Yosuga no Sora

October 27th, 2012 in Anime, General Reviews by

Finally doing a review again. I really need to stop rambling so that I can get to more of these.
I love myanimelist.net. I really do. It’s the best place to figure out where to begin when you’re trying to diverge from “mainstream” anime. Being that the site aims to catalogue every anime in existence, I’m bound to come across a lot of junk. But then there are those anime I find that are real gems. Yosuga no Sora is one of those gems.

Twins Sora and Haru have just lost both their parents. The first scene of the show opens with the two of them sitting across from each other on a train. Sora and Haru quickly move into a quaint little town and get to know all of the other young teenagers who live there. The short series, concluding at 12 episodes, follows 4 story arcs each at 3 episodes. Each arc involves Haru befriending and later developing a sexual relationship with a different girl.

Obviously, this show is famous for its incest content, which does not even happen until the final story arc. I always hear “Oh it’s not as taboo in Japan but still considered wrong”. Granted, it is only anime but at the time I was watching this I’d only seen around 10 anime and of these 4 of them (the other 3 being Elfen Lied, Kaze no Stigma, and Fruits Basket) had paired off family members! That’s nearly half! Clearly this is a popular issue in Japan.

I really didn’t know what to expect upon watching the first episode but by the end of it I was not only entertained but very interested in seeing what happened next. At first glance, Yosuga no Sora can be written off as an ecchi, sometimes labeled as “soft hentai”, but with eye catching visuals, an enchanting, mystical setting, and surprisingly well-developed characters those terms just wouldn’t do the show any justice. (more…)

Short-Run Series X – Girls with Guns!

October 21st, 2012 in Anime, General Reviews, Short Run Series by

In the 1980s, Tommy Shaw released a popular song called “Girls with Guns”. Does anyone remember the song? Does anyone remember Tommy Shaw? Does anyone remember the 80s? Am I that old?

Anyway, “Upotte!” takes place at a school known as Seishou Academy. Unlike your average school, all the students are actually anthropomorphized guns, training to one day become a useful weapon, and is divided up into submachine guns (elementary school), assault rifles (middle school) and battle rifles (high school) classes. All students in Seishou train to shoot their target (literally) using live ammunition.

Our four middle-school heroines (Riflettes? Assaultines? Armamentrix? Can you be sexist towards a weapon?) are, from left to right, starting with the bun head, Sig, who is a Swiss SG 550. She is an excellent shot, but can be a bit diffident. The blonde is Ichiroku, a kind of leader, as the rest look up to her, but she would say otherwise. She is the American M16A4 assault rifle and is highly photogenic, appearing on the covers on numerous magazines.

The taupe-haired beauty, brandishing the weapon is Eru and is the lemon of the lot, despite her determined attitude. She is a British L85A1 assault rifle. Shy and clumsy, she has an unreliable nature and the habit of breaking a lot just like her namesake gun. (The brown-tressed girl with the blue ribbons is just a classmate or ‘background people’. Pay her no heed). The last is Funco, the main lead of this show. She is a BelgianFN FNC, who is often displeased to be nicknamed Funco. As the real FNC has a skeleton stock, she wears a thong instead of panties, much to her embarrassment and occasional anger. (more…)

Short Run Series IX – Bad Day at “Black Rock”

October 10th, 2012 in Anime, General Reviews, Short Run Series by

Black Rock Shooter Review

One feature of animes is that they sometimes drop you right into a show, so you may spend the first episode or two playing catch-up to figure out what is REALLY going on here. “Black Rock Shooter” is that kind of show, as it takes you a bit of time to realize that we are dealing with the reality of two alternate, but connected, lands, but it focuses around Black Rock Shooter, a mysterious black haired girl who possesses a burning blue eye and a powerful cannon that can shoot rocks at high speed.

Mato Kuroi is starting school and tries to befriend Yomi Takanashi, who is also new to the school. However, there is a problem and that is Kagari Izuriha, a friend of Yomi who is using an accident to make Yomi her emotional slave, preventing her from having friends and being cruel to anyone Yomi brings into the house.

They are connected by this very strange and depressing book “The Little Bird of Many Colors”, which acts as a metaphor for things that happen and occur, but it’s very obvious. What you learn is that the land of Black Rock Shooter is where the black persona and dark emotions of the people in the normal world go to fight it out. (more…)

What Are You “Waiting” For

October 6th, 2012 in Anime, General Reviews by

Ano Natsu de Matteru” (or “Waiting in the Summer”) is a different approach to the ‘fish out of water’ tale. It almost succeeds, but the last two episodes get hard to take.

Kaito Kirishima (number 4 from left) is a movie maniac, constantly lugging around an 8mm camera from his grandfather (Film? We are talking actual film?). One night, while filming something, he sees a blue light and thinks he was injured. The next day,  Ichika Takatsuki (the redhead), shows up in his class. He discovers that she has no place to live and offers her room at his house, as Kaito’s sister will be gone for three months (like, all summer?)

We learn that Ichika is a space alien, bent on trying to find something on this planet, aided by Rinon (that odd creature at the far right).

The others in the entourage are, left to right:

Mio Kitahara. She has feelings for Tetsuro, but wants to help him along in his quest.

Tetsuro Ishigaki. He has feelings for Kanna, but knows how she feels about Kaito, so he keeps it all hidden

Kanna Tanigawa.  She has had a crush on Kaito for some time, but, despite being outgoing, has never really confessed it to him.

Remon Yamano. This one is generally cold towards people, but harbors a secret that is revealed in the last two episodes. (more…)

Everyone Sings an “Aria”

October 2nd, 2012 in Anime, General Reviews by

I first ran into this show at an anime expo. I was taken in by the gorgeous artwork, the realistic settings, the magnificent music and the poised story telling with measured pacing. I had to wait a bit before I could fully track it down and when I was able to see the full run, I was disappointed beyond words.

The series is set in the 24th century on a terraformed Mars, now named Aqua, and follows a young woman named Akari Mizunashi (far right) as she trains as an apprentice gondolier for the Aria Company. Her two friends and rivals are Aika S. Granzchesta (far left, Himeya Company)  and Alice Carroll (center, Orange Planet).

Now, you don’t always need slam-bam, massive explosions, dramatic battle sequences, giant fighting robots and unrelenting carnage for an anime to work, but you do need SOME kind of action or conflict. Aria’s biggest drawback is that the worst thing that happens is Akari feels she will never be a Prima undine (the highest level of gondolier).

You feel really badly in smacking this show about. Seldom do you see such a wonderful convergence of character design, artistic output and music. Now, I know that the author wanted us to find happiness in the small things and not to focus on our failures, but you feel something MORE should be happening. I mean, you can’t make progress without understanding set-backs and this merely steels your determination to achieve what you want. (more…)