They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Nanako Kaitai Shinsho, Sakura Taisen: Sumire, Sakura Taisen: Le Nouveau Paris, and more!
7: Nanako Kaitai Shinsho
English: Amazing Nurse Nanako
MAL Score: 5.54
Nanako is a an inept apprentice nurse to the brilliant young Dr. Kouji. Now for some reason, Nanako is always being targeted by various elements which makes Nanako wonder if she has done anything wrong. But there are certain secrets to Nanako’s past that only Dr. Kouji and his family know about.
If you’re looking for a series that has nothing but panty-shots, huge breasts, and air-headed girls – this is what you should watch.
Otherwise, it’s best not to torture yourself.
Story- Nothing much here no real substance nothing that even jumps out of you it’s really just a bunch of scenarios thrown together then given an ending to justify why you watched.
Art- It’s old timey okay give it a break yes I could’ve gone without the panty shots yes I could have gone without the bouncing boobs but for some guys it may just be their only reason to watch it.
Sound- …yeah I couldn’t find the japanese voice acting version so I had the pleasure of hearing it in english… *shudders* so at best I can only judge this series by background music, opening, and closing which I didn’t find all that impressive.
Character- So character development was good I mean things could’ve been a lot better but I’m glad they at least made an attempt at it.
Enjoyment- I would never watch this series again and I mean never it just is too choppy for me to do that.
Overall- I can’t with full certainty recommend this anime to anybody this is one of those things where the sole factor in deciding should be do you have the courage to pick this one up and finish it.
I’m fully aware of when this anime was made so there’s not “present bias” in my review.
To get a nitpick out of the way…..Why is it called ‘Amazing Nurse Nanako’?
She’s not a nurse and she sure as hell isn’t amazing….Nanako is a very incompetent maid that sucks at doing her job.
One thing I really hated was the sound.
Both dubs are pretty bad, the English Dub obviously being the worst!
I had to watch each episode a day apart to recover from Nanako’s repetitive and extremely annoying whining.
The Japanese dub isn’t that bad, but with both dubs it seemed like the actor’s voice didn’t match well with the characters.
The art was okay, the CGI was gross to look at…the 2D animation was okay, it’s not as bad as some titles from the time.
The Story…..it’s all over the place and the fanservice comes out of nowhere….like when Nanako needed to lighten the load on the plane….
Not to mention the ending was…..it came out of absolutely no where like it was slapped on….
This anime is the product of two people in the anime industry who work on anime with polar opposite genres coming together to make a single show…
Stay away from this anime…….
6: Sakura Taisen: Sumire
English: Sakura Wars: ~Su~Mi~Re~
Japanese: 『サクラ大戦』～神崎すみれ引退記念～「す み れ」
MAL Score: 6.41
Set after the time of Sakura Taisen 4 (game), Kanzaki Sumire, during a training session was noticed that her spirit power (rei-ryoku) has dropped tremendously, below levels required to pilot the Koubu-nishiki. She decides to retire from the Kageki-dan while she still holds the position of “top star” in the dai-teikoku gekijyou.
5: Sakura Taisen: Le Nouveau Paris
English: Sakura Wars: The New Paris
Japanese: サクラ大戦『ル ヌーヴォー 巴里』
MAL Score: 6.43
After Ichiro Ogami’s departure, the girls of the Paris Flower Defense Force are left debating who will be the next captain, while a centuries-old threat surfaces.
4: Sakura Taisen: Ecole de Paris
English: Sakura Wars: School of Paris
Japanese: サクラ大戦 エコール ド 巴里
MAL Score: 6.43
An unseen evil lurks in the streets of Paris. Unless something is done, the darkness will unleash its destruction and consume all that is good. The City of Love will be lost to her people forever. All hope rests within the hearts of five young ladies. The only problem is, they don’t even know it yet. But will an apprenticed nun, a reserved aristocrat, a hardened criminal, a traveling circus emcee and a Japanese girl experiencing loss set aside their unique differences and come together as one for the defense of many. The Paris Fighting Troup is born.
3: Sakura Taisen: Ouka Kenran
Japanese: サクラ大戦 ~桜華絢爛~
MAL Score: 6.57
The year is around the 1920’s and the darkness of the demons have arrived. Now, only the people with large amounts of spirit energy can save the Earth. The Flower Division is now going to be sent out destroy the demons for they’re our only hope for survival with their new steam-powered machines and unique fighting techniques.
Back in 1996 a phenomenon occured in the console games market. Making a game that had anime style graphics wasn’t a new thing at the time, and the trend has continued to this day. No, the phenomenon wasn’t based on how the game looked, it was based on the fact that, for the first time, there was a game that blended several popular elements into one new and shiny whole. The game in question mixed tactical wargaming with dating simulator, samurais with steampunk, theatre with demon hunting.
That game was the first in the Sakura Taisen series.
Released by Sega for their Saturn console, the game enjoyed immediate success, and the re-release for the Dreamcast only served to cement it’s place in the gaming world. It’s success was such that in the year it was originally released only one game was considered better – Final Fantasy VII. Since then the game has placed #13 in Famitsu’s Top 100 Games of all time, with the following three games also taking places within the top 100. Sakura Taisen V was the best selling game in Japan in 2005, and the latest installment has become the most wanted game of 2009.
So with all this success and popularity, where are the reviews of the series? There aren’t any, so is it really that good?
The anime (OVA), version, released in 1997, follows the formation of the Imperial Assault Force – Flower Division, a group of young women with high spiritual energy who work on the front line, defending the city of Tokyo from attack by demons. These women work by day as actresses and singers in Imperial Grand Theater, beneath which is their base of operations and the place where they store the tools of their real trade – the dual powered steam/spirit armour developed by Kanzaki Heavy Industries.
Okay, the premise doesn’t sound too bad and, to be honest, the whole story is pretty decent (and a damn sight better than much of what’s around today). The plot is reasonably well paced, especially because this is an OVA, however it can feel like it drags from time to time. One nice thing about the show is that rather than simply lifting straight from the game, the anime is actually set within it’s timeframe (the last epsiode takes place around the middle of the game), so watching the series only enhances the gaming experience (unlike a lot of game tie-ins).
One of the things that originally set the series apart was the fact that it wasn’t just a supernatural series, but that it was also one of the early attempts to include steampunk in anime. This set it apart from almost every other sci-fi series of the time, and even now there are still only a few anime that fall into that category (Steamboy being a recent example). The mecha designs were taken straight from the game, with a few minor revisions, but the essence of the game remains within the OVA. The characters from the game are also directly transferred to the anime, again with a few minor revisions. Now, one would think that this would hinder the design aspect in certain ways, but the fact is that the original game was well thought out and designed from the start. This meant that the character designs were pretty decent to begin with, thus making any “tweaks” easier to do.
Animation is good for the entire series. The game featured very little actual animation (compared to modern games), but the animators took their cues from that reference material, as well as their own experience. The characters and mechs move in a free manner that is great to see, but there are occurrences of unnatural body positions and sometimes overly “clunky” mech combat. The backgrounds are colourful and nicely detailed and, as with the costumes, are highly reflective of the alternate 1920s setting.
The voice actors are a bit of a sticking point with me, in particular, the English cast. The Japanese dub had a certain “je ne sais qua” that made the comedy work and added some weight to the more serious scenes. The English dub, on the other hand, was a complete failure as far as I’m concerned. The English cast, while being pretty good in terms of acting ability, managed to really ham up the show. Many of the scenes in the English dub suffer from wooden or over acting, all the while maintaining a distinctly juvenile attitude.
The unfortunate thing about this is that by the time the OVA was released inthe West, we already knew that anime could not only be dubbed well, but that it could actually be made into something better and more accessible to us. The Western reception ofthe OVA was far from favourable because of the dub.
Musically the series is actually pretty good. The fact that the show is based around a theatre troupe adds a whole new dimension to the musical possibilities, and those that were chosen for the OVA are well used and often add some depth to the scene. The effects follow much the same pattern as the music, with many being well suited to their purpose, again enhancing the atmosphere of the show.
Characters for the OVA are a big plus, but also a big minus as well. The characters are individuals in almost every sense, however they are also stereotypical in many repects. This isn’t a bad thing as many shows have used stereotypical characters and still turned out to be good. The problem here is that this is an OVA so there is no room to become involved with the characters, so they feel shallow and underdeveloped. On the positive side though, the mass appeal of the game meant that most of the people who originally watched the OVA were already familiar with the characters, something which the producers were hoping for.
As a slight aside, I’m going to touch on an issue that should be raised. Because the OVA ties in directly with the game there should be no need to devlop the characters over the course of the anime. That said, no one actually expected the franchise to be as popular as it is (yes, it’s still one of the most popular anime and gaming franchises), but this is only within Japan. Most viewers outside of Japan will have little knowledge of the game or it’s impact, and this means that they will watch the OVA without any background information. When viewed from this perspective, the flaws with the OVA are exacerbated, and most viewers may find the series unsatisfying.
However, if you’re a Dreamcast owner then there’s a good chance that you’ll have at least heard of the series. Likewise fans of the games for both the Saturn and the Dreamcast will need no introduction to it.
Sakura Taisen presents me with something of a quandary. The obvious flaws with the scripting of the OVA preclude the unfamiliar from fully appreciating the series, yet it is still a good introduction to the franchise. The fact that it’s a game tie in should prevent it from having a decent plot, story and design, yet it does. The English dub makes you want to scream, but the Japanese dub has you paying attention. The OVA has so many contradictions that at times it seems a bit unfair.
It’s not easy to recommend this to any but the hardcore mech fans and Sakura Taisen junkies, yet I will. Although the series has it’s problems, it also has action and drama, and in these two areas Skaura Taisen is up there with the best of that year. Unfortunately the cons outweigh the pro’s in this series, something which is only really forgivable and less relevant if you have played the games.
In the end it’s up to you if you want to watch this, but if you do then you should remember that this OVA only really tells half of the story.
And for those of you who are wondering about the score, I’ve based it on knowing the game rather than the other way around. If I had no knowledge of the series, then the score would be slightly lower.
2: Kikaider 01 The Animation
English: Kikaider 01: The Animation
Japanese: キカイダー０１ THE ANIMATION
MAL Score: 6.75
Ever since the fall of the DARK organization, Jiro has been wandering everywhere and wondering if he would ever see Mitsuko again or not. During his journey Jiro meets a beautiful girl named Rieko who is protecting Akira, a little boy from the evil Professor Gill. Ironicly, he’s the son of Professor Gill, but he is also the key to Gill’s menacing secret weapon and his plans to conquer the world.
Read the synopsis up please.
I already review the artwork in kikaider.
Soundtrack is once again masterpiece tottaly surpass first one espeacially the final 4th ova creadits is just jaw drop….
Lets get quick with the new characters in the series. First 01, very likeable, fun and fights but very rash at times, great backup for jiro. Rei is the silent cool type and boy, does he fight like a tnk in the anime. Bijinder and her um…i wont spoil it but has the second sadest moments in the anime. Akira the kid dosent talk until the last episode. The most character development in the series goes to jiro struggle and learning dark side of being a human. The main villian professor gil is very evil sadistic guy, u just cant wait until someone kicks his butt and that means a great villian people.
I really enjoy the ova more than the first, man…i nearly cry at the end. jiro you a true hero.
First off, I have to say visually and sonically the show is on par with the tv anime. Which of course means that the art, music, sound and animation are all really well done. Where this falls flat is the story, it all feels a bit half baked. There are themes and plot lines that are never fully explored. I would have liked to have spent more time with the interactions between the robot companions for one thing. Also, this time around Professor Gill’s intentions are never fully explained. In the first anime Dark was a mafia like organization and he wanted to extend his reach and become a defacto dictator. This time he just wants to build a giant robot and destroy the world for…. reasons…. we never really get to know what exactly his motivation for doing this is, last show he was a power hungry egomaniac, this time he’s been reduced to generic bad guy that want’s to do bad things.
It also veers way too much on the side of the overly melodramatic “edgy” style anime story that was popular among anime studios around the time this was made. While the TV series did go in this direction a bit it never fully dipped it’s feat in it, there was always a glimmer of hope, a feeling that everything wasn’t going to end in pure desperation, that everything will be all right. You don’t get that here. Gloom and doom fully takes over by the end and you are told that the meaning of being human is despair.
All and all this is an anime that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny or time and I feel like it’s an unfitting end to a semi-modern classic.
1: Sakura Taisen: Gouka Kenran
English: Sakura Wars: The Gorgeous Blooming Cherry Blossoms
Japanese: サクラ大戦 轟華絢爛
MAL Score: 6.86
The end of the demon wars has ended and now the Flower Division has been able to rest up after their fighting. The second Sakura Wars developes studies on every Flower Division Combatee in every episode while they go on their miscellanious adventures around Japan.
Released in 1999, Sakura Taisen: Gouka Kenran is set between the first two games and follows the lives of the members of the Imperial Assault Force – Flower Division. The Demon Wars have ended, and the members of Teikoku Kagekidan Hanagumi are finally able to rest, recuperate, and focus on their work in the theatre.
Unlike the first OVA though, Gouka Kenran (which actually translates to The Radiant Gorgeous Blooming Flowers – the first OVA was called The Gorgeous Blooming Cherry Blossoms), focuses on the characters in a much more direct manner. Because of this, the second OVA is often called a “character study”, and while there are nods in that direction, in truth this is nothing more than a secondary introduction to the characters. Each episode is about one or more of the characters, and contain a mixture of drama and comedy, with little in the way of action over the course of the OVA.
Deviating slightly from the main review here, there is one major factor that affects every aspect of this OVA, and it needs to be mentioned. The second OVA is not simply a sequel in the same sense as something like the Aria series, and the main reason for this is because of the owners of the franchise – Red Entertainment and Sega. The success of the game and first OVA caused them to try and capitalise on the franchise. Unfortunately they decided to do this by changing not only the series director, but the animation studio as well. This change has played a pivotal role in the creation of the OVA, and for those who have watched Ouka Genran, the differences are obvious and, at times, extreme.
Going back to the review, there is a distinct lack of focus in Gouka Kenran. The decision to replace the original director, Ishiyama Takaaki, with Kudo Susumu, was a poor one indeed. That is no criticism of Kudo’s skills as a director however, it simply means that it would have been preferable to have someone familiar with the characters at the helm. The change from one director to another impacts greatly on the pacing and style of Gouka Kenran, in particular the elements that made Sakura Taisen such a popular series. Kudo has tried to stamp his mark on the series whilst remaining true to the original game and OVA, and it’s unfortunate that it hasn’t worked for the most part. The plot tends to drag, or be overly dramatic at times, and without any real action to balance it, the OVA can become a chore to watch for some.
Another aspect that has been adversely affected by the produciton changes is the art and animation. Where the orginal OVA was produced by Madhouse, Gouka Kenran was made by ANIMATE, and the difference is telling. The animation in the second OVA is a definite step down for the series, especially as the characters move in decidely rigid, and at times robotic, manner. The colours are as bright and cheery as they were in the first OVA, however the backgrounds have a far more “cartoon” feel to them. The only thing that couldn’t really be changed was the character design, however the implementation makes them look odd at times.
It’s strange, but the one area that seems not to have suffered from the production changes is the sound and music. This may be partly due to the fact that the cast from the original OVA reprised their roles in the sequel, but on the whole the sound throughout the anime is of a decent standard. The music is well chosen, although some of the comedic scenes could have done without the comedic music. The effects are well used for the most part, however there are occasions when the vocals take a back seat.
On the whole though, the sound is reasonably good.
One would think that, given that this is supposed to be a character study, there would be some good characterisations and development. Unfortunately this is not the case. The fact that the series tries to focus on almost all of the members of Teikoku Kagekidan Hanagumi precludes any substantial development for any of them, and is the reason why I called this more of a secondary introduction rather than a study. If the intent was to study the characters, then the series should have been at least 26 episodes instead of 6 as there just isn’t enough time to go into any kind of detail. That doesn’t mean that the characters are bad though, as they are all likable in their own way. No, the problem is that there just isn’t enough time spent with each character to make the audience relate to them.
As with the original OVA, this is a tough one to recommend to any but fans of the franchise. It’s unfortunate, but also true, that one should watch the original OVA before watching this as well, as this way the viewer will at least have an idea of what’s going on, who each character is, and why they are in the anime. Although it lacks the same kind of pace and punch as the first OVA, the fact that the characters are effectively allowed to “step out” of their roles is an interesting approach that, due to time issues, doesn’t actually work out.
Ultimately though, the entire OVA is effectively all “filler”, which is a shame as it could have been so much more.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Sakura Taisen: Gouka Kenran
2. Kikaider 01 The Animation
3. Sakura Taisen: Ouka Kenran
4. Sakura Taisen: Le Nouveau Paris
5. Sakura Taisen: Ecole de Paris
6. Sakura Taisen: Sumire
7. Nanako Kaitai Shinsho