It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad “World”

October 30, 2014 in Anime, General Reviews, The World is Still Beautiful

its a mad mad world blog 104

I always have a problem when a show can’t seem to decide on a title. That usually means confusion in how to best present it. “The World is Still Beautiful”, also known as “Still World is Beautiful” (“Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukush”, “Even So, The World is Beautiful“) does somehow manage to avoid most of it, but not completely.

In this world, Nike Lemercier, the fourth princess of the Rain Dukedom and one who holds the power to call forth the rain, travels to the Sun Kingdom to marry Sun King Livius Orvinus Ifrikia (Livius I) for her country, despite her own reluctance. She soon discovers that the King, who conquered the world in only three years after his ascendance to the throne, is still a child, both physically and emotionally. And being one of those ‘my way or the highway’ types, he potentially has never been told ‘no’ in his life. Well, Nike is going to break that record.

Also, as you can tell by the names of their countries, it rains a lot in the Dukedom (think of Seattle, but without good coffee shops), and hardly ever at all in the Kingdom (think of Phoenix, but without the Sun Devils football team). The story details the twin relationships of them trying to get along (the “Battling Bickersons” come off like lovey-dovey compared to these two) and external forces that didn’t really want this union to exist at all. Read the rest of this entry →

Short Run Series XIV – It’s “Alive”

October 27, 2014 in Anime, Date A Live 2, General Reviews

short run series xiv its alive blog 106

You kinda knew that there would be a sequel to this show, as much was left undone, so the parent company gave us “Date A Live 2”, which is both a continuation of what went down the first season with newer complications, one of which is a shorter season.

For those playing catch-up (and those who haven’t read the review of Season 1), the world has been bedeviled by these spacequakes, which are discovered to be caused by these space maidens (called “spirits”) entering our dimension. They cause untold damage and people are killed (think of an earthquake, but far more devastating). It was determined that if these ladies could have their powers sealed, this would cut down on problems. To this end, the standard anime male schlub of Shido Itsuka is used to get these ladies to fall in love with him, so he could kiss them and seal the powers.

Second Season has more ladies showing up, especially the Troublesome Twins of Kaguya and Yusuru (those bodacious gingers at the far right). You see, it’s kind of like spinning plates on small sticks. We add more and more plates, but you still have to tend to the plates you already have spinning. Now, this may come as a bit of a surprise to many of you, but girls tend to get jealous when you say you love them, but are seen by them in the company of another girl or girls. Since Shido has 10 plates spinning, I mean, trying to deal with 10 girls at once, who get jealous that he is spending time with other ladies, he has his hands more than full and things get out of hand. Read the rest of this entry →

Reach for the “Sky”

October 21, 2014 in Anime, Escha & Logy no Atelier: Tasogare no Sora no Renkinjutsushi, General Reviews

Escha & Logy no Atelier reviww

This is another show that came from a video game, and elements within the show make it feel like a game. “Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky” (and that’s a mouthful of a title), tells the story of, nicely enough, the alchemists (left to right), Escha Mailer and Logix “Logy” Fiscario. They have been sent by Central to the city of Colset, to not only render help to the locals, but to try and investigate this floating city of ruins that hovers high above them.

This town is right on the edge of a wasteland, but somehow, it has managed to scratch out a living with apple trees, which are coveted around the lands. Still, it is a harsh and unforgiving land and the people are always looking for ways to improve their lot in life.

Ah, the video-game aspect. First, everyone is introduced with that banner that gives us their name and (if it were a real game) any vital statistics we need to understand their characters and what they do. Plus, when the alchemists render their help, it feels like a video game. In order for you to forge the sword and magic helmet, you need to mine the ore from the forbidden valley, so you need to contract with a protective spirit, which means you need to obtain the Crystal of Obedience, requiring a visit to the local tradesman who will sell you a map to get to the Dinkytown Grove, where you can gather the Purple Flowers of Hope and… Read the rest of this entry →

The Edge of the “Blade”

October 19, 2014 in Anime, Blade & Soul, General Reviews

blade-and-soul-review

I always have a concern when anything for the movies or TV is adapted from a video game, where “Blade & Soul” first came from. Can you name all the good movies or shows that came from video games? I’ll wait………but not that long. I have a review to offer. It’s a pretty pathetic list. Now, I have never played the game, so I cannot reference if the story works for the anime, but since we did at least string it out for a full season and not try to cram it into two noisy hours, it might work better.

The story revolves around Alka, Madam Front and Center, with those two really big…..swords. She has been trained as an assassin, the last member of the Clan of the Sword, as she employs a double-sword technique to dispatch her enemies, usually going for a throat slitting. Effective, but messy. She has a tattoo on her arm which makes her a target, as she is deemed an enemy of the state. She is seeking revenge as her master, Dougan Han (who looks like a floppy-eared dog) was slain by Jin Varel (the one with her back to us in the extreme upper left), and who uses dark magic to do her dirty deeds. The show is not only about Alka’s peregrinations to seek and find revenge, but to understand the real person she is inside. Read the rest of this entry →

That’s Some Nasty “Coffin”

October 17, 2014 in Anime, General Reviews, Hitsugi no Chaika

Chaika, the Coffin Princess-review

Chaika, the Coffin Princess” is one of the odder journey shows I have encountered. Sure, it just drops you into the action and you have to figure things out on the fly, but the initial idea is strange indeed.

Chaika Trabant’s father was once the ruler of the Gaz Empire. OK, more of a tyrant, who exuded great and dangerous powers. When he was killed (as is the fate of all despots), his body was hacked apart and relics given to the Eight Great Heroes who overthrew him. Yeah, what a nice souvenir: the eyeballs of a dreaded ruler. Try to make the rest of the castle decorating work with a trinket along those lines.

Chaika has one wish: to gather up all the pieces and give Daddy a proper burial. Lots of luck with that! You see, even in death, these relics (do you really want me to call them body parts?) still retain that great power and those who now rule the land do not want this to occur, as a new and greater evil can arise from this Corpse of Evil (which is a great name for a rock band). Read the rest of this entry →

Them’s the “Breaks”

October 15, 2014 in Anime, General Reviews, Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara

Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara-review

Let’s see. It’s a harem romantic comedy ‘move-in’ show, with shades of drama sprinkled on top, like something you get at the ice cream store. True, this does have a nice twist into the proceedings, but at the core, it is all the aforementioned. Oh, a ‘move-in’ show, is one where the main character comes to a new town or a new school or a new dimension and ‘moves in’ to an apartment or housing complex or the slave’s quarters to start that new life, but then gets more than they bargained for. It’s just it appears this is the latest fad/plot device in anime.

If Her Flag Breaks” (“Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara”) is also one of those prophetic shows, where everything is laid out before you, but you have to assemble the pieces, muck like putting together a bicycle on Christmas Eve using those instructions. It initially doesn’t make any sense, (“Adult must be side as of legal place of being”), but as it slowly comes together, you can make it all work…..sort of.

Our hero is Souta Hatate, the guy on the roof, who has this strange and rare gift: he sees flags. Well, they are more like pennants, but they sit atop your head. He is able to define what it is you are after or what a situation might be and he sometimes steps in to change the current reality to change the direction you go in to, in a sense, cheat fate. Read the rest of this entry →

Reach Out in the “Darkness”

October 14, 2014 in Anime, Brynhildr in the Darkness, General Reviews

Brynhildr-in-the-Darkness-review

This can be properly categorized as a ‘witch show’, but this is no ‘magical girl’ show. It might be closer aligned with “Black Rock Shooter” in the caliber of despair that it generates, but I get ahead of myself. This is an unhappy show. Not a sad show. A sad show is like “Air the Series” or “5 Centimeters per Second”. This one is unhappy is that everyone…it looks like I’m taking the chute back to Square One, as I’m getting ahead of myself.

Brynhildr in the Darkness” (“Gokukoku no Buryunhirude” “Extreme-Black Brynhildr”) is an odd cat of a story, mainly because it doesn’t know what it wants to be.

Ryouta Murakami is head of the astronomy club. They even have this far out observatory to use. (No, I mean far out; he has to take a couple of bus lines to get to the thing) Too bad there isn’t a single other person in the club. I mean, what gives? I know if there was an astronomy club at my high school, I’d be there (we had a chess club. If I had joined, I’d be called ‘Carpet’, as I’d have been laid out the entire time.)

He comes across this girl, who tells him not to go to the observatory or, if he does, miss the last bus down from it. He does neither (he’s a guy; like he’s going to listen to some odd girl he just met?) As it happens, a sudden rain storm causes a massive rock slide and he is killed…or would have been if Neko hadn’t shown up to use these bizarre powers to hold the rock back. Neko Kuroha is that black-tressed number at the far right. She looks similar to a friend that Ryouta had many years ago, but died in a tragic fall. Still, there is something about her that piques his interest. Read the rest of this entry →

“Game” Day

October 13, 2014 in Anime, General Reviews, No Game No Life

no-game-no-life-review

This is one fabulous show. “No Game, No Life” is a variant on the ‘stranger in a strange land’ approach, but does with far more intelligence and viewer involvement than you normally get or see in most animes.

You are an MMORPG player. You have a pretty good guild and you do well in your game. Then, you come up against Blank. You are dead. Sign out now and avoid the humiliation.

Blank is a team that has NEVER lost a game. They speed, their skill, their dexterity is phenomenal. How these four people work this well as a team lead some to think that they employ some kind of cheat. Well, it doesn’t matter; you are rabbit pellets when they are done with you.

Here’s what you don’t know: it’s only two people! The brother-and-sister team of Sora & Shiro, are classic NEETs. The only time they see the sun is if they are playing on the Sunny Field level. This is how good they are: not only can they play two characters at a time, they even have the ability to have one member play all four characters, using hands and feet with amazing deftness. Me? I can’t even cross the room without stubbing my toe on the table. (And why is it ALWAYS the baby toe?) Read the rest of this entry →

Short Run Show XVI – “Silver” Linings

October 12, 2014 in Anime, General Reviews, Silver Spoon

silver-spoon

Although I should have expected a second season of “Silver Spoon”, it was one of those shows that could have easily stood on its own just as it was, as Yugo Hachiken (the guy with glasses, if you forgot), learned quite a lot about himself and others.

It’s just that it was decided to ‘up the stakes’, as it were, and, this time, it’s double the prizes and double the risks.

The first story arc is the Yezo Agriculture Festival. Now, remember, this is an agricultural school so, by its very nature, is located way the stuffings out in the boonies, as it HAS to be the boonies. Yugo has ideas to make the festival the best one ever, but that means he has to take on more and more tasks and more and more responsibilities. This leads to two more story arcs.

The second is that he belongs to the Equestrian Club and has major problems with his horse (yup, that arrogant nag up there), but he still wants to put on a performance for the Festival with a jumping event.

That leads to problems at home, as Dad is as big an arrogant nag as his horse and Dad wants him to quit this nonsense and come home (so he can be as big a loser as his loser older brother? Just asking). Read the rest of this entry →

“Wake Up” Call

October 10, 2014 in Anime, General Reviews, Girls Wake Up

Wake Up, Girls – Seven Idols

This is another idol show, along the lines of “AKB0048” and “Long Live Project” and it follow more or less the same arc, although presentation is a bit different. The full title is actually “Wake Up, Girls – Seven Idols”, but, like them, we’ll truncate it to WUG.

We have to start with not the girls, but the group that supports them, which are the two ‘adults’ (I’ll explain later).

Green Leaves Entertainment is a tiny production company on the verge of going out of business. It is located in Sendai, the biggest city in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region, in a rather questionable office building that could double as an auto repair shop. Not particularly inspiring. The agency once managed the careers of magicians, photo idols, fortune-tellers, and other entertainers, but its last remaining client finally quit. In danger of having zero talent (literally and actually), the president, Juynko Tange, (she’s at the end there) hatches an idea of producing an idol group. On the brash president’s orders, the dissatisfied manager Kouhei Matsuda heads out to scout raw talent. Read the rest of this entry →