Rss

Archives for : Slice of Life

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.

Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz! (anime review)

review provided by Andrew & Katie

Title: Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection

Director: Shin Onuma and Masato Jinbo

Studio: Silver Link

Author: Kenji inoue and Hazuki Minase

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: January 31, 2017

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 10 Episodes / 250 Minutes

Genre: Action, Slice of Life, Comedy, Magic Girl, Fantasy

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya & Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei

Synopsis:

Illyasviel von Einzbern’s life has become ridiculously complicated since the Kaleidostick Ruby convinced her to become a magical girl and join the quest for collecting the seven Class Cards. Since then, almost every day has brought a new surprise, from gaining new friends and partners like Miyu Edelfelt, to encountering her own magical twin!

One would think Illya deserves a little time off, right? No such luck: a trip to the beach quickly turns into a magical quest, and Illya finds herself caught in a string of magical feuds, encounters with love potions, an excursion into the world of “boys love” comics (plus the women who read them), and half a dozen other delirious diversions.

However, that is only the warm-up for what might be her final mission: recovering the long-lost Eighth Card! It’s a mystical whirlwind of unexpected escapades and surprising new revelations as Illya’s saga continues in Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection!

Commentary:

Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection picks up right where Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei left off and turns into a slice of life series for the first six episodes. During those six episodes everything seemed to drag, as nothing seemed to contribute to the plot of being a magical girl. There was not even one fight, or transformation scene. It took some time, but after finishing the series, I understand why they did that and it makes sense, however at the same time I wish they could have staged it out a little more. One thing they did well during that time was to advance the character development quite a bit, and also beyond Illya, Chloe(Kuro), and Miyu. They developed the characters of their group of friends, and the other normally background characters that are rarely seen more than one episode straight. Another thing that went way over the edge was the fan service. I like my fan service, but this got a little too unnatural and redundant after a while. I wish they would have toned down the fan service a bit. It started feeling forced and burdensome. Eventually, it added up and became too much and did take away from the story but the character development helped keep things moving along at a bearable pace.

Eventually after all the trips to the mall, the beach, the festival, the amusement park, and doing the all the summer homework (Basphamy!!!!) we finally are ready to be a magical girl again. As with all the other seasons the battle scenes continue to be very well done and exciting. As always its action packed and exciting. Even though the action was limited to the last four episodes, they did make up for the slowness of the first half. It even eventually explained, in a roundabout way, why they did it the way they did. By the end of last episode, everything is easily wrapped up tightly with a nice little bow. That is until the credits……..

Though this season was slow at first, the eventual payoff is well worth the investment of time. I normally am a fan of slice of life style animes, but for some reason this dragged to me at first. But once you get thru it and understand the reasons why, Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection is a must have continuation of this great series.

Extras:

Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations Herz! Shorts, and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with both English and Japanese with English subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: B-

Fate/kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei Herz!: Complete Collection is the perfect follow-up to the entire series. Just make sure you watch them in order so you can understand the entire story.

Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection (anime review)

review provided by Andrew & Katie

Title: Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Yasuhito Kikuchi

Studio: eight bit

Author: Masahiro Yokotani

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks/Section 23

U.S. Release Date: February 14th, 2017

Format and Length: DVD / 13 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Slice of Life

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Angelic Layer, Rozen Maiden, and Chobits

Juggling four girls at once is never easy, even when they are small enough to actually juggle!

Synopsis:

Some guys wait their entire life, and then some, to meet the girl of their dreams, but high school freshman Rihito is already living with four of them. Plus, they are almost always ready and willing to help him with whatever difficult task their “Master” needs to be handled. So, how did Rihito get to be so darn lucky? Well, while Hina, Ann, Ines and Rene may not be exactly high maintenance, Rihito does have to make sure they are lubricated regularly and recharge their batteries as needed. He does this because they are Shinki—tiny, six-inch tall, customizable androids (Now would be a good time to get your mind out of the gutter.) But do not let their tiny size fool you because these little ladies have more than full-size intelligence and emotions, there is also friction because each one would prefer to be Rihito’s favorite. Make way for the sparks that are going to fly as these battery powered princesses take charge of Rihito’s world.

Commentary:

Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection is an anime series that was produced as an advertisement for the Shinki action figures and as such it is an original storyline written for said figures. With that being said, I thought Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection was an average Slice-of-Life anime. The story follows the four Shinki as they perform their daily chores and the trouble that they always find themselves in. You can watch any episode after the first one and it will make almost perfect sense. Being as this was an advertisement there was not much character development but you do get to see an example of each Shinki by the end of the series. Rihito basically treats his Shinki as if they were human and the Shinki take really good care of him. Basically the Shinki are depicted as cute, tiny androids living in an apartment in the middle of Tokyo.

As for character development, there is none. Rihito is basically seen as a generic avatar that the target audience can relate to. Ann is the caring character who is pure of heart, Rene is the clumsy big sister, Ines is the tsundere character who is mean but cares deep down inside and Hina is the cool loner girl who cannot relate to the rest of the cast. I basically saw every overly done character type in one anime. I did enjoy the Christmas episode though because it showed how much the Shinki care about Rihito and at the same time it showed how much Rihito loves his Shinki.

Extras:
Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection includes Japanese promos, clean opening and closing animations, and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series is available in Japanese language with English subtitles.

Overall Grade: B-

Busou Shinki-Armored War Goddess: The Complete Collection was produced as an marketing tool for the Shinki figures and I have been noticing this has been the case for a few series created around this time. When I began watching the first episode I was expecting this series to be pretty good as it reminded me of Angelic Layer and I really enjoyed that series. Within a few episodes I realized that while this series has potential it was never expanded on and really leaves something to be desired.

Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection (anime review)

little-busters-exreview provided by Andrew and Katie

Title: Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection

Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa

Studio: J.C. Staff

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: December 6, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 8 Episodes / 200 Minutes

Genre: School Life, Slice of Life, Supernatural, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Little Busters, Little Busters: Refrain

Synopsis:

Does the new girl in Riki Naoe’s life need his help, or is she actually trying to kill him? After a chance encounter on a rooftop brings the enigmatic Saya Tokido into the Little Busters’ world, the only thing that’s certain is that trouble is sure to follow.

As if saving the lives of his teammates wasn’t enough of a task to handle, now Riki must also untangle a web of new mysteries that seem to be rooted in his own personal past! Who are the Dark Executives, why do they want to keep Saya and Riki apart, and what is the nature of the secret treasure that Saya seeks? Sometimes, answers lead to even more questions as Riki and the Little Busters discover that they weren’t the only people drawn into Kyousuke’s artificial world in Little Busters! EX!

Commentary:

Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection in the three-arc OVA series that follows Little Busters!: Refrain. However, it seems that Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection takes place in an alternate world or universe and the characters know about it. Two of the arcs, the Kanata and the Sasami arc make the most sense and fit in with the rest of the series. Saya’s arc made the least sense of all because she only exists in the alternate world and the four episode arc is the only time she is in the entire series. Her arc was also the weakest in that it ends with no resolution while the other two arcs have some kind of resolution even though they are shorter in length.

There was a decent amount of character development in Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection. Saya was an interesting character to say the least.  Apparently she and Riki met each other when they were children and that causes her to fall in love with him. She is also your run-of-the-mill tsundere that appears in every harem amine series. Sasami and Kanata are a bit more realistic but I can name other series where I have seen the cold/mysterious personalities. They are both every stand-offish and keep to themselves. However, both girls did grow as characters over their separate two episode arcs and eventually learned to trust and fall in love.

The animation was very pretty and the backgrounds did not take away from the characters. The voice actors did a good job of bringing the characters to life. The opening and closing songs were catchy and were fun to listen to. All in all, Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection was an interesting addition to the entire series.

Extras:

Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA 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.

Overall Grade: B-

Little Busters! EX: Complete OVA Collection is an interesting addition to the Little Busters! series. I recommend this release to anyone who has seen the rest of the series.

Kawai Complex Guide To Manors & Hostel Behavior: Complete Collection (anime review)

kawai-complex-guide-blu-rayTitle: Kawai Complex Guide To Manors & Hostel Behavior: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Shigeyuki Miya

Anime Writer: Takeshi Konuta

Original Creator: Ruri Miyahara

Studio: Brian’s Base

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Film Works, Section 23 Films

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

Format: DVD / 12 Episodes & OVA / 325 Minutes

Genre: Seinen, Romantic Comedy, Slice of Life

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

 

Synopsis:

Some say a home is where your heart is. Others say that a home is where you send people whose brains aren’t functioning quite properly. So, when Kazunari Usa’s parents send him to the Kawai Boarding House while they work abroad, it may take a while to figure out whether this is really his new home, let alone what kind of home it is.

On the one hand, his new roommate is a pervert and a masochist who peeps at girls’ schools, while his new landlady thinks leaving a variety of weapons lying around the girl’s area is a proper form of feminine protection. And when it comes to the trouble-making college girl and the perpetually grumpy working woman… well, let’s just say that those two have some serious issues to work out. On the other hand, Kawai is also home to Ritsu Kawai, who stole Usa’s heart from the first second he saw her on his first day at his new high school. And that alone may just make living in this strange new house worth it!

Commentary:

Kawai Complex Guide To Manors & Hostel Behavior is a simple straight forward coming of age high school romantic comedy. The comedy aspect is what is front and center with this silly story. The love story is between two rather shy kids who for their own reasons aren’t able to show their true feelings, but as the series progresses things are clear that they are headed to a similar place. The strength is based on the comic relief and the other main characters who give us the extraverted side of the tale. From the very beginning the humor is pushing some boundaries with several of the characters, but they hold the situation back just enough to keep things on a relative level playing field. It would have been very easy for the writers to go too far with the perversion that a couple of the characters clearly would like to exhibit.

The other strength happens to be the animation and much of the background and the use of highlights and polished surfaces. With in the first few minutes I was reminded of the work of Mikoto Shinkia. The work my not reach that high of a quality, but it clearly show how the rest of the anime world has watched and learned the power of reflection and highlights. I found the school hallways and classrooms to exhibit much of the slick styling and one you get to the Kawai Complex there is a great deal of time spent on the polished floor and the rich look it provides. There was even an obligatory  railroad crossing scene early one that cemented some of the reference to Shinkai.

Overall Grade: B+

Kawai Complex Guide To Manors & Hostel Behavior is a silly and light comedy that gives us all hope that two rather shy sweet kids can connect even in a world of absurdity swirling around them. Innocence still has its place in todays world and thanks to show like this it is honored and showcased. I would recommend this for the younger crowed but can’t because of the perverted humor that is found in every episode. It is a good story for those 13, 14 and 15 year old girls who want to watch a silly show about a shy bookworm and a sweet nice guy. But, I am sure that the majority of the fan base will be 20 something guys who like slick production and plenty of silly humor and cute gils.

I really did enjoy Kawai Complex Guide To Manors & Hostel Behavior even if it did come cross a little heavy handed form time to time. The animation is stellar for a 13 episode series and the writing kept pace and the story was able to survive under its own weight. So, if you are looking for something that will make you laugh and feel just a little better at the end of the then you should check out Kawai Complex Guide To Manors & Hostel Behavior.

Sakura Trick (anime review)

sakura-trick-blu-rayTitle: Sakura Trick: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Directed by: Ken’ichi Ishikura

Written by: Tachi

Studio: Studio Deen

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23 Films

U. S. Release date: September 13th, 2016

Format: DVD / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Yuri, Romantic Comedy, Slice of Life

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: C

Synopsis:

Haruka and Yuu have been best friends forever and they’ve always sat next to each other in class since… well, since they were just girls in junior high anyway. But on their first day of high school, they’re stunned to learn that the new seating plan has them on opposite sides of the classroom! So, since everyone knows that long distance relationships won’t work unless the parties involved put extra effort into it, they decide they need to do something extra special to permanently seal their friendship. However, deciding to kiss each other awakens a whole new level of feelings, and it doesn’t help that some of their classmates seem to be “involved” in similar circumstances.

So what’s a girl to do when her best girl friend suddenly seems more like a girlfriend? It’s a life lesson that the school curriculum isn’t normally prepared to teach, except maybe in French class, and our two young heroines are about to get a private education you’ll never forget! Discover the truth about the birds and the… er… birds, as two young ladies learn to deal with the pros and cons of intramural osculation!

Commentary:

When it come right down to it a series based on a simple proposition that the feature young lades fall in love is not alway a poor option for a story. In the case of Sakura Trick the fact that they are best friends form Jr. High School and both girls narrows the field for potential fans. On the surface things are rather simple and the everything is basically put right out there in the first episode, but as the series progressed I found myself loosing focus and my attention span wondered off to other things.

Now this isn’t the first time I have found myself loosing focus early on in a series just to find out later that it came together and gave me a reason to keep going. Unfortunately Sakura Trick did not give me a reason to say thank you at the end.

Overall Grade: C

Most of the time I was watching Sakura Trick I kept asking myself “who is the fan base they are going after?”. My first thought was younger girls just coming to age and discovering their sexuality, but after the first few episodes I realized that those fans will gravitate to other story lines. The next option was the 20 to 30 male population who lean toward 2D girls and a solid level of fan service. Sakura Trick does have fan service, but it did not reach the level of a Sekirei or Freezing. I kept pondering this question and really couldn’t place the otaku that would be all over this series.

I would love to say that if you are looking for a fun and delightful teen romantic comedy then you should pick up Sakura Trick, but I just can’t. I guess that the blatant Yuri aspects just turned me off. So, maybe if you are a true fan of Yuri comedy that is simple and not so graphic then Sakura Trick is for you, enjoy,

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection (anime review)

when-supernatural-battles-became-commonplanereview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Director: Masanori Takahashi

Studio: Trigger

Author: Masahiko Otsuka

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: August 30, 2016

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

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Harem, School Life, Slice of Life, Supernatural

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! and Student Council’s Discretion

They may not be known as heroes but superpowers at least make their lives interesting, right?

Synopsis:

The origin of the Senko High School Literature Club’s powers might be a little sketchy, and they may spend more time chatting than engaging in superhuman feats. Still, there is no questioning the incredible abilities of the club’s female members: Tomoyo can control time; Hatoko is a mistress of the elements; Chifuyu can create matter; and Sayumi can return any item to a previous state. With these powers, there are few tasks these girls can’t handle.

Meanwhile, Jurai, the club’s only male member has a dark flame that seems a little pointless in comparison and only time will tell if it matures into anything more useful. Toss in a Student Council president who has developed powers of her own and things are about to get seriously weird as the study of literature takes a comic book turn in When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray.

Commentary:

“Can your common sense explain the secrets behind how this universe originated 13,700,000,000 years ago?” Jurai Ando

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray has to be the most misleading title for an anime series I have ever seen. I was expecting some romance with a lot of battle scenes and what I got was a harem, slice-of-life romance with maybe one or two battle scenes that did not even involve the main cast of characters. Of course, the ending battle did include them and it made the entire series. There is also an epic tantrum involving Hatoko and Jurai in episode seven that also makes the entire series worth watching.

The characters were interesting to say the least. Each main character gets their background explained throughout the series and various episodes explore their personalities. The female characters fit into the usual harem genre archetypes as Tomoyo is the tsundere, Hatoko is the polite airhead, Sayumi is the book nerd, and Chifuyu is the young and playful elementary school girl and niece to the club sponsor. Jurai Ando seems like he was the key in getting each character to develop and fully understand her new superpower. Each girl, in her own way, has a crush on Jurai and it is hilarious to see what they do so that he might notice them in a different light. Towards the end, you can tell that the field has been narrowed down and that only two girls are left. I will let you figure out which two since that is half of the fun.

The animation was pretty good and very pretty to watch. The characters were drawn well and the backgrounds popped. The voice actors did a great job bringing the characters to life. The opening and closing songs were alright but nothing special. There was hardly any fan-service in When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray and what there was usually was aimed at cosplay gimmicks and swimsuit shenanigans.

Extras:

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection 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: B

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Complete Collection on Blu-ray is a cute and enjoyable slice-of-life series. I recommend this series to anyone who loves the slice-of-life genre.

Love Live! The School Idol Movie (anime review)

love-live-school-idol-movieTitle: Love Live! The School Idol Movie

Director: Takahiko Kyōgoku

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: NIS America

U. S. Release Date: June 28th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 99 Minutes

Genre: Slice of Life, School Idol

Age Rating: PG (All Ages)

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

The long-awaited finale of the popular Love Live! series is here in Love Live! The School Idol Movie!

Although μ’s, the defending champions of the school idol tournament, plans to dissolve their group after the graduation of their senior members, they receive news that leads them to holding a concert event! The 9 girls continue to learn and grow in this new and unfamiliar world. What is the last thing that these girls can do as school idols? With the clock ticking, what kind of meaning will the μ’s members find in performing the most exciting live performance?

Commentary:

Love Live! is one of those series that is just so positive it is almost impossible to dislike. Love Love! The Movie didn’t disappoint and tossed in some odd encounters that questions reality. Of course it does give us a true end to μ’s time together, but there are glimpses of the future that might just open the door to more from the franchise.

As movies go Love Live! The Movie is better than most. More often than not movies are just silly romps that have nothing to do with the plot of the original series. In this case the original plot is at the core to the film. This concept of sticking with the original premise behind the formation of the group help make the difference for me. As just a romp off to New York to shoot a music video to help promote a Idol performance is less than exciting. It is the back story and the struggles with fame that makes things interesting.

Overall Grade: A-

Love Live! The Movie has its moments of wonderful entertainment and its moments that are nothing more than fluff. I thing that the overall story came together once they got back from New York and had a tough question to answer. I would have liked to see how others in the group dealt with the big question other than Honoka, but with her being at the center of the group it was fitting that she had the dilima thrust upon her.

Love Live! is another in a long list of girl high school series that are both easy to watch and simplistic in nature. If this is a picture of how life is in Japan then it is something that should exported everywhere.

Love Live! The Movie is a hit in my books and a great way to wrap up a series.

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.

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.