Rss

Archives for : Comedy

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.

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.

Gundam Build Fighters Try (anime review)

gundam-build-fighters-tryTitle: Gundam Build Fighters Try 

Director: Shinya Watada

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Sunrise, Right Stuf

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

Format: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 625 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Drama, Comedy, Fantasy

Age Rating: TV – 8+

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis: 

In Gundam Build Fighters Try, seven years have passed since Sei Iori won the 7th Gunpla Battle Championship World Tournament. The Gunpla Battle Championship is now run by Yajima Trading. With new rules and battle modes, the game’s popularity has become even more widespread.

However, the Seiho Academy that Sei Iori once attended has failed to catch onto the trend. The only member of the school’s Gunpla Battle Club is its president, middleschooler Fumina Hoshino. Currently there is no way the club can participate in the upcoming Gunpla Battle Japanese Under19 Championship, where players fight in teams of three.

Then Fumina meets a new transfer student. He is Sekai Kamiki, a young martial artist who has been travelling with his master. Together with a young Gunpla builder named Yuuma Kousaka, they finally have three members for their team.

Sekai Kamiki, Yuuma Kousaka, and Fumina Hoshino — team “TRY FIGHTERS” is about to begin its challenge!

Commentary:

The Build Fighters universe is a lot more fun than the original Gundam universe. Nobody dies and only the ones who really love the battle get the win. The concept of building these Gunpla just for the fun to compete is something to take and enjoy for what it is. I know that I found it both funny and uplifting. In may ways it was a typical anime that used heavy sentimental posing to bring home the dramatic moments and then tossed in a mild harem aspect to keep the comedy moving forward. I think that many of the plot points may have been simplistic, but it is the nature of the series to be that way.

The way that the try fighters grew in both understanding and friendship is a reminder of how we, as humans, need each other to find  richer  meaning and satisfaction in our lives. Gundam Build Fighters Try showcases each of the team members and shows how different personalities and abilities make a strong team not a bunch of members with the same views and talents. We are also given a taste of what it is to be underdogs who manage to find respect and unification in all that they do.

Overall Grade: A-

After all is said and done Gundam Build Fighters Try is a solid series. The one area that I thought was a tad weak was the writing, it was simply to base and silly at times. The easy way out is to make the drama over the top and to follow with simple silliness and because the series is geared toward the under 12 age group it stayed simple. The funny thing is that, in the U. S., the audience is the the over 20 age group. It is great to see the Gundam universe take a look at how Gundam and Gunpla has found a genuine fandom.

If you are looking for some fun and don’t mind it being a little over the top from time to time then Gundam Build Fighters Try is the series for you, I know I loved it.

Punch Line (anime review)

punch-lineTitle: Punch Line: The Complete Collection

Director: Yutaka Uemura

Studio: MAPPA

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: August 16th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Sci Fi, Harem, Supernatural, Fan Service

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

When your day begins with being held hostage in a hijacking, can things get much worse? How about being kicked out of your own body? Or learning that if you can’t re-possess your physical shell, you’ll trigger a panty-fueled apocalypse that will wipe out all life on the planet?

For Yuta Iridatsu, it’s just the start of the worst out-of-body experience ever. Now, if his dissed disembodied spirit doesn’t pursue the persuasions of a porn-obsessed paranormal pussycat and purloin a missing mystical manual, a meteor will collide with Earth!

And to stack the odds even further, the book is hidden somewhere in the boarding house Yuta shares with a bevy of beautiful babes, but if he gets an eyeful of his ravishing co-renters in their unmentionables before he’s back in himself, it’s flash-forward to Doomsday!

Will the literal end of the world be wearing briefs, a bikini, or a thong? Find out when panties, possessions and extinction level events have the ultimate rear-end collision in Punch Line!

Commentary:

Punch Line is another in the long line of fan service harem anime that has great potential to be something other than a gratuitous panty shot anime. Unfortunately, it seems to focus on the panties and leave the solid plot at home. I really enjoyed the story for the underlying plot line and thought many of the characters where rather well developed. The would have loved to get more about what was really going on. It isn’t until the later episodes that the writers decided to get serious about the story and by that time it was too late to fully develop the plot.

As for the strange aspects to who all of the main characters are doesn’t come out until much of the series has lost its charm. I think that the fixation on the panty obsession early on created a false impression for the series. I understand the thought process behind this fan service focus, but I would hope that the intent of the series was to get a broader audience than just a small minority of fan service fans. None-the-less, Punch Line does end up being solid enough to be entertaining and somewhat confusing until the later episodes.

Overall Grade: B

Punch Line may or may not be your type of anime, so, if you are looking for some light fan service and odd plot with plenty of twist as the later episodes unfold the it is a series for you.

 

Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete OVA Series (anime review)

strawberry-marshmallow-ovareview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete OVA Series

Director: Takuya Sato

Studio: Dauma

Author: Barasui

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: July 12, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 5 OVA Episodes / 130 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, School

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Strawberry Marshmallow, Lucky Star, Place to Place, K-On!

Good friends are like marshmallows: whether they are being whipped into a frenzy or getting all warm and gooey inside they will stick beside each other, no matter what!

Synopsis:

There is rarely a dull moment when Chika Ito and her friends get together. Whether they are telling ghost stories, playing games, or taking trips to the beach and park, every day brings a new adventure. Of course, not everyone appreciates the constant presence of a pack of 12-year-olds, and Nobue, Chika’s big sister, might sometimes wish that Chika’s friends were not always underfoot. That is especially true of the troublemaking Miu, whose ‘help’ with Nobue’s job hunt is definitely not appreciated! Then again, Miu can cause problems just about anywhere, even when she hits her head and thinks she is in Heaven! Does anyone actually think the girls will make a clean escape and scrub away every single piece of evidence when they make a trip to the public baths? More than likely, no! Either way, the fun is sure to continue as the whole gang reunites in Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete OVA Series.

Commentary:

Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete OVA Series is the continuation of the Strawberry Marshmallow and basically continues the “cute girls doing cute things in cute ways” slice-of-life episodes that came before it. These five episodes could actually be placed anywhere within the original series as well since it is a slice-of-life series and there is no real plot between episodes. Each episode flows together well but then a new storyline starts with the next episode.

All the characters are back from the original series and they continue to entertain themselves with the activities they do and the things they say on a daily basis are still as funny as ever. Actually, each character contributed to the comedy this time instead of relying solely on Miu, which is a good thing because the comedy seemed much more polished this time around.

The opening and closing songs were changed but they lost a little bit of life this time around. However, they were still enjoyable and the voice actresses actually sang them. Speaking of the voice actresses, they did a wonderful job with the characters and brought them to life. I love the animation style for Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete OVA Series because it is really cute.

Extras:

Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete OVA Series 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: A-

I absolutely loved Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete OVA Series and I would recommend this series/OVA to anyone who loves the slice-of-life genre.

And Yet the Town Moves: The Complete Series (anime review)

and-yet-the-town-movesTitle: And Yet the Town Moves: The Complete Series (on Blu-ray)

Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Studio: Shaft

U. S. Distributor: Sentia Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: June 21st, 2016

Format: DVD / 300 minutes / 12 episodes

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Titles: Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Synopsis:

Hotori Arashiyama just might be one of the most awkward girls in town. She has difficulty making it to school on time, is very clumsy and is know for being rather delusional, but she does have a special ability to make those around realize how special life really is.

Hotori works in a local Maid Cafe, or should we say, almost Maid Cafe. One of her school friends, Toshiko, who is very smart with a slightly different way of looking at the world decides to join her and become a Maid in order to help turn the place into a true Maid Cafe. The owner of the Seaside Maid Cafe, Uki Isohata, has her own ideas of what she wants her cafe to be and stands back and watches while no matter what these girls try they always end up right back at the cafe as it is. This part of town only caters to the shop owners and now with Hotori working there her math teacher who has caught Hotori without permission form the school. He tries to use this opportunity to help teach her and maybe just maybe see her become more than just a slacker without focus.

There is also Hotori’s child hood friend, Hiroyuki Sanda, who has a crush on Hotori and is the subject of affection by Toshiko. With the added inclusion of Futaba Kon the master plan of this simple series is in place. We follow the lives of these warm and funny high school students to see them interact in ways that we all wish we could have at that age. If life was always that strange and simple, what bliss it would be.

Commentary:

And Yet The Town Moves took a few episodes for it to get me warming up to it. At first it came across as just another slapstick comedy that had a very shallow plot. Once all the characters were assembled something very special began to happen. The development of their personalities bonded them in ways that were very unexpected and provided another almost heart warming edge to the series. I realize that comedies tend to try and give us the softer side of humanity but in the case of this small seaside town and these characters connection it gives us hope that people can really be this involved. Even the local cop has a special connection to these girls and especially Hotori and her inability to be serious.

Most of the episodes were self contained but they did have some continuity that provided the glue for the series. I am very glad that it was only 12 episodes because I’m not too sure that any more would have done any good. It said what it needed to and gave us that light hearted humor and that was all it needed to do. I was very glad that it ended the way it did because it left me with the sense that there is hope for these characters that translated over to a overall hope for all of us.

Overall Grade: B

When it come to slice of life anime many of them fall into a trap of either too goofy or too sappy. And the Town Yet Moves managed to maintain a reasonably good balance even though it did lean to the goofy side once or twice. I still thin it was a very good series and if you are into slice of life anime then you should find this one to be something worth checking out.

Some other fine slice of life series worth seeing are Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Arakawa Under the Bridge.

Shirobako Collection 2 (anime review)

shirobako-2Title: Shirobako Collection 2 on Blu-ray

Director: Tsutomu Mizushima

Writer: Michio Yokote

Studio: P. A. Works

Produced by: Warner Entertainment Japan

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: May 24th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy, Drama

Age Rating: TV PG

Overall Personal Rating: A

Synopsis:

It’s official. Musashino Animation’s next production is “Third Aerial Girls’ Squad!” In a surprising turn of events, Aoi finds herself assigned as the production manager for the project, but from the very beginning it looks like she may be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the project. Of course, her old friend Ema is already aboard as one of the animators, while Midori makes an enormous contribution by taking on many of the program’s important research duties. And when Misa’s new company contracts to produce CG for the series, all but one of the members of the old animation club are working on the same production! Left out again, Shizuka auditions for a role, but, as a relatively new voice actor the odds of her being cast in a major part seem highly unlikely. That doesn’t break the bonds of their friendship, however, and there are tons of surprises ahead as TAGS’s journey to broadcast draws to the finish in the second collection of SHIROBAKO!

Commentary:

Shirobako is one of those anime that will end up standing out as a go to anime for all serious fans. It will also find its way into the library of those who aren’t everyday fans but those who are looking for another slice of life anime that deals with everyday struggle that come with any job and deadlines. Anyone who has ever been a part of a major project with tight deadlines will enjoy this series because that is what it is all about.

The real strength of Shirobako is the character interaction and the wide variety of personalities blended in the stressful dynamic of the world of anime production. Everyone must start somewhere and for Aoi this is her big opportunity to discover her abilities and to maybe even learn something about herself that will help her become more confident in the path she is following.

The rest of the cast have their ups and downs but it is Aoi who is the spotlight and who has the biggest job that requires wearing many different hats. I loved the way we saw the doubt and resolve in her life along with the support she got from those around her along with the suspicion of her abilities for some.

Overall Grade: A

I can say that I have been very lucky with many of the series I have had the chance to review over the last few weeks and Shirobako stand at the top of the list with my other favorite Space Brothers. Both of these series take on the topic of following your dreams and even look at finding what is important in life too. Shirobako gives us glimpse into the fast paced world of anime production and also shows us how many different people and companies are involved in getting something as complicated as an anime on the air.

When it comes to anime or any series I find the story to be the driving reason to like it. Shirobako’s story hits a home run and is another one that could easily be prime time TV in the U. S. I think more and more families are discovering anime as a great source of entertainment and once people get over the sub title issues they will discover a whole world of stories that they could have never imagined existed. This type of series is s shining example of the difference in American and Japanese animation. I for one can’t remember the last time I watched a slice of life animation from any american production company. Yea for Anime give us more shows like Shirobako please!

Wake Up, Girls!: The Movie (anime review)

wake-up-girls-movieTitle: Wake Up, Girls!: The Movie

Director: Yutaka Yamamoto

Studio: Ordet x Tatsunoko Production

Author: Touko Machida

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U.S. Release Date: June 7, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / Movie / 52 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Music, Comedy

Industry Age Rating: 13 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: The iDOLM@STER, Tari Tari, AKB0048

Synopsis:

In Wake Up, Girls!, Green Leaves Entertainment is in the worst situation any Talent Management Agency can be in… they have absolutely NO talent! Desperate for an act, President Junko Tange targets the idol singer market and gives her flunky assistant Matsuda his marching orders; get a girl group to manage, even if it means building one from scratch!

Since complete singing groups rarely appear out of thin air, Matsuda’s now in the difficult position of having to find girls with the right skills who don’t already have contracts with Japan’s music industry. That girl at the Maid Café? Good enough! A lead singer who’s been fired from another group? Sure, why not? How about one who’s only 13 years old? What could possibly go wrong there?
They may not be on the A-list, the B-List, or even the C-list to start, but with a little love and a whole lot of hard work, it’s possible that all Japan may someday wake up to the music of Wake Up, Girls!

Commentary:

Idol based animes are normally very stereo-typical and all usually about the same. I was not expecting anything special from Wake Up, Girls!: The Movie. Just the same old tired “I’m gonna be an idol and it’s really very easy to do”, is basically what I expected. What I really got was a lot more powerful and telling story, and yes, an actual storyline, of the difficulty, heart-break, deception, back-stabbing and the joys of success when you follow your dreams. The story quickly draws you in with the feelings of failure, and a person in denial. The story quickly takes a change as the president of a failing talent business, desperate for the next big break, any break actually, to save her failing business. The story, with a very realistic feel to it, dives deeper in as they try to recruit, and train and everything else you have to do to achieve what you want. As the story progresses you begin to notice that failure is a very real option, and that with strife, people can turn their backs on you and leave you with nothing. I was quite surprised by the depth of the story they started to develop, in such a short time. But it did not end really. There was a lot left unanswered, and a lot of the story yet to be told. It felt more like a prequel than the whole thing.

Wake Up, Girls!: The Movie can basically be summed up as the 52-minute first episode to the anime series of the same name. It perfectly sets the stage for the anime series and at the end of Wake Up, Girls!: The Movie I was hooked. Hopefully the anime series gets released soon. This was a strong start. The characters had some basic development, as much as you can in such a short time, but more than enough to start everything out. You really can identify with them and all they do. I can’t wait for the rest to come out, to answer any questions I have left. One major one which I am curious is each character is named after her voice actress and you have to wonder if this is some kind of autobiography of these voice actresses. Hopefully there is an explanation to come.

Extras:

Wake Up, Girls!: The Movie includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English Subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: B+

Wake Up, Girls!: The Movie is the perfect inside look into the “Idol” culture of Japan. If you enjoyed The iDOLM@STER or Tari Tari then I strongly recommend giving this movie and the upcoming series a try.

The Fruit of Grisaia: Complete First Season (anime review)

fruit-of-grisaia season 1review provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: The Fruit of Grisaia: Complete First Season

Director: Tensho

Studio: 8-Bit

Author: Hideyuki Kurata

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: May 10, 2016

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

Genre: Comedy, Romance, School Life

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Angel Beats! And My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

“Being indebted to someone is nothing to be ashamed of, not repaying that debt is.” – Yuuji Kazami

Synopsis:

Yuuji Kazami is a transfer student who has just been admitted into Mihama Academy. He wants to live an ordinary high school life, but this dream of his may not come true any time soon as Mihama Academy is quite the opposite. Consisting of only the principal and five other students, all of whom are girls, Yuuji becomes acquainted with each of them, discovering more about their personalities as socialization is inevitable. Slowly, he begins to learn about the truth behind the small group of students occupying the academy—they each have their own share of traumatic experiences which are tucked away from the world.

Mihama Academy acts as a home for these girls, they are the “fruit” which fell from their trees and have begun to decay. It is up to Yuuji to become the catalyst to save them from themselves, but how can he save another when he cannot even save himself?
Commentary:

On the face of The Fruit of Grisaia, it looks to be another harem. Guy transfers into new school looking to get away from his old life and to be normal for once. Does he have a chunibyo or something? Ok… The school is huge, and only has five other students, of all ages, and they are all females…. Where is this show going? This is going to be interesting. Oh wow… first day of school and one of the girls picks his lock and does ‘inappropriate things’ in his room. Another girl attacks him with a box cutter and he stops her cold in one move… What the heck is going on? Is this a school for assassins? I am so lost right now…………..

A few times you have heard me say things like “they rushed the story” or “it needed more episodes” or even, “They skipped something.” In this one, they rushed the story, skipped a whole lot, and needed more episodes… A lot more episodes. As I watched, and scratched my head, trying to figure out how we got from A to B in the story line, it occurred to me that we actually went from A to L skipping many letters in the middle. Unfortunately, that left me wondering what was going on quite a bit. One thing the story lacked was any real background on the characters. You would get tidbits here and there, and only when absolutely needed to feed the relevance of the story, but hardly enough to really understand what, why, and even the how sometimes. The who part was left in the wind, and honestly, I’m still sorting that one out. Even in all its confusion and incoherency, I still found myself watching intently, wanting to know what was going on, and to learn all the details. Even when skipping half the alphabet, the story was very intriguing, and it did not have a hard time keeping my interest, even if I was not really sure what was happening, my interest in knowing more very much intensified. In the end, I figured out that it followed an arc for each girl, some lasting an episode or two, to one lasting as many as four. In the end I very much felt that there were a lot of details in the original story that got cut, either because of time, budget, or administrative limitations. This one had the potential to be a masterpiece. Even now, I am highly anticipating the sequel, which they so blatantly set up at the end of the last episode.

Extras:

The Fruit of Grisaia: Complete First Season 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

Just as an FYI, animal lovers may have some issues watching the ending of episode two. It almost put me off the entire series but I am glad that I gave it a second chance.