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Seitokai Yakuindomo Anime Review

Title: Seitokai Yakuindomo: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Hiromitsu Kanazawa

Original Work: Tozen Ujiie

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Release Date: 12/10/19

Format: Blu-ray / 2 seasons plus movie on 5 discs / 26 Episodes / 710 Minutes

Genre: Fan Service Comedy

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Takatoshi Tsuda begins his first year in high school, choosing a campus convenient to his house. Ah, but what is different is that Ousai Private Academy was an all girls’ school and this was the first year for it to go co-ed. That made him an extreme minority – I’m talking 28 guys to more than 500 girls. Awesome for him, right? Uh no, the reality is not what he expected with Student Council President Shino Amakusa. She installs him in student council without giving him or anyone choice. But that’s just the beginning of her “defined” personality. She, along with other council members, the faculty advisor and other students are constantly making nearly everything about sex, and basically blaming him as a guy, representing all masculinity.

The school years progress through Season 1 and 2 of the series. All the regular high school issues and events happen ( yes it includes a trip to the beach) but everything is always sexually charged with the female characters. All innocent statements are subject to immediate, sometimes graphic, misinterpretation. Responses are frequently perverted.

Commentary:

It is a high school based anime, but high school is not what Seitokai Yakuindomo is about. This is a comedy that relies on what is avoided in polite society as its material. Not much is out of bounds. The main focus is indeed sexual humor… all the way. And, by using female characters, whether from being naive or perverted, it is somehow funnier or not crossing “the line”.

The humor never ended. Oh, sure, it maybe used puns more than once, but twisted them differently. I found that I didn’t like watching more than 2 episodes at a time, it began to feel tedious after that. So, spacing it out worked better for me.

The jokes and innuendos are both spoken and visual. They ranged from subtle to blatant. Even if you see the punchline coming, it was still funny, like you wrote that one yourself.

Sometimes there is a story line going on in an episode, and it will probably come up in a later episode. Many times there are short bits of scenes strung together that don’t really need to be in linear time. To me, this feels like the four panel comic that was the initial beginning of the source material for the anime.

The characters were good, well scripted for the material. Takatoshi Tsuda had to be the fall guy in the jokes, but he wasn’t a caricature, too often a guy character in a harem style situation is super goofy. He was a nice normal guy with lots of tolerance, a good work ethic and a strong ability to just let things go. The other characters of note were all female, and the humor came from them being naive, extra scientific, mischievously perverted… well, there were all sorts of ways. Shine Amakusa as Student Council president took the lead but we could see peeks into her character that made her likable. She was the aggressive comedic that drove the intent of the anime. It couldn’t be done without her.

The movie just seemed like a long episode, sometimes faster paced, some linear story but also the shorts mixed in. It gave a bit of closure to the series with some students graduating but that was nearly secondary. It’s still all about the humorous innuendos.

The set contains Japanese audio and with English subtitles.

I really didn’t intend any puns or innuendos in this review, but it was funny after reading it and having the show on my mind, what things may sound like, but here it is anyway.

Overall Grade: A-

I think what Seitokai Yakuindomo set out to do was achieved very well.

The Girl In Twilight (anime review)

Title: The Girl In Twilight: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Directors: Jin Tamamura, Yūichi Abe

Writers: Shogo Yasukawa (screenplay), Kotaro Uchikoshi (concept)

Studio: Dandelion Animation, Studio Jūmonj

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 7th, 2020

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Action

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Every day, Asuka and her friends Nana, Mia, Yu and Chloe go to a certain temple to find out if an urban legend they heard is true: that if you set your radio to a random channel at 4:44 PM, and pray really hard, you can open a door into another dimension.

It’s a game, really, and the girls don’t take it too seriously. Until the day it works and they find themselves in another world where there are people who look suspiciously like them. But messing around with alternate realities is dangerous, and as the girls travel from one world to the next, they find themselves thrust into increasingly perilous situations. Will they all survive? Will they still be the people they were when they started? The revelations unfold along with the dimensions in The Girl in Twilight!

Commentary:

Wow, The Girl In Twilight really took me by surprise. Based on the synopsis I was prepared for a simple story of colliding multiverses, but it quickly became much more. The richness that was provided as we discovered each character and their own personalities along with the others selves in alternate universes was the real strength behind the series.

The plot was not as strong but the execution and delivery of the plot did make a positive impact on the series. although it is rather short with only 12 episodes it was able to tell a solid story and bring about a convincing ending. There are still plenty of question but none that require a second season to answer.

Overall Grade: A-

The animation production values are average with some skillful artistry at key moments. The overall look and feel of the series is very much imbedded in the classic anime look. The writing is solid and gives us plenty to take in regarding the plot and this group of young ladies. When everything is added together we get a solid anime that is really worth seeing. My only concern is that it is only one season and will not be able to catch much buzz or following the help it rise to the top. It will join the multitude of good anime that are left to be forgotten and left on the self to be rediscovered by the next generation of anime fans.

Bandai Shipment 1.10.20

Here is the list of items we just received from Bandai:

Super Saiyan Son Goku93′ “Dragon Ball”, Bandai Ichiban Figure

Νu Gundam Fin Funnel Effect Set “Char’s Counterattack”, Bandai Spirits RG 1/144

#9 Gundam Seltsam “Gundam Build Divers”, Bandai Spirits HGBD 1/144

Haro (Pink) “Gundam Seed”, Bandai Spirits Figure-Rise Mechanics

#57 Gundam Astray Blue Frame Second L “Gundam SEED Astray”, Bandai HG SEED

#27 Gundam Vidar “Gundam IBO”, Bandai HG IBO 1/144

#10 Black Tri-Stars Haro “Mobile Suit Gundam”, Bandai HaroPla

SOFVICS KAMEN RIDER GEIZ “Kamen Rider ZI-O”,  Bandai Ichiban Figure

Guren Type Special “Code Geass”, Bandai Robot Spirits

#39 Z’Gok-E “Gundam 0080”, Bandai HGUC

Musha Keroro Robo “Keroro”, Bandai Keroro Plamo Collection

Dororo Robo MK II “Keroro”, Bandai Keroro Plamo Collection

Sinanju Stein (Narrative Ver.) “Gundam NT”, Bandai MG 1/100

#217 Sinanju Stein (Narrative Ver.) “Gundam NT”, Bandai HGUC 1/144

GM Sniper II “Gundam 0080”, Bandai MG 1/100

Penguindrum (Manga Spotlight!)

Manga Spotlight!
Animeggroll will be starting a new thing this year where we highlight a manga title that isn’t part of the mainstream releases. We hope that you’ll discover something new!

We’re starting this off with a series that actually first appeared as an anime, and became one of our favorites. Then two years after the series completed, the manga was made, but it took 6 years to get a US release. Now it’s finally here!

Penguindrum

The Penguindrum anime originally aired in 2011 in Japan, and first appeared in the US in 2012. In 2013, Penguindrum the manga was made, and ran until 2017 (Japanese release). The manga finally got it’s US release on December 3, 2019.

The series was created by Kunihiko Ikuhara, who is most known for his work on Revolutionary Girl Utena, as the director. Penguindrum has similar tones of intrigue as Utena, but Ikuhara took it to a whole new level.

Penguindrum is about the Takakura family, two brothers and their sister, and their strange relationship with a hat designed after a penguin.

Himari (the youngest) has a terminal illness. She is sent home to spend time with her brothers and as a treat to their sister, Shoma and Kanba take her to the zoo to see the penguins. Shoma buys Himari a penguin hat, moments before Himari passes out.

Himari is pronounced dead at the hospital. The brothers are left alone with her, and as they discuss what just happened, when Himari sits up, shouting “Survival Tactic!” She’s wearing the penguin hat, and seems to have changed personalities. The brothers are stunned, Himari passes out, but this time she’s alive! She’s healthy and is discharged from hospital. While at home, a package is delivered with three large eggs. None of them know who sent it, but they bring them in. After a bit, the eggs hatch into three penguins! No one else can see them, but they help with stuff around the house.

Later Himari passes out, only to wake up wearing the penguin hat. The brothers suddenly find themselves kneeling and bound at the wrists. There’s a girl in an elaborate costume walking down some stairs telling them they must find the Penguindrum, or their sister will die.

Penguindrum is a fun series with mystery, moments of insanity, and some really wholesome characters. The anime has a wonderful art style and was well animated. The manga does a pretty nice job compensating for the omission of the color, sound, and movement, that was seen in the anime. Illustrated by Isuzu Shibata, who wasn’t part of the anime process, the manga looks and fells like it might have came first with almost matching character designs and scenery! The plot in the anime at times was confusing (like what actually is the Penguindrum?), but the manga clears some of that up, making it a read to recommend!

Penguindrum is rated TEEN, for it’s darker tone and crass humor at times, but contains little to no nudity, intense violence, or overly harsh language. We recommend it for readers 13+

Written By: Kunihiko Ikuhara (Revolutionary Girl Utena, Yurikuma Arashi)
Illustrated By: Isuzu Shibata (A Strange Journey of Me and Cursed Sorcerer)
Us Release: Vol. 1, Dec. 3rd, 2019.
Expected Volumes: 4 (Completed Japanese Release)
US Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment

Seven Senses of the Reunion (anime review)

Title: Seven Senses of the Reunion: Complete Collection

Director: Takao Yoshioka

Writer: Yoshito Nishouji

Studio: Lerche

Music: SUPA LOVE

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: December 2nd, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 12 E3pisodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Stuck in the Game

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

Six years ago, Asahi Kuga died while playing the incredibly popular MMORPG “Union” with her friends. Now, after a worldwide scandal that saw the game pulled from the net, a new re-engineered version is back online, and, to the shock of Asahi’s former teammate Haruto, so is Asahi!

As impossible as it seems, the virtual version of Asahi that Haruto finds trapped in a treasure chest has all of Asahi’s memories, but with no body to return to, she’s trapped in the game. And that’s not the only mysterious thing going on in Re’Union. Someone is manipulating the players, pitting them against each other and forcing them to develop the games special Sense skills. Who is literally playing with their lives and what is their agenda?

Commentary:

Well, well, well, another stuck in the game anime that also emulates the very popular Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. Seven Senses of the Reunion worried me at first. I had a very bad feeling that this was just going to rip-off Sword Art Online blended with Anohana. At first it was just what I thought but as the series developed I saw that the writers cared about what they were creating and made the story richer and more complex than just a ghost stuck in the game. The character development was lively which makes it easy to become attached to the story and the main characters.

The animation is very standard 2018 Computer Generated (CG) which detracted from the story at first, but with many anime once you get past the visuals it comes down to the writing and direction. In the case Seven Senses of the Reunion the directing and writing make all the difference.

Overall Grade: B+

If you loved Anohana like I did and are also a fan of Sword Art Online then you should check out Seven Senses of the Reunion. You will be glad you did.

Natsu no Arashi (anime review)

Title: Natsu no Arashi: Complete Collection

Directors: Shin Ōnuma, Akiyuki Shinbo

Writer: Katsuhiko Takayama

U. S. Distributor: Maiden Japan, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Nov. 11th, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Supernatural, Comedy, Romance

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

Sometimes when you meet someone, you just know they’re going to be interesting, but when 13-year-old Yasaka Hajime meets an older girl while staying at his grandfather’s house for summer vacation, he has no idea how much she’s about to change his life!

To begin with, while Arashi may only look a few years older than Yasaka, she’s actually closer in age to his granddad! How is that possible? It seems that Arashi’s not exactly human anymore, and besides being a ghost from 1945, she has an important mission that revolves around her ability to travel in time! Since Arashi can only travel temporally if she’s accompanied by a living being from her current present, guess who’s about to become her partner in paradoxity? It’s time for everything to go a little crazy in Natsu no Arashi!

Commentary:

Okay here is another sleeper anime that is slipping through the cracks of the anime world. Natsu no Arashi is a strange rather quirky series that gives you a fresh look at the age old supernatural romance comedy. Sayoko is the star of the series and it becomes easy to like her for the lively and carefree personality she brings to the story.

Of course the series revolves a 13 year old boy and I often get wrapped up in the western ideal of a 13 year old compared the easter / Japanese veiw of what it means to be 13. For us puberty is still childhood and for them it is the passage to adulthood. But still it was one of the issues I had with the series. I truly believe it would have been a much stronger story if Hajime was in Collage. It would have been much easier to accept the romantic connection between the two and the comedy could have come across stronger and a bit more biting.

Overall Grade: B

The other area that I found less attractive was the production value. The series first aired in 2009 but looks to be much older. It would have been wonder if the production would have been more timely and less aged. I also felt like the writing missed the mark a few times, but all in all Natsu no Arashi is work the time to check it out. I believe you will be slight surprised, just give it a few episodes to take hold.

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.