Posted on 31 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



What a tear-jerker of a movie. I don’t exactly know how this movie compared to the original TV series of the seventies, but damn, it was so worth it. An excellent recommendation if you’re looking for a sad and depressing movie that’s full of emotions.

This is just one of those recap movies that just works: the creators successfully stuffed the story it’s based on in 90 minutes, and they more than gave the lead character of Marco credit. When a recap movie can get such a huge emotional response out of me like with this movie, I really don’t have any complaints.

The story of Marco is an endearing one, as he travels from the middle of Italy to the middle of Argentine in order to see his mother again. The reason why this movie works is his fantastic characterization throughout his journey. He’ such a lovable character and yet he has to go through so many ordeals in order to get to his destination. And it’s not like this is a stereotypical world in which everyone is against him either: some people are nice, others are just tired of street-kids and treat him roughly. Like most of Nippon Animation’s literary adaptations, the setting is very realistic.

As for the flaws… it does make use of the “useless mother”-cliche, but heck: for once it’s central to the plot, so it’s not that big of a deal. At heart, this movie doesn’t just show the ordeals of a small kid, but also tries to show us who he is, what drives him and what he wants to be when he grows up. It’s a movie that has lots of the charms of a regular World Masterpiece Theatre series, cropped up into just an hour and a half. I’m still amazed at how well and complete the result turned out.

In any case, this is the last thing you’ll see of me this decade. Have a happy end of the year, everyone!

Storytelling: 9/10 – Realistic, heart-wrenching and yet not overdoing the drama.
Characters: 9/10 – Marco is such an engaging character.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Simple graphics, but the animation is fluid and the music is powerful.
Setting: 9/10 – Ah, the realism!
Posted on with categories: Yearly Summaries

Overall 2009 wasn’t exactly the best year ever, but it still had its share of awesome series and concepts. Here’s my list of the ones that stood out the most:

Biggest Disappointment

Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai

Gundam 00 is a heavy contender in this category. While the first season had a complex political story, the second season merely degenerated into “Kill Ribbons”. The side-plots hardly ever went anywhere, not to mention the dumbest way to waste military resources ever with the Trans-Am Kamikaze Gagas. Still, even this was trumped by the Munto Remake. Here the characters had the chance to remake a series with a fascinating setting and give it give it the time it deserves. So what do they do? A bloody recap! If this was any other studio it might make sense as a way to save budget and all, but this is KYOANI: out of all the production-companies out there, they should be the least worried about money-problems.

Worst First Episode

Abunai Sisters

I still consider it as one of the highlights of this year that I was actually asked by a professional company to review the first episode of this, but I really can’t deny that it was also the worst first episode of not just this year, but of the whole decade. There were so many things wrong with it, the voice acting, the humour, the graphics.

Worst Series

Zan Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei

Of course, this award only goes for the series that I actually completed, OVAs and Movies excluded. I didn’t watch any series that were too terrible this year, but the bottom of the ladder is for me populated by Saki (too much moe, too many clichés and stereotypes, way too little substance), Kurokami (pointless action with a very underdeveloped backstory), Munto TV (only what? 3,5 episodes of new material?). But this one really takes the cake. 90% of the time it’s just not funny and simply repeating itself over and over again, and the very few funny moments didn’t excuse the pain it was for me to sit through this.

Most Promising Studio

David Production

This is the award I hand out every year for production-companies that are either new or have put forth major improvements. This year, I’m in no doubt of which studio to give it to. David Production came from absolutely nowhere, and yet they already put forth two very impressive series with their own distinctive style, which both were very refreshing for their respective genre: Ristorante Paradiso is a very gentle slice of life series, while Armed Librarians had a very bold execution, breaking heaps of clichés and stereotypes in the process. Of course, there’s also that matter of Dogs Bullets and Carnage, but ah well.

Best Animation Studio

Bones

Bones really surpassed itself this year in terms of animation. It didn’t have just one awesome-looking series, it had four of them that I loved (Bonen no Xamdou, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, Tokyo Magnitude and Darker than Black Ryuusei no Gemini). They weren’t always paced well (coughXamdoucough) but all of them had a lot of creativity and very good production-values.

Biggest Surprise

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

This category is simple: what series surprised me the most during the past year. Birdy the Mighty is for example a really heavy contender in this category: its first season had plenty of faults, and there the second season came and improved on it in every single aspect. Or take the new Mazinger: I really didn’t expect beforehand that it would turn into such an epic series with an actual linear storyline. Still, I’m going to hand out this award to the start of Tokyo Magnitude: it started off with a seemingly mundane episode in which nothing happened. The huge contrast with the dark and bittersweet second episode managed to land it this award.

Best Old Series I Happened to See This Year

Strange Dawn

I’ve watched a lot of great series this year. Ashita no Nadja, Glass Mask (2005) and Kaleido Star really deserve a special mention here because of their amazingly developed characters, but the series that impressed me even more was Sato Junichi’s Strange Dawn. There’s so much detail put into the storytelling, and the characters are just incredible. It’s a very dramatic series, but for me the drama really worked and culminated into an absolutely stunning ending.

Best Animation

Bonen no Xamdou

Okay, I’ve talked about Xamdou’s amazing animation often enough already, but seriously: it does have the best animation of any TV-series I have seen thus far. Every episode is just incredibly well animated, ranging from the quiet scenes to the busy action scenes. Runners up are Hashire, Melos! from Aoi Bungaku, Canaan, Aoi Hana and Eden of the East.

Best Background Art

Guin Saga

Eden of the East had gorgeous backgrounds, but granted most of them were just filtered photos. The really great stuff in terms of background art this year came from the fantasy architecture: the Atlas building of Shangri-la was jaw-droppingly beautiful, the architecture of the various buildings in Armed Librarians was full of imagination, but the Guin Saga really deserves the most credits here, because it feels like every single building was designed with epic in mind: huge, imaginative, colourful. They made sure that there was always some kind of eye-candy to look at.

Best Music

Phantom

It’s getting a bit boring to keep giving away these awards to Bee-Train (this is the fourth year in a row that a Bee-Train series walks off with the award for best music in my summaries), but they just keep making these series with awesome music. With this soundtrack, Hikaru Nanase solidified herself as my favourite soundtrack composer along with Yuki Kajiura. The soundtrack of Phantom is varied, exciting and powerful. There are so many styles in this soundtrack and nearly all songs kick ass. Runners up are Michiko e Hatchin (hey, it was produced by the director of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo) Guin Saga (epic, just like the series) and Birdy the Mighty Decode 2 (excellent in creating a dark atmosphere).

Best-Looking Graphics

Aoi Bungaku

This award isn’t for animation quality, but rather: which series looked the best? I was ready to hand out this award to Casshern Sins again, but then Aoi Bungaku appeared. It had six different animation and graphic styles that, each of which looked absolutely beautiful and they were full of eye candy. That’s not to say that Casshern Sins dulled in, of course. It still was an absolutely beautiful series with some of the best character-designs out there.

Best Action

Birdy the Mighty Decode 2

2009 had 3 series with beyond epic action-scenes: the new Mazinger, Bonen no Xamdou and Birdy the Mighty’s second season. Xamdou’s action had some of the best animation to back it up with, the Mazinger was always fun to watch with its over the top storyline, but I decided to give this award to Birdy the Mighty due to Kazuki Akane’s powerful directing that made even the least impressive action scenes stand out and make impact.

Best Comedy

Marie & Gali

2009 was a great year for comedies: we had such gems as GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, which always provided fresh and interesting jokes around various art topics. Then there was Skip Beat with its hilarious sense of humour when it wanted to, and let’s not forget Tentai Senshi Sunred with its typical style of combining extreme realism to extreme stupidity. Still, for me Marie & Gali was without a doubt the best in the comedy genre this year. Every single episode, it comes with something incredibly creative and imaginative to make fun of the principles of physics, and every single episode, it delivers and cracks me up. Now that’s what I call a good comedy.

Best Slice of Life

Cross Game

2009 was an excellent year for the slice of life genre. There were countless series that provided a great take on something so seemingly dull as just showing the daily lives of a bunch of people. Ristorante Paradiso was a very gentle and well-paced series (in which the characters are actual adults for once!), Tentai Senshi Sunred took this to the absurd with its parodies of the Super Sentai Genre, and GA was also a delight to watch simply because of its characters, even during the times when they weren’t trying to make jokes. Cross Game wins in this category though, because of its always tongue-in-cheek execution that loves to play around with all of the different characters. When the characters are living their daily lives, there’s always something interesting going on.

Best Mystery

Umineko no Naku Koro ni

This is of course a no-brainer. The other great mystery-series of 2009 were Pandora Hearts and Full Metal Alchemist, which both had really well integrated mystery into their settings, and both just kept the twists coming. Umineko however took this even a step further. Nearly every episode had me form countless of theories about what the heck was going on, why things happened the way they did and which one of the tons of plot twists actually wasn’t a red herring.

Best Movie (out of the ones that I watched anyway)

Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea

It’s always a bit tricky to figure out which movies I can put into these categories and which ones not; this year there were four movies that made the biggest impression on me: Furusato Japan (quiet but very solid and great songs), The Sky Crawlers (Mamoru Oshii doing something completely different… and it actually works), the fifth Kara no Kyoukai movie (great and complex storyline) and Ponyo. It sounds clichéd, but I’m really going to have to say that Ponyo is the best of those four. Miyazaki really showed that he’s still able to make wonderful movies with amazing visuals and charming characters.

Best Romance

Aoi Hana

2009 was an excellent year for romance. There were so many quality romance shows that aired this year, that I’m probably going to remember this as a year of romance. There were great romance series as Genji Monogatari, Sasameki Koto and White Album, and the romance in other shows also rocked, like in Birdy the Mighty, Clannad After Story, Cross Game, Ristorante Paradiso, Spice and Wolf II and Shikabane Hime Kuro. Still, Aoi Hana did it best in my opinion. Even though it’s lesbian romance, it still was very detailed, engaging and realistic. It made excellent use of its characters and their development and the romance was never cheesy or unrealistic.

Most Imaginative Setting

Michiko e Hatchin

Full Metal Alchemist really surprised me how deep its setting was, especially considering the first season. Armed Librarians is also looking out to a great setting here, and Umineko really revolutionized the mystery-genre with its background story. Still, I’ve been the most impressed by Michiko e Hatchin and its depiction of Brazil a few years back. It felt like the creators did a huge amount of research in order to make it come across as authentic as possible.

Best Character-Development

Birdy the Mighty Decode 2

What an improvement the characters made over the first season. It feels like every single one of them had some memorable development. The new characters also rocked, and even they went through subtle changes. I also really liked how Phantom developed its characters throughout its arcs. It was a bit over the top, but the main cast was always engaging. Other greatly developed characters were Touya (White Album I and especially II), Remus and Amnelis (Guin Saga), Hatchin (Michiko e Hatchin) and Erin (Kemono no Souja Erin).

Best Story

Michiko e Hatchin

This is a tough one, but I decided to give Michiko e Hatchin this award, because pretty much everything clicked. It was varied, it had a great conclusion, it was fun, endearing, tense and all sorts of other things throughout the series. Of course, Birdy the Mighty Decode also had a great story, Guin Saga had great politics, and Full Metal Alchemist and Armed Librarians are looking to be great contenders for next year’s version of this award.

Top 10 2009

I’m not going for a top 20 this year, for two reasons. First one is time constraint (hey, last years I didn’t have to write a decade summary at the same time as well), but also because I noted that as I compiled my list of favourites, that I really didn’t have any particular order for the numbers 11-25. There were a lot of great series this year, but just don’t ask me to rank them beyond a top 10. If you want to know which series I mean: Shangri-La, White Album, Pandora Hearts, Bonen no Xamdou, Ristorante Paradiso, Cross Game, Shin Mazinger, GA, Spice and Wolf II, Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, Darker than Black – Ryuusei no Gemini, Hajime no Ippo – New Challenger, Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood and Shikabane Hime Kuro. All of these were great, just don’t ask me to rank them. Now that that’s out of the way, here’s my Top 10 for this year:

#10: Guin Saga

The Guin Saga was epic fantasy done right. It started out in a land full of creative creatures, races and locations, and gradually moved to a more politically oriented story, both of which rocked. Now granted, it is a very incomplete story (still waiting on that second season announcement…) and the animation at times wasn’t sufficient to capture all of the epicness of the storyline, but it’s a great series nonetheless, with a terrific soundtrack and background art.

#9: Aoi Hana

I really liked the concept of Noise: Fuji TV’s attempt to create a second Noitamina. All of the series that resulted from it were excellent, but it’s a shame that it didn’t work out in the end and the timeslot was dropped. Nevertheless, Aoi Hana was a truly excellent series with a great direction and production-values. It’s was very realistic for a romance series, and the characters were very charming and engaging to watch.

#8: Clannad After Story

This sequel of Clannad earned its place on this list, mostly due to the amazing developments it took during its second half. While most of the series was just a regular high school series (that has been done much better by other series this year, like Aoi Hana and GA), it really set itself apart from the rest during this second half. I’m not going to spoil what exactly happened, but the character-development that the lead character got out of it was amazing. Just a shame of that ending.

#7: Casshern Sins

Casshern Sins remained a very strong series throughout its second half. It still was beautifully drawn and animated, and the main storyline was very impressive. While it didn’t surpass the first half in terms of individual episodes, when you look at the total picture it remains a very impressive series with creative and well written dialogues and scenarios.

#6: Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra

While this is the only series on this list that hasn’t finished yet, I do want to include it somehow because of its terrific execution, which was a true breath of fresh air in the fantasy-genre. The way it weaves tons of different storylines into one is done almost brilliantly, and it really makes use of the past in order to flesh out the present, and give every character sufficient and memorable development. Hamyuts Meseta herself is my favourite: a unique anti-heroine that kicks ass and yet isn’t your stereotypical evil overlord…ess.

#5: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Tokyo Magnitude: a series that shows what would happen to Tokyo if it were struck by a huge earthquake today, all seen through the eyes of a young girl. And boy, was it impressive. It was a bittersweet series and the biggest tear-jerker of the year for me, and Mirai was such an engaging character. I’ve seen quite a few people who didn’t like the final twist at the end, but I personally loved the results of having this included. It made for a very memorable series.

#4: Phantom

Phantom turned into my favourite Bee-Train series after .Hack//Sign. It has many of their staples, but executed even better than usual. The great character-development of Ein and Zwei throughout the series is memorable and makes excellent use of its time-frame. The excellent music also adds. At times the drama may be a bit unrealistic and overstatement, but it had me hooked from start to finish.

#3: Michiko e Hatchin

I personally loved how this series had its moments of silliness, tension, action, drama and always made it a mystery what it would focus on next. On top of that, Hatchin was an awesome character, Satoshi was an awesome villain, Michiko was an awesome anti-heroine, and the chemistry between the entire cast rocked. The portrayal of Brazil was very accurate in my view, and this series always had something interesting. Definitely in my top 3 of this year.

#2: Aoi Bungaku

Madhouse did it again with this series. Amazingly stylish in six different and distinct ways, Each of the stories is different and stands on its own as a great story. The storytelling is just awesome, with as highlight Hashire Melos, but all of the other stories were amazing as well.

#1: Birdy the Mighty Decode 2

So my number one isn’t that much of a surprise for those who’ve been following my blog for a while now. The first season of Birdy the Mighty was pretty nice, but too childish at times. Then this series comes, and improves on it in every. single. way. The graphics are amazing, the action is fantastic, the characters gained tons of depth, it still pays attention to the setting and the people living in it, the storyline is compelling, the villains are awesome, I could just go on and on with singing praises over this series. It’s a well deserved favourite of this year, and only established Kazuki Akane even more as my favourite director ever.

Well, that’s it. A happy new year to everyone in advanced. And what were your favourites of 2009?

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



Those who liked Summer Wars will probably like the second Digimon movie, because it pretty much follows the same scenario. Seriously, Summer Wars is nearly just the same movie only with different characters and lots of technical upgrades and a bigger scale. Bokura no War Game, along with Serial Experiments Lain, I think was one of the first anime that looked at the possible dangers of the Internet, and having every computer in the world linked up.

I wasn’t too excited about the general scenario, especially the final climax was just drawn out, cheesy and a Deus ex Machina. The charm in this movie, again, comes from the characters. They really make it a lot of fun to watch this movie. My favourite part was where Taichi was fervently trying to contact the other members of the cast on an incredibly short notice.

At heart, this is a movie about how the world is changing, and evolving into the digital age. The Digimon TV-series speculated what would happen if computers would evolve so much that an entire world would be created (pretty much Shintoism in a modern coat), and this movie takes it on a more down to earth scale, making it much more concrete. And I think that in that way, it actually did a better job than Summer Wars. Apart from that, I don’t think I can count any of the movies superior: this movie clearly is smaller, but both have their own charms and weaknesses, depending on how epic you want to be.

I do want to say that I liked the first Digimon movie better, though. It really shined in its simplicity and charms, while this was a bit too much of a “an evil monster is about to destroy the world! Let’s stop him at the last possible moment!”-movie. The evil monster just isn’t as interesting compared to the amount of time that’s spent on it, and that’s where this movie disappointed me the most.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Fun and quick-paced, though the climax could have been better.
Characters: 8/10 – The lead characters are a lot of fun, the villain disappoints.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty nice animation and soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – Interesting though unrealistic look at the Internet.
Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



This was my biggest surprise of the past autumn season. It’s just one of those shows that from the outside looks like nothing special: we have this girl who is in love with another girl but that other girl is oblivious to this, hijinks ensue, blah blah blah. It’s been done many times before. But what a good attempt it turned out to be!

The biggest reason for this is the truly excellent cast of characters. Sumi is a wonderful character to watch; she’s fun, exciting, compassionate and her personal issues of always being seen as the strong dependable friend on their own are alone to make the entire series worthwile. She has her quirks, but she’s not over the top or one-sided.

Apart from that, this really is a great slice of life series. It always has fun situations to put its characters in, and even when it goes the predictable way of the beach episode, it still manages to make something creative out of it. This series is so down to earth and yet enjoyable. The drama knows that it shouldn’t drag on forever, and yet it’s built up well.

I really didn’t think it was possible, but Sasameki Koto managed to set itself apart in the lesbian genre with a genuine, fun and very enjoyable series that’s easy to digest, yet very charming. It’s one of those series in which hardly anything went wrong: the pacing, characters, story. It all seems to fit. Well, okay. If I had to mention a flaw, then it’s that at times it looks a bit too much like a harem. But the love triangles all serve their purpose, and do a great job to not get in the way of the other subplots.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Down to earth and charming.
Characters: 9/10 – Sumi rocks, and the rest of the cast is great too.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty nice, though nothing special.
Setting: 8/10 – Decent, though not the main focus at all.
Posted on 30 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



While not perfect, the second Tenchi Muyo movie impressed me. I was expecting a real melodrama of characters overacting, but instead there’s a lot of subtlety in this very emotional movie. That’s something I really appreciated, and I think that this is my favourite installment of the Tenchi Muyo! franchise because of that. But you don’t want to watch this movie as a Tenchi fan.

It’s a bit spoilerific perhaps, but imagine your average harem series: it’s been established that some of the characters are in love with the male lead, but nothing major happens. Then this woman comes out of nowhere, takes Tenchi and the two become full-fledged lovers. There is no action, hardly any comedy, no harem hijinks. It’s completely different from the rest of the tenchi franchise, which always had something innocent in it.

The high emphasis on drama makes it a great movie, though. It’s powerful and yet not overdramatic. The new girl, Haruna, is drawn beautifully, and well developed throughout the movie, and I especially liked the way her relationship developed with Tenchi. The animation is great, and if you watched the OVAs, then it’s a great recommendation if you’re looking for a good romance movie. There aren’t many good romance movies anyway, so it’s great to see one that’s worthwile.

I do have a complaint though. Ayeka and Ryoko feel a bit dumbed down in comparison to Haruna. When the movie focuses on them, they seem to lose their spark a bit, and I just didn’t buy their development at times. They didn’t ask enough questions and it just felt to me like they were somewhat different people from the rest of the Tenchi Franchise. Because of that, this movie seemed to lose my attention a bit, every time they came in the spotlight again.

Nevertheless, the rest of the cast does not have this problem and that’s why I enjoyed this movie a lot. It’s emotional, charming and mature, and shows why Tenchi is much more interesting than 90% of the other harem lead clones out there.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Quiet, subtle and engaging.
Characters: 8/10 – Haruna and Tenchi are great; Ryoko and Ayeka disappoint a bit.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Fluid and life-like animation.
Setting: 8/10 – Adds quite a bit of depth to certain a certain character.
Posted on with categories: Yearly Summaries

Well, as promised here is the second part of my decade summary. It again took me a while to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with it. I didn’t want to write a simple Top X-list; that would just be pointless, since people can just look at my Top 20 and remove all of the series that aren’t from the past decade.

Instead, I eventually decided to create 9 Top 9s, based around various categories that I find important (or eight categories that I find important and one category for the people who want to know where I’ve tortured myself throughout the past decade). Little did I know at the time that this would be an incredibly ambitious project, and in the end this turned into probably the biggest article I’ve ever written for this blog, totalling at a whopping 6000+ words. Ah well, I hope you’re happy with it, and have a fun end of the year and decade.

Worst Series that I Somehow Managed to Finish

There were times (especially in my early years), in which I for some reason continued to watch even though they hardly had any redeeming quality, or were a huge pain to sit through. Since I can’t speak for series that I didn’t finish, this list just included the ones that I watched from beginning to end. Movies and OVAs don’t count, since it’s too easy to sit through a bad one when compared to a much longer TV-series. Oh, and do note that this is only my opinion. Feel free to disagree.

#9: Star Ocean Ex – Let me explain why this series made this list. For the most part, it’s just a very generic fantasy-show, but nothing too bad. There was at least nice enough characterization. However, it all goes down the drain during the final arc. I’m not sure exactly what happened here, but every moment where they could, the creators pulled the EXACT SAME Deus ex Machina: a person is attacked by an evil monster, he or she is about to die, and right from nowhere (and I really mean, nowhere; none of it was ever explained) some sort of saviour appears. And they do this, with every. single. battle. THIS was the series that made me hate Deus ex Machinas and overly emphasized coincidences.
#8: Mai Otome – I kept watching this series as a fan of Mai Hime: despite its terrible ending, it really was a well written series. So how did this show, its spiritual successor, screw up so badly? It never seemed to really know where it was going, it was full of pointless angst, it had an incredibly annoying lead character and none of the excellent characterization that was so prevalent in Mai Hime returned. Really, what happened?
#7: Romeo x Juliet – I like Gonzo, I really do. But they also have made some shows that I just never got into. Romeo had a lot of potential as a remake of the classic story by Shakespeare, but the creators never really had a vision of what they really wanted to do with it. The characters are clichéd and angsty, the story never really gets anywhere, and the creators ended up doing a massive injustice to the original literary source.
#6: The Melody of Oblivion – I’ve seen this described as a “shounen Utena with all the subtlety removed”, but that would be giving it just too much credit. For me, the Melody of Oblivion was an attempt to be different and experimental that just didn’t work, with a stupid cast of main characters, an uninspired set of storylines to work with, and most importantly an incredibly slow and annoying pacing that broke down tension, instead of building it up.
#5: School Days – I first have to say that I have no problems with the premise for School Days: all the harem leads out there are wimpy boys with a kind heart, so seeing an actual asshole in the lead was very refreshing. However, that doesn’t excuse the terrible scriptwriting and cast of characters. The creators wanted so badly to go to that wildly publicized ending of theirs that they completely derailed previously built up characters, just for that sake.
#4: Shakugan no Shana – While with the previous entries on the list, I still can somewhat understand why I kept watching them, this isn’t the case with Shakugan no Shana. To this day, I’m still not sure why I didn’t immediately drop this show. While the start may have been interesting enough, as soon as Shana derailed from a tough warrior to a whining tsundere there was nothing left in this series that was worth watching. Shana truly has to be the single most annoying characters I’ve ever seen, and to this day I still haven’t forgiven her voice actress for her mind-numbing performance back then.
#3: Girls Bravo – Again, I have no idea why I managed to finish this. This really is another one of those harem comedies at its worst: the premise is stupid, the characters are stupid, and the story is just an excuse to put a bunch of boobs on one screen. It had no depth, no entertainment value. Nothing.
#2: Chocolate Underground – Okay, I’m cheating a bit with this one because its episodes are only five minutes of length, but I just had to include this series since it tried to stuff waaaaay too much in them. It seriously has one of the worst plots I’ve ever seen in an anime, and while it starts off pretty decently in the beginning, with people resisting a corrupt government and all, it completely derails in the second half to become nothing but a “kids rule adults suck!”-fest.
#1: Shining Tears X Wind – You might think that my number 1 on this list would be the one that I hate the most, but Shining Tears X Wind is a show that’s SO bad that it becomes hilarious. And don’t get me wrong, I still rate it among the worst shows I’ve ever seen, but the big climax for this show is so unbelievably stupid, so unbelievably moronic, cheesy, disturbing and yet so unpredictable (it’s a true Deus ex Machina: it really comes from absolutely freaking nowhere) that I still laugh about it today.

Best Soundtrack

I’m a big fan of a good use of music in anime, so I just had to make a top 9 with my favourite soundtracks of the past decade. There have been tons of great soundtracks throughout the past ten years, but here are my favourites, the one who made the most impact on me:

#9: El Cazador de la Bruja – So yeah, obviously Bee-Train is going to be dominating this list. It’s for the simple reason that they don’t just see music as background tunes, but they see it as a way of storytelling as well. Yuki Kajiura composed an excellent soundtrack, and especially the main theme is something that you can just listen to over and over again.
#8: Ergo Proxy – This may be just a soundtrack that mostly stays in the background, but seriously, Ergo Proxy for me had one of the best ambient soundtrack I’ve listened to. The subtlety with which Yoshihiro Ike composed the tracks is really impressive. It’s gloomy, dark and fits the mood of this show perfectly.
#7: Ooedo Rocket – One of the reasons that made this series so fun to watch was its incredibly catchy and addictive jazz soundtrack. And this isn’t just one track, it’s got an entirely fresh collection of cheerful tunes to listen to.
#6: Kaiba – What I like about Kaiba’s soundtrack is that it’s so incredibly subtle. Ranging from its main theme with its haunting choirs, it also has a great insert song. It’s really a dreamy soundtrack at its finest.
#5: Noein – I have two favourite composers: Yuki Kajiura and Hikaru Nanase. The latter has composed her share of less impressive soundtrack, but when she hits the mark she really hits it like no other. Noein’s soundtrack is powerful, bombastic and varied. The heavy choirs perfectly fit the chaotic nature of the series itself.
#4: Phantom – Again Hikaru Nanase, and she truly surpassed herself with this work. There are so many different and awesome tunes inside this soundtrack. It’s bold, creative and one of the most varied soundtracks I’ve listened to, and yet it makes nearly every single piece count.
#3: Night Head Genesis – The thing I hate about this soundtrack is that it’s never been released on DVD. It does such a wonderful soundtrack a huge injustice. It’s a very quiet, mysterious and depressing soundtrack, but the atmosphere it managed to create really impressed me when I watched it. There was something really unique about it, the way that it only used these very simple sounds to create a very subtle an engaging soundtrack. It’s probably the most underrated soundtrack on this list, but damn did it impress me.
#2: .Hack//Sign – I still consider this as Yuki Kajiura’s best work. As part of the duo See-Saw, she really composed some of her best tracks here, like The World and Fake Wings to just name a few of them. It’s just such an addictive and catchy. .Hack//Sign was one of the first series I watched after discovering the wonders of the internet, and I still listen to its soundtrack in awe.
#1: .Hack//Roots – Say what you want about ALI-Project. I’ll agree with most of it. Most of their songs indeed do sound the same, and they have done way too many OPs and EDs already. However, there is one major exception to this: .Hack//Roots. Here, they really put effort into producing what’s probably my favourite soundtrack ever. I still consider Dwindled Bible to be the single best track I’ve ever heard in anime with its truly unique arrangement.

Best Visuals

This category is meant for the anime with amazing animation, art, graphics, or anything else that makes them look awesome. Because movies have an unfair budget advantage, I decided to put 4 movies and 5 TV-series inside this top, in order to be able to highlight the best of both. The past decade in terms of visuals was all about the introduction of CG, and the ever-challenging task of creators to integrate them well with the regular 2D animation. With the good examples, it really looked absolutely gorgeous.

#9: Shigurui – Ah, Shigurui. It’s the only series whose artwork has managed to actually freak me out. That’s how good, disgusting and outright brutal the art in this series was. It spares nobody, and the gore that was shown within this series was without a doubt the best I’ve ever watched. This isn’t just simply slashing someone with a sword to make blood come out, this describes every single cut with the cruellest amount of detail.
#8: Noein – Kazuki Akane is really a master in creating visual action scenes, and this really was his best work. The animation for Noein was Messy, but damn was it beautiful and imaginative. Ranging from the simple character-designs to the near-surreal climaxes, this series always had something good to look at.
#7: 5 Centimeters Per Second – Makoto Shinkai truly is an amazing artist, and the way he rendered the backgrounds in this movie was absolutely stunning.
#6: Casshern Sins – Casshern Sins for me is THE series with the best character-designs I’ve ever seen. The style they’re drawn in is really unique and original, even though it just started as a modern version of ancient character-designs.
#5: Seirei no Moribito – This series probably has the best animated hand-to-hand combat fight scene I have seen, even when taking movies into account. The amount of detail in the animation, especially considering that it’s a long TV-series, is astonishing. The creators even paid attention to the finest details in order to make the characters as life-like as possible.
#4: Bonen no Xamdou – For me, Bonen no Xamdou really has the single best animation out of all the TV-series I’ve seen. The action-scenes are just beautifully animated, and the backgrounds are always a joy to watch with the imagination that has been put into them. This isn’t just the case of a big budget, it’s a big budget used well. Bonen no Xamdou put in time to both make the action scenes visually stunning, but also put a lot of detail in the quiet scenes.
#3: Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea – I believe that Ponyo broke some sort of record in total amount of hand-drawn frames used. The animation really is a visual masterpiece, and become especially imaginative during the busy scenes. It’s amazing how much detail Hayao Miyazaki put into this one single movie.
#2: Metropolis – I loved the incredibly fluid animation throughout this movie. Not just from the main characters, but every single character in the background also got this treatment. The creators really brought Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga to life with this adaptation, and the way that the animators depicted the city it takes place in and the characters was just gorgeous in every single way.
#1: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence – For the first place on this list, I had no doubts whatsoever. Even though the movie is quite old already (nearly six years now) it really is the best animated movie I have ever seen. Even Hayao Miyazaki couldn’t dream of creating graphics that are THIS good. Nearly the entire movie is just a visual orgasm, from start to finish, and it’s amazing what Mamoru Oshii managed to accomplish here. It’s without a doubt my top on this list.

Best Comedies

This category is straightforward: these are the shows that made me laugh the hardest. Yes, my taste is weird!

#9: Magikano – The past ten years saw the debut of a great comedic talent: Seiji Kishi. He worked on quite a number of series, and his comedies were often hilarious, and I think that Magikano was the best example of this. Sure, the plot itself sucked beyond belief, and it had one of the worst endings imaginable, but when it wanted to be funny it really was gut-achingly hilarious.
#8: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge – I’m a big fan of parodies, so expect to see a lot of them on this list. Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge was a great parody on the usual shoujo-genre and its tropes. Just about everything was exaggerated, from the bishies with sparkles to the gothic horror lead character of Sunako. I really loved the huge amounts of energy with which this show delivered its jokes. I mean, there’s hyperactivity and there’s this.
#7: Marie&Gali – This is the series that proves that science is fun! Each episode is only five minutes long, but it always manages to be creative, unexpected and downright crazy as it shows the viewers the principles of science, including some hilarious interpretations of once great scientists.
#6: Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei – While the subsequent series were quite a lot duller, the first season of Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei was brilliant in the way that it undermined all sorts of high school series tropes. With its fast pacing and great jokes, it really was a hilarious collection of 13 episodes.
#5: Master of Epic – So this is only a series for those who have played anime-styled MMORPGs, because otherwise most of the references will fly past your head. Master of Epic created a great setting that poked fun at tons of different MMORPG tropes, from fighting monsters to collecting items, to everyone looking the same and selling items. The different sketches all were incredibly silly, but really fun to watch.
#4: Demashitaa! Power Puff Z – I really wasn’t sure what to think of the announcement that the Power Puff Girls would transfer over to anime. I watched quite a bit of it as a teenager, but it took itself way too seriously at times. However, these worries turned out to be ungrounded. The series went completely into its own direction and turned into a mahou shoujo parody, that took a jab at tons of different series, including itself. It’s incredibly childish, I know. But I tend to like that stuff and this show probably did it the best. It was so unashamed at times but that’s what made it hilarious.
#3: Gintama – Well, what is there to say about Gintama? It’s not just funny; it’s funny for 100 consecutive episodes. As a shounen series it had episodes with hilarious premises with priceless developments. Gintoki is a hilarious main character, and the dialogue is really well written for a comedy. And I guess that that’s the thing that really set it apart from other comedies.
#2: The Law of Ueki – For me, this really one of the best comedies I’ve seen. Sure, it had its lesser moments, but every time it wanted to be funny, it was utterly hilarious. Why? The creativity. The plot twists were told with so much imagination that they belong to some of the funniest episodes I’ve ever seen.
#1: Excel Saga – Okay, so while it originally aired in the 90s, the Excel Saga still aired in 2000 so it counts. This really was along with .Hack//Sign the series that turned me from a casual watcher into an anime-fan. This is probably the craziest series I’ve ever seen, and I have no clue n what mindset the creators were when they thought up the lead character of Excel. I mean, she goes beyond insanity here. This is a show that doesn’t just parody one genre, but just about every genre under the radar.

Best Settings

A setting in my book can refer to the locations and environments that a series takes place in, but what also counts is series that have great knowledge over their subject matter. The series on this list have imaginative, deep, detailed and well developed settings

#9: Mahou Shoujotai – This really is a setting that spoke to my imagination the first time I laid my eyes upon it. It uses both clichés and original ideas to create a unique world of witches, wizards and its magic system. It’s simple yet very captivating, to see the world of the witches as gets continuously more stuck in its own traditions, but the biggest reason why I decided to include it in this top 9 is its imagination. This is just one of those shows that sparkle with it.
#8: Ergo Proxy – I personally loved the tons of interesting ideas that Ergo Proxy put in its setting. Out of all the futuristic dystopia’s, I’ve been impressed the most by what this series managed to come up with: It’s deep, imaginative and despite the seemingly dark setting, it’s pretty varied as well.
#7: Darker than Black – Amidst all of the shows in which people with special powers fight each other, Darker than Black stood out with its maturity and well developed setting. Seriously, you can make tons of storylines within the framework that this series created, which was well shown by the second season.
#6: .Hack//Sign – The setting of .Hack//Sign is one where I’d want to walk through myself one day. I really love the creative vision of this series, in which MMORPGs would evolve one day to worlds in which we can fully immerse ourselves, rather than just control a sprite or 3D model. I’ve played quite a few MMORPGs before I started this blog, so when I checked out this series it really appealed to me. It took this a bit too far in .Hack//Roots, though. MMORPGs are about freedom. Not letting it become a second job to you or something.
#5: Dennou Coil – Again, a premise that really speaks to the imagination: glasses that when you put them on reveal a complete world full of strange creatures and applications that are only limited by your imagination. How awesome would that be?
#4: Michiko e Hatchin – Anime nowadays is mostly just set in regular Japan, or if you’re lucky America or France. Then this series came along, and offered a wonderfully accurate depiction of Brazil of a few decades ago. The setting was never sacrificed for the storyline, but everything just felt so authentic to me (as in, someone who’s never actually been there, but ah well, I liked it).
#3: Glass Mask (2005) – This is a series that really knows its subject material. Even though the original manga is already decades old at this point, the creators did a great job in adapting this story that has an amazing amount of detail about stage acting. It really was amazing how much in-depth this series went into acting.
#2: Kaiba – Kaiba had a setting that was based on an idea that you just had to think of: being able to store memories easily outside of your body, so that as long as you have enough bodies you’ll never die. And it really created a wonderful story around this concept that really allowed it to show the various sides about the world in which such a technology has become common usage. On top of that there also were tons more of interesting ideas stuffed into this series, that really makes this one of the best settings I’ve ever seen.
#1: RD Sennou Chousashitsu – Well, I think it’s pretty clear now what my interests are when you look at this list. I’m a computer science student, and I really like all those weird theories about the future of computer, and all of the things that you might be able to do with it. The best attempt for me was Real Drive. It goes even a step beyond .Hack//Sign and Dennou Coil in its attempt to create a whole new world that, which is even more unlimited than you could imagine. It’s the perfect example of how a vision of the future doesn’t need to be bad and full of wars, but instead it provides an optimistic outlook. In a way, it’s a celebration of technology and that’s really what appealed to me in this series.

Best Character-Development

I’ve been thinking of also putting up a list of my favourite characters, but in the end I figured that it would be boring. My favourite would just be Honoka from the Third and apart from that I’ve always found it hard to chose one character above the other when they’re so incredibly different. So instead, I’ve decided to list the series that I consider to be the best in terms of character-development. It could be of one character, it could be of an entire cast.

#9: Ashita no Nadja – I really love the characters in this series, and the biggest reason for that is the way they decided to develop the main characters. At first you might think that this is just another regular shoujo series with shallow villains, but damn. Those “villains” are so well developed into such strong characters that they give a completely new and original dimension to the story that would have been completely impossible without it. On top of that, Nadja herself is also an incredibly likable character who really grows and matures throughout the series, and is even forced to do so in order for the plot to advance.
#8: Welcome to the NHK – I may not have given this series the full recognition it deserves, but that’s mostly because when I watched it, I hated everything about moe. And yeah, this wasn’t the best series for that. But that really is the point of this series: at first, Satou is meant to be looked down upon as a worthless character. From there on, his development is really striking, and this series really succeeded as an in-depth look at the Hikkikomoris.
#7: Strange Dawn – Out of all of the coming of age stories that we’ve seen this decade, I consider this one to be among the best in terms of character-development. The development of the two lead characters made a huge impact on me, although in order to explain this I’d have to dive too much into spoilers, so I won’t.
#6: Birdy the Mighty Decode 2 – I really loved how this second season takes the far inferior first season, and improved on it in every way, and it even slightly developed nearly all of the single characters that appeared in it. It’s subtle but very powerful and the development of the new character Natoru is the highlight of the entire series.
#5: Figure 17 – Here is a series that really takes its time to slowly and subtly develop its characters, with wonderful results. Tsubasa and Hikaru are two amazingly developed characters, and so much care has been put into fleshing the two of them out. The bond that these two developed what I especially liked about them.
#4: Kaze no Shoujo Emily – From the works of Lucy Maud Montgomery. This series puts in care to develop not just its titular Emily, but also the ones around her. Her childhood friends all had their own dreams for the future and the highlight of this series is without a doubt the final quarter, in which we get to see them grow up and show exactly what happened to those dreams of them. It really was a gripping drama.
#3: Haibane Renmei – This is another one of those rare series that gets some amazing character-development only in one season of 13 episodes. I’m still not exactly sure how the creators did it, but the interplay between the lead characters reached an absolutely brilliant conclusion.
#2: Les Miserables – So yeah, this behemoth of a series was obviously going to appear somewhere on this list. Every single character here develops, even the smaller ones. The cast of this series is huge, but the creators really make sure to make everyone count in his or her own way, from the young and naive Cosette to the composed and righteous Javert (that’s how they start out anyway). The development is never shallow and always gripping, and a very solid second place on this top.
#1: Simoun – I’ve said it before in my top 20: for me Simoun is the single best character-study I have ever seen. The character-development is what made it possible, as it’s creative, powerful and unbiased. Everyone in the Chor Tempest goes through some sort of memorable development, and together I really can’t find any series to call its equal in this field.

Best Storytelling

This list basically consists out of the series that I consider told their story best. This can be with very solid direction, or a completely original way to tell a story. The key is creativity again.

#9: Nodame Cantabile – A fresh and overall very enjoyable series that for me stood out in its direction, and how fun it made these seemingly boring things as classical music and composing. The first season of Nodame Cantabile was a series in which its characters shined, but I believe that what allowed them to shine so much was the always-clever direction from Kenichi Kasai.
#8: Jubei-Chan the Ninja Girl 2 – Okay, so the story was rather childish. This is for me THE series that excelled in the entertainment factor. The fight scenes were just incredibly well directed, the standard giant robot stories look like cardboard frames compared to the excitement of these fights.
#7: Himitsu ~ The Revelation – A bit of an inconsistent series, but that’s what made it so much fun. This is a series that excelled as a suspense murder mystery. It reveals just as much to keep you interested and guessing, Looking into the memories of a dead person to solve crimes. This show actually pulls it off.
#6: Shion no Ou – This for me was a series that always had something interesting going on. The shougi matches were a bit hard to follow and pretty much directed, but the way this series built them up was always fun and exciting to watch. It always had something that would get the best out of the characters.
#5: Paranoia Agent – Perhaps a bit too much of a rushed finale, but I love how Satoshi Kon toys around with your expectations in this series. This is a series about mindscrews and insanity, but he does this in such an unpredictable way that I never saw most of the plot twists coming.
#4: Ghost Hound – This overall was a very strange series. It very often only uses sound effects to tell its story and draw its viewer in, but it worked surprisingly well here. The result is a unique and tense atmosphere.
#3: FLAG – FLAG really set itself apart with its truly unique direction: everything in the series is viewed through a camera. This is probably one of the most realistically told Mecha stories I have ever seen, and the way that the creators manage to use these cameras to tell their story is truly inspiring and unique.
#2: Aoi Bungaku – Aoi Bungaku isn’t just told well. It’s told well in six completely different styles that all have their own strengths and focuses. Throughout the series, six literary works are adapted, and this is done with so much conviction and talent that I really had to include this on this list.
#1: Noein – I’m a really big fan of Kazuki Akane, and this is what I consider to be his best work. The sheer force of his direction really brings the best out of the characters and the action-scenes, making it an incredibly fun, tense and touching series to watch.

Best Stories

I’ve always had trouble figuring out what exactly a “story” amounts to. In this list, I’ve decided that with “Best Stories”, I’m going to stick with the definition of series with the most epic plot progressions. Which series had a complex, varied and imaginative scenario that impressed me the most?

#9: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (+ Kai and Rei) – The story behind Higurashi is fascinating, and all of the three stories stood out in different ways. The first season stood out because of all of the creative, weird and mysterious twists and turns that the storyline kept taking, making excellent use of how the timeline kept repeating itself. The second season instead was incredibly solid, and stood out with its themes and ideals. The OVA then finished it with one brilliant idea that it built its storyline around.
#8: Mahou Shoujotai – Call me childish, but I loved all of the different twists and turns that the storyline for this series kept taking throughout its airtime. Nearly every episode had at least something that I loved about it. Mahou Shoujotai admittedly does have a few clichés in its storyline, but what I loved about this series was its total package and how everything comes together.
#7: Le Chevalier d’Eon – Not really that special in its first half, but amazing during its second half. The way in which this series used its setting and characters came together wonderfully there with a lot of very interesting plot twists that I never saw coming. It’s true that anime has a bit of a bad habit that it over-romanticizes western countries (especially France), but the story that resulted in this series was strong and very imaginative.
#6: Toward the Terra – Science fiction at its finest. Here we have a series that fully explores its main characters. At first it might seem nothing special because the characters involved are mere teenagers, but the huge amount of flashbacks make the storyline increasingly more impressive. A space opera at its finest.
#5: Eureka 7 – To be honest, this is one series that could have been better balanced over its episodes, but nevertheless the storyline that resulted from it took a bunch of teenagers and put them into a grown up and mature setting that allowed the best of them to come out. The 50 episodes in this series are varied and very interesting, and for me this definitely was one of Bones’ best works.
#4: Bokura no – The idea behind Bokura no was just utterly brilliant, and the creators did a wonderful job in bringing it to life and giving it its own conclusion (which wasn’t available yet in the manga at the time that it aired). It’s a powerful and varied story about life and death that never ceased to amaze me.
#3: Hi no Tori – In this series, Ryousuke Takahashi did an amazing job of making Osamu Tezuka’s stories come to life. The Hi no Tori series consists out of five stories from the “God of Manga”, and all of them are just brilliant stories full of Osamu Tezuka’s trademark creativity. Imaginative, varied and multidimensional. All of the five stories have something memorable.
#2: Now and Then, Here and There – It’s hard to really talk about this series without spoiling too much, but let me just say that this is a powerful, engaging and very disturbing story about child soldiers. What starts out as a happy “boy meet girl”-story quickly turns into one of the darkest anime about kids I’ve seen.
#1: Fantastic Children – It’s sort-of how I keep preaching about how anime needs more mature series, and yet most of the shows in this list focus on kids. But that’s the thing: when the stories about children work, they also work really well for me. For me it’s been done the best in Fantastic Children, which for its biggest part remains one huge question-mark, but a very well coordinated question-mark. The way that it manages to combine all of the various storylines into one is what made me put it on the number one place.

Most Intelligent Series

To close off, here’s a quick little list that I really wanted to include, if only to celebrate how anime is one of the very few animation mediums that also has a significant amount of series aimed at a mature audience. These anime are what I consider the most intelligent, knowledgeable and thought-provoking.

#9: Spice and Wolf (I & II) – Spice and Wolf was show that really surprised me. From the outside it just looks like yet another moe show, but in fact it turned out to be a mature series about medieval merchants. This series really earned itself a place on this list with its complex and daring plans that only one who has fully immersed into such a setting could have thought of. The way these characters try to manipulate everyone around them to make as much money as possible is one of the many things that made this series worth watching.
#8: Armored Trooper Votoms – Ryousuke Takahashi always manages to think of complex and intelligent plots that take both itself and its viewer seriously. Here we have a series that really impressed me with how well both the science, politics and tactics come together. Especially the court trial in the first episode stands out as hugely complex, but the rest of the series is also filled with these moments that put the emphasis on thinking, rather than action.
#7: Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi – I’m still not exactly sure why this series had to be aired at the most primetime slot that exists within anime: it’s indeed a samurai show with at first sight just silly characters, but it set itself apart with its intelligent subplots and arcs. Most of the times, what mattered in this series was not the action, but rather the dialogues and the meanings behind the plot. Such a shame that it got cancelled mid-way.
#6: Hunter X Hunter OVA – I consider Hunter x Hunter to be among the best of the Shounen genre. Why? This OVA. It’s here where this series comes with an intelligent plot that for once is focused purely on brainpower, and utilizing every single detail to your advantage. The plans and tactics here are imaginative and complex, and yet realistic and not as ludicrously complicated as we see in shows as Death Note and the like.
#5: Bartender – You can really see that this series was written by someone with an absolute passion for liquor. It’s a really enjoyable Iyashi-kei healing-type series, but what I loved about it was how it used all sorts of anecdotes behind various liquors and cocktails in order to tell its story, and explore the various characters that decide to drop the bar of our titular Bartender.
#4: Starship Operators – Don’t let the teenagers at the foreground fool you: nearly all of the characters here were forced to grow up into adults because of the story in this series. This really turned space-battles into a science. The amount of effort and tactical planning that this series spends, just on trying to sink one enemy ship is huge and requires a lot of creative thinking from the main characters. It really culminated into an excellent ending. In fact, all of the shows on this list, save for Ayakashi Ayashi, have excellent conclusions.
#3: Seirei no Moribito – Again a series that has a complex storyline that requires a lot of research from the characters to truly figure out. But it’s especially the dialogue in this series that stands out as complex and intelligent and a huge attention to detail.
#2: Mushishi – Mushishi is just a simple story: but that’s where its strengths lie. All of its stories try to blur the bounds between good and evil, and really made me think about the morals behind them. The stories behind them are in no way lazy at all, and were always deep and thoughtful.
#1: Mouryou no Hako – Ryousuke Nakamura, that’s a name to remember. He turned Mouryou no Hako into an amazing series with amazing dialogue. It talks about all kinds of backgrounds that could have something to do with the main storyline, and he loves to show all sorts of anecdotes that might or might not have something to do with it, just to flesh it out. The stories that this series comes with are incredibly interesting to read and make this into so much more than just another “whodunnit” murder mystery.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



Now this is more like it. Roots of Ambition is the third Votoms OVA, and unlike Big Battle, it decided to go for the Last Red Shoulder route: background. This one happens earlier than all of the other installments of the franchise so far: Chirico’s time as a Red Shoulder. It pretty much ties Pailsen Files to The Last Red Shoulder, and along with Pailsen Files it can be seen as Chirico’s background: here you see the events that shaped him to be the character we see in the TV-series.

I must say that now I’ve watched most of the Votoms Franchise, its plot is definitely impressive, especially when you put everything together (there are some parts at which the creators require the viewer to think for himself, in order to make sense). This OVA for me was the final bit of the puzzle that filled in Chirico’s backstory.

For those who want to watch the Votoms series in its chronological timeline: first watch this OVA, the Roots of Ambition. Then go to the Pailsen files. Then watch the first 13 episodes of the TV-series, then watch the Last Red Shoulder, and then you can watch the rest of the series, with apparently the Brilliant Heretic coming last (don’t bother with Big Battle, it’s just a silly side-story). Standalone this OVA again isn’t impressive, however it does become impressive when put together into the whole Votoms Storyline.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Well-paced and intriguing.
Characters: 8/10 – Extra depth for Pailsen, Chirico and some more of the side-characters.
Production-Values: 7/10 – Decent.
Setting: 9/10 – Extra background fits in well with the rest of the franchise.
Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Ladies Versus Butlers

Short Synopsis: Our lead character assaults every cute girl in his school. By accident. On his first day of transfer.
Look. Here’s why I at least gave Chu Bra 20% of potential: it was creative. While it disturbed me, I admit that it made me laugh. It was wrong on so many levels, but at least the creators went with such a crazy idea. Ladies versus Butlers however, has nothing. In fact, it just broke a record of how many cliches and stereotypes you can stuff into one single episode! There is the tsundere princess who immediately falls in love with the lead character as soon as he gropes her, the evil childhood friend, the clumsy maid, walking into someone changing her clothes… blegh, forget it. If I were to summon all of the overused cliches in this episode I’d end up with ten paragraphs, Never once does this show use anything of its own. Everything is just ripped off from a ton of other and often better harem shows. The characters were never able to be something original because the creators kept hanging to these one-sided stereotypes. I love how the creators are trying to make the lead character look smart, simply by making the rest of the cast incredibly stupid. And believe me, the other characters have to be incredibly dumbed down in order to make this guy look good.
Potential: 0%

Yanyan Machiko

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a sheep with kansai-ben accent.
From the creators of Usavich… what happened? Usavich was a fun and brainless action comedy, but this episode was nothing but a girly sheep who kept talking about shaving. And of course I can understand that the creators wanted some variety and that they wanted to try something different… but this episode just wasn’t funny. I didn’t understand any of the jokes, and they all felt way too random and nonsensical to me. In a bad way. The episode was only two and a half minutes long, and I still had to force myself through it.
Potential: 0%

Chu Bra

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is obsessed with underwear – no, that’s not me making fun of this series, that’s really the premise.
I’m really at a loss for words here… This anime is the product of deranged minds, there’s no other way. I knew that there were going to be lots of fanservice series this season, but a show about a panty-obsessed middle schooler was just beyond what I could have feared. The fanservice genre lately has had this trend where they seem to overtrump each other in terms of awkwardness. As much as I’m disturbed by this episode however, I do admit that it was creative, and much better than just another one of those cheesy harems. It’s an incredibly silly show, but I guess that that’s where its charms come from. The direction is weak, though. There are lots of cliches like tripping and falling and the symbolism was just stupid and uninspired in a bad way. And really, how long are the creators going to keep up this premise without repeating themselves?
OP: Very annoying and obnoxious J-pop.
ED: Decent enough J-rock.
Potential: 20%

Posted on 29 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



I was really hoping that the second Votoms OVA, Big Battle, would be just as good as the first. But meh, this one’s just as cheesy as the title makes you suspect.

It’s quite likely that this is the worst thing that Ryousuke Takahashi has worked on. His series usually are amazing, but I have no idea what he had in mind here. While the Last Red Shoulder did a great job of creating extra background, Big Battle instead is just a silly side-story that even goes against the continuity of the series.

The bad guy is just a joke. He’s a cheesy terminator with a formulaic back-story. This guy should be the villain of an action flick, not a series as complex as Votoms. I also loved how in the TV-series, Fyana (the lead female) was much, much more than a damsel in distress. Now guess what this OVA reduces her to.

Shako’s character is ruined to a personality-less one-dimensional side-character, going completely against his motives in the TV-series. The Balalant army does things in this movie that made no sense whatsoever considering their actions in later.

The Votoms franchise has always had a lot of action, but it was always meaningful. With such a terrible story and cheesy villain who can’t stop smiling, there’s nothing about this OVA that makes it worth watching. Do yourself a favour, watch the Last Red Shoulder, skip this one. Are the rest of the Votoms OVAs like this as well? I hope not.

Storytelling: 5/10 – Pathetic. Just a meaningless action story.
Characters: 4/10 – Destroys once beloved characters by reducing them to silly one-dimensional stereotypes.
Production-Values: 7/10 – Decent, although the main villain looks incredibly stupid.
Setting: 4/10 – Doesn’t care about continuity.
Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



The OVA format was introduced in 1984. A year later, in 1985, Armored Trooper Votoms was one of the first series that made use of the format, to add in extra episodes for extra background and stories. The story for the Last Red Shoulder was probably cut from the series due to time constraints (apparently, when it started airing it wasn’t even sure whether the entire series would make it to broadcast).

The Votoms franchise is a bit of a puzzle in continuity. This OVA fits between the first and the second arc, and I now realize that Pailsen Files was a prequel, instead of a sequel. The Last Red Shoulder really is a background OVA: standalone you’ll be wondering what the heck it is that you’re watching, and you really need to have seen at least the first 13 episodes of the TV-series in order to make sense of it. And even then there are things that are only explained later on in the series.

When put into context, however, this OVA does a great job of adding in extra background for a ton of major characters. Chirico and his past gets fleshed out as we meet some of his older friends, we see more of Pailsen, Ypsilon gets some considerable development and various of the side-characters also get fleshed out more.

In terms of storytelling, this OVA is pretty much similar to the TV-series, only on a less epic scale perhaps. The reason you want to watch this is really for the background, because I really managed to make more sense of the Votoms setting after watching this.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Pretty similar to TV-series
Characters: 8/10 – Quite a few get some extra depth.
Production-Values: 7/10 – Not really that spectacular.
Setting: 9/10 – The setting makes a lot more sense now.
CHANGE USERNAME
Anonymous951955
We'll see; trailers can give false impressions
Anonymous951955
Not that all changes from source adaptations are terrible, but in this case, at least the trailer makes it look pretty bad.
Anonymous951955
It looks not great; I understand the need to change it a bit to suit the format/audience, but at what point does it turn from adaption to "loosely based on"?
HelghastKillzone
I'm glad we're past the phase of moe club shows.
AidanAK47
@Helghast, now that's something I never thought I would hear.
HelghastKillzone
Hell ya. We are in a golden age of anime that is filled with options and quality.
Anonymous951809
What a great week! Iron Blooded Orphans, Onihei, Little Witch Academia and ACCA 13 all had great episodes! I am spoiled!
Anonymous950847
@Anon and @Aikan

The LoGH manga remake has been out. It did not work for me.

I hope he anime goes its own way. I do trust Production IG, so I hope. I think it might not be this year. No lgoic, just a hunch.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Only info I can find is that it's coming out this year and it will be by Production IG. But I think you are right in that if it;s coming this year it will definitely be winter.
Feeling rather cautious about the remake myself. LoGH is dated visually but in a way it is a product of it's time and things you could forgive in the old version wouldn't be so forgivable in the new.
Anonymous949997
Does anybody know when that LoGH readaptation is coming? It's supposed to be this year right? Probably winter right?
SuperMario
But I will give it a full review anyways because all the amount of time I spent in that series should be paid off somehow, right?
Kaiser-Eoghan
But serious Gohands is a studio that had potential its just a shame its wasted on rubbish writers. Although I did like mardock scramble, because cyberpunk =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
If I met handshakers in public I'd refuse to shake its hand =D
SuperMario
Oh, it's actually just an extra Hand Shakers episode that serves as a prequel story. Not that bad then
SuperMario
Not to disregard Hand Shakers, but the best way to describe how I feel about that series is mind-numbing
Kaiser-Eoghan
They tried with that Military guy and his daughter but not by much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I do agree that there needs to be more to the characters, right now its JUST Tanya.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As for Tanya, having caught up with it, its a nice trashy guilty pleasure, especially due to the protagonist and I enjoy the setting because I'm a war film fan and like some of the action/politicking. I still do wish it was aesthetically a bit better. The dub isn't that bad and I'd welcome a second season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In an ideal world Kino's journey would have been a good model for what light novel adaptations can be and SHOULD be.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If we must have more light novel adaptations, I would prefer them to be like Tanya, Muvluv, okay hardly breathtaking, but still better than that thing Aidan linked.
Lenlo
*Sigh* It looks exactly how I imagined it would and its terrible.
Lenlo
Please dont tell me thats an actual title.
AidanAK47
In another world with my smart phone light novel to get an anime.

Oh my god...This literally sounds like a joke title you would see within an anime. Tried giving it an honest chance by reading it and it's just shit. Just pure terrible.
AidanAK47
If people in Japan are actually buying blurays thinking its a good show then something is seriously wrong with the world.
AidanAK47
@Topgavin, maybe too many people watched it because it was so terrible. I haven't watched past episode 1 but it doesn't sound like it improved.
Topgavin
Just incase you guys were avidly waiting for the announcement, Hand Shakers is getting a prequel season because it's apparently selling well......
SuperMario
Should be happy for it, though I'm a bit disappointed that I can't be able to cover it
SuperMario
Inside Mari gets live-action series adaptation. Why not anime?? Duh
Spike
Little Witch Academia finally tips it's hand on the overall plot! I'm pretty pleased and think some direction might help bump it up from just being 'good' overall.
HelghastKillzone
@KTravlos Still watching it week by week and I'll write up a review on the second season of Iron-Blooded when it ends.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It is however the kind of anime film that would have the wide audience appeal though, as in anime for people who don't watch anime.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: just prove that people has paid attention to anime. That's an encouraging sign actually
Kaiser-Eoghan
Feck, silent voice was booked out when I got there just now....should have booked in advance, showing at 7:00 on Friday booking it now.
SuperMario
@KTravlos: I haven't, but that more because I'm not a big fan of Mecha genre. I believe one of our writer HelghastKillzone still follow the series
KTravlos
No idea, if you are all still watching MS Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans. I am, and while the 2nd Season toned down some of the elements that made the 1st Season good, it is still pretty good with the last episode doing a great job. If it keeps it, it definitely is head to head with Turn A Gundam for my favorite long-form Gundam Series (I am doing Gundam Origins for the original story)
Lenlo
Mhmm. It was one of those shows it weave adult themes into a kids show, so it had something for both. Now I can also appreciate the artstyle that doesnt use hard black outlines for everything.
AidanAK47
If anything I get so much more out of Samurai Jack now than when I watched it as a kid.
Lenlo
Love that dude Aidan. And yes Kaiser, I think anyone get enjoy it now. I love that its back, but even without that its easily standing on its own
Kaiser-Eoghan
How much of this love of samurai jack is a nostalgia driven thing? I'm not knocking that nostalgia but would it be possible to get something out of the show now if I never watched it when I was younger?
Lenlo
Yeah, that conversation was great. Really shows you how messed up hes become. Its also amazing when you realize that was the last set of spoken dialogue in the episode. There was not a single word uttered in the second half.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The audience who enjoyed samurai Jack has grown up, them bringing up seppuku and blood is possibly a part of that.
AidanAK47
Scene with the coffins was awesome as was the fight in the dark. My personal favorite part of the episode though was Jack arguing with his old design self. And young jack suggesting committing seppuku made my eyebrows raise. I mean..damn.
Lenlo
I agree Aidan. That quick shot of Jack vs the Daughter, with the sudden blood, suprised me as much as it did Jack. I really loved the scene with the coffins. The music nad sound was just great there.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, It was a really great episode. I love the meta of Jack being worn down by the wait and the wait the viewers had to endure for the new season. I is rather odd seeing blood in Samurai Jack though but it does make that particular moment have so much more impact.
Topgavin
April 16th for NZ. It is a lesser known movie than Kimi no na wa though, so I do wonder how available it's going to be in cinemas
Lenlo
This second episode of Jack was really just amazing. Its making full use of the new budget/tech for the art and of the new rating, along with the impact the timeskip would have on Jack. The cinematography was superb as well.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: Koe ko machi will creen in Aussie in the beginning of April as well. I'll go to watch it; but I would love to jear your thoughts on the movie.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There is a preview screening of koe to kachi on Monday night, depending I may go, I may review it or at least talk about it on here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm dying waiting for the Blame! anime film adaptation to come out in May. I've wanted an adaptation for years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And I'm too much of a cheap-ass to actually buy anything, don't even use legal streaming for films or anime/manga/comics, pirate almost everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or shelves for that matter.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've fallen out of the collectors thing pretty much entirely. I don't like to advertise any of my interests on my bedroom wall either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Some years ago I ended up selling almost all of my anime dvds/vhs and manga, comic books aswell, took down my posters and moved what figures I had left into attic boxes , just no space for it and it was a good way to get some quick extra cash.
Lenlo
I love Rakugo as well, im not meaning to bad talk it at all. I simply also agree with Aiden that slow rolling us with Yakumo's death was poorly done and that its feeling stretched.
Topgavin
Nevermind, the $30 price tag made that decision for me
Topgavin
Weird how I see $8 movies on youtube as a ripoff yet a $90 series as a bargain. All these $300 box sets made me think it'd be in the hundreds. Wonder if I should get rebellion too
SuperMario
I'm still pretty much a fan of Rakugo this season. It goes much darker than the first season, something I didn't dare to think before consider this isYotaro's story. Would love to see more about rakugo's industry but this season does flesh out a lot of our core characters
Kaiser-Eoghan
I said it before but I'll bring it up again, the slow pace allows for, when big things happen to have a larger impact when they do.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*In
**and(not on) waiting for the series to finish
Anonymous935946
Season 1 showed a lot more, different periods and times, the development of Rakugo, the tragedy of Sukeroku & Miyokichi (or at least one version). In contrast, season 2 was basically about Sukeroku's legacy in the form of Yotaro and Konatsu and their kids, and Yakumo's relationship with death, changing from fatalistic to happiness over the course of the series.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think it might be 13 episodes, the first season had 13.
Anonymous935946
To be honest, I understand your point: It's hard to actually describe what happened in season 2. I guess I became invested into Yakumo in season 1, and then warmed up to Yota and Konatsu in this season.
Anonymous935946
Yeah, I think they certainly could have compressed the front half of the season. There wasn't too much plot going on, but I enjoyed the characters and their interactions, so I didn't mind the deliberate pacing.
Lenlo
I still really like Rakugo, its really good, it just probably didnt need 12 episodes. That said, really lookin forward to the timeskip
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I've never actually seen any of Olivier Asayas' films come to think of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But going back to that dragging on, that did factor in almost making me hold off on waiting for the series to finish before going back. The anon's comment was what got me to watch this weeks episode right now rather than waiting till later.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Rakugo remains at this point still going in too long, but in fairness to the anon, yes the episodes conclusion was effective on emotional level and I bought into the dreamy atmosphere, largely due to the good cinematography the series uses.
Lenlo
Really? Im torn. Im glad they didnt bait and switch us again, but I always liked how grounded Rakugo was so im not sure how ok I am with the supernatural part and some of it felt like fanservice in regards to bringing characters back. The VA though is fantastic as always and I am definitely looking forward to this last timeskip. Cant wait to see the kids grown up.
Anonymous935526
Rakugo was otherworldly today. Not going to lie, was fighting tears back, but failed at the end.
SuperMario
@Topgavin: the bluray goes by region as well so you can only buy it in Australia/NZ region (region 4). For Madoka I still find it easiest to just go to JB Hi Fi and buy it. Sometimes I find it cheaper from JB Hi Fi than even their original distribution company.
AidanAK47
@Topgavin, I ordered my Madoka bluray's from Amazon.co.uk.
Topgavin
Where do you guys buy your merch? Was looking into buying the Madoka blurays but can't find a reliable place to ship to NZ.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: nah, Personal Shopper isn't even a horror. It's just a failed arthouse that have little to say except grief.
SuperMario
...even now. For Raw, I would never expect the positive reactions from mainstream. I think the film really push the tolerance of the voewers, but it was a refrrshing watch.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: now you mentioned 2 films thay I really fond of. I come from Vietnam, so I could easily tell you that the settings are staged. The dialogue is pretty unnatural as well, but the movie grows a lot on me. I still love the striking visual and a long, slow mood the film evoke, and It speaks to one of the theme (women's identity in Vietnam society) that speaks well to me and still relevant...
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Is personal shopper really that mediocre a horror film?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also got back from seeing Raw a couple of hours ago, though the violence was enjoyable I was expecting it to be more so, it was also surprisingly funny at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I did eventually see Scent of Green Papaya, while I did like that a plot actually did appear later on I was mostly content to find it a really pretty looking and generally relaxing film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: =< Sorry that anon post was me, was using the work computer and didn't log in.
AidanAK47
@Anon, don't do that. Don't hint at future events and just let people see for themselves.
Anonymous930711
The glasses teacher in scum's wish will have an interesting moment to look out for in the coming episodes, I read on in the manga. Only one chapter left.
SuperMario
*ED instead of OD
SuperMario
@anon928813: usually they will release the music separately from the DVD/Blurays. I believed the OP had released last year, and according to their website the OD gonna release in 5th of April
Anonymous928813
Does anyone know the release date for Zaregoto's OST? Is it bundled with one of the BDs?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know I'd like to see this Akane-sensei girl attempt to seduce me and just watch her fail at trying to do so.
Kaiser-Eoghan
My guess is that Miura will do another 6 or so chapter run then put it down for another while.
Lenlo
Im so happy Berserk Manga is starting up again, but im curious for how long. I remember sitting through that boat. I was there for all 7 years of it. Im like a hiatus vet now
Kaiser-Eoghan
Pretty much in agreement on titan where after what the first season covers I've pretty much been waiting for it to get back on track before I bother to get back to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should be catching up and sangatsu and acca.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never saw kekkai sensens first season so there's little chance of me watching the sequel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Berserk and Natsume I'll just stick with the manga. I don't know about Bahamut, it took me a few episodes to get into before it became fun, but then the ending was disappointing, again maybe there's room for improvement in season 2.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would hope that eccentric families second season would be able to live up to the potential of building on the first. However it's been a while since I've seen season one, might need to refresh myself.
SuperMario
For the Spring season, it is a season of sequels. From sequels alone, I'll follow Berserk, Eccentric Family, BBB, My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, Natsume (is it the last season?), How to Raise a Boring girlfriend. I dropped Shingeki no Bahamut after 3 episodes, but might pick it up again before the new season begin.
SuperMario
Before that, Utena and Haruhi.
SuperMario
Gotta love the extend a passionate fan would go. The last time I felt passionate about something anime-wise was Monogatari as there was a period of several months that I watched nothing but that series, and rewatched and rewatched. It just clicked with me personally at that stage of my life.
Lenlo
At this point, ill watch/read anything with Berserk on it. I already own all of the original print runs of the Manga. If I had the money, I would buy everything else.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I'll be on the same boat with you regarding Berserk. I know I CAN ENDURE it (finger crossed)
Lenlo
Man, your season preview reminded me I soon have to watch another season of CGI Berserk. Im not going to like it, but its a trial I must go through as a hardcore Berserk fan.
Lenlo
Im glad they didnt lose the funny robots in their pursuit of the Grimdark
Lenlo
That flute into Skatman-like singing was great
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, I had the biggest smile when Jack destroyed the robots flute and he started singing with his mouth. Looking at clips of the show on youtube I don't think I appreciated just how funny this show was. Also digging Jacks PTSD and the daughters of Aku.
Lenlo
Dude has problems and I loved the singing robot
Lenlo
Have to say, enjoyed seeing Jack again.
Lenlo
Thanks Aidan! Cant wait to watch it tonight
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well I suppose it is moreso samurai Jack wasn't really a large part of my childhood.
AidanAK47
Don't know how it is for security but I never really had trouble with it.
Lenlo
Love me some Samurai Jack though
Lenlo
It may just be Malwarebytes actin up. Ill look into it and if its a false flag check it out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I never really had any opinion of samurai Jack when it was airing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh I'm enthusiastic about Kino season 2, but I want to be cautiously optimistic just in case.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But has anyone read on in the Kino novels to confirm that a second season would have good material to work with, would it fall prey to the light novel curse that apparently many of then weaken by the third volume?
Kaiser-Eoghan
The only issue I've found with kiss is that, in firefox at least, sometimes it slows down my browser but only now and then. Never had any trouble with viruses or mal/spyware on it. Though it won't allow adblock =<
SuperMario
@Aidan: I was surprised at Kino's Journey news as well. Yay for having a new season!!
SuperMario
I have no problem with kiss whatsoever regarding virus. Hehe then try to catch it at Toonami
Lenlo
Yeeeah, sorry, my anti-virus isnt that big a fan of kiss.
SuperMario
You can watch it online at kisscartoon, of course at your own risk ^^
Lenlo
I really want to watch the new Samurai Jack season, but I cant catch it when it airs and dont know where to find it otherwise
AidanAK47
Plan on getting the spring season Preview up today or Tommarrow. Things basically written up so it's just a matter of getting it to look right on the site.
AidanAK47
Who here is watching the new season of Samurai Jack? That first episode hit me hard with nostalgia. It's like he never left.
AidanAK47
Spice and Wolf season 3 may not be so impossible after all. Or hell even a Spice and wolf full remake, FMA Brotherhood style.
AidanAK47
Holy crap, Kino's Journey is getting a new anime. Never thought that would happen. Sweet.
Lenlo
Art was great, sound was great, an argument could easily be made for 9/10. Its just cohesive story and efficient use of episodes means alot to me. I kinda had to actively remind my self to watch after ep 6 and then binged 10+.
Lenlo
8.5/10. I really liked the start, the middle kinda lagged plot wise for me which is always my most important metric, and the last 3-4 episodes were great.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: how would you rate it?
SuperMario
@Lenlo: it's the middle part that I completely fell in love with. Well, guess that everyone have different taste huh?
Lenlo
So finally finished Flip Flappers. Had it on my to do list since last season. It ended pretty well imo, but the middle lagged for me in places.
AidanAK47
HXH does pull off drama well but one thing that annoys me is how it builds up these big confrontations just to have them fizzle out. An anticlimax may be unexpected but in some case it would be more satisfying to just have things play out predictably.
Lenlo
And it did it better than Naruto, which had 7 years to pull that off.
Lenlo
I think one of the reasons HxH pulled it off so well, is because the first like 100 episodes built up to it. It pulled off the slow transition of basic shounen to well developed drama sort of thing very well. It slow rolled us basically.
Topgavin
Since when did HxH become a feels trip show? ep135 just ruined me, and did it better than actual 'feels trip' shows because of how unexpected and masterfully executed it was. The Chimera ant arc may have been slow, but by itself it was very FMA:B reminiscent with the huge character cast, amazing execution and the conflict in antagonists and humans and their values/morals.
SuperMario
@KAiser: oh man, you remind me again that I need to watch Bela Tarr's films. I remember one of the blogger was frustrated at the Turin Horse for "showing the pot of boiled potato for 10 minutes". I was cackling hard with his comment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The realist genre in general really clicks with me, the neo-realist movement, can't get enough of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Selish giant, ratcatcher and fishtank, maybe even gummo might be other good example of social realist stuff.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bela Tarr did two accessible films in his early career called Prefab people and family nest which had a social realist feel to them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I've seen Kathy come home, Daniel Blake, Kes and wind that shakes the barley, of those Kathy and Daniel were the most emotional rewarding but being Irish it was very easy to connect with wind that shakes the barley. But yes I agree (as would my father) that Loach loves to "announce everything" or turn everything into a speech.
SuperMario
I've heard good things about Lorna's Silence as well
SuperMario
so do you watch Ken Loach? admittedly I just watched his I, Daniel Blake and it was solid, but a bit too much "message" for my taste
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm fond of that kitchen sink/social realist type of drama in general.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yes! I finally actually properly registered my name on here!
@Mario: I've seen Rosetta, L'enfant and le Promese, two days one night, very moving and affecting films. My eye is on Lorna's silence , but I haven't seen kid with the bike, so I'll give that a look.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: fair enough, although for me I never really care about the dub version. Always prefer the Japanese voices :)
SuperMario
They have such a simple, yet direct handheld film making styles, so simple that many accused them for being amateurish.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I actually watched a handful of Dardenne's works so I can give you my recommendation. Rosetta for me is their best, L'Efant, The Kid with a Bike and 3 Days 2 Nights are all excellent; with their latest The Unknown Girl was a slightly letdown
KaiserEoghan
@Mario: Acca is quite slow and wordy, so I will wait for the English dub.
KaiserEoghan
@Mario: Might check out some more of the Dardenne’s works soon.
KaiserEoghan
@Mario: Yes, I also agree that Erdmann was largely more of a drama, though the balance between comedy and drama was masterful.
Total users: 29

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As of this writing, Kimi no Na wa, or Your name. has enjoyed a phenomenal commercial and critical success. It becomes the highest grossing film of the year in Japan, and broke many records elsewhere in Thailand, China, America… you name it. Even in the local theatre where I went to, we got a full […]

Occultic;Nine Review – 0/100

I am certain this may seem like an extreme rating for some but the number scale always has been something I only carried over as part of psgels format. But this rating exemplifies my feelings about this show in its entirety. This show is awful, terrible, rage inducing, illogical, nonsensical garbage. Watching this show was […]

Magical Girl Raising Project Review – 65/100

In the success of Madoka there have been plenty who have tried to capitalize on turning the Magical girl genre dark. Few have actually succeeded and while Magical Girl Raising Project doesn’t quite succeed, it is still a much more competent attempt than many others. The story is about a phone app which promises to […]

Yuri!!! on Ice (Fall 2016) Review – 83/100

“Can you hear my heartbeat? Tired of feeling never enough. I close my eyes and tell myself that my dreams will come true” That’s exactly what Yuri on Ice offers, a heart-pumping ride to the sport of figure skating. Yuri on Ice’s current success and mainstream breakout is something that no one could have guessed before it aired; but here […]

Strange Frame – Love & Sax (2012) Movie Review – 76/100

Hooray, I’m finally back to this section after a while. I originally plan to review a more in-focus groups of animated films, like Korean movies, anthology movies, female-directed films, etc but now I have a different plan. The days that I cover all these will come, I promise. Instead, this time I want to highlight […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy Review – 84/100

Sometimes you dread for the current state of anime: high school settings, cute girls, fan-service jokes, idol madness… that you wish for once to see something different, and out of nowhere an oddball like this just pop up: a wuxia puppetry show influenced by Taiwanese glove puppetry written by Gen Urobuchi. The sheer fact that […]