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Archives for : Toru Takahashi

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

Title: Sorcerous Stabber Orphan on Blu-ray

Director: Season 1 Hiroshi Watanabe, Season 2 Tōru Takahashi

Studio: J. C. Staff

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: August 20th, 2019

Format: Blu-ray / 47 episodes / 1175 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy

Age Rating: TV 14 +

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Synopsis:

When an experiment goes horribly awry and transforms the Sorceress Azalie into a monstrous dragon, the sorcerers of the Tower of Fang callously decide to pretend that Azalie died in order to preserve the Tower’s reputation. And to make sure that the magic beans never get spilled, they also decide that Azalie needs to be destroyed. Disgusted by their cravenly actions, Azalie’s friend Krylancelo renounces his allegiance to the Tower, changes his name to Orphen and sets forth to save the damsel/dragon in distress. It won’t be easy: there’ll be minions with nefarious plans to defeat, and along the way Orphen will pick up an apprentice, a spoiled rich girl and a couple of trolls. But it wouldn’t be a heroic journey without a few bumps in the road, would it? The epic quest is on in Sorcerous Stabber Orphen!

Special Features: Production Sketches, Japanese TV Spot, Cape Day & Other Silliness, Interview with Japanese Staff & Cast, Outtakes, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation.

Commentary:

This is the summer of resurrections. There are countless numbers of older series that are being brought back from the anime graveyard and Sorcerous Stabber Orphan is the latest arrival. I can’t really say that it excites me but it does bring me some interesting entertainment. This set has both seasons and it is a great example of what happens when there is a change in directors.

The Sorcerous Stabber Orphan itself has everything you would expect from a late 1990’s series. The comedic lead with a dark and dangerous back story. A group of misfits that surround him and a rather convoluted group of antagonist. The trope was all the rage because of the success of other series like Trigun or Cowboy Bebop. Although Sorcerous Stabber Orphan works harder on providing a comedic side and in many ways it is better at that than it is at giving us a solid plot line that makes the viewer really root for Orphan and want to see him save his sorcerous friend.

Overal Grade: B-

It is unfortunate that the production value of Sorcerous Stabber Orphan doesn’t hold up very well to time where other series from that same time frame manage to still look and feel fresh. Sorcerous Stabber Orphan looks like it was a secondary series that was pushed through the mill as fast as it could be and comes across second rate. Funny thing is that it have a stronger following in Japan than some of the now recognized classics.

There is also the issue of the change in directors for the second season. For me this is where Sorcerous Stabber Orphan fell apart. There was a clear loss in direction and maybe even a weakening of the writing too. Either way, I found the second season less appealing than the first.

I do think that anyone how wants to understand what anime was really like 20 years ago then they should spend some time with Sorcerous Stabber Orphan. It will be enlightening.

Inari, KonKon Iroha (anime review)

Inari-Kon-Kon-Complete-SeriesTitle: Inari, KonKon Iroha complete series 

Director: Toru Takahashi

Creator: Morohe Yoshida

Anime Writer: Toru Takahashi

Studio: Production IMS

U. S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

U. S. Release Date: July 28th, 2015

Format: DVD / Blu-ray / 10 episodes + 1 OVA / 250 Minutes

Genre: Supernatural, Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life

Age Rating: TV PG

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Inari is a sweet and shy middle school girl with a HUGE crush on Tanbabashi, one of the cutest guys in her grade. But she’s not smooth enough to tell him how she feels, and every time she tries things just keep getting worse! That is, until one day she saves an injured fox struggling on a riverbank. To Inari’s surprise, the fox turns out to be the familiar of Uka, a beautiful goddess. As thanks, Uka grants Inari the power to shape-shift, and Inari uses her newfound powers to attempt to win over Tanbabashi. Unfortunately, love isn’t as simple as changing forms, and to make matters worse, the spirit world is none too pleased about Inari’s divine powers!

With memorable characters and beautiful scenery, Inari Kon Kon is the perfect blend of comedy, romance, and divine magic!

Commentary:

The Japanese love of their mystical gods is something that we in the west have a hard time understanding especially when the god is a Fox spirit that’s watches over us and listens to our petty wishes. Of course there is the off chance that they will grant that wish or somehow enlighten us , but most of the time is it a very benign relationship.

This concept always gives me a sense that there is much of our existence that I just don’t understand, but would love to experience in the same way that those other cultures do.  Irani KonKon takes this complex ideal and makes is a simple and enjoyable story. There are plenty of examples of this archetype and some of them are great and some aren’t, but Inari, KonKon appeals to a younger audience and does a wonderful job of telling the story without making it to confusing or tossing a twist out at the end.

Overall Grade: A-

Because of the straight forward story line and  wonderfully warn nature I see Inari, KonKon Iroha as a great family series that all ages can enjoy. I also see it as something that a a younger set between 10 & 15 would find it as something they could relate to. The only setback is that fact that many potential fans will not take the time to watch it because it is only subtitled and not given an English dub. I also found myself really wanting to go and see this large shrine and experience the richness of the culture.

Inari, KonKon Iroha is a plus in my book and if you are looking for an easy series to watch that will leave you smiling then you should pick this one up.