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New Stock Arrivals 2.14.18

Here is a list of Stuff we received today 2.14.18:

Super Saiyan Son Goku “Dragon Ball Z”, Bandai Figure-rise Standard

A-Z Gundam “Build Fighters”, Bandai HGBF 1/144

M61A5 Main Battle Tank, Bandai UCHG

#175 Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee Norn (Destroy Mode) “Gundam 
UC” , Bandai HGUC

#178 Full Armor Unicorn Gundam (Destroy Mode) “Gundam UC”, 
Bandai HGUC 1/144

#08 Gundam Mk II (AEUG) “Z Gundam”, Bandai RG 1/144

Chopper Robo Super 3 Horn Dozer “One Piece”, Bandai Chopper 
Robo

Black Action Base1 Display Stand 1/100, Bandai

Gray Action Base1 Display Stand 1/100, Bandai

White Action Base1 Display Stand 1/100, Bandai

Clear Action Base1 Display Stand 1/100, Bandai

Button: Fullmetal Alchemist – Group 1.25”

Button: Tokyo Ghoul – Kaneki

Button: Tokyo Ghoul – Kaneki & Kirishima 1.25”

Assassination Classroom Vol. 20 (Manga)

Berserk Vol. 18 (Manga)

Black Butler Vol. 25 (Manga)

Black Clover Vol. 10 (Manga)

Blood Lad Vol. 9 (Manga)

Blue Exorcist Vol. 1 (Manga)

Bride’s Story Vol. 1 (Manga)

Deadman Wonderland Vol. 8 (Manga)

Erased Vol. 1 (Manga)

Food Wars! Vol. 20 (Manga)

FullMetal Alchemist Omnibus Vol. 1 (Manga)

Haikyu!! Vol. 20 (Manga)

Hatsune Miku Presents: Hachune Miku’s Everyday Vocaloid Paradise Vol. 2 (Manga)

Judge Vol. 3 (Manga)

Kemono Friends: Welcome to Japari Park! (Manga)

Legend of the Galactic Heroes Vol. 2 (Manga)

Legend of the Galactic Heroes Vol. 3 (Manga)

Magi The Labyrinth of Magic Vol. 28 (Manga)

My Hero Academia Vol. 1 (Manga)

My Hero Academia Vol. 4 (Manga)

My Hero Academia Vol. 6 (Manga)

My Hero Academia Vol. 9 (Manga)

My Hero Academia Vol. 20 (Manga)

My Neighbor Totoro Vol. 1 (Manga)

New Lone Wolf & Cub Vol. 1 (Manga)

No Game No Life Please! Vol. 3 (Manga)

Not Lives Vil. 7 (Manga)

Noragami Stray God Vol. 1 (Manga)

One-Punch Man Vol. 12 (Manga)

Plum Crazy! Tales of a Tiger-Striped Cat Vol. 1 (Manga)

Plum Crazy! Tales of a Tiger-Striped Cat Vol. 3 (Manga)

Plum Crazy! Tales of a Tiger-Striped Cat Vol. 4 (Manga)

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea Film Comic Vol. 1 (Manga)

Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch (Gold Edition) (Manga)

Silent Voice, A Vol. 1 (Manga)

Spice and Wolf Novel Vol. 1 (Novel)

Spice and Wolf Vol. 5 (Manga)

Terra Formars Vol. 1 (Manga)

Trinity Blood: Rage Against the Moons Vol. 4 – Judgement Day (Manga)

Your Lie in April Vol. 1 (Manga)

your name. Vol. 1 (Manga)

Zelda Legendary Edition Vol. 3 (Manga) (Majora’s Mask/A Link to the Past)

Zelda Legendary Edition Vol. 4 (Manga) (Minish Cap/Phantom Hourglass)

Zelda Legendary Edition Vol. 5 (Manga) (Four Swords)

Key Chain: Ajin – SD Kei

Key Chain: Black Butler – Ciel School Outfit

Key Chain: Tales Of Xillia – Tipo Plush

Inuyasha: Kirara Large Plush

Tales Of Xillia: Jude 8” Plush

Tales Of Xillia: Milla 8” Plush

Keijo!!!!!!!! Blu-ray/DVD

Sword Art Online the Movie Ordinal Scale DVD

Your Name Blu-ray/DVD

Summer Wars DVD/Blu-ray (Hyb)

Terra Formars Blu-ray/DVD

 

Flip Flappers: Complete Collection (anime review)

Title: Flip Flappers: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Kiyotaka Oshiyama

Writer: Yuniko Ayana

Music By: To-Mas

Studio: Studio 3Hz

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 27th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Magical Girl, Absurdity, Adventure, Sci Fi

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A

Synopsis:

As a middle school student, Cocona has been trying to decide what to do with her life. Magical Girl, however, wasn’t a career path that she’d ever considered. When suddenly a strange girl named Papika thrusts her into a secret organization called Flip Flap, Cocona’s outlook does a radical flip-flop. Her views start to change when she is dragged into an alternate dimension called Pure Illusion where she’s charged with gathering crystal shards and fighting strange creatures.

Now, between running missions and facing off against a rival organization, Cocona doesn’t have much time to consider alternate career choices. What are these shards, and why is gathering them so important? There’s a mystery to be solved and multiple worlds to be saved!

Commentary:

Flip Flappers is another great example of the direction anime has begun to explore as we see new creative teams finding the financing to create new and imaginative series. Only 13 episodes long there is a great deal of action, weirdness and story packed into Flip Flappers. Looking at the series as a whole I can say that I see Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Fooly Cooly, Puella Madoka Magica and even Space Dandy all rolled up into it. In fact I feel as though that the list is on the short side. I would consider Flip Flappers a true post modern production the way it takes the past and manages to deconstruct so many anime and reconstructs it into a crazy series that leaves you smiling and scratching your head at the same time.

Overall Grade: A

Just the animation for Flip Flappers makes it a winner for me. With some solid absurdity and plenty of surreal surroundings take the series over the top. There are a few weaknesses and I think the the character development of Cocona and Papika could have been drawn out a little better with more hints and story development earlier on. The real meat of the series doesn’t come into play until later in the story line and it would have been nice to give more glimpses of their past together before we get to episode 9/10.

I think Flip Flappers is a big surprise for the winter releases but I am afraid it will be over looked for other big name releases. So, if you are looking for a series that will keep you guessing and make you smile all the way down the rabbit hole then Flip Flappers is the series for you. It is not too often that we get treated to a new series that will blow your mind from the very beginning and keep blowing it all the way to end.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Collection Blu-Ray (anime Review)

series was reviewed by Andrew and Katie

Title: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Collection Blu-Ray

Director: Ai Yoshimura

Studio: Brian’s Base

Author: Shotaro Suga

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: March 13rd, 2018

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 650 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Romance, School

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, WataMote: No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular, Haganai, and Haganai: NEXT

Synopsis:

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Collection contains episodes 1-13 of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU and episodes 1-12 of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!

Caution! Opposites may attract, but putting them together may result in chemical burns, electric shocks, and explosions. Enter Hachiman Hikigaya, a pessimistic high school student with no friends and absolutely no interest in making any, and the firm belief that everyone else’s cherished high school experiences are either delusions or outright lies. Hachiman finds himself forcibly coerced by his well-meaning student advisor into joining the one member Service Club. There he encounters club founder Yukino Yukinoshita, a smart, attractive, walking superiority complex who looks down on the entire student body.

These two negative personalities are quick to attract Yui Yuigahama, who’s cute, bright, cheerful, and needs the Service Club’s help to… bake cookies as she should not be allowed in a kitchen by herself. Is this a recipe for romance or the precursor for a nuclear meltdown? Will there be cookies or a reason for everyone to play hooky? Get ready for rom-com gone totally wrong as the three members of the Service Club is unleashed on the unsuspecting student body!

The stampede of recent events may have herded the awkward members of the Service Club into something closer to a real bonding, but the upcoming field trip to Kyoto threatens to reverse those tiny steps forward. Alongside a list of attractions to see, they will also be taking along a lot of emotional baggage, and helping others with their personal and romantic issues may just cause the entire luggage rack to collapse.

Between Hachiman’s growing realization of how much he can manipulate others, Yukino’s underlying battles with responsibility, and Yui’s shifting needs and insecurities, the tenuous thread that holds their relationship together is more fragile than ever. Even as the path ahead is strewn with psychological traps, the feelings that each of them refuse to acknowledge may end up being the true pitfall in My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection.

Commentary:

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection is the opposite of a rom-com but at the same time it is one as well it just depends on the episode. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection gives you a fresh and exciting spin on anime stereotypes that will leave you bawling in laughter. The storyline is mostly episodic and character-driven. The last few episodes flow together but the rest of the episodes do not need to be watched in order after the first episode.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection really gets its characters and empathizes with them, but it does not make excuses for them. The characters are wonderful and well thought-out. Hachiman Hikigaya, or Hiki, is your cynical and somewhat pessimistic lead male character and his dissections of everyday occurrences and his appreciation for the little things in life bring hilarity to the story. The way he thinks and acts changes drastically throughout the course of the show as he meets new people and learns more about how to be a friend. Yukino Yukinoshita is the incredibly cunning and calculative tsundere of the series. She and Hiki are in the same boat when referring to lack of friends because she lacks them due to her perceived perfection and elitist attitude; while Hiki lacks them for his mistrust of others and cynical behavior. It was amazing to watch them grow on each other in a way that is not very predictable, but extremely well done. Yiu Yiugahama is the air-headed and inexplicable nice member of the group and serves as the glue that sticks them together with her much needed comical outbreaks and genuine emotions.

The animators brought these characters to life and it was amazing to watch. The character designs were bright and the facial expressions added the realism to the series. The opening and closing songs were fun to listen to and were easy to sing-along with. The voice actors did a great job and helped bring the characters to life before your eyes.

I loved the first season and I was really looking forward to the conclusion that My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection would give the story. Boy was I wrong about that conclusion because Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui end up not talking about their feelings at all and instead shove them all to the side so they can just be friends. There was no plot progression, actually it crawled at a snail’s pace and never really went anywhere, and the characters did not change or develop at all.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection starts off where the first season left off at the school festival and Hachiman’s behavior is explained to some degree. Then they all go off to Kyoto and that is where all the problems for our three main characters start. Hachiman decides to go off and change the outcome of one of the club’s projects and they did not care at all for how he handled it. Yukino’s older sister comes back into the story and just causes all sorts of trouble and eventually brings their mother into the picture because she is worried that Yukino is just copying her older sister and not becoming her own person. That situation is what forces Yukino to set her true feelings aside and it changed her personality. Yui is just too shy to say her true feelings and instead just wants everyone to be friends and get along. She knows that cannot happen but she still pushes for it every chance she gets.

The animation changed a bit from the first season but it still looks great. The colors are bright and lively and the backgrounds do not detract from the characters. The voice actors did a great job as always. The opening and closing animations were catchy and I found myself singing along with them within a few episodes.

Overall Grade: B

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection has made it onto my list of favorite series and I found it quite enjoyable. It is a refreshing and interesting take on the rom-com genre. It is great that Sentai Filmworks has put both together in one package.

Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn) Blu-Ray Collection (anime review)

Title:Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn) Blu-Ray Collection

Director: Kazuhiro Furuhashi

Writer: Yasuyuki Muto

Music by: Hiroyuki Sawano

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Right Stuf

U. S. Release Date: March 6th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 7 Episodes / 450 Minutes

Genre: Mecha, Sci Fi, Action, Adventure, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A-

Synopsis:

Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn) Blu-ray Collection contains episodes 1-7.

Universal Century 0096. Three years after the last conflict between Neo Zeon and the Earth Federation Forces, the tentative peace of the Earth Sphere is about to be shattered again. Cardeas Vist, the head of the powerful Vist Foundation, has decided to hand over “Laplace’s Box,” the secret of the Foundation’s prosperity, to the supposed enemy, Neo Zeon. Banagher Links, a student at the space colony Industrial 7, rescues a mysterious girl who calls herself Audrey Burne. Audrey is seeking to prevent a war, but it seems she has come too late. As Banagher’s home colony is devastated by the attacks of the enemy mobile suit Kshatriya, he finds his strange destiny and is forced to fight in the formidable weapon system known as the Unicorn Gundam.

Based on a bestselling novel by the famed writer Harutoshi Fukui and animated with theatrical quality, this new chapter in the Gundam saga is a cutting-edge anime series for all coming generations.

Special Features: The “Story So Far”, Episode EX “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, Episode Recaps, Episode 5 Ending with Lyrics, Trailers, Promotional Videos, Commercials, MS & Character Highlights, Episode 3 Textless Ending.

Commentary:

In the wide world of Mobile Suit Gundam there are few series that I find as well put together as Unicorn. This short but exceptional series does something that others did not manage to do. It makes the characters mostly likable and less melodramatic than most of the other series. Unicorn does play fast and loose with physics and makes some aspects a little hard to believe but it remains fun and entertaining. Maybe not as much fun as MS 08th Team or dramatic and hard hitting as Thunderbolt,  but it still hits most of the high points and leave little to disappoint.

The one thing that I felt was a little to tried and true for a Gundam series was the way Banagher was whinny and somewhat of a punk. This model of the anti-hero is something the Japanese love to have as the star protagonist. At least they toned it down somewhat and didn’t allow him to ruin the series the way Camille or even Amuro Ray for that matter. This whinny hero boy archetype is always the weak link in gundam and it is not surprise that most fans will levitate toward  Char or Full Frontal as the real favorite.

Overall grade: A-

One great benefit to being produced in the last 10 years is the quality of animation. Unicorn is top flight and it really does make a difference. Being easy to watch make all the difference in the world. I found it much easier to overlook the bad physics and melodramatic writing when the overall look is fluid and appealing.

Overall Mobile Suit Gundam: Unicorn is one of the best short series for Gundam, next to MS o8th Team. I know that this group of disc were out already, but the repackaging in a single group is much appreciated and I have a feeling that plenty of Gundam fans will be standing in line on March 6th to get their copy. I know I am glad to have mine.

 

Food Wars: The Second Plate (anime review)

Title: Food Wars: The Second Plate on Blu-ray

Director:  Yoshitomo Yonetani

Studio: J. C. Staff

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: February 13, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Comedy,  Food Battle,  Slice of Life, Harem

Age Rating: TV-MA

Overall Personal Rating: A

Synopsis:

At the Tohtsuki Culinary Academy, the first rule is survival of the fittest, and if you don’t have what it takes to become a master chef, you need to get out of the kitchen before you get burned. With the wheat of first-year students separated from the chaff, cocky former diner cook Yukihira Soma is one of the handful of kitchen whizzes still standing.

As the next round of the Autumn Elections gets underway, can he survive a brutal bento boxing match with the chemistry-obsessed granddaughter of the Academy’s director? And which of the other contenders; Megumi, Ryo, Akira, Hisako, Takumi or sinister dark-horse Subaru; will advance to fight for the gold medal? Get ready for another cut-throat season of eat, beat, and defeat!

Commentary:

I was shocked and surprised when I was done watching Food Wars: The Second Plate. To be blunt I didn’t expect it to get any better, but it did. In the first season Food Wars tended to focus on the comedy and the orgasmic food tasting, but in The Second Plate there was a defined focus on discovering something new about these characters and showing a new maturity in our favorite characters was a real delight. From the opening episode through the last there was a honest focus on giving our characters some depth and adding plenty of reasons to root for all of them to move forward in their pursuit of culinary greatness.

Most anime will provide a antagonist and make them dark a mean. When provided a bad guy in Food Wars we end up liking them in the end and wanting to see more of them. Now I think there is someone behind the scenes that has a even darker motive but we haven’t been show much yet and I am sure that will show up in the third season.

Overall Grade: A

I have to raise the grade of Food Wars: The Second Plate to a full A because it moved the overall comedy to the side and focused on the development of the characters and story. In both cases there was a heightened improvement that shinned through like a bright star without blinding us and loosing the flavor of the series. The flavor of the series is key to all of this and if you like the opening 24 episodes then the next 13 will not disappoint.

Soma became more of a force that in the opening 24 episodes. We see a maturity come out of him that is almost unreal for the short amount of time he has been at the school, but it works well with the task that are presented to him. There is a bit of humility added to his character that is welcome and needed. Even Erina Nakiri and her cousin Alice show some humanity that is very much appreciated.

Overall, I found Food Wars: The Second Plate is a wonderful extension of a series that manages to hit most of the best aspects of what makes anime great. If you haven’t seen any Food Wars then you should get with it and check it out. If you have then I know you will be very happy with The Second Plate.

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (anime review)

Title: Tanaka-kun is Always Listless on Blu-ray

Director: Shin’ya Kawatsura

Writer: Akemi Omode

Music by: Hiromi Mizutani

Studio: Silver Link

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 30th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes/ 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

Age Rating: PG

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Tanaka-kun can’t help it. Put him someplace nice and warm, and he’ll start nodding off, even in class or on the way to school. You would think that this would eat into Tanaka’s social life, but, fortunately, our consciousness-challenged protagonist has a guardian angel in the form of his best friend Ohta, a gentle giant who (literally) carries Tanaka from place to place. Then there’s class-rep Shiraishi, who’s convinced that Tanaka’s unique perspective lets him see past her beautiful appearance; Miyano, their hyper pint-sized classmate who somehow becomes Tanaka’s unwanted apprentice in listlessness; and Echizen, a self-proclaimed delinquent who’s determined to fight him. As for Tanaka, being the center of attention is the last place he wants to be, but the world just won’t leave him alone.

Commentary:

I find Tanaka-kun is Always Listless to be a very interesting series. That fact that someone that sleepy has such devoted fiends says a lot about the Japanese culture. Tanaka being one of the most tied characters in all of anime manages to lead a full ice life. If he were in an western series he would be a side character who manages to get in the way every once in a while, but to see him have not just friends but a cute girl who has a crush on him is outrageous at best.

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless has a full variety of characters and that is where it really shines. I found Ohta to be one of the more interesting character with his stoic manner and unwavering friendship to be spot on. Most of the rest of the group are standard fair for most slice of life anime, but with this series you get to enjoy them in a much different way because of Tanaka and his sleepy nature.

Overall Grade: A-

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless hits the mark on many levels and even though it has its slow moments I found it to be vey likable. I would not recommend Tanaka-kun is Always Listless if you are tired because you might fall asleep just watching Tanaka and his listless nature.

I did find the animation style to be perfect of the series and the English voice actors did a great job with understanding their character. Most of the overall production was spot on. The only area where I found any issues was with some of the basic plot line and character development of a couple of the secondary character.

I found it to be a much more positive experience than with some of the other recent slice of life series and would suggest that if you are looking for something that is straight up funny thenTanaka-kun is Always Listless is of you.

 

Typhoon Noruda (anime review)

Title: Typhoon Noruda on Blu-ray

Director: Yōjirō Arai

Studio: Studio Colorido

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 23rd, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / Short Film / 26 Minutes

Genre: Sci fi, Fantasy, Slice of Life

Age Rating: TV PG

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

In Typhoon Noruda, an unexpected typhoon bears down on a small tropical island, and a group of students trapped at school find themselves forced to put aside their personal issues and work together. Not only to save themselves, but possibly the lives of everyone on the planet! Because there’s something very strange about this storm, and as the driving rain, hurricane-force winds and multiple lightning strikes threaten to tear their world apart, everything seems to revolve around a mysterious girl who appears as suddenly as the storm itself. Only hours before, Shuichi Azuma and Saijo Kunta were at each other’s throats over baseball; now they’ll have to join together to unravel the secret of the ultimate rider on the storm!

Commentary:

Typhoon Noruda is definitely a short film and packs a lot into its 26 minute run time. That is were I run into any issues I have with the film. Typhoon Noruda is just too short and leaves you feeling somewhat left out. There are several heavy plot points that arise during the film and in the end only one seems to get resolved. I think that if the creators would have focused the main plot line and left out the struggle between the boys there would have just been the missing a single plot point and may have been easier to digest but with the other stress points way too much is left up to the imagination.

Overall Grade: B+

Even with the short subject film packing too much into a small space I really like Typhoon Noruda. I found the characters likable and sympathetic. I just wish I truly understood what was going on. I got the basic just of the film and felt like there was a solid effort to give us just enough information that made it understandable.

The animation was above par with a rather solid attention to detail. The overall production quality made the short film easy to watch and help keep your attention on the action. This comes from the hard work of everyone at Studio Colorido. Colorido is a newer studio that has only produced a handful of films and web series. I have a feeling they are trying to establish themselves as something new and more akin to Studio Ghili that some of the other larger studios. It is clear that they have a stylized vision and hopefully will have more time to establish themselves as a studio that has something special to offer.

Typhoon Noruda does stand out as something special to me. I just wish it was 90 minutes or longer. There is a rich story deep inside the film and it should have been given a chance to come out. Even with its failures, Typhoon Noruda is a film work seeing and once you have experienced it you just might want to own it.

Also, you must watch the extra short Control Bear Wonder Garden. It is a true enigma and worth seeing.

 

KISSDUM-R Engage Planet

Title: KISSDUM-R Engage Planet on Blu-ray

Director: Yasuchika Nagaoka and Eiichi Satō

Writer: Yasuchika Nagaoka

Studio: Satelight

U. S. Distributor: Maiden Japan

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 2nd, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes plus 4 OVA / 650 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Action/Adventure and Fantasy

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

KISSDUM-R Engage Planet the Complete Collection contains episodes 1-25 and OVA’s 1-4.

The destruction of a cruise ship leaves thousands dead, but the body count is only beginning. As researchers try to make sense of the strange new fish and insects appearing around the world, scientist Rurika Yuno and the N.I.D.F. attempt to track down the source of the mutation, a mysterious artifact called the Book of The Dead. When the Book is finally located, all Hell breaks loose. Literally. As swarms of hellspawned fireflies and giant unearthly creatures attack mercilessly across the planet, Rurika is forced to use the Book to resurrect her dead lover, fighter pilot Aiba Shu. But can even humanity’s last desperate line of defense – the Necrodiver – defeat an ancient evil whose only goal is to exterminate all mankind? The final war has begun!

Special Features: Japanese Commercials & Promos, Clean Opening Animation, and Clean Closing Animation.

Commentary:

Okay, Kissdum-R Engaged Planet is something of a real mystery for me. From the opening episode I was intrigued and began to get into many of the characters. A few episodes later I was a broken man and not sure what direction the series was going. As I stuck to the series I found myself hitting his and lows every few episodes. I just felt like I wasn’t sure about getting connected to any of the secondary characters. Shu Aiba was the only one that I could latch onto and begin to bond with his character. I did appreciate that he didn’t fall into the stereotypical male protagonist who wined more than anyone else. Shu was solid and followed through with what he needed to do and I appreciated it very much. Although, his character was a little one sided and felt like a simple shonen hero.

It did take a long time for the series to settle in and start making some progress with the plot line and as it began to solidify I began to warn to the simple nature of the story and action. I began to feel like it was one of those average series that just wanted to give you some action on a weekly basis and there is nothing wrong with that.

Overall Grade: B+

Kiss dun-R Engaged Planted falls under one of the many overlooked shonen series that take a simple story and manages to throw several curves at you right away but eventually settles into a rhythm that makes total sense. I found the animation to be slightly above average and much of the writing to hit the mark. I was somewhat confused in the first 6 to seven episodes as the overall cast changed so much, but one I got into the middle of the series I understood why things had to be that way.

My one disappointment was that Kissdum-R Engaged Planet fell into the battle of the week series and tended to forget the post and series progressing in the middle episodes which I found to be reassuring and somewhat of a letdown but not an overwhelming disappointment.

When it comes to new releases I honestly think that Kissdum-R Engaged Planet will be overlooked and it really shouldn’t be. It has every right to stand next to many of the big budget, heavly marketed series that are coming out.

So, if you are looking for a interesting action adventure series that mixes it up on you right off the bat then you should check out Kissdum-R Engaged Planet.

 

 

The Squid Girl (anime review)

Title: The Squid Girl The invader comes from the bottom of the sea!

Distributor: Sentai Filmworks

Format: Blu-ray /24 episodes + 3 OVAs on 5 discs / 675 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating:B+

Synopsis:

Squid Girl is a human looking girl with squid-ish attributes, for instance, hair that functions as tentacles. One day, fed up with the way people trash the water and beach, she comes out of the ocean intending to take over and subjugate the humans. Only, she has no idea of how to do it and she is rather innocently goofy. In her attempt at domination, she damages “the Lemon”, a beach snack shack. The manager, Eiko, isn’t putting up with any of the nonsense and makes it clear that  Squid Girl would have to work at the Lemon to pay for damages. That’s how she ends up as a waitress as well as living with Eiko and her family.

The beach has collected a odd assortment of characters making Squid Girl just another personality to liven things up. Besides Eiko and her siblings, there is Cindy: an alien seeking scientist who of course would have her eyes on Squid Girl. Cindy’s associates; a goofy trio  who have grand ideas and amazing/ extraordinary inventions but never quite think things out to a successful conclusion. Sanae: the Squid Girl-extreme obsessed fan. Goro: the lifeguard. Nagisa: one person who actually is worried about Squid Girl’s threat to humanity. And even still more interesting people who join in the comedy.

 Commentary:

Squid Girl is all comedy. Quirky, upbeat, slapstick and loaded with Squid (and ink) puns. It is not really a series intending to tell a linear story, it is all about the comedy and what the characters can bring to it. Actually, you could watch the first episode and a few more in the middle, and get the gist of the entire series. But, I see it more as a presentation to entertain and have some off-beat fun, nothing more developed than that, nothing serious to commit to. So basically, a light hearted enjoyment. It was a fun show to watch, but its quirky light-heartedness isn’t what I’ve been watching much in anime. So, I wasn’t quite ready for it and I think I was looking for more story. I’ve just gotten used to that. I’m glad there is an English dub, because this seems appropriate for younger ages and you got to have a dub for that.

To me, the characters are the main focus in the anime. I suppose the beach setting is necessary because it is what physically connects Squid Girl to the land, but it becomes important as an attraction for all sorts of people whether it is the people who are there everyday or someone just wandering in for the afternoon. Either way, it opens up the possibilities for the characters to shine. The bumbling “scientist” are at the top for comedy. To start with, it’s rather quirky that the ” scientist” hang out there, but it is after all a comedy, so we just go with it.

As an anime, another thing that I thought was great was how well it works cohesively. It is a bubbly, quirky comedy and everything from the music to the color and style of art support that. The bold saturated colors have that up-beat comedy feel. The characters were either very comedic, of the mirror that reflected and enhanced the humor. Their dialogue, personalities and situations create a world unto itself that we just don’t need to believe in to have fun.

Overall Grade: B+ 

A silly comedy ready to make you smile (or groan), rich in goofy slapstick and everlasting puns.

Initial D Legend 1 Awakening (anime review)

Title: Initial D Legend 1 Awakening

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

Studio: Sanzigen & Liden Films

Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

Release Date: Dec. 5th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 60 minutes

Genre: Car Racing, Coming of Age

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

In Initial D Legend 1: Awakening, when aspiring racer Koichiro Iketani witnesses an unplanned street duel between Keisuke Takahashi, a member of a rival race team, and a mysterious Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86, Koichiro’s totally blown away by the skill of the 86’s driver. What Koichiro doesn’t know is that the driver is fellow gas station attendant Takumi Fujiwara, who was making a late-night tofu delivery for his father, a legendary Mt. Akina driver himself.

Unforeseen events are about to springboard Takumi into the center of the street-racing world, turning the rivalry between Iketani’s Akina Speedsters and Takahashi’s Akagi Red Suns into an all-out street war! The legendary series that introduced the west to the sport of drift racing is reinvented in an all new feature film that’s even faster and more furious than ever before: NEW THEATRICAL MOVIE INITIAL D LEGEND 1: AWAKENING!

Commentary:

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.

Overall Grade: B

Initial D Legend 1: Awakening 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 1: Awakening 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.

Initial D fans get your motors running!