Don’t Worry, Be “Happy”

August 17th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews by

Every once in a while, you come across a show with a concept so odd, that you have to look into things a bit more deeply. Such is the case of “Anne-Happy”, (Anhapi♪), also known as “Unhappy Go Lucky!” or “Unhappy”. The plot is surprisingly thin:

Tennomifune Academy is an elite school where students train in various subjects such as arts and sports. The school, in a sense, chooses you, not the opposite (much like a wand from Ollivander’s). That is, except for the students of Class 1-7, a.k.a. the “Happiness Class”, who have been deemed “unfortunate” and must try to overcome their own misfortune and achieve happiness. The series follows a core group of five students, who each have their own problems, as they try to find their own elation. (more…)

Short Pull Series XVI – Please, “Please Tell Me” Now!

June 14th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews by

In my many years of reviewing anime, I have come across a crop of shows that I refer to as ‘nothing’ shows. There is a huge amount of talking, but nothing really happens. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as some of them are character and plot driven and tell a fascinating story. But it can run hot and cold.

Our latest offering, “Oshiete! Galko-chan” (“Please Tell Me! Galko-chan”) is also a short-pull series, in that the episodes only run for about eight minutes. But they pack a lot into these shows. Our cast includes (right to left), the aforementioned Galko, Ojou and Otako. Yes, they are very iconic, as they are, respectively, a gyaru, an airhead and an otaku. But they go beyond those limitations and tell some interesting tales. This came off for me as closer allied to “Daily Lives of High School Boys”, another ‘nothing’ show, but with a definite edge to it. (more…)

Short Run Series XIX – The “Marshmallow” Man

May 31st, 2018 in Anime, Short Run Series by

A fetish is an unnatural desire towards a want or need, whether it be black underwear or leather straps or Hello Kitty. I bring this up, as “Ojisan to Marshmallow” (Ojisan to Mashumaro”) is a caliber of fetish show, except our hero, Habahiro Hige, is drawn to marshmallows, and it is more than drawn, it is a compulsion. (more…)

Short Pull Series XVII – “Cat” Got Your Tongue?

May 25th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews by

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…)

“Working” Out the Details

March 1st, 2018 in Uncategorized by

Technically not a fourth season, but an extended movie, “Working”  (“Wagnaria!!”) tries to wrap it all up and give people that dramatic push they need to move ahead with their lives. I mean, you can’t work as the wait staff in a family restaurant for the rest of your life, right? It’s just that it tries so hard to make it right, you can see the mechanics operating and everyone gets to sing their aria.

It is a rather capacious cast and each have their own imbroglios that cross over into other people’s lives to the point you wonder what is the quality of food here. We have the two chefs (far left) who spend more time sniping at each other, the store manager (guy in regular tie) who spends all his time trying to find his runaway wife and our ‘hero’ (for wont of a better term) who tries to be a regular Joe, but ends up a punching bag of sorts, both physically and emotionally. (more…)

“Dandelion” Wine

July 24th, 2017 in Anime by

This is a real change of pace royalty show. Most of the time, those of noble lineage and descent are overweening, preening prats who feel that the commoners aren’t much better than the animals that they tend and can be (and are) easily dismissed or fed to the royal animals.  However, “Castle Town Dandelion (“Jōkamachi no Danderaion”, “Dandelion of Jolamachi”) approaches this differently and has the regal family living as commoners…..more or less.

The story revolves around the Sakurada family, a family of nine super-powered siblings whose father is the king. The actions of the siblings are constantly being recorded and broadcast on TV, allowing the citizens to choose which one to elect as the next king. Yup, everything they do, and that is EVERYTHING they do, is open to public scrutiny. There are monitors all over the city, initially placed to offer protection to the Royal Family, but now, the citizenry can watch what goes on with all of them, as things are run not much differently than a mayoral election or even “Big Brother”. (more…)

Short Pull Series XI – Junior “Miss”

July 12th, 2017 in Short Pull Series by

The second season of “Miss Monochrome” has come and gone, and since they are brief episodes, it can get past you really quickly. However, the cohesion in this series got better for the next go-around. Originally Miss Monochrome (and she is a robot or android of some ilk) wanted to be an idol singer, trying to supplant Kikuko as Japan’s top idol, but since she doesn’t tour and doesn’t have an album, it’s really hard, when all her efforts are to get her seen and heard and adored, but they are not working and she is just another face at the local Kwik-E-Mart. The arrival of Yayoi Konno helps things along. She is a record promoter for a small label, but wants to help Monochrome succeed. They work towards the album and the big tour, even getting her idol back-up dancers, Caramel (that’s them up there rehearsing).

Now, all of these people still haven’t got a clue as to what the record industry is like and Yayoi is too over-zealous in getting things for Monochrome (she is just as ditzy as the other), but events and actions slowly come to fruition and as we close out the season, the concert in on the horizon….to be addressed in season three. I sometimes wish (more…)

Short Pull Series X – Do It for My “Sake”

October 16th, 2016 in Short Pull Series by

wakakozake-review

This is a very odd food series, almost like a food review segment in a news broadcast than a real show, but it certainly has less baggage with it than “Toriko” or “Shokugeki no Soma”. “Wakakozake” (“Wakako Sake”) tells the very brief tale of Wakako, who goes around to eating establishments after work to try and find something to eat that is (a) tasty and (b) inexpensive that (c) goes well with beer or sake. Wherever it is she works, there are loads and loads of places to eat around, so she drops in to dine on one food, like deep-fried asparagus skewers or steamed clams or yakitori.

Now, she has never had a bad dish of anything, but there is a tinge of sadness as she always dines alone. She feasts well, as the food fills her physical and most emotional needs. Or perhaps I am reading too much into this. In any case, it does help explain a variety of Japanese foods and what really goes into them to make it more than a squat ‘n’ gobble kind of place. The artwork is off, as she is very cartoony, but everyone else is more or less normal. (more…)

“School” Days

October 9th, 2016 in Gakkōu Gurashi! by

gakkou-gurashi-review

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:

Miki Naoki
Kurumi Ebisuzawa
Yuki Takeya
Yūri Wakasa
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…)

Middle “East”

June 13th, 2016 in Eden of the East by

Eden of the East-The King of Eden review

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…)