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Nobunagun (anime review)

NobunagunTitle: Nobunagun the Complete Series

Director: Nobuhiro Kondo

Music By: Yutaka Shinya

Studio: Bridge

U. S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

U. S. Rlease Date: June 2nd, 2015

Format: DVD/Blu-ray/13 Episodes/ 325 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Comedy, Action, Adventure

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

Sio Ogura is a shy misfit who’d rather talk about tanks than gossip about girl stuff. She’s plagued by reoccurring dreams of ancient battle scenes, and her only friend is a kindhearted popular girl named Asao. But Sio’s life takes an explosive turn when a school field trip is interrupted by an outbreak of Evolutionary Invaders: hideous alien creatures hell-bent on nuking the planet. During a daring attempt to rescue Asao, Sio discovers that she’s an E-Gene Holder: the reincarnation of a historical figure capable of summoning special weaponry. Possessed by the spirit of legendary warrior Oda Nobunaga, Sio joins forces with the reincarnated versions of Jack the Ripper, Galileo, and Geronimo for a high octane alien shooting spree. Survival is a longshot, but in the battle to save humanity, Sio’s the girl with the biggest gun!

Commentary:

Having another Nobunaga anime coming out this year worried me especially when there is a use of other historical figures. In the case of Nobunagun I was surprised that it was both funny and action packed. I expected it to be fast and full of action, but really didn’t expect the entertaining fun aspect. I also think that the writing and English dub makes a difference. Not being able to hear the different nationalities accents would make it feel like all the characters are from Japan. I’m not sure that would have given them the same feel and ended up leaving them a little flat. Of course the main character doesn’t have a Japanese accent and that is a bit odd.

The art style also helps set the atmosphere for the series. It is hard edged and colorful which go really well with the plot line. There are also some overlays early on, that caught me off guard, that take on a very post modern visual language that helps define the mood and feelings of the characters. It doesn’t necessarily translate well or continue through the series, but it does crop up later on as a reminder of the simpler aspects to the story in the first episode. It speaks to what the artistic staff wanted to accomplish and the fact that they didn’t have as much free reign as they may have wanted.

Overall Grade: B+

I enjoyed Nobunagun for what it was. A straight up Sci Fi alien battle anime with a mix of historical characters for flair. I loved the way they married Nobunaga with a simple shy high school girl and ended up having a crazy gun wielding teen age girl with complexes.

I’m not sure how well this anime will be received because of the strange concept and also some of the animation takes you off in a odd direction. It does move fast and give you a plenty of action to fill any concept voids.

Plenty of people will enjoy this series, but I think some will be left scratching their heads wondering what is going on. I also think it could have worked on the comedic relief. There was way to much weight on just a few characters and their some what silly complexes that gave some relief but the writing just didn’t hit home.

If you are looking for an action packed series that has fun with historical figures then you should check Nobunagun, but watch out for the tentacles.

 

 

Psychic Detective Yakumo Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Psychic Detective Yakumo Title: Psychic Detective Yakumo: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Tomoyuki Kurokawa

Written By: Hiroyuki Kawasaki

Original Novel by: Manabu Kaminaga

Studio: Bee Train

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Sept. 30th 2014

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Psychological Drama, Mystery, Detective Fiction, Romance

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating B

Synopsis:

Haruka Ozawa’s sophomore year is getting seriously scary. One of her friends is possessed, another has committed suicide, and Haruka could be next. She has a real talent for digging up secrets, but some killers won’t hesitate to kill again to keep those same secrets safely buried. So, how does Haruka get out of this potentially lethal dead end?

She’ll have to convince Yakumo Saito, an enigmatic student born with a mysterious red eye that allows him to see and communicate with the dead, to team up with her. Will Haruka be able to solve the ultimate in dead case files with Yakumo’s help? Or will they end up in cold storage themselves? They may just have a ghost of a chance.

Commentary:

Even though it has been almost a year and a half since Psychic Detective Yakumo was released in the U. S. inDVD format, it is good to see it coming back into the spotlight for the Blu-ray release. The series is a very special one because of the way it approaches the world the series is wrapped up in. It allows us to believe in things that typically scare us but in fact are not the source of despair that most ghost stories wan to lead you to believe. In fact it is the ghost that help solve the mystery and end up just being nothing more than souls that still had something to say.

I really like the way they portrayed Yakumo Saito. He comes across as a cold dejected person who does not care at all about the world around him but as we move through the series we begin to see just how connected and caring he really is. There are moments when I wanted him to show a little more emotion and maybe even give Haruka something that would help her bond better, but I guess that is part of the charm that is this somewhat dark series. I say somewhat dark because it is more of a mystery or deceptive series that a ghost or horror series. I can’t say so much for Haruka’s character. As much as I wanted to like her I just felt like she got in the way most of the time. I realize that she added some sexapeal, but this series didn’t need that. I do have to hand to the writers, they could have made her character to be a ditz but they did give her a relatively solid personality that could handle complex situations.

The plot of the series did drag a little at first but once it got moving everything began to fall in place and it ended up being somewhat of a solid storyline. The animation by Bee Train fit well with the subject matter my only issue is that Yakumo took on a rather stereotypical profile that made him end up being closer to L from death Note than a recluse who can see ghost. His quirky person worked well for a while but in the end it drug his character down just a little too much. I can’t say it was overwhelming but by making essentially a human with a lazy cats aloof personality didn’t play as well as it could have.

Overall Grade: B

Psychic Detective Yakumo is a solid detective mystery  series that will keep you watching. I know that the series was a live action TV show in 2006 ad I would have loved to see it broadcast. I’m sure it was well received. I also know that there are a series of light novels that preceded both the TV, anime and manga series. As a person who loves books I would like to read some of the novels, I’m sure that the characters are richer and much more fun to move through the stories with.

All-in-all I have to say that Psychic Detective Yakumo is a solid series that could have been great. It just lacked in character development and some relative basic styling. Other than that it was a genuinely entertaining series with plenty of drama and mystery to go around.