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Food Wars: Season 1 (anime review)

Title: Food Wars: Season 1

Director:  Yoshitomo Yonetani

Studio: J. C. Staff

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: August 15th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 24 Episodes / 600 Minutes

Genre: Comedy,  Food Battle,  Slice of Life, Harem

Age Rating: TV-MA

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Ever since he was little, Soma Yukihira’s main goals have been to beat his father in a cooking contest and take over the family diner. That’s why, when his dad suddenly announces that he’s shutting the restaurant down and sending Soma to cooking school, Soma is shocked. However, Tohtsuki Academy is no ordinary cooking school.

This elite institution is filled with culinary giants like Erina “God Tongue” Nakiri, who does her best to keep a lowly short-order like Soma from even making it inside the door. However, if the snobs can dish it out, Soma can serve it up, and when he learns that only a handful of the students manage to graduate every year, he swears that the only way he’ll leave is as number one!

Commentary:

Food Wars is a show that hit many of the high points right off the bat. The awesome way the eating experience is depicted is a  shinning star of the series. The orgasmic nature of eating food says a lot about how great food is approached by the writers. The fact that they explain what is going on also plays into the greatness of Food Wars. Spending so much time watching Iron Chef and Top Chef along with loving anime such as Toriko and Yakatate Japan I fell in love with Food Wars and having these characters run the gantlet to become serious chefs.

The characters of Food Wars have pluses and minuses. Soma is the biggest plus and Megumi is the weakest one of the bunch. I found it too easy to dislike Erina and way too easy to like Meat-Meat. Soma is more complex and being the star of the series, he has that typical Naruto characteristic of being overly positive with that overwhelming can do attitude. It is sometimes a drag on his personality but is also a rather basic trait for a anime protagonist.

Overall Grade: A-

Most of Food Wars works very effectively, the orgasmic tasting gets rather boring after the 4th of fifth episode and some of Megumi’s anxiety attacks are annoying. I think a major positive of the show is the cooking. J. C. Staff did a great job of depicting the cooking process and the talent that goes into preparing food. I loved the way the final dishes were given the spotlight and as a fan of cooking battle shows, I had a hard time not binge watching the entire 24 episodes.

I was transported back to the wonderful world of the original Japanese Iron Chef I just wish the judging was as much fun in the live action battles as it is in Food Wars. I guess I am a little jealous that I have never had a full body experience eating food. I hope season 2 of Food Wars is released soon. If you haven’t seen it then you should put on you bibs and get your knife and fork because a full course meal is coming your way.

 

Martian Successor Nadesico (anime review)

Title: Martian Successor Nadesico: Complete series plus Prince of Darkness on Blu-ray

Director: Tatsuo Sato

Studio: Xebec

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi, Lucky Penny

U. S. Release Date: April 4th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray/26 Episodes & Feature Film / 740 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Sci Fi, Mecha, Harem

Age Rating: 13+

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

The Martian Successor Blu-ray contains all 26 episodes of the TV series and the Prince of Darkness movie across 4 Blu-rays PLUS an entire DVD of extras including the Gekigangar 3 OVA!

Tatsuo Sato’s Comedy Masterpiece Returns in High Definition!

The Earth, its moon and its Martian colonies are under alien attack, but the war against the “Jovian lizards” has, so far, been nothing short of a series of disasters.

Disgusted by the incompetence of Earth’s military, the independent arms manufacturer Nergal builds its own space battleship and plans to launch a desperate offensive to save humanity. But due to a shortage of trained soldiers, they’ve assembled the most unorthodox crew to ever launch into orbit! With a pacifist cook-turned-unwilling mecha pilot and a ditsy admiral’s daughter in command, can this unprecedented gathering of geeks, misfits and anime fans prevail against the Jovian menace?

Commentary:

In the long list of Mecha Harem series, Martian Successor Nadesico stands out as one of the top series for me. Although it may be beginning to show its age it still has plenty of laughs and mecha action to offer. The great thing about this series is that it pokes fun at all of the tropes and silly plot devices that many of the older mecha series used. The unwilling Akito Tenkawa is every young male mecha pilot that shows up in series like Gundam, Evangelion and many others that give us reasons to root for a anti-hero figure, but in Akito’s case he just wants to cook, but may be a better pilot than a chef.

The other great parody aspect to the series is the inclusion of their own anime series “Gekigangar III“. This is a focal point for much of the crew and they exhibit a funny Otaku tenancy that pokes fun at the fan base of the mecha universe of anime. I personally think series like Martian Successor Nadesico provide a glimpse at the anime world that a large number of fans should be required to watch. This series of fun and laughs takes a goofy look at the world it lives in and also makes a very pointed commentary about the obsession that sometimes follows the fandom around.

Overall Grade: A-

I am not sure if there was a good reason to release Martian Successor Nadesico in Blu-ray it is very possible that the quality of the series is about the same on DVD. I am happy to see it coming back out. I think it is a series that needs to be re-released every 5 to 6 years just so new fans can discover the greatness of it and be reminded that anime is just anime.

There are many great anime that hold the mirror up to the fandom and Martian Successor Nadesico stands at close to the very top of the list. The other thing that keeps this anime worthy of praise is the overall humor that comes across and the simplistic approach to telling the story. If you haven’t see Martian Successor Nadesico then you really have a reason to check it out. So, get busy!!!!

Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood (anime review)

review provided by Andrew & Katie

Title: Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood on Blu-ray

Director: Risako Yoshida

Studio: Zexcs

Author: Hiroko Kusanagi

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: March 28, 2017

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 180 Minutes

Genre: Reverse Harem, School Life, Supernatural, Shoujo, Vampire

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: D

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Diabolik Lovers

Synopsis:

As the sole human living alone with six handsome vampires, beautiful young Yui Komori is slowly becoming used to being the constant focus of all of their attentions, both amorous and otherwise. However, if she was feeling pale and weak before, her ordeal is about to become even more emotionally draining as four new vampire brothers appear with the intention of making Yui their own permanent dinner guest.
Who are the Mukami brothers, and why are they so dead set on keeping Yui for themselves? Why do they keep referring to her as “Eve” and whose master plan are they following? How will the original six Sakamaki brothers react to having Yui stolen out of their clutches? Will the Sakamaki brothers get her back or will the Mukami brothers follow through with their master plan? You will have to watch Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood and find out.

Commentary:

I feel as if I need to add a few warnings to this series before I go any further: 1. Yui is treated like a blood bag and is not just bitten on the neck. 2. There is a religious theme to this season and that might turn you off of the series if that bothers you. 3. This has to be one of the worse reverse harem series I have ever watched.*

Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood is the second season of Diabolik Lovers and honestly I cannot be more disappointed in the entire series. There are more plot holes than swiss cheese and just when you think they are actually going to explain what is going on, they end the series with the biggest cliff hanger ever! They rely heavily on the Adam and Eve story and you spend most of the series trying to figure out who is Adam and then they never say anything about it again.

Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood has little to no character development and most of the characters are poorly designed with weak personalities that make the characters unlikable. The relationships between Yui and the brothers are terrible to say the least. They treat her like furniture and never have anything nice to say to her at all. I was really hoping that Yui would grow a backbone and tell the brothers off, but of course she cannot do that as their blood bag.

The animation was dark and tried to be gothic but did not get there. Since Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood is about vampires they really do not go out during the day and attend school at night. There really is not any change in the animation between the manor and the school. The voice actors did alright, nothing really stood out but I really did not expect anything to. The opening animation fit the general theme well and was enjoyable to listen to. The ending was nothing special but one out of two is not a bad deal.

Extras:

Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood includes both 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: D

Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood seems like it is geared more to the ecchi vampire crowd. The entire series is just about sucking tasty blood from a human. Not my thing.

Triage X (anime review)

Title: Triage X: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Directors: Akio Takami, Takao Kato

Music: Makoto Miyazaki

Studio: Xebec

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 24th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 10 Episodes + OVA / 275 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Action, Extreme Fan Service, Harem

Age Rating: MA for nudity and violence

Overall Personal Rating: C+

Synopsis:

Our society is infected with a disease, a gangrenous cancer in the form of those who commit the most monstrous of evils, yet whose power and influence place them beyond the reach of the law. When corrupt politicians fail to act and the police seem helpless, there is a third, secret option that stands ready to excise the malignancy in a tactical surgical strike: Black Label, a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, and students who moonlight as an elite team of assassins.

With the world’s deadliest nurse, a master swordswoman MD, an idol with an affinity for explosives, and a pair of seemingly indestructible high school students, their mission is as simple as it is deadly: identify the drug runners, terrorists, and criminal masterminds who can’t be destroyed any other way, and then eliminate them by whatever means necessary in TRIAGE X!

Special Features: Interview with Kenji Akabane and Yuri Kondo, Japanese Promos, Clean Opening Animation.

Commentary:

Oh my goodness, Triage X takes you straight to the fan service and nudity. There is no attempt to hide the intent there is just a blatant explosion of nude women on the scene. The fact that there is a serious drama included kind of gets in the way of large breast bouncing across the screen.

My first thought was that someone took the heavy drama as seen in series like Darker Than Black or even Black Lagoon and mixed it up with Sekirei or even Tenjou Tenge.  After few episodes I realized that the plot was only secondary to the fan service and it became almost meaningless that they were unabashed vigilant. This is where the plot broke down for me. I really wanted some meat with these bones, but that just wasn’t meant to be.

Overall Rating: C+

You might think that I would have given this a lower grade and maybe I should. Honestly, I can see where it was true to its nature and audience. The target audience is the male 18 to 29 year old group and everything you expect from one of these series in piled in. There is a serious drama that provides plenty of girls with guns and a very sympathetic male lead character with a overabundance of nudity.

I typically am not a fan of these type of series but do love a solid girls with guns show. Triage X provides the excitement that goes with a serious girls with guns even if their breast to tend to overshadow the plot and action. The other shinning point of the series has to be the animation. It is high quality and it was easy to tell that the animators enjoyed what they were doing.

In the event that you are looking for a action packed series with an overdeveloped fan service quality then you will find Triage X the series for you.

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.

Chaika The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle; Season 2 (anime review)

chaika-the-coffin-princess-2Title: Chaika The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle (Season 2) Blu-Ray

Director: Soichi Masui

Creator: Ichiro Sakaki

Anime Writer: Touko Machida

Studio: Bones

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: September 27th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray/ 10 Episodes + 1 OVA/ 275 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Supernatural, Harem

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

The battle on the floating fortress is over, but the quest to recover the scattered remains of Emperor Gaz is too important to delay. As Chaika and her companions seek out the hero Claudia in order to obtain the heart, they race against Red Chaika, who seeks the hero, Guy, who possesses one of the arms.

Even as Chaika struggles to learn the new magical skills required to defeat Claudia, a startling new revelation comes to light which may change their mission entirely: not all of Gaz’s magic research was destroyed, and information regarding the creation of the Chaikas may have been taken to a mysterious island!

With the possibility of uncovering the secrets behind their mysterious origins dangled in front of them, the Chaikas must decide whether or not they want to find the hidden island and brave its unknown perils. Could the entire thing be a trap?

It’s highly likely, but how can they resist the bait as the spellbinding adventure continues in CHAIKA THE COFFIN PRINCESS – AVENGING BATTLE!

Commentary:

After almost 10 months Chaika returns to complete the series. Chaika the Coffin Princess Avenging Battle is more than the second season it manages to take the series to another level. There was much less concentration on the harem aspects and real focus on the plot and character development. The simple fact that all of the characters knew what they were after and set their sights on completing their mission was very helpful in drawing a clear line between them. As the mystery unfolded for both the viewer and the lead characters it became obvious that there had to be some soul searching as the final battle drew close.

Overall Grade: A-

Unlike the first season of Chaika the Coffin PrincessChaika The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle is much faster and full of action. The plot develops at a lightening pace which is great if you are in a hurry to get to the end. I enjoyed it but felt like there could have been a little more story development to help explain everything that was going on. Even with the shortened length I still felt like there was plenty of information and  lots of excitement. I was even pleased with the ending.

It was refreshing to have the series focus on the end and also loose some of the emphasis on the Moe and Harem aspects to provide a solid series that has plenty of characters that anyone can connect with.

If you liked the first season of Chaika then you will love Chaika The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle. If you haven’t seen the first season and are interested in some fun and excitement then you should check out the series from the beginning. I think  you should be hooked and ready to see the rest.

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.

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.

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.

 

Rail Wars! Complete Collection (anime review)

rail-warsTitle: Rail Wars! Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshifumi Matsuda

Studio: Passione

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: April 4th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 minutes

Genre: Harem, Comedy, Action

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Synopsis:

All train fanatic Naoto Takayama has ever dreamed of is becoming an engineer, but when he finally makes the grade and scores a trainee position with the JNR, his ambitions are totally derailed.

Now, instead of the big front cab of his dreams, Naoto’s stuck in the security division working with a squad of gorgeous girls and escorting pretty idol singers. Oh, what a nightmare!

Okay, so there are the occasional bomb threats, thieves, and members of the rogue railway privatization group RJ to deal with, but that’s what trigger-happy harpy Aoi and Sho, the squad’s only other male member, are for. And if Naoto’s one-track mind could just see the light at the end of the tunnel, he might realize that he’s already on an express train to paradise with multiple lovely cabooses. Will getting railroaded take on a whole new meaning? Find out as everyone gets off on the wrong side of the tracks in Rail Wars!

Commentary:

Rail Wars! falls under the standard heading of the Harem genre and it really is a harem anime. In that I mean that it only purpose is to be a harem. The plot was tossed out after the first episode. I had real hope that this would be something more than the guy that all the women wanted. Reality set in quickly and that is what it became. I also had high hopes that he would just accept the relationship with Aoi and move on to a story that had something to say.

Rail Wars! does do a fine job being a Harem and there are plenty of anime that are wonderful in their own right as a harem, like Ai Yoei Yoshi and Tench Muyo. Rail Wars! tries to give us a story but for all of its effort I found it to miss the mark.

Overall Grade: B-

Rail Wars! gives us some fun and excitement following this small team trying to become members of the National Railroad. The premiss is interesting and the title makes it sound like there will be some waring rail road companies, but if there is a war it is just a brief encounter between women who all have the his for Naoto. For all that it is worth, I did find Rail Wars entertaining and honestly wanted him to end up Aoi.

If you like sexy women, easy happy looking anime and plenty of groping going on then Rail Wars! is for you.