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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.

Gatchaman Crowds insight (anime review)

814131016393_anime-gatchaman-crowds-insight-primaryTitle: Gatchaman Crowds Insight on blu-ray

Director: Kenji Nakamura

Studio: Tatsunoko Production

Writer: Toshiya Ono

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Nov. 22nd, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Action, Adventure, Super Hero

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Synopsis:

Gatchaman Crowds insight contains episodes 1-13 of season two of Gatchaman Crowds.

You can’t keep a good Gatchaman down, especially when a new organization called VAPE (short for Violent Ape) starts hijacking CROWDS technology.

The ensuing wave of “Red CROWDS” incidents targeting high profile targets like the Prime Minister make it clear that the good team needs to start recruiting; fast. Fortunately, help arrives quickly, and with a rather… loud entrance. The alien Gelsadra’s ship crashes in a rice paddy in Nijima!

Besides being generally peaceful, Gelsadra has a unique power involving comic-book-like speech bubbles that display a person’s inner feelings, rather like an emoji.

There’s also the fireworks enthusiast, Tsubasa, whose life becomes the focus of millions of viewers when she’s chosen as the newest Gatchaman – on nationwide live television!

As if that wasn’t enough pressure for a teenage girl to handle, she’s also assigned Hajime as her mentor!

Will she survive? Will the world survive? Things are about to get really wild and crazy in GATCHAMAN CROWDS INSIGHT!

Commentary:

Are you looking for a series that is colorful, cheerful and rather bizarre then you need to look no further than Gatcham Crowds insight. From the very opening sequence it is easy to tell that this one will keep your attention.

The story is rather simple with plenty of oddities thrown in. It at times leaves you wondering why you are watching it and at other time thinking that this is simply great. I’m not real sure that the switch between great and weak does the series any help in fact this change is a true reflection of the writing and if the writing is not consistent then the series suffers.

Overall Grade: B

Even though the series has some obvious flaw in the writing I still found it to be a enjoyable series that provides enough odd insight to be more than just average. Gatchaman Crowds insight takes the new animation style of bright and bold to a new level and makes sure you eyes are glued to the screen. This outrageous animation added to a strange story of hers and aliens that goes from sugar sweet to somewhat weird makes for entertainment.

I’m not sure Gatchaman Crowds insight is for everyone, but if you are looking for something different then this one is for you. You do not need to see the first season of Gatcham Crowds because for once there is a brief explanation of the prior season to open this part of the series. Also, if you just want wierd here you go.

Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine (anime review)

knights-of-sidonia-season-2Title: Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine

Director: Kobun Shizuno

Creator: Tsutomu Nihei

Studio: Polygon Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: November 29th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes & Feature Film/ 442 Minutes

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

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Knights of Sidonia Battle for Planet Nine (Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki) contains episodes 1-12 of the second season of Knights of Sidonia plus a movie, a chipboard box, art cards, and a poster.

Discovering the nature of one’s individual identity is a question every sentient being confronts. Do you only count if you’re entirely human? What does it mean to be a person?

In a war with the alien Gauna, capable of absorbing and re-purposing human DNA, these are no longer abstract questions In these uncertain conditions, pilot Nagate Tanikaze finds himself developing an obsession with the Gauna clone of his deceased beloved, Hoshijiro.

Meanwhile, his close friend, Izana, a manufactured non-binary human, goes through an alarming change as their feelings for Nagate grow. Existential and romantic problems will have to wait though, as the Guana step up their attacks and a virtual coup d’état threatens to throw Sidonia’s leadership into chaos, while even darker forces stir within.

The very definition of what it means to be human is about to be questioned as the battle to survive continues in KNIGHTS OF SIDONIA SEASON 2: BATTLE FOR PLANET NINE!

Commentary:

Being a major fan of Knights of Sidonia I was thrilled to see the second season finally release. I have heard plenty of disappointment regarding the heavy Computer Graphics use, but I’m not too sure it doesn’t end up adding to the overall feel of the animation. Add Nihei’s gritty imagery to the hard edge of CG and you end up with a true dystopian future that has a look of tired worn-out existence.

The plot continues with mush intrigue and mystery as to what is going on. We are introduced to plenty of new strange aspects to the story and of course there is  Tanikaze who manages to provide plenty of wonder as to what he really is.

Overall Grade: A-

If my only grade for Knights of Sidonia was based on the story it would be an A, but because there is simple failure to wrap the series up I ended up feeling left with a great start and no finish.

The animation may put some people off and in some ways it does get a little tiresome. I still think the hard CG helps create that aged future where humanity is at it’s final battle. Now if we can just see that battle and discover what the outcome will be.

I know that Netflix has had plenty of opportunity to show this series and that a lot of people may not like the English dub, I feel as though it should be a top pick of those mecha lovers who are looking for something more original than Gundam or EVA. Of course, there are plenty of Mecha series out there and it should be noted that Knights of Sidonia is not finished. You should give it a try and if you haven’t seen season one you should watch the movie before you watch Battle for Planet Nine.

Aoharu X Machinegun Complete Collection(anime review)

814131018090_anime-aoharu-x-machinegun-primaryTitle: Aoharu X Machinegun

Director: Hideaki Nakano

Studio: Brian’s Base

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: November 15th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray/13 Episodes/325 minutes

Genre: Action, Comedy

Age Rating: TV14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis: 

When Hotaru Tachibana storms into a host club to avenge the honor of a wronged female student, the last thing Hotaru expects is to duel the club’s most popular host with airsoft guns instead of fists.

When Masamune Matsuoka’s experience wins out over Tachibana’s brawn, he realizes that he can use his victory (and the large bill for damaging the club) to make Tachibana join his struggling Survival Gaming team. However, what ladies’ man Masamune totally misses is that his unwilling new guy… isn’t a guy at all!

Under the boy’s clothing and strong need to defend justice, Tachibana is all-girl, but, for a number of complicated reasons, she absolutely CAN’T expose that fact to Masamune or his teammate, the erotic manga artist Toru Yukimura.

Blood will boil both on and off the airsoft arena, but it’s not over until the last round is shot in AOHARU X MACHINEGUN!

Commentary:

After reading the synopsis of Aoharu X Machinegun I was sure that it was going to be a remake of Ouran Highschool Host Club but with Air Soft guns. It didn’t take long for me to get past that see Aoharu X Machinegun for what it real is. It is fun to watch and engage with. This odd series gives you almost every reason to walk away, but it also manages to grab and hold your interest all the way through all 13 episodes.

There was plenty of character development, but there was plenty of questions left open at the end. Now it is very possible that a second season might show up at some time I just have a feeling that it really is complete. The way the plot developed and the ending managed to pul a few things together it still had that all too common Japanese ending. The final few episodes reminded me of how culture plays a big role in what we see and how stories play out. In the west there would have been a huge battle that ended with the underdog triumphing over the big dog and making everyone feel good and wonderful. This is not the Japanese way, there is a feel good ending, but it is much more personal.

Overall Grade: B+

Aoharu X Machinegun is a fun series that leaves you wishing you had friends like that. Of course this is anime and the real world might have been much more cruel. I think the one thing that held me back on the series is the inability to open the story up for a deeper connection between the trio.

If you are looking for a series that is just fun to watch and takes an older plot device and gives you something you didn’t expect then Aoharu X Machingun is for you.

Chaika The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle; Season 2 (anime review)

chaika-the-coffin-princess-2Title: Chaika The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle (Season 2) Blu-Ray

Director: Soichi Masui

Creator: Ichiro Sakaki

Anime Writer: Touko Machida

Studio: Bones

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: September 27th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray/ 10 Episodes + 1 OVA/ 275 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Supernatural, Harem

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

The battle on the floating fortress is over, but the quest to recover the scattered remains of Emperor Gaz is too important to delay. As Chaika and her companions seek out the hero Claudia in order to obtain the heart, they race against Red Chaika, who seeks the hero, Guy, who possesses one of the arms.

Even as Chaika struggles to learn the new magical skills required to defeat Claudia, a startling new revelation comes to light which may change their mission entirely: not all of Gaz’s magic research was destroyed, and information regarding the creation of the Chaikas may have been taken to a mysterious island!

With the possibility of uncovering the secrets behind their mysterious origins dangled in front of them, the Chaikas must decide whether or not they want to find the hidden island and brave its unknown perils. Could the entire thing be a trap?

It’s highly likely, but how can they resist the bait as the spellbinding adventure continues in CHAIKA THE COFFIN PRINCESS – AVENGING BATTLE!

Commentary:

After almost 10 months Chaika returns to complete the series. Chaika the Coffin Princess Avenging Battle is more than the second season it manages to take the series to another level. There was much less concentration on the harem aspects and real focus on the plot and character development. The simple fact that all of the characters knew what they were after and set their sights on completing their mission was very helpful in drawing a clear line between them. As the mystery unfolded for both the viewer and the lead characters it became obvious that there had to be some soul searching as the final battle drew close.

Overall Grade: A-

Unlike the first season of Chaika the Coffin PrincessChaika The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle is much faster and full of action. The plot develops at a lightening pace which is great if you are in a hurry to get to the end. I enjoyed it but felt like there could have been a little more story development to help explain everything that was going on. Even with the shortened length I still felt like there was plenty of information and  lots of excitement. I was even pleased with the ending.

It was refreshing to have the series focus on the end and also loose some of the emphasis on the Moe and Harem aspects to provide a solid series that has plenty of characters that anyone can connect with.

If you liked the first season of Chaika then you will love Chaika The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle. If you haven’t seen the first season and are interested in some fun and excitement then you should check out the series from the beginning. I think  you should be hooked and ready to see the rest.

Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen—The Complete Collection (anime review)

814131013491_anime-rozen-maiden-zuruckspulen-blu-ray-primaryoriginal review provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen—The Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Mamoru Hatekayama

Studio: Studio Deen

Author: Tomomi Mochizuki

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U.S. Release Date: September 20th, 2016

Format and Length: DVD / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Magic

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Fate / Stay Night, Another, and Steins;Gate

Will you wind it? Yes or No?

Synopsis:

Have you ever wondered how your life would be if you had made a decision that led down a different path than you are on now? Just such an opportunity is presented to Jun Sakurada in his darkest hour so he could possibly fix the shattered remains of his own world. He is given the chance to communicate with a future version of himself; however this version did not wind the key but still needs to bring forth the Rozen Maidens. When adult Jun discovers a box with parts and building instructions for a familiar red-dressed doll, the goal becomes clear: revive Shinku in his world to save both worlds from succumbing to the evils of Kirakisho, the seventh sister, only a disembodied soul in a desperate search for a body and master. For adult Jun, who originally did not wind up Shinku, the messages from his younger self represent a beacon of light in his mediocre and disappointing existence. The Alice Game will become a war of dimensions as two worlds hang by the threads of fate.

Commentary:

Having been years since the release of the last Rozen Maiden season, this release kinda took some by surprise, as the thinking was that there was not a further continuation to the story. For those who are familiar with or got in to the original releases, this one is a must have continuation. Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen—The Complete Collection (referred to by some as the third season) dives deeper into the possibilities it had opened than any storylines previously. It extends deeper into the psychological side of the series. You will know all the characters, as the only addition is, of course, the older Jun, now away from his sister, by himself, in college, and working part time. It dives into who he had become, never having met or known Shinku and the others. Never having changed from the negative anti-social shut in, you find how Jun’s life is today.

But this is not the same old Rozen Maiden you first saw years ago. This does not necessarily feel like a sequel. It’s a new story, and the only relation to the original is the main “what if” premise, the Alice games, and of course the characters. All the characters are basically the same as originally built in the previous series, with new personality additions that you never got in the originals. One major difference you will notice is they gave everyone some touch up. They added more detail to the art. They lessened the extreme color saturation you will remember bleeding across the old tube tvs. Overall, it’s a darker story line than any of the previous. Because of this, they had to add a new side to all the personalities, building the characters even deeper than you previously had known them to be. Never seen the original two seasons? Even if you are picking up Rozen Maiden for the very first time, they take the time to explain what you need to know, and to re-establish everybody’s personalities so don’t worry, you will be able to fully enjoy this one without finding the originals and having to play catch up. It may also spark a desire to watch, or re-watch in my case, the original series.

As I said before they gave everything a touch up artistically. Being in high definition they had to, but it was nice to see the extra detail you never got before. The art work seemed more sketched at times, but it worked. They also added detail to the lolita costumes they all wear. It was also nice that they adjusted the colors from the original. The extreme hues always drove me up a wall. The original personalities meld quite will with the new additions. They remain as kawaii as ever, ending every sentence with desu (or yes in the English dubbed versions) and of course kashira (maybe, and you know in English dubs). The opening and closing animations and music are quite catchy. I found myself humming the closing the entire time I was typing this. They helped to set the mood they wanted for the series. Overall if you are a fan, or a newbie trying this one for the first time, it will not disappoint.

Extras:

Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen—The Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series has both English and Japanese with English Subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: B+
I really enjoyed watching this series and cannot wait to re-watch the entire series again.

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 (anime review)

cross-ange-2review provided by Karie and Andrew

Title: Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshiharu Ashino

Studio: Sunrise

Author: Tatsuto Higuchi

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: August 23, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Mecha, Sci-Fi

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Queen’s Blade: Rebellion, Freezing, Akame ga Kill!

Synopsis:

The foundation of Ange’s world has been ripped to shreds over and over again, since the moment her throne was stolen and she was stripped of her humanity. But the destruction of Arzenal and the stunning revelation about the true nature of the Dragons were only the start of a devastating new series of shocks and discoveries.

Transported to an alternate and devastated world with Tusk and Vivian, Ange will finally learn the history of her world and the true nature of her own reality. She will discover who her ultimate enemy really is and how her para-mail, Villkiss, may be the only key to salvation.

The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance, but unless Ange can conquer her own fear and rage, the battle will be lost before it’s even begun. The final war between man, Dragon, and machine is about to begin in the climatic conclusion of Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray!

Commentary:

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray is an interesting mix of genres to say the least. It is basically a sci-fi and mecha series that has a lot of promise to be something amazing with a ton of fan-service and yuri scenes added in that take away from that promise. However, they did a very good job of wrapping up the story albeit very quickly. They really could have stretched these last 13 episodes into an extra six episodes or so. Each episode is packed full of drama and energy and they go by far too quickly.

The story picked up right where Collection 1 left off and we are introduced to a new character, Embryo. Embryo is the character that everyone will come to hate if you have a soul. He calls himself “The Turner” and basically he created the world as they all know it. He then decides that Ange would make the perfect wife for him so he sets out to convince her of that fact. But he goes about it all wrong and instead ends up attempting to rape her. I preferred Tusk’s character. Tusk is a Knight of Villkiss, or as he says in the later episodes, Ange’s Knight. He takes all of Ange’s abuse in stride and somehow always ends up with his head accidently between her legs. But that is all sweet and innocent because anything sexual is far out of his mind until the battle with Embryo is over. All he cares about is making Ange smile and protecting her.

The animation was alright; nothing spectacular but it did not look horrible. There was a large number of well known Japanese voice actors in this series and they did a wonderful job as always. The opening and closing songs were enjoyable and the animations were cute. The fighting scenes were short and looked rushed. They were also full of CG but you have to expect that these days. They did a good job with the CG but I wish they had made them look better because the fighting scenes were fun to watch.

Extras:

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray includes Cross Ange talk show, music video, clean opening and closing animations, and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray was released with English and Japanese with English subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: B

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray really finished the story off perfectly. I still recommend it as long as you can look past the yuri scenes and large amount of fan-service.

Gundam Build Fighters (anime review)

gundam-build-fightersTitle: Gundam Build Fighters Blu-ray

Director: Kenji Nagasaki

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Sunrise, RightStuf

U. S. Release Date: August 2nd, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 625 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Action

Age Rating: TV 14+

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

The time is the near future. Years have passed since the 1980s, when “Gunpla” — plastic models based on the “Mobile Suit Gundam” animation — created a huge boom.

Now, a new wave is sweeping the world, in what could be called a second Gunpla boom. Its popularity is driven by “Gunpla Battle,” in which assembled Gunpla can be controlled and made to fight. With the introduction of this revolutionary Battle System, its popularity has expanded to the point that a Gunpla Battle World Tournament is held each year.

The main character of the story, Sei Iori, is a young Gunpla builder who loves Gunpla and dreams of entering the Gunpla Battle World Tournament. As the only heir to a hobby shop, he has high Gunpla building abilities, but he doesn’t know how to control them in battle and is continually defeated in the opening rounds of tournaments. When he meets Reiji, a mysterious boy with superb Gunpla control skills, they team up to take on the World Tournament.

Sei, the Gunpla builder.
Reiji, the Gunpla fighter.
Sei builds, and Reiji battles.

They’re the Build Fighters everyone is talking about! Their goal is to enter the Gunpla Battle World Tournament — and win!

Commentary:

In the Gundam Universe there are very few series that diverge from the overall Gundam ideal and Build Fighters is one of them. This fun an light hearted series blends a couple anime tropes to create something that seems to illicit strong feelings from the Gundam fandom. Bringing the gaming world to the Gundam world is a blast.  I realize that many Gundam fans feel like it makes fun of the Gundam fandom, but in reality what it does is bring in a new group of viewers.  I see people of all likes watching and liking Build Fighters for what it is and also creating a introduction to the world of Gundam.

The series doesn’t take itself too seriously and also plays with the wide diversity of gundam builders. It would be great if this series pushes more young people to the fun of building and how much variety there is in the building world.

Overall Grade: B

If I had to look at this as strictly a Gundam series I would have to say it comes up short. The funny thing is that it comes a little closer to showing off how serious the building community is and at the same time blending in the gaming world. The initial concept left me with a feeling that Build Fighters was made to exploit the battle card games and maybe make a few more buck s and expand the model building selection. I was very surprised and pleased with the final product and am glade it was made.

I am sure that there are Gundam fans that both love and dislike Build Fighters, but I think the important group that it will draw into the Gundam Universe are non-Gundam anime fans and so,e of the card players that will find this series as nothing more than FUN!

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 1 (anime review)

cross-age-rondo-of-angel-and-dragon 1review provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 1 on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshiharu Ashino

Studio: Sunrise

Author: Tatsuto Higuchi

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: June 21, 2016

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

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Mecha, Sci-Fi

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Queen’s Blade: Rebellion, Freezing, Akame ga Kill!

Synopsis:

Betrayed by her brother, stripped of her birthright, and declared an abomination is just the beginning of the nightmare for the girl once known as Princess Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi since she does not have to ability to use magic, which makes Ange less than human in the eyes of the human law. Now she has been exiled to certain death as a slave soldier in a war against dragon invaders! However, the people and land that cast her out have made a lethal error as Ange is no longer an innocent Princess being led to rape and slaughter. She has learned the hidden truth about the world she thought she had known. She has discovered that she is willing to kill in order to survive and they have given her the training and weapons in order to do so. Will Ange survive? Will she get her revenge against her brother and her people? You will have to watch Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 1 on Blu-ray and find out.

Commentary:

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 1 on Blu-ray is an interesting mix of genres to say the least. It is basically a sci-fi and mecha series that has a lot of promise to be something amazing with a ton of fan-service and yuri scenes added in that take away from that promise. The plot is interesting because God remade the planet to have no war or anything bad and people gained the ability to use Mana, or magic. However, there are some people who are not able to use Mana and they are called Norma. Norma’s are not considered human in the society where Mana is used to control everything around them thus making life easier. Norma’s are hunted down and taken away from society quiet violently and placed on a prison island called Arsenal. That is where they learn how to hunt dragons.

The character development in Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 1 on Blu-ray is well done. Most of the characters do not get too much development but two of the main ones are Hilda and Ange. Ange really grows as a character from the spoiled princess to the killing machine she becomes. She has to learn how to deal with her new situation in life and she really takes to it. Hilda is another story all together. She matured from Ange’s bully to one of her friends. She finally learns how to work with the other girls instead of just bedding them. That is when she actually becomes an interesting character instead of just a background one.

The animation was alright; nothing spectacular but it did not look horrible. There was a large number of well known Japanese voice actors in this series and they did a wonderful job as always. The opening and closing songs were enjoyable and the animations were cute. The fighting scenes were short and looked rushed. I wish they had made them look better because the fighting scenes were fun to watch.

Extras:

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 1 on Blu-ray includes a special interview by Momoka, commercials, clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with English and Japanese with English subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: B

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 1 on Blu-ray really drew me into the storyline and I would recommend it as long as you can look past the yuri scenes and large amount of fan-service. I cannot wait for the second collection to be released.

Space Brother Collection 8 (anime review)

space-brothers-collection-8Title: Space Brothers Collection 8

Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Music By: Toshiyuki Watanabe

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: March 26th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 11 episodes / 275 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Action, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A

Synopsis:

The single most important element of any mission is trust: trust in your equipment, trust in your crewmates and support team, and trust in yourself. As the trajectories of Mutta and Hibito’s careers continue to alter dramatically, self-doubt and lack of trust become the deadliest of enemies. Once the rising young star, Hibito must now undergo round after round of grueling tests in order to prove that he still has the right stuff for the space program.

Meanwhile, Mutta has never been working harder, continuing to prepare for his own mission to the moon while serving as Vince’s backup. But Mutta’s team is still incomplete, and Chief Butler has yet to assign a captain to the CES-62 backup crew. Will the unexpected new addition to the roster change everything? Get ready for a rendezvous with destiny as the brotherhood of space meets its greatest challenge in the eighth interstellar collection of Space Brothers!

Commentary:

The end of any series is always bitter sweet because you have invested so much time, energy and emotion into watching it. Space Brothers is no different in fact it may even be more emotional just because the series is 99 episodes long. Of course there will be calls for it to add another season, but in many ways I think it ended perfectly. My imagination filled in many of the questions left at the end and played out several scenarios that would make the story even better.

It is no secret that I found Space Brothers to be a top notch series and something the entire family could spend hours and hours watching with great delight. I realize that most anime fans will not give this series the time of day because it doesn’t have blood spattering or bouncing boobs in every scene, but for those who are looking for solid entertainment and a story you can enjoy then Space Brothers is for you.

Overall Grade: A

As I mentioned above, I think this is a series for the entire family. There is something for everyone. Thinking about prime time TV I could see Space Brothers filling a 7 PM slot and also finding a lot of families sitting down every week to get their dose of these two brothers trying to make their dreams come true. The series has it all, excitement, action, disappointment, attraction and even simple family fun. I am sorry to see it end and would like to know what the creator would do to fill in the open questions. The funny thing about leaving so much unanswered it that it is a very Zen thing to do. Life is full of unanswered questions and there are many possible directions to follow when traveling down any path which is why I found the ending of this series so poignant.

Giving an A to just this set of episodes is a true of not just Space Brothers collection 8 but of the entire series. I highly recommend Space Brothers to everyone and tell them to leave the world of fan service and extreme violence behind for a great story of dreams and struggles that can be applied to all of our lives.