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Hidamari Sketch Honeycomb Season 4 (anime review)

Title: Hidamari Sketch Honeycomb Season 4

Publisher: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Release Date: 8/8/17

Format: Blu-ray /  12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Shojo Comedy

Age Rating: TV PG

Overall Personal Rating: A-


Hidamari Sketch is based at a small apartment complex where six students live that attend an art high school . Two are from each grade. As the time is coming near for the third years to finish, it causes them to reflect and wonder about the future. It begins when the third years take a trip, and Yuno, as a second year student, realizes that it is now time for her to help guide and mentor the first years. She takes this very seriously and intends to do a good job. The girls also start planning their futures and figure out what they want to do. At one point they even alter a popular board game to mimic their own lives.

Adorable as always, Yuno and her friends experience the year and all its cycles and events together.  There are the holidays like Christmas and New Year’s, cooking, parties, school work and exams. They grow in many ways, including their friendship, learning the skills to live independently and even in their art.


The Hidamari Sketch series is a gentle and cute anime that’s appropriate for all ages. Which  is why, I wish it had been English dubbed to include a younger audience. Even so, it is fun to watch. It is important to know, you really don’t have to have seen any of the other videos, you can easily pick up right here. Since it is focused on the girls and their friendships in a light hearted way, there isn’t any serious details to keep track of. For example, when Sae’s sister shows up, the anime is straight forward in letting us know who she is and why she is there. No confusion.

The animation is well done. I find it visually interesting with all of the artistic elements included through out. Patterning seems to be a common decorative theme and it is well done. The characters are basically chibi and have distinctive looks making it easy to tell them apart. As there is some endearing interest in all of them, the real focus is their interactions. Everything is handled in a sweet and caring way as the girls experience life together. It was interesting; the lacing together of the everyday life and comedy with the needs of the future. A future that may be coming to0 fast.

I recommend all of the Hidamari Sketch videos to nearly everyone, unless you are looking for a heap of action. It is very Shojo and is a fun and pleasant show to watch, definitely something to look forward to. Other series that I thing have a similar sort of feel is non non biyori and Is this Order a Rabbit. All of them are really story driven by the relationships and well animated.

Overall Grade: A- As always, the best word to describe Hidamari Sketch is adorable!


Bakuon!! Complete Collection (anime review)

Title: Bakuon!! Complete Collection

Director: Junji Nishimura

Written By: Kurasumi Sunayama

Studio: TMS Entertainment

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Aug. 22, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+


Riding a bicycle may be better than walking, but when another girl zips past her on the way to class, Sakura Hane realizes that there’s an even better option: motorcycles! Fortunately, Sakura’s all-girl school just happens to have a motorcycle club! It only has one member though: the mysterious Raimu Kawasaki, who’s never been seen without her face-obscuring helmet. But that changes immediately once Sakura and the girl who passed her, Onsa Amano, sign up and start recruiting!

It won’t all be easy riding… Sakura still has to earn her license, and there are problems like the club’s official status having slipped, and the need to recruit a faculty sponsor. But when the rubber hits the road, those are just little potholes as six student bikers take a ride on the wild side!


Bakuon!! is simply K-On! on motorcycles or one of the other many girl high school clubs slice of life series that manage to tug at that the heart strings and manage to give us all a reminder that somewhere in the world teenage girls are not possessed with being mean or crappy like they are in the U. S. Ok, that might have been a little harsh, but in reality the current media fixation on mean girls is breading a new generation of teenage girls that are crappy at best. Bakuon!! is the opposite. It gives us girls that may not always get along but they still care enough to show kindness to each other when it matters.

Bakuon!! may not reach the classic hight of K-On! but it still manages to give us some rather wonderful slice of life moments and plenty of humor to keep the viewer coming back for more. Bakuon!! also manages to avoid the trap of Love Live or Cinderella Girls and tends to stick with the much simpler trappings of a bike club. There is some mystery and suspense when it comes to their senpai Raimu.

Overall Grade: B+

I make no secret that I enjoy these simple slice of life anime and see the easy noncommittal viewing that comes with them. Bakuon!! manages to hit all the points that make it worth watching and enjoying.

The animation quality is good and so is the character design and approach to highlighting the motorcycles they ride. There is a solid attention to where they took the series adding in plenty of humor and bizarre happenings that it is easy to stay with the series. I can’t tell if Rin’s father is immortal or just very lucky.

Bakuon!! is one for the books it may not be a solid A but it sure is a series worth checking out. I just hope it doesn’t fall by the wayside in favor of mediocre series like Attack on Titan when the real hope and allure of anime is not how mucho it can be like western comics, but rather how much it can showcase the eastern idealism and philosophy that makes it so powerful.

Bakuon!!, check it out you won’t be disappointed.

Food Wars: Season 1 (anime review)

Title: Food Wars: Season 1

Director:  Yoshitomo Yonetani

Studio: J. C. Staff

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: August 15th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 24 Episodes / 600 Minutes

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

Age Rating: TV-MA

Overall Personal Rating: A-


Ever since he was little, Soma Yukihira’s main goals have been to beat his father in a cooking contest and take over the family diner. That’s why, when his dad suddenly announces that he’s shutting the restaurant down and sending Soma to cooking school, Soma is shocked. However, Tohtsuki Academy is no ordinary cooking school.

This elite institution is filled with culinary giants like Erina “God Tongue” Nakiri, who does her best to keep a lowly short-order like Soma from even making it inside the door. However, if the snobs can dish it out, Soma can serve it up, and when he learns that only a handful of the students manage to graduate every year, he swears that the only way he’ll leave is as number one!


Food Wars is a show that hit many of the high points right off the bat. The awesome way the eating experience is depicted is a  shinning star of the series. The orgasmic nature of eating food says a lot about how great food is approached by the writers. The fact that they explain what is going on also plays into the greatness of Food Wars. Spending so much time watching Iron Chef and Top Chef along with loving anime such as Toriko and Yakatate Japan I fell in love with Food Wars and having these characters run the gantlet to become serious chefs.

The characters of Food Wars have pluses and minuses. Soma is the biggest plus and Megumi is the weakest one of the bunch. I found it too easy to dislike Erina and way too easy to like Meat-Meat. Soma is more complex and being the star of the series, he has that typical Naruto characteristic of being overly positive with that overwhelming can do attitude. It is sometimes a drag on his personality but is also a rather basic trait for a anime protagonist.

Overall Grade: A-

Most of Food Wars works very effectively, the orgasmic tasting gets rather boring after the 4th of fifth episode and some of Megumi’s anxiety attacks are annoying. I think a major positive of the show is the cooking. J. C. Staff did a great job of depicting the cooking process and the talent that goes into preparing food. I loved the way the final dishes were given the spotlight and as a fan of cooking battle shows, I had a hard time not binge watching the entire 24 episodes.

I was transported back to the wonderful world of the original Japanese Iron Chef I just wish the judging was as much fun in the live action battles as it is in Food Wars. I guess I am a little jealous that I have never had a full body experience eating food. I hope season 2 of Food Wars is released soon. If you haven’t seen it then you should put on you bibs and get your knife and fork because a full course meal is coming your way.


Gatchaman Fighter: Complete Collection (anime review)

Title: Gatchaman Fighter: Complete Collection

Director: Hisayuki Toriumi

Studio: Tatsunoko Productions

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: July 4th, 2017

Format: DVD / 48 Episodes / 1200 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Action, Adventure

Age Rating: TV 13

Overall Personal Grade: C


Gatchaman Fighter the complete collection contains episodes 1-48.

The fight against Leader X was finally over, but a small portion of his evil remained and regenerated into Leader Z! Now, with the aid of the monstrous Count Egobossler, the Gatchaman team’s arch-foe is out to destroy the world again, and even though their ranks have been decimated, the Gatchaman force has no choice but to keep fighting. To combat their new foes, they’ll need new weapons and new allies, but their mission remains the same: protect the Earth and Mankind, no matter the cost. And that cost may prove to be the ultimate one when the new Gatchafencer blade wielded by Ken turns out to be a double-edged sword. Find out who will live, who will die, and who will triumph as Japan’s most famous sci-fi fighter team takes on their greatest challenge!


I’m not too sure that there can always be a case made to bring older anime back. It might just be a case that the cost to package and sell made it worth the trouble or someone who truly loves a series is doing in hopes to renew a fandom for a classic. Gatchaman Fighter is a vital part of the Gatchaman series, but it just might have been better off being left on the self.

I don’t too many older Gatchaman (a.k.a. Battle of the Planets) fans that are still out there needing an additional Ninja Science team fix, but if there are then they will be happy to get their hands on Gatchaman Fighter.

Overall Grade: C

Not everything ages well and Gatchaman Fighter is one of those anime that just proves how much better production values have become. Unfortunately many older shows come across as campy, but this one just becomes distracting and with  secondary story and writing the 48 episodes just don’t measure up.

Gatchaman fans will be after this set, I just feel like it would be few and far between that will work to show it off to a new generation. Even so, there will be more than just a few fans happy to see it.


Monster Musume Everyday Life With Monster Girls (anime review)

Title: Monster Musume Everyday Life With Monster Girls on Blu-ray

Director: Tatsuya Yoshihara

Studio: Lerche, Seva

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: July 25th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes plus OVA / 350 Minutes

Genre: Harem, Romance, Comedy, FAN SERVICE

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: B


No one expected the government to suddenly acknowledge the existence of demi-human species like harpies and centaurs, but when a careless Integration Agent shows up on Kimihito Kurusu’s doorstep with an attractive Lamia in tow, he suddenly finds himself designated as a “Host Family”. This might not be so bad, except that while Miia’s top half is all girl and quickly develops a crush on her new human host, her snakelike bottom half makes that crush literal with a tendency to squeeze the life out of him! Plus, there’s also the little problem that it’s illegal for humans and non-humans to have THOSE kinds of relationships.


Well, well, well, I guess that there is no hiding it. Monster Musume exists because there will always be those adults that just love extreme fan service. I knew what I was getting into but wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but five minutes into Monster Musume I had my answer. There was not disappointment and clearly felt like it was going to live up to it’s own place in the Anime fandom. All I can really say is that they almost put an eye out with those (headlights).

At first I was not feeling the love for Monster Musume, but as the series passed I began to get the story for what it is and allowed myself to enjoy it for what it really is. I even got to the point that I asked my wife to sit and watch some of it with me. No I typically would never want to sit and watch a seriously boobalishus anime with my wife, but because of the over-the-top fan service I thought it would be appropriate to have her become part of this experience. To my surprise she saw the humor and irony built into the series and was taken over by the Monster Musume.

Overall Grade: B

By giving Monster Musume a B doesn’t mean that I feel like the series takes on some lofty meaning or raises itself above its base meaning. To the contrary, I find Monster Musume to be so true to itself that the story is secondary to the fan service. I know that there are fans that love this series and will say it is a great story. I just think they are trying to justify their attraction to Monster Musume for the eye popping boob fest that is the series.

If you are an adult who is looking for a sexy comedy that is not afraid to put those puppies out there front and center and are proud of the reality of its reason to exist then you need to see Monster Musume. If you aren’t sure but are curious then please be sure not to bring any pre-conceptions that there is a great story behind the series. It lives to provide eye candy and take every situation and turn it into a sexually charged situation.


Time Jam Valerian & Laureline (anime review)

Title: Time Jam Valerian & Laureline

Directors: Eiichi Sato, Philippe Vidal

Creator: Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mézières

Studio: Satelight, EuropaCorp, Dargaud

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: July 18th, 2017

Format: DVD / 40 Episodes / 1000 Episodes

Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Comedy, Adventure

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: B-


Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline the complete collection contains episodes 1-40.

The first rule of time travel is to never change anything. Otherwise, the resulting “butterfly effects” can ripple through time and wreak untold havoc on the unwritten future. But on his last test as a Space Time Agent, Valerian messes up. Not only does he save someone who would have been killed, but he’d have died himself if Laureline hadn’t rescued him! As a result, nothing in the future is where he left it, including the Earth!

Now he and Laureline, his accidental passenger from 10th century France, have to put the universe back in order without writing themselves out of existence! Across a million worlds and an infinite number of possibilities, it’s the ultimate adventure in time and space as the multi-verse from the groundbreaking graphic novels by Pierre Christin and The Fifth Element designer Jean-Claude Mézières becomes the stage for Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline!


It is interesting when beloved series from non-Japanese countries are given a Japanese adaptation. It was very successful with series like Witchblade and missed the mark with series like Batman. In the case of Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline I am afraid that the French production misses the mark. I realize that this was a French visual novel and also a French production, but maybe just maybe the 2007 -2008 release was not given the thought that the graphic novel was given that made it so popular.

I found the English release to be almost childish in nature and reminded me to of many anime series that were produced for Cartoon Network in the late 90’s and early 00’s. I continually gave the series room to improve to just end up being let down. The animation style is also very hard edged and could have used more of the smooth rounded aspects that the Japanese production team (Satelight) could have brought to the production. This softening of the graphic styling was seen in Witchblade and it proved to be very successful and help gain more fans that what the U. S. graphic novels already had.

Overall Grade: B-

Time Jam is interesting because of the new release of the live action film and could benefit from it, but it looks like the acting in the film has left people missing the overall strength of the story. I think that Time Jam suffers from the same issue. The production value and overall care for the beloved series is less than sterling. I still see the strength in the writing and what could have been. My grade is only saved based on the overall quality in the story and wish that more care would have been given to the animation.

Anyone who is interested in what the French love should check this series out. Those who enjoy a solid Sci-Fi story should also check it out. Please do not judge Time Jam on the animation and voice acting. I loved the story.

Gate; The Complete Collection on Blu-ray (anime review)

Title: Gate; The Complete Collection

Director:  Takahiko Kyōgoku

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Release Date: July 11th, 2017

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

Format: Blu-ray / 24 Episodes / 600 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Fan Service

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Grade: A-


When a mysterious gate suddenly appears in Tokyo’s Ginza district and begins spewing armed warriors and flying monsters, the world is thrown into turmoil. Although the deadly attack is thrown back by Japan’s Self Defense Force, there’s now a new and entirely unknown land on the other side of the portal, and Japan is effectively at war with a nation on the other side.

Determined to secure peace, the JSDF must send an armed force into the Gate, but ogres, dragons and a ruthless Empire populated by elves, humans, and half-animal warriors aren’t the only dangers they’ll face. With the resources of two worlds at stake, the balance of power on both sides of the Gate is destabilizing, and betrayal can come at any time, from any quarter. There, trapped right in the middle of the ensuing firestorm, stands officer Yoji Itami and the JSDF’s Third Reconnaissance Team as they plunge into the GATE.


Going into Gate I was very interested in the premise and the lead character. Yōji Itami could be any one of the fans that I know. The anime community around me is made up of so many normal people who are vital parts of the great society that I have the honor to live in and I respect the fact that they do their best every day and have such passion about their fandom. The other aspect is that Gate takes a alien force and makes them woefully inferior. Typically, the invading force has overwhelming weapons and ability and with Gate they are fighting with knives and arrows and the military has guns and bombs to take out any threat. This makes things very interesting and keeps things moving for the majority of the first season.

The second season Gate is were it falls apart for me. I am not sure what happen but the lack of focus and a reversion to the most base fandom almost looses me as a fan. The focus on fan service takes a interesting story and makes it just more about eye candy than characters and plot. Now I don’t want to discourage anyone interested in seeing the series, I still like what I see and still find it fun and full of excitement.

Overall Grade: A-

It is always easy to turn away from a series when it looses focus, but I didn’t. I think that the strength of the first season managed to keep the entertainment continuing in the second season. Gate is well worth the time to discover something different (at least for a while). I did find Gate to be a keeper and still think the writers were on to something more than just fun. I think that just taking a grown fan (Otaku) and turning them into a vital part of the solution with intelligence and quick wit makes me look around and see this in many of the adult fans that I know.

Gate is a very good series and should be dismissed just because it looses itself in the fan service. Way to go, I still have hope that more series that contain even a modicum of intelligence come forward and show everyone that it isn’t always about middle or high school kids trying save the world.

Junjo Romantica Anime Review

Title:  Junjo Romantica on Blu-ray

Publisher: Nozomi/Lucky Penny

U. S. Release Date: July 11th, 2017 (re-release)

Format: Blu-ray /12 episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Yaoi Romance

Age Rating: 17+

Overall Personal Rating: B


Juno Romantica involves 3 couples who meet and fall in love.

The main story begins with Misaki trying to get into Mitsuhashi University. A old friend of his brother and a successful author, Akihito Usami, begins to tutor him. Immediately, the arrangement has a sexual element when Misaki confronts Akihito about a character in one of the boys love books he has written. Akihito responds with an “I’ll show you” attitude.

Soon, when Misaki needs a place to stay, he moves in with Usami. Things evolve and Misaki begins to discover that he had developed feeling for Usami. But he resists Usami and his advances, wondering if their relationship is really okay. He worries a lot about what is going on, how to act and what Usami really expects of him.

The second couple is linked to Usami by his friend Hiroki, who was once in love with him.  He is now a professor at Mitsuhashi University. He is found crying one day by Nowaki who encourages him to join his group at the park. Nowaki pursues Hiroki as a tutor, but really is more interested in being close with him. When communication breaks down during Nowaki’s travel abroad, Hiroki tries to accept the situation gracefully, but he feels the loss. Out of the blue, Norwaki returns and shows up at his door.

The third set, starts with Miyagi, an associate of Hiroki’s at the college. Recently divorced, he finds it odd that his former wife’s brother, Shinobu, returns from Australia in the middle of a trip just to confess his feelings for him. What? To Miyagi this is crazy, and he tries to get rid of Shinobu, even going so far to have a brief interlude with him in an attempt to show him what he claims to want couldn’t be real.


Although not that old, Juno Romantica seems to be accepted as a classic, “main stream” boys love romance. Don’t let the popularity and the teddy bears fool you, I see it as actual yaoi. Although you don’t actually see things directly, there are sex scenes and it is obvious as to what they are doing. Definitely a 17+ series.

Visually, there is some stiffness and akwardness in the scenes, but not enough to ruin the viewing experience. Sometimes, the simplicity of the backgrounds, especially in Usami’s apartment, seemed off.  But, I’d like to believe it was symbolic of Usami family life in contrast to his new relationship which is represented/contrasted by his stuffed bear collection. One more comment on the visuals. Some of the guys look way too similar, making for confusion as episodes switch between the couples.

Now, the real star of the series, is how each guy figures out the journey he finds himself on, and what it means for him to be in the relationship. It starts with the pivotal encounters and builds through the pursuit, the resistance, confusion and doubt. In the end, it all is love.

This is my second time watching season 1 of Juno Romantica.  Well, I enjoyed it better the second time around, but there is still a few problems I have with it, and it starts in the first episode. It seems to me, that Usagi as Misaki’s tutor and ten years older, pushes him into the relationship. Especially their first encounter in the first episode. But, there is a careful line drawn so that it all fits just to the right side. Misaki is 18, and he makes choices that put him where he was and chooses to stay put, even though he didn’t have to be there and could have left with no impact on his life.

There also seems to be an overused theme of:  Character A wants Character B, B resists to varying degrees, but A doesn’t give up, after all, he knows B wants it even if he doesn’t.  It would have been refreshing to have one guy be thrilled to be noticed by the other.

Overall Grade: B      I’d recomend Juno Romantica to any yaoi fan or someone who is interested in what the genre is about. You get all the basics and the romance without getting too far out there.


Norn 9 Anime Review

Title: Norn 9 on  Blu-Ray

Publisher: Sentai Filmworks

Release Date: June 20th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy Drama with romance

Age Rating: 14+

Overall Personal Grade: A-


A young woman has been living a solitary life. Once years ago, a traveler foretold that a ship would someday be coming to take her to her destiny. When it happens, she is shy in the strange new life she finds herself experiencing, but she has been waiting for this a long time and is very happy to live among people. She begins to meet the rest of the group and learn the way of life on this unusual ship. It really is a small world, traveling through the clouds. They have everything they need including buildings, gardens, a lake and even little yellow chicks that help out and do the cooking.

Not intended as an utopian society as it seems, there is  a lot of mystery surrounding the group, their pasts and future. They have been brought together by “the World” because they possess special powers and they will face any epic task, although little is known of what they will be call to do. They basically take on faith that they will be led through a clear path to help save the earth. It is near the end when they begin to discover that the entity challenged to take on the existence of humanity may not be the pure intention they assumed and that there is an opposition force to the proposed solution. As more is revealed, who to trust and what choices to make become increasingly complex. It is more than finding the one right answer. Would you choose to stay on the path humanity has become entrenched or choose to create a new start?


Norn9 is a science fiction blended with fantasy and romance. That’s were I see problem with the name. It doesn’t relate a message to the potential audience. I’ve not heard anyone talk about this one at all. Now, it has existed first as a video game, but if you are not a gamer, then it would be easy to miss. There is nothing flashy or over the top amazing but Norn9 is beautifully animated and has a decent story with relatable characters. It isn’t too heavy, quirky or fan service loaded, all making it an interesting show with little to find as faults, but makes it difficult to be noticed in a crowd of new and old anime coming to America.

The story begins to unfold slowly, as Koharu is waiting for the ship to pick her up. We are nearly as clueless as her as to what is going on. So, we get to learn about the next situation along side of her. I thought this worked really well, drawing the audience in and also making the experience feel more natural. The only extra thing she knows is her power which doesn’t get fully revealed to us until near the end. As things are pieced together in the story, the pace of action and drama increase. Then, it seems that time was running out, so characters needed to start explaining things to us which seemed to be a loss for me. I liked the way the mystery had been unveiled prior to this. Three more episodes would probably have fleshed it all out nicely.

Visually, Norn9 is beautifully animated. I like the art style, enjoyed the use of colors and the creative illustration of the more magical aspects. Earth currently seems pretty much as it is now, but the ship’s technology is advanced mixed with the mystical. It’s amazing that the futuristic world ship they travel on is not a sleek, stark, modern looking machine, but it simulates a more human existence with a lake, gardens and home structures. It is a comfortable mix of natural and engineered, technology and humanity, perhaps a metaphor for the task set to the group.

The group consists of young adults, mostly male, but 3 women. Koharu is the protagonist, she seems a typical sort of character at first, naive and compliant, but she has a spark in her that is more than her power. She is the girl who is going to fall in love, and forces will pull her in opposing directions, but she is in essence our guide. The character’s pasts are revealed to us in snippets, those histories really influencing they way they understand things and the interactions they have with one another. They all have flaws, some obvious, but most simmer under the surface. The people who know them best, are the ones who can use the knowledge to manipulate them, and most don’t hesitate to do so.


Overall rating: A-     A blend of science fiction, action, magic, fantasy and mystery with a touch of romance set in the future linked to the past in surprising ways.

SCHOOL-LIVE! The Complete Collection

review provided by Luther

Title: SCHOOL-LIVE! on  Blu-Ray

Director: Masaomi Ando

Studio: Lerche

Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

Release Date: June 27th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Slice of life, Comedy, Horror, Mystery

Age Rating: TV 14+

Overall Personal Grade: A-


Why would anyone form a School Living Club? Could four girls, their advisor, and a puppy really love their school so much that they’d want to live in it? Or is there another reason, something that lurks behind the façade of their comfortable existence? Something that waits outside their school’s doors. Something that has already robbed one girl of her sanity? While the others try to come to grips with a dark new reality, the rest of the world falls to ruin at the hands of a ravenous force, and insanity may be the last hope for survival. Shocks, heartbreak and stunning revelations await as the twisted tale unfolds in School Live!


School Live! is a series that is constantly surprising the viewer with shocking, but not unreasonable, plot twists and is a show that is best enjoyed without knowing much about the plot or setting. My first time watching the series was when it was originally airing, and all I knew about it was the name of the show and what the main characters looked like. At the time I was under the assumption that the show was going to be a standard slice of life anime, but after the twist ending of the first episode I knew I was in for something much darker.

However, School Live! is not an entirely dark horror show. Rather School Live! is an interesting blend of lighthearted comedy about girls living at school woven in between the intense drama and troubled lives of people surviving a zombie apocalypse. While slice of life comedy and horror are two genre that seem to be complete opposes, but in School Life the two tonal differences provide a unique juxtaposition. The lighter element of the series provides comedic relief and gives the viewer time to get to know and feel for the different characters; whereas the horror elements gives rise to compelling narrative and a deep mystery.  

Incorporating horror elements in to this series also provided a different take on slice of life anime. In many slice of life anime, like Lucky Star or Nichijou, bazar characters or situations appear in the everyday lives of the characters with little to no reasonable explanation and exist solely for the joke. Yet, in School Live! when similarly strange comedic occurrences happen, like a club that lives at school or a professor with so little presence that people sitting next to her forget that she is there, they are often reviled later to be a direct result of the zombie apocalypse.

Overall rating: A-

Neither existing as purely a slice of life or a horror anime, School Live! may not be what serious fans of either genre would enjoy. Nevertheless it is an interesting compelling take on both of that genre, and continually left me wanting to watch more. While the English dubbing did not have the best casting and the animation quality left something to be desired, the interesting cast of characters and the gripping story more than made up for any of the show’s short comings.