Archives for : Toshiya Shinohara

A Lull in the Sea (anime review) Nagi no Asukara

A Lull in the Sea Premium EditionTitle: A Lull in the Sea

Director: Toshiya Shinohara

Creator: Project-118

Anime Adaptation: Mari Okada

Studio: P. A. Works

U. S. Distributor: NIS America

U. S. Release Date: Premium Ed. 6/30/2015, Standard DVD Ed. 7/14/2015

Format: Blu-ray / DVD / 615 Minutes / 26 Episodes

Genre: Slice of Life, Fantasy

Age Rating: PG 13

Overall Personal Rating: A


Due to the closure of their middle school, four students from the sea, Manaka Mukaido, Hikari Sakishima, Chisaki Hiradaira, and Kaname Isaki must attend middle school on the land, despite the growing tension between the land and sea people. While getting used to their new lives, these four and their new friend from the land, Tsumugu Kihara, plan to put on an Ofunehiki, a festival traditionally organized by the land and the sea people, in an attempt to create peace between the two villages.

Five years have passed after the Ofunehiki and Shioshishio’s hibernation. Itaru and Akari now have a son, Akira. Sayu and Miuna, now 14, attend Mihama Middle School. All the while, Chisaki continues to worry about the whereabouts of Hikari and the others while living with Tsumugu and his grandfather. One day, an unexpected discovery leads everyone to revisit the events of the Ofunehiki and unlock the mysteries lying deep beneath the sea…


For a great many fans anime is known for its Mecha (Big Robots) or Fan Service (Big Boobs) series that take up all the fresh air in the marketing and fan dome. For me there are the little Slice of Life series that really make the art form shine. A Lull in the Sea is a shinning example of the genre and along with other P. A. Works stand at the top to prove that bitter sweet love stories can stir even the coldest of people.

A Lull in the Sea takes a somewhat simple fantasy and idea and creates a rich love story that not only transcends time but also the line between reality and a world that only exists in dreams. The story allows the viewer to relive many of the same emotions that come with the simple coming of age that a 14 year old might experience and the twist in some reminds us that maybe we never out grow these emotions.

Because A Lull in the Sea is 26 episodes long it allows some rather detailed character development that both helps and hinders the pacing to the series. As I moved through the first 8 episodes I was beginning to wonder if maybe they had lost their focus and were going to just give us a pretty anime with a rather bland story line much the way a  series like Clannad played out. Although, once the plot really began to develop things to a much different path and the real richness of the story began to come out.

Overall Grade: A

The fact that A Lull in the Sea ends up making you feel very good about these people saves it from the fatal blow that many other anime have met. I don’t want to give anything away, but I was very please with how the series wrapped it all up. All too often the end of a series can feel hurried and allow way too many loose ends, but A Lull in the Sea does a great job of letting us walk way with a full belly and a warm smile on our face.

NIS did a interesting thing with the release of the series this time, They released the Premium Edition only 2 weeks before the released the standard DVD editions. Now you might find the price to be high, but if it were other distributors I have a feeling we might even see the retail price even higher.

If you are looking for a series that capture your imagination give you a few tears along the way and then allow you to walk away satisfied then A Lull in the Sea is something you really need to see. I did watch some of the series in English and Japanese and can say the English Dub is well done and stays true to the series. This one is winner the same way AnoHana, Tari Tari or Angel Beats! are.


The Book of Bantorra (anime review)

The Book of BantorraTitle: The Book of Bantorra Complete Collection

Director: Toshiya Shinohara

Studio: Davis Production

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U. S. Release Date: May 13th, 2014

Format: DVD / 27 Episodes / 675 Minutes

Genre: Supernatural, Drama

Overall Personal Grade: B


In another time and place, on a world of pain and sorrow, when someone dies, their soul doesn’t go to Heaven or Hell – it becomes a book. A book that reveals the deceased’s innermost secrets… and can be read by anyone. Protecting these priceless treasures is the elite organization known as the Armed Librarians. It’s their job to keep the books and the knowledge within them safe from those who would misuse or destroy them.

It’s a tough, dangerous job, so Chief Librarian Hamyuts Maseta recruits only the best and the brightest psychics to join her team of expert fighters. But will they be good enough to stop the fanatics of the Shindeki Church from wrecking vengeance on the entire world? Only time will tell, but that book hasn’t been written yet.

As the Shindeki Church marches forward with their plans of conquest, Hamyuts Maseta and the Armed Librarians continue to struggle against them. However, the path to victory is a long and dangerous one, and not easily navigated. Along the way, friends will be lost, new allies gained, and blood will assuredly be shed. With the whole world seemingly turned against them and the Library facing its darkest hour, does Hamyuts still have a trick or two up her sleeve?


If you are looking for dark action and adventure look no further, The Book of Bantorra brings it all to bare and some. From fighting epic battles to unveiling the wisdom of the ages you just don’t know whats next. The high drama keeps you entertained but at the same time you get a little overload of drama. For me that is where it looses some of its luster. After a few episodes it just begins to feel way too heavy.

The animation on the other hand has a great feel for the story. It comes a cross between a steampunk world and a post apocalyptic Victorian world where people humanity has lost its way and a few powerful people are doing what ever they can to hold on to the essence of what makes us special. Thus, the drama and the over the top characters who take themselves entirely too serious. But, the look of the series fits it well.

The writing is the key to the melodrama and heavy handed characters and I guess this is where it looses me.  I do have to admit that the ending is very imaginative and helps save the series form itself, but it too comes across like a dark tale of sadness brought back by the light of true humanity.

Overall Grade: B

The Book of Bantorra is one of those series that has a lot to say and keeps you guessing all the way up until the end. Even at that point you expect the outcome to be a bit different. This consistent confusion and heavy handed melodrama keeps this series from being a great one. I am glad to see it being re-released as a single collection, I think this will help expand its appeal and hopefully bring out a few more fans. If you pick this up give it some time it will grow on you and in the end you will not be disappointed.