Out of the “Ordinary”

November 29th, 2015 in Anime, General Reviews, Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend by

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This was a show that started off with good promise, but got bogged down in details, so that it lost a huge amount of steam in the process. “Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend” (“Saenai Hiroin no Sodatekata” “How to Train the Ordinary Girl to be a Heroine”), tells the story of Tomoya Aki. He is a textbook nerd otaku, as he also has a blog where he reviews EVERYTHING: mangas, animes, video games. I think he even rates the figurines that one can get as well. His life is wholly, solely devoted to this, and he practically has no time for anything else…except his part-time job to fund all of this madness.

But he has dreams and hopes and ideas and what he wants to do is make a visual novel computer game, but not any VN game; it has to be the Greatest Game Ever for Eternity! This is fueled by a vision of a beautiful girl he saw at the top of a hill, cherry blossoms fluttering about her. Well, he is an idea man, but is skint on being able to produce what he wants. To this end, he enlists the help of several girl supports, for script and art design and music and whatnot. Two of them are in his class, so he tries to inveigle school beauties Eriri Spencer Sawamura (left) for designing the artwork and visual approach, and Utaha Kasumigoaka (right) for writing the game scenario. (more…)

Japanese “Graffiti”

November 26th, 2015 in Anime, General Reviews, Koufuku Graffiti by

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Another food/dining/eating show, this is also a fabulous example of a genuine ‘nothing’ show, as nothing really, really happens and it takes 12 episodes for this to spool out. Although called “Koufuku Graffiti”, it is also known as “Gourmet Girl Graffiti” or “Happy Cooking Graffiti”. It started out life as a 4-toma, as the pacing of the episodes and the presentation of the events show it.

OK, on the menu is Ryō Machiko (center), a second-year middle school girl who has been living by herself since her grandmother died. Despite having exceptional skill in cooking, Ryō has felt her cooking hasn’t tasted all that marvelous. Then she meets her second cousin, Kirin Morino, (left) who comes to stay with her on the weekends to attend cram school in Tokyo and shows her the key to great-tasting food: eating together with friends and family. Sorry, did I give something away? Oh and on the right is Shiina, a schoolmate and IN the same class as Ryo. (more…)

Short Pull Series IX -”Sweet” Surrender

November 22nd, 2015 in Anime, BONJOUR♪Sweet Love Patisserie, General Reviews by

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Are there genuinely that many food shows out there? Or am I just coming upon them all at once? This offering, “BONJOUR♪Sweet Love Patisserie”, (Bonjour Koiaji Pâtisserie; yes, that musical note is required) tells the story of Sayuri Haruno (can you find the cupcake with the cake?) Now, Fleurir Academy is a prestigious culinary institution (and aren’t they all? I mean, do you really want to go to Duane’s School of Dinner Preparation and Stuff?) and all the people here are destined, fated, kismeted (is that a word? It is now) to go on to bigger and better things. It’s like “Toriko”, but without that nonsense food.

Our heroine is here on a scholarship, which is unheard of. NO ONE gets a free ride here, but here she is (and on that take, it reminded me of “Kitchen Princess”). Now, to make matters worse, her actual teachers are these four-star hunks, oozing with charm and sophistication and plate appeal that it’s a wonder any of the girls can make their confectionaries. They are (clockwise from lower left) Ryo Kouduki, Gilbert Hanahusa, Yoshinosuke Suzumi and Mitsuki Aoi) and are the veritable kings of the campus. (more…)

Silent but “Deadly”

November 19th, 2015 in Anime, General Reviews, The Seven Deadly Sins by

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This is a show that I refer to as “We’re getting the band back together”, as it involves a sojourn of truth and having to find the necessary components to make it all work. Kind of like “Akatsuki no Yona”, but everyone knows everyone directly and not by inference. Such is “The Seven Deadly Sins” (“Nanatsu no Taizai”).

Ten years earlier, a group of knights known as the Seven Deadly Sins were disbanded after they supposedly plotted to overthrow the Liones Kingdom. Their defeat came at the hands of the Holy Knights, but rumors continued to persist that they were still alive. Now, the Holy Knights staged a coup d’état and captured the king, becoming the new, tyrannical rulers of the kingdom. Let me get this straight: you saved us from one type of tyrant to install yourself as another kind of tyrant. Nifty. The third princess, Elizabeth Lyonesse, (cutie pie to the far left) starts out on a journey to find the Seven Deadly Sins and enlist their help in taking back the kingdom. (more…)

Less Than “Zero”

November 15th, 2015 in Aldnoah. Zero, Aldnoah.Zero 2, Anime, General Reviews by

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With that wretched cliff-hanger close to season one, you could bet your bottom dollar that there was going to be a season two and wrap up this tale of interplanetary war. “Aldnoah.Zero 2” tells of the continuing adventures of (left to right) Slaine Troyard, Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia and Inaho Kaizuka.

As Season One concluded, Slaine had shot, at point-blank range, both Asseylum and Inaho, but spared the life of Count Saazbaum. Slaine is now a Vers pilot, working for Saazbaum, and is busily destroying all he can. It has been 19 months since the close of season one and things are pretty much where they were before that. However, the show now dissolves into one of political machinations. Slaine has some agenda at work, but he seems to be at crossed ends with it. His plans are befouled by three problems:

1) Inaho is still alive. Despite a shot to the head, he survived and is more of a foe than ever.
2) Asseylum is in a coma and there is no telling when, if ever, she may emerge.
3) He is trying to set up a silent coup, where he has all the power he needs to do what he needs to do.

The show spins forth this tale of destruction and redemption, but things get a little too bulletproof for comfort. There is a major subterfuge going on, but I will let that come to you. It is especially shocking, if you are aware of the incidents of the close of the first season. And there lies your problem. (more…)

Northwest “Passage”

November 12th, 2015 in Anime, General Reviews, Mushi Shi: Next Passage by

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I was honestly not expecting a second season from this quarter, but we have “Mushi Shi: Next Passage”. For the first season, I felt they were just tales of the weird and of these odd creatures called Mushi. It wasn’t until the second season that I saw it for what it really was: a caliber of horror. But it is done in a deliberate way, and not relying on gore and dismemberment and other bloody tropes that bedevil many horror shows. Intellectual horror? That’s a good term.

Ginko is still wandering the countryside, trying to help people in regards with their Mushi issues and always working to expand overall knowledge of them. The opening credits show a variety of Mushi. Take note, as you will be seeing most of them throughout the season. This also had something that I never thought I would see: Ginko lose! One thing that bothered me throughout the season is that Ginko seemed surprised. Look, if he has been a Mushi master for 15 to 20 years (how old is he, anyway), nothing should come as a surprise. I will let you get away with “I have never encountered this before”, as it is a big world out there, but he should never be shocked or surprised or perplexed…except the episode where he loses (Episode 17 – “Azure Waters”). (more…)

Short Pull Series VIII – Bad “Medicine”

November 8th, 2015 in Comical Psychosomatic Medicine, General Reviews by

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This is what we would call “E/I” entertainment, (Educational/Informational), where you learn something through animation. Too bad it fouls its own nest. “Comical Psychosomatic Medicine” (“Anime de Wakaru Shinryōnaika”) tries to take on serious health subjects, but does it in such a way that it’s neither helpful as medicine nor humorous as anime. It also might help to define ‘psychosomatic’, as it means ‘a physical illness or condition caused or aggravated by a mental factor, such as stress or internal conflict’. Certainly what they address could be seen as psychosomatic, but not all of it.

Our two main physicians are Dr. Ryō Shinnai and nurse Asuna Kangoshi (although her sisters show up as well). They take on such situations as Erectile Dysfunction, fetishes, voyeurism, sleep disorders, panic attacks and the like. However, the approach is less than effective. It comes with the disclaimer at the end, “This program is a work of fiction. There is no guarantee that the treatment mentioned herein will work. Before having a medical exam, make sure the doctor deals in these treatments first.” And if you followed what they were talking about as if it was proper treatments, it almost comes across that medicine is like the cops: it’s not a real problem until something happens after a long time and we take care of it by bringing you in and throwing away the key. (more…)

“Kiss” it Goodbye

November 5th, 2015 in Anime, General Reviews, Kamisama Kiss by

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Oh, like you didn’t even comprehend that “Kamisama Kiss” (“Kamisama Hajimemashita”) would have a second season? Really? Let’s look at the closing line from my review of the first season: “And with the coupler end (and a pair of OVAs out there), this show is far from being over.” I win! I win! I….*ahem* Let us proceed.

It’s been about a year since Nanami has taken over the shrine and there is to be a Gathering of the Gods, the Divine Assembly. Think of it like a giant anime convention, but without the vendor’s room. Well, she is the Earth God and needs to go, but there are all kinds of troubles with that. Who is going to ‘mind the store’, as it were? (And that opens the door for some delicious humiliation of Tomoe). Once there, Nanami makes a huge discovery about the Gods: they are a lot of preening prats. There is not a whole lot of god-like behavior from these folks, more like shore leave for a bunch of sailors. It is an amazing arc, as Nanami really grows as a God and her understanding of those around her. Also, that they are not any different than regular people: shirking work, sleeping in late, pigging out, inappropriate actions. Maybe it’s more a political convention, eh? Anyway, this series of adventures (including an excursion into the underworld) takes up half of the season, but it doesn’t feel forced or imposed. (more…)

Double “Cross”

November 1st, 2015 in Anime, Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons, General Reviews by

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I saw this show at the same time I was watching “Atasuka no Yona”, but “Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons” (“Kurosu Anju Tenshi to Ryū no Rondo”) takes it in a different direction.

We start off in the Empire of Misurugi. We are approaching the 16th birthday of Angelise Ikaruga “Ange” Misurugi (she is scowly blue up there), at which time, she will be coronated and become the official next in line to the throne. She is loved by all, despite living the cloistered life that usually accompanies royalty. However, her brother, Julio, engineers a coup, exposing the fact that she is a Norma! Are you kidding me? What a betrayal! Burn the witch!

In this world, everyone uses mana for everything. Some folks cannot do so (those are the Normas, NOT Normals, but it skates close, right?) and are ‘removed’ from society, as they pose a threat to the ‘peace’ they live in. They are trucked off to the military base-prison island of Arzenal. Since Ange is now a danger to one and all, she heads there as well, where she has to fight DRAGONs. Now, what bothers me is that they are fighting real dragons, so why the emphasis on making it an acronym? Also, here’s the funny thing: all Normas are ladies. For some odd reason, all guys can use mana; only the gals can come up short. (Let’s hear it for the Y chromosome!) (more…)