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Punch Line (anime review)

punch-lineTitle: Punch Line: The Complete Collection

Director: Yutaka Uemura

Studio: MAPPA

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

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

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

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

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

Commentary:

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

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

Overall Grade: B

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

 

Children Who Chase Lost Voices- Sentai Select (anime review)

children-who-chase-lost-voicesTitle: Children Who Chase Lost Voices Sentai Select (Combo pack)

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Studio: CoMix Wave Films

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: July 19th, 2016

Format: DVD / 117 minutes / Feature Film

Genre: Fantasy

Age Rating: PG

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Similar Titles: Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa of the Vally of the Wind

Synopsis:

Quiet and thoughtful Asuna doesn’t have much time for fun. She works very hard in school and at home because with her father passed away and her mother is working long hours as a nurse. The one thing she does enjoy is going up to the bluff that overlooks the city and try to pickup a strange music with the old crystal radio receiver her father gave her. She is not sure what this strange but beautiful music is but she does enjoy it.

A day after she hear a wonderful song, she is confronted on the railroad track bridge by a odd monster that is acting strange and looks to attack her. Just as it appears to be ready to pounce, a young man rescues her and defeats the monster. He uses a strange blueish crystal that emits a strange light. Before she knows it, this young man, Shun, whisks her away and takes her back up to the bluff where she hears the music.

The next day, she returns to find Shun one more time and she shows him the crystal receiver and he notices the special crystal she uses to listen to the music. Shun then explains that he is from a different land and that he was there to meet someone and that he had finished his journey. The next day he was gone and before too long, a boy’s body was found in the river with Asuna’s scarf. This sends Asuna back to the bluff where she runs into someone else that looks like Shun, but isn’t. They are soon surrounded by a group of soldiers called Arch Angels that are after the other boy and the stone he has. In their escape, the boy, Shin, takes Asuna with him into a cave that leads them to a gateway. Just as they get there, the soldiers arrive and one of them manages to take Asuna through the gateway and Shin just barely makes it through. The gateway leads them to the mythical land of Agartha. The one soldier who forced Asuna into the gateway also happens to be her teacher, Morisaki.

Morisaki is searching for the ancient secret to bring back the dead and now Asuna is coming along with him. They find out quickly that they are not welcomed to this mystical land but through much adversity, they manage to find their way to the gateway of life and death. Will Morisaki revive his long lost love or will they be stopped before he can get to the gods?

Commentary:

Makoto Shinkai has made a dramatic move in his development as a creator. His earlier films, Voices of a Distant Star and 5 Centimeters Per Second took on much different narratives. They tended to deal with relationships and communication and the way in which separation can effect these relationships, but Children Who Chase Lost Voices is something completely different and falls under the genre of a true fantasy. It takes place in the blend of our current world and the ability to travel to a mystical world underneath the surface where we live. There are fanciful beasts and magical stones and a main plot that revolves around the resurrection of the dead. My first impression was that it may not be the best vehicle for Shinkai, but as I moved through this film I was reminded of some of the films produced by Studio Ghibli and most notable is Tales of Earth Sea. But much of the scenery reminded me of Castle in the Sky. Nonetheless, this story does tell a tale of the discovery of the power of love and that we must be able to get past loss of our loves.

As for the animation it also has the feel of a Ghibli film. There is a richness to the background and the fanciful creatures that inhabit the world. The film is very engaging and the story moves along. The typical gorgeous Shinkai sunsets are abundant. I almost began to think the world always had this warm pinkish glow to it. The characters also have a simplistic feel to them that help draws you in and makes you feel comfortable right away. Asuna is one of the young girls that wants everything to work out and her connection to nature ends up being an absolute savior. The music also plays a role in the film because it help set the feel of a mystical world that hasn’t changed for over 2000 years. Mystery and mysticism abound.

Overall Grade: A-

There is a lot to really like about Children Who Chase Lost Voices and it is no sunrise that Sentai Filmworks made it a Sentai Select, but I think it falls a bit short for a Shinkai story. I’m not completely sold on this fantasy world and at times it came across a little too simplistic. I loved the look and feel, but the story ran aground from time to time. One thing is for sure, this is a film that the whole family can enjoy and it does deserve to be mentioned along side the likes of some of Studio Ghibli’s films. I think that this young animator has a great future and I hope to see him continue to expand his repertoire.

Extras: 

In this 4 disc set the special features include: Interviews, The Making Of, Japanese Promo Video, Japanese Teasers, The Works of Makoto Shinkai, Interview with Makoto Shinkai (text).

Akame ga Kill Collection 2 (anime review)

akame-ga-kill 2Title: Akame ga Kill Collection 2

Director: Tomoki Kobayashi

Creator: Takahiro

Written By: Makoto Uezu

Studio: White Fox, C-Station (ONA)

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: May 17th, 2016

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

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Supernatural, Drama

Age Rating: TV14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis:

The convoluted path that has reunited Tatsumi and Esdeath takes another twist as they find themselves transported to a remote island where their strength will be tested as never before. Dr. Stylish may be dead, but Danger Beasts still remain, and that’s only the first challenge the two enemies now face.

If the bonds of love weren’t enough to bring their fates together, could the fire of combat forge a new form of alliance? Meanwhile, the embers of rebellion are being stoked into open insurrection by the pacifist organization Path of Peace. Drawn into the impending inferno, Night Raid and the Revolutionary Army prepare for a major assault on the Capital. But while their Imperial Arms may be indestructible, their wielders are merely flesh and blood.

On the anvil of battle, only human courage and the willingness to give their lives for a cause will lead to the ultimate triumph or failure in collection 2 of Akame ga Kill!

Commentary:

As series go Akame ga Kill is a little above average, but I was very concerned at the end of the first 12 episodes. I have seen all too many anime that started out with a solid story line that ended up become over indulgent and failed to bring it to a reasonable conclusion. Akame ga Kill manages to make it clear that the story is over and also does something very interesting for a mythic tail of heroes, it gives us closure with the characters.

Without giving anything away I have to say that I was a little emotionally wound up by some of the events and more than once felt both excited and sad by the battles fought.

Overall Grade: B+

I really like the second half of the Akame ga Kill  for what it was. The myth of the hero and the battle for what is right cam sometimes cross lines that both corrupt a moral existence but at the same time exact a price that can be too heavy to bear. When all is said Akame ga Kill manages to find a way to give us finality and hope at the same time.

If you are looking for a real action anime with lots of side plots and a harem tossed in to make it more interesting then Akame ga Kill it the one for you. I often find harm anime rather silly and only a very few make any sense, as for Akame ga Kill the story came together because of the harem and without the love story tossed in the plot would have been less favorable and entertaining. This is a winner and is worth the time to check it out.

 

Magical Users Club OVA & Series (anime review)

magic-users-club-ovaTitle: Magical User’s Club (OVA & TV Series)

Director: Michiru Oshima

Studio: Triangle Staff (OVA & TV Series), Madhouse (TV Series)

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi, Lucky Penny

U. S. Release Date: April 4th, 2016

Format: DVD / OVA – 6 Episodes, TV Series – 13 Episodes / OVA – 150 Minutes, TV Series – 325 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Supernatural, Comedy, Drama

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating B+

magic-users-club-tvSynopsis:

OVA – This Magic Club can do a lot more than card tricks!

Exactly one year ago, aliens invaded Earth. But it wasn’t the kind of invasion you’d expect. After descending from space and destroying any opposition, the giant spaceship known as The Bell just… sat there. For a year it’s been floating silently over the ocean, quietly observing how Earthlings live. Everyone’s pretty much used to it by now.

Everyone, that is, except the Magic User’s Club. They’re a small band of misfits who can do actual, honest-to-goodness magic! Their leader, Takeo, doesn’t trust the aliens to stay peaceful. He wants to fight the alien menace, but it’ll be a tough task when his club consists of a perverted president, a flamboyant VP, a flaky princess, a bumbling new recruit, and her temperamental best friend! Can this motley crew pull it together and save the world?

TV Series – More Misadventures with the Magic User’s Club!

The Magic User’s Club is a group of five well-meaning misfits who do more than card tricks – they can use actual magic. And with that magic, they managed to defeat a giant ship from outer space! But their close encounter left an enormous cherry blossom tree right in the middle of the city. It’s so big that it blocks out the sun!

Takeo Takakura, the club’s noble (but perverted) president, calls a special Sunday meeting to take care of the tree. It seems simple enough, but when magic is involved, nothing ever goes according to plan… What’s more, there’s a ghostly figure hidden among the branches, watching their every move. Who is this silent specter, and what does he want?

Commentary:

The list of re-release of late 90’s anime keeps on coming and Magical User’s Club is one of the most recent made available. This some what silly and a little sexy series gives us a glimpse into the fun that was happening almost 20 years ago. The story line is nothing special, but the development and offerings is different. For Magical User’s Club the release of the OVAs came first and because of the story it is important to watch them first and the TV series followed. To me it is obvious why this series was a hit in the 90’s and why it might come across as timely, but also dates now. The characters give us everything from a naive young girl to a oversexed gay student in love with the club leader. It is wonderful how the world is blended into this comedy.

Overall Grade: B+

Both Magical User’s Club sets are more than worth being checked out. The animation might be somewhat aged, but the story and the character development are superior and make all the difference for this series. I loved the way the club was made up of such wonderful individuals and of course they keep you smiling all the way through.

I know that many people are a little hesitant to pick up an anime that is almost 20 years old unless they experienced it as a child, but I can’t stress how good this series is and how fun it is. Check it out you won’t be disappointed.

 

Gasaraki Complete Series (anime review)

gasarakiTitle: Gasaraki: The Complete Series

Director: Ryousuke Takahashi

U.S. Distributor: Right Stuf / Nozomi

U.S. Re-Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

Format: DVD / 625 Minutes / 25 Episodes

Genre: Mecha, Supernatural

Age Rating: 13+

Overall Personal Grade: A-

Similar Titles: Evangelion

One of the most poignant phrases that haunts humans is “History always repeats itself”. There are many tragic dances that burn in the flames of time and never quite seem to be completed.

Synopsis:

Japan has become fat on its own prosperity and have begun to get more involved in world politics. The Gowa family with their power base and industrial complex have developed bipedal weapons that they call Tactical Armor or T. A.. There is something special about the way they react and it all appears to hinge on how Yushiro Gowa performs. There is a deep seeded bond between man and machine but this bond does not seem to be natural, but rather supernatural.

With strife and war breaking out in eastern Europe the Gowa Organization and the Japanese military use this chase to see these new weapons in action. Unknown to them another organization, Symbol, has developed their  own T. A.s and when the two meet the Gowa team have their hands full.  The key to their team is young girl named Miharu, who had appeared to Yushiro during a ceremony when he was about to resurrect some unknown power that heir family is noted as holding the key to. This power was supposedly given to them by the God Gasaraki.

Once back in Japan Yushiro discover a terrible truth about himself that puts him on the path to uncover the truth about his history. This path leads him directly into the depths of the Gowa history as he discovers that he is what is know as a Kai, the one who can control the giant warrior the Kugai. He ends up fighting Miharu while piloting the Kugai and manages to defeat her. Knowing that there is a connection they both run off to discover their past. In this search they discover that they are connected for over 1000 years and what their terrible purpose just might be.

The power of the Gowa and a highly idealistic Japanese visionary leads Japan to the brink of destruction. The key lies with both Yushiro and Miharu. Will they repeat the nightmare of the past or can they overcome their history and find a new path?

Commentary:

Even though 1998 seems so long ago it is great to take this trip back to see this highly dramatic series. There is so much going on with Gasaraki that it take 5 episodes to get a grip on what is happening. The blend of Japanese myth and modern day technology gives a special edge to the series. This is topped off by the heavy drama that is played out. There are very few light moments and that might be the one area of weakness. The heaviness takes it toll at times and you almost have to take a breath to relax in order to move on. That is not to say that the series is depressing, because I did not find it to be a downer in any way, it just takes itself very seriously.

As I moved through the Gasaraki I found myself coming up with plenty of questions regarding the history of this intense family and how these two young people were really connected to it. I was very happy to see them and us get a solid understanding of the past which suddenly proved to be very poignant. It opened the plot line up and exposed the mysteries that lay beneath the surface. I must admit that there were times that I found Yushiro and Miharu a bit flat and mono dimensional but in many ways it works to their advantage as the series progressed and explained who and what they really are.

Overall Grade: A-

There are several series out there that deserve a second chance through the arena and Gasaraki is one of those series. If you have not seen Gasaraki and are a fan of Mecha intertwine with supernatural elements then this one is up you’re ally. If you just enjoy a serious series that gives plenty of action then you should take the time to enjoy it.

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (anime review)

yamishibaireview provided by Katie and Andrew

Title: Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories-Complete Collection

Director: Tomoya Takashima

Studio: ILCA

Author: Hiromu Kumamoto

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: April 19, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 26 Episodes / 117 Minutes

Genre: Horror

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Corpse Party and Ghost Stories

“Tonk Tonk Tonk” “Step right up and have a look… It’s time for Yamishibai.”

Synopsis:

Ghosts. Curses. Demons. If you crave tales of terror and seek mysteries that defy explanation, go to the park at 5. That is when the man in the yellow mask will arrive with his kamishibai, the paper theater, to tell his sinister stories of Japan’s darkest side. But be warned, this storyteller’s works may do more than simply send shivers down your spine. As they say, the more fascinated you become with the supernatural, the more the supernatural may become fascinated with you.

Enter a world where the closest of friends can become the deadliest of enemies, where the most mundane of objects can become hair-raising nightmares, and not even one’s own family can be trusted to remain human. Dare to pierce the veil of darkness and a realm of ultimate horror awaits as you discover Yamishibai – Japanese Ghost Stories!

Commentary:

You read on the outer cover “Complete Collection” “Seasons one & two”. You open the BD box to see one disc. “What darkness was used to cram two seasons on one disc?”

This is the story of a particular anime series called Yamishibai Japanese Ghost Stories, based on random horror story shorts, as each story or episode is 5 minutes with 1:15 eaten by the opening and ending. They are very reminiscent of childhood campfire stories, basically the same type of stories that you sat around a campfire, cooking smores and burning marshmallows on a stick, and told to try to scare the crap out of your friends. The stories, while being well within the G rating, tend to be more on the creepy side then really scary. There is nothing gory; no blood, guts, or anything like that, considering they are written for kids watching the afternoon cartoons after school. Nothing jumps out of nowhere and there is little sudden movement due to the style of the animation. While most of the stories will not scare you, and some may seem silly and predictable, Yamishibai Japanese Ghost Stories does a great job of manufacturing a creepy feeling. Regardless of age, most will enjoy them, if you like creepy, horror, or urban legend stuff. Most of the stories end a bit open and leave them for the audiences’ interpretation. The animation itself is choppy, has little movement in the way of people, mouths or constant changing of background. The animation is shaped after an ancient Japanese form of storytelling that started around the 12th century called Kamishibai (literal translation Paper Drama). The animation looks like paper cutouts moved around with a background behind them. It’s the Japanese version of the puppet shows. The animation does take some getting used to and at first I had a hard time with it. After a while the animation actually enhances the creepy aspects of Yamishibai Japanese Ghost Stories. This half of the review was written after watching only the first season.

Season one… A-

This is the story of a strange anime series called Yamishibai Japanese Ghost Stories. This is covering the second season magically graphed on the first season disk. They are still horror short stories crammed into a five minute run time. I can no longer compare them to the campfire story telling. I am not really sure what to compare them to. After Dark? Those silly spooky story books you got from the book fair at school? All the smores were eaten and all that remains are the ashes of the logs from the night before. You have now woken up to the horrors of packing up camp and heading out. The stories changed. Now more a PG rating, gory imagery replaced the subtle and very effective method of storytelling that had previously been used. Having replaced the dark imagery with more a macabre scenery and well placed silence with excessively ineffective and unneeded dialog, the stories lost the perfectly manufactured spookiness and left if for a more laughable place. The stories abandoned the open endedness and left nothing for the audiences’ interpretation, one of the strongest features that made the first season work. The other feature that made the first season was the kamishibai style animation. It changed to more a hybrid with a lot more movement and less eerie stillness that help make it all work.

Season Two. . . . .D

Extras:

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories-Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations along with Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade: B 

Season 2 did not detract from my enjoyment of season 1. Overall Yamishibai Japanese Ghost Stories lost some of what made it work well after the first season; I would still recommend it for those who loved being the one that told the story that made your friends unable to sleep in their sleeping bags for fear of what may have been inside the darkness held within.

When They Cry: Complete Collection Season One on Blu-ray (anime review)

when-they-cry-1Review provided by Andrew and Katie

Title: When They Cry: Complete Collection Season One on Blu-ray

Director: Chiaki Kon

Studio: Studio Deen

Author: Ryukishi07

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U.S. Release Date: March 15, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 26 Episodes / 650 Minutes

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural, Thriller

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: A+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Elfen Lied, Another, and Future Diary

Synopsis:

Moving to the picturesque town of Hinamizawa is going to be a big adjustment for Keiichi Maebara. For all its beauty, it is also very small, so small that there’s only one school, one where most of the students have known each other all their lives.

Fortunately, he soon meets four girls… Rena, Mion, Satoko, and Rika, who are willing to let the new guy in town join their afterschool club. And for a while, things seem wonderful. Until Keiichi starts discovering strange things, like when the project manager for a controversial dam project was found dismembered five years ago.

As he digs deeper, there are whispers and rumors of other murders and disappearances, stories of a town curse, and mysterious rituals. And then people he knows start to die. What secrets have the people of Hinamizawa kept hidden from the rest of the world? Could his new friends somehow be involved? The shocking answers to these and other questions will be revealed in When They Cry: Complete Collection!

Commentary:

When They Cry: Complete Collection epitomizes how you should never judge something by its cover. It looks like a simple, generic harem series at first glance; however When They Cry: Complete Collection is anything but that. When They Cry: Complete Collection is nothing short of genius and the whole setting, atmosphere, and mood are incredibly well executed. The plot may seem simple at first with a new kid moving to a strange, new town and meeting new friends but beneath the exterior appearance of this seemingly tame series lays a dark story of murder, violence, and mystery.

When They Cry: Complete Collection has a plot that consists of arcs. Although these arcs seem disjointed at first, it is all part of the plot and is actually an important part of solving the mystery of the Hinamizawa murders. However, When They Cry: Complete Collection is not a simple, generic murder mystery where the solutions are force fed to us. It is up to us to decide between what is true and what is not. This way we think and interact with the story. Each arc has a twisted finish that will leave you saying, “What just happened?”.

While When They Cry: Complete Collection is full of mentally instable characters, however they are extremely well written and developed. Luckily, the mental instability of the main characters does not take away from their personality and interaction. Each and every character serves a purpose to the plot in some way, shape, or form so be sure to pay attention to what a character does in different arcs.

The animation was normal for the age of the series but the background animation was breathtaking. The opening and closing songs were amazing and fit the series perfectly. The voice actors filled the series with psychotic laughter, blood-curling screams, and extremely cute voices in order to bring the characters to life.

Extras:

When They Cry: Complete Collection includes clean opening and closing animations and Sentai Filmworks trailers as special features. When They Cry: Complete Collection has both English and Japanese with English subtitles as language options.

Overall Grade: A+

I cannot begin to explain how excited I am that Sentai Filmworks licensed When They Cry: Complete Collection! I hope they release the rest of the series so that we can learn what else happens. I recommend that you watch When They Cry: Complete Collection if you enjoy the horror or psychological thriller genre. You will not be disappointed.

 

 

 

Wizard Barristers (anime review)

-wizard-barristersTitle: Wizard Barristers Complete Collection on Blu-ray

Directed By: Yasuomi Umetsu

Written By: Michiko Itou

Music By: Kayo Konishi, Yukio Kondoo

Studio: Arms

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: March 1st, 2016

Format: Blu-ray / 12 Episodes / 300 Minutes

Genre: Supernatural, Action, Drama, Mystery

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

 

Synopsis:

When the laws of magic are broken, it’s the duty of the Police Department’s deadly Section 1 to enforce them. But, since even craven maven Wizards and nefarious Necromancers have the right to a fair trial, the job of defending them belongs to the Benmashi, the Wizard Barristers!

It’s a tricky profession, requiring both arcane ability and a judicious sense of jurisprudence, and at just seventeen, Cecil Sudo is the youngest Benmashi that Butterfly Law has ever employed. That means a lot of late nights burning the midnight brimstone, summoning up summaries, parsing phrases with paranormal paralegals and cutting deals with opposing counsels from hell.

And when a young Benmashi starts to discover that her own charm may be more magically-based than she realized, there’ll be a hex-tra incentive to work wonders outside the courtroom as well! Every trial is a witch trial as the most enchantingly Adept Attorney ever becomes a Master of the Art of Defensive Spells in Wizard Barristers!

Commentary:

Okay, I know that there are some of you that think I am crazy for giving such a high grade to Wizards Barristers. The truth is that I found it rather appealing. I saw it as a true amalgamation of a lot of anime and western pop culture. Right off the bat I saw Cecil as a new form of Sawa from Kite, and a strange blend of Fullmetal Alchemist along with a health dose of Harry Potter. Cecil is the girl who holds the key and doesn’t remember her past. She is destine to be something very special and she is very unaware of it. There are wizards on both sides that want her and she is surrounded by a group of people who are there to be not just friends but protectors too. This series is a interesting blend of  the world of supernatural story telling and if not watched with a curious eye much will be missed.

Overall Grade: A-

Wizard Barristers has much to offer and provides it all in a lively colorful package. The one drawback for me was the animation. I found the computer generated (CG) work to be a little stiff, but with the advances in CG it is easy to watch.

The rest of the series had plenty of light humor tossed in to keep you interested and a lot of dark questions kept coming up that made it a must to watch the next episode. The ending felt a tad rushed and there are some gaps in the plot that I personally would like to see explained in an OVA or a second season. With Wizard Barristers being only an Anime property I just don’t see more coming and that is too bad. If you like Harry Potter, Kite and Fullmetal Alchemist then I believe you should enjoy Wizard Barristers. It is worth the time to check it out.

Akame ga Kill Collection 1(anime review)

814131018571_anime-akame-ga-kill-blu-rayTitle: Akame ga Kill Collection 1

Director: Tomoki Kobayashi

Creator: Takahiro

Written By: Makoto Uezu

Studio: White Fox, C-Station (ONA)

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: February 9th, 2016

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

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Supernatural, Drama

Age Rating: TV14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Synopsis: 

When he set off for the Capital, all Tatsumi wanted was a way to make money. Instead, he finds himself rescued from a fate worse than death by a group of assassins known as Night Raid, and thrust into the middle of a bloody revolution. On the one side: Prime Minister Honest, his secret police, elite squad of assassins, and the armies of the Empire. On the other: Night Raid and a handful of rebels desperate to overthrow the brutal regime of Honest’s puppet emperor. Leveling the playing field: the Imperial Arms, a legendary set of unstoppable weapons created in the distant past. But to use an Imperial Arm is practically a death sentence, for only a select few can even survive using them… and when two Arms go against each other, only the user of one is likely to survive in Akame ga Kill!

Commentary:

I really like to say that Akame ga Kill is something new and different, but I just can’t. It is very entertaining and full of action. Akame ga Kill just falls into the trap of being another action anime that isn’t so worried about the plot but rather the movement across the screen. Akame ga Kill proved elements of being a harem, a supernatural drama and a fantasy series that provides plenty of battles with blood splattering all over the place. Why is it that we never meet the cleaning crew and the cloths washers. With these characters only having one set of close I would think that the cloths washers are always on hand and ready to scrub the blood out of teams duds. It might be interesting to see a comedy anime about these magical creatures and their washing skills. I would think they are prized employee no matter what action/fantasy/horror anime was in favor.

Overall Grade: B+

Even though I don’t find anything new or different about Akame ga Kill I still find a fun watch. It is fast and packed with action, albeit bloody, along with plenty of pretty girls. I guess that the thing that I find interesting is what is going to happen when Tatsumi is fitted with Imperial Arms that bring out his true power. I am guessing that in the second half of the series w will find out what makes him so special and if his stalker will get him back into her loving arms.

Akame ga Kill isn’t for everyone, but I think it will find broad appeal. If the Attack on Titan crowd discover it they just might make a huge hit. So, if you enjoy a fun, fast, action packed anime with plenty of splattering blood the Akame ga Kill is for you.

Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection (anime review)

Review provided by Andrew and Katieblade-dance-of-the-elementalers

Title: Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection

Director: Tetsuya Yanagisaw

Studio: TNK

Author: Takao Yoshioka

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: February 2, 2016

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

Genre: Action, Comedy, Ecchi, Fantasy, Harem, Romance, School, Supernatural

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: C

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: The Familiar of Zero and IS: Infinite Stratos

Synopsis:

In order to enroll at the Areisha Spirit Academy, where young priestesses learn how to form contracts with Spirits, the ideal prospective student must be pure, chaste, and of a superior lineage. They must also be female as only one man has ever made a Spirit contract and He was the Demon King.
The entire Academy is thrown into chaos and confusion when Kamito Kazehaya arrives at the Headmistress’ request because not only is he very obviously a guy, but he also managed to form a Spirit contract in the short time it took him to walk through the woods surrounding the Academy.
And what other secrets might the new enrollee have hidden? The unexpected intrusion of something male is certain to work the female student body into a tizzy as the answers are revealed in Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection.

Commentary:

Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection is your basic magical harem anime series. There is nothing original about the series and that saddened me. Basically, the plot is full of holes and does not explain much of anything. A great example is how Kamito Kazehaya won a Blade Dance three years prior to the setting of the series, but no one knows that as he was in a robot suit. It seems as if they decided to use the first eleven episodes as filler and the actual series began in the final episode. The battles reminded me of Pokémon battles due to the use of “spirit animals” and the battles lasted far too long for my taste. There was also an over-use of fan-service and there was one scene that bordered on hentai so I personally believe that the age rating should have been higher.

Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection included every character archetype, but mostly focused on tsundere, that harem animes use but there was hardly any development done to the characters. Kamito Kazehaya is the only male spirit contractor in the series so naturally the rest of the characters are wary of him. He has a good nature personality but also teases the other characters. Kamito is a competent fighter and uses his head more than his emotions in his fights. Claire Rougeis one of the tsundere’s in the series; however she is heavy on the tsun and light on the dere. Her contracted spirit is a flame cat named Scarlett. Rinslet Laurenfrost is also a tsundere but instead of tsundere to Kamito she is mostly tsundere to Claire, her childhood friend. Her contracted spirit is an ice wolf named Fenrir. Ellis Fahrengart is another tsundere, but she uses the tsundere to protect her school as a Knight. Her contracted spirit is an eagle named Simorgh. Those are the characters that stood out the most to me. There are others including Fianna Ray Ordesia and Est.

The characters were well drawn but the background animation seemed to get lost. The music was standard for this genre and did not stand out in any way. The voice actors did a good job but some left something to be desired.
Extras:
Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection includes Japanese Promos, Blade Dance Special Mini OVA’s, 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: C
While I was somewhat let down by Blade Dance of the Elementalers: Complete Collection I believe that someone who loves the harem genre will enjoy it.