Rss

Archives for : Atsuko Ishizuka

No Game No Life (anime review)

No-Game-No-LifeTitle: No Game No Life Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Atsuko Ishizuka

Writer: Jukki Hanada

Studio: Madhouse

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: July 28th. 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 300 minutes/ 12 Episodes

Genre: Gaming, Harem, Comedy, Drama

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Synopsis:

On the internet, they’re legends: the tag-team duo known as BLANK, famed for their incredible game-playing skills. In the real world, however, the lives of 18 year old Sora and his 11 year old stepsister Shiro have been spiraling out of control. Now existing as shut-ins, they rarely leave their house and are unable to be separated without suffering panic attacks. Games, for them, are the safest retreat from reality. Until they win a chess match against a mysterious opponent known as Tet and find themselves pulled into a game bigger than any they could have ever imagined.

Now, in a world where the outcome of games determines the fates of both civilizations and species, they must defend Humanity in the ultimate challenge, vying against a host of otherworldly competitors for the right to rule them all! But if they fail, it means slavery or destruction for all mankind. No pressure, of course! Can two misfits who can barely handle their own lives somehow rise to the occasion and save the human race?

Commentary:

Oh no not another stuck in the game anime! Yep, that’s right it’s a mother story where the main characters get stuck in a game world. Can you say .hack, Sword Art Online and Log Horizon just to name a few already showing the way? I was already regretting watching No Game No Life before I hit play and the first episode left me feeling like I was right. I started off so self assured and pretentious that I really didn’t want to keep going. Well, to say the least I managed to stomach a few more episodes and found that my disillusionment was all mistaken. The series managed to do something I would have never expected, it ended up being good.

No Game No Life takes the stuck in the game concept and adds onto the smart player roll developed in Log Horizon and thorns it on its ear with Sora and Shiro. They seem to understand the game better than anyone else and things unfold in unexpected ways. This plot device helps save the show and take it to a level that both entertains and gives rise to questions about the series itself. I’m not trying to say that they intentionally write in gaps of understanding, but because of the way the series progresses it becomes clear that there were simple basics overlooked to make it all work.

Overall Grade: B-

No Game No Life is an interesting series that takes the genre to another level. It is just too bad that there are so many aspects of the series that slow it down or just derail it from time to time. The fact that the concepts are so strong should have lent it to not having to rely on fan service or moe, but these elements tend to stay rather close to the core of the series. There is also the artistic palate that disrupts the flow and visual aesthetics of the series. I found the overwhelming amount of blue and pink to be oppressive and distracting. In the first few episodes I found myself wanting to walk away because of the visual and conceptual aspects of the series. I have to say that the writing saved it from a rather gruesome death.

There is plenty to dislike about this little series, but in the end I found a fondness for it that I can only call baffling at best. For all you gamers out there who need some sex-appeal in your life then you just might find this series worth the time to watch 12 episodes. For all you fan service / moe fans you should be sold by the cover and I doubt if you will be disappointed. So, check it out and if you are not sure about the series you should wait until the 4 or 5th episode before you turn if off. I have a feeling that you will end up sticking around to find out how it ends. I know I am still wondering that myself.

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou (anime review)

The Pet Girl of SakurasouTitle:The Pet Girl of Sakurasou complete collection on Blu-ray

Director: Atsuko Ishizuka

Writer: Mari Okada

Studio: J. C. Staff

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: April 14, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 24 Episodes / 600 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Absurdity, Slice of Life, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

Banished from normal housing for the crime of adopting stray cats, Sorata Kanda’s life has gone to the dogs and he’s been impounded in Sakura Hall, a notorious den of troublemakers, geniuses and weirdos. Since he has a penchant for taking in small, cute but sometimes not completely loveable creatures, he’s been tasked with keeping fellow resident Mashiro Shiina, an acclaimed but highly dysfunctional and unfocused artist, from forgetting to eat, brush her hair or wear clothes. Then there are the other residents of Sakura Hall, all of whom have their own unique quirks and challenging relationships.

Commentary:

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou has finally been put together as a sin leg set and I think it could have found a good  number of new fans if there was a english dub, but Sentai Filmworks is not there yet. Never-the-less this is still a delightful series that doesn’t demand too much of you and at the same time manages to bring on plenty of good feeling toward this strange, but lovable group of misfits. Sorata may be portrayed as the normal one of the bunch and in some ways he may fit into everyday society a little better, but I see him as possibly the strangest one of the bunch. The fact that he has a unbridled weakness for cat makes him a huge favorite and he also allows himself to be the center of the group without being a overbearing shining obstacle to all of their uniqueness.

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is a delightful short series of 24 episodes that manages to give up plenty to smile about. The animation is perfect for the series. It is bright and cheery that helps keep the series in its element. I can’t say that it was powerful or moving like a studio ghibli movie, but it did go well with the story even if it was rather common for 2012/2013 standards.

Overall Personal Grade: B+

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou has a level of drama included that helps keep the story level and even. The trial and tribulations these young people are going through are similar to many of the struggle all of have gone through. Of course a couple of the demons are a little melodramatic but that too is fine because it gives everyone a reason to feel their sadness and also cheer when the rest of the world is being brought into their drama.

Again I feel like this is a great series and in many ways it put older classic slice of life series like Clannad to shame, but it doesn’t have a huge fan base in the states because there is no english dub. I know that there are the hard core fans that want the Japanese voices acting with the english subtitle. I think this is a little bit of a narrow view of things and a flash back to older dubs were they just simply sucked. Over the last few years I have only come across very few anime where the english dub ruins the series. Anyway, in the case of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou I am confident that a solid dub would propel it into the classic status it deserves.

Either way I have to tip my hat to the series and tell everyone that if they haven’t see The Pet Girl of Sakurasou yet then they need to get busy and check it out.

Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Collection 2 (anime review)

Pet Girl of Sakurasou part 2Review provided by Katie

Title: Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Collection 2

Director: Atsuko Ishizuka

Studio: J.C. Staff

Author: Hajime Kamoshida

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U.S. Release Date: March 11, 2014

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

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy, School Life

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Toradora!, Honey and Clover, and Ai Yori Aoshi

 

Synopsis:

Sorata Kanada never really had a choice when his teacher, Chihiro, told him to watch over her niece, Mashiro Shiina. Sorata was tasked with keeping the highly acclaimed but dysfunctional and unfocused artist Mashiro from forgetting to eat, brushing her hair, and wearing all the clothing required to leave the house. It has been a long, slow battle but he has reached a point where he has a general understanding of her quirks and accepts the fact that Mashiro will walk out of the dorm half-naked.

Unfortunately, the rest of the students living in Sakura Hall are not doing as well understanding the opposite sex. Misaki does not understand why Jin decides to keep her in the dark about his feelings, Nanami cannot tell Sorata about her feelings and Ryuunosuke just does not understand Rita, just to name a few of the problems they face. To add to these problems, Sorata still has his problem of picking up cats and keeping them instead of adopting them out to other people. Will the students be able to work through their problems with the opposite sex or will they rule their lives forever? Will the students be able to save Sakura Hall from getting torn down? You will have to watch Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Collection 2 and find out for yourself.

Commentary:

I went into watching Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Collection 2 with low expectations because I did not think I would like how they wrapped up the romantic issues between the characters. Boy was I wrong. I loved this anime and I am now pushing my husband to watch it because usually if I love an anime he will love it as well. By the middle of episode 23 I was sitting on the edge of my seat and by the end of that episode I was crying. The story line really exploded in the second collection and moved at a good pace. The characters had more development and back story as well.

I really loved the interaction between Nanami and Sorata in these episodes. Nanami is coming to terms with the fact that she loves Sorata but at the same time she also realizes that Sorata loves Mashiro. So then she accepts the fact that she is just really the third reel in that equation. Sorata realizes that he feels insecure around Mashiro because she is an accomplished artist and he cannot get a video game that he designed to pass the company’s review board. But he overcomes that and realizes that he actually cares for Mashiro. We also learn why Ryuunosuke acts how he does. Then you have the undecided couple, Misaki and Jin, and all the hilarity that follows them.

I love how Pet Girl of Sakurasou shows evolution of the friendship between the dorm-mates and them working together to save Sakura Hall from getting torn down. I loved how the characters worked together to keep their home safe and learned more about each other in the process. By the end of the series, you can tell that the residents of Sakura Hall are a family and really care for each other.  The opening and closing songs were catchy and well done. I found myself humming along with the music by episode five. The rest of the music was also wonderful. The voice acting was spot on and well delivered to the audience. The art was well drawn and brought Mashiro’s manga to life. Plus there were chibi’s and those are always so cute and funny.

Extras:

Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Collection 2 includes Japanese CD spots, clean opening and closing animations, and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features.

Overall Grade: A-

Hajime Kamoshida wrote an amazing anime that I really enjoyed; although, episode 24 almost looked like an ad for a second season of Pet Girl of Sakurasou. It would be awesome if a second season is released, but I am happy with how the story line ended. Overall, I give both collections an A- and I recommend this anime to anyone who loves romantic comedies or school dramas.

Similar Titles:

If you enjoyed watching either Toradora!, Honey and Clover, or Ai Yori Aoshi then you will more than likely enjoy Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Collection 1 or Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Collection 2.