Do not let the title of this show fool or throw you. “Snow White with the Red Hair” (“Akagami no Shirayukihime”) only has the lead character share the name (and not really that); beyond this vague reference, she is her own woman. Shirayuki is a normal citizen of the kingdom of Tanbarun. Well, if you consider an herbalist ‘normal’; it is a rather rarified vocation. She has another unique feature: her red hair…which we already mentioned. When the first prince of Tanbarun, Raji Shenazard, orders her to become his concubine, rather than agreeing to this, she cuts her hair and escapes to the neighboring kingdom of Clarines. On her way there, she meets and befriends Prince Zen Wistalia and his two aides, Mitsuhide Lowen and Kiki Seiran (but obviously does not know this when they first meet). (more…)
The Secret Lies with “Charlotte”
I sometimes have a problem with shows involving people with ‘special abilities’, as it seems to be a free license for them to either be major league perverts or major league megalomaniacs. Although this one does suffer from that conjecture, it is reined in to make for an involving show with some unforeseen consequences. Welcome to the world of “Charlotte” (“Shārotto”).
We are in an alternative universe (although that explanation is not all that necessary, as you will soon see). We focus in on Yuu Otosaka (far left). He has an ‘ability’, which allows him to possess people for about 10 or so seconds. He uses this power to cheat on his exams and it gives the impression that he is Wile E. Coyote (“Super genius”). He transfers into Hinomori High School, where he does well, but falls under the suspicion of Nao Tomori (camera at right) and is forced to take a spot test in the office or risk expulsion. Upon discovering his talent, he is compelled to transfer into a new school (and just when he was putting the moves on Yumi Shirayanagi. the best girl in THIS school! Dangski!) However, Hoshinoumi Academy is no ordinary institute of education; it has gathered numerous ‘ability wielders’ to give them a shot at life. (more…)
This was not the movie I wanted to see, although ‘movie’ is a very loose term for this 27-minute offering. It really isn’t much more than an untethered OVA, but it was given to me as a ‘movie’, and underdeveloped at that. ”Taifū no Noruda” (“Typhoon Noruda”) could have really used more back story and more understanding as to what was/is going on. We end up with an elongated scenario with all the salient parts to make it work, but not fully exploited to tell a richly compelling story, and thus this is what we end up with. (I was looking for another movie, but I ran into this one and watched it instead, thus my cryptic opening comment).
We are at Unnamed Academy on Nomanisan Island and we are getting ready for the Cultural Festival. But there are storm clouds on the horizon, both actually and figuratively. The actually is that a typhoon is brewing off the coast and it promises to be at least a Category 8 and, potentially, one of those monster, once-in-a-lifetime storms that is so powerful, it tips the Earth on its axis. (more…)
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. (more…)
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? (more…)
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’. (more…)
One You May Have Missed #3: Near “East”
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. (more…)
After the success that I had with “Your Lie in April”, I decided to tackle “Hibike! Euphonium”, another music-based anime. Well, the full title is (take in a huge gulp of air) “Hibike! Yūfoniamu Kitauji Kōkō Suisōgaku-bu e Yōkoso” or “Resonate! Euphonium. Welcome to Kitauji High School’s Wind Ensemble Club”. And if you can say that on one breath, perhaps you should consider playing the euphonium. For those who are not fully certain, a euphonium can be thought of as a smaller tuba, a bit easier to transport and with a better tone, much like its brother, a baritone horn.
Anyway, to the plot. The Kitauji high school concert band club had at one time participated in national tournaments and was a champion school, but after the club’s adviser changed, they have not been able to even participate in the qualifying tournament. At this point, we are talking perhaps at least five years, and possible closer to ten. However, thanks to the newly appointed adviser’s strict instruction, the students are steadily improving and build up their strength.
Our lead is Kumiko Oumae, who has been playing the ‘euph’ since she was a little child. She decides to join the band when her friends also wish to, and she discovers she would not be the only euph player on the band. Sapphire Kawashima is a deadlock for the band, as she is the only contrabass player. Unless you have zero ability, you are guaranteed a spot on the band with a rare instrument in a high school band. Hazuki Katou was a trumpet player, but they needed someone on tuba and she ‘won’, as they had a surplus of trumpets, led by Reina Kousaka. Now she is REALLY good, but has personality problems. (more…)
“Memories” Are Made of This
It took me a little while to tumble to “Plastic Memories” (“Purasutikku Memorīzu”), but I realized that it was a take on the “Mahoromatic” theme of limited time and why must this have to be this way? (Disclosure time: “Mahoromatic” is my personal best anime series, as I have all the DVDs plus I have done about 100 fanfics for it).
We are in the future and the future has androids. SAI Corporation, the leading android production company, has introduced the Giftia, a new android model with the most human-like qualities of any model. The lifespan of a Giftia is 81,920 hours (roughly nine years and four months), but if they pass their expiration date, it causes personality disintegration, memory loss and outbreaks of violence. Kind of like a football fan in the off-season.
As a result, the employees of the Terminal Service (responsible for retrieving androids which are close to reaching the end of their service lives and erasing the androids’ memories) must go to the owner of the Giftia and retrieve it. Those assigned to the Terminal Service work in teams consisting of a human (called a “Spotter”) and a Giftia (called a “Marksman”). The story follows protagonist Tsukasa Mizugaki (far right) and a Giftia named Isla (next to him), both of whom work in SAI Corp’s Terminal Service No. 1 office. (more…)
Short Run Series XXIV – The Garden of “Eden”
“The Eden of the Grisaia” takes our story arc to its ultimate conclusion. At the end of “Labyrinth”, we discover that the ladies came across Kajima’s notes regarding his report on himself and none of them realized that he was, at least, as damaged as they were and potentially more so than any of them could realize. They want to help him, but things take a hideous downturn.
Kajima’s old master/tutor/mentor/father figure Heath Oslo, has come back to town with an absolutely nefarious scheme that may potentially destroy everyone (except him. But do you really want to groove on the rubble?) Adding to the consternation of all, the Academy’s funding has been turned off and it must shut down, dispensing the ladies onto the winds of the world. But they are saved by the mysterious voice and brain of Thanandos, an entity that can help direct them. This now turns into a giant cat-and-mouse game, as we have to fly under the radar to try and save Yuuji.
The fact that it goes 10 episodes made me grind my teeth. We set up a very elaborate plan to get Yuuji free from his captors. This took four episodes to set up, and it strained credulity, but I stayed with it, as I watched it unfurl. It was one of those situations where you do A to get B, which helps you with C, giving you D to obtain E. None of the players are aware of all of this and it moves well enough to avoid detection. Pretty good results for a bunch of high school girls running it. Oh, and we learn who Thanandos really is. (more…)