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Sound of the Sky (anime review)

Title: Sound of the Sky (Soro no Wata) Complete Set on Blu-ray
Director: Mamoru Kanbe
Writer: Hiroyuki Yoshino
Studio: A-1 Pictures
U.S. Distributor: Nozomi Entertainment
U.S. Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Format: DVD/ 12 episodes/ 355 minutes
Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Comedy, Drama
Age Rating: 14+
Personal Rating: A
Similar Titles: Air, Kanon

Sometimes our goals in life lead is to do things and impact others in way we would never expect. They also put us in situations that just might make all the difference in the world.

Synopsis:

A young girl, Kanata Sorami, joins the army to learn how to play trumpet because she saw a solider play “Amazing Grace” and was touched so deeply that it is the only goal she has in life. The army sends her to the outpost in the town of Seize to become the bugler. Unknown to her she becomes one of the Fire Maidens of Seize. These are the historical protectors of the Village. The other members of the squad are Rio Kazumiya, Kanata’s trumpet teacher, Filicia Heideman, the company commander, Noel Kannagi, the mechanic and Kureha Suminoya the other private assigned as the gunner.

In the beginning Kanata does not know how to play the trumpet very well but she has a great ear for sound and with some training by Rio she manages to become wonderful player and even the village begins to enjoy her playing. During this time she becomes a valued member of the platoon and the bonds of these 5 women become so close it almost seems as though they are sisters.

There is a tentative peace between Helvetia and Roma. The current talks are not going very well and the platoon must always be on the watch for anyone coming across the no-mans land just outside Seize. During this period of stress there is a secret about Rio that comes to light that drives her away from the platoon to eventually end up having a overreaching impact on everyones life.

Commentary:

This wonderfully crafted anime brings together several key elements that makes it one to be seen. The first of these elements is the bonding of the main characters that creates a group of women who become true sisters and find that they each have their role to play. They are each very different and have a dramatic past that is at the core of who they are. This is highlighted by Kanata who has the loss of her family and the contact with a beautiful bugler who was playing “Amazing Grace” in such a way that made her think to was the true Sound of the Sky. That was the motivating factor behind her having no fear and wanting to be able to play that piece for all the world to hear. The others also have past experience that make them so special that they each bound together make an unstoppable force. All of this is accentuated buy the strong character development and the wonderful series of events that bring them together.

The second of the outstanding elements has to be the plot structure and the way the story is told. By the middle of the series I was a little concerned that Sound of the Sky as nothing more than a string of unrelated events but in classic Japanese story telling fashion all of these events all roll up together and provide a ending that managed to warm even my cold heart. The stories told about these women and girls consistently brought a kind smile to my soul as I moved through the series and at the end I wanted only good to happen for this loving group of women.

The final and possible most impressive is the high quality of the animation. I found myself blown away by the impressive artistry put into creating the world that these intrepid ladies lived. The monastery where they lived was so well developed it made me feel like I was there and the landscapes were Miyazakiesk and created a peaceful place that we all would want to be a part of. At every turn I found myself in awe of the talented work that went into this loving series.

Overall Grade: A

Sound of the Sky is not one of those knock down drag-out anime that is all about the action, it is a kind gentle anime that does not shy away from action, but rather uses it only when it is important. The creators have given us something to contemplate and use as a guide to what it is to truly care about those others around us. This series should be put on everyones must see list.

Because of the gentle spirit of Sound of the Sky I would recommend Air and Kanon as the two other series to get that loving feeling from.

Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory & Afterglow of Zeon Film: Complete series (anime review)

Title: Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory & Afterglow of Zeon Film on Blu-ray

Directors: Mitsuko Kase (eps. 1-5), Takashi Imanishi (eps. 2-13)

Writers: Fuyunori Gobu (eps. 1-4), Akinori Endo (eps. 5-6), Asahide Ookuma (eps. 7-8, 10, 12-13), Ryōsuke Takahashi (eps. 9, 11)

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Right Stuf

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

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes & film / 444 Episodes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Drama

Age Rating: 14+

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 contains episodes 1-13 of Stardust Memory plus the Afterglow of Zeon compilation film.

Universal Century 0083. Having triumphed in the One-Year War, the Earth Federation has grown complacent, while the last remnants of Zeon forces have been planning one final stand. It all hinges on ace Zeon pilot Anavel Gato stealing one of the new prototype Gundams out from under the Federation’s nose. With a nuclear-equipped Gundam missing and their pride wounded, the Federation ship Albion and rookie pilot Kou Uraki set out in pursuit of the Zeon thieves and the stolen Gundam GP02A.

Special Features: The animation shorts “the Mayfly of Space 1” and “The Mayfly of Space 2”, Clean Openings, Clean Closings, and Japanese Promos.

Commentary:

In the Gundam franchise there are few series that I find above average and Stardust Memory is one of the few. There is still plenty of the over-the-top melodrama and one sided seriousness that I do have to cringe from time to time. Stardust Memory is fairly straight forward and clearly opens with the plot and development of the story.

Overall Grade: B

Without giving anything away I can honestly say that I believe that Gundam and non-Gundam fans will find this to be one of the best written series in the Universal Century saga. I can’t say that the age of the series will help bring people to the table because the animation shows it age and some of the dialogue is standard Gundam diatribe.

With all of the Gundam available I would suggest seeing Char’s Counter Attack before watching Stardust Memories (0083). You would at least have some understanding of what is really going on and maybe even have a little more appreciation of this series and Afterglow of Zeon.

I must admit that it great to see the Gundam universe come back to life.

Martian Successor Nadesico (anime review)

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

Director: Tatsuo Sato

Studio: Xebec

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi, Lucky Penny

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

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

Genre: Comedy, Sci Fi, Mecha, Harem

Age Rating: 13+

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

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

Tatsuo Sato’s Comedy Masterpiece Returns in High Definition!

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

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

Commentary:

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

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

Overall Grade: A-

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

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

Turn A Gundam part 1 on Blu-ray (anime review)

Title: Turn A Gundam part 1 (on Blu-ray)

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Writer/Creator: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi, Sunrise

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 7th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 625 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Romance, Steampunk

Age Rating: TV 13

Overall personal rating: B

Synopsis:

For 2000 years, a separate race of humanity has lived on the moon. Known as “the Moonrace,” their technology is leaps and bounds beyond those that stayed behind on the Earth’s surface. Now seeking to return to their original home, the Moonrace send three teenagers – Loran, Keith, and Fran – down to Earth on a reconnaissance mission to test the viability of its environment.

After spending a year on Earth, Loran has become good friends with Sochie and Kihel, daughters of the prestigious Heim family, and he looks forward to fully integrating into Earth society. But before Loran gets the chance to make his report, the Moonrace launch a surprise attack. Earth’s primitive airplanes are no match for the superior power of the Moonrace’s mobile suits. However, in the midst of the initial attack, Loran and Sochie uncover a long-forgotten relic: a white mobile suit. As a Moonrace, Loran is quickly able to grasp the basics of piloting it, but by doing so, he inadvertently places himself in the middle of a war.

Commentary:

Gundam Fans get in line for here come the resurrection of the mysterious Turn A Gundam. Reaching back to the year 1999 Sunrise with the help of Nozomi have brought back a slick version of the a series that many people can’t waited to get the next installment of and everyone else figures it may be time to give it a rest. Personally, I am a believer that the Gundam franchise may have seen better years, but honestly I found Turn A Gundam every enjoyable. Of course it felt dated and the writing fell flat more than a few times. Even with those detractors the story held my interest and gave me a reason to think there is more to this than meets the eye.

Compared to most of the older Gundam renditions I feel as though Turn A Gundam builds on a simple story and support both our future and past. There is obviously the leaning to the earth bound humans and a slightly sinister approach to the Moonrace humans. I’m not sure that there is a real need to make one more sympathetic than the other and I think that ben though the Moonrace has better technology that doesn’t mean their lives are that much darker. If I was human and bound to a dead rock where we have to manufacture everything even the air you breath I would be a little bitter about the selfish earth bound humans who are too ignorant the understand what they really have.

I’m not saying that all of the Earth humans are portrayed as naive or even good natured and not all Moonrace humans are evil. That would be against all anime doctrine and would also fail the entire Gundam universe. What I am saying is that I could see myself siding with the Moonrace and wanting to drive out the stupid Earthlings so that someone who would appreciate the earth for what it is could be in control.

Overall Grade: B

Turn a Gundam is a new twist on an old Gundam plot, but it does a good job of telling the story. I just wish the animation was better. By 1999 – 2000 anime productions values had really found a new look and Turn A Gundam held on to some rather tired old artistic values in this series. I get that it is a Gundam series, but for gods sake they should have made it look a lot better than they did.

One other thing that I reality like about Turn A Gundam was the fact that human technology was all about the steam power and Steampunk ruled the day. This added romantic ideal did help give some beauty to the visual aspects to the series and it helped give me a reason to keep watching in some of the slower moments.

Even with the poor production value I still find it to be a solid series with plenty of Gundam goodness packed into it. There is one other thing that I must mention and it is the disc art work. The five disc have possibly the best disc art covers i have ever seen. If the series would have looked that good it would have overtaken the Gundam and Mecha anime world and blown everyone away.

I am looking forward to seeing the second half of the series. So all you Gundam fans get ready for the one true Steampunk Gundam coming at you. Now on Blu-ray makes it even better.

Gatchaman Crowds insight (anime review)

814131016393_anime-gatchaman-crowds-insight-primaryTitle: Gatchaman Crowds Insight on blu-ray

Director: Kenji Nakamura

Studio: Tatsunoko Production

Writer: Toshiya Ono

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Nov. 22nd, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Action, Adventure, Super Hero

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Synopsis:

Gatchaman Crowds insight contains episodes 1-13 of season two of Gatchaman Crowds.

You can’t keep a good Gatchaman down, especially when a new organization called VAPE (short for Violent Ape) starts hijacking CROWDS technology.

The ensuing wave of “Red CROWDS” incidents targeting high profile targets like the Prime Minister make it clear that the good team needs to start recruiting; fast. Fortunately, help arrives quickly, and with a rather… loud entrance. The alien Gelsadra’s ship crashes in a rice paddy in Nijima!

Besides being generally peaceful, Gelsadra has a unique power involving comic-book-like speech bubbles that display a person’s inner feelings, rather like an emoji.

There’s also the fireworks enthusiast, Tsubasa, whose life becomes the focus of millions of viewers when she’s chosen as the newest Gatchaman – on nationwide live television!

As if that wasn’t enough pressure for a teenage girl to handle, she’s also assigned Hajime as her mentor!

Will she survive? Will the world survive? Things are about to get really wild and crazy in GATCHAMAN CROWDS INSIGHT!

Commentary:

Are you looking for a series that is colorful, cheerful and rather bizarre then you need to look no further than Gatcham Crowds insight. From the very opening sequence it is easy to tell that this one will keep your attention.

The story is rather simple with plenty of oddities thrown in. It at times leaves you wondering why you are watching it and at other time thinking that this is simply great. I’m not real sure that the switch between great and weak does the series any help in fact this change is a true reflection of the writing and if the writing is not consistent then the series suffers.

Overall Grade: B

Even though the series has some obvious flaw in the writing I still found it to be a enjoyable series that provides enough odd insight to be more than just average. Gatchaman Crowds insight takes the new animation style of bright and bold to a new level and makes sure you eyes are glued to the screen. This outrageous animation added to a strange story of hers and aliens that goes from sugar sweet to somewhat weird makes for entertainment.

I’m not sure Gatchaman Crowds insight is for everyone, but if you are looking for something different then this one is for you. You do not need to see the first season of Gatcham Crowds because for once there is a brief explanation of the prior season to open this part of the series. Also, if you just want wierd here you go.

Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine (anime review)

knights-of-sidonia-season-2Title: Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine

Director: Kobun Shizuno

Creator: Tsutomu Nihei

Studio: Polygon Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: November 29th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes & Feature Film/ 442 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Drama, Action, Seinen

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Knights of Sidonia Battle for Planet Nine (Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki) contains episodes 1-12 of the second season of Knights of Sidonia plus a movie, a chipboard box, art cards, and a poster.

Discovering the nature of one’s individual identity is a question every sentient being confronts. Do you only count if you’re entirely human? What does it mean to be a person?

In a war with the alien Gauna, capable of absorbing and re-purposing human DNA, these are no longer abstract questions In these uncertain conditions, pilot Nagate Tanikaze finds himself developing an obsession with the Gauna clone of his deceased beloved, Hoshijiro.

Meanwhile, his close friend, Izana, a manufactured non-binary human, goes through an alarming change as their feelings for Nagate grow. Existential and romantic problems will have to wait though, as the Guana step up their attacks and a virtual coup d’état threatens to throw Sidonia’s leadership into chaos, while even darker forces stir within.

The very definition of what it means to be human is about to be questioned as the battle to survive continues in KNIGHTS OF SIDONIA SEASON 2: BATTLE FOR PLANET NINE!

Commentary:

Being a major fan of Knights of Sidonia I was thrilled to see the second season finally release. I have heard plenty of disappointment regarding the heavy Computer Graphics use, but I’m not too sure it doesn’t end up adding to the overall feel of the animation. Add Nihei’s gritty imagery to the hard edge of CG and you end up with a true dystopian future that has a look of tired worn-out existence.

The plot continues with mush intrigue and mystery as to what is going on. We are introduced to plenty of new strange aspects to the story and of course there is  Tanikaze who manages to provide plenty of wonder as to what he really is.

Overall Grade: A-

If my only grade for Knights of Sidonia was based on the story it would be an A, but because there is simple failure to wrap the series up I ended up feeling left with a great start and no finish.

The animation may put some people off and in some ways it does get a little tiresome. I still think the hard CG helps create that aged future where humanity is at it’s final battle. Now if we can just see that battle and discover what the outcome will be.

I know that Netflix has had plenty of opportunity to show this series and that a lot of people may not like the English dub, I feel as though it should be a top pick of those mecha lovers who are looking for something more original than Gundam or EVA. Of course, there are plenty of Mecha series out there and it should be noted that Knights of Sidonia is not finished. You should give it a try and if you haven’t seen season one you should watch the movie before you watch Battle for Planet Nine.

Den-noh Coil: Collection 2

814131014290_anime-den-noh-coil-2-blu-ray-primaryTitle: Den-noh Coil: Collection 2 on blu-ray

Director: Mitsuo Iso

Studio: Madhouse

U. S. Distributor: Maiden Japan, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: September 20th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mystery, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A-

Synopsis:

Tracking down the secrets concerning Kana’s death has led Yuko “Yasako” Okonogi into a new series of virtual rabbit holes. Like Alice through the looking glass, Yuko discovers that the digitally augmented world on the other side of her glasses is far more complex and confusing than she could have imagined.

With shocking e-spaces filled with mysterious un-erased levels of data, and virtual creatures that act and think as if they’re truly alive, how many other secrets might these parallel worlds hide? Who is responsible for hiding them?

As new memories from her past begin to surface, she must now confront whether the e-spaces themselves are somehow affecting the real world and how this involves the “other” Yuko. Their destinies may be intrinsically linked as the real and virtual worlds collide in the climactic conclusion of DEN-NOH COIL!

Commentary:

Den-noh Coil collection 2 starts off slow and somewhat disappointing. As the episodes processed it was clear there was either a clear attempt to attract a younger audience or misdirect the viewer completely. Once the writers found their new focus things got more serious and much better. The series did not disappoint at all.

The thing that I find amazing is that this series is almost 10 years old and that it took so long for it to make it over to the U. S.. All I can do is tip my hat to Maiden Japan for putting this one out.

Overall Grade: A-

If the first few episodes hadn’t lost their way I would have given Den-noh Coil a solid A. I think that in many ways it spotlights what solid writing and a mostly clear vision on how to create a story that keeps the mystery alive until the very end.

I know that Den-noh Coil may not find the audience that it deserves, but I hope that people do find this mysterious series and gives it a try. If you are looking for a series that doesn’t give it away right and keeps you wondering what is going on then Den-noh Coil is for you. This is also one that the entire family can watch together. Don’t let the fact that this series is centered around children scare you away. It is a wonderful offering and well worth the time to check out. So, please give it a chance!

 

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 (anime review)

cross-ange-2review provided by Karie and Andrew

Title: Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshiharu Ashino

Studio: Sunrise

Author: Tatsuto Higuchi

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: August 23, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Mecha, Sci-Fi

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Queen’s Blade: Rebellion, Freezing, Akame ga Kill!

Synopsis:

The foundation of Ange’s world has been ripped to shreds over and over again, since the moment her throne was stolen and she was stripped of her humanity. But the destruction of Arzenal and the stunning revelation about the true nature of the Dragons were only the start of a devastating new series of shocks and discoveries.

Transported to an alternate and devastated world with Tusk and Vivian, Ange will finally learn the history of her world and the true nature of her own reality. She will discover who her ultimate enemy really is and how her para-mail, Villkiss, may be the only key to salvation.

The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance, but unless Ange can conquer her own fear and rage, the battle will be lost before it’s even begun. The final war between man, Dragon, and machine is about to begin in the climatic conclusion of Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray!

Commentary:

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray is an interesting mix of genres to say the least. It is basically a sci-fi and mecha series that has a lot of promise to be something amazing with a ton of fan-service and yuri scenes added in that take away from that promise. However, they did a very good job of wrapping up the story albeit very quickly. They really could have stretched these last 13 episodes into an extra six episodes or so. Each episode is packed full of drama and energy and they go by far too quickly.

The story picked up right where Collection 1 left off and we are introduced to a new character, Embryo. Embryo is the character that everyone will come to hate if you have a soul. He calls himself “The Turner” and basically he created the world as they all know it. He then decides that Ange would make the perfect wife for him so he sets out to convince her of that fact. But he goes about it all wrong and instead ends up attempting to rape her. I preferred Tusk’s character. Tusk is a Knight of Villkiss, or as he says in the later episodes, Ange’s Knight. He takes all of Ange’s abuse in stride and somehow always ends up with his head accidently between her legs. But that is all sweet and innocent because anything sexual is far out of his mind until the battle with Embryo is over. All he cares about is making Ange smile and protecting her.

The animation was alright; nothing spectacular but it did not look horrible. There was a large number of well known Japanese voice actors in this series and they did a wonderful job as always. The opening and closing songs were enjoyable and the animations were cute. The fighting scenes were short and looked rushed. They were also full of CG but you have to expect that these days. They did a good job with the CG but I wish they had made them look better because the fighting scenes were fun to watch.

Extras:

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray includes Cross Ange talk show, music video, clean opening and closing animations, and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray was released with English and Japanese with English subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: B

Cross Ange-Rondo of Angels and Dragons: Collection 2 on Blu-ray really finished the story off perfectly. I still recommend it as long as you can look past the yuri scenes and large amount of fan-service.

Gundam Build Fighters Try (anime review)

gundam-build-fighters-tryTitle: Gundam Build Fighters Try 

Director: Shinya Watada

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Sunrise, Right Stuf

U. S. Release Date: September 6th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 625 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Drama, Comedy, Fantasy

Age Rating: TV – 8+

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis: 

In Gundam Build Fighters Try, seven years have passed since Sei Iori won the 7th Gunpla Battle Championship World Tournament. The Gunpla Battle Championship is now run by Yajima Trading. With new rules and battle modes, the game’s popularity has become even more widespread.

However, the Seiho Academy that Sei Iori once attended has failed to catch onto the trend. The only member of the school’s Gunpla Battle Club is its president, middleschooler Fumina Hoshino. Currently there is no way the club can participate in the upcoming Gunpla Battle Japanese Under19 Championship, where players fight in teams of three.

Then Fumina meets a new transfer student. He is Sekai Kamiki, a young martial artist who has been travelling with his master. Together with a young Gunpla builder named Yuuma Kousaka, they finally have three members for their team.

Sekai Kamiki, Yuuma Kousaka, and Fumina Hoshino — team “TRY FIGHTERS” is about to begin its challenge!

Commentary:

The Build Fighters universe is a lot more fun than the original Gundam universe. Nobody dies and only the ones who really love the battle get the win. The concept of building these Gunpla just for the fun to compete is something to take and enjoy for what it is. I know that I found it both funny and uplifting. In may ways it was a typical anime that used heavy sentimental posing to bring home the dramatic moments and then tossed in a mild harem aspect to keep the comedy moving forward. I think that many of the plot points may have been simplistic, but it is the nature of the series to be that way.

The way that the try fighters grew in both understanding and friendship is a reminder of how we, as humans, need each other to find  richer  meaning and satisfaction in our lives. Gundam Build Fighters Try showcases each of the team members and shows how different personalities and abilities make a strong team not a bunch of members with the same views and talents. We are also given a taste of what it is to be underdogs who manage to find respect and unification in all that they do.

Overall Grade: A-

After all is said and done Gundam Build Fighters Try is a solid series. The one area that I thought was a tad weak was the writing, it was simply to base and silly at times. The easy way out is to make the drama over the top and to follow with simple silliness and because the series is geared toward the under 12 age group it stayed simple. The funny thing is that, in the U. S., the audience is the the over 20 age group. It is great to see the Gundam universe take a look at how Gundam and Gunpla has found a genuine fandom.

If you are looking for some fun and don’t mind it being a little over the top from time to time then Gundam Build Fighters Try is the series for you, I know I loved it.

Punch Line (anime review)

punch-lineTitle: Punch Line: The Complete Collection

Director: Yutaka Uemura

Studio: MAPPA

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: August 16th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Sci Fi, Harem, Supernatural, Fan Service

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

When your day begins with being held hostage in a hijacking, can things get much worse? How about being kicked out of your own body? Or learning that if you can’t re-possess your physical shell, you’ll trigger a panty-fueled apocalypse that will wipe out all life on the planet?

For Yuta Iridatsu, it’s just the start of the worst out-of-body experience ever. Now, if his dissed disembodied spirit doesn’t pursue the persuasions of a porn-obsessed paranormal pussycat and purloin a missing mystical manual, a meteor will collide with Earth!

And to stack the odds even further, the book is hidden somewhere in the boarding house Yuta shares with a bevy of beautiful babes, but if he gets an eyeful of his ravishing co-renters in their unmentionables before he’s back in himself, it’s flash-forward to Doomsday!

Will the literal end of the world be wearing briefs, a bikini, or a thong? Find out when panties, possessions and extinction level events have the ultimate rear-end collision in Punch Line!

Commentary:

Punch Line is another in the long line of fan service harem anime that has great potential to be something other than a gratuitous panty shot anime. Unfortunately, it seems to focus on the panties and leave the solid plot at home. I really enjoyed the story for the underlying plot line and thought many of the characters where rather well developed. The would have loved to get more about what was really going on. It isn’t until the later episodes that the writers decided to get serious about the story and by that time it was too late to fully develop the plot.

As for the strange aspects to who all of the main characters are doesn’t come out until much of the series has lost its charm. I think that the fixation on the panty obsession early on created a false impression for the series. I understand the thought process behind this fan service focus, but I would hope that the intent of the series was to get a broader audience than just a small minority of fan service fans. None-the-less, Punch Line does end up being solid enough to be entertaining and somewhat confusing until the later episodes.

Overall Grade: B

Punch Line may or may not be your type of anime, so, if you are looking for some light fan service and odd plot with plenty of twist as the later episodes unfold the it is a series for you.