Rss

Archives for : School

Girls und Panzer der Film (anime review)

review provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Girls und Panzer der Film Blu-ray/DVD Combo

Director: Tsutomu Mizushima

Studio: Actas

Author: Reiko Yoshida

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: May 16, 2017

Format and Length: Blu-ray/DVD Combo / 120 minutes

Genre: Action, Comedy, Military, School

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Girls und Panzer Complete TV Series, Girls und Panzer Complete OVA Collection, Girls und Panzer This is the Real Anzio Battle

Panzer Vor!

Synopsis:

In Girls und Panzer der Film, when the Ministry of Education goes back on its promise to keep Ooarai Girls Academy open, the task of saving the five-mile-long Academy Ship from the wreckers falls to Miho and her barely-seasoned tankery team. However, things go off track almost immediately.

While the Oorai tank crew may have won the high school tournament, they are now facing a larger and more experienced university team, and if they fail, their armored vehicles will be forfeit! Will they be swapping their tanks for the memories? It is possible, but winning a tank battle is all about tactics and teamwork, and the fledgling Ooarai students have more friends and allies than anyone suspects. Get ready for another high-caliber round of the only sport where “having a blast” does not necessarily mean you are having a great time, as the Ooarai team puts everything on the line!

Commentary:

The Oorai tank crew had to learn a hard lesson at the beginning of Girls und Panzer der Film. They learned that a verbal agreement means nothing because the Ministry of Education does not honor them, but thanks to some very helpful people they are able to get the Ministry of Education to agree to let them fight one more battle to save their school. Basically, it is the TV series all over again but in much less time, with better tank battles and new tanks to show off. I would recommend watching the TV series first because it explains everything that is going on and you will understand why girls are driving tanks that are actually shooting actual artillery and why no one gets seriously injured. It would also be a good idea, because the characters are already developed, and very little further development happens in Girls und Panzer der Film, save for a couple of scenes. The tank battles, always unique, and interesting because of the tactics used, tended towards the end to be over the top, but I think that is what they were going for. And they did do a good job of taking it over the top, and back again. Another thing over the top was the sound. If at all possible save this for a surround sound system with good speakers and bass. They did a great job getting the theater sound into it well mixed. If you do not like loud cannon fire, or explosions, turn it down, as they put a lot of emphasis on good sound quality. The other thing is the CG work. Moving tanks with heavy detail, hand signals, and general quick scenery changes can be challenging for even the most experienced production company to get right. They got this one right. The CG is so well mixed, if you did not know what to look for you would miss it. They did a great job with the animation in general. If you are a fan to the series, or a new comer that just wants to see cute girls driving tanks, this will be one for you.

Extras:

Girls und Panzer der Film includes Girls und Panzer in (about) 3 minutes, clean opening and closing animations, and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This film was released with both English and Japanese with English subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: B+

Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete OVA Series (anime review)

strawberry-marshmallow-ovareview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete OVA Series

Director: Takuya Sato

Studio: Dauma

Author: Barasui

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: July 12, 2016

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

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, School

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: A-

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

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

Synopsis:

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

Commentary:

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

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

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

Extras:

Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete OVA Series includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: A-

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

Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection (anime review)

Review provided by Andrew and Katieblade-dance-of-the-elementalers

Title: Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection

Director: Tetsuya Yanagisaw

Studio: TNK

Author: Takao Yoshioka

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: February 2, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Action, Comedy, Ecchi, Fantasy, Harem, Romance, School, Supernatural

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: C

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: The Familiar of Zero and IS: Infinite Stratos

Synopsis:

In order to enroll at the Areisha Spirit Academy, where young priestesses learn how to form contracts with Spirits, the ideal prospective student must be pure, chaste, and of a superior lineage. They must also be female as only one man has ever made a Spirit contract and He was the Demon King.
The entire Academy is thrown into chaos and confusion when Kamito Kazehaya arrives at the Headmistress’ request because not only is he very obviously a guy, but he also managed to form a Spirit contract in the short time it took him to walk through the woods surrounding the Academy.
And what other secrets might the new enrollee have hidden? The unexpected intrusion of something male is certain to work the female student body into a tizzy as the answers are revealed in Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection.

Commentary:

Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection is your basic magical harem anime series. There is nothing original about the series and that saddened me. Basically, the plot is full of holes and does not explain much of anything. A great example is how Kamito Kazehaya won a Blade Dance three years prior to the setting of the series, but no one knows that as he was in a robot suit. It seems as if they decided to use the first eleven episodes as filler and the actual series began in the final episode. The battles reminded me of Pokémon battles due to the use of “spirit animals” and the battles lasted far too long for my taste. There was also an over-use of fan-service and there was one scene that bordered on hentai so I personally believe that the age rating should have been higher.

Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection included every character archetype, but mostly focused on tsundere, that harem animes use but there was hardly any development done to the characters. Kamito Kazehaya is the only male spirit contractor in the series so naturally the rest of the characters are wary of him. He has a good nature personality but also teases the other characters. Kamito is a competent fighter and uses his head more than his emotions in his fights. Claire Rougeis one of the tsundere’s in the series; however she is heavy on the tsun and light on the dere. Her contracted spirit is a flame cat named Scarlett. Rinslet Laurenfrost is also a tsundere but instead of tsundere to Kamito she is mostly tsundere to Claire, her childhood friend. Her contracted spirit is an ice wolf named Fenrir. Ellis Fahrengart is another tsundere, but she uses the tsundere to protect her school as a Knight. Her contracted spirit is an eagle named Simorgh. Those are the characters that stood out the most to me. There are others including Fianna Ray Ordesia and Est.

The characters were well drawn but the background animation seemed to get lost. The music was standard for this genre and did not stand out in any way. The voice actors did a good job but some left something to be desired.
Extras:
Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection includes Japanese Promos, Blade Dance Special Mini OVA’s, Clean Opening and Closing Animations, and Sentai Filmworks Trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: C
While I was somewhat let down by Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection I believe that someone who loves the harem genre will enjoy it.

Please Twins! The Complete Series (anime review)

Please-Twinsreview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Please Twins! The Complete Series

Director: Yasunori Ide

Studio: Bandai Visual, Studio Orphee

Author: Yousuke Kuroda

U.S. Distributor: Nozomi Entertainment

U.S. Release Date: August 4, 2015

Format and Length: DVD / 12 Episodes + 1 OVA / 325 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Drama, School, Sci-Fi, Harem

Industry Age Rating: 16 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Please Teacher!

Synopsis:

Maiku Kamishiro grew up in an orphanage with no history of his family or of his past. Left with only a childhood picture of himself and another person in front of a house, he believes that the other person in the picture is his long lost twin sister. Upon discovering his old home, two young girls, both carrying the same picture as Maiku, show up on his doorstep one day both claiming to be his long lost sister. Maiku’s life is about to be turned upside down and with two pretty girls living under the same roof as him, how will Maiku be able to keep his mind on school and work while trying to figure out which one of these girls is his sister and which one is the love of his life?

Commentary:

Please Twins!: The Complete Series takes place in the same place as Please Teacher and some of the characters are in both series. Please Twins picks up after the UFO TV special in Please Teacher, however we do not see that part as when the series actually begins Maiku is already living in the house from the picture. Somehow he was able to talk the orphanage into letting him live on his own for high school as long as he keeps a good job. I do not believe that he thought that through very well. The story line flows well throughout the episodes and the comedy is always spot on.

The characters are your basic love triangle/rom-com characters. They do not have much in the way of character development but the personalities make up for that. Maiku Kamishiro is the lead male character who is quiet and standoff-ish. All the girls in school are in love with him and think he is the shy and quiet type. However, he is more interested in working and being able to live on his own. Minna Miyafuji is a very outgoing and energetic girl and she is not shy about anything. Karen Onodera, on the other hand, is a shy and polite girl. She seems very delicate and if she gets overwhelmed she will say “nyu” and faint. She has far too much cute packed into her character. Ichigo Morino also makes her appearance known with her evil laughter. She brings some much needed life to the plot and adds some dark humor in places.

The OVA episode is a lot like the OVA for Please Teacher because all of the over-the-top fan-service is packed into one episode along with some possible incest between two minor characters. The rest of the episodes have some fan-service but most of it is in the OVA and it detracts from the story. The animation is colorful and bright and the characters are drawn well. The small town Japanese backgrounds were beautiful and well done. The music was enjoyable and I loved singing along with it.

Extras:

Please Twins!: The Complete Series includes clean opening and closing animations, image vocals, promotional clip, Japanese commercials, and Nozomi Entertainment trailers as special features. This series was released with both English and Japanese with English subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: B

I really enjoyed watching Please Twins!: The Complete Series and you do not need to watch Please Teacher first but I recommend you do as the characters that cross-over have their development in it.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray (anime review)

My-Teen-Romantic-Comedy-SNAFUreview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection

Director: Ai Yoshimura

Studio: Brian’s Base

Author: Shotaro Suga

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: September 1, 2015

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

Genre: Comedy, Romance, School

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, WataMote: No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular, Haganai, and Haganai: NEXT

Synopsis:

Caution! Opposites may attract, but putting them together may result in chemical burns, electric shocks, and explosions. Enter Hachiman Hikigaya, a pessimistic high school student with no friends and absolutely no interest in making any, and the firm belief that everyone else’s cherished high school experiences are either delusions or outright lies. Hachiman finds himself forcibly coerced by his well-meaning student advisor into joining the one member Service Club. There he encounters club founder Yukino Yukinoshita, a smart, attractive, walking superiority complex who looks down on the entire student body.

These two negative personalities are quick to attract Yui Yuigahama, who’s cute, bright, cheerful, and needs the Service Club’s help to… bake cookies as she should not be allowed in a kitchen by herself. Is this a recipe for romance or the precursor for a nuclear meltdown? Will there be cookies or a reason for everyone to play hooky? Get ready for rom-com gone totally wrong as the three members of the Service Club is unleashed on the unsuspecting student body!

Commentary:

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection is the opposite of a rom-com but at the same time it is one as well it just depends on the episode. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection gives you a fresh and exciting spin on anime stereotypes that will leave you bawling in laughter. The storyline is mostly episodic and character-driven. The last few episodes flow together but the rest of the episodes do not need to be watched in order after the first episode.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection really gets its characters and empathizes with them, but it does not make excuses for them. The characters are wonderful and well thought-out. Hachiman Hikigaya, or Hiki, is your cynical and somewhat pessimistic lead male character and his dissections of everyday occurrences and his appreciation for the little things in life bring hilarity to the story. The way he thinks and acts changes drastically throughout the course of the show as he meets new people and learns more about how to be a friend. Yukino Yukinoshita is the incredibly cunning and calculative tsundere of the series. She and Hiki are in the same boat when referring to lack of friends because she lacks them due to her perceived perfection and elitist attitude; while Hiki lacks them for his mistrust of others and cynical behavior. It was amazing to watch them grow on each other in a way that is not very predictable, but extremely well done. Yiu Yiugahama is the air-headed and inexplicable nice member of the group and serves as the glue that sticks them together with her much needed comical outbreaks and genuine emotions.

The animators brought these characters to life and it was amazing to watch. The character designs were bright and the facial expressions added the realism to the series. The opening and closing songs were fun to listen to and were easy to sing-along with. The voice actors did a great job and helped bring the characters to life before your eyes.

Extras:

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: B+

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: The Complete Collection has made it onto my list of favorite series and I found it quite enjoyable. It is a refreshing and interesting take on the rom-com genre. I hope that there is a second season released soon so the story can be wrapped up.

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.

Student Council’s Discretion Level 2: The Complete Second Season (anime review)

Student Council’s Discretion Level 2: The Complete Second Seasonreview provided by Katie

Title: Student Council’s Discretion Level 2: The Complete Second Season

Director: Kenichi Imaizumi

Studio: AIC

Author: Reiko Yoshida

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: May 26, 2015

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

Genre: Comedy, Parody, School, Harem

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: C+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Student Council’s Discretion

Synopsis:

Sure, sometimes you have to think outside the box, but Hekiyo Academy’s Student Council may go a step further and rewrite their entire universe! At least, that’s what could happen as the second season gets underway and the Council decides that their anime might need a little spicing up. Should they introduce new characters? Add a boy’s-love subplot? Or should they just continue to do what worked previously and spend most of their time chattering between themselves while working towards odd goals that might turn out to have been a little misguided in retrospect?
The answer is “yes” to all of the above and more: class barriers and the fourth wall come tumbling down as a supporting character literally takes up the challenge of moving up to main character status. The plot thickens with the mystery of a missing cake. The boundaries of love between step-siblings get pushed just a few steps beyond what’s socially comfortable and of course there just has to be a hot springs episode. Join 5 student council members in search of an author as the storyline runs amok!

Commentary:

The second season of Student Council’s Discretion continues where the first season left off… No, not really. It’s still a bit crazy and episodic, but that’s about it. In Student Council’s Discretion Level 2: The Complete Second Season, it changes a bit. They still have the standard banter over the white table, in a large room that seems filled with junk. Mafuyu still fantasizes about BL and video games too much. Chizuru is still an evil dominatrix and is overprotective and manipulating of Kurimu, Minatsu still kicks butt, and Kurimu is still the grade school high school girl. And of course Ken Sugisaki is still the pervert who wants a harem. It’s still as random, story less and episodic as ever. What makes this season different? It’s not the same pointlessness of its predecessor, but rather it now focuses more on the developing relationships of everyone else to Sugisaki.

Uncharacteristically, the new season begins on a more serious note, the background story of our male protagonist. This back story was necessary to understand the warped ways of our perverted hero, and how he got to be the hentai loving, harem craving, will do anything for a girl, kind of guy. Mainly the story does focus more on him at this point forwards. Not to say that the other characters are neglected and forgotten. They continue to develop well, and more importantly, their relationships also blossom. Some fans will be happy to see this, others will not. It depends all on the focus you want the story to take. The comedy is there still, but is seemed to fall a little flat at times. A few of the downfalls includes how slow this season starts. When you have so few episodes, it’s not a good thing to take half of them to get back on a roll again, and it never quite reached the level of the first season. Another thing that was missing was the countless number of references and parodies of other animes, found in the original, were very much lacking in the second season. Most of the time they seemed to just parody themselves instead. One of the things that made the first season so endearing was the well played parodies. Also there are a lot more ‘serious moments’, when all joking is cast aside for some serious development. These dramatic interludes are a change from the norm, but I’m not sure yet how well received they will be. I think they had a hard time changing gears from funny to serious, and sometimes the drama just was not executed well. The first season relied more on comedy and character dynamics to entertain, and it worked quite well. Student Council’s Discretion Level 2: The Complete Second Season failed to find this same dynamic, injecting drama into a place that it’s hard to make work right. Even with the addition of new characters, it was unable to recapture its previous glory. That being said, if you are a fan of the first season, this one is worth watching. Just don’t expect the same level of entertainment you got from the first season.

There were some changes for the better. The animation was crisper and more detailed this time around. Yet again though, your scenery is mostly limited to the council room, and school. If you are good at picking up on voice actors, you will notice that a couple of cast changes from the first season. Another thing they did do that caught my interest was the ever changing ending animations. I do get tired of the same old closing credits that recycle thru nearly all series. I often find myself hitting that skip button to get passed it after the second or third time, unless the music was something special, which more time than not, it won’t be. The different ending themes helped to keep my interest enough that I did not skip them.

Extras:

Student Council’s Discretion Level 2: The Complete Second Season includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. Student Council’s Discretion Level 2: The Complete Second Season has Japanese with English Subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: C+

All in all, Student Council’s Discretion Level 2 is a cute series and if you enjoyed the first season then I recommend this one.

Student Council’s Discretion Season 1 Complete Collection (anime review)

Student Council’s Discretion season 1review provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Student Council’s Discretion Blu-ray Season 1 Complete Collection

Director: Takuya Sato

Studio: Studio Deen

Author: Jukki Hanada

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: March 24, 2015

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Parody, School, Harem

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Other Titles to Check Out: Lucky Star, Ebiten, Haganai, Haganai Next, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

“Mukyu.”

Synopsis:

At Hekiyo Academy, the Student Council members are elected via the usual popularity contests, and since most teenagers think more with hormones than brains, those seats are filled by the school’s most beautiful girls. But one student is chosen based on academic scores. Besides being the council’s only male member, one of Ken Sugisaki’s main assignments is writing stories informing the student body what the student council actually does. To do that he’ll have to manipulate the truth just a bit, and given that Ken’s an obsessive fan of dating sims who fantasizes about his fellow council members as his “harem”, things tend to get even more out of hand. Plus, exactly who’s going to be the leading lady is up for debate, as immature Kurimu, tomboyish Minatsu, twisted Chizuru, and “boy’s love” obsessed Mafuyu are all trying to add their own particular spins to everything. If that’s not enough, the journalism club has it out for all of them.

Commentary:

Dragging the otaku culture, kicking and screaming the whole way, Student Council’s Discretion Blu-ray Season 1 Complete Collection, brings more anime memes and parodies than you can possible count. Just in the opening sequence of the first episode, they have over ten references before they show the opening. With some touching on the obscure, they can make things a bit difficult, so it does help to know what they are referencing for a lot of it to make any sense. This series will probably be more entertaining to those who are familiar with otaku culture.

Student Council’s Discretion Blu-ray Season 1 Complete Collection follows Ken Sugisaki and the rest of the student council (aka harem) on their daily activities of conducting the student government. That just sounds like some fun stuff doesn’t it? The catch is that they really don’t do anything meaningful, often each doing their own thing, as the meetings hardly go as planned, if even planned at all. The Student council president, Kurimu Sakurano, the resident loli, leads in the randomness with sheer determination and cuteness. Ken Sugisaki, Vice President, has one thing on his mind and being a teenage male, you can easily imagine what that is. So what is this series about? Nothing really. No, seriously. It’s episodic and random. It’s very Seinfeldish, if you will. No central plot, or conceptual story line, loveable characters that are a bit cliché, and random humor, that is sometimes a little misplaced. On a few occasions their jokes did fall flat, but that was mostly on the more obscure references they made. At those times, it felt like I was with a group of people that I had never met and they had a lot of inside jokes, that you had to of been for a while there to get.

The characters were developed a bit, but since they are all standard archetypes, everyone quickly fell into those clichés and not much development was done beyond that. At some point, they even made it a butt of some of the jokes. Another thing that seemed odd is in the first half of the series, you could count on one hand how many locations they interacted in. By the end you probably had to use both hands, so the scenery did not change often. Considering that humor was the main concept, background scenery was also not built up or changed often. The background was decently detailed, and the club room seemed to have a lot going on in it. They had to fill the space with something I suppose. The opening theme was a bit catchy, and the ending theme was ok. Background music was non-existent. The focus was mostly on the humor, and it did not detract from the series.

Extras:

Student Council’s Discretion included clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English Subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: B-

This series is not for those who are new to anime, or those who have to have a completely coherent story from beginning to end. It’s not there. I found it easiest to watch a couple at a time, as watching too many episodes at once got tiring and I would lose interest. Enjoy it for what it is. Overall it was a decent series, if you are watching it for the parody and humor.

Place to Place (anime review)

Place to Place Blu-rayreview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Place to Place: Blu-Ray Complete Collection

Director: Fumitoshi Oizaki

Studio: AIC

Author: Ishiki

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: March 24, 2015

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

Genre: Romance, Comedy, School, Slice of Life

Industry Age Rating: TV-14 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: A+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Lucky Star, Hidamari Sketch, K-On!, Toradora!

What happens when you are more than just friends, but not quite in a relationship?

Synopsis:

We all had a circle of friends that we hung out with in high school, but within that group, there were smaller groups of friends. Place to Place is about that smaller group of friends, best friends, and even boyfriends and girlfriends. At times, relationships just develop when you least expect them and with the person you want the most. That is the little problem Tsukimi has when it comes to Io.

Io is as tall and laidback, while Tsukimi is short and tsundere. However, Io is completely clueless to Tsukimi’s feelings, yet he is too affectionate and that is just confusing and irritating. The rest of their friends are not much help at all, as it usually gives them another reason to tease Tsukimi. Are Tsukimi and Io just best friends or is it worth risking their friendship for what Tsukimi wants? You will have to watch Place to Place to find out.
Commentary:

Place to Place is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get when the episode begins. The comedy is new and fresh, and the romance is so adorable that you will possibly die from potential blood loss coming out of your nose. Place to Place is a true slice-of-life anime as there is really no plot. You are watching a story that revolves around a group of five high school friends participating in hilarious everyday activities and you also are watching Io’s and Tsukimi’s relationship grow with each episode. Each episode is broken into two parts, Part A and Part B. They may follow the same plot line or the second part could go into a completely different direction. You could watch this series completely out of order and not miss any important plot points. Nevertheless, I would recommend watching in order to get the most cuteness out of Tsukimi.

I must say that the characters are the strongest part of Place to Place. Tsukimi is a small, quiet catlike tsundere. However, she has that cool and collective attitude that the boys go crazy for and that makes her more than the average tsundere. Tsukimi can beat the boys at video games, yet has a feminine side. She actually sprouts cat ears when she was embarrassed or happy! She is in love with the unobservant Io, a boy who is quietly romantic. That makes all the girls crazy for him. The rest of their close group of friends includes Hime, Sakaki, and Mayoi. Hime is a clumsy, whimsical, and shy girl. Her shyness really comes out when she is interested in the opposite sex. Sakaki is the other boy in this group of friends. He usually speaks without thinking and that leads to some painful experiences for him. Mayoi is the final friend and her ideas usually cause trouble for the rest of the group.

The characters were drawn very well and have something special about them. Some of the characters looked really similar to those in Lucky Star. The backgrounds were well drawn and very creative, yet the overall theme of the animation is very simple. That was very refreshing. The arrow themed title cards are too cute and make a great transition between Part A and Part B of the episode. The opening song and closing song are both very fitting for this anime, slightly weird but still catchy.

I would recommend Place to Place if you are looking for a light-hearted anime to watch with a group of friends. I would even recommend this as a good introduction into the slice-of-life genre or even anime in general. Lucky Star, Hidamari Sketch, K-On!, Toradora! are all wonderful Slice of Life animes. I would recommend Place to Place if you have enjoyed any of these animes or if you are just looking to watch a cute anime.

Extras:

The special features for Place to Place include clean opening and closing animations and Sentai trailers.

Overall Grade: A+

I loved Place to Place. It reminds me of Lucky Star but with romance. I would recommend Place to Place to anyone and everyone because it is a light-hearted anime and it is just too fun to watch.

Familiar of Zero, The: Knight of the Twin Moons-The Complete Second Season (anime review)

Familiar of Zero, The: Knight of the Twin Moonsreview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Familiar of Zero, The: Knight of the Twin Moons-The Complete Second Season

Director: Yuu Kou

Studio: J.C. Staff

Author: Noboru Yamaguchi

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: March 10, 2015

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Magic, Romance, School, Harem

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Familiar of Zero, The, Toradora!, and Shakugan no Shana

Synopsis:

Louise the Zero and Saito are back in Familiar of Zero, The: Knight of the Twin Moons. However Saito has distinguished himself as a hero with Louise has started to get a handle on her Void magic. Saito is also Louise’s familiar of his own free will, but has that made any difference in their “professional” relationship?

Let’s just say that their relationship could be a ride at Six Flags because it is so full of ups and downs such as that perfect romantic moment and messy explosions. However, that does not mean they are not ready to spring into action the moment Queen Henrietta is kidnapped. With this new war brewing, will they be able to find a way to work together that does not end up with Saito getting the wrong end of Louise’s magic wand? Or will Louise still end up hurting the one person besides her family that she cares about? You will have to watch Familiar of Zero, The: Knight of the Twin Moons and find out for yourself.

Commentary:

I really believe that the Tristain Academy of Magic needs to invest in bomb squad, or build things much, much stronger. Familiar of Zero, The: Knight of the Twin Moons continues where season one left off, however this season seems to be more aimed at character development. There are still parts that are very easily predicted but they are occasional. The plot mainly focused on the relationship between Saito and Louise, the ongoing war with Albion, and Agnes’ story.

Agnes is the Captain of the Tristain musketeers in service of Henrietta. She is a military woman who loves her discipline. She hates Mages, especially fire Mages, with a vengeance. Apparently fire Mages burned her village to the ground when she was a child and she is the only survivor. Most of the episodes for this season focus on this and Agnes getting her revenge on the Mages who burned her village to the ground.

The relationship between Saito and Louise is interesting to say the least. Saito is his same perverted self and Louise does not put up with it at all. She seems to instantly know when he has a perverted thought and makes him pay for it. You would think he would eventually learn, but he does not. The character development has much more depth in this season with a few new characters and significantly more family back story for both new and old characters alike. We also meet the rest of Louise’s family and I fully believe that they might be the cause for her magic being like it is.

The art was just as beautiful as the first season. The backgrounds were very colorful and the characters were drawn well. The voice actors did an amazing job and you really connect with the characters thanks to them. The opening and closing animations were well done and the music was catchy. There is quite a bit of fan-service as Saito is a pervert, but there really is not anything too over the top.

Extras:

Familiar of Zero, The: Knight of the Twin Moons-The Complete Second Season includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: A-

I truly enjoyed watching Familiar of Zero, The: Knight of the Twin Moons and I cannot wait for the third season to be released by Sentai Filmworks. I would recommend the entire Familiar of Zero series to anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre.