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Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz! (anime review)

review provided by Andrew & Katie

Title: Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection

Director: Shin Onuma and Masato Jinbo

Studio: Silver Link

Author: Kenji inoue and Hazuki Minase

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: January 31, 2017

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 10 Episodes / 250 Minutes

Genre: Action, Slice of Life, Comedy, Magic Girl, Fantasy

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya & Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei

Synopsis:

Illyasviel von Einzbern’s life has become ridiculously complicated since the Kaleidostick Ruby convinced her to become a magical girl and join the quest for collecting the seven Class Cards. Since then, almost every day has brought a new surprise, from gaining new friends and partners like Miyu Edelfelt, to encountering her own magical twin!

One would think Illya deserves a little time off, right? No such luck: a trip to the beach quickly turns into a magical quest, and Illya finds herself caught in a string of magical feuds, encounters with love potions, an excursion into the world of “boys love” comics (plus the women who read them), and half a dozen other delirious diversions.

However, that is only the warm-up for what might be her final mission: recovering the long-lost Eighth Card! It’s a mystical whirlwind of unexpected escapades and surprising new revelations as Illya’s saga continues in Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection!

Commentary:

Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection picks up right where Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei left off and turns into a slice of life series for the first six episodes. During those six episodes everything seemed to drag, as nothing seemed to contribute to the plot of being a magical girl. There was not even one fight, or transformation scene. It took some time, but after finishing the series, I understand why they did that and it makes sense, however at the same time I wish they could have staged it out a little more. One thing they did well during that time was to advance the character development quite a bit, and also beyond Illya, Chloe(Kuro), and Miyu. They developed the characters of their group of friends, and the other normally background characters that are rarely seen more than one episode straight. Another thing that went way over the edge was the fan service. I like my fan service, but this got a little too unnatural and redundant after a while. I wish they would have toned down the fan service a bit. It started feeling forced and burdensome. Eventually, it added up and became too much and did take away from the story but the character development helped keep things moving along at a bearable pace.

Eventually after all the trips to the mall, the beach, the festival, the amusement park, and doing the all the summer homework (Basphamy!!!!) we finally are ready to be a magical girl again. As with all the other seasons the battle scenes continue to be very well done and exciting. As always its action packed and exciting. Even though the action was limited to the last four episodes, they did make up for the slowness of the first half. It even eventually explained, in a roundabout way, why they did it the way they did. By the end of last episode, everything is easily wrapped up tightly with a nice little bow. That is until the credits……..

Though this season was slow at first, the eventual payoff is well worth the investment of time. I normally am a fan of slice of life style animes, but for some reason this dragged to me at first. But once you get thru it and understand the reasons why, Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection is a must have continuation of this great series.

Extras:

Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations Herz! Shorts, 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-

Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection is the perfect follow-up to the entire series. Just make sure you watch them in order so you can understand the entire story.

The World God Only Knows Ultimate Collection (anime review)

Title: The World God Only Knows Ultimate Collection

Director: Hideyuki Kurata

Studio: Manglobe

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 3rd, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 36 Episodes and 4 OVAs/ 1000 minutes

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Harem, School Life, Video Games

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

The World God Only Knows Ultimate Collection contains episodes 1-12 of season 1, 1-12 of season 2, 1-12 of season 3, and 1-4 of the OVA.

Keima Katsuragi’s skill at winning women’s hearts is so legendary that he’s called The God Of Conquests, but that’s only in dating video games, not the real world.

Suddenly, Keima’s life takes a turn for the weird when he answers what he thinks is an online gaming challenge. Instead, he ends up with a demon contract, and now he has to help perky demon hunter Elsie track down a bunch of demons that have escaped from hell!

The reason: the demons have hidden themselves within the hearts of a group of random girls, and the only way to get them out is if Keima can make the girls fall in love with him. Also, just to make sure that Keima is properly incentivized, his failure will result in the loss of something important: his head!

Hopefully, the tricks Keima’s mastered with virtual girls will work just as well with live ones. Otherwise, things are going to get really messy in the spectacular ultimate collection of THE WORLD GOD ONLY KNOWS!

Commentary:

 

In the overarching collection the shinning star are the first two seasons. Watching Keima go from unwilling participant to someone who has a secret love for the chase is fun and entertaining. The parody of the otaku world is not lost and there are some wonderful examples of the reality that has gripped the entire world when it comes to gaming and almost any other fandom.

The story itself is a rather silly, but it creates some wonderful situations  that are played out in a witty and humors fashion. The writing for season 1 and 2 manages to prove the point  that if it is clear what needs to be done then the story can write itself.

For season 3 Dating Game master Keima Katsuragi’s skills at conquering hearts in the virtual world have translated into real life so well that he and Spirit Hunter associate Elsie have already captured 14 of the runaway spirits attaching themselves to the souls of different girls. But is even the God of Conquests up to the task of romancing six REAL Goddesses?

The fate of the world may depend on it, because if Keima can’t do it six more times, a renegade faction of demons will use the Goddesses power to unleash an even more dangerous and powerful group of demons. That could mean the devastation of both Heaven and the Earth! (Not to mention Keima losing his own head.) And if the situation wasn’t difficult enough, it seems that the Goddesses’ souls are hidden inside girls that Keima has already had to make fall in love with him before. As part of the magic spell, they’ve all forgotten about him… or have they?

It is understandable that the overall popularity of the series pushed the studio to make a 3rd season. It is also understandable that there was some attempt to use the earlier plot line to help drive the current story. I can appreciate both, but as it all too often comes to pass, I can say that The World God Only Knows: Goddesses doesn’t even come close to being as entertaining as the first two seasons.

It is great to see all the characters come back and to have the wide array of personalities to play off of it just felt forced and more than just a little contrived. Of course it is natural that anime come across contrived because it is contrived. Once in a while an anime will feel somewhat natural, but most of the time you walk away thinking to yourself that they really pushed it this time. The World God Only Knows: Goddesses doesn’t pull any punches in that category.

One thing I have learned over the years is not to expect much from OVAs. As for The World God Only Knows OVAs I can say that I found them to be both disappointing and pleasing. On the dissapointing side of things I thought 2 of the OVAs were simple through away episodes that didn’t really catch the essence of the series but on the two that dealt with Tenri and Diana proved to be both entertaining and helpful with back story that is key in the Goddess season.

The other two OVAs were a simply there for a quick smile at best. At worst they added nothing to the story and made a few of the characters look a little silly. I’m always amazed when I see OVA’s come out I hope and pray that they wrap things up but more often than not they just give us nothing but a laugh if we are lucky.

Overall Grade: B

When looking at the complete body of the series I find that the balance of interest must fall on season 1 & 2. Season 3 is a weak reminder of the essence of the story and the OVAs are just a money grab.

After being such a fan of The World God Only Knows and having the OVAs tossed out there a reminded that anime is more of a business than an art form and the reality is that they are trying to make a profit. I can’t be to saddened by this release because there is some material in the group that is relevant to the series. I also see the other OVAs as simple comic relief and nothing more.

If you are a serious fan of The World God Only Knows then this set is something that you will want to own. If you aren’t then I would say look else were for your entertainment.

Extras:

Japanese Promos, Music Videos, Clean Opening Animation.

Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection (anime review)

little-busters-exreview provided by Andrew and Katie

Title: Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection

Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa

Studio: J.C. Staff

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: December 6, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 8 Episodes / 200 Minutes

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

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Little Busters, Little Busters: Refrain

Synopsis:

Does the new girl in Riki Naoe’s life need his help, or is she actually trying to kill him? After a chance encounter on a rooftop brings the enigmatic Saya Tokido into the Little Busters’ world, the only thing that’s certain is that trouble is sure to follow.

As if saving the lives of his teammates wasn’t enough of a task to handle, now Riki must also untangle a web of new mysteries that seem to be rooted in his own personal past! Who are the Dark Executives, why do they want to keep Saya and Riki apart, and what is the nature of the secret treasure that Saya seeks? Sometimes, answers lead to even more questions as Riki and the Little Busters discover that they weren’t the only people drawn into Kyousuke’s artificial world in Little Busters! EX!

Commentary:

Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection in the three-arc OVA series that follows Little Busters!: Refrain. However, it seems that Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection takes place in an alternate world or universe and the characters know about it. Two of the arcs, the Kanata and the Sasami arc make the most sense and fit in with the rest of the series. Saya’s arc made the least sense of all because she only exists in the alternate world and the four episode arc is the only time she is in the entire series. Her arc was also the weakest in that it ends with no resolution while the other two arcs have some kind of resolution even though they are shorter in length.

There was a decent amount of character development in Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection. Saya was an interesting character to say the least.  Apparently she and Riki met each other when they were children and that causes her to fall in love with him. She is also your run-of-the-mill tsundere that appears in every harem amine series. Sasami and Kanata are a bit more realistic but I can name other series where I have seen the cold/mysterious personalities. They are both every stand-offish and keep to themselves. However, both girls did grow as characters over their separate two episode arcs and eventually learned to trust and fall in love.

The animation was very pretty and the backgrounds did not take away from the characters. The voice actors did a good job of bringing the characters to life. The opening and closing songs were catchy and were fun to listen to. All in all, Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection was an interesting addition to the entire series.

Extras:

Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection 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-

Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection is an interesting addition to the Little Busters! series. I recommend this release to anyone who has seen the rest of the series.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection (anime review)

snafu-season-2Review provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection

Director: Kei Oikawa

Studio: feel.

Author: Shotaro Suga

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: October 18, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 13 episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Romance, School Life, Drama

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Haganai, Haganai: NEXT, Kokoro Connect, and Toradora!

The good, the bad, and the socially maladjusted are back!

Synopsis:

The stampede of recent events may have herded the awkward members of the Service Club into something closer to a real bonding, but the upcoming field trip to Kyoto threatens to reverse those tiny steps forward. Alongside a list of attractions to see, they will also be taking along a lot of emotional baggage, and helping others with their personal and romantic issues may just cause the entire luggage rack to collapse.

Between Hachiman’s growing realization of how much he can manipulate others, Yukino’s underlying battles with responsibility, and Yui’s shifting needs and insecurities, the tenuous thread that holds their relationship together is more fragile than ever. Even as the path ahead is strewn with psychological traps, the feelings that each of them refuse to acknowledge may end up being the true pitfall in My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection.

Commentary:

I was so excited to hear that My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection was finally being released. I loved the first season and I was really looking forward to the conclusion that My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection would give the story. Boy was I wrong about that conclusion because Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui end up not talking about their feelings at all and instead shove them all to the side so they can just be friends. There was no plot progression, actually it crawled at a snail’s pace and never really went anywhere, and the characters did not change or develop at all.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection starts off where the first season left off at the school festival and Hachiman’s behavior is explained to some degree. Then they all go off to Kyoto and that is where all the problems for our three main characters start. Hachiman decides to go off and change the outcome of one of the club’s projects and they did not care at all for how he handled it. Yukino’s older sister comes back into the story and just causes all sorts of trouble and eventually brings their mother into the picture because she is worried that Yukino is just copying her older sister and not becoming her own person. That situation is what forces Yukino to set her true feelings aside and it changed her personality. Yui is just too shy to say her true feelings and instead just wants everyone to be friends and get along. She knows that cannot happen but she still pushes for it every chance she gets.

The animation changed a bit from the first season but it still looks great. The colors are bright and lively and the backgrounds do not detract from the characters. The voice actors did a great job as always. The opening and closing animations were catchy and I found myself singing along with them within a few episodes.

Extras:

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations, a special animation, and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English subtitles as the only language option.

 

Overall Grade: B-

Even though I do not have much good to say about My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection I did still enjoy it and I hope they decide to make a third season so that the story can be wrapped up. A girl can always wish, right?

Aoharu X Machinegun Complete Collection(anime review)

814131018090_anime-aoharu-x-machinegun-primaryTitle: Aoharu X Machinegun

Director: Hideaki Nakano

Studio: Brian’s Base

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

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

Format: Blu-ray/13 Episodes/325 minutes

Genre: Action, Comedy

Age Rating: TV14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis: 

When Hotaru Tachibana storms into a host club to avenge the honor of a wronged female student, the last thing Hotaru expects is to duel the club’s most popular host with airsoft guns instead of fists.

When Masamune Matsuoka’s experience wins out over Tachibana’s brawn, he realizes that he can use his victory (and the large bill for damaging the club) to make Tachibana join his struggling Survival Gaming team. However, what ladies’ man Masamune totally misses is that his unwilling new guy… isn’t a guy at all!

Under the boy’s clothing and strong need to defend justice, Tachibana is all-girl, but, for a number of complicated reasons, she absolutely CAN’T expose that fact to Masamune or his teammate, the erotic manga artist Toru Yukimura.

Blood will boil both on and off the airsoft arena, but it’s not over until the last round is shot in AOHARU X MACHINEGUN!

Commentary:

After reading the synopsis of Aoharu X Machinegun I was sure that it was going to be a remake of Ouran Highschool Host Club but with Air Soft guns. It didn’t take long for me to get past that see Aoharu X Machinegun for what it real is. It is fun to watch and engage with. This odd series gives you almost every reason to walk away, but it also manages to grab and hold your interest all the way through all 13 episodes.

There was plenty of character development, but there was plenty of questions left open at the end. Now it is very possible that a second season might show up at some time I just have a feeling that it really is complete. The way the plot developed and the ending managed to pul a few things together it still had that all too common Japanese ending. The final few episodes reminded me of how culture plays a big role in what we see and how stories play out. In the west there would have been a huge battle that ended with the underdog triumphing over the big dog and making everyone feel good and wonderful. This is not the Japanese way, there is a feel good ending, but it is much more personal.

Overall Grade: B+

Aoharu X Machinegun is a fun series that leaves you wishing you had friends like that. Of course this is anime and the real world might have been much more cruel. I think the one thing that held me back on the series is the inability to open the story up for a deeper connection between the trio.

If you are looking for a series that is just fun to watch and takes an older plot device and gives you something you didn’t expect then Aoharu X Machingun is for you.

Re-Kan! (anime review)

re-kanTitle: Re-Kan!: Complete Series on Blu-ray

Director: Masashi Kudo

Written By: Takahashi Aoshima

Music By: Hiroyuki Kōzu

Studio: Pierrot

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date:

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Supernatural

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis: 

Narumi Inoue has a problem with the new girl in school. It’s not that Hibiki Amami is impolite or a bully… it’s just that she sees, speaks with, and befriends ghosts!

Now, it’s at the point that when Amami’s around, Inoue sometimes sees them too, spelling disaster for a girl who’s terrified of anything supernatural. However, Amami’s genuine kindness makes it hard for Inoue to ignore her, especially when her friends Kyoko, Kana, and Makoto, as well as the other students, have accepted Amami’s habit of talking to thin air and walking around invisible obstacles.

With gentle coaxing (and the knowledge that her departed grandmother is watching over her), Inoue finds herself immersed in Amami’s strange, otherworldly adventures. Fulfilling the last wishes of the dead might not be a normal after-school activity, but at least they’ll always know why the ghost crossed to the other side in RE-KAN!

Commentary:

Right off the bat Re-Kan! caught me by surprise. This almost silly series made me feel a little softer and kinder. It seemed to want us to disrespect it because of the overtly yuri leanings, but in the end I still felt warm inside. The tone was everything and I never felt unwanted or left out. The fact that Amami’s ability to see spirits was accepted by her friends and class mates managed to come across more naturally than I would have expected. This connection made the entire series much easier to watch.

Overall Grade: B+

I typically do not enjoy yuri inspired anime or even the hint of love between girls. I guess it is because I am a guy and very jealous about girls not liking guys the same way I like girls, but on a personal level can understand how connections happen between people no matter what sex they are.

None-the-less, I found the simple easy going and mildly funny Re-Kan! to be an anime for everyone. I think that the only shortcoming is the simplicity of the story line. The character development and basic plot are strong enough to carry the full series, but I think that if there were a little more depth to the series / story I think it could have overcome the teenage love interest between the girls and made the series more about the friendships and bonds they all really made in their first year of school together.

Re-Kan! is a anime to watch if you want a simple high school story with kind humor and even kinder characters that are very likable. Check it out I think you will come away with the same warm pleasant feeling that I did.

 

Labyrinth of Grisaia and Eden of Grisaia (anime review)

labyrinth-of-grisaiareview provided by Andrew and Katie

Title: Labyrinth of Grisaia and Eden of Grisaia: Complete Collection

Director: Motoki Tanaka

Studio: 8-bit

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: September 27, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 10 Episodes + 1 OVA / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Fan Service, School Life

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Fruit of Grisaia

 

“Yuji, you are not allowed to die until you save the lives of five people.” – Asako

Synopsis:

Yuji Kazami fulfilled a promise, but that promise was made long before he reached Mihama Academy. The seeds of the future are sown as young Yuji’s family is ravaged and his psyche is shattered, only to be reshaped in the fires of violent training and war in The Labyrinth of Grisaia. However, Yuji’s saga continues as his past catches up with him, and he is defended by the most unlikely guardian angels in The Eden of Grisaia.

 

Follow the grisly journey as the boy is forced to become a man, and delve into the aftermath of The Fruit of Grisaia in this special complete edition that contains both parts of the untold story: Labyrinth of Grisaia and Eden of Grisaia: Complete Collection

 

Commentary:

The Labyrinth of Grisaia and Eden of Grisaia: Complete Collection is the ending to a wonderful series named The Fruit of Grisaia. You must begin with Fruit then you move onto Labyrinth of Grisaia and Eden of Grisaia: Complete Collection. The Labyrinth of Grisaia is what is on the entire first disk and is the OVA that starts this release off. We learn all about Yuji’s past, including the good, the bad, and the really ugly. The Labyrinth of Grisaia also explains why Yuji is the way he is and also tells us where he learned his skills. Everything is coming to light because of meeting up with JB and having to be debriefed. While this is going on, the Mihama Academy girls find out about Yuji’s past and want to let him know they still care about him and they all love him in their own way. Personally, I do not believe a normal human being could survive what he went through. As for The Eden of Grisaia, it picks up right where The Labyrinth of Grisaia leaves off. The girls find out that Yuji has been framed for terrorist activities and set out to save him. That is the entire plot of The Eden of Grisaia in just a few words.

 

I loved the character development that happened in both The Labyrinth of Grisaia and Eden of Grisaia: Complete Collection because it gives you more insight into the characters that we were introduced to in the first season. We finally learn all about Yuji and we also learn about his relationship with his sister. The girls also come into their own and mature throughout the series. JB is finally given some background and we learn why she does what she does. We are also introduced to Asako who took Yuji in when they saved him from his evil guardian. Asako really understood Yuji’s frame of mind when he was rescued and in the end she saved his life and gave him a reason to live.

 

The animation was beautiful and really worked for the setting of the series. The voice actors did an amazing job with their characters and you can tell they had some fun while working. The music added to the series as it was moving yet at the same time, it was just light enough to remind you that there is some comedy in the series.

 

Extras:

The Labyrinth of Grisaia and Eden of Grisaia: Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English subtitles as the only language option.

 

Overall Grade: B+

Labyrinth of Grisaia and Eden of Grisaia: Complete Collection is the perfect conclusion to The Fruit of Grisaia and I highly recommend it for an enjoyable watch. Be forewarned though, the age rating is there for a reason because there is a large amount of fan-service and adult language/situations in this series.

 

 

Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite: Complete Collection (anime review)

814131011398_anime-hanaukyo-maid-team-la-verite-dvd-primaryreview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite: Complete Collection

Director: Takuya Nonaka

Studio: Daume

Author: Morishige

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U.S. Release Date: September 6, 2016

Format and Length: DVD / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Harem, Fan Service

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: C

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Hayate the Combat Butler

Synopsis:

Moving is seldom easy, but when newly orphaned Taro Hanaukyo arrives in Tokyo to live with his wealthy grandfather, what he finds literally blows his mind. Because Grandpa has skipped off to a remote island, leaving his estate and its huge staff at Taro’s beck and call. A staff that seems to consist entirely of maids: maids in charge of cooking, maids in charge of cleaning, maids in charge of computer programming, maids in charge of technological research and development, and, of course, maids in charge of making the garden grow.

But of course Taro doesn’t just have pretty maids all in a row; he’s got them in regiments and battalions! What was his grandfather thinking? And what will Taro do with them? Did we mention that he is a middle school student with otaku tendencies?

Head maid Mariel and her staff may be in for a rough period of adjustment as the new master of the house takes charge in Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite: Complete Collection.

Commentary:

UGH, yet another anime series that had its plot ruined by fan service! Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite: Complete Collection had a lot of promise in theory; however there was absolutely no tone or theme set up. Instead the first episode consists of bad one-liner jokes and Toro being chased around his manor by “thousands” of naked maids yelling “Toro-sama!!” and trying to smother him. This happens a couple of more times throughout the series but it just seems ridiculous. Then the plot completely flips into a sad story about Mariel, the head maid, and how her “secret” might mess up the love story between her and Toro.

There was no character development past the love story between Mariel and Toro. The only other character that was well done and added dimension to the story was Grace/Cynthia. They are the same person; just that one is awake while the other sleeps. The other characters seemed flat and took away from the scenes they were in. Sadly, Mariel’s “secret” is not so much a surprise or damaging to the story as it sets up the actual story line that is completed in the last three to four episodes. And you can see it coming from a mile away.

The animation was interesting. It looked like they changed animation styles after about 7 episodes as everything turned really bubbly then. It was a little distracting because you focus more on what happened to the animation instead of what is going on in the episode. The voice actors did a good job and the music was standard, nothing stood out and I cannot really remember any of it.
Extras:

Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite: Complete Collection 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: C

Personally, I would just watch Hayate the Combat Butler instead of Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite: Complete Collection as it is the better of the two. However, if you want to see a boy get chased around his manor by naked maids then Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite: Complete Collection is the series for you.

Rin-ne collection 2 (anime review)

814131013194_anime-rin-ne-2-blu-ray-primaryTitle: Rin-ne Collection 2 on Blu-ray

Director: Seiki Sugawara

Writer: Michiko Yokote

Studio: Brian’s Base

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: September 6th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray/ 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Supernatural, Romance

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

Sakura Mamiya’s life was odd long before she started helping her fellow student and half-Shinigami Rinne Rokudo assist lost souls in reaching the land of the dead. However, as strange as the various spooks, specters and other other-worldly entities that Sakura has encountered on a daily basis may have been, nothing is as out and out bizarre as finding herself and Rinne involved in a complicated web of perceived romantic relationships that also include a former childhood friend and now frustrated exorcist, Tsubasa Jumonji, and the air-headed and extremely gullible Shinigami Ageha. After all, Sakura’s not really sure she’s even attracted to Rinne!

On the other hand, given the dangers inherent in foiling the efforts of the soul-stealing Damashigani, worrying about anyone’s love life is going to have to take second place to avoiding becoming part of the afterlife herself. It’s a second round of second thoughts and second chances in the second stunning collection of RIN-NE!

Commentary:

Rin-ne is one of the contemporary classic anime that follows the supernatural world with lots of slapstick comedy and silly comedic romance. With the love triangle between Rinne, Sakura and Tsubasa and of course the more than silly Ageha vying for Rinne the series jumps from situation to situation with much the same result. There are plenty of smiles in this rather silly series and when it comes to playing with the supernatural Rin-ne has a lot of fun.

Overall Grade: B+

With 50 episodes to date this set only gets us half way there. In the world of Shinigami Anime Rin-ne gives us purely comedic look much the same as some newer anime like Kokomo San. It doesn’t get as bogged down as Inu Yasha or Bleach and surely doesn’t have the darkness of Blue Exorcist.

Rin-ne is a fun series and if you are looking for something that has a light romantic tenge or rather silly high school look at a couple of boys after one girl then you should check out Rin-ne. Be sure to start with collection one if you do.

Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen—The Complete Collection (anime review)

814131013491_anime-rozen-maiden-zuruckspulen-blu-ray-primaryoriginal review provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen—The Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Mamoru Hatekayama

Studio: Studio Deen

Author: Tomomi Mochizuki

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U.S. Release Date: September 20th, 2016

Format and Length: DVD / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Magic

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Fate / Stay Night, Another, and Steins;Gate

Will you wind it? Yes or No?

Synopsis:

Have you ever wondered how your life would be if you had made a decision that led down a different path than you are on now? Just such an opportunity is presented to Jun Sakurada in his darkest hour so he could possibly fix the shattered remains of his own world. He is given the chance to communicate with a future version of himself; however this version did not wind the key but still needs to bring forth the Rozen Maidens. When adult Jun discovers a box with parts and building instructions for a familiar red-dressed doll, the goal becomes clear: revive Shinku in his world to save both worlds from succumbing to the evils of Kirakisho, the seventh sister, only a disembodied soul in a desperate search for a body and master. For adult Jun, who originally did not wind up Shinku, the messages from his younger self represent a beacon of light in his mediocre and disappointing existence. The Alice Game will become a war of dimensions as two worlds hang by the threads of fate.

Commentary:

Having been years since the release of the last Rozen Maiden season, this release kinda took some by surprise, as the thinking was that there was not a further continuation to the story. For those who are familiar with or got in to the original releases, this one is a must have continuation. Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen—The Complete Collection (referred to by some as the third season) dives deeper into the possibilities it had opened than any storylines previously. It extends deeper into the psychological side of the series. You will know all the characters, as the only addition is, of course, the older Jun, now away from his sister, by himself, in college, and working part time. It dives into who he had become, never having met or known Shinku and the others. Never having changed from the negative anti-social shut in, you find how Jun’s life is today.

But this is not the same old Rozen Maiden you first saw years ago. This does not necessarily feel like a sequel. It’s a new story, and the only relation to the original is the main “what if” premise, the Alice games, and of course the characters. All the characters are basically the same as originally built in the previous series, with new personality additions that you never got in the originals. One major difference you will notice is they gave everyone some touch up. They added more detail to the art. They lessened the extreme color saturation you will remember bleeding across the old tube tvs. Overall, it’s a darker story line than any of the previous. Because of this, they had to add a new side to all the personalities, building the characters even deeper than you previously had known them to be. Never seen the original two seasons? Even if you are picking up Rozen Maiden for the very first time, they take the time to explain what you need to know, and to re-establish everybody’s personalities so don’t worry, you will be able to fully enjoy this one without finding the originals and having to play catch up. It may also spark a desire to watch, or re-watch in my case, the original series.

As I said before they gave everything a touch up artistically. Being in high definition they had to, but it was nice to see the extra detail you never got before. The art work seemed more sketched at times, but it worked. They also added detail to the lolita costumes they all wear. It was also nice that they adjusted the colors from the original. The extreme hues always drove me up a wall. The original personalities meld quite will with the new additions. They remain as kawaii as ever, ending every sentence with desu (or yes in the English dubbed versions) and of course kashira (maybe, and you know in English dubs). The opening and closing animations and music are quite catchy. I found myself humming the closing the entire time I was typing this. They helped to set the mood they wanted for the series. Overall if you are a fan, or a newbie trying this one for the first time, it will not disappoint.

Extras:

Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen—The Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series has both English and Japanese with English Subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: B+
I really enjoyed watching this series and cannot wait to re-watch the entire series again.