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Akame ga Kill Collection 2 (anime review)

akame-ga-kill 2Title: Akame ga Kill Collection 2

Director: Tomoki Kobayashi

Creator: Takahiro

Written By: Makoto Uezu

Studio: White Fox, C-Station (ONA)

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: May 17th, 2016

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

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Supernatural, Drama

Age Rating: TV14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

The convoluted path that has reunited Tatsumi and Esdeath takes another twist as they find themselves transported to a remote island where their strength will be tested as never before. Dr. Stylish may be dead, but Danger Beasts still remain, and that’s only the first challenge the two enemies now face.

If the bonds of love weren’t enough to bring their fates together, could the fire of combat forge a new form of alliance? Meanwhile, the embers of rebellion are being stoked into open insurrection by the pacifist organization Path of Peace. Drawn into the impending inferno, Night Raid and the Revolutionary Army prepare for a major assault on the Capital. But while their Imperial Arms may be indestructible, their wielders are merely flesh and blood.

On the anvil of battle, only human courage and the willingness to give their lives for a cause will lead to the ultimate triumph or failure in collection 2 of Akame ga Kill!

Commentary:

As series go Akame ga Kill is a little above average, but I was very concerned at the end of the first 12 episodes. I have seen all too many anime that started out with a solid story line that ended up become over indulgent and failed to bring it to a reasonable conclusion. Akame ga Kill manages to make it clear that the story is over and also does something very interesting for a mythic tail of heroes, it gives us closure with the characters.

Without giving anything away I have to say that I was a little emotionally wound up by some of the events and more than once felt both excited and sad by the battles fought.

Overall Grade: B+

I really like the second half of the Akame ga Kill  for what it was. The myth of the hero and the battle for what is right cam sometimes cross lines that both corrupt a moral existence but at the same time exact a price that can be too heavy to bear. When all is said Akame ga Kill manages to find a way to give us finality and hope at the same time.

If you are looking for a real action anime with lots of side plots and a harem tossed in to make it more interesting then Akame ga Kill it the one for you. I often find harm anime rather silly and only a very few make any sense, as for Akame ga Kill the story came together because of the harem and without the love story tossed in the plot would have been less favorable and entertaining. This is a winner and is worth the time to check it out.

 

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.

New and Re-stock DVD and Blu-ray Anime

Free-Eternal-SummerHere is a list of new and re-stock DVD and Blu-rays that just arrived.

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Collection 1 Blu-ray

Wizard Barristers DVD

No-Rin The Complete Series Blu-ray/DVD

Tokyo ESP Blu-ray/DVD

Free! -Eternal Summer- Season 2 BD/DVD

Free! Season 1 DVD Complete Collection

When They Cry Season 1 Blu-ray and DVD (Release Date 3/15/2016

no-rinDaily Lives of High School Boys Complete Standard Edition BD

Black Lagoon DVD/BD Complete Series

Student Council’s Discretion DVD Seasons 1 & 2 Collections

Gundam, Mobile Suit UC (Unicorn) DVD Parts 1 thru 4

Lupin the 3rd Vs Detective Conan The Movie DVD

Lupin The 3rd: From Siberia With Love DVD

Lupin the 3rd: Bye Bye, Lady Liberty DVD

Lovely Complex (Love*Com) DVD Complete Series

Black-Lagoon-DVD-Blu-ray-Complete-Series-Hyb-Anime-Classics-Seasons-1-2Cutie Honey DVD Complete Collection (Original 1973 TV Series)

Tsuritama DVD Complete Collection

Captain Harlock: Space Pirate DVD Complete TV Series

Fate/Stay Night DVD Complete Collection

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya DVD Complete Collection

Towanoquon Blu-ray Complete Collection

Girls und Panzer DVD Complete TV Series

Phi-Brain – The Puzzle of God Season 2: Orpheus Order Collection 1 & 2

wizard-barristersPhi-Brain – The Puzzle of God Season 1 DVD Collection 1 & 2

Un-Go DVD Complete Collection

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 DVD Complete Collection

Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc DVD

AKB0048 Season 1 DVD Complete Collection

AKB0048 Season 2: Next Stage DVD Complete Collection

Planzet DVD

Just In Re-stock Anime

shirobako-Here is a list of the re-stock anime we just go in:

Sword Art Online Season 1 vol. 1, 3 & 4

Sword Art Online Season II vol 1

Ah My Buddha!

Evangelion 2.22 Blu-ray

Samurai 7 Complete Series

Shirobako

Desert Punk

arrowGhost in the Shell 2nd Gig S.A.C.

Ah! My Goddess Complete Collection vol 1-6 (26 episodes Season 1)

Waiting in the Summer (anime review)

waiting-in-the-summerTitle: Waiting in the Summer Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Directed By: Tatsuyuki Nagai

Written By: Yōsuke Kuroda

Studio: J. C. Staff

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

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

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes + OVA / 325 Minutes

Genre: Harem, Slice of Life, Fan Service, Romance, Sci Fi

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis: 

When a group of friends decide to make a movie over a long summer holiday, they end up learning a little about film-making and a lot more about each other and themselves. What begins as a simple way to avoid the summer doldrums quickly turns into something much more complex, intimate, and downright revealing.

As the summer heats up, so do the maturing relationships between the young cast members, taking some new, and sometimes unexpected, turns. Get ready for a whole new look at summer romance as hidden emotions get captured and secrets meant to be kept hidden inside young hearts instead spill off the screen for your viewing pleasure in Waiting in the Summer!

Commentary:

Waiting in the Summer is one of the sleeper anime that few people have seen. It has a rather straight forward plot and a simplistic romance structure, yet it catches your attentions and makes you really like these high school students on summer break and wish you could hang out with them and make a move too.

With this being a re-release and adding the OVA I am curious why there wasn’t a English dub. I understand that there is a large cost to doing that. I just think that a English dub would have brought another layer of fans to the series and proved to be profitable.

Overall Grade: A-

I is nice to see Waiting in the Summer re-released with the OVA and forcing me to take another look at it. One one level there is a warn innocence that flows though it and on the other hand a sad reality to some things just can’t be. With all that is going on with the film mirroring the plot line and the hidden specter of the men in black makes it hard to stop watching.

The animation is a smooth easy touch that is very typical   for anime of this type and the attention to detail done with such a soft touch that things flow together with the plot perfectly. I can’t think of any other style that would have helped tell the story any better. The only detractor I have is that it does drag a bit in the middle and leave the viewer a tad frustrated with what is going on. I still find the series strong and with the added OVA it is just that much better.

If you haven’t had a chance to see Waiting in the Summer then I think that this is the time to discover a series that is warm and friendly with layers of strange goings on. If you are in the mood for a easy going anime that has plenty of fun and oddities in it then Waiting in the Summer is for you.

Wizard Barristers (anime review)

-wizard-barristersTitle: Wizard Barristers Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Directed By: Yasuomi Umetsu

Written By: Michiko Itou

Music By: Kayo Konishi, Yukio Kondoo

Studio: Arms

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: March 1st, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Supernatural, Action, Drama, Mystery

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

 

Synopsis:

When the laws of magic are broken, it’s the duty of the Police Department’s deadly Section 1 to enforce them. But, since even craven maven Wizards and nefarious Necromancers have the right to a fair trial, the job of defending them belongs to the Benmashi, the Wizard Barristers!

It’s a tricky profession, requiring both arcane ability and a judicious sense of jurisprudence, and at just seventeen, Cecil Sudo is the youngest Benmashi that Butterfly Law has ever employed. That means a lot of late nights burning the midnight brimstone, summoning up summaries, parsing phrases with paranormal paralegals and cutting deals with opposing counsels from hell.

And when a young Benmashi starts to discover that her own charm may be more magically-based than she realized, there’ll be a hex-tra incentive to work wonders outside the courtroom as well! Every trial is a witch trial as the most enchantingly Adept Attorney ever becomes a Master of the Art of Defensive Spells in Wizard Barristers!

Commentary:

Okay, I know that there are some of you that think I am crazy for giving such a high grade to Wizards Barristers. The truth is that I found it rather appealing. I saw it as a true amalgamation of a lot of anime and western pop culture. Right off the bat I saw Cecil as a new form of Sawa from Kite, and a strange blend of Fullmetal Alchemist along with a health dose of Harry Potter. Cecil is the girl who holds the key and doesn’t remember her past. She is destine to be something very special and she is very unaware of it. There are wizards on both sides that want her and she is surrounded by a group of people who are there to be not just friends but protectors too. This series is a interesting blend of  the world of supernatural story telling and if not watched with a curious eye much will be missed.

Overall Grade: A-

Wizard Barristers has much to offer and provides it all in a lively colorful package. The one drawback for me was the animation. I found the computer generated (CG) work to be a little stiff, but with the advances in CG it is easy to watch.

The rest of the series had plenty of light humor tossed in to keep you interested and a lot of dark questions kept coming up that made it a must to watch the next episode. The ending felt a tad rushed and there are some gaps in the plot that I personally would like to see explained in an OVA or a second season. With Wizard Barristers being only an Anime property I just don’t see more coming and that is too bad. If you like Harry Potter, Kite and Fullmetal Alchemist then I believe you should enjoy Wizard Barristers. It is worth the time to check it out.

Akame ga Kill Collection 1(anime review)

814131018571_anime-akame-ga-kill-blu-rayTitle: Akame ga Kill Collection 1

Director: Tomoki Kobayashi

Creator: Takahiro

Written By: Makoto Uezu

Studio: White Fox, C-Station (ONA)

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: February 9th, 2016

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

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Supernatural, Drama

Age Rating: TV14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis: 

When he set off for the Capital, all Tatsumi wanted was a way to make money. Instead, he finds himself rescued from a fate worse than death by a group of assassins known as Night Raid, and thrust into the middle of a bloody revolution. On the one side: Prime Minister Honest, his secret police, elite squad of assassins, and the armies of the Empire. On the other: Night Raid and a handful of rebels desperate to overthrow the brutal regime of Honest’s puppet emperor. Leveling the playing field: the Imperial Arms, a legendary set of unstoppable weapons created in the distant past. But to use an Imperial Arm is practically a death sentence, for only a select few can even survive using them… and when two Arms go against each other, only the user of one is likely to survive in Akame ga Kill!

Commentary:

I really like to say that Akame ga Kill is something new and different, but I just can’t. It is very entertaining and full of action. Akame ga Kill just falls into the trap of being another action anime that isn’t so worried about the plot but rather the movement across the screen. Akame ga Kill proved elements of being a harem, a supernatural drama and a fantasy series that provides plenty of battles with blood splattering all over the place. Why is it that we never meet the cleaning crew and the cloths washers. With these characters only having one set of close I would think that the cloths washers are always on hand and ready to scrub the blood out of teams duds. It might be interesting to see a comedy anime about these magical creatures and their washing skills. I would think they are prized employee no matter what action/fantasy/horror anime was in favor.

Overall Grade: B+

Even though I don’t find anything new or different about Akame ga Kill I still find a fun watch. It is fast and packed with action, albeit bloody, along with plenty of pretty girls. I guess that the thing that I find interesting is what is going to happen when Tatsumi is fitted with Imperial Arms that bring out his true power. I am guessing that in the second half of the series w will find out what makes him so special and if his stalker will get him back into her loving arms.

Akame ga Kill isn’t for everyone, but I think it will find broad appeal. If the Attack on Titan crowd discover it they just might make a huge hit. So, if you enjoy a fun, fast, action packed anime with plenty of splattering blood the Akame ga Kill is for you.

Invaders of the Rokujyõma!? (anime review)

invaders-of-rokujyomaTitle: Invaders of the Rokujyõma!?: Complete Collection

Director: Shin Õnuma

Music by: Zero-A

Studio: Silver Link

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Released Date: Nov. 17th, 2015

Format as reviewed: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Moe, Seinen, Harem

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: C

Synopsis: 

When Kotaro Satomi discovers an apartment for the ridiculously low rent of 5000 yen a month, he knows there must be a catch. But it’s not until AFTER he’s moved in that he finds out that he’s not the only one laying claim to Room 106 at Corona House, starting with teenage girl ghost, Sanae, who’s currently haunting it!

Still not enough to break the lease? Let’s add in a Magical Girl, Yurika, who wants to take control of the room in order to block its powers from evildoers, a luscious Subterranean bombshell, Kiriha, who needs the room to launch an invasion of our world, and a fiery space princess, Theiamillis, who… well, you get the idea. Can a lone high school student on a limited budget withstand the combined forces of the supernatural, metaphysical, subterranean, and alien worlds? Especially when they’re all also incredibly adorable?

Commentary:

Kawaii, oh so very Kawaii. Invaders of the Rokujyõma!? is so very Kawaii, but that is where the fun stops. IN the world of harem anime I would have to place this series in the lower half. In many ways it was a homage to the genre and offered plenty of parody to many of the great harems, unfortunately it missed the mark. I think the problem was that it tried to hard  and came off a little bland with the plot and the story devices that drove the series as a hole.

Overall Grade: C

Invaders of the Rokujyõma!? lacks the punch that would make it stand out. The characters are easy to like and at times less aggressive than they should be. They are almost shadows of what they should be. I can’t say that any one of them stood out and all together they gave enough charisma to make the series enjoyable but not great.

Simply put is you are hooked on harem anime and need a fix then Invaders of the Rokujyõma!? is the show for you. You will get plenty of the 4 to 5 way love triangle mess you can handle. There is also a full spectrum of anime girls involved to make you question which type of anime girl is the best.

Invaders of the Rokujyõma!? an easy watch with several funny situations. If it was better written and the characters more compelling it would have rated much higher.  I would have loved to be Kotaro Satomi, he had it better than he thought.

Mobile Suit Gundam Collection 1 on Blu-ray (anime review)

Mobile Suit Gundam Collection 1Title: Mobile Suit Gundam Collection 1 on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Studio: Nippon Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Sunrise

U. S. Re-Release Date: Nov. 3rd, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 21 Episodes / 525 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Action, Adventure

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: C+

Synopsis:

Universal Century 0079. The rebel space colonies of the Principality of Zeon launch a war of independence against the Earth Federation, using humanoid fighting vehicles called mobile suits to overwhelm the Federation Forces and conquer half of Earth’s surface. Months later, the Federation has finally developed its own prototype mobile suits at a remote space colony. But when the colony suffers a Zeon surprise attack, these new weapons fall into the hands of a motley crew of civilians and cadets, and fate places a youth named Amuro Ray at the controls of the white mobile suit Gundam.

Commentary: 

I am not sure how many times I have said this statement this year alone, but sometimes things are better off left in the imagination of the ones who love it. Mobile Suite Gundam Collection 1 is one of those things. The series, to put it quite simply, did not age very well. The one saving grace is that the Japanese language track is provided. I recall how I felt about Mobile Suite Gundam in my youth when it was something different in our anther simplistic world and now I can say that Mobile Suit Gundam has taken on the simplistic moniker. I find everything about it rather difficult to watch. I understand that it is being released to satisfy the hard core fans of the franchise because many of them see this particular series in the franchise as one of the best. I wish I could join that camp, but the story just doesn’t do it for me.

Overall Grade: C+

On a nostalgic level I found it fun to watch and Mobile Suite Gundam provided many laughs, most not intended. The animation reminded me of bad 70’s look that I didn’t even like back then and the choppy writing that tells the story but in a way that is sometimes hard to follow and other times too simplistic. Deep down inside I would have loved to see this re-made with a new writing staff and contemporary animation techniques. I know that won’t happen because it is too easy to just re-release it in its full original glory.

Of course I didn’t think it was all bad. I still believe that Mobile Suite Gundam and a few other series set the stage for the onslaught of great Mecha series that followed and there is also a marketing machine behind the Gundam franchise that needs to be recognized for its unequaled ability to own the ability to keep the fandom alive and growing. I can’t say that about other long live series. So, if you are looking for a trip down memory lane or just need to see where the craze all began then this is worth picking up or at least finding someone who dished out the cold cash and hang out at their place for a few days.

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!