Archives for : Gonzo

Blade and Soul (anime review)

blade-and-soulTitle: Blade and Soul: Complete Collection

Director: Hiroshi Takeuchi & Hiroshi Hamasaki

Studio: Gonzo

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: October 27th, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Game Based, Girls with Swords

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Persona Rating: B



Trained since birth as the Clan of the Sword’s ultimate assassin, Alka has lived her entire life as a nearly emotionless human killing machine. Now, however, her Clan has been destroyed, her master murdered, and the Code she lives by leaves Alka just one final mission: to seek out those responsible and exterminate them. If that means taking on the impossible might of the Param Empire, and the demonic powers of their battle leader Jin Varrel, then so be it.

But while Alka may be the hunter, she has also become the hunted. With a price on her head, she must evade or kill the bounty hunters intent on collecting her skin, and in the bloody shadow-world of assassins, that means there’s no one she can trust.


Just by looking at the cover of Blade and Soul I figured I was in for a variable bounty of womanhood bouncing across the screen, but I was pleasantly surprised when a real story broke out all over the place. Sure it is nice when all the women are cute and well developed and of course love to wear just the right amount of clothing to make it interesting. Yes, the fan service is there, although it is nowhere as severe as I thought it was going to be. That was until you get to the last episode.

The story itself is a rather straight forward tale of duty and regret, Friendship and the bitter taste of revenge. I loved how they managed to paint a tragic figure out of Alka and then allow her to help not just herself, but the ones that were hurt the most by her action find redemption in living for humanities sake.  I know it is a little preachy and there are plenty of average anime that preach way too much. In Blade and Souls case there is very little preaching and plenty of living through the tough time that ends up being the teacher. Unfortunately there are plenty of innocents that find tragic ends on Alka’s path to humanity and all too many sad stories haunt her.

Overall Grade: B

Blade and Soul is a solid story that finds a way to teach a very Buddhist ideal and at the same time entertain with pretty ladies. I’m not too sure if the pretty ladies helped or hurt the story. I’m going to go with helped for now. I think that there was enough weakness in the writing that there needed to be some eye candy to keep a viewers attention. On the other hand there was plenty of times that the lovely bodies just got in the way of the ethical plot line that was being told.

The animation was a little disappointing for Gonzo. I have been a huge fan of their work for many years and for Blade and Soul I found the computer generated animation to be too hard edged and blocky. I would have loved to see a little more cell shading and smoothing of the characters and backgrounds in many of the more static scene.

If you are a fan of anime based on games and love to see pretty women fight then Blade and Soul is right up you’re ally. I enjoyed for the story and would like to see it remade with less sex appeal and more emotional candor.


Solty Rei (anime review)

Solty ReiTitle: Solty Rei S.A.V.E.

Director: Yoshimasa Hiraika

Studio: Gonzo

U. S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

U. S. Re-Release Date: May 5th, 2015

Format: DVD / 24 Episodes / 615 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Drama, Action, Adventure

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+


It’s been twelve years since the Blast Fall, an unexplained disaster that left countless dead and many more maimed. Society is divided and every citizen feels the burn, most of all the Resembles – people whose mangled bodies have been rebuilt with high-tech prosthetic devices.

Roy Revant is living the hard life of a bounty hunter in a broken city – a city where thousands have died in a mysterious event called the Blast Fall. Those who survived share the sting of loss. Countless Resembles walk the streets; people whose mangled bodies have been rebuilt with high-tech prosthetic devices. Yet there are those that even science cannot mend.

Roy needs a miracle to escape his rut… and one night she falls from the sky. Like countless others, Solty is a Resemble, but one unlike the world has ever known. A young girl without a past, soon she will have a family. But in this world, pain and alienation are never too far away.

Unexpected allies are brought together, losing sight of the fine line between right and wrong as intentions are judged with sore hearts. After so much destruction and loss, Solty glows with the fresh life that Roy’s been seeking and there may be a chance for happiness in the dark. As strangers pass in the graveyard, bitter loss binds them all.


Funimation has maintained a great tradition of keeping titles alive and making them more affordable. Solty Rei may only be hitting it’s 10th year, but it has risen to the level of a series that needs to stay in production and also move to a price point that everyone can enjoy.

The series itself is an interesting look into the future and at the nature of the human heart to long to be untied to others who for what ever reason they have found a true connection to. This relationship connection is explored on many level in the series and it does a wonderful job of reminding us that we are not supposed to be alone.

The Sci Fi aspects of the series are simple enough, but the story does take a harder look at artificial intelligence as the series progresses. This is not something new and it is an easy target as a plot device seen though out Science Fiction for many years and it hasn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Overall Grade: B+

The thing about Solty Rei that helps keep it alive is the development of the main characters. As we progress through the story we discover more and more about them and begin to understand why they have come together. The thing that glues them all together is the salty old dog Roy, who has sub come to Solty Rei andante in  the reemergence of his real daughter. This unlikely family is key to the story and even in the end there is a honest tough at the heart that makes all the tears worth while.

The animation is straight out of Gonzo’s production book and for 2005 it was outstanding, in todays terms it is a little dated, but still stands out as a quality in art styling and production. The overall story starts off a little slow but manages to pickup and in the final episodes it really hits its stride and gives us something to fell good about.

If you are looking for a split Sci Fi that is really all about relationships and the bonds that tie us, then you need to check this wonderful anime.

She, The Ultimate Weapon (anime review)

She, The Ultimate WeaponTitle: She, The Ultimate Weapon

Director: Mitsuko Kase

Studio: Gonzo

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: April 7th, 2015

Format: DVD / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Apocalyptic, Romance, Anti-War

Age Rating: 17+

Overall Personal  Rating: B+


Not every soldier wants to fight. Not every weapon wants to be used. But when an unexpected force attacks their city, the hopes and dreams of students Shuji and Chise are shattered by the fires of war. Surviving the bombing after a mysterious defender decimates the attackers, Shuji discovers Chise in the ruins – but she is no longer the girl he has always known.

Changed and twisted by military experiments, Chise has been altered into something no longer completely human. Even worse, though they both fight to deny it, the things that made her the person she was are slowly beginning to fade away. Can a human soul exist inside a device that was created to kill? And can any heart continue to feel love for something that is only a shell of the person it once was?


She, The Ultimate Weapon  (a.k.a. Saikano) is a very different series that posses some very complicated questions to the viewer. It pushes you imagination and at the same time asked you to try and take a moral position while watching these high schoolers deal with a rather horrific situation. The writing of the series is by far the shinning aspect and because of it you see Chise and Shuji very human or at least in the beginning. Of course there is the constant struggle to maintain  their humanity and at times it is hard to know which one is being more human or loosing their humanity faster.

Even though Chise is forced to go through the transformation it becomes clear that Shuji has to deal with many of the same demons without the ability to blame it on a unwanted life altering modification. In many ways I really felt more sympathy to Shuji than I did for Chise.

Overall Grade: B+

At first I had to stop and check when the series was originally created and based on the art style I was sure it was the mid 1990s but to my surprise it was 2002. I think this throw back in art style made it hard to want to watch at first. Once I got several episodes into the series I began to appreciate it a little more, but never go to the point that I felt like it really fir the series that week. I reminded me a lot of the styling of  Serial Experiment Lain which is how I got the the 90s with the art style, but at least the plot and story is a little easier to follow. Al though there is plenty of  the series that will give you a reason to pause and give it some genuine thought. I found the question to much of the same ones raided in Gunslinger Girls, but in that series their transformation saved their lives.

It is very understandable that this series will find a fairly narrow fan base, but I think that you like to thing and are willing to give a solid drama a chance then you are going to be glad you check out She, The Ultimate Weapon.


Bayonetta Bloody Fate Feature Film (anime review)

Bayonetta Bloody FateTitle: Bayonetta Bloody Fate

Director: Fuminori Kizaki

Studio: Gonzo

U. S. Distributor: Funimation

U. S. Release Date: Oct. 21st, 2014

Format: Blu-ray / DVD / 90 minutes / Feature Flim

Genre: Supernatural, Action, Adventure, Gaming Related

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: B-


Twenty years after her awakening, Bayonetta is still searching for clues that could help unravel the mysteries of her dark past. Aided in her quest by the clandestine weapon smith Rodin – and his deadly creations: Scarborough Fair – Bayonetta continues to leave a trail of angel corpses in her wake. Her search for answers leads to encounters with a mysterious – and eerily familiar – little girl, a vengeance-obsessed journalist, and a deadly white-haired beauty that seems to know more about Bayonetta than the witch herself.

As she moves through the mystery she begins to discover some rather interesting aspects to her life. Will these remembrances lead her to the truth or will she fall pray to the evil that lies within the secret that has left her without her memories?


Bayonetta Bloody Fate is a slick and fanciful story that gives us an eyeful of a bountiful woman who may not know who she is but she does know that she hates angles and is destine to be the Witch who is out to end the reign of the evil ones. Her re-emergence signals the beginning of the end or is it. She has more power than any angle can through at her and when she comes face to face with another Witch all bets are off.

The story is fast and flows at a furious pace that may be one of its greatest weakness. It told the story so fast that it did allow for any time to digest what was going on and lacked to give any nuances that would have made a big difference. Even with the slick graphics the story fell flat.

I have to admit I did enjoy the look of the film. It was well crafted and Gonzo proved itself as still being a top creator who can take even a weak story and make it look great. If it wasn’t for the heavy stylized animation I feel as though Bayonetta would have been left on the editors floor to become just another anime that never made any difference.

Overall Grade: B-

With the Bayonetta franchise behind the film it might be able to find some reasonable fandom, but I am afraid that once if has time to make the rounds it might be left on the self as just another anime that failed to capture the essence of the game it came from. If you are looking for some great eye candy then give this a chance. If you are looking for a solid story that has a lot to give them maybe you should look else where. Although Bayonetta herself is hot and looks good in lots of black hair.

Dog & Scissors (anime review)

Dog & ScissorsTitle: Dog & Scissors

Director: Yukio Takaashi

Studio: Gonzo

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U. S. Release Date: June 10th, 2014

Format: DVD / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: C+



Harumi Kazuhito was the ultimate bookworm, spending days at a time with his head buried in his beloved books, and little could make him happier than perusing the pages of his favorite author, Kirihime Natsuno. Unfortunately, Harumi’s life goes to the dogs – literally – when he gets himself killed while trying to stop a robber!

Thanks to the power of a true bookworm, however, Harumi inexplicably finds himself reincarnated as a dog… which might not be so bad if dogs could read. Or if the woman who adopts him didn’t have twin predilections for playing with scissors and tormenting her new pet! But what truly makes this strange reincarnation the worst of all possible worlds is that she’s also his favorite author! The horror! Can Harumi find a way to live with this tantrum-throwing typist, or will her crazed clippings prove to be his undoing? Can he escape her constant hounding via the doggy door, or is he barking up the wrong tree?


Sometimes anime just exists because they do and there are times when those anime are great just because they are. In the case of Dog & Scissors I can’t say that either of those instances come into play.  The simple fact is that this strange little sierras has an almost indiscernible plot line and mostly lacks any internal essence to propel it through 12 episodes. To have a young man who is a book worm cut down in the most exciting time of his life and transferred into the body of a odd little dog is sad in itself. To then have him become connected to a scissor wielding crazy woman who just so happens to be a popular author adds more pain to the suffering this story has to offer. Granted there is some redemption in their relationship as things more forward, but in general the torture continues throughout the 12 episodes.

The series is not a total failure because studio Gonzo has a hand in its creation. The creative minds at Gonzo understand how to take even the weakest story and make it look good. I’m not saying that they created a masterpiece, but they did give us a series that looks very good. That being said there is still something to be mentioned about the characters and their uniqueness. The strange quality to the top authors is light and adds some good humor to the story and when push comes to shove the main female character, Kirihime, shows some humanity in her emotional bonds to Kazuhito the dog boy.

Overall grade: C+

Honestly, there are plenty of anime that don’t have much reason to exist and I can’t completely write off Dog & Scissor. The series showed some real promise in the first few episodes, but never really developed and in the end was just s series of somewhat humorous episodes that just take up time. The look of the series stood up to the high quality that is expected from Gonzo. If you are looking for a series that just has some rather odd and torturous stores of a young man/dog who just wants to read books and has to live with a crazy author who has a thing for scissors.