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The Familiar of Zero F (anime review)

The-Familiar-of-Zero-F-Season-4review by Katie and Andrew

Title: The Familiar of Zero F (Season 4)

Director: Yoshiaki Iwasaki

Studio: J.C. Staff

Author: Noboru Hamaguchi

U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: May 12, 2015 and July 14, 2015

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

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Harem, Action, Romance

Industry Age Rating: 14 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: The Familiar of Zero and The Familiar of Zero: Knight of the Twin Moons
Synopsis:
The Familiar of Zero F concludes the story. Are Saito and Louise ready to take their relationship to the next level? Sadly, that answer will have to wait yet again as they must save Halkeginia once again. However, this time the mission requires them to use Louise’s Void Magic along with the other Void Mages they have found. Betrayals, reversals, and the inevitable side trip to the hot springs lie ahead as the evil forces plot away and dysfunctional relationships get even more dysfunctional. You could say they put the “fun” in dysfunctional. Plus many things go Boom for only vaguely justifiable reasons!

Commentary:

I absolutely loved that there was a conclusion to this series. It does not leave anything open to questions and gives you the conclusion that you want if you love rom-coms. Louise finally matures enough to see that Saito loves her above all the other girls and she finally stops being so insecure. We also get the token Hot Springs episode. Lots of fan-service to be had and Louise does things that made me cry but then you see why she did them. But some things did not make sense, such as how Saito can be the familiar of two mages or how he can steal a fighter jet in 2 seconds flat and get back to Halkeginia. All the characters come back for the final season to save Halkeginia from destruction and we even meet the “Pope.” Henrietta finally began acting like a queen near the end of the series and she also matured. The battle scenes were well done and the music went with the scenes perfectly. The opening and closing songs were okay but I really liked the ones from the first season the best. The voice actors did an amazing job and made the series enjoyable.

Overall Grade: B
Overall, I have enjoyed watching the entire The Familiar of Zero series. However, I felt the fan-service was overdone. I also thought the disciplining of Saito was over-the-top but I also know that is how Louise is. I still recommend this series for anyone looking for a good Fantasy series with some rom-com added in.

Turn A Gundam part 1 (anime review)

Turn A Gundam part 1Title: Turn A Gundam part 1

Director: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Writer/Creator: Yoshiyuki Tomino

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Nozomi/ Sunrise

U. S. Release Date: June 30th, 2015

Format: DVD / 25 Episodes / 625 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha, Romance, Steampunk

Age Rating: TV 13

Overall personal rating: B

Synopsis:

For 2000 years, a separate race of humanity has lived on the moon. Known as “the Moonrace,” their technology is leaps and bounds beyond those that stayed behind on the Earth’s surface. Now seeking to return to their original home, the Moonrace send three teenagers – Loran, Keith, and Fran – down to Earth on a reconnaissance mission to test the viability of its environment.

After spending a year on Earth, Loran has become good friends with Sochie and Kihel, daughters of the prestigious Heim family, and he looks forward to fully integrating into Earth society. But before Loran gets the chance to make his report, the Moonrace launch a surprise attack. Earth’s primitive airplanes are no match for the superior power of the Moonrace’s mobile suits. However, in the midst of the initial attack, Loran and Sochie uncover a long-forgotten relic: a white mobile suit. As a Moonrace, Loran is quickly able to grasp the basics of piloting it, but by doing so, he inadvertently places himself in the middle of a war.

Commentary:

Gundam Fans get in line for here come the resurrection of the mysterious Turn A Gundam. Reaching back to the year 1999 Sunrise with the help of Nozomi have brought back a slick version of the a series that many people can’t waited to get the next installment of and everyone else figures it may be time to give it a rest. Personally, I am a believer that the Gundam franchise may have seen better years, but honestly I found Turn A Gundam every enjoyable. Of course it felt dated and the writing fell flat more than a few times. Even with those detractors the story held my interest and gave me a reason to think there is more to this than meets the eye.

Compared to most of the older Gundam renditions I feel as though Turn A Gundam builds on a simple story and support both our future and past. There is obviously the leaning to the earth bound humans and a slightly sinister approach to the Moonrace humans. I’m not sure that there is a real need to make one more sympathetic than the other and I think that ben though the Moonrace has better technology that doesn’t mean their lives are that much darker. If I was human and bound to a dead rock where we have to manufacture everything even the air you breath I would be a little bitter about the selfish earth bound humans who are too ignorant the understand what they really have.

I’m not saying that all of the Earth humans are portrayed as naive or even good natured and not all Moonrace humans are evil. That would be against all anime doctrine and would also fail the entire Gundam universe. What I am saying is that I could see myself siding with the Moonrace and wanting to drive out the stupid Earthlings so that someone who would appreciate the earth for what it is could be in control.

Overall Grade: B

Turn a Gundam is a new twist on an old Gundam plot, but it does a good job of telling the story. I just wish the animation was better. By 1999 – 2000 anime productions values had really found a new look and Turn A Gundam held on to some rather tired old artistic values in this series. I get that it is  a Gundam series, but for gods sake they should have made it look a lot better than they did.

One other thing that I reality like about Turn A Gundam was the fact that human technology was all about the steam power and Steampunk ruled the day. This added romantic ideal did help give some beauty to the visual aspects to the series and it helped give me a reason to keep watching in some of the slower moments.

Even with the poor production value I still find it to be a solid series with plenty of Gundam goodness packed into it. There is one other thing that I must mention and it is the disc art work. The five disc have possibly the best disc art covers i have ever seen. If the series would have looked that good it would have overtaken the Gundam and Mecha anime world and blown everyone away.

I am looking forward to seeing the second half of the series.  So all you Gundam fans get ready for the one true Steampunk Gundam coming at you.

Anime Now in Store

Here is a list of anime and live action that have come in. This list is only for information and not updated as an inventory.

1Aquarion

Baccano Complete Series

The Devil is a Part-Timer!

Dragon Ball z Battle of the Gods

Garden of Words

Ghost in the Shell The Laughing Man

Ghost in the Shell 1

Ghost in the Shell 2nd2

Kill La Kill Volume 2

K-ON Season 1

Last Exile Complete Series

Ouran High School Host Club Complete

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt Complete

Shangri La

Shiki

3Slayer Seasons 1-3

Space Battleship Yamato

Strategic Armored Infantry

Tamako Market

Tenchi Muyo! Complete Series

Tenchi Muyo OVA Collection

Trigun Comlete

4Trinity Blood Complete

Wolf Children

Bokurano Ours 10 Manga Review

bokurano ours 10Title: Bokurano Ours 10
Author/Artist: Mohiro Kitoh
Publisher: Viz Signature
American Release Date: February 18, 2014
Format: Manga
Publisher Age Rating: T+ for older teen
Genre: Science Fiction, Suspense, Mecha
Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Bokurano Ours Series Overview:

A group of middle school students unwittingly enter into a game which is actually a contract to pilot a giant mech in battle against a mech from another universe. Losing has immense consequences for each world. As each kid takes a turn, we explore their back story which helps explains why they make the choices they do and how they end up handling it all.

If you haven’t read the books up to volume 9, please skip the next paragraph because, as it is specific to volume 10, it may give clues that could ruin the natural unfolding of the story but I’m trying not to.

Volume 10:

More of the origins of the game are revealed. Machi explains all she knows to Jun but there is more, even Koyemshi doesn’t understand it all. There is no escaping the game.

Now that only Machi and Jun are left, they try to make their remaining time mean something as they wait for the next battles. They leave on the train to visit the families of the other pilots. They see how things are affecting others, something they hadn’t had thought of before.

 

Commentary:

Whoa, another intense volume. Once again, I have to leave out important stuff, but that is how Bokurano Ours really is. There is so much story in each volume.  This volume doesn’t fail on the twists. There is a real stunner in here and leaves me wanting to see what happens in the next (and last) volume. I’m not even sure what happened at the very end of volume 10 and looking forward, I no longer can assume how I want it all to end.

The art comes across as a bit stark and stiff, yet very concise and clear. It struck me how emotionally deficient their faces usually are. It is more than a sense of calm, which is part of it, but the drawings don’t do much to convey emotion. The emotions come most from the words. I don’t know if it is intentional, an artistic style, or lack of skill. Still, it doesn’t change the overall performance of the series.

Two peeves that I have about this volume are: Not always making it clear when the Machi and Jun arrive at another family, even with a location shot because they were not labeled. There is a large secondary cast with the families and there is no way I could remember what they all looked like or where they lived.  My second issue was something Machi said to Jun, another one of those too adult moments for middle school age kids.

Volume 10 seems wordier than usual, but it makes sense because there is a lot of explaining to do as we near the end of the series. It was unexpected but good to see how the battles and the losses were affecting the families and other citizens. What they were doing now, how they were handling it, how they all adapt to deal with what happened. This really got us out of the group box and brought us closer in as spectators.

Bokurano Ours  is a Viz Signature series and it meant for adults, and I think will best be appreciated by those a little older. Even though it is a story about kids, it is about kids who have to deal with things they shouldn’t because they are kids. These are still adult issues.  This series has a lot of merit, but it isn’t flashy, or romantic, or funny or cool, so I think it might be one of those with a quiet place on the manga shelf but it probably deserves more attention because it can really illustrate what is beyond the typical manga.

 

Overall Grade: A-

 

Animeggroll Voted Best Anime Store In River Front Times Best of St. Louis 2013

8958789.40River Front Times September 26:

Best Anime Shop – 2013

Animeggroll

“Animeggroll’s walls are plastered with a mix of fresh releases and dated rarities. The curio shop of Japanese lore and Western fantasy holds no shortage of Asian comics and figures, but its collection of anime shines above any other store in St. Louis. Animeggroll caters to casual fans with value-priced box sets and used stock, but the hardcore folks can find joy in the store’s supply of special editions. The mass of Japanese anime and manga is bolstered by a trove of used games, including a glass case filled with foreign software and retro titles. Back issues of Asian pop-culture mags, novelty key chains, mascot messenger bags and gaudy wall scrolls round out a massive stack of geeky goods.”

Store Photos

Cosplaly at Animeggroll

 

 

News: VIZ MEDIA CELEBRATES MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO 25th ANNIVERSARY WITH NEW NOVEL & PICTURE BOOK

Totoro_novel_cvrVIZ MEDIA’S STUDIO GHIBLI LIBRARY IMPRINT RELEASES NEW MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO NOVEL AND FULL COLOR PICTURE BOOK

 

Commemorate The 25th Anniversary Of Hayao Miyazaki’s Landmark Film With MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL And An Updated Edition Of The Official Film Picture Book Featuring A Special New Cover Design

 

San Francisco, CA, September 25, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, marks the 25th Anniversary of famed director Hayao Miyazaki’s whimsical animated family fantasy, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, with the release on October 1st of MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL and a brand new edition of the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO Picture Book.

 

Published under VIZ Media’s Studio Ghibli Library imprint, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL carries an MSRP of $17.99 U.S. / $21.00 CAN, and the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO Picture Book features an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN.

 

In Hayao Miyazaki’s charming animated classic, eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. While their father is working, the girls explore their sprawling old house and the forest and fields that surround it. Soon, Satsuki and Mei discover Totoro, a magical forest spirit who takes them on fantastic adventures through the trees and the clouds – and teaches them a lesson about trusting one another.

 

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL

MSRP: $17.99 U.S. / $21.00 CAN · Available October 1st

The superbly animated classic by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki is now retold in a novel written by Tsugiko Kubo. This prestigious hardcover edition also features original watercolor illustrations by Miyazaki himself, accompanying a story written by veteran children’s book author Tsugiko Kubo. Sure to delight both existing fans and new readers!

 

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO PICTURE BOOK New Edition · Rated “A” for All Ages · MSRP: $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN· Available October 1st

This companion, full-color book to MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO features artwork taken directly from the movie. The updated edition also features new cover design and allows parents and children to relive Totoro’s magical adventures with scene-by-scene illustrations and character dialogue.

 

“MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO is Hayao Miyazki’s timeless fairy tale for all ages and one of the most internationally acclaimed films to ever come out of Japan,” says Masumi Washington, Sr. Editorial Director. “MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL and the new edition of the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO PICTURE BOOK capture the poignancy and emotion of the story of Satsuki, Mei and their loveable fuzzy forest friends and will be wonderful additions to any Miyazaki fan’s personal library.”

 

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO was released in 1988 by Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli, which also produced SPIRITED AWAY,PRINCESS MONONOKE, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and PONYO. TOTORO is an internationally popular property that has spawned a colorful array of adorable plush characters, toys, collectables and other memorabilia. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the DVD/Blu-ray Edition of MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO earlier this year.

 

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan’s most celebrated anime directors. His newest film, The Wind Rises (2013), recounts the early days of aviation and the formative years of Japan’s famed World War II Zero fighter plane designer, Jiro Horikoshi. In 2005 Hayao Miyazaki was awarded the Venice International Film Festival’s Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement. Miyazaki’s other notable films include Spirited Away, which won the 2002 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as Castle in the SkyMy Neighbor TotoroKiki’s Delivery ServicePrincess MononokeHowl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo, all of which have received great international acclaim. Miyazaki’s other achievements include creating the highly regarded manga seriesNausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Starting Point: 1979-1996, a collection of essays, interviews, and memoirs that chronicle his early career and the development of his theories of animation. Both are published in English by VIZ Media.