And here is the ‘two’ of the one-two punch. Another of those very harsh private academies animes, this one is truly a classroom of the elite, but that’s not what we are trying to accomplish with “Kakegurui” (or “Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler”). (more…)
This is part of a one-two punch review in regards to Japanese schools and their educational system. Most animes use the schools as a jumping-off point to look at some harem rom-com or superhero education, so the school is more background or a platform for these events, rather than part and parcel of the whole approach. These particular shows I am scrutinizing look at the school itself and the academic mindset that drives them along. It seems harsh and cruel by our standards. Hell, it’s harsh and cruel by the Marquis de Sade’s standards! It makes one wonder if all private academies are like this. If they were any tougher, you might as well be training to be a Navy SEAL. Our first scholastic offering is “Classroom of the Elite” (“Yōkoso Jitsuryoku Shijō Shugi no Kyōshitsu e”, or “Welcome to the Classroom of the Supreme Ability Doctrine”). (more…)
If Six Were “Nine”
This is what I call the “Semi-Colon Series”. It is a grouping of shows that use a semi-colon in the title, and then they run the title all together. The other three are “Chaos;Head”, “Steins;Gate” and “Robotic;Notes”. The shows all share similar characteristics: they are very dense, plot-wise, things are never as they seem and you’ll get the information you need to make sense of it when it is decided you can handle it. I guess it is a bit like life. (more…)
The anime company “Trigger” (or “Trigger Studio” depending on whom you are speaking to) comes up with a lot of wild and woolly shows like “Inferno Cop”, “Kill la Kill” and “When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace”. I bring this up, as their latest offering is in the same visual vein, but tackling a deeper subject, so it can’t be readily dismissed out of hand. I am speaking of “Kiznaiver”. (more…)
It Takes a “Village”
For many, a trip is a chance to get away from who you are and discover what you might be. It is also an opportunity to rid yourself of your ‘old clothes’ and try to be someone new or better or improved. Initially, that is the concept behind “The Lost Village” (“Mayoiga”), but the execution is rather complicated, as we have two competing storylines. (more…)
Attack of the OVA #12 – New World “Order”
This show is presented as an OVA, but it comes off more as a one-shot, and a confusing one at that. “Big Order” (“Biggu Ōdā”) tells the story of Hoshimiya Eiji, but it is done in the most painful way possible as to make it nearly incomprehensible as to what is going on. He starts off talking about wishes and if you were given one wish, what would it be? He progresses through his normal, boring life in his normal, boring town, going to his normal, boring school and seeing the new transfer student (that’s her up there, Kurenai Rin). (more…)
Short-Run Series XXVIII – This is Just “Perfect”
Sometimes, the best crime dramas are the ones that don’t apparently start off as one. This is both good and bad, but I would prefer to get lulled into something than know right from the outset where we were heading. Ooops, perhaps I’ve said too much. Well, that shouldn’t detract from your enjoyment of “Subete ga F ni Naru” (”Everything Becomes F” and subtitled “The Perfect Insider”). Don’t worry; the title will be made clear as it is also a major clue in the works.
Sōhei Saikawa, an associate professor of architectural engineering (right), and Moe Nishinosono (left), the daughter of his mentor, travel to the very remote Himaka Island to speak with Dr. Shiki Magata. Although the doctor is highly intelligent, she has secluded herself there, amid accusations that, years ago, she murdered her parents. While there, these two work together to solve a pair of murders on the island. (more…)
This was (and is) a difficult show to review, as it is full of ‘Gotcha!’ moments and secrets that if I tell too much, it will take away those moments of discovery when you watch “Gakkōu Gurashi! (“School-Live!” or “Living at School!“). At the very least, I can run down the cast for you, right to left:
Megumi Sakura, sometimes called Megu-nee, the teacher. (PS, this is the closest you’ll get to fan service for the show)
Yuki, so very cheerful, along with her friends Kurumi Yūri and Miki, is a member of the Megurigaoka Private High School’s School Living Club. As Yuki seeks out fun school activities every day while living at school, the other girls work to keep her safe, because in reality…………….. (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…)
The “Root” of All Evil
With the end of the first season of “Tokyo Ghoul”, there was still a huge amount of work to do and things were not properly resolved. The second season, which appears to be called “Tokyo Ghoul Square Root of A (“Tokyo Ghoul √A”), picks up where the first season left off and therein lies the troubles.
The first season was trying to help us understand what Kaneki was going through (that’s Mr. Moody up there), a person who was a college student, and now is a ghoul. Couldn’t you have chosen a better major? He suffered a huge amount of tortuous abuse at the hands of Jason last season and dispatches him at the start of this season, but decides to join Aogiri Tree, a fierce ghoul group who clash with the CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul) over a degree or supremacy and of whom the aforementioned Jason was part of. The problem with the show, overall, is that we turn into the Dragon Ball Z Syndrome: endless fighting amid endless fighting when we are not endlessly fighting. I mean, it’s like the Churchill quote: “…we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” And they proceed to do just that. (more…)