Archives for : Akiyuki Shinbo

And Yet the Town Moves: The Complete Series (anime review)

and-yet-the-town-movesTitle: And Yet the Town Moves: The Complete Series (on Blu-ray)

Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Studio: Shaft

U. S. Distributor: Sentia Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: June 21st, 2016

Format: DVD / 300 minutes / 12 episodes

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Titles: Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya


Hotori Arashiyama just might be one of the most awkward girls in town. She has difficulty making it to school on time, is very clumsy and is know for being rather delusional, but she does have a special ability to make those around realize how special life really is.

Hotori works in a local Maid Cafe, or should we say, almost Maid Cafe. One of her school friends, Toshiko, who is very smart with a slightly different way of looking at the world decides to join her and become a Maid in order to help turn the place into a true Maid Cafe. The owner of the Seaside Maid Cafe, Uki Isohata, has her own ideas of what she wants her cafe to be and stands back and watches while no matter what these girls try they always end up right back at the cafe as it is. This part of town only caters to the shop owners and now with Hotori working there her math teacher who has caught Hotori without permission form the school. He tries to use this opportunity to help teach her and maybe just maybe see her become more than just a slacker without focus.

There is also Hotori’s child hood friend, Hiroyuki Sanda, who has a crush on Hotori and is the subject of affection by Toshiko. With the added inclusion of Futaba Kon the master plan of this simple series is in place. We follow the lives of these warm and funny high school students to see them interact in ways that we all wish we could have at that age. If life was always that strange and simple, what bliss it would be.


And Yet The Town Moves took a few episodes for it to get me warming up to it. At first it came across as just another slapstick comedy that had a very shallow plot. Once all the characters were assembled something very special began to happen. The development of their personalities bonded them in ways that were very unexpected and provided another almost heart warming edge to the series. I realize that comedies tend to try and give us the softer side of humanity but in the case of this small seaside town and these characters connection it gives us hope that people can really be this involved. Even the local cop has a special connection to these girls and especially Hotori and her inability to be serious.

Most of the episodes were self contained but they did have some continuity that provided the glue for the series. I am very glad that it was only 12 episodes because I’m not too sure that any more would have done any good. It said what it needed to and gave us that light hearted humor and that was all it needed to do. I was very glad that it ended the way it did because it left me with the sense that there is hope for these characters that translated over to a overall hope for all of us.

Overall Grade: B

When it come to slice of life anime many of them fall into a trap of either too goofy or too sappy. And the Town Yet Moves managed to maintain a reasonably good balance even though it did lean to the goofy side once or twice. I still thin it was a very good series and if you are into slice of life anime then you should find this one to be something worth checking out.

Some other fine slice of life series worth seeing are Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Arakawa Under the Bridge.

Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl (anime review)

Ground Control to Psychoelectric GirlTitle: Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl standard edition

Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Studio: Shaft

Written By: Ayana Yuniko

Created By: Hitoma Iruma

U. S. Distributor: NIS America

U. S. Re-release: Dec. 9th, 2014

Format: DVD / Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 333 minutes

Genre: Harem, Sci Fi, Comedy, Absurdity

Age Rating: TV 13

Overall Personal Rating: A-


Makoto Niwa just moved to the city to live with his aunt Meme after his parents were reassigned to work overseas. He is perfectly fine with that, saying it will give him the chance to live the dream life of an adolescent boy. He keeps track of the things he does by assigning “points” to them – positive or negative – and adds them up on a regular basis to grade his adolescent life. And then, he discovers Meme has a secret daughter (and self-proclaimed alien) named Erio. He finds her rolling around by the front door of Meme’s house wrapped up in a futon. It is then he realizes that his dream adolescent life will not come true, and begins a life of experiences that are out of this world.


Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl stands out as one of those anime that has a rather simple plot and then turns it on its ear. Basically you have a high school boy coming to live with his aunt and her high school age daughter, to attend high school in the big city. Throw in an aunt who loves to play with Makoto’s head, constantly coming on to him, and then you have Erio who is very cute and believes she is an alien, tending to spend her time rolled up in a futon. This makes things awkward and maybe a little uncomfortable for Makoto, but he takes it with a calm stride and ends up taking on the role of the only responsible one in the house. At the same time, attracting some of the strangest girls in school.

With all the craziness going on in the series there is a simple backbone to the story that keeps it both easy to watch and  to connect to the characters that make up this odd group. Even though it may not be as strange as Arakawa Under the Bridge it still takes on a quirkiness that stays with it all the way through. This off balance plot line helps to show how well it was written. If the story was just strange it would have failed after just a few episodes, but because of the strong concept by Hitoma Iruma and script writing of Ayana Yuniko things go well and you just want to keep watching.

Overall Grade: A-

At its core, Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl, is a silly harem that follows the older harem stories like Love Hina and Ai Yori Aoshi. Over the last five years or so most of the harem series have been all about silly battle concepts like Sekirei or Is This a Zombie?. It is nice to see one come back and the silly comedy that includes strange women and a rather simple high school story line.

If you didn’t get a chance to pick up Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl when it was released in a premium set then now is the time to get it as the standard edition. Thanks, NIS America for keeping this series alive.

Maria Holic the Complete Collection on Blu-ray (anime review)

Maria Holic on Blu-rayTitle: Maria Holic the Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Studio: Shaft

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U. S. Release Date (English Dub): March 4th, 2014

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Gender Bender

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall personal Rating: B



It’s not easy to find the perfect girl, even when you’re the same sex! Kanako thought attending an all-girls school would be the perfect way to meet the girl of her dreams, but after her hot new roommate turns out to be a guy in drag and catching the eye of the most popular girl in school only brings down the wrath of all the other similarly obsessed girls, she’s not so sure!

Complicate things with a cat-eared dorm leader, her roommate’s rude-mannered maid and identical twin sister (who attends an all-boys school, of course,) and way too many attractive girls of questionable persuasions and the question becomes whether Kanako can die from frustrated nosebleeds! (Life would be SO much easier if guys didn’t literally give her the hives!) Will Kanako ever find a non-polar opposite of a compatible non-opposing polarity?


If there is one thing other than useless fan service that I dislike it is a hyperactive, spastic, spacey lead character. Maria Holic gives us Kanako who starts the series off  entirely to spastic and almost completely annoying. This does take a little bit of a rest as the series gets into its flow. but starting off with a uncontrolled loss of anything reasonable in a character just about sent me to the door looking for something else to do. I also had a hard time getting into Mariya as a character, but once the understanding of why he is cross dressing is uncovered it makes more sense than the bumble headed Kanako.

At first it was the post modern approach to the animation that drew me in and after a while I found the comedy to be much more even handed even if most of it revolved around Kanako’s perversion. I slowly began to enjoy her personality and once she calmed down it I found her to be much easier to watch. And every time I began to loose interest I was teated to some wonderful deconstructive animation that made all the other nonsense worth while. I don’t think that most people will see the animation as creative as I did, but there was only one other series that struct me this way and that was ef-a Tale of Memories / sf-a Tale of Melodies which were both done by Shaft. They did manage to make their mark on the quality of the style and pacing that the anime has. I think that with some series the added deconstruction makes all the difference in the world and for Maria Holic it saved the series foe me.

The comedy does a lot for the series and at time I found myself letting out a hearty belly laugh.  I know that the center to the series is Kanako and her inability or rather dislike of boys and her lust for girls, but there are plenty of other funny moments that prove to be very helpful in maintaining a solid approach to the over comedic relief for the series.

Overall Grade: B

The key elements to Maria Holic are the characters and the art design of the animation. I enjoyed most of the characters and maybe if Jessica Calvello had not been so over the top with Kanako I would have enjoyed better. Monica Rail did a very good job with Mariya and did an even better job of switching from male to female voices for the characters. The real hit for me is the wonderful work that Shaft does in giving us a story that says more than “Hi I’m an Anime” it says “Het, I got something else to say and I want to make you think a little!”.

I know that there is very little about this series that the Maria Holic fans will dislike, but I think that there is plenty of material here that fans of comedy and solid art will love. So, check this out, it is fun and worth seeing for your self.