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Frame Arms Girl: Complete Collection (anime review)

Title: Frame Arms Girl: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Keiichiro Kawaguchi

Studio: Zexcs, Studio A-Cat

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Sept. 4th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Mecha, Fantasy, Action

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: C+

Synopsis:

When Ao found the package on her doorstep, she thought it was a present from her father, but inside the box was something truly unexpected: Gourai!

A Frame Arms Girl, Gourai is a walking, talking, miniature artificial person with the intelligence of a ten-year-old human and a selection of snap-on weapons and armor. And the reason Gourai needs armor quickly becomes clear as two more Frame Arms Girls, Stylet and Baselard, arrive intent on testing Gourai’s combat capabilities! It seems that Ao has been chosen to help test a new toy line and the good news is that she’ll get paid for hosting her diminutive charges’ battles! Of course, since they’re mainly interested in fighting and gathering information, things are going to get awkward when they follow her to school.

Commentary:

Frame Arms Girl is taking off where Gundam Build Fighters left off. The big difference is that the Frame Arms Girls are anthropomorphic girls which has an even deeper history in the anime world leading back to Hand Made Maids and Chobits, but that is were the similarities end. The basic plot is simplistic and rather straight forward with not too many surprises. The one area that the series falls apart for me is the animation itself. The heavy handed computer graphics (CG) put me off right away. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s this style of animations was kind of cool, but with all the advancements in animation software this hard edge CG just doesn’t cut it anymore.

The thing about Frame Arms Girl that makes it special is the fact that it focuses on the younger female audience. Build Fighters brought girls into the mix and recognized the inclusion of girls in the genre, but Frame Arms Girl takes it to the next step and makes them the focus of the entire story. This is the star aspect of the entire series. Funny thing is that over the last few years I have come across more men who want to build these models and it almost seems as though the series has attracted a much difference demographic.

Overall Grade: C+

There is a lot that I liked about Frame Arms Girl, but it has to be the animation production values that stands out for me. The out dated  hard edged CG almost shut me down completely. The saving grace is the fun of the story and the fact that there is an honest attempt to include the younger female audience in the genre.

I really want to recommend this series to everyone because of the overall fun it brings and also to see how series can be more inclusive. I just find the overall endorsement to fail me because of the CG. If you enjoy bad CG and have a younger female viewer who would enjoy this story then you need to rush out and grab a copy. Frame Arms Girl is a minor hit for me and think it could find a broader audience if it had an english dub and better animation. If you are curious then you should defiantly check it out!

No Game, No Life Zero (anime review)

Title: No Game No Life Zero on Blu-ray

Director: Atsuko Ishizuka

Studio: Madhouse

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date:  Aug. 28th, 2018

Format: Feature Film / 105 Minutes / Blu-ray

Genre: Fantasy

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

No Game, No Life Zero is the prequel movie to the anime series.

6,000 years before Sora and Shiro rocked the world of Disboard, black rain falls from the sky and multiple species fight a desperate battle for survival. Constantly caught in the crossfire between the more powerful magical races, Humanity is on the edge of extinction, always on the retreat. But amidst the chaos and destruction, one young man, Riku, has a vision of a better future. And the first step towards achieving that goal comes in a dead city, where he encounters Schwi, an exiled female android who seeks to know one thing: what it is to have a human heart.

The mysterious past of the world of Disboard is unveiled and the ultimate game begins in the spectacular prequel to the hit TV series!

Commentary:

No Game, No Life Zero manages to do something the series failed to do, win me over. The original series seemed to obsessed with Sora and Shiro relationship. In Zero it was exactly what it needed to be. It manages to setup the world in a way that makes sense. Of course you have to believe that gods are petty and could become fixated with ruling it all through war.

No Game, No Life Zero gives us rich full characters who care and are sympathetic by nature. Not weak and pitiful characters you want to hate from the moment you meet them.

Overall Grade: A-

I loved the concept and execution along with 90% of the animation production quality. There is still that pink and blue pallet that dominates after about half way through the film. The thing about pink is that it is by nature a psychotic color that does not impart clam and beauty, but rather nervous tension. Blue on the other hand does create a natural calm state, but when it is heavily paired with pink there is not much peace.

The characters of Riku and Corounne are very well written and easy to like. They provide us with a pair of humans that you want to rook for. Add a cold yet somewhat loving Schwi then you have a trio that makes sense. You want them to win and can only hope for the best.

No Game, No Life Zero is not the No Game No Life many know and love, but rather it is something better. It happens to be one of the best prequel anime movies I have ever seen. I only wish the series was this good.

Vatican Miracle Examiner

Title: Vatican Miracle Examiner: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Yoshitomo Yonetani

Studio: J. C. Staff

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Sept. 11th, 2018

Format: J.C. Staff

Genre: Mystery, Drama

Age Rating: TVMA

Overall Personal Grade: A-

Commentary:

Vatican Miracle Examiner contains episodes 1-12 of the anime directed by Yoshitomo Yonetani.

Miracles don’t happen every day. But when something impossible happens that seems to be the work of supernatural forces or higher powers, it’s the duty of the Assembly of Saints and their agents to investigate. Their job is to determine whether each incident is explainable via previously undisclosed information, a part of some plot to take advantage of the people’s faith, or a genuine miraculous event. Priests Josef Kou Hiraga and Roberto Nicholas specialize in unveiling the truth and unearthing secrets that others might wish to keep buried, but when they’re sent to Mexico to investigate reports of a virgin birth, they end up in danger of being buried themselves. Murder, demonic summoning and deals with the devil are just the beginning of a new war against the ultimate darkness.

Overall Grade: B

Vatican Miracle Examiner is one of a very short list of solid drama, mysteries coming out this year. It is also placed is world that is really rather foreign to the Japanese public and tackles a subject that is hard to understand for most Catholics much less the rest of the world. Vatican Miracle Examiner also takes us down a path that is dark any fraught with danger. It creates a mystery that opens the door for other forces to rule the day. I did find myself thinking back to Le Chevalier D’Eon.

The one thing that stands out for me is the well executed writing for the series and the lovely animation that helps draw us in while we hare exposed to the unnatural forces brewing. Even though I liked the production values I felt like it took on an almost shojo style of rendering that left me just a tad cold. I understand why things happen on a rather overall level but I did expect a fuller richer production value.

As for the character development I felt like we began to understand who we were interacting with, but because of the shortness of the series I came away feeling a little left out. All-in-all Vatican Miracle Examiner gives us a solid mystery drama that will not disappoint.

Garo Season 2 Collection 1 (review)

Title: Garo TV Season 2 Collection 1

Director: Keita Amemiya, Makoto Yokoyama, Kengo Kaji & Ryu Kaneda

Network: TV Tokyo

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Aug. 7th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Super Sentai, Super Hero, Action, Adventure

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: C-

Synopsis:

In the war against the nightmarish creatures known as Horrors, Mankind’s most formidable line of defense has always been the power of the Makai Knights. But now, one by one, the Knights are being mystically marked for death by a mysterious magic user in a crimson mask.

Even Kouga, the bearer of the golden GARO wolf armor, is among the afflicted, with the accursed mark slowly draining his strength, and making the use of his armor incredibly painful. Who is the Red Mask and how has he (or she) been able to target the Knights so effectively? All signs point to a betrayal from within their own ranks and now it’s up to Kouga, Rei, and the other Knights to track down their enemy while they’re still strong enough to defeat him!

Commentary:

Super Sentai is one of those genres that has given us the overrated Power Ranger but also continues to toss out mature series like Garo. Funny thing about Garo is that it really doesn’t need to be a mature series. Take out some nudity and dark unnecessary scenes you would have a series that is no better than the silly Power Rangers. I do miss the early days of Ultraman or even Jonny Socko and his flying Robot / Giant Robo. It is mush easier to deal with these super heroes if they didn’t take themselves so seriously.

I really want to like Kouga, but because of his overtly serious mood all the time he becomes someone I didn’t care for at all. Red and some of the other Makai Knights are easy to like and I wanted them to win and maybe even show Kouga a thing or two.  It never worked out that way and I ended up being sad.

Overall Grade: C-

I would love to say that the special effects are great and that the acting was wonderful, but that is not the way it is. I would also love to say that the stories were well written and insightful along with engrossing, but again that just isn’t the case. The one thing I can say is that the overall production values are above average (except for special effects).

Garo season two is for a very special audience. It is for those Super Sentai fans that need a little nudity and darkness to overshadow the basic story that provides creepy demons and over-the-top good guys. Garo will provide a great look at the Japanese super hero stories that we just don’t see over here and I do suggest seeing a few episodes just to experience this world.

 

Uta No Prince-Sama Legend Star Season 4 (anime review)

Title: Uta no Prince-Sama Legend Star Season 4 on Blu-ray

Director: Takeshi Furuta

Writers: Tomolo Konparu, Sayaka Konno

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: April 3rd, 2018

Format: Blu-Ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Reverse Harem, Musical Slice of Life

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

Uta no Prince-Sama: Legend Star contains episode 1-13 of season 4.

The contest to become the opening group for Triple S may have been shaken up by the arrival of the now seven-member group HEAVENS, but QUARTET NIGHT generously declines to take advantage of the decision in their favor… as long as the other two bands agree to an unexpected new phase of the competition!

Are the other two rival groups ready for a new series of cross-band duets, with each song pairing one member of STARISH and one member of HEAVENS? Will Haruka be up to writing yet another round of spectacular songs? It’s time to pick up the tempo and sing to the balconies as the musical one-upmanship only gets wilder!

Commentary:

I never really minded reverse harem anime and I must say that I found the first few seasons of Uta no Prince Sama a little more entertaining than most. Season 4 Legend Star manages to fill some of the requirement and also left me a little flat at times. I guess that it really all comes down to the music with Uta no Prince Sama and for this season I just didn’t connect the way I had hopped to. It was still very happening and if this genre of music is your bag then you will be up dancing your heart out.

Overall Grade: B

With all the drama and competitive vibes going on I believed that Legend Star would have given me more. It is clear that the series is a real hit in Japan and it clearly has its following her in the states, but it is very possible that these types of bands just don’t have the staying power in the west the way they do in the east.

I will say that the animation, writing and storyline manage to prove very adequate and fluid. The production values are by for the strong point followed by the writing. The story is rather basic and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

Uta no Prince Sama Legend Star keeps things rolling but also left me sitting way to still for the 13 episodes. I realize that I am not the target audience and that the true believers will love every minute. If you are looking for a boy band reverse harem that has some lively music the the Uta no Prince Sama series is for you. If you haven’t seen any before then I would suggest starting at the beginning with season 1 and working your way over to season 4. If you are already into Uta no Prince Sama then you are ready for season 4 and please move straight ahead.

Ajin: Demi-Human Season 2 (anime review)

Title: Ajin: Demi-Human season 2 on Blu-ray

Director: Hiroyuki Seshita, Hiroaki Andō

Written By: Hiroshi Seko

Studio: Polygon Pictures

U. S. Distributions: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: April 10th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes, 2 Movies / 325 Minutes

Genre: Seinen, Drama, Supernatural, Action

Age Rating: TV MA

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

Ajin: Demi-Human Season 2 contains episodes 1-13 and movies “Comfort” and “Collide”.

Kei’s stopped running, but his decision to stand and fight comes just as Sato launches his second wave of terror. Angered by the governments’ refusal to admit the truth about the live experiments on captive Ajin, the Ajin terrorist has begun assassinating a list of the key individuals connected to Ajin research, and only someone as unkillable as he is has a chance of stopping the man in the hat.

With Sato being better trained, more experienced, and allied with other Ajins, Kei has only two chances at heading off the final apocalypse: to somehow learn how to better control the Invisible Black Matter being he generates or to recruit other Ajins into the battle. The shadow war explodes and the world burns as the ultimate warriors face off in immortal combat!

Commentary:

Ajin season 2 takes us to the war. It also does something that is very, very typical for anime and the protagonist. It gives us the over-the-top brooding protagonist that consistently misses all the right clues in becoming a better person and demi-human. One thing does become clear and that is the fact that Ajin does fall into that trap of the anti-hero complex which manages to slow down the development of the story.The series is very slow where as the movies help complete the circle in a much more favorable pacing.

The most difficult aspect to Ajin is the animation itself. The rough flat computer graphics may have the sole purpose to creating dramatic effect, instead it makes the series look unprofessional and second rate. I have no idea why this artistic rendering was accepted in the creation of the anime. It would have been very easy to clean up the look and still give some of the original creator look and feel. I found myself loosing my attention all too often due to this second rate animation.

Overall Grade: B

Ajin: Demi Human has such a great opportunity to tell a compelling story and the writing manages to pull off the essence of what it should be , but the animation and typical hero Kei just put a damper on the entire series for me.

Amin: Demi Human is a solid A in writing and has plenty of high points that lead you to a somewhat satisfying series. I just wish they would have re-thought the anime styling.

 

 

Chihayafuru Season 2 (anime review)

review provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Chihayafuru Season 2 on Blu-ray

Director: Morio Asaka

Studio: Madhouse

Author: Yuki Suetsugu

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: March 20, 2018

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 625 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Game, Romance, School Life, Sports

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: A

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Hanasaku Iroha: Blossoms for Tomorrow and Chihayafuru Season 1

 

Synopsis:

Chihaya’s determination to become a master karuta player has not changed, but as a new semester begins, the team’s focus switches to recruiting new members for the club in order to keep their meeting space. Unfortunately, while a number of students initially express interest, few are willing to put forth the effort it takes to play on the level of the existing members. Enter Sumire Hanano, who split with her boyfriend on the first day of school. Now seeking a replacement, she thinks that Taichi might just fill the role nicely, even if it means jumping into a pool with a shark like Chihaya! Now all the cards are on the table or, in this case, the floor and the games are really about to start!

 

Commentary:

I will first try and explain Karuta but it will not be short. Karuta is not to be compared with playing cards in the sense of the Western World. It is not Poker, Rummy or Skat. It would be most comparable to Memory. There are different types of Karuta that can be played. Uta-Garuta is played in Chihayafuru. The card game consists of 200 cards, 100 of which are called Yomifuda, this are the reading cards and 100 Torifuda, which are the cards that are use by the players itself. On the Yomifuda are the first three verses of a traditional Japanese poem. The Poetry comes from the Hyakunin Isshu (100 poems of 100 poets, each poet one poem). The Torifuda (game- or field-cards) contain the last two verses of the respective poem. The challenge consists in recognizing the poems during the reading and to catch the corresponding play card in front of the opponent. Karuta fulfills everything a sport should have, high concentration, excellent memory, lightning reflexes, strategic thinking, endurance, resilience, mental strength and a tremendous commitment to the long training for coordination and precession. The person who touches the right card on the field first gets the card, when you take a card from the opponents side you can give them one of yours, when your half of the playing field is empty you win.
It sounds simple and quite boring but it’s NOT. In order to touch the right card quickly, cards get flung of the playing field, people are sweating, thinking and reacting at full speed and crazy-eating chocolate in between these intense games. To really play Karuta at top level you need memorization skills, good hearing and senses, good posture, analytic and strategic skills, precision, strength, speed, perseverance, an emotional connection to the cards and so much more. As you can see, Karuta is very difficult to play but when it is played by people who love it, it is a beautiful thing.

 

Chihayafuru Season 2 starts off right where season one left off. We are introduced to two new characters who are the only students who join the club in the new semester. We first meet Sumire Hanano, an incoming first year, and she has decided to only join the club and learn to play Karuta in order to get closer to Taichi. Eventually, she is moved by everyone else’s passion and becomes a proper member of the club. She uses makeup, especially mascara, as battle armor and is never without it. We then meet Akihiro Tsukuba, an incoming first year student who has played Hokkaido-style Karuta (second verse karuta using two hands) and wants to join the club and learn how to play first verse karuta. He is the annoying/creepy character that you want to hate but instead learn to love. He has three younger brothers who look up to him and he plays off their attention to the extreme. He is drawn to pretty people so of course he looks up to both Chihaya and Taichi. Both characters added to the plot and made a great addition to the series.

 

Chihayafuru Season 2 focuses more on the competitive karuta than the love triangle between Arata, Chihaya and Taichi. The love triangle was there but we saw a lot more karuta games, both individual and the group games. The Tokyo finals and the High School Nationals were both shown and the other schools from season one were back again, along with a few new ones. Chihaya also faces off against the current kurata Queen and once again loses but she learns an important lesson while doing so.

 

The animation was beautiful and breath-taking. The background animation popped with color and the music really set the mood. I truly cannot wait for the third season to air so I can see what happens next.

 

Extras:

Chihayafuru Season 2 on Blu-ray includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with both English and Japanese with English subtitles as language options.

 

Overall Grade: A

Girlish Number: Complete Collection

Title: Girlish Number: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Shota Ibata

Writer: Wataru Watari

Studio: Diomedea

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: March 6th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: C

Synopsis:

Chitose Karasuma wants to make it big as a voice actor, but while she looks and sounds adorable, she’s also self-absorbed, inattentive, selfish, and lazy. However, since her manager is also her big brother, she’s still getting bit parts and dreaming of landing the big role that will make her famous.

Unfortunately, karma bites Chitose in the worst way possible when her big chance finally arrives, because the producers who’ve hired her are even more clueless than she is! Now, she’s trapped in a nightmare production where nothing goes right, the ratings are in the toilet, and swimsuit photos and live stage shows take priority over making quality programming! Can Chitose and her fellow trapped actresses turn things around and save their careers? Or will they all go down with the sinking ship?

Commentary:

I am always a sucker for a fun easy slice of life anime and Girlish Number fits the bill. Of course you have to navigate through all of the silliness to get to some meaning. In the case of Girlish number you are given a look into voice actors and their approach to dealing with other voice actors. Most of them are rather fake about how they portray themselves and at times it becomes a little annoying. Chitose is one of the biggest offenders of this fake persona which  is my main problem with the series.

Overall Grade: C

Girlish Number peeked my interest because of my affection for these types of Slice of Life anime, but in the end it fell a little flat for me. I was thinking that I would find some connection with Chitose and what I found was something much different. I ended up siding with the more seasoned and crass voice actors who did not hide their feeling or persona the way Chitose did. Of course we did get to see who she really was, but it took some time and several episodes of cringe worthy character development.

The overall production values of the series are high enough to help keep the viewer entertained and they followed the tried and true artistic stylings of most girl centered slice of life anime that made it pleasing to watch. The one area that I was really disappointed with was the writing , but of course it may have been too real to make me want to enjoy the story. From the incompetency of the producer and director to the general lack of motivation of the production staff and the off putting personalities of the voice actors I found the series difficult to get into.

If what you want in an anime is a look at the voice acting world and some of the trouble with anime production then Girlish Number is right up your ally.

 

 

 

 

 

Flip Flappers: Complete Collection (anime review)

Title: Flip Flappers: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Kiyotaka Oshiyama

Writer: Yuniko Ayana

Music By: To-Mas

Studio: Studio 3Hz

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 27th, 2018

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Magical Girl, Absurdity, Adventure, Sci Fi

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A

Synopsis:

As a middle school student, Cocona has been trying to decide what to do with her life. Magical Girl, however, wasn’t a career path that she’d ever considered. When suddenly a strange girl named Papika thrusts her into a secret organization called Flip Flap, Cocona’s outlook does a radical flip-flop. Her views start to change when she is dragged into an alternate dimension called Pure Illusion where she’s charged with gathering crystal shards and fighting strange creatures.

Now, between running missions and facing off against a rival organization, Cocona doesn’t have much time to consider alternate career choices. What are these shards, and why is gathering them so important? There’s a mystery to be solved and multiple worlds to be saved!

Commentary:

Flip Flappers is another great example of the direction anime has begun to explore as we see new creative teams finding the financing to create new and imaginative series. Only 13 episodes long there is a great deal of action, weirdness and story packed into Flip Flappers. Looking at the series as a whole I can say that I see Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Fooly Cooly, Puella Madoka Magica and even Space Dandy all rolled up into it. In fact I feel as though that the list is on the short side. I would consider Flip Flappers a true post modern production the way it takes the past and manages to deconstruct so many anime and reconstructs it into a crazy series that leaves you smiling and scratching your head at the same time.

Overall Grade: A

Just the animation for Flip Flappers makes it a winner for me. With some solid absurdity and plenty of surreal surroundings take the series over the top. There are a few weaknesses and I think the the character development of Cocona and Papika could have been drawn out a little better with more hints and story development earlier on. The real meat of the series doesn’t come into play until later in the story line and it would have been nice to give more glimpses of their past together before we get to episode 9/10.

I think Flip Flappers is a big surprise for the winter releases but I am afraid it will be over looked for other big name releases. So, if you are looking for a series that will keep you guessing and make you smile all the way down the rabbit hole then Flip Flappers is the series for you. It is not too often that we get treated to a new series that will blow your mind from the very beginning and keep blowing it all the way to end.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Collection Blu-Ray (anime Review)

series was reviewed by Andrew and Katie

Title: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Collection Blu-Ray

Director: Ai Yoshimura

Studio: Brian’s Base

Author: Shotaro Suga

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: March 13rd, 2018

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 25 Episodes / 650 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:

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Collection contains episodes 1-13 of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU and episodes 1-12 of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!

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!

The stampede of recent events may have herded the awkward members of the Service Club into something closer to a real bonding, but the upcoming field trip to Kyoto threatens to reverse those tiny steps forward. Alongside a list of attractions to see, they will also be taking along a lot of emotional baggage, and helping others with their personal and romantic issues may just cause the entire luggage rack to collapse.

Between Hachiman’s growing realization of how much he can manipulate others, Yukino’s underlying battles with responsibility, and Yui’s shifting needs and insecurities, the tenuous thread that holds their relationship together is more fragile than ever. Even as the path ahead is strewn with psychological traps, the feelings that each of them refuse to acknowledge may end up being the true pitfall in My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection.

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.

I loved the first season and I was really looking forward to the conclusion that My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection would give the story. Boy was I wrong about that conclusion because Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui end up not talking about their feelings at all and instead shove them all to the side so they can just be friends. There was no plot progression, actually it crawled at a snail’s pace and never really went anywhere, and the characters did not change or develop at all.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!: Complete Collection starts off where the first season left off at the school festival and Hachiman’s behavior is explained to some degree. Then they all go off to Kyoto and that is where all the problems for our three main characters start. Hachiman decides to go off and change the outcome of one of the club’s projects and they did not care at all for how he handled it. Yukino’s older sister comes back into the story and just causes all sorts of trouble and eventually brings their mother into the picture because she is worried that Yukino is just copying her older sister and not becoming her own person. That situation is what forces Yukino to set her true feelings aside and it changed her personality. Yui is just too shy to say her true feelings and instead just wants everyone to be friends and get along. She knows that cannot happen but she still pushes for it every chance she gets.

The animation changed a bit from the first season but it still looks great. The colors are bright and lively and the backgrounds do not detract from the characters. The voice actors did a great job as always. The opening and closing animations were catchy and I found myself singing along with them within a few episodes.

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. It is great that Sentai Filmworks has put both together in one package.