Short Pull Series XXIV – “To Be” Or Not To Be

November 7th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews, Short Run Series by

I initially shied away from this show. Aside from the rather difficult pronunciation of the title, “To Be Hero”, the capsule and accompanying picture was a bit difficult to take. However, when you get into the show, it is the same kind of disjointed run you have seen with “One-Punch Man” and “Mob Psycho 100”, in that you have a hero that really doesn’t know what to do with himself or his life, either before or after. And some kind of hero! (more…)

Dividing by “Zero”

October 31st, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

Now, there are a ton of shows out there about getting hooked into a video game or being transported to a distant land and place, where you have to make the best of a bad situation. And if anyone can tell me why there is always a medievel flavor to it, I’d appreciate it. My suspicion is that it is the use of magic, which seem connected at the hip with the era. Anyway, this is where we find ourselves in the montropaciously titled Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu” (“Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World”), and, brother, not only is he starting, he’s starting over. (more…)

Get Your “Tail” in Gear

October 24th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

Is this another in a long line of “Episode #0” shows or just a free form experiment? I can’t really tell, as so much was left out, that it operates no better than a recap show, rather than an origin episode or even an OVA. You have your ticket? Good, come sit next to me; I’ll get two dogs and two brews and we’ll watch “Tailenders” together. I got us some good seats.

We are in the future, but still no hoverboards. Mankind has been forced off of earth and is busy trying to terraform planets for colonization. The planet we are currently on, Terulus, is not all that cherry of a world. Some 100 or 200 years earlier (the timetable is all askew, so I am not certain how much time has actually passed from any given point), something went wrong with a haywire terraformer. Instead of having a verdant world, where all can live in peace and harmony, and get the greatest Starbucks about, it is beset by destructive earthquakes, constant danger and wildlife mutations that are a fact of life. And death.

Those who survived (and decided to tough it out, for some reason) built giant mobile cities to withstand the tremors, and pass the time with dangerous, no-holds-barred races. Now, I cannot tell how large these rolling cities are, but it may be like Monaco on wheels. Sadly, we are plunked right into things and are in the middle of a terrible, terrific race. Leading the pack is the ghost or the hologram or the astral projection of the famous champion, Loser King. Something happened to him in this self-same race for him to go missing a hundred years ago, but he set records that have never been matched when we join up.

Determined racer Shiro Tomoe (that’s the after version, left) wants nothing more than to live up to the Loser King’s legend, but a terrible accident leaves him nearly dead or maybe even dead. I mean he takes a smash and crash that would make Evel Kneivel wince. Breaking in on the operation (uh, don’t we believe in hygiene protocols?) Mikagura Tomoe (that lavender lady), an inventor with her own motives, replaces his heart with a prototype engine. Now, Shiro’s performance is tied to his very heartbeat, and success, or failure, will determine his fate, and hers and everyone else we come in contact with.

If this wasn’t bad enough, his main rival, Goodspeed, is just as tough a racer as Shiro and they are all hell-bent on winning at any cost. With the latest race to be on the so-called India location (you will be advised that there are 26 areas where nothing has been done at all), it is more than just winning, but being the first to plant your homing beacon and earning more than mere money.

There are numerous problems with this show, the least of which is that we were dropped into it, with the barest of information, and are dragged along for the remaining 26 minutes of it. Now, if I wanted a racing show, “Redline” did a far better job of things and that was a feature-length film. If I wanted just hard, angular lines and a toss-it-to-the-winds plot, I have “Dead Leaves” and that was a ton more fun than this turgid mess.

We get bogged down in the meaning and purpose of life and personal idea and ideals to attain and what it means to be a racer and a human and a person and….sorry; all that really gets in the way. I also felt it was frantic and frenetic just because it was felt it HAD to be frantic and frenetic, but without a true or real understanding as to what it all means. There is nothing wrong with that kind of an approach, but you need a strong idea as to what you want to say or promote and then follow it. Otherwise, what’s going on?

I got the feeling that it was just to go all out and see what the thing can do before it blows up. The ending is an indication that there could be a show, but it is so open-ended and non-committal, one gets the feeling it was more experimental than anything more substantial and that it is going to be a stand-alone. Besides, I do not know how you could make it into a show without it dissolving into something less than what was promised with the ‘pilot’.

Is this bad? Is this good? Nope, it just is. Go ahead and check it out, but you may end up wishing that they had taken out a few more minutes to explain things better and set it up tighter to make for something more than what we got.

 

On a scale of 1 to 10:

 

Artwork           8 (Hard and angular; not everyone’s taste)
Plot                  8 (Holding its own)
Pacing            10 (It is flat out, all the way)
Effectiveness   6 (A bit more story was really called for)
Conclusion       6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service      0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover’)

Overall            7 (Got a bit too soap opera for me)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I will beat Loser King.

 

“Diamond” Dogs

September 26th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

I lie to myself all the time. “The check’s in the mail.” “Yes, I took out the trash.” “I know I told you that.” After getting treated badly by the last JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, “Egypt Hen”, I swore I would never see it again. Well, guess what happened? Yup, yup and more yup. I found myself watching Installment Series Five or Six, “Diamond is Unbreakable”. (more…)

“Blood” on Your Hands

August 15th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

Well, this certainly is a different approach to the horror genre. It’s potentially just as bloody as “Terra Formars” or “Blue Gender”, but it moves it in another direction, so it’s not as cut and dried as you may think, which kinds of frees it up from the standard conventions that bedevil horror shows. (more…)

You Sometimes Have to Go a Little “Berserk”

July 25th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

This is what I call an iteration series. Huh, what do you mean? The reason we have the year in parenthesis is that this show was done before, way back in 1997, but this version of “Berserk (2016)” (“Beruseruku”) is potentially a lot that the previous series was not, like openly bloody and endlessly violent. (more…)

“Mob” Mentality

July 11th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

Please do not let the horribly flat and bland art style throw you off. There is a more compelling story in here than you initially realize and you have to watch it. I mean really watch it. Brought to you by the same folks behind “One Punch Man”, this tale, “Mob Psycho 100” (“Mobu Saiko Hyaku) looks at people with abilities who may not know what to fully do with them. (more…)

Continental “Drifters”

June 13th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

OK, it takes a little while to wrap your head around this series, but once you do, wow, this is a fascinating series. Welcome to “Drifters” (“Dorifutazu”). (more…)

Don’t “Stray” Too Far

April 25th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

This was a show that was full of promise, but ended up devolving into the usual fight for supremacy genre that seem to bedevil this caliber of show. “Bungo Stray Dogs 2” (“Bungō Sutorei Doggusu” or ”Literary Stray Dogs”) started off the second season with an interesting take. The first season had us dealing with Atsushi Nakajima (dead center), who has the ability to change into a were tiger. He was taken on board by the Armed Detective Agency, a group dedicated to fighting the Port Mafia, a band of outlaws who also have an arsenal of people with special abilities. (more…)

“Holy” Cow

April 4th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

I have remarked that when you see an uptick in OVAs or short runs of a series that completed its first season, it is a prelude to the release of the next season, but they want to let you know it’s coming with a bit more than a notice on the internet going “The second season is coming! Sale starts on Friday!” It’s just there was a two-run OVA about a year or so ago and now “Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi” (“The Seven Deadly Sins: Signs of the Holy War”) came out with what they refer to as a TV Special that acts as a prelude to the new season. (more…)