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Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz! (anime review)

review provided by Andrew & Katie

Title: Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection

Director: Shin Onuma and Masato Jinbo

Studio: Silver Link

Author: Kenji inoue and Hazuki Minase

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: January 31, 2017

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 10 Episodes / 250 Minutes

Genre: Action, Slice of Life, Comedy, Magic Girl, Fantasy

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya & Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei

Synopsis:

Illyasviel von Einzbern’s life has become ridiculously complicated since the Kaleidostick Ruby convinced her to become a magical girl and join the quest for collecting the seven Class Cards. Since then, almost every day has brought a new surprise, from gaining new friends and partners like Miyu Edelfelt, to encountering her own magical twin!

One would think Illya deserves a little time off, right? No such luck: a trip to the beach quickly turns into a magical quest, and Illya finds herself caught in a string of magical feuds, encounters with love potions, an excursion into the world of “boys love” comics (plus the women who read them), and half a dozen other delirious diversions.

However, that is only the warm-up for what might be her final mission: recovering the long-lost Eighth Card! It’s a mystical whirlwind of unexpected escapades and surprising new revelations as Illya’s saga continues in Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection!

Commentary:

Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection picks up right where Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei left off and turns into a slice of life series for the first six episodes. During those six episodes everything seemed to drag, as nothing seemed to contribute to the plot of being a magical girl. There was not even one fight, or transformation scene. It took some time, but after finishing the series, I understand why they did that and it makes sense, however at the same time I wish they could have staged it out a little more. One thing they did well during that time was to advance the character development quite a bit, and also beyond Illya, Chloe(Kuro), and Miyu. They developed the characters of their group of friends, and the other normally background characters that are rarely seen more than one episode straight. Another thing that went way over the edge was the fan service. I like my fan service, but this got a little too unnatural and redundant after a while. I wish they would have toned down the fan service a bit. It started feeling forced and burdensome. Eventually, it added up and became too much and did take away from the story but the character development helped keep things moving along at a bearable pace.

Eventually after all the trips to the mall, the beach, the festival, the amusement park, and doing the all the summer homework (Basphamy!!!!) we finally are ready to be a magical girl again. As with all the other seasons the battle scenes continue to be very well done and exciting. As always its action packed and exciting. Even though the action was limited to the last four episodes, they did make up for the slowness of the first half. It even eventually explained, in a roundabout way, why they did it the way they did. By the end of last episode, everything is easily wrapped up tightly with a nice little bow. That is until the credits……..

Though this season was slow at first, the eventual payoff is well worth the investment of time. I normally am a fan of slice of life style animes, but for some reason this dragged to me at first. But once you get thru it and understand the reasons why, Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection is a must have continuation of this great series.

Extras:

Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations Herz! Shorts, and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with both English and Japanese with English subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: B-

Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection is the perfect follow-up to the entire series. Just make sure you watch them in order so you can understand the entire story.

Young Black Jack (anime review)

Title: Young Black Jack: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Mitsuko Kase

Studio: Tezuka Production

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 7th, 2007

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

The year is 1968, the war in Vietnam is approaching its zenith, and the counterculture movement that’s been sweeping the world is engulfing Japan. While others are in the streets protesting, one young medical student becomes embroiled in a different kind of battle.

As new medical technologies to save and extend lives come into play, the temptation for a surgeon to play God has never been so powerful. Even as he strives to prove his own skills to his colleagues, Hazama Kuroo begins to suspect that the potentials for abuse inherent in the medical system are already being exploited.

To attempt to change the system means risking his own promising career as a surgeon, and to move against the perpetrators will put his own life in danger. However, as a doctor, how can he not act when lives are on the line?

The diagnosis is murder as the origin of Osamu Tezuka’s legendary rogue surgeon Black Jack is finally revealed in YOUNG BLACK JACK!

Commentary:

In the world of manga / anime few names take on the cult status that Tezuka does. Even the great Myazaki concedes that Osuma Tezuka was a undeniable force in the 1960s. The one thing that Osuma Tezuka did not do was to give us the rich and dramatic early days of Black Jack. This series produced after the legend has passed is far above anything I expected and stands out as one of favorite characters and stories derived from the Tezuka legacy. Young Black Jack provides plenty of drama and a wonderful dose of excitement.

Overall Grade: A-

If I was on the design staff for this series I would have brought up the one glaring issues with the character development. It has to be the unevenness of the character design. I know that there will always be a group that want to stay true to the strange and somewhat silly character design that is trademark Tezuka, but for this series it would have made more sense to make them all look more contemporary than the silly bulbous headed people that show up in the series. There is an uneven mix of normal looking characters and the silly Tezuka people. All I can do is ask why, it looks silly and detracts from the solid aspects of the anime.

To be perfectly honest I see Young Black Jack as something more than a Tezuka product, but rather a drama that continues to prove that humanity may need to be saved and at the same time not saved. I felt this way with other series like Black Lagoon and Darker Than Black. It just seems that Young Black Jack highlights the futility in our world and that giving all of yourself still may not be enough.

All you Tezuka fans get ready to be overjoyed and everyone else please try to get over the poor character design and look at the series as a whole. You will be very surprised and discover the deeper thoughts that run many anime that relate to a very easter way of thinking. So, be sure to check out Young Black Jack you will be happy you did.

 

Comet Lucifer (anime review)

Title: Comet Lucifer: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Directors: Yasuhito Kikuchi, Atsushi Nakayama

Writer: Yūichi Nomura

Studio: 8-Bit

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 14th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Mecha

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Synopsis:

Sogo Amagi has spent a good portion of his young life looking for rare crystals in abandoned Giftdium mines, but it’s not until he’s lost in the ruins beneath his own home town that he and his friend Kaon make the most incredible discovery of all: a giant crystal with a girl trapped inside! Things only get wilder when the girl is unexpectedly freed.

Suddenly, the mines are invaded by giant robots controlled by a secret military organization, which is in turn fought off by a mysterious being made of crystal!

That leaves Sogo, Kaon, and their friends scrambling to figure out what to do with Felia, a red-eyed girl with strange powers who doesn’t even speak their language!

They need to figure everything out quickly, because unless they can unravel Felia’s secrets and learn why the military is after her, their whole planet may be in danger of complete annihilation in COMET LUCIFER!

Special Features: Garden Indig’s Train Shorts, Music Videos, Clean Opening and Closing Animation.

Commentary:

Within a few minutes I had a wave of other anime flood my memory. Comet Lucifer is a clear derivative of several there anime and in some ways it fails to live up to the standard that has been set before it. In other ways it manages to give us a story that entertains and intrigue. I understand why Sentai didn’t spend the money to dub Comet Lucifer and also understand why it didn’t take long to go from Crunchyroll to Blu-ray.

There is plenty of decent mystery and tension in Comet Lucifer. Although the area where it falls apart for me is in the character development and attempt to provide some comic relief. I did like the way Felia attached herself to Sogo and Kaon, but also felt like there was a weak attempt to create a real family between the three. It is not until late in the series that there seems to be a sense of connection. Even with that connection there are plenty of question that are left open.

Overall Grade: B-

As much as I wanted to really like Comet Lucifer and did enjoy some aspects of the series, but all in all I bound it to be forced and overly contrived. The series doesn’t have the feel of Fractle or even the odd the special connection that is found in Last Exile.

I tend to really enjoy these fanciful stories and love the way they tend to unfold. Comet Lucifer has much of the key aspects needed to be a fine series. In the end it does some things really well, but the total development of the characters leaves some things out which ends up hurting the overall strength of the series.

If you are a fan of fantasy anime that is a hidden love story the you should like Comet Lucifer just let it flow over you and do try to make it fit the trope it comes from.

Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection (anime review)

review provided by Andrew & Katie

Title: Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Yasuhito Kikuchi

Studio: eight bit

Author: Masahiro Yokotani

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks/Section 23

U.S. Release Date: February 14th, 2017

Format and Length: DVD / 13 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Slice of Life

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Angelic Layer, Rozen Maiden, and Chobits

Juggling four girls at once is never easy, even when they are small enough to actually juggle!

Synopsis:

Some guys wait their entire life, and then some, to meet the girl of their dreams, but high school freshman Rihito is already living with four of them. Plus, they are almost always ready and willing to help him with whatever difficult task their “Master” needs to be handled. So, how did Rihito get to be so darn lucky? Well, while Hina, Ann, Ines and Rene may not be exactly high maintenance, Rihito does have to make sure they are lubricated regularly and recharge their batteries as needed. He does this because they are Shinki—tiny, six-inch tall, customizable androids (Now would be a good time to get your mind out of the gutter.) But do not let their tiny size fool you because these little ladies have more than full-size intelligence and emotions, there is also friction because each one would prefer to be Rihito’s favorite. Make way for the sparks that are going to fly as these battery powered princesses take charge of Rihito’s world.

Commentary:

Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection is an anime series that was produced as an advertisement for the Shinki action figures and as such it is an original storyline written for said figures. With that being said, I thought Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection was an average Slice-of-Life anime. The story follows the four Shinki as they perform their daily chores and the trouble that they always find themselves in. You can watch any episode after the first one and it will make almost perfect sense. Being as this was an advertisement there was not much character development but you do get to see an example of each Shinki by the end of the series. Rihito basically treats his Shinki as if they were human and the Shinki take really good care of him. Basically the Shinki are depicted as cute, tiny androids living in an apartment in the middle of Tokyo.

As for character development, there is none. Rihito is basically seen as a generic avatar that the target audience can relate to. Ann is the caring character who is pure of heart, Rene is the clumsy big sister, Ines is the tsundere character who is mean but cares deep down inside and Hina is the cool loner girl who cannot relate to the rest of the cast. I basically saw every overly done character type in one anime. I did enjoy the Christmas episode though because it showed how much the Shinki care about Rihito and at the same time it showed how much Rihito loves his Shinki.

Extras:
Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection includes Japanese promos, clean opening and closing animations, and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series is available in Japanese language with English subtitles.

Overall Grade: B-

Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection was produced as an marketing tool for the Shinki figures and I have been noticing this has been the case for a few series created around this time. When I began watching the first episode I was expecting this series to be pretty good as it reminded me of Angelic Layer and I really enjoyed that series. Within a few episodes I realized that while this series has potential it was never expanded on and really leaves something to be desired.

Triage X (anime review)

Title: Triage X: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Directors: Akio Takami, Takao Kato

Music: Makoto Miyazaki

Studio: Xebec

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 24th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 10 Episodes + OVA / 275 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Action, Extreme Fan Service, Harem

Age Rating: MA for nudity and violence

Overall Personal Rating: C+

Synopsis:

Our society is infected with a disease, a gangrenous cancer in the form of those who commit the most monstrous of evils, yet whose power and influence place them beyond the reach of the law. When corrupt politicians fail to act and the police seem helpless, there is a third, secret option that stands ready to excise the malignancy in a tactical surgical strike: Black Label, a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, and students who moonlight as an elite team of assassins.

With the world’s deadliest nurse, a master swordswoman MD, an idol with an affinity for explosives, and a pair of seemingly indestructible high school students, their mission is as simple as it is deadly: identify the drug runners, terrorists, and criminal masterminds who can’t be destroyed any other way, and then eliminate them by whatever means necessary in TRIAGE X!

Special Features: Interview with Kenji Akabane and Yuri Kondo, Japanese Promos, Clean Opening Animation.

Commentary:

Oh my goodness, Triage X takes you straight to the fan service and nudity. There is no attempt to hide the intent there is just a blatant explosion of nude women on the scene. The fact that there is a serious drama included kind of gets in the way of large breast bouncing across the screen.

My first thought was that someone took the heavy drama as seen in series like Darker Than Black or even Black Lagoon and mixed it up with Sekirei or even Tenjou Tenge.  After few episodes I realized that the plot was only secondary to the fan service and it became almost meaningless that they were unabashed vigilant. This is where the plot broke down for me. I really wanted some meat with these bones, but that just wasn’t meant to be.

Overall Rating: C+

You might think that I would have given this a lower grade and maybe I should. Honestly, I can see where it was true to its nature and audience. The target audience is the male 18 to 29 year old group and everything you expect from one of these series in piled in. There is a serious drama that provides plenty of girls with guns and a very sympathetic male lead character with a overabundance of nudity.

I typically am not a fan of these type of series but do love a solid girls with guns show. Triage X provides the excitement that goes with a serious girls with guns even if their breast to tend to overshadow the plot and action. The other shinning point of the series has to be the animation. It is high quality and it was easy to tell that the animators enjoyed what they were doing.

In the event that you are looking for a action packed series with an overdeveloped fan service quality then you will find Triage X the series for you.

Hakuoki-Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: Record of the Jade Blood (anime review)

Title: Hakuoki-Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: Record of the Jade Blood (on Blu-ray

Director: Osuma Yamasaki

Studio: Studio Deen

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: December 13, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 10 Episodes / 250 Minutes

Genre: Historical, Supernatural, Romance, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overal Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

Hakuoki Record of the Jade Blood contains episodes 1-10 of season 2.

Betrayed by the shogun and forced to flee to Edo, the Shinsengumi are fighting a desperate battle; not just for their lives, but for their very souls and the ideals they swore to stand for.

Now, as Harada, Shinpachi, and Saito launch a dangerous thrust to fight their way out of Koufu, Chizuru must decide whether to hold true to her own oath to Hijikata. Will she stand guard over the wounded Kondou and Okita, or will she succumb to the hopelessness and disillusionment that has shattered their ranks?

As the Fury’s advance, Hijikata must face the greatest test of all: can he keep the Shinsengumi together? Can the powers to be gained from the Water of Life ever justify the nightmarish price? As the fires of war threaten to consume Japan, the last hopes of salvation lie in the courage and steel of a chosen few in Hakuoki: Record of the Jade Blood!

Special Features: Hakuoki Sweet School Life ~ Chizuro in Danger?!, The X-Day that Calls Forth a Storm, Extra Chapter, Clean Opening and Closing Animations.

Commentary:

The popular series Hakuoki is back with the second season that deals with the Shinsengumi and the external forces looking to destroy both their way of life and them if possible. The series gives us the feel and context of heavy melodrama that detail the world of these two unrequited lovers. The heavy melodrama tends to slow down the story and make it tough to watch from time to time. Even with the heavy hand I was still able to get into the series and the second season takes farther down the road and help us feel like that there might be a future for Hijikata and Chizuro.

I appreciated the character development and the almost historical thoughtfulness that was included in the story.

Overall Grade: B

The animation for Hakuoki-Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: Record of the Jade Blood is above average, but it leans on CG a little too much. I find it better if historical stories stick to a rather traditional anime format rather than trying to make things look too slick. It wasn’t anything overly disturbing but it detract a little.

The area that I found to have the greatest impact on the story was the writing and the melodramatic overtures that ran through it. I guess that with so many of the characters so serious it was hard to see some of them come across as less dedicated. I also thought that there was way too much dark presence in the film to allow the viewer to become relaxed and get with the story.

Hakuoki-Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: Record of the Jade Blood is a good second season to the series and it should be approached as a way to find more and more about these two how have the pressures of war and lineage pushing them in different directions. If you are looking for a solid historical series with plenty melodrama romance and mystery and a bit of supernatural essence then Hakuoki-Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: Record of the Jade Blood is something you should check out.

Turn A Gundam part 1 on Blu-ray (anime review)

Title: Turn A Gundam part 1 (on Blu-ray)

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Writer/Creator: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi, Sunrise

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 7th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 625 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Romance, Steampunk

Age Rating: TV 13

Overall personal rating: B

Synopsis:

For 2000 years, a separate race of humanity has lived on the moon. Known as “the Moonrace,” their technology is leaps and bounds beyond those that stayed behind on the Earth’s surface. Now seeking to return to their original home, the Moonrace send three teenagers – Loran, Keith, and Fran – down to Earth on a reconnaissance mission to test the viability of its environment.

After spending a year on Earth, Loran has become good friends with Sochie and Kihel, daughters of the prestigious Heim family, and he looks forward to fully integrating into Earth society. But before Loran gets the chance to make his report, the Moonrace launch a surprise attack. Earth’s primitive airplanes are no match for the superior power of the Moonrace’s mobile suits. However, in the midst of the initial attack, Loran and Sochie uncover a long-forgotten relic: a white mobile suit. As a Moonrace, Loran is quickly able to grasp the basics of piloting it, but by doing so, he inadvertently places himself in the middle of a war.

Commentary:

Gundam Fans get in line for here come the resurrection of the mysterious Turn A Gundam. Reaching back to the year 1999 Sunrise with the help of Nozomi have brought back a slick version of the a series that many people can’t waited to get the next installment of and everyone else figures it may be time to give it a rest. Personally, I am a believer that the Gundam franchise may have seen better years, but honestly I found Turn A Gundam every enjoyable. Of course it felt dated and the writing fell flat more than a few times. Even with those detractors the story held my interest and gave me a reason to think there is more to this than meets the eye.

Compared to most of the older Gundam renditions I feel as though Turn A Gundam builds on a simple story and support both our future and past. There is obviously the leaning to the earth bound humans and a slightly sinister approach to the Moonrace humans. I’m not sure that there is a real need to make one more sympathetic than the other and I think that ben though the Moonrace has better technology that doesn’t mean their lives are that much darker. If I was human and bound to a dead rock where we have to manufacture everything even the air you breath I would be a little bitter about the selfish earth bound humans who are too ignorant the understand what they really have.

I’m not saying that all of the Earth humans are portrayed as naive or even good natured and not all Moonrace humans are evil. That would be against all anime doctrine and would also fail the entire Gundam universe. What I am saying is that I could see myself siding with the Moonrace and wanting to drive out the stupid Earthlings so that someone who would appreciate the earth for what it is could be in control.

Overall Grade: B

Turn a Gundam is a new twist on an old Gundam plot, but it does a good job of telling the story. I just wish the animation was better. By 1999 – 2000 anime productions values had really found a new look and Turn A Gundam held on to some rather tired old artistic values in this series. I get that it is a Gundam series, but for gods sake they should have made it look a lot better than they did.

One other thing that I reality like about Turn A Gundam was the fact that human technology was all about the steam power and Steampunk ruled the day. This added romantic ideal did help give some beauty to the visual aspects to the series and it helped give me a reason to keep watching in some of the slower moments.

Even with the poor production value I still find it to be a solid series with plenty of Gundam goodness packed into it. There is one other thing that I must mention and it is the disc art work. The five disc have possibly the best disc art covers i have ever seen. If the series would have looked that good it would have overtaken the Gundam and Mecha anime world and blown everyone away.

I am looking forward to seeing the second half of the series. So all you Gundam fans get ready for the one true Steampunk Gundam coming at you. Now on Blu-ray makes it even better.

Beautiful Bones-Sakurako’s Investigation: Complete Collection (anime review)

review provided by Andrew and Katie

Title: Beautiful Bones-Sakurako’s Investigation: Complete Collection

Director: Makoto Katou

Studio: TROYCA

Author: Takayo Ikami

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: January 10, 2017

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Mystery

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: The Perfect Insider, Heaven’s Memo Pad

Synopsis:

Shotaro Tatewaki knows that Sakurako Kujo is not a normal person. After all, most young women have multiple interests revolving around things like work, fashion, and sports, but Sakurako is fixated on just one thing: bones.
While she already has a huge collection of them, mostly animal, she is always trying to gather more, especially those of the human variety. This can be quite a problem for Shotaro; especially since he and Sakurako have a positively unnatural aptitude for discovering dead bodies together.
Fortunately, Sakurako is a naturally brilliant detective who unearths the mystery of what happened to the owners of those bones, but it is up to Shotaro to make apologies for Sakurako’s odd quirks and tendency to make off with the evidence.

It’s a grave business that can leave him literally bone-tired, but for the wheels of justice to turn, there are always more skeletons to be bared and new secrets to be exhumed in Beautiful Bones-Sakurako’s Investigation: Complete Collection.

Commentary:

Beautiful Bones-Sakurako’s Investigation: Complete Collection is an interesting series as it was basically the anime version of a female Sherlock Holmes and her sidekick Dr. Watson. Sakurako seems to know everything and always has an answer for everything she sees. She also have a magical girl style transformation whenever the latex gloves come out, complete with the skeletons of many different creatures. It could be described as CSI meets Mahou Shoujo. It is very episodic in nature, and it actually seems like a slice-of-life series, and every one or two episodes presents a different and new mystery. Some of the mysteries were better than others but overall, they were complex and suspenseful. I really wish they would have finished the storyline that involved Hanabusa but there is always hope for a second season.

There was very little character development throughout the series until the last episode. In the last episode, we learn how Sakurako and Shotaro met each other and worked their first case together. It seemed completely out of place to have this episode at the end of the series because they did not wrap up the series and instead decided to focus on the background story that would have been better suited in a different episode.

The animation for Beautiful Bones-Sakurako’s Investigation: Complete Collection was pretty and colorful and the background was true to life in the way the plants moved. The voice actors did an amazing job bringing the characters to life and it seems like they had fun making this series. The opening and closing animations were catchy and well animated.
Extras:

Beautiful Bones-Sakurako’s Investigation: Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: B

All in all, if you like the mystery crime genre then I believe you will enjoy Beautiful Bones-Sakurako’s Investigation: Complete Collection.

My Love Story Anime Review

Title: My Love Story

 

Publisher: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Release Date:12/20/16

Format: Blu-ray /24 Episodes and / 600 minutes

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Age Rating: 13+

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

*As the twist in this story happens early on, this commentary will contain some things that may be considered spoilers.

High school students Takeo and Suna have been friends since their childhood.  Suna is the cool, silent, good looking type that all the girls flirt with. Takeo could be considered the opposite, the big, beefy, simple one. One day on the train, Takeo rescues Rinko, a young lady on the train who is being harassed. She wants to thank him by baking something sweet for him. From this a friendship develops between the three of them. Rinko’s love of baking matches up with Takeo’s love of eating. Even so, he mistakes her attention as attachment to Suna and vows to help them become a couple.

It is not only Takeo who doesn’t understand, most people don’t see what she sees in a gorilla type of guy like that. But in truth, he is on the simple side, but his heart is made of gold and he is dedicated to loyalty.  She may be the one girl who can see past his appearance and understand the value of his friendship that Suna already knows. Takeo has no idea of how to act and becoming a boyfriend is part of new education.

Commentary:

An equal comedy and romance ratio, My Love Story is a refreshing change to many of the high school age romances. Many of them are about the long process of getting a significant other, not actually being in the relationship. In this series, the relationship begins early on. The biggest difference is who falls in love, telling the story of an unlikely guy that we don’t get to hear about too often. It also makes a wonderful point on how people perceive things in different ways. As the saying goes, appearances are only skin deep.

The characters were likable and easy to sympathize with. Takeo was more outrageous and cartoonish than everyone else but the setting and story line make his comedic presence the heart of the comedy. He is balanced with Suna’s serious and aloof personality plus Rinko who is sweet and adorable, the young woman who can find joy in so much of life. Takeo’s parents were a nice addition, their comedic addition brought another brand of humor to the show. It was fun to see where he inherited his unique traits.

My first introduction to My Love Story was a manga. I haven’t kept up with the manga, but what I had read went along the same path. I watched it some in Japanese with subtitles and the rest in English. Both were just as much fun, although the English dub makes Takeo seem more goofy and undesirable.

My only complaint is that the romantic naivety was a little too much towards the end. After 24 episodes, it seems like it would have been enough time to loosen up and understand their situation better. Much of  the situational conflict comes from misunderstanding and being afraid to talk to one another, not want to burden others or risk ruining friendships. I would have like to seen some growth in this area. Hopefully to keep pace within the development of friendships and relationships.

Overall Grade: B    My Love Story is for anyone looking for a comedy or romance, something fun with a message but not too heavy.

 

In the Radius: If you like My love story, I also think you will like Say I Love You.

 

The World God Only Knows Ultimate Collection (anime review)

Title: The World God Only Knows Ultimate Collection

Director: Hideyuki Kurata

Studio: Manglobe

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 3rd, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 36 Episodes and 4 OVAs/ 1000 minutes

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Harem, School Life, Video Games

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

The World God Only Knows Ultimate Collection contains episodes 1-12 of season 1, 1-12 of season 2, 1-12 of season 3, and 1-4 of the OVA.

Keima Katsuragi’s skill at winning women’s hearts is so legendary that he’s called The God Of Conquests, but that’s only in dating video games, not the real world.

Suddenly, Keima’s life takes a turn for the weird when he answers what he thinks is an online gaming challenge. Instead, he ends up with a demon contract, and now he has to help perky demon hunter Elsie track down a bunch of demons that have escaped from hell!

The reason: the demons have hidden themselves within the hearts of a group of random girls, and the only way to get them out is if Keima can make the girls fall in love with him. Also, just to make sure that Keima is properly incentivized, his failure will result in the loss of something important: his head!

Hopefully, the tricks Keima’s mastered with virtual girls will work just as well with live ones. Otherwise, things are going to get really messy in the spectacular ultimate collection of THE WORLD GOD ONLY KNOWS!

Commentary:

 

In the overarching collection the shinning star are the first two seasons. Watching Keima go from unwilling participant to someone who has a secret love for the chase is fun and entertaining. The parody of the otaku world is not lost and there are some wonderful examples of the reality that has gripped the entire world when it comes to gaming and almost any other fandom.

The story itself is a rather silly, but it creates some wonderful situations  that are played out in a witty and humors fashion. The writing for season 1 and 2 manages to prove the point  that if it is clear what needs to be done then the story can write itself.

For season 3 Dating Game master Keima Katsuragi’s skills at conquering hearts in the virtual world have translated into real life so well that he and Spirit Hunter associate Elsie have already captured 14 of the runaway spirits attaching themselves to the souls of different girls. But is even the God of Conquests up to the task of romancing six REAL Goddesses?

The fate of the world may depend on it, because if Keima can’t do it six more times, a renegade faction of demons will use the Goddesses power to unleash an even more dangerous and powerful group of demons. That could mean the devastation of both Heaven and the Earth! (Not to mention Keima losing his own head.) And if the situation wasn’t difficult enough, it seems that the Goddesses’ souls are hidden inside girls that Keima has already had to make fall in love with him before. As part of the magic spell, they’ve all forgotten about him… or have they?

It is understandable that the overall popularity of the series pushed the studio to make a 3rd season. It is also understandable that there was some attempt to use the earlier plot line to help drive the current story. I can appreciate both, but as it all too often comes to pass, I can say that The World God Only Knows: Goddesses doesn’t even come close to being as entertaining as the first two seasons.

It is great to see all the characters come back and to have the wide array of personalities to play off of it just felt forced and more than just a little contrived. Of course it is natural that anime come across contrived because it is contrived. Once in a while an anime will feel somewhat natural, but most of the time you walk away thinking to yourself that they really pushed it this time. The World God Only Knows: Goddesses doesn’t pull any punches in that category.

One thing I have learned over the years is not to expect much from OVAs. As for The World God Only Knows OVAs I can say that I found them to be both disappointing and pleasing. On the dissapointing side of things I thought 2 of the OVAs were simple through away episodes that didn’t really catch the essence of the series but on the two that dealt with Tenri and Diana proved to be both entertaining and helpful with back story that is key in the Goddess season.

The other two OVAs were a simply there for a quick smile at best. At worst they added nothing to the story and made a few of the characters look a little silly. I’m always amazed when I see OVA’s come out I hope and pray that they wrap things up but more often than not they just give us nothing but a laugh if we are lucky.

Overall Grade: B

When looking at the complete body of the series I find that the balance of interest must fall on season 1 & 2. Season 3 is a weak reminder of the essence of the story and the OVAs are just a money grab.

After being such a fan of The World God Only Knows and having the OVAs tossed out there a reminded that anime is more of a business than an art form and the reality is that they are trying to make a profit. I can’t be to saddened by this release because there is some material in the group that is relevant to the series. I also see the other OVAs as simple comic relief and nothing more.

If you are a serious fan of The World God Only Knows then this set is something that you will want to own. If you aren’t then I would say look else were for your entertainment.

Extras:

Japanese Promos, Music Videos, Clean Opening Animation.