There’s no shortage of anime available, but so many follow a formulaic pattern that they start to blend together. It can be hard to navigate through the hundreds of different series and try to find something truly original. If you’re looking for shows that breathe life into tired genres, try out these amazing options:
Ookiku Furikabutte (Oofuri/Big Windup)
There are dozens of sports anime out there, but none of them are quite as heartwarming and character driven as Ookiku Furikabutte (Oofuri for short). The show centers around the pitcher Ren Mihashi. He’s driven away from his middle school because his pitches are too weak and everyone on the baseball team hates him because he won’t give up the mound to a more promising pitcher. He moves to Nishiura High School and joins the baseball team despite his conflicted feelings. With the help of the pitcher Takaya Abe and his teammates, he realizes he is a great pitcher and comes to gain confidence and skill.Continue reading
This is a harem comedy taken, potentially, to the zenith that it could go for. It is less about the fact that this guy has six ladies or 12 ladies or all the ladies in Kankakee chasing after him, but more as what they are. “Monster Musume” (“Everyday Life with Monster Girls” or, “Monsutā Musume no Iru Nichijō””), tells the very bizarre story of the very bizarre world that Kimihito Kurusu (Mr. Dazed and Confused up there) lives in.
After many, many years of vehement denials, the Japanese Government finally copped to the fact that these ‘monster girls’ exist. That revelation ‘occurred’ three years before the ‘start’ of the anime, brought forth by passing a legal bill, the “Interspecies Cultural Exchange Act”. Now, they are officially referred to as “liminals”, although some still call them ‘monsters’ (I prefer the term ‘exotics’, but that’s just me). Society is trying to mainstream them in, so there is no longer a culture shock when you see a dullahan walking down the street. Kimihito is a volunteer or a host family or patsy for one of them, Miia (redhead at one o’clock), who is a lamia (half human, half snake). About three to four feet of her is human; the rest (potentially a total of 30 feet) is her snake appendage.Continue reading
I always have a concern when a movie comes out of a popular TV series, as I fear it will be a compilation of the series itself and nothing new from the show or potentially taking it in a different direction (as with the “Eden of the East” offerings). Now, there are a forest of problems with the “Attack on Titan” movies (yes, there are two of them; this is Part I). The first is, yup, this is merely a compilation film with about 21% new footage. This does help explain certain aspects better, but still comes off as too superficial, compared to the series, when we saw things unfold better. The second is that a lot of plot and motivation was jettisoned to make the film fit a time length and some of those parts that were cut out may have been necessary to the film to explain things better. Well, I only watch and review; what the hell do I know, right?
The third is that this might be a caliber of preparation for the live-action version of “Titan”, but what’s the reason for that? What can you do differently for live-action that you couldn’t do in anime? This seems more like corporate greed than anything else. The fourth problem is the most troublesome: who is it for? If I have seen the series (which I have), there is no reason to see a Cliff Notes® version of it in a movie, as a lot of the flavor is gone and that is what really sold the show. If I haven’t seen the series, then a lot of what the movie reveals will be taken from me if I choose to pursue the series in earnest after seeing the film.Continue reading
Usually when you see an OVA, it is a sign or a signal that the second season of a show is coming OR we are going to get the aria from everyone in the show. I mean, you could easily have these two-tripper segments for the whole cast of this show and end up with a 14-episode run, but it didn’t work out that way. We start off the “Nanatsu no Taizai” (“The Seven Deadly Sins”) OVA with Ban. Now, part of his ‘adventure’ is revealed in the run of the show, but it is detailed better in this approach. He is also the only one to get the full treatment/full episode for this OVA; the rest (the second offering) are akin to blackout sketches. Ban’s tale was a bit too fleeting and episodic for the regular run, but it still doesn’t explain how he ended up in that prison we see him in at the beginning of the series. Continue reading
Can I work that ‘East’ tag any harder? This really isn’t a movie in the genuine sense; more like a special that was broken into two segments rather than to plunk us down for three hours to see the dénouement that is “Eden of the East: Paradise Lost”. I found this a rare offering, where the middle movie was better than the conclusion, as we threw in a needless complication to an already complicated plotline, and that was whether or not Takizawa IS the illegitimate son of the late Prime Minister of Japan.
It does follow the hunt for his mother, who is found living in NYC, tied to that dog with the wings, as well as the final machinations to determine who will be the winner of this contest. This one is more about flashbacks, as we learn how Takizawa was ‘chosen’ to be in this game (along with the other players) and the mysterious man behind it all. Seriously, who can afford to give up or away 12 BILLION yen?!!? (with the exchange rate, about $838 million) for such a lark?Continue reading
OK, so when “Eden of the East: The King of Eden” came out, I was very nervous, as I felt it was going to be a recap movie, as we cobble together the salient parts from the TV series and present it as a ‘movie’. Nope, that is not the case. If anything, it goes on to tell more story and (eventually) conclude the tale. It has been about six months since the end of the series. Things in the world are ‘normal’ (whatever that really means). We find our heroine, Saki Morimi in the Big Apple, trying to chase down the Air King (whom we know as Akira Takizawa), but she runs into trouble right from the get-go.
She has been asked by him to meet in New York, but between a grumpy cabbie and her suitcase spilling open, showing some weaponry, the cops are right after her. She manages to escape all that and find Takizawa, but he has had a memory wipe again and knows nothing of which she speaks. Adding to the confusion is the potential idea that he is the illegitimate son of the Prime Minister, who has just died. And thus paving the way for him to be not only the ‘Prince of Japan’, but finally bring to fruition HIS plan to ‘save Japan’.Continue reading
If you like those cat-and-mouse animes, like “Death Note”, but more closer aligned to “Future Diary”, then “Eden of the East” (“Higashi no Eden”) is what you want to watch, although it certainly starts out in a strange manner. An incident is referred to constantly, ‘Careless Monday’, where on Monday November 10, 2010, ten missiles strike Tokyo. They cause damage, but no causalities. But since no terrorist group took responsibility for the incident, it is forgotten.
Three months later, we find ourselves in Washington DC, where Saki Morimi, a college student, throws a coin at the White House (as a symbol of protest, I guess, or maybe the President should phone home). A security cop tries to arrest her, but she is saved by the arrival of Akira Takizawa, who is stark raving naked (and perhaps mad; it is the winter months). They both manage to escape and Morimi has to track Takizawa down, as the coat she gave her has her passport in it. Oh, he was also carrying a very nasty-looking handgun and that really complicated phone you see up there.Continue reading
So now we are at Season Three of “Working!!!” and a lot of the resentment that boiled over from Season Two is spilling across this offering. It feels like the time has come to fish or cut bait. The cast (left to right):
Maya Matsumoto (she has been around for a while, but she is more the ‘Double-Take Girl’)
Kyōko Shirafuji, shift manager
Yachiyo Todoroki, lead waitress
Hiroomi Sōma, cook B
Jun Satō, cook A
Sōta Takanashi, seasoned veteran
Popura Taneshima, short and cute
Aoi Yamada, hopeless and hapless
Mahiru Inami, fears men
(Mr. Otoo, Mitsuki and Yōhei Mashiba missed the group shot this go-around)Continue reading
With the second season of “Working!!” (and it appears you can tell the season by the number of exclamation points. Does that mean we could get ‘Working!!!!!!!!!’? Just askin’!) out there, it ran into typical sophomore concerns, which is whatever charm the first season had was lost in the second season as someone wanted to inject ‘edge’ into the show. This is really bad, as these people are supposed to be crazy and kooky, not cruel and condescending. It’s a wonder anyone wants to eat here, much less work here, with all the histrionics going on behind the counter.
So, we have the regular cast of (left to right)
Yachiyo TodorokiContinue reading
This was an odd series for me, in the fact that I found out about it regarding its THIRD season. The only thing worse than coming into a show three or four episodes into its run is coming into a show three or four seasons into its run. That is too much background to try and cover all at once and you will lose the catch-up game. So I thought it would be best to see “Working!” right from the start spot. Now, it may also be found as “Wagnaria!”, as that is the name of the restaurant this mostly takes place in.
Wagnaria is a family-style along the lines of a Denny’s or a Cracker Barrel. Although it feels like a moderate chain business and not a solo independent, the show details the trials and tribulations of the rather divergent cast out of this place. We will rock around the clock with the wait staff, as it were, starting at the six o’clock position:
Kyōko ShirafujiContinue reading