Posted on 31 December 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


What an excellent way to close off the year! Like with Christmas, I wanted to try something special for a movie to watch at the end of 2007, so I went with one that I absolutely knew nothing about, except for an interesting-sounding premise. After having watched it, I must say that even though it’s old, it’s got one of the most memorable storylines in a movie that I’ve ever seen. This is basically Toward the Terra, minus the epic feeling.

While Toward the Terra featured characters of many different ages, They Were Eleven takes place on a much smaller scale: it’s just about the entrance-exam of one of the most prestigious schools of the universe. The universe sounds similar to Toward the Terra as well, with an elite group that stands miles above the ordinary people, but there are changes; different races from humans, for example.

An cast that consists entirely out of aspiring elites has been used more often in anime, but never has the storyline made use of this fact so much. Because every character is elite, they’re well-educated, and they all have their own reason to pass the exam. The writers use this and create a very engaging mystery-storyline that will keep you on your toes. And that’s the great part of this movie.

The characters are also not your average ones, and are easy to like. There are a few stereotypes here and there, but every single character has one trait that makes them different from the all the other ones of their kind. Regarding the flaws of this movie: it loses a bit of its spark around the end. I’m a big fan of mystery-anime, but they’re always tricky to end well without being predictable. Another point of criticism is that two or three side-characters needed more development than they received.

Still, this is an excellent example of a well-developed old-school movie. The other characters are well-enough developed for the short time that the story has, and they all turned into a memorable cast. The few moments of comedy were also quite welcome. If you’re a fan of shoujo and science-fiction series, then this is a recommended movie.

Well, that’s it for 2007. For those who are already in 2008: Happy New Year! For those like me who still have a few hours left in 2007: Happy New Year in advance!

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews


After the Cockpit and 9 Love Stories, the obvious next step would be Robot Carnival: another collection of nine stories. Twenty years ago, some of the great names in anime came together, and were all assigned to create a short movie that has to do with robots. Basically, Robot Carnival is the Fantasia of anime, with only two movies that contain dialogue and a soundtrack that has been composed by Hisaishi Joe of Ghibli-fame. This movie shines in its diversity: every short is different from the other. Individually, the shorts may disappoint at times, but together they form quite an enjoyable ride.

Koji Morimoto (Magnetic Rose (Memories), Noiseman Sound Insect, Beyond (The Animatrix)) is up first, and he comes up with a strange, yet very entertaining short, though with the lack of any sort of plot with the short Franken’s Gears. Hidetoshi Omori (Dan Doh? O_o) is up next with Deprive, which is more like a standard action-movie, condensed into nine minutes. Yasuomi Umetsu (Kite, Mezzo Forte) then comes with one of the first highlights of the movie with his Prescence, a quiet thought-provoking romance.
Star Light Angel, well the title says it all. It’s a cheesy shoujo-love-story by Hiroyuki Kitazume (Moldiver), yet it somehow still works. Cloud, by Mao Lamdo will probably be the hardest short to like, as it’s basically nothing else than an animated piece of art, without any clear plot nor purpose. To make up for this, the next short, A Tale of Two Robots – Chapter 3: Foreign Invasion by Hiroyuki Kitakubo (Golden Boy, Roujin Z (note to self: check those out)) will have you rolling on the floor laughing with its parodies of ancient mecha- and samurai-shows. To close off, Takashi Naamura (Fantastic Children, A Tree of Palme) comes with a short that combines quirky characters with a lot of imagination. You wouldn’t suspect that Fantastic Children came from the same creator.

While most of the shorts fall short in the story-department, I like how a lot of them weren’t just created to tell a story, but also to pay homage to the different genres of anime at that time. Giant Robots, shoujo-dramas, action-flicks, thought-provoking dramas, samurais. All of them are either parodied or remembered. Hisaishi Joe manages to capture the feeling of every said show perfectly as well, making sure for a terrific, yet cheesy soundtrack. Overall, this is a very good way to watch at the end of the year, as the level of nostalgia is quite high.

Posted on with categories: Yearly Summaries

And so it’s finally time to say goodbye to 2007. It’s been another great year, and what way to close it off better than with the obligatory end-of-the-year-rankings and -awards. Like mentioned before, this post has turned out a lot bigger than last year now that I’ve had multiple days to work on it. Oh, and if this is the first time you’ve visited my blog: yes, I do have an unusual taste. There are no awards for Lucky Star nor Gurren Lagann. In fact, I’m actually surprised that Death Note also didn’t get any mention…

Best Anime of 2007: 20-11
This year, I decided to go for a top-20, instead of the usual top-10. Here are the first ten, you can find the rest down below, after the individual awards for this year. Overall, I must say that 2007 has been an excellent year for anime, and even though less series have come out in comparison to 2006, it somehow feels that the overall quality was higher instead.

#20: Master of Epic

I was probably one of the few people who actually stuck with this series, but still I consider Master of Epic to be the best parody-series of the entire year. No other series had so many parodies that hit the spot. It’s also one of the very few comedy-series that knows it’s a comedy-series: there’s no forced drama at the end, and instead the laughs just came rolling. Master of Epic gave me a lot of laughs in the early months of 2007, and for that I decided to include it at #20.

#19: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

While the finale was a bit too straightforward and predictable, this remains a memorable series. The animation and character-designs were excellent, and the soundtrack was smashing. One thing I realize now that I’m writing up this list is that the winter-season of the past year had a lot of shows with excellent historical backgrounds: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto, Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi, Chevalier and Les Miserables all provided great insights in the politics and culture of the Japan and France from a few ages ago.

#18: Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei

Of course, Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei can’t be omitted on this list. I’ve always liked Shinbo’s original style of direction, and this could quite possibly his best work up till now. But the real strength of this series is that it’s critical on just about anything. It makes a fool out of many taboos on modern-day society.

#17: Gintama

Gintama is still on-going, but that doesn’t stop me from adding this series to this list. It may have had a few episodes where it lost its spark a bit, but in the episodes in which it delivered it was absolutely hilarious. Gintama has a brilliant sense of humour that doesn’t seem to tire, even after forty episodes. Added to that comes the fact that it’s one of the few comedies that actually get improved when the occasional drama is added. This is one series that will have you cry manly tears, either because of laughter, or because of sadness.

#16: Otogi Juushi Akazukin

The finish was weak, but apart from that Otogi Juushi Akazukin has been an awesome fairy-tale experience with a lot of memorable characters. This series was incredibly cute, from start to finish, and the characters made sure to keep this one engaging.

#15: Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori

I can’t deny that Jigoku Shoujo is repetitive. Still, it’s the same as with Revolutionary Girl Utena: the repeated scenes and themes give the series some kind of ritualistic feeling. It also helped a lot that the storytelling for some of the stories was incredibly strong, and especially the best stories were truly memorable. An in-depth look into revenge and what causes people to throw their souls away, just to get rid of one person.

#14: El Cazador de la Bruja

Those who’ve been visiting my blog regularly probably know by now that I’m a Bee-Train fan. Their slow style of storytelling is easy to hate, but I couldn’t help but love the character-development between Ellis and Nadie. The two of them, along with the amazing talents of Kajiura Yuki turned El Cazador into a huge success for me.

#13: Flag

It’s a real shame that the subs for the second season still haven’t come out. I watched the series raw, back in March, and it was even better than the first one. If you’re tired of all those idealistic and unrealistic war-stories, then this is the series you should check out. Never have I seen a war-anime that was as realistic as this one. The decision to make a bunch of photographers into the main characters was an excellent one. The only downfall you should be aware of is that it takes quite a long time to build up.

#12: Saiunkoku Monogatari

Saiunkoku Monogatari is definitely not a fast-paced series. Nearly seventy episodes have passed now, and the end of the series isn’t even in sight. But because of this, the characters have gotten a huge amount of attention, to the point where none of them feels two-dimensional. The writers spent a lot of time on them, to flesh out all of them. The result can be seen in the climaxes, which were absolutely amazing.

#11: Red Garden

This was basically one huge character-study of the four heroines, with all of them having their own problems. It was quite angsty, yes, but the second half really developed the characters into a memorable cast for me. For me, this was the first proof that Gonzo can be good if they want to. One thing I also found out after watching is that this series followed Mahou Shoujotai’s example of recording the voice-acting first, before producing the animation. This is the reason why the dialogue for this series felt so intense and genuine.

2007 Individual Awards:
Biggest Disappointment:

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

At one point, this series had so much potential. But it ruined itself with its too many coincidences, and instead of political intrigue, it went towards a harem- and emo-fest. Things like these sell, yes. But they’re not my idea of good storytelling. The second place is the Hellsing OVA. The first and second episodes were nice, but with the third episode, I understood why Gonzo originally diverted from the manga at that point. Pure genocide isn’t exactly my definition of entertainment.

Worst Series:

Shining Tears X Wind

Of course, I can’t speak for the series I didn’t finish. Goshushou-sama Ninomiya-kun would have had a fair chance to win this title as well, but on the other hand, even that series has to try really hard to surpass the pain that was Shining Tears Episode 12. I still recall how I fell off my chair out of agony when I watched it.

Worst First Episode:

Buzzer Beater

While I of course didn’t have the chance to watch every series, I did get the chance to watch the first episode of the majority of series that aired this year. There was a lot of bad stuff among them, like Goshushou-Sama Ninomiya-kun or Koharu Biyori, which were just fanservice-fests. Still, the worst has to be that episode of the 2007-remake of Buzzer Beater. The main character was even more annoying than Makoto from School Days, for goodness’ sake!

The this-anime-seems-to-have-gone-up-in-smoke-award:

Dead Girls

Seriously… what happened? The OVA for Red Garden was supposed to come out in August, but no subs have come out at all. Did it really ruin the series so much?

Most Pleasant Surprise:

Le Chevalier d’Eon

Due to the slow subs, I was only leisurely watching the first half of this season. That’s probably why I never saw the huge increase in quality coming, once this series hit its second half, and after that, it remained one of my favourites of the time until the end.

Best Animation:

Seirei no Mobirito

2007 was a very good year in terms of animation. Dennou Coil featured simple, but consistently detailed animation. FLAG was shown for its entirety through the lens of various cameras and photos, and Baccano!’s art, while incredibly messy, never gave off the feeling that any still frames were used. Still, none of them can compare to the amazing details of Seirei no Moribito.

Funniest Series:

Gintama

2007 was also another excellent year in terms of comedies. From the more popular series as Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei to the obscure ones of Power Puff Girls Z and Master of Epic, a lot of them were hilarious. Of course, there were disappointments. Potemayo and Lucky star just didn’t cut it and got stale fast, but thankfully Gintama more than made up for this. It has along with the Law of Ueki and Excel Saga the most awesome sense of humour I’ve ever seen in a comedy, and cracked me up many times after each other. It may take a few episodes to get into, but Gintama is a perfect recommendation if you’re looking for laughs.

Best OP:

Uninstall – Bokura no
(Why yes, I was a bit too lazy to take screenshots)
Most opening themes look like each other, with the cheesy J-pop and J-rock and all. But there were some great songs this year among them. Especially the OVAs came with a great selection (especially Tales of Symphonia and FREEDOM) and Wellber no Monogatari, with its textless song formed an excellent introduction to the series. But still, Chiaki Ishikawa, member of See-saw delivered an excellent song, which combined with the excellent visuals for Bokura no to my favourite OP of the year.

Best Thought-Provoking Anime:

Bokura no

Especially when thinking back, the two series that stand out for me as the most thought-provoking of 2007 are Kaiji and Bokura no; both ask deep questions about human nature. Kaiji delves into the darkest corners of the human-mind, while Bokura no shows us how the different characters all deal with the dark situations that they’re put into, and especially how every characters reacts differently.

Best Studio:

Production IG

For me, there were four big animation-studios in 2007: Gonzo, Studio Deen, Madhouse and Production IG. All four of them delivered multiple excellent anime. Gonzo and Studio Deen, however, also were behind some of the crappiest series of the year, and with Madhouse you’ll never know when their series turn out excellent or just mediocre. Still, Production IG only messed up with Reideen. All their other series this year were of a huge quality. Seirei no Moribito and Chevalier were brilliant, Wellber no Monogatari was very entertaining and Ghost Hound is also shaping up to be an excellent series. Here’s to hoping that they’ll be able to continue this trend for 2008!

Best Drama:

Kaze no Shoujo Emily

This was quite a hard award to give away, simply because most of the shows I watched could be considered drama in some sort of way. Still, in the end I decided to go for Kaze no Shoujo, as the interaction between Emily and the people around her is exactly what drama should be.

Best Movie 2006/2007:

Tekkon Kinkreet

This year premiered a lot of interesting movies, but for me the two best ones turned out to be Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo and Tekkon Kinkreet. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo was exactly how a high-school drama should be and the lead character was really likable. Still, the clear winner for me was the sad tale of two orphans that grow up on the streets of Tekkon Kinkreet. Studio 4C has shown yet again that they know exactly what they’re doing.

Best Music:

El Cazador de la Bruja

This was an easy category for me. Yuki Kajiura shines with the work she’s done for El Cazador, and especially the main tune is among her best works yet. As for runner-ups: that honour belongs to Toward the Terra and Seirei no Moribito this year. Two soundtracks which fit the series they’re made for perfectly.

Best Action:

Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

I won’t deny that Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann had good action; for me it takes up the third place in this department for 2007. On the second place comes Seirei no Moribito. It may not have had many action series, but the choreography of the ones that were there was amazing. Still, the swordfights from Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto did remain to be the best action-sequences. It had the combination of the quality of Seirei no Moribito with the quantity of Gurren Lagann, with very exciting results.

Best ED:

FREEDOM
No question possible here. Ike Yoshihiro smashes all competition with the incredible song he composed here. The only others who can come close to the ending for this series are both the endings of Bokura no, yet again two excellent songs to close off the series.

Best Romance:

Saiunkoku Monogatari

Okay, romance indeed isn’t my preferred genre, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like it when it’s done well. The best of this year in terms of romance definitely comes from Saiunkoku Monogatari. Every single couple of the series is awesome and well-developed, so it’s an award well-earned. As runner-ups, there is the later half of El Cazador (which was yuri, though) and the final episodes of Kaze no Shoujo Emily.

Best-Looking Graphics:

Bokura no

Unlike with the Best Animation-award, I’m not looking for detail here. Things just have to look good. For me, Red Garden, Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei, Toward the Terra and Wellber no Monogatari all looked gorgeous. Still, I decided to go with Bokura no. I really like Mohiro Kitoh’s character-designs. They’re simple, yet effective and they work perfectly when combined with Gonzo’s graphics.

Best Non-2006/2007 Movie:

Tokyo Godfathers

Those who’ve been reading my blog for the past year know that I’ve been checking out all kinds of older movies for the past months. While I saw a lot of good stuff from Studio Ghibli, the best were two movies called Metropolis and Tokyo Godfathers, two productions which shined in nearly every department. Because Metropolis had a few predictability-issues, I decided to give the award to Tokyo Godfathers. The perfect Christmas-movie.

Best Mystery:

Dennou Coil

2007 has been a disappointing year for mystery when compared to 2006, something which I, as a mystery-fan, didn’t really like. Series like Darker than Black and Baccano may have been good in their own ways, but the mystery just wasn’t as good as some of the mystery-series that 2006 brought us. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni also stopped being a mystery-series with its second season, and that only leaves Dennou Coil to stand on the top, with definitely the best mystery of the entire year.

Best Old Series I happened to See This Year:

Haibane Renmei

While the second half of 2007 kept me busy checking out different movies, in the first half I was watching various thirteen-episode series. The best of the bunch definitely were Figure 17 and Haibane Renmei; two fantastic character-studies. Haibane Renmei ended up winning because of the brilliant scriptwriting that was showcased in the final episodes.

Best Script:

Baccano!

It hardly comes as a surprise that Baccano! walks away with this award. Three timelines happen all at once, the cast of characters is enormous for a thirteen-episode series, and still everything comes together like a charm in the end, leaving every character with a well-defined role, fleshed out and at least with a tiny bit of development.

Best Story:

Les Miserables – Shoujo Cosette

The two big series for this category are Toward the Terra and Les Miserables. Les Miserables managed to win because of the immense attention it put into both building-up and wrapping up its storyline. Here’s one series that makes perfect use of its 52 episodes.

Most Promising Studio:

Ufo-Table

There’s one reason why I give this award to Ufo-Table. Before 2007, they were just a measly studio with only the bad titles of Ninnin ga Shinobuden and Coyote Ragtime Show behind their name. Then they started the year with Manabi Straight, and continued on with Tales of Symphonia. While both may not be the best titles, they’re a huge improvement of what the studio showcased before, and they’re now also promising to do a great job for Kara no Kyoukai, which airs in 2008. These guys are really working to improve themselves, and it would be lovely if this could continue.

Best Character-Development:

Les Miserables – Shoujo Cosette

There are a lot of strong contenders for this year, which is why I decided to include this award. We have Chevalier with Durrant, Toward the Terra with Jomie and Keith and Red Garden with its four main characters. Still, the champion in the character-development for this year is Les Miserables, where the entire cast underwent some kind of memorable development, with the highlight being Eponine, who underwent so many changes from her initial spoiled brattiness.

Best Anime of 2007: 10-1
#10: Ooedo Rocket

A series that went mostly under the radar during the spring-season, which rather surprised me as it was being directed by the same guy who directed Full Metal Alchemist. Still, it featured a memorable cast of hilarious characters. It was so much fun to just see them interact with each other. I also admire the guts this series had for its final episodes, but I’d rather not spoil this.

#9: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

It took me a while to get used to the completely new pacing of the second season, when compared to the chaos of the first one. But still, the second season made Higurashi feel a lot more complete due to the huge amounts of attention it paid to the storyline and setting.

#8: Le Chevalier d’Eon

This was a real surprise for me. I was just casually watching this series, until it suddenly turned to much better than I could have imagined. I keep a list of rankings on this blog at the end of each month, and Chevalier was one of the only two series to be my favourite series for two consecutive months. The incredibly deep characters and the well-developed setting in France during the reign of Louis XV are the ones to thank for that.

#7: Seirei no Moribito

And with that, we come to another Production IG-series: Seirei no Moribito. No single series can even dream to come close to the amazing production-values of this series. Everything, absolutely everything has been incredibly detailed to perfection. This made for a few awkward and boring moments, but boy, did it deliver in the end!

#6: Dennou Coil

The spring-season had an incredibly strong line-up, and yet, Dennou Coil was my most anticipated series, and with a good reason. The setting has been incredibly imaginative. Mitsuo Iso went much further than just “creating a cyberspace that can be viewed with special glasses”. Dennou Coil has been an excellent example of science-fiction that’s different from all the space- and mecha-battles, and it was blessed with an incredibly strong cast.

#5: Baccano!

I don’t think I can add anything to what has already been said about this series. Baccano came and delivered in 13 episodes something that takes ordinary series twice as much time. No single frame or scene was wasted. And even though there were a huge amount of stories going on at the same time, everything came together like a charm, resulting in one of the most well-written series of the year.

#4: Les Miserables – Shoujo Cosette

To be honest, the Top-4 of this year is incredibly close. Last year, I had no difficulties selecting the order for my top-series of the year. Mahou Shoujotai, Noein, The Third, Simoun and Mushishi all made some special impact on me, they clearly stood above the rest of the series for 2006, and ranking them was quite easy. Though with 2007, choosing my favourite series was incredibly difficult. I know that the series I ranked in my top-4 are the highlight of the year for me, but there’s hardly a difference in quality between them. They all were awesome in their own way. Les Miserables is the only series this year that can boast to have a better-developed storyline than Seirei no Moribito. On top of that, the characters have been amazing, and the entire series has been wrapped up very carefully. This is one series that deserves to get subbed.

#3: Toward the Terra

Space-operas at its best. You won’t find any cheesy giant robot-battles here. Toward the Terra is the story about the Myu, who are searching for just a place to live. The multiple time-skips made sure that this series featured some of the best character-development of the entire year. Outstanding in every way, Toward the Terra is my biggest recommendation for the series that aired in 2007.

#2: Kaze no Shoujo Emily

Without a doubt the most underrated series of the year, even when compared to Les Miserables. Kaze no Shoujo Emily had an amazing combination between slice-of-life and gut-wrenching drama, and seeing Emily and her friends grow up was a true delight. For me, this has been one of the most consistently good series of the year, hence the high placement. The feeling of working towards your dreams proved to be excellent material for this series to work with.

#1: Bokura no

The perfect example of why changing from the original manga can be a good thing at times. The concept for Bokura no already was amazing, and the director used this concept perfectly to provide an amazing storyline for the characters to work with. Bokura no wasn’t about the characters freaking out, but about how they all individually chose to deal with the situation that was forced upon them, despite a few coincidences in the storyline, but I couldn’t care less about those.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews


Kawaguchi Kaiji’s 9 Love Stories, well, I think you hardly need to know anything more to guess what this one will be about. Kawaguchi Kaiji is the same guy who wrote the original story for a Spirit of the Sun, and his nine love stories are basically what you get after you cross Human Crossing with Sentimental Journey and put the result in a 90-minute movie. If you liked any of the two, or even Seraphim Call or Rumic Theatre for that matter, then you’ll like this one.

This movie basically features nine ten-minute stories about nine different, unrelated adults and the person they love. Five or six of them work: they’re touching tales about their characters, with some nice twists at the end. Three or four of the stories feel predictable, though. They just don’t have the spark that the others have.

Still, this movie is quite a nice recommendation if you like romance, and especially if you’re sick of all the standard high-school romances like me. Even though this movie dates back from 1993, the best stories still feel fresh. The graphics will take a bit of time to get used to, though. There are a lot of broad chins and the girls aren’t busty moe-stereotypes like you usually see. Instead of coming up with an original soundtrack, the creators went with a few classic songs from artists like the Beatles. It’s a bit cheap, but it fits, and it works.

Posted on with categories: Shugo Chara

I think that the end of 2007 will be the best time for this, so yeah, I’m going to drop Shugo Chara so that I won’t take it along into 2008. I’ll still continue watching it, but I don’t feel like blogging it anymore, for a variety of reasons:

– First and foremost: the 51 episodes. I don’t mind covering long series, (heck I did blog Jigoku Shoujo and Les Miserables with no problems whatsoever), but this length is just way too long for a series like this.
– I also have to admit that Shugo Chara didn’t turn out as interesting as I hoped it would be. I expected deep characters, what I got was random shoujo-fluff.
– While it was nice enough to cover it during the not-so-spectacular Autumn-season, there are enough excellent series that will be starting with the winter-season, and you can expect a lot of series that I’m going to end up blogging, and I feel that blogging Shugo Chara will feel more and more like a chore, so I’m going to drop it while it still feels enjoyable.

Unfortunately, 2007 has been a horrible year for Mahou Shoujo. I hoped that Shugo Chara would change this, but unfortunately it didn’t. Nothing about the series has stood out so far, and I don’t feel like blogging about 30 more episodes of fluff to get to the good parts.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews


I must applaud The Cockpit for actually taking place during World War II. It’s the same here in The Netherlands: there are lots of novels and stories about our Golden Age in the seventeenth century, there are lots of stories about World War II, where we were basically the victims of the Third Reich, but you’ll never hear anything about what we did in Indonesia, where we were the bastards. The same goes for anime: there are quite a lot of series about the Japanese ages of glory, the time of the samurais. And there are very few anime about the Second World War, where the Japanese were the bastards. If only for that, this series deserves credit.

Apart from this, The Cockpit is a collection of stories about three people, fighting for Japan in the war. Slipstream is a beautiful tale about a war-veteran and a certain mission he accepts. It may not be historically accurate at times, but its message is wonderful and makes a lot of impact. It’s also got a subtle feeling of loneliness that doesn’t feel out of place in a Makoto Shinkai-movie, and it’s the definite highlight of The Cockpit for me.

Sonic Boom Squadron then comes and tackles a taboo in anime: suicide bombers. We get to look into the mind of one of them, and the ones who will accompany him in his final moments, and it works. While I would have liked to see a bit more about his background, the guy shows us something different from the stereotype that surrounded the suicide-bombers. The ending is also a great one, held back from being underdeveloped and coming from rather nowhere.

Knight of the Iron Dragon is a disappointing finale, though. It doesn’t take itself serious enough, and the themes have been overplayed a bit too much, with a low-ranked war-veteran taking care of a rookie. It has the potential, but the execution just fails.

I must admit that I didn’t think much of the Matsumoto Leiji-universe up till now, but that’s probably because the only thing I had seen from the guy was Gun Frontier, which was just bad. With The Cockpit, though I begin to see the guy’s talent: realistic war-settings about thought-provoking heroes. If his other works are more similar to The Cockpit than to Gun Frontier, then I’m willing to check out more of it somewhere in the future.

Posted on 30 December 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


Oh my, this is a rare occurrence: quite a lot of series suffer from an underdeveloped villain, out there to destroy the world for a weak or shallow reason. This isn’t the case for Please Save my Earth, though. Heck, the major villain is actually the best-developed character of the entire series!

Please Save my Earth is one of those rare six-episode OVAs that prefers to focus on the story and the major villain, instead of the usual characters. The setting is also a memorable one, with a few similarities to Fantastic Children, and it makes sure that the villain has a good reason for his grudges.

Unfortunately, the good guys do have their problems. Don’t get me wrong, they’re deep, they’re developed, but unfortunately they haven’t been fleshed out well enough. Please Save my Earth seems to be another manga-adaptation, and in the end six episodes turned to be too small for this story. At times, the characters also keep angsting while it would have been better to see more of their sides. Especially the background story: it has so much potential, but we hardly see anything of it.

Still, for an OVA, this is definitely an above-average one. It starts out really annoying, but soon a twist will make you see that this is more than just an ordinary high-school drama. The animation may be a bit dated (this is fifteen years old), the music has been composed by Yoko Kanno in her early days, and it shines. Combine this with deep characters and you have quite a good way to spend three hours.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Les Miserables - Shoujo Cosette


And finally, the behemoth of the series that is known as Les Miserables -Shoujo Cosette has ended. For the revival of the World Masterpiece Theatre, the classic novel by Victor Hugo was chosen to get an adaptation, and the result has become terrific; a masterpiece in terms of story and characters. Sure, the series is aimed at children, but don’t think that children will be the only ones to enjoy this, because Les Miserables is an epic for every age.

The series consists out of five arcs, where every arc is different from the other. Indeed, the first arc focuses on how a small girl called Cosette has to live under the evil Thenardiers. The fourth arc, however, deals with a bunch of men that fight for their beliefs in a revolution, and Cosette herself actually plays a very small role in this. There is indeed a lot of building-up, but because of this, every character can be fleshed out and developed. Every bit of storyline can be explained and carried further, and every single climax works, and takes the best out of the characters and the story, with the definite highlight being the fourth arc.

Les Miserables definitely isn’t your standard anime. There are no cheesy villains that are out there to destroy the world. No teenagers that can pilot giant robots. What we have here is a story that manages to remain realistic and yet exciting. Every character fits his or her role exactly and there is hardly any character that doesn’t develop somehow. There’s just one downside, though. The book was quite dark, and most of the dark elements did remain in the series. Unfortunately, the heaviest themes as prostitution and suicide had to be scrapped though. The ending also ends up being much lighter than that of the book, but that doesn’t mean that it’s less developed. Les Miserables remains an excellently written series, from beginning to end.

Overall, if you liked Studio Ghibli’s non-action movies then you’ll definitely like this one. It’s such a shame that the subs have only reached up till episode 6. If there ever was a series that deserves to be subbed, it’d be this one, because for me it had the best story and character-development of the entire year of 2007. Let’s hope that Porfy’s Long Journey doesn’t get the same negligence.

Posted on with categories: Les Miserables - Shoujo Cosette


What an awesome way to end such an awesome series! Even though there was nothing of Thenardiére and Azelma, we get something that’s even better: the death of Jean Valjean. I didn’t believe that this series would be able to make me cry after the revolution ended, and thankfully I was so wrong about this. Jean’s end was incredibly well-done, and is it me or did the graphics look better than ever in this episode?

This episode starts with a time-skip of what I’d guess are a few months. Gavroche and his two brothers are settled into their school, and especially Gavroche is making a lot of progression. Cosette and Marius have just moved out, into Courfeyrac’s old apartment. It’s at that point where they get a letter from Jean, and with that they finally manage to find him back.

The guy has indeed wilted away, and has become sick in the months that he was away from Cosette. It also seems that he stopped using fake names, and he’s known to the people as just “Jean Valjean”. He also stopped hiding the chandeliers from everyone, and he actually grew a small beard. When Cosette and Marius meet him, he finally has the courage to tell Cosette about his own life, and of the times he served in jail (it was awesome to see Jean in his twenties, by the way). After he finishes telling, it seems that he’s finally content enough to stop caring about his own life, and dies.

In the aftermath, we see Javert again as well, when he comes to give a quick visit to Jean’s grave. The anime ends with a few flashbacks and shots of the different characters passing out food and clothes to the poor, and the final scene goes three or four years into the future, where Marius and Cosette along with their daughter, a very reminiscent scene for the first episode when Cosette had her final moments with her mother.

To close off, I would like to thank Irene, angedemystere, Tania, Dookers and R for keeping the comments coming. Out of all the shows I’ve been blogging, Les Miserables has had the most discussion going on in the comments, and it was a lot of fun to read them for every week. I’m not sure if you’re going to watch Porfy’s Long Journey as well, but I’m definitely going to follow it. :)

Posted on with categories: Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji


Okay, so the current is going to be predictable. Kaiji just has to survive; otherwise the show would just run out of main character. Still, that didn’t prevent this episode from being among the best that this series has had to offer. At the moment, I only see one annoyance in this series: this is one of the worst series to take screenshots for: all the best shots have subtitles in them.

In the Espoir-arc, death was more symbolic, but for the Starside-arc, it’s gotten much, much closer. I loved how, now that there is no more competition, the ten remaining contestants feel much closer together, now that they won’t have to betray to stay alive. Very refreshing for this series. Instead of that, a new threat has appeared: plain old fear and I loved how this episode showed how easily this can go out of control if your life is at stake. Take that, action-movies!

Tonegawa is also shaping up to be one of my favourite characters of this series. Unlike all the contestants, he’s not limited by predictability and after the previous episode I wouldn’t have thought that he’d actually enjoy events like this, seeing the scum of society suffer so much.

One thing that would make Kaii’s survival more credible is that he by far the most emotionally involved with the others. In this episode, you can see that he’s too busy with worrying about the others’ survival to realize that he too is on the verge of death. I also predict that Ishida will play a big role in the next episode, because he keeps relying on Kaiji so much. The two of them will probably use this to get to the other side, while Sahara will use his competitive spirit against Kaiji. It’s a shame that the other characters didn’t receive enough development like this, and they’ll probably all end up dying as well. Perhaps with the exception of the guy in the red shirt.

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • k-off
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 07:28 PM)
    Thing is, the whole system kind of breaks the fuck apart once you bring in people from beyond the 17th century. Swords weren’t a primary weapon anymore so there wouldn’t be any sabers, unless you count bayonets, lancers are obsolete, and the rest is the same as well.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 07:09 PM)
    @Emma Eh, George Washington, General William T Sherman, Guy Fawkes, Emperor Augustus, Julius Caesar, Andrew Jackson, Simo haya, Alvin York, the list goes on friend.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 01:58 PM)
    This leads me to ask, what historical people would you all think would make interesting servants in the grail war? Ones that haven’t been covered. What class would they cover?
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 01:22 PM)
    He wouldn’t be able to do much as an archer though, considering that it does not have presense concealment. But if he was summoned as a Assassin…hmmm…interesting.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 01:18 PM)
    @Bam, there is a sniper class. It’s called Archer. It’s just that the archers in fate/stay night and Zero are not typical Archers. The Archers from Fate/apocrypha are more like real archers. And they would give Simo Häyhä a run for his money. Though funny enough I think Simo may actually qualify to be summoned as a servent of the archer class. Wonder what his noble phantasm would be?..
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 10:31 AM)
    The cast of FS/N should thank the heavens that there’s no Sniper class, otherwise all the masters would’ve been wiped out without even knowing who the fuck is taking them out. Shout-out to my man Simo Häyhä AKA The White Death.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 07:46 AM)
    @K-off: I’ve seen you’re a fan of westerns have you come across this film or read the book it was based on?
    http://emma-hime.deviantart.com/art/Review-The-homesman-496287407
  • Emma
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 07:45 AM)
    Meh…feel no motivation right now to give darker than black, school rumble or full metal panic a second viewing…
  • Emma
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 07:21 AM)
    Can’t believe I missed month ago that giovanni’s island was out, do love a good war drama but I wonder if I’ll bother with this one.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 04:18 AM)
    God damn Kokkuri-san is so fucking good. Wish I had time to write my damn reviews.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 07

As expected, this week we have another action filled episode. Queue the pretty explosions and fast paced fighting. It felt too short despite the episode length being just the same as the others. I often find that with a good episode of anime it makes you lose the concept of time as you watch. Making […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 07

  I will admit it, I laughed at the beginning. The episode started with a pretty funny joke related to Meliodas and Elizabeth sleeping in the same bed. Maybe because this one didn’t have a second agenda of providing fanservice at the same time. Actually I enjoyed this episode a lot more than the previous. […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 06

I was mistaken in the previous review. The action scene I thought we would be getting today has been postponed till next week. This week we have a calm before the storm episode as things seem to be setting up for the fight scene to come. I am a little disappointed with this weeks fare […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 06

There was quite number of still frames this episode so I hope that the animation budget isn’t starting to hurt. So our heroes triumph over the villains with a little help from Elizabeth. She showed some actual enginuity for once. As I was about to sigh as the villain was preparing to blab on about […]

Shingeki no Bahamut:Genesis- 05

Ah, the story progression that I was looking for. I finally find myself having a reason to get attached to Leone and Kaisar, because this episode devotes an entire episode to their rivalry and is just all around an improvement from last episode. I’ve talked about how the slow pacing hurts this show, and this […]

Parasyte-the Maxim- 03-05

Let me put up a disclaimer: When I first started to review this series, I didn’t foresee the obvious outcome that this show would end up so mediocre. I debated whether or not I should write reviews in groups of 2-3 episodes versus reviews that would drone on about the same issues every single episode, […]

Your Lie in April – 04 & 05

Episodes 4 and 5 of Your Lie in April were crucial ones in terms of how the series would develop. Episode 4 was a very important episode in the series as we see Kousei reintroduce himself to the music world after his mother’s death left him unable to play the piano. How the writers would […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 05

Always elegant. That is the motto of the Tohsaka household and the mask of Tohsaka Rin. The meaning clearly that no matter what you do, do it with style and grace. It is the creed which Rin upholds by playing the honor student. Though as you can see, at times cracks can appear in the […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 05

One of the problems facing this series is the presentation of threats. In many other shounen you can just bring out some powerful villain and have him force the protagonist to get stronger. In seven deadly sins however our main characters are already veteran legendary warriors with tremendous power. So just adding in a strong […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]