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tada never falls in LOVE (anime review)

Title: tada never falls in Love

Director: Mitsue Yamazaki

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Release Date: 9-24-19

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: comedic romance

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

Tada and his younger sister live above his family’s coffee shop with their grandfather. At his high school, he and his friends are members of the photography club. His father was a photographer who died when Tada was still in grade school and now, as his son, he intends to follow in the same path.

Two new students from the European country Larcenberg move in next door and begin classes at Tada’s school. They are Teresa and her very protective friend Alec who are studying abroad in Japan for a year. Teresa’s enthusiastic and trusting nature quickly earns her the friendship of the photography club. They just don’t know who she is back home and that her future obligations will pull her away too soon.

Commentary:

I found tada never falls in Love to be a pleasant way to spend my time, like being with friends. I knew I liked it by the middle of the first episode. many of the characters have their own back or secret stories which makes it fun for the audience to be ” in the know”.

I don’t think the title was quite- the right description is on the back of the box, the header is “The Princess and the Photographer”. That seems to sum it up better for me. Core to who each of them are, these roles they act out and then we get to see what will unfold from there. The story was solid, a bit predictable but still very nice.

tada never falls in Love is visually appealing. I enjoyed the background and scenery especially. The interiors supported the story and gave a really base for the overall feel of the story. For example, the cozy feel of the coffee shop and the casual comfort of the photography club. It was also beautiful when they are outside and well done. The greenery was presented very artistically.

The one thing I didn’t care for in this anime was the English dub. The script was fine, but the Larcenberg accents were off or awkward, often distracting. Of course there isn’t a real Larcenberg with real accents, and they obviously really tried, but the actors seem to struggle with a consistency to make it seem plausible. I usually prefer to watch anime in an English dub when available but in this case, I preferred the Japanese sound with the English subtitles.

One last note, Nyanko Big , the family cat was very enjoyable. As a character he was full of personality and as a comedic element, he was indeed funny. He could star in his own show.

Overall Grade: B+

What it came here to do, it did well.

Cutie Honey Universe Anime Review

Title: Cutie Honey Universe complete Collection

Director: Akitoshi Yokoyama

Writer: Akiotshi Yokohama

Original concept/manga series: Go Nagai

Producer: Production Reed

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Release Date: July 23, 2019

Genre: Action, fan service

Audio: Japanese and English

Age Rating: 17+

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

The sweet natured young lady named Honey is more than just a student, she also works with PCIS, the organization that fights against the evil collective of monsters called Panther Claw.

Panther Claw is strictly controlled by Sister Jill who wants the Airborne Element Fixing Device that Honey’s father had created. She also has a vendetta against Honey which fuels her insane and ruthless destruction. The disposable monsters that serve Sister Jill are transformed from people she tricks or captures.

In their attempts to force Honey into giving up the Airborne Element Fixing device, Panther Claw will use innocent bystanders to lure Honey into traps. With her instinct for good, Honey engages in battle to try to stop them, all the while struggling with the insight that it is her and her father’s creation that are the true targets.

Commentary:

Cutie Honey Universe is an action anime with a nod to the past. Developed from a manga series created in the 1970’s, this series follows other Cutie Honey shows. This directly influenced the older look of this animation and also the story telling pattern. Still, it had some interesting graphics and design.

This is a story of good and evil, with Honey being the pure goodness. She is sweet, naive and forgiving perhaps to a fault. Sister Jill is almost pure evil. Some of the attacks are unique in form and gruesome in concept. I don’t know why, but some of the violence was just weird. Be prepared to suspended a need for logic or clarity, especially in fights. Some things just don’t make sense, but made for a cool fight.

Cutie Honey Universe seems to get bogged down in the middle by the repetitive nature of the episodes. Panther claw sets a trap, creates havoc, Honey and the PCIS try to stop them, there is a battle and no real resolve. Then it happens in the next episode, just the detail change. We don’t seem to get anywhere in the series very fast. They could have skipped the middle 6 episodes.

The final battle was epic enough to be an exciting climax (my favorite part), but some things in the series seemed to be too quickly skimmed over. Sister Jill’s obsession with Honey (outside the Airborne Element Fixing Device) doesn’t make sense, it is nearly pointless. Where her actions stem from? I would have enjoyed it more had I known. There is more to her, but isn’t addressed in this incarnation of Cutie Honey. A quick search will revel the root of her evil.

Cutie Honey Universe isn’t all action, it has a bit of science fiction, fantasy, comedy, fan service (transformation scenes and clothing fails in battle) and yuri mixed in. All of these elements are mixed in but aren’t dominate enough to use for a recommendation if that would be what you are looking for.

Overall Grade: B

Sagrada Reset

Anime Review


Title: Sagrada Reset: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Shinya Kawatsura

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Release Date: May 21th, 2019

Format: Blu-ray /24 Episodes / 600 Minutes/ 3 Discs

Genre: “metaphysical” drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Grade: A-

Synopsis:

In the small city of Sagrada reality is different. Many of its residents have special and unique abilities. No, not flying or spider like senses, but usually odd and rule specific “talents”. For instance, one man can take photographs that people can enter and talk with the subjects if they tear the paper, but only for 10 minutes. With all the possibilities, good and bad, does someone need to be in control? The Bureau is an organization which attempts to be aware of the abilities in use and step in when necessary. But on whose judgement is this organized, and you might guess there other influencers orchestrating in a different point of view.

Misora Haruki has the ability to reset time, everything begins again where she last saved, including her memories. She can’t even leave herself notes because that too would be reset.  So what can be done with that ability? Without a memory, there isn’t hope that things will be different a second time. Why bother to repeat a day if it would be the same? She doesn’t even know it is a reset. Only when an aquaintance introduces her to Kei Asai does the true importance of her ability becomes practical. Kei’s ability is to remember everything big or little and it is absolute, meaning this memory is intact through resets. He intends to pair up with Haruki as a way to help people and relieve suffering. But life and circumstances are a complicated weave of interdependence. To create a change or plan will undoubtably cause unintended turns in a chain of events.

Commentary:

Sagrada Reset is a layered story and develops increasing complexity. A viewer really needs to pay attention. On that note, during one watch session, a couple of people sat in on an episode a quarter way through the series and they were hooked right away and definitely put this on their list to watch.

Part of the strength of Sagrada Reset is the way it is structured with story blocks running 3-5 episodes long. This gives the back and forth timeline enough space to be better explored. They build upon each other as the series goes on. It also has the ability to evoke a sense of urgency or pressure without being so dramatic.

I found the characters to be interesting. They are easy to care about which could have been very difficult because self-centered/self-serving ability users are the norm. The main characters do have friendships, but they aren’t simple companionship. There is something they need in order to push time in their own chosen direction. New characters are introduced as their abilities are necessary to move the story forward.

Sagrada Reset has some thought provoking ideas and questions. Like how far would you push things if you knew you could reset and live it all over again? What is the importance of memories? How they are valued and do they account for who we are and who other people are to us. If we had the ability to create a copy of someone who is gone, even with the same memories, are they the same person?

Somewhere in the middle, I found things got a bit difficult (complex?), with lots of talking, repeating and explaining. The story, events and results were not just handed to us. Some tricky dialogue, in other words, pseudo-explainations. Like some prose and poetry, it doesn’t all make sense. But trying to figure it out does make it interesting and thought provoking.

Save. I enjoyed Sagrada Reset and plan to watch it again. I think there is even more for me to understand. I want to see what the characters do, to figure out when they are trying to manipulate events, or even if their manipulations are in fact someone else creating the reality. With precognitions, I’ll be able to catch the more subtle movement of the story and its characters the second time around. Reset…

Overall Grade: A-

Who has the right to decide the future, to manipulate the outcomes, the lives of others. Being indirect even when you know the answer.

Just Because Anime Review

Just Because!


Title: Just Because; Complete Collection

U. S. Publisher: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Release Date: 2-26-19

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Director: Atsushi Kobayashi

Genre: Romance Drama

Age Rating: 14+

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

The end of high school is near. The third years are going to be moving on, whether to college or entering into the work force. Most of them are preoccupied with studying for their entrance exams.

If that isn’t enough to worry about, Eitu Izumi has just moved back in the area for the final semester. He moved away during middle school and time moved on. With a lack of energy or interest, he visits his new high school, finds out that some of his childhood classmates attend this school. His old friend Haruto Soma is surprised, but they connect quickly over baseball.

Eitu learns his middle school crush, Mio Natsume, also goes there. This is where things lie hidden and complicated. Eitu likes Mio, Mio likes Soma, Soma likes Morikawa, she doesn’t seem interested in anyone and finally, Ena Komiya likes Eitu.

The classmates and friends move cautiously as they are about to crash into their adult lives. It is time to savor their youth, and they know they will be losing the life they are comfortable with. They need to say what is in their hearts before the oppertunities are lost. However, with everything about to change, does it really matter.

Commentary:

I enjoyed watching Just Because!. And not just because I happened to watch the Valentine’s Day episode on February 14th. It is a high school drama, which most of us have probably seen many over the years, but it didn’t feel like an old story. We meet this new group of teens as Eitu moves back to his former town. As he is reacquainted with the people his friends became, we are introduced to the school and students along side him.

It was interesting how Eitu’s moving really highlighted the change they all had being going though over the years and that this is the finale of their childhood. It was really pivotal to the telling of their story, the changes of life and who you become as you deal with it all.

Just Because!  does take place in a high school, so there are plenty of common, comfortable elements. Besides the exams, there are the issues of liking someone. What do you do with that? I liked the way the characters could develop different views on love and not be stuck in a childish idealistic view. It was interesting how their personalities contributed to the way they dealt with things, it could be moving on, persistence, or changing the circumstances. Do you speak up, confess, or stay back?

I enjoyed the animation, it looks like rotoscoping was used. The animators paid attention to details, back grounds, keeping the camaera angles interesting an adding in visual interests through out. I think it makes it all more immersive and interesting than live action. You can see things differently. There were several instances where they really made a point to emphasizes the animation, like a tear rolling down Komiya’s face, when Eitu was throwing a ball or Soma was swinging a bat. An especially cool moment was when Soma was riding a bike and we see ahead of him from his point of view, the way the shadows change as he passes lights.

Just Because! is both subbed and dubbed. I mostly watch the dubbed, because I prefer it, but then I get used to the charters voices one way, so the Japanese voices seemed like they belong to someone else, but still it was good.

All in all, I liked the characters. The only issue I had there was Eitu’s seemingly indifference. His expressions and emotions were too subdued, but oddly enough, I still like his character. There was something deep within him, but his life circumstances seemed to weigh down on him.

The ending was satisfactory. I want to let you know to watch past when the credits start. They still include story content.

Overall Grade: A- If you like Say I Love You or Tamako’s Market, I think you will like Just Because!

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.

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.

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

 

 

A Devil and Her Love Song (Manga Review)

A Devil and Her Love Song 11Title: A Devil and Her Love Song Volume 11

Story and Art: Miyoshi Tomori

U.S Distributor: Viz Media

U. S. Release Date: December 3, 2013

Genre, Format and length: Shojo manga, 200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar titles: Strobe Edge, La Corda ‘d Oro

Synopsis:

Series overview: Maria is a seemingly unemotional and blunt sort of person. She transfers to a high school and her personality soon causes trouble while the school is involved in a choral competition. Maria has a beautiful face and a voice to match. She does makes some friends and even finds herself with a boyfriend. Her mysterious history influences  how she reacts to the others and she will need to face her past to heal and move forward.

Volume 11 starts with Maria’s voice still gone and Shin’s hand still injured and not healing well. Now that they are a couple, there is pressure to have more of a physical relationship. When Maria finds she can’t express herself with her words, things start to get serious as she uses her body to communicate. Shin slows them down, not wanting to take advantage of the situation.

In a drastic pusht to help Maria get her voice back, Shin and surprisingly Shintaro, go with her to the town where she was from. First finding her old home, they get a clue to move on to find some key people of her past. It turns out that Shintaro has known a lot more than it seems he should. He had an elaborate plan involving Maria, but his motives are as not selfish as they seem.

Commentary

There is a lot that happens in this volume, but trying to avoid spoiling the details leaves me less to talk about. It is strange the way in the beginning of the series, things seem to be at a slower pace and each story took a longer time. Now with this important trip, it all happens very quickly. Not enough time seemed to be given to the unfolding.

Communication is still a problem between Maria and Shin. They are very concerned about each other and are always trying to be protective but without expressing what they need and want, even as they are trying to figure out what is in their own hearts and minds.

Maria definitely pushes the physical relationship since her voice is gone. It is her way to express herself . Shin was really sweet the way he reacted. For me, it makes it a bit confusing about the intended age range. It had seemed okay for early teens, but now with this one scene, I don’t really think so any more. I wish it had not been put in to keep all the content at the same age level.

Maria’s character started out as sort of a loner and blunt in her manner but now she seems to have really embraced emotions. She reacts to meeting the man who appears to be her father surprisingly mild. Perhaps it was Shintaro’s influence, but it just seemed too easy, more like the writer was trying to tie things up for the impending ending, which is at least 2 volumes away. It looks like there is 13 total. So where is this quick revelation going to take us? This leaves some time for Shin and Maria to find where their relationship is going. I hope it slows back down to its original pace. All in all, it is still and enjoyable romance series.

Overall Grade:  B