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Amagi Brilliant Park (anime review)

Title: Amagi Brilliant Park: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Yasuhiro Takemoto

Studio: Kyoto Animation

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: February 28, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes + 1 OVA / 350 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Romantic Comedy

Age Rating : TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

When new transfer student Isuzu asks Seiya Kanie out on a date at gunpoint, he knows something odd is going on. Especially since she wants to go to Amagi Brilliant Park, where the rides are either dangerous or mind-numbingly dull and the only costumed performers who aren’t rude or apathetic are the ones who didn’t show up for work.

So when Isuzu asks Seiya to take over as the park’s new manager, he knows she’s crazy. (Well, crazy-er, given the gunpoint thing.) But when Seiya learns that Amagi Brilliant Park is a REAL Magic Kingdom, that the costumed performers aren’t wearing costumes, that they live off the energy created by attendees, and that unless they can attract 250,000 attendees in three months, they’ll lose their jobs and homes… he goes a little crazy himself.

But, even with the aid of scantily clad fairies, giant mice and sniper-trained sheep, can anyone rescue a park that’s sunk so low that its own bus doesn’t stop there anymore? The race is on to get the turnstiles turning and save AMAGI BRILLIANT PARK!

Commentary:

Reading the synopsis I was ready to dislike this series and within the first 10 minutes I was telling myself this just might be very good. Of course, I wasn’t sure if it could sustain the simple enjoyment. After Amagi Brilliant Park gets over the initial weirdness it becomes a solid series with plenty of character development. There are a few characters that it takes some time to build out to their potential but each episode was able to move the story forward and help these odd characters begin to become a noticeable unit.

As for the romantic comedy aspect of the series I found that slower to develop. I also felt like Seiya comes across as too cold at first. I know that may have been necessary for the overall storyline but, it would have been nice to toss in some humanity to his character early on.

Overall Grade: B+

I loved the weirdness of Amagi Parks workforce and how they managed to deal with their odd predicament. I also loved the way the park represented more of the strange little amusement parks around the world. Not all of them can be the fake magical kingdoms that give everyone an overblown experience. I would love to attend a weird park like Amagi Brilliant Park.

The bottom line with Amagi Brilliant Park is that it is a lot of quirky fun and loaded with characters you want to like and some you would like to kick. The one thing I get a kick out of is when Isuzu pulls her guns, I had to stop and think about it for a while the after that every time I chuckled a little.

Amagi Brilliant Park is a worthy pick and I hope it finds a wide audience to have fun with it.

 

Beyond the Boundary (anime review)

Beyond the BoundaryTitle: Beyond the Boundary complete collection

Director: Taichi Ishidate

Studio: Kyoto Animation

Original Creator: Tomoyo Kamoi

Anime Writer: Jukki Hanada

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Oct. 13th, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural, Drama, Romance

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

They should never have met. They shouldn’t even exist. But when they come together, the entire world will change.

The last surviving member of her clan, Mirai Kuriyama is cursed with the terrifying ability to control and manipulate blood, a power so heretical that she is shunned even by those with the ability to understand her “gift”. Akihito Kanbara is only half human, but while the monstrous other half of his lineage seems to have doomed him to a life alone, it has also given him near invulnerability in the form of rapid healing. Alone, their futures seem bleak, but when a chance encounter brings them together, it becomes clear that they share more than just an unexpected bond. Together they share a destiny and a mission that only the two of them together may be strong enough to survive.

Commentary:

Beyond the Boundary is one of the more interesting supernatural show to come out this year. It has humor, drama and a solid romance on top of a rather compelling plot line. The most compelling aspect to the series is the love story that develops. It is slow and could go either way thought the series but as the viewer you are always wanting them to move closer. It leaves the mystery fresh enough to keep you watching.

The animation was super slick and unexpected. At first I was very worried that it was going to fall into the trap with the pinks and blues that No Game No Life did, but it leveled off and managed to have a wonderful blending of style and color to help accentuate the story line exceptionally well.

Overall Grade: A-

I found Beyond the Boundary to be a wonderful mix of supernatural and heart warming friendship and romance. The one area that I thought was lacking was character development. Understanding who and what all of these characters are is important to the series and to the most part we are given enough information to make the series understandable. I think that if there was more information about the main characters and even a few of the others that show up from time to time it would have made a big difference in who the series tied together.

As series go Beyond the Boundary reminds me of several series blended together and the mish-mash works  as a hole. If you are looking for a shorter series that has plenty of action and a wonderfully heart warming ending then you should check this series out.

Beyond the Boundary is a real winner!

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions: Heart Throb The Complete Collection (anime review)

Love-Chunibyo-Heart-Throbreview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions: Heart Throb The Complete Collection

Director: Tatsuya Ishihara

Studio: Kyoto Animation

Author: Jukki Hanada

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: August 25, 2015

Format and Length: DVD / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

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

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!

Synopsis:

Yuta Togashi thought he had problems dealing with one delusional girlfriend in the person of Rikka Takanashi, but now things are about to go totally insane as his former “one true soul mate” from when he was a chuni himself returns with a vengeance! How bad could Satone Shichimiya’s re-entry into Yuta’s chuni-verse likely to be? Let’s just say that she’s so epically off the deep end of the chuni-scale that she prefers to use the name Sophia Ring SP Saturn VII and that she’ll joyfully tear Yuta’s real world to pieces in order to get him back in her imaginary one!

Some girls just want to have fun and some want to break down the walls between their boyfriends and themselves. But when a girl’s idea of fun is breaking down the wall between their presumed boyfriend and reality, retreating into a fantasy world might just be Yuta’s best option. Especially since Satone knows where ALL the skeletons from his past are buried. Toss Rikka’s equally delusional friend Sanae into the mix and girl-crazy begins to take on a whole new meaning!

Commentary:

I really liked the first season and I was quite happy when Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions: Heart Throb was released but now I wish I would not have been so excited because I believe I had too high expectations for this season. The storyline was not as deep nor complex as Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions but it was still cute and funny. I really wish they would have progressed the romance between Yuta and Rikka in Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions: Heart Throb as I was looking forward to it after watching the first season. But instead, Yuta and Rikka are awkward and shy around each other even though they have been “dating” for six months. This is a slice-of-life series that is mainly episodic but some episodes to flow into the next one.

There was also a new character introduced, Satone Shichimiya. She is a childhood friend of Yuta and she takes chunibyo to a whole new level. She adds a large amount of drama between Yuta and Rikka that really was not necessary. Plus, she is kinda in love with Rikka and that makes Rikka jealous. But I think that would make anyone jealous. I really wish they would have given Nibutani some more attention but instead she was relegated to the background during the important scenes as a sort of cheerleader who pushes Yuta and Rikka forward because they are too childish to take that step themselves.

The animation was pretty and vivid. The colors jumped off the screen and the characters and backgrounds were well drawn. The music was catchy and enjoyable. I found myself humming along after a few episodes. The voice actors did a good job bringing the characters to life and made the series enjoyable.

Extras:

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions: Heart Throb The 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. Both are well done and enjoyable.

Overall Grade: B-

While Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions: Heart Throb has some issues, it was still interesting to watch and it had some cute moments. I recommend this series if you have seen the first season and want to see what happens next.

K-ON! Season 1

K-On! season 1Title: K-ON! season one

Director: Naoko Yamasa

Writer: Reiko Yoshida

Music: Hajime Hyakoku

Studio: Kyoto Animation

U. S. Distributor: Semtai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Re-Release Date: Sept. 23rd, 2014

Format: DVD / 12 Episodes + 2 OVAs / 350 minutes

Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy

Overall Personal Grade: A-

Synopsis:

Rock ‘n’ roll may never die, but the Sakuragoaka Girl’s High School Light Music Club might not be here to stay unless would-be drummer Ritsu Tainaka can find three more members to replace the graduated seniors. Determined to see that the beat goes on, Ritsu can get a little help from her friend Mio Akiyama on bass, and together they might be able to convince choir-inclined Tsumugi Kotobuki to join on the keyboards. But even then, they’ll still need a hero, preferably of the juke-box variety with stars in her eyes.

Instead, they find Yui Hirasawa, who’s looking for a club to join and who’s never held a guitar in her life. But when Yui does pick up a beat-up six-string, it feels good in her hands, and it doesn’t take long to understand that maybe she’s finally found a place where she belongs. Because you can’t stop the music when four girls share a dream, even if it’s something as crazy as someday playing at the famous Budokan. It’s going to be a long and winding road, but if they find their passion and follow their muse, they could go anywhere!

Commentary:

The girls are back. As I stand and applaud Sentai Filmworks for not letting this wonderful series fair into obscurity with the closing of Bandai anime in North America I begin to remember how much I really enjoy the simple structure of K-On! If you have not had a chase to see this series and find yourself looking for a nice story that is about nothing more than a group of girls just having fun being friends and getting through high school.

Beyond the story line there is also the music that keep this series rolling forward. I can’t say that it is hard hitting rock or thoughtful full blooded roll, but it is happy music that will leave you with a smile. That smile is what is at the core for K-On! and keeping you smiling is the thing that this series does, I love the way that the story is developed. There is no heavy handed or over the top comic relief. It is all about watching these girls blend their personalities to make a group that anyone would want to be a part of.

Overall Grade: A-

As much as I like K-On! I still see how it could bother some who are looking for a show that gives you a solid slice of life and a coming of age story. With K-On! sticking to the simplicity of the story it does tend to drag at times. There really aren’t any heavy dramatic or crazy comedic moments that make you sit up and say yes this is what I cam for. K-On! just washes over you like a warm mild spring wind that gives you hope and a smile that reminds you of your youth or makes those high school years look like they a just plain simple fun.  If there was ever a series that makes you feel good with out any pain or heavy belly laughs K-On! is it and it does it so sublimely that you just might have to watch it twice to understand what makes it not just good, but something worth remembering.

Thank you Sentai Filmworks and Section 23 for not letting this wonderful series slipping into that world of obscurity.