Rss

Archives for : Sentia Filmworks

And Yet the Town Moves: The Complete Series (anime review)

and-yet-the-town-movesTitle: And Yet the Town Moves: The Complete Series (on Blu-ray)

Director: Akiyuki Shinbo

Studio: Shaft

U. S. Distributor: Sentia Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: June 21st, 2016

Format: DVD / 300 minutes / 12 episodes

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Titles: Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Synopsis:

Hotori Arashiyama just might be one of the most awkward girls in town. She has difficulty making it to school on time, is very clumsy and is know for being rather delusional, but she does have a special ability to make those around realize how special life really is.

Hotori works in a local Maid Cafe, or should we say, almost Maid Cafe. One of her school friends, Toshiko, who is very smart with a slightly different way of looking at the world decides to join her and become a Maid in order to help turn the place into a true Maid Cafe. The owner of the Seaside Maid Cafe, Uki Isohata, has her own ideas of what she wants her cafe to be and stands back and watches while no matter what these girls try they always end up right back at the cafe as it is. This part of town only caters to the shop owners and now with Hotori working there her math teacher who has caught Hotori without permission form the school. He tries to use this opportunity to help teach her and maybe just maybe see her become more than just a slacker without focus.

There is also Hotori’s child hood friend, Hiroyuki Sanda, who has a crush on Hotori and is the subject of affection by Toshiko. With the added inclusion of Futaba Kon the master plan of this simple series is in place. We follow the lives of these warm and funny high school students to see them interact in ways that we all wish we could have at that age. If life was always that strange and simple, what bliss it would be.

Commentary:

And Yet The Town Moves took a few episodes for it to get me warming up to it. At first it came across as just another slapstick comedy that had a very shallow plot. Once all the characters were assembled something very special began to happen. The development of their personalities bonded them in ways that were very unexpected and provided another almost heart warming edge to the series. I realize that comedies tend to try and give us the softer side of humanity but in the case of this small seaside town and these characters connection it gives us hope that people can really be this involved. Even the local cop has a special connection to these girls and especially Hotori and her inability to be serious.

Most of the episodes were self contained but they did have some continuity that provided the glue for the series. I am very glad that it was only 12 episodes because I’m not too sure that any more would have done any good. It said what it needed to and gave us that light hearted humor and that was all it needed to do. I was very glad that it ended the way it did because it left me with the sense that there is hope for these characters that translated over to a overall hope for all of us.

Overall Grade: B

When it come to slice of life anime many of them fall into a trap of either too goofy or too sappy. And the Town Yet Moves managed to maintain a reasonably good balance even though it did lean to the goofy side once or twice. I still thin it was a very good series and if you are into slice of life anime then you should find this one to be something worth checking out.

Some other fine slice of life series worth seeing are Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Arakawa Under the Bridge.

Magical Play: Complete Collection (anime review)

Magical PlayTitle: Magical Play: Complete Collection

Director: Hiroki Hayashi

Studio: AIC / Magicaland Magic Union

U. S. Distributor: Sentia Filmworks / Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Dec. 3rd, 2013

Format: DVD / 5 Episodes / 150 minutes

Genre: Magical Girl, Comedy

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

 

Synopsis: 

Becoming a Magical Girl isn’t easy, but Padudu thinks she has most of the bases covered. She even has a magical pet and a magical cloak! Granted, her pet’s a talking fish that she wears as the cloak (and occasionally snacks on), but now all she SHOULD have to do is wander the countryside, fight in official Magical Battles and collect enough Hanamaru stamps to become an official Magical Girl.

But life isn’t always that simple, and when Padudu accidentally breaks a law, she ends up on the run and traveling with some really odd companions. There’s MyuMyu, who wears a pair of cats as a bikini; Pipin, who dresses like a rabbit and wears her magical pet bunny as a back pack; and the nefarious criminal Nonononn, who also wanted to be a Magical Girl, and has both a Hammerhead Shark and mysterious ties to the Queen (who’s nowhere near as nice as her PR would have you believe).

 

Commentary:

December was a month were strange off beet anime made a real showing. Magical Play is decently one of those strange anime that specializes in the absurd. From the very opening where we see a young girl dressed in a fish suit being dropped onto another unsuspecting magical girl to the final 3D episode, Magical Play throws one curve ball at you after another. This short series proves that sometimes less is really more. I have a feeling that if there were more than 5 episodes that the entire series would fall apart and become more of a nuisance that a comedy that should be seen to understand. This type of work was exemplified in, Fooly Cooly, another strange series that proved that some story need to remain short.

The humor in Magical Play is simplistic but at the same time odd enough to keep you slightly off balance. That is were is really shines. The fact that these girls clothing is alive makes it strange enough, but when that very same clothing becomes food is something very different indeed. I really enjoyed this odd rather quirky style and it made me laugh enough to keep the series fresh throughout all of the episodes.

The animation was rather fitting for the subject matter and AIC seemed to understand that this simple happy approach was best. On the other hand when the 3D was spotlighted much of the charm wore off and the humor was pushed to the background. The last episode is completely in 3D and with just a few exceptions I found it to be the least funny one of the collection.

Overall Grade: B+

With all of the quirks and odd humor that goes on in this short collection I found Magical Play to be very enjoyable. I laughed enough to keep it interesting and also loved the way the characters and their clothing interacted. I think that the real key to this series is the anime stylings and overall production quality. Keeping the satire solidly in the magical girl genre was the point and even though it is only 5 episodes this common thread was not lost. The final 3D episode was by far the weakest of all and even though it was made to not only satire the magical girl genre but also the 3D arena too, I found it to loose track and not be as effective as the other four episodes.

If you are looking for something that will keep you off balance and also keep you smiling then Magical Play is something you should check out. This one looks like it is perfect for younger audiences but some of the subject matter and humor might not be well suited for those under 10 or 11. I will keep this one close by just in case I need a laugh and don’t want to invest a lot of time or emotion in the series.

Nyan Koi! Complete Collection (new english dub) anime review

Nyan Koi!Nyan Koi!Nyan Koi!Nyan Koi!Nyan Koi!Title: Nyan Koi! Complete Collection (new english dub)

Director: Keiichiro Kawaguchi

Studio: AIC

U. S. Distributor: Sentia Filmworks / Section 23

U. S. Re-Release Date: Dec. 31st, 2013

Format: DVD / 300 minutes / 12 Episodes

Genre: Comedy, Harem, Supernatural

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Grade: C+

 

Synopsis:

Saying that Junpei Kosaka’s allergic to cats is something of an understatement. Just thinking about cats can make him sneeze – a fact that seems to be lost on his mother and sister, who both ADORE cats. And if that wasn’t bad enough, when Junpei inadvertently damages a statue of a cat deity, he becomes cursed with the ability to understand felines. Now Junpei must perform one hundred great favors for cat-kind or face the fate of being turned into a cat himself!

Life quickly becomes a purrfect hell as every cat in the neighborhood starts sending Junpei their list of “requests.” But it’s not just the cats: the local Yakuza’s daughter is playing cat and mouse, the monk’s daughters are acting catty, Junpei’s childhood best friend is ready to use him as a scratching post, and the girl he has a secret crush on is as cat crazy as the rest!

 

Commentary:

Nyan Koi! starts off strong with the simple premiss of a unlucky boy who ends up gaining a strange curse just because he tries to kick a soda can into a trash can. With him discovering that he can now understand cats and being allergic to them it sets up s wonderful play between him and the cats that ends up being somewhat of a lost leader later in the series. This uncomfortable connection proves to add some fine laughs early on and just as he is embarking on his journey to fulfill the favors for the cats in order to lift the curse. It did’t begin to loose its charm until the focus turned to the women. The focus moving to the girls and the typical high school boy and his girl crazy imagination. That is where it lost its way and became just too much like a stereotypical harem.

Nyan Koi! felt a lot like AiYori Aoshi but they just don’t live together and the main two are not together, but they want to be. It just seems as though every time things are looking somewhat up for Junpei he gets put in a situation where he comes across as nothing but a prevue. This is funny a few times but it becomes rather redundant and it looses its charm.  The best times of the story are when he is helping and interacting with the cats. It works well and you can tell that the original extent of the story was to put some person in that cursed situation. The rest of the harem aspect is nothing but a added distraction.

 

Overall Grade: C+

 

In the world of Harem anime Nyan Koi! is mediocre at best and in the world of strange curses it is fun and entertaining. Unfortunately the harem tends to weigh down the rest of the series. The animation is rather standard for AIC and there is nothing special about the voice acting, with the level of writing being both the strength and weakness of the series it is clear that someone got to the creators and talked them into watering down the central idea with a classic harem subplot. I would love to see this remade and only have a simple high school romance as a side story. I bet there could be some very funny and wonderful option of ways he would have to help cats. I also noticed how much more effort was put into creating interesting cat characters over the human characters. I is proof that this series wasn’t meant to be aimed at the 15 to 20 year mail population but rather a wider audience how would enjoy a simple comedy about a guy who has to fulfill 100 cat request before he turns into one himself.

Even with the harem getting in the way Nyan Koi! was funny at times and easy to watch. I have a feeling plenty of people will like this and be very happy with the outcome.