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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

Synopsis:

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.

Commentary:

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-

Synopsis:

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!

Commentary:

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-

Synopsis:

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.

Commentary:

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

Synopsis:

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.

Commentary:

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-

Synopsis:

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?

Commentary: 

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-

Synopsis:

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!

Commentary:

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.

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt December Sky

Title: Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt December Sky on Blu-ray

Director: Kō Matsuo

Writer: Kō Matsuo

Music by: Naruyoshi Kikuchi

U. S. Distributor: Sunrise, Right Stuf

U. S. Release Date: July 7th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 70 Minutes

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

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A

Synopsis:

Their war has not yet ended…

It is Universal Century 0079, at the end of the One Year War between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. The space colonies of Side 4, or Moore, were previously destroyed by a Zeon attack, and many colonists lost their lives. Side 4 became a shoal zone filled with the wreckage of destroyed colonies and warships, lit by constant flashes of lightning due to collisions between electrified debris. It soon came to be known as the “Thunderbolt Sector.”

The Moore Brotherhood, an Earth Federation Forces unit made up of surviving citizens from Moore, set out to exterminate the Zeon forces in the Thunderbolt Sector in order to reclaim their homeland. To halt the Federation advance, the Zeon forces deployed their own Living Dead Division, which was established to collect combat data on soldiers with prosthetic limbs.

Io Fleming, though part of the Moore Brotherhood, hates being tied down by his homeland and family history. Daryl Lorenz, having lost his legs in earlier battles, is now an ace sniper of the Living Dead Division. When they confront each other on the battlefield, they will reach a mutual realization. These two are destined to kill each other.

Commentary:

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt December Sky is the type of anime film that proves if you keep doing a thing enough you will finally get it right. This film hits on several major points and leave3s you wanting for a lot more. From the opening sequence all the way to end ending montage I found December Sky to be a delight. It did manage to have some of the overly melodramatic elements that Gundam Universal Century calls for and at the same time uses music and lively characters to make this fast paced film something worth watching.

One thing is very clear and that is the fact that Kō Matsuo understood the import of making these characters complex and human enough to sympathize with on both sides. Funny thing, I found December Sky to be one of the most anti war Gundam produces yet.

Overall Grade: A

As you can tell, I really liked December Sky and will recommend it to all Gundam fans and all other Sci Fi fans who love music and action. I don’t really care if it doesn’t resolve anything I think that from the artistic stylings to the insane character development everyone can get a great idea of what this film is all about. So, I just want to tell Kō Matsuo thank you for proving us with 70 minutes of pure excitement.

The Big O (anime review)

Title: The Big O: The complete Series on Blu-ray

Director: Kazuyoshi Katayama

Studio: Sunrise

Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

Release Date: June 20th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 26 Episodes / 650 Minutes

Genre: Mecha, Drama, Post Apocalyptic

Age Rating: TV 14+

Overall Personal Grade: B+

Synopsis:

Forty years ago, the minds of Paradigm City’s inhabitants were wiped clean of all recollections of the past. Now, ruled by a powerful corporation and cut off from the rest of the world by desolate wastelands, Paradigm has become a virtual police state where Negotiators like Roger Smith keep the wheels of progress, commerce, and society turning.

As a combined hybrid of detective, mediator, and enforcer, Smith’s primary resource is his keen, analytical mind, but it doesn’t hurt to have a mansion filled with gadgets, his butler Norman, and his attractive assistant Dorothy to fall back on. Additionally, for those times when cases end up “in dispute,” he also has the biggest, baddest back-up that any cop or small army could ever hope for: the Big O, a giant robot loaded with all the extras. Film noir thriller meets mecha mayhem masterpiece as the acclaimed classic series returns in the complete collection of The Big O!

Commentary:

If you can imagine a nix of Batman the Animated Series and Cowboy Bebop with a dash of Gun X Sword then you should be able to get a great idea of what The Big O is like. It is very clear that designer Keiichi Sato and director Kazuyoshi Katayama (the creators of the series) are major fans of Batman based on some of the supporting dramatic devices that are cemented in the series. You have a single man living in a rather lavish old bank building with his butler who takes care of the home and the Megadeus (Big O).

This blending of both east and west wrapped in the complicated story of Big O makes the first season a little hard to follow because if is basically episodic. That leaves the viewer with a somewhat cold feeling for both the overall feel of the show and the characters too. Once the second season kicks in there is a much different feeling and the fog begins to lift.

Overall Grade: B+

All too often it is hard to get into older series and with Big O almost 20 years old the animation style comes across very dated. That older TV anime style does let the series down a bit, but if you let the story drive your attention then you should be fine.

As a story I found the Big O to keep my interest once the it got later in the first season and began to introduce much of the recurring cast for the second season. As the second season opens and flows through the first few episodes the series really solidifies. As it winds up there is a solid attempt to bring everything together and manages to hold the story and characters up in a fine fashion.

As an example of anime from the late 1990’s, The Big O sits above average. If you are a fan of Batman the Animated series from the early 1990’s then it is a must see.

As for me I found Big O to be a fun and interesting series because of the nostalgia and the plot that goes from simple to complex in a rather short time span and also manages to confuse me a little. So, if you like a dark hero with a heart of gold mixed with some rather strange characters then  The Big O! is for you.

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Movie Trilogy

review provided by Luther

Title: Mobile Suit Gundam Movie Trilogy

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Distributor: Rightstuf

Studio: SUNRISE INC

Release Date: Release Date: 6/6/2017

Format: Blu-ray / 3 Movies / 412

Genre: Comedic, slice of life romance

Audio: Japanese

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B –

Synopsis:

Universal Century 0079. Amuro Ray finds himself caught up in the war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. He unwillingly becomes the pilot of a prototype Mobile Suit called the Gundam. Now he and the crew of the White Base will have to fight for their very lives as the enemy attempts to destroy this new weapon at all costs.

Combatants will face triumph and turmoil as they battle their way through space to get to their final destination on Earth. The outcome of the war lies in the hands of the Newtype in the anime series that started it all!

Commentary:

The original Mobile Suit Gundam series is unquestionably one of the most important anime series ever made. It was the start of one of the biggest anime franchises of all time, spawned a massively popular toy line and has a presence in almost every other type of media. However, the series influence also stretches across the mecha genre as whole. Gundam was a drastic shift from other mecha anime like UFO Robo Grendizer or Mazinger Z, where the robots were more like super heros rather than machines of war. While the main mecha in Mobile Suit Gundam, The RX-78-2, still has some of the characteristics of super robots of older shows, the overall feel of gundam was much more militaristic and and came across as being more realistic.  Mobile Suit Gundam is also quintessential example of a unwilling youth pilot, which is a narrative trope that has become a mainstay of the mecha grene.

While Mobile Suit Gundam is deeply significant for many reasons, it was long since been surpassed in terms of quality and thematic execution. Series like pat Patlabor have a more realistic portrayal of mecha as military equipment, and Neon Genesis Evangelion is probably the most famous case of an unwilling youth pilote in all of anime. However, while Mobile Suit Gundam no longer the front runner in what it set out to do, the series is still worthwhile to watch, both for what it is and for its historical significance.

However, Mobile Suit Gundam in undoubtedly a product of its time, and has not age as well as some series. With subpar animation, and some dated narrative aspects, many first time viewers might not find the original Mobile Suit Gundam in in line with modern tastes. Furthermore, with 43 episodes in the series, new viewers might consider the series to be too large of a time commitment. Fortunately for anyone curious about the origins of this massive franchise the Mobile Suit Gundam Movie Trilogy is a easy way to get into the original series.

The movie trilogy take the T.V. series and condenses it into a set of three movies, each lasting about 2 and a half hours. The movies are primarily composed of footage from original series, and hits all major story points, making it a good overview of the series and considerably easier for newcomers to get into. Original fans of the series will still have new to watch for the movies do feature some new footage, especially in the third movie.

Yet, while the movie trilogy is considerably easier to watch due to its shorter length, the movies are not without their own problems, and the most notable of those problems is the odd sense of pacing. Being composed of edited content from the original series the movies do not have the normal rise and fall of actions as content originally produced as a movie. Rather, each movie has several story arcs in them, thus at the end of each arc the story will hit a point that feels like natural end point for a movies, but still be far from over. This sense of pacing made each movie feel as if it went on for much longer than it really did, and left me feeling hesitant to start the next.

Overall Grade B- :

The Mobile Suit Gundam Movie Trilogy has many problems, some caused by age and others caused by the condensed nature of how the films were made. Despite the problems, the movies are still an excellent way for new fans of anime to be introduce to one of history’s most important series, and for old fans to revisit the series.

momokuri (anime review)


Title: momokuri Complete Collection

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Release Date:

Format: Blu-ray / 26 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Comedic slice of life romance

Audio: Japanese

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

It doesn’t seem like he had taken the time to consider the offer. He just went for it. As a new high school student, Momo quickly agreed when an older girl confessed to him and asked him out. Yuri, not at all an average girl, is in her second year of high school and she has a serious crush (obession?) on him. She finds everything about him so incredibly cute, she can’t help but seek out his location and secretly snap some photos, and maybe find a little memento. This awkward pair are both thrilled to be dating, but find nearly every aspect of having a boyfriend/girlfriend embarrassing. Very embarrassing.

As the school year progresses,  Kuri increases her collection of photos and mementos of Momo, usually through what many people would call stalking. Her best friend warns her this is weird and to keep it to herself.  Even so, she tries her best to make Momo happy. Through the holiday, tests and all the usual life moments, their relationship grows slow yet steady. A year end trip to a resort brings up questions that test this young relationship.

Commentary:

It can be fun and calming to watch the familiar.  Momokuri is full of typical anime settings like the waterpark, the festival, the amusement park, the haunted house, the hot springs and to finish off the list, the Christmas episode. What is important is what happens there. It all starts with Kuri seeing Momo from afar and developing a major crush. Being the kind of person to really put all her effort into something, she decides to confront him and viola they are a couple in episode one. Now, that is where anime starts going.

Momokuri  is a cute and friendly, light hearted comedy. There is no big challenges or obstacle to over come, it is just a slice of life. Like visiting friends. On that note, it really is the characters and their friendships that make this anime worth watching. All of them were easy to like. Momo is a gentle and conscientious person and Kuri is the energetic enthusiast who really dives into things, albeit often in a weird sort of way.

Now, as the anime goes on, Kuri’s obsessive behavior gets weirder nearly becoming a character on its own. Her weirdness eventually causes her boyfriend to get confused and doubtful. It seems his old button or used straw might make her happier than actually being together. But it is all secondary to the pool of embarassment Momo and Kuri’s relationships is drowning in.  The constant embarrassment makes this anime a poor candidate for binge watching. Every milestone their relationship reached, was accompanied by them both being embarassed. I’d say stick to 4 or 5 episodes at a time, because the constant of this emotion got annoying. Never fear, after a break, it started making more sense and I was no longer annoyed by the endless embarrassment. It can even come across as sweet.

Visually, this was well done. Nothing too inventive, but the art work really conveys the characters and their lives. Besides, there is no way a live action could convey embarrassment as effectively. The detail to clothing was also really good, especially the girls’ outfits. They didn’t really talk about it, but it added to the expressions of their characters and personalities.

Some of my favorite moments include the comedy surrounding the “indirect kiss”,  it was sweetly funny.  I’d  also have to say the scene where someone is making cotton candy was really awesome. I watched it twice to make sure.  Yup, still awesome.

Overall Grade: B  Momokuri is romance about already being in the relationship. Along those lines, you might also enjoy My Love Story and Say I Love You.