and does proceed at a realistic pace relative to the length of the series. Though the ending is inconclusive, those who enjoyed it to the end can take solace in knowing a conclusive second season awaits them to tie up all the loose ends.
Much like how Azumanga Daioh is called “the anime you should watch if you’ve been through high school”, Honey and Clover is the anime to watch if you’ve been through college. Graduates who watch this will probably feel a good amount of nostalgia. At the same time, those of us who haven’t been through college or are still going through it will enjoy a realistic simulation of where we might be going and how we might deal with it. By empathizing with the characters and relating to them, you’ll come to see Honey and Clover as more than an anime; It’s a life experience.
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team members were:
Katsup – Contributed to and edited the review
Splitter – Wrote the review
Here are their individual scorings for the show:
Category – Katsup, Splitter
Story – 9, 9
Art – 10, 9
Sound – 9, 8
Character – 10, 10
Enjoyment – 10, 9
Overall – 10, 9
In the club wide poll held for Honey and Clover it received an average overall rating of 9.00
What a wonderful story. It’s a good mix of bittersweet growing pains, salty teardrops, and huge doses of soul searching, all brought about by Love. Ah yes, Love. That is what defines the plot of Honey and Clover. Through this anime, we see how love can go both ways – it can send you flying in the sky, or it can leave you with a knife in the back.
I can relate to mostly everyone in the story, and this is also why it was so easy to understand for me. Yamada’s frustration over unrequited love, Takemoto’s fear of the future and time quickly passing by (believe me, time in this anime is fast-paced), Hagu’s feelings of pressure from everyone around her, and of course, the loneliness that everyone felt from time to time. The ability to relate to each and every one of the characters made Honey and Clover such a good watch for me, and I’m sure it will be the same for everyone who will watch this series.
Despite the serious tones, there are still moments that are quite funny. Most of the comedic relief comes from Morita, who is actually one of my favorite characters. His idiosyncrasies are what made him great to watch. I love that scene where he accepted the Mochademy Award (A nod to the Academy awards) for best CG. There was also this great episode where Morita and Takemoto played some sort of twister game until their limbs were intertwined. Of course, you can’t forget chapters L and F which were both funny as well.
I liked most of the characters because they were all so relatable and they were all managed effectively. At the end of the series, you know everything that goes/went on behind their facades. They all had well thought of histories and wonderful unique personalities that go so well together. It’s almost like an anime version of FRIENDS. I already mentioned that I like Morita, but my other favorite is Mayama. I kinda developed a crush on him too; I actually see what Yamada sees in him. I was kind of annoyed that he picked that old hag Rika over Yamada. I really hate that woman; she’s only out to hurt Mayama. I’m definitely on team Ayumi “Tetsujin” Yamada (Even though she tends to ramble on a lot)!
Drawing style was something new. It reminded me of old school anime with a new twist. It had the same look and feel of 80s anime with except it was updated and fresh. It was probably because of the coloring technique – the colors were just lovely, they weren’t vibrant, like how I usually would like colors to be, but they were done well and the colors didn’t clash, so I actually liked it. It reminded me of water color paintings, a trend I noticed from watching JC Staff series. Usually the illustrations are done well, they barely change or if there are any changes it goes unnoticed. Although I did notice a huge shift in Hagu’s appearance – She was a lot prettier in the first episode compared to the rest of the series. Her look was done well though – she had beautiful eyes and hair (same thing with Yamada).
There were different animation techniques that were used. I like the use of stop motion, I’m guessing the first opening theme sequence was made using stop motion and clay figures. There was also the use of live action, which was for the second opening theme sequence (The poodle was just adorable). Some scenes had a more weathered look, and there was even an instance were vector art was used. Of course, there was the use of CG. CG is always good if it’s used to give depth to animation.
Voice acting was actually pretty good. My favorite seiyu for this series is Tomokazu Sugita, Mayama’s seiyu, who was also the seiyu for Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, another favorite of mine. I also like Morita’s seiyu, Yuji Ueda. I think it’s funny when his voice turns soft. The other seiyus, such as Keiji Fujiwara and Mikako Takahashi were already familiar to me, since I’ve watched/currently series they worked for before, and what they did for Honey and Clover were splendid as well, but as for Hagu’s seiyu, I’m a bit indifferent. Based on the information I saw about her, she seems to be a newbie (I think she’s only 18) and Hagu Hanamoto is probably her most notable role. Anyway, everyone did a good job because they brought out their character’s personalities really well, and the dialogues were easy to follow.
I’m surprised that most of Yuzo Hayashi’s work was for Sailormoon. I actually thought the music for this anime was done well – everything was modern and contemporary. I like the wide variety of insert songs that were used as BGM, and of course, the opening and ending themes weren’t bad either. At the end of the series I found myself humming and bopping my head to the catchy music of the series.
Thank goodness for the second season, plus the extra two episodes. If it weren’t for that, I Probably would be close to tears by now. This is undeniably one of the best series (Thank God to no fan service!) I’ve ever watched, and will watch again.
English: Princess Jellyfish
MAL Score: 8.12
Ever since her late mother took her to an aquarium when she was young, Tsukimi Kurashita has been obsessed with jellyfish, comparing their flowing tentacles to a princess’s white dress. Now living with five other unemployed otaku women, 19-year-old Tsukimi spends her days as a social outcast dreaming of becoming an illustrator.
However, her life changes forever when one day, a beautiful woman unexpectedly helps her save a jellyfish in a local pet store. From then on, the stranger—confident, fashionable, and the complete opposite of Tsukimi and her roommates—begins to regularly visit the girls’ building. This trendy hipster, though appearing shallow at first, harbors some secrets of her own, starting with the fact that “she” isn’t really a girl at all, but a wealthy male college student named Kuranosuke Koibuchi!
The first thing I noticed about the series is the heavy influence of live-action movies.
Episode titles are parody of film titles:
1. ‘Sex and the City’ (2008)
2. ‘Sukiyaki Western Django’ (2007)
3. ‘Enchanted’ (2007)
4. ‘Eden’ (2006)
5. ‘Watashi wa Kai ni Naritai’ (1959/2008)
6. ‘Night of the Living Dead’ (1968)
7. ‘Kinyuu Fushoku Rettou: Jubaku’ (1999)
8. ‘Million Dollar Baby’ (2004)
9. ‘Midnight Cowboy’ (1969)
10. ‘The Turning Point’ (1977)
11. ‘Field of Dreams’ (1989)
OP is a parody of a series of famous scenes from Hollywood and Japanese films:
1. ‘Sex and the City’ (2008)
2. ‘Star Wars’ (1977~)
3. ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ (1952)
4. ‘Mary Poppins’ (1964)
5. ‘Emperor of the North Pole’ (1973)
6. ‘Onna Tobakushi’ (1967)
7. ‘James Bond’ (1962~)
8. ‘Game of Death’ (1978)
9. ‘The Graduate’ (1967)
10. ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ (1977)
Also, major Japanese film producers and distributors were in production committee (Fuji, Toho, and Asmik Ace actually show their real opening credits in an episode)
“Josei” is a minor subcategory of “shoujo” manga and anime, targeted toward older audiences (18+). ‘Kuragehime’, despite being published on a josei manga magazine, lacks any mature characters or themes to really categorize it as one (and it won a manga award in shoujo rather than otona (mature/adult) category). This is clearly a shoujo anime.
‘Kuragehime’ is about a bunch of female otaku in Amamizukan, an apartment complex in Tokyo. These girls are severely repulsed by men and fashionable/successful people, but our heroine Tsukimi one day makes friends with fashionable cross-dresser Kuranosuke and finds out later that not only is he male, he ‘s also from a rich political family.
The first half of the story is mostly about Kuranosuke extending his influence over “Ama~s” (“Nun~s”), the girls in Amamizukan. It should be noted that while literal meaning of “ama” is “nun”, which suits their virgin and hikikomori status in their house, it is also a derogatory slang for “women” (much like how “nun” is a slang for “prostitutes” in English). These girls are basically calling themselves “bitche~s”” and “whore~s”.
The “Ama~s” consists of otaku girls with extremely bizarre hobbies. Tsukimi is into jellyfish, Ichimatsu Dolls for Chieko, ‘Romance of Three Kingdoms’ for Mayaya, and senile men for Jiji. The only ones with relatively common interests are Jyuon, the nocturnal fujoshi BL manga writer, and Bamba, as railfans existed way before the word “otaku” became a slang. Other than our heroine Tsukimi and acting-landlord Chieko, all the other “Ama~s” girls exist almost solely for comedy.
The second half of the story is about saving Amamizukan from a land development project. This is mostly attempted to be done by fund raising, in which the challenge for introverted girls to go out into the world and forced to interact with people is depicted, as well as Kousuke’s attempt to transform Tsukimi’s introvert personality by building up her confidence. Unfortunately, “Ama~s” are almost always forced to do these things they detest, and their fear of outsiders have not eased at all, freezing up in uncomfortable situations to the very end.
As expected of a shoujo anime, there is also a lot of romantic concerns for the heroine, and the typical love triangle, predicaments etc. that confuses individuals of their own feelings and prevent love confessions.
The character development between Tsukimi and Kuranosuke are rather good, though they are put into one random predicament after another, and saved in the last minute by fairytale successes, whether it’s extreme makeover, profitable sales, or crowd-pleasing dress designs. Kuranosuke is practically a prince who tries to save Tsukimi from isolation and turn her into a fashionable and popular chick. Of course, she turns into a gorgeous Yamato Nadeshiko simply by taking off her glasses and putting on some makeup. The story develops into a cliché Cinderella fantasy. To make it worse, everything gets solved by predictable deus ex machina in the end.
Art quality for ‘Kuragehime’ is very high. Lots of variety with backgrounds, as the characters travel around Tokyo. I recognized almost every single location in Shibuya during the first episode, the staff completely animated real sites. Maybe because I’m way more familiar with Shibuya than Akibahara etc, but it seemed like they put far more attention into detail than the typical series. I can tell you that this is a very faithful reproduction of the city down to individual stores and signs. Other places like Amamizukan (actually a male-only lodge in West Waseda), parks, and streets seem to be modeled after real places as well.
Character designs deviate from the ordinary, with memorable style and traits for most characters. None of the “Ama~s” members are beautified. Fluidity is rather good, and all the characters were drawn with extremely high consistency. The comedic special effects (petrification, shock etc) were done very well.
The cast is dominated by seasoned veteran seiyuu in 30s and 40s with wide range of voices that fit characters pretty well. However, none of their voicing jobs were particularly memorable.
BGM were extremely strong, wide range of instruments playing music of different style, often setting/enhancing the mood for comedy. OP as mentioned earlier, is parody of famous scenes from movies with surprisingly good flow and audio-visual synchronization. Chatmonchy is known for their distinct rock songs, and they don’t disappoint with the off-beat OP song ‘Kokodake no Hanashi (Just Between Us)’. As usual of their songs, there’s something about it that really moves you, and it fits the series very well with its quirkiness and optimism. And who better to sing the ED than Sambomaster, who came to popularity after their song was featured as theme song for 2005 ‘Densha Otoko’ live-action drama, which still remains to be the most watched and arguably most influential otaku story in history? Their song “Kimi no Kirei ni Kizuite Okure (Realize How Beautiful You Are)” is a poignant rock song that really captures this anime’s theme, and the ED animation comes in long shot of 1 cut. Very impressive.
With all its originality in premise, character setting, art style, and sounds, ‘Kuragehime’ still failed to separate itself from cliché shoujo story development.
As per typical shoujo anime, there’s a lot of inner monologue explaining characters’ thoughts and emotions. While this is a typical trait of shoujo manga/anime series and theoretically improve empathy and emotional attachment, I consider this to be a very poor storytelling technique as it takes away the joy of thinking and imagining their state of mind. It gets tiresome when they explain the obvious every single time, and slows down the pace of the story. The comedy was hilarious at first, but gets repetitive after a while with identical ‘Olé’ cover ups, shock face, petrification, girly prime minister etc. that gets predictable and tiresome after a while. Repetition can be funny, but it needs to be executed with intelligence and variety.
In addition, I found it hard to connect with the characters simply because their interests are too “maniac” (bizarre/weird), as the Japanese call it. I don’t think I’ll ever understand a girl’s unhealthy fascination with jellyfish or creepy dolls or senile men moe… and I was completely lost when Mayaya spew out bunch of ‘Romance of Three Kingdoms’ references. I also had no idea why the author would portray girl otaku as nothing more than simple creepy freaks. “Ama~s” may be a group of girl otaku with uncommon interests, but they all behaved like a cookie cutter male otaku from general public’s perception of otaku culture other than their androphobia, and didn’t explore further into the views and motivations from girl otaku’s perspective.
It is still an enjoyable show, but ‘Kuragehime’ could’ve easily been so much more. However, I am very impressed at how ‘noitaminA’ series continue to reject the trend in the industry with uncommon premise and low on moe/ecchi. Any series aired in this time slot continues to be a must-watch for serious anime fans.
Before moving along with that statement, let’s focus on the budget. Princess Jellyfish is well animated and has a pleasant art style. The show’s direction carries some expression, and the soundtrack is indeed serviceable. I would consider the opening and ending music good and am pleased when seeing how plentiful of references they can be, along with some of the show. Some of this is refreshing, however, things shift downward when the focus is directed more to the actual story and what it has to offer.
I’ve witnessed many NEET anime and other shows which follow very similar premises, like Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. Stories of this focus have been carried out well and in a way that keeps them interesting with some variety. Just by being a series that carries the term “slice-of-life”, it isn’t expected that you will be entering a mirror of a slow reality, as series like Haruhi show you can push the bar a bit. Even so, Princess Jellyfish decides to go right ahead and take a dive in that concept.
Princes Jellyfish is a story of a forced, shallow love-triangle and of socially odd people who open themselves slightly to amending their typical ways. That’s the story of Princess Jellyfish, and that’s as far as it will go. Essentially, watching the first two episodes of the series will give you enough to accurately guesstimate the entire series with this in mind, besides the fates of the love triangle. No plot point in this show ever gets developed or treated as something beyond the strange will it has to continually shift them to goofy, comedic gags. A point like the rationality of NEETs is never explored, while several times being joked at, and by the end it comes to thought that the whole incorporation of it was for the basic intent to be served as a quirk by the characters.
The humor of Princess Jellyfish consists of the quirkiness of its character roster. Many of these character’s personalities are literally their quirks, along with the basic principles of being a NEET for the main girls. No character ever feels alive beyond the second episode, which ends up making the show feel like a string of events involving a cross-dresser and a bunch of nameless moochers. Not to mention the “events” that take place are hardly ones that peak interest as issues that arise are so meager that at times you might think more towards the fact that these characters are doing absolutely nothing beyond surviving off their parents allowances.
I’m not degrading Princess Jellyfish with bias in its inclusion of NEETs, but the whole idea is simply inserted half-heatedly, and while the show seems to push to develop the character’s self-respect to become more individual people, the story only grows them far enough to barely reach a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. This lack of focus into anything else beyond a basic romance creates a sensation of the show’s true goal being the ability to self-insert. The only arguable message the show presents is that anyone can be beautiful if they choose to be so, but this is presented more figuratively than literally with nothing proving such an idea beyond the character being drawn more attractive after having a cartoon makeover. The characters run off quirks and the plot lacks in meaning and depth.
The slightly unique, light romance of Princess Jellyfish is without a doubt the strongest thing it had going for it. The quirkiness presented at the start from both sides, along with the side characters involved, created for a situation where a potentially interesting romance could have begun. Although it continued to be the show’s strong-point after the start, things quickly began to damper as the writer decided it would be best for the characters to stick to their roots and have their personalities almost literally be their quirks, letting events and situations lead the way. The main character is brought down in this lack of attention to development, and by the end of the show you’re left with the same self-insertable character with just the upgrade of a chance at love. That love, in particular, forming without any sense of the word “natural”. Explaining in a way not to make the entire series feel empty by revealing the love triangle plot, both male leading characters in question lead generally purposeful lives in which they would have no reason to feel desperate about their love lives. However, upon their run-down with the main female, things clearly change to her liking.
If you want to watch an anime with some western movie industry influence, only in references, than this show has some of that. If you want a slice-of-life series with quirky comedy and awkward situations, this show has that. If you are looking to be at least somewhat emotionally invested in either plot or characters, wanting something to ponder about or something to surprise you, than this show beyond the first episode is likely not what you’d appreciate watching.
There’s nothing taken care of in Princess Jellyfish. The show grabs the term “slice-of-life” and takes it to heart, fueling its uniqueness off of character quirks that are admittedly unique in that they can’t all be defined by the most generic of archetypes. The story is devoid of plot goals and development, as the ending feels but a few paces ahead of the beginning. Solutions to problems come at the ding of the microwave, and characters are taken straight out of the fridge to be eaten raw. Does that sound like part of your diet?
I double-dog dare those who are about to click “not-helpful” to discuss first. I’m always open.
Slice-of-Life and RomCom anime are my guilty pleasure genres. I don’t always find that they have a lot of substance beyond endorsing really cute teeny-bopper supportive relationships. I’ve found that a lot of slice-of-life anime fall into the trap of over-emphasizing the romantic sub-plots to the extent that any other story elements are underdeveloped or just plain boring. In contrast, Princess Jellyfish, like all my favourites in the genre, brings something new and insanely interesting in all aspects of its plot. Even the shoujo elements – where one character stares bleary-eyed at the stars and contemplates feelings – aren’t in your face. This might not make sense, but the plot mutes itself in such a way that all of its features shine(???)
The only word I can really use to describe how well this anime shines out would be ‘character’. The show literally oozes character from its every inappropriate crevice. The actual characters are unique and varied, ranging from flamboyant and confident to wacko or sweet or mature, but every single one of them is fucking hilarious. Granted, a lot of the main characters can be difficult to relate to, but they’d make for some poor outcasts if the audience were able to instantly project themselves onto their favourites. They’re all likable, regardless.
Even the character designs are super innovative (I hate to use that word, but it’s the best I’ve got. Sad face), I can’t gush about the designs nearly as much as I’d like: they’re all so different!! And they suit each character’s personality so well!! GUSH.
What really caught me off guard was how mature Princess Jellyfish was, too.
Like, one of the main love interests is a heterosexual drag-queen who helps build confidence in young women. *SPOILERS* There’s a male character who is kind of almost date-raped by one of the female antagonists. The overarching plot focuses on the implications of changing infrastructure on the lives of a city’s residents. PARENTAL LOSS. SOCIAL ANXIETIES AND SELF-CONFIDENCE IN YOUNG WOMEN. GENDER AND SEXUALITY. I have absolutely no idea how this anime can be so unassumingly smart but lighthearted. It’s impressive and it makes me happy.
If I were to make a complaint, it would be that the score wasn’t particularly stand-out. That’s it. Everything else was enjoyable and cool. If you’re itching for a slice-of-life gem, this one’s for you!
11: Nodame Cantabile: Paris-hen
Japanese: のだめカンタービレ 巴里編
MAL Score: 8.16
Shinichi Chiaki conquers his fear of flying, and Megumi “Nodame” Noda’s exceptional performance at a piano competition earns her an invitation to study at the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris. The pair go to Paris together to take the next step in their careers: Chiaki as a new rising conductor under the wing of the great maestro Franz von Stresemann, and Nodame as a pupil of the esteemed piano professor Charles Auclair.
But, of course, the music world is much bigger than the two of them could have ever imagined. Chiaki and Nodame, alongside old friends and new rivals, must fight and persevere to reach the dazzling musical heights that await them while never losing sight of what matters most.
There is hope though, as while there are plenty of shows that let the viewer down in this way, there are a growing number that actually manage to equal, if not better, the original series, and one such example is Nodame Cantabile: Paris Chapter.
Now as fans of the franchise will already know, the story is about the eccentric (or slightly mad, whichever takes your fancy), and thoroughly otaku musical genius known as Noda Megumi (Nodame is her nickname), and her reluctant, long suffering love interest Chiaki Shinichi. As the title of the series suggests, this time the pair have moved to Paris to continue their studies. Nodame will attend the music conservatory under the tutelage of the reknowned Charles Auclair, while Chiaki will continue to his apprenticeship under the erstwhile maestro Franz von Stresseman.
Unlike the original series, the plot is far less derived in Paris Chapter. The main reason for this is because a good portion of the original was spent setting the scene and introducing the characters, so by the time Paris Chapter came around much of the hard work had already been done. The story is thus able to continue from where it left off at the end of Nodame Cantabile, however the second series is also reliant on firsthand knowledge of the original as there is very little time spent on pointless flashbacks scenes. While there is a degree of scene setting and character introduction, this is handled in an expedient manner that helps to maintain the flow of the plot.
As far as looks go, Paris Chapter is actually a little better than the original series. While both retain the same atmosphere, the second series has a far more continental look due to the location, which is also reflected in style of clothing. Both Nodame and Chiaki look much the same as they did at the end of the original anime, while the new characters (Tanya, Frank, Yunlong, etc), follow the style of the series to a tee (i.e. highly expressive yet slightly “cartoony” features). The animation is a step up from Nodame Cantabile in that the strange CG used during the musical set pieces is actually smoother and more fluid than before. That said, much of the remaining character animation is pretty much what one would expect from the franchise, and many of the visual gags are well timed and choreographed.
Once again though, the areas where the series really excels are with the sound and music. The voice acting is as good as before (if not better), especially in the roles that continue on from the first series. The newcomers manage to fit in to the cast rather well, and while their performances are loaded with expression, they manage to capture that quirky, eccentric atmosphere that is a hallmark of the franchise.
In terms of music, Paris Chapter is far more focused on delivering set pieces than the original series, and the difference is palpable. This show literally oozes classical music from every pore, so much so in fact, the variety of tracks on offer in Paris Chapter easily rivals that of the first season.
As before though, this is very much a character driven show, and while season one managed a good degree of development for both Nodame and Chiaki, Paris Chapter takes it to a whole new level. In addition to this, the show spends a fair amount of time developing the supporting characters in much the same way as the original. The downside though, is that where the first series had 23 episodes to play with, Paris Chapter only has 11. Now one would think that there is no way to provide any meaningful growth to new characters in such a short time, however this is not the case as the nature of series two is to follow directly on from the original. The benefit of this is that both leads only need to build on their development from the first season, so more time can be spent refining the characters and strengthening their presence in the story, as well as focusing more on the supporting cast. Ironically, this is also the main reason why it is essential to have watched the first season beforehand as much of Nodame and Chiaki’s characterisation in Paris Chapter is dependent on the viewer knowing their history.
Now it should be fairly obvious that I enjoyed Paris Chapter, and to be honest I found it to be as good as the original series. While the show continues to develop the plot and characters, it also manages to retain the eccentric charm of the original without miring itself in melodrama. The new characters are a boon to the series as they complement the story in some novel ways that may not be obvious at first. One example of this is Frank, a music student and European “otaku”, who learns firsthand what otaku power is really capable of (thanks to Nodame and an episode of PuriGorota).
What I’ve always liked about the Nodame Cantabile franchise are the lengths the anime goes to in order to stay true to the manga, and Paris Chapter only serves to reinforce this. The plot is literally taken straight from the pages its paper based counterpart, and while there are some differences due to time constraints (amongst other things), anyone who has read the manga should find themselves on very familiar ground.
As far as sequels go, Nodame Cantabile: Paris Chapter is pretty much everything fans of the original could hope for.
Paris Chapter is a direct sequel to Nodame Cantabile and picks up where the previous anime left off – with Nodame and Chiaki journeying to Paris to continue their musical education. Besides our two main protagonists a whole slew of new secondary characters are introduced.
You’d have to have a heart of stone not to enjoy the development of the relationship between Nodame and Chiaki. Parts were truly hilarious (episode 5-6), some bits were sad and others were “aah” moments that let you reflect on just how much both of them have grown as people. Their music has also evolved throughout this arc.
That being said, there are several weaknesses in the Paris Chapter. First of all, the series is TOO short to fully tell the story in all its glory. Paris Chapter could have been 24 episodes and still we would have wanted more. Because of the shortened length a lot of stuff felt compressed and there wasn’t nearly enough plot, or music (we need MORE music) to satisfy me or most Nodame fans. *sigh*
Secondly, none of the secondary characters (fun though they are) quite GRABS you the way the secondary characters did in the original Nodame Cantabile. For example, there is no comic relief that comes even close to Timpanist Masumi Okuyama – I miss him so much! Also the developing romances between any secondary characters in Paris Chapter pales in comparison to the Mine – Kiyora Miki Violin Romance. As for Rui Son – what a wasted opportunity, another plot thread started that just seemed to fizzle into ???
Basically with a little more running time I believe the plot and character development would have been perfect. It only scores as high as it does because Nodame/Chiaki are a truly brilliant pairing.
The art was very much in the style of Nodame Cantabile Season 1 so there is no incongruity. Paris is lovingly depicted – watching this anime brings me back to when I visited Paris, I could see some of the places I had been and it was easily recognizable. The animators got the “feel” of Paris close to perfect – I guess nothing can compare with the romance of actually being at the river side at night.
Great soundtrack and sound effects fitting with the anime – I doubt I’ll be the only one wishing for more music. Episode 10 is definately the highlight music showcase wise. OP quite ordinary (disappointing really) but the ED is fantastic, one of the more catchy ones I’ve heard.
Loved loved loved it. I laughed, cried and anxiously awaited every new episode. Would have been a masterpiece if it were just a little bit longer, enough to make up for some of the “hanging” developments. Still, this did a great job of whetting my appetite for Season 3, I need more Nodame!
STORY – This Paris Chapter picks up pretty much right where the first season leaves off. Chiaki is still working to advance towards his goal of being a renowned conductor, and even Nodame seems to have something more concrete in mind for an end result. The general idea of the story is more or less the same, but unfortunately, I think a lot of the charm is lost in the overseas transition — mostly because their dreams don’t seem quite so distant anymore. Chiaki is already fairly well known and well connected; as such, the things that stand between him and what he wants don’t seem to be that big a deal anymore. We all know he’s capable. This second season gives a little more spotlight to Nodame and her development, but even she seems to have made peace with herself for the most part, so the progression just doesn’t seem as interesting.
Episode-to-episode, since it remains quite slice-of-life, the series is still pretty fun and entertaining, but the depth and relevance of the over-arching plot isn’t nearly what it was in the first season. It feels more like a continuation of antics because the story had already matured to its height and there’s no where else to go. I suppose that’s a little disappointing, but at least it doesn’t take away from the original series.
CHARACTER – Like the story, I feel like both Chiaki and Nodame had finished all their significant growth and development in the first season and that there wasn’t much else to address in the second season. Despite having become an official couple somewhere along the way, there were only small differences in the way they interacted with each other. It was still ridiculously adorable for sure, and it could be said that we do gain some insight on Chiaki’s regard of Nodame and their relationship, but I don’t really feel much was explored beyond what we could have already figured out on our own. I suppose slow and gradual progression was part of what made their relationship so appealing in the first place though.
Sadly, most of the secondary cast from the first season stays in Japan, and we’re greeted with a mostly fresh assortment of support characters in Paris (Kuroki the Oboeist is the only character that reappears). And they aren’t nearly as interesting or entertaining as their predecessors. I don’t really think there’s a specific reason though, honestly; I just had a much harder time caring about them…maybe because they weren’t featured as prominently and because none of them really seemed motivated? If they don’t care about themselves, then why should I care about them? It also bugged me a little that almost all of them were pianists; variety is good!
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – At first glance, Paris-hen seems to have gotten a step-up in budget as far as animation goes. Where season one had still frame after still frame for musical performances, season two has none of that whatsoever. Instead, we’re met with a lot of computer-generated music-playing that’s fitted in rather awkwardly with the cel animation. Every single performance is animated in the Paris Chapter. Violins move! Fingers glide over piano keys! Chiaki’s arms actually wave around when he’s conducting! It’s pretty neat; I was excited to see instruments move, but after a while, you really start to notice how awkward it looks.
The difference between the CG animation and everything else is too obvious. Chiaki’s arms are too stiff. The pianists’ fingers are look strange when they move; they’re robotic. It isn’t terrible, but it’s noticeable, and it becomes a little distracting. I think the general character animation took a hit because of it, even in scenes that didn’t involve performances. More proportions were off than usual, etc. The animation was never amazing to begin with, so those small things stand out. I’m not really sure whether the still frame panning is better or worse than the awkward CG, but at least they’re trying.
MUSIC – You know, for a music anime, Nodame Cantabile Paris Chapter has a pretty terrible opening theme. The animation is uninspired, and the song is just… not good. Thankfully, the ending theme is much cuter, and I really enjoyed the multilingualism of it all. We don’t see as much variety in musical selections throughout this season as in the first, but that’s probably because it’s half the length. Almost all of the performance scenes are also markedly shorter, which may bode well for those that got a little bored before, but I was actually kind of disappointed. Even though most of them had been still pans, it took these shortened pieces to make me realize I did really enjoy all those long performances in the first season. I think there’s just something cool about seeing characters perform. It’s inspiring. In all though, there really isn’t much to complain about.
VOICE ACTING – Tomokazu and Kawasumi are still doing a great job with their leads. Chiaki’s noise of disbelief is just priceless every time, as is Nodame’s "gyabo!" It really impresses me that they manage to find that perfect middle where she says it just enough times to be endearing, but not enough times to be annoying. The rest of the cast’s voice acting was pretty average.
One thing I really wish they addressed better was the bilingual nature of the story though. Sure, they’re Japanese characters and thus speak Japanese, and obviously, a show airing in Japan will be in Japanese, but still. The way the series starts off is actually really neat as far as this goes — Nodame is learning French through dubbed anime and it’s really hilarious. There are captions indicating when conversations are actually taking place in French but are being "dubbed" in Japanese. But after a while, these indications disappear, and I get confused, especially when random sniplets of French get woven in to the spoken Japanese. Especially when French characters speaking in Japanese weave French into their Japanese!
I have to admit that it was pretty fun hearing the Japanese butcher another language besides English though. XD
OVERALL – Nodame Cantabile Paris-hen was enjoyable. It didn’t quite live up to the standards set by the first season, but it was far from being a straight-up failure. As I haven’t read the manga or seen the drama, I’m not quite sure how all this matches up with the events there, but it is a smooth follow-up to the original anime. The story doesn’t move much, but the characters are still fun and their interactions cute. The visual aspects could stand a bit more improvement, but the sound is still pretty damn solid (excepting the opening theme).
I’m pretty excited for the third season, anyway. Slice-of-life could conceivably go on forever, and I know I said that both the story and characters feel like they’ve matured to some kind of climax… but despite that, I’m still having fun with them. There’s always room to grow. Maybe there wasn’t much movement in this season, but who knows what the third season could bring? I have faith. For sequels, that’s a pretty rare thing.
MAL Score: 8.21
Chihaya Ayase, a strong-willed and tomboyish girl, grows up under the shadow of her older sister. With no dreams of her own, she is contented with her share in life till she meets Arata Wataya. The quiet transfer student in her elementary class introduces her to competitive karuta, a physically and mentally demanding card game inspired by the classic Japanese anthology of Hundred Poets. Captivated by Arata’s passion for the game and inspired by the possibility of becoming the best in Japan, Chihaya quickly falls in love with the world of karuta. Along with the prodigy Arata and her haughty but hard-working friend Taichi Mashima, she joins the local Shiranami Society. The trio spends their idyllic childhood days playing together, until circumstances split them up.
Now in high school, Chihaya has grown into a karuta freak. She aims to establish the Municipal Mizusawa High Competitive Karuta Club, setting her sights on the national championship at Omi Jingu. Reunited with the now indifferent Taichi, Chihaya’s dream of establishing a karuta team is only one step away from becoming true: she must bring together members with a passion for the game that matches her own.
Of course, that was my first reaction.
At first, this anime really didn’t catch my interest. It was plain and dry, like trying to shape out the dry clay; but as it went on, I found myself immersed in it. Like a sea of colors vibrantly expanding across an infinite of sky. Yes, even now, fifteen minutes after I finally saw the last episode, I am still numbed by its excellence.
In the beginning, the story seemed boring. Predictable. Like a boat streaming across still water. It was lifeless, and simple. I expected it to be like any other Anime with a swindle of a romance eclipsed by the ever flamboyant facade of a sport or activity.
But somewhere, as the series progressed, it seemed to evolve. It seamlessly grew to something more, something beyond the natural limits of a story. It wasn’t plagued with typical conflicts or unrequited desires, it was like a light that slowly lit itself brighter and brighter, unblocked by the trends of literature and expectation. Barriers that innately shackled a series’ potential seemed to fade away, and every climactic moment that the characters felt was somehow shared with the viewer. As if a crescendo of realization would slay you alongside them.
All in all, it was about the sport, Katura. And, you’d think: “Well, if its just about a sport its not like anything interesting can happen.” But somehow, it was different. The sport was a sort of catalyst that helped the characters not only develop towards one another, but it opened the door for an entire world that we all seem to forget, as if blinded by the mundane trudge of life.
The competitive aspect of the game, which yearned for such a demand of stamina seemed to be later eclipsed by the “true” virtue hidden within the sport. Yes, what the beginner sees, and the masters forget: The poetry. Such an attribute slowly became the mortar that gave new meaning to each simple issue that arose during the characters’ failures.
It was seamless as we learned with them, through their desperation and hardship; their envy and willpower. The goals kept increasing, and aspirations began to soar, capping only at what the characters truly wanted.
Romance. Friendship. Deeper revelations. Aspiration oriented. Perseverance through strength. No text box storytelling. Failure.
The art in this show was interesting. It had primarily bold lines, and definitely took some getting used to. But now that I finished it, I really couldn’t imagine this anime any other way.
The thing is, since this show is so off on a tangent in the first place, it seemed necessary to break the norm.
However, I will say that there were moments when I wished that they wouldn’t have. The fact of the matter is, the art does well for its purpose, but it seems like it was aimed at a particular niche. I guess it just comes down to personal preference, really.
Nonetheless, the art was still phenomenal. Everything down to lighting was near perfect, and facial expressions were particularly pronounced so as to invoke the true feelings of the characters. Bloom, Sparkles, Glitter, Comical Backdrops, and Chibi Moments; everything seemed in good shape.
Overall, it had a realistic feel. Which held tremors to the viewer considering the entire theme could be realistically translated into anything the viewer truly desired.
The art was different, but really you shouldn’t have any complaints.
This soundtrack is simply awe inspiring. Even now, as I write this review, I have OST 7 “Main Theme” on loop.
The music in this show was EXTREMELY good. It did very well to convey the emotions that were felt by the characters, and worked seamlessly with the art and choreography to invoke what the moments wished you to feel. To be honest, the music had a voice of its own. As if it was an entire character separate of the cast, watching the show with you, helping you along through the tears.
It sympathized with you when necessary, and laughed alongside you, guided you along the adventurous moments… It really couldn’t have been any better.
Even if this show had 5 frames a second and 1980’s art, I would still choke for air at how many times this musical score seems to steal your breath away.
If anything, I’ll still be listening to this music many decades later. Thank you, Kousuke Yamashita.
If only I could rate this 20.
Symphony. Commonly repeating motif. Varied orchestration. Light sounds mixed with heavy ensembles. Stellar composition.
While romance is an aspect of the story, it is merely a development feature. Note that the story is more so directed toward the love of friendship and the game itself than it is towards any romantic moments.
To start with, each character occupies a niche.
Ayase is a beauty, yet it is in vain. The moment she speaks, it is broken by her tomboyish image and personal drive. But its those very traits that reel you in. She is the joyous energy that keeps the group together, and despite her clear superiority in the game, genuinely cares for her friends, and helps aid them in their journey to pursue Karuta.
Taichi, Ayase’s childhood friend, remains her loyal companion throughout the years. His mental forte is unmatched to most every player the game has ever known; even once reciting every card at random in the entire deck of 100, just because he could. His family is privileged, and he is pressured by his parents to keep at the highest tier in terms of sports and exams. His brains keep him on par with the purists that achieve their status merely due to athletic prowess. He acts as the groups motivator and leader, often amping everyone out of their slumps with “Just the right words” to turn them around.
Arata represents the reverse side to Taichi, being the poorer, lesser appreciated, segment to the story. As the story progresses, his darker past becomes realized, and he continues to become a shining beacon for Ayase.
There is a triangle romance between the three of them, but remember, the show does not articulate this enough for this show to be branded as a romance.
Of course, there are a great many other supporting characters that help aid Ayase on her journey to realize herself through Katura, each having a realistic and effective back story that warps the plot in one way or another.
The characters were diverse, which allowed for the story to be seen through a wide spectrum. Realistic. Believable. Nothing was over exaggerated.
Did I find this show enjoyable?
Well, in a way I did.
I felt that it was really giving a perspective about achievement I had never really thought about.
To learn meant failure, to grow stronger meant to feel hardship and to overexert yourself to what phase out the illusions to what you truly desired.
At the end of each episode, with the crescendoing music resounding with each episodic climax, I felt the overwhelming desire to watch the next.
It was like a ten hour long movie that always kept you drooling for more.
I was stunned by the hype of this show that I nearly skipped over it. And let me tell you, I ALMOST did.
And simply for the thought once existing, I regret it.
If I had passed up this show, I really would have missed out on such a masterpiece. I am shamed of myself.
I honestly cant wait to jump into Chihayafuru Season 2.
It was beautiful to the core. Every aspect was heartwrenchingly flawless. If you have any last minute questions before watching this series, feel free to PM me.
I really don’t think the world can afford to have people so many that haven’t seen Chihayafuru.
I know a lot of people mess with those mah jong anime that keep coming out. I can’t hate but I never know or care about what’s going on in any of that stuff.
Lucky things happened though. Winter 2012 anime were failing hard so I had to start review crawling. MAL gave this thing an 8+ so figured I’d give it a shot. Normally that’s a bad idea because girl anime tends to have inflated ratings on this site.
Expectations exceeded. This show right here filled me with some serious glee. I still have no idea what the rules of Karuta are and I still loved the show. All I managed to discern is that somebody reads a poem in a creepy voice and then you have to snatch up a card real quick. Apparently that was all that I needed to know.
Characters? Mostly win. I like that every character is unique. There hardly any typical characters, except some minor side dudes from that red shirt karuta club. Actually I’ll contradict myself and say that Chihaya herself is a pretty typical ditzy but hard working female lead character but everyone else is fresh. My favourite guy of all is Desktomu-kun. I’m comfortable enough to say that he is actually cute as a grown male character. Welcome to 2012. Speaking of Desktomu-kun, how come all the side characters in the club were small and funny looking where as the main three characters are all tall and handsome? It’s like there’s a class system through character design. I save further analysis of this for the Marxist anime review page.
While I said the characters are good that’s not saying the chracters are deep or anything. It seems like they all have one personality type, typically only express a couple moods and are all motivated by a single factor. For example, the adorable Kana-chan, can be summed up completely as the girl who likes poetry or a history buff. Not every anime has to be an exercise in psychoanalysis though.
The worst parts of the show are some of the flashbacks and plot devices used to motivate characters are pretty bad though. Arata’s motivation for quitting karuta is so contrived. Pisses me off right now just thinking about how little imagination went into that.
Taichi seemed like he was the most multifaceted guy. He’s sort of an insecure ass but more at least it’s only as far as a real person acts like an ass. You watch these josei/shoujo anime and the main guy is usually some epic dirtbag dude that could only another dirtbag could relate to. A good example is the guy in Nodame Cantabile. I want to punch the trash out of that guy. You always have these girl anime pitting Dirtbag Dans against Nice Guy Norms but here I don’t really get that. Taichi actually seems like a nice guy but he can’t help but do some dumb stuff. Arata is kind of shy but he doesn’t really seem that nice either. He is actually pretty edgy since he’s supposed to be the Lebron James of speed cards or whatever.
Then you have the action, which kicks a bunch of ass solely because of the direction and writing. Like I said before, I still have no idea how karuta works but I definitely felt the suspense in every match. I’m dying to hear them read the cards out and I don’t know what they mean. That’s good TV. The matches are made interesting by focusing on internal mental stuff going on with the players and small details that the reader can understand. For example, there is a part where a distinction is made between a player with speed and a player who uses rhythm and pacing. I don’t really need to understand karuta to be able to relate to that.
Thematically, you get a lot of the typical stuff here around being in a team and striving for a goal and all that sports anime crap. I love that sports anime crap. Makes me feel good as heck. You also get a little education about Japanese poetry. That also makes me feel good. Like I’m not just watching cartoons, I’m getting educated out here. I would have liked to have seen a little more focus on the outsider nature of the game though. The whole ordeal with the Empress teacher was supposed to present that aspect of things but that unravelled pretty predictably. I think more focus on Taichi and Chihaya’s interactions with their parents and the parents’ acceptance or ignorance of karuta would have been nice.
I give this series a 9. It delivered happiness, that sports anime suspense and some interesting knowledge about a weird sport. I’m dying for a second season. You know, I have now seen anime about karuta and kendo. When am I going to get a sumo anime?
The story is similar to many other sports anime. The main character Chihaya Ayase childhood dream is to watch her sister become the number one model. This all changes when she meets a transfer student, Arata Wataya, that open her eyes to the world of competitive Karuta. Ever since this fated meeting that made her entranced in the world of karuta her dream has been to become the queen (best female karuta player). From here on out the plot is quite simple, with Chihaya going to karuta societies to improve or tournaments to compete. Finding rivals,mentors and teamates along the way, each with their own influence on Chihaya. Honestly though if you watch Chihayafuru for a riveting plot with many twists and turns, you will be disheartened. Notably due to the slow start of the anime, with a long five episode flashback. Chihayafuru is mainly a character-driven show, which in its own way can produce its own heart-wrenching entertainment equivalent to an amazing plot.
And the characters really do not disappoint, from the design to their personalities each character has a trait to love. Though Chihaya is a stereotypical tomboy airhead type character with her stereotypical childhood friend,Taichi Mashima, and stereotypical outsider transfer stuident Arata, the way they develop is what differentiates Chihayafuru from the status quo. Each and every character has their own dilemma, which they have to face. Inspiring us not only through their success but also in their own failure. Even the side characters have progress, and are explored throughout the show.
In terms of art style, some might not be too accustomed to the differences in Chihayafuru. I know at first I had a hard time looking at Taichi and Chihaya because of their oddly super long eyelashes, but I grew to appreciate the design. There are some characters that look similar to others but this is primarily with background characters. Overall most of the characters don’t look very similar, something I really appreciate in anime nowadays. As for the animation, everything is pretty crisp. Their is not much action to animate but they do a good job with the Karuta scenes, I have only seen problems in one or two episodes, where the frames drop a bit. Hardly noticeable, may even be my computer playing tricks with me. Now onto backgrounds, and other non-character related animation, was pretty good. Not amazing to me (like bakemonogatari background amazing) but still good. I am all for dark colors > light but the bright colors really stand out yet is cohesive with the piece as a whole.
With the great animations it leads to the Karuta matches actually being quite interesting. One would think that just watching a couple players try to get to a card first would be boring, but they build up suspense and emotion for every match. They do not get too technical about the technique and skill, and instead focus on the character’s mindset. Despite the fact that at times this show is very serious, it does have its comedic aspects. Its funny to see how Chihaya go from ditzy in other situations, to being graceful at Karuta.
Lastly the Sound. The tracks do not vary too much considering the insert songs during the animation. Despite this lack of deviation, these songs were well timed and really highlighted the moments of emotion. In comparison the intro and outro differ greatly yet are just as memorable. The opening has a more upbeat tempo that makes you want to tap your feet to the rhythm. I imagine the characters drive and love for karuta during the opening. Slowing down the pace with the Outro, it drives the great emotional impact of Chihayafuru. The ending really expresses the character’s relationships well. As for the voice acting, nothing really stood out, but nothing was annoying. I do not really have an ear for voice acting so do not quote me on that.
All together Chihayafuru provides a great experience for the audience, with emotional attachment to the characters and the suspense to see the results. Don’t let the fact that the show is about Karuta, and you have no idea what that is (yet) stop you from enjoying it. I believe that Chihayafuru’s virtues strongly outweigh any faults that it may have, and highly reccomend it to anyone.
9: Hachimitsu to Clover II
English: Honey and Clover II
Japanese: ハチミツとクローバー II
MAL Score: 8.24
Back from his journey across Japan, Yuuta Takemoto reminisces about his college life so far. He has matured significantly since his second year and is motivated to move forward.
Feeling more confident than ever before, he finally confesses to Hagumi Hanamoto, the girl he has been in love with since their first encounter. However, Hagumi has been confused by her attempts to understand the mysterious Shinobu Morita. Hiding behind a playful demeanor, Morita may be the most burdened by his own potential. Meanwhile, Takumi Mayama has become a full-fledged working adult and has landed Ayumi Yamada several pottery orders through his company in an act of friendship.
The five youths continue to face individual hardships in academics, work, love, and friendship as they push each other toward the paths that they are destined to walk.
Season one ended gracefully, you could accept it as “ending” and it can have a sequel as well. Either way, we’ve got a lot of questions left, like what happened to Mayama, Rika and Yamada, or is Shinobu really that much of an idiot that he couldn’t fight for Hagu, as well as what would be Hagu’s answer after “I’m glad you’re back”. I was literally jumping with joy when they decided to make another season. Everything was concluded at Honey and Clover II.
These kinds of anime is the reason why I still love the medium animation.
Color pastel-type work at its finest. They’re at an art school, after all, so the art should be top-notch. JC Staff is enough said; almost anything they make delivers, and delivers well. I love how they abused the blurry, almost-dreamy look of the show. Some may find it a bit “girly”, but, well, it fits the opus. It stays loyal to the manga’s designs too.
One of the BEST parts of watching Honey and Clover is listening to its wonderful, wonderful music. “Dramatic” and “Waltz” got us in season one, the piano renditions of the songs were especially amazing. Now we’ve got “Fugainaya” and “Split”, which are really blessings to the human ear. I may be wrong, but almost every episode has a different insert song with it, which was brilliantly scored to match the scene it goes with. I especially liked the song at episode nine and the song playing on the last scene. Epic.
The factor that propels Honey and Clover to its fame is its characters, and the story that they individually have, interconnected with each other. It’s a story about growing up, maturity, and coming-of-age (jobs, decisions, etc) after all. Maybe it’s my age, but I find its story stunningly touching and awe-inspiring. Before Honey and Clover, I thought most modern works lost the magic of storytelling. Characters were easy enough to identify with. Themes of unrequited love, talents, ties, lifelong goals, finding oneself, hardships and trials; they’re all there, wonderfully packaged.
Takemoto’s still the unsure, melancholic character that he was at season one but you could see he’s grown up a little and learned more about how life goes. He’s the banner of H&C, he represents adolescence. Morita lost most of his eccentricity and we get to see the deeper side of him, as well as the people he’s closest to. Yamada, well, is Yamada, still with her unrequited love, but of course, with a twist at season two. We get to see more of Rika, Professor Hanamoto, and Mayama. But, definitely, Hagu’s part on the succeeding story is probably the biggest plot point of Honey and Clover II.
What really makes this a modern gem is the way it was presented; it was music, characters, and story weaving in and out of each other in perfect harmony. At times I really find myself asking why is aging this bittersweet. Honey and Clover II is the right way to end the nostalgic series, and if you want to watch something that isn’t flooded with moe, giant breasts or extreme harem, and instead want to see something of a mature slice-of-life anime, see this.
One thing’s for sure. It did have meaning.
As for the drawing style, main plot and voice acting, not much has changed so I’ll only focus on the things that have changed.
The main plot hasn’t changed – it’s still a “coming of age” story for all of the characters, but for this season, the focus has shifted from Takemoto and Yamada’s individual stories to Hagu and Morita. Sure we still get to see the Takemoto’s struggles with his youth and Yamada’s sad love story, but this time, we learn more about Hagu and her strong passion for what she does and what Morita has been doing up until now. Plus there have been some developments with Mayama’s relationship with Rika as well – and for a hardcore Rika hater/Yamada-Mayama fan like me, that’s kinda tough to watch.
Even though I’m glad at how it ended, I still can’t help but shed a few tears because of their parting. I wish that they could stay together and have fun forever (kind of like how I feel now since I’m graduating) but that’s how life goes – you meet new people and in the process you lose some people. I also found myself tearing up more during this season. There were just so many things that are kind of sad and bittersweet.
Generally there weren’t any changes as to drawing style, but Hagu definitely looks prettier. Back in the first season, I didn’t think she was cute or pretty until the last few episodes. Her look during the last few episodes was carried over to the new season and was made even better. CG was still used, most notable in the opening theme sequence, and was complimentary in some scenes as well.
They used some music from the first season, but I think that was only in the first 2 episodes. There was also a variety of insert songs for this season as well, which really complimented the scenes. The opening song and ending song for this season were similar to the opening and ending song of the first season, probably because they were performed by the same artists but I have to say, I like the first season’s themes better.
I’m so sad that I won’t have any more Honey and Clover now. I finally found the meaning to the line “Good things must come to an end”, and I found another favorite to add to my list.
the art design just doesn’t appeal to me. my friend says it’s the most unique art design and stuff, but it looks hideous, especially when their eyes go O.O the character design isn’t too bad in a way.. lots of diversity, but i honestly thought Hagu chan was the prof’s daughter in the beginning.. lol.. in fact i thought so until the love square actually developed.. and i was like “u gotta be kidding me”.. the only character i liked was Yamada. The backgrounds are honestly pretty excellent, but i can recommend so many other animes with mind-blowing backgrounds.
H&C tries to depict life, but keeps on focusing on the love triangles and squares, in which they try to make you tear up at every scene. it’s also ridiculous that there are only 2 main girls(with super complicated relationships), and a ton of guys. I mean, most of u should know how many hotties u can find in the art departments. and yet, 2 students and 1 professor are fighting over a kid. #$%#$@&#$$@!!! the story about Morita was quite fresh, but it wasn’t a very prominent plot in the story. i related so much to Kaoru and i liked the way they depicted the forked road. I think H&C wastes too much time depicting the love drama and never really tells u wat happened, their past and their goals. The only plot which was beautifully depicted was Morita and Kaoru’s, but it was probably thought of by the author as a side-story or something.. The ending didn’t feel much like an ending.. it felt like a cut in the middle.. it also didnt feel like a new beginning, which would have given room for a sequel. it’s like, the couplings are decided, so we end the story here. sheesh.. I thought H&C2 would imply a real sequel, but it’s the same thing all over again. but after seeing the ending, i understand why it isn’t a sequel. there’s just no sequel to make.
Hagu-chan is probably the worst character i’ve seen in a very very long time.. I just don’t understand why a kid has to be the center of the biggest love confusion. what the heck is this anime trying to imply? she doesn’t look 18 at all. fine, some girls really have little bodies because of some defections, but it was never mentioned in the anime, and those guys who like her just seem like lolicons and arseholes to me. the other characters are also very boring and i can’t relate much to them because they seem like they dont have a past at all..
I didn’t enjoy this much in part because i knew i would be disappointed, but i’ve watched animes which i thought at first that it would turn out bad, but actually loving them in the end. TBRH, there’s just nothing much to like about H&C. It seems like one of the most overrated anime of all time to me rather than the best anime of all time as some ppl would say. i just dont see how anyone can really love H&C if they have watched other animes with similar genre. it’s just not as realistic or romantic as it seems. I would probably only recommend this to ppl who would be satisfied with only great art, and very shallow plots. for example, my friend who loves this anime but can’t even finish Higurashi n Monster.
I think it’s essential to compare it with other romance/slice of life animes to see how H&C doesn’t live up to it’s ratings. First of all is ef. There’s no need to say anything about the art style. it just blows ur mind away. the storyline might seem very fantasy-like compared to H&C, but it’s so much more realistic, with lots of side-characters and even a few neutral characters. in addition, the characters are so much more diverse and unique. i also personally like how they depict the monologues in ef. H&C tries to depict it in a romantic way, but it’s just too boring and doesn’t really show how intense the self-debate is. ef, in contrast depicts exactly how ppl spend so much time in limbo during those stages in life.
then, for the more popular genre, we have toradora. ok, it has a chibi too, but at least she doesn’t look like a 10 year old. the art is obviously more popular too, and i haven’t seen ppl complaining about the plot yet, just debate about couplings.
8: Nodame Cantabile: Finale
Japanese: のだめカンタービレ フィナーレ
MAL Score: 8.25
Shinichi Chiaki is quickly making a name for himself as the principal conductor of the revitalized Roux-Marlet Orchestra, and Megumi “Nodame” Noda has made leaps and bounds as a pianist at the Conservatoire de Paris. However, tensions mount between the two as Nodame feels left behind by Chiaki’s growing success and his close friendship with legendary piano prodigy Rui Son. Disregarding her teacher Professor Charles Auclair’s advice, Nodame enters another piano competition in an attempt to jumpstart her own performance career.
Meanwhile, those around Chiaki and Nodame are at their own crossroads. Rui begins to doubt herself after hearing Nodame’s playing and being denied tutelage from Auclair; Maestro Franz von Stresemann faces the reality of his mortality; pianists Yunlong Li and Tatiana Vishneva feverishly prepare for a competition, while the latter also struggles with her growing feelings for oboist and fellow student Yasunori Kuroki.
As Chiaki, Nodame, and their friends continue on their respective journeys, they must not only strive to stay true to themselves, but also remember where it all started.
Sometimes though, the difference between the two is very small….
So, Nodame Cantabile is finally over, and with it we say our collective goodbyes, gyabos and mukyas to the odd couple of the classical world. The aptly named “Finale” follows directly on from Paris Chapter, and not much has changed since the end of the second series. Chiaki is still conducting the Marlet orchestra, and they are progressively getting better thanks to him and the concert master. Nodame is also improving thanks to her lessons with Professor Auclair, however she feels that Chiaki is drifting further away from her.
The one thing that has always surprised me about the entirety of Nodame Cantabile is how closely the anime tries to follow the manga, however while the majority of the tale is transposed extremely well, there are occasions where the adaptation only touches on the manga storyline. For the most part the plot in Finale flows rather well and, as with the rest of the series, the music allows one to appreciate the story in a manner that simply isn’t possible in the manga. However, if one has read the manga then there may be some confusing occurences in the story, one example of this being the absence/alteration of a huge chunk of storyline from the final two episodes.
For many people the changes in the anime won’t be an issue, regardless of whether they’ve read the manga or not. The story in either form is enjoyable, and while the manga may contain more plot,there are elements of the anime adaptation that more than maks up for the changes.
In terms of design and animation, Finale is very much in the mould of the first two series, something which should come as no surprise since J.C. Staff are responsible for the trilogy (and OVAs of course). Character designs are just as eclectic as they were before, and the European settings are just as good as they were in Paris Chapter. Animation is pretty much on par with the previous series as well, including the dreaded 3D fingers playing the instruments (something which has long divided opinion since it’s not the best CG in anime, but is reasonably accurate in its usage). I didn’t mind them personally, however they do interrupt the flow of the story a little (while you pause to chuckle at how robotic they are that is).
The star of the show though, as any fan of the series will know, is the music. While Finale may not be as heavy with the classical pieces on display as previous outings, there is enough here to enhance the story and add vibrancy to the series. One thing that I was pleased to hear was the more subtle thematic music used in the series, and many scenes were made without any accompaniment, something which is laudable given the series is top-filled already.
In addition to the quality of music, the acting is also very good throughout the show, but given that the cast is pretty much that of Paris Chapter, this should be no surprise. Seki Tomokazu is in fine form as Chiaki, while Kawasumi Ayako continues to bring out Nodame’s oddness and eccentricity.
As far as the characters go, this is probably the weakest of the three series for Nodame and Chiaki. While the cast generally receive a decent amount of development, the overall quality seems a little rushed, especially in the last two episodes. It would have been better if Finale was a 12 or 13 episode series as the bits that have been left out of the manga shed a new light on Chiaki’s feelings for Nodame, something that has been hurried in the anime version.
That said, those who have only watched the anime will probably find the characters to be pretty good overall.
Finale is a nice way to end the series as it continues to use the tried and tested formula of the first two seasons – mixing slapstick comedy with classical music. While the show does have some niggling issues that could have been resolved, these shouldn’t really cause any major problems with one’s enjoyment of the series, even if one has read the manga.
On the whole Nodame Cantabile: Finale is a good addition to the franchise, but not a great one. The somewhat rushed development of the characters during the latter half of the series may annoy some people (those who’ve read the manga for example), however those who love the show in its entirety will probably be happy enough with the results.
As it is, this is an enjoyable show that rounds off the franchise in a fairly pleasing manner, and if anyone is sad about the series ending, well, the encore has already started.
Story: Nodame Cantabile Finale story follows up 2nd season as Nodame and Chiaki struggles between work and their relationship. Meeting people and playing wonderful music with well known musicians from all over the world. As Nodame is becoming better and more popular its time for chiaki to struggle the same way as Nodame struggled in the past.
Art: Calming and beautiful.
Sound: Beautiful classical music… which isn’t so popular nowadays but still captures you into the story of the song.
Characters: All kinds of characters from 1st season till 3rd season developing really nicely , changing characters and everything else.
Enjoyment:Really Really enjoyable anime especially for music lovers … because you can hear all kinds of classical music. Without music there is an awesome storyline which starts funny in 1st season and gets more serious over next 2 seasons in 3rd season it concludes and ends without any regrets.
Overall: A perfect anime , calming , funny and romantic without leaving u any regrets.
~~ This is based on my experience after watching S1,S2 + S3 ~~
Where do I begin? Ah. Nodame Cantabile is one of my favourite romance series and that being said, I do watch a lot of romance anime and although I do love the typical ‘love at first sight’ sort of thing – let’s face it. It doesn’t always happen in real life and Nodame Cantabile shows love in a realistic setting.
I personally love the “find someone who makes you a better you” type of romance because a good partner will always make you a better type of you and in Chiaki x Nodame – it was beautiful. We see the two of them mature as they move along from one stage to another, facing difficulties and learning to accept one another’s flaws. It takes a lot of work and that’s reality. And I love romance animes when it’s real.
Love is a really funny thing. It’s really difficult to interpret but I always find that small things really do matter. It’s not about the big things that couples have to do – it’s the small things that people normally don’t really care about.
For example, Chiaki constantly taking care of Nodame – cooking for her, cleaning her room and laundry, etc
That to me, is love at its simplest form.
If you enjoy a series filled with funny characters, amazing classical music and slowly developed romance – then this is definitely the show for you.
It’s really a hidden gem.
7: Nodame Cantabile
English: Nodame Cantabile
MAL Score: 8.30
Shinichi Chiaki is a first class musician whose dream is to play among the elites in Europe. Coming from a distinguished family, he is an infamous perfectionist—not only is he highly critical of himself, but of others as well. The only thing stopping Shinichi from leaving for Europe is his fear of flying. As a result, he’s grounded in Japan.
During his fourth year at Japan’s top music university, Shinichi happens to meet Megumi Noda or, as she refers to herself, Nodame. On the surface, she seems to be an unkempt girl with no direction in life. However, when Shinichi hears Nodame play the piano for the first time, he is in awe of the kind of music she creates. Nevertheless, Shinichi is dismayed to discover that Nodame is his neighbor, and worse, she ends up falling head over heels in love with him.
I’m not sure why, but for some reason I’ve found myself reviewing certain franchises in reverse order. Then again, given the nature of Nodame Cantabile and its heroine Noda Megumi, maybe doing things in a not so normal manner is the way to go.
For those of you who don’t know the series, Nodame Cantabile is based on the bestselling manga of the same name by Ninomiya Tomoko, and while I do like that particular work, the anime is a little bit special in that it’s one of the rare occasions where the adaptation is as good as, or in this case better than, the original.
We’ll talk about that in a moment though.
Now, many people have been raving about the current Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood series because of how faithful it is to the manga, but what many people seem to have forgotten is that there were already a few shows around that were almost completely true to their manga counterparts (and that didn’t include much in the way of filler episodes) – Genshiken, Air Gear, History’s Strongest Disciple and Nodame Cantabile to name but a few. In addition to this, many of the long running shounen franchises like Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, etc, generally stay true to the manga for much of the main story, but have a tendency to provide “anime original” tales and filler episodes too.
Regardless of what one may think of a given show though, the surprising thing is that many faithful reproductions of the original manga are pretty decent, especially if the source material is good. When the tale is something like Nodame Cantabile though, then something special happens, something that doesn’t happen very often in anime.
As with the manga, the story follows the “adventures” of the eccentric musical genius Noda Megumi, and her love interest, the handsome Chiaki Shinichi. The two meet by complete accident and Nodame quickly falls in love.
What follows is, well, a roller coaster of laughs, many of which you won’t see coming.
Unlike many other romantic comedy anime, the action in Nodame Cantabile doesn’t take place in a high school but instead centres around Momogaoka College of Music, and the difference in not only the mentality and personality of the characters, but the overall approach to the story and plot, is actually quite telling. When one watches the series, it becomes obvious that the characters are no longer children, and while they may not yet be out of full time education, their attitudes to life, the world, and to other people, are actually very different from what one encounters in the hordes of high school romantic comedies around.
Now one of the main issues when it comes to adapting a manga is that of pacing, in particular how the plot flows from one episode to the next, and from one story arc to the next. With manga, as with anything written, the pacing is dictated by the reader, whereas with anime the pacing is already there, and it’s up to the director to find the balance so that viewers and fans of the original work will warm to the adaptation. Thankfully, Kasai Kenichi (Honey & Clover, KimiKiss Pure Rouge, Major), managed to get the formula very close to what many viewers find acceptable.
Okay, some of you may be confused by all this talk about pacing issues, but there’s actually a good reason for bringing it up. Many shows can get by when the pacing is a little bit off from what you would prefer (Bleach, for example, with it’s annoying recaps at the beginning of each episode), however Nodame Cantabile is a special case as problems with pacing and timing would have had disastrous effects on one’s enjoyment of the show, and the reason for this is because the series lives, and dies, by its music.
Earlier I mentioned that this anime is one of the rare occasions where the adaptation is better than the mange, and the reason for this is because of the music. Where the manga made do with track names and examples of written scores, actually hearing the music played in the anime brings the whole series to a new level. While there are a number of thematic tracks on offer, the heart and soul of Nodame Cantabile are the various pieces of classical music that are played throughout the series, whether it be solo or with an orchestra. In addition to this, unlike other classical music based anime like La Corda D’Oro ~Primo Passo~ and Piano no Mori, as well as the more pop/rock style shows like K-On, Beck, etc, one of the things that sets this series, indeed the whole franchise, apart is the aspect of musical appreciation.
Confused? Well it’s fairly easy to explain. One of the aspects of Nodame Cantabile that can heavily influence whether one enjoys the series or not is whether you, the viewer, actually listen to, and appreciate, the music itself. People may find that in order to better understand the character’s passion for music, they will in turn listen to the track in a way that they may not have done with other shows, and while this may not seem obvious to most at first, a good question to ask come the end of the series is whether your opinion of classical music has improved over the course of the series. Nodame’s antics may help things along with a good dose of comic relief, but the music is the glue that holds everything together.
Given the heavy musical emphasis, one would be forgiven for thinking that something was sacrificed in order for the whole thing to work. It’s surprising then that Nodame Cantabile is actually pretty close to the manga in terms of plot and story, and although some alterations to the tale do occur, these are barely noticeable as they don’t really contribute to any major changes in the plot or characters.
Now, while the music is a hugely important factor when deciding if one will enjoy Nodame Cantabile, one other aspect will determine whether you love the series or not – the characters.
Unlike many other romantic comedies the show has opted for a slightly more whimsical approach to love, life and relationships, and the characters are generally the epitome of this ethos. Noda Megumi (the titular Nodame), is not simply an eccentric musical genius, she is also thoroughly otaku, has a tendency to stalk her love interest, and hates cleaning. Chiaki, on the other hand, is a talented but arrogant musician who is widely regarded as the “prince” of the college.
What sets this series apart from other romantic comedies is the manner in which the characters are used. While the two leads may be the focus of the show, there is considerable development on the part of several other supporting characters as they strive to become better musicians, and in keeping with the sentiments of the franchise, this never really occurs in the way one expects.
Actually, at heart Nodame Cantabile is simply a different take on the “Beauty and the Beast” format, with classical music and a bit of role reversal thrown in for good measure.
That said, there’s nothing beastly about the looks, although there is a slight “cartoon” element to the facial features of the characters, something which is used to good effect during the funny moments. The overall design of the characters however, errs on the side of realism in respect of their movements, and while there’s an over-the-top element to the actual animation of their movements during certain scenes, the majority of the time the characters move how one would expect a normal person to move.
The backdrops and settings are pretty well realised for the most part, although there is a watercolour feel to some of the scenery, and the colour palette seems more understated than in most other anime. The combination is strangely elegant in its own way, and makes the visual comedy and parodies of typical shoujo manga scenes funnier for some reason (but that may just be me).
The one issue I do have with the animation is this – why on earth choose such bad CG for the orchestrral scenes. Granted the animation is technically astute when it comes to finger movements and hand positions, but the overall execution is poor, and does not mesh well with the general feel of the show.
One of the reasons why I was attracted to this series is because I like classical music, however even I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Nodame Cantabile. The series plays fast and loose with the typical perception that such music is staid and proper, and the comedy is often surprising in both its accuracy and its execution. Much of the humour is easily accessible to those with no knowledge of music, especially Nodame’s notorious “Fart Song” and “Moja Moja Suite”. This strange but well executed combination of classical music and comedy is a far cry from other shows, and the approach is far more tongue in cheek than one might initially expect.
In addition to this, the depiction of student life is easily on a par with the like of Moyashimon and Genshiken, with everything that entails too. It’s nice to see students doing things that students would actually do (like going out as a group and getting hammered).
Given the current glut of high school romantic comedies, Nodame Cantabile is a breath of fresh air because of its more mature yet whimsical take on love and life.
Nodame Cantabile follows the lives of Chiaki, Nodame and an assortment of other musically talented characters attending Japan’s top music university. Throughout their studies they encounter any number of trials and tribulations as their undying passion for the art grows evermore, and through each other they learn to appreciate music and performance in a whole different light, while also discovering true romance and what it is they want out of life.
The story is handled in such a mature, hard-hitting, ever so relatable way. A romantic, musically-focused plot about ardour in and outside of a relationship, Nodame Cantabile is not just for instrumentalists, romantics and music fans, but for doubters, dramatics and anyone who has ever had a passion. It’s a relatable series with realistic characters, thoughtful dialogue and worldly themes of uncertainty, struggle and infatuation; as enjoyable and funny as it is heartbreaking and frank. It’s well structured, wonderfully written and superbly developed. The plot has a real sense of purpose, there’s genuine progress in the characters and just as many light-hearted, warm, fuzzy, humorous and loveable moments to be had as there is dramatic twists, heart-wrenching drama and eye-popping musical set pieces.
As with the plot, this exceptional quality and superb writing – which I should attribute a great deal to Tomoko Ninomiya as the author of the source material, along with the anime staff – is ever-present in the characters. The main characters – Chiaki and Nodame – are an always-interesting duo, and certain members of the supporting cast are extremely well matured; there’s large amounts of progression not only in terms of their personality, but also in their actions and motivations. The characters feel very ‘real’ – even Nodame’s sometimes outlandish behaviour never wears thin – they’re down-to-earth, relatable, likeable and memorable creations, flawlessly complementing the story.
As a series focused on classical music, the sound department utulise many of the famous maestros, from Rachmaninoff to Bach. When the characters aren’t performing or practicing, Matsutani Suguru provides the score, which blends seamlessly with the vintage classical tone of the famous compositions, while also adding a variety of more up-tempo, lighthearted tracks for comedic scenes. It’s of particular note that, as the series progresses and introduces orchestras and large scale performances, the staff don’t shy away from committing lengthy compositions to the screen. An episode of Nodame Cantabile has a run-time of twenty-two minutes, but during episodes which feature an orchestral performance, often nearly half or a third of that time the backing track will consist solely of a single arrangement. The staffs dedication and reluctance to cut corners with the music is admirable. Allowing the compositions to play for so long offers audiences a beauty and experience a sample would fail to execute. The music is Nodame Cantabile is handled with care and executed to perfection.
One of the series’ only let-downs is in the animation. Despite committing to such lengthy compositions that beautifully eat away at a large portion of an episodes run-time, the animation becomes very stagnant and disappointing during the performance sequences. An orchestra is usually extremely lively, the conductor is filled with energy and there are constant bursts of movement, but this is often not depicted in Nodame Cantabile. Instead, audiences are presented with many panning shots of still frames, with only a small number of animated sequences in-between; this sadly sucks much of the life and excitement out of the performances. The rest of the animation is generally very fluid, however, and the sequences that do depict the motions of an instrument are beautifully done. The art style evokes well Niniomiya’s manga; it has a very soft tone, pleasing to the eye.
Nodame Cantabile is a sensational, all-around compelling watch, not only for its masterful depictions of love, life and the beauty of music, but also for its comedic aspects. It’s at times a lighthearted series, full of laughs and humour with precise comedic timing and intelligent punchlines. The hilarity never overstays its welcome, however, as the drama often takes the reins with full force, creating an abundance of memorable, affecting and emotive television. Nodame Cantabile is an ultimately moving series, with a completely fascinating story and spellbinding characters, depicting romance – in more ways than one – as beautiful as the classics themselves. It’s an extremely admirable creation; certainly one of the genres best and an absolutely outstanding anime production.
STORY – "Work hard and you’ll achieve your dream!" It’s a very cliche and often-used storyline, right? Well, yes. Yes, it is, but that hardly means that the subsequent series has to be old and tiresome. I’ve said before that the best stories take something that’s been done a thousand times already and somehow manage to tell it in a way that’s better and more interesting. In a genre dominated by high school drama, Nodame Cantabile steps it up and uses college students, something I’d love to see happen more often. The storytelling happens in a mostly slice-of-life format, but it doesn’t shy away from progressing significantly in time — weeks pass, months pass, whole seasons and school years pass, and it’s great to be able to follow the characters for these longer periods of time, especially since it emphasizes the fact that change and progress take both hard work and time.
Nodame Cantabile is very focused for a slice-of-life series in that almost all of the characters are very serious and motivated by their goals; there are notably few subplots that veer away from the main points. I think this can make it a bit more attractive to people that are generally bored by a wandering plotline, but it’s pretty easy to get engaged in this series regardless. Reading summaries for Nodame Cantabile can only bring skepticism and doubt considering the frequency of the main plot, but watching it? I was charmed by episode one.
CHARACTER – Without a doubt, most of Nodame Cantabile’s appeal is in its characters. Though it feels a little odd to use the adjective on him, Shinichi Chiaki is definitely gar: all the girls want him, and all the guys want to be him (actually, wait, some of the guys want him too). This most likely includes the members of the audience! He’s a genius at what he does and furiously motivated; everywhere he goes, people throw themselves at his feet and do everything in their power to push him forward. You’re compelled to cheer for him every step of the way. It’s funny sometimes how that much charisma can make it through the screen, but it’s there, and it’s because despite Chiaki’s exceeding excellence at everything, he remains a very accessible character. His weaknesses are just as glaring and significant as his strengths, and they’re what balance him out. It’s easy to imagine yourself in Chiaki’s shoes.
Nodame, strangely enough, is very much the same. She’s crazy, quirky, wild, and questionable, but once again, she’s very human. Her antics are never so over-the-top that they’re utterly unbelievable, and her hopes and dreams are notably muddled alongside her classmates’ — something a lot of people can also relate to. The differences between Nodame and Chiaki made them perfect foils, and it was really fun watching all the drama and interaction between the two. Despite the frequency of Nodame’s claims on Chiaki, I really felt like this was one of the least forced-feeling romances I’ve ever seen. At no point did their relationship feel cheap, contrived, or overly convenient. Because so much time passes during the series, the relationship felt like it progressed at a much more natural place; it was great (and adorable).
All of the support characters are nice in their own way, and I don’t think there was a single one I disliked. One of the reasons I loved that this series features college-aged students is the fact that they can all drink, smoke, and have sex and it isn’t shocking or scandalous! It also added a nice bit of insight into the lives of Japanese college students and their hilarious nightlifes (clubs, arcades, and karaoke!) when they aren’t busy studying.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – Nodame Cantabile has a pretty damn simple and generic art style, but in that simplicity, it’s hard to find anything to pick at. The only thing that stands out for me in the character design is that many characters look like they’re perpetually blushing, which is a little confusing at times — once I got used to it though, it really wasn’t that big of a deal.
The most obvious critique of the animation in this series comes from the numerous still-frames used in the dozens of playing and concert montages. As an anime about music, there’s obviously a lot of music-playing involved. Especially in scenes involving entire orchestras, the animation is minimal to none — nine out of ten times you see a flute, a clarinet, an oboe, a french horn, or a cello, the players’ arms and fingers aren’t moving. The ratio is slightly improved for violin, and the piano gets the most attention with moving fingers maybe 40% of the time. It’s understandable though; after all, animating individual fingers playing instruments with many keys is incredibly difficult, especially for the piano, when they make a huge effort to animate the actual notes that are being played.
Aside from piano, where we’re sometimes lucky enough to get ten to twenty measures of music at a time, most instruments are only shown being played for seconds at a time, and it’s often CG. This makes the rendering of the instrument perfectly accurate and shiny (especially the clarinets and oboes), and I loved catching those sniplets of action in between the panning shots. There are a lot of still shots, but I do think what they do show us is worth it. There is one concert near the beginning of the series that’s about half an episode’s worth of still montages, but that’s the worst of it — as the series progresses, there’s gradually more and more actual playing. :3
MUSIC – Ah, classical music! And of such a nice variety too! I was happy to see that the selection of music in Nodame Cantabile represented more than just the select few scores and piano pieces known by the general public. Most of the composers are still familiar, but there are also lesser-known names such as Debussy, Ravel and Sarasate. Unfortunately, as much as I do love classical music, I don’t have a trained enough ear to be able to tell whether or not the music played in the series was tailored specifically for it — for example, when characters supposedly play a piece poorly, I really can’t tell. When characters supposedly improvise and don’t play exactly what the piece dictates, I can’t tell.
I would think that a vast majority of the pieces would be professionally recorded pieces borrowed for the series though, and that they’re all free of glaring errors. (I just can’t imagine that they’d budget the money required to hire an entire orchestra to mess up.) Still, at least some of the piano solos (the Moja Moja Suite? The improvised piano version of some made-up show?) had to have been recorded for the show. Overall, all of the music is very pleasing to listen to and well-performed. Maybe you don’t be moved to tears like the characters are, but if you’re even a mild fan of classical music, you’ll be fine. 🙂
VOICE ACTING – Seki Tomokazu and Ayako Kawasumi both do a great job with their leads. As both characters go through a full range of emotions, their voices had to match up appropriately, and they did! Especially for a character like Nodame, who habitually puts up one front while fostering other thoughts and feelings inside, it was really important that she have a good voice. The rest of the characters all had pretty nice voices as well, though no others really stood out to me as being particularly notable.
OVERALL – As a longtime fan of classical music, an amateur pianist, and a former clarinetist, Nodame Cantabile was both inspiring and nostalgic. It made me want to play more piano, and it made me really miss playing the school band or orchestra. It was educational, giving insight into the world and careers of classical musicians, and it was touching, allowing for a window in the lives of some very believable characters. It was hilarious and very silly at times, but I don’t think it ever crossed the line into over-the-top territory. Even for those who aren’t huge, huge fans of classical music, I think this series has enough merit to warrant a taste, and for those who are fans, you definitely don’t want to miss this series. I already can’t wait to move onto the sequel. :3
6: Sakamichi no Apollon
English: Kids on the Slope
MAL Score: 8.34
Introverted classical pianist and top student Kaoru Nishimi has just arrived in Kyushu for his first year of high school. Having constantly moved from place to place since his childhood, he abandons all hope of fitting in, preparing himself for another lonely, meaningless year. That is, until he encounters the notorious delinquent Sentarou Kawabuchi.
Sentarou’s immeasurable love for jazz music inspires Kaoru to learn more about the genre, and as a result, he slowly starts to break out of his shell, making his very first friend. Kaoru begins playing the piano at after-school jazz sessions, located in the basement of fellow student Ritsuko Mukae’s family-owned record shop. As he discovers the immense joy of using his musical talents to bring enjoyment to himself and others, Kaoru’s summer might just crescendo into one that he will remember forever.
Sakamichi no Apollon is a heartwarming story of friendship, music, and love that follows three unique individuals brought together by their mutual appreciation for jazz.
Kids on the Slope (also known as Sakamichi no Apollon) is a story taking place in the beginning of summer, 1966. It stars the protagonist Kaoru Nishimi, an honor student who tends to keep to himself. He has a rather reserved personality and hard to open up. That is until he meets the bad boy and future best friend Sentaro Kawabuchi. While mistakenly getting to a bad start, these two soon develop an unforgettable friendship based on respect, forgiveness, and of course, music. Later comes into picture is Ritsuko Mukae, a friendly girl who plays intriguing roles in the story ranging from music, friendship, and later love. The series follows three friends as they create unforgettable memories of the 1960s in the age of jazz music, friendship, and melody.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself “why should I watch this series?”
Well, first of all this series contains the unification of icons Watanabe Shinichi (Series Director of Cowboy Bebop) and music composer Yoko Kanno. That alone can be seen as a good reason to start watching. While labeled as a coming-of-age drama, this series also contains a bit of the romance theme and of course, drama. So for those interested into the intertwined story arcs mixed in with misunderstandings, jazz critique, and love trials, then this could be a little added bonus.
[ – Story – ]
Kids on the Slope details friendship and is one of the most important element of the series and should not be just seen as an aspect of the anime but in real life as well. Kaoru, Sentaro, Ritsuko forge friendship through one common passion: the love of music and the bond that they share.
This series does not have a strong impression at first. From the first episode, there’s not much to say besides the typical high school drama and music setting. Furthermore, for those carving for action and psychological twists or for some who call it “mindfucks”, then this is the wrong series to look into. Thankfully, there’s an old saying that goes “never judge a book by its cover”. Damn right, you shouldn’t because this coming-of-age drama is sure to give you a surprising twist.
In the beginning, there is the common theme. Kaoru falls for the friendly girl, Sentaro falls for the graceful girl, and Ritsuko is already in love with the childhood bad boy. Then comes even more characters that makes the already complicated geometric love shape even more complicated later on.
Kids on the Slope moves at a relative pace that can be considered neither slow or fast. Ironically, it starts off slow even though it’s kids on the SLOPE. Anything that flows down a slope relatively moves fast but in this case retains a relatively average pace. So I’ll say this again, this series is not for the fans who carves the fast paced action and psychological twists. If you want that, try Jormungand or something.
[ – Characters ]
While the characters are animated plainly and simple, their inner character and style is what drives this series as why it’s ranked into the #100 of MAL. Beyond the romance polygon are characters that balances out the series.
First we have Kaoru, the middleman who has the reserved personality. He is smart, he is reserved, and he has the talents to become a real star. Thankfully with some fate, he finds someone who also share a similar love for the age of music. That brings us to Sentaro. Like the opposite of ying and yang, Sentaro is seen as the tough guy with the soft spot, the one that picks fights but also the guy who protects and values his friendship with the other characters from the bottom of his heart. His outer image covers up the fact that he is a deep down guy and cares for the people and things he truly loves; his friends, his family, and the children that respects him so much and of course, music. Finally, there’s Ritsuko. She is the cheerful girl, the one that builds bridges of friendship with friends and generally well-liked. Yet behind her outer image lies a somewhat insecure girl and sometimes jealous of others’ ability to be so outright themselves.
Later on of course, there are other characters that enter the scene that have stark personalities and also not who they appear to be. I’d love to go on and on about these characters but this isn’t an summary is, it? This is a review so I’ll leave you to find out. But trust me, you’ll love to get to know them once you see the realism behind their outer characters.
And speaking of realism, it is noticeable that the characters’ personal lives are conveyed in a way that can be seen and defined as quite real. Whether tragic, sad, or cheerful, we see the histories of the main characters that can be related to most of us. They all have background histories that brings the overall realism into the 1960’s and even towards today.
[ – Animation/Art -]
If there’s one thing to forget, it might be the art. I’ll say this in the most honest way as possible:
It is too plain and simple.
The animation is not rich and series airing this Spring Season like Fate/Zero puts it to shame in the art department. The animation however brings out a powerful feeling of nature and refines the 1960s style in its finest form. While plain and simple (Karou’s glasses, Sentaro’s shirt, etc), we can see that the culture it tries to convey of the 1960s is successful. Culture has indeed changed from the past to present day as we can clearly see the lesser technology and more general and sophisticated themes. It is simple and not detailed just like how high school should be. It doesn’t need to be something special that makes us go “wow!” After all, the precise of an entire series is not always judged by art solely. At one point of watching over 100 series, it’s just down right common sense.
[ – Sound/Music – ]
Ah yes, this is the main event, if for any reason to watch this series at all, it is this.
Music and life plays a key role in this series and thus, one could expect the melancholy and drama the music lyrics conveys and delivers. With the ultra talented Yoko Kanno in charge, one can expect a blockbuster hit and smash of the season. And she does not disappoint, neither her skills or the characters’ that plays both artistically and beautifully in the series.
In fact, the music in the series plays well, even in rhythm with the main characters. If you take careful notice, the way and style they play their instruments systemically match their art and moments. The way the characters play the music is natural and in the ways they are of themselves, not for a popularity contest. To play music and bring pleasure to the ears is something to respect and take notice of. These kids really do have talent.
[ – Enjoyment – ]
This story is of the old school coming-of-age style so the pleasure of enjoying this series can vary. At first glance, one might decide to drop or put on-hold at its relative pace as well as its lack of the typical “shounen action”. But with so many of those airing these days (including this season), why not give something new a try?
It’s more than just a high school story of kids falling in painful geometric shapes of love or the “friendship conquers all”. And of course, despite being hard to make it into the mainstream, it’s one of those series that takes an unique and cultural approach of the coming-of-age genre mixing in with jazz music, friendship, and love all in a wonderful little package. The characters are unique and real with their backgrounds, contrasting personalities, and style. The story is easy to follow despite its intertwined arcs. The art (despite plain and simple) brings out the naturalism and culture of the 1960s. It’s something not as complicated as the real world we face today because it’s so damn right simple. Honestly, I miss it. And who can forget the relaxing music? Without it, this series would be dead. But with it, the series comes to life through realism and gives viewers something to talk about.
Again for those who are so into the shounen style battles, the fan-service of ecchi shows, or psychological mindfucks, this series can be something new to look forward to.
After all, there’s an old saying that goes, “life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” And once you open that box, you’ll be surprised what you’ll find. In this case, it’s Kids on the Slope.
The problem is Sakamichi no Apollon isn’t as much about jazz as it is about lame characters. There’s jazz in the series, and it definitely plays a part, but it doesn’t play as large a part as I wish it would. This seems to be the theme of music-based anime, not paying attention to the music as much as the boring lives of the characters. Jazz is frantic, it changes with the mood. There are a lot of things about jazz that could have been played out in Sakamichi no Apollon that aren’t. That heart and soul of jazz are only seen during the portions where the characters play music. Other than that, the series falls flat.
Kaoru is a guy. He goes to high school. He’s a bookworm.
Sentarou is a guy. He goes to high school. He fights a lot.
Ritsuko is a girl. She goes to high school. I can’t discern her character besides “love interest”.
Together they are the three main characters of our little drama. Kaoru goes to high school as the new kid. He meets Sentarou who is a pretty violent guy who skips classes (the delinquent). Sentarou is a drummer who plays jazz with Ritsuko’s father and a guy named Jun. Kaoru, who can play the piano, joins in on the fun and learns how to evolve from his classical roots into the realm of jazz.
There are, of course, some bumps on the road. A couple of love triangles (those are the main plague that infest this anime), Sentarou’s problems with his father, and Jun’s becoming a good-for-nothing. The plot is really not that exciting. You’re watching this for the music more than likely, not the duo of love triangles that seem to give way to more of a bromance at the end than anything else.
This is where the plot becomes especially painful. The series plot is loose, and by that I mean nothing is consequential or matters. It’s there to hold the series together and give it a reason for being, but it’s mediocre at best. By the end, nothing really matters and the series goes back to square one.
“BUT RATCHET! WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC?”
What music? There’s a little bit of music going around, but for a music based anime there’s not enough. As I said in the beginning of the review, there’s not a lot of music going on. There are a few songs here and there, but not enough to warrant being considered as “musically focused”. It’s more just a school life anime than anything else and suffers because of the fact it tries to be something it is not.
“BUT AT LEAST IS HAS GOOD CHARACTERS!”
All the characters were generic at best. While Sentarou was a decent character, I grew to hate Kaoru more and more as the series progressed. It reached the pinnacle when he nearly raped Ritsuko. Ritsuko wasn’t a bad character, but she didn’t actually have a lot of character there. She was just there as a love interest and a plot point more so than anything. Jun was okay, but he also had some issues that made him dislikable. His girlfriend, Yurika, was okay.
I wasn’t really impressed by anything that concerned the plot. I was impressed with some of the music (the little that there was) and the animation was especially good during jam sessions and concerts, unbelievably so.
I’m unable to say too much about Sakamichi no Apollon because it’s so average. It’s the definition of average. Good music and good animation, mediocre characters and plot, and an overall disappointment. If the series had been longer I feel that perhaps the plot and characters would have been more entertaining. But as it is, Sakamichi no Apollon is merely adequate. The last episode feels especially rushed and I assumed I was meant to feel emotions of some sort, but was left not really caring. And when, by the end, I could care less what happens, then I know that I’m not watching anything special.
Sakamichi no Apollon is a hesitant pass for me. It’s overhyped, and that hype is probably why you decided to jump on the bandwagon and check this anime out. There are some qualities that are enjoyable, but taken as a whole, it’s merely adequate in satiating the thirst for jazz, as well as the search for a good music anime.
The story itself has an amazing pace, and in my opinion, has the perfect combination of romance, drama and music. The developments feel very natural and there are no fillers. The only “complain” I can have from the story is that the ending might feel a little unsatisfying. Luckily, if you end up feeling unsatisfied like me, you can read the extra volume from the manga and I can assure you that you’ll feel a lot better after reading it.
The art is okay, I guess. It has a very realistic vibe, and fits the story really well. I didn’t see any error in the animation either, which is always appreciated. Also, the animation during the musical scenes was particularly good. The soundtrack fits every scene perfectly, so kudos to the studio. It is always nice to have consistently good animation as well as a good soundtrack throughout a whole series.
There are two main characters in the series, and they are best friends even though they make an odd couple. I feel that the two main characters are really well developed. You can see how the two of them grow up as characters as the story moves on. On the other hand, except for one specific character, most secondary characters don’t get a proper development. I mention this because there are a couple of secondary characters that I’m sure most viewers would’ve loved for them to have more screen time.
The series in general is very enjoyable. If you’re into jazz music (or good music in general), you’re definitely gonna love watching this series. Also, this is one of the few anime where the English singing is actually pretty good. I had a really good time listening to every single music piece played, as well as with the tons of drama generated from the different love situations that develop.
I gave the series an 8/10. I loved it, but I felt there were some things that could’ve been told better, especially the ending. I recommend this series a 100%. Actually, I’d say this is a must watch series. Also, don’t forget to read the extra volume from the manga once you finish the series.
Have a great time watching Sakamichi no Apollon!
5: Usagi Drop
English: Bunny Drop
MAL Score: 8.40
Daikichi Kawachi is a 30-year-old bachelor working a respectable job but otherwise wandering aimlessly through life. When his grandfather suddenly passes away, he returns to the family home to pay his respects. Upon arriving at the house, he meets a mysterious young girl named Rin who, to Daikichi’s astonishment, is his grandfather’s illegitimate daughter!
The shy and unapproachable girl is deemed an embarrassment to the family, and finds herself ostracized by her father’s relatives, all of them refusing to take care of her in the wake of his death. Daikichi, angered by their coldness towards Rin, announces that he will take her in—despite the fact that he is a young, single man with no prior childcare experience.
Usagi Drop is the story of Daikichi’s journey through fatherhood as he raises Rin with his gentle and affectionate nature, as well as an exploration of the warmth and interdependence that are at the heart of a happy, close-knit family.
The again, who wants to watch a show about the trials and tribulations of raising children, especially when the steady diet of fanservice, explosions, brainless muscular heroes, top heavy heroines, nonsensical plots, pseudo-psychology, quantum-hokum, etc, are apparently what passes for entertainment these days. It’s a sad fact that in a medium where literally any story can be told, the ones that may actually cast anime in a positive light are constantly overlooked or ignored completely.
Which is why Usagi Drop is such a rarity.
Adapted from the josei manga by Unita Yumi, the story begins with Kawachi Daikichi, a 30 year old salesman who has returned home to attend a family funeral. During his stay he finds out that his deceased grandfather had an illegitimate daughter called Kaga Rin. Nobody knows who the girl’s mother is, so the family begin arguing over who will raise her until Daikichi, who has become increasingly annoyed and disgusted by their behaviour, asks Rin if she wants to live with him.
Usagi Drop is one of those uncommon adaptations where the anime has tried to stay true to the source material, and while that does place a number of limitations on it, the series also manages to retain the charm of the manga. The story develops at a measured pace that can sometimes feel a little slow, and there’s a surprising lack of over the top melodrama that is so often a hallmark of shows like this. The plot takes a much more mature approach to the issue of parenting than one might initially expect, and while certain problems that Daikichi is faced with are specific to Japanese society, the overall theme is one that will resonate with anyone who has raised children.
Which is also the reason why some viewers may not enjoy this anime, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
In addition to the story, the artwork also tries to stay as true as possible to the source material. The characters are depicted in a stylized form, and the rather simplistic approach to emotions is surprisingly expressive. The design is focused on showing each person as an individual not only facially, but also in their build, posture, and even their movements. The animation is fluid, if a little utilitarian at times, and it’s clear that attention has been paid to each character’s physical traits and personalities. In addition to this each episode is preceded and concluded by short, but rather charming scenes that are notable for the watercolour style palette that is used in them. The dichotomy between these scenes and the style and colouration used in the main body of the narrative adds a nice, almost picture book touch to proceedings.
Between these shorts and the story proper lie the opening and ending sequences, both of which are designed with children’s paintings in mind. The opening theme, “Sweet Drop” by Puffy AmiYumi (yes, they of Teen Titans and Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi fame), is a surprisingly well suited J-pop song that’s very much in keeping with Rin’s character. In contrast to this the ending theme, “High High High” by Kasarinchu (a pop duo consisting of a beatboxer and a guitarist/singer), is more reflective of the overall atmosphere of the series.
As for the background music, Usagi Drop features a variety of tracks that are generally quite mellow or upbeat, but every so often the score is punctuated by a slow, simple piano piece to highlight the more sensitive moments of the story.
Now it’s a trite thing to say that good acting can bring any type of story to life and give it the feeling of something new and different, but in this case it’s actually a true statement. The simple yet natural script allows the seiyuu far more room to express themselves than one might expect, and with little in the way of manufactured melodrama, all of the cast (especially the child actors), are able to deliver some truly worthwhile performances.
The most interesting character in Usagi Drop is, without a doubt, Kawachi Daikichi. Part of the reason for this is because much of the story is told from his perspective, but he’s also one of the most defined adult male leads in anime to date. From the start he is shown to be a complete individual with his own thoughts, habits and values, and rather than trying to develop him, the narrative is more focused on evolving him through his relationship with Rin, and the problems, worries and sacrifices he works through in order to be a good parent.
On the other hand Rin is very much how one would expect a child of her age to be – inquisitive, precocious, and somewhat withdrawn around people she doesn’t know well. As with Daikichi, she doesn’t really develop as a character, but instead what the viewer is shown is a little girl who is slowly coming to terms with her new life and coming out of her shell. Now this is surprising as it’s a clear message about how resilient children actually are and how they are able to cope as long as they know they have the support of the adults who care for them.
Speaking of support, aside from the two leads there are a surprising number of well written characters in Usagi Drop, both adults and children, and it’s their presence in the story that really rounds out the whole thing. The particularly strong friendship between Nitani Kouki and Rin for example, or the slightly befuddled attraction between Daikichi and Kouki’s mother Yukari, all add to the overall charm of the series. In addition to this, one of the things that really stands out about Usagi Drop is the lack of angst where relationships are concerned. While there are events like the death of Daikichi’s grandfather, these don’t cast a pall over the narrative, and this allows for some interesting interactions and dynamics to emerge, the prime example of this being the bond that develops between the two lead characters.
Usagi Drop is a simple, straightforward and charming tale about what it means to be a parent, and while the story and characters are presented in an ideal form, this doesn’t really detract from one’s enjoyment of the show. It goes without saying that anyone who has experience of raising children will be able to relate more readily to a number of the themes in the show, but it should be pointed out that the plot is simple enough to allow anyone to enjoy it.
Which brings us back to why some people won’t like this series.
Aside from the sometimes slow pace, the main theme of the show is one that many younger fans (and even a few older ones), may not like, especially if their penchant is for action, heavy melodrama, etc. On the surface it can seem as though Usagi Drop is nothing more than another lighthearted slice of life drama that’s only different from the likes of Aishiteruze Baby because a full fledged adult is cast in the role of parent instead of a teenaged playboy, but there’s more to the show than that.
The simple fact is that this anime is one of those rare titles that doesn’t use the word “mature” as a marker for violence, gore, sexual content, etc, and this makes it almost unique when one considers the shows that have been released this past year. The emphasis on realism, albeit in an idealized form, may also be a factor as there are a few people out there who want pure fantasy and escapism.
Whatever your opinion or taste, one thing remains true – Usagi Drop is clearly aimed at a more mature audience than the norm. The fact that it doesn’t demean the creators with pointless gore, violence or fanservice, or insult the viewer’s intelligence by explaining everything that happens, are what sets it apart from many other slice of life shows out there.
I’m happy. Why? Well, because this show did so much right that it’s tough not to be. Usagi Drop stayed true to the essence of the manga (before the timeskip) and didn’t stray far, if at all, from the original story progression. It captured splendidly the little nuances of an abnormal parent-child reality.
Our lives are full of insignificancies. Waking up irritable and half alert, washing your teeth, brushing your face, fumbling to find your valuables, grocery shopping without a list. The shit we wade through daily but clean up and forget soon after. These are experiences almost all can relate to but never share with one another because it’s stuff not worth sharing. Then of course, spliced in between those bits of irrelevance are the undoubtedly meaningful moments to be remembered. And we want to save those precious moments by documenting them. It’s in our nature to try and preserve the best times of our lives in some form or another. So when something like Usagi Drop comes along that personifies ‘life’, in both the boring and the beautiful, we’re able to really connect with the characters and their story on a more personal level.
Rin is modest, caring, independent, and responsible. She’s very mature but then not without those traits which you find ever-present in kids around her age. Joyful, curious, and downright adorable! In terms of lovability, she’s on par with Ushio in my book. You just want to squeeze those little cheeks and embrace her till she dies of asphyxiation. She’s that HNNNGGable. Needless to say, her expressions are genuine signs of love and appreciation, even for something like a poor attempt at tying pigtails. How she feels shows on her face clear as a sunny day. And the window through which we get to see all these sides of her is Daikichi.
Daikichi’s a very straightforward guy, both in personality and appearance. On top of that, he’s nurturing, compassionate, and protective. A little awkward at times but it comes with the job. Not to say I don’t like my dad, I love him, but Daikichi is the kind of father I wished I’d had growing up. He juggles his new responsibilities well with work and still manages to maintain a good relationship with everyone around him. Standing in as a guardian for your past grandfather’s illegitimate kid probably isn’t easy so I think he deserves a break here and there for his goofups. Watching Daikichi is a true breath of fresh air what with all the high school/university kids hogging most of the attention in anime. What you get is a middle aged guy just trying to do his best to provide for himself and his new little house warmer.
TWO little house warmers considering the frequency of Kouki’s visits. He and his mother are two more people you’ll find to be endearing as they interact with Rin and Daikichi. Aside from his apparent cheekiness, Kouki’s a good kid and it shows in his submissive yet protective behavior towards Rin. Looking at their close friendship and the overt chemistry between Yukari and Kawachi, it’s quite easy to envision them becoming a family in the near future. In fact, beyond the show’s conclusion you could say they’re already family.
And because of the relatively fluid art and animation, we’re able to see how they become so close. Soft watercolour-esque scenes start out each episode before the opening song rolls. It’s really a nice way of preceding the bulk of the episode. Character designs are markedly simplistic but there’s no need to fuss over it. With some added touches of realism, it’s nice knowing they do change clothes each day and night and that Daikichi does grow a stubble if he doesn’t shave every day like any other grown man. The backgrounds are subtle yet detailed; from pavement cracks to packaged market meat, everything in view is easy on the oculars.
To supplement the animation is the writing which shines through in the dialogue. Ayu and Tsuchida’s performance as the voices of Rin and Daikichi leave little more to be asked for. Thanks to them and all the other seiyuus, the talking that goes on in the show becomes one of its strengths. For example, in one episode, Daikichi and Harumi, Reina’s mom, have a serious discussion about Harumi’s marital problems which is eavesdropped on by Rin. But noticing this, Reina takes her aside and shows her how she copes when mom and dad don’t get along. Not something seen every day, you get both the child and parent’s perspectives of when things aren’t going so smoothly at home. Really, kids are keen in times like that and it’s great to see that the anime picks up on this detail. And it’s not only those I’ve listed who have depth of character but everyone has their own charm about them and grows, if just a little, in their own way in the span of only a year.
Now soundwise, the piano melodies and environmental acoustics fit well with whatever present surroundings were onscreen. The opening/ending songs are two very cheery jingles. Catchy it was but not enough to my taste to warrant a replay every week. Though, I would’ve never known that the group who did the opening is the same group who did the Teen Titans theme song (one of my favorites) had I not looked it up. Nostalgia, woo! From their tower they can see that all together, the music worked in pacing the way scenes played out.
Usagi Drop was an engagingly heartfelt tale of an atypical family living and learning how to adjust to their odd circumstances and the intricacies it affords. It handled themes like the importance of family values and the trials of child raising with great consideration for its audiences.
Despite its title I advise against dropping this anime because sitting down to watch Rin and Daikichi go through child/parenthood is an experience to be cherished. And I, for one, certainly have.
4: Chihayafuru 2
Japanese: ちはやふる 2
MAL Score: 8.41
Chihaya Ayase is obsessed with developing her school’s competitive karuta club, nursing daunting ambitions like winning the national team championship at the Omi Jingu and becoming the Queen, the best female karuta player in Japan—and in extension, the world. As their second year of high school rolls around, Chihaya and her fellow teammates must recruit new members, train their minds and bodies alike, and battle the formidable opponents that stand in their way to the championship title. Meanwhile, Chihaya’s childhood friend, Arata Wataya, the prodigy who introduced her to karuta, rediscovers his lost love for the old card game.
Twenty five more episodes worth of charming romance and competitive karuta fun? Yes please. But don’t expect a balance between the two; there’s more latter quantity than the former, and whether you should be satisfied or not is up to your preference!
Who expected, or even acknowledged beforehand, that the true presence of competitive karuta would be ever so fierce and exciting from its outline? Well, I sure certainly didn’t when I started from season one. Karuta is more of a complicated sport than popular ones such as baseball and basketball, and the entirety of season one teaches that it requires much more than just reaction timing and memorization to win against other players. I enjoyed season one thoroughly, but watching karuta itself doesn’t just hold its exciting entertainment factor by itself; there’s a much larger insightful fulfillment that keeps its presence in each and every match. It’s certainly more complicated than just slapping cards in front of people.
And that’s what the second season is all about: Karuta, karuta, karuta! Chihayafuru 2 is a direct sequel to its previous entry, Chihaya and her team now in second year of high school. Chihaya is determined to, not only win the individual matches tournament upcoming to earn the Queen title, but to win the team tournament too, as well as establishing more members for the Mizusawa Karuta Club. It sounds difficult, and possibly silly considering it’s still studying period, but this is Chihaya we’re talking about; the pretty tomboy with a mind of karuta and karuta only. Who’s going to stop her?
Despite being a direct sequel in terms of story, it does have its noticeable differences. Hardly any distinct features are involved mind; it’s more of taking a step up on its previous features that made Chihayafuru for what it is. The central feature of the second season is the sight of karuta matches itself. If you wished for much more screen time on people competing in karuta from the first season, then you’ll be delighted to know that your wish has be gracefully granted. If you’re for the romance and sweet relationships though, as well as full development between the childhood friends Chihaya, Arata and Taichi, then you might be a little more unfortunate than Taichi himself.
The execution of each specific karuta match are all intense as ever. I’d say that probably more than half of the entire season covers the moments of the involvement of karuta matches, and without its sole execution the series wouldn’t have been as exciting throughout. Its execution is graceful yet powerful, as well as being a little in-depth in its playful manner, from thought processes of the players themselves to tackling particular cards pronounced from the reader. Some scenes, preferably the opponents winning their cards against one another, can be striking in a single movement, maybe even breath-taking. The careful use of atmosphere and enthusiasm of winning or playing makes use of, and surpasses, the original Chihayafuru style from the first season. With the accompany of animation and the soundtrack, as well as different sorts of techniques and tactics used from each and every player, the passion and spirit created from these matches are very sensational whilst keeping the original, youthful atmosphere of the series.
But karuta isn’t all just intensity in its matches. Season two explores the sport in a more exhaustive manner than the former season, and not just directly but indirectly too. Karuta is exciting because of the players themselves, but not solely because of their different levels of skill, style and tactics; it’s more so as to why they’re playing in the first place. Motivation, determination, pleasure, teamwork, whether its for a special someone or a particular goal, is all present in the characters of Chihayafuru. And karuta itself explores the different reasonings for lots of different players involved in the matches, which branches up the pasts and difficulties those characters have inside themselves. Realization can succeed to develop a character in a flowing manner, and that, despite it being a win or a lost, they learn something precious and important for their lives by their opponents.
It’s the reason why this season, or the entirety of the series in this case, are filled with a great amount of extremely heart warming and tear worthy scenes. You’d love to cheer on one of the characters, like Chihaya, in a match to achieve her dreams, but that can’t be entirely the case when the determination and reasoning of the opponent is involved too. Even when one seems in a tight or hopeless situation, you know how slump you’re going to feel if the lost is given instead of a win. The motivation for each characters, even and especially side characters, are real. They’re hardly one dimensional, and the match doesn’t only determine if one has won or lost, but if their hard work and conviction has really paid off. The character’s important speeches and actions boil down to karuta, even if slightly, and proves that the competitive sport has created a new light for these people; for something to devote and work towards to and be proud of it.
It’s a plus too that the characters are in a wide range of variety, in both their motivation and personality. I can say without doubt that every single main and side character are likable and interesting, or at least from my preference. Nevertheless, there’s a good deal of depth spiraled in each character, and most aren’t so evidential until later on. They appear as mere opponents, not cardboard cut-outs but ones you wouldn’t actually feel for if they lose. To be likable or not, they have distinct tropes that creates their characters, which are also for comedic factors which is a plus. But when their matches start, their pasts and goals begins to establish, and despite rooting for the other opponent because you’ve spent more time with them, your understandings for the character gets established as well. I find that the characters of the series all play out with interesting personalities, mysterious or not, and that their love for karuta is evidentially taken care of, rather than just written on the spot.
The series doesn’t actually consists a whole load of content you’d expect from a two cour season. The speed of pacing is evidential throughout the series, as some matches can actually last longer than a episode or three. To consider it a problem in the fact that a little more content could’ve been included wouldn’t be hugely anticipated, but it hardly is a problem if you consider wisely. Matches are, as explained earlier, made extremely well with a great deal of enjoyment factor, and the long scenes allows the different insights of each character to develop and to be explored. The pacing is necessary for this, as well as being able to build tension and anticipation on who would win or what will happen next. Though some of the matches can be predictable, the series focuses more on the depth of the players instead of the actual results itself, and plus it relies heavily on execution rather than shock factor, in which was a sensible decision to choose for a series like Chihayafuru.
As for the romance side of Chihayafuru, season one definitely contains a bigger portion of it. That doesn’t mean to say that this season doesn’t consist of no romance, but unlike the first season there are no episodes that fully dedicate the love between Chihaya, Taichi and Arata. The story behind all this continues, but doesn’t develop so much throughout the series, rather it’s used effectively throughout the minds of the stated characters; which leads to the motivational stories behind them that connects them to karuta in the first place. For those who side for more karuta though, it’s presented in a manner that doesn’t greatly effect the drama and tension in the series, so enjoyment factor would hardly be bumped down because of the romance.
Production values for the second season are not the greatest and grandest, although this is to be at least expected for 50 episodes altogether. However, animation is handled with great care and is used efficiently; both animation and sound are created well for the distinct atmosphere and style for Chihayafuru. Often, still shots are used for the usual swings and hits on the cards, but with great speed and accompany of sound and different textures of colours, as well as various effects in the scenes, it doesn’t fail to look awkward or slow in any of them. Budget can look pale from far distances in shots, but when the more graceful or powerful scenes come along, the backgrounds and detail can look anything as beautiful with a fluffy aura or tension effect surrounding it, depending on the scene. It does this when necessary and makes the scenes even more memorable than it already was.
The youthful atmosphere is also accompanied by a very expressive soundtrack, applying brand new songs as well as ones from the first season. They are often orchestrated with light instruments like piano and strings, though does consists of acoustic guitars, bass and drums, and even pipes, flutes and traditional drums comes in the soundtrack. It gives a wonderful personality for the actual series to use, and although most are light-hearted or light-weighted, they’re used really effectively in contrast of its atmosphere. The volume is oriented carefully so that the sound effects makes the karuta matches a lot more practical and engrossing for the viewers, building up a better experience to watch.
I’m glad series like Chihayafuru are still being aired. Produced by Madhouse and presented from the director of Cardcaptor Sakura, Chihayafuru manages to be an extremely enjoyable series with what it has to offer, not holding back with its execution on the theme of karuta. Anime doesn’t necessarily need shock factor for a viewer to be surprised, and this series proves that execution is anything but less important than surprises. It’s quite astonishing for me as to how much love I can express for a series I certainly didn’t expect to ramble about, and especially one about a sport I have never heard of in my life until I started season one. It goes to show though that even such premises can contain a lot more potential than anime ideas that are more accessible for viewers, but fail to deliver because of its execution or lack of exploration in its concept.
I don’t regret starting Chihayafuru and its sequel; the only regret I’ll have is not being able to play proper competitive karuta because I’m in the entirely wrong place. But at least Chihayafuru was a charming experience, and I hope it inspires even more people out in Japan to compete in karuta than season one already has.
If there is one word that describes Chihayafuru, it is “passion” – indeed, “Chihaya furu” means passionate. On the surface there is little that separates it from typical sports anime, from the focus on the team and team spirit to rivalries to tournament story arcs where you’re typically served the main characters’ opponents’ motivations and reasons for participating in this sport. Through tears and joy we follow the main characters’ journey through the world of this sport, and Chihayafuru very much follows this trend. As for the sport in question, the series focuses on a rather obscure (at least to a Western audience) card game known as karuta, where one has 25 cards with the first verse of poems on either side of the field, and as a reader reads the second verse of one of those poems, you have to remove the corresponding first-verse card from the playing field. The first to empty their side (25 cards) wins the game. A very coarse explanation but that’s the gist of it.
While it follows many of the traditional recipes for the sports genre, they are pulled off quite well in Chihayafuru, alleviating many of the issues doing so can present. It does in no way lift it off the ground and up to stardom, and if you are not a fan of sports anime to begin with, chances are you won’t find Chihayafuru that very interesting. For the sports anime fan however, Chihayafuru offers a loveable and passionate experience, with some twists and differences. I already mentioned “passion” as a way to describe the series, and this is one of the aspects that sets it apart. From the at times striking visual and auditory imagery used – it is poetry after all – to the many ways of love for the sport that are presented, Chihayafuru delves deep into a world of passion, and while at times it seems a little too alien or cheesy how much of it the characters have for a single thing, it can also draw the viewer in and afflict them with a desire to do something they love, which is, at heart, what the sports anime genre is all about: Communicating passion and love for something.
Another thing that sets Chihayafuru apart is that unlike most sports anime, which are made to appeal more to a shonen audience, it leans more towards the shojo genre, evident in its at times flowery animation and colour palette, and more significantly, in its larger focus on emotion and romance. It forgoes some of the most intense focus other sports series has on the game itself and rather focuses on the inner world of the characters and their emotions – the full spectrum of it, not just the “I want to win”/”This is my motivation!” portions that you are often limited to. Often you see characters cry significantly, in joy or sadness, in defeat and victory. The series also builds up a solid love triangle between the main characters, without really forcing its and in its treatment, as well as adding these feelings and moments of love to the secondary characters. Of course, with a large cast it’s a near-inescapable fact that some side characters are more bland than others, relying mostly on a singular trait or two to provide comic relief or interaction, but for the characters that matter there are for the most part many layers and aspects presented – and developed – in an intriguing manner.
Aesthetically Chihayafuru is stunning. The soundtrack builds up around the atmosphere very well, from the heart-warming to the bittersweet, from the passionate to the suspenseful. It applies a rich orchestral instrumentation that fits very well with the oft-poetic art and animation. Meticulous attention has been paid to the quality of the card reading, and listening to the voice actors’ performance in this regard is absolutely fantastic, especially for the most skilled readers in the series. Visually it frequently applies imagery as befitting of a series focusing on a game of poetry: The voice of a reader like sakura petals, the flow of a match like that of water, the flowery feeling of romance; such feelings are expressed visually and beautifully, though, as can be expected, some come across as more cheesy than others, but for the most part it is a boon rather than a detraction.
When all comes to all, Chihayafuru definitely isn’t a series for everyone. Karuta can come across as boring, the emotional layer as sappy or over the top to many sports anime fans, and for those who do not have a taste for sports anime in the first place, the story and the series’ focus can seem unappealing. To me, personally, the series is a heart-warming and moving story that spreads a lovely feeling of passion, filled with lovely aesthetic value and likeable characters. It very often brings a smile to my face, not necessarily because it is outright funny and makes me laugh, but because it warms me up on the inside. At times cheesy, yes, but far from such a degree it spoils the series. It presents a lovely and different sports anime that quickly has earned a spot as one of my favourite series.
Finally, Chihayafuru is back with the sequel known as Chihayafuru 2. I was quite excited when I heard the making of a sequel. When Winter 2013 came, I was even more thrilled. Indeed, the series comes back full force with its card game of karuta. Make no mistake, Chihayafuru 2 is the direct sequel of the original series (season 1) written by Yuki Suetsugu. The series continues from season 1 with Chihaya and what she does at best: playing karuta. Now, not everything is the same of course because there are various changes to this season. However, this sequel still achieved satisfaction for me and I am grateful to say that I enjoyed this series quite a bit.
The series still adapts the same theme of karuta. It’s a game played in Japan based on traditional anthology style of compiling Japanese waka poetry. Of course, the idea of card games incorporated into animation form isn’t anything new to the entertainment realm. In fact, series such as the popular Yugioh franchise and Cardfight Vanguard have already adapted these themes. What makes Chihayafuru 2 stand out though is the way the games are played. Rather than just mind games being played between players as a way to gain dominance against one another, karuta also tests the wits of competitors in ways they’ve never done before. It requires quick thinking, skill, memorization, and a little luck to pull out victories. For Chihaya, victory is something she always aim for between herself and her teammates. It’s may just be a game but for her, it’s also a dream and she hopes to reach make it into a reality; a dream of becoming the best karuta player in Japan.
As expected, the competition and intensity is high this season especially with both new teammates and adversaries introduced. Among some of the returning characters includes both Chihaya’s childhood friends Arata and Taichi. Both of them are skilled karuta players although they have conflicting views on one another. Fresher new faces includes Sumire Hanano, a fresh new face who makes her debut. Unlike Arata or Taichi, she lacks the skills or experience of a pro. In fact, she is one of those girls who is much more interested in boys and her appearances rather than the game of karuta itself. Her eyes is set on a particular character in the series and often tries to win his affections. At the same time, she views Chihaya as a sort of ‘love rival’ despite the fact that there is nothing going on between her and Sumire’s crush. Needless to say, the romance of this sequel is somewhat higher than its original series. Oh and who can forget about the love triangle between Arata, Chihaya, and Taichi? The one in the middle is Chihaya and she’s the center of it all.
Among one of the key components to succeed not only in karuta but also in life is teamwork. Sometimes, you can’t rely on everything yourself. For a certain individual, this is especially true. Yes, I’m talking about Sumire. Teamwork is important no matter what a task is. Without teamwork, a team will fall apart and conflicts will arise. As thus, this season has a lot of that expressed through directly in the form of karuta matches. There is also this feeling of suspense I get throughout each and every karuta match. It’s hard to tell sometimes who will win when both teams are so dynamic and focused in their ambition to win. Each team in fact is also unique and has their own trademarks. Among some of these trademarks can be humorous but dangerously effective at the same time. Then, there’s the concept of strategies involved in karuta. It takes practice to perfect these strategies in order to succeed. After all, Arata wasn’t born as a prodigy and Shinobu wasn’t born as the Queen. You get the idea.
The karuta games itself stays consistent and once again brings back the nostologia of this sequel. Honestly, I miss it. I also liked the concept of the game as more strategy, intensity, and anticipating your opponent’s every move in order to respond accordingly. The game itself also seems to be difficult to master as it requires memorization and various strategies. Just like in the real life game, karuta also requires quick movements and intuition. This is especially true for taking your opponents’ cards in order to gain the advantage. To add to the serious atmosphere of the show, most players has his or her definite style of play. It even comes with a unique outfit too sometimes with pretty kimonos, team headbands, or in the case of Shinobu…that adorable T-shirt that you can’t help but keep your eyes off of.
The bond between the various members of the team is also an important aspect of the sequel. In fact, throughout later episodes, members of Chihaya’s team demonstrates skills like they’ve never done before. This is seen in both their team and individual matches. It’s the results of their practice and competing against other members throughout the series. At the same time, we can also trace their emotions through the bonding they have and the passion they share with karuta. Whether these emotions are joy, tearful, romantic, or intense, all the members of Chihaya’s team shines through some way. As that being said, it’s a good idea to keep watching this show and appreciate what they’ve gone through.
The plot direction of sequel seems to be a bit sluggish. It seems that some of the karuta matches are extended and the pacing becomes almost unbearing to endure. It certainly does not help with an recap episode at one of its more crucial points of the series. Additionally, despite the initial romance being set up somewhat in the beginning of this series, it seems to fall apart and remains more as a background theme. There are moments when the ‘love triangle’ is bought up again but most of it remains more as as minor setback. It’s no surprise though as the majority of the show is focused on karuta as that’s what the series is about. It puts karuta to test for the characters and develops them both physically and mentally. Finally, the show seems to also play on an idea of anticipation. It’s clear that some fans from season 1 would like to see some potential matches or rematches. However, some of these left me mixed impressions by the way they were executed in particular of a rematch later on. The shows’ pacing pushes that anticipation so it takes some patience to get through.
As for the artwork, the series remains artistic and natural. It doesn’t’ try to force any fan service at all nor does it make the characters look outstanding. Even with the looks, Chihaya looks like a normal girl but with a powerful dream. The rest of the casts also remains consistent. In particular, some of the younger players of the show gives off that look of innocence and youth. It symbolizes youth in the case of growing up and playing karuta as a way to achieve success. The josei like backgrounds and atmosphere gives off that ideal atmosphere of karuta game. Additionally, the fast pace and camera angles reflects on the intensity of the competition.
The soundtrack gives off that feeling of nostologia as well. The OP song “STAR” by 99RadioService gives an impression of some of the potential competitors in the series. The background music leaves behind that feeling of intensity and also rejoice throughout each karuta game. Finally, I thought that the VA did their jobs right in particular some of the more experienced players such as Shinobu and Arata.
For fans, this show is definitely something worth time to enjoy and appreciate. It is also essential to watch season 1 before picking up this sequel as this series continues directly from its previous season. If you’re looking for a colorful cast of characters, then you’re definitely at the right place. Even if you don’t like the idea of card game themed series or in general, karuta itself, it should could be a refreshing watch. It’s about learning how to appreciate dreams and to walk a path to success with yourself and your teammates. I appreciated this sequel and definitely did not regret watching this. Chihayafuru 2 is worth the watch even if you’re not into the sports genre. It’s refreshing and takes on the idea like karuta like never ever before.
3: Chihayafuru 3
Japanese: ちはやふる 3
MAL Score: 8.49
Winning the high school team tournament was a great accomplishment for the Mizusawa members. Each of them has made great strides in improving themselves, and the victory symbolizes how far they’ve come. But after accomplishing one goal, their individual aims are within reach. Chihaya Ayase has her sights set on Wakamiya Shinobu and the title of Queen, and now that Taichi Mashima has made it into Class A, he can finally compete against Arata Wataya. Everyone in Mizusawa wants to get better, and there’s no telling what the future holds if they keep trying.
The 3rd season of this amazing series has just been so amazing that i am sure that all the older and new fans were hooked onto it with the utmost interest and awe. Madhouse has just outdone themselves again and its not just a regular praise, it comes from a heart of a fan
who has read the manga and seen the adaptation with such finesse and quality it actually makes me happy to be a anime fan especially for this show.
This underrated show has been like the one of the most beautiful gems of the fall season, that i cant appreciate and praise it enough.
The story continues with our trio with their journey of Karuta. The unique aspect of this show which is karuta is that even though its based on a card game,
its unlike other card based shows which captivates the viewers with just the hype, or through unbelievable power ups of characters in a battle or some unreal logic, but through
realistic game plays which is portrayed through the playstyle of the players, their background story, personality,how they view & perceive karuta through their minds and most importantly how karuta is presented through these beautiful traditional japanese poems which have depth in their storytelling of folklore and depicts what these stories are
trying to convey with their words and poetry which will leave you mesmerized. Absolute breathtaking stuff.
The main trio are great characters with their own stories and development. One of the element which i found missing in the first two seasons was one of the trio i.e Arata Wataya not getting enough screen time for the viewers to watch and understand his character more in depth,but this season it was quite well resolved which made me satisfied. Also there was major development with the other male character Taichi Mashima and his transformation, which had
been quite a sight to watch. As for our female MC Chihaya Ayase, she continues through various developments regarding her future in general life and the game which is her most important passion i.e Karuta.
I am actually quite happy to see the three progressing with the story line which perfectly paced and enjoyable to watch.
But another main factor is that makes chihayafuru so special is that it not only focuses on the main trio but also on the supporting side characters as well,depicting their journey so far with their personal development & background story in relation
to the game. Also one of the interesting things that caught my eye this season is how they explore the character background in depth of the new challengers, major professional players and even more importantly the Master and queen (The reigning champions)
whom had been shown as mystery figures on the surface so far in season 1 & 2 and since our
main characters ultimate goal is to win the title from them, it was actually unique seeing things from the perspective of the opposite side.
The narration has been so on point and it actually never fails to keep you interested.Every tiny detail, every tiny scene, flashback or sequence makes up for the bigger picture in the present & for future scenarios. Almost every character is portrayed developing
in the most humane way and the changes make them more sensibly compatible for the plot. Especially the trio who inspite keeping their original self,develop necessary changes which make bigger impacts for their personal story and with the main story as well.
Coming to animation and sound, Boy i cant praise mad house enough,Not a single episode from these 24 episodes have gone by and i have been like “Meh that was ok i guess” and i am not exaggerating. Every episode has been adapted so gracefully with attention to details from the
source material. The beautiful art and colors, fluid life like animation, brilliant character designs and visuals. Even when a important scene happens or emotions are being depicted, it literally comes to life that viewers can actually feel them with their eyes, its
that mindblowing. The sound is so pure and crystal clear with the amazing performance of all the VA’s of different character make it even more enticing and enjoyable. The OP and ED are equally well made, especially the ED with the artwork and the music from Band harassment made it my favorite.
Overall as its one my personal favorite series i would easily give it a 10/10. Its underrated as hell and i would love that other anime fans would give this masterpiece a chance especially if they enjoy a mix of competitive sport,Japanese culture and a amazing story with brilliant characters.
I know my review might seem i am over selling this, but trust me please do give this a try, it will definitely be worth your time and i am positive you would appreciate this amazing piece of work and the content it tries to share with its viewers.
I just want this beautiful series to be recognized and appreciated more for its value it truly deserves.
It did take a bit of time for the anime franchise to return but jumping back into Chihayafuru’s third season felt like going back to school after a Summer break. We reunite with our friends, learn the competitive game of karuta, and experience new memories that will last for generations to come. Watching Chihayafuru 3 reminds me that games such as karuta isn’t just a competitive sport but a poetry in motion. Every episode capitalizes on the creativeness of the game that exemplifies on commitment, strategy, and wit. I won’t be explaining the fundamentals of the game since you shouldn’t be watching this season without the first two anyway. But coming into this new season, we got ourselves another masterful adaptation.
With Chihayafuru 3 at our hands, the show draws us into the everlasting karuta experience similar to the previous season. Despite being a complex game, the anime makes it clear that anyone can pick karuta up. However, learning the game is one thing and mastering is another. We see the best of the best compete at the highest level in this season. Of course, I’m talking about the Queen Title matches. But before we get to that, you should also remember why Chihayafuru 3 managed to create such a faithful audience. It’s been six years after all and fans have been anticipating this show since the dawn of time. This is easily answered by the charming lovable cast of our three characters – Chihaya, Taichi, and Arata. The three make up the heart and soul of this franchise with their complex relationship between one another. Early in the season, we witness Chihaya once again picking up karuta and going head to head against none other than Taichi. If there’s anything that tells us about Chihaya’s character is that she is eager to learn, whether through success or failure. Her skills show improvement as she is able to match head on with fast paced strategy and clever tactics in these games. Still, a big question that surrounds her is why she is there. Why does Chihaya want to be a karuta player? This question extends to other prominent characters such as Shinobu, Suo, Haruka, and among others. The fact remains that every character has a purpose in the show, a reason to be where they are in the present timeline.
As every episode progressed, the drama begins to mount up with the higher stakes in these high level karuta games. The karuta games themselves in fact are presented with superhuman-like reactions. It may take years of practice to reach such levels but the anime portrays it like poetry in motion. As I mentioned that before, karuta is much more than just a competitive sport. It’s like a work of art with each card representing a piece of value between two players. Adding to the game is the amount of emotions that us, the audience can easily get invested into. For instance, we witness Dr. Harada’s side of the story this season and why he picked up karuta. In his match against Arata, it represents a clash of new and old generation. Meanwhile, we also follow the journey of Shinobu Wakamiya, one of the most prominent Queens of this era. Fans will remember Shinobu as being the youngest Queen in karuta history and a prodigy with nearly unrivaled skills. She returns this season to compete against Haruka, another skilled karuta player with several titles in her name. The psychological pressure embedded into their match felt like none other as we witness the true potential of high class competitors. And that’s one other thing that identifies these karuta game: the psychology. Each game threads together a formula from start to finish to test the players’ ability to outplay one another. From tagging cards to crafting advanced moves in their heads, karuta at such exceptional high level feels like a different game. Watching the high level competitors such as Arata, Shinobu, Suo, and Haruka compete are such examples where they push these games to the limit.
And at the same time, Chihayafuru 3 delivers its character relationship so well, being able to get the viewers understand them on a personal level. There’s a complex relationship angle between Chihaya, Taichi, and Arata built from the very first season. Carrying into this third season also means new developments including an unparalleled confession that will surprises more than just the fans. For a show being so human and realistic, Chihayafuru scores with much more than karuta competition. From the first episode to the finish, it celebrates the personal commitment of the cast and how much people can change over time.
Though the show has aged, Chihayafuru’s life cycle still stays true with its art style. Madhouse returns for this season to give us an elegant feast of visuals to lay eyes on. From the photorealistic settings to the mature character looks, everywhere, the camera angles lines up to showcase the technical achievements of the anime. And as a show loaded with drama, there’s plenty of time to experience a breather too with the light comedy. We can expect Chihaya and her friends to return to also enjoy their school life like normal people would. There’s also running gags that I’m sure fans are eager to see again. The character voices also makes their return in their noticeable accents. When combined with the emotive dialogues, it brings out so much worth to them.
Welcome back Chihayafuru 3. I can say with supreme confidence that the third season is no short of delivering the house it has built. From the complex character relationships to the high stake karuta games, there’s something in store for returning fans. Even as someone who has read the manga, this is a classic to watch in animated form and that’s thanks to the wonderful talent of the staff and producers. I thank them for giving us this wonderful season.
TL;DR: Do you like sports anime? Do you like sports anime based on actual sports and not something completely made up? Well, if you’ve been hiding under a rock or not yet cultured on the competitive game that is Karuta, then get yourself educated because Chihayafuru S3 is back… after 7 goddamn years to give us something heavenly to cherish during these quarantined time.
[Story: 8/10 , Characters: 9/10, Art: 9/10, Sound: 9/10, Enjoyment: 9/10]
“Naniwa-zu ni / Sakuya kono hana / Fuyu-gomori / Ima o haru-be to/ Sakuya kono hana”
How long should a studio wait before delivering something to the fans that can both live up to the expectation of its predecessor and heighten it so it can set a new bar for itself to be a strong contender as one of the best real sports based shounen anime? If you ask director Morio Asaka and Studio Madhouse, it’s apparently 7 years. Fans of Chihayafuru have waited so long for this third installment and boy did it live up to the hype. When the same five note started playing that was ever abused throughout the entire show, that gush of nostalgia just came all back. It’s rare to find such a feel good pulsating anime that can do that these days and Chihayafuru did just that and more! Before we continue, if you haven’t watched S1 or S2 along with OVAs of this anime, watch them all first. I promise you’ll binge through it no time. If you don’t like it, understand this is one of those niche sport/genre where if you aren’t fan of it, you won’t enjoy it as much as the rest. Also I’m not going to explain how to play Karuta, wiki it, because every time I try to explain it, people fall asleep. Now that being said, let’s dive deeper into this installment of Chihayafuru and explore both the technical aspects such as animations, OST, visuals and its character driven plot such as growth of players along with their purposes in life to see what made this iteration better than its previous seasons, ultimately leading it to become a must watch as fans of it have been hyping it up for years.
“In Karuta there are only 4 ways, right? You take the card, your opponent takes the card, you make a mistake, your opponent makes a mistake.” – Master Suou
Chihayafuru, written by Yuki Suetsugu is about a high school girl, Chihaya, who is finding a purpose in her life other than being a supportive slave for her model sister by diving into Karuta taught to her by her idol/best friend Arata in order to become the Queen, basically the best female Karuta player in the world. Alongside her, you have Arata, the grandson of the legendary Master, best male Karuta player in the world, who is trying to devote his life to Karuta to achieve his grandfather’s dream and Taichi, her childhood friend who is gifted with brain, brawn and looks, aiming for something similar but to win Chihaya’s approval or finding his own purpose in life. It’s a complicated triangle. At first it may see that the Manga was mainly aimed at the demographic who were into the josei genre but as time went on people fan of drama or sports or even shounen to an extent started to really get into it. This cross demographic propagated the popularity of this show and all for the right reason. The overarching theme of this anime is that to achieve one’s dream and to be the best at something, you have to sacrifice something in return for it. This theme is prevalent in any sports anime or shounen anime but Chihayafuru gives its due diligence by actually showing the physical and mental ramification of such sacrifice through their interpersonal and intrapersonal interaction with others who are both in or outside of the world of Karuta. This season is knee deep into tournament arc of becoming Master and Queen. Since we are witnessing how our main protagonists competes in the race to become Master and Queen, we see it firsthand with the current quirky Master Suou and Queen Shinobu as well as supporting characters competing. In retrospect, whenever you have a sports anime, plot wise there isn’t much story as the story is usually told through growth of characters during tournament arcs and if you knew how previous seasons of Chihayafuru functioned then you would expect this season to be similar. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t. This season heavily explores the tremulous trepidation of hormones, heightened emotional roller coaster and sense of belonging & camaraderie.
“I’ve always, always wanted to become a person who is not a coward.” – Taichi
In the previous season, Karuta was mostly played in team aspect but since this season, most games are individual 1v1, we finally get to dive deeper into the mental state of each character and grow with them as they redefine their purpose and find ways to seek it. The stand out character for this season wasn’t Chihaya at all, and in a way I’m glad, it was actually Taichi. Taichi is a very complicated character. His sense of purpose was never really defined like Arata or Chihaya. On one hand he played Karuta because he wanted to be near Chihaya because he loved her but on the other hand why go through Karuta to only get her attention? Why does Chihaya only pay attention to Arata? Is it because he is so good at Karuta? So do you become better than Arata to achieve his purpose he set out from the beginning, that is to achieve Chihaya? What if along the journey, he realizes, maybe he is more like Harada or Master Suou, his actual purpose is to become the Master and to do that, he must sacrifice it all, including Chihaya? All of these questions and more that constantly circled Taichi this arc makes his character such a standout one this season. Definitely an enjoyable and facepalming experience. That being said, the reason this anime is great because Taichi’s struggle was used as a foil to showcase similar struggle for purpose for other characters such as Shinobu, Arata, Harada, Haruka and even Master Suou. I guess in a way, since this season wasn’t so focused on Chihaya is what made it much better in a weird way. If you thought Sudo was the biggest sadistic dick in Karuta, wait till you start interacting with Master Suou. New favourite character for sure. Regardless, it’s the characters growth in this season is what makes this season so much more enjoyable. Spoiler alert, press F for Taichi. #TeamArata.
“I sincerely apologize. Have you sirs and ladies restored your exalted spirits?” – Shinobu
Now that we have the brilliant story our of the way, let’s raise a toast for the amazing work this studio did in adapting this brilliant anime. No matter how good the manga is, cough Tokyo Ghoul cough, if the studio doesn’t do justice in adaptation, cough Studio Pierridiot cough, then it can never shine bright like a diamond. From the breathtaking visual, to the nostalgic yet brilliant orchestraic OST, OP & ED, to the seiyuus pouring their heart out to heighten each character’s struggle to lastly those poets reading those poems, it’s such a complete technical package that is hard to come by these days even though we are technically in the golden age of anime. Biggest credit should be given to director, Morio Asaka, for staying on this project from the beginning. It helps with maintaining the consistency and vision this anime is headed towards. Each panel of the anime is brilliantly animated with bold vibrant colours. The matches are animated and depicted true to its form irl (I checked by actually watching an IRL of last season’s Master’s match) plus it added the anime flare by slowing down at appropriate times to enhance the dramatic tension for different strategy employed by the players to problem solve during tense situations. It really enhances viewers experience. None of those panning shots used by lazy studios to each episode. Moreover, the OST is just so warming to listen to as a standalone piece. Although I didn’t enjoy the OP and ED song as much this season as previous seasons but it was still good and became adjusted to it by the end. Lastly, kudos to the seiyuus. Especially the poet readers for Karuta. Their voice when reading each poem actually feels like a melodic song. Although we can never hear the second part of the poem since the game is so fast paced but at this point, the introductory poem is just ingrained in the brain. Overall, very hard to nitpick flaws in the technical aspect.
“Luck of the Draw is not about luck or fate at all.” – Harada
Overall, at the end of the day, if we were to assume that no anime is perfect and an anime is only as great as the viewer’s enjoyment; then Chihayafuru S3 did a great job in disproving both null hypothesis by showcasing that the recipe for a great sports anime comes from a character driven plot that uses each player as a foil to shine the overarching theme of sports anime, that is through sacrifice shall one achieve greatness & purpose in life! It also bauds well when it’s backed greatly through well executed technical aspects that acts as a great ladder to propel the anime further up. This season may seem slower than the previous ones but by no means should it be used as a criticism. Would I recommend others to watch it? That’s a loaded question to answer since this is such a niche anime. Since this anime is based on a card game that can only be played in Japan who know Japanese, it’s not easily relatable irl, however, if you are a fan of sports anime, and you enjoy growth of players’ skills through hard work and perseverance, similar to Haikyuu or Kuroko no Basket, then give this anime a try. It isn’t only geared towards girls and there isn’t much of a romance aspect as some fans might allude to. Lastly, there will be another season but who knows when that will come, here’s to hoping it’s not another 7 years. However, if it takes that long to maintain this level of perfection, then It’s worth making that sacrifice. Anyways, thank you for reading this review & feel free to share with me your favourite poem from the anime. Ciao.
P.S. Thank you for reading. I hope you found this short and supaishi review helpful!
P.P.S. Are you Team Arata or Team Taichi? Why? Let me know! I’m curious.
2: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
English: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
MAL Score: 8.59
Yotarou is a former yakuza member fresh out of prison and fixated on just one thing: rather than return to a life of crime, the young man aspires to take to the stage of rakugo, a traditional Japanese form of comedic storytelling. Inspired during his incarceration by the performance of distinguished practitioner Yakumo Yuurakutei, he sets his mind on meeting the man who changed his life. After hearing Yotarou’s desperate appeal for his mentorship, Yakumo is left with no choice but to accept his very first apprentice.
As he eagerly begins his training, Yotarou meets Konatsu, an abrasive young woman who has been under Yakumo’s care ever since her beloved father Sukeroku Yuurakutei, another prolific rakugo performer, passed away. Through her hidden passion, Yotarou is drawn to Sukeroku’s unique style of rakugo despite learning under contrasting techniques. Upon seeing this, old memories and feelings return to Yakumo who reminisces about a much earlier time when he made a promise with his greatest rival.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is a story set in both the past and present, depicting the art of rakugo, the relationships it creates, and the lives and hearts of those dedicated to keeping the unique form of storytelling alive.
Rakugo has been a classical trait of Japanese art and culture since the Genroku period (of the Edo era), but has dwindled in popularity and appreciation in more contemporary times. Though, grief can be spared because with this winter’s wind came a show that revitalized this once-felt obscure art-form and turned it into the driving point of undoubtedly the season’s best show, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – a charming character-driven series with tightly-knit interactions and exploration, a marvelous setting, and a bond between subject and its characters that’s entirely commendable.
Set some time after WWII – during the rapidly changing social landscape of Japan – the series follows a freshly-released prisoner who desires to learn the ways of Rakugo and gets taken under the wing of a national master named Yuurakutei Yakumo. The story changes focus from the present tale of the apprentice to a narrative of the past, concerning the master and his deceased friend Sukeroku, along with the slowly-withering art of Rakugo. Now while the premise may seem a little daunting and even a bit boring; nothing is farther from the truth. Of course, the series is an entirely character-focused, unhurried drama, so this does imply a lack of flashy fights, gratuitous panty-shots, and overpowered heroes championing the world, but in its stead what it does offer is a compelling, evocative experience that really has a handle on its ambitions.
The setting, subject matter, and characters are integrated so atomically well that the entire ride is just consistently smooth. The pacing is well-balanced due to everything being finely focused and progressed with clear direction that it leaves no room for wasted effort or filler messes. The combination of these elements along with the tact and grace with which they are implemented, makes this show a worthy title.
First, there’s the setting. The show creates its foundation through a comparative/contrasting lens; a great structural move that tells the story, through story-telling – literally. It is absolutely marvelous to see just how well it is able to integrate its backdrop/setting into its forefront, just like a good theatrical performance would; giving it the feel of a truly refined work with each frame adding something to its overall quality. The setting is heightened by the show’s ability to capture the atmosphere and sentiments of Japanese society at the time, especially in relation to both the character situations and their Rakugo. Even though very subtly depicted, the show bases its portrayal of Rakugo from the perspective of slow decay. After the wave of post-war reality hits, it causes a serious sense of disenfranchisement amongst the culture and people. This allows western senses and modernism to penetrate with a force much greater than it did in the past which augments the gradual but steady disintegration of various cultural arts; Rakugo being one of them. This backdrop plays to almost every nuance crafted whether it is the evolution of characters merely depicted by their change in attire (from traditional Japanese yukatas to fashionable western suits) or the erosion of public attendance in Rakugo houses relative to other more western venues. These subtleties may go unnoticed individually, but are definitely materialized when evaluated holistically and especially when examining characterization.
In addition to the impeccable setting, comes the strongest point of the series: characters. The character dynamics, exploration, and evolution are sublime. The entire series revolves around self-actualization in a way, through one’s art, and everything else revolving around it. The two protagonists, the now-master-Yakumo-then-Bon-chan or “Kiku” and his boisterous friend Sukeroku are a delight to watch, as they tumble through various struggles and events, trying to perfect their Rakugo while trying to find their reasons for doing so. Both characters are perfect complements of each other and really play off one another to add dimension to overall characterization, and each other. The artist’s journey and the character’s journey intertwine like a destined love affair, growing together through both pain and pleasure.
This is why characterization in this show can be looked at on two-fold: from the art, and the individual dynamics. The former really lays the foundation because it not only introduces the world of rakugo in context, but integrates in a manner which complements the “act”. The performances are not just intricate illustrations of the art form, but also essential in tracing the metamorphosis of the characters involved, specifically Kiku. Therefore, the way Rakugo is treated isn’t necessarily just a detached device, but embedded in the heart and motivations of the characters, while also delivering with full force and depth the nature of Japanese story-telling, and the skill that it requires.
Then, there’s the stellar dynamics between the characters themselves. Even though Kiku is the star of the stage, almost every other character feels multi-dimensional, with their flaws, motivations, and importance properly conveyed and explored, individually, and in relation to the bigger picture. Almost every “struggle” is important and is referenced in some form of development, whether it is for Kiku or the others, giving these characters a sense of realness, complexity, and palpability that isn’t easy to accomplish. For example, alongside the two main characters is another side character named Miyokichi (Yurie) –a geisha initially carrying the romantic tide of the series – who acts as sort of the fodder for the emotional evolution of both characters, while also adorning her own individuality as an important element of the show. Her role on paper is solely of a foil but she (and others) end up becoming actualized entities of their own; proving how well done the palette of characters are.
The strength of the characters produces a resounding effect for the overall series that helps give it a strong sense of focus, result, and even thematic resonance. The sheer admiration and dedication that is reflected from the characters exudes the essence of “living for the dream”. Sacrifice, brotherhood, kinship, relationships, family, and most importantly, love, is so wonderfully crafted through the fibers of Rakugo and those in this story that weave it, ultimately into a beautiful tapestry. And love here doesn’t necessarily denote romance, but the kind of love that drives one’s passions forwards and gives meaning to lives. It is a love that transcends beyond description and can only be felt through creation, art, or in this case, Rakugo. And this work does an excellent job embodying and expressing that love.
To bring the series its final touches of splendor is the animation and sound. The animation flows smoothly, with soft, bright colors that play to the vibrant tone of the show. Backgrounds are very nicely done as they bring out the juxtapositioned nature of the setting. The old but stifling feel of fading tradition is contrasted with lively modernized elements that consistently coalesce and enhance the narrative. Furthermore, the music is oddly fitting as it combines instances of jazz or blues against the classic tunes of Japanese strings and compositions. Surprisingly, never once does any of this clash inappropriately, rather works in tandem to heighten the atmosphere, mood, and give full depth to the setting that contains it all.
Really, there is no detractor in this show that innately brings it value down. Of course, this series won’t appeal to everyone as it is very focused on the internal dynamics of its characters and the external passions that define them. Many of the episodes have 10-12 minutes of just Rakugo performances which could be burdensome to few, but as mentioned before, the performances are essential for they aren’t just superfluous additions but character-defining points. Lastly, since it isn’t a complete adaptation, there are loose ends to be had, and deliberately, but none of those take away from the narrative that is actually presented.
Essentially, this story is one worth telling, and even more so, worth listening to.
Now, art forms come and go, evolve and dissolve, and keep humanity breathing with their own life force. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu shows the intricacies of that process through the lives of two men who through their art, change themselves and each other. They are a reminder of the eternality of art (even if the world changes) and those who create it (regardless of history that burns and rises). So even when the shamisen stops playing, and the dimly-lit theatre stands alone, we can still hear the stories of Sukeroku and Kiku, and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is proud to do us that favor.
Shouwa Rakugo may only be thirteen episodes long, but it covers a period of years and decades, a turbulent series of ups and downs, much as life is itself. It depicts the rise, fall and redemption of Yakumo and Sukeroku, and many of those around them. The tearful reunion as Sukeroku returns from the war in Manchuria is powerful— powerful enough that I also felt myself choking up a bit— and yet it occurs just a few short episodes into the story.
This is due in part to the excellent characterisation of the two and their (oftentimes strained) friendship, but it is also a result of the story’s nimble pacing. One might expect an anime covering such a large span of time in so few episodes to end up feeling rushed, but this is not the case. Shouwa Rakugo makes a careful balance between the smaller and the more important events in the characters’ lives. It will transition from a hospital scene to a funeral within seconds, and yet it will feel entirely natural, as if no time has actually passed. Many times I found these transitions to hold more punch than the scenes themselves. If stories like Touch and Sakura no Uta have taught me anything, it is that a quick jump to the future can carry far more emotional weight than the events preceding it.
It can be hard to put into words what makes Shouwa Rakugo so special, as so much of its appeal is in what it leaves unsaid. It finds greater comfort in showing its story rather than telling it. The feelings of the characters— their frustrations, their struggles— are often left implied and seldom stated outright. A character will walk along at dusk, mumbling to themselves a rakugo scene depicting the difficulties of departing from one’s lover, and it will be very clear what is going on in their mind. It takes a very special anime to pull something like that off, to develop the characters such that the audience can empathize with them without dialogue or gestures.
The story is primarily set during the post-war period in Japan, but it thankfully does not waste time lecturing the audience about the war’s effects on Japan, how Japan fought the good fight and lost, and everything we have already heard countless times before in other anime. What Shouwa Rakugo does convey about the war, it conveys through the absence of dialogue: nobody ever says “I’m sorry” when they listen to another person’s story, because they’ve all been there before.
From the first two episodes, it becomes very clear which direction the story is headed in and how it will end. Every major event is foreshadowed in some way, from the dialogue (“The next time I meet you it will be in hell”) all the way to the very title of the series (心中). This effectively eliminates any sense of shock that the viewer might experience, but knowing what is ahead does not make the moments and the journey any less heart-wrenching. It actually makes it hurt more.
Shouwa Rakugo deserves special mention for depicting sexual, adult relationships. The heroine is not a cute, bubbly high school girl, but a geisha who makes her living by flirting with men. She is in many ways a despicable human being, and that is just fine. People often do not pick the most respectable or desirable person to be with; they come together and couple for a myriad of reasons, even if it may in the end be to their own harm.
Even if you have no knowledge of what rakugo is— and I suspect this is the case for most people, as it was for myself— Shouwa Rakugo makes it very easy to follow by animating a wide variety of rakugo performances, rather than bombard the viewer with explanations and unfamiliar terminology. While rakugo might not be especially entertaining to the world of 2016, through watching the many performances within Shouwa Rakugo it is easy to gain an appreciation for the talent and effort that is often poured into the art. The styles of Yakumi’s and Sukeroku’s rakugo are so different from one another that it almost feels as though they are performing completely different forms of art, despite rakugo very much being an art defined by tradition.
The lengthy, 10-minute Rakugo performance in the first episode— one of many amazing moments in the show— reminded me of the ending sequence in Whiplash (one of the best films I have seen), it feeling itself like a musical performance, starting slow and clumsy and gradually building into a thunderous crescendo by the end, Yotarou’s sweat visibly running down his face all the while. While he may not be beating his instrument to the point of blood flying across the stage, rakugo is an inherently quieter, more subtle form of performance than concert, requiring nothing more than a person sitting and telling a story in front of a small audience, and so bloody theatrics are not necessary. Its performances are already plenty exciting.
At times joyful, and ever more so devastating, Shouwa Rakugo is a truly sincere and human story. It speaks a simple, raw tale of flawed existence. It does not fluff itself with philosophy, symbolism and other obscure subject matter. It speaks to the individual: it wants you to listen, and it wants you to consider the moments in life where you truly felt beating, breathing and alive. It is in that short moment that it has meaning.
From the way it delicately crafted its narrative, to the organic transition in which its characters found their placement in it, everything Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu did flowed like a poetic stream of unfiltered consciousness. This anime exuded an aura of refinement and class that you don’t come across often. It’s a caliber quite deserving of the praise directed at it. In place of the spastic eccentricity and bubblegum characters commonly found in the world of anime, we’re given a tranquil environment and genuine human emotion. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is a title that unveils a compelling story about flawed characters and their pursuit for true acceptance. If I could get just one other person to experience and spread the word of this gem, then my writing this was more than worth it.
Delving into the world of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, or Shouwa, as I’ll refer to it going forward, we’re introduced to Yotarou, a dimwitted bushy-tailed man who’s fresh out of prison. Having a deep yearning to practice and perform Rakugo, a Japanese form of verbal entertainment that’s essentially stage storytelling, he seeks out an apprenticeship under the guidance of Yakumo Yuurakutei, a man well renowned for his performing prowess in the field of Rakugo.
Despite what this initial premise would have you believe, the story isn’t about Yotarou’s journey under apprenticeship; in actuality, it chronicles his master Yotarou’s life, along with his friend Sukeroku, as it showed how they dealt with the demanding requirements of the Rakugo industry, as well as the growing pressures that come with adulthood.
Taking us back to his childhood, Yakumo “Kikuhiko” Yuurakutei places us at a time just before the boys met. And from then on the story blossoms on its own before coming to an inevitable stop due to an incident that’s discussed during the initial episodes. While both boys found themselves in the world of Rakugo under similar circumstances, their relationship with the performing art itself differed vastly. Their relationship dynamic has been seen before: the polar opposites who don’t see eye to eye. Yakumo’s ying to Sukeroku’s yang. The fundamentals of the story itself aren’t what are impressive, but rather the manner in which it goes about executing it.
Instead of simply following the standardized method established for this kind of narrative, we’re instead thrust into a more introspective realm, with Yakumo’s reminiscing in the form of a Rakugo itself. It’s essentially a story within a story, which, on paper, sounds like a muddled mess, but oddly enough felt like the most organic method of absorbing the characters and viewer into the head-space of the tale. The Rakugo art form isn’t only exemplified, but it’s also utilized on a grand scale to encompass everything surrounding it. It’s a form of immersion rarely experienced, basically the Inception of anime storytelling (And here we are, a review about a story, about a story, that contains stories… let’s just leave that mindfuck alone).
Everything that shapes the life of the zen-like Yakumo that we met in the first episode, to the reserved boy we meet in the past, all revolves around the influence of Rakugo, both on and off stage. We’re given a detailed insight as to how this traditional Japanese storytelling works, as well as the lasting impact it left on the two boys that grew up to master it.
What made this anime so engaging was in the way it went about layering these characters. Nothing is ever explicitly stated outright. Everything from the small mannerisms they display, to the introspective moments that draw no attention to themselves, as well as the way in which they interacted with each other, all helps to add layers to the characters on screen. It’s “show don’t tell” at its finest. And as their upbringing and personality shape the type of Rakugo they performed, it also shaped what kind of person they ultimately became. In a way, it could be said that an individual’s style of Rakugo indirectly reveals the kind of person they secretly are. It’s a window into their soul; as saccharine as that statement may sound, there’s no better way to describe it.
With Sukeroku, what was outwardly presented in his performances was the common tongue of the people. With a brash and often schmaltzy performance, he didn’t care for the social constructs that the world of Rakugo wanted to build. He did it to make the people happy. And just like his style would outwardly portray, his Rakugo revealed what was truly lying dormant within him.
The same also applied to Yakumo, a man who always tried upholding himself to a high standard, following the guideline of Rakugo to the letter. He too was exposed by his style of Rakugo. Rakugo provided the duality that neither would dare reveal out in the open. Like I said, it’s simply poetry, a dance between what is shown and what is truly meant to be seen, or rather what is meant to be uncovered.
These characters are deeply flawed but made all the more realistic because of that. They’re selfish, pigheaded, condescending, but also broken, affectionate and just looking for a place they belong. There’s no antagonist here, just entangled personalities trying to find their way.
Outside of the two male characters, another character worth mentioning was Yurie, who is without question the biggest catalyst who drives the actions taken by the two male leads involved during the show’s more personal moments. She’s a character whose environment and past experiences did far more than mold her; they broke her. Like the others involved in the story, she masquerades herself as someone who’s in control. And it’s her need for co-dependence that creates a rift that ripples throughout all crucial events in the story.
Seeing that her involvement is integral to many of the major events throughout the narrative, I won’t say anything more about her involvement. Just know that without her, many of Shouwa’s more poignant moments wouldn’t have exfoliated into the scenes that we were gifted with.
Like the art of performing Rakugo itself, the story also manages to perform and balance a vast array of tonal shifts throughout the narrative without feeling forcefully steered in directions. This, as a result, allowed for comedic scenes to transition seamlessly into sobering reveals without causing any tonal whiplashes. And in a story that revolves around the delicate balance between stage performances and real life drama, that balance was greatly needed.
The project was handled by studio Deen, which by anyone’s account, is a scary thing, given their track record, but with Shouwa they actually stepped their game up. The movements and gestures of the characters showed great range and fluidity, which is a vital thing for a show that’s revolved around the mannerisms of stage performers. No noticeable shortcuts were taken, and the finished product looked quite pleasing. The opening and ending themes were excellent, with the intro song “Usurai Shinjuu ” by Megumi Hayashibara, carrying a sort of sultry/smoky jazz appeal to it. The ending theme also held up on its side with a soothing soft trumpet piece that gently set things off on a tranquil note.
In many ways Shouwa acts out like a Shakespearean play, in that regardless of time period or societal upbringing, the messages it explores are primal and very much a part of what it means to be human, may that be the yearning for love and acceptance, malice born from envious desires, choosing to follow gut instinct instead of rationality or just forming bonds with others for mutual benefit. Shouwa unveil these layers of human pathos in a way that invokes authentic sentiments. This anime sets a benchmark that many would have a hard time following.
This show was easily the most engrossing seasonal title I’ve watched from the 2015/16 lineup so far. It left an impression that so few have and had some of the most realistic anime characters I’ve seen in recent memory. This easily became a new favorite of mine.
If there were ever a dark horse for the 2016 Winter season, this title is it. Sadly overlooked by many, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is a show that quickly ushered you out of the cold and into the warm embrace of its heartfelt narrative. The more time you spend with these characters, the harder it became to say farewell. This might not be for everyone, given the slower pacing and absence of anime tropes associated with the medium, but for those who want something more than the usual offerings expected, I cannot suggest this enough. It’s truly a work of art.
1: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen
English: Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
MAL Score: 8.76
Even after having risen to the utmost rank of shun’ichi, Yotarou struggles to find his own identity in the world of rakugo. Caught between his master’s teachings and the late Sukeroku’s unique style, his performance lacks an important ingredient—ego. And while his popularity packs the theaters, he is but one of the few; rakugo is under threat of being eclipsed.
Meanwhile Yakumo, regarded by many as the last bastion of preserving the popularity of rakugo, struggles to cope with his elderly state. Even though his performances are still stellar, he fears that he is nearing his limits. His doubts grow stronger as an old friend creeps ever closer. Konatsu, for her part, attempts to raise her son as a single mother, which Yotarou is heavily opposed to. Instead, he seeks to persuade her to marry him and in turn raise her son as his own.
In Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen, the curtains fall on Yotarou and Yakumo’s story, tasked with restoring the near-obsolete art form as well as overcoming their internal conflicts.
Story 10/10 Simple and boring you might say but the narration of the series is topnotch, with thoughtful editing + with masterful direction, the show just climbed up the rankings easily, surpassing its 1st season. Overall flawless storyline. It is just that good and you might know the show had those insane plottwist on the 2nd half of the series 🙂
Art 9/10 Nothing special when it comes to frame by frame animation but when it comes to cinematography the show just stands out. With good camera angles and with very realism type of editing, the show proved that animation is not only just the key to make a topnotch quality series.
Sound 10/10 Hell yes, from the shounen type of opening from both seasons to the one of the emotional endings i’ve seen. The 2nd Ending just hits you so hard with its mellow type of sound and then partnered with a very stimulating visuals that helps both art and sound to be one of the selling point of the series.
Characters 10/10 Oh boy, did just everybody got all their fokin character development? From Sukeroku to Yakumo upto Yotaro and Konatsu and even Shinnosuke. I mean every characters are well fleshed out with great interactions with the help of the great voice actors of the series. It is insanely overwhelming to watch.
One of masterpieces of modern anime. Studio Deen is just so good at making this one. Surpassing the 1st season and even the Manga. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is a flawless – godtier – topnotch – moving – stellar – ” m a s t e r p i e c e ” on drama genre. “Never” anything came closely to this series from all Anime of 2016 and Anime of Winter 2017
PS When Yotaro performed “Shibahama” in episode 8 that shit got my ass crying real hard.
The best part of this show is the story. It’s complex without being confusing and is always interesting. I was never bored while watching. If you combine both seasons into one story, I think the structure of an introduction to the present, backstory, then jump back to present to continue the story and see how the events from the past have changed the present and continue to affect characters really made the show what it is. And then a beauty of this show is that the conclusion to this story is the conclusion to Yakumo’s story. Very satisfying and appropriate to how I think the show should’ve ended. The combination of all of these decisions that change the tone and flow of the story make it something to behold.
It wasn’t perfect though. One of the main problems I had with this series was that the story focused too much on the past. I think that while this focus on the past demonstrated Yakumo’s inability to move on well, there comes a point where it becomes frustrating to watch the same decisions being made for the same reasons over and over. We all know that Sukeroku and Miyokichi’s death affected Yakumo’s life forever after, but sometimes his obsession over it in the most trivial of situations seemed unrealistic and just overemphasized. I very much liked the scenes of hallucination that put Yakumo in the hospital both times, and his journey in the afterlife and reuniting with the two, but the day-to-day trauma he’s experiencing 20+ years after their death seems just a bit overdone.
I had a sort of crisis while watching the show due to the nature of episode 7’s reveal that the ending Yakumo told to us in the first season was a lie and that Konatsu was partly responsible for her parents’ deaths. I was shook when I found this out due to the profound effect the original ending had on me. I was more than a bit disappointed initially, but after much reflection on how this changes Yakumo’s character and his relationship to Kontasu, I decided that I also think this was a great plot twist that adds to the story. I still like the original better because it was more tragic, but I think that’s the point and I just fell for a story trap. Oh well.
Another part of the first season I found to be refreshing and captivating was Yakumo and Miyokichi’s relationship. Usually in romance anime, relationships are either lovey-dovey or they’re both unbelievably awkward around each other. Rakugo makes their relationship compelling, mature, and quiet, yet ever-present. I loved the handling of this aspect of the show. This kind of continued with this season. The same dynamic was kept in place, but Yotaro was just a more loud character who wears his emotions on his sleeve, so it’s natural that it would be different, but I’d say of the 2, I prefer the former.
This also brings me to my only other main complaint of the show. In the first season, I just liked the characters more. Not necessarily how they’re written, I love the aspects of them all, but my views are best demonstrated in the Rakugo they perform. Sukeroku’s was informal, fast, yet strong and clear, while Yakumo’s is dignified, deliberate, and refined. To me, Yotaro’s personality and his Rakugo seemed loud, a bit goofy, and sometimes unpleasant to listen to. This was only rarely, but I sometimes would just wish he would stop talking. That being said, Kontasu is one of my favorite characters in the show and I thought old Yakumo is just as good as young Yakumo. Also, the story of Yotaro’s past interfering with his career was a good conflict of the show.
Rakugo is a show about art, so it’s only natural that its art direction be some of the best I’ve ever seen. Perfectly set the mood in every scene, managed to blend traditional traditions in a modern world in a clean, appealing way. My desktop background is even a screenshot I took from the show, that’s how impressed I was. On a similar note, I am continuously impressed with the OP and EDs in this show. They’re perfectly reflective of the show. I feel like the video itself for the OP in the second season reveals a lot about the plot, so if you’re trying to go in blind, consider skipping watching the OP.
Overall, I can’t recommend this series enough. If you think you will like the show, I can guarantee that you will. I’m not here to tell you that this is a perfect show (it’s not), and I’m also not here to tell you that if you don’t enjoy it you have shit taste and there’s something wrong with you, but I can say this: In my opinion, Rakugo is the best series to come out in the last couple of years and it will be one of those “hidden classics” 5-10 years into the future, due to how under-the-radar it was, yet how profoundly excellent it is.
Thank you for reading my review! Feel free to leave any kind of feedback on my profile if you feel the need to, I appreciate everything.
If you were to ask me what the first season was, I’d say that it was a story about the industry of rakugo and the life of two men that grew up together and were raised to work in that trade. If you were to ask me what the second season is, I’d say that it is about the state of where the industry could be going, and concluding Yakumo’s character arc. The way the series tries to present the state of rakugo and where it moves going forward is through Yotaro, a new character of whose sole purpose is to constantly reiterate that Rakugo is to be preserved, and Yakumo’s reluctance for rakugo to be changed and not die with him. The problem here is that Yotaro gets focus only for the first few episodes, where he has to get inspiration and get over his bad reputation dug up by the media and convince his wife that he is a good father for her son and a good man for her. This gets resolved in about 2 episodes and afterwards all the focus on Yakumo. After these events, in all becomes about Yakumo and his deteriorating health. At this point is when this season of Rakugo simply becomes “oh guys we love rakugo so much how can we improve rakugo is yakumo alright is rakugo alright”. Every episode pretty much relies on delivering a Rakugo piece and knocking Yakumo down and then bringing him back down only to knock him down again and it repeats this cycle until this season reaches its end.
It is about 5-6 episodes of stagnation with the characters merely being in a cyclical state until the season reaches its end and things can happen in a way that feels final rather than repetitive. Two of the episodes don’t really have any effect on the overarching plot but bring more flesh into the universe, two are about Yotaro as I have had said and the last two conclude the series. So we have about 2 episodes about the new generation of rakugo performers, about 6 episodes simply stagnating the story with events of the same nature told in a slightly different way, 2 episodes that while I actually considerably enjoyed far more than the other episodes because the details they brought in universe and the Rakugo in them, but I still consider them filler since they don’t impact the plot moving forward, and the last 2 episodes that are wrapping things up. Frankly, to me it felt like it had no idea what it set out to do, other than present us with more rakugo, while not advancing the plot because the story planned itself to end with a certain event. It dragged on a couple of times, and for the most part it felt like a pointless continuation, due to the fact that it feels like it keeps bringing up more of the same. The mere existence of Yakumo as an unresolved character that got a lot of focus, even when his character would get fixed to be deteriorated again, brought no value to the story and by the time it ended, because I simply couldn’t care less anymore. The episodes where he wasn’t a much of a focus point in this season were my favorites, simply due to the fact that I didn’t know what I would get and I had no expectations.
Quite frankly, due to Yakumo’s existence and Sukeroku’s legacy, the characters hardly got anything besides blood ties and admiration to define them in universe for the most part. None of them really have real impact on the events but they are either related to Yakumo or enjoy Yakumo, which I guess the series thinks is reason enough to keep them around and relevant. I do find Yotaro acceptable as he is a reformed criminal who wants to have a positive outlook on life. But there are characters such as a writer that simply chooses to stick around because he wants to write new rakugo stories and he likes rakugo. That’s his motivation and personality. He is constantly around and he at best brings exposition, at the worst he just makes his presence felt. What is the point of having a character who is like “Rakugo is such a beautiful thing. It should be preserved and kept alive.” who brings no real contribution to the events of the story? His personality is rakugo. His impact on the events is artificial and he feels like he is a device to present that things should progress.
You need to understand that I can’t really contain my dissapointment when I complimented its first season for its really strong of storytelling, where it presented all the essential details and developed on its characters in a smart way, presented flaws and difficulites they went through, as well as their strengths. The events mattered because they were shaping Yakumo into the person he became, because of the certain point he got in life, but the events this time around don’t really sway impact because this season is simply preparing Yakumo for the end, with every event in the story being like flowers on a gravestone. None of the events in the story seemed like they had any impact on the universe and there were no real difficulties the characters tackled, outside of Yotaro and Yakumo, who kept struggling repeatedly with the same things which made things repetitive. I couldn’t care about the characters and the story was all in all a mess. There were still things I enjoyed like the rakugo stories told in these season were really entertaining, for the most part. I especially enjoyed the one told by Konatsu, Sukeroku’s daughter, in front of her kid’s classroom. But this second season was not at the same quality of the first season, as it seemed to have no direction for its entirety, thing that I would stayed felt the opposite way the last time around.
To conclude, the second season of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu took too much time to reach its conclusion and presented a lot of details that I couldn’t find relevant to the overarching plot, and therefore lost my interest, due to too much foreshadowing and stating the direction it wanted to go to outright through a character of whose role was exactly that. While in the first season, I knew exactly where I was going and what to expect and I enjoyed it, in this season I disliked it, because the execution isn’t as strong, because the events aren’t as impactful due to them being repetitive by nature of not having lasting consequences on its characters or skipping directly to the desired result, the characters therefore don’t feel as human due to that fact, as well as them not having any real difficulties in their lives to truly display any of their flaws or strengths, making a lot of them simply present, but irrelevant. There are rakugo pieces, but those mostly come to your discretion, as different stories impact people in different ways. I enjoyed most of them, but I can’t and won’t speak for everyone. If you’re curious about how this season went on and I kind of turned you off, I will also note that this season doesn’t really take away from the experience of the first season, unless you were really emotionally attached to the series. The first season still remains at the same level as it was, and I don’t find it was a waste of time to find out how things in the universe of Rakugo have had concluded. But note, that it isn’t gonna be what it used to be. It will just remember what it was.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen
2. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
3. Chihayafuru 3
4. Chihayafuru 2
5. Usagi Drop
6. Sakamichi no Apollon
7. Nodame Cantabile
8. Nodame Cantabile: Finale
9. Hachimitsu to Clover II
11. Nodame Cantabile: Paris-hen
13. Hachimitsu to Clover
14. Shirokuma Cafe
15. Paradise Kiss
16. Hakuouki Hekketsuroku
17. Chouyaku Hyakuninisshu: Uta Koi.
18. Hakuouki Reimeiroku
20. Saiyuuki Reload Gunlock
21. Saiyuuki Reload
23. Ristorante Paradiso
24. Natsuyuki Rendezvous
25. Petshop of Horrors
27. Saiyuuki Reload Blast
28. Hatenkou Yuugi
29. Karneval (TV)
30. Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist
31. Orenchi no Furo Jijou
33. Akkun to Kanojo
35. Super Seisyun Brothers
36. Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu.
37. Code:Realize – Sousei no Himegimi
38. Okoshiyasu, Chitose-chan
39. Nil Admirari no Tenbin
40. Massugu ni Ikou. 2nd Season
41. Hakuouki: Otogisoushi
42. Norn9: Norn+Nonet
43. Massugu ni Ikou.
44. Kiko-chan Smile
45. Shin Strange+
46. XL Joushi.
48. Kantoku Fuyuki Todoki
49. Jingai-san no Yome
50. Shuudengo, Capsule Hotel de, Joushi ni Binetsu Tsutawaru Yoru.