There is a sense of satisfaction when you know that a second season will be coming. There is nothing worse than seeing a show, getting to the ‘coupler point’ and then it fades away, so you never get that complete closure. However, the way things were set up for “Gakusen Toshi Asutarisuku” (“The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water”), you knew there had to be one, to at least bring the main thrust of the show to a conclusion. (more…)
The “Joker” Went Wild
With all the genres that are afforded to anime, the spy thriller is one that is badly underplayed. Perhaps someone feels that they can’t compete with a James Bond or a Jason Bourne, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the only other spy series I saw, “Night Raid 1931” was more of a fantasy/supernatural, as those people had special powers and abilities. What if we take a special caliber of person, one with a clear idea as to what is expected of them, and mold them into a strong agency? Thus, the idea behind “Joker Game” (“Jōkā Gēmu”). (more…)
Short Run Series XX – A Really “Big” Show
OK, I was as shocked as anyone that “Big Order” (“Biggu Ōdā”) was actually picked up as a series. Lord knows the ‘untethered one shot’ (which will now be the infamous “Episode #0”) was baffling and confusing. At least with the 10-episode run (even the extra show makes 11 and that is short-run in my book), things are fleshed out and explained a bit better, but I don’t honestly think that an extra two episodes would have helped things in the long run. (more…)
Short Pull Series XVII – “Cat” Got Your Tongue?
I sometimes wonder why some shows get made at all, especially ones of this nature. I mean, not only is it four episodes (and a brief OVA), they don’t run that long anyway, so this is a Double-Double (Short Pull and Short Run). “She and Her Cat” (“Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko”, subtitled “Their Standing Points”) is about a girl (Kanojo) and her cat (Kuroneko) and how they interact with their time together. The biggest problem I had with this show is that I knew how it was going to end by the first episode, so I was just along for the ride. (more…)
This was an unpredictable offering, in that it was a mere episode of 30 minutes, but gave the impression of potentially being a pilot show for a possibly fuller series (could this be that ‘Episode #0’ of which we have heard so much about?) “Noblesse” (which is derived from the term ‘Noblesse Oblige’ and denotes the concept that nobility extends beyond mere entitlements and requires the person who holds such status to fulfill social responsibilities, particularly in leadership roles to those less privileged) is, among other things, a vampire show. It actually is a webtoon, but it certainly offered up something more than mere neck-biting.
Cadis Etrama Di Raizel (a.k.a. Rai, those are numerous images of him to the left) is a vampire hunter protector. His job is to make certain that the vampire hunters can do their job without getting dispatched by their foes. However, he has been asleep for 820 years (Wait! He went away in 1196? Long before Vlad the Impaler made the scene? The big event of that year was that the North Dutch coast flooded) and those forces that wish him harm have been looking for him ever since. His coffin was magically found and he was awakened into a world that he has a hard time grasping. Really? When he went to bed, the Byzantine Empire was still around and the Third Crusade was an active memory. Now we have cell phones and the internet. And Donald Trump. I have a hard time grasping this world and I’ve been here for a while! (more…)
The “Concrete” Jungle
Now, understand that it is not a misspelling, but it is called “Concrete Revolutio” (“Konkurīto Reborutio: Chōjin Gensō”, “Concrete Revolutio: Superhuman Phantasmagoria”). I couldn’t find a genuine reason for that, aside that it will stick in your head.
It is year Apotheosis 41. Now, this was a bit of a problem in trying to determine what the ‘actual’ year was, but by doing a little research, I was able to puzzle out that it is the year 1967. OK, the fashions do kind of look like Carnaby Street and we do have a Beatles-like band lurking about, but it could also be the Disco Era, with that line of thinking and dress. The Showa Era did not exist and we are dating this from 1926, the last year of the Taisho Era. Earth is currently home to superhumans and paranormal phenomena of all kinds, from aliens and magical girls to ghosts and transforming robots. However, official knowledge of these beings is officially kept under wraps by the governments of the world. (more…)
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…)