Archives for : Yuri

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


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!


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,

Riddle Story of Devil (anime review)

704400088117_anime-Riddle-Story-of-Devil-DVDTitle: Riddle Story of Devil complete series +OVA

Director: Keizo Kusakawa

Studio: Diomedea

U. S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

U. S. Release Date: December 8th, 2015

Format: DVD / 325 Minutes / 12 Episodes + OVA

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Drama, Action, Yuri

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B


Based on the manga from Yun Kouga, creator of the beloved manga Loveless, Riddle Story of Devil sends twelve female assassins to a prestigious boarding school to compete against each other in a secret killing game. The winner will be granted anything her heart desires, but only one girl can come out on top.

The mission is simple: send fellow student Haru Ichinose to an early grave. The task should be easy for heartless assassin Tokaku Azuma – but everything changes when she finds herself strangely drawn to her naive target. Her decision to use her lethal skills to keep her new friend alive will raise the stakes of the game and push the girls closer together as the other beauties threaten to tear them apart.


Riddle Story of Devil makes two series in one week that hit me by surprise. I had very low expectations for this series and in the end I was surprised and entertained. Within the first few episodes I thought I was watching another unfortunate version of Battle Royal or Danganronpa. Just another anime trying to cash in on a story line that has been run to death. Once it worked its way into the plot and story Riddle Story of Devil managed to find its own voice and became something more than another knockoff anime.

I can’t say that I fell in love for any of the characters nor did I find their development anything special. The story was much more predictable that I expected but in the end I liked the fact that there wan’t some mind-blowing twist. The animation itself was a little flat and never made much of a difference in the overall impact of the series. One other item that left me wondering why it was even there was the OVA. I had begun to think we were out of the useless OVA period. I guess there was a need to give us one more episode that made no since what so ever.

Overall Grade: B

Riddle Story of Devil somehow managed to find its own space in a crowded field of battle high school anime. The odd thing was that there was a conscious effort to provide fan service without really putting it out there. This made all attempts to toss out gratuitous bath scenes almost inept and they just became another uneventful aspect to the series. The area that the series really wins is in the way it tells the story and how it becomes a story of redemption. One other aspect that I liked about the series was a story device that I first saw in Judei Chan: The Lovely Eye Patch. Now I am not going to be able to tell what this is because it would be a major spoiler, but anyone who has seen Judei Chan just might understand what I talking about.

Anyway, Riddle Story of Devil manages to win me over in the end even if I feel as though it is nothing more than a weak knockoff anime. I wonder how much longer we will have to live through this string of anime chasing the money?

There is one very curious part to all of this and that is the fact that this Funimation release is just a DVD. Not the Blu-ray / DVD combo  we have all come accustom to or the DVD Blu-ray being separate, but rather just a DVD release. I guess something must have happened in the manufacturing of the Blu-ray or maybe Funimation just wants to save some money.  Very odd indeed.

Yuru Yuri Premium Edition (anime review)

 Yuri Yuri“The Radius”

Title: Yuru Yuri Premium Edition

U. S. Distributor: NIS America

U. S. Release Date: Sept. 3, 2013

Genre: Yuri, Slice of School Life  and Comedy

Length: 12 episodes, 288 minutes

Format: Blu-ray, 2 disc, Art Book and Box

Age Rating: Teen

Overall Personal Rating: C+

A group of friends begin the academic year in an all girls middle school. Together they are the “amusement club”.


Kyoko is the self appointed leader of the group of friends and their amusement club.  Yui, more serious and patient,  has been her friend since early childhood. Akari is a bit scattered brain and makes less of an impression on the world around her. Soon to join them is Chinatsu, although she was really looking for a different club when she walked in to the amusement club room. Flashback to when they were young friends in preschool give insight to their relationship. A bump on the head causes Kyoto’s personality to change for the better, but can her friends stand it?

School isn’t the only time they spend together. Yui has her own apartment (owned by a relative). She has the girls over to hang out, making a meal together. Kyoko invites herself over to spend the night. When the weather is warm, the larger group heads to the beach for the day. Swimsuits can cause some awkward moments (of course). The day is full of games, food and fun. When the night arrives, they all change into their Yukatas and light fireworks. Next it is time for a road trip. Kyoko is artistic and writes/illustrates fan manga. She take her friends along with her to a fan comic market expo. She doesn’t warn them ahead of time that they have to wear a costume! With plenty of jealousy and competition in the group, some of the others are inspired to write their own mangas. Chinatsu has an unusually bad talent that comes across as creepy. Unaware of this, she adds her artistic flair to a variety of projects.

The group often interacts with the girls from the student council. Kyoko is naturally good at getting top grades to the dismay of Ayano, student council member. A “friendly” competition begins to see who can score the best on the next exam. When Chitose, also from the council, is acting odd, Kyoto can’t get a response out of her and the reason behind it will be a surprise for the other girls. The school trip takes them to Kyoto. There is lots to see and do, but staying at a hotel is what some of them look forward to, it is like a big slumber party, with hot springs bathing.

Holidays are part of their friendship. Christmas has arrived and the idea comes up that they should have a drawing to see who will pair up and go out on a date. Since they didn’t all get who they wanted, the dates can be pretty awkward. But as time goes on, the understanding and friendships have time to grow. April Fool’s Day is also a day to note.

The season ends with a sleep over at the club room with the amusement club and the student council.



The most notable elements of this anime for me can be broken down into 4 parts; the yuri element, humor, plot/story, and the technical aspects of sound and visual animation.

The yuri element is strong throughout with girl crushes, obsessions, fan service and jokes. This in itself wouldn’t be a problem, but this would have been better suited to a high school setting or older. Using middle school students as the cast engaging in all the sexual humor was icky. They even made being sisters seem creepy.

It is a story of friendship, albeit often rather self-centered. Plot or story elements weren’t as strong as they could be. There was one episode where the first half was drowned in pointless chatter (at least it provided relief from the pointless sexual maneuvers and obsessing). The usual bath, beach and Christmas scenes/stories were there. The Christmas pairing up was the one of the more unusual holiday ideas. Some of the pluses were that the girls have some strange imaginations.

A moment on characters. Chitose was constantly fantasizing about encounters between the other girls and getting a bloody nose. Over and over. Ugh. Tedious and not funny, it was getting gross. It is not that this element can’t be used successfully, for example, Arakawa Under the Bridge does a great job of incorporating the element into Sister’s romantic thoughts.

With the enthusiastic and comically emotional characters, the humor was mostly slapstick and sexual jokes. Somethings just weren’t funny, they were just stupid. Let’s not mix the two up. Stupid can get a laugh but it isn’t really fun to watch. I did appreciate the humor of Chinatsu’s creepy art talent.

The sound is really two parts.  The music and sound effects were generally invisible. I don’t know if that is good or bad. The opening song is catchy and the cicadas get very noisy is all the impact I remember. The voices varied by character, but there was some annoying voice work which involved the high pitch squeaky little girl like sounds, too much so. Visually, it is an attractive anime. The colors were a mix of bright and gentle, lending to the  great illustration. The characters were well animated and very cute. The setting and backgrounds were well done with detail, plenty to look at and often pretty. This was the strongest elements in the whole anime. It has the cute look of Lucky Star and Everyday Tales of a Cat God.

Yuru Yuri  is not appropriate for anyone under 15. I don’t like the way they make things look enticing to younger viewers that really aren’t for them by making everyone look so cute, young and enthusiastic. I’ve always thought that slice of life anime was either pleasant, feel good stuff, or thought provoking, not something to create disappointment in humanity. I can watch the news for that.

Season 2 will be coming next January.

Extras: There is a 32 page art book with episode lists, character sketches and bios. Also, there are location sketches and color art  scenes.

Overall Personal Rating: C+

 Review provided EAV