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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.

Shirobako Collection 2 (anime review)

shirobako-2Title: Shirobako Collection 2 on Blu-ray

Director: Tsutomu Mizushima

Writer: Michio Yokote

Studio: P. A. Works

Produced by: Warner Entertainment Japan

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: May 24th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy, Drama

Age Rating: TV PG

Overall Personal Rating: A

Synopsis:

It’s official. Musashino Animation’s next production is “Third Aerial Girls’ Squad!” In a surprising turn of events, Aoi finds herself assigned as the production manager for the project, but from the very beginning it looks like she may be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the project. Of course, her old friend Ema is already aboard as one of the animators, while Midori makes an enormous contribution by taking on many of the program’s important research duties. And when Misa’s new company contracts to produce CG for the series, all but one of the members of the old animation club are working on the same production! Left out again, Shizuka auditions for a role, but, as a relatively new voice actor the odds of her being cast in a major part seem highly unlikely. That doesn’t break the bonds of their friendship, however, and there are tons of surprises ahead as TAGS’s journey to broadcast draws to the finish in the second collection of SHIROBAKO!

Commentary:

Shirobako is one of those anime that will end up standing out as a go to anime for all serious fans. It will also find its way into the library of those who aren’t everyday fans but those who are looking for another slice of life anime that deals with everyday struggle that come with any job and deadlines. Anyone who has ever been a part of a major project with tight deadlines will enjoy this series because that is what it is all about.

The real strength of Shirobako is the character interaction and the wide variety of personalities blended in the stressful dynamic of the world of anime production. Everyone must start somewhere and for Aoi this is her big opportunity to discover her abilities and to maybe even learn something about herself that will help her become more confident in the path she is following.

The rest of the cast have their ups and downs but it is Aoi who is the spotlight and who has the biggest job that requires wearing many different hats. I loved the way we saw the doubt and resolve in her life along with the support she got from those around her along with the suspicion of her abilities for some.

Overall Grade: A

I can say that I have been very lucky with many of the series I have had the chance to review over the last few weeks and Shirobako stand at the top of the list with my other favorite Space Brothers. Both of these series take on the topic of following your dreams and even look at finding what is important in life too. Shirobako gives us glimpse into the fast paced world of anime production and also shows us how many different people and companies are involved in getting something as complicated as an anime on the air.

When it comes to anime or any series I find the story to be the driving reason to like it. Shirobako’s story hits a home run and is another one that could easily be prime time TV in the U. S. I think more and more families are discovering anime as a great source of entertainment and once people get over the sub title issues they will discover a whole world of stories that they could have never imagined existed. This type of series is s shining example of the difference in American and Japanese animation. I for one can’t remember the last time I watched a slice of life animation from any american production company. Yea for Anime give us more shows like Shirobako please!

Space Brother Collection 8 (anime review)

space-brothers-collection-8Title: Space Brothers Collection 8

Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Music By: Toshiyuki Watanabe

Studio: A-1 Pictures

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: March 26th, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 11 episodes / 275 minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Slice of Life, Action, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Grade: A

Synopsis:

The single most important element of any mission is trust: trust in your equipment, trust in your crewmates and support team, and trust in yourself. As the trajectories of Mutta and Hibito’s careers continue to alter dramatically, self-doubt and lack of trust become the deadliest of enemies. Once the rising young star, Hibito must now undergo round after round of grueling tests in order to prove that he still has the right stuff for the space program.

Meanwhile, Mutta has never been working harder, continuing to prepare for his own mission to the moon while serving as Vince’s backup. But Mutta’s team is still incomplete, and Chief Butler has yet to assign a captain to the CES-62 backup crew. Will the unexpected new addition to the roster change everything? Get ready for a rendezvous with destiny as the brotherhood of space meets its greatest challenge in the eighth interstellar collection of Space Brothers!

Commentary:

The end of any series is always bitter sweet because you have invested so much time, energy and emotion into watching it. Space Brothers is no different in fact it may even be more emotional just because the series is 99 episodes long. Of course there will be calls for it to add another season, but in many ways I think it ended perfectly. My imagination filled in many of the questions left at the end and played out several scenarios that would make the story even better.

It is no secret that I found Space Brothers to be a top notch series and something the entire family could spend hours and hours watching with great delight. I realize that most anime fans will not give this series the time of day because it doesn’t have blood spattering or bouncing boobs in every scene, but for those who are looking for solid entertainment and a story you can enjoy then Space Brothers is for you.

Overall Grade: A

As I mentioned above, I think this is a series for the entire family. There is something for everyone. Thinking about prime time TV I could see Space Brothers filling a 7 PM slot and also finding a lot of families sitting down every week to get their dose of these two brothers trying to make their dreams come true. The series has it all, excitement, action, disappointment, attraction and even simple family fun. I am sorry to see it end and would like to know what the creator would do to fill in the open questions. The funny thing about leaving so much unanswered it that it is a very Zen thing to do. Life is full of unanswered questions and there are many possible directions to follow when traveling down any path which is why I found the ending of this series so poignant.

Giving an A to just this set of episodes is a true of not just Space Brothers collection 8 but of the entire series. I highly recommend Space Brothers to everyone and tell them to leave the world of fan service and extreme violence behind for a great story of dreams and struggles that can be applied to all of our lives.

 

Strawberry Marshmallow (anime review)

strawberry-marshmallowreview provided by Andrew and Katie

Title: Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete TV Series

Director: Takuya Sato

Studio: Daume

Author: Miharu Hirami

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: May 10, 2016

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

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: A-

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

Sweet, delectable and mixed with a random selection of exotic nuts, (Is this a household or a fruit salad?)

Synopsis:

Nobue Itou may be attending college, but her real lessons come from dealing with her 12-year-old sister Chika and her equally adorable friends. There’s Miu Matsuoka, the troublemaking girl next door who’s never found a diabolical plan that she wasn’t willing to hatch. Then there’s the perplexing Ana Coppola, who was born in England but has lived in Japan for so long that she’s forgotten most of her English and is unsuccessfully attempting to re-learn her British heritage based on some rather erroneous assumptions. After those two handfuls, shy, sensitive Matsuri Sakuragi should be a welcome dose of normality, but unfortunately Matsuri is also incredibly gullible. And then there’s Chika herself, who’s actually the most mature and sensible person in the Itou household… which comes in handy when her older sister attempts to raid Chika’s savings in order to buy cigarettes! Get ready for a cute overload so intense that it can be used as a deadly weapon when slices of everyday life get whipped to frothy perfection in Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete TV Series!

Commentary:

The slice of life genre is usually a very hard genre for some to watch or like. They are literally covering every day situations, and that can be boring for some. If you like the slice of life genre, you are aware that life itself is never boring, and that simple every day life can trigger emotional responses. The premise of Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete TV Series is really quite simple. We drop in and out of the everyday lives of Nobue, the slacking college student and so called adult, and her younger sister Chika and three of her best friends Miu, Ana, and Matsuri. Do not expect a complex plot here as each episode is filled with the everyday things we all have done like going to school, enjoying cake, shoveling snow, getting lost and playing sports. However, it never gets boring as mischief is just right around the corner and it will have you laughing your head off from the silliness. The other thing about this series is its one of the first to fall into the “cute girls doing cute things” genre, a pretty recent addition to a long list of all the genres anime covers. The simplicity of plot can be a strong point but it can also be its downfall if you one of those that finds “cute girls doing cute things” to be annoying.

This being a re-release (thank you very much Sentai for getting the older out of print series back into print for everyone to enjoy again) of an older anime, the art work is what you can expect it to be from a series originally from 10 years ago. Not overly done but well done. The music tends to be catchy and not annoying. The voice acting is one of the high points as they did a good job with the characters, and with keeping in character well while dealing with the ages of the characters. Voice acting younger characters and keeping it believable can be very hard. The characters are well developed over the series and you notice trends, and with some you can start seeing what they are going to do. The characters are well written and completely believable.
Extras:

Strawberry Marshmallow: The Complete TV Series includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with English and Japanese with English Subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: A-

Azumanga Daioh Complete Collection (anime review)

azumanga-daiohTitle: Azumanga Daioh Complete Collection

Director: Hiroshi Nishikiori

Studio: J.C.Staff

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Re-release Date: May 3rd, 2016

Format: DVD / 26 Episodes / 650 Minutes

Genre: Comedy, Absurdity, Slice of Life

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

For the members of Miss Yukari’s English Class, a typical day may be just a little unusual. Part of that’s due to Miss Yukari herself, whose teaching style (and personal ethics) tend to be odd, improvisational and spontaneous, but her students are just as unconventional: There’s 10-year-old Chiyo, still at the top of her class after skipping five grades, and her opposite Ayumu “Osaka” Kasuga, whose poor grades are surpassed only by her horrific skill at sports. Then there’s Tomo, a competitive slacker who puts excessive energy into doing very little, and Koyomi, whose surprising maturity is compromised by a malevolent sense of humor. Tall, statuesque Sakaki’s athletic exterior hides both unexpected shyness and a most unfortunate obsession with cats, while tiny Kaori’s heart is mainly obsessed with Sakaki. They may all seem like perfectly normal girls on the outside, but even their most mundane activities magically become the most extraordinary adventures as they learn all about life, the universe and affairs of the heart in AZUMANGA DAIOH!

Commentary:

I was very happy to see that Sentai Filmworks was going to bring this gem back to life. The series as a whole is rather wonderful with its simple yet complex look on life and a rather perverted view of itself. I truly enjoy it for its rather absurd approach to the story and the silly character development.

The other aspect that I loved was the general happiness that ran throughout each episode. Azumanga Daioh is a older series that deserves to remain in the current lexicon on anime.

Overall Grade: A-

Okay, Anime fans lets set the record straight there are plenty of older anime series that should never get re-issued and plenty of series that should have never made their way over to North America. In the case of Azumanga Daioh neither of these are true. This series should have gotten picked up the day the original license was dropped. Thank you Sentai Filmworks for bringing this back to us. There is a whole new generation of anime fans that need to see this series just because it is great and a smile factory.

If you don’t own this series you must go out and buy it now. You will not be appointed.