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Magical Users Club OVA & Series (anime review)

magic-users-club-ovaTitle: Magical User’s Club (OVA & TV Series)

Director: Michiru Oshima

Studio: Triangle Staff (OVA & TV Series), Madhouse (TV Series)

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi, Lucky Penny

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

Format: DVD / OVA – 6 Episodes, TV Series – 13 Episodes / OVA – 150 Minutes, TV Series – 325 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Supernatural, Comedy, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating B+

magic-users-club-tvSynopsis:

OVA – This Magic Club can do a lot more than card tricks!

Exactly one year ago, aliens invaded Earth. But it wasn’t the kind of invasion you’d expect. After descending from space and destroying any opposition, the giant spaceship known as The Bell just… sat there. For a year it’s been floating silently over the ocean, quietly observing how Earthlings live. Everyone’s pretty much used to it by now.

Everyone, that is, except the Magic User’s Club. They’re a small band of misfits who can do actual, honest-to-goodness magic! Their leader, Takeo, doesn’t trust the aliens to stay peaceful. He wants to fight the alien menace, but it’ll be a tough task when his club consists of a perverted president, a flamboyant VP, a flaky princess, a bumbling new recruit, and her temperamental best friend! Can this motley crew pull it together and save the world?

TV Series – More Misadventures with the Magic User’s Club!

The Magic User’s Club is a group of five well-meaning misfits who do more than card tricks – they can use actual magic. And with that magic, they managed to defeat a giant ship from outer space! But their close encounter left an enormous cherry blossom tree right in the middle of the city. It’s so big that it blocks out the sun!

Takeo Takakura, the club’s noble (but perverted) president, calls a special Sunday meeting to take care of the tree. It seems simple enough, but when magic is involved, nothing ever goes according to plan… What’s more, there’s a ghostly figure hidden among the branches, watching their every move. Who is this silent specter, and what does he want?

Commentary:

The list of re-release of late 90’s anime keeps on coming and Magical User’s Club is one of the most recent made available. This some what silly and a little sexy series gives us a glimpse into the fun that was happening almost 20 years ago. The story line is nothing special, but the development and offerings is different. For Magical User’s Club the release of the OVAs came first and because of the story it is important to watch them first and the TV series followed. To me it is obvious why this series was a hit in the 90’s and why it might come across as timely, but also dates now. The characters give us everything from a naive young girl to a oversexed gay student in love with the club leader. It is wonderful how the world is blended into this comedy.

Overall Grade: B+

Both Magical User’s Club sets are more than worth being checked out. The animation might be somewhat aged, but the story and the character development are superior and make all the difference for this series. I loved the way the club was made up of such wonderful individuals and of course they keep you smiling all the way through.

I know that many people are a little hesitant to pick up an anime that is almost 20 years old unless they experienced it as a child, but I can’t stress how good this series is and how fun it is. Check it out you won’t be disappointed.

 

Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series (anime review)

Umi-Monogatarireview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series

Director: Junichi Sato

Studio: Zexcs

Author: Toshihiko Tsukiji

U.S. Distributor: Nozomi, Lucky Penny

U.S. Release Date: November 3, 2015

Format and Length: DVD / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Supernatural

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Aria The Animation

Synopsis:

Marin and Urin are sea folk, people who live in a peaceful underwater world surrounded by bright fish and colorful coral. But one day, a beautiful ring falls from the “sky” – that dangerous place above the water – and the two girls decide to return the lovely trinket to its owner.

While the surface world holds amazing wonders for the pair, it also hides a great darkness… a darkness that Urin accidentally unleashes when she opens a stone box at a local shrine. Now it’s up to Marin, Urin, and their new friend Kanon to set things right again before that darkness swallows the entire world! Will they set everything right again in time? Will this new friendship survive? You will have to watch Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series and find out.

Commentary:

Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series was a refreshing and laid back series to watch as it is part magical adventure and part romance yet neither part overshadows the other. Unlike many similar series, Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series managed to stay on task for each and every episode and not devolve into a series of filler (Marin and Urin go to school) and fan-service (Mermaids at the Hot Springs) episodes half way through the series. Yes, there was fan-service but it was not over-done. I did feel like the storyline went very slow, there was not much action most of the time and many people may find Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series to be boring do to the pacing. However, the drama picks up in the last few episodes and the ending wrapped up all of the important story elements.

Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series has some interesting characters to say the least. Marin and Urin are both sweet and likable girls who are also “pure” at heart. These sisters are naïve to the surface world’s ways, though perhaps not as much as they should have been. Sadly, even with the decent amount of background on their relationship and their past, it does not feel as if you really know them that well. Kanon felt like the most emotionally invested character in the series. She is a bit darker than Marin, but most people would be as Marin is full of love and energy all the time. Kanon is just a girl who wants to be liked but does not know how to show it to people. She is often referred to as “evil” or having an “evil aura” but she does not act evil. That may have been a mistranslation or something. The background characters were well done as they were fairly deep and interesting characters but their screen time was kept to a minimum to focus on the main storyline. The villain, Sedna, was very intriguing because she seems like that dark inner voice that everyone hears from time to time. She is a terrifying presence despite not having a physical form.

The animation in Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series was very beautiful. The sky and sea worlds were just beautiful and the magical effects and action were well animated. The character designs were amazingly cute and the voice actors did a great job in the series. The opening and closing songs fit right in the relaxed mood of the series.

Extras:

Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series includes Marin’s “What Is This?” episodes 1-4, clean opening and closing animations, web promos, promotional video, commercials, and Nozomi/Lucky Penny trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English Subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: B

Umi Monogatari: The Complete Series was a relaxing series to watch. I enjoyed it but I feel like they missed the mark by only having it subtitled because I think children would love this series and they would probably like to watch it dubbed. I would recommend this series if you enjoyed Aria The Animation.

Please Teacher! (anime review)

Please Teacher!review provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Please Teacher!

Director: Yasunori Ide

Studio: Daume

Author: Yosuke Kuroda

U.S. Distributor: Nozomi Entertainment , Lucky Penny

U.S. Release Date: June 2, 2015

Format and Length: DVD / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, Comedy, Romance

Industry Age Rating: 16 and up

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Waiting in the Summer, Please Twins and To-LOVE- Ru

“This is a priority one.”

Synopsis:

Kei Kusanagi isn’t your typical 15-year-old high school student. He is actually an 18-year-old with a rare disorder that puts him into what he calls, a “standstill”! When he was younger, this disorder left him in a deep coma which stunted his growth for three years. So he must make up the time that he lost to his “standstill”. Mizuho Kazami isn’t your typical teacher, either. She’s actually an alien sent by the Galaxy Federation to observe the Earth! As the sole human being with knowledge of Ms. Kazumi’s secret, Kei must marry her?! Between homework, dating, and a gorgeous wife – going to school has never been quite this fun! Will Kei have more “standstills”? Will Kei and Mizuho’s marriage last? You will have to watch Please Teacher! and find out.

Commentary:

Please Teacher! has to be one of the best rom-coms I have seen. Yes, the premise if the story is one of the silliest I have seen in a while; however, what develops out of this turns into a very touching romance as Kei and Mizuho both develop their love and feelings for one another. It was also refreshing to see that all the female characters were not in love with the same guy. Plus, the supporting characters also have romances of their own and those create interest in the plot line. The plot was also well done and did not seem rushed or slow. Twelve episodes plus the OVA is the perfect length for this series. Also, the alien aspect of the series and the real reason for Mizuho being on earth is just a small sub-plot so do not let that keep you from watching Please Teacher!.

Speaking of the characters, there was some amazing character development in Please Teacher! Almost each and every character in the series changed and grew in some way. Kei eventually learns that he must move forward instead of coming to a “standstill”. I really believe that without his marriage to Mizuho he never would have learned that lesson. After his three year “standstill”, Kei moves in with his aunt, Konoha, and his uncle, Minoru. Minoru is the town’s doctor and also faces the wrath of Konoha whenever he acts like a dirty old man. Those moments had me laughing.

Kei also had a few friends at school. They were Koishi Herikawa, Hyosuke Magumo, Kaede Misumi, Ichigo Morino, and Matagu Shidou. Hyosuke and Kaede were especially cute together and they could really have their own series. Koishi Herikawa loves Kei but eventually accepts that he loves someone else and moves on. If Mizuho was not in the picture, I believe they would have made a cute couple. However, I believe that Masami Yamada was introduced for a reason but nothing is ever said or done. Ichigo Morino has her own secret in the series and when it is made known it will probably surprise you. Matagu is the typical perverted teenage male character and sadly they do not really expand past that.

I also really loved Maho, Mizuho’s little sister. Maho is very close to her big sister and initially refuses to accept the fact that Kei is married to her. She follows Kei around town and tries to catch him cheating or doing something stupid. Eventually, Maho accepts the relationship between Kei and Mizuho and becomes one of their biggest cheerleaders. Then there is Hatsuho Kazami, Mizuho’s mother. She is a real piece of work as she is a very sensual, self-assured, and bold but subtly assertive woman. She makes Kei and Mizuho’s lives interesting to say the least. As you can tell, there are some amazing characters in Please Teacher! and it is difficult to choose a favorite.

As for the OVA, that is where all the fan-service for the entire series lives. It also gives you the conclusion you were wondering about after the last episode. Hatsuho interferes once again with Kei and Mizuho’s relationship, however this time it might actually be helpful. Needless to say, that is where the fan-service is and you will either have you use your imagination or watch the OVA.

The animation looked great for the age of the series, but I wish it had been in widescreen format instead of 4×3. However, I am ecstatic that Nozomi/Lucky Penny is picking up these older series and I cannot wait to see what they are releasing next. The voice actors were good and I really enjoyed the Japanese voice actors the most. The opening and closing songs were catchy and reminded me of other series that came out at the same time.

Extras:

Please Teacher! includes clean opening and closing animations, Marie Love Theater, Promotional videos, Music Clips, Commercials, Episode 13 preview, and Nozomi/Lucky Penny previews as special features. Please Teacher! has English and Japanese with English subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: A-

Please Teacher! is a well done rom-com. I was pleased that it had a conclusion and it was also a sweet series. I recommend watching Please Teacher! if you enjoy the rom-com genre as it is the best of both worlds.

Looking Up At The Half-Moon (anime review)

Looking Up At The Half MoonTitle: Looking Up At The Half-Moon

Director: Yukihiro Matsushita

Studio: Group TAC

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi, Lucky Penny

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

Format: DVD / 6 Episodes / 150 minuts

Genre: Romance, Love Story, Coming of Age

Age rating: 13+

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Even though Yuuichi Ezaki is in the hospital recovering from an illness, he’s constantly sneaking out. One day he’s caught by the head nurse, who makes a deal with him: she’ll overlook his future excursions if he’s willing to befriend a new patient, Rika Akiba. Due to a serious heart condition, Rika has spent most of her life in the hospital, and doesn’t really have any friends. As Yuuichi and Rika spend time together and learn more about each other, their relationship soon blossoms into romance…

Commentary:

There is something about the Japanese mindset that lends itself to these bitter sweet stores of love and loss. We see it stand out and revered in classics like Clannad, Kannon and Air just to mention a few. Looking Up At The Half Moon is a perfect example of a slice of life that not only shows the strength of love but also show the tragedy of life and the fragility of the human condition. The story is straight forward you realize what is going to happen by the end of the second episode, but that still doesn’t ruin anything at all. In fact knowing what to expect makes it all the better as you get to move this sweet little series.

There is a lot about this series that draws you to it and with it being only 6 episodes long it provides for a great source of entertainment in an easy to watch period of time. The characters are exposed to us at a reasonable pace and as you warm up to them you see all of the dynamics start to change and bonds become stronger and frictions begin to light up. This progression shows how well written the series is and how it has stood the test of time now that it is almost 10 years old. Of course I expect that the story will remain strong for some time because it is about young hearts find something very special with a heavy burden hanging over the entire situation.

Overall Grade : A-

For all that is good about the series I have to say that the animation was not the best. It came across flat and some-what anemic from time to time. The color plate was too muster for its own good. I would have like to see a little more color and maybe even a brighter overall feel to the production level. I understand that there is a certain amount of melancholy to the story that might require a bit of a muted paler, I feel as thought it was take too far with the series as a whole.

The writing is superb and even though it is only 6 episodes the story managed to develop at a pace that seem well suited and even though I would have liked to see a few more episodes to maybe complete the story with a defined understanding how much time remained in their story together I didn’t really mind having it end there. The character development was ok and it gave enough depth to the main characters to support what need to be there, but again I think that there could have been more opportunity to give us more background if the series was longer.

Looking Up At The Half Moon is both a easy watch and a touching story that can easily make you cry for joy and sadness at the same time. There is nothing more heartwarming that the development of love at a time of great distress and also watching two young adults find their way through some of the most confusing moments of anyones life.

If you are looking for a good love story to warm you hear then look no further than Looking Up At The Half Moon.

 

Rose of Versailles: Part Two (anime review)

Rose of Versailles: Part Tworeview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Rose of Versailles: Part Two

Director: Osamu Dezaki

Studio: Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Author: Riyoko Ikeda

U.S. Distributor: Nozomi Entertainment, Lucky Penny

U.S. Release Date: April 7, 2015

Format and Length: DVD / 20 Episodes, 480 Minutes

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Historical, Romance

Industry Age Rating: 13 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Revolutionary Girl Utena and Le Chevalier D’Eon

Synopsis:

Rose of Versailles: Part Two begins where Part One left off. Oscar is beginning to feel out of place among the nobles, but does not know what to do about it. Looking to challenge herself further, Oscar leaves Marie Antoinette’s side and enlists with the French Guards. The French Guards are common soldiers who put their lives on the line every night as they patrol the streets and keep the peace. However, Oscar soon learns that an anti-noble sentiment resides everywhere, even amongst the guards that grudgingly follow her orders. Will Oscar eventually find herself torn between her loyalty to the crown and her loyalty to France itself?

Marie Antoinette’s indulgences are beginning to take their toll on the common citizens. While the nobles live in sheer decadence, the poor children are left to starve on the streets. Counts and countesses are attending masquerade balls while normal families are forced to bury their loved ones because they are unable to afford medicine. Pleas that were once for equality are now enraged demands for radical change, but what does the nobility have to say for themselves?
Commentary:

Rose of Versailles: Part Two is a wonderful conclusion to this historical anime. At first, I was not very interested in this anime, but after a few episodes, it drew me in. Rose of Versailles is an old anime that has been re-released and might be hard to watch, but give it a chance if you are able to see past the lack of action and the tragedies that fall upon the characters. Be prepared to get emotionally attached to certain characters though.

I really loved that Rose of Versailles: Part Two focused more on Oscar’s life than on Marie Antoinette. They did an amazing job in describing the drama that had become Oscar’s life. Oscar loved Fersen, but was sure that he loved Marie Antoinette. Fersen loved Oscar but decided to stay by Marie Antoinette’s side until the end. Andre’ loved Oscar but he kept it to himself until the end of their time together. That is a lot of drama for one girl to deal with. Finally, Oscar and Andre’ are able to tell each other that they love one another however; it was too late for a happy ending. But sometimes that happens when there is a Revolution going on.

The plot picked up pace in Rose of Versailles: Part Two. It still seemed like each book of manga equaled one episode of Rose of Versailles, however I got very caught up in the battle scenes and that seemed to make episodes fly by. Be careful though, you can easily marathon the entire series in a matter of a few days, which I did because it is just that good. Each disk has five episodes and they go by pretty quickly. The opening and closing music fits the mood of the anime very well. It is slightly bittersweet and the background music depicted the music of the 17th Century, although there were a few instances of “dramatic” piano playing, but that is par for the course for an anime of this age. The opening and closing music is catchy and I found myself singing along by the third disk; thankfully there are subtitles with the lyrics too. The animation does look dated but then again you have to remember the age of this anime. Some of the scenes will take your breath away and others will just make you laugh. The backgrounds are very detailed and look beautiful. Be careful of the sparkles though, they may blind you.

While Rose of Versailles: Part Two is not completely fact, if you enjoy history or love historical fiction then this anime is for you. This anime is a classic and deserves a special place in the history of anime in general.
Extras:

Rose of Versailles: Part Two has clean opening and closing animation and Nozomi trailers as special features. Each disk has two trailers and the fourth disk has an interview with the director, Osamu Dezaki.
Overall Grade: B+

Rose of Versailles: Part Two is a wonderful conclusion to the Rose of Versailles story. Despite its age, it is very enjoyable. If you are a fan of older animes or you are open minded with different genres of anime then you should enjoy Rose of Versailles: Part One and Part Two. As a complete series that I watched once again back-to-back without interruptions, I would give the entire series an overall grade of an A-. It is definitely worth a watch. I can recommend either Revolutionary Girl Utena or Le Chevalier D’Eon. Revolutionary Girl Utena also features a young woman blurring the gender lines with sword fights and Le Chevalier D’Eon revolves around the French Revolution. I also suggest watching Rose of Versailles: Part One, but that goes without saying.

You’re Being Summoned, Azazel DVD Complete Collection (anime review)

Azazel, You're Being SummonedTitle: You’re Being Summoned, Azazel DVD Complete Collection

Director: Tsutomu Mizushima

Studio: Production I. G.

U. S. Distributor: Lucky Penny, Nozomi

U. S. Release date: Feb. 3rd, 2015

Format: DVD / 26 Episodes / 338 Minutes

Genre: Comedy

Age Rating: TV 17

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

Have a stalker you just can’t shake? Fear your spouse is being unfaithful? You might consider hiring Akutabe, a detective who summons demons to do his dirty work. While his methods might seem unorthodox, he always gets results. However, as powerful as Akutabe is, manipulating demons is a delicate art. His new part-time employee Sakuma, a young college girl, doesn’t get to spend too much time exploring the finer points of controlling demons before Akutabe forces her into a demonic contract with Azazel. Azazel is lazy, lustful, and depraved… Everything you’d expect a demon to be. Sakuma needs to keep Azazel on a tight leash, but to do that, she may have to dabble in a little depravity herself.

Commentary:

There are plenty of shows out there that aim to push the boundaries of absurd and questionable. As for Azazel, You’re Being Summoned will be treated some of the best and worst of this style of comedy. After the first episode I thought it might stay somewhat straight forward, but with the introduction of  Beelzebub any chance for redemption goes straight down the toilet. Or rather it should go down the toilet. Any time you have a major character that feeds on feces you can be sure that things will only get stranger from there, and they do.

This comedy is fine and sometimes funny, but I began to find it rather tedious and unnerving. I did appreciate the way that Rinko developed and ended up becoming a little more edgy, but in the end she still retained some of her original humanity. Akutabe on the other hand is the kind of person that I typically detest and in this case he still ends up being nothing more than a jerk, but the fact that he doesn’t have any eyebrows is cool.

Now when it comes to the demons I almost would have preferred that they didn’t revert to their chibi form when they come to the human world, I could have gotten a better sense of what they really were. The story line was simple and stayed on tract which I think help make it easy to watch and maybe even saved it for some of the over the top things that happen.

Overall Grade: B

Azazel, You’re Being Summoned is not for the under 16/17 age group and at time was hard for this middle aged man to watch. There were plenty of other moments where I laughed out loud and found the humor to be spot on. It reminded me very much of an Austin Powers movie that was mashed up with something like She Devil or even a stranger Elfin Lied or even Archer. Much of the story made fun of the weakness in our own human nature and in a few rare occasions made a valid point about the dichotomy of humanity.

If you are looking for a comedy that pushes the boundaries of what humor is and will make you uncomfortable at the same time then you should pick this up. The base humor is in line with American sensibilities and may make you laugh and at the same time be a little sad that you are even watching it.

Fantastic Detective Labyrinth (anime review)

Fantastic Detective Labyrinth Title: Fantastic Detective Labyrinth

Director: Hiroshi Watanabe

Studio: Studio Deen

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi, Lucky Penny

U. S. Release Date: Jan. 6th, 2015

Format: DVD / 625 minutes / 25 Episodes

Genre: Drama, Supernatural

Age Rating:  TV 13+

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis: 

Thirty years ago, Tokyo was destroyed in a massive earthquake. Most people have moved on to a new capital, Shinto, but a string of bizarre murders and supernatural events keep occurring in the ruins of the old city. The only one with the ability to see through to the heart of these mysteries is the enigmatic Mayuki Hyuga, a boy with extraordinary detective skills and powers that even he doesn’t yet understand. Together with his guardian and butler Seiran Shinano, Mayuki must not only help the police solve cases, but also uncover the secrets of his lineage.

Mayuki Hyuga has more than the unknown about his family history to contend with. There is a burden that his heritage will exact and at the same time may cost the lives of his friends and those closes to him. Will he be able to find the right path in time?

Commentary:

For whatever it is worth, Fantastic Detective Labyrinth is a odd but very entertaining series. From the very beginning it sets up a plot line that has nothing to do with the real story and ends up leaving things very confusing. On a whole this twist is not a detractor, but rather a tool that proves to be a real positive for the show.

Of course the story really revolves around family and friendship which is a nice touch and it gives us something to root for. The characters are interesting even if they are a little stiff from time to time. With this being a series aimed at a younger audience it is easy to see why the characters are developed in this rather stoic manner even if it does end up letting the series down. There is always the opportunity to interject yourself into the group and feel apart of the story.

The writing does manage to weave a story that maintains itself through all 25 episodes although it does struggle at times to keep things lively. The animation is really stiff and by far the weakest aspects to the series. i felt like the animators were too interested in the dolls because they were the most interesting in their artistic development. The others lacked a vibrance that would have helped the flat writing and possibly elevated the series to a higher rating.

Overall Grade: B

If you are looking for a exciting series that really shows off some serious abilities you may not want to take on Fantastic Detective Labyrinth. If you are looking for a series that keeps you guessing for most of the episodes them Fantastic Detective Labyrinth will hit the spot. The real strength to the series is that it should appeal to a younger audience that need some excitement and also can feel like it is close to their own world. I think that the stylistic approach to the dolls is something that a younger male would really enjoy and of course the friendship and family bonds will appeal to the younger female viewers. The mystery will cross a lll lines and even appeal to a older age group such as myself.

Fantastic Detective Labyrinth is a solid series that presents itself as a entertaining show that keeps you interested and guessing almost all the way to the end.

Rose of Versailles: Part One-Litebox (anime review)

Title: Rose of Versailles: Part One-LiteboxTitle: Rose of Versailles: Part One-Litebox

Director: Tadao Nagahama (episodes 1-18) and Osamu Dezaki (episodes 19 and 20)

Studio: Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Author: Riyoko Ikeda

U.S. Distributor: Nozomi Entertainment, Lucky Penny

U.S. Release Date: February 3, 2015

Format and Length: DVD / 20 Episodes / 480 Minutes

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Historical, Romance

Industry Age Rating: 13 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Revolutionary Girl Utena and Le Chevalier D’Eon

Synopsis:

Rose of Versailles: Part One begins with the birth of General Jarjayes’ latest child. The General is desperate for a son to preserve the family name and noble standing so he names his daughter Oscar and chooses to raise her as a boy. Her best friend and training companion is Andre’ and he a servant in the family’s home. As a teenager, Oscar is the newly appointed Commander of the French Royal Guards and she is a masterful duelist, an expert shooter, and a master swordsman. Her first assignment is to protect Marie Antoinette, who is engages to the French prince and future king, Louis-Auguste (King Louis XVI). Lady Oscar’s beauty and noble spirit maker her a shining figure in the eyes of both men and women but she is torn between her chosen life of service and duty to class and country and her own heart and desires.

The French court is a dangerous place, even though the arranged marriage should provide both countries, France and Austria, with some much needed peace and prosperity. Unfortunately, Marie Antoinette’s naiveté makes her an easy target for those who wish to see the monarchy overthrown and thus begins the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette also makes her own trouble when rumors begin floating around Versailles about her and Han Axel von Fersen. Soon, Oscar finds herself both defending Marie Antoinette’s reputation from those who seek to discredit her and protecting her life from those who wish to harm her.
Commentary:

Rose of Versailles: Part One is a wonderful historical anime. At first, I was not very interested in this anime, but after a few episodes, it drew me in. Rose of Versailles is an old anime that has been re-released and might be hard to watch, but give it a chance if you are able to see past the lack of action and the tragedies that fall upon the characters.

I thought the character development of Lady Oscar was awesome. You first see her right before she takes her position as Commander of the French Royal Guards and you think that she is just a spoiled teenage brat, but she is anything but. Oscar is a woman of her word and lives to serve the Royal family. She is also very strong willed and members of both sexes are attracted to her. I really loved the interaction between Andre’ and Oscar because you could really tell that Andre’ loved Oscar, however Oscar did not or could not give the feelings back. Marie Antoinette’s character was really sweet and cute in the beginning of the series, but as the series progressed, she became more selfish and immature. She put her own happiness ahead of the happiness of her people. Those are really the two most interesting characters at this point in the series.

The plot was very slow. It seemed like each book of manga equaled one episode of Rose of Versailles. Personally, I think that some parts could have been left out; however, by the end of Rose of Versailles: Part One I was happy to have seen every part. As I said above, it really draws you in and then you do not want to stop watching. Each disk has five episodes and they go by pretty quickly. The opening and closing music fits the mood of the anime very well. It is slightly bittersweet and the background music depicted the music of the 17th Century, although there were a few instances of “dramatic” piano playing, but that is par for the course for an anime of this age. The animation does look dated but then again you have to remember the age of this anime. The backgrounds are very detailed and look beautiful. Be careful of the sparkles though, they may blind you.

While Rose of Versailles: Part One is not completely fact, if you enjoy history or love historical fiction then this anime is for you. This anime is a classic and deserves a special place in the history of anime in general.
Extras:

Rose of Versailles: Part One has clean opening and closing animation and Nozomi trailers as special features. Each disk has two trailers and the fourth disk has the clean opening and closing animation.
Overall Grade: B+

Rose of Versailles: Part One is a very good anime and is worth a watch. Despite its age, it is very enjoyable and I cannot wait for Part Two to see what happens. If you are a fan of older animes or you are open minded with different genres of anime then you should enjoy Rose of Versailles: Part One.

Cat’s Eye: Season Two (anime review)

Cat's Eye Season 2

review provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Cat’s Eye: Season Two

Director: Kanetsugu Kodama

Studio: Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Author: Tsukasa Hojo

U.S. Distributor: Lucky Penny,  Nozomi Entertainment

U.S. Release Date: November 4, 2014

Format and Length: DVD / 37 Episodes / 925 Minutes

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Mystery, Romance

Industry Age Rating: 16 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Lupin III and Cat’s Eye: Season One

Synopsis:

Hitomi, Rui, and Ai are back in Cat’s Eye: Season Two! Toshio is also in tow and has yet to figure out that Hitomi is a member of Cat’s Eye. As you know, they are the greatest art thieves Japan has ever known. However, they do not steal for money or fame; they do it in the hopes of finding their father, a great painter who went missing after World War II.

A new female thief claiming to be Cat’s Eye starts wreaking havoc in Tokyo while they are off searching for their father in Europe. She steals anything and everything she can get her hands on and her brutal methods are putting the lives of the police, including Toshio, at risk. It is finally time for the real Cat’s Eye to head back to Japan and bring her reign of terror to an end! Will the true Cat’s Eye make it back in time? Will they finally find their father? You will have to watch Cat’s Eye: Season Two to find out.

Commentary:

You really have to love anime series from the 1980’s. Do not allow the age of this series to put you off because Cat’s Eye: Season Two will deliver a truly satisfying experience from the first episode to the ending credits. Cat’s Eye: Season Two is an episodic series so you are able to watch a few episodes at a time in between other series and still know what is going on. Some episodes are better than others but I did not find that any of them really disappointed me.

This season really focuses on the relationship between Hitomi and Toshio and the hilarity that ensues as Hitomi hides her true identity from Toshio. Or in many cases, knocks him out so she is able to make her great escape. Toshio is a very naïve, dense person who cannot figure out that his fiancé is a member of the infamous Cat’s Eye gang. But he really does care for her and maybe love is truly blind. Rui and Ai are interesting characters to say the least. Ai is the tech girl and loves tinkering with stuff as she invents things to use during their robberies. She seems to be a tomboyish high school or college student and loves to cause trouble when she can. Rui is the eldest Kisugi sister and is also the classiest of the three. She is the one who plans all of their robberies.

The animation and audio were re-mastered for this release and the subtitles were updated as well. Even though these series was re-mastered it is still the typical style of animation for the early 1980’s. The fight scenes and anything with fast movement is depicted in stills leaving it up to your imagination as the technology at the time could not handle those scenes. The opening and closing animations are completely 1980’s as they include the characters in unitards dancing around to the workout music of that time.
Extras:

Cat’s Eye: Season Two includes clean opening and closing animations and two Nozomi Entertainment/Lucky Penny trailers per disk as special features. Japanese with English subtitles is the only language option available for this series.

Overall Grade: B

If you have read my previous reviews, you are aware of my love for the old animes I grew up with. It continues to bring me great joy that someone is releasing the true classics. Cat’s Eye: Season Two continues the retro anime being made available to the new generation.

Space Pirate Mito: The Complete Collection (anime review)

space pirate mitoreview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Space Pirate Mito: The Complete Collection

Director: Takashi Watanabe

Studio: Triangle Staff

Author: Fumihiko Shimo

U.S. Distributor: Nozomi, Lucky Penny

U.S. Release Date: November 4, 2014

Format and Length: DVD / 26 Episodes / 650 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction, Adventure

Industry Age Rating: 13 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Project A-ko

“Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto!”

Synopsis:

Most teenage boys have enough trouble just dealing with the pressures of school and dating, but 15-year-old Aoi Mitsukuni’s life becomes exponentially more complicated when his mom returns from a long “business trip.” He discovers that not only is his beautiful mother actually an alien, but she’s the notorious Space Pirate Mito to boot! She’s known as the galaxy’s most dangerous pirate, a wanted criminal who destroys a dozen police space cruisers every day before breakfast. But all she really wants is to be called “Mom.” To make matters worse, Mitsuki the girl Aoi likes at school is actually a secret Galactic Patrol agent attempting to find and arrest his mother. However, the three of them end up saving the Universe! No one ever said being a teenager in love was easy!

Now a malevolent entity calling herself the true Queen of the Universe appears with enough power to destroy entire planets. Aoi must defend her new throne, but she needs Mutsuki’s help. Mutsuki must come to terms with her own feelings for Aoi so they can defend Earth together and become the galaxy’s first royal pair of queens. Will the Universe survive this epic fight? You will have to watch Space Pirate Mito and find out.

Commentary:

Commentary:

Space Pirate Mito: The Complete Collection is an odd series but is still enjoyable with its colorful art style and strange cast of characters. Just do not try to make too much sense of the plotline as you will severely hurt your brain. I liked the first season the best because it was not as crazy as the second season and it seemed that Aoi just had some issues with his mother. The second season seemed really out there because of the introduction of the First Queen, Hikari. She takes strange to a whole new level and her reign as queen can be described as an age of fear.

There was a good amount of character development between the two seasons. Aoi really grew as a character and it was interesting to watch how bizarre his alien biology was. Let’s just say that it will be an eye-opener when you watch the series. Mito is an absurdly youthful mother but only in appearance because she looks like an elementary school student if she takes off her Mail Suit; plus she is a space pirate. She also wears a giant waist ribbon that is so large that its tails have little bows on them.

Mito’s crew on her pirate ship is mostly animal’s that have human bodies and are able to function as humans. I lost it during the first episode because it was so funny but it also made me realize that this series would be better suited to a younger crowd. The story line is not hard to follow but it keeps your interest. The music was fun to listen it and the opening and closing animations were cute. I did feel that the space ships looked very “CG” but they did look awesome. The voice actors did a great job of bringing characters alive and jumping off the screen.

Extras:

Space Pirate Mito: The Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations, TV commercials, promotional videos, a special bonus episode, and Lucky Penny trailers as special features. This series was released with English as a language option for the first 13 episodes and Japanese with English subtitles for the entire series.

Overall Grade: B-
I would have no problem showing this anime to my children once they reach third grade or so. I really feel this series is geared to children and I think they would enjoy it.