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…)

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.

 

The Game of “Life”

August 1st, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

What would you give to be able to relive a crucial part of your life and correct mistakes that you had made at that time? Would this give you a better chance for the rest of your life? Are you up to the task? Can you keep a secret? Do you like having a minimum wage job and no girlfriend? Have you registered to vote? (more…)

“Orange” is the Happiest Color

July 18th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

I remember, when I was young, and my heart was an open book, maybe sixth grade (it was a long time ago, about when we had to stop hunting mastodons for food), we had to do an assignment, which was write a letter to our future self that would be read ten years from then. Well, I wrote some caliber of nonsense and eventually lost the letter. It was probably a good thing, too. In any case, this is part of the plot for the anime “Orange” (“Orenji”).

It is the past. Naho Takamiya, (in the center), a second year high school student, receives letters sent from herself 10 years into the future. Her future self asks her to prevent her “biggest regret”, which has something to do with the new transfer student, Kakeru Naruse (black hair to her left). At first skeptical, Naho begins to believe the letters, as they accurately predict events. When the letter asks her not to invite Kakeru to go out for the first day, Naho and her friends (left to right, Takako Chino, Hiroto Suwa, Azusa Murasaka and Saku Hagita) decide to invite him anyway. Kakeru ends up not attending school for the next two weeks.

When she learns of the terrible fate that will befall Naruse if she does nothing, she strives to prevent the past events from happening, thus altering the future. The series details not only those efforts but how our little troupe fare in the future.

Time shift shows like this are difficult, as you have to balance the two realities, so things are credible. We, of course, are not going to ask the question as to how the future letters got into the past, as that would cause the series to totally collapse (think of the movie “The Lake House”), so you just move along with the events and see the ever-increasing stakes in the actions that they all perform in order to save a friend.

We also see how they have to learn not to be afraid, as a small slip here can create a larger slip down the line, and at a time when you may not be able to correct it, and that you have to believe in yourself, whether it is the now version or the future version.

Late in the show, there is a very good discussion regarding multiple dimensions, which also explains away the problems we encounter with the original future time story line. At its core, it is still a story about the bonds and strength of friendship, but it is done in a very concerted and focused manner. Perhaps not as intense as “Erased”, there is a still a good story to be told and the potential downfalls of not believing what the future you is imparting to the past you.

There is a movie coming out, but I am hoping it is a real movie and not a compilation film of the series. It’s already out in Japan; we get to wait another year or so. Or longer. Did I not get the memo?

 

On a scale of 1 to 10:

 

Artwork           7 (Typical but useful)
Plot                  8 (Done quite well)
Pacing              7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness   8 (Good use of the time shift)
Conclusion       7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service      2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)

Overall            8 (Good use of the time paradox idea)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You got one, too?

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…)

Somewhere in “Time”

April 11th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

Sniff, sniff. That smell. Can’t you smell that smell? The smell is all around you. Yes, it smells like….and E/I show! Quick, lock the doors, as no one gets out of here.

One of the reasons I am not a big fan of Educational/Informational shows is that they tend to suck the life out of their efforts, so not only isn’t it all that educational and informational, it’s not even all that entertaining. “Time Travel Girl” or, if we go by the full and complete title, “Time Travel Girl: Mari, Waka, and the Eight Scientists” (“Taimu Toraberu Shōjo: Mari Waka to Hachi-nin no Kagakusha-tachi”) wants to be something more, but ends up falling short, by buying into tropes and traps of its own doing. But, on to the plot: (more…)

My “Heart” Will Go On

February 7th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

 

One of the problems I have with an ecchi-heavy anime is that the perversion is so naked (both figuratively and actually) that you feel beat about the head and shoulders with it. But for this one, “Masou Gakuen H x H (“Hybrid × Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia”), it is done with such a wide-eyed innocence, that you can’t help but laugh yourself wet, as if these people have zero concept on things of this nature. OK, let us to the plot: (more…)

On the “Vierge” of Something

January 31st, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

This is another in the long-running genre of ‘Girls Who Save the World’, but in this instance, they are saving many worlds. Let’s put on some patriotic music as we send forth the plot of “Ange Vierge” (“Anju Vieruju”): (more…)

A “Second” Chance

January 24th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

I am always concerned about the second season of any show. Sometimes, there is a tendency to stay the course. Maybe good, maybe not. Other times, you want to strike out in another direction and try to accomplish more than you did in the first season. Always daring, but not without its pitfalls. Sometimes you abandon that which you had and made it appear like it was two different shows. That is what happened with “Active Raid 2nd  (“Akutivu Reido Sekando”). Whatever happened in the first show, it got turned into a political drama (of sorts) in the second show, which is a shame, as I felt a lot of good characters were misused or underused. (more…)

Emotional “Connection”

November 8th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews by

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…)