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Gakuen Basara: Samurai High School (anime review)

Title: Gakuen Basara: Samurai High School on Blu-ray

Director: Minoru Ohara

Studio: Brain’s Base

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Dec. 10th, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy / Absurdity / Samurai

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: B

Synopsis:

It is said that power can corrupt and absolute power often corrupts absolutely, so when Principal Nobunaga of the Basara Academy was distracted by duties elsewhere, student council president Toyotomi took advantage of the opportunity to wage a campaign of terror against other rival schools. Toyotomi was subsequently suspended, but the resulting lack of a strong leader has left a vacuum at the Academy’s center, tearing the student body into opposing factions.

Who will show the courage and fortitude required to take the office of council president? Baseball captain Masamune Date? Soccer star Yukimura Sanada? Opposing council members Ieyasu Tokugawa and Mitsunari Ishida? Or any of dozens of other strapping young students? The challenge is on as the best of the best (and a few of the worst) compete to reign supreme!

Commentary:

As with the rest of the Basara franchise Gakuen Basara is just as insane. Crazy, but fun. Nothing about it really makes much sense. Just like in Sengoku Basara you have the Edo period’s heavy hitters but they are in a modern high school. Of course, the crazier it is the better it is. Gakuen Basara just defies logic and is all about the competition.

Overall Grade: B

Going into Gakuen Basara I expected some semblance of plot or structure, but my hopes were dashed quickly and the series turned into a series of strange battles or should I say competitions that never really have clear winners and losers. I see the point of it and figure the only reason to exist it to setup these silly situations that have little to no real outcome.

I did enjoy the imagination it took to weave the historical personas into these high schoolers who have no understanding of composure or decency. The real fun is just sitting back and watching the stupidity wash over you like a strange bath with weird soap and bubbles everywhere.

If you are looking for something that requires no thought and almost no attention span then Gakuen Basara is for you.

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? Arrow Of The Orion Movie Blu-Ray (anime review)

Title: Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? Arrow Of The Orion Movie Blu-Ray

Director: Katsushi Sakurabi

Studio: J. C. Staff

Writer: Fujino Ōmori

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Oct. 22nd, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / Film / 82 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Age Rating: MA

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Arrow of the Orion is an anime movie directed by Katsushi Sakurabi.

Living above the legendary dungeons of Orario ought to be enough danger for anyone, and in his short time as a member of the goddess Hestia’s familia, Bell Cranel has experienced more perils and pitfalls than most. So, when Bell unexpectedly wins a free trip, is it too much to hope that he might have actually won a real vacation? Of course it is!

Inexplicably chosen as the champion of Hestia’s friend, the goddess Artemis, Bell quickly finds himself up to his neck in ruins and monsters as yet another epic quest begins. And where Bell goes, can the ever-jealous Hestia be far behind? Explore the world of DanMachi like never before as all of your favorite characters return in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of the Orion!

Commentary:

Is It Wrong has done it again. This series gives us plenty of silliness along with heart warming moral development. Bell is a natural naive hero who knows only one way and that is to look strait forward and to only be dedicated to those he calls friends. The movie is steeped in this heavy handed view of idealized life. The monsters are the evil that surrounds us and the purity of heart is the only thing that will save you is a little strong, but that ethos also make you root for Bell, Hestia and the rest of the group to overcome the overwhelming evil that has them on their heals.

I like the way they keep Bell honest at true to character. I realize that his is the simplest of all, but sometimes that make that character hardest to keep true to form. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of the Orion! does give us what we would expect from the series and also just a little more to make it worth our while.

Overall Grade: A-

Even thought I thought the animation relied too much on CG I still feel J. C. Staff did a solid job and productions level were high enough to make it a true theatrical release. The writing and character development was able to just concern itself with one character (Artemis) and allow everyone else to be them self, which have been developed in the series already. I like the plot it allowed focus and real a quest. It also played up the hero narrative which goes well for Bell and allowed the other women to be envious of some else which gave us some lighter moments.

If you are a fan of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?. Then you will sure love Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of the Orion!. If you are just looking for a good hero tale then this would also be a good fit if you don’t care about understanding what came before it. I found it worthy and I believe you will too.

Joshiraku (anime review)

Title: Joshiraku: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Tsutomu Mizushima

Studio: J. C. Staff

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

Marii, Kigurumi, Tetora, Gankyo and Kukuru are five young women with completely different interests and personalities, but there’s one thing that they all share: performing Rakugo, a unique form of Japanese comic theater in which a single artist sits in front of an audience and tells an entire story, portraying multiple characters solely through changes of voice and minimal movements. It’s a challenging art but all five of our heroines are determined to become the best they can… and in the meantime, they find themselves hanging out together, both at the Rakugo theaters and around town. They also have a shared acquaintance, a mysterious stranger who’s always wearing a wrestling mask! What’s that about? To find out, pull up a seat and watch as our heroines put on the best show in town!

Commentary:

There are plenty of anime that utilize aspects of Japanese culture as a focal point in the plot. Joshiraku takes on an obscure section of entertainment that very few Japanese even know still exsists. Raku is comedy and Joshiraku is comedy performed by women. Of course Joshiraku only uses this as a point of reference for these women to play out their bizarre antics.

The series is very episodic and only has a plot line because they use the Raku theatre as a backdrop of there conversations and musings. There are 3 topics discussed in each episode with absurd comments and visions of silliness, the the fun is watching these young women run though their realization and constant flow of energy.

Overal Grade: B+

Joshiraku is a great deal of fun to watch, but I would not recommend marathon watching. I watched several episodes at first and found it to be a bit overwhelming. When I limited myself to 2 episodes at a time I discovered the real humor and saw the fun of it all.

The animation was above average and to be expected from J. C. Staff, The writing felt more like a comedy sketch rather than a series with a plot. The point was to pose 3 simple topics and allow these young women to run through a series of stream of consciousness discussions which typically ended with little to no conclusion. It was very different from what most viewers expect from an anime and I liked it very much.

I found that I invested very little of myself in the series and that really felt good for a change. All of the characters are likable and it is all about their silliness and absurd way of thinking.

If you want to escape to a place that will leave you smiling and ready to move on then Joshiraku is for you.

Mr Tonegawa Middle Management Blues (anime Review)

Title: Mr Tonegawa Middle Management Blues Blu-Ray

Director: Keiichiro Kawaguchi

Studio: Madhouse

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Oct. 15, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 24 Episodes / 600 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Absurdity

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

Nobody knows what it’s like to be the bad man… except the bad man’s right-hand man, who has to take the boss’ deranged ideas and turn them into functioning plans. So, when the sadistic president of the Teiai Group decides he is bored with the routine leg breaking and widow/orphan evicting, he assigns the task of coming up with something “special” to his ruthless Number Two, Yukio Tonegawa. But how do you amuse someone who destroys a dozen lives before breakfast?

There’s a huge pool of potential victims in the form of TFO’s swollen roster of defaulting borrowers, but if Tonegawa and his team of nearly identical men in black look-alikes can’t create a “game of death” that tickles the boss’ demented funny bones, they may end up playing the game themselves!

Commentary:

Mr Tonegawa Middle Management Blues is something of a mystery to me. On one hand it points out some rather sad, terrible aspects of being a company man and on the other hand it glorifies the sadistic nature of the power hungry corporate management structure. I am not sure if I want to applaud it or bash it for its base nihilism.

The series is a list of funny and weird episodes that highlight Mr. Tonegawa’s unfortunate position of being #2. It also gives us a look at what it is like to be the foreman of the lowest workers in the company and how being the foreman and being #2 can be nearly identical and yet somehow being the foreman appears to come across a bit more crass.

I laughed and cringed as I watched. I was always brought back to some of my rather mundane experiences in corporate America and how the absurdness of Mr Tonegawa Middle Management Blues managed to tell the same story. I wanted to cry a little.

Overall Grade: B

On the surface Mr Tonegawa Middle Management Blues didn’t give me the warm fuzzy feeling of a great parody nor did I walk away feeling like I just watched something that really spoke to the plight of the average working person in our capitalistic world.

I found the animation style to be too crude to be effective and it took me several episodes to get past the cartoon flat world look. If there had been a little more attention to graphic design and less silliness in the overall presentation I believe that the point of how messed up our corporate structure really is and how people are nothing more than cogs in the machine could have come across.

I did find the series funny and at time it spoke to me. So, if you are looking for a rather bizarre series that pokes fun at working for the man, then Mr Tonegawa Middle Management Blues is for you.

Review: Di Gi Charat Ultimate Collection

Title: Di Gi Charat Ultimate Collection on Blu-ray

U. S. Publisher: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Release Date: 9-17-19

Format: Blu-ray / 33 episodes / 320 Minutes

Audio Language: English or Japanese for the series, Japanese for the specials.

Genre: Comedy

Age Rating: TV PG

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

Di Gi Charat is a collection of comedic episodes that mostly stand on their own. Basically, alien teen girls come to earth, landing in Akihabara, supposedly to be famous entertainers, but they actually end up working and living at a game store. New to the culture, they still understand most everything, but a few mistakes are made and their unique abilities cause a few odd problems. Still, they seem to know how to keep the customers in line (or at least baffled).

Commentary:

If you are looking for something light and happy to watch, and would be knowledgeable about gaming/anime references, then Di Gi Charat might be the show you are ready to binge. It is a fine diversion, silly and funny with extra helpings of cute. Don’t be expecting something out of the ordinary or epic. It’s just for fun.

Now, I know there is a back story of sorts, the female characters come from another planet. But there doesn’t seem to be a real need for it, but I do suppose it justifies their quaint or unusual behaviors and unique abilities.

The girls are made to be a store mascot, and they do so very well. Cute, bubbly and easily recognizable with their look: outfits and especially the oversized hair ornaments/hair ties. Top marks for character design. I also enjoyed the way the people in the crowd were depicted. Hey, there is an element of truth in its near faceless portrayal.

The episodes are short, which makes the aforementioned binge watching a touch annoying with the opening song seeming to take as much time as the episode. I never timed it, but it was still annoying. Cute, but annoying… like cute often is.

Now, it is an older series, so it looks that way. The animation is dated and there is a cartoony feel to things. But that suits Di Gi Charat fine.

The disc contains a big section of OVA specials not on the main menu page. Make sure to look for them.

Overal Grade: B

Cute, funny and silly. Hey, it’s a comedy. Better be in the mood for cute.

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

Title: Sorcerous Stabber Orphan on Blu-ray

Director: Season 1 Hiroshi Watanabe, Season 2 Tōru Takahashi

Studio: J. C. Staff

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: August 20th, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 47 episodes / 1175 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy

Age Rating: TV 14 +

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Synopsis:

When an experiment goes horribly awry and transforms the Sorceress Azalie into a monstrous dragon, the sorcerers of the Tower of Fang callously decide to pretend that Azalie died in order to preserve the Tower’s reputation. And to make sure that the magic beans never get spilled, they also decide that Azalie needs to be destroyed. Disgusted by their cravenly actions, Azalie’s friend Krylancelo renounces his allegiance to the Tower, changes his name to Orphen and sets forth to save the damsel/dragon in distress. It won’t be easy: there’ll be minions with nefarious plans to defeat, and along the way Orphen will pick up an apprentice, a spoiled rich girl and a couple of trolls. But it wouldn’t be a heroic journey without a few bumps in the road, would it? The epic quest is on in Sorcerous Stabber Orphen!

Special Features: Production Sketches, Japanese TV Spot, Cape Day & Other Silliness, Interview with Japanese Staff & Cast, Outtakes, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation.

Commentary:

This is the summer of resurrections. There are countless numbers of older series that are being brought back from the anime graveyard and Sorcerous Stabber Orphan is the latest arrival. I can’t really say that it excites me but it does bring me some interesting entertainment. This set has both seasons and it is a great example of what happens when there is a change in directors.

The Sorcerous Stabber Orphan itself has everything you would expect from a late 1990’s series. The comedic lead with a dark and dangerous back story. A group of misfits that surround him and a rather convoluted group of antagonist. The trope was all the rage because of the success of other series like Trigun or Cowboy Bebop. Although Sorcerous Stabber Orphan works harder on providing a comedic side and in many ways it is better at that than it is at giving us a solid plot line that makes the viewer really root for Orphan and want to see him save his sorcerous friend.

Overal Grade: B-

It is unfortunate that the production value of Sorcerous Stabber Orphan doesn’t hold up very well to time where other series from that same time frame manage to still look and feel fresh. Sorcerous Stabber Orphan looks like it was a secondary series that was pushed through the mill as fast as it could be and comes across second rate. Funny thing is that it have a stronger following in Japan than some of the now recognized classics.

There is also the issue of the change in directors for the second season. For me this is where Sorcerous Stabber Orphan fell apart. There was a clear loss in direction and maybe even a weakening of the writing too. Either way, I found the second season less appealing than the first.

I do think that anyone how wants to understand what anime was really like 20 years ago then they should spend some time with Sorcerous Stabber Orphan. It will be enlightening.

Initial D Legend Theatrical Collection

Title: Initial D Legend Theatrical Collection Blu-Ray

Director: Masamitsu Hidaka, Tomohito Naka (co-director)

Studio: Sanzigen & Liden Films

Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

Release Date: Sept. 17, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 3 Feature Film / 180 minutes

Genre: Car Racing, Coming of Age

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

Initial D Legend Theatrical Collection contains the following three movies: Awakening, Racer, and Dream of the series directed by Masamitsu Hidaka.

When an unplanned street duel launches tofu delivery driver Takumi Fujiwara into the world of high stakes street racing, the competition isn’t going to know what hit them. The son of another legendary driver, the unassuming Takumi quickly becomes the downhill racing phenomenon to beat, with a line of challengers as long as the deadly Mt. Akina road itself! There’s no time to blink. No chance to second guess your strategy. The streets of Japan become a deadly arena for an incredible battle where if you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough! Hold onto your breath as the legendary series that introduced the sport of drift racing to the west is reinvented in a series of new feature films that will strip the surface from the blacktops!

Commentary:

In Initial D Legend 1: Awakening

Initial D is one of those series that has lasted the test of time even though the cars have shown their age there is something very real about teenage boys and cars. That is really the only thing that Initial D Awakening has going for it. I know that if I were still in my 20’s or even my 30’s I would be all over this film, but I found it rather single minded and lacked a depth that I was hoping for. The fact that the natural racer (Takumi) doesn’t really care about racing and is just doing it to get home faster. There is also the connection between Takumi’s father and his racing history that is way to easy and somewhat disappointing.

The plot does hold up and Awakening does a great job of setting us up for the second film. The animation is good and the work that went into the races really paid off. There is also an attention to detail on the cars that I found interesting and reassuring. The voice acting was much more typical and fell apart at time and lent itself to the typical American answer of overacting for some of the core characters that tend to add a tension that isn’t needed.

Initial D Legend 2: Racer

As with many anime film series there is almost always a letdown as we move through the story. Initial D Legend 2 Racer is just that. While watching it I felt like there was a typical answer to a strong start. Simply put they turn our reluctant hero into the focus of all the racers and give him a tarnish that is not deserved. Now there is a honest push of tension in how all of this plays out, but the writing did fall flat for me.

I did feel like some of the action was solid enough and the racing was given a rather slick production overall. I do feel as though some of the story felt forced and rather uneventful. The overall production values were good, but I can see where the original series emulation was a little to much in the minds of the creators.

Initial D Legend 3: Dream

This last of 3 films does a wonderful job of bring us to the classic series. As with the other two films the story helps us get back up to speed with the essence of the Initial D franchise and introduces us to everyone that matters early on. Bottom line is that it Takumi is forced to understand his talent and discover what makes him really want to do this. On the other hand you have Ryosuke who knows why he does this and why he must be the best. In the end there is the final challenge between pure natural ability and cunning knowledge.

For any guy that is into cars and racing this series of films and the original series would we a great fit. For everyone else that might not be enough to keep them involved.

Overall Grade: B

Initial D Legend Theatrical Collection has everything any Initial D fan will need to make them very happy. It is also a great film for any young man between the age of 15 and 40 who is into cars. This gives a very special depiction of Drifting and what made it so very special in the 80’s and 90’s.

It is always fun to get a feeling for the beginning of a story line and get a sense of what these beloved characters were all about before the original series began. Initial D Legend Theatrical Collection does several things very well and a few thing not so well. The biggest issue for me is that the film is broken into two films and maybe should have been edited so that it is just one full length film.

If this Initial D Legend Theatrical Collection series was reworked with higher end production and a stronger writing team then it is very possible it would have been a home run. Drift and street racing is not what it used to be and it comes across in the film as more of a historical oddity. It is very possible that it still has a solid following in Japan but here in the States it is dated. The story itself is somewhat of a classic trope that ha a racing theme and it plays out just that way. For all you Initial D fans you will not be disappointed. For all those newbies out there just be warned, it does come across a little worse for the wear.

I thought the animation production values were average at best and that some of the racing scenes tended to over develop the racing, but in series and films like this it really is about the drama and how to show it. I guess that all too often I felt like I was in a Bleach scene where some huge power was being unleaded rather than racing in some road race.

I guess that thing that failed me the most was the overall weakness of some of the main characters. I went away feeling rather cold toward Takumi and somewhat sorry for Ryosuke and maybe just maybe that is what they wanted, but the films are setup to make you want to root for Takumi. I guess I just didn’t care enough about him or what he was doing.

I do know that fans of the original Initial D series will love every minute of the films and snap them up like crazy. It is great to see all 3 films released in one set.

The Book of Bantorra

Title: The Book of Bantorra Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Toshiya Shinohara

Studio: Davis Production

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U. S. Release Date: September 10th, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 27 Episodes / 675 Minutes

Genre: Supernatural, Drama

Overall Personal Grade: B+

Synopsis:

In another time and place, on a world of pain and sorrow, when someone dies, their soul doesn’t go to Heaven or Hell – it becomes a book. A book that reveals the deceased’s innermost secrets… and can be read by anyone. Protecting these priceless treasures is the elite organization known as the Armed Librarians. It’s their job to keep the books and the knowledge within them safe from those who would misuse or destroy them.

It’s a tough, dangerous job, so Chief Librarian Hamyuts Maseta recruits only the best and the brightest psychics to join her team of expert fighters. But will they be good enough to stop the fanatics of the Shindeki Church from wrecking vengeance on the entire world? Only time will tell, but that book hasn’t been written yet.

As the Shindeki Church marches forward with their plans of conquest, Hamyuts Maseta and the Armed Librarians continue to struggle against them. However, the path to victory is a long and dangerous one, and not easily navigated. Along the way, friends will be lost, new allies gained, and blood will assuredly be shed. With the whole world seemingly turned against them and the Library facing its darkest hour, does Hamyuts still have a trick or two up her sleeve?

Commentary:

If you are looking for dark action and adventure look no further, The Book of Bantorra brings it all to bare and some. From fighting epic battles to unveiling the wisdom of the ages you just don’t know whats next. The high drama keeps you entertained but at the same time you get a little overload of drama. For me that is where it looses some of its luster. After a few episodes it just begins to feel way too heavy.

The animation on the other hand has a great feel for the story. It comes a cross between a steampunk world and a post apocalyptic Victorian world where people humanity has lost its way and a few powerful people are doing what ever they can to hold on to the essence of what makes us special. Thus, the drama and the over the top characters who take themselves entirely too serious. But, the look of the series fits it well.

The writing is the key to the melodrama and heavy handed characters and I guess this is where it looses me.  I do have to admit that the ending is very imaginative and helps save the series form itself, but it too comes across like a dark tale of sadness brought back by the light of true humanity.

Overall Grade: B+

It is great to see Sentai re-release this series on Blu-ray. I enjoyed The Book of Bantorra when it was first released back in 2014 and enjoyed even more today.

The Book of Bantorra is one of those series that has a lot to say and keeps you guessing all the way up until the end. Even at that point you expect the outcome to be a bit different. This consistent confusion and heavy handed melodrama keeps this series from being a great one. I am glad to see it being re-released as a single collection, I think this will help expand its appeal and hopefully bring out a few more fans. If you pick this up give it some time it will grow on you and in the end you will not be disappointed.

Battle Programmer Shirase (anime review)

Title: Battle Programmer Shirase: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Hiroki Hayashi

Studio: AIC, GANSIS

U. S. Distributor: Maiden Japan, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Aug. 6th, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 125 Minutes / 5 Episodes

Genre: Sci Fi, Comedy, Techno Silliness

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

BPS: Battle Programmer Shirase contains episodes 1-5 of the anime directed by Hiroki Hayashi.

What is it that passes behind those dry, sorrowful eyes? Akira Shirase, the solitary programmer who has an unusual aptitude for problem solving: He is called a legendary hacker, and few know his true identity. What has he lost, what has he gained, and what has he seen in pockets of the vast internet? How now does he feel, on what is false and what is true and what exists in code? This is the man they call Battle Programmer Shirase – also known as BPS!

Commentary:

Sometimes I am baffled why any unfinished series ever get re-released and Battle Programer Shirase is certainly one of them. The fact that the original 15 short episodes were condensed into 5 standard episodes is puzzling enough, but the story is a great reminder of the rather silly humor that the early to mid 2000’s brought.

Battle Programmer Shirase is very silly and with the perverted setup at the beginning of every episode works for 5 episodes, but it would have become boring if the series was longer. I guess there are some s\good things that come from an unfinished series.

Overall Grade: B

I wanted to give Battle Programmer Shirase a much lower grade, although I just couldn’t. For everything it failed to give us it was still funny and silly. I found it very easy to watch and also appreciated the taste of Japanese culture at was tossed in.

I cannot be too sure if the series would have failed if it was completed or if it would have become a classic. I have a feeling that it would have lost its way and become another forgettable series from 2004. As it is now I can honestly say that it is a curiosity that almost delivers. The animation looks more like the late 1990’s and much of the plot feels dated. With all of that said I did enjoy it and will be happy to force friends to watch it from time to time.

If you want a taste of the early 2000’s that is not bashful about reminding us of how the neet generation in Japan really lived, then you should check out Battle Programmer Shirase.

Armored Trooper VOTOMS OVA Collection 2 (anime review)

Title: Armored Trooper VOTOMS OVA Collection 2

Director: Ryōsuke Takahashi

Studio: Nippon Sunrise (Sunrise)

U. S. Distributor: Maiden Japan, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: July 23rd, 2019

Format: Blu-ray (Standard Definition) / 9 OVA / 290 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Space Opera

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: C

Synopsis:

Armored Trooper VOTOMS OVA Collection 2 contains 9 OVA episodes including the Genei ~ Phantom Arc, Woodo, Kummen, Sansa, Nulgerant, Cocoon, Infanti, Case; IRVINE VOTOMS FINDER, and Chirico’s Return all directed by Shisho Igarashi.

The fires of war don’t create heroes, only legions of the wounded and the dead. For a pilot of an easily-destroyed VOTOMS unit, every foray into battle is one more calculated bet with your own life as the prize, another day of cheating death. When your commanding officers send you into a fight that can’t be won, or set goals that can only be achieved through massive sacrifice, then a decision has to be made. Are you going to be a hero? Or a survivor? The brutal realism of the acclaimed anime series returns, as men and machines are thrown into the meat grinder of war, in the epic second Original Video Animation collection!

Armored Trooper VOTOMS Collection 2!

Commentary:

Well, I guess that it would make sense that if I wasn’t impressed with the first collection that I wouldn’t be impressed with the second and honestly I was not impressed. The plot was still rather redundant even if it is an old series and the writing is very heavy handed. I do have to say that I didn’t find the melodrama to be as tiresome as some of the early Gundam series from the same time period, but I did feel like I was being hit in the face with a frying pan from time to time.

I wish I could say that I connected with any of the characters and I almost began to care and alas I just couldn’t get there.

Overall Grade: C

The animation felt like it was late 80’s early 90’s work and that is not a time period that showed off the great talent of animators in Japan. What it proved was that most of the studios were sweatshops that just wanted to crank out the series and make money off of merchandizing. Oh, that’s right it is still that same in both eastern and western cultures.

Okay, if you take Armored Trooper VOTOMS OVA Collection 2 at face value and add in the fact that this series was produced 30 years ago then you have to tip your hat to it for making it this far and actually managing to be re-released in Blu-ray format. There is a real resurgence in the Mecha genre and many of the oldest series are beginning to see the light of day again. Armored Trooper VOTOMS OVA Collection 2 is one of the better series to come back to life. So, if Mecha is your world then you are well aware of Armored Trooper VOTOMS and will be sure to grab this one. If you are interested in what helped make this massive anime genre the you should at the very least check Armored Trooper VOTOMS OVA Collection 2 out, but be sure to start at the beginning.