Rss

Archives for : anime shop st louis

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection (anime review)

when-supernatural-battles-became-commonplanereview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Masanori Takahashi

Studio: Trigger

Author: Masahiko Otsuka

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: August 30, 2016

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

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Harem, School Life, Slice of Life, Supernatural

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! and Student Council’s Discretion

They may not be known as heroes but superpowers at least make their lives interesting, right?

Synopsis:

The origin of the Senko High School Literature Club’s powers might be a little sketchy, and they may spend more time chatting than engaging in superhuman feats. Still, there is no questioning the incredible abilities of the club’s female members: Tomoyo can control time; Hatoko is a mistress of the elements; Chifuyu can create matter; and Sayumi can return any item to a previous state. With these powers, there are few tasks these girls can’t handle.

Meanwhile, Jurai, the club’s only male member has a dark flame that seems a little pointless in comparison and only time will tell if it matures into anything more useful. Toss in a Student Council president who has developed powers of her own and things are about to get seriously weird as the study of literature takes a comic book turn in When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray.

Commentary:

“Can your common sense explain the secrets behind how this universe originated 13,700,000,000 years ago?” Jurai Ando

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray has to be the most misleading title for an anime series I have ever seen. I was expecting some romance with a lot of battle scenes and what I got was a harem, slice-of-life romance with maybe one or two battle scenes that did not even involve the main cast of characters. Of course, the ending battle did include them and it made the entire series. There is also an epic tantrum involving Hatoko and Jurai in episode seven that also makes the entire series worth watching.

The characters were interesting to say the least. Each main character gets their background explained throughout the series and various episodes explore their personalities. The female characters fit into the usual harem genre archetypes as Tomoyo is the tsundere, Hatoko is the polite airhead, Sayumi is the book nerd, and Chifuyu is the young and playful elementary school girl and niece to the club sponsor. Jurai Ando seems like he was the key in getting each character to develop and fully understand her new superpower. Each girl, in her own way, has a crush on Jurai and it is hilarious to see what they do so that he might notice them in a different light. Towards the end, you can tell that the field has been narrowed down and that only two girls are left. I will let you figure out which two since that is half of the fun.

The animation was pretty good and very pretty to watch. The characters were drawn well and the backgrounds popped. The voice actors did a great job bringing the characters to life. The opening and closing songs were alright but nothing special. There was hardly any fan-service in When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray and what there was usually was aimed at cosplay gimmicks and swimsuit shenanigans.

Extras:

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with both English and Japanese with English Subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: B

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray is a cute and enjoyable slice-of-life series. I recommend this series to anyone who loves the slice-of-life genre.

Gasaraki Complete Series (anime review)

gasarakiTitle: Gasaraki: The Complete Series

Director: Ryousuke Takahashi

U.S. Distributor: Right Stuf / Nozomi

U.S. Re-Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

Format: DVD / 625 Minutes / 25 Episodes

Genre: Mecha, Supernatural

Age Rating: 13+

Overall Personal Grade: A-

Similar Titles: Evangelion

One of the most poignant phrases that haunts humans is “History always repeats itself”. There are many tragic dances that burn in the flames of time and never quite seem to be completed.

Synopsis:

Japan has become fat on its own prosperity and have begun to get more involved in world politics. The Gowa family with their power base and industrial complex have developed bipedal weapons that they call Tactical Armor or T. A.. There is something special about the way they react and it all appears to hinge on how Yushiro Gowa performs. There is a deep seeded bond between man and machine but this bond does not seem to be natural, but rather supernatural.

With strife and war breaking out in eastern Europe the Gowa Organization and the Japanese military use this chase to see these new weapons in action. Unknown to them another organization, Symbol, has developed their  own T. A.s and when the two meet the Gowa team have their hands full.  The key to their team is young girl named Miharu, who had appeared to Yushiro during a ceremony when he was about to resurrect some unknown power that heir family is noted as holding the key to. This power was supposedly given to them by the God Gasaraki.

Once back in Japan Yushiro discover a terrible truth about himself that puts him on the path to uncover the truth about his history. This path leads him directly into the depths of the Gowa history as he discovers that he is what is know as a Kai, the one who can control the giant warrior the Kugai. He ends up fighting Miharu while piloting the Kugai and manages to defeat her. Knowing that there is a connection they both run off to discover their past. In this search they discover that they are connected for over 1000 years and what their terrible purpose just might be.

The power of the Gowa and a highly idealistic Japanese visionary leads Japan to the brink of destruction. The key lies with both Yushiro and Miharu. Will they repeat the nightmare of the past or can they overcome their history and find a new path?

Commentary:

Even though 1998 seems so long ago it is great to take this trip back to see this highly dramatic series. There is so much going on with Gasaraki that it take 5 episodes to get a grip on what is happening. The blend of Japanese myth and modern day technology gives a special edge to the series. This is topped off by the heavy drama that is played out. There are very few light moments and that might be the one area of weakness. The heaviness takes it toll at times and you almost have to take a breath to relax in order to move on. That is not to say that the series is depressing, because I did not find it to be a downer in any way, it just takes itself very seriously.

As I moved through the Gasaraki I found myself coming up with plenty of questions regarding the history of this intense family and how these two young people were really connected to it. I was very happy to see them and us get a solid understanding of the past which suddenly proved to be very poignant. It opened the plot line up and exposed the mysteries that lay beneath the surface. I must admit that there were times that I found Yushiro and Miharu a bit flat and mono dimensional but in many ways it works to their advantage as the series progressed and explained who and what they really are.

Overall Grade: A-

There are several series out there that deserve a second chance through the arena and Gasaraki is one of those series. If you have not seen Gasaraki and are a fan of Mecha intertwine with supernatural elements then this one is up you’re ally. If you just enjoy a serious series that gives plenty of action then you should take the time to enjoy it.

Rail Wars! Complete Collection (anime review)

rail-warsTitle: Rail Wars! Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshifumi Matsuda

Studio: Passione

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: April 4th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 minutes

Genre: Harem, Comedy, Action

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Synopsis:

All train fanatic Naoto Takayama has ever dreamed of is becoming an engineer, but when he finally makes the grade and scores a trainee position with the JNR, his ambitions are totally derailed.

Now, instead of the big front cab of his dreams, Naoto’s stuck in the security division working with a squad of gorgeous girls and escorting pretty idol singers. Oh, what a nightmare!

Okay, so there are the occasional bomb threats, thieves, and members of the rogue railway privatization group RJ to deal with, but that’s what trigger-happy harpy Aoi and Sho, the squad’s only other male member, are for. And if Naoto’s one-track mind could just see the light at the end of the tunnel, he might realize that he’s already on an express train to paradise with multiple lovely cabooses. Will getting railroaded take on a whole new meaning? Find out as everyone gets off on the wrong side of the tracks in Rail Wars!

Commentary:

Rail Wars! falls under the standard heading of the Harem genre and it really is a harem anime. In that I mean that it only purpose is to be a harem. The plot was tossed out after the first episode. I had real hope that this would be something more than the guy that all the women wanted. Reality set in quickly and that is what it became. I also had high hopes that he would just accept the relationship with Aoi and move on to a story that had something to say.

Rail Wars! does do a fine job being a Harem and there are plenty of anime that are wonderful in their own right as a harem, like Ai Yoei Yoshi and Tench Muyo. Rail Wars! tries to give us a story but for all of its effort I found it to miss the mark.

Overall Grade: B-

Rail Wars! gives us some fun and excitement following this small team trying to become members of the National Railroad. The premiss is interesting and the title makes it sound like there will be some waring rail road companies, but if there is a war it is just a brief encounter between women who all have the his for Naoto. For all that it is worth, I did find Rail Wars entertaining and honestly wanted him to end up Aoi.

If you like sexy women, easy happy looking anime and plenty of groping going on then Rail Wars! is for you.

Parasyte the Maxim Collection 1 (anime review)

parasyte-collection-1Title: Parasyte the Maxim Collection 1 on blu-ray

Director: Kenichi Shimizu

Creator: Hitoshi Iwaaki

Screenplay: Shoji Yonemura

Music: Ken Arai

Studio: Madhouse

U. S Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: April 4th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Thriller, Sci Fi, Drama

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis: 

It’s the ultimate nightmare. One minute Shinichi Izumi is a normal teenager asleep in his bed. The next he’s been infected with a deadly parasitic organism determined to devour his brain and turn his body into the planet Earth’s new apex predator.

But Shinichi partially foils the attack and, instead of being consumed, finds that the creature known as Migi has taken the place of his right hand. Now forced to share the same body, the two must become unwilling allies. Migi isn’t the only one of his kind, and unless human and parasyte work together, they’ll both be killed as abominations. Prepare yourself for a horrifying new world where the survival of the fittest and the survival of the human race are no longer the same thing. Monsters lurk behind every corner and every face as the human race becomes prey in Parasyte ~ the maxim!

Commentary:

Brace yourself, this is not the bloody horror story that cover art would leave you to believe. It is in fact a story of human and alien integration and a battle for survival. Parasyte the Maxim is a serious drama with plenty of blood, but it is more of a conversation of how to coexist rather than destruction. That in itself saves the series from a sorry death of over the top cut up festival. I admit there is plenty of useless slaughtering of people and plenty of dark moments that feel like pure violence for spectacle sake.

Parasyte the Maxim does a very good job of telling this story and the real strength is in the growth and development of Shinichi and how he deals with his changing body. I found his character to be easy to feel some sympathy toward and also have a little dislike for the way he often became a weak kneed young man. The real drama came from the dilemma about taking another life and how Shinichi deals with it. With the focal point being on this dilemma it become a little redundant, but Shinichi is given enough struggles to overcome to make the series move at a decent pace.

Overall Grade: B+

Parasyte the Maxim manages to over come the easy trap of being just another slasher series and gives us a series to with some thoughtful drama. There is a slight tenancy to make Shinichi a tad weak but they keep him strong enough to push the series forward. Parasyte the Maxim is a sold drama that doesn’t play up the gross blood fest that it could be. I am very interested to see collection 2 and wonder if he manages to save his life and the life of the alien life form that is living in him.

 

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Collection Two on Blu-ray (anime review)

mobile-suit-zeta-gundamTitle: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Collection Two on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi/ Right Stuf

U. S. Release Date: April 5th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 625 Minutes

Genre: Mecha, Sci Fi

Age Rating: TV14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

A new force enters the Universal Century conflict. Can the A.E.U.G. fight a war on two fronts?

The Universal Century world is locked into an escalating conflict. While the A.E.U.G. resistance group strives to convince the world of the justice of its cause, the brutal Titans continue to suppress dissent through violence and fear. Now the struggle enters a new phase as a powerful third force enters the battlefield, and the A.E.U.G. and Titans race to enlist the support of the mysterious Axis renegades. Confronted with his past, Char Aznable at last decides to embrace his role as leader of the A.E.U.G. But his choice may have come too late, for the Titans have completed their most terrible and devastating weapon.

Commentary:

In the world know as Gundam there are often conflicting messages, but one thing stands true, women make great shields. I think Zeta has the greatest body count of martyrs than any other Gundam series. The one thing that runs through most of this plot devise is that most of them die for the wrong person.

Zeta Gundam is still one of my favorite series of the franchise and yet it manages to frustrate me and remind me how backward much of the mindset set was back in the 1980’s. I am not proud to say that I come from the era and less proud to relive the foolishness that was viewed as high entertainment in the anime world,

Overall Grade: B

The series as a whole is good enough and is clearly a stand out in the Gundam universe. I know that there are a good deal of fans that will climb over each other to get their hands on this series and plenty that will stand back and scratch their heads. I do understand the fandom, I may not always agree with it but I get it.

So, all you Gundam fan get your Zeta hats on and get ready for part two of the Mobile Suite Zeta Gundam series to hit the store shelves. I know you will like it.

Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series (anime review)

Umi-Monogatarireview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series

Director: Junichi Sato

Studio: Zexcs

Author: Toshihiko Tsukiji

U.S. Distributor: Nozomi, Lucky Penny

U.S. Release Date: November 3, 2015

Format and Length: DVD / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Supernatural

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Aria The Animation

Synopsis:

Marin and Urin are sea folk, people who live in a peaceful underwater world surrounded by bright fish and colorful coral. But one day, a beautiful ring falls from the “sky” – that dangerous place above the water – and the two girls decide to return the lovely trinket to its owner.

While the surface world holds amazing wonders for the pair, it also hides a great darkness… a darkness that Urin accidentally unleashes when she opens a stone box at a local shrine. Now it’s up to Marin, Urin, and their new friend Kanon to set things right again before that darkness swallows the entire world! Will they set everything right again in time? Will this new friendship survive? You will have to watch Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series and find out.

Commentary:

Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series was a refreshing and laid back series to watch as it is part magical adventure and part romance yet neither part overshadows the other. Unlike many similar series, Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series managed to stay on task for each and every episode and not devolve into a series of filler (Marin and Urin go to school) and fan-service (Mermaids at the Hot Springs) episodes half way through the series. Yes, there was fan-service but it was not over-done. I did feel like the storyline went very slow, there was not much action most of the time and many people may find Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series to be boring do to the pacing. However, the drama picks up in the last few episodes and the ending wrapped up all of the important story elements.

Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series has some interesting characters to say the least. Marin and Urin are both sweet and likable girls who are also “pure” at heart. These sisters are naïve to the surface world’s ways, though perhaps not as much as they should have been. Sadly, even with the decent amount of background on their relationship and their past, it does not feel as if you really know them that well. Kanon felt like the most emotionally invested character in the series. She is a bit darker than Marin, but most people would be as Marin is full of love and energy all the time. Kanon is just a girl who wants to be liked but does not know how to show it to people. She is often referred to as “evil” or having an “evil aura” but she does not act evil. That may have been a mistranslation or something. The background characters were well done as they were fairly deep and interesting characters but their screen time was kept to a minimum to focus on the main storyline. The villain, Sedna, was very intriguing because she seems like that dark inner voice that everyone hears from time to time. She is a terrifying presence despite not having a physical form.

The animation in Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series was very beautiful. The sky and sea worlds were just beautiful and the magical effects and action were well animated. The character designs were amazingly cute and the voice actors did a great job in the series. The opening and closing songs fit right in the relaxed mood of the series.

Extras:

Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series includes Marin’s “What Is This?” episodes 1-4, clean opening and closing animations, web promos, promotional video, commercials, and Nozomi/Lucky Penny trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English Subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: B

Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series was a relaxing series to watch. I enjoyed it but I feel like they missed the mark by only having it subtitled because I think children would love this series and they would probably like to watch it dubbed. I would recommend this series if you enjoyed Aria The Animation.

Full Metal Panic? Fomuffu (anime review)

FMP-FumoffuTitle: Full Metal Panic? Fomuffu the complete series (anime classic)

Director: Yasuhiro Takemoto

Studio: Kyoto Animation

U. S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

U. S. Release Date: September 15th, 2015

Format : DVD / Blu-ray / 300 minutes / 12 Episodes

Genre: Mecha, Comedy, Romance, Action, Adventure

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis: 

Sousuke’s locked, loaded, and ready to attack – which would be awesome if he was going into battle. But he’s just going to high school, and all the qualities that make him a good soldier make him an amazingly awkward classmate.

Poor Kaname knows that better than anyone, since Sousuke’s her undercover bodyguard. The guy’s supposed to protect Tessa too. But how “top secret” can he really be when he’s sneaking around in a teddy bear suit, blowing up lockers, striking out with every girl in sight, and taking a mech to the hot springs? Sure, Sousuke’s methods are a little intense, but high school’s tough. Collateral damage is to be expected, right?

Commentary: 

There are classic series and then there are ethos special series that are a little more than just classic series. Full Metal Panic is one of those very special series that is more than just a classic. Of course I am huge fan and since I first saw the original series. Now  I can’t say that Fomuffu stands as high on the ranking as Full Metal Panic or Full Metal Panic Second Raid. The reason is because the series is much more silly and looses itself in side stories that are there just to be funny.

In FMP and FMP Second Raid the humor was blended in with the overarching story which made them special and help raise the popularity of the franchise. Now Fomuffu being what it exists because there was a move form the original studio (Gonzo) to Kyoto Animation (their first production) and a clear imperative to make this grouping of episodes more episodic and only related to the series by characters. This concept worked only by providing 12 very entertaining episodes that are strong enough to stand on their own, not because of its relationship to the original anime.

Overall Grade: B

Fomuffu is a pure comedy and provides plenty of laughs. There is also the familiar characters who bring a smile to my face any time I see them. Much of my grade is based on a sentimental fondness for the series, but I have a feeling that new eyes to the series will also see the humor that exists in these episodes.

The thing that I both like and dislike about Fomuffu is the stand alone aspect to the episodes. Now there are some that are 2 episode arcs but on a hole the series is much more about the story in easy episode rather than an overarching plot line. Normally I dislike this approach because it mimics a pattern developed in the west to make each episode stand on its own. That makes for little development and little substance when you are dealing with a 25 minute episode.

I do have to hand it Kyoto Animation for their first production and their ability to follow one of the superstars in the anime world at that time. They did a great job and I didn’t see Fomuffu and looking dated that way I see many other shows form that 2003 time period. The look is clean and easy to watch.

If you are looking for a comedy that does not require any long term development in the story then you need to check this out. Better yet, if you are looking for 12 episodes that will make you laugh then you really need to spend some time with Full Metal Panic? Fomuffu.

 

Black Bullet (anime review)

black-bulletTitle: Black Bullet Complete Collection

Director: Masayuki Kojima

Studio: Kinema Citrus, Orange

Creator: Shiden Kanzaki

Screenwriter: Tatsuhiko Urahata

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Oct. 27th, 2015

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

Genre: Sci Fi, Supernatural, Dystopian, Moe, Action, Adventure

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: C+

Synopsis:

The Gastrea virus spreads like wildfire, causing each infected host to rapidly mutate, gaining new powers and abilities with every stage of development, even while they continue to attack, kill, and infect multiple new hosts. Unable to fight a pandemic enemy that turns defenders into adversaries, the shocked remnants of the human race are forced to retreat into cities surrounded by giant monoliths made of Varanium, one of the few materials that can stop the Gastrea.

Now mankind’s last hope lies in the Cursed Children: young girls infected with the virus who have managed to retain a hold on their humanity. Paired with a partner, they alone have the strength to take on a Gastrea in one-on-one combat. But the very thing that gives them power is a ticking time bomb, so even as they protect humanity, they are also feared and shunned. Are they girls? Monsters? Or mankind’s ultimate salvation?

Commentary:

Black Bullet is another of the many series that have gotten picked for the american market that have plenty of action and a edge of little girl perversion blended into a dark story of the potential end of humanity. Honesty I would love to see an anime that killed us all off. After watching Black Bullet I’m not sure if there is a reason to save us from our own self-destruction. Of course anime know only a few standard story lines and the end of humanity is at the top of the list. I guess if you want to get published then you need to give us cute young girls and a crazy dystopian future that only a few moral / righteous individuals manage to keep on the path.

I wish I could give this series more props, but it looses itself in its own vision and panders to a fan base that wants contemporary ninjas and magical young girls to save the world. If fan service is the point of the series they manage to provide plenty of nice looking women to drool over and enough young girls to make any Lolli perv happy. I just think all of that gets in the way of the story. Of course the story isn’t all that new or imaginative.

Overall Grade: C+

For all that I find lacking I do have to admit that the series is compelling enough to make it worth watching. The action and plot gives any viewer enough to latch onto in order to keep them watching. The animation is fair but considering that the series was originally produced in 2011 shows that it ended up the shelves of the original network and was an easy pick up for other to produce for their markets.

I understand why Sentai spent the money on giving this series a english dub but I wish they would have saved their money and used it on something that can been seen as an artistic achievement compared to a potentially strong fan favorite.

I guess that the marketing machine wants to give the masses what they think they want and not so much the stuff that they really should see. I personally love anime for the potential for artistic expression and when I see series like Black Bullet go straight for the consumer and lack the artistic or imagination that sets great series apart from the rest I just have to tell myself that it is all part of the market and needed to keep even the weakest fans engaged.

In all fairness Black Bullet does manage to pull off a strong ending that opens up the possibilities for more to come. I should also mention that their is a moral imperative that is launched and will make anyone sit up a little straighter as they watch it.

So, if you are looking for a series with plenty of action and a lot of tough little girls then Balck Bullet is right up your ally!

 

Animeggroll At St. Louis Comic Con April 2-4

st-louis-comic-con-2014-wizard-world-convention-april-4-5-6-2014-fri-sat-sun-1That’s right, Animeggroll will be a dealer at this years St. Louis Comic Con (Wizard World). So, if you make it downtown to Americas Center be sure to come on by and visit our booth.

Here is a link to the convention. Check out all the guests.

http://www.wizardworld.com/home-stlouis.html

Store Photos

Cosplaly at Animeggroll